Table of Contents

RKYV # 53 {Jan. 2012} RKYV ONLINE LOGO – David Marshall {current} r. j. paré {modified} Roy G. James {original} Virtual Covers # 53 - art by Mike Gustovich - Design/Layouts by David Marshall & r. j. paré Interior Art - by r. j. paré, Kevin Curtis Barr, Igal Fedida, Michael Netzer, Stephen Gibb, Nik Poliwko, James ‘Jig-One’ Titman, Mike Gustovich Editorial Column - “At the Outset: A Few Thoughts On Writing from the Editor” - “Walk This World” - By r. j. paré - by Mick Edwards In Memoriam - “Joe Simon, Jerry Robinson & Eduardo Barreto” - by r.j. paré, Neil Burke, CS Cartier, Wanda VanHoy Smith, Barbara Randall Kesel & MaGnUs Featured Artist Review - Mike Gustovich - By r. j. paré Short Fiction - “Deadly Friend, pt III” - by Patrick J Nestor, Jr. - “Beneath a Prairie Grave” - by r. j. paré Art in Focus - Orly Shalem - by r. j. paré Poetry - by Marie Lecrivain, Wanda Smith, Frances Nichols Vargas, r. j. paré Pop Culture - “Digital Scribbles & This Idiot Box Random Spotlight” - by Darke Raven - “Raised on Saturday Morning Cartoons” - by Pauline Paré

Reasons why I may, regrettably, forget a few things or miss the occasional deadline – by r. j. paré

At the Outset
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A few thoughts from The Editor… by r. j. paré
Just for a moment I was back in school And felt that old familiar pain And as I turned to make my way back home the snow turned into rain… Dan Fogelberg
 I resolve to be the best damn Dad, I can be.  I resolve to be the best damn husband I can be.  I resolve to write more, work harder and live up to my potential.

Ah hell! It seems I’ve made these resolutions before… Resolving to do better is easy – results are another matter altogether…

Conceiving Raw – by Igal Fedida

2012, despite the varied prognostications of ancient doomsayers, seems a fine opportunity to rediscover our dreams and chase them with passionate zeal! I say embrace this New Year and make the most of it. Welcome, all of you, to the latest edition of RKYV ONLINE, your hybrid, art-lit, pop-culture [free]-Zine. I do hope everyone enjoyed their holidays and is eager to make 2012 a creative success! This issue, returning columnists Darke Raven & Pauline Paré regale us with their, oft times, witty opinions and observations. As well, contributing poets Frances Nichols Vargas, Wanda VanHoy Smith & Marie Lecrivain share some intimate, timely and poignant lines of verse with us; I am grateful for their continued support. As we are every month, RKYV is incredibly fortunate to share the works of many talented contributing artists [credited throughout]. We are also very pleased to shine our spotlight on Mike Gustovich as this month’s Featured Artist! Mike took some time from his busy schedule, recently, to share some of his work [past and present] and participate in an interview – for an article that you’ll hopefully enjoy reading as much I enjoyed putting it together. Once upon a time [in the {shudder} Culture Club/Miami Vice 1980’s - LOL] I was a kid growing up on Comico Comics & Palladium Fantasy Role Playing Games and his art was a favourite. Damn, I wish I had still had that Graffiti Designs Justice Machine t-shirt... but I digress.

Paint Box – by Stephen Gibb

On a sombre note, last month marked the passing of three giants of the comic book world as Joe Simon, Jerry Robinson & Eduardo Barreto all passed within days of each other over the span of one disheartening week. Fans & comic professionals, from indie to mainstream have taken a few moments to share their thoughts and memories of these men for an “In Memoriam” special tribute feature this issue. I’ve had a life-long love affair with this medium – from the Sunday Funnies, to the four colour pulpprinted adventures I once discovered on spinner racks down at the corner store, to the graphic novels prevalent on shelves of the brick and mortar independent comic shops of today. I simply love “graphic sequential stories.” Heck, no sense putting on airs as it were, I love comics and the contributions of these men played a significant part in fostering my love of the medium. Period. In fact, I might as well swipe Stan the Man’s famous sign off in this instance – ‘Nuff Said. From the Editorial desk of my youngest daughter:

Swiper no swiping! Swiper no swiping! tee hee…

Termanology – by James ‘Jig-One’ Titman

In Memoriam
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by r. j. paré

Joe Simon Jerry Robinson Eduardo Barreto
{1913 – Dec. 14, 2011} {1922 – Dec. 7, 2011} {1954 – Dec. 15, 2011} As 2011 wound down and many of us were preoccupied with the onslaught of holiday shopping madness a dark cloud fell for comic fans. In the span of a week three giants of the art-form, tremendously talented creators each, passed away: Joe Simon [co-creator of Captain America], Jerry Robinson [creator of the Joker] and Eduardo Barreto [artist of Lex Luthor: The Unauthorized Biography fame]. Fans, writers and artists from different generations were saddened at these sudden losses. Through the Golden, the Silver and the so-called Modern Ages of Comics these men left indelible marks on the medium.

by Neil Burke
I’m sat writing this at 22:41 on Thursday 15th December, 2011. Six hours ago I found out that innovator, dreamer, comic book writer and family man Hymie Simon, also known as Joseph Henry Simon, also known as Gregory Sykes, but better known as Joe Simon had closed his eyes for the final time and walked through the pearly gates, hopefully with a smile on his face, love in his heart and a small stack of funny-books under his arm. He was ninety eight years old and even though I never met him or spoke to him, he made such a difference to my life that I felt a sense of loss deep inside. You see, without Joe Simon I would never have become a writer, because Joe Simon influenced the writers who in turn influenced me, people like Ed Brubaker, Warren Ellis, and Martin Powell to name a few.

Joe Simon wasn’t just any old man who had danced his last dance; he was the man who along with legendary comic book artist Jack Kirby created the world’s greatest superhero, Captain America. Also with Jack he co-created the Boy Commandos at DC Comics, the Fighting American and the Fly as well the entire romance comic genre and was amongst the first pioneers of horror comics. He certainly came a long way from his humble beginnings living in the first floor flat that doubled as his father’s tailor shop. He won an Inkpot Award in 1998 and was (finally) inducted into the Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame the following year. Thank you, Mr Simon and sleep tight.

by CS Cartier
Joseph Henry "Joe" Simon (born Hymie Simon; October 11, 1913 – December 14, 2011) was an American comic book writer, artist, editor, and publisher. The great Joe Simon was one of the little guys that brought the grand idea that a character named Steve Rogers is the personification of the shield against injustice while his protectorate device simply honours the colors of his nation.

Cover art for “The Comic Book Makers,” written by Joe Simon and his son Jim.

Captain America was created as a mere symbol of the dream that justice can be enforced by the little guy. The genius writing that was needed to inspire a world at a time of war had and still is fuelling the patriot dream in the free world. Often copied, his talents will be a massive loss to not only the comic genera, but to the world. I am please he lived long enough to see his works become a household name and that he was able to see a awesome Hollywood rendition of his hard efforts. Mr Simon, I personally have to thank you for life lessons that I still hold dear to my heart and that I am trying to teach my offspring. Joe, you will be missed.

The following poem, was inspired by Joe Simon’s collaborations with Jack Kirby on comics such as Captain America and Captain Marvel Adventures #1 [at right], was written by west coast poet – Wanda VanHoy Smith:

SHAZAM AT LAST
A tall sun tanned gentleman enters Shela's Ancient Cargo Book store and goes directly to the comic Book section and searches through some stacks of old DC comics. Shela gets down from a ladder and asks. “Are you looking for some books in particular.” He nods, “I need an old Captain Marvel that has the word SHAZAM on a cover. The man's dark hair is white at the temples and his handsome face lined and bonze from the sun. He wears a blue wind breaker over a red and white striped cotton shirt and a navy captains hat. The book store owner realizes with a start if Captain America grew older this could be the world war II hero. “Are you a collector,” She asks. “No. I am just a fan. When we were kids, my older brother read Marvel comics to me. I loved Shazam and decided if I ever got a boat when I grew up, I would christen it SHAZAM.” “And so is that day here?” “Yes, And I want my boat name rendered exactly in the style of the word I saw in the comic books. So I am looking for a classic SHAZAM to show the sign maker to paint on the stern on my yacht.” Shela pulls a shabby comic from a “well read “stack of DC books that still has bright letters in tact and presents it to the new boat owner saying, “Regard this SHAZAM as a gift from Joe Simon It's a Marvelous word, Long may it sail,”

Cover homage/recreation by

Nik Poliwko, at the by request from Club-Batman!

