The Warren Magazines Interviews by Richard Arndt a 2005 Interview With Bob Toomey!


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Last updated 8 February 2006 (with a minor web address update 19 January 2009). The latest version of this document can always be found at See last page for legal & © information.

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The Warren Magazines

Interviews by Richard Arndt

A 2005 Interview With Bob Toomey!
RA: Thank you for the interview. Could you give us a little background on yourself?
BT: I was born in Hartford, Conn. in 1945. Lived most of my life in Springfield, Mass. Twelve years of Catholic school. Two years as a reporter on a daily newspaper. Moved to London in the late 1960s and wrote a science fiction novel there to no great acclaim. Moved to New York City. Read the slush pile at Galaxy Magazine.
RA: When did you become interested in comics?
BT: I read comics from an early age. My favorites were the duck stories of Carl Barks; John Stanley’s ‘Little Lulu’; Walt Kelly’s ‘Pogo’; the whole EC line, particularly the Kurtzman mags, ‘Mad’, Frontline Combat’ and ‘Two-Fisted Tales’. I liked the art in the EC horror and SF comics, but the endless captions bored me. Never cared much for superheroes, other than Plastic Man and Captain Marvel. I enjoyed Biro’s stuff—‘Daredevil’, ‘Boy’, ‘Little Wise Guys’. I still reread Barks and Stanley, and I’ve been collecting the Plastic Man Archives. In the sixties I got into the underground comics. Crumb and Shelton were my favorites, plus some of the horror books like ‘Slow Death’ and ‘Death Rattle’.
RA: Was your work at Warren your first professional appearance? I know you wrote stories for DC Comics. Have you worked for other companies?

BT: I freelanced at DC for a couple of years before going to Warren. I got in through Denny O’Neil. We met at a party in Greenwich Village and hit it off. He got tired of hearing me complain about being broke all the time and suggested I try writing comics. My first comic book story was a very crude six pager starring Krypto the Superdog. It was called ‘A Bad Day For Junkyard Blue’ and appeared in Superman Family #182. I remember getting the idea for it after listening to Jim Croce’s ‘Bad Bad Leroy Brown,’ that line about “meaner than a junkyard dog.” I was paid $15 a page for it. Later my rate went up to $17 a page, with a little extra now and then for coming up with a cover or editing the letter columns in various mags.

After I’d been writing for DC for a couple of months, one of my stories fell into the hands of Joe Orlando. He tore it to pieces, showing me everything I’d done wrong, which was basically everything. Orlando, of course, was one of my heroes, being among the EC artists I’d loved as a kid. He sort of took me under his wing and gave me a terrific course in how to write comics. I can’t draw worth a lick, but Joe trained me to look at a story from the artist’s point of view. He was a very harsh critic of my work, and if I know anything about writing comics, it comes from what he taught me. I’m aware that some people found Joe a little too harsh, but he was giving me the accumulated wisdom of a lifetime, and I appreciated that and felt lucky that he was willing to spend the time with me. Joe was the best teacher I ever had, may he rest in peace.
Most of what I did for DC went into their mystery or horror books, although I did a bit of everything, from romance to war comics, and even an occasional superhero story of sorts. I did the first ‘Alien Green Lanterns’ series, for example, and I continued writing about Krypto for two years. In general, DC gave me a lot of freedom in what I wrote, even though many of the stories I did weren’t typical of their horror or mystery books.
RA: How did you get your start at Warren?

BT: One day at DC, Paul Levitz took me aside and told me the company was getting ready to cut about half the line, and a lot of the newer writers like me were going overboard. This was the great 1978 DC Implosion. He suggested I call Weezie Jones, now Louise Simonson, at Warren and see if she had any work for me. It was nice of Levitz to point me there. It was the right time for me to go. I don’t really do superheroes, and that’s all that was left in mainstream comics around then, so I probably wouldn’t have been happy anywhere but Warren.

