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Table of Contents RKYV # 47 {2011} RKYV ONLINE LOGO – David Marshall {current} r. j. paré {modified} Roy G. James {original} Virtual Cover # 47 - Art by Aaron Meade - Design/Layout by David Marshall

Editorial Column - “At the Outset: A Few Thoughts from the Editor” - By r. j. paré Health - “Holy Heat” - By Leanne Bechard-Stiers Featured Artist Review - “Aaron Meade” - By r. j. paré

Interior Art - By r. j. paré, Mike Grattan, James ‘Jig-One’ Titman, Roger Price, Tariq Short Fiction Rafiq, Aaron Meade, Stephen Gibb, - “At Night – Part II” T. B. Hoopdriver, Josh Bowe - by CS Cartier

- “Shadow in the Doorway” - by Pauline Paré Poetry - By Wanda VanHoy Smith & r. j. paré Pop Culture - “Comic Book Review” - by r. j. paré - “Digital Scribbles,” - By Darke Raven - “Raised on Saturday Morning Cartoons” - By Pauline Paré

Biggie Smalls [Slimer Green] – by James ‘Jig-One’ Titman

At the Outset: A few thoughts from, The Editor… by r. j. paré Hot town, summer in the city Back of my neck getting burnt and gritty Been down, isn't it a pity Doesn't seem to be a shadow in the city All around, people looking half dead Walking on the sidewalk, hotter than a match head "Summer in the City" – The Lovin’ Spoonful

Despite the record breaking, oppressive heat of this late July… we persevere and hope to deliver to you, the RKYV reader a senses stimulating dose of writing & art. With our keyboards collecting stagnant ponds of excess sweat, who knows how much longer this, can continue? LOL INSIDE: With advice on how to beat, or at least survive the doldrums, Leanne Bechard-Stiers returns with her first Health column in a few years… :) {yea!} Pauline Paré & Darke Raven are, also back with their thoughtful and witty pop-culture reviews. For those in search of poetic verse, Wanda VanHoy Smith & {yours truly} forge some wordsmith imagery for your reading pleasure. Flip ahead to this month’s featured artist, Aaron Meade, if you’d like to check out some indie comic coolness.

Brain Chain Train – The Missing Link – by Stephen Gibb

Before I go I’d like to thank the talented artists [credited throughout this edition] who have shared their wonderful work with us. Without their contributions to RKYV, there honestly would be no e-Zine for you to enjoy.

Sapphire Peacock – by Amber Bair

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!

How can you enjoy the Pop Culture experience of RKYV ONLINE, the fastest growing art / lit e-Zine on the net 100% FREE ? Let me count the ways: In downloadable PDF format: You can join the mailing list and receive RKYV directly to you inbox each and every month. Just drop me a line at and I will hook you up. In multiple e-Book formats, hosted on a variety of sites [no download necessary]:

3. ISSUU: 1. SCRIBD: 4. Blogger: 2. MyeBook: 5. Xanga:

Now wait a moment Randy, you might say, how on earth can I submit to this cool mag? I am so glad you asked: You can post your submissions on RKYV's Facebook Group or send them directly to me via e-mail!

Ole Blue Eyes – by Mike Grattan

Jess in Black & White #2 – by Josh Bowe A Note from the Artist: The skewed perspective and deep foreshortening renders the space these nudes occupy, or rather “possess”, disorientating. You are not drawn into the painting, you are not invited. Instead, you find yourself suspended by a nagging sense of exposure and trespass. The atmosphere is one of intense, claustrophobic scrutiny. Furthermore, we are not allowed, as viewers, the comfort of the classical mutual gaze, no “come hither” glances in these encounters, no coy profiles. Instead, we are left abruptly on our own in the dark, at the threshold as it were, by the artist, to consult our ruffled consciences and preconceptions, and to consider perhaps, in the final analysis if it is not we, the viewers, who are, paradoxically, stripped naked by these provocative, discomfiting depictions.

Health Holy Heat, Batman... by Leanne Bechard – Stiers Wow, it has been a long time since I put anything on paper for RKYV… For those of you that are not familiar with Southern Ontario, we are famous for our weather. Out one window, it could be snowing, out the other it’s summer... today, both windows show me summer!! As I write this, it is 37 degrees, with a humidex of 50. For our American readers, that’s 99 and 122. Yes, it's damn toasty here. Of course, the biggest problem that comes with this kind of heat is dehydration. Dehydration kills. No kidding. The lack of fluids in your body, because of elevated core temperature, can and will kill you if not identified and treated quickly. Every single organ of your body requires water to function properly. Technically we, as humans are supposed to put out, through urination, etc… about as much as we put in to our bodies. With this heat it won't happen. Heat stroke, associated with dehydration, gets scary… when your core temperature gets above 39 degrees… or 102… once again for our American friends… it starts wreaking havoc on the body. It's kind of like having an all over internal fever. It can cause headaches, blurred vision, confusion and in the worst cases, seizures, cerebral vascular accident (stroke) or myocardial infarction (heart attack). Damage can, and in some cases, will happen. The best way to keep from over-heating is to do as little as humanly possible. I know, that's seems unlikely for most of us. Believe me, the yard work can wait, and unless you have no food in your refrigerator, the grocery store will be open later, even tomorrow. Have a tonne of water next to you, pop in a good movie, and chill. No pun intended.

