Soul Stealer cover art courtesy Christopher Shy, Michael Easton by Marina Chavez/ABC
For how much longer can One Life to Live hang on to its top male star? On June 27 28 Michael Easton - who plays crimefighter John McBain - will officially launch a new career when he appears at the Wizard World fan convention in Chicago with his first graphic novel, Soul Stealer (DMF Comics). ( Check out the cover here.) It won't hit bookstores until July 1, but early copies are circulating in Hollywood, and Easton has already had meetings with producers eager to put Soul Stealer in your multiplex.

"I've been thinking strongly about moving to the other side of the business," Easton says. "It's getting to the point where, as a grown man, I'm finding it strange to put on a costume and makeup every day."

Five years in the making, Soul Stealer is no ordinary comic book. The lavish 148-page epic- about a 3,000-year-old, love-tortured superhero who has the power to bring back souls from heaven or hell- has haunting artwork by comics giant Christopher Shy ( Pathfinder) and a rave intro by hot horror author Peter Straub ( The Talisman). Easton has teamed with Straub on yet another graphic novel, DC/Vertigo's upcoming The Green Woman.

Is he nervous about entering this weird new world? You bet. "Comics fans are just like soap fans- very loyal but easy to alienate if they don't find you honest and genuine," Easton notes. " Soul Stealer is pretty dark. I hope people like it, and that they don't go, 'Wow, that writer's really twisted and messed up.'"

Dark it is. But I also found Easton's novel thrilling, poetic and poignant, the kind of deeply felt work that triggers all sorts of uninvited emotions in the reader and gives fascinating insight into one of the few daytime stars with real mystique. I urge you to check it out. - Michael Logan