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Jefferson City native Nandor Fox Shaffer wears many creative hats.

Award-winning comic book writer, YouTube content creator, drummer and artist are just a few of his passions. Shaffer grew up loving Star Wars, superheroes and literature. From an early age, he enjoyed blogging, reading comics, absorbing stories from movies, storytelling and writing. Not only was he interested in the story but he was also interested in the people behind the ideas — the authors, those who had to think up these miraculous, moving, deep, thoughtful ideas. The more he dove into reading others' writing, he got better with his own. Even as a 13-year-old, he was submitting his writings anonymously on blogs, which were then shared and published.

Shaffer attended Columbia College. He had to learn a balancing act between school, work and his passions. Like most college students, it was apparent he was being spread too thin. He had to really think about his future and what his dreams were. It was a hard decision whether to continue with school because he was just starting his first book, "Seasons Volume 1."

"Blame the day job, not the passions" Shaffer laughed.

If he didn't have to work a day job, then he could just be doing what he loves all the time. By then, he was receiving encouraging, validating peer reviews from his fellow students and English teacher, and that empowered him to take the plunge. He decided to not re-enroll in classes and focus his efforts completely toward working and writing full time.

Comics weren't something Shaffer had tried before. He knew he couldn't write a TV show or a movie, but he felt that creating a comic book was an attainable goal. He had read them all the time, dissected his favorite ones to try and figure out why a theme/topic works, why the panel transitions work, why the story is impactful — all the why's. The first meaningful comic to Shaffer was a Captain America run in mid 2000s, "Captain America #46." This is what lead to his comics, "Seasons Volume 1 & 2".

Shaffer began writing "Seasons" in spring 2016 through summer of 2017. "Seasons" is a four-volume graphic novel series that takes place over one year of his life, hitting all four seasons. It teaches you to do your best, take initiate and that you can control change.

"Change can shake up and rock your world. Change the way you view yourself, the way you view the world you live in and inhabit," he said.

This year was also a huge milestone for Shaffer's literature.

His book, "Lifeline" took home the biggest 2021 Indie Volt Comic Book Award for Best Comic and he also won for Best Writer. This book is a simple drama that was a collaboration among many artists. Each chapter is told from the perspective of a different character viewing the main character's life. Each artist was able to write a chapter, and they came together nicely with each art style complementing the tone, decade and perspective of each person.

Next coming out will be a new series called "Man-Child," which will be coming out early next year. "Man-Child" will be the first story where Shaffer will be working with professional Marvel and DC artists on variant covers for the issues that will come out. These will be rarer and collectables.

There are many ways to keep up with Shaffer's projects: You can follow him on Facebook or his YouTube channel.

Shaffer branded himself in January with the creation of his YouTube channel: Foxhole Comics. He wanted consistent access to his fan base, and instead of just having a social media, he wanted to be more interactive, show his personality and relate to his audience. More independent comic creators really started using this platform to push their work. This also allows him to reach out to other channels, podcasts and do some collaborations.

"Always set time aside for your project, your passion, your writing, your art," Shaffer said. "Listen to yourself, your passion and don't let it be snuffed out from people that want something from you or think you should be doing something a certain way."

Shaffer had a book signing recently at Capital City Comics in Jefferson City, which opened a year ago. This is a small, local business that is highly supportive of Shaffer and all content creators. This was his first book signing of the year, and he plans to do more.

Also a musician, stay tuned for a feature on Shaffer's band, Heroics. The band just released its first album "Roll into Town," which can be found on Apple Music, Spotify, Amazon Music and more.

Leann Porrello is the cultural arts specialist with the Jefferson City Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department.

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