The Unshrouded Stars By DAVID SKINNER When an astronaut confronts a lamia, she has a proposition for him: she will refrain from eating children for an entire year…if he will take her into outer space!
Hunger in the Void By ANDREW GALLANT Allan Buxley, a daring-hearted Voyager, ventures into an Orion Gate with his robot companion Sigma-6 in the Sagan-12… and finds a black hole on the other side!
The Gold Exigency (Part 1 of 4) By MICHAEL TIERNEY A race of birdlike alien humanoids are being hunted and murdered for the gems grown in their skins! A cop seeking answers and looking to stop the killings is approached by an unlikely benefactor: Achilles Hister of the Artomique Corporation!
Quicksilver By J. COMER Cartmill Station has an outbreak of a deadly virus! Can a daring rescue mission to deliver nanomedicines using a dangerous experimental rocket reach them in time?
Comes the Hunter By BILL WILLINGHAM Following the trail of dead, the hunter closes in on his quarry: the last of the wizard knights! His magic exhausted, can he defeat his dastardly foe with his wits alone?!
Starring Hedy Lamarr By TROY RISER An alien intelligence on the moon with the ability to possess victims engages in an all out secret war against Earth! It’s up to a secret world-wide conspiracy to stop it!
The Feast of the Fedai By JIM BREYFOGLE Kat is intent on raising an army to reclaim Alness! Can she and Mangos arrange to recruit an elite core of highly trained Fedai in Alomar before her secret gets out?!
Egg By JAIME FAYE TORKELSON A geo-seismic research team is stationed on the strange moon Epsilon Epsilon Six, better known as Egg, a smooth and volatile body that could go at any moment!
Search Pattern By WILLIAM SUBOSKI A strange woman seemingly miraculously cures a man’s terminal cancer! His son has devoted his life to data sciences, but can he follow the clues to track her down?!
My Name is John Carter (Part 15) By JAMES HUTCHINGS
For Michael Tierney, it was nothing more than moving a stack of firewood; for Wallflower, one of the insects living in the pile, it was the beginning of the adventure of lifetime.
A few years back, author and artist Michael Tierney was out during a bout of surprisingly good winter weather, restocking his firewood. Huge waves of winter fireflies rose into the sky in an explosion of light.
This fantastical spectacle stuck with Michael, and sent him on flights of fancy. He envisioned the miraculous flight within context of an epic adventure and struggle. He wondered how those bugs that had been in the woodpile might have envisioned him: a giant; a monster; an out-of-this-world alien being?
Michael initially put the story of the sky dance to paper, but that was not quite enough. He also wanted to capture the essence of those moments in art and imagery. Sky Dance of Winter Fire was born as a digital mixed-media storybook that Michael Tierney and Cirsova Publishing would like to bring to you now…
About the Author
Michael Tierney is an author, photographer, pulp historian, comic artist, comic shop owner, and digital art restoration specialist. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Michael has been writing and illustrating for decades. One of his earliest publications was the Multiversal Scribe, a zine that showcased his short fiction with his original illustrations. He has gone on to publish multiple art folios, independent comics, novels, and art histories.
He is most well known for his Wild Stars series, an epic space opera published across multiple mediums, and his massive Art Chronologies of Edgar Rice Burroughs and Robert E. Howard.
Michael honed his expertise in digitally restoring old and damaged pulp artwork for his Art Chronologies, a skill which he also lent to the Cirsova Classics projects, where he digitally restored the original cover artwork for Julian Hawthorne’s The Cosmic Courtship, A Goth From Boston, and Sara Was Judith.
He also writes the Beyond the Farthest Star weekly web strip for Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc. and digitally colored the first volume.
He also completed a previously lost original Edgar Rice Burroughs Tarzan fragment which was published in Cirsova Magazine in 2019 as “Young Tarzan and the Mysterious She.”
About the Artwork
In late 2022, when AI artwork was really coming into its own, a common refrain was “I’ll just use AI art to help with compositions and then have a real artist draw the real thing for me.” What Michael Tierney wanted to see was what could be done with AI art in the hands of an experienced digital artist using it as a sampling palette, taking textures, tones, and figures and applying them to digital pasteboards to create wholly original compositions.
The imagery in Sky Dance of Winter Fire was created using a mix of original photography, photoshop, and MidJourney.
