Monday, June 27, 2016

2016 (So far), By The Numbers...

As I wrapped up packing the last book from my table at Derby City Comic Con, it marked the official end to the first half of this year's convention run.

How'd I do?

Well, how's this for an answer: 13 states.  14 cities.  9327 miles.*

9327 miles?!  That's further away than a trip to Honolulu, HI (4509 miles...so I could've gone to Hawaii -- TWICE!), Tokyo, Japan (6561 miles), or even New Delhi, India (7545 miles).  I could've gone to Antananarivo, Madagascar (9176 miles) and still had room to walk around a bit.

And while that double shot to Hawaii DOES sound awesome, I couldn't have passed up on the opportunity to do so many AMAZING comic conventions!  Having done SOOOOOOO MANY shows in 2015 (about 50 comic book related events!), the seeds for V:IP readership have been sown far and wide!  I admit, I was a little nervous that retreading those waters would mean disastrous sales, but I was absolutely WRONG!  In many cases, over the 14 shows we've done this year, we've had quite a few repeat readers come back, hankering for more of that V:IP Treatment!

With that, to date, we've had to order more than 800 books to fill our inventory!  Believe me when I tell you, that's a WHOLE lot of comics to move in ONLY direct contact sales!

But we're just getting started!  Already, we're working on V:IPhase2, which will roll out EIGHT new titles over the next few years (while still finishing the current runs of Wonder Care Presents: The Kinder Guardians and Origins Unknown: Who vol 2).  We want to make sure we're giving you something new as often as possible, to keep our readership growing stronger!

Wanna catch me on the next wave of shows?  Check out our tentative convention schedule with the link to the right!




*This figure is based on one-way travel miles, ONLY! 

Friday, June 24, 2016

So THAT didn't quite work...



Will Smith has my favorite line from the movie Bad Boys -- "My plan always works, sometimes!"  It's the perfect mixture of absolute bravado with just a hint of insecurity that plagues even the best of us.  And it PERFECTLY illustrates why we're giving up on our Script Cover campaign to fund the Samaritan #8.  


...hmmmm.  Actually, "giving up" is too strong of a phrase.  It's hard to shut down a project that BARELY got off the ground!  And to be frank, I have no one to blame but myself.  

Being a self-publisher, means I wear a lot of hats.  Day in and day out, I'm balancing more than a few jobs that are typically manned by several individuals when dealing with a larger publishing house.  I'm far from complaining -- I really LOVE what I do, as well as the hardships I might endure.  But, one of my sincere shortcomings is longterm promotion of any one project or idea.  I bounce all over the place, working on this thing and the next and there are times when I want something specific to happen, but get creatively drawn somewhere else before seeing the results I had hoped for.  


This is a prime example of that.  March 18th marked the 5 Year Anniversary of the release of The Samaritan #1 and I wanted to commemorate that with the release of a new 8th issue.  But what I didn't do was maintain a strong enough campaign to make sure the world (and the gracious fans of the series) knew it was coming and how to get there.  My promotions were sporadic (at best) and I didn't have a strong enough pitch for it when I was at the 9 conventions I attended while it lasted!  And with only ONE script cover sold (which will be refunded), I didn't make nearly the headway to funding the project like I thought I would. 

Now, what does that mean for YOU the fan of V:IP/The Samaritan series?  Well, for starters, there will be no individual release for issue #8.  :( I know, I had looked forward to having a set of books released that would form a massive, interconnected cover too, but it's just not financially smart to push for that anymore.  

Not when I can personally fund issue #8 and make it a special feature of a graphic novel edition of the whole thing!  That's right -- we're STILL going to have that 8th issue -- it's WAAAAAAY too important to what I've got planned with V:IPhase 2, but it's time to stop hemhawing and get you guys a fat collected edition that can sit on your bookshelves with pride!  And we've got a tentative goal of premiering the trade at this year's New York Comic Con (Oct. 6-9th)!  

Check back soon as we not only continue to unveil what all is in our next docket of books, but also, what features will be included in the trade!  We KNOW you'll LOVE IT!


New Partnership Brings V:IP and UltraPRO TOGETHER!



A chance meeting at Wizard World Philly has brought about a unique partnership with UltraPRO -- the leading provider storage supplies for your geekdom!  I received my first shipment of UltraPRO products and COULD NOT WAIT to tear into them and of course, I want to share some of that experience with YOU!

Check me out at my next show to see just HOW I'm using these UltraPRO goodies to continue giving YOU the V:IP Treatment!!

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 Blastr.com 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 www.peepgamecomix.com (for digital) or www.indyplanet.com (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!

Friday 

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.

Saturday 

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!