Kyle Puttkammer lives in an alternate universe where superheroes reign. As the owner of two Gwinnett comic book shops, he’s constantly immersed in a world of larger-than-life adventures.
Puttkammer, who has loved reading comics since he was a boy, is more than a comic salesman, however. He’s also the creator of two new superheroes — Galaxy Man and Cosmic Girl. They are the stars of a new exhibit at the Children’s Arts Museum in Duluth. “A Galaxy of Heroes” will be on display through Sept. 2 at the museum, which is part of the Jacqueline C. Hudgens Center for the Arts. The exhibit not only introduces Galaxy Man and Cosmic Girl but also features original paintings, drawings and sculptures of iconic comic book heroes such as Batman, Superman, Spiderman and Wonder Woman. “The parents have just as much fun with this as the kids,” said Nancy Gullickson, executive director of the Gwinnett Council for the Arts, which runs the Hudgens Center.
Foam sculptures of Galaxy Man and Cosmic Girl stand in the middle of the gallery at the Children’s Art Museum. These sculptures, which were created by artist Eddie Wright, also appear in the drawing on the cover of issue No. 1 of “Galaxy Man.” The comic was produced by Puttkammer and a team of local artists and writers. “In creating the comic book, we really put the time into the pages and the story,” Puttkammer said.
Galaxy Man’s secret identity is Stanley Quest, an astronomer who lives in Stellar City with his daughter, Suzie. What he doesn’t know, though, is that Suzie is also the superhero Cosmic Girl. Quest’s wife, an astronaut, has been missing since she went on a mission to Mars. As Galaxy Man, Quest hopes to one day find his wife. Each Galaxy Man story will end with a moral lesson. “As parents, we want to send the right messages to kids,” Puttkammer said. In the first book, Galaxy Man battles the evil doctor Ross Rex, who brings dinosaur bones to life in a museum. “In the first issue, the message is that violence doesn’t solve anything,” Puttkammer said.
A limited-edition run of 250 copies of the Galaxy Man comic was printed by the Hudgens Center. The book is available at the museum gift shop, as well as at Puttkammer’s two Galactic Quest comic book stores, which are located in Lawrenceville and Buford. Puttkammer plans to continue the Galaxy Man series. Preliminary drawings for issue two are already complete. The next book will follow Galaxy Man to outer space, where he meets a space monster. Though Galaxy Man comics are only being sold locally at the moment, Puttkammer dreams of bringing the superhero to readers across the country.
“We will go national with the comic when I feel like we’ve got enough material for six months,” he said. In fact, he’s already planning to expand the comics with toy and game product tie-ins. Already, a Galaxy Man coloring book and an activity book, which includes cut-outs of all the characters, are available. But no matter how famous Galaxy Man becomes, the comics will remain family friendly. “I’m creating what I’d like to see and what I’d like to sell,” Puttkammer said.
If you go What: “A Galaxy of Heroes”
When: Now through Sept. 2. The museum hours are from 1 to 5 p.m.
Tuesday through Friday and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.
Where: Children’s Arts Museum at the Jacqueline C. Hudgens Center for the Arts, 6400 Sugarloaf Parkway in Duluth Cost:
Admission is $5.
Info: Call 770-623-6002 or visit www.artsgwinnett.com or www.galacticquest.com.
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By Rachael Mason Staff Writer firstname.lastname@example.org