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ULRIUS JEWELS AND THE POWER OF THE GEMS #1 review (Kaye, Murphy, Fields, Smith, Scherkenbach) Advent Comics

Creator: Mike Kaye
Writers: Mike Kaye and Ethan Murphy
Artists: Adam Fields, Veronica Smith, and Alex Scherkenbach

Thanks to Mike Kaye for the review copy!

A middle aged man struggling with PTSD comes across a gem that will change the course of his life as he knows it and potentially make him the only thing standing between a bunch of villainous monsters and the end of the world. 

I wasn’t familiar with Ulrius Jewels or Advent Comics when I was given a chance to review this book. I was pleasantly surprised at just how good the writing and art were and really enjoyed this first issue. Ultimately it’s a story about overcoming the odds, changing your stars, and second chances. Finding that inner hero in us all and using it to rise above and become something greater. It’s a familiar story but one that resonates with us all. Kaye does a nice job of making our central character and hero a man of the people grounded and not without his own problems to overcome. It’s also wildly imaginative and very funny. I laughed out loud a couple times! The art is excellent as well. I love the way the characters were drawn as well as some of the gem mutated beast. It’s easy to follow the action and each panel flows smoothly into the next. It’s just a very nice little package and book. I’m curious about other offerings from Advent as well now but can’t wait to see where this goes in the second chapter of this 2 issue prequel. Here’s hoping we get to see that soon! 

My Rating – 8/10 Great! 

Thanks to Mike Kaye and Advent Comics for the review copy!! Also, see a short Q&A we did with Mike Kaye below!!

Corey Newell: Where did you come up with the idea about the gems and how they may activate different powers, etc.?

  • Mike Kaye: I began drawing at the age of 3. I was a bit of a prodigy in art and noticed classmates would be amazed at what I had drawn. I won many art awards from the time I started Elementary School. Around the mid 1980’s I started creating random mutant characters. I was focused on proportions, muscles and making them look cool but had no explanation for how or why they existed. One day in Middle School, Earth Space Science class, maybe 1988 or so, my teacher showed us a periodic table and explained how we are constructed of elements on this table. She further went on to say that we’re worth about $2.20 of elements on the table. I couldn’t help but think, where’s our soul fit into all this. My mind began exploding with thoughts. I was about 13 at time. I started to think, “what if we’re condensed down to our basic elements?” We’d be no more than a cup of periodic ingredients. I thought of a machine that could do this. I started building a storyline by free-writing. I’d run out of space on the paper and continue writing on the back. A greedy king who discovers an ancient crystal transforming machine. The machine zaps people to their basic elements, turning them into gems and trapping their souls inside. Trigger events unleash joules of energy and fuse to earthlings, creating gem powered fusions. The new heroes and villains activate their unknown powers and learn as they go. The main hero, Ulrius (Universe) Joules, a typical guy with real world problems, fuses to a gem that turns him into Amphoman! As a gem fusion he takes on the responsibility of discovering other gems and protecting Earth. When those in society discover a gem, it attaches to their body and gives them unknown superhuman fused powers. Amphoman fights to recover the gems from fused villains and then safely stores the gems or destroys them. His ally is Bleash The Fair-Feathered Warrior. a Amphoman #1 was a two-year work in progress that I completed as a teen. After discovering it would cost $10,000 to print it, I was devastated. Years later I figured out a way to publish it in black and white comic strip form, while going to college. I was a protege to the late Mort Walker (Beetle Bailey), who was critiquing my strips and providing insight into the world of syndication. My strip, “Amphoman Presents”, was published in the Broward Community College Observer from 1995-1997. I later compiled the published works and created a trilogy comic book series called, “Amphoman Funnies” #1-3.

Corey: The hero of the book appears to be suffering from PTSD. Where did that originate from and has that affected you in your personal life?

  • Mike: My original script had a storyline where Amphoman’s brother discovered a gem that turned him villainous. Ulrius Joules himself had his own inner struggles, dealing with failure and disease. The characters I had were all struggling in a way because in my personal life I’ve had my fair share of struggles. I recovered from melanoma, like my character who was battling cancer, the fused gem would later cure him. Fast Forward to February 14, 2018 and my real-life son became a survivor in a school shooting. He survived physically, but months later he began a downward, emotional spiral. He went from straight A’s in school to straight F’s. We didn’t know how to help him; he started laughing like the Joker in the Batman series and we knew he needed some type of medical attention. My youngest son came to me and said, “it’s like he has brain demons.” It dawned on me that my son was not a villain but a victim of himself. He was his own worst enemy and it reminded me of a villainous character I originally created as Amphoman’s brother, which I then re-wrote as Amphoman’s son instead, and he was then no longer a villain, but a hero, who must deal with his own inner struggles in the form of brain demons. The hero is called, Brain Demon. After having my son clinically admitted to a psych ward for close to a year, I was schooled on terminology such as “catatonic”, “stress induced anxiety” and “psychosis” and that not only affected my own life, but also my works, and the characters in my books.

Corey: I know this is a prequel story. How long before we will see the second part of the story and do you have plans to expand the story after that?

  • Mike: ask all my fans and readers to please reach out to the publisher and ask when finale book 2 will be released. I’m hopeful it’s this year but uncertain. 

The big finale book is going to be action packed, and amazingly, I already have gaming companies and film houses on the sidelines showing great interest and they’re all anxious to see it! Apparently, it got more attention than I had first anticipated!

I have plenty of story expansion ideas after this, in fact, I have other scripts I’ve started. My work is so unique and different that it’s making such an impact on readers. People like seeing a fresh story of old-fashioned “good vs evil” and adding in real life elements, makes it more appealing to those who could relate, with similar human struggles.

Corey: When it comes to creator owned books there are a ton of different ways to get published these days. How did you decide on Advent Comics for the release of Ulrius Jewels? 

  • Mike: Advent Comics is the most amazing publisher I’ve ever come across. They know how to hustle and make it happen. They like my book’s message and after speaking with them further and learning how they support minorities; it was a no brainer. I consider myself a religious minority, I’m Jewish.

Corey: Can you tell us about any other projects you have in the works? 

  • Mike: I’ve been eyeing up an Amphoman reboot. If any companies are interested in working with me on an Amphoman Power of the Gems game app, toy line, live action or animated series please let me know. I’m always just an email away: kpeople@hotmail.com

Are you going to pick up the comic? Have you already, if so what do you think of it? Feel free to leave a comment below or chat with us on Twitter/X at @TheConCollectve, Threads at @theconventioncollective, or Bluesky at @theconcollective.bsky.social

We’re always looking for new writers that are truly passionate about stuff – we give you the review materials, the platform and the support to say what you feel from the heart. If you’d like to write opinion pieces about pop culture topics or reviews, reach out to us using the contact us form.

Corey Newell
Corey Newell
“Just a guy who loves comics, movies and stuff” ⁃ Independent blogger, dad, dork, comic nerd and pop culture lover hailing from Spencerport, NY

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