Thursday, May 26, 2016

UnConventional: Let them Cre-8 Comics!

Wow.  It's been awhile since I've posted anything new, hasn't it.  What a shame -- at this point, I'm sure an (re)introduction is warranted.

Hi.  My name is Victor Dandridge.

As the owner and operator of Vantage:Inhouse, my self-publishing imprint, my job is to make comics.  Fun comics.  Thrilling comics.  Dramatic comics.  NEW comics.

In a lot of ways, we're just like the Big Boys of comics -- you know, Marvel and DC.  Granted, a WHOLE lot smaller, but still...  And while those guys might be corporately owned, with a mission of profitability and clout, they still maintain their business by MAKING COMICS.

Recently, there've been a lot of noise made about a lack of response to allegations of sexual harassment, purportedly enacted by one of DC's senior editors.  This noise has been an instrument of distraction, even as DC is making moves to give its entire imprint a refreshing (hopefully) redirect after DECADES of criticized "Grim&Gritty" storytelling.  For all the flack that Batman v Superman received for it's darkness and hopeless, you'd think the masses would be rallying behind Rebirth with a nostalgic fervor.

I know...DC Comics doesn't need little ol' me championing for them, but I feel compelled to say SOMETHING to this.  Their job, as it has been since before they were DC, (back when they were National Comics, is to make comics) -- it's even in their name.  Stop asking them to address political or social awareness concerns outside of the bounds of storytelling!  Expecting them to halt their business practice in light of ANY allegations, scandalous or otherwise, is COMPLETELY a lost cause and maybe even a little naive.

And that extends to any news media outlets that are continuing their coverage of COMIC RELATED news!  I just saw a buddy of mine (Aaron Sager of fame!) getting lampooned for writing about the recent spoiler leak on DC Rebirth #1.  Where he was genuinely discussing awareness of journalistic integrity, upholding the review embargo DC had specifically commissioned select news outlets to keep, he was being BLASTED for not harping coverage over the scandals behind DC's closed doors.

C'mon people.  Get it together.

And that's not to say that nothing wrong had occurred.  I'm not saying I side with DC on any of the harassment accusations.  What it is saying is that ALLLLL I expect from DC are weekly comics.  Maybe an awesome movie or few.  Now maybe this is my upbringing showing, but if DC WERE to incite any sanctions or what have you, then those actions and repercussions SHOULDN'T be public knowledge, because it's FAMILY BUSINESS.  And as my Mother told me, what happens in this house STAYS in THIS house!

So, let's all get back to the business of geekdom!  Put down your satirical pitchforks and your sarcastic torches, turn a page and enjoy some comics!  Of course maintain an eye for social awareness, but don't get so wrapped up in self-righteousness that you forget why we congregate together every Wednesday, like the holy day it is!!  That's my word and it is good!


Vic OUT!

Watch the UnConventional series, available exclusively on YouTube!

Monday, March 28, 2016

#DareToCompare: BvS vs. V:IP

For the cinematic phenomenon of the month, geekdom -- nay, the entire WORLD -- is actively choosing sides!  No, Captain America: Civil War is still more than a month out yet -- I'm talking about Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice!  While many reviewers and fans are crying foul at the silver screen's rendition of DC's most iconic heroes' first meeting, this comic fan found nothing but pleasure in watching the two work their way towards conflict!

Now, everyone is entitled to their opinions...if this movie isn't for you, I'm not even going try an attempt to convince you.  Instead, I'm going to point out how it SHOULD appeal to fans of the V:IP Universe!  So, if you're looking for some great comics to follow up your enjoyment of the film, or have LOVED our works and are on the fence about whether to check out #BvS, this is the post for you!

Since the mid-80's, seminal works of comic lit have shared a drastically realistic, if not gritty take on our superhero myths.  Works like the form-deconstructionist Watchmen, the company brand-building of Crisis on Infinite Earths, or the character resurrection of The Dark Knight Returns, all laid the foundation for the current frame of comic thinking that aims to infuse a seriousness into an art form so often shunned as "kid's stuff."  Ushering in this modern (Iron??) age, with a firmly closed door on the jest and pomp of the Silver Age, these stories replaced the glamour of super-heroics with unparalleled truth of the sacrifice, strife and trauma that comes from choosing to save the world around you.

In short...things got REAL.

It's been my goal, both as a writer and a publisher to add my works to that hallowed list of books that changed the way we saw our heroes.  Even though many books from this new era were released almost a decade before I started reading comics at all, I still felt there were stories to tell; character motivations to explore.  And in my earnest efforts, that's what I set out to do, specifically with two of my favorite titles adorning my table top: The Samaritan and The Trouble w/Love.