In some cases, AI-generated images were used simply to extract textures and gradients which could then be applied to photographs.
In other cases, various figures might be modified and extracted and used as collage components in a larger composition. Each final image is a composite of several different images from which various elements have been drawn.
Below is an example of an finished composition created having drawn on and extracted elements from several different prompt-generated images.
Describing the approach to creating Sky Dance of Winter Fire in Michael’s own words, “it’s about 40% photographic and 20% A.I., over all of which comes the other 40% of me using my photoshop skills developed from airbrushing the shades and tones on 300-plus pages of my Wild Stars comics, colorizing 100 episodes of Beyond the Farthest Star, and processing and restoring 12,000-plus images that illustrated the works of ERB and REH. Having always been an artist, I’ve continued to study my craft and refine my skills with all the tools available, and now I finally have the time to put them to full use.”
$20 – Sky Dance of Winter Fire SaddleStitchedStorybook –
Receive a saddle stitched copy of Sky Dance of Winter Fire.
$25 – Sky Dance of Winter Fire SquareboundStorybook
Receive a squarebound copy of Sky Dance of Winter Fire.
$40 – Both Formats
Receive both the saddle stitched and square bound versions of Sky Dance of Winter Fire.
$60 Retailer Bundle (Saddle Stitched) – 5x Copies
$75 Retailer Bundle (Square Bound) – 5x Copies
$10 – MakeYour Copy a Signed Copy
Michael Tierney will sign your copy/copies of Sky Dance of Winter Fire.
$20 – Wild Stars Erlik and First Marker One-Shots
Add on Erlik and First Marker, the original Wild Stars one-shot comics that, along with the 2001 Wild Stars comic series, formed Wild Stars I: The Book of Circles.
$20 – Wild Stars 2001Comic Bundle+ Force Majeure
Add on a bundle of the original Wild Stars Comics which, along with the Erlik and First Marker one-shots, formed Wild Stars I: The Book of Circles. This bundle will also include the Force Majeure: Prairie Bay one-shot comic.
Risks and challenges
This is the first time Cirsova Publishing has done a full-color picture book project. We’re working with a new printer that we have never worked with before, so this is uncharted territory for us. While we’ve had a long track record of being able to deliver high quality products quickly, the timelines for this new printer are an unknown quantity, so we are trying to offer as much lead-time as possible. We also understand that this project is outside of the usual scope of our offerings. We hope that our loyal readers and fans will give this book a chance and will enjoy it!
I’ll address each of these in their own posts, but we’ve got three big things we’re moving forward with in tandem with fulfilling Mongoose and Meerkat Volume 3.
1. Cirsova Spring Issue
The Cirsova Spring Issue will be out 3/15. We’ll post more details in the soontime, but our cover story is the first installment of Wild Stars 7: The Gold Exigency.
2. Sky Dance of Winter Fire
Something a bit different from our usual fare, in March we will be taking pre-orders for Michael Tierney’s picture book, Sky Dance of Winter Fire.
3. Misha Burnett’s Small Worlds
This anthology is sure to be another grand slam from modern master of short fiction, Misha Burnett. Right now, the manuscript is in the hands of one of Cirsova’s talented and capable copy editors, and we plan on taking pre-orders for it starting in April.
The 35th Anniversary Editions of Michael Tierney’s Wild Stars are back in distribution once again and available on Amazon.
These were briefly unavailable through Amazon due to our split with Ingram Content and the unique format which prevented them from being published through KDP.
These titles were never actually out of print, but have been available on Lulu.com. In fact, this is still the recommended way to get your hands on these, but as we all know, most people will ONLY buy things from Amazon.
So, the copies on Amazon have higher markups due to the 3rd party retailers tacking on a hefty surcharge to our MSRP. But they’re there again.
