Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Weekender

I can certainly attest, being self-employed is cause for many long working hours, late nights and no days off.  But while the grind of following my dreams and passions can be daunting, they aren't without their cushions of fun, experience and prestige!  This past weekend, DEFINITELY counts as such -- with so much happening, it kinda illustrates why my banner says I'm "The Hardest Working Man in Comics"...! (LOL)

Thursday:

One of the perks of my AMAZING partnership with Comic Town (in addition to co-hosting Black White & READ All Over and them carrying V:IP titles) is working together on joint outreach opportunities!  The latest saw us returning to the Gateway Film Center, as part of the Geek Sneak event for the release of Ant-Man!

All work and no play...actually its all fun!
Built to add a commemorative experience to the initial showings of pop culturally viewed "Geek" movies, the Geek Sneak had scientist doing live demos on ants, experiments showcasing size augmentation and compression (with MARSHMALLOWS!!!), a specialized menu (featuring Pym Particled Popcorn Shrimp) and a Comic Town pop-up shop!

I was on hand, signing books for a number of generous readers (thank you all!).  It was a test of my tenacity as a creator, because while I was out in the lobby, my family was happily watching Ant-Man...without me....(tears).  But at least they were able to snap this quick shot of Ryan and I promoting BW&R, right before the trailers started!

Friday:

Coming back to the theatre, I manned the CT pop-up, selling my books and promoting my appearance at S.P.A.C.E. (Small Press & Alternative Comics Expo).  I think Ant-man kinda lost out to Trainwreck, but I still had quite a few people swing by to chat me up!

Artwork for Colonies!
The ease of traffic DID afford me the opportunity to finish the artwork for the mini-comic "Colonies," I had started -- a kind of autobiographical story about my time as a comic creator...told through the lens of being an ant.  Its a bit more alternative than what I'm known for, but I think stretching those muscles is always an attempt to improve!

And to make it all EVEN better, I got to see Ant-man myself!  It really is a good movie -- full of the heart and charm that I think won me over with Thor and fit better in the Marvel Cinematic Universe than Iron Man 3 did!

Saturday:

Me and the Indy Huntress, Crystal O'Rourke!!!
Ugh...I hate -- Hate -- HATE being late.  Especially for shows.  But as luck would have it, car issues kept me from arriving and setting up at SPACE until nearly 10:30 -- a whole half-hour after the show opened.  But luckily, I was able to setup pretty quickly and get a nice walk around, saying hey to all the people I know.

If you've followed me on social media, you may note that SPACE genuinely has a special place in my heart.  Though not necessarily the most lucrative of shows I regularly attend, its a hallmark of my city AND my career.  Its a home to me and just like with real families, the people that live there don't always see eye to eye, nor do we always like each other.  But we're there for something bigger than any us and its always good to feel that creative energy.

I got to see a few people I hadn't in a while, and others I hadn't seen BEHIND a table even longer.  Its good to know that even though so much life has happened, comics (and SPACE) are never too far away to help bring them back in.

Sunday:

It's finally HERE!  After WEEKS of hype and promotion, the fateful day of Ol' Crazy & the 40oz of Death release has finally arrived!  With a scheduled signing with series artist, Bryan Moss, we FINALLY had Ol' Crazy join the ranks of The Samaritan and The Trouble w/Love on our table.  The response to it has already been phenomenal (we actually have it available for digital download RIGHT NOW through Peepgamecomix.com), but seeing it in person FLOORED everyone, both creators and readers, alike!
Local artist, Brian Williams grabbed the FIRST copy!

While I'm not usually on panels at SPACE, I was asked by Bill Campbell of Rosarium Publishing to take part in a discussion on diversity -- one of the hot button issues in the industry right now.  Joined by Canada Keck and Dara Naraghi, we did our best to use our individual experiences to voice both the conundrums and advances with regards to such challenging subject matter.  I think it was a healthy representation of the different viewpoints, but one that is innately limited in its affectively, because we ONLY have so long to talk about it!

And THAT was my weekend!  I know, I know...I live a VERY awesome life!  Be on the look out for more from V:IP -- we've got plenty of things in the works, as well as the upcoming release of Wonder Care Presents: The Kinder Guardians #3 -- BEWARE THE KID NAPPER!!!!!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

COMING SOON: Wonder Care Presents: The Kinder Guardians #3


In just a few short weeks, the Kinder Guardians will return in a brand new adventure!


