Here is a sneak peeks at what's going on in The Samaritan #3 as well as my process for writing it! With The Samaritan using a form of the 9 panel grid system, its IMPERATIVE that I know where each image piece is going to go, so I can suggest to Ren [McKinzie] where they're to go to construct the larger picture. Having a background in art helps TREMENDOUSLY, giving me the tools I need to lay out the ideas in little thumbnail sketches.
Once these are in place, I know both what the panel groups are going to be and what actions I've dictated within. Then its off to script -- this one, I can't really show ya (the books not even out yet!), but part of my process DOES include reading the dialogue aloud and acting parts of it out -- hope my neighbors don't mind!
When I've gotten the script pretty much locked in, I do a visual guide that I'll send along with it. I use color coding to show which panels go together, painting a better picture for Ren to base things off of.
(This one is from issue #1)
The end result is SUPER AWESOMENESS!!!!
The CR love CONTINUES! I had a GREAT time kickin' it with Bill Gladman and Frank Raynor for ep#45 of The Raynman Power Hour-- we joked hard and laughed harder! C'mon and listen to the fun and have a laugh with us! ENJOY!
Be the first to get The Samaritan: Collected Edition vol 1 -- SIGNED by series creators Victor Dandridge (writer) and Ren McKinzie (artist). Featuring the previously released, first two chapters ("Moving Day" and "Gossip"), as well as the debut of the third chapter, "The Fix". Available ONLY on Ebay!!!
The Samaritan: Collected Edition
Written by Victor Dandridge
Art by Ren McKinzie
Black & White 28pgs
Published by Vantage:Inhouse Productions
I kicked off my full-time comic booking venture with a trip to NYCC as a fan, so it's with the GREATEST pride that I return just ONE YEAR LATER as a PRESENTER! Yesterday I got my CONFIRMATION that I'm going to be a panelist for the Kids Day Event at New York Comic Con this October! The U Cre-8 Line is taking Manhattan like The MUPPETS! So, BRING THE FAMILY and let's make some comics together!
Spurred by my good friend, Lee Newman, the good folks at Comicbooked did a piece on Vantage:Inhouse! Jacques Nyemb was an EXCELLENT interviewer and a newfound friend (and is going to be a new father -- CONGRATS, sir!) and we had a great time chatting it up. You can read about it here!
Guess who was the guest on this week's installment of the Related Recap?! That's right, I sat down with my GREAT friend Chuck Moore of ComicRelated and chatted up my history with comics, what I'm doing with V:IP and some more comic booky goodness. Follow the jump and take a listen!
The House of Ideas is GREAT at producing thought provoking teasers for upcoming series and events and that's a quality I'm going to emulate to the best of my ability! So consider this the first installment of "Teaser Thursday" where I'm going to showcase something from an upcoming project! I'm going to give away prizes to anyone who can call where the inspiration for these teasers came from -- so PAY ATTENTION!!!!
I'm sure I don't have to say how much I LOVE this project! Its been more than a pleasure working with Harold Edge and Ryan Carter and I'm eagerly looking for new opportunities to work with them both!
This project is like a childhood dream come true! I working with Yusuf Lateef and Darryl Banks, two artists who I have admired FOR YEARS!! I can't wait for this one to blow you guys away!!!
Without question, I was upset about the supposed "miscommunication" that lead me to Chicago for naught, but let me point out what I deem THE REAL ISSUE to be: A total and complete lack of customer service! Whether you agree that I had the go-head for the show or think I did presume too much, the bottom line is that I was THERE! Worst case scenario (for me) is that I was so OVERZEALOUS about getting to work with you (Wizard) that I hop-skipped 6 hours, survived Chicago traffic (just how fast do you have to go to get a ticket there?) and spent more than I should have, to do so -- I say REWARD that kind of aspiration! With all the negative intonations floating out there about the company (the mainstream publishers have abandoned the Wizard World shows, being scooped up by rival promoter, ReedPOP and their print magazine folded after nearly 20 years of publication), you'd think they'd be all about someone who was so all about them, right?!
