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Contact

Online

vas@vaslittlecrow.com, Twitter, Facebook

Media Mentions Of Velvet Rasputin And Its Projects:

Washington Times; USA Today.

Bragging Rights

  • The Velvet Rasputin puppets have been exhibited at Altered Esthetics, The Walker Art Center, The Black Dog Cafe and The Paramount Art Center.
  • Puppets based on Velvet Rasputin characters have performed at VAS Littlecrow Studios, The Chicago Club, Patrick’s Cabaret, the St Cloud Urban Market, various MN comic conventions and as part of The Androgyny Kings burlesque troupe.
  • A short video on based characters from Velvet Rasputin won the Cybrotica Spring Mating Rites Contest 2007 for Best Animation.
  • Rasputin Catamite was selected as WU Spotlight Comic on August 4, 2013.

Policy Questions

General Questions

Story Questions

Behind the Scenes Questions

Is there a comments policy? How do they work?

Yes. We encourage intelligent conversation, constructive feedback and kind words. Comments are moderated, and abusive behavior will be blocked.

Here are the instructions for posting using the Disqus system.

Don’t want to use Disqus, or a social media account to log in? Don’t panic! If comments are open, you can still provide feedback by simply clicking on the comment text field, and then checking, “I’d rather post as guest” box. Be sure to leave your name and email address to receive responses.

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Are these comics appropriate for all audiences?

Absolutely not! They contain explicit and often disturbing depictions of sex, violence, intoxicant use, and abusive religious practices. All of our comic titles are intended for mature audiences.

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Is Rasputin Barxotka yaoi, porn, or something else?

Yes and no. The majority of the male leads in this story happen to be queer. With that factor alone, there is a significant amount of yaoi-type stuff going on, though the stories are more interested with social politics and crime than anything else. In fact, the longest running single sequence revolving around someone’s sexuality involves a trial. Does that make Rasputin Barxotka a yaoi comic? Maybe if the males were prettier, the style was more influenced by manga and there were less nude women floating about. To me, it’s just a crime comic that happens to men of  various sexual orientations in them, including heterosexual. I try to depict these relationships in a realistic manner. Sometimes sex and nudity just happen to be involved in the mix.
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People may find such frank content to be objectionable or “pornographic”, even though I may not agree with that assessment at all, though I acknowledge that it is very much on the borderline. When I write this graphic novel series, I generally focus on what people are interested in reading about. I write a lot, but there’s only so much I can put into a book. In general, people seem interested in reading about sexuality, crime, cultural stuff and a specific set of characters, so that’s what I work on. If you would like to see other topics or characters covered in greater depth, let me know in the comments section, or by interacting with me via email or social media.

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Where did the title, Rasputin Catamite, come from?

Originally, this webcomic was a end-of-the-Soviet Kitsch parody of Napoleon Dynamite that was only supposed to last for a week.  The title was kind of catchy and nasty, so it stuck.

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Aren’t you concerned that these works may be offensive?

Concerned? I’ve already been raked through the coals over these comics on multiple occasions because their content offended someone. If people can’t differentiate between my personal views and fictional characters, then there’s a much deeper problem than just offense.

Any time an artist or writer depicts oppressed groups of any ethnicity/belief system/gender in a realistic and human-oriented fashion, there is a real risk of offending someone and coming across as a bigot or corrupter. It sucks, but it comes with the territory. I fully accept responsibility for that. My first concern is to tell stories about relationships. My second concern is to depict the characters as human beings, for better or for worse. My third concern is to expose the ugliness of exploitation and prejudice against people. My fourth and final concern is to share cool things I have learned over the years from life experience and scholarly pursuits, in the hope that it helps or entertains someone else.

If you have any complaints about our content, please call the helpline: 719-266-2837.

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Is it true that these are Christian comics?

Not all of the Velvet Rasputin comics are Christian in subject matter, and the ones that do aren’t immediately obvious as such. Rasputin Barxotka is extremely focused on matters of Christian theology, though it’s not coming from an idealized perspective. Rather it’s told from a worst case scenario in regards to Christian religion versus having a relationship with Christ. Camello Basma as a character, was heavily influenced by the King David stories of the Hebrew Bible (though not as a direct parallel.) The Tsarkias and Death To All Fantasies books are both jeremiads. Rasputin Catamite, on the other hand, is an exploration of what is sin or evil, and what isn’t, in a supposedly atheistic society, without necessarily condemning or celebrating the actions of the players.

Some people who know me may be asking, “How can a Christian make such filth?” It’s easy. I make it, because it is one of the burdens I need to bear.