Based on the iconic, original work of Jerry Robinson.

Neil Burke [cont.]
Joe Simon wasn’t the only great to pass away recently, also today (December 15th) Eduardo Barreto (who I am ashamed to say I am not all that familiar with) died and on December 7th we lost eighty nine year old Jerry Robinson, a Journalism student born January 1st, 1922 in New Jersey who started his comic book career as a letterer and background inker before becoming a penciller in the early 1940’s. During the early years of his career Mr Robinson co-created the original Robin; Dick Grayson, the villainous Two-Face and also helped flesh out the character of Alfred Pennyworth. Where Joe Simon gave us the world’s greatest superhero, Jerry Robinson gave us the world’s greatest villain; the Man Who Laughs; the Joker.

After leaving the comic book industry he spent 36 years drawing political cartoons for newspapers and it is this body of work that he considered his best, saying in interviews that comic books, although he was proud of them, were only the beginning of his career. In 1974 he wrote a book titled The Comics, documenting the history of newspaper comic strips and in 1999, created Astra, a manga alongside artist Shojin Tanaka. He was inducted into the Comic Book Hall of Fame in 2004 and received the Sparky Award for Lifetime Achievement from the Cartoon Art Museum at the 2011 San Diego Comic Con International. He will be missed but like Joe and Eduardo his legacy will live on and will provide entertainment for generations to come. It is in the shadow of these titans that we as writers, artists and creators walk.

by Barbara Randall Kesel

I worked with Ed Barreto on New
Teen Titans during the mid-80s and always liked it when he’d come by to drop off work. Those were the years before the Internet when artists pretty much had to come to New York for work, FedEx was still a pricy rarity, new writers from Britain were changing the game, and many local writers were being lured out west to work in animation. Eduardo’s work always had a sense of classic comics, old-school solid storytelling where you didn’t have to ask what direction you were supposed to read a page and what he thought he’d drawn in those panels, although he was always interested in and eager to see what the new wave of artists with their indy-honed drawing skills were up to.

Eduardo Barreto sketch by

Michael Netzer

If he ever rushed to make a deadline, I didn’t see it in the work: he always drew as if every panel mattered, and approached every script as if it was worth drawing. He was a rock——one of the steady guys you could always count on to deliver damn fine pages. I couldn’t believe how young he was then; now I can’t believe he’s gone already.

by Martin A. Perez (aka MaGnUs)
[BTW, my story took place back in 1998, when I was 18.] I remember when I told my friend and fellow comic book author Lisandro Di Pasquale that I was going to meet Eduardo at a Montevideo comic shop; where he would be doing sketches for customers. Lisandro said "He's a trekkie, ask him to draw you a Star Trek sketch. So I did, since I'm a trekkie as well... I said "Draw me your favorite Star Trek character"... and he did this wonderful Spock with the Enterprise in like, five minutes, with only a whiteboard marker. Then he signed it and asked who should he make it to... and I said "MaGnUs"... so he wrote "Magnus Robot Fighter"... and then explained me who this Robot Fighter was. I said "Hey, I know Robot Fighter!" and we laughed. Not my last Barreto piece; but my favourite, and I was honoured to help him sell some of his Star Wars original pages (even though I wanted to keep them for myself) a while later on Ebay. Godspeed, Eduardo. I bet there's a nice drawing table and a nice personal movie theatre in Heaven for you to enjoy the stuff you liked.

r. j. paré
To a degree, comics have been an extension of our collective childhoods. A place where the good guys always win & our heroes never age… Perhaps in our minds we’ve felt like we didn’t have to either. I know that every single time I crack open one of the latest gems from my pull list or sit down to write my next script [certain each time it will measure up to the standards of those creators who came before me – yet just as certain, upon completion, that I have so much further yet to go] that the young boy inside me thrills to every BAM, POW and CRASH as much as he has done since I first discovered the wondrous worlds of comic books. To experience time and death acting upon our escapist playground is a sobering reminder to all of us of just how precious our time here is. Immortal heroes like Batman, Captain America and The Teen Titans – they have eternity to solve cases, foil dastardly plots and defeat the bad guys because all too human, mortal, creators like Messrs. Simon, Robinson and Barreto have helped craft their stories into beloved modern myths. Their work, the stories and art we love… will live on.

The chicken-egg paradox is further confounded by neuroscience – by Stephen Gibb

by Darke Raven
But we are talking Rescue Bots, the follow up to Transformers Robot Heroes, and animated January 2012 bright shiny kid Transformers Rescue Bots in this completelykinda reminds me of friendly colourful way that Rescue Channel: The Hub Heroes animation, this new show is supposed Status: Preview of Episode 1 to 2 to teach kids about hazards. Hazards like that Premiere: 2012 posed by runaway robot dinosaurs, out of control landscapers and volcanoes... maybe Admittedly I'm a Brony. I only watch The Hub this'll teach your kids about teamwork and (the channel combining Discovery Kids and being a family better... well, sounds better than Hasbro Studios animations) for My Little the whole hazards idea in any case. Pony: Friendship is Magic. But since it was about to go into a three week hiatus as this came up I took awhile to check it out... with mixed results. If you ever wondered what it would take for Hasbro Studios to bring out a Cutie Mark Crusaders spin off... what are you doing here, Bronies don't read this. But if you wondered this show should answer it. Hasbro's newest kid friendly Transformers toy line, Hasbro is rolling out a full out animation connected to the toys... but also different from the toys in a few ways... The series may not officially launch until to promote the newest kid friendly line... aka 2012... strange, I thought Transformers Prime want a new Pony spin off? Season 2 was enough for one channel but now we got two active Transformers series atone Hasbro needs to put out a giant toy line just on time. Go figure. Anyway as an early gift to the topic. So see a large Cutie Mark Crusaders Transformers fans The Hub invited viewers to line and maybe a spinoff animation will follow... preview the series 8 days prior to Christmas... maybe. yay?

This Idiot Box Random Spotlight

Washington DC, which is quite easy since Griffin Rock is a test bed for the latest 21st Century advancements in technology... only his youngest son Cody soon begins to realize the truth when he spies on them on their first day at work, filled with mishaps as Chief Burns is the only one to flawlessly bond with his new partner, Chase, without a hitch. So let’s see... it all starts in deep space. A stasis pod floating silent amidst an asteroid field is brought back online when it receives Optimus Prime's message from Earth, quickly heading there bringing what may be the last Rescue Bots in the galaxies... until Hasbro makes more of course. Greeted by Optimus Prime they are assigned to the Burns family, a generational family of first responders (a total departure from the toy line axing non Burns or changing names on non Burns... something, I don't know since I don't know the toys.) As the last of their unique kind, they are to become ambassadors between Autobots and humans, learning about the new world that is their home as they help defend their island home of Griffin Rock (a quaint charming mix of Murder She Wrote small town charm and super science Eureka). The other three Autobots are not so lucky. Heatwave's partner (Heatwave by the way is the leader of the team) is a bit of a jerk, Blades female partner is pushy, and I'm not sure what is up with Boulder's but eventually, like next episode, both Blade and Boulder manage to completely bond with their partners... two out of three ain’t bad.

