Table of Contents

RKYV # 46 {2011} RKYV ONLINE LOGO – David Marshall {current} r. j. paré {modified} Roy G. James {original} Tourist, Marc Olivent, Larissa Gula, - “Grimoire – Final Chapter” Tindersen Blacktree Hoopdriver - by Scott Claringbold Editorial Column - “At the Outset: A Few Thoughts from the Editor” - By r. j. paré Poetry - By Frances Nichols Vargas, Wanda VanHoy Smith, r. j. paré Pop Culture - “The Director’s Chair” - by r. j. paré - “Digital Scribbles,” - By Darke Raven - “Raised on Saturday Morning Cartoons” - By Pauline Paré

Virtual Cover # 45 Featured Artist Review - Art by Greg Capullo - Design/Layout by David Marshall - “Greg Capullo” - By r. j. paré Interior Art - By r. j. paré, Mike Grattan, James Short Fiction - “At Night” ‘Jig-One’ Titman, Roger Price, De - by CS Cartier

Billie Holiday – by

Mike Grattan

At the Outset:
A few thoughts from, The Editor…
by r. j. paré
I’m young enough to still see the passionate boy that I used to be. But I’m old enough to say I got a good look at the other side. "While the night is still young" – Billy Joel I would like to wish a very, belated welcome to everyone for issue # 46 of RKYV Online. Some of you know that I have been offline, for the most part, these last few months. Sad to say, my family endured the proverbial “series of unfortunate events” which included loss of employment, deaths in the family, foreclosure of our home and looming bankruptcy. At least I am entering middle age with less hair and more weight – err… um… that’s not really much of a consolation come to think of it. I’ll be doing my best to get this Zine and my comic studio Speakeasy Primates back on schedule over the summer… but until then I have taken the “month” of publication off the covers and will just be having the number displayed - since these next few issues are all overdue. I am ecstatic to finally share with you this issue featuring Greg Capullo, comic pro extraordinaire. This issue is jam-packed with entertaining content. From Mr. Capullo’s dynamic art, which he has graciously shared with us in the Featured Artist of the Month column; to our Columnists Darke Raven and Pauline Paré who have once again shared their thoughtful, witty and revealing opinions. As well, returning poets Frances Nichols Vargas, Wanda VanHoy Smith & yours truly – r. j. paré – provide some new poetic verse for you to [hopefully] enjoy. I must also take a moment to thank the talented artists [credited throughout this edition] who have shared their fantastic work with us. Their contributions to RKYV truly make this eZine a joy to produce.

Now, for those of you looking for more RKYV entertainment than we can fit into a PDF, look no further... LOL. We have got some fun and engaging sites set up for you by the ever-intrepid RKYV staff. Darke Raven’s RKYV Blog & Pod Casts – vote for your favourite segments! Official RKYV Blog – send us your comments, questions & suggestions! RKYV Editorial Video Blog – watch me act the fool and hype the Zine! RKYV ONLINE Facebook Group – post submissions and interact with other contributors! Well folks, until next ish I will continue to remind myself that what doesn’t kill ya – just makes ya stronger… Publisher’s Note: Delusions aside Mr. Paré should be well aware that at his age he is most definitely NOT getting any stronger, but at least he can still deliver you one fine hybrid fix of art-lit goodness that is… RKYV ONLINE.

Johnny Depp – by

Mike Grattan

Tat Art & Designs
by Roger Price

Indian Buffalo Skull

Only God Can Judge {Praying Hands}

Dead-Face Sunflower

Vision of Space As Seen Through Lotus Bloom

Should you like to know more [or perhaps even have Roger lay some ink down on ya] you can e-mail Roger: or… Follow him on Facebook:

World View
A Canadian Living in the USA
by Tom Rossini

I am sure many of us remember that phrase from the famous TV show M*A*S*H by Father Francis Mulcahey... should this term be used on April 1. April 1 is also known to many of as April Fools Day or All Fool's Day in the Western Hemisphere. It is not a Hallmark Holiday but rather a day in which people tolerate practical jokes and general foolishness. In other words it is a day when I should be worshipped....hehehehe... Just kidding... but in all seriousness, the day is celebrated by many with funny jokes, that are good humoured and not crude or rude. The jokes are usually played on by people that are your friends, colleagues, and family. Now this is something that I did not know but traditionally the jokes should stop by noon if you live in New Zealand, the UK, Australia, and South Africa but if one does not then the person pulling the jokes is considered the fool. If you live in other countries including the USA and Canada, the jocularity can continue all day. Everyone seems to get involved with these shenanigans including newspapers, government officials and of course children. Some of the best jokes come from world renowned newspapers and companies (REFERENCE: )

Sports Ilustrated - 1985: Sports Illustrated published a story about a new rookie pitcher who planned to play for the Mets. His name was Sidd Finch, and he could reportedly throw a baseball at 168 mph with pinpoint accuracy.

1998: Burger King published a full page advertisement in USA Today announcing the introduction of a new item to their menu: a "Left-Handed Whopper" specially designed for the 32 million left-handed Americans

The Great Comic Strip Switcheroonie 1997: Comic strip fans opened their papers on April 1, 1997 and discovered their favourite strips looked different.

Big Ben Goes Digital 1980: The BBC reported that Big Ben, in order to keep up with the times, was going to be given a digital readout. Now no one really knows for sure where April Fools day got its start but after searching the web a little bit it seems that the oldest mention of this holiday is stated in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales (1392), in the "Nun's Priest's Tale". So this April Fools Day beware… and yet have fun.

Death of the Ego – by

Stephen Gibb

Health & Wellness
Domestic Violence
 Former RKYV Health columnist Leanne Bechard-Stiers explores the tragic, and oft misunderstood, cycle of domestic violence in the following piece.

SOMEDAY by Leanne Bechard-Stiers
For now, it's quiet. I am grateful for these moments. He is gone to sleep, it won't last long. The pain still holds on, like the most powerful magnet. I should get up, and examine the damage. Looking in the mirror, is worse, and more painful than the blows that were thrown just an hour ago. The bruises will fade, they always do. The memories will haunt me, forever. All I ask, is to treat us well. Stop the drinking, stop the yelling… leave the kids alone. I can still hear them crying, hiding under their beds, praying the madness finally stops. Fury reigns here, violence is a part of our lives. One day, I will leave, take the away to find peace. Peace in my head, peace in my life. Someday... For now, it's quiet. I too am grateful for these moments. She has left the bed, probably checking her face for bruises. I never meant to hurt her, again. When she tells me I'm useless, when her voice pierces my brain, I drink, to muffle the indignities that overwhelm me. It reminds me of the noise, and the devastation of when I was just a boy. I know I shouldn't yell. I know I shouldn't hurt the little ones, they must be terrified of my anger. It's like someone else takes over, removes all control. Fury reigns here. Violence has always been a part of my life. Maybe I should away to find peace. Peace in my head, peace in my life. Someday...