Although I do fellowship with a religious community, I ultimately do not answer of ecclesiastical hierarchy. I answer only to God and my purpose on Earth as I understand it. I feel called to follow in the footsteps of Biblical scribes and Christian writers before me, I tell stories about matters of humanity and its relationship to the spirit. This doesn’t mean I am adding to the Bible or arrogant to proclaim my books as holy. Rather, that I draw inspiration from that tradition, much like Dante, Goethe, Lewis and Bulgakov before me. If my work seems offensively outrageous to a person who follows an Abrahamic Religion, then I highly recommend that my Sibling-in-Faith actually read the entire Bible rather than just quoting verses out of context to justify their biases.

These comics made are not for individuals that have found their righteous path, they are written for those who need it, Christian or not. These comics are also created to expose many of the evils and injustices of the world.

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What does the glyph logo mean?

It’s a Soviet hammer and sickle turned sideways to look like a question mark with a hammer pursuing an inverted pentagram. It’s a veiled reference to Jeremiah 23:29, and a rather pointed criticism of Soviet ideology. It signifies the questions that must be asked in order to destroy evil – be it political or spiritual.

Are these characters real people?

No, they are not.  These are fictional characters.  Please don’t call me from the Ukraine concerned that your nephew Sasha has been up to no good.  I am not writing about him.  This is fiction.

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Who is Rasputin Catamite/Rasputin Barxotka?

The short answer: There’s no one called Rasputin Catamite or Rasputin Barxotka, but rather these titles describe the situations that they characters are stuck in. The long answer: The name, “Rasputin” refers to Dmitri’s somewhat credible belief that he is related to the Grigori Rasputin, and the stage name of Kalorat’s singer/bassist, Tsar Rasputin.  It’s also a clue that the comic explores the dark spiritual and sexual elements of a supposedly atheistic and asexual Russian society. “Barxotka,” literally translates to, “velvet ribbon (necklace).”  In Russian Mat slang, it can be interpreted to mean, “the submissive and younger partner of a gay relationship,” which can be translated as “catamite.” Catamite can mean “the submissive and younger partner of a gay relationship.”  It can also mean, “underaged boy kept for sexual gratification.”  It’s not really a pleasant subject, is it?

No, this isn’t a comic about the glorification pedophilia. These are comics about broken people being morally questionable, underachieving and trying to form some semblance of a surrogate family, and the people who exploit them.   However, I do like using this comic as a way to illustrate the point that keeping homosexuality illegal does not encourage morality.  On the contrary, it puts gay children in danger of being exploited to the point of being psychologically screwed up as adults while at the same time completely depriving them of any legal recourse when dealing with sexual predators.  Prohibition is incredibly evil: it turns otherwise good people into criminals and leaves vulnerable populations at the mercy of those who exploit them.

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What the hell is Dmitri?

An upir.  This is an Ukrainian type of vampire known for killing entire families and having a fondness for human guts and fresh fish. An Upir is not phased by sunlight.  Superstitions about upirs are no joke. Especially since people with similar appetites actually exist and roam free in Russia.

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Why is Alexander Petrov’s nickname “Ugly Alex”?  He’s kind of hot.

He might be attractive, but his actions are not always pretty.  Let’s just leave it at that.

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Ugly Alex and Decoy are rapists. Why do you depict them in a sympathetic manner?

In real life, rapists often get away with their crimes because they come across as sympathetic or likable.  Abusive people often keep their victims under control because they are able to appear to be “nice”. These characters are simply a case of art imitating life.

I also depict a pair of serial killers, a neo-Nazi, a self-mutilating sociopath, a barrage of hypocrites, sex workers and other socially offensive people in a sympathetic manner, so I often wonder why there’s a lack of curiosity or outrage over that.

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Is Lechy a lecher?

No.  His real name is Lech and he is nicknamed after a forest demon known as a leshy that loves to tickle people to death.

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Where’s the diversity?

I am going to put this in the bluntest terms possible, because I am sick of nice playing with bigots on both sides of the political aisle:

  • There is a great deal of ethnic diversity in my work. The default ethnic classifications in my comics are Eurasian in the Rasputin stories and, Latin American in SOUP Wars. Other ethnic groups from all around the world are represented as well, including African, Semitic, Slav, North American, Aleutian, and Anglo-Saxon, among others.
  • There is a great deal of diversity in gender identification and affectional preference.
  • There is a great deal of diversity in belief and the lack thereof.
  • I am uninterested in hearing about anyone’s opinions or quotas for perceived skin color in my comics. Classifying people by skin color is demeaning and wildly arbitrary, depending on one’s culture. I will not be a party to such obsolete and useless ideologies.
  • I am uninterested in people (especially American “Liberals” and neo-Conservatives) projecting their political insecurities or biases about culture, sexuality and philosophy on my characters or my team. If you don’t like what we create, read something else, or make your own thing. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I am happy with my beliefs and my art. I don’t care to be preached at by people who I feel are bigots or, suffer from inferiority complexes that feed into the agenda of bigots. Your cult of hate is offensive to me.
  • I am writing history inspired fiction from the most objective place possible, as filtered through my lenses of experience. I will not censor, simplify, sanitize or idealize it for the sake of not offending people. Historical literacy being eroded for the sake of not hurting people’s delicate sensibilities is the most certain way to ensure the establishment oppressive regimes, encourage dullards and, repeat history’s horrifying atrocities. This does not necessarily mean that I endorse or approve of the symbols, actions or ideologies that the characters I create practice. The work we make here is intellectually challenging, enraging and full of nuance by design. If you aren’t going to take the time to absorb it and ask sincere questions about it, then I don’t have the time to entertain your offense, outrage or mob mentality.

