Comic book writer turns his radio days into stories

Dark Horse’s Chad Lambert will sign copies

Creating autobiographical stories is a career path comic book writer Chad Lambert never expected to take. However, the Jackson, Ohio, native’s first stab at the genre, a series of three related short stories for Dark Horse Comics, has taken his career to the next level.

“It’s so ironic my success with landing Dark Horse has come with autobiographical work, because I’ve never done it,” said Lambert, who will be signing copies of his latest work at Main Street Comics and Games in Springfield on Friday. “I’ve never had any desire to do autobiographical comics. I love Harvey Pekar’s ‘American Splendor’ and have all of it, but I really don’t like autobiographical comics in general.”

Most of Lambert’s published work to date has been with small indie publishers, from his own fictional tales like “Kill the Revisionist” and “Possum at Large” to licensed properties such as “BloodRayne” and “Kung Fu Panda.” Yet his autobiographical trilogy revisiting his sometimes painful years in commercial radio, including stints at WXEG-FM (103.9) in Dayton and on the staff of “The Gary Burbank Show” on WLW-AM (700) in Cincinnati, has resonated with readers. All three stories feature art from Indonesian illustrator Apri Kusbiantoro.

“Apri’s a great talent,” Lambert said. “I’m really blessed to have him on this. He’s drawing fairly pedestrian stuff, and he’s just killing it. There’s a fluidity to it that keeps the art moving with the story, which you just have to have. That’s just vital in comics.”

“Radio Ga Ga,” the first of the Hamilton resident’s radio tales, appeared in issue 14 of “Dark Horse Presents,” the publisher’s popular monthly comic book anthology series. “Dead Air,” the second in the series, is an eight-page story appearing in issue 16, hitting comic book shops this week. The third story, “Breaking Out,” will appear in the anthology in early 2013.

“Dark Horse has always been the ultimate alternative to the superheroes,” Lambert said. “I have very vivid memories of buying the first ‘Dark Horse Presents’ back in 1987. I was like, ‘What is this? It’s like three or four stories in black and white. There’s no capes and tights in it.’

“It’s always been a groundbreaking book, but when Dark Horse revived it last year it never dawned on me to submit to them,” he said. “It just seemed inconceivable to me, but it’s worked out great. I’m just enjoying myself and thinking about new ideas to throw at them.”

Look for Lambert’s three-part serial, “Kill Me,” coming to “Dark Horse Presents” in 2013.