To: The Comic Book Industry (writers, artists, letterers, colorists, inkers, editors, assistant editors, publishers, EIC’s, retailers, distributors, readers, bloggers, lovers, fans)

Re: The Year That Has Passed/The Year To Come

This year, 2011, was probably the worst in the 10 years that I’ve been writing professionally. No paid work. It’s been extremely depressing, and as my wife can attest, I had a lot of awful days as a result. I think it’s safe to say that up until October, I was in a tailspin. I was writing, for sure, but for who? For what? The answer has to be, “Me and my sanity.”

And then October came. And the NYCC happened. And things moved in ways that I can only describe as “in divine ways.”

I usually write these things and look over what I did accomplish and what is next, but I think that before I do that, I need to drop a huge bomb.

(A deep breath is taken…)

The day that I have been looking forward to and always dreaded has finally come.

As of December 22, I will no longer be working at Jim Hanley’s Universe. 10 years. 8 months. 1 day.

As of January 2, I will officially be a freelancer. And I’ve never been so scared in my life.

Something about me that I don’t know how well known it is…my greatest fear is failure. I have learned, however, that never trying is probably an even greater fear of mine. It’s easy to sit and play the “What If” game, but it’s like Yoda said; “Do or do not. There is no try.”

With the exception of a great wife (got that) and great kids (working on it), I’ve never wanted anything more than to entertain people. I’d like to think that I can still act, so maybe that’s not off the table. I can still sing, so I won’t rule that out either. But for the past…wow, has it been 15 years? For the past 15 years, writing (specifically, comics) has been the way I’ve entertained folks. I hope. God knows I might not always be on, but I hope I’ve entertained my readers. I’ve accomplished a lot, but I know that if I dedicated my life to my craft, I could accomplish more. And that’s what the hope is here. The hope is that I can put my money where my mouth is…and actually put some money in my mouth. More on that in a few…

I love(d) (since I’m still working, I’ll include the present tense) working at JHU. I’ve been to a bunch of stores, all over the country, and I think, from a totally unbiased POV, that it is one of the best, if not the BEST, comic book retail outlets in the country. Bar none. I know that those trips have always given me ideas and ways to improve the store, and I’ve always done my best to implement or suggest my ideas, but the one thing that I think we do better than anyone is customer service. I think we’re unmatched in that area. The selection doesn’t hurt either. I never intended to stay as long as I did, or even become a manager, or even work full time, but those were the cards that were dealt. With that, I have to thank Jim Hanley, the late Rich Hafstead and everyone I’ve ever worked with and for here. I know that I’m not easy to work with, and somehow, someway, everyone I worked with put up with my roller coaster emotionally sensitive and moody self and for that, I thank you. Jim has always been supportive of my endeavors, and the store has always been supportive of my career path, and again, I can’t express enough how gratifying that is. It’s a rare treat to be able to work in an industry you love, with people you like, doing what you’re good at. You should all be so lucky.

And with that, he was gone.

So, when the cowboy rides off into the sunset, where does he go? What does he do?

20111215-213821.jpg

(from Preacher #66)

The truth is…I don’t know. This is the great unknown. I know what’s immediately next; I’m going to dedicate myself to writing full time. Not just comics, but novels (yep), screenplays (yessir) and even…a musical. These are all things that have been on the back burner for years. I’ve always said that my biggest hurdle was time and not having enough of it to do all that I wanted to. So this is all very “make or break.” Put up or shut up. S#!& or get off the pot.

Oh, I never mentioned this in the past months, but this should show how serious I am. In June of this year, on my birthday to be exact, artist ChrisCross and I started our own company, Eternal Kick. You haven’t missed anything; we’ve been plotting and planning since then, but we’ve taken some early steps to ensure that in 2012, you will know exactly what it is we’re selling. And it’s HUGE.

All in all, I’m looking at…19, maybe 20 DIFFERENT projects on my plate. Some familiar ones on there (FCHS Vol 2, Stray) but the majority are all brand new. In years past, I would list everything that I did in the past year and then list what is coming, but I don’t know. That’s kind of setting myself up to fail, isn’t it? I mean, only if I don’t do them all, right? Besides, the mystery of it is much more appealing. But for now, a tease. Below is a promo image for a new book called DOUBLE. It’s co-written with my good friend, Caleb Monroe, and drawn by my Superman 676 artist, Julián López. I think you’ll agree that what we have planned looks phenomenal. When we announce it, I expect everyone, whether you follow me on Twitter, Facebook or whatever else OR not, to pre-order this at their local comic shop.

This isn’t the only big project. Remember AQUARIAN 7? Unfortunately, Eshwin Dhir’s schedule didn’t permit him to do the book (but I’m hoping to talk him into working with me on something). So, welcome new artist, Sean Izaakse! Sean will also be the artist on STRAY 2 (I know, I know…where’s STRAY 1? It’s coming! We’re trying to get as much of the books in the can so there’s a seamless reading experience). Here’s his version of Stray…

(Don’t worry…Edi Torres is still drawing the first mini.)

Also, I’m lettering now! Thanks to Andy Schmidt, Dave Sharpe and Comics Experience, I’m a full blown letterer! So if you need one, let me know! My rates right now are very reasonable!

The IRS doesn’t consider me a writer since, for the past two years, I haven’t made any income from writing. That might not change in 2012, but on December 31, 2012, if the Mayans are wrong, I’ll be able to look back on my year, look at all I’ve written, and say, “I don’t care what the IRS says, I AM A WRITER!”

For all of you who thought for years that I had, “…so much potential, but…” 2012 is the year I prove you right. And for those that thought I couldn’t write because I work in retail…what’s your excuse now?

Thank you for sticking by me and for believing in me.

Now, I’ll make you believers.

-Vito Delsante

12/18/11