Those words used to thrill me like nothing else could. I had a worn out paperback of some of the most bizarre stories and artifacts associated with Ripley’s Believe It or Not! when I was a kid and there were always reruns on Sci-Fi Channel (before it was SyFy) of the old 70’s show. I memorized stories about the mountain climbers who froze to death on the equator and lived for the sort of unusual mysteries that would be revealed in the pages of books and comic strips. Ripley’s introduced me to ideas of the weird and the macabre that would inspire me as a writer and the influence is apparent in some of the subject matter and detail. The Ripley’s Museum in Gatlinburg,TN is easily my favorite place to visit whenever I go to The Great Smoky Mountains.
With a childhood filled with wonder, amazement, and more than a little bit of skepticism courtesy of Robert Ripley and his legacy of the bizarre, it should come as no surprise that my inner child practically leapt out of my body when Zenescope announced their partnership with Believe It or Not! for a series of graphic novels over the next two years. A series of comic books featuring unbelievable true stories and facts in anthology format are being created as we speak and, I can’t tell you enough how great this really is.
“This is an exciting opportunity to give Ripley cartoon fans more of what they love from us in an extended format with a partner that has expertise in the graphic novel format.” Amanda Joiner, Senior Director of Publishing and Licensing with Ripley’s said about the project.
In an age where constant connectivity to the internet and social media is really kind of sucking the wonder and mystery of this life from us, the return of Ripley’s Believe It or Not! could not be more opportune. Sure, there are plenty who will read these stories and immediately assume their nothing but fiction. There were always those people. But most will read these stories and then, they’ll research. They’ll scour the internet for information about the wonderful, unbelievable tales contained within the pages and a world of wonder and imagination will be introduced to an entirely new generation.
Meanwhile, partnering with Zenescope couldn’t be more appropriate. Known already for titles like Escape from Monster Island, Satan’s Hollow, and Grimm’s Tales of Terror -to name a few- Zenescope is an independent publisher with a vision the bizarre, the unusual, and the macabre. Blending their unique style with the stories of Ripley’s Believe It or Not! stands to be one of the most exciting events in horror comics in years. The official announcement was only made this August so it’s unlikely we’ll see the first issue before next year. Still, it’s definitely the sort of exciting revival I think we can all rally behind as both Ripley’s and Zenescope have made clear their commitment to giving the fans exactly what they want with this partnership.
Be sure to follow Ripley’s and Zenescope online and on social media and keep making that scary.
Dan is an author, editorialist, podcaster, and horror culture & lifestyle correspondent from the Southeast. You can find Dan's stories at dannoofthedeadblog.wordpress.com/books and through PDI Press.