For those of you compelled to cut your lawn when it’s this hot bring a gallon, at least, of your favourite cold beverage, water is the best. Sports drinks, are great on the commercials, but have a tonne of sugar and salt, which can actually dehydrate you quicker, that's why you crave it more and more once you start drinking it. Your body is screaming for more, because it's soaking it all up. Stick with water. It’s cheaper and better for you. People that are most affected by heat, are obviously the very young and the very old. The key… water: lots and lots of water, and a really good air conditioning system. Some cities offer cooling stations for those that are without air conditioning. If you know anyone that is living without air conditioning, check on them… if you have an extra fan… lend it to them. Pay it forward… Oh, I forgot, sunscreen. Protect your skin. Especially the kids!! I have three great kids, but basically have to threaten to restrain them to put sunscreen on them. That spray sunscreen they have out now is awesome! Use it!! On your kids and yourself… as a teenager I would plaster baby oil all over me to get a good tan. I ended up looking like a fried egg, burnt crispy… but my skin, at the time, looked like what I thought was great. Now, I'm pushing 40… and the skin, not so great. What I'm telling you here folks, is that as beautiful as summer is, green grass, trees full of vibrant coloured leaves… swimming pools and outdoor fun… It may jump up to bite you. Be careful. Stay cool. Make water your best friend. Don't forget your fur babies; they need to keep cool also. In Good Health, Leanne Bechard - Stiers Retired Registered Practical Nurse. Essex, Ontario, Canada RKYV Online

Featured Artist Review Aaron Meade by r. j. paré Quick Auto-Bio: I was born in Aurora Illinois in 1964. I have been an avid comic book collector since i was 10 yrs old. My family moved to Coeburn VA in 1976. I still live in Coeburn and am married to a wonderful woman named Lora and have 4 children. I have worked in many fields and have owned my own business. I am currently working as a professional comic book artist with ADVENT COMICS. I also have been in and helped make several B horror movies with LOOSE SCREW FILMS. My interests are: Comics, art, Martial Arts and Movies. You can go to to look at some of our upcoming projects.

rjp: Have you always wanted to draw comic books? AM: Ever since I was 10 yrs old and my mom brought me my first comic book. It was Master of KUNG FU #14, I think. The medium spoke to my imagination. I was hooked. rjp: Did you study or major in art while in school? AM: I did take an art class in high school but the majority of my comic artwork was self taught. I picked up a pencil at the age of 10 and just started drawing my own comics. Those early works were ROUGH but I knew I wanted to be a comic book artist and set lofty goals of being as good as many of my comic book artist heroes. Artist’s Name: Aaron Meade Title: DARKLIGHT AND CREW from SPOTLIGHT! #1, pg 14 © ADVENT COMICS Media Used: #2 lead pencils & Bristol board Size: 7 x 10.5 [print ready] Date Created: 2009/10

rjp: Who was your primary source of encouragement, as a child, in pursuing art? AM: Stan Lee, lol. Not directly mind you, but getting the 4 new comics every month with my allowance kept pushing me. rjp: Could you tell our readers a little about your project with ADVENT COMICS?

AM: YES! I am the artist on DARKLIGHT AND CREW! ADVENT COMICS new cosmic superhero team. I do all the pencils, inks, lettering, and coloring on the series. It is a story about a group of interstellar rebels who are fighting the tyranny of an evil dictator in their galaxy. The sheer scope of this title is enormous and every issue is gonna be packed full of intrigue and ACTION. Tony Kittrell is the founder of ADVENT COMICS and is the writer, along with Gerald Cooper founder of INVISION COMICS. Artist’s Name: Aaron Meade Title: DARKLIGHT AND CREW from SPOTLIGHT! #1, pg 4 © ADVENT COMICS Media Used: #2 lead pencils & Bristol board, India Ink markers & brushes Size: 7 x 10.5 [print ready] Date Created: 2009/10 I have also done two other stories for ADVENT. They keep me busy. Go out and get PANDIMONIUM, Advent comics premiere issue as well as CHAMPIONS OF HOPE and SPOTLIGHT! to see my first works. THEN we will bring out DARKLIGHT AND CREW in their own series. GET YOUR COPY!

rjp: When working on a comic, what method do you prefer: do you like to draw from a page by page outline and have the writer draft their finished script based on your page/panel layouts OR do you prefer the writer provide you with a detailed panel by panel finished script - before you draw? AM: Either way works for me. I have been working from a finished script to date. Luckily, Tony, (Advent comics) allows me to embellish on the story through my art. I choose the panel size and how to fit the story into the page. This allows me to add more tension and intrigue to the written story. rjp: What is your favourite media to work with? AM: That’s easy, pencil. I can use many media but pencils are my base and what I’m best at.

Artist’s Name: Aaron Meade Title: THE UNIVERSALS #1, pg 1 © Aaron Meade Media Used: #2 lead pencils & Bristol board Size: 7 x 10.5 [print ready] Date Created: 2008

rjp: How would you categorize your artistic style? AM: Comic book art or graphic art. rjp: Do you find it difficult to stay motivated/inspired? AM: Nope. I’m thrilled to finally share my work with the world and have always been most happy when I’m creating a comic book with my art.

rjp: Which famous artists / creators have influenced you? Why? AM: WOW! Many, MANY different artists have influenced me. George Pérez is my favourite comic artist of all time and had a very large effect on my style. I just love the bold and definitive lines that George uses. There is also Jim Starlin, Gil Kane, John and Sal Buchsema, John Romita, Neil Adams of course and many others over the years. But George Perez had the most influence. Artist’s Name: Aaron Meade Title: DARKLIGHT AND CREW from PANDEMONIUM, ADVENT COMICS PREMIERE ISSUE pg 9 © ADVENT COMICS Media Used: #2 lead pencils & Bristol board, India Ink markers & brushes, Artrage & Photo Impact software. Size: 7 x 10.5 [print ready] Date Created: 2009/10 rjp: Would you say that there is a "message" or "unifying theme" in your work? AM: Just to tell the story I am entrusted to bring to life through my artwork. That’s all. No hidden messages that I can think of BUT… DONT READ THE COMIC BACKWARDS! MUUUUAAAGGGHHHHAHAHAHA!!!! That’s my attempt at humour, lol. rjp: Do you use any special tools and techniques to create your art? AM: Just the basics that every comic artist uses. I’m old school… mostly: Pencils, markers, brush and ink. The colouring however I do on the computer using the Artrage program, makes it more even and easy to correct if I make a mistake.

