Living his dream: Lawyer/author tames 'The Monsters Within' in graphic novel

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By Kurt Anthony Krug
Legal News

When Evan Pozios was in law school, he didn’t care too much about his ranking. However, when his graphic novel, “Time Grunts Vol. 1: The Monsters Within,” was recently published, he was checking its ranking on Amazon 15 times per day.

“If you focus on good storytelling, the sales will follow,” said Pozios, 45, of St. Clair Shores. He added with a laugh: “So now I only check it 14 times a day.”

This graphic novel collects the first four issues of Pozios’s “Time Grunts” comic book series, published through Michigan-based Caliber Comics and slated to run eight issues. He is working with artists Alex Sachez and Patrick Parnell on this title.

“Alex and Patrick have been awesome,” praised Pozios. “They are not just talented collaborators and mentors, but they are my friends. Those guys took a chance on me, and I can never thank them enough for the opportunity. Each of them brings something different to the table. Alex uses beautiful, heavy lines with strong inking. He was born to draw this book. Patrick dances to the beat of his own drum. He knows what looks good and he creates it. He is the straw that stirs the drink. He has fun doing his thing, and it shows.”

“Time Grunts” occurs in 1944 when the Nazis were losing World War II. However, the Nazis discover the “wunderwaffe” – a German term for the “Miracle Weapon” assigned by the Nazi Germany propaganda ministry during World War II – that allows them to travel through time. They go back to Detroit circa 1943 to exacerbate the Belle Isle riots in an effort to undermine American war production. So it’s up to the titular characters, a ragtag band of American G.I.s, to stop the Nazis and ensure that the past isn’t altered in order for history to take its proper course.

According to Pozios, many different elements inspired the creation of “Time Grunts.” As a kid, he watched old war movies with his father, Konstantinos, who immigrated from Greece in 1969. In fact, his father was the first person to receive a copy of the “Time Grunts” collected edition when it was released in late April.

“He was in awe,” recalled Pozios. “Greek dads can be tough to please, but I could tell he was proud.”

Growing up, Pozios read the “Choose Your Own Adventure” books, one of the most popular series of children’s novels from the 1980s where the reader could determine the main character’s actions and the plot’s outcome. An avid fan of “G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero,” he not only had the action figures but also religiously followed the comic book series written by Larry Hama, a Vietnam veteran. He also read Marvel’s “Amazing Spider-Man,” “Uncanny X-Men,” “Captain America,” “Iron Man,” and “Avengers” titles.

“‘Time Grunts’ is about memories. It’s about places,” he said. “It’s about places I’ve been fortunate enough to visit: Normandy, Gettysburg, and Delphi. Most importantly, it’s about dealing with our past – emotions we feel and things we can never change, no matter how hard we might try.”

A 1991 alumnus of University Liggett High School in Grosse Pointe Woods, Pozios earned his undergraduate degree in political science from Tufts University in Medford, Mass., in 1995 and his juris doctor from Tulane University Law School in New Orleans – the 12th oldest law school in the nation – in 1998. He is certified in maritime law. In 2002, Pozios earned his MBA in human resources from Michigan State University.

According to Pozios, law school was a natural fit for him, given his interest in history and politics. However, the actual practice of law – something he did for more than seven years – was not a natural fit for him. Leaving the legal field, he decided to try his hand at writing comics.

“To anyone out there unhappy with your place in life, whatever your profession or circumstances may be, do what you love,” he said. “There’s a happy world out there waiting for you – you just have to create it.”
One Christmas, Pozios’ older brother Vasilis, a psychiatrist, paid for him to attend a screenwriting seminar in Los Angeles taught by University of Michigan alumnus Robert McKee, who wrote for TV series such as  “Quincy, M.E.,” “Kojak,” and “Spenser: For Hire.”

After attending the seminar, Pozios plotted “Time Grunts.” His first comic was the self-published “The Catharsis of Ezra,” which marked his first collaboration with Sanchez. From there, it was “Time Grunts.” Originally, he published “Time Grunts” under his own imprint called Atromitos Comics (“atromitos” is Greek for “fearless”).

As of the fourth issue, both “Time Grunts” and “Johnny Phantasm” (another Pozios creation) have been published by Caliber, which was founded in 1989 by the late Gary Reed. Caliber focused on comic books that were not standard super-hero fare, which is prevalent throughout the medium, and were primarily creator-owned.

Pozios was lucky enough to meet Reed at the Monroe Comic Con the day before Reed passed (in 2016). “He was an innovator, had a passion for storytelling, and gave so many of today’s legends their start,” Pozios said.

One of Caliber’s initial titles was “The Crow,” a cult favorite set in Detroit. “The Crow” became an unlikely media franchise, spawning three movies – including 1994’s “The Crow,” where actor Brandon Lee (son of martial arts legend Bruce Lee) died while filming on the set – and a TV series.

“Caliber provides a tremendous springboard into the industry. It’s a place with no hang-ups, no fear of making a mistake,” said Pozios. “I couldn’t ask for a better place to begin my career in comics.”

According to Pozios, “Time Grunts” has benefited under the Caliber logo. Not only have sales gone up, Caliber’s distribution is “top notch” as the book can be found on Amazon, Comixology, and soon in comic book stores worldwide – not just the Metro Detroit area – through Diamond Comic Distributors.

“I think this new generation of Caliber creators appreciates (the publisher’s) legacy,” said Pozios.

“We care about the craft, we want to improve, and we truly do this out of love and passion. We tell stories that are burning inside of us, not following any trends or what’s en vogue. We create from the soul.”
 

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