BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — A new Buffalo-based comic book company will be launching its first comic book at Queen City Bookstore next month.

“I’m super stoked and excited,” creator Tivo Rodriguez told News 4, regarding the release event.

Erie County Comics features a line of Buffalo-themed heroes, including Rustbelt, Kensington Bailey, The Courier and more. Rodriguez describes himself as a lifelong comic book fan and a proud Buffalonian, and is glad to be able to merge his hobby with love for his city to create this line.

He said the comics started as a pandemic project, as he wanted to create stories about Buffalo characters.

The first comic, “RUSTBELT,” will be released on May 7. Rodriguez will be at the store signing autographs, and a limited amount of t-shirts will be available, as well.

“RUSTBELT” tells the story of the iron-plated protector of Erie County, who is controlled by Amalio Ayala, Rodriguez’s real-life grandfather. Ayala raised Rodriguez since birth, so Rodriguez wanted to make him the star of his first comic. Rodriguez said Ayala passed away last month at the age of 89, but did have the chance to read the comic.

The covers of the first edition of “RUSTBELT,” as well as Erie County Comics’ “The Courier” can be seen below.

May 7 is also Free Comic Book Day at over 2,000 comic book stores worldwide, including Queen City Bookstore.

Adam Duke is a digital producer who has been part of the News 4 team since 2021. See more of his work here.