July 20th, 2022
How does a person get another person to like them the first time they meet?
That’s what required of us when we write these stupid distillations of ourselves.
If you hate me two sentences in, then I lose you. Definitely for the moment, most likely for today, and possibly forever.
I’ll start with my name. It’s Dennis. You can call me Denny (my dad’s favorite), Den, or even just the letter D and I’ll probably turn my head.
I’m glad you’re here today.
I talk about kindness a lot, and this is a photo of me giving you the finger, which doesn’t seem very kind. In actuality, my mom took this photo, and we flipped each other off all the time, and I love her more than life itself.
I’m a writer. I do other things, too, but let’s start this simple and call a spade a spade.
I was born in the 80’s and am a lifelong comics & pop culture obsessive. Pop culture has saved my life and helps me explain our existence. I’ve expressed myself artistically in a lot of different ways over the years — I started a company called Sleeping Kitty Productions when I was in high school, I released a trio of full-length music albums as The Next Step when I was a puppy, I began publishing my own books in 2013 with the help of Kickstarter, I fell into a character business called Awesome For Hire — but words are the thing that I have held onto through it all.
In 2013, I released a punk-rock sci-fi novella called Them, and in 2014, its sequel, Us; in-between those two books, I put out a novella about dreams called Flip.
I derailed my personal and creative train after releasing those first three books within a year; after getting sober in 2017, I put myself back on track.
In August of 2018, I released my first comic book: The Flying Squirrel, which is part of a flawed superhero series called The Weirdos. Over the next two years, I released a total of five issues of the series, eventually collecting & coloring them for a graphic novel volume that was published in May of 2020. The heroes in The Weirdos find each other through their struggles; they deal with things like alcoholism, depression, cancer & mental health issues. Later in 2020, I released a novella called Theia, about a silver Boston Terrier in an animal shelter who just wants to run away.
In 2021, I put out Time is a Solid State, my first non-fiction collection of essays; I also released Push, the sequel to Flip, later that summer.
In 2022, I released my two biggest projects to date: Cold World, my first full-length novel, a sci-fi story about spirituality on a future Earth where there is only winter; and Brushfire: Wave 1, my first all-ages graphic novel, about an underground society of wildlife.
I write, draw & produce all my own work. I did go to art school for a minute, said, “Nah, I’m good,” and am mostly self-taught. My books are readable steps of my journey.
The back of my business card has my motto: “Always Love.” It means to try to make your decisions based on love, as opposed to fear, or hate. To have compassion over strength, understanding over exclusion, radical empathy over power. I really believe in that, and am always trying to progress, never close to perfect.
I love my dog, I love words, I love art — and I ❤ you. And that’s it.
Visit my website dennisvogen.com and tell me I sent you.