Phineus Tales #5

The last in the series of guest posts from Barry Linck. Check out his MASSIVE back catalog here:

Be sure to check out this comic’s main website, going strong for 25 years:




Announcement of Hiatus

Hey everyone,

Well, as sad as it is for me to say this, REDemption is going on hiatus. The balance of work, life, and comic books is a tough one to maintain for any length of time, so Johnny and I have decided to take a break from it.

He will still be generating a PDF copy of issue #1, so this thing won’t be completely lifeless. Plus he has also volunteered to draw sketch art. This would be cool because then, instead of waiting years for us to get to some of the cool events that happen in the future, you can get a preview of it NOW.

In the meantime, I will continue to post the comics that have been sent to me as guest submissions. Thank you to all who took the time to contribute. Also, I will resume posting the “Origins of REDemption” series of blogs soon…most likely next week. I just couldn’t bring myself to write it today because this hiatus decision was reached this morning, and it kind of took the wind out of my sales. Just because it’s the choice that HAS to be made doesn’t mean it’s the one that will make you HAPPY, as I’m sure some of you know.

I will do what I can to keep REDemption in people’s minds so it doesn’t completely evaporate from memory. After all, someday I would like to find an artist to take up the mantle, as there’s still 99% of the story left to tell.

However, don’t feel you have to wait for me to post a call for artists. If you are a penciler/inker/letterer reading this, and you would like to pick up where the story left off, feel free to email me samples of your work:

While I may not make a firm offer of partnership to anyone right now, I want you to be confident in the fact that I will look at ALL submissions, and I will tell you if you have a chance of consideration in the future when I decide to pursue this endeavor again.

I’m proud of this story. It is still my magnum opus, and I don’t just mean in length. Even if the story had 10% of the page count it does, it would still be epic. I am also proud to say that, out of all the comments Johnny and I got, not one of them was negative.

Lastly, I am proud of the work Johnny did on this story. This issue #1 is 150% closer to the vision I had than the previous rendition. Thanks for your hard work and sacrifice, brother!

The ride isn’t over just yet, folks. I still have several weeks’ worth of guest comic submissions to post. Plus there is the “Origins of REDemption” and whatever sketch art Johnny sends. So don’t be too sad because this isn’t good bye just yet.


A Brief Pause in History Due to Other Projects

I don’t want to write a long post about history today. There is too much else going on, both personally and with other projects. Today I just don’t have the energy for it.

What else is going on? Well, I am not going to discuss the personal things. I may be a fan of social media, but I don’t believe in using it to air my dirty laundry. Some people do that to get pity or the gratification of someone “liking” their post, but it makes them look pathetic and desperate. Let’s just say what’s happening with me now would be enough to drain ANYONE’S battery.

As for writing projects, I am more than happy to talk about them. I browsed through a whopping 25 poetry collections, finding lines that were visual in nature so I could share them with a gentleman who is helping me create artwork and format each collection.

Then there is my novella “Maybe the Dream Knows What is Real.” Starting next week, that will be posted in serial format on the website Writer to Writers. This week they posted my “warning label” about the upcoming work. I’m terrified, but excited.

Last but not least there is my novel THE SIZE CURSE. This is also going to be serialized on the same website/ I have been going through and editing it, dreading the section that has always felt like filler to me. Well, I reached that section yesterday. Rather than struggle with what to write, I simply cut the offending passage from the main text and pasted it into its own file, just to see what I’m working with here. Turns out if I excise this section, I am losing a whopping 8,000 words.

Do I look forward to having to do this? No, but I have to. Plus I came up with plenty of other ideas that could easily replace this section.

My plan is to continue editing up until the end of the novel. Then I will circle back to the offending passage. I have time. After all, the last section of the novella won’t be posted until October 30th. Before I post any of SIZE, I plan on writing a little “note from the author” post. That means I won’t need to have the novel ready to post until mid-November. Even then, that’s only the beginning of the novel; the part that has to be rewritten is more than halfway through it.

In other words, I am way ahead of schedule on this. I can relax. 🙂



REDemption: 08/22/2017

Aha! Thought there would be a comic here, didn’t you? Well, due to changes in schedules and life responsibilities, Johnny and I have decided to shuffle around how we do things. Watch the video for a preview of what is to come.


