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**The Cardinal is registered with the U.S. Trademark Office

History of "The Cardinal" comic strip

"The Cardinal" was actually first published as a comic strip in the "Campus Voice" newspaper at Concordia University - Ann Arbor in the fall of 1978. It ran for three years and was popular with students and faculty.

Eight year later, the strip's creator, Kurt J. Kolka, was asked to do a weekly comic strip for a Northern Michigan shopping guide. He had always wanted to use The Cardinal again, so he took out his old strips from Concordia and began looking them over. Soon, he realized with a little adjustment the comic could be adapted for a larger audience.

It premiered on March 4, 1990 to an audience of around 20,000 readers. Once again, it gained a following. Thus, two years later, The Cardinal debuted in his own publication, "Cardinal Adventures."

"Cardinal Adventures was a free, tabloid-size publication which was distributed to around 16 counties in Michigan and a few cities in other states. It had a circulation of 15,000 and ran through 2006.

In 2007, The Cardinal" came to Comic Sherpa / GoComics.com as a regular feature.

About "The Cardinal"

"The Cardinal" is the story of a group of people living in a fictitious university town whose lives are touched by an ordinary young man who believes he has been called to be a super hero. Some think he's crazy. Some think he's even dangerous. Maybe his heart is just too big for his head. Regardless of these, his vision will definitely impact his community.

My goal in this is NOT to just create another super hero strip. Rather, I hope to make this into somewhat of a hybrid strip. Yes, there will be action, danger and suspense, but also humor, tragedy and a sense of wonder and awe about life. My hope is that these stories will not just quicken your pulse, but also touch your heart.

Story Chronology

Introduction to The Cardinal (Feb. 6, 2011 - Feb. 13, 2011)

"Mystery of The Cardinal" (Nov. 15, 2007 - April 13, 2008)

"Genesis" (April 27, 2008 - May 17, 2009)

"The UnSeen" (June 28, 2009 - March 7, 2010)

"Exodus" (April 11, 2010 - Jan. 20, 2011)

"Wrath of the Warthog" (Feb. 20, 2011 - Nov. 6, 2011)

"The Slave Dealers" (Dec. 4, 2011 - Aug. 26, 2012)

"Kidney Pie" (Oct. 7, 2012 - Dec. 1, 2013)

"Wounded" (Feb. 16, 2014 - Feb. 15, 2015)

"When Death Calls" (Dec. 4, 2011 - present)

Special Strips

Special Tribute to "Brenda Starr, Reporter!" (Dec. 29, 2011)

Special Tribute to "Annie" (Unofficial conclusion to series) (June 27, 2011)

The Setting and Characters

ARBOR CITY is a major university town in the Midwest, built around Great Lakes University. Over the years it has become known as a place for the advancement of medical science, for the arts and for natural beauty. Seven years ago, however, an evil force invaded the city, poisoning its leadership. Before this evil force was recently discovered though, its poison spread and now no one is sure how far its venom has circulated.

RICH BENTON is a college student who volunteers his time at the Old Arbor Mission. At night he often patrols the college town's slum area, Old Arbor as The Cardinal, a masked hero who believes it is his calling to protect the poor and homeless there. It is a calling he did not choose, but was chosen for him -- a reluctant hero, at best. He wants so much to help those suffering in Arbor City but questions what one young man can do. Armed only with the ability to fly and some faith, he must face what the poor and homeless continually confront on the dangerous streets after dark every night.

CHRIS McCOY has known Rich Benton since middle school and dated him since high school. They both attend Concord Ecumenical College in Arbor City. Chris is also his best friend and confidante, who knows the secret of his dual identity. She is studying nursing and enjoys horseback riding.

DETECTIVE JUSTIN TRUTH is a middle-aged detective on the Arbor City Police force. Never married, police work is his life. He enjoys hanging out with his boyhood pal, Prosecutor David "Otter" Ottenberg when not on the job. While knowing police work inside and out, his life had been lonely and discouraging in recent years. Then, he meets up with The Cardinal during his first adventure. Young and idealistic, The Cardinal brings a spark of life back into his life. Soon, The Cardinal becomes his secret partner on special cases.

DEB DEMUR, Newspaper Editor, has worked her way up through the ranks at the Arbor City News. Like Det. Truth, she finds herself married to a career which takes up most of her life. Used to thinking of journalism the old-fashion way after more than 20 years in the profession, she finds advancements in technology stretches her. While the future of journalism somethimes seems questionable, it remains her first love. The Cardinal to her is a mystery -- a masked "hero" who seems too good to be true.

MAYOR MADDY THRALL had been a single mom seven years ago, struggling to make ends meet. She had always said if she were put in charge she would make the world a better place for those the poor and the victims. Then, a rich, handsome stranger offered her that very chance. The road to the political top in Arbor City felt so good she forgot to ask if there was a catch. When time came to pay up, she was forced to sell her soul to keep her job.

REVEREND CHARITY had grown up in Arbor City. When his father went to prison, he helped his mom raise the rest of the kids. Working most of his waking hours afterward, he put himself through college and then seminary. His instructors said he could have gone on to pastor many large congregations and make good money. But, Rev. Charity chose to go back to the poor area he had come from to give hope to others who struggle there today. Besides being a pastor to the poor, he is a spiritual mentor to Rich Benton.

RAE is a teen mom. Her life has been rougher than most. It has taught her to distrust almost everyone, but especially those in authoriity. She gets by anyway she can financially. She knows what men will pay for. Despite her tough exterior, she has found one person who she has a soft spot for, a masked hero in red.

ANTONIO is one of many dangerous people in Old Arbor. His kind have control over that slum area. Drug dealers, weapons handlers, gangs, and even worse criminals refuse to give up their territory. Local politicians either can't or won't help stop the problem. Police are too understaffed and underfunded to be able to clean up Old Arbor. However, as the criminals see it, the greatest threat may be coming from a balding minister and a kid in tights.

Cardinal Mini Movies are Online!

Filmmaker John Martin of Medina, Ohio has been making a series of Cardinal mini movies which are showcased on YouTube. Watch the Cardinal come to life in these exciting new episodes!!

"The Cardinal: Protector of the Poor and Homeless"

"A Test of Faith"

"Lady Cardinal"

"Brother's Keeper"

"The Brown Recluse"

Beyond this, new Anti-Bullying videos are being produced! Some have even been posted on YouTube already!! Take a look at these:

The Cardinal: We Care 1

The Cardinal: We Care 2

Click here to read this week's THE CARDINAL comic strip!



A recent appearance of the Cardinal in Ann Arbor, near the U of M.

An earlier version of The Cardinal which appeared in print.


The Cardinal Fan Page on Facebook

Concordia University: where The Cardinal was hatched


Dick Tracy

Dick Tracy Museum Online

The Phantom

Judge Parker

Gasoline Alley

Stone Soup


Mary Worth

Mandrake the Magician

Alley Oop (the time-traveling caveman)

Brenda Starr, Reporter

Agnus Day, the Lectionary Comic

Captain Marvel and the Marvel Family


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