written by: Jaime Winston
If you’re new to Salt Lake Comic Con this year, make sure you stop by the Hoffmangler Studios/Velleity Studios table, where you can buy the publishers’ locally produced comic books, including Hoffmangler’s Salt City Strangers, which follows a motley crew of SLC-based superheroes.
If you’re a regular at the comic con, you’ve probably walked by the booth four times already. “This will be the fifth Salt Lake Comic Con and the fifth one we’ve tabled at,” says Chris Hoffman, Hoffmangler CEO and Velleity co-founder, who also sells comics with his collaborators at the event.
This year, don’t be a stranger (pun intended). Hoffman promises enough comics by local creators to fill up your Captain America shield backpack—Donald Trump parody included.
Here is some of what you’ll find:
Salt City Strangers (Issues 1–5)
In the first issue, the Strangers attempt to save a group of college kids from the ghost at Emo’s grave. They regularly take on such local urban legends, and you’ll recognize locations used in the book, like the Salt Lake City Cemetery and the University of Utah Hospital.
The Strangers themselves display Utah culture and history, such as Den Mother, a martial artist/expert in scouting; Deputy Deseret, who wields the guns of legendary Mormon gunslinger Orrin Porter Rockwell and The Gull, who creator Hoffman says “looks like Batman, except he eats garbage.”
While Hoffman isn’t Mormon, most of the Strangers are. “At the first or second Comic Con, a woman came up and said ‘Is it pro-LDS or anti-LDS?’ and I said ‘It’s Swiss-LDS,” Hoffman says. The book isn’t out to criticize or endorse the church, but it instead focuses on “these characters’ back histories and depth and relationships and challenges and fun stuff like that.”
Craptionated Comics is a compilation of cheesy, out-of-copyright comic books with new dialogue to create stupidly hilarious stories. Think Mystery Science Theater 3000, but with comic books.
In one of the original stories, a boy attempts to fend off the devil from his family’s farm. The Craptionated version has him fighting off hallucinations after he gets high. “It’s a really funny book, but very high-octane,” Hoffman says. “This is an adult, mature-audience book.”
One Craptionated story is pretty clean though. “It’s nothing but cheese puns,” Hoffman says.
The Mighty Trümph (Issue 1)
During the last presidential election, Hoffman joked that it would be hilarious to see Donald Trump in a Conan-the-Barbarian-type story where he goes on a fantasy adventure.
Once Trump won the election, it became a sure thing. “Instead of it being this brute hulk of a man, it’s just Donald Trump,” Hoffman says. “It’s 70-year-old, hay-on-his-head-hair, with-a-loin-cloth Donald Trump, walking around and trying to fight dragons.”
The comic is a bestseller, and a second issue may be in the works.
“The problem with doing Donald Trump parody stuff is you can never keep up with the real thing, so it’s rough, but it’s pretty funny,” Hoffman says.
Ruthless (Issue 1)
In Ruthless, a bullied teenage girl with a horrible home life turns to a supervillain for help. “I wanted to do a villain origin story that made sense, where people could look at it and say ‘Well, I don’t approve of what they’re doing, but I understand how they got there,’” Hoffman says.
The 2017 Salt Lake Comic Con also features superstar comic book creators like J. Scott Campbell, Mike Zeck and John Beatty, along with plenty of celebrities. It will be held Sept. 21–23 at the Salt Palace. Find passes at saltlakecomiccon.com.