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In Memoriam: Jack Ketchum

I remember wondering why author Dallas Mayr chose to use a pen name–Jack Ketchum–when his real name sounded so cool. I found out that Jack Ketchum, the real Jack Ketchum, or “Black Jack” as he was known, was an infamous outlaw in the Old West. I figured Mr. Mayr adopted it as both an homage and an in-joke. Also, Mayr, aka Ketchum, often had more than one work in print at the time, so he started using pseudonyms. Growing up, Mayr obsessed over “books, comics, movies, rock ‘n roll, show tunes, TV, dinosaurs,” Halloween, and the Universal Monsters–just like most other Monsterkidz–and allowed his passions for such things to carry him into an outstanding career. He was a protege of Robert “PSYCHO” Bloch and once worked as a literary agent for novelist Henry Miller.

Fans of Horror literature will recognize Ketchum’s name, as well as movie fans, as several of his works have been adapted into movies. Some really good movies, as it so happens. THE LOST. THE GIRL NEXT DOOR. RED. Mr. Mayr, i.e. Ketchum, passed away on January 24th at the (too young) age of 71. He leaves behind a long trail of awards, such as the World Horror Convention Grand Master Award for overall contribution to the genre, and no less than four Bram Stoker Awards (out of a total of seven nominations), and his prolific body of work as a legacy. He and his voice will be missed.

WAYNE MILLER is the owner and creative director of EVIL CHEEZ PRODUCTIONS (,, specializing in theatrical performances and haunted attractions. He has written, produced and directed (and occasionally acted in) over a dozen plays, most of them in the Horror and Crime genres. His first novel, THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT CHRISTOPHER: WEREWOLF, is available for purchase here:


TheCheezman • February 4, 2018

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