Just as Heatwave is about to bail in disgust young Cody shows up, and tries to help them as he is, like them, desperately searching for his place both in Griffin Rock and the world... kinda like a Cutie Mark Crusader but a boy... and he won't develop a cutie mark once he figures out his place. The other Burns ends up finding out the Rescue Bots secret when the bots have to tangle with an out of control nostalgia piece in a giant robot T Rex homage to Grimlock from Transformers Generation One, resulting in Heatwave declaring Cody to As part of their mission they are assigned to be their official liaison with the Burns team and work alongside the Burns family, a family of Earth. first responders that specialize in Police, Fire, Rescue and Engineering... a change from the Episode two and the other Burns are slowly toys where a couple of the toys were swapped learning to cope and work with their new out (the non Burns toys) or changed in name Autobot allies. However it is still slow sledding or more to make them more a family unit. as they seem to be no closer to becoming a team short, again, of Chief Burns and Chase. Anyway since Chief Burns is responsible for protecting the Rescue Bots identities as Maybe a rampaging volcano and a real threat Autobots, and thus their alien status, he is the that may put Cody in danger will bring the one who introduces them to his fellow townfolk Rescue Bots and the Burns together finally as a as the newest age of first responder tech from team.

And hey, at last we hear Doc Greene aka Levar Burton (Star Trek The Next Generation) doing his voice acting. He’s the second Star Trek alumni since John De Lancie's tour de force as Discord in the Season Two opener of Friendship is Magic. Downside is that the series is a bit formulaic and been there done that, but it has its moments. Watching both sides struggle to mesh and become a team, ultimately to become a family, is a pretty interesting concept though it is not as snappy stylish and solidly done as My Little Pony Friendship is Magic... really, what is, but if you want to see where your money you invested into Hasbro's product vanished to this year here you go...

Hasbro's latest money muncher: Transformers Rescue Bots. A decent, going to hope its future is at least tolerable 3 out of 5 for the preview two episodes. So when will the series launch fully? Who can say... I'm all focused on the new episodes of My Little Pony this year so go figure... but update as it comes in, and we'll check out Transformers Prime Season 2's launch in a few months.

Next Issue - LEGO Ninjago Animated Series on Cartoon Network

Jay Z – by James ‘Jig-One’ Titman

Featured Artist Review
First off, ladies and gents, readers of all persuasions… I thought I might do something a little different this month [a New Year – a fresh start, yada yada]. The following is your back stage pass, as it were, taking a look at how this month’s feature article came to be. Despite the vagaries of social networking and digital communication [lost e-mails, Facebook messages and re-sends – I swear at one point I was certain the Georwellian Secret Police were out to thwart us!] we finally made this happen… Mike Gustovich > Randy Paré

The Mike Gustovich Featured Artist Review
[a behind-the-scenes mini-doc]
... on facebook: Mike Gustovich > Randy Paré Randy, Sorry it's taken so long. I will be sending you everything tomorrow (Wed.)  Randy Paré THX Mike... I look forward to it! BTW, if you are going to SPACE CON this coming weekend -- let's stop by each other's tables… Randy Paré > Mike Gustovich hey Mike - just touching base, hope all is well still love to have you participate in the interview /feature article for RKYV one of these days...  Let me know if yer schedule allows. Mike Gustovich > Randy Paré Happy BD, Randy! Thought you were going to send me those interview questions again.  Randy Paré hey thx fer the early BD wishes man [coming up on the 22nd] yes - absolutely… I thought you already had them... one sec, and I will fix that…

The making of…

Randy... I know you probably think I'm crazy at this point but the interview questions you sent me have gone digitally missing. I swear on Deadman's grave that if you send them to me by Friday, I will answer them and shoot them your way by Sunday. As a good-faith measure, here is one of my pieces you can use in this issue.

 Randy Paré No problem, Mike, I have re-sent the questions to your facebook inbox – let me know if you have any questions and thanks a ton for participating...   Scott McFall Wow!  Jasper Bark I second that WOW!  Anthony Ball That is crazy good!  Randy Paré I know right? It looks awesome!

… & e-mails: From: r. j. To: Mikey RE: feature article... From: Mikey To: r. j. RE: feature article...

From: r. j. To: Mikey RE: feature article...

Great! I will preface the article with No links. Short bio. Feel this info. And keep an eye out for Got the files Mike! This free to spruce it up. Have that pic {shielding my daughters should be a blast putting to take off now but will from it as they tend to frighten easily, together…  My only other send you a picture that will LOL}. questions: Do you have an probably frighten children From: Mikey online BIO and/or LINKS to and cause coronary To: r. j. websites/online galleries etc distress to thousands of RE: feature article... which you would like adults. Doesn't seem to included in the article? Also, affect animals or Valerie. Hope you're wearing protective do you wish for a profile pic lenses. A hard hat couldn't hurt to accompany the article? either.

BIO: Once upon a time, back in 1953, in Warren, Ohio, a
comic artist was born to Mike and Betty Gustovich. Young Mike went on to study art for two years at Kent State University [most likely, LOL, disappointing Mr. and Mrs. Gustovich, who may have held doctor or lawyerly dreams for the baby boy] then quitting school for his first full-time comics gig drawing Cobalt Blue [and esoteric “other stuff”] for POWER COMICS [giving his parents, I’m sure, no end of worries]. As comic book start ups are wont to do, POWER died an early death [mourned by legions of fans, well dozens… ok perhaps a few?]. Mike got married and decided to start up Noble Comics where he continue a reworked version of Cobalt Blue and created the hit team book, the Justice Machine. By issue 5, both the company and the marriage would pass… Undaunted Mike began working for the big boys, first inking and the penciling comics for DC and MARVEL [Defenders, New Mutants, King Conan, Crimson Avenger, and Batman]. Along the way the fella got married again [aw shucks], this time to one Valerie Beth Fisher, who it would seem would gladly put up with his unique brand of silliness for years to come…

Mike would continue to work on many indie & mainstream books over the years, including Warp and Star Slayer, for First Comics and Icon for Milestone [among many others]. And hey 24 years later he is still married to Valerie and they have 6 dogs [I have one dog and she is practically on top of me by the time I wake up – I imagine Mike and Valerie are smothered in a veritable canine-quilt most nights – LOL].

Featured Artist Review
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Mike Gustovich
Mike Gustovich
Artist’s Name:

by r. j. paré

Title: Justice Machine #1 [Comico Series] Media Used: Hunt 102 crow quill pen tip & holder and FW acrylic artists ink Size: 11 x 17”

rjp: Let me get a selfish question out of the way, right off the top. Can you tell us a little about "Justice Machine" [ie: Whatever happened to the book and what plans, if any, the future may hold]? MG: I no longer own the JUSTICE MACHINE. I sold the rights quite a few years ago. Can’t remember at this point to whom. Maybe Millenium (sp). I still love the characters and would love to work on them again sometime. But there are so many new projects of my own that I need to work on. There’s never enough time. Never will be.

rjp: You’ve worked for the big boys, what differences exist [if any] when working on a DC vs a Marvel project? MG: It’s been about 20 years since I last worked for Marvel or DC. I hear things have changed dramatically so I can’t comment on the now. When I was working for them, Marvel gave me a bit more latitude on penciling interpretation. DC seemed more rigid. I imagine that had to do with product marketing. I found most everyone at MARVEL and DC very pleasant and supportive despite the tremendous pressures they must have been, and I’m sure still are, under. Of course, 99% of the time I caused no problems with either deadlines or attitude so we got along very well. MARVEL and DC both paid about the same and in a timely fashion. I had no complaints.

Artists’ Names:

Title: Starfire [© DC Comics] Media Used: Hunt 102 crow quill pen tip & holder and FW acrylic artists ink Size: 8.5 x 11”

George Pérez [pencils] Mike Gustovich [inks]

rjp: When drawing a comic [that you’ve not written], 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?]

MG: I prefer a full script when penciling; gives me a better idea as to what the writer expects. Also, I’ve seen instances where script has over-ridden the art, covering some nice work or not placed effectively. With a full script everyone knows what and where to draw and where everything should go, leaving enough space for captions and balloons. I nearly always write full script. But not for that reason actually. Since stories are character-driven, I feel that dialogue and story captions not only flesh out the characters but create a momentum for me. It’s way too easy for me to set something aside either by everyday distraction or other projects. Full scripts give me commitment not only to the story itself but to the characters.