Artist’s Name: Aaron Meade Title: ALLIANCE OF EVIL from PANDEMONIUM, ADVENT COMICS PREMIERE ISSUE pg 10 © ADVENT COMICS Media Used: #2 lead pencils & Bristol board, India Ink markers & brushes Size: 7 x 10.5 [print ready] Date Created: 2009/10

Artist’s Name: Aaron Meade Title: CHAMPIONS OF HOPE #1, pg 9 © ADVENT COMICS Media Used: #2 lead pencils & Bristol board, India Ink markers & brushes, Artrage & Photo Impact software. Size: 7 x 10.5 [print ready] Date Created: 2009/10 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?

AM: HECK NO!!!! I know that the world revolves around the digital empire nowadays BUT there is STILL something to be said for owning something you can actually HOLD in your hands and COLLECT! You can read comics online and that’s cool. BUT it’s hard to collect them that way and own them. I feel that a BOOK should be just that a BOOK. I hope the world agrees with me because I would be saddened to see the medium of a paper comic book come to an end.

rjp: Do you feel more a sense of community with other comic creators or a sense of competition? AM: Community. No doubt. Hey, we are all in this because we LOVE it. There is always gonna be a little competition amongst rival artists but there IS and should be room for everyone to share their vision and talent with the world. It takes a lot of dedication and persistence but great things happen to people who never give up their dreams. Artist’s Name: Aaron Meade Title: THE UNIVERSALS #1, pg 2 © Aaron Meade Media Used: #2 lead pencils & Bristol board Size: 7 x 10.5 [print ready] Date Created: 2008

rjp: What do you think of the term "starving artist"? AM: Been there… done that… still working on fixing that. rjp: While traditional publishing and distribution has become a difficult goal to achieve for the modern Indie comic creator, what do you think of the impact that social networks and POD services have had as an alternate means of connecting you, your work and your audience? AM: I feel that they have had a MAJOR impact. It’s thanks to networking that I’m here in the field today.

rjp: Would you rather have an engaged & loyal but, ultimately, small Indie readership or work on the latest Spidey, Wolverine or X - book? [The old Art vs Commerce question] AM: Good question. I would like to have BOTH if possible. To create something from scratch and have it thrive, no matter how big the readership is a great feeling. But that said, there is always room to dabble in working on the great standards of the industry and put your unique flair on it. Artist’s Name: Aaron Meade Title: Pulsar Pin-up from DARKLIGHT AND CREW © ADVENT COMICS Media Used: #2 lead pencils & Bristol board, India Ink markers & brushes, Artrage & Photo Impact software. Size: 7 x 10.5 [print ready] Date Created: 2009/10 rjp: How do you market yourself? AM: Hmmmm. Well I make samples of my work and put it out there for people to see. That’s how Advent found me. I made a myspace and facebook page full of my artwork and am always adding new art to them on a regular basis. You can be the greatest artist in the world and if no one sees your work, it won’t matter to anyone but you. rjp: What advice would you have for other indie creators, trying to break into the biz, today? AM: Refer to question number 17. Put it out there and be persistent on looking at all the avenues and companies available to supply you with work. It may take a while but it will happen if you want it bad enough. Also, ALWAYS KEEP YOUR WORD when you say you’re gonna have something done by a certain time, DO IT. This works in all avenues of employment but especially in the comic book industry.

rjp: If you were to land a gig with the big boys [DC, Marvel, Image] What would your "dream" project be and why? AM: If it were Marvel it would be CAPTAIN AMERICA or the AVENGERS. They have always been my favourite books by marvel. If it were DC it would be the Justice Society. I LOVE the retro superheroes of the DC universe. Artist’s Name: Aaron Meade Title: DARKLIGHT AND CREW #1, Cover © ADVENT COMICS Media Used: #2 lead pencils & Bristol board, India Ink markers & brushes Size: 7 x 10.5 [print ready] Date Created: 2009/10 rjp: Do you have any big plans, shows or Cons coming up? AM: YES! I have one of my own concepts i am working on in my spare time that I hope will become a part of the ADVENT universe in a short while. What it is i cannot say, BUT it will knock the socks off of those fortunate to get it and read and see it. I will be touring several different comicons all over the United States over the next year or two to help promote ADVENT and my work. LOOK FOR ME at the cons and I will be accepting any commission work that your readership should want to throw my way. Thanks for the opportunity to be interviewed for Artist of the month and I hope that everyone will go out and get some of my work to see for themselves what we have to offer. rjp: This bold & striking piece was an easy choice for our cover. I think everyone’ll agree that Dave Marshall adapted it well in his design this month! I would like to express thanks, on behalf of everyone here at RKYV to Aaron for sharing some of his dynamic art and taking the time to participate in this interview.

