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Brian Vo of Crisp Comics Reviews TTw/L...

Posted On Thursday, February 28, 2013

The buzz behind V:IP just keeps getting stronger and stronger!  Yesterday, Indie Comic news site, Crisp Comics published a review of our hit one-shot, The Trouble w/Love!  I can definitely say that he's very clear on if he's NOT feeling a story (check out a few of his other reviews) and I'm QUITE glad with what he had to say about TTwL!  From story to art, he was definitely tuned in to what we were trying to accomplish and that's really the greatest accomplishment a creator can get -- though getting an overall grade of an "A" for our work is pretty cool too!  And while it was a GLOWING review overall, my most favorite line has to be:


"While the subject matter was something I disagreed with, Dandridge still crafts a story that forces me to see that there are two sides to every story, and regardless of personal feelings, he weaves together a narrative that works, and draws you into wanting to know the reasons and the background of a truly messy situation."

But, I admit, I'm kinda tipping my hat to myself on that one! Lol!

Thanks again to Brian Vo for taking the time to read and review TTwL -- we certainly appreciate ALL that he had to say!  Check him out regularly at Crisp Comics and on Twitter!

Haven't read The Trouble w/Love?!  Look for it for the Kindle at Amazon.com, Mydigitalcomics.com and available for order for your comic shop at Racomicsdirect.com!

Celebrating Diversity of Comics in Columbus!

Posted On Tuesday, February 26, 2013

This month has been an AMAZING one for me and my consideration in the local comic book community!  I was plenty psyched for being included in the write up on the comic book scene here in Columbus, but I can honestly say things went even better with my involvement with the Ohio Art League Gallery's Comic Art Exhibition and corresponding events!  One of which, found me moderating (and for the first time I might add!) a panel on diversity in Columbus' comics!

I was graciously invited by Ken Eppstein of Nix Comics to do this, was able to meet Teresa Rojas, a terrific Latina creator and got to highlight my friends Janis Coffey (a teacher through Columbus City Schools), Mike Watson of Freestyle Komics and Ren McKinzie, my co-creator on The Samaritan!  If you missed it, fear not because we had  Richard Katterjohn of Underground Video Network onhand to film it and I've linked it below for your viewing pleasure!


UnConventional - Getting on the Shelves pt1

Posted On Thursday, February 14, 2013

     A recent trip up to out of town reminded me how lucky I am to be a creator in Columbus, a town that truly supports its indie creators.  While out and about, I took the opportunity to introduce myself to a couple of stores that I happened to find, since I'm always on the lookout to expand my brand presence and all that.  But the response of BOTH shops I visited attested to the dismay so many creators have about trying to get into what remains of the retail comic specialty shop market.

You can see him saying, "I don't do
Indies," can't you...
    "We don't do Indies."  Was the essential standing -- despite one shop suggesting the other was more indie-friendly.  Fortunately for me, my comic book education has garnered the understanding that this reluctance isn't really the retailers fault -- in fact, it's good business.  No matter how good your book may be, let's face it -- it hasn't garnered the same following, marketability and recognition that so many characters from the mainstream side of comics inherently have (being around 50+ years affords you those kinds of things).  And even then, books featuring the likes of Spider-man, the X-Men, Wonder Woman, Batman and/or Superman STILL may or MAY NOT sell!  Now, if these bastions of comic bookdom can be so finicky in their returns, can you truly expect your self-made title to a.) be bought in equative quantities and b.) fly off the shelves?  Well, I suppose you could…but it wouldn't be a very smart plan!

     What I think is necessary for small-press creator is to, first and foremost, understand what exactly they're up against.  I vehemently argue that small-press has to mean lower quality -- it's more about how much product we can afford to make and have out there at any given time -- so certainly eliminate the idea that you're standing as a small press/ indie creator is an indicator of SKILL.  But you have to see that you're competing for shelf space against the comic book GREATS (both the characters AND the creators), so you're going to have to market your book, your brand and yourself a bit more…creatively.

     I posed the question via Twitter a few days ago and one of the responses suggested taking out being Indie as a sales point and while I know I'm proud of what I've been able to achieve on my own as a self-publisher, it really makes a lot of sense.  Even now, when a popular writer hooks up with a well-known artist and they do a book of original characters, the work is referred to as creator-owned.  And they really have NO PROBLEMS getting into retail shops (anything from Mark Millar, Bendis and Oeming's Takio series and a quite a few others).  This name-game kinda plays into something I've seen locally where "indie" is more of a stylistic idea -- kinda underground, maybe not as slick in its approach to comics, subject matter and all that.  The term "alternative comics" comes to mind when I think about it and I have to wonder if things haven't taken a synonistic sway.
Apex Prime, from The Trouble w/Love
is definitely a Superman Analog!

     Another idea is to NOT be afraid to claim similarity to the mainstream books currently on the shelves of your intended shop.  If there's ANYTHING remotely similar in your book to Superman, why not use it -- Supes has already gotten in, so he's a gonna be a strong reference point for the marketability and possible sales of YOUR title!

   

We'll take a break here, but I'll be returning soon with some more ideas to help build better relations with comics shops as a indie publisher!