Artist’s Name: Title: Wolverine [cover, © Marvel Comics] Media Used: #3 pencil Size: 11 x 17”

Mike Gustovich

There’s an exception to my full-script philosophy. When I work with Matt Roach, another comic book illustrator who lives just a few blocks from me we work the old MARVEL style: Plot, pencils, script/lettering, inks. I know I’ve diverged from your question a bit but this is how he and I work. Once a week he usually comes to my overly-crowded studio. A good description would be recently-tornadoed. He grabs a pile of old comics and sits down on the precarious co-pilot seat. I’ll ink on various pages of the last story we started. While he flips through pages of Kirby, John Buscema, Wrightson and Adams we throw some ideas around. Mostly what if type stuff. Nightmares we’ve had that would make great stories, movies we’ve seen. After about an hour or so we’ve come up with 3-4 stories we want to do.

I mentioned earlier that there’s never enough time which I’m sure just about any creative person can relate to. Here’s the math breakdown. He takes our 3-4 plots, goes home and turns out 6-8 pages of fantastic pencils of one of the plots. He comes over the next week. I ink on those pages while we bullshit and come up with 3-4 more ideas. Those 6-8 pages represent at best 1 full short story. Some of our ideas are of comic book length stories, others graphic novels. Our only hope of ever catching up with our ideas is for us to stop talking to each other. I also prefer to letter my own work. I’m very particular on balloon/caption placement and how it helps to visually tell the story. So 4 hours/page penciling (Matt’s incredibly fast), an hour for script and letters (I letter as I script our stories), 3 hours/page of inks. If there were 48 hours in a day and we could live a thousand years we still would never get all of our ideas down and finished. It’s like the dog chasing his own tail. Even if you manage to catch it, at some point you’ll have to let it go.

Artist’s Name: Title: Mediaeval 1 Media Used: This piece is from an old, public domain, illustration that I cleaned up in Photoshop and recoloured. I love doing this as some of those old illustrations are just so damn beautiful. Size: 8.5 x 11”

Mike Gustovich

rjp: Did you study or major in art while in school? MG: I studied art at Kent State for 2 years, started getting work then quit school to do the work. That was pretty much right out of high school. Later on I went to Kendall School of Design in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Two years there, started working for Marvel/DC and quit to do the work. Four years of college, nom degree. Now I teach illustration and comic book production at the Virginia College of Art and Design in Lakewood, Ohio.

Artists’ Names:

Title: Batman [© DC Comics] Media Used: Hunt 102 crow quill pen tip & holder and FW acrylic artists ink Size: 8.5 x 11”

Neal Adams [pencils] Mike Gustovich [inks]

rjp: Do you use any special tools and techniques to create your art? MG: I prefer a regular #3 pencil for drawing, doesn’t smear much and hard enough to be easily photo-copied and can give plenty of detail. Pink pearl; erasers are my favorite. I used to use Higgin’s Back Magic ink but its quality diminished over the years. Now I use FW acrylic artist’s ink, very dense. When I first started inking I used a Windsor Newton series 7, #3 brush but when I started inking NEW MUTANTS over Bob Mcleod’s pencils, I switched to Hunt 102 crow quill pen tip because I wanted to simulate Bob’s ink line and style as much as possible. I only use pen now.  Also, a metal-edged 18” ruler, flexible French curve’ & Pro White for touch up.

rjp: Which famous artists / creators or styles have influenced you? Why? MG: My first influence was Jack Kirby. The King! I still can’t believe he’s gone. John Buscema, gone. Gil Kane, gone. Wrightson’s still here but I don’t find his recent work inspiring. Neal Adams, is still great when I see his stuff. Without these people, especially Kirby, not only would I not be what I am but the comic book industry wouldn’t look anything like it does now. I don’t think a lot of newer artists understand their impact. However, some of the newer artists do inspire me.

Artist’s Name: Title: Wolverine [pg 2, © Marvel Comics] Media Used: #3 pencil Size: 11 x 17”

Mike Gustovich

rjp: How do/did you market yourself, especially when you were first breaking into the biz? MG: At this point in my life I don’t bother to market myself. I’ve found that pretty much old names are old news. Marvel and DC are always looking for the next big new talent. That’s the reality. There’s not enough time to do other people’s ideas. It’s more important for me to get my stories down even if they never actually get drawn or see print.

rjp: 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]. MG: No. I find no real pleasure in working for someone else and their goals. It doesn’t mean that I don’t or won’t but that’s for the money. I would still give them the best I can give. They deserve that but pleasure comes from my own work. Money helps me to accomplish my own goals.

Title: Partial cover to a project I'm working on with Mike San Giacomo Media Used: #3 pencil, Hunt 102 crow quill pen tip & holder and FW acrylic artists ink Size: 11 x 17”

Mike Gustovich

Artist’s Name:

rjp: What comic projects are you currently developing? MG: I’m working on a project with Mike San Giacomo, great writer: TALES FROM THE STARLIGHT DIVE IN and PHANTOM JACK. It’s called the POWER OF SEVEN. He’s writing. I’m drawing, inking lettering the 1st issue. I won’t be drawing the second issue. Details are best left for after publication next year. I’ve written a time travel graphic novel which probably will be the best work of my entire life. I don’t have time to draw it. Same with ZOMBIE SPIES VS THE VAMPIRE HOARDE. I’m also working on various novels, cartoon strips, humor stories, etc.

rjp: 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? MG: Right now, if I were to insist that I do only writing/art for a living, I would definitely be a starving artist. Most artists are starving one way or another. Most financially, others are starving for publication/recognition. We starve for time, acceptance, and gratification. Very few have it all. Or even enough. Art is rarely appreciated enough to compensate appropriately. In ways, art is dying out in the public’s value of it. In the schools, in the market place in our society. We do what we have to do to stay alive and functioning. Artists’ Names: Title: Batman [© DC Comics] Media Used: Hunt 102 crow quill pen tip & holder and FW acrylic artists ink Size: 8.5 x 11” rjp: 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?

Mike Gustovich [inks]

I grieve for the future. In the midst of digital creation is a massive killing field that we all march toward, blindfolded, unaware.

MG: Probably. Book stores are going under. Libraries are being closed down. Environmentally, it’s a better route to go. But without the printed word there are no books only stories. Without original art there are only pixels. Without hard copy there is no smell, no touch and no real connection. Without these how can there ever be nostalgia, memories? I grieve for the future. In the midst of digital creation is a massive killing field that we all march toward, blindfolded, unaware.

rjp: Do you find it difficult to stay motivated/inspired? MG: Never! I only find it difficult to find time to sit down at the drawing board/ computer. Everything else comes easily, unbidden as though someone else is doing the creating and I’m just the conduit. A strange admission since I prefer to do my own work. rjp: What do you think of the impact that social networks have had as an alternate means of connecting you, your work and your audience? MG: Evolution is not a theory. It applies to all systems. However, a law of nature seems to be that all systems tend to deteriorate into chaos. How can I disparage technology when I use it? It has become a part of my system. At age 57, my biological system is deteriorating towards chaos. What does that say of my system’s parts? I embrace the things that make art/writing easier but curse it for the anchor that it is. I can only create until my last breath. rjp: What do you think of the New 52 direction DC is taking? Do you wish you were taking part? MG: No. To start over like this is an insult to all that has gone before. What the characters were, are, could have been – is all for naught. What we creators have done is all for naught. What greater slap in the face than to say that nothing we’ve done matters any more? There is no honor in this, no respect, only profit and ego. rjp: Do you have any big plans, shows or Cons coming up? MG: I plan on living forever. So far so good. I usually only do small conventions, locally really. My biggest plans are in my stories. Just one at a time. Until they’re done. Or I am.

rjp: RKYV ONLINE would like to thank Mike for taking the time to participate in this interview and for sharing some of his truly spectacular art in this article… On the page following, for your viewing pleasure, is a second gorgeous fantasy/mediaeval art piece that Mr. Gustovich adapted from the public domain.

