Wednesday, October 29, 2008

EL MUERTO down under! Australian DVD!

I just got this in the mail the other day: The Australian DVD release of EL MUERTO!

While this release doesn't have any of the Special Features, it has a really cool packaging design. I love the EL MUERTO logo, with my skull design placed in the 'O', and they also picked up on my comic book logo in that they exagerrated the 'T' into the shape of a cross. Although to be honest, considering the story behind El Muerto, a creative designer would probably have made that choice.

I love how the Australian distributor went to town with the hype for the comic. Along the top of the front of the package is the blurb "Based on the bestselling comic"! WOW! They probably used the sales charts from my online store, cause I don't think I could compete with Marvel and DC-type numbers on the Diamond Comics Distributors sales charts!

On the back of the package, the blurb along the top starts off with 'Based on the comic book series from Javier Hernandez...". Another blurb on the back states "One of the most talked about Mexican-American comics at the 2006 Comic Con..". That line came from some early PR from one of the distributors the producers were working with early on in the production.

Regardless of the ultimate success an American independent film might have as a DVD release in Australia, at the end of the day I have an import version of my movie on DVD. Not a bad experience at all!

EL MUERTO debuts in BALDO strip today!

Okay folks, here it is: EL MUERTO's
official entry into the Baldo strip!
Tune into the next 4 days for the entire storyline!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Friday, October 24, 2008

Cartoonistas at the Norwood Library

Wednesday evening, Oct. 22, the Cartoonistas made an appearance at the Norwood Library in El Monte, CA. Originally there were to be three of us, but at the last minute my fellow Co-founder Jim Lujan had to tend to a pressing matter and could not make it.

So, after initially panicking ("Ah! Jim is 1/3 of the act! What am I gonna do?!"), I composed myself and marched into the Library with the true determination of a professional Cartoonista! Grasiela Rodriguez arrived, and we both gushed at the nice poster the Library created to advertise our appearance.

The Library did a good job with promotion (heck, they refer to us as the 'famous Cartoonistas'!), because there were about 25 kids waiting, and about another 20 adults as well! Seriously, with the way things are nowadays with the economy, it was real nice to see a local library do what they could to keep the library an active community resource for the residents. I told the folks that event was evidence of their tax dollars at work and we would give them their money's worth!

I got the ball rolling with the first drawing of the evening (Grasiela had a pre-emptive strike by asking the kids if they wanted to see 'Javier draw'!). For the first time in public, I drew a little character I've had in my sketchbooks for over a year: Miss Maude! Yeah, I drew a pink octopus, so what! A versatile artist is an artist with lots of appeal....

Grasiela got into her groove pretty quick, starting off with a bunny rabbit.

When it was my turn to draw again, guess what happened? One of the little girls asked if I could draw El Muerto!! I swear, she asked! I was not going to draw him that night, honest. Sure, I was introduced as a comic creator and they showed everyone my comic book, but I was going to give the Dead Caballero the night off! Oh well, the public demands....

This being a library event, with young kids present, we thought it important to interact with them, stimulating their own creativity. Grasiela stated to the audience she was going to draw a witch, but asked for suggestions on colors. When she asked the kids to pick a color for the hair, everyone had a different suggestion! So the result was a multi-colored hairdo for Witchie Poo! We gave away all our artwork, and here Grasiela is signing for one of the winners.

Accompanying us to the event were some folks from the Nuvein Foundation, the local non-profit organization that sponsors some of our events. One of the interns, Michael, jumped in and helped us out with an extra pair of hands!

Mike's not a Cartoonista, but he does draw. He not only drew a Hulk and signed it for a youngster, but a lady in the audience asked for his autograph on one of the flyers!

(Memo to Jim: The Cartoonista brand name has arrived! Everbody wants to be one, everybody wants to meet one!!)

Grasiela draws a favorite:

Grasiela brings her own special brand to the Cartoonistas. She comes to the art from more of a fine art background, but cartooning is in her blood. And she of course has such great rapport with younger fans. Grasiela, Queen of the Cartoonistas!

This gentleman is Domingo. He was there to enjoy the show, and in fact he was sketching on a notepad during our presentations. It was really nice meeting him and talking art.

The range of people in the audience, from kids to adults, to a genuine WWII veteran, really made the event a special night for all of us. Really, at it's core, this was a local community event, where parents brought their kids, or adults came on their own, to enjoy a couple of hours of live artwork sponsored by their neighborhood library. I, and the other Cartoonistas, are all for that. Sure, I love doing the comic conventions, and the podcasting and working on various comics projects, but interacting with the people via our artwork has it's own special payoff.

