Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Update One

The Norinko Ten
Trauma, Diagnosis & Treatment

Compiled, Formatted, and Narrated 
by Anthony Servante

Los Angeles County Mental Health Facility 
Circa 1920


Note: Account provided by "Lydia" (not real name) as part of this series of updates on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Critical Incident Stress.

Lydia's Account

"I was walking home from work. I put in some overtime and missed the bus. One of my co-workers offered me a ride. He asked if I wanted to stop for a drink at his place. It felt wrong that he asked me that since we hardly knew each other and I was half his age. 

He got mad when I asked him to drop me off right there and then. He pulled the car into an alley. I wasn't scared because there were lots of back yards with their lights on. He grabbed my breast. I slapped his hand. He punched me with a closed fist. I tasted blood. 

Everything felt unreal as he pulled off my pants and raped me. When he was finished, he put some money in my hand and pushed me out of the car. He rolled down the window and threw my pants and panties at me. I didn't put them on. 

I started to walk home. I felt like I was forgetting something, so I turned around. I saw a long trail of blood from my pants on the ground leading to my feet and up along my inner legs, coming from between my legs. Only then I realized it wasn't blood.

It was shit. 

I laughed. I had shit myself. When some old women found me in the back yard, I was still laughing." 

Note: "Lydia" sent me this description. For her, this was the beginning of her PTSD. She told me that she would follow up with her hospitalization, her meds and treatment, but since has not contacted me. Others also contributed accounts of abuse, witness to murder and mayhem, and horrific experiences for this article on PTSD and CIS, but not one provided any post-traumatic insights. As such, I will try to concentrate my articles and updates on both trauma and post trauma.


Leaving the McClure Tunnel.

Anthony Servante's Account:

On August 9th, 2017, I survived a near-death experience in the Santa Monica Tunnel, aka the McClure Tunnel. It's been close to two months and the memory of that night has begun to fade. I had no one to talk to about the horrors I witnessed, and in my silence, the night seems more and more unreal. But there are peripheral remnants that tighten my stomach and make my head ache. Birds. Cold weather. The stranger I face everyday in the bathroom mirror. I decided it was time to seek medical attention. 

From that decision, I received some therapy that led to my writing down the detailed accounts that led to these updates. These accounts can be found in "The Journal of Norinko Hanasaki" and "Norinko Hanasaki: The Investigation & Research". Therapy, to this day, continues. 

I am on Los Angeles County Health Care. I choose a primary health physician, who gives me my annual physicals and bloodwork, refers me to specialists when necessary, and whom I turn to when I have the flu. For the treatment of trauma, however, he cannot help me, except to prescribe Xanax for the anxiety and Tramadol for the headaches. Instead, he refers me to the specialist, a psychiatrist (not a psychologist). The "shrink" asks for symptoms, such as lack of sleep, hallucinations, rage, headaches, nausea, pain behind the eyes, shortness of breath, forgetfulness. That is the list of symptoms we have developed so far. And for each, he prescribes drugs, even marijuana. There is no counseling, for that is what a psychologist specializes in, and the County of Los Angeles does not pay for such treatment, for it is a "cosmetic" solution, not a practical one, just as the county will not pay for root canal work--only extractions. It is a free health care service, so I cannot complain. 

Note: The Psychiatrist to date has only prescribed antidepressants, which I do not take

But in my hour session with the doctor, I do manage to work in some subtle attempts at being counseled by the psychiatrist when I relay my symptoms. For instance, when I say I cannot sleep, I go into detail about my circular dreams. I wake, turn over in bed, and slip back to sleep, only to re-enter the same dream I awoke from. No matter how many times I wake and return to sleep, the dream remains the same. If I get up to avoid this conundrum, my vision becomes blurry for the rest of the day. Although I had my eyes checked, the problem with blurriness was not found in my vision. Thus I sleep through the dream until it ends of its own accord, until the dream comes full circle and my waking itself ends the dream cycle. As if waking up is a part of the dream. But, at least, with this waking dream, I see the rest of the day clearly and without any blurriness. Colors stand out. The clouds are whiter. The sky bluer. The birds more lively and focused. They even seem more focused on me. 

Picture taken while I was
waiting for the train.

So it is that my hour spent with the psychiatrist has some counseling benefits, although the visits usually end with more prescriptions than advice. Thus I wondered about what treatment is out there for those who are suffering from more than headaches and nightmares. What follows is my research into trauma, its treatment in general, and the medical health plans that are better than mine. 

Note: Updates will entail survivors of trauma via accounts from readers as well as the latest health information from any of the Norinko Ten who wish to be part of this research. My doctor thinks it is therapeutic; I hope yours will agree. 


