John Lustig

William Van Horn has drawn more than 150 Disney comics to date, most of them written by himself. However, 30 stories were done by other writers. The majority of these stories were by American John Lustig who wrote 16 stories – a good reason to have a closer look at Bill’s good friend.

John Lustig

John Arthur Lustig was born on January 25, 1953 in Seattle and he has lived there most of his life. His father owned several grocery stores and John worked in some of them – for the first time at the age of 10.

In 1973, while attending the University of Washington (state), he married his high school sweetheart, Karen Marie Lavik. During college, John worked part time at several jobs – grocery salesman, guard in an amusement park and as a clerk in a department store.

In 1977 John Lustig graduated with Bachelor of Arts degrees in journalism and English literature. From 1977 through 1987 John worked as a reporter and columnist for several newspapers. During this time he wrote about everything, from mass murders to local politics, and interviewed VIPs.

In 1982, his wife (Karen) had a seizure while trying to give birth and died. His infant son, Logan, didn’t survive the birth.

In 1984 John Lustig married his wife Shelagh, a nurse. John and Shelagh have had two daughters, Caitlin and Laura. Unfortunately, Laura died on January 17, 2004 from a virus which caused a brain infection. She was 10.

Towards the end of his college days John sold his first comic book story. At first, John submitted some Donald and Scrooge plots to Gold Key Comics – the American Disney publisher at that time. However, Gold Key had other writers working on stories about the Disney ducks. The editor (Del Connell) suggested John try writing for some other Gold Key comics. So, John wrote and sold a Daffy Duck five-pager.

Ducktales – The Movie

Shortly after that John graduated and started working as a reporter. The long hours at the newspaper did not leave John much time for freelance writing. About 10 years passed until John found his way back to writing comics.

In 1986 Lustig visited the San Diego Comic Book Convention (now called “Comic-Con International”) where he met the staff of the little American publisher Blackthorne. One of the comics published by Blackthorne was Bill Van Horn’s Nervous Rex. John was already a fan of the series and was happily surprised when the Blackthorne editor mentioned that Bill was looking for story ideas for Nervous Rex. So John wrote several plots for Nervous Rex and submitted them to Blackthorne. Bill liked some of these story ideas and decided to use them for Nervous Rex #10. Unfortunately this was the last issue of the series.

It is only a three hours’ drive from Seattle to North Vancouver, where Bill lives. One day, during a vacation, John visited Bill and they became good friends. So did their wives, who are both nurses.

About a year later Van Horn began drawing and writing Disney comics. Bill invited John to write some Disney scripts for him. So John wrote some one- and two-page stories and sent them to Van Horn. Bill made small changes, drew the stories and sent them to Gladstone, the American Disney publisher at the time. And so John suddenly was a Disney writer without ever talking with an editor. In the next months John began writing Disney stories that were 10 or more pages long. Together he and Bill created several Ducktales stories and a longer Donald script for “The Amazon Queen” (AR154).

Last Kiss

When Gladstone’s Disney license was not renewed in 1990 and Disney started to produce comics of their own, Lustig began to submit stories directly to Disney. He and Bill were still teamed together and they would often discuss their stories. During their long-standing collaboration John learned from Bill to avoid long scenes where people just stand around and talk. So it was no surprise that John, just like Van Horn, received an offer from Byron Erickson to work directly for Egmont. In the course of time Lustig has written more than 30 stories for other artists, among them four Mickey stories for Bill’s son Noel.

In 1987 John acquired the publishing rights to some old romance comics for $400. Quite a bargain, considered that the 40 books included more than 900 pages of art. Lustig gave his new project the name “Last Kiss” and spiced the schmaltzy stories up with new, funny dialog. In addition to changing the texts, he often puts the panels in a different order and modifies the illustrations on his computer. Apart from comic books, Last Kiss images appear in greeting cards and refrigerator magnets. In 2007 The Seattle Times published “Last Kiss” as a weekly newspaper comic strip.

You can learn more about this series at

In recent years Last Kiss has taken up the majority of John’s professional time, but he still writes occasional Disney stories for Egmont. In late 2006, John wrote a new story, “A Double Dose of Triple Trouble” (D2006-302), for Bill Van Horn. This was the first new Lustig-Van Horn collaboration in about 10 years.

