ASF #15 – SRB on TotU – Part 1

22 May 2010
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Matt and Chris followed a forgotten road to a tree that they’d never seen but recognized once reached.  Once blindfolded, they followed a path cut by a madman, or a man who wishes not to be found.  They proved themselves and they’re intentions, and after answering a list of questions they were aloud to ask a few of there own.   On this episode of Art School Fraud: Tales of the Uncanny with Steve Bissette.

As our talk with Steve focuses more on the present, there are a few things :

Stephen R. Bissette (Wiki)

1963 (Wiki)

Myrant (SRB’s home on the web)

Indie Spinner Rack: Issue #79 (A very nice talk with Steve)

The Center for Cartoon Studies (Wellspring from which most TotU contributor burst)

White River Junction (The place where all this ink slinging goes down.)

Some words from Steve on the subject:

R.I.P. 1963 (Myrant)

N-Man, Fury, Hypernaut Reborn! (Myrant)

Related post of Apr 7, 2010 (Myrant)

Related post of Apr 9, 2010 (Myrant)

Related post of Apr 14, 2010 (Myrant)

First reviews of the preview (Myrant)

Some sad news which must be noted:

This interview was recorded about two weeks ago.  At one point during the taping we mentioned Steve Perry,  a friend of Stephen’s and an acquaintance of mine {Christopher}.   Since that time disturbing events have transpired.  So disturbing that I can not go into detail. Stephen has given us permission to link to his blog on this matter.


ASF #14 – Pantheon of Space Gods

17 May 2010

Matt returns from S.P.A.C.E.!!! Chris returns from Greece!!! Art School Fraud returns with tales of travel, daring the wraith of the gods, disturbing interactions with corn syrup, Pee-Wee Herman, and interviews with SPACE cartoonists.

Invictus Linkus:

2009 SPACE Prize winners (and links to the winners, including Eric Adams, Joanna Estep, and Craig Bogart)

Andy Scott (another first-timer at the show)

Bob Corby (senior spaceman extraordinaire)

Stacie Arellano (because we missed interviewing)

Max Ink (Blink!)

Suzanne Baumann (Fridge Mag Concoctions)

EJ Barnes (…the Ling Master and Blaster L. Ackerman)

Mail Art (history envelopes)

Tor dot com (awesome publisher web site)

Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure (disturbing children’s fare)

King Corn (documentary of diet destruction)


Teknical Dificulties

13 May 2010
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Matt and I just wanted you all to know that we are plugging away and haven’t forgotten about the podcast.  He went off to a big Con and I went to Greece on my honeymoon, so we had obligations.  Never the less we have been diligent.  We are actually sitting on three podcasts.  Believe it or not, this is a problem, those bad boys need to get edited and he and I are both pulling down overtime at our “paying” jobs.  To make matters more complicated, the hardest one to edit is the one that must go first.  Sorry folks. Please bear with us.  Soon my little ones.  Soon.

-Radical Warren

ASF Episode #13 – Talented Enthusiasts

2 May 2010
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Matt and special return guest Morgan Pielli take the opportunity of Chris’ European vacation to geek out about those robots that’re more than meet the eye: The Transformers!

(With some attempts of justification by talking about character design reflecting personality and the difficulties of trying to write worthwhile stories for essentially unchanging franchise properties. Additionally, they fall into the fanboy trap of bitching about the Michael Bay movies, but only briefly.)

Autobots, hyperlink and geek out:

Morgan Pielli (The Expert on Polymorph Machines)

Jon Chad (Cartoonist Commentator)

Harlan Ellison (Fear his fury!)

Neill Blomkamp’s Citroën C4 commercial (Amazing Transformer short)

Stan Bush’s “The Touch” (It’s special.)

Smurfette Syndrome (This is why she doesn’t have a catchphrase.)

Transformers: The Wiki (Scroll down to see all the different series.)

Red Letter Media guy (Very thorough, and vaguely creepy.)

Radio Lab (Podcast.)


A Message from Steve Perry

26 April 2010
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Steve Perry has been in need for some time now, and has made no secret of that.  Recently, in what is to follow, he has made the decision to reach out to the internet as a writer.  He is a creator a content, it is what he is known for and this article is proof that he continues to be a creator. I have personally encouraged him to continue to do this as much as he can.  It is obviously up to him, but I am not the only one who feels that Steve sharing his stories and insight would not only benefit him but us as well.  To be frank, going to CCS, we heard for a lot from visiting pros about how hard the industry is and how they “got lucky” compared to many of their compatriots.  Most of us asked how to “get lucky” themselves, but no one ever asked what happens when you don’t or when luck isn’t enough.  Certainly, no one ever asked who those compatriots were, their names, their stories.  I think we all assumed that failure in the industry, for us, meant doing that job we would have done had we never taken the risk of trying create comics.  It’s naive to think that that is the worst that could happen.  Steve has an insight that young creators need.  The following words are his. He would like you if read them and passed them on if you so choose.  -Christopher Warren

{update 5-21-10} Steve Perry has since passed on.  I want you to know that he greatly appreciated all the support he received from those who reached out to him from the internet.  To all of you who helped Steve,  I thank you.

