The Golem of Venice Beach
If there’s one thing comic creators have learned in their time is the value of patience. But imagine you’re a first time comic book writer and your work is recognized on your first attempt. That is what happened to writer Chanan Beizer when his script won the very first ScreenCraft Cinematic Book contest for graphic novels. By doing so, his script would be turned into a book. That was in 2018.
Patience has certainly paid off for his book, The Golem of Venice Beach. During that time, superstar artists Michael Allred, Stephen R. Bissette, Jae Lee, Nick Pitarra, Paul Pope, and Bill Sienkiewicz and legendary letterer Clem Robins have teamed up with rising star artist Vanessa Cardinali to help bring his book to fruition. The Golem of Venice Beach is a 152-page epic story about the adventures of a 400-year-old Golem. It spans from 16th century Europe, to the horrors of World War II, to modern day Venice Beach, and will soon launch on Kickstarter.
Recently, we had a few moments to talk to the main creative team, writer Chanan Beizer and Artist Vanessa Cardinali about their upcoming book. So, Let’s welcome them to GVN’s Talking Comics.
GVN: Thank you for a small bit of your time Chanan and Vanessa. Let us start with you, Chanan.
Writer Chanan Belzier
GVN: The Golem of Venice Beach has been a project that you have held close since you put out the script in 2018 for the ScreenCraft Cinematic Book contest for graphic novels…and won! How did the story come about, and did you have any hope that you might actually win the contest?
CB: I first thought of the story while living in Venice Beach and it was a no-brainer that it was a great location for a graphic novel. And I’d been well aware of the Legend of the Golem for many years. Putting the two together was as serendipitous as chocolate and peanut butter.
Winning a Contest
Regarding the contest, I remember receiving result emails and opening them with bated breath. I’d scan for my name and was so pleased that I’d become a quarterfinalist, then a semifinalist, and then a finalist. When I opened the email declaring me as the winner of the graphic novel division, I seem to recall I let out a little yelp of joy. It was my very first attempt at writing in comic book format so I was completely surprised that I’d actually won.
Connecting with Vanessa
GVN: Ever since that time, you have been working diligently to get your book put out. How did you get connected with Vanessa for the project?
CB: I joined a Facebook group called Connecting Comic Book Writers with Artists. Seemed like the perfect place to start. I first found my editor Chris Stevens from one of his posts. Soon after I saw Vanessa’s post and was intrigued by her art. I sent Chris a message about her and as it turned out he’d also noticed her post and her work. So I guess you can call it a case of parallel discovery.
Lessons Learned in the Process
GVN: During the three years plus you have worked toward this goal and the impending Kickstarter campaign, what would you say were the lessons you have learned in the process? I imagine patience has been one.
CB: Patience was definitely something I had to be comfortable with. It’s difficult when there are many artists with different availability. I must say that Vanessa has proven to be the star when it comes to turning out pages. She had nearly 120 pages to create and she kept to such a diligent work ethic that it was inspiring.
Artist Vanessa Cardinali
GVN: Your turn Vannessa. When did you take an interest in comic book art and who were the artists and creators that inspired you?
VC: I’ve been drawing for as long as I can remember, initially inspired by Japanese cartoons with robots, and from there I just never stopped doing it! my inspirations are many, the authors whose work I have followed most over the years are Ciryl Pedrosa, Pierre Alary, Skottie young and without doubt Moebius.
Working with Chanan
GVN: Moebius is a very popular answer among artists in who inspired them. So, when it came to working on The Golem of Venice Beach, how did your collaboration with Chanan work? Did he supply you with a full script, or just a breakdown of each scene and how much freedom were you allowed in bringing your talents to the project?
VC: For Chanan it was very important that the atmosphere of Venice Beach felt fully, so for each scene I had lots of reference photos of real local places available, so that you could feel the magic of Venice! I had a complete script, but I was still able to put my own in the composition of the page, the choice of frames and above all in the color!
Sharing the Stage with Legends
GVN: I love that you were given that creative freedom. It almost always assures a superior outcome. This will be no different. Speaking of art, along with yourself, an impressive group of superstar artists are contributing to this project. How does it feel to be working along such an iconic group of creators?
VC: It was an unmissable opportunity to be able to work with artists I have always admired and followed! I initially felt a lot of pressure from this, but past the first 2 pages I was able to concentrate and have fun on the story without worrying too much about anything else.
GVN: Thank you both for sharing a part of your day with us. Before I let you go, please share any other projects you have working and where can our followers go to follow you on social media and the web?
CB: : For updates, follow Clover Press on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. For fun and to keep people informed on the graphic novel I maintain an Instagram account called @thegolemofvenicebeach. I showcase selected comics from my personal collection while taking advantage of Venice Beach and other parts of Los Angeles as a backdrop.
VC: A series I worked on in the past months is now coming out for image comics: Slumber 3 issues have already been released, script by Tyler Burton Smith with Simon Robins at colors and Nathan Fox on covers. For updates on my work you can follow me on Fb or Instagram (@vaaaaaaaaaany).
The campaign for The Golem of Venice Beach is upon us. You can check out Chanan and Vanessa’s project here.
Senior Writer at GeekVibesNation – I am a 50 something child of the 70’s who admits to being a Star Trek/Star Wars/Comic Book junkie who once dove head first over a cliff (Ok, it was a small hill) to try to rescue his Fantastic Four comic from a watery grave. I am married to a lovely woman who is as crazy as I am and the proud parent of a 18 year old boy with autism. My wife and son are my real heroes.