Depending on who you sided with in the battle of BvS, either of those series should carry some interest for you!  I'm going to take a second to REALLY look at the hows and whys -- and I'm sure if you give them a chance, you'll wholeheartedly agree!!

TEAM BATMAN: The Samaritan

Hard.  Unrelenting.  A force of nature.  While certainly recognizable characteristics of Zack Snyder's Batman, the same could be said for the enigmatic man known only as Smith...though, perhaps even to a greater degree!  In The Samaritan, Smith moves into an ugly, urban neighborhood -- one ravaged by crime and cruel self-interests.  But his presence has a purpose.  Imbued with a bevy of powers (not too dissimilar from Superman's himself), Smith is there to make a change.  His method's are fast and at times, violent; becoming a hooded vigilante that as much safeguards the neighborhood, as he does stalk it's indigenous predators.

In BvS, we find a Batman who seems completely fed up with the state of things around him.  That which has been accepted is FAR from acceptable, and he's unleashing the full measure of his abilities to bring the needed justice to those that have strayed from any path of righteousness.  Smith's motivations of soooo similar, though as yet, not fully explored.  Still, what we do get (The Samaritan #1-7), is that he's arrived to help -- he's aware of the misery around him and though he can only do so much, he WILL do everything he can to save at least one more person.  Tears may be shed, bones will break -- but the world WILL be saved.  Even if it's just one block at a time...

TEAM SUPERMAN:  The Trouble w/Love

Man of Steel featured one of the most polarizing renditions of Superman I believe to ever have witnessed (that includes the mulleted Return of Superman AND the Electro Red/Blue versions).  Unique.  Untrained.  And ultimately, unsure, this Superman made MANY mistakes in the face of the hero he WOULD BECOME (and what so many comic fans and creators, expected him to be).  The sheer total of the collateral damage he created (or specifically didn't help to stem), was even a plot motivation for the entire conflict of Bats v Supes!  It's in that same vein of peripheral short-sight that has made The Trouble w/Love our most critically acclaimed title to date.

Apex Prime, was a hero -- powerful and beloved -- an analog of Superman, without question.  But unlike the physical confrontations of MoS, Prime's was a war of the heart...and his casualties to bear were that of a broken family.  By the third page, Prime submits the theme and context of the entire one-shot: "The trouble with love is you can't punch it in the face!"  A revelation which shows the extent of his humanity, despite the myriad and range of his super-human powers.   In TTwL, Prime's humanity is on full display when, though he's seemingly happily married with a young son, he meets and falls in love with a police officer during a chance encounter.  Where the truth and fullness of his feelings towards this other woman are new and ultimately inescapable for him, his exploration of them costs him in ways that he truly didn't see coming.  Emotionally driven, Prime makes choices that draw the ire of the one person who not only feels capable of judging his recklessness, but physically able to address them -- his own son.

Both The Samaritan and The Trouble w/Love are complete in their initial conception, but the stories for either are FAR from over!

Having just celebrated 5 years since the release of The Samaritan #1, we're doing a fundraising campaign to fund The Samaritan #8: Serendipity (w/ Ren McKinzie returning on art), which promises to take things in a brilliant, new direction.  You can find out how YOU can support the production and guarantee your copy HERE.

We're also working steadily on a follow up to The Trouble w/Love called NEVER TOO LATE (feat. Harold Edge and Ryan Carter on art), where Prime risks all there is to right the turmoil his actions created!

Hopefully, this post has piqued your interest!  If you've yet to grab either of these titles, look for them at (for digital) or (for print) and let us know what you thought!!!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Come See Me...!

This weekend I'm heading back to Vegas for the 2016 Wizard World event!

I'm bringing the whole V:IP roster back to Sin City, ready to share our stories with our growing fanbase!  Come by, see what we've been working on since last year and get a few tidbits of what's to come!

As the graphic above shows, we'll be at Table C15 in Artist Alley (next to the LEGENDARY Peter David!!!), a sweet corner booth with a setup for both our self-published titles -- including the PREMIERE of our Script Cover comics, which will be raising funds for production of The Samaritan #8!!  -- as well as our immensely popular U Cre-8 Comics line of products!

It'll also be a busy weekend of panels for me as well!


6:00 - 6:45pm: SPOILERS!!  Phase Three Speculation on the Marvel Cinematic Universe

If you read comics at all, chances are good that you have your own theories on what's to come in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and how Feige, the Russo Brothers, James Gunn and all the Creatives at Marvel Studios are shaping it up.


12:30-1:15pm: U Cre-8 Comics Presents: Character Crafters with Victor Dandridge

Are you the next GREAT comic creator?!  Take the Raconteur's challenge and design your own character from start to finish!  Establish powers, design costume ideas, create an origin story and more with U Cre-8 Comics -- the PERFECT jumpstart to YOUR comic universe!