This article on Trauma, Diagnosis, and Treatment is sponsored by FROWNLAND CALENDARS, $16.00, 
featuring twelve full color Frownlands, as well as additional art sprinkled throughout. 

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Update Foreword

The Norinko Ten
Women and Children First

Compiled, Formatted, and Narrated 
by Anthony Servante


On July 13th, 2016, Norinko Hanasaki, a fourteen year old middle-school student disappeared from a moving bus as it passed through the Santa Monica Freeway tunnel. Between July 13th, 2016 and August 9th, 2017, the Servante of Darkness Blog investigated the disappearance with the help of Norinko's friends and family. As the investigation progressed, more and more people began to vanish. When we found the journal of Norinko, we found clues to her whereabouts, decoded a map to follow, and gathered a team to enter the freeway tunnel at midnight on the 9th of August 2017. We managed to rescue ten people held captive in a tunnel hidden within the tunnel. One of our team was lost. 

The victims were taken to the UCLA Medical Center, and there conflicting stories emerge. The Sheriff's Department, the First Church Middle-School, and the parents of the children gave various accounts of just what happened on the 9th. But, at this point, we'll set that aside for now, for we have chosen to focus our attention on the recovery and recuperation of the victims. As such, we will follow the ten victims, ascertain how they are faring, and update what their lives are like now. We will talk with experts in the field of "post-trauma" and "critical incident stress", discuss the differences and the types of therapy provided for not only the victims known as the Norinko Ten but any victims who can help us understand the effects of such trauma. 

In addition to experts, we will interview people who have undergone medical and holistic therapy to treat depression and anxiety. We will also address relevant issues that relate to the narratives surrounding the night of August 9th officially and unofficially. Although my first concern will always be the victims and their recovery, I will not ignore the truth of what happened that night, for time passes quickly and time erodes the truth quicker than denial and rationalization. My goal is not to interrogate any victims. There will be no confrontations with any volunteers to be interviewed, but those who deliberately cover up the truth will be questioned at length within the limits of an amateur blogger. My aim is to simply clarify the consensus of the victims with regard to their trauma and lay out the truth of that night so that it won't be forgotten or whitewashed. As a victim myself of this ordeal, this whole endeavor is my own therapy with dealing with the stress and blackouts. 

I thank you, dear readers, for following up with me the strange circumstances surrounding the "abduction" of these ten victims. I promise to continue my pursuit for factual answers under stress of a traumatized memory. For the fragile human mind is always faced with two decisions when threatened by evil: fight or flight. And sometimes these two choices can manifest themselves as false or imagined memories or total denial. For now, I choose to fight. I am not a brave man, for the time may come when flight will be the correct course of action. Therefore, time is of the essence. I'm sure the other victims are facing similar choices. I must time our discussions and interviews with sensitivity and compassion. For even the messenger who conjures up the evil past may be misconstrued for the evil itself. 

As such, I shall approach the subject matter methodically, deliberately, and sympathetically. Thank you again, dear readers, for your patience.

I know the questions. It's the answers that are fading more and more each day like a dream of falling, falling, falling. 

Anthony Servante

Update One: Trauma, Diagnosis, and Treatment

Coming soon...

Friday, October 27, 2017

The Halloween Gathering 

Compiled and Formatted
by Anthony Servante

Featuring John Shirley, illustration by Waylon Bacon, Jaye Tomas, Jerry Langdon, William Cook, Jane Craig Sebok, and, our special guest, Norinko Hanasaki.

 Art by Waylon Bacon
and visit for merchandise. 

Words by John Shirley

We have to buy a gun
because there are too many guns,
we have to buy a gun
because of guns,
we have to buy a gun because
they'll take away our guns,
they'll take away our guns
because there are
too many guns,
we have to buy a gun
because there are too many
we have to
buy a gun
because of
have to
a gun because
they'll take away our guns,
they'll take away our guns
we have to buy a gun,
we have to buy a gun,
we have to buy a gun...

Jaye Tomas

Jaye Tomas is a surprised poet. Her third book, "What Lies Beneath" (available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble) was released in 2016 with gratifying reviews. She is almost ready to release her new book - a change of genre into childrens literature. Her blog, Chimera Poetry, has attracted readers and writers from far and wide. Jaye loves all things bookish, pasta, Halloween, and has a minor obsession with hedgehogs.

Originally from Chicago, she is currently residing in the UK but has begun to cast her eyes in other directions.

She has an annoyingly long list of ways to contact her:

Twitter @JayeTomas1

The Tower

The hall was round and square at different points,
and the steps changed size under foot
so you always had to look down,
and she counted the steps with an exhale.
the higher up the less chance of being heard.
or followed.
They said it wasn't safe and the window frames in particular were rotten,
and wanted to be evil,
but the room at the top was worth the risk,
the sun setting in tangerine dream just an arms reach away,
and she hummed,
"with her head tucked...."
knowing the ghosts couldn't bear to be mocked...