So I made an appointment and trundled on over there. Weezie turned out to be about the sweetest and most generous person I’ve ever met. But on that first meeting, she didn’t hold out much hope. She didn’t really have any open slots for freelancers, and she’d also found that most mainstream comic book writers couldn’t cut it at Warren. But she said she’d look at a spec script if I felt like writing one. Two days later I gave her the script for ‘The Caretaker.’ She bought it for $20 a page, and told me she could probably handle a story a month from me. So for a while I did a story for Warren and a couple more every month for DC until the axe fell. At that point, Weezie gave me a raise to $25 a page, Warren’s top rate, and said she’d take as much as I could produce, so things worked out okay for me, even with the loss of DC as a market. At no time was I on the staff at DC or Warren. I was always a freelancer.
RA: What were the editorial differences between DC and Warren?
BT: Well, one big difference was that DC was operating under the Comics Code, so there were all sorts of taboos and lines you couldn’t cross. I only came afoul of it once or twice, but it was always there, looking over my shoulder. Warren, of course, was outside the Code, and the only restriction there was involved the use of foul language. Sex and violence were okay, but going potty mouth was a no-no. How times change.

Other than that, the main difference between working at DC and Warren was editorial involvement. At DC every story had to be cleared with an editor before you wrote it. There was always a conference first where you presented a synopsis of the proposed story for approval. Sometimes the editor would give you an assignment. I was handed the title ‘My Boyfriend’s Best Friend Was My Rival,’ and told to write a romance story based on it. That was the first story, by the way, that Joe Orlando tore apart for me. On another occasion, Paul Levitz suggested I write a story for Weird War Tales #66 where a modern technological weapon found its way into a magical universe. That became ‘The Iron Star’, one of the better stories I did for DC.

Over at Warren, I started off giving Weezie a synopsis before I wrote a story, but she said she trusted me and preferred to be surprised by what I brought in. She did, on occasion, suggest an idea or a direction. One time she asked for a sports story for an issue that was supposed to be all sports stories. The issue never happened, but I did write a story about a golf game where the fate of the Earth hung on the outcome. I did it mainly to amuse my father, who was a professional golfer. Another time I wrote a story for an issue where the stories were based on a Corben cover, and one for a theme issue on Earth shattering disasters. On several occasions, I was given the art for a story where they’d decided they liked the art but didn’t care for the story, and I created a new story around the art. But most of the time, I was on my own, just writing the stories and turning them in. Weezie was a wonderful editor. She gave me complete freedom to write anything I felt like writing, and she liked my work and paid me for it on time. No writer could ask for more.
[As for the other Warren staff] I met Jim Warren once, I think. He might have shaken my hand and congratulated me on winning that Best Writer Award. Bill DuBay I saw around, but we never said much to each other. He seemed nice enough. I remember he complimented me on a couple of my stories. Weezie was my editor and she was…a sweet person, very friendly and positive. I was living in Massachusetts while I was writing for Warren, and I’d take a train into NYC once or twice a month for editorial conferences. It was strictly a business relationship. Maybe if I’d lived in the city we would have got to know each other better.
RA: Do you have a personal favorite story from your Warren days?

BT: My favorite stories for Warren were ‘Shrivel’, the fractured fairy tale about the gluttonous overweight dragon; ‘There Shall Come A Great Darkness,’ where the universe ends in a whisper; ‘The Fianchetto Affair,’ because of the sheer audacity of the ending; and ‘Nobody’s Kid,’ the most intense story I ever wrote, and my final sale to Warren.

RA: You also wrote stories under the name Gary Null. Can you tell us why?
BT: The Gary Null stories were the ones where I created a story around existing art. I didn’t sign my own name to them because the stories weren’t wholly mine. According to your index, two stories, ‘Nursery School’ and ‘Scream,’ went out under my name, but they were created around existing art, and should have been signed by Null. I did sign them as Null, but my own name got on them somehow.

One of the Null stories, ‘The Clockmaker,’ was originally Poe’s ‘The Tell-Tale Heart’. At least one reader saw through my disguise and wrote in that it looked a lot like the Poe story. Both ‘Nursery School’ and ‘Scream’ had story and art by Leopoldo Duranona, and I guess Warren only liked the art, which was pretty good. [For ‘Nursery School’] it was the first time I’d ever tried creating a story out of raw art, and I remember spreading the Xeroxed pages out on my living room floor and pacing back and forth in front of them and free associating like crazy. After about half an hour it just came to me, and I got down on my hands and knees with a pencil and wrote the whole thing on the art itself, right into the panels, without a pause, in about 45 minutes. It was almost a mystical experience, a complete story just coming into existence and fitting exactly into the art. To this day I have no idea what the original story was, but I do know that [Duranona] was unhappy that his story had been thrown out and replaced with something utterly different. Can’t say I blame him. But it wasn’t a bad story, you know? The readers liked it and nobody noticed any dissonance between the art and the tale. On the others I did, I still don’t know what the original stories were, and all of them were written very quickly. I’d just pace back and forth in front of the art, absorbing it, and then something would click and out came the story. I wish they’d given me more like that to do. It made a very enjoyable break in the routine of thinking up stuff from scratch.

