2014-02-07 / People

Cape Elizabeth man starts comic publisher

By Ben Pinette
Contributing Writer

Jeff Kline Jeff Kline CAPE ELIZABETH – When Jeff Kline was a child, his family frequently spent parts of their summers in Maine. One of Kline’s favorite memories of was when he used change to buy comic books from the local general store and read them on Wells Beach.

Today, Kline is writing comics of his very own.

Kline began his career in television. Working and living out of Los Angeles, Kline found success in the animation industry. He worked on a variety of shows, including “G.I. Joe: Renegades,” “Transformers Prime” and “Jackie Chan Adventures.” He won multiple Emmy awards for his work.

Although Kline excelled in animation, comics have always been a passion of his.

“I read comic books a lot when I was young and I saw the comics boom of the 1980s. I just have a labor of love for comics,” he said.

Kline had always been interested in writing comics, but finally made some progress toward his goal last year. He met with people in the industry and things blossomed from there.

Before he knew it, Kline started his own publishing company, Darby Pop Publishing. He preferred being his own publisher, rather than being part of a major firm.

“The comic industry has more of a direct line of authority than other industries. I wanted a direct line with my people and audience. We can have the freedom to do whatever, but still can receive help from major companies,” Kline said.

Kline’s first comic, “Indestructible,” follows the story of a man who is mistakenly seen as a superhero and focuses on how he deals with his false persona.

“Some ideas, for some reason, just kind of stick with you. The idea for “Indestructible” stuck with me. I figured a comic book was the best place for it,” Kline said.

Most of the comic process has been challenging for Kline. Whether it is worrying about appealing to retailers and customers or meeting deadlines, Kline always has something on his plate.

Lucky, Kline has surrounded himself with a hard-working staff. He contacted some of his favorite co-workers from the past and formed them into a team of writers.

“You tend to go back to the same people you used before. It’s a circle of trust. When you click with the other writers that is really satisfying. I picked great people to work with,” he said.

When he lived in Los Angeles, Kline often found himself too busy to even make it home for dinner.

“The commute is much shorter in Maine. Maine allows much more family time,” Kline said. “Everything is so close.”

Kline, along with his wife and daughter, left Los Angeles in 2008 to make “lifestyle changes.”

He and his wife looked at areas in Portsmouth, N.H. and Providence, R.I. before settling in Cape Elizabeth.

“We fell in love with southern Maine,” he said.

Maine is Kline’s new home and he is more than happy with his choice to live here.

“I love getting off the bus at Portland Jetport and breathing the fresh air. As a kid, Maine was a place you came to as a reward. For me now, Maine is a reward,” Kline said. “I do not see why we would want to be anywhere else.

“We are here for the long term.”

Although he will still work in television, Kline said he is going to continue to move forward with “Indestructible” and Darby Pop Publishing.

“My hope is that we only keep growing,” he said.

Decades ago Kline was buying comics at beachfront gift shops on the coast of Maine.

Now, he may find his own comics on those same shelves. He admires how his life has come full circle.

“I do not want to get off the ride yet. I have been so lucky,” Kline said. “I have never been happier than I am now. I feel like I pretty much hit the lottery.”

For more information on Indestructible and Darby Pop Publishing, visit www.darbypop.com or e-mail them at info.@darbypop.com.

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