The Inland Empire Etc.,

It’s been awhile since I have been on here.  Life has been, shall we say, busy.

Running a company like FP is more than a fulltime job.  It’s an obsession.

7 years ago I realized that while I loved comics, they were getting old.  I was constantly disappointed by regurgitating stories and characters.  I still loved being able to read my favorite titles but thought, how much could these people take and what is it that makes 50 years of a character fighting the same fight over and over again so interesting.  Then I realized, nothing.  It was stale.

It wasn’t until I picked up the book Powers that my mind was reawakened.  Powers was such a breath of fresh air that it made me see that there were other stories out there.  I began to grab more and more indy books and found my love for comics beginning to take hold again.  I thought to myself, why can’t I do this.  I am a decent writer with fairly new ideas, why not just start my own company.  So I did.

I wrote my first story (for comics) entitled The Apt.  I posted it online and got such a huge response to it that I began the process of hunting down and artist.  During this time I moved.  I was living in Florida at the time when my roommate and I decided it was time to pick up and move on.  We ended up in Iowa and, after landing a job at Sony, I found my free time limited.  I managed to locate and artist in Ryan Cain.  But due to distance and availability were we unable to get the comic book started.  We did, however, manage to start laying the foundation for Forbidden Panel.

Flash forward 10 years.  Ryan has since moved on and I have all but abandoned the Apt.  I got married and relocated to the Inland Empire. Redlands, CA to be exact.  During which time I began working on another project called ZKS Zombie Kill Squad.  In the search for an artist for this book I met Justin White and Bryan Kreusch.  This was about 5 years ago.

Putting out our first 10 page book was a dream come true but it also opened up my eyes.  See, while looking for the perfect artist to complete this book I ended up meeting and discovering a virtual well of untapped artists in the Inland Empire.  I also found that these amazing people had no where to show off their fantastic skills that wasn’t San Diego or out of state. So, I turned Forbidden Panel from being just a place for us to put out our book, but also a home for other like minded individuals.  We also began posting comic book, movie, and video game news and reviews.  We also began publishing comic books from local creators.  We wanted geeks to finally feel like they had a home.

3 years ago, with an ever expanding staff, we put on our for comic book convention called the Inland Empire Comic Book Expo.  We invited local artists and creators to come down and display their talent while also giving comic book fans a place locally to dress up and geek out.  It was an instant success.  That same year we hosted the first annual Inland Empire Zombie Beauty Pageant.  I got the idea from, then new to FP, Martin Bright.  It too was an amazing success.

See, I wanted to give not only the artists and creators a way to show their skills locally but to also wake up the Inland Empire and let them see what they were missing in their own backyard.  And it worked. I wasn’t doing it for fame or to make money.  In fact, we are constantly in the black.  But, we don’t care, or at least, I don’t.

Growing up I had no where to do such these and very little in the way of friends to do it with.  My geekdom involved many late night D&D gatherings and random trips to the comic book store.  Not to mention, ditching school to head to the theater to see such films as Transformers (animated movie) and Terminator.  I wanted to be able to provide a place, now, where other could do such things without having to travel far or pay an obscene amount of money.

Now FP plays host many different events.  We host the Midnight Movie Maniacs.  A group of movie lovers that are to impatient to wait til the weekend to see new releases.  We also host 12 hr Create Something Days.  This is where we open up our secret headquarters (clubhouse in my apt complex) and invite EVERYONE and ANYONE to come down and create something, anything.  My idea with this was to take away the excuses of not having any time or place to be able to do these things.  We also play host to something I am particularly proud of, The Inland Empire Comic Book Club.  Think book of the month club but with comic books.  I wanted to do this so that people that want to get into comic books but were afraid to enter a comic book store would now have a reason.  This club is aimed at people that are just getting started with their collection.  Not to mention, it’s nice to be able to geek out with people you have never met before and be introduced to comic books that you would never hear about.  Of course, our first book, Powers.

The point I am trying to make with all of this is plain and simply, the Inland Empire has more to offer than meets the eye.  It’s a home to comic book and movie and video game geeks.  And now we have a place and way to finally show off our love of such things without having to be disappointed that we didn’t get tickets for Con or couldn’t afford a booth at a big convention.

So please, try to make it out to one of our events. You will be surprised at how many of us are out there.  I am not trying to make a million bucks, but I am trying to make new friends. And I promise, if you keep coming or suggest another type of event you want to see, I will keep hosting them.

Thanks for taking the time in reading this.  And thanks to those that have come out to our shows or events.  I hope to see you at the next one.