fractured lives – by

r. j. paré

Lock Box – by

Stephen Gibb

Featured Artist Review
Greg Capullo
by r. j. paré
BIO: Gregory “Greg” Capullo (born March 30, 1962) is an American illustrator. He is best known for his comic book work where he served as penciler and sometimes inker on such titles as Quasar (1991–1992), X-Force (1992–1993), Angela (1994) and Spawn (1993–1999, 2003–2004). Greg Capullo also had his own creator-owned, written and drawn comic “The Creech”, published via Image Comics. These were two three-issue miniseries. Currently, Greg is the regular artist on the Robert Kirkman/Todd McFarlane comic “Haunt”, and has also become a regular contributor to Blizzard’s World of Warcraft via his painted works. Apart from comics, (under the auspices of Todd McFarlane Productions) Greg has been involved in several projects such as penciling the CD cover art for Korn’s “Follow the Leader” as well as designing and painting the wrap around CD cover art for Disturbed’s “Ten Thousand Fists”. He was also involved with character design for the animated sequences in the Jody Foster film “The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys” (2002) and the award winning HBO animated series “SPAWN” created by Todd McFarlane. Artist’s Name: Greg Capullo Title: Banner for use at conventions. r.j.p: Can you tell us a little about "Haunt"? GC: Well, Robert Kirkman and Todd McFarlane came up with the idea of blending espionage with the supernatural. As the story goes, two brothers (Daniel the priest and Kurt the secret agent) are forced to reconcile their differences after Kurt is killed.

Hurt returns as a ghost who is able to enter Daniel’s body and manifest himself as Haunt--a sort of ectoplasm armor that envelops Daniel and imbues him with extraordinary powers. Thus far, Daniel has left the priesthood and is now an operative for the agency that had employed Kurt. The book contains a lot of violence and gore as well as a bevy of babes. Heh. Sounds like my youth!

Artist’s Name: Greg Capullo Title: cover to Haunt 16 GC: Todd needed this super quick. He told my to give him a rough and he'd finish it--a same day turn around given to me very late in the day right before leaving to be wed in Vegas. I did light construction lines, scanned it in and threw the blacks, lines and texture on it. Daniel will be crying blood.

r.j.p: What’s it like collaborating with Todd McFarlane? GC: It’s been the best and the reason that I’ve stayed with him for so many years. I’d received some really generous offers from the competition, but I stuck with Todd because of the fun factor. Todd and I see things similarly when it comes to this stuff. That allows us both a lot of trust. He points in a direction, I like the direction (or tweak it a bit) and give him art that he loves. It’s really easy when you have mutual respect and admiration. We love each other in a completely heterosexual way. r.j.p: When penciling a comic, do you prefer the writer sends you the finished script beforehand or a page-by-page outline of the story? [In other words, does the writer draft finished script based on the visuals created or do you draw each panel based on precise descriptions in the script?] GC: I cannot bear being told how to direct. It doesn’t kill me if a writer has an idea, but ultimately I must be in control of the visuals. Visual storytelling is one of my strengths. I always come up with things that make a writer say, “Wow. That’s great--never thought of doing it that way, but it’s cool!”

Artist’s Name: Greg Capullo Title: Lord of the Flies GC: Something I did in my free time a while back.

Artist’s Name: Greg Capullo Title: Haunt 12 page 15 GC: Sight gag - Injecting my sense of humor into this page was how I made the mundane interesting. r.j.p: The strength of a comic artist’s layouts is evident when a page can be understood & enjoyed prior to lettering. In this case the wit & humor of the scene are displayed with a directorial sense for storytelling.

r.j.p: Did you study or major in art while in school? GC: I took what courses were available in High School. But, being I was a bad kid, I usually got F’s or Incomplete because I was always skippin’ school. Bad kid. r.j.p: Do you use any special tools and techniques to create your art? GC: Only when it comes to doing a digital painting or maybe some texture stuff at the inking stage. For that I use a Cintiq 21 UX. For the Painting I use Corel Painter. For some of the ink tricks I use Photoshop. Apart from that, it’s still just old school tools.

Artist’s Name: Greg Capullo Title: The Harvest

Artist’s Name: Greg Capullo Title: cover to Haunt 8 r.j.p: Stark graphic image that boldly accomplishes what a cover is meant to do… it grabs you with the sort of compelling illustration that makes you want to plunk down a few bucks and read this issue.

r.j.p: Which famous artists / creators or styles have influenced you? Why? GC: Christ, that’s a long list. The names that are always at the top though are: Frazetta, John Busecma, Mort Drucker, and Chuck Jones.  Frazetta needs no answer why.  J.B. was masterful with his figures. They had weight and springiness and were always heroic to the max.  M.D. Did amazing caricatures. His work was cartoony yet very realistic and believable at the same time.  C.J was able to milk every last drop of personality out characters through exaggerated facial expression and body language. r.j.p: How do/did you market yourself, especially when you were first breaking into the biz? GC: I never marketed myself. I pounded on doors! I’ve always been stubborn and determined. This is what I wanted to do, so I did it.

Artist’s Name: Greg Capullo Title: World of Warcraft Teaser GC: I painted the cover for the upcoming WOW TCG Box. This is all I'm allowed to show for now. Bummer. I know. r.j.p: Do you find working for a major publisher to be as rewarding, artistically, as working on your own indie projects? [The old Art vs Commerce question]. GC: I still LOVE the comic characters that I grew up reading. It’s fantastic to be able to draw the stuff that wowed you as a kid. It’s cool to do what you want to do without answering to anyone. They’re both cool for different reasons. But for me, they’re equally fun.

Artist’s Name: Greg Capullo Title: Cobra r.j.p: You've worked on many successful books, what's been your most satisfying, from an artistic point of view? GC: I’m very proud of everything I’ve done. I mean, I think I’ve grown a lot over the years as an artist, but regardless of how my art has evolved, I feel that I’ve brought something special to all of the books I touched beginning with Quasar. Of course, Spawn and the Creech would be at the very top. Spawn is because I had such a long run. That longevity allowed me to really develop that world--to give it real life. And, the Creech because it was entirely my vision. I’m very proud of my baby.

Artist’s Name: Greg Capullo Title: World of Warcraft Goblin

r.j.p: What do you think of the term "starving artist"? Specifically, does the struggle to pay the bills; to be compensated for one's work; influence what an artist will or won't pursue based on perceived commercial value? GC: That term typically applies to the “Fine” artist whose creating for the sake of. He or she isn’t interested in chasing the dollar. They would be happy living in squalor as long as they could continue to express what it is they have inside. However, that term can apply to the commercial artist as well. Particularly now in a down economy. Comics sell at a fraction of what they used to and illustration as a whole has taken a big hit. You’ve got to be really fucking good to make a living these days as an artist. This is why I always advise starry-eyed-wannabe comic book artists to focus instead on being a great draftsman whose work can be used in other markets. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket! Think beyond comic books, Way beyond. r.j.p: With advancements in computer graphic tablet technology, some artists are now creating their work directly in the digital medium and releasing it in purely digital formats... are the days of paper & pulp doomed to the realm of fading memories? GC: I can’t predict that one. But, I certainly hope not. I would like to think that digital tools are simply that. Tools -- just another way to broaden your artistic vocabulary. r.j.p: Do you find it difficult to stay motivated / inspired? GC: Everyone has days where they just can’t get it up. That’s when discipline and experience come in to save the day. You push yourself to stay in the driver seat and rely on reasoning instead of inspiration to win the day.

