Shuriken, New and Old

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.

A Bit More Redfox

I’m just under half-way through this series. Even though I don’t feel strongly either way about the main character, who is kind of a generic babe-barian, I absolutely adore Whitefox. Whitefox is the magically grown twin/clone that a lonely wizard made after Redfox left her apprenticeship.

Sure, Redfox has a cursed magic ring that has put her in the clutches of a demon that will destroy her body and purge her soul, but Whitefox is the one who needs all the hugs.

As a magic clone, Whitefox suffers from some identity problems… Though she has never met her, she has a mental bond with Redfox and longs to meet her someday. To somewhat ameliorate the dysphoria of being a clone, she considers herself Redfox’s “sister” and projects loving sisterly feelings for the woman she’s never met.

Whitefox reminds me a bit of T’sain from Dying Earth; at first I was imagining that she would be more like T’sais, and be completely crazy, but at 8 issues in, it’s looking like Whitefox could be the Real HeroTM of the comic, as she leads the small, motley band of Redfox’s friends to rescue her soul from the demon queen.

Anyway, I adore this character. I’m glad I managed to nab the entire run for $20, since it seems like the individual issues can go for a pretty penny.

Be sure to check out our Kickstarter for Wild Stars: The Artomique Paradigm, launching 3/7!

What’s Cirsova Reading?

I’ve been trying to do a lot more reading lately, to get through my giant stack of unread books. A big part of why is that I inherited my dad’s gigantic library of history books, and I have nowhere to put all of them, so I’ve been trying to read them as quickly as possible and then give them away to friends and followers to make room for more boxes of books. If you want a chance to get your hands on the books I’m giving away, be sure to follow us on twitter [], where I regularly raffle off the books I finish.

The Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant

This has been a fantastic read. I’m about half-way through. I don’t think I’ve ever read a clearer narrative by a soldier and commanding officer of his campaigns. Even if it were only the first 100 pages covering the Mexican War, this would be a priceless account.

While extremely detailed, it serves to give the reader vivid and precise accounts of the action rather than bog the reader down.

Grant’s deference in his prose to the various commanders under him and over him is delightful–the frank portrait of Zachary Taylor as a commander in the Mexican War, his friendship with and deep admiration for Sherman, his frustration with Halleck as his superior and McClernard as his subordinate, are all laid out from a Grant who is focused principally on the facts of events, generous with praise for men who did their duty’s well and reluctant to disparage those deserving beyond stating what occurred in the course of things.

Lorena – Frank G. Slaughter

I’ve taken a quick break from Grant at roughly the half-way point [Chickamauga & the relief of Burnside in Knoxville] to read a period romance from Frank G. Slaughter. I really enjoyed his Phoenician romantic adventure, The Purple Quest, and have been meaning to read more of his books. I grabbed this and read the first four chapters while my GF was shopping at the Goodwill, and so far, it has not disappointed.

A brilliant young woman from the East coast has married a southern officer who is the heir to a massive plantation. The officer turns out to be a total wastrel and scoundrel; his father, the old county judge, realizes this and, before his death, teaches Lorena the ins and outs of the business of running a plantation.

Fast forward to mid-to-late in the Civil War: Lorena has managed to keep things running and profitable after the Judge’s death and while her husband is fighting in the war, though her methods are rather unorthodox for a Southern Lady [among other things, she has made a black her bookkeeper!] Her husband thinks himself a Rebel Hero and looks down on his wife; if he ever gets back and in charge, he’ll run the place into the ground. On the other hand, when the North inevitably wins the war, will Lorena be able to hold things together? She is well-loved and respected by the blacks on her plantation, including some who would be willing to stay on with her after the liberation–but if her rotten no-good husband has anything to say about it, he’ll drive them all to ruination.


Okay, this is just a for funsies thing on the side [and no, I’m not raffling these off]. Redfox is a British indie sword & sorcery comic from the 80s. It’s been amusing and pretty fun so far. Redfox is looking for treasure in dungeon, but it turns out that the treasure is bogus and the rumors existed so that at some point someone would come and revive a wizard from a healing torpor he placed himself in.

The wizard DOES reward Redfox, offering to teach her magic; while she’s an apt student, however, magic ultimately disagrees with her barbarian nature.

While the art isn’t amazing, the story has been pretty engaging. It’s a little shlocky and gaggy the way a lot of indie comics tend to be, but it’s not so much so that it detracts from the enjoyment.

So far, I think my favorite character is Whitefox… After Redfox leaves the wizard, the wizard becomes despondent and fixated. He ultimately creates a clone of Redfox who he makes his new apprentice. She is powerful and brilliant but like the other living magical creations of the wizard, she struggles with her identity [it has very strong Dying Earth vibes.] You just want to give her a hug.


