My Love Affair With Niteblade
A guest post by Marge Simon
Where did the years since 2007 fly to? I remember that I was smitten from the start with Niteblade when I discovered that Editor Rhonda, mother of a sweet young girl, sought work that went where no P.C. editors dared venture. You know what I mean. Most all of the zines (online or otherwise) warn, “We don‘t want stories about children coming to harm”. So Rhonda says, “Well, I do want stories and poems like that, so have at it!”
Okay, so I taught elementary art to cherubs for over thirty years, have a lovely daughter and two grandchildren of my own. But I loved where Rhonda’s objectives took my questionably warped mind. I approached her first as an illustrator (later as a writer and poet, and was welcomed, by the way.) And suddenly I was given the bulk of the illustrations for Issue Numero Uno. The cover was done for R.K. Gemienhardt’s grim story, “Dark Angel”. It shows a innocent tot with a teddy bear sitting up in bed waiting for her grandfather’s good night kiss. You see him approaching from the shadows, and he doesn’t look very much like a doting granddaddy at all. A shocking concept, akin to the folk tale “Rawhead and Mr. Bloodybones” bedtime story told to scare little children out of their wits.
After that, Rhonda approached me to be her “in house” artist. I was thrilled! I got to illustrate the stories (and a poem) for coming issues. She must have been crazy and still is, because I’m still doing it. Of course, each issue is different and children might or might not play into the stories of any one issue. Just knowing that such may be included on the keenly whetted blade of night was enough for me.
I’ve had the pleasure of illustrating some fascinating stories and challenging poems (and vice versa) along the way by such as Joe McKinney, Beth Cato, Megan Arkenburg, Greg Schwartz, BD Wilson, and many more extraordinary talents!
An additional perk is that Rhonda has generously included me in announcing new issues stating that my art is available from me both to the authors and the reading audience for a very affordable sum, postage paid. I love it when the authors want to have the work that fired in my imagination! I feel it belongs with them, not in my files.
So this is thanks to Rhonda, to her wonderful and talented husband Jonathan, BD and now Alexa for empowering one hardly saintly, but most unique online publication of dark literature to carry on. Here’s to keeping it moving onward and upward!
Also, for the record, I didn’t/don’t specifically seek out stories where children are in danger (well, except maybe for that one time), I just don’t want a policy in place to specifically exclude those types of tales 😉