by Brian Dunphy
If you’re like me, you are enjoying The Akron Knight comic strip monthly in the pages of The Devil Strip and weekly online. What creators Dan Gorman and J. Alan Miller have created is truly special: a full color superhero strip whose style calls to mind the Golden Age of comics while telling a story that is entirely original and uniquely local. But how local? What’s the story behind the story?
Well, here’s the short version:
Real-life Akronite and heavy metal legend Tim “The Ripper” Owens, features heavily in the story and is (spoiler alert) slowly being revealed as perhaps the city’s second superhero. The story has brought us to the point when Owens is realizing he may have to wield his gauntlet and spring into action following city-wide terror attacks that have to this point been thwarted by a mysterious figure known only as “Balance.” Sounds cool right? That’s because it is. But this idea has been in Gorman and Miller’s collective mental foot locker for some time.
Rewind the clock. The idea sprang from a project originally launched back in the mid 90’s when Owens became the lead singer of metal mainstay Judas Priest. Gorman and Miller were in the running to produce an original comic about the band; a project which eventually came to fruition in a different manner with another creator providing album art. “We lost that project to a guy that went on to produce some classic mainstream books, so we took the loss as an honor,” says Miller. That story came and went, but the desire to produce an Akron-based hero using real people and places never died.
Fast forward to 2016. Gorman and Miller host the internet radio show The Altered Realm on KRMA Karma Internet Radio. Gorman is a published comic book artist and has worked on trading card sets for titles ranging from Star Wars to Marvel Superheroes. Miller is the owner of local businesses Stuff Genie Emporium and Buddah’s Auction Works, routinely dealing in vintage toys and comics. When the notion of creating an original comic for The Devil Strip came about, the choice for content was an easy one and The Akron Knight was reborn.
Ladies and gents, if you’re not caught up, get there. Read The Akron Knight monthly here in the pages of The Devil Strip and online at akronknight.thecomicseries.com
Brian Dunphy is an illustrator and writer, and the creator of Wemlo Twinge, which appears alongside The Akron Knight in this here magazine.