Hammer at the premiere of a production of ‘Von Bach’ in Hollywood.

Von Bach: the Graphic Novel

Doctor Heinrich Von Bach was the nineteenth-century scientist resurrected from the dead by his own ungodly invention. At least that’s the story Hollywood told when they got hold of the gothic romance novel written about the good doctor. For a hundred years they’ve made as many films based on the bloody life and undeath 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 the cast and crew the true meaning of “development hell.”


VON BACH! Greater than the power of life! Greater than the power of love! He possessed the greatest power of all! SUBPOENA POWER!


Playwright Owen Hammer has adapted the play for the comics medium and versatile artists Mariano Navarro and Hernán Cabrera will be bringing his vision to life.


“Von Bach” is a satire that pokes fun at pop culture and society in general. Nonetheless, there is a powerful story about the search for meaning and the struggle for one’s own dignity. And of course, some genuine scares!

Writer: Owen Hammer

Art: Mariano Navarro

Color: Hernán Cabrera


177 pages in full color featuring the complete story, bonus art and a new introduction by Kevin VanHook

In 1888, DOKTOR VON BACH explains his work to aspiring writer ELSA JAEGER and Elsa’s self-appointed guardian BRONWYN. Is Von Bach a pioneer or a mad scientist?

In 2013, Hollywood Studio head HILARY RUBENS and her mentee MINNA TSENG brainstorm the one hundredth ‘Von Bach’ film.

MINNA, HILARY and director PETER MAY discuss yet another roadblock to completing their new ‘Von Bach’ film.

The gang plots to make a computer generated Von Bach for their movie, perhaps unintentionally using black magic for the second time . . .

MINNA, HILARY and PETER try to get the movie in the can, but even a wall of flame can’t stop CONNOR KRUPA from trying to take the film in a different direction.

CONNOR is more than just a smug douchebag.  Oh, he IS a smug douchebag, but with the law on his side, he scores a victory and stops MINNA and HILARY with a court order.

We flash back to 1888 and learn what really happened to Dr. Von Bach.  Elsa and Bronwyn are shocked by his resurrection, but also sense an opportunity.

Von Bach arrives in Hollywood to discover that he is a celebrity . . . not because of his life but because of his death.  

Von Bach, now acclimated to the modern world, begins the process of suing Worldwide Pictures, teaching them a whole new meaning of "Development Hell."

Is Connor falling apart or does he truly have the metaphorical silver bullet that will destroy Von Bach?

Von Bach is reduced to working a humiliating job and Minna tries to comfort him.  However, there is a deeper tragedy under the surface and Minna is about to discover it.

Von Bach goes full monster and attacks the set.  Take five, everyone.

— Press —

Here’s what the critics are saying about “Von Bach,” so when we call the book “critically acclaimed” you know we’re not being sarcastic.  Also, see some video interviews with Owen Hammer (sorry, but you must actually look at Owen Hammer if you watch these).

GUTTERNAUT

“[A]n enjoyable time and art structure that wastes nothing . . .”

Jake “Fracadactyl” Palermo takes a deep dive into the first five chapters of “Von Bach” and finds so much of the complex subtext, you’d think the author put it there on purpose.  But seriously, the review is thoughtful and gives you a very good idea about what to expect if you actually (first buy and then) read “Von Bach.”  Read the article HERE.

Comic Crusaders

“[A] really good, fun read.  I enjoyed it.”

The world-famous comic book podcast Comic Crusaders sent Johnny “The Machine” Hughes to interview Owen “The Hammer” Hammer and ask him about “Von Bach” and other comic book related topics and if you like seeing a pumpkin-headed man say “uuuuuh” a lot, your ship has come in!  You can view the original 54 minute interview HERE and you can find Hammer Comics’s 14 minute edited version HERE.

Comic Crusaders

This time comic book podcast Comic Crusaders sent Johnny “The Machine” Hughes and The Random Dude Josh Einfalt to interview Owen “The Hammer” Hammer and ask him about “Von Bach” after the series was completed.  See Owen Hammer blink so much that you’ll think he’s sending a secret message in Morse Code.  You can view the original 65 minute interview HERE and you can find Hammer Comics’s 13 minute edited version HERE.

A Place to Hang Your Cape

“I liked Von Bach and I would recommend it.”

Beatrice Bove of the respected comic book web site A Place to Hang Your Cape somehow got assigned the task of reviewing “Von Bach” (some sort of mix-up, I assume) and she loved it.  Read the review HERE.

PROG SHEET

“It feels fresh. The story moves along well with great characters and snappy dialogue. The art is a dream. It's a book I highly recommend!”


John Wilcox interviews Owen Hammer about Von Bach and other comics-related topics.  You can read it HERE.

PROG SHEET

“Von Bach is a tightly written, gloriously drawn & colored piece that will grab you tightly and delight you.”


