Category: Daily looks

Gothic High Heel Sandals

Women usually ask themselves, “what would I wear today?” The answer to this is high heel sandals! Though it can be challenging to choose which style can make you look great, there is truly something that will complete your looks and enhance your styles.

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These Gothic High Heel Sandals have a heel height of 8 centimeters and up. The upper material is the flock and the outsole material is rubber. If you love going to parties these high heel sandals are perfect for you. These sandals are available in elegant black color. These sandals are perfect for the summer. The heel height is about 13 centimeters. These sandals are available in different sizes.

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Flush Long Gothic Coat

Long sleeve coat comes with unique features. If you are in search of something that is more than just a simple coat, Flush Long Sleeve Coat can be your best bet.

This Flush Long Sleeve Coat features a lace up decoration, standard thickness, open stitch closure type, solid pattern type, full-length sleeve, and turn-down collar. This is a perfect wardrobe during autumn. If you want a stylish fashion piece that can make you stand out, this one is for you. There are different women’s coats that you can buy in the market, but this long sleeve coat is a great investment and an excellent addition to your collection.

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Interview with Bobby Nash and his Evil Ways

Thursday, January 31, 2008

When and how did you get started writing?
I had this dream growing up to be a comic book artist. I began writing stories that I could illustrate. As I got older I met others with similar interests and began writing stories for them to illustrate as well. However, I never really considered the writing part as my main job until a good friend of mine pointed out to me that I was a far better writer than an artist. Begrudgingly, I have to admit that he was right. At that point I focused more on the writing, but I still dabble in the art. Then one day I got this wild notion to write a novel. The rest, as they say, is history.

How did you break into this industry?
With comics, I worked on a few fanzines and had a few stories published in small press titles. Like most other writers, I submit to publishers and answer ads looking for writers. My big break came in late 2000 when I landed the scripting duties on Marat Mychaels’ Demonslayer comic series. The title had two mini series at Image Comics. My first issue (Demonslayer: Vengeance #1) came out in 2001 when the title moved to Avatar Press. It was my first color book and actually sold fairly well as I remember. I worked on the title, which was a series of mini series, until 2004 when the book ended.

With novels it was a little different. I wrote a sci fi novel that I admit was not very good, but I got the “I want to write a novel” bug out of my system. Eventually, I had the urge to try again. This time I joined a writing class at the University of Georgia Continuing Education Center and began working on the novel that eventually became Evil Ways, my first published novel. This time I never lost the urge to write more prose and have stuck with it.

You’ve worked on a lot of different projects with a lot of different artists. Who are your favorite artists to work with?
I love the collaboration process that you get working in comics. There’s nothing like seeing the artwork coming in. It’s a beautiful thing. I’ve worked with some talented artists like Al Rio, Jeff Austin, Marat Mychaels, Cory Hamscher, Allan Otero, Stephen Toth, Blake Wilkie, Daniele Sera, and Luis Ruben Rivera Nunez (look for us on the Yin Yang graphic novel from Arcana Comics in 2008) and I look forward to working with more great artists in the future. As for dream artists, I’d have to say that the biggies would be George Perez, John Byrne, Frank Cho, Steve Epting, Adam Hughes… I should stop here as this could become a long list.
Do you pick the artists or are they assigned by the publisher?
It depends. Most of my writing work to date has been work for hire so the publisher hires everyone. I have some artist friends I will sometimes pitch something to and see if they are interested in working on it, but for the most part I have not picked the artists I have worked with.

I see you write both comics and novels. Is there a particular genre or style that you like writing for the most?
I like to dabble in multiple genres. In comics, the sky is the limit. It’s just a matter of finding the right publisher for certain types of stories. In novels, I think I do very well with the suspenseful thrillers and the adventure stories. Writing the pulp style stories over at Wild Cat Books and Airship 27 is a fairly new thing for me that I’m enjoying, but I tend to gravitate to the thrillers. That said, were I to get a horror novel idea I would certainly give it a shot.
When we met at the convention, I have to admit the first thing that caught my eye was your “Fuzzy Bunnies from Hell” comic. Please tell me, where did that idea come from?
I would love to take the credit for this because it is such a wonderful concept, but Fuzzy Bunnies From Hell is the brainchild of Jason Shane Powell over at FYI Comics. The title and basic premise was already in place when I was hired on as writer. I was given a paragraph or two synopsis and I took it from there. At the time I did not have many opportunities to write comedy so I really punched up the comedy to accentuate this horror story.

I see there are four issues, correct? Do you have any plans to add more?
Four issues are out. I’m not sure if they are still available for reorder or not at this time. There is still more to go to finish the story, but it’s currently on hold. I do hope to see the rest of the story out one day. You can check out the story so far for free at www.drunkduck.com/FUZZY_BUNNIES_FROM_HELL/index.php?p=117638. And if you really want to know the end of the story, there is a script book available featuring the entire script for Fuzzy Bunnies From Hell available at www.lulu.com/content/1103151. Okay, enough plugs. Back to the interview.

In reading the description of your Fantastix: Code Red novel, and I was struck by how similar it’s plot line is to a very popular TV Show “Heroes”. When was your novel published?
I’ve been waiting for this question since Heroes started. The novel, Fantastix: Code Red was published in March 2006. The story was originally written in comic form in 2003, before Heroes ever aired. At the publisher’s request, I turned the comic script into novel for in late 2005 for publication in 2006.
 
In what ways is it similar to Heroes?
Well, it’s a super hero story for one thing. There aren’t a lot of costumes either, but there are some. When I took on the project, which, like Fuzzy Bunnies From Hell was also work for hire with the characters and a basic plot in place, I was intrigued by the thought of super powered people living in a more realistic world. It’s certainly a concept that has been done before, but for Fantastix, I felt it was important to ground the story in reality. There are some flashbacks to the days of capes and cowls though, just for good measure.

