Lubbock’s Comics Connections: John Ira Thomas

Let’s crack open our vault for another entry in our occasional series on current and former Lubbockites who have worked in comics, cartooning, and animation. Our subject today is John Ira Thomas.

John is a comics writer who publishes with Candle Light Press, a company he helped form. As a comics writer, he doesn’t have what you could call a traditional portfolio, but I will include some of the comics pages with his writing, even though they’re illustrated by different artists.


John was born in Cheyenne Wells, Colorado and spent a lot of his childhood in Eastern Colorado, where at one point, one of his father’s coworkers suspected him of being the Antichrist because he could read at 18 months old. John and his family later moved to Texas, spending a few years in Perryton, Texas (coincidentally, I spent a few years in Perryton, too — I lived there after John had moved on) before moving to Lubbock to attend Texas Tech. He got a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and a masters in classical humanities.

While at Tech… Well, I’m gonna let him tell it:

I’d been writing things since I was little, even tried drawing some comics. But it was a bar bet that got me going later on. My good friend Ed Boland, a serious comics fan, distilled it all into a simple challenge: write three comics plots, right now. I’d been protesting that since I didn’t draw, I wouldn’t know how to write comics. He disagreed; he also won the bet. The plots stayed on that napkin until I could find an artist.

After that I went on to the University of Iowa for a Ph.D., but settled for another M.A., this one in Latin. I just got burned out on the whole grad school to professorhood path. At that point I decided it was time to really make a go of this. Iowa City is known as a writer’s town, but there’s an amazing number of artists here. I cast about for someone to draw the one of the stories on my napkin and found Jeremy Smith. Once we made our first comic, “Absence”, we put it out as a zine and walked straight into a dozen other folks who were trying the same thing. After all this time, six of us are still making comics together.


John and his friends founded Candle Light Press, which distributes through the bookstore market instead of the direct market in comics. Among the comics that John has written are:

  • “Numbers: A Tale of Shades and Angels” – art by Jeremy Smith – A guy finds himself at the top of a vigilante’s hitlist after running a dead pool on the killer’s previous victims.
  • “The Man is Vox” – A mentally-damaged man takes on a telepath who can read minds and erase memories.
  • “Lost in the Wash” – A guy running a coin-op laundromat makes a deal with a man-eating water monster that lives in the pipes — as long as he can keep providing human munchies for the monster…
  • “Zoo Force: We Heart Libraries” – This one follows a small superhero team that patrols the trailer courts at the edge of Freedom City, Texas.


John’s comics are available through print-on-demand at the Candle Light Press website, and you can also check out their fan page on Facebook.

No Comments

  1. Bluto Said,

    August 12, 2009 @ 8:17 am

    I have followed John’s writings for many years, he can be one scarey guy and then turn around and make you laugh your butt off. I think he has a big career ahead and sooner or later Hollywood will take notice. I will put in my application for hanger-on and or lackey. Keep up the great work John..