John Wilcox wrote a review of Von Bach the complete graphic novel.  You can find it HERE or read below:

Von Bach : The Complete Graphic Novel (Hammer Comics)


My my, what have we here? A graphic novel based on a play about folks wanting to make a film based on a book about a legend. Sort of. Confused? Don't be. Von Bach is a tightly written, gloriously drawn & colored piece that will grab you tightly and delight you. It is the brainchild of writer Owen Hammer who is joined by artist Mariano Navarro and colorist / letterer Hernan Cabrera. It's many things. A satire. An action piece. A puzzle. In the end it's just a great tale that does not waste your time!


I honestly do not want to give away plot points or story reveals as I loved discovering and uncovering everything on my own. I will say it deals with classic horror and contemporary media.  I will say I adore the character Minna! So much here to engage your mind, heart & gut. All flawlessly rendered by Navarro and Cabrera. I can think of no finer contemporary art team. [One] look and you'll want them to illustrate every book out there! Their work is well-matched by Hammer's script. Intelligent and fluid.


The graphic novel is packed with extra features. Background on the play the graphic novel is based on. Character designs. Page breakdowns. This is a sumptuous book. Throw in an intro by Bloodshot creator Kevin VanHook and you've got a can't-miss package! My absolute highest recommendation!

Here's what people are saying about "Von Bach”:


"A brilliant, hilarious, and farcical tale with a fully-realized alternate history, Von Bach strings the reader through the absurdity of Hollywood production, storytelling whims over the decades, and the motivations of both author and subject.  A breezy, thoroughly enjoyable read.  Don't miss it!"


-Zander Cannon, Writer/Artist Replacement God, Kaijumax.


"VON BACH operates on a lot of levels--horror, romance, Hollywood satire, modernist analysis of textual re-interpretation, and to a certain extent legal thriller--and it works wonderfully on all of them. And it's very funny, too, which is not as easy as it sounds.”


-Chris Kipiniak, writer Nightcrawler, Marvel Adventures: Spider-Man and co-creator Behemoth.


“VON BACH is an absolute pleasure! Owen Hammer's writing is smart, clever, and RICH with Hollywood tapestries, which he craftily TAKES HIS TIME (thank you, Owen) to unfold before us. He understands the delicate balance of revelling in an industry's humorous eccentricities and characters to keeping alive the sense of HOPE in our feisty and determined lead. Go, Minna! However, as wonderful as the writing is, the art (by Mariano Navarro w/colors by Hernan Cabrera) processes all of what Hammer has created and then takes it to a whole 'nother level. While flashy and stylistic, there's a SOLID foundation there. Navarro understands the human form, a wide variety of expressions, and a sense of timing that most mainstream comics fail at nowadays. Where has this talent been hiding and why haven't we seen more of him? And not only do Hernan Cabrera's colors add to the art, his letters (yes, he LETTERS the book, too) manage to achieve a personality of their own, as well. Overall, I want to say that this package is as professional as it gets but if I'm being real, it's actually much, MUCH better! A MUST-READ and another shining example of what comics can aspire to be with the right talent.”


-Gary Yap, creator of Gillian Anderson’s spy comic book 55 and animator for King of the Hill.


“I had the great pleasure of seeing Von Bach (the play) in its original stage run, and it was a delight to return to the story in its new comic form with all its humor and wit intact. Von Bach manages to lovingly poke fun at Hollywood culture, horror, romance, screenwriting, remakes, film tropes, visual effects and even graphic novels themselves. It’s fast-paced reading with distinctive artwork and great coloring. Even the speech bubbles are dynamic!”


-Ross Blocher, co-host Oh No!  Ross and Carrie podcast.


"First of all, VON BACH just looks gorgeous.  It has Hammer’s hilarious but brutal worldview, and is also a smart and well told story.  Von Bach feels as charged as a monster/horror film, but told in the world of bad Hollywood decisions.  So . . . it’s a slice of life.  I can’t recommend highly enough.  I’m tired of talking about it; I’m starting to feel bad about myself.”


-Ethan Sandler, Writer/Producer.


“Disproving the notion that comic books are just for kids, the VON BACH series is a gorgeous, engrossing, unpredictable and insightful take on the behind-the-scenes world of show biz. Oh, not only that, it’s funny as hell. Imagine that: a comic book with a smart, searing take on Hollywood and its cannibalization of the horror genre. Ever wonder what would happen if ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic and Alan Moore had their brains fused together? Well, wonder no more — just get your hands on VON BACH.”


-Johanna Stein, Writer Kung Fu Panda: The Paws of Destiny, showrunner Madagascar, A Little Wild and “The Woman in #12” from Mulholland Drive.


“I discovered VON BACH from the inside when Owen asked me to play a bit part in a movie for the stage play.  The show was great and I was so glad to see that it survived its all too short run as a graphic novel.  Von Bach is funny! And scary! And funnily scary! And scarily funny!”


