Sanctuary (Wiseguy zine)

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Title: Sanctuary
Publisher: In Person Press
Editor(s): April Valentine
Date(s): 1997-2001
Medium: print
Fandom: Wiseguy
Language: English
External Links:
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Sanctuary is a slash Wiseguy anthology.

Several of the author's names cited below are not the names in the zines but names used here on Fanlore. Art samples are included with the publisher's permission.

Issue 1

front cover of issue 1, by Suzan Lovett. The cover won a 1997 Stiffie Award for Best Wiseguy art. One reviewer commented: "Personally, I don't think she quite has the WG people down quite yet, though the cover has the best Roger I've seen her do to date..."
One of the two interior art pieces by Suzan Lovett. Note the ornate background, her signature style. This art is titled "Someone to Watch Over Me." [1]
a sample page from issue #1

Sanctuary 1 was published in May 1997 and contains 254 pages. The stories feature Sonny/Vinnie, Frank/Vinnie and a little Roger/Vinnie. Color cover and 2 color interior pieces by Suzan Lovett plus stories by April Valentine and others.

Much of the art was nominated for a STIFfie, including the cover (which won), page 46A and page 246A.

  • Brrump-bump! (editorial) (i)
  • Satin Dreams by MRK (1)
  • Colors by Candlelight by Suzan Lovett (3) (In the zine, it is titled, "Colors by Candle-light.")
  • Winter Wonderland by April Valentine (17)
  • And Which Way is an Illusion by Constance Collins (A depressed Vinnie Terranova leaves Lynchboro and is picked up by the man who's hunted him for years, Sonny Steelgrave.) (49)
  • Show and Tell by April Valentine (77)
  • Crazy For Me by MRK (89)
  • Stay by April Valentine (92)
  • All That Lights by Suzan Lovett (97)
  • Red Light by MRK (112)
  • Keeper of My Heart by April Valentine (When Vinnie starts working on his first undercover assignment after his return from El Salvador, an unexpected incident shatters Frank McPike's world.) (113)
  • Lococco Meets World by MRK and April Valentine (235)
  • Not Quite Paradise by MRK (239)

Summaries are from the publisher:

  • "And Which is an Illusion" by MRK. (It was just beginning to get dark when Vinnie saw the car. It was a Cadillac, exquisitely clean, exquisitely shiny, exquisitely white. He watched it approach and zoom by. Then it stopped abruptly, U-turned, and came up beside him. The passenger-side door opened and the driver leaned across the seat to yell, "Get in the car!" at him. This is a mistake, something in Vinnie's brain whispered. This is a big mistake. "What, you think I'm gonna wait here all day for you? Get in the fucking car!" A huge mistake, Vinnie acknowledged, climbing into the Caddy, and Sonny leaned across him to pull the door shut. 'I don't like you, but I don't want to see you dead,' Frank's voice told him. Too late, Frank. Too late "So, where you heading?" Sonny asked. His tone was bland and conversational, but Vinnie knew the look - he was thoroughly enjoying himself. Vinnie wondered what the joke was.)
  • "Colors By Candlelight" by Suzan Lovett (part I of a series) ("Frank?" Vince, normally as timid as a bull in a china shop, trying to sound unassuming. "Yes, of course, come on over," he hurried to say. He hated to make the young man feel like he was imposing. It just made McPike feel like the Grinch. "Gonna take me awhile to drive from Manhattan. Go back to sleep. I'll wake you." He knew exactly how Vince would do that. It made him catch his breath, like a velvet glove landing in his guts. Like fireflies under his skin. Vinnie had hung up long before McPike could let go of the receiver.)
  • "Keeper of My Heart" by April Valentine. (There had been times in his life when he'd thought about it. Times when he'd thought suicide the easy way out, the coward's way. He'd told himself often enough - told Vince often enough - that that had been what Sonny had done. But there had been other times, secret times he'd never admitted, when it had seemed like the answer. When Jenny was gone and didn't want him back. When it had looked like Vince was dead. But Vinnie wasn't dead. He was alive. And he was undercover. And Frank had to be there for him. That was that, then. He had to be there for Vince. He spent the rest of the night staring into the darkness.)
  • Other stories include "Winter Wonderland" by April Valentine, "Not Quite Paradise" by MRK, "All That's Light" (part 2 the series) by Lovett and "Lococco Meets World" by a guest humorist, and others.

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 1

Reviewer's Disclaimer: Not for nothing, but this is just my opinion. Any similarities to opinions held by other people, living or dead, is purely coincidental. No small furry animals or people who called me asking stupid questions were injured (much) in the writing of this review. [ordering info omitted] Price--I believe it was $20 in person.

Short version: Buy it. Borrow it if you won't be getting anything for awhile. And then buy it later.

