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James Vance (April 2, 1953 – June 5, 2017) was an American comic book writer, author and playwright, best known for his work from Kitchen Sink Press and in particular the lauded Kings in Disguise.

James Vance
Born(1953-04-02)April 2, 1953
Muskogee, Oklahoma
DiedJune 5, 2017(2017-06-05) (aged 64)
Tulsa, Oklahoma
Notable works
Kings in Disguise
On the Ropes
CollaboratorsDan Burr
AwardsHarvey Award, 1989
Eisner Award, 1989


Vance's introduction into comics writing came in 1988, with his Kitchen Sink-published limited series, Kings in Disguise, later collected by W. W. Norton, with an introduction by the legendary Alan Moore, who calls it:

"One of the most moving and compelling human stories to emerge out of the graphic story medium."[1]

This work, with art by Dan Burr, earned both a Harvey Award and an Eisner Award (both 1989) for best new series, as well as another Eisner Award for best single issue/story (also 1989). It also made the list of the one hundred best comic book stories of all time.[2]

In 2013, Vance and Burr published On the Ropes, the long-awaited sequel to Kings in Disguise. On the Ropes was positively reviewed by, among others, the Los Angeles Times,[3] Publishers Weekly,[4] and writer Alan Moore.[5]

Vance also wrote Neil Gaiman's Mr. Hero the Newmatic Man for Tekno Comix in the mid-1990s, and was co-editor of Alan Moore and Melinda Gebbie's Lost Girls as originally serialised by Kitchen Sink Press. He has also contributed scripts towards comics featuring The Crow, and the Dark Horse Comics-published licensed properties Aliens and Predator.

Vance was married to cartoonist Kate Worley for the last ten years of her life before she succumbed to cancer[6] in 2004. After Worley's death, Vance edited and completed (with artist Reed Waller) the final chapters of her Omaha the Cat Dancer strip, which were serialized in Sizzle magazine.[7] He died on June 5, 2017 from cancer.[8]


Comics work includes:

Awards and nominationsEdit

In addition to his 1989 Eisner and Harvey Awards wins (with Dan Burr), Vance was also a 1990 Eisner-nominee with Burr for Kings in Disguise, and a 1991-nominee as best writer.[9]


  1. ^ WW Norton's Kings in Disguise listing Archived July 12, 2009, at the Wayback Machine. Accessed March 19, 2008
  2. ^ Weiner, Stephen. The 101 Best Graphic Novels (NBM, 2005).
  3. ^ Ulin, David L. The Reading Life: James Vance and Dan E. Burr's new graphic novel goes to the circus," Los Angeles Times (March 5, 2013).
  4. ^ "On the Ropes," Publishers Weekly (August 27, 2012).
  5. ^ "About," Dan Burr's official website. Accessed January 17, 2014.
  6. ^ Dueben, Alex . "James Vance is 'On the Ropes'," Comic Book Resource (March 13, 2013).
  7. ^ "History of Omaha the Cat Dancer". CatDancer Corporation. Retrieved June 4, 2010.
  8. ^ Arrant, Chris. "James Vance Passes Away at 64," Newsarama (June 15, 2017).
  9. ^ James Vance at the ComicBookDB. Accessed March 19, 2008