This weekend, local comic book writer Paul Axel and artist Renee Majkut will be traveling north to the Boston Comic Con to advertise their newest work, Rotten Roots, a history of Osprey City, from its colonial beginnings to the present day. The work is the pair’s first collaboration, and is the first comic book ever written about Cape Cod’s largest city.
“Rotten Roots is the culmination of nearly a year of intense research and writing, not to mention the effort Renee’s put into the stunning artwork,” commented Axel. “While most might balk at a historical comic book, believe me – we’ve distilled Osprey’s 400-year history into a gripping story that might surprise even lifelong residents.” Axel went on to say that although all of the artwork is far from finished, the creators will distribute a never-before-seen preview of their first issue, and will have exclusive artwork available for purchase.
Axel also lauded Majkut’s work on the project. “Renee is doing everything by hand; the pencils, the inks, and the colors. In an age when most sequential art is done on computers, that makes her work unique. The results are indescribably amazing.” Majkut, a watercolor artist by practice, took on the Rotten Roots project after reading the script. They connected through The Four-Color Realm, a local comic book shop. “More than my poor attempt at writing, I think most people will be drawn to Renee’s artwork – that’s going to be the real selling point,” explained Axel.
The Boston Comic Con is the largest comic book and popular culture convention in New England, and will be held at the Seaport World Trade Center in Boston, Massachusetts, from August 8 through 10. Tickets are available at www.bostoncomicon.com.
The Four-Color Realm, a comic book store located on the far east side of Osprey, is holding an event centered on Masked Victory, a costumed crimefighter who operated in the area during the 1930s and 1940s. Masked Victory was the subject of a popular series of comic books in that time, and also fought alongside Allied troops in Europe in the closing years of World War II. To this day, his identity remains unknown.
The event, scheduled for this Saturday, will have a costume contest, art auction, and a sale on Masked Victory and other reprints from the Golden Age of Comics (late 1930s to the early 1950s). “We’re really excited to hold this event,” commented store owner Kurt Daltry. “Masked Victory may have been forgotten by most people, even comic enthusiasts, but we’re keeping his memory alive here.” Daltry noted how rare it is to have any sort of celebrity from the Osprey area.
Given the recent resurgent interest in superheroes following the success of so many films, Daltry anticipates a fairly large-sized crowd. “Even if people come just because they’re curious, that’s great – they don’t have to be a comic book fan to enjoy the festivities.” The Four-Color Realm opened in early 2002 and expanded twice over the last ten years to become Osprey City’s largest retailer of comic books and comic-related ephemera. Entry to the event is free.
The First Congregationalist Church of Osprey is preparing to mark its 390th year of operation with a major celebration. The second-oldest congregation in Massachusetts, the church was established in 1624 with the founding of Osprey by Separatist colonists from Plymouth. The First Congregationalist Church has occupied the same address for all of its 390 years, and the same building since 1901.
Minister John L. Peters, speaking before a cluster of reporters, expressed his joy in “celebrating such a momentous anniversary.” Congregationalist ministers from around the nation will gather for the occasion, and local researchers will compose essays that center on the long history of the Church and its congregation. “The history of the First Congregationalist and the history of Osprey City are deeply intertwined, back to the earliest days of this country,” explained Bill Gordon, local librarian and volunteer at the Osprey Historical Society.
At the celebration, Minister Peters will be accepting donations for a commissioned mural of the founding of the church, including a depiction of the church’s first leader, Minister James Wright. Though mention of Minister Wright disappears around 1630, baptism records indicate that Wright was head of the congregation at its establishment. “What we lack right now, apart from the funds,” commented Minister Peters, “is a clear description of what Minister Wright looked like.” Archivists will be trawling through the records at the Historical Society, but anyone with any documents that might help in the process are asked to contact Minister Peters at the First Congregationalist Church of Osprey.
Citing decreasing membership numbers and increased operating costs, the lauded Scrimshaw Club announced yesterday that it will be opening its doors to the general public starting next month. The Scrimshaw Club, opened in 1850, has historically been the establishment of choice for Osprey’s elite.