I remember they gave me the art [for ‘Scream’], and then didn’t want to pay me for all those pages where I just let the art carry the story and didn’t write anything. I told them, “But it took me a long time to decide to leave it silent, longer than it would have taken me to write dialogue.” So in the end, they paid me for doing nothing. Bill DuBay bitched about it, but Weezie just laughed and cut me a check.
In the one Vampirella story I did, ‘Flame Spirit,’ it was my idea to mostly leave out the cheesecake and dress Vampi in jeans for her desert vacation. It was an experiment on the magazine’s part, never repeated, to let me write a Vampi story and take her out of her costume. I enjoyed it a lot more than they did.
RA: Do you have any favorite writers or artists in the field today?
BT: Well, bringing the list up to date, I’d include in no particular order: Stan Sakai for ‘Usagi Yojimbo,’ Sergio Aragones, Neil Gaiman for ‘Sandman’, Alan Moore for just about everything, Bill Willingham for ‘Fables’, Terry Moore, Garth Ennis for ‘Preacher’ and ‘Hitman’, David Lapham for ‘Stray Bullets’, Will Eisner for ‘The Spirit’, Warren Ellis, Jeff Smith for ‘Bone’, Masamune Shirow for ‘Ghost In The Shell’, Linda Medley for ‘Castle Waiting’, Mark Schultz for ‘Xenozenic Tales’, Art Spiegelman for ‘Maus’, Matt Wagner for ‘Mage’, Batton Lash for ‘Wolffe & Byrd’, Judd Winick for ‘Barry Ween’, Makato Kobayashi for ‘What’s Michael’ and ‘Club 9’. That’s off the top of my head. I’m sure I’m leaving out many I should include and the list would go on forever if I included comic strips.
RA: How about outside the field?

BT: Outside comics, I read pretty widely. Again it’s hard to come up with a short list of favorites, but somewhere near the top you’d find: Philip K. Dick, Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, James Thurber, Joseph Heller, Connie Willis, Craig Rice, Richard Bradford, Leigh Brackett, Peter Rabe, Richard Stark, James W. Hall, P. G. Woodhouse, Lawrence Block, Evelyn Waugh, Fritz Leiber, John Steinbeck, Kurt Vonnegut, Robert Heinlein, Nelson Algren, Erskine Caldwell, Isaac Bashevis Singer, William Goldman, Dorothy Parker, Fredric Brown and a million more.

Why did you leave Warren?
BT: I left because [I thought] the company folded. All I remember about leaving Warren is that Weezie, who was always my only editor there, told me one day that she was leaving and that Warren wouldn’t be buying any more stories. From that I made the assumption that Warren was shutting down, but clearly it was just the end of Weezie’s tenure and that [Jim Warren and Bill Dubay, who’d replaced Weezie, had started a] story freeze.* In any case, it was the end of my comics career.
RA: Thank you, Mr. Toomey.

  • In his book Variable Syndrome, Don McGregor has also mentioned a story freeze that took

place at Warren at this time.

A 2005 Interview With Clark Dimond!
RA: Could you give us a little background on yourself?
CD: I was born in New Jersey in 1941. My father was an engineer at Bell Laboratories, working on radar technology during the war, computers [and such] before 1946. He played flute in the Bell Labs Orchestra. My mother was a school administrator and an English and History teacher. She played piano. I am a musician, started piano at 5, guitar at 17, banjo at 30. I have a recording studio in the Colorado Rockies.
RA: How did you discover comics?
CD: I learned to read from Carl Barks’ Donald Duck. I was big on flippism in the second grade. I pretended I was the Sub-Mariner {“NOT SUBMAREENER!” corrected by schoolteacher mother} when I cavorted in swimming briefs in the lawn sprinkler. I remember that, because a big wasp stung my toe and [suddenly] I wasn’t the Sub-Mariner any more.