And that,
along with the other, subtler sounds she made,
a beating heart,
the rushing rapids of blood in her veins,
the vibrant step of a lithe and springy young soul,
would draw them.

All they wanted was to walk in the day and touch
warm fingers to warm fingers,
while she,
longed for the shadows.
Longed for the tethering in place.
Above all longed to make the tower truly hers,
for now and forever.

"With her head tucked
underneath her arm
she walks the bloody tower...."

There is no converse with the dead
no matter what creased old women with crackled crystal balls
may say.
The dead don't answer despite the promises in smeary ads in the back of newspapers.
But they gather.
And they watch.
And sometimes in their filmy eyes you may see a warning...

When she asked that day,
as she did everyday,
there was no reply,
and she stared round at the gathered wisps,
her entreaties futile and her throat hoarse,
she raised her fists and shook them.
Shook them and cursed
until her rage replaced her fear of flying,
and those window frames finally realized their evil wish.
And there was silence.

much later,
if you listened with an inside ear,
the steps would echo,
a deliberate one by one,
and sometimes the wind would blow the words back down the stairs...

"With her head tucked....."

The Music Video with Lyrics (below)


(R.P. Weston / Bert Lee)
Stanley Holloway (Monologue)

In the Tower of London large as life,
The Ghost of Anne Boleyn walks they declare.
For Anne Boleyn was once King Henry's wife,
Until he made the headsman bob her hair!
Ah, yes, he did her wrong, long years ago
And, she comes up at night to tell him soooo!

With her head tucked underneath her arm
She walks the Bloody Tower
With her head tucked underneath her arm
At the midnight hour.

She comes to haunt King Henry,
She means to give him 'what for',
Gadzook! She's going to tell him off
For having split her gore,
And, just in case the headsman
Wants to give her an encore,
She has her head tucked underneath her arm.

With her head tucked underneath her arm
She walks the Bloody Tower
With her had tucked underneath her arm
At the midnight hour.

Along the draughty corridors,
For miles and miles she goes.
She often catches cold, poor thing,
It's cold there when it blows.
And it's awfully awkward for the Queen,
To have to blow her nose,
With her head tucked underneath her arm.

With her head tucked underneath her arm
She walks the Bloody Tower
With her head tucked underneath her arm
At the midnight hour!

Sometimes gay King Henry gives a spread,
For all his pals and gals and ghostly crew.
The headsman carves the joint and cuts the bread
Then in comes Anne Boleyn to 'queer the do!'
She holds her head up with a wild war whoop!
And Henry cries, "Don't drop it in the soup!"

With her head tucked underneath her arm
She walks the Bloody Tower
With her head tucked underneath her arm
At the midnight hour.

The sentries think that it's a football,
That she carries in.
And when they've had a few they shout,
'Is Ars'nal going to win?'
They think it's Alec James,
Instead of poor old Ann Boleyn,
With her head tucked underneath her arm.

With her head tucked underneath her arm
She walks the Bloody Tower
With her head tucked underneath her arm
At the midnight hour.

One night she caught King Henry
He was in the canteen bar
Said he, "Are you Jane Seymore,
Anne Boleyn or Catherine Parr?"
"How the sweet san fairy ann,
Do I know who you are?"
With your head tucked underneath your arm!

With her head tucked underneath her arm
She walks the Bloody Tower
With her head tucked underneath her arm
At the midnight hour.

Jerry Langdon


Twas once 'pon a dismal dream 
That I woke to terrifying scream. 
My blood churned, toenails curled, 
Uncontrollably my head twirled. 
My mind a mist wrought labyrinth. 
Possibly the haunting of absinthe. 
Then the wailing returned. 
Oh how my head burned. 
That scream echoing in it's cavern, 
Flowing down my spine; a ghostly cistern. 
Flooding my veins with vile fear. 
I hoped the alp to disappear. 
No time spared, that hope broken 
By that scream of terror unspoken. 
Congregating un-will strength to stand. 
Feet trembling 'twere they of sand, 
'Pon my chamber's frigid floor. 
Someone or thing released thunder 'pon my door. 
An alluring voice begged for entrance, 
Fading into an eerie silence. 
Long, I stood; Silence grasping my ears 
Till my mind liberated of fears. 
Till my pit no longer churned. 
To beckoning bed I returned. 
The blood congealed in my chest 
To find myself already at rest. 
How could I be here and in my bed? 
Am I asleep, could I be dead? 
Had I met my untimely death? 
Would I test, could I detect breath? 
Listening for a heartbeat; something faint. 
Pounding stormed against my chambers restraint. 
Accompanied by a maddening scream. 
I hoped I was but prisoner of a dream. 
The thunder 'pon my door 
Apocalyptically shook the floor. 
As I neared sanity's fringe. 
The door flew from its hinge. 
The darkness hither rushed in flailing. 
Without question my sanity was failing.
The darkness grasping 'twere it an octopod. 
Thrashing like some demon squad 
As it engulfed the room and me 
'Till darkness was all I could see. 
©® Jerry Langdon 2016

