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Alan Tudyck STOLE My Sharpie...!

Posted On Wednesday, February 22, 2017

You'll have to forgive me.  I'm a bit jet-lagged.  My bags are still by the door, but extreme tiredness aside, I HAD to jump on and recap my past weekend at Wizard World Portland.

This was my first go in strictly a moderator/panelist capacity.  And I gotta say...it was a little weird!!!  In the 13 yrs since I've first sat behind a con table, I've only attended a handful of shows without having one.  I admit, I felt a little lost in the beginning...but, once my panels started up -- it was a HARDCORE grind that kept me happily busy throughout the weekend!

FRIDAY:
V:IPs of Self-Publishing -- I was joined by the creators of indie pulp comic, Johnny Scotch, John Dover (w) & Dan Schaefer (a), and Jae Xerrano,  a local author who was premiering his first novel, Comedic Divinity: Fateless.  Usually a solo panel, it was a welcome change to have specific creators to bounce ideas off of.

SATURDAY:
UnBreakable Skin -- Started off the day with a polite talk on critiquing work with a minority focus (feat. predominantly minority characters or creators).  While a small crowd to begin with, we quickly became a cool collective of voices talking about the differences of creativity and aesthetics.

Alan Tudyck -- He stole my sharpie.  No seriously!  An amazing and energetic guest, Alan was charming and cool, bringing up hopeful fans to ask their questions from the stage -- almost single-handedly negating my sole purpose for being on stage with him!  Winning an item from his "Bag of...we'll say SHENANIGANS", he signed each one, sending those fans home with a keepsake of their moment with him.  And he did it with my Sharpie...and never gave it back.  LOL.

Ooooh...that Alan.

Rob Minkoff -- Sitting down with The Lion King director was truly an amazing moment -- I mean, it's arguably my FAVORITE Disney flick of all time!!!  Getting some behind the scenes insights was phenomenal, but my champion moment was stunning the pop-culturally savvy Minkoff on his (apparently coincidental) recasting of the royal couple from Coming to America (with James Earl Jones and Madge Sinclair as Mufasa and Sarabi, respectively).

John Barrowman -- I only got to intro the fan-favorite showman to the stage.  And after a rousing debut that brought the room to their feet, I got told to "F**k off."  Don't worry -- I've been assured that's a sign of affection from him!  LOL

SUNDAY:
U Cre-8 Comics -- NOTHING is better than igniting the fires of inspiration in others.  Kicking off the last day of the con with my U Cre-8 panel is a surefire hit (see what I did there??)!  We geeked, we laughed -- but most importantly, WE CRE-8ED!


Sons of Anarchy -- The cut of SAMCRO brought show favorites, Theo Rossi (Juice) and Ryan Hurst (Opie) to Portland, sharing their memories and stories from the series.  After binging (okay...GORGING) on ALL SEVEN seasons in the span of a week, I was still emotionally raw, but absolutely stoked to be a part of it.  Having met and moderated for Theo (WW NOLA), I knew to expect his thoughtfulness and total admiration for his growing fanbase.  He was almost the perfect straight-man against Ryan's "chillaxed," funny-guy attitude!  Both were tremendous and it made for an immediate highlight of my weekend.


Batman TAS -- Kevin (EXPLETIVE) Conroy and Loren (EXPLETIVE) Lester!!!  BATMAN AND ROBIN -- literal pillars to the foundations of modern geekdom.  If you weren't in the room, there are no words to describe it well enough so that you'd know -- TRULY KNOW -- what you missed out on.

Barry Bostwick -- One of the first celebs I've befriended on the con circuit, Barry has been one of the coolest guys to know.  A star of so many things, it was his turn as Brad Major in The Rocky Horror Picture Show that was the focus of discussion -- despite my best efforts to drop jewels from his acting resume...like The Land Before Time: XIV  It was an hour of laughs, snappy
wit and a love of films Barry's helped bring to life.

Overall, I had a BALL!!  I could get used to this moderating thing...could be just the move this indy comic scribe needs to kickstart the next phase of my career!

Cheers!



To you...with love!

