A new self-published comic book has made its print debut, created by High Octane comics manager Nick Klie, who wrote, drew and inked the book himself.
Klie is longtime manager at High Octane Comics , downtown at 250 Third Ave. He started publishing the comic in a web format online in 2015. Taking on all the roles himself, Klie said he managed about two pages per month working evenings and weekends.
Life The Necropolis follows main character Life on a gunslinging science fiction adventure that spans multiple planets.
Klie, who described his main character as Conan the Barbarian in space, chose a retro- 1970s art style — something he said he is not too common these days, but a style that holds his attention.
“Modern comics are great, but I really prefer the older stuff and I thought it’d be a lot of fun to draw and play in that world,” he told KTW.
Klie developed the character for a local art project, taking inspiration from other movies and comics and giving the gun-wielding adventurer the ironic name of Life.
The 38-year-old has been working at High Octane for the past 20 years, but his love of comics and drawing began in his early years, until high school, when, he said “they kind of beat it out of me.”
After a 15-year break, Klie took up his pencil once again and started drawing casually with friends. He said it wasn’t long until he got the bug once again.
“I had to relearn everything and then learn things I’d never done before, like background. I’d only drawn superheroes standing there, flexing,” he said.
For Life The Necropolis, Klie decided to take on every role of creating a comic book himself. That means the writing, the drawing and the inking, or outline, and colouring.
“I guess it’s just a personal passion project. I wanted to control everything. I wanted to control the story, I wanted to control the drawing, but I wanted to do all of it myself, above all else,” he said.
Klie’s life has been largely rooted in comics. In fact, it was a shared interest in comics and a stop at High Octane that introduced him to his wife, Alison, who he credits for encouraging him and giving him space to work.
Klie said comics have grown with him since the 1990s, noting the industry overall tried to grow with the young audience it hooked into during that decade.
“So, as that audience started getting older and going to college, superhero comics became really more adult-oriented,” he said.
However, with the emergence of multi-film franchises like The Avengers and Spider-Man, Klie said kids started being left behind.
“So now it’s come full circle and they’re trying to make a little bit of everything now and serve all audiences,” he said.
One thing Klie misses, however, is comic book stands at grocery stores, which he said is a missed opportunity to bring more kids into the world of comics.
As a hobby store, Klie said High Octane did well throughout the pandemic, which saw people rediscovering their hobbies.
“And it’s still full-speed ahead,” he said.
While the shop is busy, Klie will be busy, too, continuing to produce his comic online and planning a new print run for next year.
Find Life The Necropolis on sale at High Octane Comics and online at lifethen.com.