This issue concludes the first four-issue run of BARBARIENNE. It is up to our friendly publishers to decide whether or not we continue, but the scripts for the next four issues have been written, and I would love to see Paul draw them. Besides, it will give us somewhere to print your letters of comment on this initial sequence! Adult (smutty) comics are no longer the novelty they once were, so the orders that Eros received for "Barby" were not particularly high; bring your influence to bear by buying some back issues from Eros Comix, or by telling them you would like to see more of our heroines. Though, come to think of it, you've seen just about all they have got, by now - but you know what I mean!
Paul and I will also be proposing a couple of modern-day limited series to our friends in Seattle; these things take time to move from a modest proposal all the way through to publication day, so I guess we are looking at 1993, but these are the titles to look out for: SABINA, MISTRESS OF ESCAPES, and later SCHOOL FOR SUBMISSION. A complete lack of swords, sorceries, or indeed flying cities, I must report, but the main characters involved are quite as kinky, hot-blooded, and beautiful as the inhabitants of House Dovidia. More beautiful, perhaps -- we have a new inker for Paul's pencils. Bob Woods is a new name to comics, but the work he's done thus far shows him to be an ideal inker for Paul. You can look forward to some seriously gorgeous artwork from the new team! Unless some blaggard tempts them away by offering them realistic sums of money, that is...
Sabina is an escape artist; she has a new assistant, Bez, to be trained. Bez has ambitions towards becoming an escapologist herself...or is she perhaps more interested in being tied up than escaping? Oh well, at least she and Sabina develop a good, close relationship with each other. The heroine of the other series is called Morocco; in pursuit of her ambition to become a slavegirl, she enrols in the educational establishment of the title. Both these projects are a more direct attempt at "classic" erotica than BARBARIENNE has been, but they have been a lot of fun to create. Which seems a good point at which to include our usual caution; we are involved in fantasy here, with fantasy slavery and fantasy bondage, which are quite different from the real things. Don't try this at home, kids... Or if you do, don't mention my name when the cops come round...
Somehow, Paul Noughton has forgotten to supply a brief biography for this page. This is a minor difficulty; I can exclusively reveal that he was born at home, which was a great surprise for his family, as his mother was in hospital at the time. He picked up a pencil at a very early age, and was soon using his talent to make money -- unfortunately, it was soon pointed out to him that money should be printed generally in green ink, not hand-drawn in pencil. The first art samples I saw from him were in 1987; they were pretty good, and his Higher National Diploma course in Art and Design has helped him along -- so that by the time the Barby revival was ready to roll, Paul was fully qualified to be at the heart of it. Paul is still relatively young, and traditionally tall, dark and handsome, which may explain how he gets all these girls to pose for him.
As for me, I'm relatively tall, okay? Brown hair, developing those sexy Reed Richards flashes of grey along the sides. Past writing credits include a few short "Future Shocks" for 2000AD, some series in the British anthology comic SWIFTSURE, plus CONQUEROR, NIGHTBIRD, and of course Harrier Publishing's orginal run of BARBARIENNE. I will gladly take an editorial credit for the initial DEADFACE series (now with Dark Horse), and launching REDFOX on the wide world of independent comics, too.
But, let's investigate our mailbox... Ah, another missive for forwarding. This one looks like a reply to Delinda's letter last time:
Memree, c/o House Dovidia, Spektros Isle
My dear Delinda, thank you for your kind letter. I read it aloud to Charol -- though I think I was sensible to gag her first, as she might have made some rather unladylike comments if given the opportunity!
Charol's submission to me was necessary for our assignment. It had not previously been something we had considered, and indeed if anyone had been the "dominant" partner in our relationship, it would have seemed to be Roli. After all, I'd been comprehensively trussed and gagged when she discovered me in that castle dungeon -- and neither she nor you were in any great hurry to give me my freedom, I seem to remember! Still, when Charol's submission was mentioned as a part of this mission, something seemed to click into place, for both of us...like a painting that appeared to be a confusion of light and shadow, until suddenly you discover a face, a hand, a figure, and it all begins to make sense. So now Charol wears my collar, and an earnest, bloodthirsty swordswoman has beome a hot and eager slavegirl under my fingers. Between us, we get very inventive; a few straps and a ball-gag gets her really wet and moaning, but a visit to your shop in Redwall certainly seems a fine idea.
I will authorise a document to say that, in the event of my death or incapacity as an owner of slaves, Charol is to be sent to you. Please do her no favours about her head-hair, treat her in your usual way for that... and I would ask that you be a more restrictive and stern mistress to her than you are to Loji or Joli. Ha! I've just read my letter so far to Roli, and I have never seen her eyes so wide and expressive. I can't help it, she does bring out the best in me...
My "First Slave" here is called Griffin; she used to be a slave-catcher herself, but seems to be content in her collar, and her expertise makes her good at supervising Roli and Engra. Apart from a slight fixation on ball-gags, she's fine, and I like her; Hel, the atmosphere on Spektros must be catching, as I have played girl-games with her too, and Engra. With your trading skills you could get a temporary permit to visit this crazy flying city -- care to take advantage of our hospitality for a few days? And that isn't just lip service, it's tongues, fingers, and conveniently shaped fruits and vegetables a well!
I've now got Roli following Joli's example, as reported in your letter. The weather is hot, so I'm not actually wearing boots, so Roli is making amorous advances to my right foot. All that licking and gentle kissing is sexy as Hel, but it tickles, and it is distracting me from writing a more sober missive, so I will draw this to a close, before I teach my damp-tongued desperado that slaves tend to get tickled in return, probably in the form of a thorough spanking! I do hope you will be able to visit us, and bring lots of toys for my favourite slave to play with -- or in.
Your affectionate and grateful friend.
* * * * * * *
Hmm. I think the altitude is making good old Memree a bit light-headed. I don't know if Delinda will take up the invitation to visit Spektros; it doesn't happen in the next four scripts, anyway. Book Two #1, quite logically, takes our gang to the "Restraint & Display" emporium mentioned this time, where we meet the beautiful Elantha, who has a surprise in store for Memree, narrating. The issue ends with a cliff-hanger, which leads in to some high-speed derring-do from a naked Roli in #2, before things calm down. If Memree wants to be able to masquerade as a slavegirl herself, then who better than Griffin to give her a little friendly on-the-job training?
But the curtain for Act One is about tp fall, so it is time to thank everyone involved in bringing this comic to you. Graham Bleathman for his fine title logo; Paul Noughton for his pencil art, background inks and lettering and, to let our pseudonymous original figure inker get back to his proper job, full inking of this issue; Eva Legova, for those slinky figure inks; Ryder Windham for encouraging, accepting, and starting this project, as our Eros editor; Sue Nock, for continuing his good work with flair and chic; the hierarchs of Fantagraphics for allowing themselves to be convinced to add "Barby" to the Eros roster; the fine folk of Titan Distributors' London warehouse, for letting us use their high-tech photocopier (well, have you ever tried to have such sexy artwork copied at a local copy shop? Most self-service copy machines around here don't do reductions and other artistic necessities!); Joseph O, for stationery support and use of his copier; Catalog Connection for access to some pretty useful artistic reference material; John and Adrian for their interest and encouragement, and lining up our new inker; and of course Charol and Memree, for sharing their thoughts with us. It must have been a shock for them, to find themselves the stars of an Eros comic, but they have acquitted themselves rather well, I think...
So, send those cards and letters in. Back issue requests should go to Eros Control in Seattle, along with polite pleas for Book Two and general comments; letters of comment, intended for publication, should come by air mail to me... With any luck, we will have a proper letters page when next we meet!