Joe Riley's death comes as a complete and absolute shock. He apparently had a heart attack ("ascemic heart disease"), a shortage of oxygen to his heart. Joe passed away on Wednesday, September 26th. He was 43 but people who believe in Monsters don't really die.

I know Joe through our collaborations together via shared interest in comic book /hot rod/monster culture. I had spoken with Joe in the Fall of 2006 to get advice on the little four minute Cadavera short Wheat and I were making. He and starlet Cori emailed each other about the best make-up applications for her 'dead look' as Cadavera. Joe and I didn't stay in great touch with each other but when we did talk, we talked for hours. Our last conversation was about the completed Cadavera short (he thought Cori's look was "dead-on"), his hoped-for 'overdue' Rat Fink feature to begin, and the hope that we could work on it together. If Joe Riley had gotten his way then Big Daddy Roth's RAT FINK would be hanging in the Louvre right next to the MONA LISA.

I first met Joe in the late eighties at the Dallas Fantasy Fair comic book conventions. I was lucky (and surprised) to get two original drawings out of him (and I was the subject matter!) I have several videos of his psychotronic influenced HYPNOTIC EYE cable show. I always referred to him as a "Tex-Zen" for his ability to be extremely philosophical, but you knew it was coming from a Texan. I ran him through the ringer on SORE LOSERS film shoot. See his article on the making of the film.

Director JMM gives birth to his movie THE SORE LOSERS (by Joe Riley)

I remember Joe (Spring 1996) pulling up at midnight to my folks house in Mississippi just as Jack Oblivian was about to be grabbed by mud-caked zombie hands through cheap plywood that was about to fall over on everyone underneath. Joe used his truck to stop this potential disaster - then unloaded the seven foot angel wings that he built himself and we stored them in the carport. These were to worn by starlet Mary Wills in a crazy Guitar Wolf scene. Joe got really mad when my dog ate most of the angel wings later - but Joe fixed them right up. Joe also did all the multicolored squibs in the Hippie Death scene and the Old Mother make-up for Ghetty Chasun (in an EC Comics style that Joe knew emphatically).

I remember I owed him some money for the work he had done on SORE LOSERS and he was anxious to leave and return to Dallas. We had to wait for Kim to return from the bank in Memphis with his fee. Kim was involved in a bank hold-up and was lucky to get out of the bank with her life. Joe accepted this as fate and I had to pay him later.

Joe also designed the three-necked "Guitaroboto" for the GUITAR WOLF Sony videos I did in 1997. (Jack Taylor and Billy Wolf are also casualties of the Sore Losers era.)

I have a black light Glenn Strange Frankenstein poster that Joe drew. I also own one of his immaculately sculpted Herman Munster resin heads. If PSYCHOTRONIC magazine were still around I would fully expect Joe to be listed in the "Gone But Not Forgotten" section.

You got your wings Joe.


If anyone who knew Joe or has cataloged his art, then his family would much appreciate knowing about it or having a copy. Please contact me at or

Joe Riley draws JMM as a souped up speed crazed pop culture madman!