#1, Pg. 24 | Where's the Horse?

#1, Pg. 24 | Where's the Horse?

May 15, 2012 in Issue 1
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Average Rating: 4.88 (8 votes)
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Caley Tibbittz Collopy 13th Sep 2012, 9:12 PM
Caley Tibbittz Collopy
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SwordCat Writes | A Digital Letter Column

Today's lesson: Always let suicidal people walk away from you. Only good can come of it.

As for Kathryn's shirt, she just wears some light silk under her armor to prevent chafing and for general comfort. This purpose of it in this scene is to make Robért uncomfortable. He's been reaching out to her, but he doesn't want to get as close as he might want to get, for fear of taking advantage.

This ain't cheesecake, folks -- for that, see the cover of issue #2. Also: In case you can't read the sort-of letters page below (it's really meant for print), here's the text:

Welcome to my world.

I created Kathryn “Artemis” Kennedy in 1996 at age 15. I saw an Artemis pendant in a catalogue and thought she was cool, all lithe and... archer-y. Number of times she uses a bow and arrow in this story? 0. I’m a genius. Why immortal? ‘Cause I’d just seen Highlander. Fun fact: her original last name was Kathryn Davis, after Jim Davis (I LOVE Garfield).

Erica Richards followed. Her original name was embarassing, so we’ll pretend it never happened (pretend, dammit). She incidentally used to be black,but with the new name came a decidedly Swedish heritage. Between them, I had a book: Artemis the hero, Erica the cop breaking protocol to befriend her.

Jack Dawson (before Titanic, and originally Jacques) was invented a little later, very obviously based on my own likeness from when I still had hair (but before I was able to grow a beard). Jack gave Erica someone specific to betray the trust of while keeping Kathryn’s secrets. No, I didn’t completely rip that off from Gargoyles. Shut up.

Robért was there, white and blond, known only as Bob. MacKnight (who never had a much crappier name at all -- PRETEND!!!) was in some of the 4 issues I cranked out in that early spring. I thought they were actually pretty good at the time; judging by the above, well, I had some work to do.

Over the next decade, I built a world: designing characters, skyscrapers,alternate histories -- I even finished a few scripts. Not all good; Kathryn may have been a gods-fearing Polynesian island girl at one point.


I wrote and drew an SwordCat Knights story in 2001 for an anthology to be pitched to Image, but the project fizzled. I wrote another storyfor an anthology in 2005, but it wasn’t a good fit. Just as well, it was full of captions.

Only Frank Miller does 'em right; everyone else just STOP.

The island girl origin story was the first draft of what eventually became the story you’re reading -- mercifully, almost none of that original plot survived. Also, Kathryn got Irish -- actually, she’s multi-ethnic: Irish, African, and a couple other more plot-pointy things. I felt it was important to make her a bit worldly.

Anyway, I started Final Drafting this bitch (salty!) in 2005, writing it as a screenplay and sketching thumbnails for the comic pages in the margins. I finished the first draft in 2006. It was 284 pages, which is only 164 too long.


David Aspmo (seen above being AWESOME) and Dan Schaefer did a reading of my 177 page draft. I’m sure they regretted it, but their notes helped me wrangle it down to 144 pages (and a conversation with David in 2001 helped me find the focus of Kathryn’s story, for which I will always be grateful).

In 2006, I came away from a portfolio review with a business card from an editor at big comic company (you’ve heard of it). I was so proud... but I didn’t want it. I didn’t want tell someone else’s stories; I had my own.


I began drawing this book in 2008, but then faced a VERY bumpy time in my life. I didn't get drawing, but I did write 61 follow-up stories. So, I hope the tease of this first issue has you hungry for more, because I've got a LOT more to give. Well, not give give -- please pay for my books and don’t steal them.

I was finally able to move in with my fianceé Lisa Yost, and I got back to work. She sat with me through many boring mornings of editing, helping me with feminine perspective and talking me out of running page 12 silent. I whittled (with an actual pocketknife, no less) the final, ready-to-continue-drawing draft down to 120 pages -- magic screenplay number (hint!).

Sadly, I had drawn the first 8 pages in an incorrect format, which meant much Kinko-ing and Photoshopping to resize it all. Not fun. And the logo... sweet muppety. I massaged the damn thing for three weeks until my eyes bled, but I love the results. This project is my baby, life's work, obsession, and soul, all rolled into one --

A Purpose Burrito, if you will.

