Comics artists prove their medium isn't reserved just for superheroes.

This month's 15th annual Small Press and Alternative Comics Expo (April 12 and 13 at the Ramada Plaza Hotel and Conference Center) will showcase the best in alternative comics from across the country-including the work of more than two dozen Columbus artists. We spoke with four of them about their work and inspiration.

"The Dreamer, Vol. 3" Writer and illustrator: Lora Innes

Every time she falls asleep, 17-year-old Beatrice Whaley drifts from her life as a high schooler and is thrust into the exploits of Knowlton's Rangers, the famed revolutionary reconnaissance unit. "It's really strange America won [the war] at all," Innes says. "Since everyone knows the outcome, I try to show it from a perspective of uncertainty, in such a way that it seems like they shouldn't be winning." In addition to poring over history books and period films, Innes has traveled to Colonial Williamsburg for research.

"You Have Body Issues" and "Busted" Writer and illustrator: Colleen Clark

Irritated by "macho superheroes and their sidekicks," this Columbus College of Art and Design senior penned a pair of earnest webcomics that boldly address the objectification of women, advertising ethics and mental health. In "You Have Body Issues," Clark uses ink and graphite to speak to our silent insecurities; in "Busted," she answers the question on the minds of all 8-year-old girls: "When I grow up, will I have big boobs?" "I'm very passionate about including lots of different people, races and body shapes," Clark says. "You need to be able to see it to know it's OK to look that way."

"With Only Five Plums" Writer: Terry EiseleIllustrator: Jonathon Riddle

Named after a Czech expression analogous to "having only the shirt on your back," this three-part graphic novel tells the ghastly story of the Lidice Massacre, based on Eisele's interviews with survivor Anna Nesporova. Riddle-who largely abandoned traditional panel structure-drew inspiration from Joe Kubert's graphic novel "Yossel: April 19, 1943" and German Expressionist film "Der Golem." "I thought of myself as a reporter," Riddle says. "These are the facts. This is the truth. This is the history."

"Persia Blues, Vol. 1 – Leaving Home" Writer: Dara Naraghi Illustrator: Brent Bowman

"Persia Blues" offers two suspiciously independent narratives, each distinctively illustrated. One follows Minoo Shirazi, a young woman living in contemporary Shiraz, Iran. Here, Bowman's penmanship is deliberately austere. The second narrative also follows a Minoo Shirazi, this time an adventurer in ancient Persia. These lush panels reflect many of Bowman's varied influences, from French symbolist Gustave Moreau to Marvel Comics legend John Buscema. "I become attached," Bowman says of the characters. "It's like they're people I knew."