*Editor's Note -- I thought about this after posting:

While I don't think that being of the Indie Market inherently means your quality is bad, I do think the lack of external checks and balances may suggest a higher likelihood of falling short from retailers expectations.  I'm not familiar with a vast number of distributors that specialize in the small-press market, but I know that Liber Distro has a submission process, marking a particular standard they're looking to associate themselves with.  Aligning yourself with such a company could both facilitate ordering your books and establishing how good they may be (obviously this relies on the credibility of said distributor -- Liber Distro is still growing in that regard).


Comics in ColumbusAlive and Kicking!

Posted On Monday, February 11, 2013




I like to think I work hard…but honestly, I have too much fun to consider what I do WORK, but still, it's an amazing thing when people recognize you for what you're doing.  I had the distinct pleasure of being included in the recent issue of the Columbus Alive (Feb. 7th issue), where they highlighted the growing comic book scene, here in my hometown  of Columbus, OH!

Where once it may have only been the Buckeyes, Bluejackets or Crew that spotlighted the Discovery City, we've developed quite the comic book talent pool, with more styles and stories than a Wednesday release schedule!  While I definitely think you should read the article -- (if only to get a bit more press on V:IP), I wanted to take a sec to highlight some of the OTHER creators that weren't featured.

Home to some Pros -- Columbus has quite a few of its residents with some mainstream comics cred under their belts!

Darryl Banks (Artist) - One of my comic book idols, I met Darryl when I was only 16 and he's been a HUGE inspiration for me on so many levels ever since!  It's because of him that MY Green Lantern of choice is Kyle Rayner (he's a co-creator of him ) and I dare you to read his run on the book and NOT swoon!

Chris Sprouse (Artist) - Seriously, one of the kindest guys you could ever meet, Chris is this gentle giant (great skill, but INTENSE generosity) whose bibliography page must be getting a bit ridiculous, particularly in the category of notable collaborators (Alan Moore, Grant Morrison?!)  But, it will always be his run on Legionnaires that I hold nearest and dearest to my heart!

Sean McKeever (Writer) - Ironically, I have a habit of seeing Sean out of town at a show more so than here in town, but he's always been a cool guy to chat it up with!  Not originally from the C.O., he's a great transplant with a stellar run on books from both Marvel and DC (but my fave would have to be his Gravity limited series with Mike Norton).

Keron Grant (Artist) - I'm gonna throw Keron in here because for a while, during his stint on Iron Man, he called Columbus his home, after graduating from the Columbus College of Art & Design!  He's since gone on to provide BEAUTIFUL cover work DC comics and even provided some promotional material for the movie Chronicle.

Daniel Leister (Artist) - Dan's been a long-time friend of mine since we met at sorely missed Discount Paperback comic shop on campus.  I've been able to see him go from the "Draw Wolverine Contest" runner-up to the penciler on the Image Comics hit, Hack/Slash.  From what I've heard, he's nearly finished putting together the pitch for his first creator-owned piece and I can tell you that really, what you've seen is ONLY just the beginning!

Uko Smith (Artist) - Already an amazing talent in his own right, Uko is the comic book arts teacher at CCAD where he's instructing the future creators on the dynamics of the profession!  With his own background in erotica art, the RPG industry and comics, Uko brings a wealth of unique talent and understanding with EVERY pencil stroke!

Sean Forney (Artist) - Sean is pretty close to being the hardest man working in comics!  With coloring work with Marvel, Voltron pin-up work, some Star Wars work through Lucas Film, it's hard to imagine that he has time for much anything else, yet he's at almost EVERY SHOW I go to a few others I haven't…I tell ya, there may be more than one of him!

Say Yes for the Small Press!  I can tell you right now that I don't know EVERYONE in the small-press world, but those I do have shown some TREMENDOUS talent and aspiration!

Mike Watson (Artist) - I've known Mike for so long, it's almost sickening!  This Cleveland native and CCAD grad, let me cut my teeth writing the initial arc for Hotshot, the flagship title from his Freestyle Komics imprint.  He took a little time off, but I know he's getting back into the swing of things real heavy this year, so be on the look out for all things FSK!

Ren McKinzie (Artist) - Ren is a one-in-a-million type guy -- certainly in my closest circle of friends and one of the few black dudes I know to pull off a mohawk (and yes that includes, Mr. T!).  While he's got a GROWING list of publications, my PERSONAL FAVORITE (for obvious reasons) is our work together on The Samaritan series.  Ren has really come alive with that one and I can't wait to see what else he has cooking -- cuz I'm gonna eat it up!

Phonzie Davis (Creator) - If you had to describe Phonzie's work it'd sound something like a free-word association excerise.  But that's what makes him so good -- he's so many things at once (wild, kinetic, funky, jazzy, rock, old-school, etc) but all on purpose!  His Left-Handed Sophie series is damn-near Indie gold and his personal adoption of style and character is nothing short of inspiring!

Bryan Moss (Creator) - When talent and style comes together, you can't help but take note.  Bryan has brought a GREAT aesthetic to his comic book work, almost taming a fine artist's sensibilities to the confines of a paneled page!  Check out his online gallery and see if you don't agree!

Mason Easley (Artist) - A self-publisher and amazing pin-up artist, I've seen Mason do his one-man show many times, snagging passersby with his original art style and mix of personal creations and fan-favorite illustrations!  He kills it on ALL levels and does it with humility and grace!

If there's anyone I missed, I GREATLY apologize and BEG YOU to write in your own blurb in the comments.  And I mean that especially if we've never met before and I'm unaware of your work -- I'd definitely like to read it!


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