Necro Birth 

'Tis such a dismal day
Naught could be more trist.
Sepulcher stone swallowed in gray.
Twilight lay 'pon midday's wrist.
Somber droplets escape my eyes.
Alps polter in the vaults.
Haunts taunting what therein lies.
Nightmares long bitter truths, naught exalts.
I bestride my personal Golgotha.
Bound to thy cross; thy landmark.
Immerged in noir gothica.
Sinking, drowning in the dark.
Seeking hold where life slips away.
Memories anchor to sordid stone.
Clawing deep into the cold cold gray.
Reminding me I'm alone, so alone.
No sorrows accompany me in abundance.
Plagues and pains fill my heart.
Strength vanishing under their encumbrance.
This shell naught more than a pushcart.
Shoved and shoveled full of mourn.
I cripple under their weight.
Burdened with memories of forelorn.
Resting 'hind this cemetery gate.
Stretched out my pleas for return.
Prayed for what is gone
Now the world shall burn
That we may see a new dawn.
The thieves will pay.
Taken all from me.
Now let them pray.
Let them see.
What it means to exist in misery.
As my light rises once more.
returned to me from eternity.
From infinity's claws restored.
Taste my endless pain.
Feed, feed 'pon my wrath.
May blood poor like rain.
Bleed, bleed it's a blood bath.
Rise my Darling, from thy grave.
Return, my Love, reborn to me.
Accept the sacrifice I gave.
Cleanse me of my misery.
Fill my life as once before.
Walk with me til the last.
Enlighten my heart once more.
Thy death be of the past. 
© Jerry Langdon 2016

Spectral Breaths 

I have consecrated the night.
Sanctified the sepulcher walls.
The flooding silver gleam
Cascades into these hallow halls.
A trellis of diffuse white.
Door to nocturnal metropolis.
Window to land of dream.
Escape route from this necropolis.
Stone cold memories are distinct.
Specters who vigorously taunt.
Remnants of corporal existence.
Countless yesteryears haunt.
Concrete thought fades to instinct.
Darkness becomes a playground
Under Luna's soft luminance.
Hark Night's soothing quiescent sound.
The lucid moonlight Is the better daylight.
© Jerry Langdon 2017

An Uncanny Visit On A Still October Night 

When The Moon Was Full And Bright
'Twas a dead still October night
On the eve of Samhain.
Which is most known as All Hallows eve.
A branch tapping my windowpane,
The tick of the old clock,
Almost in a soothing cadence
That lulled me almost into dream,
Were all that stirred the silence.
I had that cold feeling of eyes
Watching, staring, drilling 'neath my skin
From some unseen, unknown spectator.
Alone as I was; knowing it defied reason.
No draft stirred a single flame.
Windows and doors all closed tight.
Still I felt a need to shudder
On that Silent October night.
My thoughts drifted into dream.
I felt a nightmare slowly creeping,
Crawling up my back, o'er ribs and spine.
Realizing I was not at all sleeping.
I hastily sprang from my nest
To shake off the ghostly frost,
Which had made my body home.
Even by the fire not a bit of cold was lost.
Long I stood shivering, shuddering, wondering
'Til I felt the cold begin to flee.
My heart that had been racing, then relaxed
Unsure what had overcome me.
I could but laugh a madman's laugh.
My laugh was echoed much colder,
Resonating near and yet so distant.
I felt a hand 'pon my shoulder.
Bracing to emphasize the joke unspoken.
I looked but was nothing there,
Empty space waiting on a dream.
Naught as thin air.
"Whoever you might be
You may end your pesky charade.
Lift this abysmal shadow
Put end to your masquerade."
Certain my mind had journeyed
Into the cruel depths of madness.
I feared there would be no escape
From its frantic darkness.
Had my mind played tricks,
Or did I have an unseen visitor?
I was answered by its manifestation.
There she was; ghostly spectre.
Struck by fear and awe at once.
The last that I heard
As she disappeared;
Her last ghostly words,
"I wish thee Happy Halloween." 
© Jerry Langdon 2017

William Cook

Edge of this abyss

As you read this you must know
that by the time you reach the end
your world will not be the same as it is now
your mind will be lost to reason

As you read this, your eyes will blink
like the blind seer, who has seen too much
your journey has begun its inevitable descent
into madness, a twisted parallel universe

As you read this, your heart will beat irregularly
you will hear the words repeated between your ears
with each breath you forfeit your blood, drop by drop
but subtly, the weight of the mortal world is slowly easing
its heavy burden from your back, from your mind

As you read this, your thoughts will turn upon themselves
as you consider your place in the cosmos, in this universe
when you ask yourself the ultimate questions, that one should never ask:
who am I? what is my purpose? does my life mean anything?
when you answer truthfully, with your best answer
your life will become one with the moon and stars above

As you read this, your heart will hang heavy
like a muted bell in an abandoned belfry
devoid of belief, spiritually absent – the existential maw
gapes in front of you, waiting for the unholy monk
to cross the misty waters of Hali, the seer who has seen too much
can only guide you now to your predestined end

As you read this you will realize that what you see
is only a version of something far greater
than what the mind appreciates
that what you read is limited by the language you employ
that your world is of your creation and that this dark world
is nowhere you want to be right now
your curiosity, much like that of the cat
has led you to the edge of this abyss
this lake of fire before you as the blind monk waits
his sunken eyes like hollow furnaces watch
as you accept your fate and step into the flames. 

Bring down the night

Where is this place, whispered of in the shadows
this elusive heaven, this emerald city
lost to mortal eyes?

Another dimension awaits beyond the veil of tears
as the spectral mystery shimmers in the glow
and the full horror of its revelation
climbs from the mist
like a sordid god, rising from the grave.

Chorused by a bevy of ghostly Hyades
he swells monolithically as he rises
to stand astride this weak planet
and cup the sun and the moon in each hand.

Bring down the night, supplicate the dawn
let the amber ether wash our sins away,
let us find our Atlantis, our oasis
lost Carcosa – before we succumb to the soil
and the horror of reality.

Black Star Night

Upon witnessing the palimpsest
my mind did run amok
as all manner of things came into being, right before my eyes
as I envisaged the gruesome pantomine
of our final days

Wrongly so, the crude seasons now bled into one
leukemic light hued every waking moment
as things lurched from the shadows
the burgeoning mist revealed what hid behind

The memory and cadence of its words
rang like bells in my brain
fevered now beyond the point of return
sickened by the realities that my vision now claimed

And so it was, that the man in rags appeared
from the swirling fog of reason
across the tumbling death-flow lake
the terrible remnants of the great city described
on those amber pages, jagged at his back
to stand, super natural, before me
materialised in a nightmare of truth
an unholy enemy of logic and nature
summoning arm outstretched, dark eye sockets deep
as his clicking teeth, mouthed foreign words
audible hieroglyphics – not of this world

Who was this man? This Thing?
Blind Tiresias? Or a Promethean fragment of a dream?
As he carved symbols into the rancid air
I watched the planets shift above,
the world invert, the stars misalign
like a cosmic jig-saw gone awry . . .

As he floated on his words, back whence he came
across the moribund waters to the fog
and the hulking things that moved and twitched
on the waiting shore, I saw the city gleam and shine
its majesty revealed momentarily
unattainable – so out of reach
and then it too was gone, along with my eyes,
my mind. My madness is now all that remains
and those damned words, burning their meaning
deep within my consciousness, those words echo still
that which I now wear like a mask to my grave
as I gaze, catatonic, up at the black star night.

Jane Craig Sebok

The House on the Eastern Heights


Jane Craig Sebok

Shrieks are heard over
the hills and through the dark
woods of the Eastern Heights,
shrieks of terror and fright
to set the blood achill.

Terrors grip us as we creep
along the edges of the field
from where the cries arise.
Hairs bristling on our necks
from not knowing their source.

The moon shines red, appearing as blood
on our moonlit faces and hands,
and our eyes seem to shine
as we approach the house
on the Eastern Heights.

Beware!  Beware!  the ghostly lights
seem to say, as the shrieks continue
in the night.  We reach the ebony door,
the brass knocker viewing us through eyes of pearl.
We enter but no one is there.

The halls are dark and cold,
and a fine mist fills the air.  We rise
to the attic from where the shrieks came,
but nothing is there. Though we search,
the moonlight shines only on bare wood.

We turn to leave, hearts pounding,
the door creaks close behind us.
Down the steps we race, not sure
of what we’d heard.  But at the bottom,
we stop, for the tortured cries resume.