RETURN TO THE WORLD OF POLODA! A change in artists brought about the temporary suspension of the Beyond the Farthest Star online comic strip in January 2021, but now it’s back like never before with fan-favorite artist Silvestre Szilagyi, who previously drew The Mad King web comic strip for us. The strip will continue to be written by noted author Michael Tierney, the mastermind behind the gorgeous Edgar Rice Burroughs 100 Year Art Chronology (and who is about to release his new Robert E. Howard Art Chronology). A whole new universe was being created by Edgar Rice Burroughs when he wrote Beyond the Farthest Star, but this burst of imagination was interrupted by World War II, when he devoted his energies toward helping win the war in the Pacific, in whatever way he could contribute, leading him to becoming one of the most popular correspondents in the Pacific Theater during the war. BEYOND THE FARTHEST STAR CREATIVE TEAM
Writer Michael Tierney has been writing since he learned to spell his first two words, Stop and Go, which he used to complete a crude comic strip about military tanks crossing hills and rivers. In high school, he was editor of the school paper and went to the State Finals in Journalism. Even before that he had already published his first science fiction tale of the Wild Stars, which was published in the fan pages of Eerie magazine. By the age of twenty-two, he was managing a printing division of International Graphics and had already released a self-published magazine of his art and stories: The Multiversal Scribe. Elected to multiple terms as a city councilman, he has been a book retailer since 1982, was a finalist for multiple retailer awards, and has been an Overstreet Price Guide advisor since 1999—writing over a thousand industry articles and reviews. His Wild Stars comics from the 1980s through the early 2000s have been collected into Wild Stars: The Book of Circles—Recalibrated. He also wrote a Wild Stars role playing game for Troll Lord Games, and continues to release a new Wild Stars novel every year through Cirsova: Magazine of Thrilling Adventure and Daring Suspense. Cirsova subsequently releases them in hardcover and magazine formats, and has collected his first four books into a massive omnibus that includes a compendium of characters, places, and events. Cirsova also published other short stories and essays by Michael, including his posthumous collaboration with Edgar Rice Burroughs, “Young Tarzan and the Mysterious She.” He writes, letters, and colored the first two years of the online comic strip Beyond the Farthest Star for ERB, Inc., and created the four-volume Edgar Rice Burroughs 100 Year Art Chronology. His four-volume Robert E. Howard Art Chronology is coming soon. He is a certified Master Scuba Diver, and this hobby includes underwater photography, with sharks being his favorite subject.
Artist Silvestre Szilagyi was born in 1949 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. From 1968 to 1970, he studied comic art, known then as “Histoieta,” under Alberto Breccia at the the interdisciplinary art school I.D.A. (Instituto de directores de Arte). In 1970, he opened the Estudio Geminis with Gaspar Gonzalez. Fellow artists Mulko, Gil, Leopardi, and many more worked there regularly, sharing opinions and critiques. From 1974 and on, he worked for Record, the second largest publisher in Argentina, on such books as Skorpio, CortoMaltés, Pif Paf, and Tit Bits. Around 2007, he began doing work for Moonstone Books, completing around 450 pages of The Phantom, as well as working on other characters. He has published over ten thousand pages, and still loves drawing. Silvestre was also an artist on The Mad King online comic strip for ERB, Inc.
Two years have passed since the fall of Alness. And two years have passed since the brash young sellsword Mangos teamed up with Kat, the mysterious Alnessi rogue. Together, they have made a name for themselves as the Mongoose and Meerkat!
The ravaged northlands still smolder as the warlord Rhygir holds Alness in an iron grip. Rumors swirl that a member of the Alnessi royal family may have survived, but Rhygir is intent on hunting down any resistance that might rally to a rogue prince who escaped the slaughter.
Though Rhygir has been consolidating power in Alness, the Mongoose and Meerkat have been hard at work, gathering resources and making alliances in Alomar and abroad. But can the new allies and old friends overcome the army of Rhygir before it can be bolstered by elite mercenaries?
All of the pieces of the King’s Game are place!
The Redemption of Alness collects the third year of Kat and Mangos’s adventures together, including:
The Flying Mongoose
Death and Renewal
Fight of the Sandfishers
Thunder in the North
Feast of the Fedai*
Trapped in the Loop – [Previously unpublished]*
The Redemption of Alness – [Previously unpublished]*
* : [We WILL be publishing these stories serially in Cirsova Magazine, however backers of Volume 3 will get these these last two stories before they are published in the Fall and Winter 2023 issues].
Additionally, this volume will include the previously unpublished short story Knotsin the Thread of Time AND a teaser for Jim Breyfogle’s upcoming novel, A Bad Case of Dead!
We’re offering The Redemption of Alness in eBook and three physical formats:
$3 – eBook
$20 – Pocket Paperback
$20 – Trade Paperback
$35 – Linen-wrapped Hardcover
$70 – All Formats
As a bonus, we’re giving ALL backers a digital copy of Tales of the Mongoose and Meerkat Volume 1: Pursuit Without Asking and Tales of the Mongoose and Meerkat Volume 2: The Heat of the Chase so you can get all caught up!