This was the fourth Cartoonista event we've done in about 2 months, with two more lined up in November! I think 2009 is going to be a pretty busy year for us. One last pic, with Cartoonistas, a guest artist, and the young library volunteers (one of which asked me for a Spidey drawing. How could I say no?!)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

El Muerto to appear in BALDO newspaper strip!

Well, the word is out! EL MUERTO will be appearing in the newspaper strip BALDO the week of Halloween, culminating in the color Sunday section, on the Day of the Dead! Without question, this has got to be one of the top opportunities I've had with the EL MUERTO character.

BALDO is created by writer Hector CantĂș and artist Carlos Castellanos. Their strip began 8 years ago and is seen in over 200 newspapers, and is also printed in Spanish in some markets. I met Carlos and Hector back in March 2007 at the San Diego Latino Film Festival, where we guests of the festivals. I was there for the World Premiere of the EL MUERTO film, and Hector and Carlos were screening episodes of their BALDO Animated Series. We met up again in November of '07 as guests of Wizard World Texas.

BALDO has had two previous crossovers with other comic book characters, once with Richard Dominguez's EL GATO NEGRO and another with Lela Lee's "ANGRY LITTLE GIRLS!". When I last saw Hector and Carlos at Wizard World Texas, I asked them when was El Muerto going to appear in BALDO.... They told me to hit them up with a story. So earlier this year I hit them up with the story! I ran a plot by them, one that revolved around the Halloween/Dia de Los Muertos weekend (Yeah, that timing was a pretty smart move, I will admit!). We tinkered with the storyline, and then scheduled it for production. I won't detail the storyline at this point, but working with the BADLO creators was a unique and welcome challenge. I will tell you that I have contributed to the artwork, but more to be revealed later. The part that was most challenging was thinking in terms of the particular format of the daily newspaper strip. You have about 3 or 4 panels for the daily, and each segment has to stand alone, yet tie into the next days strip! And of course the Sunday strip has it's own challenges. Not every paper necessarily carries the Daily and the Sunday, so there are interesting challenges there as well.

But what is the payoff? I get to work with some talented newspaper strip cartoonists in a new medium for me, and EL MUERTO makes his debut in that venerable American classic institution, the Sunday color funnies! That's such a wonderful opportunity, and one of those 'once-in-a-lifetime' gigs. Kinda like getting a movie made out of your comic book.... :)

El Muerto's appearance will run in the storyline from Oct. 27 to Nov. 2, which is the same date as Dia de Los Muertos. If you read my previous post, you know that I will be in San Francisco that weekend at the Alternative Press Expo comic convention, debuting
the latest issue of EL MUERTO and commemorating my 10th Anniversary appearance at APE, which is where I debuted EL MUERTO back in 1998. So El Muerto appears simultaneously in a comic book and a newpaper strip that weekend... That is pretty beyond anything I would have dreamt years ago!

Check your local paper to see if it carries BALDO, if not, send a very polite (yet forceful!) plea to see if they can get the strip. And check out the official BALDO website for prevous episodes and information on the series.

And now to write something I've always wanted to say (and in the strict literal sense!):

See you in the funny papers!

Monday, October 13, 2008

EL MUERTO: DEAD & CONFUSED has arrived!!!

THEY'RE HERE!!! My brand-new EL MUERTO comic book, DEAD & CONFUSED, arrived from the printers on Saturday! This is the first time I'm using a POD (Print On
Demand) service, so I was a little weary at first. After asking several friends for recommendations (thanks Jason, Mort and Colin) I chose to go with Ka-Blam. They delivered a couple of days ahead of their promised ship date, and the books look sharp!

This issue finds El Muerto landing in the arms of Modragon's Festival of Freaks, in Baja California. And it's more ominous than it sounds.... Also included in this issue is a mini Galeria del Muerto with pin-ups from Kevin Cross and Jim Lujan. The painted back cover is by Michael Aushenker (his El Muerto painting previously showed up on the
EL MUERTO DVD in the Guest Artist Gallery on the Special Features!).

The comic will debut at the 2008 APE (Alternative Press Expo) in San Francisco the weekend of Nov. 1 and 2. November 2, by the way, is Dia de Los Muertos, the Mexican cultural celebration that is the basis of the El Muerto story. And this APE marks my consecutive 10th appearance at the show and in fact is the 10th Anniversary of the debut of the comic book. It was back in Feb., 1998 in San Jose (where APE was originally held) that I debuted EL MUERTO, so the fact that this year's APE has moved to November (it's normally held in the Spring) tells me that the gods are smiling favorably on me and El Muerto!

