CLEVELAND — We’ve all heard of Spider-Man, Superwoman and Aquaman.
However, a northeast Ohio native is putting his own spin on the superhero genre by creating his own comic book series.
The superhero is his wife, and the comic book series is called “Stealth Hammer.”
It was a project that started in the middle of the pandemic and gained serious momentum over time.
Several months later, a second published issue is available for purchase.
When Jami Drost watches an animated superhero version of herself, she can’t help but smile and, very surrealistically, see direct parallels to her everyday life.
“I love fighting for truth and justice, and so does she,” Drost said.
At the height of the pandemic, her husband Ryan Drost, a self-proclaimed comic book superfan, poured his heart and soul into creating a comic book.
The hero or heroine in this case – is also called Jami but when it’s time to fight crime – she transforms into “Stealth Hammer”.
His wife earned this nickname while working at a local advertising agency.
“She became a brand compliance officer at another agency where she had to kind of say to use that color or that logo that way and all, so kind of putting the hammer down,” said Drost, creator of “Stealth Hammer”.
The all-ages superhero adventure story has become a local hit in northeast Ohio flying off the shelves of Carol and John’s Comic Shop in Kamm’s Corner.
Feeling the itch, Drost knew he had more to share and a bigger story to tell.
“A dream came true doing the first issue. I always wanted to make my own comic and then once you get that bug, like most people feel, they think one issue isn’t enough no. Let’s do another one.”
The entire project is self-published and funded through a Kickstarter campaign.
This second issue delves deeper into the history of Stealth Hammer’s family and how they hone their superpowers.
These superpowers include fists like hammers and the ability to turn invisible when needed.
“It’s kind of like a hero’s quest and it’s a little bit different from your typical superhero story because it’s in this world of high-tech gadgetry and supernatural mythology,” Drost said. .
The project is a love letter to his wife and to Drost’s deep roots in Cleveland.
“We have a character called Ari the Elf, and he’s 216. So that’s 216 for the Cleveland area code,” Drost said. “He lives at 33 Cleveland Street.”
Drost says the comic’s success couldn’t have happened without John Dudas, owner of Carol & John’s Comic Shop in Kamm’s Corner.
He carries the comic to the shelves of his store and continues to applaud Drost’s success and creativity. He actively welcomes other creators to share their work.
“I think one of the reasons we support local artists and local creators is that a business can live or die by its community and you need to be an active part of your community,” Dudas said.
The second issue of “Stealth Hammer” is now available for purchase.
Drost says he scripted several other issues.
He says he could create at least ten more comics, with additional twists.