CLEVELAND — We’ve all heard of Spider-Man, Superwoman, and Aquaman.
However, a Northeast Ohio native is putting his personal twist on the superhero genre by creating his own comic book series.
The superhero is his wife, and the comic book series is called "Stealth Hammer".
It was a project that started mid-pandemic and gained serious momentum over time.
Several months later, a second published issue is available for purchase.
When Jami Drost looks at an animated superhero version of herself, she can’t help but smile and in a very surreal way, see direct parallels to her everyday life.
"I like to fight for truth and justice, and she does as well," said Drost.
At the height of the pandemic, her husband Ryan Drost, a self-proclaimed comic book super fan, poured his heart and soul into creating a comic book.
The hero or heroine in this case—is also named Jami but when it’s time to fight crime—she transforms into “Stealth Hammer”.
His wife earned this nickname while working at a local ad agency.
"She became in charge of brand compliance at another agency where she kinda had to say use this color or this logo this way and everything, so kinda laying down the hammer," said Drost, creator of "Stealth Hammer".
The all-ages superhero adventure story became a local hit across Northeast Ohio flying off the shelves at Carol and John’s Comic Shop in Kamm’s Corner.
Feeling the itch, Drost knew he had more to share and a larger story to tell.
"A dream was fulfilled by making the first issue. I always wanted to create my own comic and then once you get that bug like most people feel--they're like ok one issue isn't enough. Let's do another."
The entire project is self-published and funded through a Kickstarter campaign.
This second issue dives deeper into Stealth Hammer's family history and how she’s honing her superpowers.
Those superpowers include fists like sledgehammers and the ability to turn invisible when necessary.
"It is kinda like a hero's quest and it's a little different than your typical superhero story because she's in this world of high-tech gadgetry and supernatural mythology," said Drost.
The project is a love letter to his wife and the Drost’s deep Cleveland roots.
"We have a character that's named Ari the Elf, and he is 216 years old. So it's 216 for the area code of Cleveland," said Drost. "He lives at 33 Cleveland Street."
Drost says the comic's success couldn’t have been done without John Dudas, owner of Carol & John's Comic Shop in Kamm’s Corner.
He carries the comic book on his store shelves and continues to applaud Drost's success and creativity. He is actively welcoming other creators to share their work.
"I think one of the reasons we support local artists and local creators is that a business can live or die by its community and you have to be an active part of your community," said Dudas.
The second issue of "Stealth Hammer" is now available for purchase.
Drost says he has storyboarded several more issues.
He says he could create at least ten more comic books, with additional twists and turns.