5:30-7:00pm: Wizard World Costume Contest w/ Prizes Sponsored by Bandai Namco

Hosted by our very own superheroes, Mo Lightning and Victor Dandridge, the Wizard World Comic Con Costume Contest is no joke.  The best of the best will be dressed to impress in their superhero & pop culture finest, so be prepared for some serious cosplay!  Grab your buddies and suit up to take a chance at bringing home the gold!  A very special "Best Anime" category has been added, thanks to our sponsor, Bandai Namco!  Special guest judges Jackie Craft, Mogchelle, and Ganda Kris!

Saturday, March 12, 2016

The Samaritan Script Covers -- HOW TO GET YOURS!

Ladies and less than 7 days, the first of The Samaritan Script Covers will be available for purchase!

March 18th marks the official 5 year anniversary of The Samaritan #1 making a splash at C2E2 (2011)!  Unfortunately, we're not returning to the McCorrmick Center, where the world was first introduced to Smith and the world he aims to save -- instead we're heading west to Wizard World Las Vegas, where we're betting our push to fund the next issue of will have a TREMENDOUS start!

We've already spoken about the why's of this campaign.  Now, let's get into the ins-and-outs of how all this is actually going to work!

While striving to come up with something truly fun and unique, we're pulling inspiration DIRECTLY from the original series!  True fans of The Samaritan well remember us crafting the compelling story of Smith, valiantly using his tremendous powers to save the world, through seven, 8 page chapters. Keen readers even noticed we used a 9-panel grid structure to create conjoined images to extend the FEEL of the reading experience.  We're keeping that same construction with this new issue, but it's not just informing the flow of the story -- we're also using it for our campaign!

Each new script page from issue 8 will be featured on the cover of the corresponding issue from the previous series (Page One panels and dialogue will be featured only on Issue One covers).  How many panel groups there are for that page will determine how many copies of that script cover issue there will be!

So here's the breakdown per issue...

Issue #1 Script Book: 5 Copies

Issue #2 Script Book: 5 Copies

Issue #3 Script Book: 7 Copies

Issue #4 Script Book: 7 Copies

Issue #5 Script Book: 6 Copies

Issue #6 Script Book: 7 Copies

Issue #7 Script Book: 5 Copies

Issue #8 Script Book: 4 Copies*

Each Hand-written Script Cover will be sold at $25 each and as stated, buyers WILL get a producer's credit -- ANNNNNNNNND a comp copy of the 8th issue when it comes out!!!

Take note -- Script Books will only be released in CONSECUTIVE ORDER and require the full purchase of the FULL RUN of the previous page before the next page will be available!  There will be no skipping ahead or bouncing around!!  As we have this structured, Ren won't even start on the artwork for that page until it's been fully funded -- so our ENTIRE production schedule is in YOUR capable hands!!

Now, we did say that the pages to covers match up with the original series...I know, I're saying to yourself:

"If there were only seven covers and each issue has 8 pages, what about the final page of issue 8 -- what cover will those be on?"

That is being reserved for a VERY special update -- but ONLY once we've complete up to page 5's Script Book sets!  But trust us when we say -- you WON'T be disappointed!

Sunday, March 6, 2016

The Samaritan #8 -- How YOU will make this happen...!

We're quite excited that in just a few days (March 18th), we'll be celebrating the official 5 year anniversary of the release of The Samaritan #1!  And on one hand to highlight how far the series has come, as well as a reaction to fan outcry for more, series artist Ren McKinzie and I have conspired to bring you a BRAND NEW issue of The Samaritan series!!

Raising Funds:

Even with nearly a year's worth of planning under us, this project was truly not an expected expense for Vantage:Inhouse Productions.  But just because we didn't see this awesome issue coming, doesn't mean that we plan to skimp on ANY of the quality that has made The Samaritan the best selling V:IP book of 2015.  To that though, we're going to need your help!

Using a Kickstarter campaign was an obvious consideration!  But even with the popularity of the crowd-funding structure, it still didn't quite match what we wanted to do and to WHOM we're trying to appeal.  This isn't for the average comic reader or indy comics supporter -- this is built, from the ground up, for true DIE-HARD fans of The Samaritan series.  We're gunning for maximum exclusivity here, but in a way that will incite the widest spread acclaim possible.

Introducing..."Script Covers"...

Go to any convention right now, or pop on over on eBay and you'll see the growing trend of sketch covers, DOMINATING the original commissions market!  As a sometimes artist, I'm forever fascinated by the dynamic pieces creators are whipping out, often right there on the spot -- we've even produced a few ourselves (which you might still be able to find if you check our convention schedule!).

But as a writer, I've felt TOTALLY left out!  Lol.  That is...until now.