Norinko Hanasaki

Norinko, 2016

Welcome home, Norinko, who is getting her life back on track at school and at home. She is only beginning to understand the year of her life that she has lost. With the help of a therapist and spiritual guidance of Priest Bobue Horaguchi, Ms Hanasaki is giving the past a proper burial and planting seeds for a joyful new start. A survivor who at the age of 14 was "kidnapped", according to the Sheriff's department. A year later, at the age of 15, Norinko continues to write poetry. She has sent us two poems that deal with her healing and confronting the fading memories of that lost year. And, although her religion does not follow the tradition of All Hallow's Eve, she joins us here today simply to be with the friends who followed the mystery of her disappearance, read of her rescue, and welcomes all of you to join in the festivities of good will and fun this Halloween 2017. 
Anthony Servante

Happy Birthday to Diyu
by Norie Hanasaki

For My Father, Torinko Hanasaki

I am fourteen years old
Though my special birthday cake
Had 15 candles to blow out;
I am a fifteen year old fake.

Everyday I remember less and less
About the year of missing dreams,
The wanderer so sad and gray
Who taught me why real seems.

And the voices so many about
For me to capture one and all;
But capture those I recognized
And those I chose to call.

And in one voice we cried for help
And in one voice we cried for hope
And someone heard our chorus
And rescuers braved the stony slope.

But though we found escape,
There'd be one to guard the gate;
The bravest man I ever knew
Saved us but sealed his own fate.

Soon I will be sixteen years of age,
Although I'll know I'm but fifteen;
Dear father, please accept my year
To justify your end and mean.

Norie Hanasaki 2017

A Letter to Buzzkill (in Rhyme)

Buzzkill is a dreamer
The birds are his friends
Buzzkill is a schemer
The dreams are his ends.

The means were presented
Escape was the plan
The heroes unrelented
For each girl and each man.

Buzzkill is waiting
But the tunnel is gone
Buzzkill is baiting
The downfall of dawn.

Freedom is frosty
Nightmares are fiery
Freedom is costly
Nightmares are misery.

Buzzkill is alone
But dreamers more so
Ten escaped the stone
We reap what we sow.

Norie Hanasaki 2017

And thank you, Mr. Servante, for everything... 

Visit for merchandise 
from the Frownland sketches and cartoons by Waylon Bacon

Sunday, July 23, 2017

The Waylon Bacon Interview
Renaissance Man 2017

Conducted and Formatted
By Anthony Servante

Waylon Bacon

The Modern Renaissance Man


I found Waylon Bacon while I was pinching through the free handouts at my comic book shop in Pasadena, California. He had left sample chapbooks of his artwork from his website Frownland alongside Marvel Comics and DC Comics promotions cards, local comic book convention flyers, and Indie Comic samplings. After leafing through the chapbook, I instantly fell in love with the dry layered humor of Bacon's characters, at once the archetypes from today’s milieu but also the universal everyman and everywoman no matter what era. Here were the characterizations of "The Neighborhood" by Jerry Van Amerongen, the irony of "Mister Boffo" by Joe Martin, the surrealism of "Angriest Dog in the World" by David Lynch, and a pinch of 1950s Beat Generation antidisestablishmentarianism. As well as some 1960s Underground Comix insight into the far-gone human stereotype of its time. When I asked him for an interview, he graciously accepted.

As I prepared my questions, I found that cartoonist was but one of his talents: He’s a film-maker, a satirist, an illustrator, a music video director and producer, and a reporter on the foibles of humankind, 2017. In short, he’s the Renaissance Man of today. And in an age where everyone thinks they are special because they blog, self-publish, know famous people on Facebook, and justify their existence by preaching to the choir, Waylon Bacon eats people like that for lunch and regurgitates his diet into his medium, and not just “social media”, the graveyard of self-proclaimed talent, but via the traditional avenues of Art, Film, Music, and Illustration. He is the real deal.
Time to meet (wait for it)…Waylon Bacon.

The Interview:

Anthony: Can you give us an overview of the work you’ve been doing for the last year just to catch us up?
Waylon: I've been drawing a weekly webcomic called 'Frownland', as well as promoting a short film I directed called 'The Ride'. I started both projects at the same time, around 2014, so it's been a very busy couple of years!
'The Ride' is a dark comedy (what else) that is based on a real experience I had in my early twenties. I was running late for work, and ended up encountering this little guy with dark eyes and braces who offered to drive me to where I needed to go. I stupidly accepted. He drove this white Cargo Van right out of 'Unsolved Mysteries', and he claimed to sell Espresso machines out of it. No sooner had we started driving than I noticed the back of the van was just filled with junk - old coffee cups, newspapers, and some tools. It was terrifying! But it turned out fine - he was just a well meaning weirdo. The film shows all of the scenarios I had played out in my head while the ride was in progress, as well as subtly presenting ideas about pre-judgement and race - the fellow was Middle-Eastern. It's got amazing performances from the two leads (Clinton Roper Elledge and ArmenBabasoloukian) and played at a number of festivals around California. It's really funny and horrifying all at the same time!