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What’s a beard?

A beard is a (willing or unwitting) female partner who helps a gay man hide his sexual orientation. Because of the severe homophobia in Soviet Russia, a beard could mean the difference between a free life or potential death in a prison for gay men. For this reason, many of the gay men in the Velvet Rasputin universe have female partners, and in some cases even go as far as having sexual relations with them (as with Lucky, who is completely homosexual, but started out as a rake.) Gay men with beards, however, should not be confused with bisexual/pansexual characters like Tsarkias, or Dima who are capable of having very strong sexual attraction with women or other gender variations.

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What’s the deal with Ram and Vas? Are those their real names?

Vas:

“Vas is short for my birth name. As for Ram, I made a post on The Webcomic List and he just turned up. I knew that he would be the best artist for the project without even seeing his art, when I decided to reboot Rasputin Catamite, based upon how deeply he researched the project. Ram’s one of the rare people who gets what I am about. Ram has a strong grasp of my process, aesthetic and vision, thus, he’s able to execute my ideas with minimal direction. I have an incredible amount of admiration for Ram as an artist and a person. I am also madly in love with his illustrations. And no, I am not Russian. I was born and raised in Puerto Rico.”

Ram:

“I’d just gotten back from a date where the lady and I confessed that we were in love with each other. Like any certifiable workaholic, the first thing I did with the boost of self-­confidence was go online and look for freelance jobs. If I aced the application, it’s because I was still on cloud nine. There were a couple of things that made Rasputin stand out to me. The sheer volume of back material that Vas had available let me know that she was deeply invested in the comic. If I have to choose between someone with an idea or someone who has made that idea real in spite of whatever limitations they face,­ I’ll go with the person whose feet have already hit the pavement every time.

Our visual styles were also pretty similar (in how)­ we exaggerated the same facial features in the same ways. The last part that jumped out at me was how she handled the sexual identities of the characters. I saw immediately that she handled trans* issues in a way that seemed sincere, which made a big difference to me.

Ha­ and for the record, Ram Lama is my legal first and middle name. I blame my mother.”

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What inspires you to tell these stories?

The past, mostly. I base a lot of the stories on my life and mash them up with dreams, schizophrenic hallucinations, historical documents and the news. The illustrators and co-writers also inform the story. I draw additional inspiration from the dark Christian literary tradition of Dante, Goethe, Lewis and Bulgakov. In fact, Rasputin Catamite is heavily influenced by Master and Margarita, but is not an outright sequel for obvious copyright reasons.

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Was there really a dirty burlesque puppet show loosely based on Velvet Rasputin comics?

Yes and it paid the bills!  I no longer perform and currently enjoy being retired.

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Would you like to talk about (insert sexually explicit topic that Vas does not volunteer, here)?

Just because I make a lot of mature-themed comics, it does not automatically mean that I welcome unsolicited info about your sexual predilections, sexual fantasies about me or other intimate conversation about sex. I am cool if you want to talk about this within the context of my comics, or topics that I volunteer. I am cool with compliments and polite advances (that I am free to turn down.) I’m even cool with talking about my sexuality and gender within a strictly academic sense or within the context of political ideology. Having said that, I am happily married, generally uninterested in sex and currently monogamous.

Unless I’m having sex with you, you’re a close friend/significant other or, I am paying/seeking you out for erotic products (i.e. me consuming porn, me viewing adult webcomics, or me reading a sex advice blog — which I tend to avoid,) I DON’T WANT TO KNOW YOUR FETISHES, YOUR FANTASIES ABOUT ME, OR YOUR SEX LIFE.

I am cool with discussing personal topics.  I am not cool with engaging in unsolicited and unwanted sexual activity, even if that activity is just talk. It’s disrespectful to me and my husband. It’s also disrespectful towards the intentions of what my art is trying to accomplish.

Thank you for respecting my boundaries.

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More questions? Leave them in the comment section.

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