On Writing
_____________________________________________________________________________ RKYV ONLINE Printed as PDF | Dec. 2011 | rkyv.online@rogers.com آ

“Character and Originality”
A beautiful, intelligent woman told me that because Shutter Island was based on the book, it wasn't original. I used to think along her lines, but I realized originality comes from what you put into your work from your experiences. I went to school in Cleveland for 8 years, I know how cities are. I've nearly died so many times I lost count. Does this mean I'm a qualified expert on cities and death? No, but I have a perspective of it. Just like I have a perspective on everything else including women. When you inject so much of yourself into your work, the work becomes you. It can be compared to other works by snobbish critics and pseudo-intellectuals. They only see the superficial. They don't see the heart of the work. I don't have to worry about that beautiful, intelligent woman not getting the point. At some point when she gets older, she may see things the way I see them, or she may not.

Mother of all Sofa Paintings {My commentary on the perversity of poverty and wealth} – by Stephen Gibb

Character is also a reflection of yourself. You write about a beat cop, or a vice cop and use your experiences involving run-ins with the law, or relatives who are in law enforcement and you may not know every thing about being a cop, but if you have been in cities and experienced enough with the law you can create an experience that comes from your own. Shooting for total originality and you may fall into the trap of just copying items, programs, stories that have already been told, or done. When people see it, they'll think why should I bother? If your heart isn't in your work, you cannot make that connection with people. You have to write and develop with passion. Intellect has no place in your work. Unless your working for the Pentagon, or some software company, or you're an engineer. I'm probably writing words that only exist in a vacuum, but these are words I mean. -Michael

Theatre in Reverse – by Stephen Gibb

Short Fiction
_____________________________________________________________________________ RKYV ONLINE Printed as PDF | Dec. 2011 | rkyv.online@rogers.com آ
I wished someone would see what I was going though and help me. I wished I have a friend. Any friend. My eyes opened. A friend. “How are you feeling Jason?” the Nurse’s voice startled me. I flinched. Something I’m sure my father saw and added to my list of transgressions. “I… I’m not sure.” I answered. “A motorist was passing and saw you being accosted by two other youths.” A voice came from the other side of me. “He chased them off but couldn’t identify them. He brought you here.” I turned and saw the principal standing there. The Principal was our friend. That’s why is ended in “pa-l”. He was our pal. This guy was no pal of mine. He looked at me like I was prime-rib and he was a starving man. “It was Julius Hammells, wasn’t it?” he asked. “You can tell us son. It’s all alright.” My father and then my mother came into view. They all looked down on me. I felt surrounded. “It was Hammells, wasn’t it?” the Principal asked again. “You can tell us Jason.” the Nurse chimed in. “Well?” my father demanded. My mother just looked down and stayed silent. I’m not 100% sure if the idea popped into my head just at that moment, or if it came later… but I closed my eyes for a second and took a deep breath. I was wishing for a friend. Someone to help me. And the bare bones of something was there. A friend. I opened my eyes. “I don’t know who it was.” I said, trying as hard as I could to sound calm.

Part III
I woke up starring at the whitest ceiling I
had ever seen. They were white tiles with hundreds of little holes in them. I felt sore and my head was ringing. I turned my head and could see the school nurse talking to someone. The person turned to look at me. It was my father. He looked at me with a blank stare. I closed my eyes. I laid there and wished. I wished that Julie would move away. I wished my father would try and understand me.

“I was hit from behind and when I was getting kicked I just covered up. I never saw anyone’s face.” “This is a serious thing here Jason.” the Principal said. “This goes beyond some simple bullying. I know you know who did this. It WAS Hammells wasn’t it?” “I don’t know who it was.” I replied. I was feeling a little steadier. The Principal had said “Simple bullying”. There was nothing simple about it for me. The Principal’s face twisted. You could see how bad he wanted this pinned on Julie. “Tell me who did this!” he exclaimed. “Principal Thorin.” the nurse said softly. “I think Jason has been though enough this morning. I’m sure he would say if he knew.” He face seemed to say she didn’t believe a word on what she was saying, but I appreciated it all the same. The Principal straightened up and looked around. He gave a curt nod and looked at my parents. “You may take him home.” He then turned and walked out. My mother helped me up. My father just stared for a second, then turned away. “I’ll get the car.” he said, walking away. The ride home was silent. No one seemed to know what to say, or even cared to try. I was grateful for that. When we got home, I went right to bed. I stayed there all day. My mother brought me soup and a sandwich… clam chowder and baloney and cheese… for a late lunch. It was good. She spoke to me as little as possible. I’m not sure if it was the uncomfortable situation or indifference. My father waited until bedtime to come into my room. He stood there and looked at me for a minute without speaking. “I don’t know what is going on with you.” he said, his voice low… almost a whisper. “But you have a decision to make.” He shifted his weight and looked at me gravely. “You had better decide on who you are going to be growing up, because the person you are now isn’t cutting it. I know you are only 11, but you aren’t as far away from being an adult as you might think. It’s time to stop being a baby and be a man. Think about that. Think long

and hard Jason, because sooner, not later, things are going to change and you had better be ready.” He walked out of my room without even saying goodnight. I shook my head. Just like in the nurse’s office… I was surrounded by people who just didn’t get me and didn’t care to. The funny thing was, my father was right about one thing. I did have a decision to make. My mother let me stay home the next day and it passed rather uneventfully. On Wednesday she has planned on going to visit my aunt and wanted me to go to school. I nodded and got myself ready. I had no intention of actually going to school. I knew that the odds were the school nurse would see I was absent and just figure I was still recovering.

I picked up my knapsack (with the new textbooks that had been replaced. My “pal” the Principal had done one good thing… he had gotten me new ones when my empty knapsack had been found on the corner.) and took my bagged lunch and left like I would head to school, but instead I walked up to the Eastern State Parkway and headed into the trails. There was a light mist in the air and the sky was dark. It might rain but I didn’t care. I had taken an umbrella. I worked my way through the trees until I found my little hiding spot. I parted the brush and vines and came into the small clearing where the hole, and Zully sat. I dropped into a squat and looked down at my only friend. He was looking up like he was expecting me. I wondered if he understood the passage of time. Had he been looking up the entire time I was gone?

He reached up like normal and let out a small, low groan. Maybe he was saying hello. “Hi Zully.” I said. “How are you? Let me tell you how I am.” For the next two hours I told Zully. About what had happened… I told him what I felt… told him what I was afraid of... I told him everything, because… well… friends tell each other everything. As usual, Zully listened and didn’t judge or tell me what I did wrong. After a bit I took out my lunch and ate. I tried giving Zully a part of a banana but he ignored it like he did the cookie and bread from last time. After I finished I went for a walk. I had a lot more time to kill. I walked around for a bit. I tried to climb one of the trees, but my arms weren’t very strong and I couldn’t lift myself enough to get up. When I dropped to the ground after a third failed attempt something caught my eye. It was a baby squirrel. It must have fallen from the tree. I went over to it. It looked hurt. There was some blood on its belly. It was alive, but the fall seemed to have hurt it bad. I knelt beside it, feeling sorry for it. I picked it up and brought it back to the clearing with me. It moved slightly in my hands, but not too much. I sat at the edge of the hole and looked at the squirrel for a while. Its movements got less and less. I figured it was dying. Suddenly, almost surprising myself, I tossed it into the hole. Zully ignored the squirrel when it bounced off of him and came to rest right in front. For a second I figured he was incapable of any realization. Then without warning Zully’s head looked down and he picked the squirrel up. Without hesitation he lifted it up and bit it in half. Even though I had suspected what would happen I was still startled. I scurried back so I couldn’t see it. There was little noise from the hole and I sat back for a few minutes before crawling back to look. Zully was looking up again, specks of fresh blood on his mouth and face. There were parts of the squirrel scattered around him. I jumped up and grabbed my knapsack and ran.

