Five years ago this October, Victor Dandridge left a “cushy” job to start his own comic publishing house Vantage: In House Productions based out of Columbus, OH. After years of observing people in the comics industry, Dandridge, a gregarious and lively person, jumped into publishing with his first book The Samaritan. Though he is also an artist, Dandridge tends to take the role of writer collaborating with a variety of artists on a number of projects.
One book, The Kinder Guardians, is an all-ages book drawn by Justin Castanaeda and “edited” by Dandridge’s five-year old daughter. The story follows a bunch of superhero kids at the Wonder Care day care center. The book also has activity pages and space for children to use their imagination. It’s a must-read for little comic book aficionados.
Dandridge writes the stories and does the lettering on his books, which allows him to do last minute edits. He’s also a master marketer. With his book Origins: Unknown he noticed readers were drawn to the cover but hesitated once they realized the book was black and white. He went back and colored part of the issue to alleviate the problem and draw in more readers. In another ambitious project, Dandridge created a “concept album of comic book proportions” called Ol’ Crazy & the 40 Oz of Death, which I described as Boyz in the Hood meets Bruce Lee. The book is done in large format and when opened features 11×34 panels.
Most of the books are reasonably priced between $2.99 to $5.00 per issue or bundle, and most of the selling is done at conventions. As both the writer and publisher of so many books, Dandridge has deservedly been labeled the hardest working man in comics. He works hard to promote his books at conventions, and he also mentors other creators looking to self-publish. You can keep up with Dandridge’s work at Vantage: In House Productions.