Even as you read this, extraordinary individuals are living incognito among us. They may reside in tree-lined neighborhoods, eat at Fellini's, or take their youngsters to Piedmont Park just like you. If you pay close attention, though, you may notice a telltale sign of their special abilities: inky smudges on their hands and fingers. They speak a common language, dominated by extensive knowledge of the powers and costumes of vintage superheroes. Who are they? They're comic book creators.
Over the past 20 years, Atlanta has seen the rise of a lively community of comic book writers and artists who draw such minimal attention that they could be one of those down-low superteams, like the Uncanny X-Men. Atlanta's comics scene now provides a home for dozens of working artists, including Surrogates writer Robert Venditti, Flaming Carrot creator Bob Burden, and Sweatshop illustrator Stephanie Gladden.
Illustrator and SCAD professor Chris Schweizer describes the Atlanta scene as fragmented but thriving. "There are so many comics writers and artists out there, but you never really see a situation where the mainstream comics creators, the indie creators, the American manga creators, all come together," Schweizer says. "I see more of my peers in San Diego, New York and Charlotte than I do in Atlanta, even if we only live four to five miles from each other."
Sat., May 1. Criminal Records, 1154 Euclid Ave. 404-215-9511; The Dragon's Horde, 5615 Memorial Drive, Stone Mountain. 404-298-1188; Galactic Quest, 481 W. Pike St., Lawrenceville. 770-339-3001; Oxford Comics, Games & More, 2855 Piedmont Road. 404-233-8809. www.freecomicbookday.com.
(Photo Courtesy Gaijin Studios)
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