I ran almost the whole way home. When I got there the house was empty. I took out my text books like I had been doing homework and went into my room. Both my parents didn’t get home until way after I would have been home from school. No one realized I hadn’t gone in. Dinner was Hungry-Man fried chicken and silence. Yum. I couldn’t eat and just picked at my food. My father barely looked at me so he didn’t seem to notice. After dinner I sat in the backyard looking at the sky. It was overcast and dark. The stars were not out. It was very dark and gloomy. I went to the garage for a minute… my father would have screamed at me to leave his stuff alone. I stood in there and wondered what was so important about a bunch of tools. I looked at my dad’s tools and the pile of bricks he was going to build an outdoor fireplace grill with and wished he would ask me to help him. That we could do it together… a father son project. What a pipe dream. I left quickly. In bed, that night, I wondered what the squirrel felt as Zully started eating it. The next day I headed to school. I could only imagine what my day would be like. I didn’t get even halfway when I came across Julie like I knew I would. He was leaning on a stop sign, smoking. He saw me and flicked the butt away and waited. I considered running for a split second. But I knew it was no use. Like my father had said, it was time to make a decision. I walked up to Julie and stopped in front of him. He looked at me with a curious glare. “I can’t figure you out.” he said, breaking the silence. “Why didn’t you narc on me?” “Because that would only have made it worse in the long run when you kicked the crap out of me for telling.” I replied honestly. All pretence was out the window. Julie nodded. “Smart boy.” he said. “In the end… I would have fucking killed you. You were smart. Maybe there’s hope for you after all.” We stood there for a moment when the idea fully formed. It had gnawed at me for days, getting stronger and stronger.

“You want to see something really cool?” I asked him. “What?” he asked. “What the fuck are you talking about?” “Listen, I don’t want you to beat me up anymore.” I told him. “And I found something really cool, and I thought maybe if I showed you… well… you would think it was cool and maybe not be so into beating me up as much.” It was the longest thing I had ever said to him. Julie stared at me for a minute looking a little surprised. “What is it?” he asked, sounding unconvinced. “It’s a dead body.” I said. “Oh bullshit!” he breathed. Even as he said it, I could see the excitement in his eyes. He was excited at the thought. Julie was fucking bat-shit insane. What the hell was I getting myself into? Showing him Zully wasn’t going to make Julie suddenly like me or think I was cool. But I had nothing else to try and help myself with. “No bullcr… shit.” I told him. “I found it when I was running from you the other week. Came across it in the woods behind the parkway. Why would I lie? You would just pound me into the ground.” “Damn fucking straight I would.” Julie agreed. I could see it in his face. He wanted to see. “After school we could…” I began. “No.” Julie interrupted. “Now.” “But I…” I tried to say. “NOW.” he insisted. Had I been more mature back then, I would have likely wondered if Julie had an erection. I knew it was no use arguing. In the end I’d get my ass kicked and we’d go now anyway. “C’mon.” I said and lead the way. We didn’t talk the entire walk to the trails. I didn’t go directly to the spot though. I lead him around a little, trying to confuse his sense of direction. “Stop stalling.” he finally hissed. He seemed to know what I was doing. “Almost there.” I said. Within a minute we were right outside the circle of brush.

“Through there.” I said. Julie squinted at the thatch of bushes with confusion. “C’mon.” I said, and I plunged though. Julie followed. We stood in the small clearing for a second. Julie looked around and his face twisted. “There’s nothing here you fucking lying cocksucker.” he said as his hands clenched into fists. “Look.” I said calmly, pointing to the hole. He looked over and realized the hole was there. Still looking angry he walked to the edge. “I’m going to fuc…” he broke off when he saw what was in the hole. “Holy. Fucking. Shit.” “See?” I said. “Holy shit.” Julie whispered. His breathing sounded heavy. “Holy shit that is…”

I never found out what it was. Before he could finish his sentence I swung my knapsack at the back on his head with all the strength I could muster. The Hammer and brick I had put in it from the garage that morning gave it the weight and hardness I needed and I felt a satisfying crunch as it connected with the back of his skull. Julie pitched forward into the hole with a screech of pain and surprise. He landed almost on top of Zully. When he hit, he rolled off and collided with the wall of the hole. “YOU FUCKING LITTLE COCK YOU ARE A FUCKING DEAD MAN!” he screamed up at me. “WHEN I GET OUT OF HERE I’M GOING TO RIP OUT YOUR THROAT AND FUCK YOUR EYE SOCKETS!”

“Julie, meet Zully.” I said, looking down at them. “Zully is my friend.” “I’M GOING TO FUCKING KILL YOU!!!” Julie screamed. “Zully, meet Julie.” I said, ignoring him. “Julie is the kid I told you about. The one who beats me up.” “OH WHEN I GET MY HANDS ON YOU I’M GOING TO…” Julie broke off when he realized that Zully was moving. “WHAT THE FUCK?” “Zully, show Julie what friends do for each other.” I said. “WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS?” Julie demanded… uncertainty in his voice. “It’s fucking retribution you animal.” I spit at him. “Oh my God.” Julie whispered. Zully had a hold of his leg. Julie kicked at him, but didn’t break his grip. Zully was very animated now. He dragged himself closer. A smell came up from the hole. I realized that Julie had lost control of his bowels and had shit himself. He looked up at me as Zully pulled himself over him. “Please.” Julie wept. “PLEASE?!?” I screamed down at him. “PLEASE?!? BE A MAN!!!!!” Julie’s face changed. Even as Zully’s head obscured it, I could see the ironic smile wash over Julie. He began to laugh then… a high pitch squeal that sounded on the verge of hysteria. The laughter quickly changed to screams as Zully’s teeth tore into Julie’s neck and face. I sat down and watched. I wanted to leave Zully to his meal, but I felt compelled to stay. I wanted to watch my friend enjoy his first real breakfast in who-knows-how-long. Friends do that for each other. In the days that passed, no one seemed to miss Julie too much. After a bit I heard some wild rumors like he joined a motorcycle gang or he went to prison. The only one who seemed to think different was Donnie.

For days he looked at me funny. Every time I looked up, he was staring at me. But not in anger. Instead, it was almost like concern or… fear. About a week later I was walking home when I came across Tooth standing in front of the school, looking a little smaller without Julie there with him. I started to walk past him when he reached out and grabbed my knapsack. “What’s up Jelly-Legs?” he smirked. Before I could even respond, Donnie was suddenly there. “Leave him alone Tooth.” Donnie said softly. Tooth laughed and looked at Donnie. His face changed when he saw there was no humor in his eyes. “What the fuck man? You goin soft on Jelly Legs? he said. “Leave it alone. C’mon. I have some smokes at home.” Donnie replied. “Whatever man.” Tooth said. He gave me a little shove. “Let’s go.” Tooth started walking. Donnie came closer to me. “I saw you and Julie walking together the day he disappeared.” he said in a whisper. “I don’t know what happened, but this thing… with us. It’s done. Ok?”

I tried not to smile. I could feel the fear seeping from him. “Sure.” I said. Donnie was already going though. I’m not sure if he heard me. I didn’t think I had anything left to fear from the remnants of the Bombers. If I did though… I could always introduce them to my friend.

Twenty-five years later I’m back in town for the funeral of my father. We never quite connected but he did notice some sort of change in me after I had shoved Julie into the hole. He didn’t get any better with me, but somehow he sensed something, because he backed off on me enough so that I was able to get through the next few years without too much incident. There was one huge blowout that changed a lot of things in both of us, but that is a story for another time. After the funeral, I told my wife I needed to go visit an old friend. She offered to come with me but I told her it was something I had to do alone. I left the car in my parents driveway with the people gathered at the house, snacking on finger sandwiches and potato salad, giving my mother their condolences and I walked to the parkway, though to the wooded trails. Even 25 years later I had no problem finding the spot. For years I expected to hear about the find of the century, but somehow no one ever seemed to find Zully and the little hidden clearing. I pushed my way through the dome-like circle of brush and stood in the small clearing, it looking so much smaller than the 11 year old me had seen it. I looked down into the hole and saw my one true childhood friend sitting, looking up like the last time he had seen me was yesterday. Next to him, his companion of the last 25 years looked up also, no life in his eyes. The clothes had rotted off Julie much in the way that Zully’s had been rotted off all those years before. They both reached up and moaned, that low guttural sound that I used to imagine was Zully’s way of saying hello. I started down at the two of them for a long time. They both kept their hands raised, reaching for me, that moan drifting up. “You were my best friend Zully.” I said softly. “And how fucked up is that?” I pulled out the gun from my jacket pocket, pointed it down into the hole and pulled the trigger. The bullet tore the top of Zully’s head off. He slumped to the ground, unmoving. Julie didn’t react to the sound. He just kept the moan and reaching up as if he could take hold of me. I aimed the gun at Julie, but after a second I lowered it. After a moment I turned and left.