$50 Pocketbook Catchup – Get all 3 volumes in pocketbook format
$50 Trade Paperback Catchup – Get all 3 volumes in trade paperback format
$88 Hardcover Catchup Pack – Get all 3 volumes in linen-wrapped hardcover format
$180 The Works – Get all 3 volumes in all 3 formats!
Like with Volume 1 & 2, we will be adapting elements of these stories into gaming content! The hardcover’s appendix will contain additional stats, items, and more! Plus, updated character sheets for Kat and Mangos.
Jim Breyfogle is one of Cirsova Publishing’s break-out stars. His swashbuckling duo Mongoose and Meerkat have become one of Cirsova Magazine’s most popular features. Cirsova Publishing released the smash hit collection Tales of the Mongoose and Meerkat, Vol 1: Pursuit Without Asking in 2020, Vol 2: The Heat of the Chase in 2022, and his fairytale romance, The Paths of Cormanor in 2021.
Jim began inventing stories to keep himself occupied during the school day, and later, as all good writers, created stories for the entertainment and delight of his children. He is a regular attendee of the World Fantasy Convention and in 2010 was accepted to attend the prestigious Odyssey Writing Workshop. Since that time, Jim has been published in numerous magazines.
Cirsova Publishing began in 2016, launching its flagship fantasy magazine, which is now on its 20-somethingth issue. Cirsova has been serializing Mongoose and Meerkat’s adventures for a number of years now. They are also known for publishing Michael Tierney’s Wild Stars science fantasy saga and the strange fiction of Misha Burnett.
We’re trying really hard to time this release in early summer 2023. We want to do this to accommodate a brief break in the scheduled publication of Mongoose & Meerkat in Cirsova Magazine. Backers will get the “conclusion” to the series a bit earlier but we don’t want to deprive the people who have been following as magazine-only readers! So, we’re aiming for this sweet spot. Of course, we also need those last stories reviewed by our copy-editing staff and we need art for them. The biggest challenge is for all of these parts to come together at once and in time to ship out before we run those last two stories in the magazine.
As you all know, last year, we terminated our relationship with our printer/distributor Ingram Spark due to their perpetual quality issues and refusal to distribute Cirsova Classics. In the switchover, a few of our titles fell out of print, and we’ve had to deal with some issues in getting several of them available on Amazon again. One of these that hurt the most, though, were out Illustrated Stark books, which should have been an evergreen title for us.
Well, after lots of wrestling and wrangling, we managed to get the first, Queen of the Martian Catacombs, back into print! Now that we’re sure that we can get them back up, the other two will follow soon.
I’d shared a photo awhile back, but I’d been meaning for some time to get a decent scan of this portrait of Shuriken that Timothy Lim [Kamen America, Black Hops] did for me at a con earlier this year. With Reggie Byers finally dropping the book this week, it seemed like a good time.
I love the look of youthful trepidation that Tim captures in this piece, evoking the earliest days of Kyoko’s career.
Shuriken may have been one of the first major martial arts girl books of the Black & White boom, but it’s this very strange thing in the history of indie comics. It’s art and writing aren’t really on par with what came later, and it was hurt more than other Amerimanga by real manga becoming more widely available. But even with all of its flaws [it’s very cheesy, the art is often serviceable at best], I love it. Why?
Because it’s so filled with the creator’s love, and that love shines through in every one of Shuriken’s smiles.
Reggie Byers’ Shuriken is a wonderful example of how passion and love can overcome a creator’s limitations and drive success.
Despite being “okay at best” by most technical measures, the book was hugely popular when it was originally coming out.
One of the reasons that the licensed sequel series which Byers himself was uninvolved in feel lacking is that the passion for the project and the love and joy for the characters are almost wholly absent. Cold Steel turned the character in a far more generic 80s action ninja girl with an almost totally different characterization.
Hellbender was a step in the right direction with better artwork that would carry onward into the second full-length series without Byers.
While the second series was probably the best of the bunch by most objective standards and at least felt some connection to the original, it was still missing that spark.
Whether Reggie is able to recapture the “glory days” of Shuriken remains to be seen. While the book itself is promising and some of the charm and aesthetic is there, it’s a little late and it’s aiming to be the first of a series rather than a one-off.