Artist’s Name: Greg Capullo Title: The Visitor

Artist’s Name: Greg Capullo Title: Image United GC: I'd forgotten about this one. I penciled this piece traditionally--loosely and then inked it digitally using Painter. r.j.p: Gang pile!!! A truly awesome splash page, as the myriad champions of the Image U join forces to take down the big bad.

r.j.p: What do you think of the impact that social networks have had as an alternate means of connecting you, your work and your audience? GC: I think it’s AWESOME. It’s fantastic connecting with fans around the world. Knowing that someone far, far away is looking at my work and digging it is so rewarding. This may sound corny, and may be a sign that age is making me soft (lol), but it actually makes me kinda weepy when people from around the globe heap all this praise on me. I’m so small yet I’ve touched their lives. Wow. God bless each and every one of them. r.j.p: Do you find that the advent of Internet exposure & POD distribution has "changed the game" for today's aspiring comic artists? GC: Everything must evolve or die. Comics are in danger of becoming extinct, or at the very least an endangered species. The game has changed. Everyone is trying to find a way to preserve a valuable art form.

With so much digital media competition in the form of online gaming and the like, the question is: how do you get in front of someone’s face and keep them interested? I think that everyone is hoping this is one of the ways. r.j.p: Do you have any big plans, shows or Cons coming up? GC: I’ll be at Boston Comic Con in April. There are others planned, but this one is up next. r.j.p: RKYV ONLINE would like to thank Greg for taking the time to share his thoughts and some of his spectacular art in this article… Below, for your viewing pleasure, is the wicked cool pinup of “Curse vs Spawn” that Mr. Capullo drew and Assistant Editor David Marshall adapted for the cover to this month’s issue – enjoy!

Artist’s Name: Greg Capullo Title: Curse vs Spawn

Painting Becomes Self-Aware – by

Stephen Gibb

The Director’s Chair
by r. j. paré
Welcome back to a new feature here at RKYV, “The Director’s Chair.” This is where we have some fun brainstorming a dream cast for a film project based on a favourite book, TV show, or comic. Basically… it’s our chance to show Hollywood how it should be done. The format for this feature is something I like to call: “Pop Culture Re-Casting.” What I do in my sessions in the Director’s Chair is take a cast from an old TV show or Film, that I am particularly fond of, and re-cast them in the titles roles of some “dream project” I’ve just been itching to drop some coin on at the local Cineplex. In honour of my good buddy [Giovanni Medina] GIO’s upcoming graphic novel release “Eternal” I thought it would be fun to dream-cast the big-budget, live-action feature-film adaptation… Now for those unfamiliar with “Eternal,” orphaned sisters, Dora and Ceera Linn, have been searching for those responsible for their mother’s mysterious murder. The Linn sisters began their search, years ago, when they ‘Triggered’. Now, grown up and fully aware of the ugliness of this world, they continue this search under the guise of Specialist Bounty Hunters working for the Memoria Police Department. As they search for the truth, they begin to realize that the truth is far more complex and multifaceted than they imagined. What began as a simple quest for revenge… reveals a deeper mystery with far more at stake than their own, personal, vendettas… Eternal is set in a world, not too dissimilar from our own. In this world, however, a number of people have been affected by T.E.A. [Trigger Effect Ability] as a result of mutated or altered Pituitary Glands.

The T.E.A. affect is activated when a person with this type of Pituitary Gland endures a severe physical, emotional or mental trauma. These abilities differ from person to person. These resulting supra-normal abilities fall into one of three categories Physical, Chemical, or Elemental. The general public has developed a slang term to describe these people and call them "Triggers." Let’s see how the, former, award winning cast of the sci-fi drama Battlestar Galactica would look, reunited to play the title roles in Eternal…

Tricia Helfer & Katee Sakhoff As Dora & Ceera Linn

The performances by these ladies as the violent and sexy Number 6 and Lt. Kara “Starbuck” Thrace, characters trying to do what they perceive as right but haunted by their pasts, give us a glimpse of what they could do with the beautiful, haunted and driven Linn sisters

Michael Hogan As Jin Zheng Meng
Every good tale needs its villains and let’s face it, despite being on the side of “humanity” Michael Hogan’s “Col. Saul Tigh” was not a man you’d trust with your life, [he’d be more likely to toss you out a frakkin’ airlock if it suited his twisted sense of honour]. He could really make Jin Zheng Meng a larger than life character.

Kandyse McClure & Rekka Sharma As Noira & Bianca Dior

Kandyse McClure’s “Petty Officer Anastasia Dualla” was a complex and troubled character. This lovely actress can handle the action while still lending a sense of vulnerability to the role of little sister Noira. Rekka Sharma’s “Tory Foster” meanwhile, was a layered and devious character. As Bianca she could provide a wonderful counterbalance as the big sister of the Dior family and fellow member in the Black Pearl Assassin Guild.

Jamie Bamber As Giovanni “Neoreign” Gonzalez

Who better to play the heroic, athletic and handsome love interest for the beautiful Noira, than Jamie Bamber? On BSG, his “Cpt. Lee 'Apollo' Adama” was the epitome of heroism keeping his people safe from the Cylons and his on-screen romance with Kandyse McClure’s “Petty Officer Anastasia Dualla” shows the two already have the necessary chemistry. [Heck their characters’ break-up played a, not inconsequential, role in Dualla’s shocking suicide in the final episodes].

Grace Park & Tahmoh Penikett As Celia & Rendel of the Black Ember Assassination Guild

Grace Park and Tahmoh Penikett have been quite busy with film and TV projects since BSG ended [Tahmoh on shows like Joss Whedon’s “Dollhouse” and Grace on the current remake hit “Hawaii Five-O”]. These two bring bona fide athleticism to the action roles they are cast in and exude the sort of sex appeal that Hollywood adores.

James Callis As Chester "Cheshir" Ramin
James’ “Gaius Baltar” was a study in contradictions. He possessed a brilliant mind yet would vacillate between inventing ways to protect humanity, on the one hand, and betraying them via his cowardice and weak character. Given the opportunity to play the lead suspect, “Cheshir” in the manhunt for the “Looking Glass Killer” he could really play up the ‘is he or isn’t he’ mystery. Eternal, by GIO, is an action packed sci-fantasy drama comic and Battlestar Galactica was an action packed sci-fantasy drama each episode – both are full of driven characters haunted by their dark pasts and the choices they are forced to make. This seems like the perfect “Pop Culture Re-Casting,” for an exciting feature film, if you ask me…

Hook’s Plan – by

Amber Blair

CS Cartier presents

Part One

New York City, December 3rd, 21:00 I watched for hours, hoping that my conclusions are all false. Yet burrowed deep in my gut, tightness continued to confirm that I am sure. The chill numbed any doubt that bears company with me this night. The cold December wind whipped through the sky and forced me to wonder why I do what I do. It is dangerous to let your mind wonder, it minimizes your reaction time. My entire life sprawls like an open book at these moments when endurance is so low. I analyze every choice and assessment, I ponder mistakes and think about what I would have, should have done differently. Regret was never really a problem for me. Did I lament leaving Bruce?

