Tuesday, February 24, 2015

POV: A Mighty Weekend in Cleveland!!!!

So.  My upkeep on my POV columns has been ABYSMAL!  I've been so caught up in doing things that I forget to take the time to write out some fuller posts about them (as opposed to my quick hits on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram -- where you're already following me, right??).  And while I am a few days late on this here particular post, I hope you won't begrudge me too much as I have some pretty cool things to share!  

First up: Black White & READ All Over has a friend in Mark Millar!

As a comic reader, I've been a Millar fan for some years now -- like HUGE FAN!  His influence can clearly be seen on almost everything I've done from The Samaritan to The Kinder Guardians.  So, you can imagine my elation to come to know that he's a fan of the weekly comic review series I do with Ryan Seymo
ur and Shelby Hunt!  

We're talking total geekout.

Then magnify that by bajillion when he asks to hosts our web-series on his site, www.millarworld.tv!  
That's right.  Comic book legend, Mark Millar is personally sharing BW&R with his LEGION of fans around the world!  Take that Google Analytics!  

Next: Wizard World Cleveland

Despite the wind and cold and snow, last weekend was the inaugural Wizard World Cleveland Comic-Con!  Already onto my fifth show of the year, I've had a rather successful run so far, especially at their Madison event, where I sold out of my run of The Samaritan.   Now, Indianapolis, though incredibly fun, didn't quite have the buying crowd I was hoping for, so I didn't know what exactly to expect from the sister city to the north.  

I started things off with an amazing panel on diversity in popular fiction, hosted by Abdul Rashid, a VERY talented, Cleveland-based creator, whose imprint AHR Visions is set to launch later this year.  And maybe I was showing off a little bit, but I got legendary creator, Tony Isabella (Black Lightning, Misty Knight) to join us for what was a brief, but thorough conversation on the role and manner of diversity in comics.  Some of the conversation extended beyond the panel and into the remainder of the weekend as attendees found their way to my table to praise our insight and perspectives.

That night, I returned as host of Wizard's Drink&Draw!  The fun and laughs were in high bounty, as participants showed off a wide range of talent in both the drawing and writing categories (and these are for CASH PRIZES, Y'ALL -- be there next time!)!  This is actually my seventh time hosting/co-hosting and I gotta admit...its getting good me!  Lol

Saturday brought even more fun and a TREMENDOUS amount of support!  Seriously, it ranged between -6 to 18 degrees all weekend and we still had a CROWDS of people coming into the show!  And they were BUYERS!!!  By 3pm, The Samaritan, including the #ExclusiveVariantCover of issue #1 had completely SOLD OUT and The Trouble w/Love went shortly after!  And to make great things even greater -- I was asked to be on the Marvel vs. DC: The War for Cinema and Television panel again, by moderator Aaron Sager (CNN, MTV, etc.).  We had a PACKED HOUSE and I even got to shout out my family who was in attendance.  

Wait.  Did I say great to greater?  Well, let's go greater to GREATEST.

For the second time, I got to cohost the Wizard World Costume Contest!  While Billy took a well-deserved break, it was Mo Lightning and I holding it down in his stead!  And we brought it, taking to the stage as the 90's hip-hop duo, Kris Kross (no...we never did decide which Kris we were...).  But the true stars were the contestants!  Over the last few years, the cosplay market has BOOMED and there were some definite contenders for * *The Best I've Ever Seen* *

And then there came a Sunday.

With Sunday comes Kids Day and with Kids Day comes my U Cre-8 Comics panel!  Since aligning with Wizard to distribute U Cre-8 to their younger attendees, we've seen some great numbers filling up the panel rooms!  My passion about the project is exudes and love, Love, LOVE getting a chance to share it with budding creators of all ages!  

And then this happened.  

I've exhibited at quite a few shows over the years and while this year has proven the right time to put the spotlight on our growing line of comics, never before have I experienced a total sell out.  That's right.  You read that.  

Total.  Sell. Out.  

The Samaritan and The Trouble w/Love went Saturday and Sunday saw Origins Unknown and Wonder Care follow suit.  All by 12 noon.  I got an hour of free time to walk around the show, having decked out my table in a note of thanks to Wizard World and the ENTIRE CITY of Cleveland for their love and support!  

So all and all...last weekend was a great weekend.  But the best is yet to come...

Thursday, February 19, 2015

UnConventional - Why Are You Stepping Backwards...?

For ages -- and I'm not being hyperbolic either -- for AGES, practitioners of nerdom and geekery have sought the validation that comes with pop cultural recognition.  Without it, we were chided, excluded, mocked and marginalized, all because our tastes didn't fit in with what was collectively deemed "cool."

Fast forward.  It's now 2015 and oh how the world has changed!  Comic and book properties rule prime time television and the movies!  We've got sports stars and athletes claiming the monikers of our champions! Songs of nearly every genre giving shout out to our favorite fictional characters!  

