Leavenworth, Kan., man appears beside comic book superheroes

LEAVENWORTH, Kan. - You can hear the pride in his voice as Leavenworth, Kan., resident Jeff Johnson describes his achievements during the last seven years.

"I'm a zombie gettin' hit by a car," he said, pointing to a framed panel on his wall.

All his achievements involve comics but he's not an artist or a writer, at least not yet.

He's something more than your average fan boy.

He's kind of like an extra in the movies.

"I'm in ‘Supergirl,' at a ballgame in Metropolis, which is cool," he said as he pointed to another framed panel.
His drawn likeness has appeared in the background of comics you've heard of including "Supergirl," "Wolverine" and "Star Trek"

He's also been in some you probably haven't heard of.

"Thirty-nine books to date and I've got about five more on the way," he said.

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How did he do it?

He asked. He knows some local comics artists and he's met others at conventions.

"I just hand out fliers and I email people asking them if they would draw me into a background or crowd," Johnson said.

He's been a comics fan since his father got him hooked as a kid during the "Death of Superman" story more than 20 years ago.

He's collected a lot of comics - and other collectibles - since then. The small room he's devoted to them is overflowing.

He's also collected some rejections, but many artists have responded by drawing him, in their own style, in the panels of their comic creations.

He kept his identity secret at first.

"I didn't want to advertise what I was doing very much, for fear of copycats. I didn't want to be the person that started the trend of everybody bombarding all these artists with these emails," he said.

He's been profiled in " Wired" and  European magazines, so he figures the cat's out of the bag now.

He even has a website so artists can see his photo and previous comic appearances.

He's enjoyed getting 'into' his hobby—literally, "for as long as it lasts," he said.

But he'd like to turn it into his business one day, either opening a comic shop or writing his own comic.

In the meantime, he'll have to settle for being the startled bystander or jaywalking zombie.

To see more photos of Jeff Johnson's comic book character, click here: http://bit.ly/13an64L

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