Certainly not! The entire way it happened wasn’t idle but done is done. Would I go back and change things if I could? Ya, the mind can play games with your soul when your body is weak and numb. I would rather be comfortable, surrounded by friends and having a good time. Heck, it would rather be cleaning toilets if truth be known. This is all I’ve ever known, well, this is what my life has become anyway. Dreams and fantasies are for writers, and the past is the past. You might not like it, but there you have it. This is what I have chosen to become. Who would choose this? Not many, that is for sure. It is hard, perilous, not very rewarding, and nights like tonight were cold and numbing and admittedly lonely. I can think of a couple people I would curl up with by a raging log in the fire place. And, here I am instead, hang out a window waiting, watching and hoping. That thought alone forces a strange grin to touch my numb lips. Like I had much of a choice? It was more like destiny. I was destined to walk in the shadows, and now I dwell there, wrapping it around me like a comforting blanket. Unfortunately, that blanket holds no warmth for me right now. My breath is a ragged white mist in the darkness and I certainly don’t want to be seen, so I try to slow down my breathing. A fit body helped me to endure the elements. I do not mean ‘fit’ like I just went on a grapefruit diet or that I stopped drinking beer and went down to the local Y with a bunch of buddies to get beach bodies for the summer. I mean fit as in years and years of training. I thought being in the circus had high demands on the body, but after my parents were… ya, well, I was shown and groomed into a weapon. Call it what you may, but a weapon is what I was molded into. Don’t load a gun if you are not ready to pull the trigger. That’s how I look at it. I try not to walk the line that Bruce walks. So I train, and I train looking for something to help me understand. Training I still do, and will continue to do. Sometimes one extra mile, or ten extra pounds makes the difference in my line of work.

Sometimes it is the difference between walking the line or falling off of it. I am tested nearly every day so fitness is a way of life. I need to be as near to perfect, both mentally and physically, as I can be. It is the edge that has saved my life on more than one occasion. All the training in the world still leaves you wanting and unanswered. I just want to know the damn question.

Movement drew my eyes; something was most definitely happening. I did not think it was possible but my gut tightened even more. Adrenaline made the past several hours worth the boredom. I cannot lie; the excitement is an added bonus to this gig. My fist and fingers tingled but I have been flexing, and stretching them routinely for the last couple of hours. First thing Bruce taught me was that anything could happen at any time, so be ready. Though my new gloves were wired for warmth, the wind still seemed to breach the fabric and licked my palms. All the training and fitness in the world couldn’t stop the effects of frigid temperatures. Which do you think is more important, moving to stay warm or being still and not being seen? Waiting and remaining still invited the cold to settle in your bones and joints. The waiting wasn’t on any of the cartoon I’ve watched. Being caught meant bullet at best, destroying my investigation at worse. Did I actually think bullet were a good thing? Once again, a small pair of binoculars scrutinized the target. Below, a warehouse, and security door opened near the trailer entrance. The door, just barely ajar, opened with only the shoulder. A man, (bald, black and tall) was talking on a cell and smoking a cigarette. He was not cautious or guarded. The entire event lasted for only seconds, the guy just wanted to discard his cancer stick outside, so with a last deep breath, the cigarette burned bright and with a flick was cast off. “Thanks for the DNA.” I whispered softly. Reading his lips shared just tidbits of a broken conversation. A strange thought pulled at me and I chastise myself for losing focus. What was up with me tonight? I’ve waited longer in colder; I have trained myself to have enough patience to teach a rock how to sit still. So why would I even think about what I was wearing or how much my outfits have changed? Probably because of those stupid little green shorts Bruce originally had me wear. One stake out with them on changed my outfit real quick that was for sure. I actually found myself grinning. Pondering, I am certain those were the source of all the rumors that began to float around. Boy Wonder indeed! Bruce certainly did nothing the squash the comments. He even was less chatty about such things, if that was even possible. The most I ever got out the guy was, and I quote, “Deal with it.” Bruce was many things but a father figure he was not. I had to find my own path in everything, and then he would reprimand me when I did. I wonder if the old man orchestrated the rumors in the first place, the guy was always in the middle of twelve different projects and plans. Who knows, it might have been for some case he was working on. I personally don’t know where he finds the time to do everything he does do. It was possible he just didn’t sleep, but I’ve seen it with my own eyes so I know he does. Green shorts aside, the past was the past and so was that name and identity. The only thing that was still the same was the purpose and drive. Names are not important; it is the costume I hide behind. The persona of what I want my enemies to know. Oddly, I still haven’t obtained a level of fear that I was taught to project; the level that HE has. I don’t have his hatred… that must be it. We both have lost our family to brutality and we are both forever in the shadow (He in the shadow of the death of his parents and me in his). Funny when you think about it.

Perhaps my youth is the cause of the bad guys not running in fear. Or maybe, just maybe, it is in my eyes - or his? I again replay all the facts of the case in my mind. It is unprofessional, for someone in my line of work, to reach conclusions based on assumptions. It is a dangerous way to proceed, but more times then not, I’ll sooner trust my gut for a lucky break, than waste time on a useless fact. That is the difference between experience and textbook. Any good investigator will tell you, most cases are never text-book. A snitch gave me this location. It was the scheduled drop off. Yet, something just didn’t seem right. The motives just didn’t back up the facts. Now, it was time to wait and hope that lady luck favors the foolish in the cold. I’m not sure when I picked up the habit, but I noticed when the vehicle finally arrived, my eyes narrowed. There was no real point to it; the dark night made visibility low as it was. It did not improve my vision. My eyes narrowed just the same and the most likely explanation was because Bruce did it all the time. Will I ever get out of his shadow? I wasn’t happy that I’d been perched up on this roof for six hours. I understand that patience is all part of the game, but my warm bed would put to rest any misgivings about another wasted nights just hoping for a lucky break. I had taken the facts as far as they would go. I had pushed all the right people and my investigation was going nowhere. Tonight however, I would be fortunate enough to be in the right place at the right time. I don’t care what Bruce says; sometimes lucky was better than calculated. The car pulled in at three. By this time, my knuckles are so numb that I've lost all feeling in my fingertips. I make a mental note to check the wiring in my gloves. Frostbite threatens to be a problem, but I've got to do what I came to do. Wasn't it Socrates that said 'to thine own self be true’? Why wait around all night in sub-zero temperatures just to leave because of the chills? I needed this; it was my job – my destiny. It’s who I am and someone was going to pay for making me freeze my britches. I watched as the car idles for a while. My vantage point provided me with nothing of the driver’s identity. Adrenaline keeps my wits sharp. The suspect gets out of the car finally. His trench coat and hat concealed his identity but I'm pretty sure it’s Cromwell. The person in question is the proper build and height. My mini-cam snapped a couple quick pictures of the person and of the car. I looked to the license plate and memorized the number. Chances are the car is stolen, but you never know. The man leaned against the car for about five minutes. I can’t be sure if he was waiting for someone or just burning some time. I watched him, and it is obvious that I’m not going to get much from here. Before I can move, the clandestine man moved toward the warehouse. Never taking my eyes off of him, I study him. His walk seemed familiar to me. It is the walk of a man with money, pride, and honor.