And yet...

We have PUSH BACK from the very progress we've worked so hard to attain.


If you're new to me and my grind, I'm "one of" the HARDEST WORKING indy comics creators around!  I've been going hard for nearly FIVE years, writing some of the best, award nominated projects in the market!  And part of my grind is to attend EVERY comic convention I possibly can -- especially the Wizard World Convention Tour!

But to(o) many folks, Wizard is ENEMY #1 -- a point I just don't understand!  The biggest dig I hear is that they don't care about comics.  That despite it being  a part of their name -- their INCLUSION of pop media stars, fan-artists, comic retailers, memorabilia collectors/sellers, cosplayers, small-press publishers, indie/indy creators, intellectuals and educators, as well as industry legends somehow means that they DON'T care.  

I don't buy it.   I don't buy these announcements of "comic-focused" shows.  Comics are EVERYWHERE. They're forms of clothing, games, food, lit-books, movies, television, EVVVVERREYYTHING!  To be comic focused IS to be a show like Wizard World.

Oh but wait -- you meant to say comic BOOK focused, didn't you?  But how many COMIC-BOOK focused shows are actually as inclusive?  Some cater to indie books and mainstream work isn't welcome.  Some are so mainstream oriented that alternative comics are aggressively ignored.  And let's not even talk about the absence of web-comics, newspaper comics and educators...

So, let's get something straight.  Let's not go back to being a reclusive boys club that seeks validation through exclusivity.  These are brighter times!!  Step out of your caves and let's enjoy it!!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Black, White & READ -- Week 49!!!!!

Black, White & READ Week 49 - "The Zardoz Cosplay Contest"

This week (last week since I'm posting late -- SORRY Y'ALL!!!) -- we're joined by Fate Spears of The Comic Book Connection Initiative (a wonderful charity dedicated to getting comics in the hands of underprivileged children, soldiers, etc.), tackling a slew of kid-friendly comics for our younger readers!!!

On the rack this week:

Superman #38 (DC) - Geoff Johns (w) and John Romita, JR (a)
Nameless #1 (Image) - Grant Morrison (w) and Chris Burnham (a)
Star Wars #2 (Marvel) - Jason Aaron (w) and John Cassady (a)

Fate's Picks:

Skylanders #6 (IDW) - Ron Marz (w) and David Rodriguez (a)
Steven Universe #7 (KaBoom) - Jeremy Sorese/ various (w) and Coleman Engle/ various (a)
Batman '66 #19 (DC) - Jeff Parker (w) and Leonardo Romero (a)

Ryan's Honorable Mentions:
Black Vortex Alpha #1 (Marvel) - Sam Humphries (w) and Ed McGuinness, Kris Anka, Mark Farmer, Jay Leisten and Mark Morales (a)
Wytches #4 (Image) - Scott Snyder (w) and JOCK (a)

Victor's Honorable Mention:
Ant-Man #2 (Marvel) - Nick Spencer (w) and Ramon Rosanas (a)

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Sketch in the City Weeks 3 & 4...!

My run on Sketch in the City wraps up today with the fifth release of "Any Which Way But Snewz".  Unfortunately, my schedule had me traipsing all across the country, so I didn't get to post up weeks 3 and 4, so I wanted to make sure that you can see those if you didn't get a chance to snag any copies for yourself.  

So get your read on and make sure you grab as many copies you can and bring them to the next event you see me to get them signed!!!

Any Which Way But Snewz #3
By Victor Dandridge
Read: HERE

Any Which Way But Snewz #4
By Victor Dandridge
Read: HERE

Again, special thanks to Ken Eppstein for inviting me to take part and ushering me through!  

BW&R - Season 2 Ep. 3 "No Tums Needed"

We got a WHOLE plate of comic-booky goodness this week!  Ryan and I took on Rasputin and Uncanny Avengers since they were fan requests, but the winner of the week was DEFINITELY Thor #4!  There's something magical about that issue, right there!

But take a flip through EACH of the titles we discuss and see if our points were dead-on or WAAAAAY off the mark!

Rasputin #4 (Image) - Alex Grecian (w) and Riley Rossmo (a)

Uncanny Avengers #1 (Marvel) - Rick Remender (w) and Daniel Acuna (a)

Thor #4 (Marvel) - Jason Aaron (w) and Russell Dauterman (a)

The Dying & The Dead #1 (Image) - Jonathan Hickman (w) and Ryan Bodenheim (a)

Bitch Planet #2 (Image) - Kelly Sue Deconnick (w) and Valentine De Landro (a)

Casanova Acedia #1 (Image) - Matt Fraction (w) and Fabio Moon (a)

Sinestro #9 (DC) - Cullen Bunn (w) and Brad Walker (a)

Aquaman #38 (DC) - Jeff Parker (w) and Paul Pelletier (a)

**Have you subscribed to the Comic Town YouTube channel?  No...?!  Then what are you waiting for?  And while you're at it, like Black White and READ on Facebook too!