My friend Billy Hands, the White Sox pitcher, loaned me a three or four-year run of Lone Ranger comics. I was fond of Blue Beetle. I suspect it was [because of] Reed Crandall’s art. My cousins in Milwaukee had a stack of Daredevils from Biro, but Daredevil had disappeared from all but the covers.

Then in 1950, came EC comics and the Korean War, the reinstitution of the draft, the military consciousness of every boy of that age, pumped with the slick Hollywood war propaganda that played continuously on the back channels of that radio-replacer, television. No more live music or radio drama, but in Camp Waywayanda, when the dads went to their meeting, the Tales From The Crypt would come out from under the covers and get read aloud in the dark.
RA: Were you a fan?
CD: From the day the concept of an artist [actually] drawing the stories first struck me. I realized that ‘JPS’ and John Severin drew a lot alike, and I started matching the different kinds of stories to the different artists. It was an issue of Frontline Combat, I think, that got me started.
But I became what John Benson said was a ‘fringe-fringe’ fan. One who wrote occasional fan pieces for fanzines, but didn’t write letters, didn’t publish my own zine, etc. John Benson was the first serious fan I met. He was a year ahead of me at Grinnell College and had already annotated the library’s copy of ‘Seduction Of The Innocent’. John had a stack of tabloid Spirit sections from 1948 that he kept under his bed. It was an awesome opportunity to read a connected swathe of Eisner. John and I became friends. We shared a deep and serious interest in film as well. I wrote a few pieces for his Image and Squa Tront. John wrote of our visit to Kurtzman’s Help offices in the Chock Full O’ Nuts building. Help magazine was, I believe, a Warren publication. [We met] Jim Warren, Gloria Steinem, Robert Crumb.

The office, if memory serves me, was on the second floor of a modest though modernish building on Madison Avenue in the high 40s, low 50s. These were Kurtzman’s offices. Gloria Steinem was at the desk. Kurtzman had his own office. It had the very busy feel of a shoestring magazine. Kurtzman had moved from the marginal Humbug!—black & white plus tints, through the Hefnerian excesses of Trump (wonderful stuff), and had developed the fumetti {an Italian word for a photographic graphic story} as a way to fill pages even more cheaply than with art, and was reprinting humor from college humor magazines. Kurtzman was no stranger to advertising and commercial art, which he also did out of this office, while Steinem was at this time enlisting as a Playboy bunny for Esquire magazine. John Benson and I were in awe. Kurtzman knew who John was already from fandom, and John had known Arnold Roth in Philadelphia, so it was exciting enough a visit for John to write it up for [either] Image or Squa Tront. I read the article, but have forgotten where. I remember seeing R. Crumb’s cartoons {before his underground days} and some Arnold Roth stuff that had come in that day.

RA: How did you become a writer at Warren?
CD: John Benson, Bhob Stewart {his roommate}, Bill Pearson, Ted White and some of the top fans organized an inter-shop professional comics group, called the New York Professional Comics Group, where information and erudition could be shared between working artists and writers. Wally Wood, Roy Krenkel, Ditko, Kane, Roger Brand, Archie, Roy Thomas, Neal Adams, Vaughn Bode, Jeff Jones, Bhob Stewart, Bill Pearson, Ralph Reese, Dan Adkins, Nick Cuti and more were members. I met Otto Binder once at a meeting—he was carrying Shaver Mystery stories. It was still meeting when I left in 1970. What a literate bunch of guys! I listened and learned a lot.
[Anyway,] Archie Goodwin needed help with scripts, since Creepy and Eerie were running on his stories virtually entirely. John Benson & Bhob Stewart wrote a Famous Monsters/Creepy hybrid called ‘Scream Test’. John and I teamed up and wrote ‘Snakes Alive’—the Lizard King of Rock and Roll meets the Vaudaux Priest, steals his songs and gets lizardated.
RA: Was it your first professional appearance?
CD: As a comic writer. I was editing True Experience for McFadden-Bartell at the time, so I was editing women’s confessions at my day job and writing on the side. I later, in my downward spiral of magazine employment, edited For Men Only, the men’s sweat magazine at Martin Goodman’s shop.
RA: Many of your stories were co-written with either Terry Bisson or Bhob Stewart. How did you meet them?