What sets it apart from Heroes?
It’s written with a different style and tone. I like to think it’s my unique take on a classic type of comic book story. Plus, it’s a different medium.
Living in the South, I totally can appreciate your Life in the Faster Lane. Where do you get your material?
If there is one project I’ve worked on that is closest to my heart, Life In The Faster Lane is it. In 1992 I took a comic course and created the characters that would eventually become the cast of Life In The Faster Lane. I was only required to do one strip for the class, but I just dove in and drew stacks of them. The main cast of characters include R.O. Nudell, his wife Honey, and his son, Mel. These three are based on my Dad, Mom, and younger brother, respectively. Most of the strips are either based on something that really happened or something one of them has said. My Dad is such a loveable character in his own right that the strips started out primarily about him, but eventually everyone got in on the act.

In 1994, the strip, called simply R.O. at the time, was picked up by a local North Georgia family magazine called Keeping Up With Kids. The magazine, and the strip, ran for 12 years. These days I have been rereleasing the older strips along with some commentary and assorted bits of trivia at http://fasterlane.blogspot.com. I even do new strips on occasion and post them as well. It’s a free site and I hope everyone who reads this will stop by. On a side note, I am planning a book collection of these strips for release sometime in 2008.

Is this an ongoing project?
Oh yeah. If for no other reason than that my family seem to enjoy them as much as I do. Plus, I like to joke to them how I own them since the characters are owned by me. Ha. Ha.

What inspired your “Evil Ways” book?
I have a friend who was interested in making a low budget movie. He asked me to write something for him to film. I wrote up an idea that he wasn’t overly crazy about. When the urge to write a novel hit again, I pulled that plot out and reworked it, keeping just a few of the main elements and started writing. Then I joined a writing class at the University of Georgia Continuing Education Center taught by Harriette Austin. Eventually that novel became Evil Ways. Evil Ways was my first published novel.

How long did it take you to write this novel?
Six months. Then it took me five and a half years to sell it. [laughs] Granted, I did go back and tweak things in that time while I was pitching it to publishers, but the main bulk of the novel was written in six months.

Of all the things you’ve written do you have a favorite and why?
Evil Ways because it was my first “big” accomplishment with writing prose. When my comp copies arrived you could not wipe the grin from my face. Plus, Evil ways opened doors for me. I was hired to write other prose work based on what editors saw in Evil Ways. On a more personal level, I would say Life In The Faster Lane because of the family aspect.
I see you have a pulp anthology “Domino Lady” coming out in April of 2008. I was so excited to Renderosity Artist Uwe Jarling did the cover art! What a small world. How did Uwe get involved in this project?
He was hired by the publisher, Moonstone Books. And let me tell you, I was floored when I saw that cover. WOW!

As a pulp anthology who else is included in this project?
Oh, we’ve got some great talent on this. Chuck Dixon, Nancy Holder, Martin Powell, Ron Fortier, Gail Mcabee, CJ Henderson, James Chambers, Lisa Bandemer, Ver Curtiss, Jeff Butler, Uwe Jarling, Anthony Schiavino, and our editor Lori G. I should also mention that The Domino Lady anthology comes out in April 2008.

What can we expect from Domino Lady?
Pure pulp fun. Domino Lady used everything at her disposal to take down the bad guys. She was smart and sexy. A lethal combination if you get on her bad side. The Domino Lady has that something special I like to call “Pulp Sauce.”

Can you share a little teaser with us?
My story is called
Target: Domino Lady.

The Domino Lady is framed for murder and her alter ego, Ellen Patrick’s current beau Inspector McCarty has been tapped to bring her in: dead or alive.

Here’s a taste.

“I’m afraid she’s stepped over the line, Miss Ellen.”
“How’s that?”
“She’s killed a man.”
“What?” Ellen shouted, alarmed. Her practiced detachment wavered. A lump caught in her throat threatened to choke her.
“It’s true.”
“It can’t be,” Ellen croaked, her world suddenly turned upside down.
“I’m afraid so, Ellen,” McCarty said sadly.
“The Domino Lady is wanted for murder.”

Thank you so much for taking the time to let us get to know you better and for joining us for “Graphic Tales”. We look forward to seeing what you write next!
Thanks, Lillian. I appreciate it.

Interview with Sean Taylor

News: Graphic Tales: Interview with Sean Taylor

Friday, February 01, 2008

“Graphic Tales”: Interview with Sean Taylor

Lillian Hawkins [LilyHawk]

“Graphic Tales” resurfaces with an interview with Sean Taylor, comic book writer, creator, editor and letterer. After meeting Sean at the Nashville Comic Book and Horror Festival I just had to know more about the interesting writer behind the Gene Simmons Dominatrix comics.

Hi Sean,

Thank you for your willingness to do an interview. I see that you are a very busy, and well rounded kind which includes being a husband, father, friend, writer, comic book creator/editor/letterer, coffee nut/barista, cat fanatic, musician/songwriter, web designer, self-professed postmodern existentialist Christian mystic, to name a few things.

I’m also told that I’m really full of crap, so take anything you read on my website with the proverbial grain of salt. I’ve been called several other things as well, but therapy is helping me live with the pain. But barista is completely true — I make a hell of a cappucino. Like drinking whipped up coffee air.

I like to live in the dichotomies of life as much as possible. I’m probably too religious a person to write the comics I’m writing, but I’m also probably too big an irreverent jackass to write conservative religious curriculum, but somehow I manage to walk the line between the sacred and the profane well enough to enjoy doing both. It’s a fun life, I tell you.

After reviewing your website I have to say I am very impressed with all the different activities you have going on!