We’re going to be taking pre-orders soon for Michael Tierney’s Wild Stars V: The Artomique Paradigm on Kickstarter! Please sign up for notification!

We’ll also begin serializing Wild Stars VI: Orphan of the Shadowy Moon in our Spring issue that will be out March 15th!

Also, I was sick with the flu, so I didn’t get to properly advertise that the retail edition of Absolute Evil & A Goth From Boston is now available on Amazon!

Pointman Comics Review

Okay, so, quick review of Pointman Comics. I wish I hadn’t been sleeping on these for so long, because I’ve been mutuals with Kassidy for a couple of years now.

Right now, Gorilla Galaxy is in the spotlight, because the new issue is a full length Gorilla Galaxy story.

Really, though, I’d like to mention the horror stories of the first and second issues. These are both really solid, and the one in the second issue is VERY much in the tradition of the classic horror books.

Leatherfist in issue 2, I wasn’t as hot on, but if Kassidy were to spin off a weird horror short series in vein of a Grimm’s Ghost Stories, that would be fantastic.

Gorilla Galaxy has a lot of potential as an IP, and I loved the one-off short in the first issue. Kinda reminded me of the classic Aniverse raygun romance stuff. After reading it, I was looking forward to a full-length adventure.

Honestly, though, I don’t care for the new art as much in issue 3. One selling point of GG, naturally, is cute girls. But the new art doesn’t really show them being cute. It’s a matter of taste, obviously, and while the new art is VERY expressive, it borders on grotesque–it would be nice to be able to let the characters have a few panels where they aren’t mugging and making twisted, contorted faces.

Redd in Issue #1
Redd in Issue #3

That said, I still plan on supporting Pointman Comics and will stick with Gorilla Galaxy for another issue [though I really liked the first artist better].

Anyway, you can pick up all 3 issues of Pointman Comics here at IndyPlanet.

Quick Con After Action Report

Hey, back The Strange Recollections of Martha Klemm if you haven’t already! We’ve hit the mid-point doldrums and need things to pick up ASAP if we’re going to raise the amount we need to do another Cirsova Classics project!

Had a great time at Arkansas Comic Con. Our best con performance to date. We actually made our table back, which is a first for us!

Of course, I blew a lot of the money on souvenirs…

Got a sketch cover from our buddy Tim Lim.


The guy who does the Street Fighter battle academy doujin series was there; I’d been waiting for over a year to see him again, and I bought the next 10 issues. The interior art… is not great, but it’s serviceable for the story he’s telling, and the story he’s telling is legitimately fun and every page I can’t wait to see what happens next!


I also found a handful of Doctor Spektor and Jungle Twins books, including the issue with them choking out and punching a gorilla!


We even got to meet Misha Burnett in person for the first time!

Okay, so what’s on tab?

Cirsova’s Things To Do List is nuts right now:

  • First off, finish making payment to the accepted offers. I’m doing this tonight, possibly tomorrow as well. Checks will be going in the mail for people who requested checks. Please cash them as soon as possible, since terms are enforced on acceptance of payment. There are a few offers in limbo still, and at least one withdrawn story due to an eligibility issue–so, things are not set in stone, and I may “call back” a story or two that we sent rejections for when we know exactly how much space we will have.
  • The Paths of Cormanor arrived right on the eve of con setup. I haven’t had a chance to get to those yet. That’s the first thing I need to work on as soon as payments for 2022 are out.
  • Pulp Trading Cards are on the table as a stretch goal item for Strange Recollections of Martha Klemm. I need to get those laid out ASAP. Also, to fulfill one of the stretch goals for The Cosmic Courtship, Michael Tierney has his scans hosted at his website.
  • I’m sure there’s more I need to do and it is on my list, but I don’t know that it will get done this week. I DO want to get my United Caveman Federation tell-all posts done at some point, by OMG, I’m soooo busy! Help, I’m drowning!

Wild Stars Comics Giveaway! [Aug 23 – 30th]

With Wild Stars V: The Artomique Paradigm coming to a close next month in the Fall issue of Cirsova Magazine, we’re thrilled to be able to run this promotion in concert with Michael Tierney!

We’re giving away a complete set of the 2000s Wild Stars Comics! We’re also giving away a rare copy of the Across the Distance Wild Stars Art Portfolio.

In the 1970s, Michael Tierney wrote a series of novels that formed the Wild Stars universe: Wild Stars Rising in 1976 (a different novel from Wild Stars 4: Wild Star Rising), Moonshadow in 1977/78, and First Marker in 1978 (later adapted into the graphic novel Wild Stars 1: The Book of Circles), which were the first uses of the trademarked term of Wild Stars.    In 1978, Michael released a portfolio illustrating scenes from these novels and his then-recently released magazine, The Multiversal Scribe . Each print was individually signed with matching numbers, with three plates illustrated by Michael Tierney and three plates illustrated by Bruce Conklin.