 Wonder Care Presents: The Kinder Guardians #3
"Beware the Kid Napper!"

Written by Victor Dandridge
Art by Justin Castaneda

Quickly; quietly -- SNEWZ HAS COME!  Can the Kinder Guardians stand up to their first big-baddie in this thrilling issue that begs to ask, do you believe in monsters?

12pg (8pgs of story + activities)
Full Color
$2.99 USD





But you don't have to go COMPLETELY without -- here's a sneak peek -- straight from Justin's drawing station:




And don't forget to  see our newest #DareToCompare campaign, where we're offering a free read of Wonder Care Presents: The Kinder Guardians #1!


Wednesday, June 10, 2015

BLACK WHITE & READ: Ep. 67





The laughs abound aplenty in this week's episode!  I don't know what happened, but Ryan and I were clearly in our LESS mature frames of mind!  (LOL!)  But besides our taste for debauchery, we share our love for some pretty spectacular comics!

WeirdWorld #1 (Marvel) - Jason Aaron (w) and Mike Del Mundo (a)
Batman #41 (DC) - Scott Snyder (w) and Greg Capullo (a)
Chrononauts #4 (Image) - Mark Millar (w) and Sean Murphy (a)

Honorable mentions:
All Star: Section 8 (DC) - Garth Ennis (w) and John McCrea (a)
The Mantle (Image) - Ed Brisson (w) and Brian Level (a)

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Kickstarting: A Road Less Traveled...?! Pt. 1

Last round of edits.  Survey responses.  Printer follow-ups.  I am in the midst of an aftermath!  As announced just a few days ago, our Kickstarter campaign, From Bits to Books, successfully ended at 1074% of our funding goal!  (Yaaaay!)  More than anything, I owe a great deal of thanks to the 44 very GENEROUS backers who lent their support financially (and the scores of others who diligently shared it!) to put this venture on top.  Your efforts are responsible for all the joyous feels I have, right now!
I just CAN'T figure it out!

It took me quite a while to build up the courage to launch this project.  Previously, I've written about my absolute FEAR of Kickstarter and other like crowd-sourcing programs.   While curious and admittedly envious about the multitude of other campaigns that have literally broken molds over the last few years, I had settled on spying them from afar, unsure of how to stick my toe in those proverbial waters.  They were creatures I couldn't quite wrap my head around -- I couldn't see how they worked, at least within the scope of my own publishing ideals.  And it wasn't just the "WHAT TO FUND" question that plagued me, but also the "what does it all mean" questions in the realm of production responsibility, customer service and brand building.  I'll be the first to admit that maybe I was over thinking it a bit...

CONFESSION TIME...if you've run a Kickstarter or Indiegogo campaign, I've probably judged how you did it.  Even if I put in on it.  Sorry.

I've had my own thoughts and theories about how to navigate business in this wonderful world of self-publishing comics.  And for a time, those ideas seemed to make me stand out (in very specific instances) from a lot of my publishing peers.  So when I saw countless of creators asking for THOUSANDS of dollars -- no matter how clever the campaign or how awesome the team behind it, I couldn't help but think, "No, no, no...you're doing it all wrong."  

Lol.  I know -- how can someone whose only other KS venture was a half-hearted plea for money that didn't do diddly, possibly know what he's talking about?!  Well, here was my concern, laid out and made plain: longevity.  With the sums that quite a bunch of these campaigns were going for, I couldn't fathom anyone needing to return to that well for some time!  But sure enough, those same creators would be back at it, months later either for the next installment or some other measure.  To me -- and take that for what it is -- that shows a lack in forward thinking or planning, and that doesn't make for long-term business.  Again, take that for what it's worth.

Imitation is the HIGHEST form of flattery...or so they say!
But I couldn't ignore the numbers.  Kickstarter has funded thousands (if not millions) of comic book projects at this point and while I might have had apprehensions for myself, it was quickly looking like I was the ONLY one.  So I decided to take action and launched a private campaign, aimed at piggybacking on the rewards concept crowdfunding seemed built around, Kickstarted Forever.  By offering a series of prominent rewards, but eliminating the based funding goal aspects, I thought I had THE most clever marketing campaign that would allow for me to slowly fund upcoming projects through the open promotion of existing ones.  For two years I ran it on this very website and the results were ABYSMAL!  Lol!  I think I MAY have collected a sum total of $50, even after assigning projects like Wonder Care and Ol' Crazy as the financial goals.

