Saving the world: one comic at a time

Graduate finds success in creating graphic novels

Writer Kali Ray, freshman, met Caleb Goellner at Planetcon 2015 in Bartle Hall. Goellner was there selling his comics as he has been for a few years now. Ray was dressed up as Sherlock Holmes (BBC) in the spirit of the event.

Kali Ray, Reporter

People are everywhere. Trying to find a single person is nearly impossible, but lucky for guests, Caleb Goellner’s stand has a giant Merman behind it.

This was Planetcon at Bartle Hall, where Caleb Goellner, a South graduate and current comic book artist/writer, was selling his comics.

“I worked on the newspaper all through high school, which included my sophomore, junior and senior years back in the old Olathe school district setup,” Goellner said.

He now works on different comic books, some of which he draws, some he writes, and for a few he does both.

Goellner gets his inspiration in different ways. “Visually, I’m inspired by Japanese tokusatsu shows like ‘Kamen Rider’ and ‘Super Sentai,’ plus manga, comics and video games. Most of my story ideas, on the other hand, come from my day-to-day life or things I read in the news,” Goellner explained.

When he was part of the newspaper staff, he had his own cartoon strip called “Falky.”

“’Falky’ was my first real attempt at producing a serialized comic strip. I can’t really remember how I pitched it to Ms. Kohl, but the idea was that Falky was this kind of unofficial school mascot who would interact with students facing typical Olathe South scenarios in a humorous way,” Goellner said.

“Eventually that concept boiled down to Falky being sort of an imaginary friend to characters that embodied my own attitudes and experiences at the time. I had a bunch of room on the page to tell stories that went beyond the typical three-panel newspaper strip format, so it was a really cool experience,” he said.

He went on to University of Kansas (KU) for a degree in journalism, and his newspaper experience helped him in his current field.

“I had a really nice time in newspaper class. It taught me to focus on details and forged me into a better writer. It really gave me a jump on studying journalism and advertising in college at KU,” Goellner said.

Goellner loved comics all through high school. “I used to spend all of my money at Elite Comics and Borders Books,” Goellner said.

He now gets to work on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle stories in his everyday job. He also works on “Rad Task Force,” “M3rmaid 3volution,” “Birch Squatch” and “Diamond Lass.”

On a lot of these comics, he works with other artists and writers. “Generally I like to collaborate with other [people] a little more than working alone because I get to interact with other creative people. Also, it allows me to work on multiple comics at once,” Goellner explained.

Of his comics, however, Goellner’s favorite is one he does himself.  “I like all of the comics I work on for different reasons, but ‘ M3rmaid 3volution’ is probably my favorite to draw since it’s my solo jam and there’s no pressure to do anything other than be bonkers,” Goellner added.

Goellner has been going to Planetcon only recently as an artist.

“I started going to Planet Comicon in 1995 as an attendee, and went almost every year through 2010. This year was my third year as an exhibitor in artist alley, and I plan on going back next year,” Goellner said.