Peter Parker leads a secret superhero life, much like Toledo’s largely unknown group of comic book writers. Super Angela, an indie comic book written by Old West End resident Shawna Shepherd, incorporates artwork done by community members.
Shepherd sat down with us to talk about her creation and how giving back to her community is an important part of the process.
Tell us a little bit about the storyline: When I was little I used to love to choose stories, but I wanted to put a different twist on it instead of flipping to page numbers. You can see [by the artwork] it’s either classic comic book art style, which is one reality, or it goes into bright, modern artwork which is another reality. The broken screens are her reality, what Angela’s seeing, or maybe what we’re seeing we don’t really know yet. So there’s two stories going on at once. You’re choosing if you believe her or not, basically.
So you do all the writing? Everything but the poem. My best friend, she’s a beautiful poetess out of Sacramento, wrote it and she’s gonna be featured in each story. I was trying to do something different; this was the first time, that I know of, a true poetess was in a comic.
And you were the one who came up with this whole story line? Yes, and then I just kind of got the team together. I’ve never done comic book writing before, like I did
journalism and short stories, but I’m a comic book geek and I was like “Why can’t I do this?” It was a painstaking
process; it took about two years to put together.
Where did you get the inspiration for Angela? I wanted to do something like Life of Pi and A Beautiful Mind; I always wanted to do this twist, and I always had a female lead. I love red hair and I go through these phases where I dye my hair bright, crimson red. That’s the reason she has red hair.
You donate 25 percent of profits sold to art supplies for children, right? Yeah, and we did a few pop-up things like at Walmart when parents would come to buy school supplies we were like “We got that!” so we were doing the pay it forward.
I know you donate part of the profits to art supplies; do you work with any specific schools? Not really, I’m planning on doing a comic book day at a Bedford school. I’m gonna bring pre-printed panels in and teach the kids about comic book art.
How did you find your team?
I met them through Dirk Manning, who is my Yoda; he’s my mentor in all of this. I pretty much took Dirk’s team, now that I’m thinking about it.
Where can people buy Super Angela? Seann’s Anime and Comics. They are $5 a piece.