He is someone sure of himself. I can tell, by his posture that this individual worked out regularly. Shoulders are back and arms swing with control and purpose. They don’t move like he is a muscle-head but there is definite bulk. Though the stride is casual, it is calculated and attentive. I can sense his eyes scanning the area. He never looked up. That is interesting. It suggests he is an amateur, a pro would suspect the feds working a sting. Greeted at the door, words are exchanged. It was the same black man. But binoculars zoom closer and I can see he has a thin goatee. Before I can activate a listening device, the two enter the warehouse. I certainly didn’t sit up on this rooftop to watch an empty building for hours. With no windows into the construct, I decide it is time for a fact-gathering venture. Looking around, I confirmed the way is clear. With grapple in place, I swing down to the street below. With stealth as my aid, I approach the car. The Sedan is ten years old. In and of itself, that surprised me. Cromwell wouldn’t drive anything but the best. Resting my hands on the hood of the car, I allow the warmth from the engine to tease my frigid palms. I note the cigarettes resting on the dash and am confused further. Walking around to the driver’s door I peer into the car, a briefcase rests on the back seat. Gripping the handle of the door I decide to check the contents of the briefcase and the glove box. The only true evil is ignorance after all. The door is locked but that’s not a problem. From my side I pull out a skeleton key that will open the lock, and soon I'm inside the warm car. The scent of perfume splashes my nostrils; I am beginning to have a bad feeling about this entire set up. Inhaling, I note that the smell of smoke is absent from the car. This doesn't explain the presence of the cigarettes. So I check the astray, it's clean. The passenger's floor mat is wet. I feel the passenger seat and my suspicions are correct. Somebody, most likely a female, was just sitting in this chair. Not five minutes ago. Who? Cromwell always works alone. Was it Cromwell after all? The glove box is empty, save a couple of maps. They are of Metropolis’ east side. A couple of streets are highlighted but no specific destination is indicated. I check under the seats then move to the case on the backseat. I place my cold tips on the briefcase. It is the same temperature as the car. So I look around the lip, without moving it in any way. There is no evidence of a booby trap so I examine the lock. The metal is tarnished indicating that it wasn't just manufactured. I'm fairly confident that this is just an ordinary case. I’ve seen enough bombs to know what to look for. I open the briefcase scanning the warehouse briefly to ensure no surprises are coming my way. That is the thing about surprises, they are unexpected and sudden. Not to mention, all and all pain in my rear.

I'm not truly surprised to find the drugs. About ten kilos I would guess. I closed the case, exited the car and make like I was never there. I locked the door and turned to find the dark figure standing there. “Surprise!” Her voice is rasping, but soft. Startled and sadly shocked, I search for my wits. Where did she come from? There are only a handful of individuals that can approach me without my knowledge. I add another to that list. Years of training are needed to obtain such skills. Whoever this person is, she is dangerous and she’s definitely a pro. I heard nothing and for all I know she had been there the entire time I was. The element of surprise was in the dark one’s favor but she did nothing. She could have attacked me from behind, clean and easy. We watched each other for about ten seconds. I was ready for a fight but was patient. My cold knuckles ached by a tight fist that readiness created. I look for identifiable markings, something that can help ID this person. Her form seemed to swallow the night, the darkness around her. A size at firm medium build slipped in the shadow that seemed to swallow her made her slim, than massive. Though masked, I would have bet that she was smiling. Wearing black from head to toe, the dark one was framed as if from oriental lineage. I assumed nothing, as I can see none of her. And I am not even totally convinced she is female as I only had the voice to go by. I have seen far too much to go by first impression. In a world like this were the fantastic and impossible were daily events I assume nothing. For all I know this could be death herself. Facts could be derived if I could see her face. The eyes were always a dead giveaway. The darkness shared nothing. I am thrown to the ground, as the warehouse suddenly explodes. The force hurled me a dozen meters away. To my chagrin, I realize I’ve been caught completely off guard. Bruce would have my hide if he knew. I would love to say I rolled with the inertia of the blast and end on my feet in a smooth heroic maneuver… Like I said, I would love to say it however, moments later; I was picking myself up off the ground. It wasn’t quick or graceful. The armor in my suit took some of the blast but I know I will feel this tomorrow.

Once I regain my orientation I came to the discovery that the stranger is gone. I spun left then right but the one dressed in black had vanished. I couldn’t believe how sloppy I had been. The stranger in black knew the warehouse would explode. She used it as a distraction to disappear when she could have used it a take me down. But she didn't. Why? And who was she? The stranger wanted me to know of her presence, which was the only explanation for why she exposed herself. I can at least say I was not surprised to find the stranger gone. The blazing building helped to warm my body but chills run down my spine nonetheless. If it was Cromwell that was driving the car, then he must be dead. And that means that McKaphy was responsible for the job. But if Cromwell wasn't driving the car then there is a new player in the game and that means I need help. The one dressed in black was definitely a professional; I'm beginning to think that I'm way over my head on this one. I watched the warehouse burn from all sides. The heat and intensity are a welcomed but disturbing sight. The possibilities of someone escaping from such a blast were negligible. Thus meaning I no longer had any leads, not that I had many in the first place. That’s what I get for following my gut. Ya, Bruce would be so proud of me. Come to think of it, he never was. Walking away from the inferno, I notice the door of the Sedan is open. My suspicions are confirmed as I see the briefcase has been taken. So, I think to myself, the dark stranger is a professional and she is cocky. A grin touches my lips as this character trait, at the very least, reminds me of… myself.

To be continued…

Orchid at Phipps Conservatory – by

Larissa Gula


by Scott Claringbold
Cover & Page One Illustration by Marc Olivent Additional Images by r. j. paré

For Lisa My better half

Chapter 5
Grimoire returned to the hotel but the place was crawling with cops and Marks was nowhere to be seen. The beast flapped up into the air and headed for the cemetery. It was his home now; among the dead. Grimoire swooped down over the church spire and into the grounds of the graveyard. The monster found a spot back among the old graves and sat down heavily. It suddenly felt very weary. Within moments the creature was asleep for the first time in many months.

*** Jordan Storm threw down the photo on his desk. He looked over his shiny new office. The sleek silver design of the desks had impressed him. The office was situated in the middle of a large skyscraper in Hazard City. Storm had a lovely view of the harbour. He envied the people on the luxury yachts down there. Maybe if he worked solid for another few years he would have enough to get himself one. The man in the photo stared back at him. There was no way Storm was going to find this one alive. If his sources were right, and of course he knew they were, then some giant bat creature had been killing the city vagrants for food. As luck would have it someone actually missed this bloke. A woman had come to him all teary -eyed and told him a tale of how her husband had disappeared after battling drug addiction. Storm was a sucker for a weeping dame and so he had taken the case on a no -find no- fee policy. The phone rang and Storm answered. “Storm Investigations.” “It’s me.” The voice on the other end said. Storm became suddenly business- like. He sat up in his chair. “I’m listening.” The man told Storm everything he needed to know and then asked if he was willing to take on the job. “And what are the rates of pay?” Storm asked. “The usual, except I will double it if you can manage to bring him in alive.” The voice replied. “Consider it done.” Jordan answered. He put the phone down and smiled. Maybe that yacht will be mine much sooner than I thought. Jordan stood up and put the photo away back in the file. The lady would have to wait; this was his priority now, unless she could come up with some serious cash, which he very much doubted.