Perhaps if it was MY idea to attend Chicago, I wouldn't feel so chided...my pitch to them was open for any Wizard show, but I did specify that I'm in Columbus, OH, home of the Mid-Ohio Con that they purchased just last year. Why not offer to set me up at my local show to make things square, we could've worked out whatever arrangements "C" had in mind right then and there. Now, to be honest, nothing short of a free-space would've flown for that show, but I'm saying...
And even if you couldn't appease me as creator, see if you can reach me as a fan -- see if offering me free passes to the Chicago show doesn't tap my geek-gasm button a few times (yeah...it would have!). And how far my voice would've spread singing their praises for such an magnanimous display if they did both! But alas, and all that -- their best offering was for me to drop a car payment or rent (depending on where you are in life) to attend. For my money, that offering is MUCH too little and certainly too late!
Still, things weren't a total loss! Mom and I headed for the city, walking Michigan Ave so many times that the "Magnificent Mile" was more of a half-marathon. We hit the AMC by the shore (I'm only $16 away from my $10 freebies!) to see Rise of the Planet of the Apes (this was Mom's first time, my third -- seriously, the movie's THAT GOOD!) and enjoyed the rude service of Ed Debevic's, whose slogan is "Eat and Get Out!" But this was a good trip even on a business level. I'm very pro-contract and this weekend has shown me that they're necessary even when dealing with corporate entities. I'm currently working on my own verbiage for one that I'll send along with my proposals in the future. And with the signing of that contract, you ARE confirming my presence at your show -- the ambiguity that Wizard claimed is gonna make me be a bit anal-retentive in my affirmations of deals and all that. But I'd rather you tell me "yes" seventy-six times than to be caught in this situation again! Also, trades will NOT be suggested, but a REQUIREMENT if I'm performing the U Cre-8 Comics line -- if I don't actualize the value of the product, I can't expect anyone else to, right?!
So to wrap it all up, I was upset, but honestly came out unscathed! I had a good time, with great food and even better company (I love you, Mom!!!!), but if you're facing a situation like this, keep my story in mind as fair warning. Get FINAL confirmation for all that you do, even if you have to be crazy redundant about it! With respect to Wizard, I'm writing a formal letter of complaint to Stephen Shamus, Chief Marketing Officer of Wizard Conventions and WON'T be attending another show of theirs for while...and even then, they're footing the bill!
Thanks to everyone for following along, I hope this misadventure was a much of an experience for you as it was for us! Now it's time to get back to work - we got some comics to make!
So after the last batch of emails, MY impression is that I'm on-board for the Kids' Day Event, a last-minute addition which accounts for why I wasn't included on the official roster for the weekend -- though, my friends at Comicrelated.com were ready to promote my participation (Thanks guys!). But let me back track and reveal what should've been ANOTHER reveal that things weren't on the up and up!
CLUE #3: In "C"'s email, they stated, "...everyone participating in the Kids' Day is getting it as an added value for their paid participation." Are they really suggesting that its an added value to ME to perform for THEM?! That sounds AWFULLY boisterous and considering the current climate (contempt) a lot of people have had with Wizard over the past few years (folks like mainstream publishers), I'd say its at least mutually beneficial for us to partner up, right? Still, I digress...
Okay, so the situation stands at: I'm to be a feature of the show and I'm waiting to find out what kind of discount I'm getting on the table fee, which is my "tradeout" for participating. Mind you, this is all just 9 days before the show itself, so I've gotta put a lot of things into motion to account for my share of things: hotel, travel, food expenses, getting things printed, etc., etc., et al...org (that was supposed to be funny). But in the hub-bub of it, I only managed a single phone call to see what was up on that discount, which I'll admit wasn't NEARLY enough effort on my part. Especially when...I didn't get a response...BUT AGAIN, it's 9 days before the show -- that's GO TIME for EVERYBODY! Being the KING of optimism, I figure we can work out the discount situation when I get to the show (similar situations have played out so in the past), so I pack up and take off!
The ride was smooth and full of laughs (we learned on the radio that someone named their child "Shot-of-Vodka"...no, seriously...) and though the hotel was a bit further out than I had intended for it to be, we were in good shape to have a GREAT weekend! And despite my optimism, I'm also about not waiting until later for what I can do now, so I opt to go to the show and see where things are with the discounted table...and here's where the fun truly begins...
