2007-08-17 / Community

Local Makes It To Comic Book Contest Finals:Vote Now!

by Alison Mills

One of Rockaway's own residents, Jorge Vega III, is on the fast track to comic book gold.

Vega entered the AT&T/Platinum Studios' Comic Book Challenge in May, and his entry, which focuses on the old west, was recently chosen to compete in the final round. Vega created a comic book that beat out millions of submissions from 21 countries around the world, becoming one of the top three contenders.

According to the author, "Gunplay" is a supernatural western set in 1870 that chronicles the relationship between a 14-year-old conman, and a haunted Buffalo Soldier.

The Buffalo Soldiers were an all-black regiment, the Tenth Cavalry, which served on the western frontiers of America after the Civil War.

The Buffalo Soldier in Vega's comic book roams the west with a terrible burden holstered at his side- a cursed gun that forces the soldier to shoot one person each day, or suffer gut-wrenching pain.

The story focuses on the unusual bond that is formed when the young, white, misguided huckster and the cursed, black soldier wander into each other's lives."

The Platinum Studio Comic Book Challenge is a prestigious competition within the industry that welcomes aspiring talent from all over the world to create the best new original comic book concept. The challenge pits these artists against each other as they vie for top billing as the world's newest and foremost comic book creator. The winner of the contest is awarded a development and publishing deal that crosses all forms of media, including print, online, and mobile distribution. The winners are also awarded the installation of a licensing and merchandising program for their comic. The opportunities afforded with this prize are rare to come by in this harshly competitive industry, where it is extremely difficult for newcomers

to gain entry into this segment of the entertainment trade. The winner will formally be announced late in August and the winning comic or graphic novel will be published and premiered at a major Wizard World convention in 2008. The book will also be featured online at www.drunkduck.com.

Vega shared his feelings at finding out his comic was a top contender with The Wave.

"I was floored when I got the call from Platinum Studios telling us that we'd beat out millions of submissions and made the top 50," he said. "They flew us out to San Diego and I made the pitch to a celebrity panel, palms all sweaty, I stumbled over my words a bit at first! The judge's response was very positive and the next day we got the news that we had made the top ten and we went bananas."

Speaking out to the Rockaway community, Vega asks for everyone's help in achieving his goal.

"The next two weeks are make or break for us- we're going to need even more votes to make it all the way. Though this story is filled with western style action and spooky visuals, at the heart it is about what separates us from one another and what ties us together; the boy and the soldier, a white boy and a black man in a post-Civil War America learning what it takes to look past the surface and survive together. The beautiful thing about growing up in Rockaway with all its people and all their colors is that there was always room for that lesson to occur- I know it did in my own life."

The contest is now in the final round of voting, and along with Shawn Granger of California, and Josiah Grahn of Kentucky, Vega is one of the top three finalists. Fans and friends are now afforded the opportunity to vote online for their favorite comic book concept at www. attblueroom.com or at www. Comic BookContest.com. Voting will continue through August 25, 3 a.m. EST, so vote soon and vote often.

Vega, a Rockaway native, now resides in Brockton, Massachusetts. He grew up living in Dayton Towers, and attended P.S. 183 and JHS 180. He is the son of Eva Vega and Pastor Jorge Vega of the Full Gospel Tabernacle Church on Beach 42 Street.

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