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!


Monday, April 27, 2015

It's Vegas, baby...and those are the stakes!!!

*Apparently, me am no talk good when I'm con-exhausted, jet-lagged and flying home.  I've gone through and corrected my bumbles to have a better stream of words!  

Wizard.  World.  Vegas.  This past weekend, the glitzy allure of Sin City called V:IP into its midst and while a good majority of the comic book world attended C2E2, myself (and quite a few other notable creators and personalities), headed out west to take part in Wizard's inaugural show in Viva Land!

Now, if you've followed my other media posts (and I sincerely hope you have!!!), you'll know I'm FAAAAAR from a critic of shows themselves, favoring a more...self-evaluating approach to exhibiting.  What I mean by that is if I attend a show and don't make what I "expected", then rather than blame the show -- IN ANY CAPACITY: not on celebs, not on Cosplay (NOT ON ANYTHING!!), I aim to evaluate my OWN performance!  What did I not do to ensure those sales?? In my mind, the only responsibility a show has is bringing people in the door; getting them to buy something...well, that's my job!!

Unfortunately, it's not a philosophy shared by A LOT of my peers and this show could've used a bit more consideration of its unique experience.

First I want to commend Wizard for taking a chance in a new market, especially one like Vegas -- a city seemingly known for everything BUT comics!  For a city built on touristy-attractions, opulent boutiques, and celebrity music stars, it was a bold move to consider that the Wizard World brand could find success here.  Even more so considering how much content they had planned to capture for their recent partnership venture, CONtv.


So the show may not have been PACKED.  Far from, actually, but that's not to say that there wasn't good attendance, just that it was spread out over the course of a VERY LONG convention hall that didn't give the best impression of the numbers on hand.  

From what I could tell, there was a mix of locals and people who travelled in just for the show (the promise of meeting media stars enough to prompt travel even across states).  And that means that Wzard's brand wasn't defunct, though it did seem that even they were hoping to pull more from the general visiting populace, which has an international range.  

Essentially, they took a gamble.  And as it sometimes happens in Vegas, it didn't really pay off.  But this was just Year One.  And even Batman's first attempts at vigilante heroism fell a few feet short of success.  I'm hoping they return next year, with a renewed gusto and fervor.  Because if you don't play BIG, the house ALWAYS wins.

As for myself, well, I had an INCREDIBLE weekend.  Maybe I didn't net the financial successes of previous shows, but I was able to expand my media presence -- doing an early morning interview for the show with ABC13 Action News, filming a CONtv segment with Damian Beurer (of Super Power Beatdown fame) and was a fill-in judge for the Wizard World costume contest!


 

And THAT was my weekend recap!  Follow my other social media outlets to catch other quips and pics from the weekend!!

Saturday, April 18, 2015

V:IP Takes the Stage...!



Wizard World is bringing back their Show Stage and asked for my help, not only in participating, but planning some of the fun!

Friday: 4:00-4:30pm Five Lines Challenge -- using a rotating cast of artists (Buzz, Mike Vasquez and myself), each must complete a fully rendered image out of the 5 lines (made at random) by the artist of the previous turn!

Saturday: 11:00-11:30am Tac-Au-Tac -- on a LARGE piece of paper, 3 artists are tasked with creating an image with a cohesive theme!  For this one, Buzz and I will be joined by Dan Hernandez, for a extreme mix of styles!

Sunday: 2:00-2:30pm How to Draw a Superhero -- It's Kids Day and I'm taking center stage, using my own unique ideas for showing kids how to draw their favorite superheroes -- USING LITTLE MORE THAN SHAPES!!!!

So don't miss me, next weekend as Vantage:Inhouse Takes Sin City!!!!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

New V:IP Daily List


Sometimes, it can be a challenge to provide constant updates on what's going on with V:IP -- a lot of times, we're too caught in the process of doing, that we forget to broadcast it to our growing number of fans!  Previously, we tried something called "the Eleven-Hour Work Day" -- where every 3 hours or so, we'd promote some facet of Vantage:Inhouse Productions.  It worked for a bit, but didn't quite have the traction we had hoped for -- particularly because it had VERY little interaction (which we're ALL about!).  


So, we're returning to that format, but with a bit of an update that will better acclimate our efforts to your interest!  We've made a list of our planned daily activities just 4 or 5 a day (so we're not annoying you!) that will keep YOU in the loop on what we're doing!  We hope that this helps you continue your support and gives you more reasons to love what we do and how we do it!

MONDAYS:

RECaps - Missed us at the latest convention or event?  No worries -- we'll be sharing our highlights from the event, first thing!

Gallery Show - We'll be taking excerpts from V:IP scripts (some new, some old) and putting them out there into the world.  Can't lie -- we'd LOVE to see some fan-art produced from this!

Black, White & Read ALL-Over - The hit, spoiler-free review series, needs YOUR help to pick which books get a look for the week!

TUESDAYS:

Gallery Show - We'll be reaching out to YOU, comics' BEST fans and asking what sort of art you'd like to see -- then, we'll have 1 hour to produce something cool in your honor!

