Tag Archives: r. j. pare

Going to Sci-Fi Valley Con

27 May


In the early dawn hours of Friday, May 18th 2012, intrepid members of Speakeasy Primates set out on a road trip. What exciting destination lay ahead of them? Were they retracing some long-forgotten trek through the untamed wild?

As anyone who has traveled the length of Pennsylvania State highway 219 will tell you… yes we pretty much were. Coordinating our travel by cel phone became problematic as there are many back-woods areas where there is no cel coverage at all.

At least if you have Virgin mobile… grrr…

In fact one of our members became so lost that when he tried to double-back he found the road he had turned down was now chained closed [some sort of hunting road?] LOL Nathan can tell you himself when he finally gets around to writing some of these…:)

We did arrive in Ebensburg for the 1st annual Sci-Fi Valley Con and wouldn’t ya know it?

A good time was had by all!

Oh yeah…


Who needs writer’s block when you’ve got… kids?

26 May

I thought this might be a good time to share a tale of when I was beset by a serious obstacle in my writing. One that would not allow me to continue for a period of time. Was I suffering writer’s block, you might ask? Well, read on to find out: “Who needs writer’s block when you’ve got… kids?”

So… I went to do some writing the other day and the keyboard was not responding. Now I was understandably perplexed… why isn’t my keyboard working?

I tried a re-boot…

I received an error message “Keyboard Failure.”

This seemed ominous. I tried to inspect the keyboard to see if there was any… obvious damage, like maybe a wire disconnected or whatever. That’s when I noticed something odd.

Well I suppose NOT odd really… I mean NOT all that odd if a keyboard is supposed to SLOSH!!!!!!

That’s right.  SLOSH!

Hmm… this bears investigation… some of the keys are a little sticky…

I turn the keyboard upside down and Fruit Punch spills all over my desk top.


My OLDEST daughter informs me that my YOUNGEST daughter had spilled her juice all over the keyboard and she had tried to wipe it up… “Yes,” I patiently inform her “the desk was wiped up… THAT’s WHY DADDY DIDN’T KNOW ANYTHING WAS WRONG!!!!!”

Did she think the juice INSIDE the keyboard would just dry up eventually????? I dis-assembled my keyboard, cleaned everything, dried everything and put it all back together {sigh}.

As you can tell … IT WORKED!

When I asked my daughter why she didn’t tell me, she gave me the line about NOT wanting to get in trouble.


“Yes, But ya see… the thing is daddy, well I… I… I…”

“YOU WHAT!?!?” I asked getting exasperated.

“Well, the thing is… I wanted a sip of her juice… and she wouldn’t give it to me…”


The little darlings. LOL.

santiago london – Eyez

Ashcan Adventures…

5 Dec

So… since I discussed the history and intent of the studio in an earlier [Nov 29, “Hitting On All Sixes… Speakeasy Style“] post, I figured this time around I would share with you how we proceeded from that point.



Now that we had established a definitive purpose for our cooperative studio it was important to go about the business of collaborating, creating & getting our “works in progress” into the hands of some knowledgeable readers for some real-world feedback. We sought a venue focused on independent creators and an online search turned up the following: the Small Press & Alternative Comics Expo in Columbus, Ohio. Bob Corby organizes this wonderful event each year that is not only an excellent opportunity to debut one’s work but is also an entertaining an informative experience for the exhibitors! Rather than being competitive or harsh, the Indie community is quite welcoming and willing to share knowledge and experience with one another…:)

The small press con exposure also provided our creators with valuable experiences in dealing with the media:

The audio POD CAST from Comic Related of their interview with Speakeasy Primate r. j. paré in Columbus, Ohio – April 2009 @ S.P.A.C.E.

Handycam at the ready, we recorded some of these experiences at S.P.A.C.E. and other small press cons over the next couple years:

S.P.A.C.E 2010    S.M.A.C.C. 2010    S.P.A.C.E. 2011 part I   & part II

I regard these experiences, practically giving away ashcan editions of early drafts of our work, as the fire with which we would forge our finished works. Don’t keep your work under wraps – get out there, show your work build on the successes and learn from the missteps. As independent small press publishers we should always be learning and growing as creators.

More next time…

December Morn…

2 Dec
December promise you gave unto me
December whispers of treachery
December clouds are now covering me
December songs no longer I sing
Collective Soul
Hardly the cheeriest song, come to think of it. But hey, it was the 90’s, an era when grunge had run its course and hip-hop & gangsta-rap were now dominating the charts. It was okay for a white kid from the burbs to  wear his cap side-ways, cross his arms and pepper his speech with “yo,  represent” and “word.”

Or was it? No. Most. Definitely. Not.

