VASS IS HERE
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To my readers
Vass is a story I have always felt destined to tell. I first remember attempting to draw it when I was three years old. Its one of my very first memories. Yes, I have been working on this story for that long. Somewhere in a box are stacks of typing paper stapled together from when I was a teenager, drawn with pilot sc-uf pens (no pencil first) and colored in marvy markers - issue after issue of Vass - which I worked on every day really believing they would be published someday and wildly successful. Those were good days. One should never give up on their dreams.
However, as I hit about 15, I knew I need to learn to write, draw and paint in order to properly tell this story - so that took considerably longer (and still a work in progress many years later). I probably should have just gone for it in the 80s when comics were exploding into popularity, but I didnt feel my skills were up to it yet. So I waited, and built up my skills while I absorbed more of this story as the universe told it to me. I went to college, and then to a trade school for art. For both of my skills, I took a more experimental approach. For the art, I went the educated route. I took every class I could, I went to seminars, I practiced my ass off. For my writing, I took the basic classes in high school and college, learned what I couldn’t live without, and left the rest up to mileage. I have more than 20 years of school under my belt for art. I have about four or six under me for English. I am not sure to this day whether my art is better than my writing, or the other way around – but it doesn’t really matter. As long as the story gets told well.
The number of skills I had to master – penciling, inking, coloring, painting, writing, lettering, composition, etc. Etc, we’re daunting, and took a long time. Inking alone took me four years using nothing but a brush - and these days and inker trained like that is hard to find. A lot of comic book companies don’t want to pay inkers anymore. They just turn the pencil lines dark in Photoshop and call it a day. And, as you can see, in the first few issues here I am guilty of that as well. I don’t really have the time, money, or resistance to pain to do everything myself. What’s most important to me is to tell a story that I have been told to tell, any way I have to do it.
Thats what really is happening here – I am only telling the story as it is told to me. You are the recipient of a channeled story. I cannot take credit for creating, it changing it, or planning it out. As with my other books, I barely know what’s going to happen as I’m writing it. Which makes it fascinating for me, and usually ends up being a fairly unpredictable story. Of course this requires that I not be a control freak, and just let go and see what happens. I actually believe that the story is being given to me from somewhere else – where I don’t know – and I am just the medium through which it is coming to you.
That said, I’ve had a very interesting and busy life. I’ve studied martial arts for almost all of my years, competed intensely, and it has left a few injuries in place. Because of those injuries, but more because I truly believe in following a path of heart, this story, it’s art, and anything about it can change without notice. In order to keep it interesting, to keep it fun, to keep myself motivated, and to avoid suffering pain while drawing, I reserve the right as its creator (or it’s channeler) to perform the story in whatever medium, way, time, and manner I see fit. I will always choose one that is the most passionate, driven, and true to the story way that I can find. The story is really all that matters. How it’s told and in what medium doesn’t really matter so much. Because of this, it’s probably not going to resemble a steady, run-of-the-mill comic book. Like my book Squibble’s story, the mediums may change, the way it’s written may change, just about anything but the story may change. If you’re open-minded, and are looking for something different, then this story is for you. I think you’ll like it. It is by far the most creative way I could come up with to actually get it to you, which is really what matters to me. When the writer and the artist are passionately motivated by something that comes from the deepest part of their soul, the result is true. And what is true will resound with everyone. That, more than anything, is what I’m going for here. The feeling and the story matter more than any of its parts.
So one issue may be done in pencil, the next one inked with a brush, and the one after that with a pen. Some may be written more like illustrated novels, and some may even be painted. There may be guest artists, there may be guest inkers and colorists (depending on how well I can pay them). I know most people prefer a steady look and style, and I may even try to go for that, or just fall into it out of habit, but it has to be fun and true to the story, and not cause me pain most of all. I promise you really only one thing: I will be true to the story as best I can - the quality of whatever I do will be the best I can produce every time - and the story is going to be the same one until it’s end.
Oh yes, by the way, the story has an end. Every good story does. It’s a rather long, complicated story, but one day it will be over.
I hope you will enjoy the journey with me, and be there to see it.
August 4th, 2014
Ps: if, by chance, you would like to be involved, and have some kick ass skills in the art world, get a hold of me – because I might be able to use you. You’ll have to interview and audition, and I can’t pay very much (so you are forewarned), but hey, you’d be published and part of an awesome epic. If it gets popular, you’re along the ride.
(Authors note: in the professional world, this is called working on spec, and I would never recommend it to anybody. However, if you have lots of time on your hands, need to practice, and wish to accomplish something, then perhaps it’s an option.)
Vass issue 1 looked good on the computer screen. The printers assured me it would look just like that on paper, sent me proofs which were done digitally in the US, then printed the 4 color process in China, which turned out way too dark for advertising. So my deal feel through with the publisher, and I ended up with 1000 books in my garage and losing 10,000 dollars instead of selling enough (5 dollars each, very close to my printing price) to put out issue #2. So, issue #2 will probably be entirely digital. Doing a one man comic is an art of love, but a horror show in production it seems. So lesson learned the hard way, and now Im figuring out how to keep the series going thats cost effective and print-friendly. I havent given up, even after a blow liek that - but I just need to be smart about it, and Im one person doing a seven man job. So I apologize for the ridiculous delays. Thats what happened. And Im still on it.