Posted On Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Through out the history of comics, there have been plenty of enduring couples.  Lois and Clark.   Reed and Sue.  Scott and...well...that one may not be so good.  How about Peter and Mary-Ja...eh...nevermind.

The point I'm trying to make is that in many cases, despite the vast power sets of one or both persons, the TRULY great superpower among them is love.  With the ability to change hearts and minds, and consequently, the cosmos themselves, love is possibly the greatest force known.

This Valentine's Day, I hope you get to spend time with someone who makes you feel sexy, understood, precious, extraordinary, and respected.  In other words...SUPER.


Artwork by Harold Edge/ Ryan Carter from The Trouble w/Love, available NOW from Vantage:Inhouse Productions.
#Buy

Hey [...]! You STOLE my idea -- now PAY UP!

Posted On Monday, February 6, 2017

In 2011, Vantage:Inhouse launched its inaugural series, The Samaritan, featuring a bulletproof black man, donning a hooded sweatshirt, intent to clean up his crime-ridden neighborhood.  Lasting only seven issues, the limited series wrapped just two years later, and through it's hard-boiled story and dynamic art design, has become the bestselling title of my self-publishing imprint.

Wait.  Bulletproof...hooded...and BLACK.   

Sound familiar?  

If you've seen the 2016 Marvel/ Netflix release, Luke Cage, I'll bet it does.  Starring Mike Colter in the titular role of Cage, the formerly known Hero for Hire, sheds his longstanding yellow blouse and shiny tiara, to cover his bullet-bouncing frame in a dark, hooded sweatshirt, as he patrols the streets of Harlem.  And based on THIS exclusive interview with CBR (comicbookresources.com), Marvel Comics plans to continue at least the visual trend with a new ongoing series, brought to life by David Walker and Nelson Blake II.


And I couldn't be happier.

Sorry...I just couldn't help but play up a little click-bait.  But now that I've got your attention, I hope you'll indulge me a little bit more, so I can explain.

First things first: 

1.) I'm seriously NOT taking shots at Marvel, Luke Cage (as a comic or a television series), and especially not Mike, David or Nelson!  I have the utmost respect for all the above parties.  It's kinda silly that I would even have to say this, but I want to make that ABUNDANTLY clear.

NO.  SHOTS.  FIRED.

2.) Do I think think there are similar elements in both The Samaritan and the M/N Luke Cage -- ABSOLUTELY.  Too many to be a coincidence -- maybe?  Detrimental impact on me as a creator -- ZERO.  The way I see it, the success of Luke Cage and it's hoodie-hero imagery is nothing short of a multi-million dollar ad campaign for my own work, that I didn't have to foot the bill for!

Keeping it Real:

The Marvel/Netflix series is out and moving forward (look for The Defenders this summer!).  The same can easily be said about the upcoming comic.  No amount of (online) petitioning is going to change that.  And recognizing that I can't fight that wave, my only recourse is to get swallowed up by it (which just isn't my nature), or to successfully ride it to greater heights (a FAAAAAR better option)!

The truth is this: There's no reason why both takes on the concept couldn't/shouldn't exist.

We're talking about a strong, black, comic book, superhero here!  With diversity being such a hot-button topic, there's no way I can say that we already have enough characters to fit that mode.  We need as many as possible -- and if that means a few dance around similar archetypes, then GOOD!  Our individual fans can choose which ones they like best, IF they even feel the need to choose at all. 

What I REALLY want:

Featuring issues 1-7
David Walker has been CRUSHING IT as one of the premiere black writers in comics.  He's worked hard and diligently to make his a household name to comic readers, around the world.  So, it's against his mettle that I want to sharpen my own.

To measure that, I want to move (at least) ten-percent (10%) of the units he will do for Luke Cage #1.  
Just one order of The Samaritan (the collected trade paperback -- I want you to get the full story!), for every ten issues ordered from Marvel.  That would be a TREMENDOUS feat for me personally, as well as a HUGE upswing for the value of small-press/indie comics everywhere.

