St. Louis’ David Gorden brings superheroes to life with 4 Sight Studio | Art | St. Louis | St. Louis news and events

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David Gorden poses with a selection of comics he has published to date.  - JACK PROBST

  • JACK PROBST
  • David Gorden poses with a selection of comics he has published to date.

David Gorden is possibly the most ambitious cartoonist in St. Louis. Louis.

From podcasts to publishing to custom art, the 49-year-old has his hands in several forms of media through his production company, 4 Sight Studio, with the ability to tell compelling stories and an artistic style that lends itself to the stunning tales he weaves .

It makes sense that he would be so passionate about form: Gorden has been interested in making comics and being a storyteller since he was a child.

“I’ve been making comics in some way, shape or form since I was eight or nine,” says Gorden. RFT. “It’s been my primary way of telling stories. Now, professionally, I’ll probably say since the mid-90s. Once you get one job, [when] someone pays you for it, at that point you are a professional. That was all that was needed, that was it. ”

When Gorden’s position was reduced to his job in 2016, he decided to buckle up and make a character he created in 2002, Kwame Hightower, the focus of his next comic. He spent all his downtime writing and drawing Kwame Hightower and the unnamed man, which he originally published via print-on-demand in 2018.

Kwame Hightower is a typical twelve-year-old boy from St. Louis. Louis, too tough for his own good. He ends up moving to London, England, with his mother after his father dies. On a tour of Buckingham Palace, Kwame finds out that he is worthy to pull Excalibur off the sacred stone and ends up as the new King of England. Pursued by the titular Man with No Name, Kwame joins MI6’s Roundtable Division as he learns to handle his new responsibilities and the power that comes with it.

IN Kwame Hightower, Gorden mixes fantasy, history and science and tells an exciting and engaging story that will appeal to comic book fans of all ages. When one reads his work, his greatest influences shine clearly through. Gordon grew up like any child in the ’80s and fell for science fiction, action movies, and fantasy stories – those specifically, he points out, that were shown on HBO in the early days of cable television.

“As much as I love comics, I was actually more influenced by old cartoons and old movies at the time,” Gorden says. “Hannah-Barbara would be one of the big starting influences, and as you get older, you get into different things. You have Spielberg, you have Lucas, you have Spike Lee. Eddie Murphy. So go into comics, guys. “like Dwayne McDuffie, artists like Jim Lee and Brain Stelfreeze. Japanese manga, you have Kenichi Sanada. Guys who did things that changed my mind.”

When COVID-19 arrived, Gorden suddenly found himself with even more downtime. It was then that he decided to fully immerse himself in the Hightower universe – and take up the new challenge of launching his own publishing house.

“The pandemic hits and I’m completely released,” Gorden explains. “I have freelance [work], but I think, ‘Well, what else can I do?’ I started making plans around July 2020 to go into full-time publishing. ”

For Gorden, physical media is still essential, and 4 Sight Studio has dived into a medium not seen by many artists in the industry using: coloring books. For example, Kwame’s story continues Kwame Hightower and the New Knights, a world-building adventure that the reader can color in while reading along with the story. It takes place outside the main story of Kwame, but continues to build the world in which the Kwame adventures take place.

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WITH MARRIED DAVID GORDEN

“We wanted people to be interactive, and what’s more interactive than coloring?” says Gorden. “We create the story, we create the art, but you add the color and the special effects. Now people can feel part of it; they can personalize it a little more. You have to think of ways to get people to stick to yours. Maybe the characters catch you, maybe they do not, but my thing is, if you color the characters, you reread it, [they] will stay with you more. ”

When Gorden is not building his characters and expanding the worlds they live in, he sometimes works on the charity Superhero Project. The organization, from Chagrin Falls, Ohio, interviews children with serious illnesses and special needs and asks who their cartoon alter ego would be, and helps them make a story about their powers, their costumes, and what their impact on the world might look like. . . Artists then donate their time and talent to create superhero comic book covers based on these descriptions for the benefit of the children and their families.

Gorden has worked on several covers for the Superhero project. His process for one of the front pages was filmed and edited into a card titled “The Perfect Comic Book Cover” which can be viewed on the 4 Sight Studios website. The film is heartwarming as Gorden guides you through his process of connecting with the project and creating the cover, and it ends with the special moment where this little superhero gets to see his cover for the first time.

“Working on the superhero project itself was ugly because these kids really enjoyed these covers,” Gorden says. “I have not had time to see [them], but they have exhibited the work a few times, so a couple of my works have ended up exhibiting there in Ohio. I think, ‘Wow, it’s kind of become its own thing.’ ”

The Eternally Diligent Gordon is preparing to publish at least four or five more adventure coloring books this year and hopes to publish Kwame Hightower and the exiles from Kalatheaa before the end of 2022.

For the aspiring cartoonists and writers who dream of following the path to self-publishing he has, Gorden has some advice:

“Focus on one project at a time and get it done. You do not have to worry about anything else. Get it done. If you do not do anything else, get it done,” he says. “And you do not have to worry about how [you’re] will go and get it on the shelf at your local comic book store. Post it on the internet and go from there. Use your tools. Use what you have to get what you want. ”

Check out all of David Gorden’s work and purchase his books at www.4sightstudio.com. For more on the Superhero Project, visit www.superheroprojectkids.org.

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