Changes Coming Soon

Johnny and I have been discussing changes to the way we approach this comic. Once we have settled on something, y’all will be the first to know! Actually, Johnny and I will know first, but you will be second! In the meantime, enjoy some sketch art of Fitzsimmons (the guy we saw popping out of the trees on the July 11th post)!

The Origins of REDemption Part 11

When we closed last week’s part of the history, I had the first print issue of REDemption in my hands, courtesy of an artist named Chuck. (At this point in time, the story was known by the longer name The Redemption Project.) Unfortunately it was the only issue he would ever draw.

Looking back, I don’t think his departure was a bad thing…not that he was a bad artist or a jerk, but for other reasons. I’m not going to get into all of that here, other than to mention what I have said previously: he thought I should rearrange the story, which would have screwed up my vision.

Now that I think about it, he didn’t say this to me until AFTER he had resigned. So maybe it was just a friendly suggestion in the form of parting words. Who knows? He hasn’t worked on it since that issue, so I guess the importance of his intent is long gone.

This left me floating in limbo. I could not afford some of the rates that people were asking, but I knew it was asking a lot to expect people to draw all of this for free. I tried shopping around via message boards and Craigslist ads again. Eventually someone responded: a young woman whose name I have forgotten, so I will just call her Christine.

At first, Christine told me she was willing to work for a rate of $10 per page. This stunned me, and I asked how she could possibly get away with that. She said it was because she still lived at home and had no bills. I said, “Well, that works!”

I sent her a couple character biographies, and she sent me back samples that were amazing. Then I gave her the script for Part One. Again, incredible results. Finally I said, “Okay, if you are ready to come on board, then I will send you the outline of the entire comic.” She said okay.

And that was where it took a dive.

She wrote me back with a critique of the story, saying how this and that tangent had nothing to do with the main thrust of the plot (meaning the search for a cure to the zombie virus). I can’t remember every change she suggested for the story, but I do remember her closing the email by saying, “In the end, these are only just suggestions. It is your story, and I will draw it like you want.”

I wrote back, saying, “Yes, the story stands as is.” I may have even offered a brief explanation of how the comic was “Dungeons and Dragons meets a Romero movie,” and then explained how D&D campaigns are LOADED with side adventures that have nothing to do with the main story.

Well, she proved her previous statement (“I’ll draw it like you want”) was insincere because once I set that boundary of her being the artist and me being the writer, she never contacted me again. This bummed me out because of the quality of her work, but if the alternative was to compromise my vision, then it’s better we didn’t wind up working together.

A handful of other artists came and went. Some were such blips on the radar that they aren’t even worth mentioning by name. Let’s just say it was a tough search and leave it at that, mmm-kay?

At one point, I got so fed up with the search that I decided it was time for me to take on the artistic duties myself. After all, I was the one who drew that 24-page origin story “Of Forces Beyond” back in high school. Why not?

I asked around for the best books that might help someone learn how to draw. Chuck recommended a trio of books from DC Comics. There were also a handful of books recommended by Jason Brubaker, who is infamous in the webcomic world.

I bought all these up…and then I never got around to opening ANY of them. Life was just too hectic at the time. The freelance writing work was coming in at a fast pace, and those assignments had deadlines so I could not push them aside. Plus my day job did not pay very well, so I had to keep doing overtime. There was a brief point in time where I just gave up on it.

Actually, no…scratch that. I never gave up. However, I had to accept the fact that there were other things in my life that required more attention.

Sometimes we have to put our dreams to sleep, because even they need to rest.

Join me next week for Part 12. I cannot say for sure that will be the last installment, because I thought we’d be done by THIS point! However, there is one thing I know for sure: it will be a fun-filled, passionate read!





Hopefully this video will better explain what kind of submissions we want. We are NOT expecting you to create something brand new for our site. (After all, you’re already busy creating stuff for your own portfolio!) Watch and learn…and submit!

The Origins of REDemption Part 10

Ten weeks into the history of the comic. It has been a great trip down memory lane, even when it came to recalling the frustrating moments. When we last left off, I told you that I went straight from writing Part 4 into Part 5. I wanted to keep the ball rolling while the ideas were popping; no point in pausing the new material so I could go back and type up what I’d just written!

