By Matt Vroom
THE GULL #1, is the first issue in the spin-off series from the well received SALT CITY STRANGERS by Hoffmangler Studios. It was written by Alex Springer, with pencils by Chris Puglise, inks by Minnesota Mike, cover by Jefter Leite, and edited by Andrew Main.
This comic also includes a short story called “Cecret Slaughter.” It is a origin story for the super heroine, Den Mother. It was written by J.C. Carter, with pencils and inks by Alexandre Nascimento. Salt City Strangers was created by Chris Hoffman.
I came across issue two of this comic series on Kickstarter last week. It pleased me to see that issue one had been previously published.
I was just doing my usual strolling down the projects when I saw this cover that had a man dressed up as a seagull, but in the background was a very familiar building. So familiar in fact that I had to click on the link to see if it really was what I thought it was.
And it was.
If you have ever been to Salt Lake City, UT, then you would have undeniably seen that castle like building in the heart of it. It is what is called the Salt Lake City LDS Temple. It is a religious building, and represents the Mormon religion.
I was a bit surprised because I had never seen a comic book showcase the temple before (at least not on its cover.) I did a bit of poking around to discover that there is a comic book company in Utah that specializes in creating characters local to its state.
It is actually not a bad idea. I feel like a lot of people here on the west coast can’t connect to many super heroes in some of the popular companies. For the most part we don’t know what it is like to be in New York. We would never look up in the sky to see a man swinging from skyscraper to skyscraper, or even fly through the air.
Sure we got cities like Seattle, Oakland, Portland, Salt Lake, and even LA. However, let’s face it, there is only one New York. So to see a super hero team like the “Strangers” fighting zombies in a familiar setting was a nice thing to stumble upon.
I immediately backed The Gull #2, which currently (as of 10/6/17) 132% funded. It has reached $664 out of its $500 goal with 33 backers and still has fifteen days left to go. So congratulations Chris Hoffman and your team!
Now let’s talk about the comic and some of the questions I had asked Chris about his reasoning for creating this super team in Utah.
Here is the official hero biography for the Gull from saltlakestranglers.com:
The Gull, master of salvaged technology, builds astonishing gadgets with ease. His amazing intellect and heroic drive would make him a worthy addition to any super-team. But because sometimes he’s more interested in rooting through garbage cans than paying attention to the mission at hand, the Strangers are really the only team that will have him.
Date of Birth: Unknown
Gender: Male (Presumably)
Blood Type: Unknown
Height: 6′ 0″ (Estimated)
Mass: 183 lbs (Estimated)
Now let’s be honest here, this comic is about a guy dressed up like a seagull. The tagline on the Kickstarter says, “He’s like Batman, but he eats trash.” It is a ridiculous premise and very accurate. I’d say that he is more like a combination of Batman and Moon Knight. He has the acrobatic skills of Batman, but one of the crazy personalities of Moon Knight.
This comic doesn’t get a whole lot of the Gull’s personality or his intricacies. I didn’t really understand who the character was until I read the Salt City Strangers trade. (Which I would recommend as supplemental reading.)
However, you do get a lot of humor, and some understanding why a hero with so much “potential” would be obliged to go to Salt Lake City to fight crime. There is a page in near the beginning that I thought was hilarious. I have included it in the preview below. Basically, the Gull sends in his resume to a bunch of different super hero teams. Teams like the Justice League and the Avengers, but he he is rejected from every one of them. What was funny was that the narration didn’t seem to match well with the situation. It seems as though the Gull was narrating his own story, and that in his mind he was too good for them. It was his decision to not have joined them. You just have to read it below.
I liked that this story included Mormons. Not only because I made a comic about Mormon missionaries called Super Elders, but it’s the fact that they did so in a rather funny way. They basically triggered the idea of going to Salt Lake City.
I got a hold of series creator Chris Hoffman, and asked him a few questions:
Me: When did you start making these comics?
Chris: I started Salt City Strangers in 2013, the first issue released on Free Comic Book Day that year. We [got] it done working with any of my friends who would do it for free. Since then we’ve finished 5 issues of the main series, 1 spin-off, a collected trade, and even a live improv show at the Utah Arts Festival. We’ve run five successful Kickstarters raising $5,483 total. The Kickstarter for The Gull #2 is currently running and we’ve raised 130% of our goal.
Me: What got you started?
Chris: I got started because I collect “How to Draw Comics” books and a friend commented that I have a ton of those books but never made a comic. The first book I created was Banana Panic!, about a talking monkey who’s a super spy. Then when Salt Lake Comic Con was announced, the first comic con in Utah’s history, I decided to make a comic based on local urban legends which fight a set of Utah themed superheroes. There was a movie review from Roger Ebert about the movie Constantine, where he said: “Strange, that movies about Satan always require Catholics. You never see your Presbyterians or Episcopalians hurling down demons.” and I thought, why not Mormons?
Why not indeed? I gave this comic a 8/10 capes. It’s a good little indie book that I think can keep growing into something special. The series as a whole is something that I’d recommend to checking out if you are into Utah, its culture, and its urban legends.
If you guys have a comic that you would like us to review feel free to email Matt at email@example.com, or Dave at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Matt Vroom – Content Creator and Comic Reviewer for SuperHeroSpeak.com.
Follow Matt on Twitter: @vroomatt
See Matt’s Comic Book Work: www.vroomation.com
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