Grimoire was awoken by the sound of bird. The winged beast stretched and felt almost human. It was amazing what a good sleep could do for you. The beast’s attention became aware of a vehicle approaching in the distance. Grimoire slunk back behind the mausoleum he had been using as cover. The car pulled up to a stop and a man climbed out with a younger woman. The man was carrying a bunch of flowers. He had a long coat on and the collar was pulled up around the bottom of his face and a tweed fedora hat perched on his head. The younger woman was probably the old guy’s daughter Grimoire thought watching the couple pick their way slowly through the graveyard. They seemed to be looking at all the graves. The man would shake his head and they moved to the next. What are they looking for? Grimoire thought. He gasped as the couple stopped. They were standing at the grave of Ryan Winters. The man placed the flowers and took an envelope from his pocket. He secured the envelope with a stone to the plinth of the grave. Standing the old man looked around and Grimoire spotted who it was. Hugo Marks smiled and nodded but didn’t make any attempt to draw the attention of the younger woman to what he had seen. The couple made their way back to the car and left. Grimoire made his way over to the grave and snatched up the envelope. The name on the front read Grimoire in neat handwriting. Grimoire smiled and retreated to read the message. *** My Friend Thank you for helping me and for ensuring that the sample did not fall into the hands of The Organisation. I do not know what I would have done had they been allowed to take it and carry out diabolical research. I had created the sample in the hopes that man could cure disease. I have decided to destroy my research and I am going to move away with my daughter and her family. Please do not give up hope I may be able to help you at some point in the future. Remember it is not that a person looks human that makes them so. It is their actions and beliefs. I wish you all the best for the future. Hugo Marks

Grimoire felt a tear roll down his cheek. He was crying? That was a human emotion; perhaps he had been wrong Ryan Winters wasn’t totally dead. He smiled and folded the letter back up and placed it back into the envelope.

*** Deadwood stood at the departure gate and checked the times. His flight would be leaving in approximately thirty minutes. Then he would be living out his days in India. It wasn’t his first choice but he decided that it was probably not somewhere that The Organisation would come looking for him. He was wearing a smart business suit and black shades to cover his eyes. Deadwood sat down and unfolded his paper. There had been no mention of anything that had happened in the city a few nights earlier. Who was going to believe a story about a giant winged demon anyway? Deadwood decided he needed a drink so he stood up and headed over to the drinks kiosk. He ordered a cola and took a few sips. He had given the area a quick recon and was satisfied that he was not being watched so he was starting to relax a little. After all he would be out of here shortly. Deadwood decided to head to the bathroom before boarding. He made his way across the check-in lounge. He pushed open the door. It seemed deserted apart from a janitor with a mop and cart at the other end of the room. He had his back turned to Deadwood and didn’t even seem to know the man was there. Deadwood made his way to a cubicle but just as he was about to close the door it slammed open and into his face. The black plastic shades cracked and fell away. The janitor entered the cubicle and cracked Deadwood across the face. He fell down dazed but looking back up he recognised the face of Storm. The man pulled straps from his pocket. He kicked Deadwood a couple of times and then pulled out a chloroform rag. He clamped it over Deadwood’s mouth and held the man down as he kicked to free himself. Seconds later the bound and gagged body was secured in the cart and Jordan walked through the airport whistling.

Grimoire sat on the top of the old gothic building. He could hide among the gargoyles and he felt quite at home. He looked up and felt the sun’s rays on his face. For the first time he felt that he had a life to look forward to.

~ Fin ~ Afterword:
Grimoire – A textbook of magic spells. It typically contains the secrets to producing amulets and talismans but also contains text to summon supernatural entities such as angels and demons. The end of the word rhymes with noir for those not in the know. Grim originally appeared as Agent Icarus in Rabid issue 1, before going on to his own stories in To Cut a Long Story Short and Fallen Angel. I decided to rename him Grimoire for this story and took elements from all his previous appearances. For those of you that have read Southpaw Smith Round One you will have noticed that The Organisation is mentioned in this book. It will all come together eventually. Scott Claringbold July 2010

Other books by this author:
Southpaw Smith: Round One. From Transmooky Press available to order from:

Jess B+W 1 –

by Josh Bowe

Selected Poetry
by Frances Nichols Vargas The Beautiful Light
In all the darkness and among all the shadows Not far away is this amazing and beautiful light. A light no one else can see A light just for me It calls me It shines so bright and is soothing I can feel it It feels like it is healing The light chases away the tears And all the demons that have troubled me It is so strong It brings me to my knees The light wraps me and warms me This amazing light kisses me gently And fills me with a rejuvenating and young spirit It refuels my heart with love Stronger than anything I ever felt in my lifetime Gently picked up and placed back on my feet I am placed back into a much better place of reality …and when he spoke the heavens shook

– by r. j. paré

Selected Poems

[images by r. j. paré] March comes in like a shark and goes out like a dolphin. She hated the wind until she fell in love with a sailor. Annoying wind messed up her hair, blew sand in her eyes and lifted her skirt over her head which didn't make her famous like a movie star. Wind is bipolar, as moody and as dangerous as a domestic batterer. The Westerly is pleasant, warm and caressing as dependable as the South Bay Daily Breeze newspaper The Norther cold, violent and unpredictable as El Nino

Wind is as invisible as God. We can't see wind but know that it is here from what it wrought, drifting clouds, flying kites, billowing sails, white caps on waves, Praise the wind that scatters seeds of wild flowers . Turns the arms of Don Quixote wind mills. Curse it's alter ego that fans flames of wild fires that uproots and topples trees, dis-masts and sinks ships. She has learned to batten down the hatches and survive life's tornado and hurricanes. Her captain was a merchant seaman, a broker of swift yachts and racing sails. No one needs a fast hull or spinnaker without a fresh breeze. March comes in like a shark goes out like a dolphin

[image by r. j. paré] April fools day is in the middle of the month not the first day of April. April 15 is when the IRS makes fools of taxpayers a day when otherwise honest citizens try to fool the government. All my Xs are in taxes. If I multiply zero times my monthly income it is below the poverty level. What value shall I place on two anthologies I earned from the poem I produced? Will it be disallowed If I deduct my car expense for driving to coffee houses to display my word ware My CPA says if I do not show a profit, the IRS will declare my work a hobby business. It isn't fair. What about politicians running for president here and there writing off their trips? Waiters and bar tenders are required to declare an estimated tax for their tips. The only tips I get are you should make your poems rhyme. The US has no debtor's prison but if you don't file in time the IRS may lock you up for an evasion crime and evoke a fine and that’s no April fool's day joke..

poetic perspectives
by r. j. paré … Stages
nay, nix, no refute this painful truth forswear these, unsought, ill tidings ... denial enmity bile for the messenger vexed by the choleric impulse ... anger

Disgruntled Box – by Stephen Gibb

but maybe trade promises with fate for a less painful circumstance ... bargaining despondent bleak empty promises the taste of dust and bitter tears ... depression nod, okay acquiesce to wretched affairs, solicitous of thine ... acceptance

Perception – by Stephen Gibb

final harvest – by

r. j. paré

Digital Scribbles
by Darke Raven
This Month's Experiment:

Spartacus Motion Comics
From Starz (2009)

Starring Ray Park
Motion Comics are the polar opposite of CineManga. Unlike CineManga, which takes footage from TV and animation and movies and turns them into comic format, Motion Comics does the opposite by taking comic format (or in this case footage that is supposed to look like comic format because I have to wonder about this after watching it) and bringing it to life with motion (hence the whole motion comic thing), music and voice acting (in this case Ray Park who narrates the four episodes and plays some of the roles too). In this case it's the motion comic tied into the Starz series Spartacus. Violent, bloody, vicious and a little erotic... if you consider mostly naked women (no visible nipples... which I think is majorly weird since it's alright to show massive bloody violence but apparently female breast nipples are a no-no... (Come on!!) Shadow rape and women giving birth... well... erotic, if not then, well... it's violent.

