Cleveland's Own Superhero Takes To The Streets!

Hallie Witwer

I’m sure there are too many people out there who don’t know that Cleveland was the founding city of Superman. And I can guarantee that not enough people are aware of the modern day comic book character that calls our beloved city home, either. With a free online comic available, a full-length DVD, and a rad larger-than-life street-art window display along Prospect Ave, “Apama” is definitely something to take note of.
Local filmmakers Milo Miller and Ted Sikora are the co-writers and producers of the comic book series “Apama- The Undiscovered Animal”. The comic brings to life what might happen if a comic book creator were to become much too obsessed with his work and, with a few twists and turns, a quite epic tale is the outcome. Miller and Sikora admirably chose to transfer their own city into the backdrop of the comic. As a Clevelander myself, I found the film to be particularly cool and intriguing, as I was able to recognize bits and pieces of the backdrop from personal experience.

For all comic book lovers out there (and I know there are many), “Apama” is definitely one to check out. From an artistic perspective, Cleveland Magazine described it as a throwback to the look and feel of a comic from the ‘70s.

The character Apama made its debut at the Comic Con International Convention in San Diego in the Independent Film entitled “Hero Tomorrow.” Since then, the film has been shown in screenings in New York, Montreal, Rome, Brazil, and Australia. The fictional comic book story that takes place in our very own Cleveland, Ohio has traveled a long way, with much acclaim.

The idea for the comic book came along after the release of the film. When the extended story line was becoming a reality and the time came to choose an illustrator, Miller and Sikora ended up with quite a number of hopefuls to choose from. They put a want-ad out on and received over 100 applicants from artists all over the world. In the end, an individual named Spaniard Benito Gallego filled the position. Apama creators explain that it was his classic 1970’s comic book style that sealed the deal. His experience in animal-monster comic art was also a plus.

In addition to the comic and full-length DVD, Apama has also come to life though an art display on Prospect Avenue in Cleveland. A part of Cleveland Storefront Art (check them out on flicker), the displays bring local art to life on vacant downtown buildings, larger than life Apama images tower above impressed onlookers as they make their way down the avenue. The installation, which can be viewed at 811 Prospect Ave, gives life and color to a block of downtown which might have been left boring and bland if not for Apama and his creators.

Check out the online comic if you’re a long time fan of superheros, or just a lover of a superb story for that matter. Take your kids to the display on Prospect Avenue to make a Cleveland memory worth looking back on, and purchase the DVD online to support your local artists. Either way, it’s a win for you and the city of Cleveland!

*Photos courtesy of Google Images