[Sean’s current projects include:
the Gene Simmons Dominatrix comic book series with IDW Publishing
Shan: Be My Hero a graphic novel with VLE Comics
The Veil comic book series with Rogue Wolf Entertainment
Last Chance School for Girls with artist Jesus Antonio for Arcana Comics
Show Me a Hero a prose short story collection being shopped to agents
Kasume No Josei a short Japanese horror comic story with Scott McCullar
Co-Plotting a tie-in project with fellow Shooting Star alum Erik Burnham to Arcana Studio’s War of the Independents which will feature Cyberfrog, Fishnet Angel, Nick Landime, and Phantom Jack
Sweetly Felt the Dream an iHero-based short for Terminus Media, with penciller Dustin Griffen, inker Luis Alonso, and colorist Luis Antonio Delgado
Pitches to Heavy Metal (with several fine artists, including Esteve Polls, Ricardo Sanchez, and Martheus Wade) and Tales from the Crypt]

Unless you have mastered cloning, or time bending, how in the world DO you keep up with all of these different projects?!
I try not to sleep more than 16 hours a day for starters… I don’t know. I just work on the main gigs for the bulk of my time, and in between scripts, I’ll hammer out a few pages for some of the side projects. It’s more about keeping busy to avoid vegging in front of countless DVDs than it is about trying to manage my time. I figure I could either waste time in front of the TV or actually get off my butt and attempt to make myself rich and famous. Or at least regularly employed.
How long have you been working as a comic book creator/editor/letterer?
How did you get started in this industry?
I got my start in the pages of Shooting Star Comics Anthology. Some friends and I started our own company and took the bull by the balls to show this industry we meant business. I had previously been a magazine editor, so I became the editor-in-chief of the company and helped us to develop publishing plans and publication schedules. As for the lettering, I was too broke to hire a letterer, so I learned how to do it myself in the stories I had written, and thankfully, there was helpful information all over the Internet. We had a blast putting out our books and eventually branching out to do other people’s work too, such as the critically acclaimed Children of the Grave and one of the graphic novels in the Jetta: Tales of the Toshigawa series, and I was able to publish my Fishnet Angel: Jane Doe miniseries as well, but when it came time to close up the shop and move on, we instinctively knew it, and we all moved on to find our new places in the comics world. Fortunately several of us have landed in various spots from AC to IDW and beyond.

What is the one comic that you are most proud of and why?
You know, I’m really proud of all my work, but I think Gene Simmons Dominatrix is the one I’m most proud of right now. It’s tough work to take an idea that people enter into with so many assumptions about and leave your mark on it enough to make those same people come out on the other end saying things like it was not what I expected or it surprised me. And let’s be honest, the idea of a practicing dominatrix could easily be derailed into either camp or porn. And neither Gene, IDW nor I wanted this book to become Stripperella, back shelf leather porn, masturbatory bondage fiction or worse, the campy scenes from Mel Brooks’ Hi Anxiety. To be able to keep the book sexy and cheesecake-esqe but still manage to tell a story about a woman trying to find her life and reclaim it from the forces trying to dismantle it, well, that makes me very, very proud.

Do you have favorite artists and cowriters that you like to work with?
Absolutely. I’m absolutely in love with working with Esteve Polls, the new artist on Gene Simmons Dominatrix. He draws beautifully detailed backgrounds, and I’m swooning for any artist who devotes time to backgrounds and faces. Any lugnut with a set of pencils can draw big muscled people in underwear beating the crap out of each other nowadays it seems, but it’s the rare artiste who provides the context of faces that speak volumes and backgrounds the give the illusion of a real place and time in a comic.

And I’m working with an artist named Martheus Wade who is one of the best martials artists I’ve seen in years. His fight scenes are some of the few in comics that actually make sense. You could just about map them out panel by panel and verify the follow-through on the punches and kicks. If you’re not reading his book Jetta: Tales of the Toshigawa, you really should be.
How did you get hooked up with Gene Simmons and IDW?
I’ll give it to you straight and honest. It’s a case of being in the right place at the right time. It’s as simple as that. I really believe that’s what this business is about. Back when I was editor-in-chief at Shooting Star Comics, I edited a book called Children of the Grave by Tom Waltz and Casey Maloney. When that book was later picked up by IDW as a trade paperback, some things fell into place for Tom and he ended up as the editor of the Simmons line of books at IDW. And he contacted me about writing what he described as a book with a strong female lead and some potentially disturbing subject matter. And well, how could I say no to an invitation like that?

I see from the Simmons Comics Group website that Gene was the creator the Dominatrix concept. What’s it been like working with Gene on this comic and on the Gene Simmons House of Horrors?
These are all Gene’s babies. He has the ideas and he trusts his writers to run with them and build on them. Gene’s been great to work with because he does have that level of trust in us to basically turn over the keys to his kingdom and move in right after he builds the framework of the castle. And to be honest, my dealings have been more with my editors at IDW than directly with Gene, but he has certainly added or changed things from time to time to ensure that the books stay in line with his vision. But he doesn’t do that in a didactic or heavy-handed way. I really appreciate the trust he has put in me to let me play with his toys, so to speak.

Are there a set number of issues planned for the Dominatrix series?
The first arc, Daylight’s End, will run for six issues. After that, well, just like anything nowadays, that’s up to the fans to tell us how badly they yearn for more. That said, I’ve got Dominique’s adventures plotted out well into multiple years of stories, and I hope to stay with her and her friends and enemies for an awfully long time.

I’m a big fan of Heavy Metal and Tales from the Crypt. Do you have any pitches you would like to tease us with?
I’m actually working up stories to pitch to both of those books. Unfortunately I can’t tease you too much except to tell you that space cowgirls can be sexy and dangerous and that grandma’s house can be much scarier than a cemetary, especially if you have the right grandma.

In addition to your busy convention schedule, what are your plans for the future?
I’m always working about six projects out, and I have a list of the way too many projects I’m in various stages of involvement with on my website at www.taylorverse.com. Some folks might think it’s a little too premature to mention things as early as the concept and pitch development stage, but I like the idea of being an open page, and I’ve really never have been one for doing things the way I’m supposed to. The beauty part of having so many things in development is that I’m never hurting for something to write. There are a few things I do want to mention specifically though.
Shan: Be My Hero is a romantic high fantasy graphic novel I’m writing for VLE Comics based on a short story by Stephen Antczak. It tells the story of a woman warrior named Shan who has become the local hero and the village that loves her. It simultaneously tells the story of a man no one would have ever expected to do anything heroic. And there are also lots of fantastic creatures and a multi-armed giant. I really like that it’ll be released by VLE directly as an original graphic novel since that gives me the freedom to pace it more like a novel and not have to think of it in terms of 22 pages and then a cliffhanger. I can really let the character breathe in the OGN format, and let the story unfold at the best speed for the the book instead of in a format that is dependent on a monthly publishing schedule.
The Veil is a new series I’m writing for Rogue Wolf Entertainment, and if you are a fan of supernatural intrique and secret government agencies, you’ll dig this book. At it’s core, it’s a lot like Alice in Wonderland, but with the twist that Wonderland is a sinister, evil place, and it’s trying to creep over into our world. Only a select few agents are able to protect our world and keep the public blissfully unaware of the real danger all around us every second.

