A Los Angeles jury delivered a verdict of guilty on Wednesday in the trial of indy graphic novel creator Blake Leibel. The New York Times reports that Leibel, on trial for the 2016 killing of Iana Kasian, was found guilty on charges of first-degree murder, torture, and aggravated mayhem.
The details of the case are horrific, and include Kasian’s prolonged torture and mutilation at the hands of Leibel. LA prosecutors argued that the murder “followed a script” from Leibel’s graphic novel, Syndrome. Co-created by Leibel and published by Archaia in 2010, the book features a serial killer committing a murder and draining his victim’s body of blood in a similar fashion to what was done to Kasian.
The Beat posted a detailed look at Leibel, the case, and the graphic novel back in 2016 shortly after Leibel was arrested for the murder:
Other details of his past have grabbed headlines in both LA and Canada. Leibel’s father a hugely successful Canadian real estate developer who competed in the 1976 Olympics in a sailing event. His late mother was herself the heir to a plastics fortune, and Leibel had been engaged in various legal battles over her will, seeking to get more than his $18,000 a month allowance. His brother Cody is also a real estate developer in LA, and is rumored to have ties to many celebrities, including Molly’s Game, a poker club that includes Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, Ben Affleck and Matt Damon. Blake’s IMDB page lists him as having worked on Spaceballs, an animated spinoff of the Mel Brooks film, and the director of a film called Bald.
As far as the comics connection goes, most of it has been scrubbed from the net already, but Leibel seems to have been one of those Hollywood types who sought to get an “in” by developing a graphic novel. I’m told that he attended the San Diego Comic Con last year, which would have been just before his erratic behavior began. He was a regular at comic-cons, as shown in this photo from the 2008 SDCC, where he was promoting United Free Worlds, a comic published by Devil’s Due.
Additional details about the murder can be found here, but be forewarned that they are extremely disturbing. Sentencing for Leibel is scheduled for June 26th, where he faces the possibility of life in prison.
Joe Grunenwald is a writer and editor living in the Pacific Northwest. He’s taller than a lot of people but not as tall as some people.