Letters 10-24-2016

It’s Obama’s 1984 Several editions ago I concluded a short letter to the editor with an ominous rhetorical flourish: “Welcome to George Orwell’s 1984 and the grand opening of the Federal Department of Truth!” At the time I am sure most of the readers laughed off my comments as right-wing hyperbole. Shame on you for doubting me...

Gun Bans Don’t Work It is said that mass violence only happens in the USA. A lone gunman in a rubber boat, drifted ashore at a popular resort in Tunisia and randomly shot and killed 38 mostly British and Irish tourists. Tunisian gun laws, which are among the most restrictive in the world, didn’t stop this mass slaughter. And in January 2015, two armed men killed 11 and wounded 11 others in an attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. French gun laws didn’t stop these assassins...

Scripps’ Good Deed No good deed shall go unpunished! When Dan Scripps was the 101st District State Representative, he introduced legislation to prevent corporations from contaminating (e.g. fracking) or depleting (e.g. Nestle) Michigan’s water table for corporate profit. There are no property lines in the water table, and many of us depend on private wells for abundant, safe, clean water. In the subsequent election, Dan’s opponents ran a negative campaign almost solely on the misrepresentation that Dan’s good deed was a government takeover of your private water well...

Political Definitions As the time to vote draws near it’s a good time to check into what you stand for. According to Dictionary.com the meanings for liberal and conservative are as follows:

Liberal: Favorable to progress or reform as in political or religious affairs.

Conservative: Disposed to preserve existing conditions, institutions, etc., or to restore traditions and limit change...

Voting Takes A Month? Hurricane Matthew hit the Florida coast Oct. 6, over three weeks before Election Day. Bob Ross (Oct. 17th issue) posits that perhaps evacuation orders from Governor Scott may have had political motivations to diminish turnout and seems to praise Hillary Clinton’s call for Gov. Scott to extend Florida’s voter registration deadline due to evacuations...

Clinton Foundation Facts Does the Clinton Foundation really spend a mere 10 percent (per Mike Pence) or 20 percent (per Reince Priebus) of its money on charity? Not true. Charity Watch gives it an A rating (the same as it gives the NRA Foundation) and says it spends 88 percent on charitable causes, and 12 percent on overhead. Here is the source of the misunderstanding: The Foundation does give only a small percentage of its money to charitable organizations, but it spends far more money directly running a number of programs...

America Needs Change Trump supports our constitution, will appoint judges that will keep our freedoms safe. He supports the partial-birth ban; Hillary voted against it. Regardless of how you feel about Trump, critical issues are at stake. Trump will increase national security, monitor refugee admissions, endorse our vital military forces while fighting ISIS. Vice-presidential candidate Mike Pence will be an intelligent asset for the country. Hillary wants open borders, increased government regulation, and more demilitarization at a time when we need strong military defenses...

My Process For No I will be voting “no” on Prop 3 because I am supportive of the process that is in place to review and approve developments. I was on the Traverse City Planning Commission in the 1990s and gained an appreciation for all of the work that goes into a review. The staff reviews the project and makes a recommendation. The developer then makes a presentation, and fellow commissioners and the public can ask questions and make comments. By the end of the process, I knew how to vote for a project, up or down. This process then repeats itself at the City Commission...

Regarding Your Postcard If you received a “Vote No” postcard from StandUp TC, don’t believe their lies. Prop 3 is not illegal. It won’t cost city taxpayers thousands of dollars in legal bills or special elections. Prop 3 is about protecting our downtown -- not Munson, NMC or the Commons -- from a future of ugly skyscrapers that will diminish the very character of our downtown...

Vote Yes It has been suggested that a recall or re-election of current city staff and Traverse City Commission would work better than Prop 3. I disagree. A recall campaign is the most divisive, costly type of election possible. Prop 3, when passed, will allow all city residents an opportunity to vote on any proposed development over 60 feet tall at no cost to the taxpayer...

Yes Vote Explained A “yes” vote on Prop 3 will give Traverse City the right to vote on developments over 60 feet high. It doesn’t require votes on every future building, as incorrectly stated by a previous letter writer. If referendums are held during general elections, taxpayers pay nothing...

Beware Trump When the country you love have have served for 33 years is threatened, you have an obligation and a duty to speak out. Now is the time for all Americans to speak out against a possible Donald Trump presidency. During the past year Trump has been exposed as a pathological liar, a demagogue and a person who is totally unfit to assume the presidency of our already great country...

Picture Worth 1,000 Words Nobody disagrees with the need for affordable housing or that a certain level of density is dollar smart for TC. The issue is the proposed solution. If you haven’t already seen the architect’s rendition for the site, please Google “Pine Street Development Traverse City”...

Living Wage, Not Tall Buildings Our community deserves better than the StandUp TC “vote no” arguments. They are not truthful. Their yard signs say: “More Housing. Less Red Tape. Vote like you want your kids to live here.” The truth: More housing, but for whom? At what price..

