Mr. Jose Velez and His Comic Featured in UMSL’s July “The Current” Issue

Mr. Jose Velez and His Comic Featured in UMSL's July

Kat Riddler, UMSL "The Current" Editor-in-Chief

In order to remove any confusion, Miguel Santizo is the pseudonym or Mr. Velez. Here is the article from “The Current.”

 

While many people have dreamed about creating their own comic book series, Miguel Santizo, graduate, English, has broken into the comic industry in a big way. Santizo creates the storyline for “Monsters & Macedonians” while his friend, John King, draws the written world into visual reality. Santizo recently tasted some of the satisfactions of publication when he met fans and signed autographs of his comic at Wizard World’s Comic Convention.

Santizo and King worked to create a finished product but were faced with problems of publishing. Signing with a major publisher is difficult, so they formed a business to self-publish. Doug Moser, an UMSL graduate, helped create the Legion Macedonia Entertainment, LLC to publish the comic.

“Monsters & Macedonians” takes place in a violent world controlled by vampires and demons that hide in real businesses in the United States. Most people are oblivious to their presence. Legion Motorcycle Club, the “best of the bad” heroes of the series, are introduced fighting a werewolf and vampire drug deal to keep control, power, and profit in their territory. The story continues in the second issue with the leader of the Legion Motorcycle Club, Billy, growing into his leadership position with support from his brothers. Santizo described his work as Sons of Anarchy in the world of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Gangland without the Hamlet.

Santizo researched whatever he could find on outlaw motorcycle clubs to help with the storyline and character development. “I read a number of books, watched documentaries, TV shows, and movies. I wanted to make sure that the book felt authentic, and we didn’t disrespect a culture that I am outside of,” Santizo said. This research is reflected in the strong anti-establishment perspective of the main characters and the intense loyalty they have for their gang.

Although Santizo and King have been working on a comic book for three years, the storyline changed drastically from the original concept about superheroes. “So I had to convince John that starting over was worth it, and I believe it was. Then I had to back up what I said and develop characters and a story worth telling,” Santizo said.

Reflecting on his time as an English major as a graduate student at UMSL Santizo said, “The biggest thing UMSL did for me was help me understand how important stories and writing are. Reading, writing, and attending class has introduced me to a new level of thought, to a new level of analysis, and a higher level of writing to thrive for, but I understand I write a comic about bikers and werewolves, so I don’t expect the Nobel Prize or anything. I just want to write a good story because from everything I’ve learned and tried to learn, I’ve seen how stories live on, and how people dig deep into them, and there is an honor and respect to be paid to writing and at the very least I want to do it justice with my passion.”

A typical comic usually has five or six people working on it, either writing, drawing, or both. Having only two people working on the storyline and artwork does make for a comparatively slower production process. Both Santizo and King have full-time jobs that can also get in the way of production. Their goal is to release at least two issues a year. The first issue is available online. The second is to be released within the next six months.

Legion Macedonia Entertainment, LLC was built with their own start-up capital. Seeking to build their fan base, they had a booth on the floor of the St. Louis Wizard World’s Comic Convention in May. The two entrepreneurs hope to travel to other conventions after receiving generous amounts of feedback in St. Louis. Besides individual sales, the young company is also accepting donations from fans who want to help see their company grow.

Students can purchase “Monsters & Macedonians: Welcome to the Church” online at legionmacedonia.com or comixology.com. There is also a 10 page preview of the first comic at legionmacedonia.com.