Hagerstown Artist Craig Kercheval Creates the Next Superhero

Hagerstown Artist Craig Kercheval Creates the Next Superhero
"The Cosmic Crusader"
By Jennifer LB Leese
Staff Writer

There's something about W. Craig Kercheval of Hagerstown, age 50, that not many people know about - Craig loves to draw and in doing so he has created a new superhero!
Craig has been drawing since the age of ten. "I went to the grocery store with my mother one day and there I saw a copy of Marvel's "Fantastic Four". Mom bought me a copy and I took it home and read it right away. I loved it so much I wanted to start making my own comics," Craig said. "My first character was Electro-Man. I made roughly ten issues with that character."
In 1976 I made "The Cosmic Crusader" character (image seen here). "I drew my own stuff on regular lined paper, cutting off the holes, and taping the ends together to make a book."
Without giving too much away, "The Cosmic Crusader" tells the story of a man who was lead to believe that he was created as a robot, but when he finds out that he's a human underneath the armor he decides to find out who he is, and where he comes from. "Every chapter ends with a cliffhanger," said Craig excitedly.
Craig's favorite superhero characters, other than his own, are all the X-Men characters, Batman, and Spiderman. The X-Men and Spiderman characters appeal to him because they are outcasts. He likes that they are mutants with special powers. "Growing up as an artist people constantly came up to me and asked me to draw things for them. I drew many things while still in school - flyers for the school plays, concerts, and classmates' band concert announcements." Craig laughed. "I was a geeky person in school...never had a girlfriend. I know what it's like to be that way [an outcast]. I can relate to their characters.
As for the DC Batman character, Craig just thinks he's cool. "He is the best. He wears the best costume, has the best movies, and is in the best comics ever made," he said.
"My 'books' were roughly ten pages a piece and were originally sketched in pencil (layouts) then sometimes during class I'd ink them in black and white with a regular ball point pen. It took me about ten hours per page."
While living in Smithsburg in the late 1990s, Craig decided to add seven new chapters to his book, "The Cosmic Crusader", making it a graphic novel. With the help of Vance Capley (he drew roughly 20 sketches in the book), Craig was able to put a draft together. In August 2011, his younger brother, Tom, told him about Lulu.com and after retyping the story on the computer, Craig sent his book to Lulu. Since the publishing, Craig has sold roughly 80 copies.
Now seems to be the time for superheroes, Craig likes that there are all these superhero movies coming out, as he believes it puts those characters in front of those who normally wouldn't read comic books, but he wants our readers to know that superheroes are not real and that they cannot really save us, "we all have to save each other," he said, "...we have to save ourselves...we have to take care of our children, our weak, and our sick because if we don't, no one will."
While Craig continues to look forward to seeing a superhero genre movie with a nomination in the best movie category ("They have been totally snubbed," he told me.), he works on his large-sized color pencil drawings of DC and Marvel characters. He is in the midst of gathering enough to have an art show, hopefully in the near future. "My goal is to make my story into a full-color comic book someday."
"The Comic Crusader" is a square-bound softcover with color cover and 29 black and white illustrations. It contains the complete original origin story of the superhero "The Cosmic Crusader".
This book makes a fantastic Christmas gift! Be sure to visit www.lulu.com/us/en/shop/craig-kercheval/the-cosmic-crusader/ebook/product-17346129.html for your copy today!
If you'd like to contact Mr. Kercheval, send us an email at j.leese@picketnews.com or call us at 301-766-7097 and your information will be forwarded him to him.