-Craig Cackowski, actor Drunk History, Community and Veep.

— The Chapters —

VON BACH CHAPTER 1

In chapter 1, “Post-Mortem,” we meet Dr. Von Bach who suffers a horrible fate in the nineteenth century and see how his life and death (and possibly un-death) is treated in a present day Hollywood movie.

Writer: Owen Hammer

Art: Mariano Navarro

Color: Hernán Cabrera


20 pages in full color

CHAPTER 1 VIDEO

One of the many film segments created by The Next Arena theater company.  This trailer for the original “Von Bach” film from 1940 made it into comic book form in chapter 1.

In chapter 2, “Writer's Block,” we see Minna dealing with the demands and expectations of writing the new Von Bach film and she engineers a radical solution to the studio’s problems.

Writer: Owen Hammer

Art: Mariano Navarro

Color: Hernán Cabrera


20 pages in full color

CHAPTER 2 VIDEO

One of the many film segments created by The Next Arena theater company.  This scene from the original German, silent version of “Von Bach” made it into comic book form in chapter 2.

VON BACH CHAPTER 2

VON BACH CHAPTER 3

Writer: Owen Hammer

Art: Mariano Navarro

Color: Hernán Cabrera


20 pages in full color

In chapter 3, “Habeas Corpus,” Minna and Connor battle each other for control of the new Von Bach film.  Who will be victorious, Minna and her serious monster or Connor and his silly monster?

CHAPTER 3 VIDEO

One of the many film segments created by The Next Arena theater company.  We see here a clip from "Return of Von Bach" from 1942, "The Terror of Von Bach" from 1964 and "VB2K" from 1999.  The first is a send-up of the classic Universal horror films, the second a parody of Hammer Horror films (no relation) and the third just pastiche of late 20th century tropes.  This montage made it into comic book form in chapter 3.

VON BACH CHAPTER 4

In chapter 4, “Culture Shock,” Von Bach finds himself in modern day Hollywood after being “dead” for 125 years.  Minna, Connor and Hilary introduce him to American celebrity culture and he is mortified in every sense of the word.

Writer: Owen Hammer

Art: Mariano Navarro

Color: Hernán Cabrera


20 pages in full color

CHAPTER 4 VIDEO

One of the many film segments created by The Next Arena theater company.  The finale to Worldwide Pictures famous “Von Bach” film from 1940, featuring Inus Krupa as Von Bach.  It is based on the classic Universal monster films, specifically the Frankenstein movies directed by James Whale.  This scene made it into comic book form in chapter 4.

One of the many film segments created by The Next Arena theater company.  Scene "Smitty and Slim Meet Von Bach" (1947) featuring Inus Krupa as Von Bach.  It is based on the classic Abbott and Costello/Universal Monster crossover movies, specifically "Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein."

Video

VON BACH CHAPTER 5

In chapter 5, "Adversarial System," Von Bach turns the tables on his human tormentors by winning the defamation lawsuit he has filed against a Hollywood studio.  But will shedding the reputation of "mad scientist" do him any good if the people in charge of science are mad?  

Writer: Owen Hammer

Art: Mariano Navarro

Color: Hernán Cabrera


20 pages in full color

CHAPTER 5 VIDEO

One of the many film segments created by The Next Arena theater company.  We see here MORE clips from "Return of Von Bach" from 1942, "The Terror of Von Bach" from 1964 and "VB2K" from 1999.  The first is a send-up of the classic Universal horror films, the second a parody of Hammer Horror films (no relation) and the third just pastiche of late 20th century tropes  This montage made it into comic book form in chapter 5.

VON BACH CHAPTER 6

In chapter 6, “Laid to Rest,” Connor uses a sleazy tactic to destroy Von Bach’s legal case.  Now mortified in every sense of the word, Von Bach gains the sympathy of Minna.  But, will she continue to love and admire the undead celebrity when she learns his terrible secret?

Writer: Owen Hammer

Art: Mariano Navarro

Color: Hernán Cabrera


20 pages in full color

CHAPTER 6 VIDEO

One of the many film segments created by The Next Arena theater company.  In this parody of "TMZ," we see how the celebrity culture of the early twenty-first century deals with Von Bach.  This scene made it into comic book form in chapter 6.

One of the many film segments created by The Next Arena theater company.  What is the connection between this cheesy drug commercial and Von Bach?  You'll have to buy the book to find out.  This scene made it into comic book form in chapter 6.

Video

VON BACH CHAPTER 7

Writer: Owen Hammer

Art: Mariano Navarro

Color: Hernán Cabrera


20 pages in full color

In chapter 7, “Fire Bad,” the saga concludes with a fiery battle over the legacy of Von Bach.  The twists and turns in this final chapter will leave you on the edge of your seat.