This week starts a special series of Brand New I-P columns featuring several creators that advertised in my book, Wannabez, and deserve the press anyway. So without further ado, let's get to this week's indie creator...
Chad is a very interesting and creative guy, and a nice and cool guy to meet as well. His talents and passion range from writing to art to music, and I'm sure more. If you ever meet Chad you'll meet an intelligent but ordinary guy, usually sporting a black baseball cap, jeans and a black shirt. You probably couldn't pick the guy out of a crowd as he doesn't try to stand, but he's a stand up guy with a great sense of humor and some mad talent.
According to his bio, Chad has been interested in the creative arts since childhood as many creative people are. When he was 18 he finished in the top 100 of a national competition for writing and illustrating a children's book. From that point on, Chad has expanded into radio commercial voice overs, camera assisting for a local TV news station, graphic design projects for his community and much more.
To further illustrate how great a guy Chad is, his day job of the past 17 years consists of helping people with Developmental Disabilities, and even training some for the Special Olympics. He even worked on a coloring book designed for adults to assist in learning and active discussion. And he plays the guitar and sings with a cover band. A musician, an artist, a writer... that's Chad Strohl.
As far as the world of comics go, Chad has been busy in that arena as well. For one, he's the artist for the comic strip New Comic Day, which is hosted right here on Comic Related. He has nailed the likenesses of the characters that have appeared in the strip and his art is one of the elements that makes the strip fun to read from week-to-week. NCD was voted by TheOuthousers.com as the Best Webcomics of 2009.
But Chad has his own projects too, namely Did Somebody Call for a HERO, which is currently available in two formats. Here's the premise of the book from Chad's site:
Some guys are doctors, some are lawyers, some are the ones who fix the copy machine. But Benjamin Montgomery has a very special profession... he's a hero. Once a scrawny kid with an overprotective mother, Benjamin never thought he'd amount to much, but his dreams were big and his destiny was bigger still.
Did Somebody Call for a Hero follows that young boy as his life begins to drastically change, and he becomes the adventurer he was meant to be. In a striking new format, Did Somebody Call for a Hero delivers twice the reading experience than the guys in tights and capes. Part novel, part comic, all action! Now with a special Captain Awesome continuing story in every issue.
Did Somebody Call for a Hero. Bi-Monthly from Chad Michael Strohl and Twilight Star Productions.
Chad first published the entire story, which consists of both prose and sequential art throughout, in a black & white paperback edition. Currently, he is publishing sections of the story in a bi-monthly comic size format in color with a bit more sequential art stylings than the paperback had, but still a combination of prose and sequential art.
And it's that combination that makes this book so unique. Sure, it's probably been done before, but Did Somebody Call for a HERO seamlessly jumps from the sequential sections to prose and back without losing a beat. The only other time I've personally seen this successfully done is in Terry Moore's Strangers in Paradise.
In the paperback edition of Did Somebody Call for a HERO, It feels more like a novel with spot illustrations that just happen to have some dialogue, and in that format it works very well for the story. In the comic format, it's much more of an organic flow, and the way he visually presents the prose breaks is very creative and still makes it feel like a comic. Whether it's the oversized captions that open up the narrative, or the notebook background that feels like we're reading a journal, the flow of the story is never interrupted and it feels and looks very inviting. And the addition of color to the book is just a bonus.
If the description above wasn't enough, basically the story is about Benjamin Montgomery, and it opens with him parachuting out of a plane and subsequently getting captured. Upon getting knocked out he starts flashing back to his childhood, and from there on out we get jumps back and forth from past to present and learn more and more about Benjamin the kid as well as Benjamin the hero.
Chad is a very talented and accomplished creator from whom we can look for more great things to come. His aspirations are to create more comics, write novels and screenplays, and just continue having fun exploring his creative passions. His work is definitely worth checking out, so do yourself a favor and head over to www.chadstrohl.com.
Brant W. Fowler / Writer, Letter, Creator, Reviewer, Columnist and Comic Related PR Coordinator
Brant W. Fowler has been a professional comic book letterer and logo designer for three years, and has been a freelance editor for the past five years. He has also worked with graphic design, writing and many other area of skills for several years honing his talents. You can learn all about what he's up to by visiting Gonzogoose Design. Brant is also a member of the core operations team at Comic Related.
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