Saturday, October 31, 2009

Friday, October 30, 2009

Master of Domestic Arts

Five years and we still don't want to beat each other to death with a rusty tire iron. Must be love.


Saturday, October 24, 2009

Monster Chiller Horror

Over at Zeros2Heroes, Richard Pulfer asked "What's the best scare you've had in your life? ... The kind of scare which leaves your heart racing and your lungs gasping for air . . . but also the kind of scare which leaves you laughing much, much later."

Which was all the invitation I needed to write the following:

Many years ago, before I ever heard the term "LARP", there was a live action fantasy roleplaying game run out of Edmonton called DreamQuest. It took place 2-5 times a year, usually over long weekends at various tree-filled locations about an hour outside of Edmonton--30-100 players would dress up in costume, hop on a bus, and go out and interact with 20+ paid actors. Each weekend was built as its own story with a beginning, middle and end, generally with the last weekend being a culmination of the preceding year's storylines. (Interesting "I knew them when" aside: World Fantasy Award winning author Sean Stewart actually wrote a couple of Dreamquest "seasons", before going on to make his mark.)

One of the Big Bads of a particular year was the Karkadann, which was billed as a Black Unicorn. When you saw the Karkadann in daylight, it appeared as a fairly silly-looking guy in a baggy, padded costume that was capped off by what appeared to be a horse skull with a black horn in it. The character was played by then-local magician Sean Smith.

But the first time I saw the Karkadann wasn't in daylight.

I've never been good at sleeping anywhere but my own bed. As a result, I generally spent the first night or two of a DreamQuest weekend being wide awake, then would crash out immediately after the quest concluded and thoroughly miss the debauched party that took place afterward.

So there we are, maybe six of us, at two o'clock in the morning in the clearing where a bunch of my friends are camping for the weekend (I shelled out the extra fifty bucks or whatever to have a cabin room with a real bed). We're sitting around a roaring fire, with nothing but clearing for a solid twenty+ feet in any direction. I've got a clear view of the only clear path to the campsite.

It being two in the morning, we were all out of character, just sitting around shooting the breeze about The Cult ("The Cult of The Spidergod?" someone asked me later when I told the story, that cult being a part of the game. "No, The Cult the rock band," said I.)

Someone was making some good point about "Love Removal Machine" when I catch a flutter of movement in the corner of my eye. I turn to look at whatever it was...

...and I'm looking at a horse skull with a black horn hovering in the darkness a foot away from my face.

I fell backwards off my log and scrambled back, away from the thing. Four other people did the same. My friend Matt, who wasn't wearing his glasses at the time, was confused, mostly because he was looking at us beat a hasty retreat instead of what we were hastily retreating from. Matt says, "What's the matter?" I nod at the Karkadann, which in the meantime has moved to within arm's reach of him. He turns, sees the thing, swears, and starts running away.

I guess he got chased around the firepit a few times before making his escape, but I didn't see it--I almost killed a referee as I ran blindly out of the clearing. Stopped, said, "That's the scariest #*&%ing thing I've ever seen," and ran straight for the safety of the cabin. Which was unfortunate, as there was no straight path to the cabin available and I had no light to speak of. Whenever I hit a tree, I adjusted my path, but I didn't stop running till I had four walls around me.


Literally years later, I heard Sean Smith tell this story to other people, completely unaware that I was the guy on the other end of it. Apparently it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a brilliant piece of misdirection, and he was quite proud of the fact that he'd managed to walk into a clearing, lugging a heavy, clumsy costume along with him, and get within a foot of one of six people present without anyone noticing him doing so. I wouldn't be surprised if he still tells the story; I know I sure do.


Friday, October 23, 2009

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Lights are on...

Sorry, sorry. Mood's been in the toilet the last...30 years or so, and I'm trying cut back on the public moaning about how awful life is. It's unseemly (even if it is accurate).

So, not a lot of posting coming from me lately, and honestly, I don't see a whole lot more in the immediate future. But here's one bad thing I can whine about because I'm not doing it on my own behalf, and some good stuff that's going on.

First, the crappy thing. You may recall a year or two back I and Nick Johnson joining the online comics collective The Chemistry Set, where we released THE HOLIDAY MEN in THE MASSACRE MEMORIAL DAY SALE MASSACRE. There was a lot of good comics material on the Set, much of it unfinished for a variety of reasons, many relating to creators needing to do something other than a non-paying online comic to eat. Many, but not all.

For isntance, my favourite strip (other than the one I co-created, obviously), FCHS by Vito Delsante and Rachel Freire, stopped its ChemSet run after finding a print publisher.

