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Posted On Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Ask who is the ‘HARDEST Working Man in Comics’ and you might get a few notable and quotable names in response: John Jennings, who is leading the charge for the Black Comic Scholars; Dirk Manning, aka ‘The King of the North’, who has set new standards in indy
publishing.  How about Robert Kirkman, writer/creator of TWD, Invincible, and the first new partner at Image Comics since it’s inception?  Can’t leave out Brian Bendis, who’s jump from Marvel to DC
sparked a creative resurgence for Superman, unmatched since his death in the early 1990s.  And then there’s Mark Millar (it sounds like an ‘er’), aka. Mr. Netflix, after selling his publishing imprint, Millarworld to the streaming service to a tune in the $Ms.  Easily and arguably frontrunners for the title, on the merits of their accomplishments and successes alone, but are they arrogant enough to bestow the moniker for themselves, by themselves, on themselves like I did?

Hi!  I’m Victor Dandridge -- the HARDEST Working Man in Comics. least, I have been, standing in front of the retractable banner stating as much, carving out a name for myself as a preimmenent talent in the Small Press/
Indy Comics Market.

A national feature of premiere comic conventions, as a geek panelist -- my V:IPs of Self-Publishing panel is guaranteed to turn would-be creators to soon-to-be ones.  A celebrity moderator, and fan experience advocate, I’m the bubbling brains behind U Cre-8 Comics, the programming and product line, bridging comic books and the classroom (Vic is 4 the kids!).  Throw in weekly features on the BEST comic review series on the interwebs, Black, White & Read All Over (shot at my LCS,
Comic Town, with my favorite shop owner, Ryan Seymore) and co-host duties on the Hall of Justice podcast with Seth Everett (of Sports with Friends fame).  Oh yeah...and I write comics -- AMAZING, award-winning comics, through my creator-owned imprint, Vantage:Inhouse Productions.  That’s...
that’s about it.

If that paragraph was as exhausting to read as it was to accomplish, you get why, over the last few years, I’ve turned a tease (that’s ACTUALLY how it started) into a title.  But, as I tip ever closer to a
decade of V:IP; ten years of shedding the hobbiest hood and running into the comic making business full time, I’m plagued by the question of what does being the #HWMiC mean NOW?

Eh, that sounded a bit dismissive, didn’t it?  Don’t misread me, I’ve accomplished a lot in my career (already), and I’m QUITE proud of each feat, but I learned early on (when I took the crown, lol) being the Hardest Working Man in Comics isn’t about what you’ve DONE -- it’s about what you’re DOING.  In 2013, I was at a show, tabling beside                               , and with an air of satisfaction, he leaned over tome and whispered that this was his FIFTH convention, in as many weekends -- in a row!  BOOM!  Game, set, match.  “Who is your DADDY?!”  But, unbeknownst to him, that very weekend happened to be my EIGHTH convention, also in as many weeks.  And THAT cemented the lesson: in order to get to 8, obviously, I had already DONE 5wks straight -- there was no fanfare for that.  But, because I was DOING almost double, it was enough to move a giant.  And therein is my truth...

The REAL reason for my introspection is you -- yeah YOU; the next gen, the NEW guard (and a few from the old guard too); I feel you the rumbling of your success, upheaving the ground where I stand.  I hear the clamor for your gifts, like a growing roar On the Horizon.  I see the tenacity of your gains, reducing my hallmarks to benchmarks. “Oh, you did 20+ comic events this year?  Yeah, me
too.”  “You performed 10-hours of programming in a single convention weekend?  That’s all...did you get tired?”

With you on my ass, and make no mistake, you certainly are, I feel a renewed vigor; a new purpose.  And I’m dedicated to meet your unspoken challenge.  So, this is dedicated to YOU and all those like you.   Congratulations, you’ve moved a giant!  Now, the thunder you hear is me stomping towards higher ground.

 - With admiration,

Victor Dandridge
#HWMiC (Still)
On the Horizon #1

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