Part 5 is interesting in that the action is grandiose. The team takes over the National Institute of Health (NIH), and there is also a showdown between them, the army, AND the Unexpected Enemy. So much going on!

Writing this story in five parts made me think of the original five film PLANET OF THE APES series. If we follow that analogy, then I guess Part 5 is the equivalent of BATTLE FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES. However, I like to think the only comparison that can be made is that BATTLE ended the original APES movies, and Part 5 ends REDemption.

Why do I hope the comparison ends there?

Because BATTLE sucked, and REDemption: Part 5 does not!

It was a fun challenge for me to figure out how the team could take over the NIH campus. Certainly there was no way a full-on assault would work. Their takeover had to be slow and stealthy. With that in mind, I drew inspiration from two of my favorite video game titles: the SPLINTER CELL and HITMAN games. This worked in two ways: (1) It made their takeover more believable, and (2) it helped me to slowly escalate the drama until the climactic battle happened.

All while I was writing the story, I had kept in touch with Clarence about drawing. Every now and then he would send me a sketch. I figured it was okay if the work was sporadic because, after all, the story wasn’t even done yet. On top of that, the work he sent was amazing. It was like he had peered right inside my imagination and could see how I wanted the characters to look. I had faith he would be the one who brought the comic to life in a way that was closer to my vision than I had even thought possible.

However, what I did not know is how much of his own personal things Clarence was dealing with at the time. I mean, EVERYONE has “personal things,” but his turned out to be much heavier than most. At the time I was not very understanding or empathetic toward his plight. Once I got done writing the story, my mindset was, “You said you wanted to work on it, so…work on it. Show me something. Produce.” His responses became less and less, as there were frequent times when he went off the grid and never looked at Facebook messages or emails. By forcing the issue, I think I forced HIM out of being willing to work on the art.

I never apologized for that. He no longer lives in New York State, nor are we in contact in any way. As unlikely as it is that he would read this right now, I just want to announce it in public: Clarence, I am sorry for pushing the issue like I did and not being empathetic toward you.

At some point during the history, when I realized Clarence was not responding, I started seeking out comic book artists via message boards and Craigslist ads. There were a handful of people who said they were interested but then vanished on me. Eventually I got a response from a gentleman named Chuck, and we started talking more in depth about working together.

Meanwhile, I wrapped up the handwritten version of Part 5. Not one to rest, I jumped into typing up Part 4. However, I could do this only from home, so I had to devise an approach. It wasn’t hard to do: I set an alarm so I could get up before my wife and son. Then I would type up material from 20 pages per day. Since I typed only Monday through Friday morning, this meant I worked through 100 pages per week. Not a bad rate for a guy with a wife, two jobs, and four kids! The story was completely typed out by April 2012.

During this completion phase, Chuck sent me samples of his work. It was a little less detailed than what Clarence had done, but as far as I was concerned, I was happy that (1) he was putting his own spin on it, and (2) somebody was producing SOMETHING.

Chuck drew the opening sequence with the little girl on the hill, as well as the scene that followed after it (the one with Vietnamese scientists in a lab). He compiled all of this into an issue, and he sent me about 10-15 copies of it. I was pleased with it, with the exception of one moment that killed the suspense and the shock of a revelation that happens later in the story.

Unfortunately, this first issue was all Chuck ever got to draw. He wound up getting commissioned for a lot of other projects, and mine had to be cut out.

However, this was not necessarily a bad thing. I think if we had continued to work together, Chuck and I would have not wound up seeing eye to eye on the story anymore. I say this based on something he said to me shortly after he mailed out the copies of issue #1. I’m not going to reveal what it was here (because sharing the disagreement would be to reveal a major spoiler), but I will say that his words showed he disagreed with how the story began.

I thanked him for his input, and then stuck to my guns. I wrote this story with a specific outline in mind that builds toward a certain kind of crescendo. To remove one part of it would be like taking a card out from the bottom of a house of cards.

Despite this disagreement, it still took the wind out of my sails when Chuck had to resign. It meant starting up the search again.

And we will talk more about that next time!