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To Inspire and BE Inspired...

Posted On Monday, July 22, 2013

     To be an inspiration to someone -- anyone -- is a beautiful burden.  To have done something, created or enacted, that influences another, continues the legacy of your endeavor(s) -- limited only by the impact you've initiated.  It is an ability that has shaped people, civilizations and societies, both in the pursuits of good AND evil…though, the latter, I'm sure, is rarely the perspective of the idea.

     Whether overt or in secret, it is the aim of every creative spirit the world has ever known.  No matter how deep rooted or hidden in the creator's psyche, their goal is to move their audience -- to make them think, to make them feel…to make them act.  I can admit that it has been my goal with all that I do to inspire those around me and this weekend, I was graced with the knowledge of just HOW inspiration I've been to a select number of amazingly talented individuals.

     This past June, while taking part in the Yellowsprings Street Fair as a guest of Superfly Comics & Games (thanks Tony!!), I met a troupe of teens (honestly, unbeknownst to me by their poise and wit) that charmed their way into an immediate friendship!  They were A LOT of fun -- and after we chatted (probably far longer than any of us had intended), with a bunch heartfelt giggles, they made me part of their band!
From left to right: Sawyer, Me, Liz, Abigail and Rachel!

     Now, I've gained a fan or two in my time as a comic creator, but there was something special about these guys!  They supported me, not just purchased some of my stuff, but truly aimed to support ME -- as an individual -- and that level of support really has no measure!  I was grateful for that alone, but it grew exponentially when Sawyer asked me not only to come to their production of The Pirates of Penzance, but to be the celebrity guest presenter at their awards ceremony.  I don't know how YOU rate success, but for me -- this tops almost every accomplishment I've attained thus far!

      The play was A LOT fun!  Their acting company, Young Frog Productions, features a range of players from ages 9 on up, who are truly talented and fun!  At an age when the reality of life's woes begins to show, they are honing their skills -- transforming from awkward (pre)teens to wondrous personalities on the stage.  They have heart, ya'll and I can tell you, that goes a VERY long way.

     The award show -- aptly titled, the EPIC Awards, celebrated the cast and crew for all their hard work.  It was a great means of encouragement and acknowledgement!  I was asked to present the Most Inspiring award (the reason for which, I wouldn't fully grasp until AFTER the awards show) and I wrote the following speech:

      "Inspiration.  "An inspiring or animating action or influence." (Webster's Dictionary)  It is the life's blood of creativity -- the lynchpin of the divine alchemy that takes a word or verse, an image or melody and transforms it into something new.  The whims of inspiration are as unique as its outcomes -- while some seem to drink from its well at every turn, others may find their grip too tight or to wide to successfully wield it's magic for long…if at all.  Understanding that magic is as personal as a fingerprint; as individual as a snowflake.  And tonight, we aim to encourage those brave enough to share what inspiration has wrought in them and to celebrate the one whose work stands out amongst them…"

    The actual speech had a minor tweak at the end, which you can see the video of below (YES!  Highlander!!!)


     After the awards show, where I truly fit amongst them REALLY set in.  Meeting me motivated them.  I had been the talk of the town (so to speak), because I was successfully living my dream, had created memorable work, but was still a person.  Someone approachable, congenial and generous.  I'm greatly humbled to be recognized for that -- and I'm proud of these young actors (note, I'm NOT calling them aspiring, because after 3yrs of stage-life, they ARE actors) would take that position unto themselves, planting the seeds for them to be of equal import to someone else.

     In the face of such an acknowledgement, I feel it no less my duty than to maintain that level of excellence -- to create more and do more for others.  I take that beautiful burden to heart…no less inspired by them.


The Flying Man…named Smith?!

Posted On Saturday, July 20, 2013

This video has certainly made the rounds, with everyone from USA Today to Joe Quesada commenting on its AWESOMENESS, and I can't help but throw my own two-cents in on the matter!  Take a sec and watch to understand what I'm talking about…I'll wait…

The Flying Man from Marcus Alqueres on Vimeo.

Did you love it?!  I know -- silly question, right!  Here's what I immediately drew from it -- The Samaritan.  The idea of superheroes taking to the streets isn't exactly new, we've enjoyed the exploits of those who've taken the mantle of society's protector since the late 1930's with the release of Action Comics #1.  But what this short-film shows is a "hero" whose tactics are little less than…legal.  Heck, they're outright DEADLY (if you're an evil-doer, that is)!  If you've read The Samaritan (created by myself and artist, Ren McKinzie), you'll note a similar effort to clean up the streets!  But where things differ, Smith, the "hero" of The Samaritan, operates on a more covert level than The Flying Man.  He's making a bolder statement than Smith aims, but one that can be easily misconstrued as sinister (as the early minutes of the film suggest).  It's rather exciting to me, as a creator, to join my voice in the exploration of these kinds of themes and even more exciting to see that an adaptation of The Samaritan isn't too far away from possible!

Haven't read The Samaritan yet?  You can catch it on the weekly updates -- for FREE -- over at OR you can snag copies of the series from our store at Indyplanet!

More BITS for your BUCKS! (NotGoingToSDCC)

Posted On Thursday, July 11, 2013

San Diego Comic Con -- the GRANDDADDY of all comic cons is just around the corner…but sadly, V:IP WON'T be there (maybe next year though!).  But you don't have to miss out on that sweet 8 bit action, because we're rewarding YOU -- our loyal fans with this SWEET deal (whether you're going to the show or not!)

We KNOW you love our 8 Bits -- you've proven that at EVERY SHOW we've been to and with our goal of getting back on track with the VIP52 (where we post a NEW 8 bit art print EVERY WEEK), we're making sure you can get the most BITS for your BUCKS! (O-H…)

So, from now until July 22nd (that's the Monday AFTER Comic Con for you con-weary travelers), our Etsy shop (VIP8Bits) will feature a coupon code for 30% OFF any order of $30 or more!  Just type in the coupon code: "NOTGOINGTOSDCC" at the checkout and save -- Save -- SAVE!!!

From The Doctors to the Turtles, from those ring-slinging Lanterns to those merry mutants of Marvel and all manner of awesome in-between -- we've got your geek COVERED!!!

You STILL haven't read anything from V:IP…REALLY?!

Posted On Monday, July 8, 2013

Even with all the love and growth we've experienced over the last 2 years of publishing, I know there are LOTS of folks out there that have never read a single title from Vantage:Inhouse Productions.  Maybe we've never been to a show you were at, or maybe you were short on cash (having spent your last ducks playing our 8 Bit Challenge!) or…dare I say…you've just NEVER heard of us!!!  (Gasp)  

No matter what kept you from experiencing the most EXCITING comic storytelling this side of Mark Millar (yeah -- I said it!), V:IP aims to rectify that -- AND FOR FREE!  With the completion of our Phase One titles (The Samaritan, Origins Unknown, The Villain, and The Trouble w/Love), we're relaunching our sister webcomics site - - where EVERY WEDNESDAY for the NEXT YEAR - we'll be uploading a page from TWO titles from the V:IP library!  We've already gotten started lastt week, opening up with The Samaritan and Origins Unknown: Breaking the Habit!  

Ready to dive in?  Click the link in the paragraph above or the COMICS tab at the top of the page and get to reading!  And don't be a stranger about it -- if you like what you see, let us know and if you LOVE what you've read, tell a friend!  

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