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Storm Entertainment finds niche illustrating controversial figures



COURTESY: STEPHANIE SWARTZ - Darren G. Davis, Storm Entertainment publisher, stresses 'unbiased and fair' treatment of political figures, partly because 'I don't want anybody at the end  of the day to know who I vote for.'Anybody wanting an “unbiased and fair” representation of presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton would benefit from reading the publications of Portland-based Storm Entertainment.

So says Darren G. Davis, the Storm Entertainment publisher, who for about eight years has been putting out political comic books.

Storm has produced three books on Clinton, from her time as Democratic presidential hopeful through her secretary of state years to the recent campaign trail. It also published one book on Trump in 2014, dealing with his business background and political intentions and possible Republican race for the nomination, with a second one planned.

They are well-written and well-illustrated, with seemingly no political bent.

Davis says “unbiased and fair” over and over explaining the comic books, which, he says, some schools in the Portland area now use for educational purposes.

“I don’t want anybody at the end of the day to know who I vote for,” says Davis, explaining the reason for his position.

Davis and Storm have put out about 1,100 comic books, incuding some 300 biographies and 100 political biographies — Clinton, Trump, Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, Rand Paul, Bernie Sanders, Michelle Obama (the top seller ever, about 75,000).

“We’ve done pretty much everybody like political pundits (Laura Ingraham, Anderson Cooper) to senators to presidents, vice presidents, Army people,” Davis says. “We really try to tell different stories.

“Some of the writers I hire, I want to make sure they’re fair and unbiased.”

COURTESY: STORM ENTERTAINMENT - Storm Entertainment has done three comic books on Hillary Clinton, stretching back to 2008.It started in 2008, when Clinton ran against Barack Obama in the Democratic primaries and Sarah Palin joined John McCain’s Republican presidential ticket.

“We noticed that Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin were being treated unfairly in the press,” Davis says. “People cared more about what they were wearing, rather than their political agendas.

“Someone came out with a John McCain and Barack Obama comic book, and we thought, ‘You know we do female empowerment comic books,’ and so we did one of them (Clinton, Palin), and they did so well. I even have signed copies from Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin.”

Davis understands the polarizing nature of Clinton and Trump. Yes, it does make for interesting copy and images, but he makes sure to keep the content straightforward.

The candidates could be portrayed negatively in their own way — and Davis says he received the most feedback when a Clinton book told the story of Benghazi. News outlets including CNN picked up the story and Fox also reported on the book.

“People took stuff out of context,” he says.

COURTESY: STORM ENTERTAINMENT - Storm Entertainment has another comic book about Donald Trump coming out.The first Trump book was part of the “Political Power” series. The second Trump book should be interesting, covering everything from 2014 till now — that’s a lot of content, good and bad, depending on your political persuasion.

“If you like him, great, if you don’t like him, great,” Davis says. “We try to be informative as possible. It won’t be negative. ... I’ve done two comic books called ‘Infamous’ and I’m not doing that again.

“I want people to know who Trump is and what he has been doing since the last comic book.”

There’s also a book about Clinton’s running mate, Tim Kaine, in the works.

It’s not only politics that attract attention. Storm put out Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga books, and rumors had each of them suing the company. “Both not true,” Davis says. Storm has done many tributes, including Queen’s Freddie Mercury and Paul McCartney, and a new one on comedian Amy Schumer coming out.

But, political books have been the most interesting to publish. Davis says he wanted to do a book on Sam Adams, the former Portland mayor, but it didn’t happen.

“And there’s one person I won’t do, which I’ve promised to a friend since I was 12 years old,” Davis says. “It’s Ann Coulter,” the controversial right-wing author and social commentator.

Besides Clinton’s and Palin’s, he has received signed copies from Elizabeth Warren and Barbara Walters.

“It’s neat to know we’re doing something that people respect,” Davis says.

Political season is really fun, he adds, and political books are “the most profitable.” The Clinton books still sell — the Bernie Sanders book did well, too — and he expects the upcoming Trump book to be popular.

“The political stuff is really a joy. Not only do I get to learn about it, but other people learn, too.”

Storm Entertainment comic books are available via e-reader from iTunes, Kindle, Nook, ComiXology, DriveThru Comics, Google Play, My Digital Comics, Overdrive, Iverse, Biblioboard, Flipkart, ComicBin, Axis360, Blio, Entitle, Comicblender, Kobo and wherever eBooks are sold. Print copies can be ordered at Comic Flea Market, www.comicfleamarket.com.

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