FCHS, frequently pitched as "Riverdale, 90210", was a story about a group of teenagers in high school. Not the sort of subject matter that particularly appeals to my sensibilities, but Vito's writing did manage to hook me--the situations and characters rang true for me, something that's probably related to the story being at least semi-autobiographical.

But for me, FCHS's real draw was Rachel Freire's pared-down, cartoony artwork. Her FCHS work read to me like a cross between Dan DeCarlo and early Paul Grist. I loved it. My biggest gripe with FCHS's initial release on the ChemSet was that the creators had elected to work in a rigid three-panel strip format. I didn't mind the strip idea--in fact, I think it was great--but three panels every few days, well, I just wanted more.

Then Adhouse came along and agreed to publish an FCHS book. Vito and Rachel pulled FCHS from the Set and started retooling for print publication (losing the three panel tier along the way, which I still think is a shame.)

It was heartening to see Adhouse really get behind the book. In addition to Vito working relentlessly to let the online community know about the project, Adhouse released an FCHS teaser issue for Free Comic Book Day. I don't know the details of what went on behind the scenes, but as far as I can tell, a lot of people put a lot of effort into marketing a book I was looking forward to finally being able to read in full.

It's recently come out that Adhouse didn't get enough preorders and FCHS has been canceled. And that sucks.

I'm hoping Vito and Rachel come back and manage to find a new home for the project, either a new publisher or online. Not for them, but for me. As always, I want more FCHS, damn it.



Happy Harbor Comics continued to earn its 2007 Outstanding Retailer Shuster Award this past weekend by raising in excess of $2700 for Alberta Literacy via a 24 Hour Comic event. HH is kicking in 10 cents for every dollar raised, which puts the total the charity will receive at over 3 grand.

That was last weekend. This weekend sees the launch of the Gilbert Bouchard Memorial Art Show: Visions of Comics. An exhibit of works by local artists, the show celebrates the creators, icons and history of the comics medium. The opening, at 7:00PM Saturday night, will have...cheese or something, and it will have me. I got my crummy sketches I did of Will Eisner in San Diego that I also got Will Eisner to sign shortly after the panel I drew them in framed. There is a reasonably entertaining story to go along with the piece--longtime readers of this blog (provided this blog is LiveJournal) might remember me relating it, but if you don't, or you want to hear the live version, or you just want to support the community and remember Gilbert, you should come down to Happy Harbor Volume One Saturday night.

Finally, thanks to Diamond electing not to release new comics on the Wednesday between Christmas and New Years this year, the Harbor's declared that Local Creators week. For those seven days, the New This Week shelves will feature comics almost exclusively by local creators. I believe Jay's talking to people about doing signings too. I wonder if I could talk Fiona and Nick into coming up...



...This used to be the weirdest interview with her ever, but apparently who- or whatever replaced words in her answers with more Lovecraftian language ("comic" became "jocose") has undone what they did. Still a nice interview, but I kind of miss the sensation I got when I first read it that I'd either fallen into a David Lynch film or suffered a massive stroke.



There's talk of someone doing a movie of Chris Carter's MILLENNIUM, with original series star Lance Henriksen reprising his role as profiler Frank Black. Sounds like Carter might not be involved, but then, I don't know how involved he was in the second season of the show (my favourite), either.

Millennium had two of the absolute best season-ending images ever, the super-bleak "We probably won't be back for a third season" S2 finale, and the final image of season 3.

Now all we need is for David Lynch to return to Twin Peaks and I can die of geek nostalgia-induced bliss.


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

What happened?

Hey, where the hell have I been...?

The usual places (physical, mental, emotional), but I've been there more than usual lately, which has put a bit of a crimp in posting. When I haven't been busy, I've been preoccupied, and busy or preoccupied I've been in a pretty terrible mood for a variety of reasons, all far too pathetic to moan about in public. And if they're too pathetic for me to moan about, you know they're really pathetic.

Are things changing? Can't really tell. Other than the roof--it will be changing shortly, and it's about damn time. The materials arrived this morning--a giant garbage bin now fills our driveway--which means work should start in the next day or three. Just in time for the long weekend, bugger, I just remembered it's a long weekend, too. I hope they don't tear the old crap off and then take off for three days...

Anyway. My general mood notwithstanding, everything's OKish. Even better than OK, really. Things are starting to feel actually, really possible now.

Anyway. Don't know how much posting I'll be doing for the next couple weeks or more, but in the meantime, I did post something at MightyGodKing, if you're interested.