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Not Every Hit is A Home Run...

Posted On Tuesday, April 14, 2015

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.

2 comments

  1. I don't think any creator should ever feel ashamed of their work. It would be like being ashamed of a son or daughter. It's just not right. Sure he/she may not be perfect, but take them for who they are and be proud that you've fathered them. After all, it's your own work and flaws can always be improved on. That's why there are series that start off slow, but pick up momentum when the creator realizes what needs to be augmented or fixed.

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  2. Oh, I also took a look at "The Villain", and all I can say is that I am eagerly anticipating a follow-up. There were some aspects of the comic where the art was kinda blurry, but all I can say is that I had fun reading it.

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