November 29th, 2021
Howdy, dear friends, precious family, and mortal enemies. When I added you to this email list, I promised I wouldn’t spam you; it’s been over a full year since I’ve sent you a newsletter (369 days, to be exact), so I’ll be eating a cookie (or sleeve of them) tonight to celebrate my honesty.
I want to start by saying happy holidays, whatever those words or this season means to you.
For a lot of people, it’s a hard time. I have my days. It’s been just over a year since I lost my mom, and that colors the way I feel most of the time, but especially when the bright lights go up on the roofs and we’re afforded only a few hours of sunlight a day.
I hope you’re hanging in there. If you ever need someone to talk to, you can email me back here, or message me on the various social media sites I haunt. Sometimes we just need an ear or an eye. I get that.
How was your 2021?
It definitely felt like a direct-to-video sequel to the year that preceded it, less dramatic but keeping to the themes established in the first film. I hope you were able to stay relatively well and take care of yourself in any of the ways we need to take care.
As for myself, I released two new books, one Special Edition of two previous titles, and went on a fall convention tour.
In May, I released Time is a Solid State: Essays 2017 – 2021. If you follow me on the aforementioned social media or on my website, dennisvogen.com, you’ll know that I write a lot about the real world and my real life. More than a few people have reached out over the years to tell me their favorite form of my writing is this non-fiction kind, so I put together the best of my essays and posts in chronological order as a book. The description goes:
“Dennis Vogen is not a meme. He has claimed to be an acclaimed writer for years, releasing novellas like Theia, Flip, and Them, and creating comics and graphic novels like Brushfire and The Weirdos. Here, he collects blogs, posts, essays and loose change from nearly half a decade. They cover a spectrum of topics, from comic books to sobriety, from outer space to his dog, from pop culture to spirituality, from nostalgia to the multiverse, from joy to grief and everything between. You will find that Dennis Vogen is a lot of things and, for better or for worse, has a lot to say. But he is not a meme.”
In July, I finally released Push, the sequel to Flip, one of my early novellas. I had my first event since the pandemic started, at Issues Needed Comics in Apple Valley, to celebrate not only this book, but everything I have released over the past two years — The Weirdos: Volume I, Theia, Flip: Special Edition, and Time is a Solid State. The description for Push:
“‘My dreams aren’t what they used to be.’ From Dennis Vogen, the acclaimed writer of The Weirdos, Theia, and Time is a Solid State, comes the sequel to the beloved novella, Flip. It’s been a year of extreme change for Liam. In real life, and in dreams. The revelations he’s had to accept and the heavy questions he can’t answer or ignore have altered the landscape of his sleep irrevocably. His dreams are a place of monsters and shadows now. Something dark is growing and coming for him. He knows who is behind this. Or does he? Dennis Vogen’s sequel to Flip dives deeper into the personal worlds of dreams and loss, while digging fearlessly into complicated truths and ever more dangerous lies.”
Then — because, really, why the heck not — I released a Special Edition of Them + Us, my first novella and series of books, in one collected format. It allowed me to revisit this story and characters that I really love, and shine light on even more layers I discovered years later. As it’s described:
“‘Everyone remembers where they were when they landed, just like they remembered where they were on 9/11, which had happened only a decade earlier.’ A young woman named Kim discovers, through her television, that our world has been invaded by people from outer space. She blacks out, and when she wakes up, her parents have disappeared. She embarks on a road trip across the country with a kind stranger named Guy, kicking ass and humming tunes along the way. In 2013 and 2014, acclaimed writer Dennis Vogen published his first series: Them and Us, two punk rock sci-fi novellas that live and die on their humor, heart, violence, and wit (or lack thereof). In 2021, with this Special Edition collection, he revisits the epic with a razor-like clarity and vengeance. A story about growing up while facing your past; a story about finding a family while choosing your own; a story about love and truth and control and privilege and forgiveness and acceptance. And figuring it all out during an alien invasion. For mature audiences.”
And, you know, that’s it.
I finally have all seven of my published works readily available, not only digitally, but in multiple formats, including print, and that has been a life-affirming mood. I feel a level of wholeness and completion in this stage of my career that I haven’t had before.
To top it all off, I went on a local convention tour this fall. Some of you reading this may have been there.
Whether I met you at FallCon XL in St. Paul, Twin Cities Con in Minneapolis, NerdinOut Con in Rochester, Alloy Brewing Company in Coon Rapids, or at all four dates, it was absolutely my pleasure and privilege to meet your acquaintance (or get to hang out with you again). Making art is a lonely thing, and to be able to meet people who read it and get it and get into it the way that I’m into it is just the greatest thing.
With that being said, I’m working hard on the next thing(s). Brushfire is my main focus, the all-ages graphic novel I’ve been creating and constructing for years. It’s difficult, but it’s really rewarding and one of the truest expressions of myself I’ve been able to scribble. There will be more details on it in the new year.
But to end this year, I’m having TWO sales at my website – dennisvogen.com – right now. The first is 20% off your entire order – all you have to do is enter any of Santa’s reindeer as your code, in all capital letters. The second is almost gone – the entire paperback collection of my work for just $69.69 plus shipping, which I have brilliantly named the Double Nice Sale. I made only six of these collections available, and they’re already over half sold — you can do the math. If you’ve ever wanted to get a book of mine but couldn’t decide where to start, this is an amazing deal because you get it all.
Speaking of “it all,” and doing conventions, I’ve mastered the quick pitch for each of my stories if you’re still wondering what’s right for you.
Them + Us: Like Quentin Tarantino writing sci-fi, a violent, raunchy, funny & heartfelt tale about a young woman, Kim, who loses her parents during an alien invasion.
Flip + Push: A series about dreams, loss and grief. Liam has vivid dreams, and Alen, a prisoner, is killing people in them. Liam does whatever he can to stop Alen at great personal risk and excessive harm to himself.
The Weirdos: a superhero story about people with problems who have potential. I put my defects into these characters: The Flying Squirrel is an alcoholic comic book writer, The Sketch is depressed to the point where she’s suicidal, The Blue-Ringer has cancer and Das has deep anger issues. They meet at a rehab facility called Lake Mary and, there, they form a team called The Weirdos. A story where, instead of punching their way out their problems, the superheroes learn how to connect to each other.
Theia: A book about running away. On the surface, it’s about a silver Boston Terrier trying to escape a shelter, but I wrote it at the end of summer 2020; it became a book about the year itself, as told through the animals Theia meets.
Time is a Solid State: I write a lot on the internet about myself and the world. This is those words as a book.
If you are somehow still here, wow. Did we just become best friends?
In all seriousness, I appreciate you. I appreciate every single person I’ve met, at shows and online, all the kind words, all the criticisms, all the moments, awkward and sublime. Here is to next year.
I hope you’re hanging in there. I hope you hang in there. My line is always open. I am so glad you’re here.
Happy holidays to you again – whatever those words or this season means to you.
All my love,