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Joe R. Lansdale

Joe R. Lansdale American novelist, short story writer, martial arts instructor

American novelist, short story writer, martial arts instructor
The basics
Quick Facts
Intro American novelist, short story writer, martial arts instructor
A.K.A. Joe Richard Lansdale
Countries United States of America
Occupations Writer Novelist Screenwriter
Gender male
Birth 28 October 1951 (Gladewater, Texas, U.S.A.)
The details

Joe Richard Lansdale (born October 28, 1951) is an American writer, author, martial arts expert, and martial arts instructor.


Lansdale has written novels and stories in many genres, including Western, horror, science fiction, mystery, and suspense. He has also written for comics as well as Batman: The Animated Series. He has written 45 novels and published 30 short story collections along with many chapbooks and comic book adaptations. Several of his novels have been adapted to film.

Frequent features of Lansdale's writing are usually deeply ironic, strange or absurd situations or characters, such as Elvis Presley and John F. Kennedy battling a soul-sucking Egyptian mummy in a nursing home (the plot of his Bram Stoker Award-nominated novella, Bubba Ho-Tep, which was made into a movie by Don Coscarelli). He is the winner of the British Fantasy Award, the American Horror Award, the Edgar Award, and ten Bram Stoker Awards.

His Hap and Leonard series of nine novels, three novellas, and three short story collections feature two friends, Hap Collins and Leonard Pine, who live in the fictional town of Laborde, in East Texas, and find themselves solving a variety of often unpleasant crimes. The characters themselves are an unlikely pairing; Hap is a white working class laborer in his mid forties who once protested against the war in Vietnam and spent time in federal prison rather than be drafted and Leonard is a gay black Vietnam vet. Both of them are accomplished fighters, and the stories (told from Hap's narrative point of view) feature a great deal of violence, profanity and sex. Lansdale paints a picture of East Texas which is essentially "good" but blighted by racism, ignorance, urban and rural deprivation and corruption in public officials. Some of the subject matter is extremely dark, and includes scenes of brutal violence. These novels are also characterized by sharp humor and "wisecracking" dialogue. These books have been adapted into a TV series for the SundanceTV channel and a series of graphic novels will be published in early 2017. Season 2 is now filming based on the second Hap and Leonard novel Mucho Mojo. Much of Lansdale's work has been issued and re-issued as limited editions by Subterranean Press and as trade paperbacks by Vintage Crime/Black Lizard Publications. His current new release publisher is Mulholland Books. Lansdale also publishes with Dark Regions Press, and Tachyon Publications.

Lansdale's novel titled Fender Lizards was published in November 2015 by Subterranean Press. In February 2016 two full-length novels Hell's Bounty was published Feb 27 also by Subterreanean Press and a new Hap and Leonard novel titled Honky Tonk Samurai was released Feb 2 by Mulholland Books. More Hap and Leonard works are on the way. On Jan. 31, 2017 Coco Butternut: A Hap and Leonard Novella was released by Subterranean Press and Rusty Puppy was released by Mulholland Books Feb. 21, 2017. A new mosaic novel titled Blood and Lemonade was released on March 14, 2017.

Lansdale and daughter Kasey have started a new publishing company called Pandi Press to control the re-issue and publishing of his older works.

Joe Lansdale just published his first book of essay and memoirs titled Miracles Ain't What They Used To Be published by PM Press Outspoken Author Series.

Personal life

Lansdale, who was born in Gladewater, Texas, now lives in Nacogdoches, Texas with his wife Karen and is the writer in residence at Stephen F. Austin State University. He also teaches at his own Shen Chuan martial arts school Lansdale's Self Defense Systems in Nacogdoches and is a member of both the United States Martial Arts Hall of Fame as Sōke and the International Martial Arts Hall of Fame. He is the father of actress, musician, and book publisher Kasey Lansdale and reporter and screenwriter Keith Lansdale who wrote the screenplay for the film Christmas with the Dead. Joe is also a close friend and colleague of author, child advocate, and attorney Andrew Vachss.

This next link is to an interview by NPR. Those wishing to know more about Joe R. Lansdale's personal life and career should read this.

Film and television

Lansdale was a contributing writer for Batman: the Animated Series, credited with three episodes:

  • "Perchance to Dream" (season 1, episode 26, aired October 29, 1992), in which the Mad Hatter creates a world where Thomas and Martha Wayne never died;
  • "Read My Lips"(season 1, episode #59, aired May 10, 1993), which introduced The Ventriloquist to the show
  • "Showdown" (season 4, episode 2, aired September 12, 1995) (featuring Jonah Hex and Ra's al Ghul) (sometimes cited as season 3, episode 12).

Lansdale also wrote "Identity Crisis", the episode which introduced Bizarro on Superman: The Animated Series (season 2, episode #6, aired September 15, 1997), and "Critters" (with Steve Gerber) for The New Batman Adventures (sometimes referred to as Batman: Gotham Knights, as on Lansdale's website) – season 2, episode #2, aired September 19, 1998.

In 2010 he wrote the screenplay for the animated short DC Showcase: Jonah Hex. The brief standalone story features Hex tracking a bounty only to encounter a new adversary.

The first Lansdale movie adaptation was made in 2002 when Don Coscarelli adapted the novella Bubba Ho-Tep for the big screen. The film featured persons who believe themselves to be Elvis Presley and John F. Kennedy, confined to an old-age rest home, teaming up to fight a mummy who is stealing their friends' souls.