Here’s the thing, we [rock audiences] were waiting for a band to lift rock out of its [insert modifier]-rock doldrums. We were tired of the sub-genres reigning supreme and wanted to hear some friggin’ rock music again. Not Southern Rock; not Punk Rock; not Grunge Rock or even Rock-a-billy damn it!

For Those About to Rock We Salute You
And Collective Soul did just that. Starting with 1994’s  HINTS ALLEGATIONS AND THINGS LEFT UNSAID – they got us cranking up the volume again. They reminded us we didn’t need to wear drug-lord amounts of gold chain or shiny synthetic clothes. We could don a simple tee-shirt, pull up our jeans and take a hot chick out to a concert on Saturday Night. Maybe we’d even get lucky.

Now what has any of this to do with comics, pop culture, art or Speakeasy Primates you say? Oh.. Mr. Smarty-Pants huh? Well, to quote Dr. Demento:

Boot To The Head

Actually it all does make sense in a round-about fashion. I write & create according to my moods. The tunes I am listening to usually play a part in getting me in a particular mood or vibe. For example if I’m listening to John Denver, you bet your Grandma’s Feather Bed I am not gonna be able to muster the emotional zone to write dark, violent scripts, poetry or prose. Just not happening.

Don’t believe me? Try it sometime. When you sit down to write, listen to some tune-age that reflects the tone of your material. Need to write a comedic scene? Why not listen to some Weird Al. Going to write your lady a love-poem? Try listening to some classic AM GOLD. About to script the pay-back sequence in the next action blockbuster? Go ahead and crank some metal.

Let me know the results – I bet you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Now before I go… what the heck, I’ll share a bit of verse I wrote some time ago, while listening to  “Shine” from Collective Soul and thinking about the Gulf Oil Spill. It attacks the notion that corporations can get away with phrases like “this was an accident” – somehow absolving themselves of negligence & responsibility. No! Accidents are the result of unavoidable circumstances not the careless practices of greedy corporations & corrupt regulatory bodies. Since I am a comic creator – I felt the well-known and greatly feared image of a careless spill over a page of art would make for an interesting contrast.


The ichor sweet stank
—- of india ink mars
——– the cartoonist’s fare
His errant hand grasped
—- lacking ill intent
——– the brush without care
Now all his marvels
—- lie ruined ‘neath black
——– he must start fresh anon
Since he’s no captain
—- of rich industry
——– his spills harm no one
But him and his art
—- not thousands of lives
——– all screaming and noisome
After all ‘tis ink
—- alone that here stains
——– page, not a Gulf of Poison

Think of it as “Pekar Meets Friends…”

30 Nov

A graphic novel in progress…

So, for this entry I thought I’d share with you a quick look at a graphic novel
[in progress] that I am working on, with artist Roger Price. It was inspired by some conversations my old friends and I were having remembering our student days. The friendships you make during your student years are very different than those you cultivate later in life. You ‘work-a-day’ acquaintances can never get as close to you as the gang you could hang with 24/7 with nothing but coffee and a few packs of smokes.

Ya, I know, not very PC to mention the coffin nails, but once upon a time we hadn’t even thought of quitting, LOL. The time we invested in those friendships means that even now, decades later, we can run into eachother and pickup conversations and banter as though no time has gone by [even if it has been months since we’ve spoken]. I met my wife, Pauline during that time and we had a… well, ‘different’ courtship. LOL. On the night I met her, we were throwing a superhero themed Halloween party, back in University. I was Green Lantern and she was Sheena, Queen of the Jungle. My girlfriend, at the time, was a drunken Wonder Woman busying herself with being obnoxious to all my friends.

As I retreated to one of the back rooms in order to play some cards I got to talking with Pauline and discovered she was into D & D, comics and Star Trek! I was immediately in Geek heaven. Over time our friendship evolved into, as corny as it sounds, ‘the love of my life’. Not without a whole variety of crazy adventures, of too much time and too little money, mind you. So I present to you:

“The Adventures of

Driving Boy & Coffee Girl”


How I managed to

NOT screw things up with her!

A quasi-autobiographical look at my 20’s and the crazy relationships… bizarre circumstances and lasting friendships that led me to the woman I would one day marry. The story will take place over a span of seven years [from age 20 – 27] in mine, my friends, my future wife’s lives. It will begin on the day I met Pauline and finish on our Wedding Day. In between I’ll explore the relationships between a group of friends living on their own, for the first time, and trying to figure out what sort of adults they are supposed to be.

It will consist of stories about their struggles in school; the crappy jobs; their loves and heartbreaks; and the uncertainty of what the future holds.

Hitting On All Sixes… Speakeasy Style

29 Nov

“Well you walk into a restaurant, strung out from the road, You can feel the eyes upon you as your shaking off the cold You pretend it doesn’t bother you, but you just want to explode… 

Say, here I am, on the road again. there I am, up on the stage. Here I go, playing star again. There I go, turn the page… “

* Bob Seger, 1973

The act of creation.

