Happy Birthday to Horror and Crime Great Joe R. Lansdale


Cover detail from “Rumble Tumble” by Joe R. Lansdale/Penguin Random House ©

Happy birthday to one of fiction’s most distinct voices: Joe R. Lansdale. The Texas writer is celebrating his 65th birthday today.

The author of dozens of novels, multiple short stories, comic books, television scripts, and much more, Lansdale has been a presence in horror, crime, science-fiction, and other fiction genres throughout his long and productive career.

Lansdale is probably best known to Unbound Worlds readers for his novella Bubba Ho-Tep: a darkly humorous work of horror about two Texas nursing home residents, an aged Elvis Presley and a man who may be John F. Kennedy, who pair up to take on a soul-devouring Egyptian mummy. The novella was the basis of a 2002 film of the same name directed by “Phantasm” director Don Coscarelli and starring Bruce Campbell and Ossie Davis as Elvis and JFK.

Readers might also know Lansdale for his short story “Incident On and Off a Mountain Road”, which was adapted for an episode of Showtime’s “Masters of Horror” series, his runs on Jonah Hex, 30 Days of Night, and other comics, or his Batman novels, short stories, and animated series scripts. He also wrote a comic book adaptation of fellow Texas author Robert E. Howard’s short story “Pigeons from Hell”.

If you like crime fiction as well as horror, then you probably know his Hap and Leonard series. Hap and Leonard are two buddies who more often than not find themselves in trouble with both sides of the law. Hap, a straight, white country boy, and Leonard, a gay, black Vietnam vet, make an odd team, but they have more in common than they don’t. The series was picked up for television by Sundance. Season one premiered earlier this year, and a new season is in the works.

Lansdale has won multiple awards for his offbeat fiction, including ten Bram Stokers, and been nominated for many more besides. He is also a member of the Texas Literary Hall of Fame. Lansdale, like his characters Hap and Leonard, is also an accomplished martial artist, and runs a self-defense school in Nacogdoches, Texas, where he has resided for many years.