Hello, and welcome to the new home of the Trinity Building- the as-official-as-it-can-get website slash blog devoted to the mid-1980’s DC Comics series THRILLER. Allow me to introduce myself- I’m David Allen Jones, known here and there around the Internet and Comics Blogosphere as Johnny Bacardi. Back in 2002, I set myself to a task that had been on my mind for quite some time previous- the creation of a website shrine to a comics series that had captured my enthusiasm, interest and devotion like few others: Thriller. In 2001, using my little old indigo iMac and scanner, as well as the software application Freeway, I went to work- and a few months later, the site went live. In the process, I pushed myself as a writer, crafting character profiles and issue synopses for each, and I also managed to ask around long and persistently enough that I was able to make the acquaintance of each of the men responsible for the genesis of the book, and gained valuable insight from each, as well as a goodly amount of sketches, copies of scripts, and other items of interest. In 2003, after I had maintained the site for several months and had a good reaction from the Net in general, I found myself needing to reinstall the system software on the iMac. One thing I did was burn a copy of the working files to a CD before I got started…or so I thought! Foolishly not checking the disc first, I proceeded with the system reinstallation, and much to my horror when it was all done, the disc didn’t burn correctly and I had no live files that I could update! And so, for the last seven years now, the old site has been live, but I’ve been unable to update it, and there have been many, many things that have happened with the creators, if not the property in question. Finally, after hemming and hawing around all this time, trying and abandoning other website creation platforms (no web designer I), I decided to try the blog approach, and here are the results. I plan to, as time allows, recreate the issue synopses and character profiles, as well as creator bios and more.
But in the meantime, here’s some background info to get you up to speed.
For the unitiated, Thriller was a 12-issue ongoing series published by DC Comics in 1983 and 1984. It was one of the first wave of direct sales titles (i.e. sold in comics shops and similar outlets and not on newsstands or spinner racks), and was printed on better quality paper than was the norm for comics at the time. It was created and scripted, for the first seven issues, by DC staff proofreader Robert Loren Fleming (his first published comics work), working with hot young artist Trevor Von Eeden (coming off attention-getting stints on Batman and Green Arrow), who also contributed character designs. Sales were strong for the first couple of issues, but Fleming and Von Eeden’s experimental, mise-en-scene style confused and alienated comics readers of the day who were more used to less-challenging narratives, and sales went steadily downhill. Soon, Fleming left after turning in the script for #7, citing creative differences with editorial (the more supportive Dick Giordano, who greenlighted the book in the first place, stepped down after the first few issues and was replaced by a less sympathetic person) as well as lack of communication with Von Eeden, and was replaced by Bill DuBay, the former Warren writer/editor who was freelancing by 1984. Von Eeden stuck around for one more Dubay scripted issue, then made his exit. He was replaced by another freelancer, Filipino legend Alex Nino, who went on to illustrate the exploits of the Seconds until its cancellation.
Thriller, at its most basic level, was the story of a family. Not just any kind of family, however, but an extended Italian family who just happened to have extraordinary abilities and complicated relationships. This, as well as the often challenging and exciting art, and the fact that many of the characters had abilities that were grounded more in reality than in fantasy or in sci-fi oriented mutant powers (Remember, X-Men was in its 80’s heyday at this time, and I was already sick of mutants). was a big part of why this comic captured my comics-reading heart like it did. What I hope to do with this blog slash website is pretty much what I did before- provide a resource for people who have read or heard about the series and would like to find out more. I hold out no hope for a revival, especially by its creators (for various reasons)…but I do know that Thriller seems to be getting talked about and written about more and more these days (most recently on the Comics Journal website, of all places) and you just never know. Given what passes for Big Two comics these days, the thought kinda fills me with dread. But be that as it may, over the next few months I plan to devote a blog post apiece to the characters and individual issues, and will try to tag ‘em up for easier reference. As with the old site, what I want to do is to provide overviews and personal commentary about each character and individual issue (as well as the few ancillary appearances at the time and since), but hopefully I won’t spoil so much that you won’t be moved to check out the comics themselves (they’re not terribly hard to find and neither are they expensive), because there’s a lot more there than what I’ll be providing.
Please check each entry more than once- as I go along, I plan to be constantly revising with scans of original scripts and other links as time permits. Also, in addition to the aforementioned content, I plan to update everyone on what Fleming and Von Eeden may have in the pipeline as far as current work.
Thanks for reading this far, and please stay tuned!
-Dave aka Johnny Bacardi