“Stump is a story about a working-class super hero,” said author and illustrator Nathan Rosario. “It’s geared towards adults and meant to bring back the nostalgia of watching Saturday morning cartoons.”
Originally printed in 2013, Rosario has recently released a remastered version of the graphic novel, which is set in Hillsboro and stars a cast of familiar faces. The main character of the comic is based on former UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) fighter Matt Hughes. Rosario first began designing the comic in 1993, while stationed with the United States Army in Germany.
“It wasn’t until around 2002 when I started following Matt’s career that Stump became a more humanized character. I had always had an idea of what Stump looked like in my mind and Matt was pretty much it. I sent him some fan art and that led to our collaboration. It was his idea to base the comic in Hillsboro.”
Rosario spent around 14 years living in Hillsboro, working for Hughes as a webmaster for his website among other employment, and designing his comic in his spare time. He first released a black and white version of the comic in 2013. It wasn’t until his move to New Mexico earlier this year, to be closer to his ailing parents, that Rosario found himself returning to the comic.
“The new version includes a lot of background information on the origin of the main character,” Rosario explained. “The tricky part was making sure that all of the art flowed. There was an eight year difference between when the old drawings were done and the new.”
The revised comic features an additional 20 pages and is full color. Rosario used his pandemic mandated at-home-time to draw the new storyline and refine his original drawings - with the majority of the new pages completed between June and December of 2020.
Readers of Stump will recognize several existing Hillsboro landmarks and a few that are no longer standing since the original publication in 2013, including The Orpheum Theater, Hillsboro Area Hospital, the Corner Block Building, Hillsboro Fitness Center and the old Ice Plant. The new version also features a familiar face that wasn’t in the original, Chris Hubbart.
“It’s kind of a thing in comics to have a fake news cast or news reporter pop up to explain plot details,” Rosario explained. “I wanted to do something more modern and feature a guy in the area doing some kind of livestream. After watching Chris’ livestreams on Facebook I thought that he would be perfect to fill in some details and foreshadow some upcoming plots.”
Rosario has already completed large sections of the second comic in the Stump series and almost half of the third issue. While he plans to keep Hillsboro as the main character’s base of operations, future versions will likely see Stump traveling to new landscapes.
Locally signed copies of Stump may be purchased at Hubbart Wood Gallery, located at 265 Springfield Road in Hillsboro.