Last Chance School for Girls is a miniseries I’m working on for Arcana Comics. Jesus Antonio is drawing that one, and it features young adult characters in the lead roles. I cut my teeth reading books like Titans and classic X-Men and Legion of Super-Heroes, but I didn’t want to give this one such an innocent teenage quality, so instead I darkened the hell out of it and gave it a very Suicide Squad edge. It’s been a lot of fun to write so far, and I can’t wait to show off Jesus’ art. It’s going to blow people away.

I’m also working on a dream project for a short story that reunites me with my fellow Shooting Star alum, Scott McCullar, called Kasume No Josei. It’s a traditional Japanese ghost story created by two western storytellers who have had their heads in Eastern culture for a long time.Beyond those, I’ve got several things in the early stages, such as a book featuring Jesse James and Mayan mythology that I’m working on with artist Kurt Belcher from the Alterna Comics book Sleepers and a book called Quinn: The Reckoning that I’m working on with Jetta artist Martheus Wade. That’s one that’ll be sure to get me in hot water again, but you’ll have to wait to learn more about it as it gets closer to being published. Another in-development book I’d love to plug early on is one Richard Kohlrus and I are working on called Victor’s Parrish. It’s the most unique take on the story of the Frankenstein monster I’ve ever seen, and Richard’s love for the monster really shows in his artwork. I can’t wait to share that one with people.

I bet you’re sorry now that you asked this question. Aren’t you?

Dirty little GODS: The Musings, Rants and Ravings of a Heretic

Saturday, February 02, 2008

I just had to share my insights with everyone at Gothic Blend regarding a little known book, by an unusual writer, about a controversial subject. I am pleased to introduce you to dirty little Gods: The Musings, Rants and Ravings of a Heretic by Billy Flying Red Horse Starnes.

I came to possess this book in the winter of 2004, having purchased it after attending an Earth Teaching class given by Flying Red Horse and Tal Quetzal Moran. Being impressed with the class and with both of the teachers, I was eager to get my hands on the book. The title, of course, caught my attention. “Something right up my alley”, I thought. However, I didn’t get very far into the book, when life changed and we moved from Atlanta to Nashville. The book got packed away and forgotten…until now.

With the creation of Gothic Blend, our paths have once again connected. With that connection, and the final unpacking of boxes, I knew it was time to read the book all the way through and share my thoughts about this provocative text.

From Fragment One: Mystical Christianity I was a bit shocked to read what appeared to be the admonishments of a hard-line priest, rather than the expansive, understanding words I had heard Billy speak in person. I was amused by my surprise. I had been warned in the Introduction that these “Fragments” were untampered with and were his thoughts and beliefs at the time each of them was written years ago. I could tell that Billy has experienced a lot since the writing of the first chapter.

While I admire and share Billy’s love of language and the desire to fully understand the root meaning and history of words, I admit it made for a challenging read, especially in the beginning of the book. Despite the over indulgent use of extraordinarily large words in the first part, there are meaningful truths that shine through. For example, the “Three Doors to Liberation”, steeped in Christian mysticism are well considered and show growth and the deeper connections being made with the addition of references to several of different names of God. I was particularly touched by the fragment “My Greatest Communion” where, as a priest, Billy experienced the indiscriminating exclusion by ordained servants of God, yet was graciously acknowledged and honored by a true servant of God. It was a light-bulb moment.

Once you move onto Fragment Two, the Zen teachings come to light along with his ability to apply the teachings to common human behavior. This section, written during his time at the Atlanta Soto Zen Center, are reconstructions of Dharma talks he gave while there. This fragment includes funny observations about human perspective during the “Perfect Dharma Talk”, and a touching recognition of saints that walk among us in “Bodhisattvas and Buddhas”. “Sleeper Awaken” struck a chord as this is something I wish more of us humans would do.

Fragment Three: “Sociopolitical Commentary” is when I came to the realization that Billy Flying Red Horse Starnes, is to religious commentary as Bill Maher is to political commentary. They both wish to educate and elevate the awareness of the collective consciousness. Each of them tells it like it is, regardless of whether people like it or not, and are passionate about their beliefs. In this fragment, Billy really gets into the heart of several modern day situations, particularly with the segment “Reality Deficit Disorder”.

Fragment Four: “Earth Teachings” was by far my personal favorite! It was so refreshing to read “A Woman’s Place”. I will share this one with my daughter and all the girls and women I know. The icing on the cake of this fragment is the self-titled section “Dirty Little Gods”: It is our ignorance to our true nature that soils us. Self-love, self-responsibility, and right choice can wash away the dirt…it that is what we choose. Thank you for writing this fragment Billy. There are so many wonderful things in it!

Fragment Five: “Prose and Cons” is filled with thought provoking and provocative prose and starts off with the question: If those who write poems are known as poets, why aren’t those who right prose known as prozacs?. There are so many that I enjoyed that I cannot list them all. However, one that I found of particular fun was “Take-Take-Take” in it’s twist of gist ending.

Fragment Six: “Moonwater and The Fox” struck me as the fable of a courtship and the way that the characters dance and interact with one another as we live and learn together. It was delightfully written and quite a shift in writing from the previous fragments.