Fin

All graphics accompanying this short by r. j. paré

The 22 letters – The raw material of Creation – by Igal Fedida 48” x 60” Enamel, Ink, Polyurethane on Canvas

Cemetery – by Nik Poliwko

Beneath a Prairie Grave
He wasn’t by nature a vengeful man, he told himself this over and over as the laid her to rest. Long after the Padré’d said prairie sun shone down that morning. his piece and left on his way; long after the Bright and clear it was, like Maggie’s toothless grave digger buried her in the disposition. She never saw the dark side of ground. things, always had time for a pleasant word with everyone from the local Marshal to the He stayed. town drunk. She’d certainly never seen the dark side of Jim.

He stood there for hours after they

*** James Jeshop, “JJ” to his maw and paw once upon a long stretch ago, had seen plenty of the dark side of life by the time he’d reached his 21st birthday. That was the night he met Maggie. He’d been sitting in the Bar None, the local watering hole, named such several years back by the original owner, Everett Matthews. He thought himself a clever wit and clever Matthews was, quick with a smile, a cheery pun or smarmy retort. The last is what got the attention of the local hard men, cowboys traipsing in from the countryside. They ride security on cattle drives for just enough coin to keep them in booze and women. When these sorts of men visit yer “establishment”, as Everett liked to call his saloon, ya don’t mess around poking fun at their dour expressions and trail worn clothes, playing the jester as it were. These sorts of men have no patience for such games, pour them some whiskey and let one of the girls bring them upstairs to work off some of their tension. Matthews thought he knew better though; right up until the keen edge of a cowboy’s Bowie knife flashed in the bar room light before burying itself in his considerable gut. Then, he didn’t think anything at all. New owners would take over the place, none would mention the unfortunate Matthews again… but they’d keep the name all the same as it had gained a bit o’ notoriety from Everett’s demise.

On the night that Jim met Maggie he’d been drinking hard himself, drowning his sorrows in the rot gut they served up at the Bar None. He had signed on, six months back, as a ranch hand for Mr. Ames out at the Double T. He wasn’t much good at roping or breaking bucks… but he was pretty damn good with his guns and the sight of his scarred face was enough to keep most folks out of his way. Ames hired him for that express reason as he’d been having trouble with rustlers and needed the added security. Stories followed Jim where ever he settled. He got that vicious scar, running down one whole side of his face from his left eye to his jaw – a wonder he never lost his vision on that side – in all manner of ways. Some said he’d been lucky to escape Apaches, that’d been set to scalp him good until him and his guns had won his way free. Others, with a romantic bent, said the young man, who you could just tell had been handsome before the scar, had been with the wrong man’s woman and had paid the price. Nobody knew the truth of the matter. Nobody that is, except for Jim. *** It happened back during the war. His family had been farmers on the wrong side of the lines, as far as the Union soldiers were concerned. It was Confederate territory and everyone was an enemy. The Union officers bunked in his family’s house, ate all of their provisions, slaughtered the two milking cows and even took their horse.

That was the last straw for Jim’s Paw. He threw down his hat demanding that someone pay some restitution for picking his family clean. “These are the spoils of war,” the officer crowed. “You filthy Rebs have it coming.” And he shot Graham Jeshop dead, right in front of his wife and young son. Mrs. Jeshop started to scream as soldiers dragged her away, tugging at her dress. Young James stood staring, eyes filled with hate, as the officer climbed in his saddle. At his feet, lay a good sized stone.

The rock sailed through the air glancing off the officer’s head, knocking his hat off but leaving him otherwise unharmed. James had hoped for more and was looking another rock to throw, when he heard the sound of the horse coming at him. He looked up just in time to see the sabre slash towards his face. And then, for awhile, everything went

black.

To be Continued…

Lone Tree – by r. j. paré

Garden Find 2 – by Kevin Curtis Barr

Digital Scribbles
by Darke Raven
Part 2

January 2012

Changing Gear...
Reviewing video content is a pain since the whole lot is single download content meaning you must store the stuff on a pc or own 4 GB memsticks (expensive) to catalogue them for review. Even putting aside a 4 GB stick just for videos alone is an investment unless you live close to a GameStop or invest in a VISA card and buy online from a trusted site... something I have to invest in 2012, more memsticks.

Part 1

No, no, I am not being cheeky or difficult, I am proving a point. As much as I used to love Of course no amount of memsticks will change Sony's PSP for reviewing by the time 2011 the fact that there hasn't been any new stuff... ended the writing was on the wall that this would not be sufficient to carry on into the New Year. I could do game reviews, or video reviews, or comic reviews... but unless I got an 8GB or larger memstick (or a PSP Go) I couldn't do all three at once. Writing articles with a PSP is a hassle as you can see...

Part 3
...how irritating... A few months have passed with no updates to the digital comics... maybe the Playstation Blog knows why... wait, Sony killed the Digital Comic service back in July of last year in order to move it to other Sony systems?!? Really? Are you serious?? So, what? I have to move to the PSVita in February in order to continue reviewing? Can I transfer my PSP library of content to the PSVita? Come on, Sony! Stop being greedy! Sheesh!

Yes, we have our very own platinum spoons... just don’t confuse them for the other One Percent. I am pretty sure they pay their fair share. That being said? What a waste. Sony sending PSVitas to reviewers who actually earn enough to buy a couple of PSVitas without breaking a sweat. No love for the street level reviewer.

Part 4
...irritating... The lovely thing about reviewing... whenever new stuff, especially consoles and handhelds get sent to reviewers, you get a 411 on the One Percent of Reviewers.

Of course Sony is already ready to send PSVitas... Yes, we have our very own platinum spoons... just don’t confuse them for the other One Percent. I am pretty sure they pay their fair share. That being said? What a waste. Sony sending PSVitas to reviewers who actually earn enough to buy a couple of PSVitas without breaking a sweat. No love for the street level reviewer.

Part 5
Not expecting total love but at least give us a chance to have our chance even if it is by Media Relations lottery picking a small faction of the street level reviewers to review things like this. Oh well. I'll put it on my list to consider. But Sony is not my only option.

Part 4
...irritating...

The lovely thing about reviewing... whenever new stuff, especially consoles and handhelds get I can leave Sony behind and move forward with sent to reviewers, you get a 411 on the One a completely different device in 2012. Percent of Reviewers.

How about a Tablet? Now that the original iPad is about to become two generations old So far we have the PSVita and iPad up for this may be the best time to invest in that now. consideration to take over this article. What else? How about a laptop? Probably the bulkiest of the heir apparents, it also can provide content for other articles... if I can save up the swag. Well the future of the article demands change...

Part 7 (finale)
Well I am going to meditate on it, and we will have a changing of the guard in the coming months. Which way to go? We will see, stay tuned... knock on wood this is fully resolved by Summer 2012 with a new direction for Digital Scribbles.

Part 6

Next Month? Let’s clean out the PSP racks and start wrapping up dangling reviews for the I am actually quite hopeful that this is the best future with Sony or Apple or whoever laptop time to invest in a first generation iPad, wise. hopefully price wise it is now more affordable now that the iPad3 is set to come out soon... See you. knock on wood and all that.

Poetry
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Selected Poem
by Marie Lecrivain

The Dubious Life of Madalena D(*)
You awaken to grasp the tail end of a life... you can't remember. An erratic heartbeat, an uncertain breath, anxious skin cleaving to ribs. All of these sensations; real or imagined? Will you ever know for certain as the force of death draws out your final song - the only answer to all your unasked questions heard by one man whose already forgotten your name. (*Based on the Sonnabend/Delani exhibit at the Museum of Jurrasic Technology)

The worn suppleness of opera gloves enfolding your alabaster arms, the musty wings of a velvet cape, the apocryphal brush of faded ostrich feathers against your skin... all of this feels brand new. The adulation of the crowd; your beloved's brow furrows as he counts the notes spiraling from your throat and into the strata of the unconscious... it thrills you just like that first time. A deepening twilight, a procession of unfinished faces, a 1,001 heartaches perpetuate your dreams.

