The Kansas City comic-book scene is exploding with local talent.

The origin stories of some of the biggest names in the comic-book industry start in KC 

The Kansas City comic-book scene is exploding with local talent.

Page 5 of 5

Five years ago, this was a two-person gathering in a Lattéland at Briarcliff Village. The group then outgrew a Northland Borders and moved to the Crossroads space in 2010.

"I work in a warehouse," Daniels says. "In the summer, it's hot. In the winter, it's cold. But I leave that all behind on Saturdays. This is my freedom. Drawing is my freedom."

Each artist gets a crack at a jam, a drawing exercise that mashes up two different themes. On a recent Saturday, a white piece of paper is slowly being colored in with odd combinations of rock stars and pop-culture icons — a Rambo-Jimi Hendrix figure stands smiling next to a cartoonish amalgamation of Pee-wee Herman and Gene Simmons.

"This is just a big drawing family," says Shawn Geabhart, creative director for a local ad agency.

The sense of community is what led Matt Fox and Adam Smith, both 29, to move their comic-book partnership from Little Rock, Arkansas, to Kansas City a week after Christmas. The two are working on a Web comic, The Long Road to Valhalla, when they're not working as servers.

"We could have a day job anywhere," Smith says. "We couldn't find a community like this, though."

Although Smith's mother was born in Lee's Summit, the comic-book team had only a passing familiarity with Kansas City before moving here. What they did know were the names: Aaron, Mellon and Nitz.

"Comics are totally why we moved here," Smith says. "The city is great, don't get me wrong. But if there wasn't such an awesome comic-book scene, it wouldn't have been on my radar."

For the artists who are already here, the notion that somebody would turn to Kansas City for the source of their material is as satis­fying as writing the source material itself.

"The idea that we have enough gravity to draw in people from other parts of the country is a testament to how cool this scene is," Nitz says. "You just want to find the others and hang out with them."

Off the page, Kansas City comic-book creators keep being drawn together.

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