I've created a set of SCRIPT COVER editions of The Samaritan series!  Each one will feature a hand written panel description, character dialogue and/or caption from yours truly!  But what script will be detailed on these limited edition covers...why issue 8's of course!

That's right -- by supporting us, you'll get a sneak peek at what we've got in store for this exciting new chapter in the series!  Now, remember, we said this is for true diehards, so every person who purchases one of our script covers will have a PRODUCERS CREDIT in 8th issues release -- and we'll expect our producers to want to protect this project with the fervor that we have, so we'll be issuing NDA's (Non-Disclosure Agreements) so that you clever folks can't team up and share your covers before the book is out and get a BIGGER advantage over any other readers!

Now, since I've already written the 8th issue, we've pretty much gotten a clear idea of how this will truly go.  Less than 50 fans will be able to take part in this, so listen up, because once we get up and running, we anticipate hitting the ground running and HARD!

Check back soon as we go into more detail on exactly HOW and WHEN you can get in on the action!!

Monday, February 15, 2016

Celebrating 5 Years of The Samaritan...!

Looks good for a 5yr old...!
A little over a month away, Vantage:Inhouse will be celebrating the 5 year anniversary of our first release, The Samaritan #1.  Premiering at C2E2, back in 2011, this 8pg noir, with it's heavy shadows and subject matter, kickstarted what has been almost 6 full years of self-publishing!  But, because this is our first publication landmark, we're DEFINITELY wanting to celebrate in style and give fans something they've been clamoring for since the series wrapped up, two years ago.

A new issue of The Samaritan.

Us PREMIERING The Samaritan at C2E2!
Oh yeah -- you read that correctly!  We're returning to the world of The Samaritan, picking right up where we left off!  Questions will be answered, maybe a few more raised -- but fear not -- it's a wonderful ride for old fans and new fans alike!

Now, because this isn't just a regular issue or occasion, we're pulling out all the stops to get this one into YOUR hands.  And that includes a brand new, grassroots campaign to fund it's production.  But there will be more time for that later.  Right now, I want to take a second to tell you where this new issue got its root.

It all started after a..."friendly" email from my good friend Andy "Shaggy" Korty...

"So, I am not satisfied with my Samaritan comics.  Most of them have white space on the covers that need to be filled.  I intend to bring them to every show and I are at until you fill all those blank spaces with further adventures of Samaritan as Script Covers.  I have already picked up a sketch cover from Ren...Now I want more story from you.  So how much do you charge for script covers?  And don't say his adventures are done, you already wrote it open ended.  He left for another city.  Where?  Who is he taking down now?  Cleaning up what streets?  Is he hitting Eerie - where The Manor [Andy's self-published comic series -- BUY IT NOW] takes place?  I will be pestering you until you do these." 

Alright, here's the truth.  The Samaritan WAS always meant to be a fixed mini-series.  I know I left the ending open and ambiguous about it's ongoing status, but I seriously had intended for it to be just the seven issue bit we released.  And I swear, I told Andy that -- but honest to his word, he refused to accept it.

So, I got to thinking...if we DID continue The Samaritan in any way...where would we go?

The 2015 Des Moines Exclusive Variant

Fast forward to last year's Wizard World Des Moines...errrr, more specifically, the LONG ride home.  That nine hour trek became a soundboard session between series artist and co-creator, Ren McKinzie and I.  We hammered at every idea like a maniacal construction crew, first really looking at if we even SHOULD go back to the well (uh...yeah, our fans are asking for it), to what we would do (now, now, that would be telling...), to finally HOW we were going to do it (which Ren says I'm a total monster for!  LOL).  And by the end of it, we had this plan -- which when executed will be a GLORIOUS experience of storytelling, world building, art and overall -- comics!

I've teased enough (for now)...check back soon to get the scoop on just how we're planning to pull this off and how YOU can be involved!  Until then...keep reading V:IP!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Episode 100 of Black, White & Read -- "Happy Hundy!"

Photo courtesy of @HankofLemongrab via Twitter
We've made it all the way to 100 EPISODES of Black, White & Read ALL Over!  I'm soooo excited to have shared this experience with my awesome cohost Ryan [Seymore] and our illustrious producer, Shelby [Hunt]!  After nearly two years, I truly believe we have THE best review series on the net and its a constant source of pride to show up every week, reading great comics and having an absolute blast talking about them!!!

Episode 100 - "Happy Hundy"

The Readpile:
Spider-Man #1 (Marvel)
Deadpool & The Mercs for Money #1 (Marvel)
The Walking Dead #151 (Image)
The Vision #4 (Marvel)

Honorable Mentions: 
Klaus #3 (BOOM Studios)
Providence #7 (Avatar Press)
Captain Marvel #2 (Marvel)
Detective Comics #49 (DC)

Here's to AT LEAST 100 more shows!!!!