Death’s Long Scalpel Scars Deep And Sacred – Steve Perry

We have all been involved in the creation of stories where death is a flippant part of plot and character device.  What’s Arnold’s body-count in “Ginny Is Dere!”  How many children cry from the actions of Rambo?  Why is The Death of Superman thought to be the all time best selling Graphic Novel?  Even Mike Meyer’s Henchmen, head chewed off by “mutated” sea bass, made it to the cutting room floor only long enough to find the dvd’s special features.  Well. Sure … death is FANTASY.
Accumulate the dead in every work of film, of fiction, of comics, radio, television and manuscript ever written, drawn or conceived or even planned and George Romero had it right – more have died than have ever lived.  And we will not, for the sake of those living, not even begin to consider those who walk around dead to the life that surrounds each and every one of us.
Even such noted luminaries as Stephen King, Neil Gaimen, Alan Moore, James Joyce, Galway Kinnell, Jim Dickey, Beth Massey, F.scott, Homer and Plato … using the human condition as a means to death seems not just honorable but necessary; summed up by the trite: “Everybody Dies.”
Fictional death as a consequence of a story cannot be jettisoned just because real death exists in the world.  9-11. Katrina.  The Tsunami of Christmas.  The Ovens of Auchwitch.  You’re Aunt.  You’re Uncle.  Your Mother, father, brother, sister, friend.  Mudslides, car crashes, freak accidents.  Crossings the Street.  CHALLENGER.  Columbia.  The 48 Jet Fighters of varied vintage scrambled to chase and fire upon UFO’s since 1947 – only 24 of which returned to base.   Yes, that last one is true.  Stan Friedman has the documents.
And just go to a Hospice in your own home town – there exists a  cottage industry of brave, noble souls whose job it is to hold the hand and offer a smile to serve as the proverbial coins for Charon.

My name is Steve Perry and I am writing this because I came very close to dying the other night.

I am writing this for The Hero Initiative’s blog because, quite frankly, Jim, the Prez, George, the God of Superheroes, Chris, the God Among Men, Walt, a simple God Period, Steve Bissette, A God of Horror and Line crouched behind an artwork that shouts of human kindness and decency, and a hundred other people associated with the Hero Initiative, associated with comics, novels, creativity, humaneness and nothing short of pure decency in a pain filled world, deserve a public truth.  This is all I have right now, and I only have it because of you people, and the numerous other people who for some ungodly reason haven chosen to pray for me, assist me, and allow me these extra precious, oh so precious minutes, hours, days, weeks, and maybe, The Gods willing, months to enjoy the presence of my Son, Leo.

I am also writing this for all you others, people who are not directly associated with the Hero Initiative, but whom I hope will, though this, become a part of that community.  Kind souls and decent people gravitate toward one another, and everyone herein addressed are the same kind of people without whom this world would be a far, far lesser place.

Pain is a big part of death, and with the advances in pharmaceuticals a person need not have to end their days in agony — it is not necessary.

And of course, we all basically believe, deep down inside each of use, that DEATH is something that happens to others.  The Four Horsemen shall not ride down my door, damnit..  The bony finger shall not reach out and point to the herring on the table of the monthly python skit; we can always traps that old bald cheater up in the tree.

As I said, I came very close to dying the other night, and that is the them I feel obligated to address and inform you, my friends, about what the hell happened.  IT IS A HORRENDOUS STORY, AND I am afraid my piteous emails to some of you, so couched in misery and desperation as they were, could not come close to the coherent and straightforward mater-of-fact account I would like you all to be aware.

(This is a SPECIAL ASIDE TO MICHELLE:  the police did find me!  Your intention of having then check on my well being was both kind hearted and concerned by both you and them, and, Michelle, for your long distance concern I will forever be humbled and indebted to you.)

As for the others of you who enabled my rescue – and enable it you all did, I am not going to simply say thank you (though that of course is a given) I am going to, in as concise and trite a method as verbose me can muster, take you by the hand and lead you down the path of medical malfeasance, ineptitude and the plain, simple truth of just what is wring with medical care in this country.

If by doing this, and Jim, by you figuring out how to post it – or any other blogs or websites or people or whatever I can figure out who to send this to – or even if no one thinks it worthy of their space, or if it is too off message, or if anyone thinks it is too self-serving, so be it – that your eyes along even peruse it will be enough for me.

One is not supposed to imagine something as inconsequential as a little pain can kill a man.  Hell, suffer though buddy.  Smashed your thumb with a hammer: suffer though.  Dropped a cinderblock on your foot?  Ouch, but suffer though…arm torn off in some horrendous industrial accident?  Call 911, keep it on ice, sew it back on and suffer through.  That old dark demon, the morphine clicker, keeps many a hospital patient in their bed if not smiling then at least not crying.