Fragment Seven: “Horse Apples” was the final fragment and concluded by delivery lots of well…let’s just say…fertilizer for thought. It is in fertile ground and that the seeds planted in this last fragment will sprout. This one contains an abundance of beautiful and strong seeds, such as: If your is not to reason why, then whose is? and “Mystery is not necessarily a bad thing…” I swear, this fragment has me wanting to make a whole bunch of new bumper stickers and avatar quotes as I yearn to share the poignant passages with others.

I am pleased that Billy left the early fragments in their original state. They are a testament to the spiritual growth of a priest, teacher, and friend, and also serve as a well marked guide post of the areas where the institution of Christianity would do well to self-reflect and correct. As they are written, each fragment offers a new and meaningful message and they build upon each other in wisdom and understanding.

There were many notable quotes in the book. But, one of my favorites, and one I would like to use with Billy’s permission is this:

“Men can only be governed by reason if those men are reasonable.” – Flying Red Horse, 2003

I recommend this book to truth seekers, recovering Christians, and those that are exploring many paths, or are simply curious. It provides an expansive view into the spiritual mind of a man as he evolves from a narrow view of the world into a view of experience and wisdom and then into reflective prose and mystical tales and masterful observations. The keys and concepts that Billy latches and shares, and the connection of these concepts to everyday life, make this book worth the read.

With that, I would like to introduce you now to the man behind the book, Billy Flying Red Horse Starnes.

About the Author:
Beginning born Billy, named after Rev. Billy Graham, it comes as no surprise that author Billy Starnes, at the tender age of 16, felt a need to spiritually minister to others and began preaching in a small Baptist Church in Alabama. What did come as a surprise, at least to his parents, what that his questioning nature and logical mind would later put him at odds with the doctrine he was born into. Once out of high school Billy abandoned organized religion for 13 years and flew the nest by going into the Air Force.

During this time, Billy explored and expressed himself spiritually through music, song writing and then martial arts. It was the practice of the martial art Akido that led to an interest in Eastern Mysticism and meditation. Billy converted to Buddhism after two years of Zen practice and went on to became a Zen disciple (student teacher) and staff member at the Atlanta Soto Zen Center in 1995 where he remained for more than 2 years.

Interestingly, it was during his Zen studies that Billy experienced a renewed interest in Christianity and went into seminary studies at the Federation of St. Thomas Christians where he became an ordained priest in 1997.

However, as history has a way of repeating itself, Billy once again found himself at spiritual odds with the church. Core differences in philosophy, and a distaste for church politics, led to a second departure from all organized religion in 1999.

Daughter of Dracula Revealed

Graphic Tales” Reviews The Daughter of Dracula Revealed
by Lillian Hawkins [LilyHawk]

Today we are going on a gothic journey over the rolling hills and scenic views of Eastern Europe as we trek through the unexpectedly romantic tale of the Daughter of Dracula. Set during World War 1, Marya finds herself falling head over fangs in love with an accidental stranger. Who it turns out is none other than the handsome and oh so charming Baron Von Richthofen, better known as the infamous Red Baron.

At first glance it would seem unlikely these two would meet, much less fall in love. However, with the master writing skills of Ron Fortier and the exceptional drawing skills of artist Rob Davis, this dynamic duo bring this gothic love story to believable life with style and a lusty zeal.

This new graphic novel was a long time in the making, but worth the wait. I touched base with the creators about the history behind this epic tale, and I mean ALL the history. Let’s start at the beginning…

So Ron, tell us a bit about yourself. How long have you been a writer?
[RON FORTIER] I am a 61 year old native of Somersworth, NH. I am married and have five children all adults now, and six grand children. I worked 31 years at a local GE plant which you might say was my day job, while at night I was a free-lance writer. I’ve been a published comic book writer for the past 35 years and have over 500 titles to my credit.
Daugther of Dracula
author Ron Fortier
(Author Ron Fortier)

What kind of things have you written?
I co-wrote three fantasy adventure novels with Texas based author Ardath Mayhar. The first two were published by TSR many years ago (Monkey Station & Trail of the Seahawks) whereas the last of these, Witchfire, was recently published by Cornerstone Books. I also wrote a three act play. It was a romantic comedy that told the true story of how my parents met and fell just prior to World War II. The play was produced four years ago by a small community theater group and very well received by audiences.

In the past two years I’ve begun writing brand new books starring old classic pulp heroes and have done three featuring a character called Captain Hazzard. The fourth, Cavemen of New York, will be published early in 2008. Meanwhile I maintain a website at http://www.Airship27.com, where I maintain a blog that gets updated every single Friday. This is where I post all my current activities.

How did you develop the story line for Daughter of Dracula?
The story behind how this graphic novel was created is all told in the back of the book itself, but I’m only too happy to repeat here.

I’m a big fan of the old Universal Classic Horror movies and one of my personal favorites was the 1934 sequel to Dracula called Dracula’s Daughter. The story behind this film is intriguing. After the success of Dracula, Universal very much wanted to follow it up with a sequel, but alas Bela Lugosi, who had been playing the character for many years on stage, was simply tired of it and refused to do another movie. Not wanting to lose out on what would be a guaranteed success, the writers at Universal then changed the focus of their proposed sequel on to an heir of the blood-sucking count, his beautiful daughter, Marya.

It is never once explained in the movie itself how it was Dracula, as a vampire, would have had a daughter. A plot hole I hope I cleverly resolved in our graphic novel. The film still entertains me to this day and most critics claim it is a far superior entry to its predecessor.

How did you come to choose Eastern Europe during World War I?
Over the years I often entertained the idea of doing something with the character, but never quite was able to come up with an appropriate background. When Universal began dusting off its old horror monsters with the new Mummy franchise, I was really impressed with how they both kept the tale in a 1930s setting but at the same time added a very Indiana Jones adventure flair to the tale. Now that was really fascinating and began opening up my own imagination. If I were to revive Marya, in what new kind of dramatic world could I set her?