CD: I met Terry at Grinnell the year after I met John Benson. We met again after several years at a subway news kiosk in New York. Terry got me the job where he was working at True Romance. I said “Terry, why don’t we write comics?” We’d split a six-pack and write after work. Bhob was a Texas/Louisiana fan. He’s an excellent editor. I worked with him on witzend and Castle Of Frankenstein. I was on the comic book “Council Of Ten”.

RA: What was the Council Of Ten?
CD: Cahiers du Cinema, the French magazine of film criticism, had “Council Of Ten” critics whose pronouncements were voiced as if they were gospel. Same for Bhob’s Castle Of Frankenstein reviews—which at the very least influenced Stephen King. {See Danse Macabre}
RA: Did you meet any of the Warren Staff when you were writing for them?
CD: [At that time] I don’t think there WAS a Warren staff. Archie had an office in the Graybar building where we’d talk over script ideas and assignments. Archie also had a collection of Saul Bass movie titles so he was another film fan. After Archie left, there was the Captain Company office with a secretary, somewhere on 42nd Street where I worked.
RA: What was your experience with the staff that was there?
CD: I only saw them when I didn’t get paid.
RA: Your work appeared at the time when Warren was apparently undergoing a great deal of internal upheaval. Archie Goodwin had left and Bill Parente had not yet come on board. Jim Warren was the editor. Could you tell us a little about those days?
CD: An editor friend of Warren’s, [who was from] Gold Key, did the issues between Archie and Parente. He commissioned the script that appeared in Creepy #18. Warren never edited a damn thing. The guy at Gold Key did. Then Warren stopped paying. I knew I wasn’t getting paid. Jeff Jones wasn’t getting paid, so he didn’t care about whether his art was any good. The best work comes from those who care. I camped out in Warren’s office at lunch hour every day until I got my money. He finally paid me and told me I’d never work for him again and neither would my grandson or anybody he knew unto 7 generations. I said thanks for the money and left.
I think, but am not sure, that Parente came on board after I left. I don’t think the Gold Key guy lasted more than one or two issues.

RA: Have you worked for any other comic companies?

CD: Web Of Horror after Warren, until [publisher Robert] Sproul stole the art and ran off to Florida. [My stolen story was] about pirates and spacemen, illustrated by Ralph Reese, which I’ve never seen or heard of again and presume to be lost. It was a chance to actively work with the artist to shape the panels, to hone the dialogue, to collaborate. Bisson, Reese, and I all cared about that one. It’s possible Sproul was sleazier than Warren. Both together weren’t as sleazy as Chip Goodman, Martin’s son.
RA: Do you still keep up with the comics field?
CD: I read an occasional Comics Journal, but mostly read reprints of EC, and follow the continuing work of the EC artists.
RA: Do you have any favorite writers or artists in the field today?
CD: Tom Yeates and I are mutual admirers. I wrote two pieces for Bhob Stewart’s Wally Wood book, published by Two Morrows last year. Terry Bisson and I are still close and keep in contact. Art Spiegelman is a fave.
RA: How about outside the field?
CD: I have an extensive library of horror stories. Algernon Blackwood, Robert Aickmann, Lovecraft, undiluted REH and Clark Ashton Smith. Weird Tales.
RA: What are you doing today?
CD: Recording and producing music of original musicians. Working on the fourth Planet O album at the moment. Funk. But also play jazz, Celtic, folk, classical and rock.
RA: Thank you, Mr. Dimond!
A 2005 Interview With Barbara Leigh!

RA: Hi, we’re talking to Barbara Leigh--model, actress & author. Between 1978 and 1979 Barbara was the cover model for seven Vampirella covers. Barbara, first we thank you for taking the time out of your schedule for this interview.

BL: You’re welcome, and thanks for the interview. Jim Warren was the king of his time, and his field. A real legend. I liked him a lot.
RA: Where and how did you first hear about Vampirella?
BL: I first heard about her in a general casting call being held here in Los Angeles. It was for the movie, VAMPIRELLA, produced by Michael Carreras & Hammer Films. I went on the interview, and that was the first time I’d heard of the character. She’s more of an Eastern [US] type comic book hero. A lot of people out here in LA didn’t know who she was, not then anyway. Maybe the comics didn’t sell that well out here or something. In any case I hadn’t heard about her before the casting. Of course, after that it didn’t take me long to get right into it, she being the ultimate vampire that she was.
RA: You mentioned Michael Carreras. What can you tell us about him?
BL: He was the producer and owner of Hammer Films. He loved women heroes, especially Raquel Welch in 1,000,000 Years B.C., which he produced. And he loved Jane Fonda in Barbarella. Films like that. He liked Sci-Fi films with the woman being the lead. Unusual for his time. He did all the GREAT vampire films with Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing. Even today, those are my favorites, like “The Horror or Dracula”. I loved Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee, and got a chance to meet them both. I would have done Vampirella with Peter Cushing if it had actually happened. That was a disappointment. Peter Cushing was my hero.
RA: Cushing would have played Van Helsing?

BL: No, he was cast to play the character Pendragon, Vampi’s side-kick. He was an incredible actor and a special man. There’s a book about Peter’s life, on, by Christopher Gullo. It’s titled “In All Sincerity”, a must read for any Peter Cushing fan.

RA: Was the movie script ever completed? Do you remember the storyline?
BL: Yes, the first or second draft was completed. Vampirella comes from another world where they drink blood as water, she tries to survive on earth, and you can imagine the rest. Sorry, it’s been a while! I looked at the script not too long ago and it seemed boring. Not very good at all, {laughs} but then it was written 25 years ago in 1977 or 1976. Nowadays, we see movies made from comics with special effects that blow you away, so that Vampirella script definitely needed more action. Movies are superior today then from those times.
Did you see the last Vampirella movie? The one that was made by Jim Wynorski? I did but it wasn’t that good. They didn’t have a large budget and they didn’t GET the costume right. The costume was the number one thing about her. The movie was a bit ridiculous, I guess, maybe even laughable but I thought Talisa Soto did a good portrayal of Vampirella. Jim could have done better, had he had the budget he needed and wanted. Jim’s a cool guy, a good director, and a friend.

Anyway, back to me! {laughs} I got cast to play the part a little while after that first casting call with Michael. He decided I was it, so I signed a 5-picture contract and went to New York to do the Famous Monsters convention with Peter Cushing and Michael. Jim Warren introduced me there as Vampirella, both as a model and as the actress who was going to portray Vampirella in the movie. I think it was the first time anyone had seen the costume on a live person. That was spectacular. At that convention they had the famous poster of Vampirella drawn by Jose Gonzalez where she’s pointing her finger with a bat on it. The kids that attended the convention thought it was me. I signed many, many posters but I did tell them that I wasn’t the model for this poster. “We just looked alike.” But in their mind, they thought it WAS me. Some still do.

RA: What year would this have been?
BL: 1978? No, wait, don’t hold me to that. It’s been a long time now.
RA: Did you make the costume that you used for the cover shots?
BL: Western Costumes, a costume company back in the 1940s, 50s, 60s, 70s, made it. They costumed major movie stars in movies and TV, and were located right next to Paramount Studios. They did a great job. Western Costume was famous. Later, when that type of business started winding down, one could go in and rent costumes for private affairs. It was an enormous warehouse with every type of costume possible. Everything was set in divisions so if you went to this section, you’d feel like you were a cowgirl in the wild, wild west. Another section, you’d be looking at space suits. Another would be tropical islands. Just amazing. They had the celebrity section where they made beautiful couture costumes. The dressing room was like being in Paris. Designers would come in and out measuring you. This is where Vampirella’s suit was made. It was awesome. The jewelry was done there too, made to match Vampirella’s jewelry, the arm bands and earrings, from the Jose Gonzalez painting. They used that painting as the guide for the final result. I love that poster.
The boots were made by DiFabrizio, who designed shoes for the stars. Most movie stars had DiFabrizio’s shoes made for them
RA: What were your impressions of Jim Warren?

BL: I really liked Jim Warren. I regret the way things ended with us. We had issues with how the cover photos were handled. I don’t want to get into specifics here but the way it turned out didn’t set well with Jim. There was some bitterness. We settled and I received $500. I was supposed to get all my art back but I only rec’d 3 or 4 pictures out of the 8. So someone, somewhere, has the original artwork of the rest. I wish it didn’t end the way it did but he was a New Yorker, very hard-nosed. He was angry, a matter of pride, I suppose. Anyway, it’s long over. I really like the man, I really do. There’s something about Jim, very charming, very cocky too, and now I can look back at this whole thing, almost like an outsider, to see all of the picture and not just my side of it. I like him. Bottom line is I thought I should have been paid for the use of my photos that he used on his covers, since I was a model and that is how I survived. Looking back, he did me a favor. I will always be remembered as a part of Vampirella’s legacy.