But what happened to me?  How did a series of events conflux to deliver  what have should have been a routine procedure, performed by a competent doctor, assisted by kind, knowledgeable staff; how did it all convene to deliver me to a darkened living room floor, unable to move — I could not even writhe –as a solid mass of burning pain kept me on the hardwood floor.  Every five to ten seconds my urethra would spasm and eject drips and drips of bloody urine and begin a new  round of abdominal cramping, as sweat poured off me, my temperature  rose to the 103-4-5 range, and every single part of my body refused to obey even the slightest commanded: Hand, reach for that chair leg, foot, push against that couch leg.  There is a phone on that table five feet way, Voice, call out, someone might hear.  Nothing would cooperate.

There would be moments, odd comical comments, when things would go clear with quietness and beneficence that I knew meant one of two things –  my heart had stopped:  but instead of the quiet light of God, or Jesus, or Buda, of Zeus, or Yahweh, or a million other inventions of the human soul, those quiet microseconds would erupt with nothing more serious that the faint sound of a commercial:  “Help, I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.”  It is a curse to be a child of the Boob Tube Generation.

This has bothered me to no end, my friends; because I think I learned the scariest part of death.  The last thing we might all hear will be that old lady calling out, “Help!  I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!”

It was 3:30 a.m.  Thank Heaven my son, Leo, was asleep but not in his bedroom.  I was not going to let him find a dead father on the living room floor, surrounded by an ever growing puddle of piss and blood.  The stench must have been … well, the smell of nightmares, no doubt the ones experienced by Leo’s sitter, also asleep, with my son, at a different house, where he had gone for the week.  The level of my voice was a whisper at loudest.  But no one was there to hear me.

How did I come to this?  Where did this situation come from?

Here, recounted with the impartiality and concern for order any good plotter of fiction must possess go like this:

Many of you know I have had cancer, bladder cancer.  Nothing too evil in an of itself — something survivable with  the correct treatment.  Something that does kill, but something they can stop it if caught in time.  I first developed this over a year ago when, unable to pee and able  only shoot out clots (they looked like chunks of steak the size of ones thumb) I urinated blood for months until I clogged, could not urinate, and, having no doctor or health insurance, walked into the emergency room of Dade City’s hospital’s emergency room.  They told me I had a urinary tract infection, put in a catheter, and sent me home.  At least I could empty my bladder..
A few days later even that would not work.  I can tell you, there is little discomfort comparable to having to take a whiz and being unable to, no matter how hard one strains.   Disgusted with the lackadaisical treatment of the uninsured at Pasco Regional, I drove myself to the next town over, and to the Florida Medical Center.  12 hours in the emergency room finally delivered me to a room.  I waited in this room for four days while doctor after doctor came in and asked the same two questions – are you diabetic? (no) do you have insurance (no)?  Finally, a man who wore an immaculate turban, starched white, a urologists, came in with tests and in broken English told me I has bladder cancer, a tumor, and he would take it out for me.  On the fifth day, he did so.  I spent three more days recuperating before they sent me home with a catheter, with instructions to go to his office to have the Foley caterer taken out one week later.  My urine was golden; he pronounced the operation a success.
Five days later I went t o his office at 8 am.  At 1 pm he had not found time to take out the catheter.  No insurance, I overheard the office girl whisper.
I walked out, read online how to remove the caterer, and did it myself.
That was the end of it.
A year passed.  About six months after this I began to feel sick again.   Weak.  It hurt to use the bathroom.  Online research revealed the absolutely necessity of follow up care after  what had been done to me.  Every doctor I then contacted asked with the same three questions:   Who is your doctor?  “I don’t have one”.   Do you have insurance?  “No.”   We are not accepting new patients at this time.  My employers — I still had a great job as a property manager that came with free utilities, a free apartment, and had been the home  to my four year old son for his entire life — saw that I was having true difficulty doing the requirements of the job — changing a toilet, fixing a sink had become major, difficult endeavors – oh, I could still handle all the desk work, make the rental decisions, etc, but the physical plant part of the job had become near impossible.  It was now only my son, Leo, and I, living as the managers of the 42 unit apartment complex — empties had gown it 11 vacant until.  my son’s mother — who was 30 years my junior was having her own “issues” — tied down with a sick man in his early 50′s, unable to cope with an active 4 year old, the grass definitely looked greener on the other side.  She fell in love with a man I once considered a friend had given an apartment to allow him to “get on his feet:  She is now six months pregnant with his child.  They work in a traveling carnival.  She left, with him, when the discovery my cancer was too much for a young woman looking “to have fun:” became much too much of a burden.  That was a year age Feb,
By July of 2009 I was ill again; it was in the way of my job.  Now, millionaire apartment complex owners are a special breed and the bottom line is very important to them.  Complains of leaky sinks, mailboxes needing new locks, wiring to air conditioning units dying (the building was built in the 1970′s and required extensive maintenance) for five I had been the man to take care of it. Breakdowns came in with more and more regularity.  I also, at this time, discovered three dead elderly tenants in their apartments, (not fun.)  I suddenly had 15 empty units, a record, and the only applicants seemed to be crack heads, whom I would not rent to.  One created legal problems with the housing authority.
The owners deemed it was time for me to go.  My son, Leo, and I  were given three weeks notice, $1000 severance, and sent packing in my van.  Homeless in my van with my boy.  Sick.  A long fall from grace.
I lucked out a month later and scored this empty house with a fairly understanding landlord.  Of course, unable to turn on utilities, I was threatened with the loss of my boy.  I had been a writer, and owned some intellectual properties; these I sold to my respective co creators and Leo and I had a place to live.  Food Stamps followed, and then the Hero Initiative stepped into our lives, aiding us to no end as I opened and to this day fight the application for social security disability.  There is also an open child support case against Leo’s mom, but there’s little of hope of much ever coming of that.  Maybe one day …
But because of the Hero Initiative, and the kind and generous help of good, decent friends, we were nearing the end of the disability determination.  Then, about 8 or 9 weeks ago, I began to bleed again.
But it was different this time!  I had custody if of Leo.  I had Medicaid.  He had Medicaid!  We had 300 a month in food stamps.  I had a van, but most importantly of all … I had a primary care physician.  It tuned he was not much more of a referral Doctor, but still a Doctor.  He referred me to an oncologist.  He referred me to an Urologist.  It took over four months, then, to find a Urologist who would accept the Medicaid I had.
Almost no specialists will accept Medicaid, and I needed specialists.  I actually called 67 urologists before finding the one I have.   He consented to accept the Medicaid, BUT EVEN HE CALLED IT A SHAMBLES AND A SHAME.  Because he was a specialist, all procedures and visits to him required ‘pre-authorizations’ through the Medicaid HMO.  The main test that needed doing, after cat scans, two mris, blood work and ultra and sonar grams, was a simple thing called a cysctoscopy.  This took five weeks for the HMO to pre authorized, five WEEKS!!!!
The fateful day arrived.  Oh, did I mentioned the Medicaid required a $50 C0-PAY for each and every  office visit, even if the bit entailed nothing more than filling out a form?    The radiological work was extensive, too – two can scans, two mri’s, sonar and ultra grams — $300 bucks right there. A lot of it was the requirements of the SSD Application.  I can only thank the lord that if the Social Security Disability Application Process “required” a test they were made to pay for it.  Their required tests, tests for disability, were sort of ludicrous:  Are you Depressed?  (Well, yeah …wouldn’t you be?)  “Can You touch your toes?”  I am still trying to figure out what the ability to touch one’s toes determines whether I qualify for a disability based on bladder cancer.  Walk across the room.  And my favorite: “I am going to say three words.  Repeat them back to me in the same order as I say them.”  This test was close by – a one hour drive
Finally the fateful day arrived:  my urologist — Dr. Ibiza — his office is in Unity – 1&1/2 hour drive from my home (he is the closest specialist urologist who would see me, remember) shoved the camera up inside me.
He tried to schedule the operation for the following Thursday.  Pre authorization refused.  The next Thursday came and went, too.   Again, no authorization came in time.  It arrives, the pre authorization, on the toes before the third Thursdays.  Cutting it close.  I began to bleed badly.  Clot badly.  Clog up badly.  So bad, as a matter of fact, that I was forced to get a catheter from a medical supply house and empty my bladder myself.  This is not fun.