I've also been contributing art and covers to Beatdom, which is a literary magazine devoted to the Beats. It's great, because I get assigned the task of drawing people like Charles Bukowski and Burroughs, who have all of my favorite facial characteristics -- sunken eyes and big noses. I recently did their ten year anniversary cover and got to draw almost all of the Beats, plus pay tribute to Berkeley's recently defunct Cafe Med, which was  one of my all time favorite places to hang out.

Anthony: Where did this artistic journey begin for you? Can you tell us about your beginnings?
Waylon: Well I was always artistically wired; I drew as a kid constantly - at home, at school, at baseball games, at parties - I was glued to my little sketch books. I also come from a somewhat bohemian family - my Maternal Grandfather was a well-loved painter back in Flint, Michigan, and my mother is brilliant with watercolors. Plus I hated, hated school -- I had a really hard time with academics and was actually in Special Ed due to what we shall call mathematical dyslexia. So drawing was both a chance for escape and for a bit of self-worth.

Childhood Drawing

I got interested in film during my teens -  partly because it was just so damn challenging, and because I like telling stories. I've spent more time ripping my hair out over film projects than I have with almost anything else in this life, but I've also found it the most rewarding. Making a film literally mutates your existence - it's such an intense journey, and you're a changed person by the end of it. I love that.

Early Interest in Film

Anthony: Let’s talk a bit about film. What have you done? Who are your influences? 
Waylon: Waylon: I've made a handful of shorts since college, although I don't think I really found my voice until I made a short film called 'Poster Boy' in 2004. Prior to that, I had been trying to figure out what it was I wanted to say in my movies - I really liked Jim Jarmusch, John Waters, and Terry Gilliam, but hadn't found how those elements would go together into something that was all mine.

Poster Boy Still

With Poster Boy, I decided to just focus on the visuals. So it didn't have a script -- just storyboards. The idea was to make something that would resemble a really grotesque live action cartoon. The 'plot' is that a chainsmoker is accosted by a mob of anti-smokers who chase him back to his apartment, where his jaw suddenly rots off from cancer. He is then forced into being the mascot for an anti-smoking campaign. It was a double-layered satire, because I smoke and I know it's a dreadful habit, but I also find militant anti-smokers to be insufferable.

Poster Boy Storyboard

I shot it on a VX2000, which at the time was really a big deal. Although it looks like video now, I thought it looked pretty damn good then, which was in 2004. This got into the now defunct San Francisco Underground Film Festival that was run by Peaches Christ, and I was encouraged to submit again the next year. I did one film each year so I would have something to show there, and I really got to develop my craft watching my films sink or swim in a movie theater setting once a year. Then in 2008 I won a small grant through the SF Weekly and made a short called 'Help Wanted' -- it's about a college graduate who's getting a tour of a prospective job at a warehouse, where he learns that they kill hookers and homeless people and then dismember the bodies for shipment to an undisclosed location. It's really dark -- I had a lot of negativity in me that had been building up for years, and I just sort of vomited it out in that movie.

Help Wanted Still 1

Help Wanted Still 2

The next thing I got up to was a music video for 'The Lumerians', who are simply the best post psychedelic band on the planet. All their music is highly cinematic. That was an interesting situation, because I'd just moved to Los Angeles, and the original idea I had for the video turned out to be impossible with our limited budget. So I went out and shot this thing with a crew of people I'd only known a very short period of time, with a hastily revised idea, that had to be revised continuously during the shoot, including a last minute recast. It was nuts!

I've had a website up since around 2004 that has all of my film work on it, although some of the older films need to be replaced with higher quality uploads (something I'm actually working on right now). You can go to, which has links to all of my film work, as well as Frownland and miscellaneous artwork 

Anthony: Can you tell me a bit about your work with The Lumerians? I’m a big fan of the group after seeing them in concert. How did you hook up? 
Waylon: I've actually known members Jason Miller and Tyler Green since the early 2000's - they were part of a group of people I encountered at Death Guild who, like me, didn't really fit in - we weren't goth, but it was a fun place to be and you'd occasionally get the thrill of hearing Bauhaus or Joy Division played really loud. We all bonded over a love of weird music, particularly stuff like Syd Barret, Roky Erickson, or Scott Walker - any music were the sanity of the artist was in question. Jason's still my go to for new music - his record collection is astounding and varied. They both volunteered to work on 'Poster Boy', with Tyler as D.P. and Jason as Composer, a role I'm happy to say he still fulfills! I can't imagine doing one without him.

Anthony: What other bands or artists do or have you worked with?
Waylon: Not many to be honest -- I'm not sure if Music Videos are necessarily my thing, although I was definitely interested in trying it out for the Lumerians! However, I've had offers come my way, so it might happen again -- people really seemed to like the 'Life Without Skin' video.