Still, all was not loss and I found new inspiration in the most unlikely of places.  The infamous "Potato Salad" campaign, which seemed all at once both utter genius and a mockery of the ENTIRE crowdfunding process, locked in the notion of what I thought was necessary to truly do this thing right: MARKETING.  With PS, the goal was a minuscule $10, which I'm sure it made in a matter of minutes.  But due to word of mouth, tomfoolery or whatever you attribute, it had garnered some $70,000 before the public tide began to turn on it (and still ended somewhere above the $50K mark).

That was my hook right there!  Just like with Kickstarted Forever, my focus wouldn't be to build capital to launch new works...at least not yet (;-P).  First I had to shine some light on what V:IP had already managed to eek out into existence.  And using Kickstarters VAST outreach of some 2M (that's TWO MILLION) users -- I thought that maybe...just MAYBE...I might be able to pull off a marketing campaign of Potato Salad like proportions!  And thus, From Bits to Books was born...

To be continued.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Weekend Recap...!



- It was return to the show stage for me, where I was joined by my WW Vegas contestants, Buzz and Mike Vasquez (and new pal, Beau Wilkens).  We had quite the lively crowd -- full and engaging, making the 5 lines challenge a fun way to kick off the show.
   Just hours ago, my flight landed, ending my inaugural trip to Minneapolis for the Wizard World Comic Con!  The Twin City was a wonderful pl
ace -- a lively metropolis, whose citizens are FULL of pride for their city!  And as always, I never have a bad time when I'm at a show -- so how about a few of the highlights that made my weekend so great!

- At the Marvel vs. DC panel, I turned some heads with my thoughts on the newly released Avengers: Age of Ultron!  I'll be sharing my thoughts soon -- with appropriate spoiler warnings!!!

- We DEFINITELY had some fun at the Drink&Draw -- I was on hosting duties (I'm growing quite fond of that, btw), buuuuut...I have to admit, I was a little disappointed that Kevin Smith's "An Evening With" event ran at the same time -- I TOTALLY wanted to go to that!!!

- Saturday, was a fun mix -- we did the Tac-au-Tac challenge, with Buzz and Mike returning, as well as new friends Gordon Purcell and Joey (from Toxic Comics).  There were a few awesome drawings that came outta of that one and some VERY lucky fans to win them.

- I returned as a guest judge of the costume contest!  That's becoming a highlight to me -- seeing so much creativity and ingenuity at play!

- My U Cre-8 Comics panel was Sunday and though we ran out of workbooks, we still managed to have an AMAZING session!  It's always amazing to me the way participants get into the project, asking questions and exploring aspects of comic book making they'd never considered before!

- And just to punctuate the coolness of it all, I had a little chat with View Askew celeb, Jason Mewes at the airport, about being on the con circuit and seeing when our schedules will line back up.

Definitely a good weekend.

AND DON'T FORGET!!!  We launched our Kickstarter: From Bits to Books last week and we're already over 300% of our goal!  Take part AND tell a friend!

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Let's Get KICKSTARTED...!



For years, I've been leery of Kickstarter.  Even as it had grown to be a viable resource for creators of every magnitude, literally helping them raise MILLIONS of dollars towards their creative efforts, I was still unconvinced.  It's not that I thought it was a sham, or anything -- exactly the opposite.  My fear was that it was wellspring that was TOO good.  One that had the potential of being overly tapped and FAAAAAR too often!

So, I went about every which way I could think of to NOT use Kickstarter.  But then I got an idea that was just too good not to.

What if it wasn't about fundraising...per se?  What if, and thanks to Danger Brown, I truly believe this is possible -- what if, you could use Kickstarter as a means of marketing already completed projects, to the MILLIONS of backers who have shown interest in vetting Kickstarter projects?

That's when I realized, that's EXACTLY what I want to do.  No, scratch that.  That's exactly what I've DONE!

ANNOUNCING: FROM BITS TO BOOKS -- A KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN!!!

The goal here is simple -- to use Kickstarter as a focused means of telling the world about my books!  Sure, I've gained some fans over the years, but there's (literally) a WHOLE WORLD of potential readers out there and right now, Kickstarter has their attention!  So, take a sec -- watch our video and get some books, if not for yourself, then for someone who'll love them!