Glass Walls – by Tariq Rafiq

Digital Scribbles by Darke Raven This Month's Experiment: IDW's Infestation Month 2

Infestation : Star Trek, Ghostbusters, GI Joe and Infestation 2 of 2 After a long drought while Sony's Playstation Network, then Playstation Store was down it's time to slowly get back on track. We'll start off with the end of the IDW Infestation crossover. A crossover seemingly like a hill... starts low, goes high... then drops off a cliff to a as yet seen end... yes, Infestation 2 is out but I haven't gotten it yet... explanation near the end, but first... Infestation : Star Trek #1-#2 Publisher IDW Year 2011 Writer David and Scott Tipton Artist Casey Maloney Set in the time of the original late 70's Star Trek The Motion Picture, and mentions Star Trek Leonard McCoy Frontier Doctor mini, Kirk Spock and McCoy are travelling to a remote colony looking to honour McCoy for his work during the frontier doctor mini, but as soon as they arrive with their expendable security guards they are set upon by the undead and it's a fight for survival... made even harder as Kirk refuses to kill the undead even as it looks like the only way to survive is to kill.

Issue two sets Kirk apart from Optimus Prime as the trio find a group of good Robots vs Zombies robots created in the Star Trek universe who not only help the trio stop Brittany (Kirk vs Brittany total smack-down fight) but helps McCoy cure the undead! Way more impressive than the stumbling effort done in Transformers... but ultimately in vain as its discovered Brittany stole the secrets of Federation technology and took it home to her reality... something that is happening in all realities, speaking of which... Infestation : Ghostbusters #1-#2 Publisher IDW Year 2011 Writer Erik Burnham Artist Kyle Hotz The first infestation to land on Earth proper, as opposed to space or a colony world. Already troubled by an outbreak of hard to store poltergeists, the addition of the undead only seem to make it worst... …sadly, however, it sets the stage for a most sad plot twist in a you got your peanut butter on my chocolate moment as the newly undead are most attractive to the poltergeists who want to make the soul-less corpses (Brittany learned her lesson apparently from the last two universes about undead with souls) into their new homes... …only the mixing of undead and poltergeist ends up solving every problem presented in the story. Sigh. On the bright side the guys and Brittany have a dialogue moment, she takes a piece of the Destroyer form (Gozer) home, and apparently left a little "gift" in this reality meaning a possible sequel in the future... only unlike the Transformers world I welcome a sequel here.

Infestation GI Joe #1-#2 Publisher IDW Year 2011 Writer Mike Raicht Artist Giovanni Timpano Boring! And we were going so well to up to this point... but oh well. Set in an underwater COBRA base, the Baroness and a surviving GI Joe member (the other one killed by COBRA)... or was it two dead? Anyway, they're trapped when an artefact they had from the original infestation arrives in the universe (this isn't even a first strike... it's an after effect!) bonds with a handicapped female COBRA scientist to use as it's herald in this world, turning all the proto BAT skeletons in the base into pawns of the undead... and yes, it sounds as boring as you think it sounds. No Brittany, no zombies, and yet still something is stolen and... I don't care. It ends obviously, not very interesting or even noteworthy... just pointless. Why the story wasn't focused on the attack on GI Joe and is this aftermath story makes no sense... and is no fun. Blah. So let's total up before I tell you why I didn't get to Infestation 2 yet... Star Trek gets a 4 out of 5. Probably the best of the crossovers... not many crossovers so that wasn't too hard. Ghostbusters a 3 out of 5. A bit paint by numbers with the set up but still good overall. Finally GI Joe gets a sad boring 2 converted female scientists out of 5.... yummy?... not the story I meant... never mind, sorry. Forget I said anything.

So that leaves the ending... or is it the ending?

Infestation #2 of #2 Publisher IDW Year 2011

Having gained the secrets of portals and transformation of robots, 23rd Century technology, a piece of the Destroyer Gozer and no doubt its power, and BAT technology... what can Brittany build? Here it is... now let's see if her teammates can stop her or not... I tried looking it up on Wikipedia, to see more about the crossover, but no info sorry. I probably will review this issue in Novembers on leftovers month, so stay tuned for that. So to recap: Infestation started off low, picked up with Star Trek and Ghostbusters, dropped with GI Joe and... leaves with a mystery concerning Infestation number two. We'll check in on that in the future... ...stay tuned.

Forced Smile-in-a-Box – by Stephen Gibb

Short Fiction by Pauline Paré [title graphic by r. j. paré; interior illustration by Roger Price]

The three alarm clocks on Marcel Dupuis’ bed stand began to beep, ring and play annoying pop music all in unison. Marcel woke and hit the off switches while checking the time - 4:00am on each face. It had been a good night’s sleep, blessedly free of the frightening dreams that would cause Marcel to wake in a terrible state of severe panic. Marcel dressed in his white uniform with his eye on the time and then went to his kitchen with its battery powered wall clock and digital time displays on the range and microwave oven. After a quick breakfast of toast and orange juice, Marcel picked up his tall, white baker’s hat and left his door by 4:37am. He cast one haunted look at his front door before driving to work. Marcel had never once been late for his job at the bakery and he had never called in sick. He could be considered a model employee even though he was a bit odd. He never left the kitchen until his shift ended at 2pm. The other employees seemed to feel that Marcel was afraid of running into someone should he leave the safety of the back rooms of the bakery. He was very good at his job, however, so his employment at the city’s premiere wedding cake boutique was secure. On this particular morning, a leaky sink caused a small puddle to form on the tiled floor and Marcel was the unfortunate individual to discover this safety violation. He learned of this hazard when his legs stopped supporting him and unexpectedly dropped him onto the ground. One of the offending legs has bent outlandishly beneath Marcel and his coworkers were screaming impolitely. When the initial shock of the event wore off and Marcel realized that his leg should not bend that way, Marcel abruptly began to join in with the workplace commotion.

