Why Make the Vignettes Series?
Why? Why create the Vignettes series? This question gets posed to me a lot. The implication is that there are more significant and/or worthy topics to spend time on or address. Now to understand the answer we need to go back in time a bit.
I’ve always been interested in the dichotomy of views that our culture has with sex and sexuality. It seems that we cap its worth to flagrant sex appeal for marketing and limited forms of entertainment. Anything beyond that and it becomes passé. Yet this is something that is done, if lucky, or thought about on a daily or semi frequent basis.
Now, I can only speak for myself but these thoughts, actions, desires, innuendo, double entendres and jokes happen frequently on a daily basis, but yet we really don’t talk about the subject unless in good company. To help illustrate my point I was watching a standup comedy special and the comedian, who’s name eludes me, was talking about sex and then out of the blue he asked an audience member to have a dialogue with him about the genre of porn that he watches. The crowd went silent and you could feel the tension, but why? Had he inquired about the man’s preferences on any other topic that would’ve been fine but with sex it’s different. It’s something that’s completely natural that we all do and we cannot help our desires and yet we consider it inherently vile, it seems. Yet the byproduct of that very action is rejoiced and celebrated i.e. babies and birthdays.
So when I was in college I was studying film production because I wanted to be a screenwriter and I was just coming into my writing style. After college I had written my first screenplay, a comedy of errors, about a couple that wants to get into the swinging lifestyle. I bought a screenwriting book and learned how to do the formatting and sent it off to a script doctor. I joke that if you pressed the script between your hands, with barely any pressure, it’d bleed red ink. However, the guy said it was good, especially for a first, and encouraged me to continue on. I submitted to national screenplay competitions and got nothing. That was discouraging.
I feel that there’s no creativity left in Hollywood and that failure perpetuated my belief and could therefore be dismissed. I at least didn’t let that experience stop me. It forced me to look at a different medium. There are all these things that say what a screenplay is but there are not so many rules for graphic novels.
They (screenwriters) always say to write what interests you or write what you’d like to see. Combine this idea with entrepreneurs that advocate for being you because that’s the only thing that’s proprietary.
My first idea was to write a dystopian sci-fi graphic novel because that’s a prevalent issue in our society and I especially hate greed and corruption. However, I talked myself out of this because how many sci-fi graphic novels are there? So, I started thinking about something else and didn’t see a lot of Western (American’esk) erotica or NSFW content in graphic novels. There are definitely Asian genres but I wanted to create something different and that’s how the Vignettes series came to be. The proceeds from that series has also allowed me to create my erotic cyberpunk graphic novel Akiva which is everything that I would want to read/see in a book.
Sex is something that we need to talk about. Open communication is a way to normalize it. Which, is a fucking ridiculous thing to have to even say because it’s a function of our humanity. There are some states that have taken the issue of selling/owning sex toys to the supreme court. This is something that we do in the privacy of our home and the party that’s for limited government doesn’t seem to mind the overreach in that area. How can this be? Obscenity laws are still on the books and there’s a standard of not violating the standards of one’s community — well what the fuck does that mean? Why do community standards apply to my sexual interests in the bedroom? This of course is talking about actions done between consenting adults. That’s why I created this series. I want to normalize people’s sexual interests and kinks which can only be done by bringing it out into the open and showing the numerous walks of life that engage in them.
I also want to challenge the dichotomy of written vulgarity versus the illustrations of that. Why is it that I can be as crude and descriptive in text as I want with it being considered erotica but if I were to illustrate the same thing it’s then pornography? If I turned the Vignettes series into a text based book, which is coming, I could sell it everywhere (nearly) and have no trouble in it getting printed…but because I’ve drawn out the action with fictional characters publishers or erotic online retailers will not touch it. There seems to be this chicken and the egg problem with pornography which is that it’s okay to own but possibly illegal to create or to distribute. This should scare anyone and serve as a reminder why we need to communicate its inherent value as something that we fucking do and we don’t want/require regulation over a natural occurrence.