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Akron's Ted Sikora gets national deal for Cleveland-set comic

By Rich Heldenfels Published: December 12, 2013

The official word: Cleveland stars as itself in the new globally-distributed superhero comic series, APAMA!

The creators of the series, Ted Sikora and Milo Miller, have signed a deal to be delivered worldwide digitally via Comixology, the same service that delivers downloadable comics of Spider-Man, Bat-Man, Walking Dead, and another Cleveland creation, Super-Man!

The title launches the week of Wednesday, December 11th on

Miller and Sikora, who’ve lived in this region their entire lives, said that having the story take place here was a natural, but in developing the series, they realized what an incredible narrative opportunity Cleveland provided. Said Sikora, “Why does almost the entire Marvel Comics Universe reside in New York? Cleveland has provided us with a visually rich yet somehow blank canvas for this type of series. And it’s also high-time Cleveland got to actually be Cleveland in a superhero series.”

Apama is the story of Cleveland-born Hungarian ice cream truck driver Ilyia Zjarsky who discovers an ancient scroll that allows him to gain the powers of the most savage beast man has never known. Zjarsky resides in the Gordon Square Arts district, shops at the West Side Market, and from time to time even gets his costume fixed by Project Runway star Valerie Mayan.”

The book is illustrated by Spaniard, Benito Gallego (guh-JEH-goh) who brings a timeless vintage style to mix. “When we first saw Benito’s submission we were absolutely blown away - it made us think of the art we grew up with back in the 70s,” said Miller.  But how is someone in Spain who has never set foot in C-town going to get the look and feel of the city?’   “I started scouting and shooting photos all over the city, and upload specific images for Benito to accompany the scripts.” Sikora said.  Gallego is currently putting the finishing touches on issue 7. "It's a very mature approach to the superhero genre, It goes from comedy to horror passing through romance. There are references to spiritual knowledge, ethnicities, culture, religion, and mythology," says Gallego.

Residents of Northeast Ohio may find the character Apama (uh-PAH-ma) familiar looking as he has been on display over the last three years in two local art installations. The first, a giant one at 811 Prospect Avenue, and more recently in a public art display at East 9th and Superior.

Comixology, the iTunes of comics, recently passed 200 million issue downloads in September.   “With digital delivery, our project will be instantly available all over the planet. It’s an incredible opportunity,” said Miller.

And while the Cleveland flavor is an extra treat for Northeast Ohio residents, critics and industry insiders throughout the U.S have lauded the initial preview of the series.

‘I dug it — real Buscema feel to the art, and I liked that it had a mix of being a serious origin, like in the 70s, and yet started lifting off into Steve Gerber territory. Old school Marvel with a modern twist.’
– Derek McCaw, Editor in Chief FANBOY PLANET

‘Apama is great! A wonderfully fresh work –
Gallego’s artwork is nothing short of iconic. A great mix of social commentary and fun adventure.

It’s a very professional package, full color, top-notch art, and a very entertaining story. Plus this has to be one of the best looking superhero costumes ever.’

‘I can’t recommend this comic enough. I read it three times.’

‘Great fun, which nicely captures the Bronze Age spirit.’

‘It is a full-on carbon copy of the look of your standard Bronze-Age Marvel Comic right down to it looking like it was drawn by John Buscema himself…  Perfectly blends the experience of reading an old-style Marvel comic with the digital age — worth checking out.’ – AINT IT COOL

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