ART BEAT: 'Man Child Mondays' allows artists to draw comic books

Holley Calmes

Holley Calmes

How many adults go to work every day wishing they could make a living by following a dream? By "working" at something they created and loved?

It sounds like a fantasy for most folks, but Kyle Puttkammer and his family have made their dream a reality with Galactic Quest stores, publications and events.

Puttkammer opened the first Galactic Quest comic book store in Lawrenceville in 1991, and he opened his second location in 1997 in Buford. The Lawrenceville location on West Pike Street is the largest comic book store in Gwinnett, and it has room to seat 125 visitors for some of the many events, performances and game tournaments that are held there. These shops are more than retail locations. They are hotbeds of creativity.

Although there is no real explanation for the name, "Man Child Mondays" have a special place in Puttkammer's heart. The weekly event is best explained in his own words.

"From about 2 p.m. until 7 p.m. most Mondays we get together to create," he said. "Then we go out to get some grub. If you have talent and want to join us, stop in and get to work."

Puttkammer further explains, "Every Monday you will find artists at every table honing their craft. It's not a class. The only requirement is that the attendee be an artist working on a visual art piece of sequential storytelling."

Puttkammer, 42, is also quick to point out that although "Man Child Mondays" are definitely not a baby-sitting service, parents of young artists would approve of the atmosphere and support young artists receive when they bring in their artwork.

"‘Man Child Mondays' are a hidden offering to the community," he said. "We want to bring more kids into the comic book industry."

Plus, the visual artists aren't the only ones who drop into the store on Mondays.

"We also have musicians and filmmakers come in on Monday," he said. "The networking among creative people is different each week."

Puttkammer has many young artists grateful for this opportunity.

"I have had a dream since I was a child, and that is to draw comic books," Caleb Mcbee, 16, said. "A few years ago when I came to the group at Galactic Quest, I thought I had reached that goal. I quickly saw I was wrong. The fellow artists at Galactic Quest helped to get me on the right track of quick improvement."

Another artist, 29-year-old Allen Beck added, "Socializing with artists who have common goals is fantastic. Sometimes I find myself inspired by the amazing talent here. It pushes me to draw better because I really want to impress my friends."

Galaxy Man Comics grew out of Puttkammer and his friends collaborating to create their own publication. Puttkammer invited his friend Patrick Gallagher, a writer, and Beck, a penciler, to collaborate on a comic. "Galaxy Man" was born. The story revolves around a humble astronomer whose wife is an astronaut. Her space ship becomes lost in space, and on that same fateful night, Stanley gains incredible powers when a meteor strikes his observatory. Now he's desperately searching the solar system for his lost wife Amelia. He also picks up a mysterious young female sidekick along the way. His daughter in disguise perhaps?

The "Galaxy Man" comic series is very family friendly and something parents can enjoy reading to their children. The Galactic Quest stores are also a reflection of this attention to family and community that Puttkammer and his friends have created.

For more information about the many events, activities, comics and music that is a part of Galactic Quest stores, visit www.galacticquest.com.

Holley Calmes is a freelance writer. E-mail her at hcalmes@mindspring.com.