I'm introduced to "A", who heads up Artists Alley at the show and reveals that they've gotten no knowledge of any supposed discount that I'm supposed to get. Now they say this not with any air of "hmmm, I might've missed it," but rather, "no, "C" didn't say that and you're lying" disdain. It was off-putting, especially after a six-hour car ride, but I figure, they're just as tired having dealt with God knows how many of our nerd-kind with the show's opening. Even worse is the blank look I get when I reiterate that the discount is a trade for my participation in the Kids' Day Event. Worse still is when I'm told that there's nothing saying I'm to be a part of that either. When I ask for "C", I'm told that they've left for the day (which to me was a good sign for getting things worked out that they'd actually BE at the show), but that "A" will email "C" when "A" gets back to their room (this is starting to sound like stereo instructions...sorry). I email "C" myself with this:
I've arrived in Rosemont this evening and went to check in at the convention center, but there was nothing on file of my participation. "A" is going to get back with you on that this evening to clear up any misunderstandings. I'd hate to think that I indulged this trip/expenses for nothing. I can be reached via cell at 614-419-**** and am staying at the Westin Chicago Northwest.
True to form, I got no response that evening and if you check my Twitter Feed, you can see where I start to postulate how bad this situation COULD be. But I set my aim to rectifying everything in the morning, assured it was just a misunderstand...
THE NEXT DAY: I get to the convention center bright and early, about 8am or so, and scout the registration area for "A" or "C". After a "rousing" convo about whom I actually need to speak with first (if I know whom I need to speak with and it's not you, does it really matter why I need to speak with them?), I see "A" coming in and her first words after seeing me are "I didn't have a chance to email "C" last night (BAD OMEN), but that "C" will be in shortly. So I recommit to waiting for "C", whom I've never seen before in my life, eagerly eyeballing each person I think "C" could be. FORTY-FIVE MINUTES LATER...I'm still waiting, having paced the stretch of registration booths a few times and getting those awkward looks from both the staff and volunteers, who are just as tired of my hovering as I am. I finally resolve to ask another staff member if they know when "C" is coming in and they state that "C" IS NOT a Wizard employee (I felt the cabin pressure in my brain shift on that one). After a few minutes of conversing with other staffers, they bring over "J" who claims to work with "C" -- my first order of business is to make sure that "C" DOES, in fact, work for Wizard (they do). But "J" continues to tell me that they know of no confirmation of my involvement with Kids' Day, Artists Alley or the show at all. I'm told that there was no reason to presume any standing with the show and that any talks of discount were just "conversation" (this is where those feelings I described in Part One came in). The fire was only fueled when I spoke with "C" (with "J"'s gracious use of their phone), to be told the same, even when I quoted from our correspondence WHY I would "presume" such involvement. "J" had to ask me multiple times to keep my voice down (yeah, I was losing my cool) and when I found that the conversation had devolved into the tug-of-war between "you said I was a part of the show"/"no I didn't", I decided to let my end of the rope go and pass the phone back to "J" who looked thoroughly pleased that I didn't spike it in a touchdown dance of ire.
I immediately walked out and set Twitter on FIRE (kudos to my Mom who waited patiently in the car throughout this whole ordeal -- she could've got all "Oh-no-you-didn't", but she let me handle things and even came up with a BRILLIANT solution -- the RIVERS CASINO, cha-ching!). We were there maybe twenty minutes before I received a voicemail from "C", who also sent this email saying basically the same thing:
I do apologize for our exchange earlier. I know I got heated about the miscommunication and I do feel bad about that so I spoke with someone on the sales team, and they can make a space for you in Artist Alley for a $300 table which is one of the lowest fees we offer. If you're interested in doing that, please give me a call at 310-383-****. http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifhttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif
SO...after I've traveled 6 hours to come to the show, pre-paid my hotel stay because I had to book on such short notice, and spent what I have on supplies ONLY to be told I have no place at the show, your "compromise" is that I'm to drop ANOTHER $300 for a table -- which is more than I was supposed to pay in the first place, because you were getting me discount?!?! Needless to say, I politely declined!
Come back for the final posting, where you can see how Mom and I scooped up these lemons and went to work on making a good weekend outta this mess! And if you missed Parts One and Two, fear not, they're right here!
