The Patron Saint of Tart, Part 2

... so when last I was posted, I was about to introduce you better to Ana.

After Janet and I returned from London we had many memories, a couple souvenirs (Janet got two Sonny Crockett action figures - I told you Don Johnson was her first love) and zero, count them, zero pictures.

Travel trip for anyone visiting a country with an unfavorable exchange rate: PACK A CAMERA.

When we got to London we saw the disposable cameras in the shop for fifteen pounds. At a two-to-one exchange rate Janet and I just couldn't justify 30 bucks for 15 pictures. About two weeks after we returned though we got an email. You might have guessed it, from Ana. With a photo of Janet talking to Neil Gaiman as he signed our books.

{ My wife is the one in the picture who does not look like Neil Gaiman. I have no idea who the chap standing in the doorway is, but I can tell you he's hoping we'll finish soon so he can come in out of the cold.}

We stayed Pen Pals. She helped me track down Laurence, who agreed to illustrate a poem for me which we've since self-published. Not only that, but Ana translated it into French for us. She introduced me to the wonderful fantasy short story zine Ethereal Tales in which she'd had a poem and artwork published. And then the email came:

It was something like, "I have this friend who is an amazing artist. He's been working on these characters for a awhile and he's really got something. But he's stuck. You guys seem to have the same sensibility, I thought maybe you might work together well."

I told her I was too busy to do anything, but I'd be happy to read what he sent.

About two days later I received six pages of the the most beautiful artwork I'd ever seen. Now over the last two years Ludo's English has improved greatly, but what was awesome was at that point, it was pretty awful (Let me stop for a moment and say that Ludo's English, even at that time, is a thousand times better than my French. So yes, I know that I'm being unfair, but bear with me). And he'd hurried his translation in order to show me the story.

Because the translation was... off, I had this really strange fixation with it. The art was crisp, the action was kinetic and the dialogue was... insane. But like, Japanese game show insane. I loved it, but didn't know what I could do with it. Depressed that I had this in with an amazing artist, I decided I just wasn't capable of contributing.

So I went to sleep. At 4 AM that night I woke up. I had an image of a girl waking up in an alley. She didn't know where she was. She didn't even know when she was. But she knew there was a problem out there she needed to solve.

The nuts and bolts of the issue you're reading, and the series we're presenting grew organically through a lot of cross Atlantic emails between Ludo, Ana and I. Yes, Ana. She doesn't get a credit on our story, but if there is an editor of Tart, Ana is it. She's been part of this story from the beginning. Offering suggestions, brainstorming, giving support when needed, kicks in the ass when necessary, and reading on every script we've worked on.

Without Ana, there is no Tart. So if you enjoy what you're reading, give a toast to her, she is the person who brought Ludo and I together on this project. And I can't thank her enough.


PS- Tart's story continues tomorrow!


The Patron Saint of Tart, Part 1

I worked late tonight, and can never get to sleep at a normal time when that happens. Working in a casino can be lots of fun, but coming down after eight hours slinging cards is not always the easiest thing possible. So instead of tossing and turning, I think I'll just introduce you all to Ana. Without whom, Tart would not exist.

And that's not hyperbole. It absolutely would not have ever come to my, or Ludo's minds to create it if Ana hadn't performed her special brand of alchemy.

I always love telling stories about Ana because I can start them with the line, "I met her on my honeymoon." Let me tell you, if you ever need to get a group of people's attention, just say that. It's like dangling honey in front of Pooh Bear, you've got yourself an attentive audience.

But it's true, I did meet Ana on my honeymoon. Of course, so did my wife, so it isn't as salacious as it sounds.

My wife Janet and I are not "Tropics People." God bless all of you who are, it just wouldn't have been our thing. Instead of basking in the sun of Acapulco, we chose to brave the early April mist of London instead. Between the two of us, our house is littered with albums by The Clash, novels by Douglas Adams, Monty Python memorabilia, The comics of Alan Moore,  and most especially ALMOST EVERYTHING Neil Gaiman has ever written.

And it just so happened that the week we were going to be in London, Neil Gaiman was going to be there as well. When a signing at Forbidden Planet was arranged, I asked Janet if we could go.

So we planned our week as well as we could. We wanted to see a show on The West End (We saw two actually: "Spamalot" and "Guys and Dolls" starring Don Johnson - my wife's first true love). Walk Hyde Park. See the British Museum, etc. But all of these things had to be planned around the signing. Janet was game.

So the day of the signing we got there early (Do not wander up to a Neil Gaiman signing five minutes before it starts, or you'll be there until the next morning). It was cold and drizzly and dreary, and nobody was in line yet, so we crossed the street and got lunch. Through the window we saw one person come and sit down waiting for the signing. When two girls joined her, we decided it was time to brave the cold with the rest of the diehards.

When we got in line, everyone sort of introduced themselves. We talked about our favorite Gaiman stories, what we'd brought to have signed (I'd stuffed my suitcase with about 6 books, including Neil's first published book about Duran Duran - My favorite author, one of Janet's favorite bands - is that precious or what : )

Then the conversation turned to what people did, or wanted to do. Two of the girls in line were Ana, and Laurence. Ana was a costume designer and Laurence was (is) an astonishingly talented artist. Ana is an artist  (and writer and poet) as well, but I think she is just one of those people who pushes those she believes in to create. And I believe this because of her work in bringing Tart into existence.

Which will be a story for another day. As this has already gotten very long and my Tylenol PM is starting to kick in. Good for my sleep, bad for blugggggggging. I mean blogging.  


We're just a day away from the next update of Tart. I wrote a really predictable tease and promptly erased it. I could point out the plot points that will be followed up tomorrow and tease what might happen, but it just seems trite.

You're big boys and girls. I'll leave it up to you what's important. If you've got a minute, give it another read today to refresh yourself where Tart is on her voyage to find John Martin.

And please leave comments with questions, observations and suggestions. We probably won't answer any plot point or character background questions (where's the fun in giving up the mystery before it's even started), but would love to hear what you like, and where you think the story might be going.

Comments may just be saved and used if/when we ever go to print. And I think I'll steal a bit of marketing from the Tick and make sure that everyone printed in our comic has a chance to win something unique for their trouble (like possibly one of the three pieces of original art Ludo posted below - hint hint).

See ya tomorrow! 


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