‘Welcome to Ralton’ is a kung fu science-fantasy indie comic from Don Rosencrans and Cole Johnson. It tells the story of what happens when you have a true family man who becomes caught up in a cosmic battle of good and evil. The title is available through Literati Press.
Reno Sanders is a working man who is happily married, has one daughter, and a second child on the way. He is a simple guy who just wants to live his life. That is until a local legend and devil-man pulls him into a conflict.
This is something that greatly separates something like ‘Dragon Ball Z’ and ‘Welcome to Ralton’ or even ‘Pokemon’ from more traditional American stories like ‘Superman,’ ‘Spiderman,’ ‘Ironman,’ and ‘Batman.’ Our hero is not a crying orphan who is handed a great deal of power. Reno is a simple honest man who actually enjoys his life. There hasn’t been a great deal of heartache or tragedy in his life. Rather he is surrounded by family and friends who work with him.
The series holds something special that you usually lose right off hand in a superhero or mythological tale. Consider Homer’s ‘Odyssey,’ in it our hero Odysseus has been lost at sea for years after the Trojan War. He then fights through the entire book to get back to his family. In ‘Ralton’ we are telling a similar story but in reverse. Reno has his family but adventure is calling him away from home.
Which is what makes this comic an irregularity (especially for an American writer) to place family as not only characters in the story but actually be present and healthy for more than a chapter. In most works losing a family is why the hero begins their journey. It is the trigger moment that makes them change their thinking about right and wrong, gives them a mission, and pushes them through the threshold into the meat of the story.
If you review Joseph Campbell’s ‘Hero’s Journey’ you can see that this is usually early on in the story.I have actually written on some of the specifics of why this happens to characters from a philosophical side vary but have to do with ‘Power.’ That is to say how a character gets power, what that power is, why they have to quest, and why they face villains. If that interests you, you should read my paper on Batman and Agamben or this other paper from Unpresentable.
The short version is that Reno Sanders is an Exception. That is to say that in his world, he has power or abilities that make him above the law or outside of it. The law in this case is that of Ralton as from reading it sounds like his power is cosmic based thus making him applicable cosmic laws instead. Because he has this power it is then his responsibility to use it. However (and it is a big HOWEVER) if he uses his powers then an equal (and likely opposite but sometimes similar) power will oppose him.
This is why heros are so interesting to literature in general. No matter how hard they fight, something or someone will likely always appear to face them. It is a reflection of life. Think about any war, a bully at school, or your work. There is always something that makes your life difficult however the more you overcome it the more seems to come your way.
I personally could likely spend an entire career on just that idea. Testing it, studying it, waxing philosophic about it, but I will spare you dear reader and just say this: we make our own demons and then have to face them. A power struggle ensues, and the winner writes about it. We do this because to gain anything in life that we want there is a price. Finding a way to pay that price is the adventure.
For your average bumming cousin who sleeps on your couch that could mean waking up before 3 o’clock in the afternoon while to your best friend has to catch a flight to Tahiti for a conference on world peace. We set how high our life bar is in our hero’s journey and we decide if the quest was successful. Seeing a story like ‘Welcome to Ralton’ reminds me that maybe even if I had awesome superpowers it might be a drag if what I really want is just to spend time with my family.
So remember, Nerdship, with great responsibility comes great amounts of annoying crap. Enjoy your life and spend the way you want. Sometimes it’s okay to let the Reno’s of the world take care of the bullet proof super freaks.
Also enjoy these fine articles;
- ‘Welcome to Ralton, Issue I review’
- ‘Welcome to Ralton, Issue II review’
- Geekorama’s review of ‘Walcome to Ralton’
- The ‘Welcome to Ralton’ Facebook Page
- A NewsOK article about the creators
Then also check out these cool places in Oklahoma to buy the series: