Hard Work pays off - part 1

As my debut issue of Star Wars Adventures comes closer to release in October, I felt like I should tell my journey on how a boy from the western suburbs of Sydney ended up writing in a galaxy far far away. Over the next several weeks I will be releasing a series of blogs documenting this. It certainly hasn’t been an easy journey but through all the self doubt, tears and joy, I hope people read this and are inspired to pursue their dreams.


Hard work pays off (HWPO), seems like common sense right? But how often do we really put that saying into practice? I’m not talking about for a month or a year but for a decade. It has taken ten years for my dreams to start becoming a reality. On the 17th of October my debut issue of IDW’s Star Wars Adventures will hit comic book stands worldwide. The thought of my name being related to anything Star Wars gives me goosebumps. Though some people may see this as something that happened overnight I can certainly tell you that is not the case. This has been an accumulation of ten years of hard work, believing in myself, doubting myself then believing in myself again.


To understand this story we have to start at the beginning. It’s 1992, I’m four years old and dressed as Batman watching Tim Burton’s “Batman Returns” in cinemas. Growing up I would like to think I was a unique kid (still like to think I’m unique too and just a big kid now). I was a child of pop culture, comics and a big nerd at a young age. I would go to the shops with my parents dressed up as all types of superheroes. I would even go to school dressed up as a ninja turtle. I always had to be home on time to watch Power Rangers after school. Comics, cartoons and movies were my life. My parents always thought that I would grow up and be an actor or a director based on all of my interests as a child.  


Me dressing up as a TMNT at the age of three


Though I loved all of those things as a child, this left me to be the easy target at school to be bullied. I would get bullied by the kids at school on a daily basis, the teasing, name calling hurt a lot. This saw me hiding my true self from the world as I grew up and entered high school. I was focused on good grades and found my way into the sport of golf. It wouldn’t be until 2007 till I read a comic again.  


Through strange events I would walk into my local comic book store, The Phantom Zone in Parramatta. I walked in and saw Geoff Johns first volume of Green Lantern at the front entrance. My eyes were hooked on the Ethan Van Sciver cover, I asked the manager “Ice” what it was about and he told me “it’s a story of a guy overcoming his fears”. With that Tagline I knew I had to read the book, so I bought the first several trades and went home to read them straight away. It was the medicine that the doctor ordered for me to get back to my roots of being a nerd.


In 2008, whilst at uni I decided to write my own comic. My mind was full of creativity and at the time I had a lot of emotion and wanted to put the two together. I created the series based on my own character titled “Vengador”. The character was based on me, being interested in technology, going to university and wanting to make a difference in the world. I spent all of 2008 writing the first three issues (these would end up being the first trade paperback). I didn’t have any training in creative writing and didn’t really know where to start. I looked at comic scripts I found online and read “The DC Comics guide" on how to write comics. Taking notes from that book along with reverse engineering a comic were a great place to start.


The first page of Vengador was published middle 2009 as a webcomic. Originally I would write the script then draw everything myself (boy was the artwork bad). At the end of 2009, I teamed up with long time Vengador artist Rowal. In 2010 I started travelling the country on my own dime going to conventions and selling the first trade of Vengador in artist alley.


The first convention where I promoted my comic at Chatswood Town Hall

In that same year the second volume of Vengador was released . I knew I wanted to be a comic writer at this stage as I enjoyed the storytelling process. Knowing what my goal was (to make it as a comic writer) I knew I had to go where the industry was and that was the United States.



The cover to the first volume of Vengador.

Next week I will open up about my first trip to the United States, going to conventions and putting myself out there.


Until next time.

James

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