Word Balloons: Oklahoma writer unleashes 'Bobcat'
Arcadia writer James Hostler got some help from an industry legend when launching his comic book series, "The Bobcat."
"The Bobcat began serious production after a series of comic con visits and meeting my childhood comic hero Neal Adams, which reignited the fire within me to write and create," Hostler said.
The Bobcat is a Native American super hero operating in 1898 Indian Territory.
"This particular place in history holds the clash of the old, the new, and the legendary and mysterious," Hostler said. "The old ways are not yet lost, and beings that the culture of the day consider complete myth burst onto the scene rattling the thought and reason of the times."
The title character of The Bobcat came from an encounter Hostler himself had with a wild creature.
"The Bobcat was conceived from an acknowledgment of the importance of wild creatures in Native American culture and from personal experience and inspiration from that experience," Hostler said. "About 25 years ago, I began to encounter a large, magnificent bobcat who would cross the road in front of me on my way home in the evening. He would appear around the same time late in the day, and I would look forward to seeing him whenever possible. My fascination with this beautiful creature led me to create The Bobcat character and center my graphic novel around him."
Hostler grew up in Bethany and graduated from Putnam City West in 1982. He and his wife, Dorene, have lived in Arcadia for the past 15 years.
When fleshing out his character of The Bobcat, Hostler again turned to his comic-book hero of Neal Adams, known for illustrating breathtaking "Batman" and "Green Lantern" tales in the 1970s.
"Having Neal flesh out the character that I designed and created is quite the surreal feeling," Hostler said. "It's something that I would have thought nearly impossible to happen as a kid. For me, Neal was as cool and iconic as Captain Kirk was when I was growing up — awe inspiring and larger than life. Although our personal interaction has not been extensive, It has been a great thrill sharing my dream with him and getting his advice and feedback."
The artist for the comic is Jim Mehsling, who is set to appear at Wizard World Oklahoma City on Oct. 28 and 29. Mehsling has provided sketch cards for "Star Wars," "The Walking Dead" and others. His "Star Wars" fan films have been featured on www.StarWars.com, one of which won Best Animated Feature from Lucasfilm in 2011.
Hostler's Native American heritage played a role in his developing an interest in the Old West era.
"My Cherokee heritage comes from my father's side of the family," Hostler said. "As long as I can remember, I have been fascinated with the stories and exploits of family members as told to me by my father and others. Although I was not raised in the Cherokee culture, I have seen its influence in my family and always felt a sense of wonder and pride to have a biological link to these great people."
IF YOU GO
Wizard World Oklahoma City
When: 4 to 9 p.m. Oct 27, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Oct. 28 and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 29.
Where: Cox Convention Center, 1 Myriad Gardens in Oklahoma City.