Parody of Classic Monster Movies Has Laughs, Drama and a Few Genuine Scares.
Horror nerds all know that Bela Lugosi Jr. successfully sued Universal Pictures for the right to control his famous father’s image. Now imagine that Dracula himself counter-sued both of them! That was the inspiration writer Owen Hammer had for Von Bach—the story of an undead monster who sues a major Hollywood studio for making a horror movie about him.
Von Bach is a graphic novel about DOCTOR HEINRICH VON BACH—the nineteenth-century scientist resurrected from the dead by his own ungodly invention. For a hundred years, world cinema has made as many films based on the bloody life and un-death of VON BACH. Today, a major studio is finishing a big budget Von Bach movie, but suddenly the real VON BACH returns to life in Hollywood and he is going to teach them the true meaning of “Development Hell.”
Von Bach began as a play produced by L.A.’s The Next Arena. After its critically acclaimed multi-year run, Hammer adapted it into a graphic novel with art by Mariano Navarro and Hernán Cabrera.
Navarro has worked on Protocol Orphans, Cloaks, Descendant, Damaged Universe, Fallen and Sophia; and has co-created Argentinian comic Red Knight.
Cabrera has worked for Nuclea, Soleil and Paquet Editions (Europe), Class Comics (Canada), Avatar Press, Titan Comics, Tokyopop (USA), and is currently working on a new mini-series for AfterShock. Hammer says he is lucky to have such talented and experienced artists bring his work to life. “Making this comic has been nothing but fun upon fun,” said Navarro, “Imagine reading it.”
Owen Hammer is a veteran of TV and movie production and his frequent collaborator Lance Lanfear—an accomplished producer and director—serves as executive producer. “I loved the play and even though I’ve never done comics before I jumped on board in a heartbeat,” says Lanfear.
The story will cover the original, incredible events that happened in Bavaria in 1888 and the events in present-day Hollywood. Additionally, we will see clips from all the famous Von Bach films that have shaped the culture of the main characters. “It’s a great opportunity to spoof all the horror movie clichés—I mean all the clichés from 1920 to 2020,” says Hammer, adding, “There’s the silent, German Von Bach, the classic Universal-style black and white Von Bachs, the ‘60s Hammer Films Von Bachs and many more.” Hammer Comics is unrelated to Hammer Films.
Chapter 3 of Von Bach has just been released at www.hammer-comics.com/von-bach.html. “Habeas Corpus” tells the story of screenwriter MINNA TSENG’S battle against CONNOR KRUPA—a lawyer who, like Bela Lugosi Jr., owns the rights to his famous ancestor’s image. Like most of Von Bach, the exciting tropes of horror films are used in contrast to the mundane and wearying work of legal wrangling. “It’s about how real-life conflict, which seems dull to an outsider, is a life or death struggle for the participants,” says Hammer.
A lot of the humor comes from the fact that VON BACH, an undead entity, is just an ordinary guy and the high-strung movie professionals are the real freaks. Hammer says that Von Bach is mainly a comedy, but there is a serious story at the heart of it. “Who gets to tell your story? Who gets to decide what your legacy will be? Like all good horror and all good satire, the book addresses some serious questions.”