Ray Park walks you through four episodes where the first one is about his character, his rise to become a gladiator... where he's killed off by Spartacus in the end... wow. Episode 2 Ray Park, his character now narrating from the great beyond, tells about the next gladiator who'll avenge him by killing Spartacus, a great man who is actually just a supporting character in his own story. The story is in fact about the twin cannibals whose mom was this hot female warrior lady who was raped while standing around her house naked by a guy that looked like Sabretooth from X-Men (only for her to kill him off after he impregnates her). She gives birth to twins which kills her, leaving her husband to cruelly raise the twins until they grow up and eat him... no, really, they eat him and then run off and become violent cannibals are picked up by the Romans and put into the gladiator arena until the guy who is supposed to be the star of this story kills them... which is pointless since apparently Spartacus killed him while we were listening to his back story that really wasn't much about him.

Dumb! The next two story seem to have absolutely nothing to do with Spartacus as the third guy is a guy who became strong because he's out to avenge his mother's death at the hands of the Romans while in the gladiator ring, while the four guy is a giant of a guy whose been on the run since he killed his girlfriend during sex when she apparently had a heart attack during sex and... then he became a pirate only to end up killing his own pals while saving women they captured that they were raping... yeah... did I mention there's rape (except for the one consensual sex scene in this fourth episode) and women giving child birth? (And lots of covered female breast nipples?) Yeah, I'm not getting over that... sorry. Anyway he becomes a gladiator... ho hum... don't care. I can see why this is free now. This is not going to make you want to run out and watch Spartacus on the web, let alone spend valuable money to actually buy the episodes. If this was, I don't know, about the guy that this is called for (mainly Spartacus) then maybe it might have been at least recommendable for that, but this is kinda like the stories of people who might have kind of sort of maybe fought Spartacus or were killed by Spartacus or maybe passed him by in the corridor at the 34th minute of episode 7 between fights or whatever!

And really do you want to watch a motion comic whose title character is a minor character (half of the time) in his own series motion comic? I don't think so... doesn't help that the stories are forgettable, the characters have no impact, story doesn't move you like a well written drama should and overall is just something to add content to a series without really adding anything to the series. If this is what I can expect from motion comics, I don't think I'll be looking at another for the immediate future. A 2 out of 5. May it's the heat of spring, so how about something abit more heartwarming and encouraging and lovely to take a romp through... or just something in a vein of Azumanga Daioh with a lovely funny cast which this selection... lacks... come on, Playstation Network, really? Come on!! May's review is... up in the air while I ponder my options. June? Let's gear up for Captain America coming to theaters in July and look at World War II meets Battletech slash Front Mission in... Dust and Dust Wars from Twistory. That's that. And remember... nipples are not a scary thing... yes, I should shut up now. Sorry.

Digital Scribbles Presents
by Darke Raven IDW's Infestation
Month 1 Phase 1 - Zombies vs Robots Phase 2 - Infestation 1 (of 2) Phase 3 Part 1 - Infestation: Transformers 1 & 2 (2)
When it comes to things I detest the most about mainstream comics, right up there at the top of the heap, the very top of the mountainous iceberg of DO NOT WANT is... yes... inter company multi title crossover events. I've been to the dance quite a few times, believe you me. Invasion, Zero Hour, the age of Marvel Comics Annual Crossover events, you name it (post Crisis on Infinite Earths) I've probably seen it. So what do I have to say about IDW Publishing's first major multi company crossover? Eh... do not want? This has to be one of the largest… involving so many large company owned publications though. GI Joe, Ghostbusters, Transformers, Star Trek, alot of these are owned by larger entities and each in turn no doubt probably had a word or two concerning their particular brands' involvement with this crossover (whether or not too many chefs ended up ruining the broth remains to be seen), but to date this is the largest I've seen concerning so many non comic company exclusively owned titles. The source of the plague is a IDW title (Zombies versus Robots), as well as one of the groups going against the undead (who is prominent in Issue One of the main core crossover book as you'll see).

But a majority of the fight is taken up by non IDW created brands... hmm... by the way IDW when in god's name are you going to roll me over some Doctor Who onto the PlayStation Network for me to review? While I'm alive and non undead, IDW, while I'm alive!! Before we crash into Infestation we'll look first at the core of the infestation in question, the world known as Zombies versus Robots.

Phase 1

Zombies versus Robots
IDW Publishing Published October 20th 2009

Written by Chris Ryall Artwork by Ashley Wood
The origins of Zombies versus Robots. Set in a rather inconspicuous military munitions base (complete with nukes no less) three crazy dysfunctional scientists build a portal to other worlds... and instead of finding some happy world like the world of Care Bears, Poke'mon, or a cuddly world from where every hot female anime girl ever seen in every porn ever created they end up hooking up to a world dubbed Z... as in Zombie. The first guy gets eaten alive after going through. The second one, donning an Iron Monger like Iron Man armor, ends up getting ripped out of his fancy suit and eaten... the third, after activating his hoard of robots is not eaten... his chief warbot blows his brains out, nice move guy. And after that apparently the world falls and we start the world of Zombies versus Robots where the Robots have to protect a lone single human female baby so she can be cloned and restock the human race... we only have two issues left in this three issue batch so that doesn't go well. And neither does this series. I do have to admit the writing is snappy and punchy, but the set up and overall delivery leaves me... flat. I didn't like it much, I wasn't hooked on this and while it has its merits (all in the writing though the artwork is rather fitting for the title and is done quite well). However, mind you, just because I don't like this doesn't mean this isn't good... for a taste of what you can expect from Zombies versus Robots. In fact this three issue pack, for $2, is what I call the ideal jumping on point to find out (at a nice cheap price) if you are going to like the series or not (and then if you're going to be willing to spend $8 for the Aventures four-parter after this)... so like this, hate this, this three issue set will answer all that for you... but not for me, this is it for me.

A 2 out of 5 and out I go... almost. Sadly IDW has other plans for me as they, like the mafia, draw me back into the world of Zombies versus Robots for the crossover of 2011... Infestation.

