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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Friday, Oct. 24, 2014

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In Movies & TV Commentary

Writer Michael Troy tells the story of hip-hop artist Nicki Minaj in a comic book for Bluewater Comics.

Stories of TV celebrities told in comic books


The art of telling a story is presented in various forms. Video, audio, photographs and illustrations are combined with the written word to relay information, to teach and to entertain.

The world of graphic novels and comic books are usually thought of as a vehicle to tell the tale of a super hero protecting the planet from the worst foes. A little lesser known, comics are also used to profile some of the most famous people in our society.

"Well, I'm very interested in writing and I'm a pop culture junkie," said writer and independent artist Michael Troy. With a heavy interest in comic books, he produces his own stories as well as work on biography books with Bluewater Comics.

His latest work, "Fame: Nicki Minaj" tells the story of the singer's humble beginnings and upbringing to her award-winning songs and latest gig judging and fighting Mariah Carey on "American Idol." The printed and digital version of the biography book is Bluewater Comics' latest publication in its "Fame" series that focuses on the lives of celebrities. Troy, and artist Jill Lamarina, share the life and times of Minaj through panels of images and lettering.

"What we see in the media, the frenzy, it is what attracts me," Troy said, adding that the more interesting the person, the more fascinating the subject and story can be. Troy prepares his scripts and shares his vision with the artist who draws the book to weave the story.

Troy said that research is key to getting the story right, and that he watches interviews to get a feel for what the person is like. Often, these biographies are put together without the involvement of the person being featured in the comic.

"I write these for the fans," Troy said, that his biography comic book work may be the first foray into comics for a celebrity's fan who picks up one for a collectible. "I write these with a lot of love, as a tribute to the artist, something I think they would be proud of."

It is never really known if a celebrity would pick up their own comic, and the people who work on them usually never get direct feedback. But is does happen once in a while.

"I wrote a comic on Lady Gaga," Troy said. "And I've been going to Comic-Con for years, but I missed this last one. But one morning (of the comic book convention) I saw that Lady Gaga tweeted that she had one and that she liked it. It was a nice validation of what I do."

The Nicki Minaj comic book and digital download is available for $3.99 (print) and $1.99 (digital) at Comic Flea Market from Bluewater Productions. The publisher also just released a comic on Donald Trump and has comics on politicians and other celebrities.

Bluewater Comics plans to do more biography stories of the people we see on TV. "The next one I'm working on is Honey Boo-Boo," Troy said.

TREKKING: The "Star Trek" franchise has some of the most die-hard fans in the world. Whether you are a Trekkie, Trekker or just a casual movie lover, thanks to Marcus Theatres, you can see the next film before anyone else. "Star Trek Into Darkness" will be available for a one-day advanced showing in 3D in area UltraScreen auditoriums at 9 p.m. on Wednesday, May 15.

"Our guests are eagerly anticipating 'Star Trek Into Darkness' and we are very pleased to offer fans the opportunity to see this exciting new film two days before it begins its regular engagement on May 17," Bruce J. Olson, president of Marcus Theatres, said in a statement. "Our UltraScreen auditoriums provide the ultimate large screen experience that moviegoers love."

"Star Trek Into Darkness" is directed by J.J. Abrams and stars Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, John Cho, Simon Pegg and Benedict Cumberbatch. The advance screening will be at the Majestic Cinema in Brookfield, the North Shore Cinema in Mequon and the Renaissance Cinema in Sturtevant. Tickets are available at the theater box office or at marcustheatres.com.

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