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For more details on membership tiers, ways to support the site and how to purchase comics/collections, click here. The story, all names, characters, and incidents portrayed in this production are fictitious. No identification with actual persons (living or deceased), places, buildings, and products is intended or should be inferred.
As March is in full swing, winter itself marches on into the coming spring. In light of this, we aptly, revisit a tale of last year called "The Last Days of Winter" and the further exploits of the mysterious omnipresent figure known as the "Green Man", the Jaeger of Women. We hope you are doing well, fellow patrons. We return to narrative storytelling in the world of the Tales of the Vanished. Remember the ski lodge in the High Sierras? Remember the beautiful golden specimen strong and proud, featured in the falling snow, evoking the spirits of Donner's past? Here we are again, worlds collide. The Doe Patrol/Lantern Bearer makes their return this time meeting the bartender who is one of the rare individuals who has met this mysterious Green Man.
On another note, now that the cryptocurrency environment is inching closer towards maturity, I've posted a new poll with a simple question. Do participate if you can as it could help me figure out further avenues of whether or not to reach out to you via this space.
Enjoy and bon appétit!
I. MEMORIES OF WINTER'S PAST
Do you remember last year?
Not much. A lot has happened since then. But if I had to guess what you're thinking of... about the man that was here last winter, I remember more than I should.
Did he ever come by again?
If he did, I wouldn't know. Might have come by outside of my shift but even then, I've been talking to my colleagues about the strange disappearances whenever the occasion comes up, and it's not annual I assure you. This isn't like Christmas. Business has suffered enough with the latest events going on around the world, let alone rumors of a serial killer and folks like you bigging up this conspiracy. The girl's parents had already brought enough spotlight here and maybe, that spooked him. Who knows?
Oh, I'm sorry to hear that. I assure you that's not our aim. We're just hitting a dead end in our investigations ourselves.
Who are you working for?
Oh, nothing huge. We're just a small freelance publication called the Lantern Bearer.
Never heard of it. All the better. Journalism these days, you know? The less you know, the better off you are. I hope you know that.
Yeah. I get you. It makes our job a lot harder, trying to sift through the details, wading through truths and thruth-nots. And about the stuff we're trying to uncover, well, I'll be honest with you... these big networks and newspapers, they aren't really our friends. The stuff we're trying to uncover isn't going to make a lot of powerful people happy, especially corporate journalists.
The more you know, the less you know.
It seems that way.
I've to tell you, I'm a little worried for you, pal. Having met the guy just once already, he was... I don't know, almost indescribable. Ageless perhaps. I'm thinking global leaders, Rasputin, three-lettered angencies these kinds of vibes. Maybe it's all in my head, but when I was with him, I never thought anything was amiss until long after he was gone, you know? I don't want to mention anything paranormal like talking to the Devil himself, stuff that makes me sound crazy, anything like that... but that's as close an analogy. He had a certain way about him that was both charming and manipulative. So I don't know why of all people a fella like you are looking into this. Don't take offense. You look like an intern. Isn't there the feds for that?
Cops. Feds. Hah... if you knew what we know... I ask myself sometimes why do I keep doing this but... this is personal for us now. For me, mostly. One of us has gone missing and... I fear the worst.
That maybe it's connected to this man somehow?
This man. This deeper conspiracy, a shadowy group? Who knows? We publish the Lantern Bearer to keep the lights on and also have our ears on the ground. Maybe someone knows something and gives us an anonymous tip, you know? There's a small group of us who's looking into this thing now but we're like that hacker group you've heard about. Anonymous. You know? And to preserve our safety we prefer to keep it that way, if you know what I mean. Only the anonymous can help expose the anonymous. Early days, when we were publishing on print mostly, it was harder. But these days with the internet, God curse it and bless it at the same time, at least it helped us to spread the message without having that paper trail come back to us. We do keep a few hard copies we print in our basement, especially for occasions like this, to pass this on to people like you. Free of charge.
Oh, thanks. I like the vibe. Especially your header. A little loopy. A little old-timey. Quite effective in conveying that sense of the mystical unknown.
I'll pass that on to... well... her. Our partner who did the graphics... yeah well, it was she who disappeared. So you can say, this is personal for us now. But look at me! I'm supposed to be the one answering questions. She had was always the better interviewer and I'm just... mucking through.
Hey, I'm a bartender. That's my job! Maybe when I'm done with this gig, I can come work for your... this... Lamp... I mean Lantern Bearer instead.
Hah, that's the plan. Always looking for brave new volunteers.
Oh, volunteers now? Haha. Okay, then maybe not! Gotta put food on my plate especially during these times. Already running the funds dry running this establishment.
Yeah, I get you. I get you.
You should talk to the parents of the missing hiker. They'll know more about their daughter's lover, I'm sure.
Yeah, we tried. And strange enough, girlfriend never really did introduce him to her parents. So you're our only lead so far as someone who possibly had direct contact with this mysterious man.
Alright. Tell you what, wait a bit until my shift's done in a couple of hours, maybe we'll see what I can remember what I didn't tell the cops after a couple of whiskies.
You got a deal!
II. SKETCHES AND WORKS IN PROGRESS
We can't the story without a smattering of hors d'oeuvre. First is a continuing progress of a sketch from Carte du Jour 223. It may look somewhat finished, but I still plan to further touch this one up.
The second is a loose idea of an unconventional pose... a stranger comes wearing a strange hat.
The third is a possible added scene from the "Last Days of Winter" storyline.
The fourth and final fifth are a vertical feast of the "slender harvest" going through varying degrees of disassembly.