Of my many interests, another is the flying aces of World War One, in particular Manfred von Richthofen, known as the Red Baron. One day, while surfing the net, I came across a biography of the man and instantly ideas began popping in my head. What if Marya came to Berlin during the war and had an affair with von Richthofen? The idea enflamed me right from the start and I knew it was the story I wanted to tell. I then proceeded to lay the facts of the Red Baron’s life historically, from his entry into the war to his death at the hands of an Australian soldier. With this established timeline, I then interwove the fictional story of his meeting and falling in love with Marya Dracula.

Daugther of Dracula, Page 1 Daugther of Dracula, Page 2 Daugther of Dracula, Page 3 Daugther of Dracula, Page 4 Daugther of Dracula, Page 5

How did you and Rob get connected on this project?
After having completed the 108 pg script, I sent it out to various comic publishers but with no luck. So it went on the shelves for nearly a full year collecting dust. Still, the more I would talk to people about the story, I kept getting the same reaction. It should be a movie! On a whim, I dusted off the comic script and using it as a guide, wrote a movie screenplay version. Now this I sent to a few people with Hollywood connections and they began showing it to various studios representatives. We did get a few nibbles of interest, but never anything concrete. Ironically several of my friends offered that we could probably have a better go at selling the screenplay if we had a graphic novel to show these movie people. Ha. The Catch-22.

Then, after two years, when I thought nothing would ever come of this, I accidentally hooked up with an old friend on-line, professional comic book artist, Rob Davis. Rob had worked for both Marvel and DC at one time, doing Star Trek titles for them. He’s a truly gifted graphic storyteller and both of us bemoaned the fact that we’d never had the opportunity to work together. On a gamble, I sent Rob the graphic novel script and asked him his opinion of it. I was pleasantly surprised when he responded saying he liked it a lot but his wife liked it ever more so. She totally zeroed in on the romantic core of this tale.

Can you tell me more about the artist Rob Davis?
Rob has been an artist since 1986 when he began illustrating role-playing game modules for Mayfair Games (DC Heroes role playing game) and Iron Crown Enterprises (Champions super-heroes role playing game) and has been a working professional artist/illustrator ever since.

His first “hit” comics work was on the Adult-oriented comic book Scimidar from Malibu Comics. He penciled and inked the historic fantasy character Merlin for Malibu. At about this same time Rob became associated with Innovation Comics’ Dave Campiti where with writers Michael Vance and R.A. Jones the Sci-Fi/Suspense Series Straw Men was published and also collaborated on a prequel to “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” called “Captain Nemo” at Rip Off Press.

Rob worked on Maze Agency (a critically acclaimed “Thin Man” type of Mystery -Detective series) for Innovation Comics, that lead to Quantum Leap (based on the popular Science Fiction television series)that in turn lead to DC Comics’ two Star Trek comic books (Star Trek: The Next Generation, and Star Trek with Kirk, Spock, McCoy, and the original Enterprise Crew). He worked for Marvel Comics in Hanna Barbera’s Pirates Of Dark Water Saturday-morning cartoon sword and sorcery/fantasy adventure show. Then later returned to Malibu Comics and worked on Star Tek: Deep Space Nine for nearly three years doing Mini-Series and fill-in work.

(Artist Rob Davis)

Since then Rob has worked on various video game design projects and comics stories for Caliber (including Robyn of Sherwood #4 with writer Paul Storrie, and Legends of Camelot: Merlin with writer Jeff Limke), Sundragon comics, and Arrow Comics ( Camelot’s Last Knight with Jeff Limke). In addition, he has worked as a Graphic Designer on a wide variety of projects that include illustrating a number of prose novels (Brother Grim, and Hounds of Hell, the Captain Hazzard and Secret Agent “X” series’ all from Wildcat Books).

In addition to The Daughter of Dracula, we’re also collaborating on a weekly political cartoon called The Dubya Chronicles, Modernpulp.com and “Dr.Satan”, a 1930’s “pulp” fiction story!

How long did you work on this project?
Rob said he’d love to draw the project, but he simply did not have a much free time to devote to it. At best he could promise only one page a week. Doing the math was easy enough, at 108 pages, this would take him a little over two years to complete. Maybe other writes would have been put off by this, but after already investing two years on the writing, I was more than willing to ride it out longer if I could if I could get Rob on board. With Rob I was guaranteed beautiful artwork. And that is what he delivered, far my beyond my wildest expectations. Each week he would digitally show me a new page and each seemed to be better than the last one. As the weeks turned into months and then years, I realized Rob Davis was creating the masterpiece of his art career. Early this year he turned in page 108 and the book, a four year journey for me, was finished!!

Daugther of Dracula, Page 6 Daugther of Dracula, Page 7 Daugther of Dracula, Page 8 Daugther of Dracula, Page 9 Daugther of Dracula, Page 10

Who is the publisher?
I tried to interest publishers in taking this on. Alas, although we were given glowing remarks at the beauty of our book, we simply could not find a publisher willing to take it on. Perhaps it was the adult nature of the story, it is sexually explicit and there is of course violence and blood-letting aplenty. Kind of hard to tell a vampire story any other way. In the end, having faith in what we had achieved here, Rob and I chose to self-publish DAUGHTER OF DRACULA.

Who did the cover art and what was the inspiration?
I had worked with cover painter, Mark Maddox, in the past as he had done one of my recent pulp novel covers. In thinking about what image I wanted on the book, I kept coming back to the idea of depicting blatant eroticism with an icon of the period. Sex sells. But I didn’t want just another “bad girl” pin-up. The Blue Max was the medal awarded the Red Baron. Hmm, what if that were seen hanging over the ample bosom of a vampire damsel?

I wrote Mark and explained my idea, to include the fact we would not reveal complete face. To do so would have humanized her and I want something primal. Showing her bosom and teeth above her red lips would do that. At first Mark thought I was crazy and almost refused to do the painting, but in the end we compromised. He did a complete painting, with face and all, but then cropped it for our use. He will eventually be offering prints of the entire painting. Still, after seeing our cover, he finally admitted to me I was right to have it done this way.

The book was printed two weeks ago at Ka-Blam, an internet on-demand publisher, and is now available for sale at there Indy Planet store site. Already friend and family who have been aware of our efforts these past few years are eagerly coming forth to get their hands on this book and we are sitting on pins and needles awaiting their feedback.