U Cre-8 Comics - For the next 30 WEEKS, we're going to show you how the U Cre-8 Comics Character Crafter works by cre-8ing a NEW character every week!

WEDNESDAYS:

#DareToCompare - We've got some amazing titles in our library, but sometimes new readers need to see something familiar before they branch out!  We'll tell you which weekly new release best matches with something from the V:IP stable!

UnConventional - Let's talk about #makingcomics!  For one-hour, we'll have a Twitter discussion on some ideas about making comics!

Gallery Show - See what new/ show Exclusive covers are on the horizon!

THURSDAYS:

All about the Cons - Every update will be about prep for an upcoming event!

FRIDAYS:

#FollowFridays - There are people in the comic book biz you should know and I want to introduce you to them!

*There will be a few EXTRA activities not listed (can't give away ALL the fun!), but hopefully, this is bit to get YOU interested in following what V:IP is doing!!!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Not Every Hit is A Home Run...

I once said, in an internet argument, that no creator AIMS to make a bad book.  No matter the end result or critical reaction, the creators involved assuredly were putting out what they deemed the best of their abilities at that time.  I suppose one could argue that some parody and underground comics are made with a particular LACK of care or style, but I'm going to step off on a limb and say that even THOSE books are intended to showcase the highest level of schtick the creators had.

But what I've never dared to consider, is what to do when a title just happens to come up short.   When that one book, despite your genuine effort to make it work, doesn't stand up to your expectations upon completion?  Well, for nearly two years now, I've dealt with this dilemma -- my solution: act like that book doesn't exist...but I've seen the error in my ways!

In March of 2012, I released a short, 8pg black and white story called, The Villain.  Inspired (loosely) by the Millarworld shoot'em up, Nemesis (Millar/McNiven), this book was supposed to be my edgy-cool book -- a fast-paced little ditty that left you on a cliffhanger (apparently, the favorite ending choice per my career at that time.  See; Origins Unknown and The Samaritan).  The premise was...interesting -- the world's worst villain decides that he's had enough and wants to go straight, but his heroic arch-nemesis refuses to let him go, free and clear, if at all.  Raise your hands if this sounds like something YOU would read?

When I first set out to do this book, I wasn't even going to publish it!   Meaning, it wasn't going to be a Vantage:Inhouse (or at the time, I believe, WizWorld Inc.) book.  Instead, I was going to team up with an artist attached to an art studio in Central Ohio and they would serve as publisher.  But when that fell through, I went on the hunt, scouring page after page of Deviantart galleries, until I stumbled upon a pin-up of Blade (Marvel) that was rendered just so well, that I just KNEW this was the talent to bring this story to life.  And that's how I met Miguel Barriga!

Working with Miguel was a brand-new experience for a lot of reasons!  It was, technically, my second foray at working with an out-of-state talent (I live in Ohio and Miguel is from Cali), but the first to be completed -- I had started working with Harold Edge on The Trouble w/Love the year before.  It was Miguel's VERY FIRST sequential art job, which he openly admitted when we started talking about this project.  And...my first time working with someone I had actually NEVER met before (and still...) with no recommendation or voucher from vetted creator.

But we pulled it together and on March 8th, I proudly put up this POST.

Cover Redesign #1
In the years since, though, my love of The Villain definitely petered off.  It began with the cover -- something I cobbled together (another trait of mine is to use imagery from the issue to build the cover) -- the expanse of white, which seemed visually interesting to me, became more and more boring.  Possibly lazy.  And it affected how I saw the story itself.  It felt flat -- too little for the weight I thought it could carry.  So, I stopped carrying it.  I justified the move when a new title popped into my brainscape, inciting that I could return to the story, expanded to give it the weight and depth that I originally had intended.
Cover Redesign #2

But, lately, I've been reconsidering putting The Villain back out into the world.  Or at least putting a bit more energy in promoting its existence.  As much as I haven't been satisfied with it, its still a part of the V:IP legacy and that's something I should NEVER feel ashamed of or try to hide.  That's a form of fake prowess and I'm all about operating with a certain bit of transparency, if for no other reason than to encourage and inspire others making their own way.  So, its with great pleasure that I announce the return of The Villain!  I'm still settling on the new cover (because it deserves a fresh coat of paint, per se) and could really use your help in determining which one to use!

 As for my fellow creators, I hope this encourages you to either a.) rethink the value of a project -- with a little extra care, it could find new life and be something as viable as the day you set out to make it.
b.) don't shy away from the "flops" of your career.  Own them -- celebrate them, because they will show how truly great you've become!

The One Who Thought He Got Away is still a few years off.  But I'm happy to let this serve as a placeholder until its ready!  Look for it soon on digital platforms, Amazon.com and Peepgamecomix.com.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

#DareToCompare


V:IP doesn't aim to erase the great stories from their pedestals, we just want to add our titles to their ranks.  Look for this ad campaign to be explored at every turn!