Phase 2

Infestation #1 (2)
IDW Publishing Published February 6th 2011

Written by Andy Lanning and Dan Abnett Artwork by7 David Messina
Sadly despite the fact this has a cover featuring all four worlds? They don't get in this issue. In short it's the events that cause the situation as the same base from Zombies versus Robots, where it all began, is the setting... as apparently the inter-dimesional portal created by the trio of nutters is still there, and still active... you know what? Call me crazy but if you open a portal up to a world of the undead (and end up taking heavy losses during a first strike invasion) shouldn't you, I don't know, shut the dam portal already?!? Or maybe, find a world inhabited only by bikini clad super models? Apparently, however, logic has gone and humped the fail whale big time as the portal still exists, still is open, and is now spewing out a fresh wave of undead to overtake the base... call in a branch of vampire special ops types meant to take back the base, only to end up behind the eight ball (even after discovering the mothballed robots faction of Zombies versus Robots hidden on the base decommissioned) which leads to the crossover as the portal is now being used to link four new worlds upon which the infestation will move forward... and yes, sadly, that moves us to phase three and... sigh... crossover books. Sad, people, prepare to feel the sadness... like this, this book? It's the sadness. Whatever hype I felt going into this crossover promptly died a quick death reading this... wow... died so fast too. Especially now that I have to get the crossover issues like Star Trek Infestation #1 & #2, GI Joe Infestation #1 & #2, Transformers Infestation #1 & #2 and... well... I guess Ghostbusters Infestation #1 & #2 though there is no sight yet of Ghostbusters and only word of GI Joe Infestation #1-#2 but no sign of the issues yet on IDW's homepage... wow... enthusiasm dying... growing weak of crossover already and it only just started... kryptonite!! Crossover is... kryptonite!! And... Infestation #1... gets a... 1... a ONE... out of FIVE... bad starting issue... BAD!!

Mommy! Make the crossover stop! (What? Already?) Phase Three - The Crossover Issues I guess I should be happy it's not an out of control crossover with a ton of issues... I mean four batches of 2 apiece is controllable, right? So here we go, let's see how many issues come out before deadline... OK, here comes the start and it's... Transformers!

Phase 3 Part 1

Infestation: Transformers #1 & #2 (2)
IDW Publishing Published February 7th 2011

Written by Andy Lanning & Dan Abnett Artwork by Nick Roche
At the end of Infestation #1, Britt (the vampire team's only female member... and yes, she's hot for a rather uninteresting character) is possessed by a rather Borg like hive mind of the zombies (if they claim at the end that the zombies were being manipulated by the Borg at the end that would be such sadness) which use her and her powers to use the portal device of Zombies vs. Robots to rip a portal into four worlds... however, take note that the infestation is a bit trial and error as the zombies, hive mind intellect they may be, step out into new worlds... case in point? The start of the invasion of the Transformers universe in Infestation: Transformers #1. For all intents and purposes the invasion is almost over as fast as it begun as the first portal deposits the invading force... somwhere in space. If it wasn't for a curious Galvatron coming by in his ship, picking up the undead and unleashing them on his ship (which crashes on Earth, Las Vegas, depositing the plague on Earth) it would have ended there. In truth the first half of the invasion seems to be abit miss as the first batch ends up in space, the second a world that is not Earth (Star Trek). Only in the second half of the infestation do the portals hit the mark and Earth, but that's for later discussion.

Galvatron, surprise surprise, is actually leading the charge with his Decepticons to wipe out the invading plague... too bad he and Optimus Prime and his Autobots end up bumping heads even as the human and robot zombies (did I mention that, in Zombies vs. Robots, you found out this particular strain of zombie virus has the capacity to affect machine as well as human?) start to convert Las Vegas. Optimus Prime does set up a quarantine about the city but having neutralized the Decepticons who could have been allies, and with the arrival of Britt in this world (as a female Arcee type evil Transformer) it looks like things are rather grim for Las Vegas, let alone the world... but it's only one issue yet so somehow I have a feeling Autobots and Decepticons are going to end up teaming up to turn the tide of the infestation before it's too late... disappointing... but that is only a speculation... will it come to pass? I'm going to let it rest for a month and we'll score Infestation Transformers in a month (and I'll try to do it as spoiler free as possible)... however, oh wait, I just got it. The second issue wraps it up as it looks like everyone is behind the eight ball, what with Britt assimilating Kup and turning him into one of the undead, even as he struggles to maintain his sentience. This means, however, that the undead bots can make an Autobot upgrade even as Britt opens a portal into the past, fully intending to overtake Cybertron and turn it into a planet of the dead... so while the Decepticons do not fight side by side with the Autobots, it'll take Galvatron's help in order to stop the army of the undead before they overtake Cybertron... which, sadness, makes this crossover a good chance to launch a new non Infestation tied mini series for Transformers... gee, nice riding the mini series into your own mini series, Transformers... not. OK. Let's score them. Zombies vs. Robots - Not my cup of zombie blood, but this $2 download (for three issues) is about the best you got for trying out the series. So if your curious? Try it out... it's only $2, not bad for sampling what the series has to offer if I do say so myself. Writing is punchy and art is good but overall the package didn't really win me over. A 2 out of 5. Infestation #1 (2) - If this beginning was supposed to get me hyped about the crossover event... it failed. I hope the series itself would fare better but Infestation Transformers is launching at a bumpy start so... oh well. A 1 out of 5. Infestation: Transformers #1 and #2 – get a 3 out of 5. Overall it was a fair two-parter. Didn't like how the series took this opportunity to get a Transformers mini (Heart of Darkness) out of this, and I don't plan to follow Heart of Darkness if you're wondering, but this was decent and middle ground... so what's next?

Next Month
It's Infestation Month 2 with two more crossovers! Infestation Star Trek #1-#2 - It was the best of time in dark times... and already I am hyped about this. Set during the seldom touched on Star Trek the Motion Picture era, a brief mention of the Leonard McCoy Frontier Doctor mini, this twoparter lands the second invasion force on a distant colony world for a little siesta... which ends once they face the greate3st threat they ever did, the three musketeers of Kirk, Spock and McCoy... all of a sudden my enthusiasm is back again, and I'm riding high on what should be a good review! Looking forward to Issue #2 when an unstoppable force (the undead) breaks against an unstoppable will (Kirk)!

Ghostbusters #1-#2 - During a time of increased poltergeist activity in New York who should come a knocking but Britt and her undead, the first invasion force to make landing on Earth from the get go (as opposed to hitching a ride to Earth in Transformers). Another title I am hyped for.

That's next month so we'll see you here, same undead time same outbreak review.

John Wayne – by

Roger Price

Raised on Saturday Morning Cartoons
On a recent rainy day, my hubby introduced the kids to the Brady Bunch online. Both children took no time to get into the story and characters. Sure it is corny and predictable but when seen from the eyes of the younger generation, the Brady Bunch is funny and cool. The plot lines are not any sillier than the ones seen on the Disney Channel and the nostalgia that it brought to my husband and I was priceless. We both grew up with these characters; they feel like old friends. The Brady Bunch aired from 1970 to 1974 and enjoyed continued popularity in syndication. There were also a few less notable spin-offs; a couple of reunion specials, a short lived animated series and 2 very popular spoof movies in the mid-nineties.

Many of these older shows are available for free online and though they are old, they are new to your children. They are also wholesome and many are quite brilliant. The Cosby Show, Bewitched, Gilligan’s Island and Family Ties are timeless television series that could provide many hours of rainy day amusement to the young or young at heart during the summer months.

Many of these shows have rarely had a moment when they were completely off the air. I loved the exploits of Gilligan as a child and never questioned why he kept getting off easy for leaving the group stranded. I watched this series with the wonder of a child and I enjoy seeing them anew through the eyes of my children. I am still waiting to see if apple comes out with a product as cool as the professor’s coconut phone.

Recently, Sherwood Schwartz, the creator of many television programs including Gilligan’s Island and The Brady Bunch passed away. His accomplishments are still enjoyed by people today. A true entertainer, his works weren’t made to change the world but just to make us happier.

November 14, 1916 – July 12, 2011

See ya next ish!