Welcome back, folks! I don't want to let too much time linger between these posts -- helps keep the perspective fresh! If you're just tuning in on this 2nd installment, you can catch up on all the "fun" here!
So, where was I...OH YEAH! I finally have my phone convo with "C" at like 6:30pm (EST) -- they were quite apologetic about getting back to me so late and made light about how despite working on the west coast, they're subject to the business schedule of the east since so many of the work is based out of NY. It was short, quaint included their specification for planning for the Chicago show, my desire to trade my presentation for space at the show and ended with them requesting a mock-up for the presentation setup I had in mind (which I've provided below).
Now because I was leaving for Derby City Con the next day (7/16), we arranged that the specs wouldn't be sent until that following Monday (7/18), and here's the message that accompanied it:
I've attached a mockup for the space to use and what the time breakdown for the presentation is. Using the setup for the panel rooms you guys usually have, I'll add clipboards to the provisions for everyone, in addition to pencils, erasers and copy of the U Cre-8 Character Crafter Workbook. If there's anything further that you need or if this wasn't exactly what you had in mind, just let me know. Thank you so much for help thus far and I look forward to hearing from you soon!
That was on the 18th of July -- nearly a full MONTH before the Wizard World Chicago Con which kicked off Thursday, August 11th! I let a week go by before I call to make sure the specs were received and that there wasn't anything else needed, but got no answer and had to leave a message -- make no mistake, I understand that they're busy -- we're in the heart of convention season and WWC is one of their staple shows and I'm sure they're trying to make a BIG DEAL of the whole thing, so I'm not sweating it.
With that being said, CLUE #2 should've been my failure to get a response when I called 2 or 3 more times with the same result. Left message, got no response. Also during this time, I called NYCC to confirm my setup with them and almost panicked my contact who thought they had failed to let me know I was approved -- so I'm proving to be at least a LITTLE cautious, right?! So as the days drag on and still with no word from Wizard, I'm figuring that something wasn't working for them and I'm ready to write it off as a no-go -- but low and behold I get this message on Tuesday the 2nd of Aug:
Hi Victor. Sorry for the long delay in getting back to you. Chicago is shaping up to be a huge show, and it will be impossible for us to comp a booth space. At this point, pretty much everyone participating in Kid's Day is getting it as an added value for their paid participation. If you are interested in purchasing booth space, I can likely help you get it at a discount and will work on accommodating your workshop for kids. Let me know and I will make an introduction to the sales folks.
Now this is sounding to me like a we're go -- its a little late in the game to be sure, but its on the positive slope UPWARDS! And while I'm disappointed that I can't get comped space (I mean, I'm offering a $1000 presentation here), I'm still looking forward to the possibilities of being linked with a syndicated convention system. So I reply:
I'd like to see what we can work out. What did you have in mind, price-wise? If you let me know by the end of the day, I can let you know ASAP what I need.
We're still Aug. 2nd, so all of these correspondences are happening SAME DAY -- with the final word back from Wizard being:
Let me discuss with sales. I was trying to bypass them to see if we could work out a space for you, but there is no tradeout space to be had so let me see what I can negotiate with "P. K." and get back to you today.
So we're still working out the deal of the price for the table, but otherwise -- ITS A GO! And with only NINE DAYS until the show starts, I've got to get my butt in gear on getting ready. I reached out to my friends, family and fans and got a TREMENDOUS outpouring of support that allowed me to get supplies, lodgings and travel plans all worked out by following Tuesday (8/9). And to all those who gave so much of their time, love and money -- THANK YOU WHOLEHEARTEDLY from TOP to BOTTOM! But that's not the end of this tale and things are JUST about to get interesting, so come back again so you can see it all hit the fan!
Disappointed. Time wasted. Cheated. Pissed off. Frustrated. Heated. Annoyed. Devastated. I could definitely use these phrases to describe the misadventure I had at Wizard World Chicago and for a hot minute, I definitely did (those who follow me on Twitter know what I'm talking about). But thankfully, due to a naturally optimistic personality and the witty rapport I share with my Mom (who was my roll-dawg on this roadtrip), I can say that we turned a lemon of a weekend into a "lemonal" menu of laughs and good times. But our ability to keep this potential debacle from turning such doesn't dismiss the egregious level of unprofessionalism and the apparent lack of ANY customer service skills maintained by Wizard and its staff, nor the cadre of lessons I've gleaned from the occasion.
