I love comic books. I also love Michigan. The one thing that I might possibly love more than those things seperately would be the combination of the two. Now, prepare yourself for the tale of The Northern Stars!
Recently my father and I travelled up to Cheboygan to winter-proof our cabin on Lake Huron. Cheboygan is a great little place, operative word being “little,” about half an hour from the Mackinac Bridge.
We left on Wednesday and as you all know Wednesday is comic book day. What was I to do? I hadn’t picked up my books yet! Where was I going to get my graphic novel fix? But then I remembered something. At the end of Cheboygan’s main drag, there exists a place that hasn’t changed since I first remember seeing it 15 years ago. A place that smells of old pulp paper, pine needles, and the brisk wind blowing off of Lake Huron, a place called Comics North.
I wish I had taken some pictures of the shop but alas, I didn’t even think about it at the time. Dave Elyea, a portly gentlemen in his late 50’s early 60’s is the humble owner of said establishment and who, much like his store, hasn’t changed since the first time I saw him 5 years ago. He’s always wearing those darn rainbow suspenders… But he’s always ready to help you find anything you might need and I really enjoy popping into the store when I’m in the area.
What’s amazing is the place even exists in the first place: # 1, Cheboygan is a tiny town and #2, there aren’t many larger towns in the surrounding area. Who buys comics from this place? Apparently his shop survives because it’s one of the few places selling comics in Northern Michigan! People have to come from miles and miles to sate their funny book fix, much like myself this past Wednesday.
After I had picked up my normal books I asked whether he was selling anything made by local creators. I’m a huge fan of Michigan comics work, simply because who associates comic books with Michigan? Yet whether you know it or not, the Mitten does have its own burgeoning comics community. He suggested his own work, an AMAZINGLY awesome book titled The Northern Stars #1 circa 1984. Check it –
Obviously self-published, this comic may be the best thing to EVER come out of Northern Michigan. Isle Royale State Park, Sleeping Bear Dunes, even the Great Lakes themselves pale in comparison to this masterwork. Following the exploits of a group of heroes from such northerly locales as Wolverine, Cheboygan, Petoskey, and Charlevoix, this book is everything a Michigan comics fan could hope for!
There’s a dinosaur swimming around in Lake Michigan ready to destroy the Mackinac Bridge, the world’s largest suspension bridge. Who comes to save the day? The Northern Stars. What follows is honestly one of the most fun books I’ve ever read simply because it’s so campy without even trying. Throw in the fact that I’ve been to a lot the places the team hails from and… Just trust me, it’s wonderful. I’m going to see if I can get permission to post the entire issue here on the blog but until then I give you the full roster of the Northern Stars!!!
Everything Northern Stars related is copyright David Elyea, 1984