Selected Poetry

by Frances Nichols Vargas

Those Eyes

That spark You know the one I mean It just electrifies the senses and tingles It makes me weak in the knees That smile You know the one I mean It brightens any day and And haunts me in my dreams That look You know the one I mean It just invites you in And it never wants you to leave Oh- those eyes And those lips The scent of your skin It lingers even hours later And permeates every waking thought The rush of emotion every time you walk through the door Makes me go running for more The sadness in your eyes when you walk out the door Makes me want to hold on tight so you cannot close the door

Oh- those eyes They say everything And sometimes nothing They are the windows to the soul That I hope one day to call my own Those eyes They can only be matched by that smile Together, they light up the universe Separate they brighten the day And light the nights That look That smile That Spark Some of my favorite thingskeep me wanting more and waiting for your knock on the door

Some Days
Some Days Some days I am swallowed up in your effects Other days I desire your kindness

Some days I sense you I remember that special touch Some days Your unforgettable signature I feel the happiness Filled with your remarkable nuances And other days I ache with pain It is always near and still far enough to enjoy and despise or even lust Some days I playfully run away looking Some days for places of escape I remember how you could make me smile Some simpler days Or even how hard I would cry Wondering often why Some days I ritually wander through the days Some days That I know were created for me I fill with your excitement As my destiny Others emotionally drained and ripped apart by sadness Some days I breathe in deeply anticipating Some days the welcome of the sparkling annual Oh- there are just some days atmospheric ways of sweeping change

You will Get There
In honor of my friend Cheryl Shydlower

You will get there. I have no doubt. You are strong and determined to figure it out You will get there This I know You will find out Just how your world will grow You will learn to dream big And you will take the steps to get there You will never forget all it took Despite all the setbacks and wrong turns you endured You will reach the right path in life This I know Because your determination and Your strength will bring you to that magical place

Selected Poem

by Wanda VanHoy Smith

OLD FATHER TIME AND THE RAVEN
Fog drifts into the shore on New Years Eve like the old man in white robes with a scythe. A fog horn is not the sound of a celebration. A big black crow perches on the rail of my balcony, ominous as Poe's raven. These birds of prey frequently land on electrical wires outside my living room but never come this near my private space.

Is this a New Years omen or farewell to the past? The crows jet eyes pierce my picture window aimed at the antique glass song birds that decorate my dying drooping Christmas tree. Foolishly I lock the balcony doors against thoughts of vampire bats. The crow watches my movements but does not stir. The wall of glass between us must make him feel as safe as it does me. I still dread father time creeping around like fog cutting down lost souls with his scythe. The blazing sun kneels on the horizon burning through the robes of fog. Lighting the way for a small sloop lost at sea. The black bird turns and flaps his wings. With relief I watch him fly toward the setting sun of 2011 and hope 12 is full of dozens of glowing sun rises.

The Unforgiving Nature of Time Well Wasted – by Stephen Gibb

Raised On Saturday Morning Cartoons
by Pauline Paré

Apocalyphilia

Very early

in the history of mankind, we became obsessed with Armageddon or the possibility thereof. The prospect terrifies us, strangely thrills us and provides for great tales to be told around the fire. Our very own Cliff Cartier wrote a series of articles on that same subject leading into this year. There is much talk, in various circles, about the Mayan calendar predicting the end of everything for 2012. Film seems to be obsessed with the end of everything and all the possible forms it can take – be it earthquakes, war or giant spiders from the earth's core. Television has shown us its version of apocalyptic scenarios, some are very unwatchable and some are not only good but at times groundbreaking. Presented here are some of my favourite examples of apocalyptic programming.

1. The Day After – was an internationally acclaimed, made for television film, produced in 1983 during the height of the cold war. It was a movie that impacted many people's view of nuclear war and its consequences, particularly the impact it would have on human life.

There are several rumours that this movie actually influenced the mindset of various world leaders of the time. This TV movie held nothing back as it explored the horrors of living in a nuclear affected zone. This noteworthy movie aired in a 3 hour timeslot and starred many popular TV and film actors. Steve Guttenburg and JoBeth Williams played the leads with John Lithgow in a supporting role, early in his acting career. After watching this movie, at the tender age of 14, I couldn't sleep for days. To see this kind of realism in a world where the superpowers were actually threatening nuclear war was terrifying. My favourite TV programming is that which has a strong and lasting impact on me – this movie easily qualifies.

Again, this movie came out during a time of fear and uncertainty and it was enough to make us think about the possible reality of our situation. It was creative and thought provoking TV, a rare animal these days.

3. BattleStar Galactica – So it maybe it wasn’t our planet being annihilated but it was a planet… or rather an entire populated solar system. Again, humanity is threatened by our own inventions, this time is the Cylons that the humans had previously enslaved, that rebel and act as the instruments of our doom. The very last of humanity is huddled aboard a fleet of ships, crossing the galaxy to escape genocide and 2. Special Report – came out the same year find a safe place to settle. with a similar subject theme and a different "Fleeing from the Cylon tyranny, the last approach than The Day After . It was filmed Battlestar, Galactica, leads a ragtag, fugitive in the style of a real news broadcast, telling fleet, on a lonely quest—for a shining the story of a nuclear threat in Charleston. planet known as Earth." To add to the realism, it was shot with video cameras, the type that would be found on a If that is not apocalyptic, I don’t know what news show set. The resemblance to a real is. The more recent version (2004-2009) news broadcast was so profound that the dealt with the subject in a realistic and gritty movie was required to have disclaimers manner. It dealt with the emotions of the before and after every commercial break to survivors, ranging from anger to the abject prevent ‘War of the Worlds’ type scenarios. loss of hope.

This is one of my favourite series of all time regardless of the desolate setting. The true raw emotion made this a must watch series, not just for fans of Sci-fi.

4. Terminator: Sarah Conner Chronicles and 24 – these 2 series did not deal with the results of an apocalypse but the prevention of said events. In several seasons of action packed episodes, Jack Bauer and Sarah Conner made sure the public was kept There was a line in the last aired episode blissfully unaware just how close they came where a character yelled “Nuts!” as a battle to the collapse of society. cry. Fans responded by sending packets and envelopes of peanuts to the producers. As a 5. Jericho – Imagine living in a small town reward, the studio produced a short wrap and seeing a mushroom cloud way off on up season of seven episodes. IDW produced the horizon. The TVs and radios give you a 3rd season as a graphic novel in 2011 and little info and then go dead. How do you the series still has many rabid fans to this survive? Do you help your neighbour or is it very day. every man for themselves? Do you try to find out how this terrible tragedy happened? Jericho was a wonderful yet short-lived series that attempted to explore what a small town would do in such severe circumstances. The characters were interesting and the fight for survival made this a very thrilling show. When the studio decided to end this series after one season, with no notice, fans would not allow this to happen.

6. The Walking Dead – I have written about this series several times in the last year so I will just give this incredible show the briefest of mentions. Zombie apocalypses have been popular in film for years and we are ecstatic to have the subject presented on television and written so well! I am sure that there have been many other television offerings on the subject of earth shattering events; it is an intriguing and exciting premise. I expect to see much debate on this subject as the conversations about the end of the Mayan calendar continue. I personally plan to find a copy of The Day After and I am wondering if it will chill me as much as it did when I was a child. As much as the fantasy versions of Armageddon are fun, the prospect of a real threat to our planet is just plain scary and perhaps all too possible.

Buddha Monkey #2 [two-page spread, pages 2&3] – pencils: Matthew Goodall; inks: Roger Price; colours Alvaro Cortes Ortiz Jr. Buddha Monkey created by Stan Nelson & r. j. paré © Speakeasy Primates.

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