So, do me this favor -- go to your local comic shop and order Luke Cage #1 (by Walker/Blake II) RIGHT NOW.  Then, while you're waiting for it to hit your pull box, order The Samaritan (by Dandridge/McKinzie).  If you've already bought it -- write a review, or tell a friend (...or buy THEM a copy).  I promise, there's more than enough love for both series to go around!  #AlwaysForward #NoExceptionsNoExcuses 

Invincible: A Hard Impression pt. 3

Posted On Thursday, February 2, 2017


It was 2008.  My work on Hotshot had built a little bit of a local following, earning Mike and I the title of "Masters of Self-Promotion"!  But inside, I couldn't deny the nagging sting that I wasn't pushing myself hard enough.  I had plenty of ideas of what I should be doing in the comic industry, but hadn't quite mustered the salt to get off my bum to launch.

And then Kirkman dropped this:



It was a manifesto.  An anthem.  A call to arms.  It was everything I had believed was true about my own path in comics, affirmed by one of the industry's best and brightest.  Sure, it sparked a debate or few, and received PLENTY of push back from other notables in the biz who felt that Robert's words were a little lacking in their breadth of reality (this path may work once or twice, but it's not for EVERYONE).  But to me, it was utter truth.

In only 9 mins, Robert summed up what I had felt my entire career.  His words not only spoke to me, he was talking TO ME...well, not personally, but he was saying everything I, personally, needed to hear.

It took about another year and a half for me to show, not only myself, but my fellow creators and the world at large, just how serious of a note that video had rung for me.  In October of 2010, just a few weeks ahead from the premiere of The Walking Dead on AMC, I left my cushy state job to jump into making comics full time, with Vantage:Inhouse Productions.

Venturing into the unknown of being a publisher and fending for myself on the comic stage was a life changer.  I've had my successes and I've definitely had my failings, but the freedom to create has been everything I've wanted it to be, without end.  And I've still carry that inspiration with me in everything I do.

#DareToCompare...Again

A Superman-archetype for a father.  An empowered son, standing in his father's shadow.  Love.  Death.  Betrayal.  Forgiveness.  Family.  

No, I'm not (just) spitballing about Invincible again.  These are the central themes to my critically acclaimed, one shot The Trouble w/Love (w/ Harold Edge and Ryan Carter).  In it, Apex Prime, a world renowned superhero, is confronted by his son John for the infidelity that lead to end of his parents' marriage.  Born from a concept I thought up, one lazy Sunday while working retail (as well as a HARD hit of my on personal life), it didn't see print until July 2012.
But coming out in a post-Invincible world, there's an obvious comparison that I'm not only aware of, I use in my own promotions!  I love that ANYONE thinks that I'm ready for that level of critique.  It's been my goal since that first campaign and to have earned any sort of headway is a tremendous boost to writing confidence.

This summer marks five years since it's initial release and I will be celebrating by offering the first installment of the follow up "Never Too Late".  I hope ALL of you Invincible fans will give it a shot...especially Robert, Cory and Ryan.  

Thank you guys for coming with me on this little look back at a title that has truly meant the world and more to me.  It's been a wonderful nod to the past, while racing toward an incredible future.
Order The Trouble w/Love!
Read A Hard Impression pt. 1
Read A Hard Impression pt. 2

Black White & Read All Over - S4 Episode 151 "

Posted On Wednesday, February 1, 2017


So much Kirkmania (remember his website and forum...ahh, the Good Ol' Days) in this week's pile!  If you've been visiting the V:IP page lately, you know I've been feeling a bit nostalgic knowing that Invincible is coming to an end next year.  But there were a few more notable reads along the way!











The Read Pile:
Invincible #132 (Image) - R. Kirkman (w) C. Walker (a)

Darth Maul #1 (Marvel) - C. Bunn (w) L. Ross (a)

The Walking Dead #163 (Image) - R. Kirkman (w) C. Adlard (a)

Honorable mentions:
Superman #16 (DC) - P. Tomasi/ P. Gleason (w) T. Daniel (a)

Monsters Unleashed #2 (Marvel) - C. Bunn (w) G. Land (a)



And we're now available in audio only format!  Get Black White & Read on the GO with Soundcloud!


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