Stephen Romano - we haven't heard much from the artist/writer since he quietly left the Phantasm universe several years ago to pursue new creative endeavors, unleashing several mythologies of his own upon the world. As you'll recall, Stephen organized the world's first and only exclusively Phantasm convention in 2000, wrote the Phantasm: Overminds comic, exhumed and published Kate Coscarelli's long dormant Phantasm novel, wrote smashing, unproduced screenplays for a Phantasm remake and Phantasm V *and* co-wrote Don Coscarelli's Masters of Horror episode. As far as I'm concerned, he is truly an unsung hero of Phantasm and, if we're lucky, he'll one day return.
In recent years, Stephen has published several marvelous works of his own, often with Phantasm cohorts (notably Shock Festival with David Hartman and Gloria Lynne-Henry, see my review here) and now he's back with a new novel, METRO, that debuts today. His new story was inspired by a weird nirvana house of horrors in Austin, Texas called "The Kingdom" where Stephen lived and worked for many years. It was here that he created his first book The Riot Act and wrote a slew of screenplays, including some of those mentioned above.
The official description from Simon and Schuster reads, "The acclaimed author of Resurrection Express breaks all the rules in this non-stop suspense thriller packed with killers, comic books, drug lords, and film nerds. For the last five years, Jollie, Andy, and Mark have lived together in a crazy bohemian crash pad in Austin, Texas, immersed in an endless summer of sex, drugs, and rock and roll. But one of them is not what they seem to be. And when that person finally blows a decades-long cover during a violent attack on a powerful Austin dope dealer, all hell breaks loose in the bloody, bullet-riddled aftermath. As the façade of the normal world sizzles away, revealing an ominous shadow league of endemic spies and assassins known only as METRO, Jollie, Andy, and Mark must run like hell into a very dark night, where love and friendship will bind them, a terrifying hatchet man will close in to kill them, and the pitch black truth about everything will be revealed, again and again."
METRO is available today as a digital download exclusive from Simon and Schuster and selling for the crazy low price of $1.99. That's cheaper than a good cup of coffee!! Hell, that's even cheaper than some bad cups of coffee.
Many phans have been wondering about Stephen's involvement with the new Phantasm Ravager, especially since some of his ideas have been apparent in preview footage from the film. Speaking to Dread Central last week, Stephen commented, "Some people have asked me if I had anything to do with the new P sequel that’s coming out this year, and I thought I’d take this moment to address the question. It’s a simple answer. No, I didn’t. But the new director, Dave Hartman is awesome and he’s a good buddy and the film is gonna rock your world. I like Dave so much that I named the super nasty bad guy in my novel “Resurrection Express” after him. I’m sure he appreciated that!"
Get your digital copy of METRO here and visit Stephen Romano's official website here.