FanX 2014: Chris Hoffman talks Salt City Strangers

Posted April 20, 2014 in

Salt City Strangers #1 by Hoffman, Butterfield and Rodriguez. Photo: Alex Springer

Unbeknownst to many comic book fans, the city of Salt Lake has its own band of superheroes who strive to defend our unique, Utahan way of life. Created by Chris Hoffman, Josh Butterfield and Jeremy Gates, the Salt City Strangers is a comic book series that chronicles the adventures of Utah’s own super-powered team of do-gooders. Despite his busy FanX schedule, Hoffman took some time to discuss the inspiration behind his team of local heroes.

SLUG: Describe the creative process that inspired the Salt City Strangers.
Chris Hoffman: Years ago, I got into a tabletop role-playing a game called Deadlands that took place in an alternate version of the Wild West, and Utah was featured pretty heavily in the game. This got me thinking of Orrin Porter Rockwell, who is one of Utah’s own famous figures from the Wild West, and I thought it would be cool to create a character who used Rockwell’s guns to fight crime, which is where Deputy Deseret got started. Then I was reading an issue of Squadron Supreme, and they showed some superheroes from Kansas that were all themed around Kansas, like the Green Belt and Prairie Girl. I thought that was hilarious! That’s where we came up with heroes like The Gull, Golden Spike, and Den Mother.

SLUG: Why is Salt Lake City, Utah a good setting for a comic book?
Hoffman: Since most comic books take place in New York or Los Angeles, Salt Lake City becomes an exotic locale. It’s also appealing to locals because we use a lot of familiar locations in our comics.

SLUG: Who is your creative team?
Hoffman: I do the breakdowns, layouts, and pencils. Josh Butterfield and Jeremy Gates are co-writers. Sam Rodriguez did the inking and finishing on our first issue, practically for free. We’ve also been working with Sue Lee who is an inker from New York. We also have an illustrator named Toni Doya who is from Spain. All of this work operates under the name Hoffmangler Studios, which is a creative collective of local comic book writers and artists. I’ve been really inspired by how Pixar organizes its creative project, and I’m trying to capture the same thing here.

SLUG: Where can people find Salt City Strangers?
Hoffman: Black Cat Comics in Sugarhouse, Dr. Volt’s, and Dark Soldiers are going to start carrying our comic. We’re also online at