Disney scripts for William Van Horn
AR127 Poisoned Palate
AR129 Shaping Up
AR137 Seafood Blues
AR142 Windfall On Mt. G’zoontight
AR150 Call Off The Wild
AR151 Sky-High Hi-Jinks
AR152 The Billion Bean Stampede
AR154 The Amazon Queen
KU3090 No Room For Human Error
KD0290 Rootin’, Tootin’ Duck
KD0990 It’s Bats, Man!
KD2190 Run-Down Runner
D92211 Stampede And Deliver!
D95099 Caught In The Cold Rush
D95154 Romance At A Glance
D2006-302 A Double Dose Of Triple Trouble
Disney scripts for other artists
Storycode Hero Title Pages U.S. publications
K DTM 90f DT Scrooge’s Nose Knows Gold 4 p. DTM 4/90
Art: unknown
K DTM 90s DT The Count Of McDuck 4 p. DTM 3/90
Art: unknown
K DTMov 1 DT Treasure Of The Lost Lamp 62 p. DTTM 1
Art: Carlos Valenti, Cosme Quartieri, Robert Bat, Rubén Torreiro
D92041 US Thanks For The Memories 14 p. US 317
Art: Vicar
D92212 DD Peace In Pieces 14 p. DDA 36
Art: Vicar
D92226 US The Hi-Tech, Low-Down Blues 11 p. USA 40
Art: Daniel Branca
D92253 US Happy To Meet You 1 p. USA 46
Art: Torres
D92568 DD No Time For Nappin’ 11 p. WDC 631
Art: Vicar
D93060 DD Dangerous And Dangerouser 1 p. WDC 649
Art: Francisco Sabaté
D93061 US Home Cooking 1 p. US 312
Art: Francisco Sabaté
D93062 DD Feud Of Lights 1 p. WDC 675
Art: Francisco Sabaté
D93155 DD Fifty-Cent Frenzy 5 p. MM 274
Art: Josep Gual
D93392 MM Hocus Pocus Hypnosis 6 p. WDC 620
D93393 MM Something Fishy 1 p. WDC 630
D93394 MM Peek-A-Boo Bunny 2 p.  
D94111 DD The Swell Of Success 10 p. DD 324
Art: Vicar
D94147 DD Terror In The Trash 10 p. DD 302
Art: Vicar
D95020 DD Snow Smitten 10 p. WDC 677
Art: Vicar
From an idea by Shelagh Lustig.
D95157 DD Filthy Rich 16 p. US 361
Art: Colomer
D96081 US Attractive Art 1 p.  
Art: Alferez
D96082 US Mirror Mischief 1 p.  
Art: Alferez
D96186 US The Grouch Kings Of Duckburg 10 p. US 351
Art: Daniel Branca
D96431 MM Sweet Misery 8 p. MM 259
D97078 DD Home-Front Hero 10 p. DD 320
Art: Santiago Scalabroni
D97416 MM The Giggle Caper 10 p.  
Art: Cèsar Ferioli
D98063 MM Wrap Up Your Troubles 10 p. CPE 4
Art: Rodriques
D98474 DD Remotely Impossible 12 p.  
Art: Romano Scarpa
D99158 US A Soft Job For A Hard Head 11 p. US 379
Art: Esteban
D99285 US Family Of Fore 14 p. US 319
Art: Vicar
D2007-001 DA Are You Really You? 8 p. WDC 693
Art: Daan Jippes
D2008-014 US The Magic Mirror Of Mad Medusa 14 p.  
Art: Wanda Gattino
D2008-364 DD Somewhere Beyond Nowhere 12 p.  
Art: Daan Jippes
From an idea by Carl Barks.
D2010-307 US The Duck Who Came To Dinner 10 p. WDC 724
Art: Daan Jippes
From an idea by Carl Barks.
D2012-094 GY Gyro’s Manager 10 p.  
Art: Daan Jippes
From an idea by Carl Barks.
D2012-155 DA Fashion Failure 1 p.  
Art: Daan Jippes
From an idea by Carl Barks.
D2012-165 DD The Trouble With Double 4 p.  
Art: Daan Jippes
From an idea by Carl Barks.
D2012-166 DD The Power Of Positive Parking 1 p.  
Art: Daan Jippes
From an idea by Carl Barks.
DD2000-017 DD Almost A Hero 14 p. WDC 652
Art: Carlos Mota
A first, unfinished version had the storycode D97292.
DD2000-018 DD Shop Till You Flop 14 p.  
Art: Carlos Mota
A first, unfinished version had the storycode D97597.
DD2002-027 DD Oh, Say … Can You See? 14 p.  
Art: Carlos Mota
DD2003-036 DD Doggone Duck 13 p.  
Art: Euclides K. Miyaura
DD2004-017 DD Too Lucky For Love 14 p.  
Art: Euclides K. Miyaura
DD2005-013 US Smile Your Troubles Away 13 p.  
Art: Arild Midthun
DE2001-002 DD Can You Imagine … Melvin? 13 p. WDC 638
Art: Rodriques
I TES 3-1 DD Somewhere In Nowhere 28 p. DDUS 1
Art: Pat Block
From an idea by Carl Barks.

Abbreviations used

Heroes: DA Daisy Duck   DD Donald Duck   DT Ducktales   GY Gyro Gearloose   MM Mickey Mouse   US Uncle Scrooge

Series: CPE Christmas Parade (Gemstone)   DD Donald Duck   DDA Donald Duck Adventures   DDUS Donald Duck & Uncle Scrooge   DTM Ducktales Magazine   DTTM Ducktales The Movie   MM Mickey Mouse   US Uncle Scrooge   USA Uncle Scrooge Adventures   WDC Walt Disney’s Comics & Stories

Illustrations © Disney, John Lustig. is a non-commercial fansite. Suggestions are always welcome.