If you want to order you copy of the book right now, you can get a copy in one of two ways:

-Via the web: Paypal me the amount of $5.95 ($3.95 for the book and $2.00 to cover P&H) and I'll send you a copy.

-Snail Mail me a check or money order the amount of $5.95 ($3.95 for the book and $2.00 to cover P&H) and I'll send you a copy. Javier Hernandez, PO Box 718, Whittier CA, 90608-0718

If you would like the book signed or personalized to you, please let me know. And no extra charge! I'll probably have to wait until after I get back from APE to update my website's store, but in the meantime feel free to order through here!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Live Art gig at Pasadena Central Library- pix!

Friday night's Live Art performance at the Pasadena Central Library was a fun experience for all involved! The Cartoonistas art group was invited to attend the Library's festivities for the city-wide Pasadena Art Night, an evening when many of the city's art and cultural institutions offer late night performances, exhibits and events for the community.

The participating Cartoonistas for the evening were Grasiela Rodriguez, Will Caulfield, Ted Seko, co-founders Jim Lujan and Javier (me) Hernandez!. Nick Smith, our contact at the Library, set us up in one of the actual rooms in the Library containing book collections! This Library is probably 100 years old, so we were a little nervous at first setting up our wooden easel/planks and using colored chalk! But we used some tarps and Nick just let us do our magic, trusting us to take care of everything. Which we did of course.

Will (left), Ted (middle) and me waiting for the muse....

Jim Lujan planning his latest posterboard epic!

Jim actually drew a face on every last one of them little heads in the audience!

Grasiela, besides really enjoying what she does, connects very well with the live audiences at these events.

Ted drawing a Spider-Man page...just inches away from books on science, nature and history! Trippy....

Back in 1989, Will hired me to work with him in Production Art. Some years later, he left when he and his wife had a baby. I took over as Art Director, then hired him to work under me when he got back into the work force! Nice to be working alongside him as a Cartoonista, almost 20 years later.

Lately I've gotten a fixation (Nixation?) on drawing Richard Nixon, 37th President of the United States. Not because I think Watergate was a great move, but me and the Nix share the same High School, Whittier High. He spent his youth in Whittier, attended Whittier College, and even had his first law office there. So, a salute to Whittier's First Son!

Speaking of 70s icons, a favorite comic book of mine is DEVIL DINOSAUR by Jack Kirby. Basically it's about a (Moon-)Boy and his (Devil) Dinosaur, and their adventures back in 1,000,000 B.C.! So naturally, I hadda draw a pic of pre-history's Dynamic Duo:

I'm sure I pretty much drew this for my own amusement, as DEVIL DINOSAUR hasn't had a comic book series for 30 years, has no cartoon series or movie deal in the works (in other words: no public recognition). However, as I was finishing the drawing, a little girl walked into the room with her mother and started asking about the drawing. Turns out she has a friend who 'loves drawing dinosaurs', and the boy's father is a paleontologist. This little girl was a real cute, talkative spirit, kinda like a Dakota Fanning/Drew Barrymore type. She was asking why the dinosaur was red ("He was burned by some bad cave-people") and also asked how old was 'the little boy' was ("His name is Moon-Boy and I think he's about 9 or 10"). Later in the evening, the little girl and her mother came back into our room and she asked about my drawing. I told her that I had finished working on it and asked her if she would like it. She was extremely happy to have it, so now she's the proud owner of a DEVIL DINOSAUR drawing!

That was probably the highlight of the evening for me, to be honest. Sure, I had a great time creating some artwork and interacting with people, I sold some comics and DVDs, and the Cartoonistas were able to secure another gig with the Library for another event. But introducing that little girl to an old 1970s Jack Kirby creation, well, what can you say? As MARVEL and DC stumble around like a pair of drunken elephants trying to spoon feed kids dumbed-down versions of there now-adult-only superheroes, here's me, not affiliated in any way financial with the Kirby Estate or Marvel, promoting an all-ages comic created by the art form's greatest innovator, 'King' Kirby.

It would be cool to think that the little girl and her mother went home and maybe looked online for some cheap DEVIL DINOSAUR comics...

Late in the evening, Ted wanted to try a little game. He would pencil an image, and I would finish it off with color (I'd do the same for him). I accepted the challenge and ended up coloring and inking a DEATHLOK THE DEMOLISHER drawing. It was really weird inking those trademark floating faces Ted has been drawing for years and years....