Home · Articles · News · Features · Spawn of Cherry Capital Comic...
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Spawn of Cherry Capital Comic Con

An annual gathering of comic book fans in Traverse City has spawned a community of comic book creators.

Patrick Sullivan - February 10th, 2014  

Unhindered by their remote location, the group has attracted like-minded comic “nerds,” said writer Chris Meeuwes, who teamed up with artist Ryan Lee to create the dark alternate-world superhero comic called “The Naturals.”

The two met at a special Cherry Capital Con 2010 event through Ethan Van Sciver, an established comic book artist who has drawn DC Comics titles like “Green Lantern,” “Superman,” “Batman,” “New X-Men,” and “The Flash: Rebirth.”

“[Lee] brought his portfolio to show Ethan Van Sciver,” Meeuwes said. “And I looked at it and we just kind of talked because he was a new comic book nerd in the area that I’d never met. I thought he should become one of the group. I was like, this is really good.”


The artist and writer hit it off. Lee, 36, had just moved to Traverse City from downstate and wanted to explore a career in comics.

Meeuwes, 28, had worked for a couple of years at Top Comics, northern Lower Michigan’s only dedicated comic book shop. One of Top Comics’ owners, Michael Akerley, started Cherry Capital Con comic book convention in 2009.

Akerley said he hoped it would bring people like Lee and Meeuwes together.

“That was our goal. It was set up as a way to get artists and writers to meet. There’s a lot of talented people in the area,” Akerley said. “If that’s all it does, I’ll be thrilled.”

The Van Sciver event was just one of numerous high-profile happenings at C4 over the years. In 2012, the convention hosted Tony Moore, the artist behind the first six issues of the comic book “The Walking Dead,” which has become a hit television series on AMC.


Lee and Meeuwes’ comic, “The Naturals,” is set in an alternate universe in an unspecified American city just after World War I. It is a dark and violent story about a murderous returning soldier and the alcohol-fueled trouble he leaves in his wake.

Like the best comic books, it’s both dreamlike and rooted in the real world.

Lee and Meeuwes say they are comfortable creating an ultra-violent fictional world.

“It’s a war story and it’s pretty dark, but some of the violence I have in there, by going over the top, I think it adds a little bit of levity to it,” Lee said. “We’re not trying to do a documentary. This isn’t a first-person memoir. This is comics and even when things are dark and horrific, we still want them to be palatable and fun.”

Lee and Meeuwes write a new multi-panel page and post it online every other week. They’ve completed the story’s first chapter, the size of an individual comic book, and they are well into the second chapter.


When Lee moved from Royal Oak to Traverse City a few years ago, he didn’t know what kind of like-minded people he might find. He saw the move north as a way to be somewhere good to raise a family.

He also thought he could develop his career as an artist.

“We had recently had a child and I worked in advertising for six and a half years before I moved up here,” he said. “I wanted to try drawing for a living again. Doing illustration. That’s what I went to school for and that’s what I did the first almost three years out of school.”

Lee’s wife got a job in Traverse City and the couple was able to move north.

Lee still works as a freelance commercial artist, but he is able to devote more of his time to comic book art.

“Obviously, no one is paying us to do this,” Lee said of “The Naturals.” “This is a passion project. It’s something fun to do for us.”


Meeuwes also came to Traverse City looking for something else.

In Cadillac, he developed a love for comic books even in the absence of access to them. He sort of stumbled upon superheroes.

“When I was growing up in Cadillac, we really didn’t have a comic store or anywhere that really sold them,” Meeuwes said. “But there was an older neighbor kid ... him and some of his friends were into the collector’s cards.”

Meeuwes started to collect superhero cards. He read the bios on the backs and figured out how the stories intersected.

“I guess that’s how I got into it. Not the traditional, ‘Oh, I read ‘Ironman,’ and some of this stuff,” he said.

In Traverse City, Meeuwees found the community he was looking for.

“It’s small. It’s kind of like ‘Cheers’ [TV show bar], where everybody knows each other,” he said. “We run into each other at the comic book shop every Wednesday, when they get new comics. It’s really tightknit, I guess.”


Lee’s and Meeuwe’s relationship with C4 has changed over the years.

Once they went as fans. Now they go as makers.

“I think people are really hardcore about it. The people who like comics are really invested in it up here, which translates into the success of the convention,” Lee said.

For Meeuwes the convention was, at first, part of his job.

“When it first started, I was kind of like Mike Akerley’s right-hand-man,” he said. “Then, when I started making my own comics, I kind of wanted to be on the other side of the table.”

They attend other Midwest comic cons to promote their work.

They also put up a website (naturalscomic.com) and spread word through Facebook.

They hope friends spread the word to friends of friends of friends.

They promote each new page on Twitter.

That’s a good way to get visitors, Lee said, because there are a lot of comics fans and creators there.

“Twitter has been huge,” Lee said.

“Twitter, for a comic book artist, because so many of these guys are freelancers who just work at home, Twitter has kind of become an office. It’s become a water cooler.”

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