RA: Bill DuBay, who was the writer of Vampirella at the time, has an amusing anecdote about the day you met Jim Warren. His account was that Jim Warren was getting himself spruced up to meet you later that day and that DuBay ran into you in the elevator, stammered out his name and that he wrote your stories. Later that day, while you were meeting with Warren, he invited DuBay into his office to meet you and you basically jumped up, said “Oh, Dube!” and gave him a big kiss in front of Warren and that Warren’s jaw dropped about six feet. It’s a funny story and I was just wondering if you remember any of that.
BL: {laughs} I kind of remember us in the elevator. It does sound like me, like something I’d do. That’s my good nature. I’m sure it must have been ok with Dube!
RA: I think he said it was one of the best days of his life.
BL: How sweet of him to say that.
RA: At one point, after you’d appeared as Vampirella on a number of covers, one of the folks writing into the letters’ page asked if it was definite that you were going to be Vampirella in the movie and the editorial reply was basically “don’t count on it”. Was that after your trouble with Warren?
BL: That was from Jim Warren?
RA: I don’t know. I don’t know who wrote the editorial reply.

BL: Well, that’s ok. By the time I started appearing on the actual covers, the movie was already cancelled. Michael Carreras had gone back. Everything was on hold. Jim and Carreras were already fighting about all kinds of stuff. There was an outside party, too, who was trying to get the studio to make or fund the movie. There was stuff going on about the merchandising. The movie may have fallen through because there were arguments over who would have the rights to the merchandising. That’s what I heard. There were a lot of people involved in that movie. Too many egos, too many chiefs and not enough Indians. Something like that. You never know the complete truth because you can’t see everybody’s motives and their perceptions. There’s the underlying truth and there’s the part of the truth that you can see. It’s hard to see all of it, especially if you’re involved in it at the time.

RA: Did you actually read any of the comics themselves?
BL: Before being cast to play Vampirella I had not. I wasn’t into that sort of thing. Superman, maybe when I was young. I grew up fast, my life took me in a different direction.
Do you do conventions or appearances today?
BL: I do! My favorite convention is the famous, “Chiller Theater” in New Jersey. I love the Halloween show. It’s fun! I hope to do it again this year. Kevin Clement is the greatest. He puts on the best shows of ALL.
It makes me happy to get the fan mail that I do. I try to write everyone back with a picture. I understand, and do realize, that a lot of that fan mail is from autograph collectors who write to everyone but if someone takes the time to write me, they deserve a response. Also, one can visit my website at to view my Vampirella photos/covers. I’ve co-written a book with Marshall Terrill called ‘The King, McQueen And The Love Machine”, which you can find on . My address for people to write is PO Box 246 Los Angeles, CA 90028.
RA: What are you doing today?
BL: I’m the “Photo Project Coordinator” for Playboy. I work with the legendary Marilyn Grabowski who’s been the Vice President and West Coast Editor for the magazine for the last 40 years.
RA: Any final words or thoughts you’d like to share?

BL: I wish that Jim and I could be friends again. I hear that he’s still angry with me, and that he hates me or at least doesn’t speak kindly of me which is sad. It’s been a long time. We should forgive and forget. I guess if I’d have known then that Vampirella would come back into my life with fans remembering me forever just for those covers, I would had handled things differently but I was a model. I was young. It was my livelihood and when you’re making a living doing something, you have to protect yourself, and the job that you’re doing. I just wanted to be paid for using my image. I think most people would understand this. I hope so. I’d like to see Jim Warren back in Vampirella’s life. He brought her to the public and he should be remembered for that. I think he will be. He deserves it.

RA: Thank you, Ms. Leigh. Fans or readers interested in more on Ms. Leigh’s life might want to check out the Jan.-Feb. 2005 issue of Filmfax. It features a cover photo of Ms. Leigh as Vampirella (from Vampirella #74) with a newly painted background by legendary artist Harley Brown. There’s also a five-page article with plenty of photos.

A 2005 Interview With Don Glut!

RA: We’re interviewing Don Glut, who has a long career in writing almost every form of media. Welcome, Don! Can you give us some information of your background?

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