About

JAMES VANCE (1953-2017) was an award-winning writer whose career embraced forms ranging from graphic novels to live theater and journalism.

His 1988 graphic novel Kings in Disguise, created with artist Dan Burr, was honored with the Eisner and Harvey awards, the Oscars of their field. Its reissue in 2006 was hailed as one of that year’s ten top comics events by Time.com. Famed writer Alan Moore called Kings “one of the most moving and compelling stories to emerge out of the graphic story medium,” and the book was also praised by author Neil Gaiman and Pulitzer Prize winner Art Spiegelman, among many others.

Vance’s other comics work included the whimsical Mr. Hero adventure series and stories for the Batman, Aliens, Crow, and Predator franchises.

A multiple winner of national awards for playwriting, he was commissioned to write the drama Halls of Ivory as an official event of the Bicentennial Celebration of the United States Constitution. Based on the true story of the attempt to integrate the University of Oklahoma Law School in the 1940s, it continues to be periodically revived. His play Stations was chosen to represent the United States at the International Theater Festival in Monte Carlo.

Vance was also commissioned to write a monograph in conjunction with the Smithsonian Institution touring exhibit Climbing Jacob’s Ladder, and his script for the related television documentary, Hope is the Last Thing to Die, was honored by the National Conference of Christians and Jews.

In collaboration with his late wife Kate Worley and artist Reed Waller, he shepherded Worley’s all-new conclusion to the popular Omaha the Cat Dancer comics series into print. And once again working with Dan Burr, he crafted a sequel to Kings in Disguise titled On the Ropes. It was released to critical praise in 2013 by W.W.Norton.

Vance’s final work included a pair of essays, with John Wooley, for Bob Powell’s Complete Cave Girl (2014) and Bob Powell’s Complete Cave Girl (2015), published by Kitchen Sink Press/Dark Horse Books.

He died on June 5, 2017 after a two-year battle with cancer.