The short story "Incident On and Off a Mountain Road" was adapted for the first episode of the first season of Masters of Horror also by Don Coscarelli. It aired on October 28, 2005. The short story "The Fat Man", has also been written into a screenplay by Neal Barrett Jr. for Masters of Horror, but it is as yet unproduced.

Lansdale's story "The Job" was made into an eleven-minute short in 1997 by A.W. Feidler. It is available on the out-of-print DVD collection, Short 5 – Diversity, on Warner Home Video. The short story "Drive-In Date" was filmed as a short by James Cahill, from a script written by Lansdale, published in A Fist Full of Stories.

The movie Christmas with the Dead, based on the Lansdale short story of the same name, was filmed in East Texas in Summer 2011. The film starring Brad Maule, Damian Maffei, and Kasey Lansdale is currently showing on the film festival circuit and at private screenings. The DVD has been released.

Lansdale is co-producing several films, among them The Bottoms, based on his Edgar Award-winning novel, with Bill Paxton.

Paris-based Backup Media and Memento Films International to finance Cold in July, an adaptation of the cult novel that was director Jim Mickle's film. Actors Michael C. Hall and Sam Shepard had signed onto the project. Filming began on July 29, 2013. Accompanied by a movie tie-in edition of the original story released by Tachyon Publications, this film competed in the 2014 Sundance Film Festival and is now appearing on cable TV.

Nick Damici and Jim Mickle developed a Hap and Leonard private investigator series for the Sundance Channel which premiered on March 2, 2016. On June 27, 2016, SundanceTV renewed the series for a six-episode second season which will air March 15, 2017 based on the second novel Mucho Mojo.


Joe Lansdale and Christina Hendricks during shooting of Hap and Leonard season 1 TV program

Joe Lansdale has won ten Bram Stoker Awards over the course of his long career. The short story Night They Missed the Horror Show won the award for "Short Fiction" in 1988. In the "Long Fiction" category (which is for novellas, though it also initially included comic book work as well), he won in 1989 for On the Far Side of the Cadillac Desert with Dead Folks, 1997 for The Big Blow, and 1999 for Mad Dog Summer (a shared award with Brian A. Hopkins' "Five Days in April"). In 1992 the story The Events Concerning a Nude Fold-Out Found in a Harlequin Romance shared the "Long Fiction" award with Aliens: Tribes by Steve Bissette. In 1993, Jonah Hex: Two Gun Mojo won in the newly created "Other Media" category. Lansdale's 2006 anthology Retro Pulp Tales tied for the Best Anthology category with Mondo Zombie edited by John Skipp. He just won his tenth Bram Stoker in the long fiction category for Fishing for Dinosaurs which was published in the collection Limbus 2.

He was also nominated nine other times. The Drive-In and Savage Season were nominated in the "Novels" category in 1988 and 1990, respectively. By Bizarre Hands and Writer of the Purple Rage were nominated for "Fiction Collection" in 1989 and 1994. The short story Love Doll: A Fable was nominated in "Short Fiction" in 1991. The novella Bubba Ho-Tep was nominated for "Long Fiction" in 1994. Something Lumber This Way Comes was nominated in a new "Work for Younger Readers" category, and Jonah Hex: Shadows West #1 was nominated for "Illustrated Narrative", both in 1999. Red Romance (published in DC Comics' Flinch #11) was nominated for "Illustrated Narrative" in 2000.

Other nominations include:

  • 1986, Tight Little Stitches in a Dead Man's Back for a World Fantasy Award.
  • 2007, Cross Plains Universe: Texans Celebrate Robert E. Howard for a World Fantasy Award.
  • He's been nominated for a World Fantasy Award eleven other times over his long career.

Other awards include:

  • 1990, On the Far Side of the Cadillac Desert with Dead Folks won the British Fantasy Award for best short story.
  • 1994, Mucho Mojo was named a New York Times Notable Book of the Year.
  • 2000, The Bottoms was given the Edgar Award for Best Novel by the Mystery Writers of America. It was also named a New York Times Notable Book of the Year and the Herodotus Award for best historical mystery novel. It was also nominated for a Dashiell Hammett Award for "Best Novel", as well as "Best Mystery Novel" in the Mystery Readers International's Macavity Awards in 1991.
  • 2007, he received the World Horror Convention Grand Master Award.
  • 2011, SUGARPRIZE for a body of work during the Sugarpulp Festival.
  • 2011, The Grinzane Cavour Prize for Literature for a body of work.
  • 2012, Edge of Dark Water was listed Booklist Editors' Choice for Adult Books for Young Adults by the American Library Association.
  • 2013, His novel The Thicket was voted one of the best historical novels by the Library Journal.
  • 2015, He received the Raymond Chandler lifetime achievement award.
  • 2016, The Western Writers of America gave Paradise Sky a Spur Award for Best Historical Western Novel.

He is also frequently cited as winning the American Mystery Award, the Horror Critics Award, and the "Shot in the Dark" International Crime Writer's award. The specifics are difficult to track down at present, but it is likely that at least some of these were awarded to The Bottoms, which is by far his most acclaimed novel.

The Horror Writers Association gave him and the late Rick Hautala Bram Stoker Award for Lifetime Achievement for 2011, which they received at the Bram Stoker Awards Banquet in Salt Lake City, Utah on March 31, 2012

On October 19, 2012 he was inducted into The Texas Literary Hall of Fame.


  • Incident On and Off a Mountain Road (Film)
  • Bubba Ho-Tep (Film)
  • Christmas with the Dead (Film)
  • Cold in July (Film)
  • Hap and Leonard (TV Series)
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