One of Bruce’s plates featured the first appearance of Phaedra.
One of Michael plates featured the first appearance of Eagal Ir Radin.
While Phaedra has since appeared in the comics and novels, Eagal Ir Radin will make his first series appearance in 2022 when Cirsova Magazine begins serialization of Wild Stars 6: Orphan of the Shadowy Moons (originally the 1977/78 Moonshadow novel).

To enter, send an email to: Cirsova at yahoo dot com

Subjectline: Wild Stars Giveaway

In the body of the email, include the answers to the following Wild Stars trivia question:

1. In Wild Stars 4, Part 2, what is the Lantern Star?
    A. A lodestar
    B. A pair of stars in very tight orbit.
    C. A stellar signpost used by Roy Kirk’s grandfather.
    D. All of the above.

2. In Wild Stars 4, Part 2, what is the the E=MC2 trigger used for?
    A. Assassination.
    B. Manufacturing beer.
    C. Launching a starship.
    D. All of the above.

3. In Wild Stars Volume One: The Book of Circles–Recalibrated, what was the identity of the telepathic armored warrior?
    A. A time traveling First Marker.
    B. A time traveling Ancient Warrior.
    C. A time traveling agent selling auto warranties.
    D. None of the above.

For the Across the Distance portfolio:
4. Who is Eagal Ir Radin?   

A. The Ancient Warrior.
    B. The Ancient Warrior’s father.
    C. The Ancient Warrior’s adoptive father.
    D. The immortal known as God Father.

All Entries must be received by 8 PM CST August 30th! Entries with the most correct answers for Questions 1-3 will be entered for the drawing to win a complete set of Wild Stars Comics. Entries with correct answers for Question 4 will be entered for the drawing to win a copy of the Across the Distance Portfolio.

Be sure to visit and for more about The Wild Stars!

Shuriken Kickstarter is Live!

Yeah, I know, I should be plugging my own stuff, but you guys are probably tired of hearing about it by now.

Reggie has the Shuriken Kickstarter live. I’ve already double backed it [mostly to get two original pieces of artwork instead of just one, but if there’s a huge after-market demand for the book and chachkis, I won’t be in a position where I’d have to refuse to sell the only copy I have.]

One interesting tidbit is that the Kickstarter page affirms the 9-issue run of the original series [so “ha!” to all of you selling those “Complete set 1-8” on eBay]. Not that I’ve ever found a copy online or in the wild, except for that pirated scan.

In Cirsova news, our next Kickstarter to get the rest of Julian Hawthorne’s All-Story Weekly fiction back into print is just about ready to go, but Kickstarter won’t let us launch it until The Paths of Cormanor is out the door. Look, like I said, I know you’re tired of hearing about it, but this is easily one of the best books we’ve published, and we don’t want you guys to sleep on it! So back it, and let’s hit those stretch goals for extra content!

New Shuriken Site

There Shuriken blog has been moved to a new site, so the old redirects aren’t working.

New site is up here:

We’re hyped. Supposedly there’s gonna be a kickstarter for it later this month.

[Today, I’m gonna be too busy boxing up copies of the Cosmic Courtship to mail out next week to shill for The Paths of Cormanor, so please help spread the word for us and back if you haven’t already!]

What Will Cirsova Be Looking For In August?

Our August 1-7 submission window is coming up fast, and one of the questions we get a lot is “what are you looking for?”

Well, a lot of general suggestions can be found on our Submissions Guidelines page. But for more specific stuff…

Well, I know it’s probably not a great habit as an editor, but I generally like seeing content similar to whatever it is has me excited at the moment. Unfortunately, I haven’t had a lot of time to read the pulps because I’ve been so busy with this Julian Hawthorne project [which has even more exciting new stuff to come once The Cosmic Courtship is out the door]. In what free time to read I have, I’ve been reading a lot of older comic books. So, maybe take some inspiration from a few of these:

Dagar the Invincible (1972 Gold Key) comic books 1972
Occult Files of Doctor Spektor (1973 Gold Key) comic books 1976
Magnus Robot Fighter 4000 A.D. TPB (2010-2014 Dark Horse) comic books
Donald and Scrooge (1992) comic books
Ghostly Haunts (1971) comic books
Grimm's Ghost Stories, No. 17 (Death Rattle): Books
The Strangest Northerns: The Mighty Samson - Dark Worlds Quarterly

Of course, it never hurts to have actually read some Cirsova to get an idea of the kind of stories we typically buy. My recommendations would be either Volume 1, Issue 4, or the Fall Special #1, because these both showcase the breadth of fiction we typically purchase.