Despite his extreme discomfort, when the ambulance arrived, Marcel began to argue with the attendants that he could not possibly leave the bakery at 7am when HE could possibly be lurking about. The attendants resolved the dispute by injecting him with some clear liquid that, blissfully, caused Marcel to fall into a deep sleep. Marcel awoke in panic to see that he was in a hospital room with a cast on his left leg. When his head cleared, he was able to reassure himself that he was safe from THE SHADOW FIGURE in such a place. Over the next few days, co-workers and some family members that he saw quite infrequently would drop by and bring cards and gifts. His trepidation began to rise. The doctor was talking about sending him home soon but there was no way he could return to his job for at least a couple of months. He was able to plea that he had no one at home to assist him but eventually, he knew that he would have to go home to face the SHADOW IN THE DOORWAY. Marcel recalled the day, when he first saw his worst fear materialize. He was only four years old and he had been playing with his favourite yellow truck in the front hallway of his childhood home. His parents were busy in the kitchen and his brothers were in the backyard. He had chicken pox and so was blissfully able to play on his own for once. The truck was all his! He heard some strange noises and he began to get frightened. His parents were across the house and his brothers were even further away. He heard footsteps on the front steps and then, suddenly, the horrifying figure that would fill his nightmares from that day on, appeared in the doorway, looking down on him and extending a hand filled with rectangular objects. He remembered screaming at the top of his lungs and his mother came running. She picked him up just as the shadow figure began to descend the front steps once again. From that day on, he avoided being in that front hallway as much as possible and never alone but still, at regular intervals, HE would return to watch Marcel with expectations of catching him alone once again. After a week, it was the day of Marcel’s release from the hospital and his stress was evident in every action and furtive eye movement. His brothers were going to stop by regularly and make sure he had everything he needed but he was going to be alone for the most part, in the early mornings. Alone where HE could come to his house and find Marcel completely helpless. Marcel woke with a start to find that his leg cast was entangled in the bedclothes and the alarm clock on his bedside table read: Monday, 7am. He tried to swing his leg out of the bed but that caused a fresh rush of excruciating pain as his cast remained entangled in the bedclothes. He heard footsteps on his walkway through his open window and twisted his body over to close it tightly. The footsteps continue up to the wooden steps of his front porch and then up to the porch itself. Marcel sat up in his bed; his leg still entangled and remained as immobile and silent as possible. Sweat began to bead on his forehead and he felt chilled to his very core.

He was barely even breathing as, after a short while, the footsteps descended his front steps and once again clacked down the street. Marcel didn’t even dare to peer out the window in case was he was seen. He had avoided the terror today but he still had 2 months of mornings to get through. One day, a week later, Marcel heard a strange clanging noise in front of his house. He looked out of his window and saw that a neighbourhood cat had trapped itself in a garbage can that a thoughtful friend had put out at the corner the previous evening. The poor pathetic creature had managed to slip in through a crack in the lid but it was now quite thoroughly trapped. The nice women next door owned a cat. She had started dropping by with baked goods and vegetables from her own garden when she realized her neighbour was injured. He tried calling her but the phone went straight to voicemail. He really should rescue the cat; opening the lid would be a simple task, even on crutches, but HE was due to arrive in one hour. Surely, Marcel could dress, rescue the cat and get back in the house before 7am. Marcel gingerly hung his cast over the side of the bed and reached for his crutches. So far, so good, he thought. The stairs were trickier and since he was still groggy with sleep, Marcel slid down the steps carefully on his behind; one at a time; precious time wasting away. After a few minutes, Marcel was at his front entryway. Now he needed a shoe. He wasted several more minutes searching; he hadn’t left the house once since his release from the hospital. Finally he found the left shoe in the living room which was a terrible inconvenience since the cast was on his left foot and the right shoe was required. He nearly decided to abort his risky mission when he noticed his shoe sticking out from beneath his brown leather couch. He was able to retrieve it easily enough with the end of a crutch. Marcel didn’t bother with a jacket. Although the morning air was brisk, he didn’t plan on being outside for very long. He checked the time nervously, it had taken him nearly 26 minutes to get ready; he was cutting it close. Marcel navigated the front door and porch carefully; using crutches to descend stairs was a difficult enterprise. Travelling down his front sidewalk was easy enough but he had to take a few steps onto the lawn to rescue the dumb cat and the ground had become quite soft with overnight rainfall. His crutches sank a little way into the muddy earth. He reached the can and opened the lid to find a very large and frightened cat launching itself at his chest. Marcel was unable to sidestep the cat, as his crutches were stuck in the ground and he was sent tumbling to the lawn. As he was falling, his body instinctively attempted to plant both his feet resulting in the worst imaginable pain shooting up his left leg. He had put nearly all of his weight on the foot when he fell to the muddy ground. Marcel had neglected to wear a watch but he was certain he was nearly out of time and in the most excruciating pain. As he was lying down on the mud of his front lawn, he began to panic. Marcel was injured, helpless and HE was coming soon!