Four years of my life, two of Rob’s. Was it worth it? I leave it to you to tell us.
Thanks ever,
Ron Fortier

Reviews Ghost Zero

“Graphic Tales” Reviews Ghost Zero
Interview with Dave Flora
by Lillian Hawkins [LilyHawk]
After reading about you, and poking around online, I am terribly curious to confirm what is your mystery “day job”? (I’m guessing you are a professor 😉
[Dave Flora] (I’ll skip the “well, I’d be forced to kill you” line.) Actually, though I have taught a few classes, I’m not a professor. My job title is “Training Coordinator for the Distance Learning Office” at my university. What that boils down to is: I train faculty on the use of various technologies so that they can be effective at delivering online courses. I really enjoy helping people, and I have no problem with public speaking, so this is right up my alley.
Ghost Zero
author Dave Flora
(Author Dave Flora)

With all of the media attention on Freemasons as of late, do you get any unusual or negative attention because you are an active Freemason? What kind of inspiration and ideas do you draw from your experience as a Freemason?
I live in a rural, small-town area of Kentucky, so while the people here are great, they are pretty distrusting. I’ve had comments about Freemasonry being a “cult”, and some strange glances, but really the positive connections have outweighed by far any bad experiences. In fact, the media attention that Masonry has gotten has actually made people more curious as to what it’s all about. I’m very proud to tell them whatever I can..which is quite a bit. There are only some parts that I can’t disclose…more because I promised not to, than they were ‘secrets that must be kept’. As far as the impact Freemasonry has on my work, it really drives home the point that things are not usually what they seem. I mean, this old country guy in worn clothes pumping gas into his car may be on his way to his Lodge where he may don the robes of a long-dead king and recite a biblical verse during an initiation. I love the contradictions that seem inherent in people’s lives. There’s nobility or horror in places you wouldn’t expect.

You have been a freelance illustrator and done quite a few magazines and RPG games some years ago. Can you tell me more about some of the things you created? What magazines and games did your work appear in?
Well, I was first published in a short-lived pen-and-paper RPG magazine called “The Familiar”. They had seen my portfolio at a convention. Curiously, I got my first job because the artist that was illustrating an article killed himself before finishing and I was called in. Quite a tragic way to get your first work published! I did some pin-up illustrations in some Indy comics, did interior art for the “Middle Earth” RPG by Iron Crown Enterprises, and a bunch of others that were around in the early 1990’s that aren’t anymore. It was a great experience as an artist…my first work with deadlines….but not much money, so I put it all on the back burner and focused on my education and getting full-time work.

I noticed that at one time you were trying out a piece of software called “Comic Life”, are you still using it? As I have worked closely with a lot of digital artists, I’m curious if you have a preference of mediums between pen and ink versus digital? Do you see a trend towards digital happening with comic book illustrators?
I do use Comic Life, and though it’s not perfect, it’s a great piece of software. I’m a big proponent of using whatever tool you need to get the art where it needs to be. I’ll always start on paper with ink and markers, but then I’ll scan it into Photoshop and use it as almost a raw material….cutting, moving, adjusting, layering, etc. The digital toolbox has really changed the shape of creating and publishing art…not just making it faster, but making tools accessible to artists that never were before. The versatility that is available to creators now as opposed to 10 years ago is boggling!

The REVENANT, Ghosts with Guns, Garage Kit The REVENANT, Ghosts with Guns, Official Release The REVENANT, Ghosts with Guns in…CHILLING COLOR

I discovered your Revenant character in the GZ archives and enjoyed watching the progression and evolution of the story. Then I stumbled up the really cool sculpture of Revenant done by Eric Nocella Diaz. The progression of the character and the sculpture was fun to put together. Are the sculptures still available? Where can the entire collection of all your Revenant comics be located?
Eric Nocella Diaz is almost a mentor to me in comics. Not only is he an incredibly talented artist and sculptor, but he’s been involved in independent comics for years. I had no idea that sending him an email out of the blue to ask about a sculpture would have formed the relationship we have now…it’s one of the magical things about making indy comics. Yes, we do sell the bust as a resin kit for $65 or fully painted and assembled for $150. Anyone who is interested, can email me at daveflora1968@yahoo.com. I started putting my webcomic, called “Tales of the Revenant” then, on Drunkduck.com in January of 2007, and you can still see it there from the start at http://www.drunkduck.com/Tales_of_the_Revenant/

I have to admit I was oddly disappointed to see the change of names from Revenant to Ghost Zero. After reading through all the archives and seeing the sculpture I was quickly developing an affinity for the name. I also saw the following you had developed. Why did you decide to change the name? Tell me about “Ghost Zero”. What’s the inspiration behind the new name?
Ah yes. That was a big decision indeed. The impetus for changing the name was that Image was launching a book called “Revenant”, and I didn’t want any reader to be confused. So, I decided to come up with a more unique name for the character. The name had to fit several categories:
(1) It had to be something that a 14-year old boy would come up with in 1947.
(2) It had to have a classic “pulp” feel to it to fit the character.
(3) It had to hold up over several years….the story with Eddie goes from 1947 to 1968.
So, I chose Ghost Zero. Actually, the name will have a very interesting meaning as the story arc develops.

You seem to have developed quite a pulp following judging from all the Revenant fan art. Can we look forward to seeing Revenant in “Ghosts with Guns” coming out later this month? What can we expect to see in your new book?
Yes indeed. The “Ghosts with Guns” book is nearly complete…we’re just waiting for a couple more pin-ups from a couple of really talented guys. It’s really exciting. GwG will be a re-work of the webcomic stories with professional lettering put into place by Anthony Schiavino, sketch pages, pin-ups, and brand new-never seen before GZ art! The design and style of the book is really breath-taking and I couldn’t be more pleased. It’s a visual cross between a 1930’s pulp magazine and a classic, 1950’s horror film.
Ghost Zero, Curse of the Murder Machine
Ghost Zero
Curse of the Murder Machine

Also, I’ve begun work on the first 3-comic story arc for GZ called “Escape from the Vigilante Crypt”, which is the origin story of the character. The arc should be complete in mid 2009 (as I can only work on it part-time), but I’m considering releasing each page as a webcomic as I create them. I’m also writing the first GZ novel called “Curse of the Murder Machine”, which I hope to have complete and ready for publishing by the end of the year. It looks like 2008 is going to be great.)

