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It could happen for you

Kids from Iowa's fourth district sometimes make it to the national stage. This is the hero's journey of one such Iowan

June 14, 2019
Amy H. Peterson - Staff Writer ( , Estherville News

Editor's note: Always on the lookout for a good story, staff writer Amy H. Peterson caught up with Iowa native Nathan Lueth while vacationing at Denver Pop Culture Con earlier this month. Lueth, it turned out, draws on his area roots and has encouragement for other young Iowa artists.

Nathan Lueth said it's hard to explain, but he was born with a pencil in his hand.

"That is a feat which continues to confound obstetricians to this day," Lueth said.

Article Photos

Lueth grew up in Ames, one of two brothers.

"I was never the type to go out Friday nights. I was pretty good, I think. I was always happiest sitting in a corner reading a book, reading a comic, drawing. I didn't do too many sports, but I did do Tae Kwon Do." Lueth said.

Lueth found an international audience when he showed his art in booth C5 at Denver Pop Culture Con from May 31-June 2 at the Colorado Convention Center.

Lueth graduated from Ames and went on to the Minneapolis College of Art & Design.

"It was pretty obvious I was going to art school from a young age, so that was the closest school in the country that had a comics program, though ironically my degree is actually in illustration with a focus on comics. I was always hanging out with the comics majors, but I was too chicken to take the full plunge."

Lueth delivered pizzas for Gumby's in Ames after graduating from MCAD.

"In a short time, though, it occurred to me that if I wanted to make art my life, I mean, I love Iowa, but at the time I felt I needed to go to a bigger population center."

Lueth met his wife, Nadja Baer, who is author of the eight year, 400 page graphic novel opus, Impure Blood. After the long collaboration on a story that's an action-adventure steampunk web comic with a twist of fantasy and a sprinkling of intrigue, Lueth said Nadja has a desire to work on her own writing so the story of creating comics will take a new twist.

"It took eight years, but Nadja and I kind of viewed Impure Blood as more of a side thing, maybe a portfolio-building thing. Along the way we realized there are people out there who are doing this professionally and putting out their own independent content."

Lueth does commercial illustration for Target and other companies, and has a major collaboration with Roundtable Comics. With Roundtable, Lueth has illustrated a graphic novel adaptation of the U.S. Constitution and a series of true-to-life stories about youth growing up with Asperger's disorder, autism and PDD-NOS, all three variations of disorders on the autism spectrum. The series was based on dozens of interviews with parents, therapists, doctors and siblings of children on the spectrum.

For the past year, Lueth has tried to make indie comic production his main thing.

Impure Blood is a complete story in four books. The next focus is the Kickstarter crowd funding campaign set for February of 2020 to fund the creation of the Omnibus.

The project will include a hardback book that collects all four volumes in one and a trade paperback.

Also in 2020, Lueth is launching a new indie comic.

"It's a post-apocalyptic fantasy about a paladin with PTSD who's in a race against time to stop the apocalypse she failed to prevent," Lueth said.

Lueth's work can be found on his website in the form of traditional paperback, web comics on Comixology, or PDF.

Denver Pop Culture Con started in 2012. Proceeds from Denver Pop Culture Con fund the Colorado nonprofit Pop Culture Classroom, whose mission it is to inspire a love of learning, to increase literacy, celebrate diversity, and build community through pop culture education. The Con offers 500+ hours of specifically-educational programming through its workshops, panels and events. The event dedicated nearly 10,000 square feet on the show floor to younger and teen fans in the Kids Lab. Teachers can also earn graduate credits through the Lit Con, which teaches educators how to bring pop culture into the classroom.



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