He reached for his crutches; one had gone flying a few feet away so he had to use the handier crutch to pull it over. This operation was made more difficult by the fact that Marcel was becoming very cold. It seemed as if he had seriously misjudged the temperature when he decided to leave his jacket inside. Marcel attempted to struggle to his feet but he fell as a new wave of pain washed over him from his broken leg. His eyes swept the neighbourhood to see if some help was near and that is when Marcel saw HIM… leisurely travelling down the street towards Marcel. HE was coming slowly, visiting each house along the way. Perhaps Marcel had time! Four more houses until HE would be here. Marcel decided to crawl through the cold wet grass to his front sidewalk. He slowly pulled his crutches along then, decided to abandon them altogether. That is when HE saw Marcel. The SHADOW from Marcel’s nightmares was solid and whole and was running right towards Marcel. Marcel let out a blood curdling scream and fainted away from pain and terror. He awoke to find half of the neighbourhoods occupants surrounding him and HE was among them. THE MAILMAN! He was barking orders and getting the gawkers to be useful in fetching his crutches and covering him with a blanket. Marcel had this overwhelming, irrational fear of mailmen for most of his life and now, this one was rescuing him. When Marcel was finally secure in his home, pain meds ingested, cup of hot cocoa in his hand, he realized that his strange phobia was cured. Never again would Marcel fear the mailman coming to his door. No more real estate searches on countries that did not have a postal service. He might even be able to sleep in some mornings! After the two months recovery, Marcel still did not return to work. Even though his fear of mailmen had all but dissipated, his unfortunate event with the cat had replaced his previous fear. At least the mailman was foreseeable, only coming by once a day at close to the same time. Cats however, cats were unpredictable and they could be ANYWHERE! Inspiration can come from the oddest places. One morning, my little girl was playing near the front door when the mailman come up the step and put the mail in our mailbox. Chantel thought she was alone there so she shrieked and ran to me in fear. I was writing something else at the moment but I jotted down the phrase “Irrational fear of Mailmen” to possibly be used at a later date.

~ Fin ~

Páipéirance – by Tindersen Blacktree Hoopdriver

CS Cartier presents


New York City, December 5th, 10:00

The first thing I realize when I stepped out of bed was that a cup of coffee was not going to do anything for the aches and pains. Falling asleep, was not a problem, apparently being blown twenty feet from an exploding building and freezing most of the night really helped to exhaust you. Staying asleep was a whole other matter. Every time I tossed or turned it felt like my back, rear and thighs were entirely bruised. Haphazardly I moseyed to the bathroom; moseyed as in my body would give anything not to ever move again. Cloths were peeled off, and the shower attempted to wash away the new agony that I somehow always ended up finding. It was hot, which was good.

I still felt like I was outside sitting on the ledge of a building watching that damn warehouse. The heat refused to replace the cold that crept into every joint. Hands supported me as the water just pounded over me, my neck refusing to lift my head. I watched as my hair cascaded the water away from my brow and eyes. Memories crashed with the water at the bottom of the shower and swirled with the dirt and blood. Well, that would explain some of the pain anyway. So what did last night get me? Bumps, bruises, cuts, lacerations perhaps… I would know if I had broken bones, so what was it all worth? I tried to piece together the puzzle. Cromwell, McKaphy, and… and I was missing something. Bruce would be just so impressed, let me tell you. He was the taskmaster from hell. And yet, he was right most of the time. I had him to thank for the training and he did it all by himself, and I doubt I would ever be his equal. I would love to say it was a waste of time, but remarkably I think I helped myself stubble onto a new player on the board… perhaps two. Maybe Bruce simply never admitted mistakes. Just cause I’ve never seen it doesn’t mean they didn’t happen. Ya right! “Come on, you going to be all day?” A voice says from the living room. Impatient and a touch rude, it makes me wonder how long I’ve been soaking. It brings me to the realization that the water is far from hot, ‘Oh that long!’ With the water off, I grabbed a towel and went to the living room. I’m greeted by Donna, that long legged goddess. Her slim legs are finished with three inch spike heels, like she needed the extra height? “I wasn’t in that much of a hurry, you could have dried off.” “I took the time to wrap it around my waist.” I mumbled half heartedly. “Dick, it wouldn’t have been the first time I’ve seen you without your… um, costume.” A smile came reluctantly, but finally met her’s. “First time not trying to save the world.” She laughed lightly and I made a grunt meant to be mine. I kissed her cheek and took in her scent. It was fantastic, just like she was. Her long ebony locks dances about as her head jerked away from me after the kiss. Full lips, not quite a smile, seemed to match two deep eyes. Both said mystery, but what else would you expect from an Amazon Princess.

We both sat on the couch in an uncomfortable silence, and just before she could start I cut her off. “How’s things, how’s Diana?” My eyes fell on pieces of my costume littering the floor. That was sloppy, damn sloppy. I do not even remember coming into the apartment. In truth, I don’t remember the last time I was actually in my apartment. “Good and good.” She stopped suddenly and leaned forward. The way she was sitting forced her jeans to look abnormally tight. “What’s wrong? I’ve seen that look on your face before.” Her hand flung about indicating my costume debacle. “I know you’re not anal about our identity but since when do you advertise it.” “Nothing.” I lied. “You look good, been working out?” “Funny, you’re evading” I smile and stood. The swiftness of the action nearly disrobed me but a quick hand saved me from an embarrassing moment. “Just a case… it’s complicated. Worked late…” Rolling my neck, it cracks. It feels so good I start stretching my arms and shoulders. “You’re pulling away, just like… HIM.” The emphasis on the word is more than clear. “You have friends, you have family.” It wasn’t true, but it felt like what family should feel like. “You know you will be the first one I’ll call.” “Dick, come back to the tower. Fill us in on the case and we will work on this just like a team should.” Her face was painted with concern. So much so, it made me wonder what I must look like.

She waited patiently, so much care where behind those dark eyes that I just about yielded. “Donna, I’ve got this.” I needed help, I knew I did. Why was I not relenting? I knew why, explaining it was another matter. Besides, I wanted to forget about last night’s screw up not add to Donna’s suspicion that I was becoming incompetent. I was still the leader of the group in her eyes. It did not matter that she took over for my sabbatical. “The gangs doing alright, aren’t they?”