“Of course, this does not mean that we will push out our remaining members,” explained Reginald Hawthorne II, president of the Scrimshaw Club. “In fact, most days will be for members only. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday will be for the general public.” A strict dress code of slacks, button-down shirts, and dress shoes will be enforced.
Members met the news with mixed reaction. Some members understood the need for change. “Look, I understand that the Club needs to increase income,” commented member Samuel Wood. “These days, clubs like this are sort of anachronistic – they have to do what they can to survive. If that means allowing the public to come in and enjoy what the Scrimshaw Club has to offer, so be it.” Other members were reportedly offended at the idea of opening the club to “the plebes,” in the words of one member, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “The Scrimshaw Club is where we go to get away from these people. I personally don’t have any interest in rubbing shoulders with a bunch of vodka-and-Red-Bull swilling, fist-pumping bros.”
Wealthy whaling ship owners founded the Scrimshaw Club in the mid-1800s in order to have a place to relax and discuss business in private. With fine, dark woods, luxurious leather seats, and many fine examples of scrimshaw art, the Scrimshaw Club exudes class and sophistication. It is one of the few remaining active gentlemen’s clubs of the 19th century, and the only one in Osprey City.
After numerous nor’easters and over 50 inches in snowfall, it appears that winter has ended in Osprey City, and that spring is finally here. Residents are emerging from their homes to take in much-needed sunlight, and shedding their heavy winter coats for lighter jackets.
“I think I broke two shovels this winter,” remarked longtime Osprey resident Andrew McCrimmon. “This was perhaps one of the worst [winters] I’ve seen in 10 years.” McCrimmon stated that he is most looking forward to being able to use his backyard and light up his grill. Others in the city are quickly taking advantage of the weather by walking in Osprey’s various parks and brushing the dust from their bicycles.
The city was able to keep up with snow removal and road salting without going over budget, an impressive accomplishment given the heavy snowfall. “Since the 2012-2013 winter was so mild, we were fortunate in that we could roll the remainder of last winter’s budget into this years,” explained Dir. Phil Sheldon of the Public Works Field Operations Division. “It was close, though. We’ve expended roughly 94% of the budget.” Dir. Sheldon warned that another heavy snowstorm would require Public Works to re-appropriate funds from another part of their budget.
Residents are reminded to exercise caution driving on the roads over the next few weeks, as there may be increased numbers of cyclists with various degrees of street experience and more pedestrians taking advantage of the improved weather.
Progress on a new apartment complex on the west side has come to a halt as construction workers uncovered human remains while digging for a foundation. Police were immediately called to the scene, but a cursory examination led investigators to conclude that the skeleton was extremely old, and not the result of recent crime.
By police request, an anthropological team from the university arrived to determine, as best as they could, what the construction workers found. The answer was a surprise to everyone: the skeleton is male, nearly 400 years old, and dates to the earliest days of Osprey City. Osprey City was originally founded as the village of Osprey, so named for the sea birds found in the area, in 1623, by Separatists from the Plymouth Colony.
“We were able to estimate the age of the remains based on the layer of earth,” reported Dr. Nils Hansson. “We’ve found other remains and artifacts from the mid-1600s in the layer around the city.” Further examination of the skeleton revealed that the neck was broken and the hands were once bound. Hansson continued, “based on the damage done to the neck and the position of the hands, it seems that this man was hanged in a public execution.”
If true, the body represents the earliest such execution in the history of Osprey City. It would also explain why the body was not buried in the Old Cemetary, the primary burial ground for Osprey’s original colonists. “Generally, criminals were buried with their family, like any other person,” commented Professor of History Richard Keeler. “But if the criminal didn’t have any family, or his crime was extremely heinous, it’s entirely possible that a ditch would be buried somewhere and his or her body simply dumped in.”
Local historians are now combing records dating from the early colonial period in Osprey for any mention of a hanging, and samples of the remains have been sent to Harvard University for radiocarbon dating.