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Detroit: Where Superheroes Are Born


Why does such a large portion of the world love comic books and superheroes? Is it the awe-inspiring nature of the characters? Is it the fascination people have with mythology and mystery? Or is it the ability for a superhero to leap insurmountable odds on a regular basis?

Why people love comics doesn’t really have one answer, but it’s no wonder a city like Detroit – a city that prides itself on its artists and entrepreneurs — is steeped in comic book culture and history. You may not know it, but metro Detroit is the birthplace of many of the comic book industry’s great creators. Here are five metro Detroit comic book creators you should know about.

Rich Buckler

The late great Rich Buckler passed away earlier this year, but he will forever be known as the first comic book creator to call Detroit home. Buckler is in part responsible for Detroit Triple Fan Fair, a multigenre convention held annually in Detroit from 1965-77. Detroit Triple Fan Faire is known as the first convention to feature comic books that was held on a regular basis and the co-proprietor of DTFF was Shel Dorf, who went on to establish San Diego Comic-Con International — one of the largest (if not, the largest) comic book convention in the world. Buckler also created a character for Marvel known as Deathlok, who was a native of Detroit.

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Jiba Molei Anderson

A native of Detroit and a graduate of the University of Michigan, where he earned a BFA in illustration and photography, Jiba Molei Anderson eventually moved to Chicago, where he now resides, to pursue his master’s degree in visual communication at the School of Art Institute of Chicago. Among Anderson’s many accomplishments, creating a publishing company (Griot Enterprises) and its flagship comic book title (The Horsemen) might be his biggest claim to fame. Outside of his own creative work, Anderson is also a part-time lecturer, having taught classes at several universities.

Geoff Johns

It’s hard to write a list of Detroit comic book creators and not mention Geoff Johns. Now the chief creative officer of DC Comics, Johns was born in Detroit and grew up in Grosse Pointe and Clarkston. He is well known for his time writing Green Lantern, Aquaman, The Flash, Superman, Justice League and many other DC Comics titles. Johns has also had a hand in many of DC’s television and film properties, like Smallville, Arrow, The Flash and the recent Wonder Woman film.

Al Milgrom

Known to comic book fans for his work on Marvel, as well as his role as a creator of the Firestorm character for DC Comics, Al Milgrom has a storied career in the comic book industry. He served as a penciler on Captain Marvel and West Coast Avengers, and an inker on The Spectacular Spider-Man and X-Factor for Marvel, in addition to his many editing credits across several titles.

Tony Miello

Most known for his work on comic strip Gapo the Clown, which is published by metro Detroit-based Caliber Comics, Miello’s career as a cartoonist came about as the result of an accident he suffered while working in construction. Miello has also done work for DC, Marvel and Lucasfilm and still resides in metro Detroit.

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