What got you interested in comics? Any cartoonists that you look up to?
Vance: I can thank my older brother for getting me into comics. When I was younger I would just copy everything he did because that’s what little brothers do. So when he read comics I got into reading them as well. At first, I read the typical stuff like Batman, X-Men, or Spawn but as I got older I found other works by Chris Ware, Adrian Tomine, Art Spiegelman, and Marjane Satrapi. These cartoonists showed me that comics was a great medium for more emotional stories. That’s when I really fell deeply in love with comics. It’s the medium’s ability to simultaneously get the creator’s intention across clearly while leaving room for the reader to insert themselves into the story.
Can you tell us a little about your comic? How does it speak to the theme of the anthology (uncharted territory/unversed)?
Vance: The story I wrote for the Unversed anthology is about a scientist that is trying to open an inter-dimensional portal but inadvertently ends up going to an unexpected place. It’s about the experience of ending up somewhere that you weren’t expecting and how you can use that opportunity to learn and grow.
What was the inspiration behind your story?
Vance: I was thinking a lot about my wife and her path studying math and the sciences. Women are not encouraged to study in the STEM fields and I wanted to write a story that touched on the idea that even when people doubt your ability, you can still succeed through perseverance.
What challenges arose during the course of this project? Takeaways?
Vance: I wrote myself into a tough spot with this comic and I wasn’t sure how to end it. I’ve gone back and forth about how much to write before beginning the sketching process and with this comic I decided to write and draw at the same time. This worked out really well for the majority of the story as the content was flowing naturally. But toward the end, I got stuck about how to wrap it all up. After some time away from it, the idea suddenly hit me. I guess I just needed some time to let my mind wander toward a conclusion.
Can we expect more comics beyond this project?
Vance: For sure. I love making comics and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. I just wrapped up my graphic novella Lumpy Acres, which is a comic memoir about buying a small farm and moving from the city to the country. That should be out in the public in the near future. I’m looking for what my next comics project will be but I don’t have a clear idea of what it is yet.