While at the Austin Film Festival last week, I had a chance to stop in at the Wizard World Comic Con, which was a blast. At Comic Con, I had the opportunity to meet a remarkable guy named Victor Dandridge.
Victor creates, writes, and publishes his own comic books under his Vantage In House Productions Imprint. He’s also famous for his 8-bit character designs.
I met Victor at “Drink and Draw,” a Wizard Con party that takes place at a bar where invitees are given a prompt to write a short story or draw a certain character or scene. The writers and artists are then judged and a winner is chosen, but mostly it’s about the camaraderie and doing more at a bar than just drink, flirt, and make small talk.
Victor was the emcee of the event, and kept things moving by throwing comic book themed trivia at everyone. I was immediately impressed at his encyclopedic (Wikipedic?) knowledge of mainstream comic book history. I mean, I like to think I know a lot about this subject but this guy blows me away. Victor was funny, smart, and full of energy, and could probably have his own talk show.
The next time I saw Victor was at his “U Cre8 Comics” panel at Wizard Con. This panel, aimed at kids, teaches young people how to create their own comics and more importantly, their own stories, by breaking down just how a superhero is created, complete with a take home character card. Kids (and adults), really got into this event, and it reminded me a lot of my days at Chess-in-the-Schools, getting kids interested in learning through playing games.
What really stood out for me is how quickly Victor shifts between worlds. His material for more mature readers, such as The Samaritan and The Trouble with Love, fearlessly attack adult themes such as inner city violence, depression, and infidelity with skill and thoughtfulness, while his Wonder Care Presents line and U-Cre8 Comics make it clear how passionate he is about using comics to reach the next generation.
As a fledgling comic book creator myself (Team Echo #1 still available for digital download at Gumroad.com!) I was extremely impressed with Victor’s versatility and the passion with which he’s created his mini comics empire, and I hope I can match it myself someday.