Quite often we underestimate the quality of independent comics. But there are several out there that challenge the notion that one has to be big to play big. Vince White does this with the creation of his new comic book Will Power. From a Jim Shooter endorsement to global readership, Vince garners lots of support for his work. It’s really hard to believe he does most of it himself. We got a chance to chat with him and picked his brain about his work.
Before we started Vince had something to say:
“First I want to say thanks to all the WILLPOWER fans and supporters out there and a great big thank you to ComicBooked.com and you, Jacques, for taking the time and showcasing a very independent book like mine.”
Tell us a little bit about yourself Vince.
Well, I’m no spring chicken. I’m 39 and like most comic book fans, I’ve always wanted to tell/draw a comic of my favorite character. I dabbled in the industry when I was young. During that time, I drew for a few independent books. The titles of which shall remain nameless due to sheer embarrassment of the work. Ha-Ha! But like most comic book want-to-be’s, I just gave up. I retreated into the world of graphic design.
But it’s not every day one wakes up and decide to create a comic book. What inspired you to take the leap and go at this solo?
Well, I said I retreated, but the drive never ended! I’ve always fashioned myself as the next STAN LEE! I just loved his energy and creative power. I’m the same way. After a close call with health issues, I realized life is short! So, if doing a comic of my own was my dream, then I was going to make it happen, even if I had to do it all myself! -And from that, WILLPOWER was born!
How did you come up with Will Power?
There were a few reasons why I came up with WILLPOWER. One was I’ve always loved the Superman franchise and always wished I could write or draw the man of steel. Second, I’ve come to believe there are certain elements that make an iconic character. Willpower was my expression of doing both. He is an off-shoot of the superman archetype and my attempt at constructing an iconic character in the making.
Which do you find harder? Writing or Illustrating Will Power?
Writing is definitely harder. Drawing it is no walk in the park either but writing it is challenging only in one aspect: I try to trim and trim a script down until it’s expressing the grandest concepts in the least amount of words. I want to strike a balance between the almost text saturated comics of the 60’s and the almost single word bubble per page comics of today. Although it’s challenging, it’s all a labor of love.
One thing I’ve noticed as an observer of comics, that comic creators sometimes hit ruts. Sometimes they rely on clichés and stereotypes to make a story “happen”. Being a black male, one of the things that really attracted me to Will Power is the limited use of stereotypes to tell the story. I enjoyed seeing the lead character being a hero and the story having a scientific basis. It allowed everyone to relate to some very unrelatable events. Did you find it hard to write this story keeping the main character African American without alienating different audiences?
I think there’s two main ways to handle black characters in comics. One approach is to have the theme be all about the fact that the character is black. That normally means there’s a sense of intensity and defiance within the story, there’s often an urban flare and the central meme is about respect. Those books can be done tastefully and very powerfully. Some good examples are Milestone’s Hardware, Marvel Marc Texeira’s run on Black Panther, and an independent title call The Almighty StreetTeam.
WILLPOWER, however is a story about a teen superhero who happens to be black. I think just the image alone is POWERFUL enough. I want readers of all backgrounds to be attracted to the concept. Will Power is really your classic KIDS super hero that’s written for ADULTS.
I hear you have more in store for Will Power, beyond comic books. What are some of your plans to grow the Will Power brand?
I want the package most comics had when I was a kid. It included the comic series, the Saturday cartoon, the toy line complete with playsets, and the T-shirt, pajama, bed sheet triple threat!
Do you have any advive for comic creators wanting to follow your footsteps?
I’m using the Todd Mcfarlene method with a little Stan Lee thrown in. Todd said focus on one character like he did with SPAWN. I’m also using the Stan Lee method of having a SPEARHEAD title that introduces an entire universe of heroes. This creates the possibility for a spin-off titles. Stan Lee introduced the Marvel universe through the Fantastic Four. My most important advice to new creators is JUST TO DO IT! NO EXCUSE!
What events/conventions can fans find you soon?
I will attend most of the North Carolina, Virginia and Baltimore cons for sure. I and a buddy of mine, Arnie Gordon have said we will make it to a San Diego con soon.
Can an analog comics survive in a digital world?
Nothing can ever take the place of a physical comic. If something does, were at least 50 or 49 years from its development right now.