Amazing Adventures in Pen and Ink

Two hundred drawings. Twenty-four hours. A dozen artists. One international cartoonist conspiracy.

End Times was created in Hiti's studio in downtown Minneapolis, above the devil-themed breakfast spot, Hell's Kitchen. This is not only serendipitous because Hiti is intrigued by the forces of evil, but also because he idolizes the work of Captain America creator Jack Kirby, an illustrator who was raised in New York's infamous Hell's Kitchen area. Inside Hiti's above-hell abode--call it purgatory--a bull skull is perched on top of an unusable fireplace, and a collection of soldiers sits on top of the mantle, pointing their miniature guns at his head. Hiti's using them as models for his next book, Death Day: A Story of Remembrance, a ghost story where memory-hunting soldiers eradicate thoughts from the past.

Like Death Day, End Times is littered with unearthly phantoms. The main character battles demons in San Pablo, a Japanese-comic-inspired otherworld of monsters and ghosts. The story also is layered with rich imagery and spiritual and biblical themes. The main character, demon-hunter Mario Roman, battles the don of evil, who is tricked by Lucifer to come to earth from heaven with the promise that he can become a god. Instead, he gives up perfection for a power struggle with other demons. "I didn't realize this until afterwards," Hiti says, "but it's about me competing with myself, trying to get better as an artist. I thought I was competing with other people, but I was in competition with myself all along."

 

Episode Five: Cartoonist Conspiracy

What eventually becomes of our comic-book superheroes? Hiti continues to wage a battle against his inner demons. Avidor still strives to combat the evils of highway expansion. The guys at Big Time Attic finally venture outdoors. And Stall seeks to unveil the universal emotions that connect us all. Later, they get up, have coffee, and go on.

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