Then the day came.  Conflicts — friend could not give me a ride, so I had to drive myself.  (Here’s a brief aside: I had smashed up my van, repaired it, but had no headlights.)  I drove only during daylight hours.

I expected, like before — remember, a year before I had  ONE SMALL TUMOR — this time I had 4 LARGE ONES, several small ones, and they were about to close the urethra’s to my kidneys — I expected to be in the hospital at least a week.

I went into surgery at 9 am.  I woke up in recovery at 3 pm.  SIX HOURS OF SURGERY!!!  SIX BLOODY HOURS!

Imagine my surprise when the nurse came to the room I was in and told me, you’re going home now.  I did not even have a catheter, I could barely move.
She asked me who was there to give me a ride home.  No one.  Call someone, she said, and handed me the phone.

I managed to find a man willing, for $25, to come bring me home.  Gas money, he said.    My discharge packet has FOUR PRESCRIPTIONS IN IT. The nurse explained, “You will have some several abdominal cramping. Make sure you fill this one, it will help with that.  This one is for normal pain, this one is to keep you from clotting inside and this one if for the anxiety you will discover when the others don’t work as well as you might like.”
“Where’s my doctor?” I asked.
“Oh, he discharged you and left for the day before you woke up.”

Now, I am by far means a medical professional, but is it correct procedure for an operating Doctor to first off NEVER FACE TO FACE the patient BEFORE the surgery and then, after six hours of surgery, discharge the patient without having seen him face to face or even allowed him to wake up from the anesthesiologist’s’s work?  This, somehow, does not sound correct to mer.  Does it to you?  I was incoherent enough to know I had a discharge package of instructions (and the nurse repeatedly told me not to lose it, BUT HONESTLY I NEVER READ IT UNTIL MANY DAYS LATER FOR I COULD NOT SEE!
I was …shocked.   Really.  My ride arrived.  The only ride available to me was the boyfriend of Leo’s grandmother.  He drove like a madman.  Each bump in the road made my gut flop upside-down, and I believe he hit each bump with malice and aforethought.  Leo and Leo’s mother were with him.  She and I are very much estranged.  (More on this later – it is important.)