The act of bringing forth something new into the world, this is often taken for granted. When we set out to create, we should keep in mind that we are the torchbearers of a long and wide spread tradition. The artists, writers and bards of mankind’s colourful [and often tragic] history gaze down on us from heights.

In order to do them any semblance of honour we must recognize our connection to them and our responsibility to those who will one day follow us. Creation is not a fancy… it is not a hobby… it is not a childish thing to be put away when we are no longer children ourselves but rather have children of our own.

Creation is the god within us all.

It is the spark of the divine. I am not saying a specific faith or deity has a part… I am saying that the essential element present in each and every human being, that sets us apart from the beasts, is expressed when we create.

We owe that spark a duty of care. When we step onto stages in spotlights [both virtual and actual] we are sharing that spark of ours with the world. Our creations shout out. They reveal the hidden mysteries of our own identities through symbols and imagery.

This is a powerful realization for many artists. Some embrace the perceptions of audience and relish the opportunity to share their work [and thus, themselves]. The possibility of rejection for our creations is the possibility of rejection for [a part at least] of ourselves. Some creators, insecure, never send creations out into the world…

Imagine that.

A cave drawing never found. An epic romance never read. A beauty never celebrated. A tragedy never performed. Cloistered, these unknown works do not add to the Grande Tapestry of Human Expression; their threads never added to the loom.

What we set out to create, with Speakeasy Primates, is a “studio atmosphere” within our little corner of the web. For all intents and purposes Speakeasy acts as a creative workshop for the artists and writers involved. Social networks have allowed us a “virtual studio” if you will, in which we could brainstorm, refine and produce our collaborative works. Finished comics, works of art, poetry & prose that have been crafted by individuals separated, in some cases, by vast distances – made irrelevant by the wonder that is the internet. Take the following sci-fi comic for example. Revamp [also known as Thunderhide] was written by a talented bloke in England, Scott Claringbold; penciled and inked, fantastically, by José Luis Gaitan from Spain; coloured initially by one Giorgos Tsopanos from Greece; finishing colours [shading & tones] niftily applied by Jon Biermann from Edmonton & finally lettered by my good pal David Marshall up in Ottawa. This sort of collaboration would not have been possible in years gone by.

The image of a publisher’s ‘bullpen’, from the editorial pages of the Marvel Comics we read as kids, was this workshop full of writers and artists brainstorming, exchanging pages and building upon one-another’s work. Now with the ability to upload and send eachother massive files, while simultaneously providing one another with instant feedback via comments and chat, we are able to replicate and improve upon that image from our childhood.

Until next time,

r. j. paré

PS – feel free to leave us comments & critique below; we thrive on feedback!

Brother can you spare… some time?

28 Nov

Time Management

Also known as “crunch time” or for all of our students “cramming”. Here’s the thing, your parents and teachers were right. If ya do the job a little at a time then ya don’t run the risk of missing deadlines due to an overload of last minute work. But where’s the fun in that?

Me, I work best under pressure. My home is always tidiest 2 minutes prior to company coming over. My tasks at work are completed “just in time” and I swear each and every month this magazine must get finished by gremlins while I fall asleep… eyes exhausted with my head on the keyboard. Ya know something? The little buggers do a decent job too. Though any editing errors can be completely blamed on them. They sneer at spell-check and shake their scaly fists at proof reading. I hope that everyone is enjoying the ride so far. I encourage you all to create whenever the urge strikes. Try not to depend on the gremlins too much, there’s already too many people waiting for their last minute services..:)

“Come writers and critics    –    Who prophesize with your pen
And keep your eyes wide    –    The chance won’t come again
And don’t speak too soon    –    For the wheel’s still in spin
And there’s no tellin’ who    –     That it’s namin’.
For the loser now    –    Will be later to win
For the times they are a-changin’.”

— Bob Dylan, 1964

The passage of time. We observe it. We feel the countless changes to both the physical world and our perceptions of thereof. These changes, if we are trying our best, are usually good. There will, however, always be some we regret. Yet change, can also a good thing. For without change we cannot grow and evolve. It is in this spirit I’d like to share with you one of my recent bits of verse. The following piece was inspired by the duality of change [regret for what’s lost; hope for a better tomorrow] as perceived in the cold of a harsh winter. The point of view is that of an early North American settler.


wilt thou return to me
after death?
spectral visitations o’er icy landscape
the pioneer trembles
— animate…

where hast all the verdant
bloom faded?
cold haunts, barren and infertile
the hibernal soil
— revive…

whence eidolon gardens
burst restored,
there chimera seeds awaken
my revenant soul

— reborn!