What was SUPPOSED to happen: After three years, I was making my way BACK into the fold of the Wizard World show. I hadn't been since the summer of 2008, the year before the Great Publisher Exodus, and was generally in a fan-only capacity, despite having a presence at the Chicago show since 2004. But not only was I returning, I was going in solo - as an industry semi-pro - under my publishing imprint, Vantage:Inhouse Productions (whose existence came about when Wizard's rebranding of the "Wizard World" moniker unintentionally, but without question, forced me to abandon my long-held WizWorld Inc. line). Even more so, the U Cre-8 Comics line was to participate in their Kid's Day Event, which to my knowledge is a new feature emulated from the ReedPop shows, where it has successfully kept Sunday attendance numbers soaring. Alas, the best laid plans of mice and men...let me tell you what ACTUALLY happened...
THE SETUP: After getting recruited to present the U Cre-8 line at Derby City Con, I saw the program as a PERFECT feature to pitch to other shows, particularly those with events specified for younger attendees. I had successfully pitched to Origins Gaming Convention, Champion City Comic Con and my first corporate show with New York Comic Con (one of ReedPop's two shows, the other being C2E2). With ReedPop and Wizard being rivals, I was reluctant to try my hand with Wizard, not wanting it to upset my chances at NYCC -- but, after some thought and some Twitter consulting, I decided its better to not let ANY opportunity go to waste and sent the email proposal belown on July 7th to Wizard employee "K"*:
I"m writing to offer my U Cre-8 Comics line to be a feature of your kid's activities at your Comic Cons. Designed as an innovative system to bridge creative expression and classroom fundamentals, the U Cre-8 line uses the sequential form of comics as a backdrop to promote reading comprehension with critical analysis, vocabulary building, creative writing, and an appreciation for the visual arts.
I'd particularly like to showcase the "Character Crafter," an 8 page workbook that walks participants through the process of creating their own super-human character. This piece has garnered a lot of attention and publicity as a feature of the Columbus Metropolitan Library's (Ranked #2 in the nation) Summer Reading program, as well as significant interest from the Boys&Girls Club and the YMCA. This coming July, it will be a part of the Kid's Activities Showcase at the Derby City Con (Louisville, KY) and was just setup as a scheduled presentation for the Art Show/College at the 2012 Origins Gaming Fair (GAMA).
With your permission, I'd like to host a 1 hour presentation, which I will furnish supplies to accommodate up to 200 participants (supplies include Character Crafter workbook, pencils and erasers). Normally, there is a charge of approximately $5-8 per participant, but I'm quite willing to wave that fee for some other accommodations. I eagerly look forward to hearing from you and do hope that I'm able to be a part of your celebration of comics and pop culture. Thank you in advance for your time and consideration in this matter.
*To maintain MY standards of professionalism, I'll keep whom I spoke with anonymous, only referring to them by one of their initials.
On July 14th, I received this response from Wizard employee "C", who had been forwarded my initial proposal from "K":
I'm happy to discuss with you, and we can determine if this is a fit for our Family Day programming. When might you be available tomorrow?
Of course I was ECSTATIC and immediately replied with this:
Thank you for getting back to me! I'm open pretty much all day tomorrow, so I can give you a call about 10am (EST) if that's alright. Just let me know if you need a better time, or you can contact me at (614) 419-****. I'll be in my studio for the next hour, but have a presentation at a library and won't be available until 4pm. Thanks again and I look forward to hearing from you!
I heard no response for the contrary, so at 10am the very next morning I called to see what could be setup...and I got no answer :(. I waited about 10-15mins before calling again, THIS TIME "C" answers...but has to postpone our convo because they have a scheduled phone conference at that time.
CLUE #1: Looking back, there were a few tell-tell signs that things were going to go awry and here's the first one -- in MY response back to "C", I asked them to let me know if they needed a better time -- having another phone conference planned is DEFINITELY reason to need a different time, especially when they're in California so my 10am call is 7am to them!
This is kind of shaping up to be an EPIC tale, so I'll break things up for your convenience, but come back soon because the misadventure only gets even stranger from here!