Ghost Zero, Sea of the Dead, Panel 3 Ghost Zero Cover Ghost Zero, Fleshless Legion, Pg. 8

When is it coming out and where can we get it?
Well, the book is nearly complete now, and should be finished in another week or so and ready to go to the publisher. I’m using Ka-Blam, a Print-on-Demand publisher, so the comic will be available directly through me, as well as their Indyplanet site. I would also like to have an electronic version up on Wowio as well. I’ll have official press announcements on the Ghost Zero Blog at http://ghost0zero.com .

Graphic Tales: Interview with Jerry Beck

uesday, February 19, 2008 – 07:22 PM

Who is Jerry Beck, the horror artist?
How long have you been an artist?

Before I begin let me compliment you on such a wonderful name. I like the name Lillian. As for Jerry Beck, the horror artist? All the things that I love to draw are all the things I loved as kid…or in some cases, loved to hate.

Seriously, many of the things that scared me most, are the things I’ve come to embrace the most (in my artwork).

As for how long I’ve been an artist. It was something I enjoyed doing from the earliest of ages. But I never took it seriously til’ after high school, around 1991.

What got you started in art?
As a kid, my mother and Aunt Kathy were absolute horror movie fanatics. The stories I’d over here them tell, coupled with a Saturday afternoon show called “Super-Host” and another show called “The Hilarious House of Frightenstein” very, very influencial. Super Host would play Godzilla and all the great Universal Monster films. At a very early age, Boris Karloff, Lon Chaney Sr. and Jr., and Bela Lugosi captivated me.

Jerry Beck, Evil ErnieJerry Beck, Wicked JesterWhen did you know you wanted to get into the horror genre?
Specifically, in high school. Frankenstein was assigned to us in english class. I was introduced to the illustrated version by Berni Wrightson. A couple years after high school I finally decided to get serious about the art. I just didnt know what direction to go with it.

If I’m gonna dedicate my life to this art thing I’m gonna need to delve into something I enjoy. Comic books and sequential art were the direction I thought I’d fit in with best. I knew very little of the biz, so I enrolled in the Joe Kubert School around 1992, to get my feet wet.

I loved the experience, although I never finished the final year due to the birth of my son, Kaylon. It was at the Kubert school that I really became immersed in the old school horror genre.

Jerry Beck, Halloween IIJerry Beck, Warrior
Was there a particular inspiration or event that lead you in this direction?
The aforementioned Wrightson “Frankenstein” book got my blood flowing.

Do you use traditional tools or digital? If digital what software/hardware?
Very much the traditional stuff….Pencils, erasers, dip pens, nibs, india ink(Higgins Black Magic) and the trusty brush. I’d love to learn photoshoppe, Dream Weaver, or Corel (Or all of them. LOL!), but I’m completely unfamiliar with them as of this writing.

What inspires your wonderfully dark and frightening work?
Much of it stems from my childhood. From the stories my mom and Aunt would tell, to the overwhelming catholic environment I grew up in. The likeness of a man nailed to a cross through out the house was creepy. The tortured and left for dead image of Jesus bothered me deeply. On the other hand, from a very graphic perspective, I’m very much color-blind. So, I knew from day one in art school that whenever I created artwork there would be no intention on my part to color it.Jerry Beck, Something WickedJerry Beck, SlipKnot It had to have a ton of depth as it stood alone, in black and white.

It seems like you are really tight with your family. You’re obviously very protective of your kids (“…let I not forget… I cant wait to meet the boys that try to date my daughters.”), close with your mom and brother. Your comment about your father “being very misunderstood” struck a chord, and if I am not being too personal, I wondered what you meant. Did the situation with your dad impact you with regards to your art?
One day I came home from school and my dad was gone. I was about 5, my brother,3.

The stories that were told to me as kid left alot of questions in my head. My father would rarely call, and rarely be seen. When someone you love leaves your life…it’s painful. When that person comes back, it’s uplifting! But then they disappear again…and the void grows deeper. That happened time and time again. It made me very empty inside. I don’t want my kids to be without their dad. I want them to always be near me, whether it’s a phone call away, or a hallway away.

As for my dad being misunderstood, I now know the truth about him and I feel bad for him. He had a very hard life, and had to make some very serious decisions. He doesn’t even know that I know.

Jerry Beck, Something WickedWhat kind of creative mischief are you up to now?
As of now, I’m swamped.
I got my hands in alot of main-stream stuff. www.ironasylum.com is my line geared towards hardcore athletes. It re-opens in March.
Iron Asylum
I have a line geared toward the Cleveland Browns called Rabid Zone, that debuts for training camp this year.
I do the artwork for extreme clothing company, www.wickedjester.com
I do artwork for Muscular Development magazine.
And I’m slowly resurrecting my dark comic-book tale:
SOMETHING WICKED.
Just to name a few.

What creative mischief would you like to cook up in the future?
I love what I’m pursuing professionally. More than anything, I want SOMETHING WICKED to work. I’d love to see it become a film. But, honestly, I get up every day really amped about the possibilities for the day before me. I love what I do. Excessive amounts of money would serve others far better than myself. If one of these projects really takes off, I’m taking care of my family and kids to a fuller degree. But as for me, I’m doing what I want to be doing. I’m very lucky to have this ability. But it’s very much untapped. I have a lot of learning to do. Keep an eye on me, I’m far from done.

Thanks for the opportunity, Lillian.
I appreciate your support.
Jer

Thanks for taking with me Jerry. I’ve really enjoyed getting to know the creative mind behind the wicked cool art. I’m sure we’ll be seeing a lot more you and your creative mischief!!