Long version: It's really, really good. With stories from April Valentine, Monica Rose Kiesel and Suzan Lovett, it has a nice blend of really short stories (as short as one page) to really long ones (as long as 122pp), really serious stories to really silly ones. A nice balance and some well written fiction that definitely makes this zine worth the price. It also has a cover (Vinnie and his three boyfriends) and two interior pieces (both Frank/Vinnie) all by Suzan Lovett. Personally, I don't think she quite has the WG people down quite yet (though the cover has the best Roger I've seen her do to date outside of the one pic she did of Roger/Frank/Vinnie with the tattoo) and the one interior illo with Frank naked and Vinnie in the blue robe seems a little flat to me, but I also don't care much for the perspective she's using.

"Satin Dreams" by Monica Rose Kiesel -- One of the shorter pieces, it's a flashback/dream to "No One Gets Out of Here Alive". A good mood setter for the zine, since most of the stories deal with Vinnie, Sonny and Frank.

"Colors by Candle-Light" by Suzan Lovett -- There are a finite number of words in the English language. It never ceases to amaze me (and frustrate me on a certain level) how some people can come up with combinations of these words (presumably finite, as well) that delight me while I fumble around in the dark. Suzan certainly knows how to put words together. I've always been more of a fan of her fiction than of her artwork (hearsay in the fannish world, I know) and it would upset me a great deal more to find out she was going to write no more fanfic than it would to find out that she was going to do no more artwork. In any case, this is a beautiful story and the first in an apparent series. It takes place around the time of "La Crime de l'Amour", specifically right before Vinnie tells Amber he's a cop. In this universe, it's shown that Vinnie and Frank are sometime lovers. She has both men very spot on and she especially captures the potential self-destructiveness of Frank's sense of right and wrong.

"Walking in a Winter Wonderland" by April Valentine -It's a first-time story set around--surprise, surprise--Christmas. Sweet and romantic, to be sure, but well done.

"And Which is an Illusion" by Monica Rose Kiesel -- One of the things that I think is an attraction of this show, at least for me, is how incredibly screwed up the main characters are. You have to wonder about a show where the ex-CIA, hitman who once cut out a Chinese prostitutes tongue when he was seventeen and goes around throwing ball-bearings at people turns out at the end of the series to be the most well-ballanced one of the bunch. This is an au where Sonny is not only alive, he's *ALIVE*. No Sonny the Zombie here, folks. Not that he's doing anything particularly mean and nasty--other than being alive and fucking with Vinnie's already fucked up head--but I'm just glad to see a story with him that seems to have a reason for bringing him back other than the fact that the author thought he had a nice tush. It's also a slight au since it takes the idea that Vinnie did not go to Seattle right after Lynchboro, but kept driving south. This is the first of what is at the moment supposed to be a trilogy and I can tell you that in the other two (hopefully to be published in the next SANCTUARY) are only going to get better. Meaning Vinnie has reason to get more screwed up than he already is and so do Sonny and Frank. Oh, and Roger is a player in this, as well, so there is definitely something in this story for everyone, aside from being a well written story.

"Show and Tell" by April Valentine -- A F/V first time story set right after "Meet Mike McPike". Interesting and well done and it makes me wonder if "To Die in Bettendorf" ever happens. Of course, Syd might have shown up, but who's to say he just didn't off Jenny and get caught later. Ahh, lovely thoughts...

"Crazy for Me" by Monica Rose Kiesel -- Only Frank McPike could have an emotional crisis regarding his lovelife while sitting in a dentist's chair being poked in the gums by his Dental Hygenist. Another short and sweet one. I do wonder how long that car wash they went into at the end was, though. "Stay" by [April Valentine] --A Roger/Vinnie story set during "Smokey Mountain Requiem" no my favorite pairing and not my favorite story, but still a decently done pwp.

"All That Lights" by S. Lovett -- The sequel to "Colors by Candle-Light", this is set during the DC arc. Again, very well done. Someone made the comment to me the other day that SL writes very "metaphorically", which is very true. (She also made the comment that she read Suzan's two stories in here and wondered why *she* even bothered writing anymore, a sentiment I also share on occassion.) Less heart-wrenching than incredibly sad, at least in part because you know where the show was heading, I'm really interested in seeing what she does with this series.

"Red Light" by Monica Rose Kiesel -- A *very* short (less than a page) S/V pwp that takes place--guess where? "Keeper of My Heart" by [April Valentine]--(F/V) This is the big one, the 100+ page story of the zine. Very ambitious, though I think it could have used one or two more edits to tighten it up, it incorporates the original show timeline (including the kidnapping of Vinnie) *and* the TV-Movie. I appreciated the attempt, if nothing else, to give more of an explanation of Frank's suicide contemplations and to wrap up the emotional plotlines that the movie completely ignored.

