Utah Policy – Bryan Schott
Writing about the LDS faith as an outsider can be tricky. Pop culture is rife with mocking representations of members. So, imagine the minefield that local artist Chris Hoffman is wading through as he launches his comic book “Salt City Strangers” featuring an all-LDS superhero team.
“Utah and members of the Church don’t get a fair shake in modern comic books,” says Hoffman. “Godzilla was here once tearing down the Church building. One of She Hulk’s secretaries in her office is LDS.”
SALT LAKE CITY – Westminster alum and independent comic book artist Chris Hoffman announces the debut of his brand-new comic book series, Salt City Strangers, featuring the world’s first all Latter-Day Saint (LDS) superhero team. The inaugural issue of the series will be distributed on May 4 in celebration of the national “Free Comic Book Day” at Black Cat Comics in Sugar House, Utah.
The new series, written by Chris Hoffman and Josh Butterfield (Banana Panic!) and featuring art by Hoffman and Sam Rodriguez (King of Pain), follow the adventures of Utah-centric themed heroes Golden Spike, The Gull, Den Mother, Deputy Deseret, and Son of Bigfoot as they battle the unseen forces of darkness in Salt Lake City. Golden Spike, the reluctant leader of the courageous although clumsy volunteers, desperately tries to hold his team together while everything from vampires to budget-cuts threatens to tear them apart. Little does he know that his mere existence is all that stands between our world and an ancient evil bent on destroying mankind.
“The idea came together after reading a review the late Roger Ebert wrote for the 2005 Keanu Reeves movie Constantine.” says Hoffman. In the film, an adaptation of the DC Vertigo comic book of the same name, Reeves plays a sort of supernatural peace officer who banishes misbehaving demons back to Hell. “Strange, that movies about Satan always require Catholics,” wrote Ebert. “You never see your Presbyterians or Episcopalians hurling down demons.” “I took the next logical step,” said Hoffman. “I thought about what it might look like the see ‘your Mormons hurling down demons.’”
Members of the LDS faith have a long history of being featured in comic books. The depictions range from visuals of scripture like Henry Anderson’s 1947 The First Americans and Mike Allred’s 2004-2005 The Golden Plates to several illustrated adaptations of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s A Study in Scarlett to appearing as supporting roles in mainstream comics such as Jacob Raven in Spider Man: The Lost Years and Mallory Brook in She-Hulk.
“It’s high-time that LDS characters took the driver’s seat in their own book,” says Hoffman.
Many of the threats the team will face in the series are going to be based on Utah urban legends. The first issue has a group of teenagers participating in the morose ritual at Emo’s grave, a local twist on the more well-known supernatural summoning of ‘Bloody Mary.’
“Future issues will explore other Utah paranormal and cryptozoological phenomenon such as the Bear Lake monster, Native American wendigo, and the so-called Devil’s Highway,” says Hoffman. “It should be a lot of fun.”
“It’s great to see local talent doing what it does best: creating.” says Greg Gage, owner of Black Cat Comics. “We have a rich depth of artistic creativity in Utah, and the fact that Salt City Strangers is being released on Free Comic Book day is just a bonus that will give it an even broader audience.”
Salt City Strangers #1 will be available exclusively at Black Cat Comics starting on Free Comic Book Day, May 4, 2013. Several add-ons to the series are being produced including a mobile version a board game based on the setting. It will also be available for purchase online.
Black Cat Comics, located at 2261 Highland Dr. Suite A, Salt Lake City, UT 84106, has been serving the comic book loving community sense 2002.
Chris Hoffman is a Utah native, who uses his eye for design, comedic timing, and technology acumen to make people laugh and learn.
A consummate storyteller, Chris uses many mediums, including video, music, spoken-word, writing, video, and drawing, to express his comedic point of view.
Best known for his viral video Napoleon Dynamite, and his self-published comic & iPad app Banana Panic!, Chris also provided creative work for the local indie movie Unicorn City.
Chris received his MBA from Westminster College in 2012 and also works for his Alma mater, creating edu-taining and effective content for the Division of New Learning.
The Best of Ol’ Ute Radio with Johnny McKeon and Sascha Blume
Johnny McKeon and Sascha Blume start the show talking about their respective jobs at ABC 4 Utah and the Pac-12. Sascha is disturbed by the lack of quality houses in neighborhoods that he can afford and Johnny shares the same sentiment. Both Johnny and Sascha are looking for new homes and are having difficulty finding that perfect fit. Sascha doesn’t like moving at all, and Johnny just recently moved back in with his parents and hates having to live out of boxes. Sascha hates eating dinner with his son on plastic lawn chairs and other fake furniture. Sascha shares another run-in with the same campus policeman with hilarious results.
It’s a weed heavy news week! Sascha reads a story about Layton Police finding 10 pounds of Marijuana worth 50,000 dollars in the trunk of a rental car. There are more and more busts for marijuana in Utah despite the fact that Utah’s bordering states are legalizing and decriminalizing marijuana. The conversation turns to the grey area of marijuana legality and acceptance. Johnny is skeptical to legalizing marijuana in the state of Utah. Sascha explains to Johnny the process behind making Hash.
The creative team behind the Salt Lake City Based Comic Book, Salt City Strangers swing by the studio. The heroes in Salt City Strangers are all members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints despite the fact the creator Chris Hoffman is not a member of the church. Chris and his partner, Jeremy Gates explain the process of creating the characters. Chris shares the historical elements of Utah that inspire the story and the success they recently had for their second issue on Kickstarter. Look for new issues of Salt City Strangers soon!