I arrived home around 8 pm – it was just getting dark.  Remember, my van had no headlights and Leo and his Mom were driving it.  Got back just in the nick of time.  Was I the only one worried about this?  I was in ever growing abdominal pain, but demanded my ride stay right behind them – I think that sort of tee’d him off.

I then found myself home, with my son … and his mother.  She and I do not get along; she is six month’s pregnant with another man’s child, her car had been repossessed two days before, she has a warrant for her arrest and she owes over a year of child support to me and Leo (to Leo, really.)  She had been in a traveling carnival for over a year and we had not seen her.  She demanded … and I mean DEMANDED … to stay at our house and “watch ‘my son’” because I was “too sick.”    She took my van at dusk down to the pharmacy.  Returned with the news that all the prescriptions except for the blood thinner cumidin were not on the approved list covered by my HMO’s Medicaid version.
“Medicaid has a list of medications they will not pay for.  Only your cumidin is an approved Medicaid medication.  You have to pay cash for the rest.”
I had $24.  $69 on a debit card.  My “ride” had wanted $20 for gas.

I think … I am not sure, as it is all fuzzy … that now is the time I managed to sent several “blue text” emails to several of you friends.  Begging you.  Enough of you so kindly and generously responded that by the next afternoon I had the cramping prescription, and it began to work.  But time here is a mystery to me, because I lost some of it.  I lost days, really.  I lay all night on a floor, unable to move.  It seems I might have sat for 24 additional hours in a chair, unable to move.  Leo’s Mom kept Leo in a different part of the house and did, I think, bring me a bottle of water ever now and then.  When the cramping pills allowed me to get up and clean up they were almost all gone – 50 of them.  One every two hours.  It helps with the time frame.

But I faced that first night of growing abdominal pain, bloody urine and cramps by myself in the living room, thankful only that my son and his Mother stayed in another part of the house.  I did not sleep.  By morning the pain had become nothing short of insane.  This continued all day, into the next night.

This is the true nature of the horror tale:  Frankenstein, Dracula, Creature.  Vampires, ghouls, zombies.  Things going bump in the night.  The threat of Death.  The Horror … the horror… Serial Killers.  Murderers.  Crazies.  All the kind and comfy eyeballs of Hostel, all the blossoming wing-pullers profiled at this second by the new crop of the FBI’s John Douglas Units.  Hannibal.  “It puts the lotion in the basket … or else it gets the hose again.  PUT THE FUCKING LOTION IN THE BASKET!!!!”

No, my dear friends.  I used to believe those things pinnacles of horror – Gunnar Hansen swinging the McCullough, Pam on the hook, and a hundred other images, scenes and finely wrought fantasies; you have your own struck in your head somewhere, and can pull it up with a pleasant shiver.  The shiver becomes less pleasant when the memory recalls Grammy’s last glance, or a siblings last squeeze of the hand, or when Mother or Father simply collapsed at dinner – those horrors are getting personal, a bit too real.  And then there is the REAL HORROR I NOW KNOW.

It is really nothing more than fear.  Fear.  The Fear of Death.

Death did not just knock on my door this past week; it entered the room, sat down, said “You wanna a beer?” and then asked if I was ready to go.  Thank God I gave up beer years and years ago.

And now I come to the real question of this letter to you, my friend.  The real question:

Where is God in all this.

So many of you offered prayers ($5 and a prayer, $20 and a prayer!!!)  The cash helped survive this real world and has kept a roof over our heads, kept power on, kept the internet here, kept gas in the tank, kept those whose friendship depends on one’s ability to pay them 20 or 30 bucks for “gas” or “their time”, paid doctors, paid co-pays for a billion dollar HMO, and bought a sweet little boy far too many Happy Meals from MacDonald’s.

But where is God in all this?  I have found him, you know.  Like so much that is true, He stands right in front of us, often invisible because we have not learned, as the NaVee say, “to see”.  (Just a rehashed of a long held and ancient idea, you know).

God has simple names, lives good normal lives.  God is you, my friends, all of you.  You all shower and shave, wipe yourselves, smile, laugh at a good pr even bad joke.  You share a love of kindness and do not seem marred by doubt or cruelty; you enjoy giving and you have demonstrated that whenever you helped me and my son, Leo.  You have names, and these are some of them; perhaps you recognize a friend:

Jim McClauchlin, Walter Simonson, Chris Klamer, Steve Bissette.  Beth Massie.  Rick Grimes, Martin Rosenberg,Jim Wheelock, Jean Kang,Loan Mathes,Esperanza Velazquez,Melita Kennedy, Talph Ashley, Paul Chadwick, Tom Yeates, Karen Berger,Barbara Kessel, Alan Goldstein, Fred Smith, Devin McCullen,Mike Howlett, John Goodrich,Tracy Frances, Brian Defers, Zack Ramadan, Susan Tankersley, John Plat, Andrew Bredinger,J Buell, Ben Meier, Martin Fletcher, Justin Lyle, Jay Jay, Katja Katsri,Devin McCullen,Meredith Randazzo, Rob Randazzo, Mark Mastral, Janet Jackson,Richard Arndt, Margaret Rogets, Lindsey Southerland, Phil Gelat,Rachael Hestilow, Denny ONeil, Geroge Perez, Jon Benitz, Alla Parker, Barry Deutch, Michelle Sears, Daniel & Joyce, Radical Warren, Padrais Mealoid, Brian Defer. George Ibarra, David Jones, Matt Nodes, Teresa Kamcher, Katheryn Laitery, Marina Drobni, Charles Reason, Nick Mantamas, Andrew Foley, Nick Ford,Bridget McSweeney,Jyoti Chandola,Crystal Ondrieck,Whitney Tredser,Pieter Dimmettriatries,Nadja Tergren,Marie Lylye,Ana Arruryo,Joann SpenserSarah Airless,Steven Hager, Kara Larson,Lynda Street,Corianna Sharp,Paige Kalika,Donna Burkit, Elizabeth Weiss,Jean Krang (wonderful Jean Krang), Shades of December, Allan Vallee,Joe Lewis, Allison Keebler,Paul Winkler, Susan Tankersly,Kara Vargas, Barry Deutch,Kierien Jones … THE FOLKS AT 3 D MINIATURES!!!! …DAVID INGERSOLL. ALBERTO SOARES, ANAKIN MICHELL, will sandboard, verushka byrow. Cynthia lee., rembrant le compte,derrick mccolluck,alyson hoffman, illsa tang how,misa dunkel, bungalow push,michiel van tulji,Janice daphni bassi,abrahammartinez azurura,donna plant, sara miles,eric yollick. Megan Murphy,ana ajuro … and more.  If You are getting this attachment you are on this list.    I have been digging back through emails for months now, and if I spelled something wrong, I hope you forgive me.

You all have one thing in common – me.  My son Leo.  Big Hearts, generosity, hope and what I am calling … God.

Some thinks say God does not exist; some say God exists in all of us.  The Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins of the world – with their Non-Deist philosophy, have their points – region can be evil.  Godliness – the quality shared by each name in the above list – is something else.  It is not Jesus, it is not any of the three major prophets.  It is not even the beautiful and eloquent quality of nature so aptly expressed by variations of the Native American, South American or even Atlantean views.  Or the Pladians, or the Von Danikans, or the corruptions of it all by those spaceship fools and the Jim Jones’ of the world.  By the Teapot Theorists.  Or by the Christians, Catholics or Mormons.  None of them have it right you know, for when one says my way or the highway you have it wrong from the git go.

You … you all above and all who get this in their inboxes … you are my God.    A GREAT NOW DEAD COMEDIAN – George Carlin – decided in the last years of his life he would worship Joe Peschi. As good as any, he said.  He was right, as he was about so much.

You have all helped me and Leo through the toughest time any human being could ever hope to survive, and you have all done it for no reason other than a God within you.  You call it what you call it, you feel the feelings that make you do it, and somewhere you know you have done something right and made the world a better place.  It has nothing, really, to do with me – I am a vassal sinking.  I am not out of the woods, but I am no longer lost, and as I said before, I see light.  It is the shine of your heart, the glow of your generosity, the light of your prayer.  That you have somehow chosen to extend it toward me and my little boy (the innocent in all this) is an example of Beauty in a world gone Mad.  I am even going to ask for another Happy Meal if you have one – someone just paypaled me Two Dollars and twenty three cents.  They do not know it means as much – maybe even more – than the Walt Simonson artwork which paid off all back rent and secured our home for two months past and one month into the future.  To send $2.23 to me, a sick stranger, took a kindness, a Godness as profound as the human spirit is eternal.  You are all my Gods.

I am sorry for the length of this letter to you, and that it is not written to you directly – it is written to EVERONE I NOW KNOW, everyone who now knows me, of me, of my son, of my situation, of my health and of my coming improvement.  Or death.  Kidneys hurting, for sure, and I MUST SOMEHOW GO PAY THAT STUPID DOCTOR HIS $50 so he can tell me his side of why he discharged me, never saw me and whether or not the operation he performed was a success or not.  I was supposed to do that two days ago.  His discharge paper said “see me in a week.”  I was still rolling in piss and blood after a week.  I was certainly not able to drive myself 1 and ½ hours to his office.  But I will in the next few days.

Today is the best day of the rest of my life – I pee gold.  Hurts like hell to do it, but I can think as I sit here, typing this.  I will get better, I will become human again, and I have a lot of Gods helping me.

I now must deal with a mass of red tape – bureaucracy from both welfare (I was too sick on the floor to go to their “appointment” and so they have yanked my food stamps and my $241 cash assistance and I must jump through their hoops to get it reinstated, and that means going to see my Primary Care Doctor and having him, each month, fill out a form for welfare that says I am still sick, that I still have cancer, and that the cancer did not somehow, miraculously simply disappear (hey, the operation supposedly got rid of the tumors, but the cancerous cells?  Don’t know that, can’t know that until the follow up care every three months for the next year says yea or nay – if nay, this operation happens every 90 days, on a lesser level – the best being an “in office” procedure, the worse being another round of what has just happened over the last 8 days.  Not out of the woods, you see.  But the trees thin out, the light shines, the crowd of Gods stand, smiling at me just beyond the forest line.

