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Your assistance is requested
April 30, 2012

EDIT (May 2): EDIT: New update on Cristina Penescu! She has sent me a picture of the piece in progress, we can all stop the internet drama now. If you wish, can you now switch the focus to once again telling her how great of an artist she is.

EDIT (Monday, 5:45pm EST): I have received a reply from Cristina. Please do not email her for the next 12 hours. We're trying the more-civil route first. EDIT, she has still sent me nothing. No proof of even having started on this commission. If you would like to email her again on my behalf, please do.

Thank you all for your help so far, I appreciate everyone being very polite about this. It is not my intent to threaten/scare her, just to get what I paid for, or a refund. You can see our email exchange on my tumblr. Also, I only agreed to ask you to stop the emails, please feel free to continue spreading the word on twitter, facebook, tumblr and especially DevART.

Dear What it Takes/War of Winds readers:

Last July, I came across this wonderful and super-talented artist on DevART, Cristina Penescu. She is a scratchboard artist. Cristina was offering a special deal on 5x7 scratchboards for $180. I had always wanted to get some art done of my faithful shuskamute Indy, and so I put $100 down, with the understanding the other $80 would be paid when the work was complete and ready for shipment.

Cristina has since not responded to a single email, note, or comment on her DevART. It has been 10 months. In fact, a very kind person on DA contacted ME to let me know she is somewhat known for taking money and never doing any work.

Well fuck that. For someone in my position to put $100 down when that represents the ENTIRE FOOD BUDGET for a month...that's a big deal. And as an artist who does commissions, I'm super pissed off. This woman has basically stolen my money. Paypal can't refund it (been too long), and DA is not the Commission Police.

I likely will never get my money back. I've accepted that. I have been patient. I have tried contacting her through many different ways. If anyone today is bored, angry, frustrated, or just wants to be a dick on someone else's behalf, I welcome you to join me in Operation: Biznatch. Here is how you can assist:

Got a DA account? Here is Cristina's. Please let her know that Kez wants her money back. Feel free to post my site and my paypal email address:

How about HER email? Want to send her one? Let her know how disgusted you are with her business practices. EDIT: email removed. See top edit on this post.

Here is her personal site. AND IT HAS A CONTACT FORM, LOOKIT THAT.

Please no hate-speech (don't slam people for their gender, or come to other conclusions about them when you've never met them, that's just douchey), try to keep the swearing to a minimum, don't send viruses/spam attacks/etc. I just want my money back. I don't want anyone else here getting banned or reported for abuse on my behalf.

Don't know what to send? Try this: "I'm sending you this message on behalf of Karen "KEZ" Howard, a student out of Syracuse who commissioned you for a 5x7 scratchboard on July 6, 2011. You have accepted her money and have since refused to answer any messages regarding the status of this commission. At this point, you are a thief. Kez wants a refund. Check your inbox for her multiple emails. These messages will stop when the money has been returned."

Since she has in fact responded to my emails, but now wants to buy more time AND is still refusing to send a refund, here's the new message:

"Iím sending you this message on behalf of Karen "KEZ" Howard, a student out of Syracuse who commissioned you for a 5x7 scratchboard on July 6, 2011. You have accepted her money and have since refused deliver a refund or even a picture of the work in progress. At this point, you are a thief. She wants a refund or the piece completed. Check your email. These messages will stop when you deliver either."

I get that $100 back and you guys get MTWF updates the entire month.

Have any other ideas? Let me know.


: So she's sent a reply to at least ONE person who has emailed on my behalf saying that she has tried to contact me, but her emails have bounced back. As much as I would loooove to believe that, I just can't, unless she is entirely ignoring her DevART account. Which I don't believe because she updates it every few weeks. And I have left a comment even asking "so should I send you the REST of the money" without any kind of reply (February 2012). See it here. I sent her a private note asking for an update on Nov 11, 2011, again with no reply.

Furthermore, I received this note on DevART about her (ID info taken out):

"Hi, sorry to bother you but I saw your comment on Cristina's page about a scratchboard. I would be VERY wary of commissioning her as she is a known scam artist, and has claimed thousands of dollars on artwork she never delivered. There are articles about her here: [link] & [link]

She has nice art, but her business practices are shocking, not to mention her careless attitude towards commissioners. This is just a courtesy note, of course it's up to you whether you commission her, but I thought I should warn you.

You may even know all this already. If so, then again, sorry to bother you."

I may not be a big time artist. I may not have connections or money or friends in high places. But I do have an artist's indignation at being taken advantage of, and I have you lovely readers to spread this news all over the internet.

Arc 10 - Underhanded - Page 2
April 30, 2012

Vote to see the next page early! Also, only $10 into the extra page pot (below) means 4 updates this week, the next one TOMORROW. Updates MWF for the entire month are all set, now it's just a matter of fitting any tuesday/thursdays you want in there.

One final shot at the Cabal-Scot story, and we're leaping back into the chase. If you missed it, my comic compatriot Denise "Darwin" Randall was confused for the longest time that Scot was not indeed a long-running cameo of her character, Cabal, from The Only Half Saga. And she was confused with good reason! I based Scot's design on Harry Dresden (from Jim Butcher's The Dresden Files), which is extremely similar in some regards to my favorite dhampir. So, in good-natured fun, here's both an apology and a cameo of Cabal, teaching Scot how to kill vampires. Because heck, Marlin's gang IS a bunch of LARPers.

In regards to the distance Marlin is talking about in this strip, the last time we saw, Colbey and Scot had only gone about 50 miles out of the 150ish they needed to go. Just assume here that Marlin's HQ is midway between where they were and where they are.

As for the ATVs, I had a discussion on my livestream about this. A) if gasoline is properly stored, yes it could last long enough to still be used as fuel, and B) not all technology is completely busted, mostly it's a lack of power/fuel that limits survivors. But yes, the great majority of electronics was wiped out. How? We'll get to that eventually. We've touched on it a BIT...I'm betting some of you have your own theories.

SpiderForest is taking a week off from our Comic of the Week feature, but since I only managed to half-ass my recommendation of Chirault 2 weeks ago due to travel/stress, I figured I'd just let you all know about that comic again. Chirault!

Chirault is the story of Kiran, a demon hunter who is a demon himself. He is accompanied by the hyper, lovable Teeko, a young girl-demon who was accidentally shrunken to tiny-tiny size. Kiran is the only demon who is also a demon hunter, and he has to put up with idiots who distrust him while at the same time not being killed by the forces he hunts. He's a nice guy! Just 'cause he's got a crown of horns and goes insane around certain magic doesn't make him a bad guy! Check it out, I've been a fan for quite awhile now.

Regarding extra pages next month, I didn't really expect to real the goal THIS early, but there are a few readers out there who really freakin' rock. MWF updates all of May, guaranteed!! More if you guys want them. I'm fine with going UP TO 5x a week. Use the Chip-in below (through paypal) to put in the Extra Page Pot!

How it works: Every $20 "unlocks" an update in May. We'll start with Monday updates, and move to open days if the meter hits more than $80. Updates for April of course continue M/W/F until the end of the month regardless of any amount raised, since The Proposal funds covered the entire month.

A few people are using the donation BUTTON in the right sidebar, I'm unsure if that's because they just want to GIVE and not ask for extra pages (whoo, awesome!) or because they have Flash/java disabled and can't see the chip-in in their browser. If it's the latter, and you wanted those funds to go toward extra pages next month, PLEASE! Let me know.