Featured Publisher: Cagey Comics

Cagey Comics, founded by Kurt Zauer, is here to bring you magic, murk, and mayhem. Kurt has been writing comics since 2016 but has had a head full of creepy monsters, tough guys, gorgeous femme fatales, and generally macabre stuff since he was a kid. He has an English degree from the University of Wisconsin: Madison and is subsequently an IT guy in the Chicagoland area. He’s also a retired Army National Guard soldier and veteran. He lives at home with his lovely wife and two dachshunds. He exasperatedly enjoys comics, movies, TV (of which there is SO MUCH quality stuff right now), rock music, and video gaming, when there’s time.

Kurt got started with a short, black-and-white preview issue featuring his main character Spectress, working with artist Sajad Shah. He published it in 2016 and started attending as many midwestern comic conventions as he could. Kurt met his current interior artist, Topper Helmers, at a small convention in northern Illinois. Topper, an industry veteran, needed a bit of IT support at the show and Kurt obliged. The rest is history. The two established a great working relationship with Kurt writing his bizarre supernatural tales and Topper bringing them to life in art. The two have created 4 issues of the Cagey Comics flagship title together and are currently working on issue #5.

Spectress & Sabanion is a supernatural horror/thriller detailing the journey of an ancient Egyptian ghost from life to unlife. Spectress (real name Aneksi) is the ghost of Cleopatra’s top assassin, who failed in her mission to assassinate the Roman emperor, Octavian. Egypt was conquered by the Roman Empire soon after. Ever since that soul-crushing defeat, Aneksi has wandered as a ghost trying to find purpose and reconnect with humanity. To complicate things further, Spectress is bound by an ancient blood curse to a demon named Sabanion, who’s a whirling, burning engine of destruction, created to punish the Wrathful in Hell. He complicates things for Aneksi, who just wants to rejoin the world of the living and create a living identity.

Kickstarter has been a huge boost for Spectress & Sabanion, with each issue launch garnering a bigger audience. In November of 2023, Kurt launched his first spinoff title in the Sandsverse (Spectress & Sabanion universe). It’s called Ruxy Vampire, another action-packed supernatural thriller, but this time with touches of humor and risqué elements. The interior art for Ruxy Vampire is by Mog Park, who created several gorgeous covers for the Spectress & Sabanion series. The spinoff was his best Kickstarter so far.

Ruxy Vampire is about Ruxandra Tepes, the granddaughter of Vlad Dracula himself. Ruxy is a Cel Rau vampire, a unique and tough breed that’s a little closer to humanity. Cel Rau are born, not made. These differences make them hated by other vampires and prestigious trophies to vampire hunters. Hunted and hounded, Ruxy and her brother Marku escaped by embracing the light of the sun in late 1880s London. For a Cel Rau, sunlight means being turned to stone… perhaps to never live again. But Ruxy and her brother awake, finding themselves in 1926 Chicago with no idea how they got there. Ruxy is a Wallachian princess but was never interested in more than gambling, carousing, and getting into trouble. Restless for blood, bourbon, and excitement, Ruxy sets out into the wild world of Prohibition Chicago with her exasperated triplet brother in tow.

In 2024, Kurt plans on releasing issues #5 and #6 of Spectress & Sabanion, as well as Ruxy Vampire #2. You can find Kurt at any of his social media sites: @KurtZauer on Instagram and @kurtzauer5257 on YouTube. Kurt also attends as many comic book conventions in the Midwest as humanly possible. You can purchase his work at Cagey Comics Shop.

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