"Lococco Meets World" by Monica Rose Kiesel and April Valentine--Well, we all wondered. Okay, *I* wondered. Very funny idea of crossing WG and BOY MEETS WORLD. I think "He took her out with a single ice cube to the head" is also well on it's way to having it's very own place in fannish lore...

"Not Quite Paradise" by Monica Rose Kiesel -- Set sometime after Frank's shooting, he's still in the hospital and being driven nuts by Vinnie. It doesn't help that he's got these *feelings* for him, either. I *loved* Vinnie's response to Frank's revelation, I must say. A very nice, calm, romantic ending to the zine.

To sum up: Buy it. If you like romance, it's in there. If you like angst, got that, too. If you like your heros tortured and bleeding on their own emotional sidewalk (and lets face it, would you be a WG fan if you didn't?), then this is the zine for you. Anyone disagree? Agree? [2]

Issue 2

Sanctuary 2 was published in May 2001 and contains 240 pages. It has a color cover by Suzan Lovett and no other interior art.

cover of issue #2, Suzan Lovett. Title: "The Justinians". One fan commented about how the hyper-masculinity of Lovett's art could be a turn-off to non-slash fans: "I got official clearance from my boss to hang my framed print of "The Justinians" (Lovett WG color art with a nearly nude and bulging-crotched Vinnie splayed across the middle of it, holding an enormous sword) in my office, and the only comment I got was from a female coworker who said "He looks like he's about to cut his dick off."<sigh> *Not* good slash fan material, I fear."[3] A fan in 2010 said: "SL calls this cover The Justinians. Every time I see this cover, I spend a few moments pondering what world this is and what's going to happen." [4] [5]
[from the editorial]:

Welcome to the second issue of the Wiseguy slash zine. Sanctuary. There isn't much time for editorial nattering this issue but I'm delighted to be back doing a Wiseguy zine once again after a few years away. I've often said I don't leave fandoms, I just add new ones. I never reallyleft Wiseguy, I just did a few other things before returning to this most well-written television show's fandom.

It was Lucy who got me re-inspired when, last year at MediaWest, she handed me a story she'd written. It featured my favorite character, Frank, and the poor baby fared even less well in Lucy's story than he had in mine in Sanctuary 1. Lucy was full of enthusiasm for the Frank/Vinnie relationship and even had a thrilling story about meeting Jonathan Banks and that got me stoked up to do another issue.

Back this issue is my dear friend, Constance Collins, with more of her incomparable Vinnie/Sonny fiction. The stories she has in this issue will leave you smiling in one case and limp with exhaustion and shock in the other. What? You say you don't remember Constance from the last issue? Yes, you do. She just changed her name to protect her... er... innocence. You know who she is, believe me.

Suzan is back with another beautiful cover and another in her Light Trap series. I hope she gets lots of feedback to finish it one of these days. This installment is wonderful, another in her angst series about the relationship through the series of Frank and Vinnie.

Killashandra presents us with a little scene from the point of view of Lilla Warfield who had an affair with Frank during the Profitt arc. Can you say, "belt grab?" My stories this issue are "Who Needs Casabas?" which is also appearing at this time in the new issue of Awakenings, a multi-media zine, and The Outsider, Part 1. 'The Outsider, a Frank/Roger story — which in its subsequent part will delve into Vinnie/Roger — was inspired by an illo by Suzan.

Yes, there will be a Sanctuary 3 — obviously I have to finish The Outsider. Plus, there are many other Wiseguy stories in the works, including a rescuing Vinnie from El Salvador story I've been working on for some time.

Thanks to all the writers and to the Wiseguy fans who searched out the zine!

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 2

[comments by Constance Collins about "World on Fire"]: I was writing World on Fire. I knew the ending was going to be that Sonny was going to kill Frank. Mm. I knew that I wrote the scene at work in the restroom crying. I brought it home. I read it to Pat. She's just looking. Right. Oh, it's not the ending. There's a different ending, I just need to devices to get it out of my system. Four. And it took me years to actually finish the damn thing because I kept trying to come up with a different ending. And there wasn't one. This was the trajectory. That's how I look at it. You pick up a baseball, and you throw it, and it goes in that direction now. Yes, you can change that direction. You can put a tree there. You can have a wall there. Is there strong wind something? I mean, there are all kinds of things you can do to change the trajectory, but you can't just have a wall magically appear. Unless you're writing that kind of has to be intrinsic to the story. [6]


  1. ^ This art was for sale at Partnersrmore; WebCite
  2. ^ In 1997 Michelle Christian posted this review to the Virgule-L mailing list. It is quoted here with permission.
  3. ^ comment posted to the Virgule-L mailing list in July 1995, quoted anonymously with permission.
  4. ^ from a mailing list, quoted anonymously (November 2010)
  5. ^ This art was for sale at Partnersrmore; WebCite
  6. ^ Fan Flak 6: Beatles Slash, Dark Shadows, Fan Fiction (January 20, 2020)