Life Without Skin Video (Click Here to Watch)

Life Without Skin Still 1

Life Without Skin Still 2

Life Without Skin Still 3

Anthony: Before we talk about Frownland, can you tell us about the comic books, strips, and artists who have warped your mind?
Waylon: Well, there were always Zap! Comics floating around when I was a kid -- and obviously that influence is still there in my art. I also love Gary Larson's 'The Far Side' and anything that Daniel Clowes touches. I'm also a sucker for the New Yorker.

Anthony: And how did all that turn into Frownland?
Waylon: I was working on raising funds for 'The Ride' and realized that it would be at least two years before the film was done. So to have some sort of artistic output while that was coming together, I started to post a drawing a week to my social media accounts, which I called 'Sketch Sunday'. This got pretty popular among my friends and co-workers, and I started to get sort of ambitious with it -- working in punchlines and characters. Some of my friends suggested turning it into a regular comic, and after about a year, I gave in, mostly because I felt like I'd developed my work habits to the point where I could reasonably pull it off once a week. I decided to call the strip 'Frownland' as a tribute to one of my all time favorite musicians, Captain Beefheart (it's the first track on his album 'Trout Mask Replica), and as a tongue-in-cheek reference to the content of the comic.

Frownland Early Sketches

Anthony: Let’s jump into Frownland directly now. What is it? Why do you do it? I feel like I’m with old friends with the characters when I read it.
Waylon: Thanks!

My byline is that Frownland is a single panel webcomic that dissects human behavior with cynical abandon. It veers between self observation and external observation - making fun of the world around me. I'm a frequent, maybe even compulsive cultural critic -- I spend a lot of time in my head picking things apart.

There's no main character, so that the comic has a constantly shifting perspective -- I might do one about an asshole customer, and then another one about an asshole employee. It's sort of a celebration of misanthropy as a perfectly normal human past time.

Three Misc Frownland Perspectives

Humor with Human Insight

It's done in the single panel format, which goes back to my aforementioned love of the New Yorker and The Far Side.It's really taken on a life of its own -- I did a calendar last year that sold out, and the comic recently went viral over at! It's been very strange, fun, and exciting.

The Frownland Calendar

Anthony: Where do you plan to go from here with your career? Any other projects that we haven’t covered?
Waylon: Like all day job artists, I would love to be able to devote myself full-time to my work, be it film or cartooning. If there's any rich benefactors out there who'd like to give a hand, I'm a self motivated worker with over ten years in the service industry and will bring that level of discipline to my art career. I promise not to do drugs or drink heavily while I'm on the clock. 

Anthony: Can you share a few of your favorite Frownland illustrations and tell us a bit about the inspiration behind each one?
Waylon: Sure!

1 (Introverts): I know plenty of people who are genuine introverts, who struggle with interacting at parties or sometimes even one on one, so I've been rolling my eyes at the current appropriation of this character trait. It's very much a white culture thing to be excited about being marginalized.

2. (Ashes) This is actually based on a conversation I had with a friend -- what would it be like to be at the funeral of an ex-girlfriend? What would happen if, during the service, you thought about something you'd done together sexually? It would probably happen even if you didn't want it to. But I changed it to an old woman with the ashes of her husband in the comic because I thought it would be less sleazy.

3. (Melting Component). This was based on my first experience trying to order a salad at Tender Greens. I was with my family, and non of us could understand the ordering process. What's a protein? You mean chicken? I found it all really pretentious. I also find it Class-ist, because I have yet to be at one of these 'deconstructed' lunch spots that isn't expensive. Other lesser restaurants refer to the toppings as meat and veggies. How bourgeois.

4. (Bad Eye). Whenever I encounter someone with a lazy eye, I look at the wrong one when talking to them. And I'm sure anyone with this condition is used to it, but I still feel awful! This one was taken directly from life -- I went to the store to buy cigarettes, looked into the clerk's bad eye, and then went home and drew this comic.

5. (City). I just moved to Portland in May, and was talking on the phone to my oldest friend about how I wasn't sure I liked being in such a rural and friendly city -- I'm used to Oakland or Los Angeles. We both concluded that we enjoyed being in urban environments and being around people, but had no real desire to actually talk to anyone! I think this is pretty common for a lot of people who choose to live in cities.

6. (What If I'm The Asshole?) This was drawn really fast, because I had to crank it out at the last minute! I was on my lunch break at work, and had no comic to post for the weekend. I'd run through a number of ideas, but they all seemed redundant. This gave way to an introspective bout of self-loathing which finally cracked the idea for this comic.

Anthony: Thank you, Waylon, for joining us here on the Servante of Darkness Blog. Mi blog es su blog. 
Waylon: Gracias, un cafĂ© Americano, por favor.