You, my friends, are those Gods, and this, my friends, is the longest, most boring “Thank You” note every written.

You have all saved my life.  I know Leo’s life is worth it – mine, however, remains a question.  You have given me the opportunity to make the world a much better place. l will pay this back and forward in every method and in all ways humanly possible.  If I must, I will do this from beyond this mortal plane.

Steve Perry
(not Journey
Not Ghostbusters
Not Indy Joes
Not The Albino Knife)

But …

And Timespirits,Thunder Agents, Psi Force, Dracula in Bizarre Adventures
And a bunch of other crap.

(OH, Gawd no … a post scripte!

Earlier in this letter I told you Leo’s estranged Mother showed up and I would tell you more.  So I will.  Some of my dearest friends know of a long and nasty history we have had together, and I will bore no one with the problems of a dead relationship stuck by the glue of mutual biological parentage.  But know this:

We are 30 years apart in age.  She has been gone since a year ago Feb – left in Feb 2009 after admitting to an affair with “my best friend” after I had bussed him to Florida, given him an apartment, furnished it, utilitied it and given the man, Joel, a chance to “get on his feet.”  I had a good job, remember.  I was sick, but no one but me and the toilet knew.
He got a job in a traveling carnival.  The previous November (2008) Leo’s Mom was very unhappy, sleeping till 2. 3 pm, staying up all night online, liked her pot.  We did not jive – I’m old, rise early, was pretty set in my ways, and enjoyed my son, house husbandry, my job and the free time to write and buy and sell on eBay.
At 25, burdened by an old man, a child she did not really want, a motherhood she preferred to avoid unless it ran on absolute control – her control – the grass really did look greener on the other side.  She had been able to buy a new car.  We were not rich, but had money – I did well.  She got the first job of our 7 year relationship, held it for 9 months, bought the car, and quit because getting up and going to work for 9am became “too hard”.
By Nov. of 2008 she was very bored.  A side effect of my cancer is decreased sexuality.  I blame myself for that, for sure – she was 25, quite pretty.  In better times I acted quite proud – 49 year old man, 18 year old girlfriend.  Ya know … male thing.
With sex gone, she grew even more disgruntled.  My fault.  My fault.
When my friend Joel got her a job in the carnival (at my request, mind you) she jumped.  November to Feb must have been fun – she worked, made some money, had a nice car, could stay away from home for months at a time, and was confident I and our son were safe and doing well.
In Feb she discovered I had cancer when I begged her to leave the road, return home.  I had gone to the emergency room, discovered the cancer, and entered the first round of bad sickness.  This cancer – which she refused to believe I had – gave her the opportunity to tell me she had fallen in love with Joel.  She packed and left, knowing Leo was safe in the home he had lived in since age 8 months.
It took a solid six months before she “missed her son”, despite occasional day visits whenever the carnival got close enough to make the drive “worth it.”
Things then began to go bad for her on the road and with the man, Joel.  Joel, very personable, has that wonderful “bad-boy” attraction to women; lots of jail time, lots of heroine addiction, lots of … well, some women can be excited by the bad boy.  And I had been all she had known, really.  My “bad boyness” was limited to driving with expired insurance once, and a dui in 1997. (Stupid party wasn’t worth it!)
When she became pregnant with Joel’s child … things devolved.  Joel even called me for advice about what to do …”with this woman.”
She is now six to seven months pregnant.  She had been arrested for pot, found guilty, given drug classes and probation.  She blew all these off – back out on the carny road.  It also seems her title and registration expired to her 2004 car.  And it seems … the last car payment made was the one I made in Feb of 2009.
The day of my surgery the repo men found her and took her car.
She has food stamps from two different states.  There was now an active warrant on her for violation of probation, with an automatic 30 day jail sentence.
She does not believe this because I am the one who said it to her – she maintains, “Those charges were all bullshit.”
She was staying at her mother’s house the two weeks before my surgery, and I had gladly let her get to know Leo again.  When she lost her car on the day of my surgery, she fought with her mother.  Her mother kicked her out.
I got out of surgery and she, Leo and her mother’s boyfriend came to get me.  She drove my van home.  She has been here since.  She will not leave, says she has no place to go.  The father of her unborn baby, Joel, is on the road somewhere.  He calls her 20 times a day and they scream at each other.  Now she is trying to dominate my household.  I have been too sick and weak to do much.  As I am feeling better, I am faced with tough decisions.
I have a child support order against her; I have custody of Leo.  If she continues to abuse me while I AM WEAK I AM AFRAID I WILL HAVE TO CALL PROBATION AND MY SON, Leo, will have to see police enter the house and arrest her.  I do not want him to see this.
This letter to you, my friends, asks for any advice you care to give.  Something, in the next week, as I recover, will break.  She has already begun to scream at me about Leo’s bath time – I say he can take a bath before bed.  She says 7pm.  It is little things like that that will explode into a domestic issue that will force me to do something I would prefer to avoid.  Ideally, she wants her and Joel to move in here, take Leo and my house, and have ME LEAVE.  I believe they think I am weak enough to be able to manage that.
White trash drama at its finest, friends.  PLEASE … ADVICE?
I have thought to just give her my car if she agreed to go away and be with Joel and raise their kid.  She believes the State should give her a home, income and all she needs.  I HAVE TRIED TO SAY IT DOES NOT WORK LIKE THAT – but her answer is “I’m  pregnant white woman – homeless.  They owe it to me.  All her family will take her in (except her mother) but not the man Joel.  But she refuses, because they all “want to control her”.
This is that part of it all, as honest and forthright as I can put it down.  I DO NOT LIKE HER.  I DO NOT WANT HER HERE.  But she will not leave.  My question to you all, my friends, can be a reply of a single sentence: Do I Be Mean or Nice.  Do I give all to her, or require her to leave.  A phone call to probation will make her leave, for sure.  A bus ticket to Joel and the show could do the same.  I am still too weak and cluttered by my health to trust my judgment in this: I only know Leo must come first.  As I see her begin to dominate and yell at Leo more and more each day I know I must act soon.
All advice by clearer heads will help – and if a bus ticket is the best, I will give out all I have left for that.  If she hits Leo it’s all over.  If she hits me I will collapse.  Her verbal punches at bath time last night wrecked me for hours.  I can’t have it happen again.

