NORMAL - Like many of us, Steve Bryant bought comic books as a child.
Unlike most of us, Bryant has never lost his fascination for them.
Now he's creating his own.
His comic book, "Athena Voltaire: Flight of the Falcon," debuted Thursday at Acme comics, 115 W. North St., Normal. Bryant, a Normal resident who works full time as a graphic designer, was at the comic store to autograph copies.
Athena Voltaire is sort of a female Indiana Jones, fighting Nazis in the 1930s as she transports a golden falcon statue.
Wisconsin resident Troy Namath, in town visiting a friend, was among those getting Bryant's autograph.
"I like the artwork. It's distinct," Namath said.
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"Tell your friends," Bryant replied.
Though the $2.99 comic was available Thursday in Normal, it will be available nationwide early next month.
Publication of the comic, the first in a five-part series, is a "lifelong dream" for Bryant, who would like to make his hobby his livelihood.
Bryant, who did the artwork for the comic book, began drawing when he was about 6 years old. He remembers many of his early drawings being of dinosaurs.
Nowadays, he's drawing machine gun-wielding heroine Athena Voltaire and the villainous Nazis trying to kill her. Voltaire, who pilots an airplane, has long black hair and packs a pistol as well as machine gun.
The script for the comic book was written by Paul Daly of St. Louis. Chad Fidler of Peoria provided color to Bryant's black and white drawings.
The comic book was sent to a half-dozen publishers before Bryant and his collaborators decided on Canadian publisher Speakeasy Comics.
Bryant said the comic is appropriate for ages 13 and older. He doesn't plan to introduce it to his 5-year-old son because Voltaire carries a gun.
Despite the graphic action in the comic book, Bryant said that "in the end the good guy wins."