“Nothing out of the ordinary.” Over the years I’ve discovered that women are a ball of emotions just waiting to be let out. I still never know what to expect. Donna was shaking her head even more concern flowed from her face if that was possible. “We’ve been trying to get a hold of you for days. We’ve left dozens of messages. We don’t know if you’re ok, kidnapped, or worse. You know how much Kory worries, how much I care. Can you please open up? Can you please let us help?” That’s what I liked about Donna; she was straight forward and called it as she saw it. She was more than a friend, more than a teammate. Donna was the sister I never had. “Kory made it clear that we were over. Her worries are unfounded. She wanted space so now there is space. I am simply doing what each of us do on a daily bases.” She was refusing to met my eyes when I brought up Kory. It did not take a detective to see between the lines. “What?” “We heard about the explosion, and your locator placed you there.” “Ya? You don’t think I had something to do with it? No, you’re not saying something. And that is not like you at all Donna.” “We didn’t hear from you from you. Kory was worried.” “Donna.” I barked. “Donna, what?” I said softer. “Kory must have just missed you. She went there and was attacked.” Attacked, my head was a buzz. The woman in black? “Dick, she’s gone.”

To be continued…

Kate Bush – by Mike Grattan

Digital Scribbles by Darke Raven This Month's Experiment:

Volume 1 Publisher: Topps Republished by: Chester, Devil's Due x One Player Only (X-Files Issue 13) written by Miran Kim, drawn by Charles Adlard x Falling (X-Files Issue 14) and Home of the Brave (X-Files Issues 15 & 16) written by Stefan Petrucha, drawn by Charles Adlard x Thin Air (X-Files Issue 17) written by John Rozum, artwork by Gordon Purcell x Squeeze (X-Files Season One) wriiten by Roy Thomas and artwork by Val Mayerick x Issue Zero (X-Files Issue Zero "Special Collector's Item Issue") written by Roy Thomas, artwork by John Van Fleet Just about every TV Series and movie in existence has had a comic book made after it, be it normal mainstream or adult web comic your soccer mom would disapprove of. But you probably don't know of every series ever adapted. So, what sets apart a Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Star Trek or Doctor Who from a Quantum Leap, Beauty and the Beast (the live action TV series, not the Disney product), Farscape or dare I say it X-Files? Publishers, dear reader, publishers.

Sure, in it's time Wizard did try to keep you informed of comics you should be reading, like the X-Files, but telling you about it and your nearby comic shop stocking it is two entirely different beasts. So unless you were a hip well informed reader who kept up with Diamond's catalogs, as well as all the comic review publications and later websites, comics like this slipped under your radar by the mere fact they were published by a smaller company and didn't have the reach of a DC, Marvel or even a Dark Horse or Image of it's day. So hearken back with me to the 90's... only let's not reflect too much on those days lest you become enraged against Republicans, moist meaty flesh puppets of the rich and of crazy psycho tea party fringe loon groups. During the 90's one of the greatest series ever was the X-Files, Chris Carter's child. I was only, at best, a spotty viewer. Watched a bit in it's time, watched a bit in syndication and rerun, a bit here and there, but more so from my dislike of all things gruesome than a dislike of the show... kinda like a train wreck, or the Bachmanns, too gruesome to look at but you can't help but stare all the same. Originally released by Topps Comics (the brief infatuation of Topps the card company with comics) and later republished by Chester (better known for republishing the works of others than their own works if memory serves), it is now digitally published by Devil's Due in three volumes, of which this is volume one. In One Player Only, a guy working at a computer game company goes slightly over the bend when he shows up at work and kills his co-workers. Worst, it seems that he might be under the influence of a computer program that is stuck in his brain... or the computer program is under his influence... or something. Anyway he makes a lot of wireless connection noises, lots and lots of talking is done, the Lone Gunmen are consulted and nothing is conclusive at the end... go figure.

In Falling, if a tree falls on a Mulder in the woods, and he's found by a dumb homicidal obese son of the local authorities who kills all his little pals before the authorities finally find him and Mulder... will anyone care? Home of the Brave, is a two-parter where Mulder and Scully are menaced by crazy right wing separatist rednecks... future Tea Party members? In Thin Air, Mulder becomes suspicious about this air force aviary guy who seems to have returned after being lost since World War 2... then when the guy vanished after being disproven on national TV Mulder flips his story and changes his tune.... make up your mind, man! In the adaptation of the X-Files episode Squeeze we meet the Cancer Man, the guy who can squeeze through vents and small opening and who ate Scully's cancer saving her life... wait... that's the same guy, right? I'm not accidentally melding two entirely different characters together am I? Finally it's the first pilot episode in comic format, aka Issue Zero. Where Scully meets Mulder, Scully and Mulder go on their first X-Files... and you get to see Gillian Anderson in her little white panties... joy? Hmm... well I wasn't really a big fan of the X-Files on TV, but I did go and see the first X-Files movie... and I did like the video game tie in to that movie (which was actually a rip off of Resident Evil called Resist or Serve)... and I kinda liked this. Not too much (didn't like Issues 2-4) but I liked it enough for 3 stacks of Mulder's porn out of 5. Stay tuned for reviews of X-Files Volume Two and Three in the near future.

Poseidon’s Kingdom – by Amber Bair

Poetry Selected Poems by Wanda VanHoy Smith

Rubbing Elbows with Ray Bradbury It was Summer when Ray brought a club of Manuscripters his Chronicles on Mars. I visit my long time mentor in his spot in his green hills and Somewhere a Band plays as we talk.