Of course, on the plus side, I had Ted finish up and color a DEMOLTION DOVE I started!

For more pix, check out the official CARTOONISTAS website!

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Cartoonistas Live Art in Pasadena for ART NIGHT!

The Cartoonistas strike again! This time we're doing Live Art during the ART NIGHT at the PASADENA CENTRAL LIBRARY in Pasadena, CA! We'll be creating our micro-masterpieces between 6pm-10pm, Friday Oct. 10. This is our second Live Art gig within a week...and this was a last minute addition, believe it or not. Same crew will be there that was at the Nuvein Gala (see post below!), so if you're in the area and missed us last saturday, here's your second chance. We'd love to see you!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

First CARTOONISTA Live Art event pix now posted!

Geez, the CARTOONISTAS Live Art show was this past Saturday at the Nuvein 3rd Annual Gala...and I haven't had time to blog about it!!

Luckily, my fellow co-founder Jim Lujan has posted pics and video of the event! Please check out the official CARTOONISTAS site for the scoop! Personally, I had a great time there. Creating our artwork, and selling it, was quite satisfying. We donated all of the proceeds to the Nuvein Foundation to add to their scholarship program for local students.

I have to admit, also, that I enjoy doing any type of public event in regards to promoting my work or meeting new people. I love the art behind what I do, but also, I happily enjoy the marketing of oneself as an artist, especially since I've been a DIY type for years now. Also, it was really nice to be there as a member of this wonderful group of artists and friends, The Cartoonistas!

Here's a video clip shot that night that I have to share. It's some footage of me drawing an EL MUERTO piece (yeah, I knocked out a Spider-Man earlier, but I had to do the signature character!). What I like about this is that it's the only video footage I know where I'm drawing El Muerto, and you can clearly see how I lay out the drawing. But what I also like about it is that my friend Jim Lujan is in the background creating his own piece. I like the relatively relaxed nature of the shot, we're not talking or mugging for the camera (feats we're both experts at!) but we're really just lost in the art at the moment. One of the things Jim wanted us to focus on as Cartoonistas was Live Art, and there we are creating some.

Thanks to Ted Lujan for the excellent footage! And thanks Jim and all the other Cartoonistas.....

Monday, October 06, 2008

Interview with Jason Mosley on PCBR

About 2 months ago I was a guest on Mosley's TALK OBJECTIVISM radio show, basically talking about comic artist Steve Ditko. TALK OBJECTIVISM is a show that discusses the philosophy of Ayn Rand, the founder of Objectivism. Steve Ditko, the co-creator of Spider-Man, is a long-time Objectivist, so one day after I discovered his talk show, I emailed Mosley and asked him if he was aware of Steve Ditko. Next thing I know, I'm on the show talking about Steve Ditko! Which was a pleasure to do, no doubt about it.

Then I was invited back the following week to moderate a discussion between Blake Bell, author of the recent book STRANGE AND STRANGER:THE WORLD OF STEVE DITKO and Mort Todd, a cartoonist and former Editor-In-Chief of CRACKED magazine, whose worked with Ditko since the 1980s. As a long-time Ditko fan, I was more than happy to have a chance to actually lead a discussion about one of my favorite creators of all time. This was literally one of those great opportunities that's come my way simply as a result of me becoming an independent comic creator, I firmly believe that. By taking the steps to create my own comics, and thus becoming active in my little corner of the comics world, I have met all kinds of people and have had numerous avenues in which to celebrate my love of comics.

So I told Jason that I would like to reciprocate the chance he gave me on his show and extended him an invitation to appear on mine. When I found out that he writes his own on-line comic strip, I figured that was his way 'in'! Plus I want to hear about his own reactions to reading the Blake Bell book, as he wasn't aware of Ditko until I had emailed him about Ditko. Also, I think it will be interesting to talk about Mosley's blog, MR. BACON PANTS and his TALK OBJECTIVISM talk show. While these may not be comics related, they are creative endeavors, and he's a big proponent about individual rights and identity, so that fits in line with the majority of my guests.

Please listen to the interview either live or once it's available for downloading.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008


A new promo piece for DEMOLITION DOVE! Obviously inspired by one of the great toy lines from the 80s....I'll post more about this in the next day or so, I have some background material I want to share. But I'll leave off with this little definition from Answers.Com:


1. Rising in revolt against established authority, especially a government.
2. Rebelling against the leadership of a political party.