Creativity can be found in the streets of Portsmouth, Ohio, and the group from Creative C*ult Lives has used the town as a well of inspiration for a comic book that has people talking.
A group of four friends were randomly thrown together in college when they shared a living space, but stayed together by choice. Nick Sherman, Dominique Johnson, Connor Sherman, and June Borell have worked hard to construct an artistic platform that gathers people together.
Nick Sherman is an artist for the Creative C*ult comics, and enjoys designing a magical world out of Portsmouth.
“The idea started about a year and a half ago,” Sherman said, “Me and another artist in our group, June, started creating comics of inside jokes with our friends. We thought the concept was funny, of ‘insider-y’ Portsmouth stuff that we enjoyed. So, we made up a prototype of Me, Conner, and June walking through a recognizable Portsmouth environment and fighting a river monster.
We drew it up and really enjoyed it, with June drawing the second half. That ended up being our teaser issue, our first one. We colored it, formatted it, and printed it on June’s inkjet printer in our house. We bought the paper and stapled it ourselves, and learned how to format everything properly. The first one was printed on June’s small inkjet printer, taking about an hour, and the first C*ult Comic was born.”
Another key member of the group is Johnson, who contributes to the creative process through his story-telling, photography, and social media presence.
“We go out and take reference photos to make sure we get accurate detailed depictions of these locations of Portsmouth, so that people can recognize it and get excited when they see it,” Johnson said, “We’ve never done this before, and everything is a learning process. We like getting good feedback. People seem to like it so far, but we appreciate the constructive criticism as well.”
The Creative C*ult enjoys creating characters based on real people in the community.
“if you didn’t notice, the characters in the comic are based off of real life people, so it makes it easy to create stories about these characters, like little inside jokes,” Johnson said, “For instance, the Pluto character is based off of myself. If you read the last comic, he had a fidget spinner, because I was obsessed with them for a while, and Nick made sure to put that in the comic as an inside joke, so it’s a lot of funny stuff.”
Sherman is excited to see where the comic book will end up going.
“We want to be able to broaden it to the point where the Portsmouth masses will be able to understand the references,” Sherman said, “It’s set as Portsmouth being in some state of apocalyptic happening, but we don’t really give insight as to how that happened yet, so there’s still time to develop that.
Ultimately, we just want to create interesting things for Portsmouth that people can enjoy. We try and squash the stigma that there is nothing creative happening in Portsmouth or there are no creative minds working. We want to tell cool stories for this area, and the comics can be a part of this.”
This group is dedicated to helping others find their creativity.
“A few days ago, Dom sent me some plot points for the comics,” Sherman said. “So, he’s just laying in bed thinking about imaginary worlds. He is outsourcing his ideas as art so we can put it into motion and create that world. That’s a creative act. A lot of people view creativity as just drawing. But creativity can be approached in literally everything you do. We want people to realize that there is a ton of creativity that people can access, and the Creative Cult can be an incubator for that. ”
“I feel like you can be creative in any way if you’re expressing yourself,” Johnson added.
Even though some people might be put off by the word “Cult,” Sherman explains that it is not what some might think.
“The definition we use for the word Cult is ‘an expressed enthusiasm for something in a group of people.’ If you look it up, that’s one of the definitions.”
If you’d like to experience the magical world of Portsmouth through a creative lens, the comics can be found exclusively at Dungeon Dwellers comic book store on the Roy Roger’s Esplanade. Check out their apparel and blog as well online at www.creativecultlives.com.