Monday, January 19, 2015

The BIGGEST News...and I'm just getting started!

Just three weeks young and already 2015 has been a breakout year.  

Hours into its first day, saw the release of my first strip in the Columbus Alive’s Sketch in the City series, a highlight for local cartoonists and creators operating in central Ohio (Thanks to Ken Eppstein of Nix Comics for curating!!).  My first solo sequential work in some time, Any Which Way But Snewz, allowed me to flex some creative muscles I wasn’t sure I had anymore.  But finishing the work -- and two weeks ahead of schedule at that -- has boosted my confidence tenfold, with the promise of seeing more work from my mind and hands in the very near future.  

I followed that up with a return to the classroom.  A guest instructor at Marburn Academy, my charge was in taking students through the creative process of creating a page of “original” content.  Using fan-fiction as the source, over two weeks, we talked about narrative structure, broke down storytelling tactics and illustration, with a 100% completion of the project from each participant, including staff!  A showcase is scheduled with Comic Town, one of my favorite local comic shops (and home of Black, White and Read All Over!) at the end of the month.

And then there’s “8 Bit Guy No More.”  With the convention season already started, I’m putting my words to the test, shining the spotlight on the established line of comic book titles through my imprint, Vantage:Inhouse Productions, instead of the pixelized artwork I’ve become known for.  My first appearance of the year, Wizard World New Orleans, was an PHENOMENAL -- proving more than anything that now is the right time for me to make this transition, embracing its challenges with open arms!

With all this, new books and projects currently in production, I can truly say 2015 is shaping up to be something special for me and V:IP.  But with what I’m about to announce, you could easily say I was just getting started...


In a deal brokered over the holidays, Wizard World will feature a custom piece of my U Cre-8 Comics line, through their Kids Day events.  U Cre-8 Comics, a series of projects and programs designed to bridge comics with classroom fundamentals, has been a fan-favorite panel of the Wizard World circuit since 2013.  With this partnership, thousands of young creators will be given a chance to create their own comic book characters; inspiring them to not only consider being comic readers, but creators as well!  

Over the remainder of the 2015 convention season, attendees, ages 10 and under, will receive a complimentary U Cre-8 Comics Character Crafter postcard when they check in (while supplies last).  Through the Character Crafter postcard, an abridged version of the workbook of the same name, they’ll be able to create their own, custom comic book character. Designing everything from power sets and costumes, we’re giving a new generation of creators some initial tools to go from being comic book fans to creators in their own right.

The Cre-8-ivity begins this weekend, January 23-25, at Wizard World Portland (Oregon Convention Center)!  Remember, children 10 and under are FREE when accompanied by a paying adult (limit two per admission).  Learn more about U Cre-8 Comics at www.ucre8comics.com and keep following Vantage:Inhouse Productions (www.vantageinhouse.blogspot.com) for our growing line of comics and other projects!

The UnConventional BIG Picture:

Vantage:Inhouse Productions is admittedly small-press, but far from small thinking.  I’ve aimed to affect the comic book industry in a meaningful way, despite my apparent lack of size, finance or notoriety.  And its working!  You too can find a way to make an impact on this medium we love -- you just have to be diligent and dedicated to your own goals.  It’s YOUR responsibility to make your own way.  Along the way, you may find some assists from like-minded allies -- but consider that an added bonus, not a crutch to rely on.  You can do it.  Believe me.

Corporate comic conventions are NOT your enemy.  Shallow thinking and self-imposed limitations are.  If you feel the focus isn’t on the medium as it should be or that there isn’t enough effort to promote it, do what YOU can to shine that spotlight.  No more excuses or finger wagging.  Trust and believe that they DO love comics just as much as we do, but they’re a business and they have their own needs to fulfill.  Try adjusting your perspective and see what you can do for THEM, instead of looking at what they owe you...because all they owe is getting people in the door.  And they tend to do that pretty well and by the tens of thousands.

I can’t stress this enough -- BE THE CHANGE YOU WANT TO SEE.  It’s your job!!!  You can’t just wait for the change to come; you can’t ask anyone else to step up where you won’t.  We have the immense power of creativity in our hands and we all know what comes with great power...

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Sketch in the City Week 2!!!

Sorry I'm a little late on this, but with Week THREE of my Sketch in the City run coming out today, I figured I better plug part two -- JUST IN CASE you missed it!!!  My confidence as a creator has been boosted so high doing this project that I'm PROMISING to complete a few solo works by years end!

So, make sure you go grab a copy of Columbus Alive TODAY, and catch up on last week's piece at the jump!

Any Which Way But Snewz #2
By Victor Dandridge
Read it: HERE