A terrible post script, I know.  My Gods, you are wise and kind and I will do what is best and right.  But Leo comes first.


S.P.A.C.E. (We Believe In)

23 April 2010
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Art School Fraud will be at the Small Press and Alternative Comics Expo in Columbus, Oh this weekend. Matt will be there with Colin Tedford of Trees & Hills and Denis St. John of Monsters & Girls. Look for us there!

According to this beard index chart, I will be the untrustworthy-looking one.

ASF Episode #12 – The Horror…

13 April 2010

During a death-defying game of darts, Matt and Chris meet up with Denis St. John who is back again to talk about horror and humor in comics and comic conventions that are in all out futures.

Bring the click, bring the content:

Atomic Age Cinema (B-movies and horror hosts)

Day of the Woman (A Blog for the Feminine Side of Horror)

The Twilight Graphic Novel (Times f-ing New Roman)

The Groovy Age of Horror (Blogging on Horror)

Cloverfield (Shaky Camera, Shaky Movie)

Rifftrax (The Alternate Audio Tracks We’ve All Been Waiting For)

Obama Looking at Hoverboards (Oh yeah)

Joe Hill (Author of “Horns”)

S.P.A.C.E. (A convention in Columbus)

Colin Tedford (Trees and Hills Comics Group)

Sean Ford (Cartoonist)

Blair Sterritt (Cartoonist)

Werewolf!! (Anthology with… well… werewolves!)

Market Day by James Sturm


ASF Episode #11 – Punk rock starter kit

11 April 2010

Chris and Matt trot trot to Boston to check out the Zine Fair.  There was music, comics, art and really fun folks. There were some zines too!  As always,  Matt was the face of ASF,  shaking hands and doing  interviews, while Chris quietly got drunk in public.

You like clickin?  You’re in luck:

Boston Zine Fair (Technically in Cambridge)

Propaganda Press (Indie Press)

The Whitehaus Family Record (Music people)

Papercut Zine Library (Every bit as hip as it sounds)

Herman the Manatee (Webcomic)

Sordid City Blues (Webcomic)

Basement Media Fest (Just a heads up, their website might kill your brain. )


Feel the magic, hear the roar.

26 March 2010
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Steve Perry is a cartoonist in need. He’s a friend of a friend, but the real connection I have to him is more than likely the same one you have: he was a writer for ThunderCats and SilverHawks as well as several comic titles. Steve is broke and critically ill. I received an email from him today and in his own words his cancer has returned “big time”. he has not lost hope, even admitting that the even though knowing how severe his case is, knowing is always medically and surgically better. He has a child and no concrete way of supporting himself. He does however have access to the internet and a paypal account that is linked to a debit card. He’s hard up, so much so that the small amount my wife and I can afford makes and impact and is returned in the for of honest gratefulness. As I am sure your donation would be as well. You can read more about Steve Perry on Steve Bissette’s Blog.
{update 5-21-10} Steve Perry has since passed on.  I want you to know that he greatly appreciated all the support he received from those who reached out to him from the internet.  To all of you who helped Steve,  I thank you.

ASF Episode #10 – Worlds Collide

20 March 2010


The boys give a run-down on the sad events of March for, a days that lives on in infamy. Also, a brief discussion of clown sex.



Here’s some homework for ya’:

Maximum Fun (A safe place on the web for young Americans)

Penny Arcade (Webcomic and Media Tundertank. Click here to go directly to the relevant comic.)

WebComics Weekly (A podcast by webcartoonists about cartooning.)

Tweet Me Harder (A podcast by webcartoonists not about cartooning.)

Merlin Mann (Super cool productivity guru)

Andrew W.K. (A genuine enthusiast of awesomeness. Warning! Music plays automatically!)

Wil Wheaton (Blogger, prosaist, and actor.)

Albuquerque Clowncar (I won’t say what the google search was for, but this came up second after blog post about 19 Kids and Counting.)




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