I hold Ray's hand that held the pen that gave birth to millions of word children that he sent out into the world that grew into books and novels that make him proud in Paris, London and Berlin. Ray Bradbury and I are a fairy tale under the skin. It's time to leave so I lean over the hospital bed to kiss him good-by but the bed is so high my lips can't reach his cheek even when I stand on tip toes. He smiles and suggest, “Let's rub noses like Eskimos.” My nose touches the nose of a legend among men I may never blow it again.

I stand by Ray's bedside. We hold hands and walk down Dandelion Wine lane. We recall real friends fictitious ones bigger than life like Moby Dick. What must Melville think of Captain Ahab in Hollywood and in an opera? Our true story is fanciful and romantic as Ray's Swan. We meet at the beach once a year for decades where he returns to build fires hot as Fahrenheit 451 under a flock of fledgling writers. He sends us home to portable typewriters that time changes to word processors and notebook computers. Ray and I are always in a crowd but get to know each other as he signs his books. You can't talk to someone you admire once or twice a year without becoming friends Years grow shorter and familiar faces fewer.

wordsmith, dream weaver – by r.j. paré

BLUES PLANET [background: earth as blues guitar – by r. j. paré] Is Earth really a green planet? The master artist painted trees, jade, emeralds golf courses and money green Green is beautiful but money can get dirty and golfers jaded. My earth is blue From far out NASA pictures show earth is a blue glass marble. This may be a green planet to some but Miles Davis and Lady Day don't sing the greens In the spectrum of the rainbow Blue is between green and indigo. On the love songs scale blues are between love and hate Happy woman blues and Moody Blues St. Louis Blues and Blues in the night. Good times roll in the house of blues There's blue grass and R and B. lots of Blues about loss, lost love, lost jobs, break ups and being broke. What would we do without blue? Give me brown eyes but not brown skies. Blue is pure and innocence like baby bonnets or booties. Mars is red the color of sin A scarlet letter A is Hester's badge of shame. Stalin shouts, “I've got the reds,” Monica's stained dress blue as an old fashioned Sweet Little Alice Blue Gown made Hillary sing the blues. Once in a blue moon I am with my man. What would I do without blue?

poetic perspectives by r. j. parĂŠ Bzz... bzzz... bzzzt! the incessant buzz interrupts cogitation as perspiration driblets now stain my pits

Can't find the gnat-ly nuisance but know it's motivation to vex my fevered psyche pain in the ass

now perpetrator alights on the spousal side of bed spy a bludgeon intstrument Huck [bleeping] Finn a gift, hard bound edition thick heft of Sam Clemens whit on nightstand it awaits me lay the smack-down winged enemy now crawls o'er better half's derriere volume's ripe for the whallop arm lifts for swing her eyes glance across shoulder a gulf of skin, sheets and spread reads my literary intent takes a deep breath "Don't even think it."

Summer nights, humid and mad and this insomnic buzzing I return tome to its rest and dream of splat...

Graphic Novel Review by r. j. paré

So a few months back, indie creator Von Allan contacted me about reviewing the 1st Volume of his graphic novel Stargazer… {I am so sorry it has taken me this long to get to it – in the parlance of hockey: I got to the box; I feel shame}. Wow, what I was missing out on! What do you get when you mix the timeless wonder of the Land of Oz with the coming of age sentiment of Stand By Me? You get a charming and fantastic tale full of fantasy & adventure that’s perfect for the whole family to enjoy! The following is a teaser blurb from the back of the graphic novel:

For a bit more on this tale, take a sneak peek at some of the beautiful and poignant art.

Artist’s Name: Von Allan Title: STARGAZER, Volume 1 pinup, pg 90 © Eric Allan Julien

Artist’s Name: Von Allan Title: STARGAZER, Volume 1 ad for Volume 2, pg 81 © Eric Allan Julien

Through the Keyhole – by Amber Bair

Raised on Saturday Morning Cartoons by Pauline ParĂŠ

IT’S A MIRACLE! In a previous article I expressed my trepidation that an American company will produce Torchwood. Torchwood is an amazing spin-off of Doctor Who set in Cardiff and starring John Barrowman playing his brash, immortal Captain Jack Harkness character that he introduced in Doctor Who. Captain Jack leads a team within the top secret Torchwood organization with the goal of protecting England and oft-times the world from supernatural and alien forces. There have been 3 British series of Torchwood and they have been amazing. Torchwood has always had a much darker and grittier feel than Doctor Who with many of the same writers on board making both series my personal favorites.

After Series Three, Torchwood had all but fallen apart and there was speculation that it would not continue. Shortly after, there were reports that American stations were competing for the rights. This news instilled mixed feelings.

Saving Torchwood would be wonderful but would handing the reins over to an American company change the show? After the first 2 episodes, I would have to say that the answer to that question would have to be a resounding “yes�, but not in a bad way. Starz agreed to collaborate with a BBC affiliated company, in order to make the series, but moved it to the USA. There are still 3 characters from the original cast in this Fourth series of Torchwood and the story continues from where it left off. With many of the original writers on board, this season is still very true to characters that we know and love but with some delightful differences. There is a much higher FX budget and the transition to the American setting was done quite well with several scenes filmed in England to bridge the gap to the new location. I like the new characters and while I notice a different pacing to the episodes, the series is quite enjoyable. It appears that my trepidation was unfounded. There likely will be others who will not entirely agree with my opinion, of course. It is tricky to remake a British show without losing built-in fans. I had never seen Life on Mars in its British origins and found the recent remake enjoyable but many fans were not impressed and the series did not last long. SciFy’s remake of Being Human is well done but I still prefer the original cast from the British version. Ultimately, I am very thankful that Starz decided to resurrect this exciting British series and to continue on rather than producing a remake.


Cover Art: Featured Artist Aaron Meade Design: David Marshall

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