ST. CHARLES – Not one, but two comic book creators are under the same roof, part of a St. Charles family.
Twin brothers Tom and Kevin Martin, 22, provide the creative force behind the comic label Hypno Brain Comics. Launched in September 2013, the brothers each write and illustrate their own comic books.
Kevin Martin’s “Strange Comics for Strange People,” currently on its third issue, is a series that combines dark fantasy, slice of life and some humor. Tom Martin said his book, “Freakshow Squadron Comics,” features an offbeat superhero team with plots that blend shenanigans with mental and social conflict. He expects his fifth issue to be released later this month.
“I feel like we both go for a character-based comic,” Kevin Martin said.
The Martins have been drawing their own comics for over 10 years but never tried to publish their homemade creations.
That all changed in 2013 when Tom Martin went to a semiannual Mighty Con Comic Book Show held at the DuPage County Fairgrounds in Wheaton.
Tom Martin said there were people selling their own comic books printed through Ka-Blam Digital Printing, which serves the independent comic book community. He and his brother decided to use Ka-Blam and lay down the following ground rules to avoid any objections to their content – no bad language, no adult situations and no crude humor.
Kevin Martin does not adhere to any deadlines for “Strange Comics for Strange People” and will take up to four months to put out an issue so that it’s the best it can possibly be. Tom Martin, on the other hand, already had 10 stories drafted before he first went to press. He usually releases a “Freakshow Squadron Comics” issue every two months and works on his comics when he’s not at his job at the St. Charles Goodwill store.
The Martin brothers said they grew up on the traditional superheroes from the Marvel and DC comic book companies. While characters like Spider-Man and Superman continue to be adapted into big-budget movies, the Martins instead draw their inspiration from independent comic creators, such as Aaron Alexovich and Jhonen Vasquez.
Like other independent artists, the Martins are getting used to selling their brand and making connections with their fan base. They sold copies of their comics in person at the February Mighty Con show in Wheaton, and they will return to the DuPage County Fairgrounds for a show June 28.
The brothers said they wouldn’t mind if they could make a living off of their comic books. For now, they are doing it more as an art form than for money. The brothers said their friends and family – St. Charles 4th Ward Alderman Jim Martin is their grandfather – are supportive of their work.
“I encourage anyone else to create art and pursue it, especially people who consider themselves outcasts or anything like that,” Tom Martin said. “Let yourself be known – art is important.”
Tom and Kevin Martin of St. Charles each write, illustrate and sell their own comic books under their own label, Hypno Brain Comics.
For information about their comic book convention appearances, or to purchase issues, visit www.hypnobraincomics.blogspot.com.