The Return Of The Black And White Indie Vampire Comic – Bleeding Cool News

Comic book creator, Frank Forte, writes about his latest vampire adventures for Bleeding Cool;

Over the years, I have bounced back and forth between the comics world and film and animation. In the 90s, I was part of the black and white boom where I self-published titles like From Beyond, Insidious Tales, and The Vampire Verses. I also worked for indie publishers like Cry For Dawn, Boneyard Press, Anubis Press, and others. It was a fun time in comics, as independent B&W comics could sell between 20,000-40,000 copies with little advertising. There was just a hunger for independently created comics with an edge. It was a fun and inspiring time for anyone that experienced it. The bottom kind of dropped out after the Heroes World distributor and the distributor wars of the mid to late 90s. Sales dropped, and it was hard to make a living publishing indie comics. I tried hard to get in with the major publishers like Marvel, DC, and Dark Horse, but my "horror" style just never seemed to fit with any of the editors.

This was when I moved into working in animation. I became a Flash animator and later moved to storyboarding, which was closer to drawing comics. After moving to Los Angeles, I was able to work on many amazing animated films, TV shows, and live-action movies. Directors seemed to love that I came from comics as they knew I had a good eye for composition and dramatic staging. Plus, I could draw anything from superheroes to monsters to sci-fi tech to secret underground bases.

My film and TV credits includeConjuring 3, Lovecraft Country, Truth or Dare, Fantasy Island, Solar Opposites, Dreamwork's 3Below, Bob's Burgers, Insidious 4, Lego: Guardians of the Galaxy, Despicable Me 2, Lego Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Out, The Super Hero Squad Show, Marvel Heroes 4D, and Lego Hero Factory.

This work was very rewarding, and I got to work on some amazing shows and collaborate with many incredible creators.

But the comic bug never left me. I missed the days of being alone in my studio with Bristol board and quill, a bottle of India ink, and some grunge music blasting in the background. I always loved comics because you didn't need a crew to make them. If you could write, draw, ink and letter, you could make your own comics. All you needed was time and no distractions. So in between working in animation and film, I started to squeak out some comic series and short stories.

I formed my small press publishing company Asylum Press in 1999 and began publishing my own work as well as the work of other creators I admired. Over the years, Asylum Press has published The Vampire Verses, Satan's Powder Room, Insidious Tales, Zombie Terrors, EEEK!, Chicken Soup For Satan, Black Powder, and the uber-fan favorite Steve Mannion's Fearless Dawn.

Since COVID hit in March 2020, the film and animation work has kind of dried up, so I was forced into my studio with nothing to do, so I started getting back into drawing comics. One comic that I never finished was my Nosferatu saga, The Vampire Verses.

I began submitting to Heavy Metal magazine, the one place I knew might accept weird, sometimes shocking, sci-fi and horror short stories in the comics medium. Low and behold, Kevin Eastman began accepting them. My first few stories in the mag were DTOX, a post-apocalyptic warrior, and Battlefield X, a battalion of soldiers becoming disoriented in a chemical war. This was a great thrill for me as Heavy Metal was one of my biggest inspirations. This led to Kevin offering to let me guest edit Heavy Metal, which I did for Heavy Metal #271 (Asylum Press Special) and Heavy Metal #277 (Horror Special). I believe these were fan favorites, and this led me to the content editor job I have at Heavy Metal, a position I still have to this day.

In The Vampire Verses, Angelika, an exotic dancer in the NYC club scene, is unwittingly turned into a creature of the night. As she tries to make sense of what she has become, she learns of a bloody Vampire War is being fought in the streets and subway tunnels of New York City. Slowly, the truth unfolds as Angelika begins to realize she is a key part of an ancient scrolled prophecy known asThe Vampire Verses.

I decided to get back to the series by putting together an artbook/sketchbook that contains art, sketches, concepts, and character designs from 1995 to the present.

THE VAMPIRE VERSES: BLOOD RITES SKETCHBOOK/ART BOOK is a 32- page saddle-stitched comic that includes art and sketches from The Vampire Verses series by Frank Forte. The art ranges from 1995 to present day with character studies, cover studies, renders, creature design, environment design, pin-ups and more. The book hopes to reintroduce fans to the series and be a prelude to the continuation of The Vampire Verses #5-#12.

You can view the Kickstarter here. I'm hoping I can get back to writing and drawing comics full-time and that Kickstarter will be a way towards that goal.

If you're seeing this on Bleeding Cool and decide to make a pledge, just send me a message saying, "I saw this on Bleeding Cool and decided to pledge," and you'll receive a limited edition signed 8.511 vampire Verses print with your order.

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.

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The Return Of The Black And White Indie Vampire Comic - Bleeding Cool News

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