PLEASE TELL YOUR FRIENDS ABOUT THIS BOOK! FOLLOW ME ON FACEBOOK AND TWITTER AND FORWARD UPDATES AND LINKS! Tell me what you’re doing -- I will find ways to reward above/beyond-type efforts!


I want to thank my good friend Sherrie Jackson. She didn’t help with the book, but she did help get me through the toughest year of my life, just by being kind and listening when I really needed it. There were days I wanted to give up -- and not just on the book. I really might not be here today if not for our wonderful conversations. Officer Cheri “Blue Eyes of Death” Jaxon is my little (5 foot 2AND A HALF!) tribute.

And since I was stumped for enough cop characters, she kinda did help...

Lisa Yost needed someone to lean on even more than I did. She had mostly given up on life when I met her. She is wheelchair-bound with cerebral palsy, but had lived independently for many years. Due to a bad personal situation, she ended up moving to a group home; it was starting to look like a life sentence cut off from the world. But I believed in her and gave her hope -- talked her down from the ledge, as it were. The themes of this book are very personal; I’ve had dark, stormy, and hopeless moments in the past -- but not like Lisa. This has become her story; she gave it real heart.

Anyway, ooh -- book of lighthearted fun! Or, violent fun. But, boob jokes galore! Promise!

Thanks for reading. Really. I love you.

-Caley Tibbittz

P.S. Write! Send compliments, critiques, death threats, panties, fan art, and SwordCat Knights cosplay photos to the address or email below!

P.P.S. I NEED A COLORIST. Scan any page (not this one), color and email it (to me). I like watercolor and Laura Martin, if that helps.

Kathryn’s on her way out of town when old friend James Barrington comes knocking. Or, kicking. Summer 2012.

SwordCat Writes c/o Caley Tibbittz POB 56715 Portland, OR 97238 (or email at hellotibb@yahoo.com) Please mark “Okay to print” on any letter, photo, art, etc. that you would like to have printed. Please include full name and address (only city and state/country will be printed; any info withheld from print upon request).

Soup Sock,

See SwordCat Sketchbook Art & Fanart Here
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Suicidal thoughts or attempts?
Call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline:

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dougwarner59 30th Jun 2013, 4:17 PM
She does not have the typical comic book character frame, because she is actually proportional to that of a real women. That's hard to pull off while making the character look good...good work here.
Caley Tibbittz Collopy 30th Jun 2013, 6:21 PM
Caley Tibbittz Collopy
Thanks. Getting her build right was very important to me. She had to be sexy, but still very real and able to swing swords and throw a solid punch. She's slightly shorter than most of the male characters, but still intimidating. You'd throw your back out trying to pick her up.
irongate 2nd Feb 2015, 1:19 PM
The color here is much better, the thing is it's taking away from some of your work. The floor, as a for instance, feels flatter, and I know floors are flat, it just loses that glistening feel I think you were going for.
Caley Tibbittz Collopy 6th Feb 2015, 6:55 PM
Caley Tibbittz Collopy
Agreed. The color adds the most to Kathryn's eyes and warpaint. The rest is hit or miss.
yosarian13 31st Jul 2015, 11:13 PM
Great first issue, I'm looking forward to reading more.
Caley Tibbittz Collopy 11th Dec 2015, 3:57 PM
Caley Tibbittz Collopy
Thanks! Sorry for the insanely late reply. I hope you've liked any more you might have read, and I look forward to catching up on Crow Jane.
Steven-Vincent 14th Dec 2015, 12:59 PM
This was a really interesting and fun first issue. Good pacing. Interesting characters. Amazing art. Very professional.
Caley Tibbittz Collopy 26th Dec 2015, 2:51 PM
Caley Tibbittz Collopy
Thank you so much for saying so. I'm glad you found the characters interesting, and I really put a lot of effort into that pro-esque polish. I hope when I finally have all the color done and the thing is ready to submit to [publisher's name redacted] that they feel the same way.:)
Steven-Vincent 26th Dec 2015, 4:13 PM
What frustrates me is with all the utter dreck being published by the print companies, the odds they will recognize this comic for how good it is just are not high. It is so much an old boys/girls network.

Have you considered submitting to ComiXology as an independent submitter? It publishes it digitally only but it might be a good way to get established. If you do say a 12-issue maxi series of this with top quality art and story like you have in this issue, and it sells well digitally, it might give you some more clout.
Wargyrl 7th Feb 2016, 2:55 PM
So, she left her horse behind after the battle? Why did she forget her horse? How did she get home without the horse? There is so much empty space on this page -- hungry space, begging for dialogue bubbles. Shouldn't she explain how she got home and where she last saw the horse?