Midlands Tooling Systems

152 Boulware Rd., PO Box 1330
Lugoff, SC 29078
Tel: 803-408-0800; Fax: 803-408-0045

The Comic Book and the Machine Shop

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While industrial projects are the bulk of our business, every blue moon a client walks through our door with a unique challenge.

This past Autumn, independent comics publisher Red Stylo Media asked MTSI to help wow their fans. The task was to create a modified, modern version of an historical blade featured in their comic book series AZTECA. Writer, Enrica Jang, explains:

“The traditional blade is called a machuitl and is made from wood and obsidian. It was used by the Aztecs in the 16th century in the time of the Spanish invasion and was the signature weapon of the Aztec jaguar warriors. But because our story is set in modern time, our hero uses a modern version when he fights bad guys. Red Stylo Media wanted a replica of the blade we use in the comic to display for our fans at conventions and shows. We found artists who made wood and stone replicas of the original version, but no one had quite what we were looking for. Finally, one of the artists we talked to suggested we call a machine shop. Midlands Tooling was first on our list.”

Artist Jhazmine Ruiz drew the blade as part of a character design for the story’s vigilante hero. MTSI’s designer used panels from the actual comic book to design and plot a model of the blade in AutoCAD. MTSI laser-cut two versions of the design out of scrap metal for the artists to review and modify at their leasure. Once the final design specs were approved by the artists, the drawing was sent to MTSI’s machine shop techs and the final blade was laser-cut from quarter-inch stainless steel. MTSI also designed the cherry handle with bloodwood finish.

“We are thrilled!” says Enrica. “Everyone gets crazy excited when they see the blades on display, and interest in our series has spiked. It’s a very cool thing to see the art come to life.”

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