But whether the new Shuriken succeeds or fails, classic Shuriken is a reminder that enough passion and effort can lead to the breakthrough success of an indie creator. Even if you’re doing goofy stuff like this.
At the same time, I would like to add that I don’t want it to sound like I’m coming down too hard on Reggie and his talents when I describe it. A few years ago, I tried to check out Billy Tucci’s Shi, when he was doing his IGGs for the new books. While the art was great and the writing was fine, there was just nothing about it that really clicked with me.
I’ll take this:
There’s a reason why I shelled out over $200 for Reggie’s Kickstarter across two different accounts. I’ve gotten a lot of joy out of this IP since I discovered it a few years ago, but since I’ve acquired it all second hand [including that beautiful portrait that I got for $20 that was just listed on the memorabilia site as “anime girl”], Reggie hasn’t seen a dime. So I’m happy to be able to have the opportunity to reward him for coming back to his signature IP.
I’m also hopeful that Reggie’ll be able to keep on track and continue to deliver. In the meantime, I’ll be happy to continue to support him.
I recently found my paperback collection of Northwest Smith. It had gone missing half-way through reading it [it got buried in various Kickstarter supplies earlier this year], but I’m happy to be able to get around to finishing the last couple stories in it.
I know we’ve seen a common refrain that Northwest Smith is ‘the inspiration’ for Han Solo, but I don’t know you guys…
Reading Lost Paradise, I get this mental image in my head:
“The Millennium Falcon is the ship that made the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs…”
>the entirety of the Easy Rider graveyard sequence plays
“…and we’re NEVER doing that again, right Chewie?”
Like almost all of CL Moore’s writing, Northwest Smith is DEEP in the neo-gothic tradition of early weird and turn of the century orientalism. Space becomes the new backdrop for the alienness of the harems, mosques, and bazaars of the middle east. With the Orient being rapidly brought into global affairs to the point of becoming nearly prosaic, space allowed for a more timeless and universal setting than, say, Tangier. It allowed for a haunted Arabian Nights setting an a world of modernity and rapidly advancing technology.
Smith is a raygun slinger, sure, but he has more in common with Lovecraft’s protagonists than he does Leigh Brackett’s space merc adventurers from just a few years later. He may be more of a chad than Randolf Carter or HP’s other poindexter POVs, but ultimately, Smith is there to experience and be subjected to the weird.
One of the key elements of horror is denial of agency, and Northwest Smith has that in spades. He has “adventures” but they usually end up with him being presented with mind-breaking horrors and cruelties he is incapable of doing anything about.
But about Han Solo…
There are similarities, and before I’d read much Northwest Smith, I took them at face value, but I really don’t think they go beyond the surface. They pretty much begin and end with “freelance space smuggler who has a fast spaceship and an alien partner.” You might end up with a Han Solo if Lucas had heard of Northwest Smith but not read any of the stories. Or even if he was wholly unfamiliar with Smith but was aware of the idea of the rugged freelance space smuggler [which is hardly unique, even if Smith was an early example].
I think what may actually be more likely is that Star Wars created a boom in readership that led to a rediscovery of CL Moore in paperbacks by younger readers in the late 70s and early 80s [my paperback copy is from 82 and is the same as the one posted above]; those readers found Northwest Smith and then identified him with Solo.
Now, was Lucas aware of Smith? Maybe! Shambleau was one of Moore’s most frequently reprinted stories and had been present in collections and Best Ofs for years leading up to Star Wars, and that particular story has Northwest Smith’s most Han Solo-like setup and characterization [though it’s fairly incidental to the story itself].
Even if he did take those characterizations and apply them to Han, that’s really about as far as the similarities go. Mostly because Moore was writing in a gothic framework despite the “dashing spaceman with fast ship” characterization.
So, while we can call him an ‘ur example’ or whatever, Northwest Smith no more resembles Han Solo than Jirel of Joiry resembles Red Sonya. And comparing Smith to Solo actually really undersells Smith and what Moore was doing with him.
[As an addendum, one of our bros, MegaBusterShepard has pointed out that Han Solo actually has a lot more in common with E.C. Tubb’s Earl Dumarest character from the Dumarest of Terra books. I can’t confirm as I haven’t read them, but I am aware of them by reputation, and what I do know about them and given their timeframe, that sounds more plausible.]