Thursday, July 22, 2010

JAVCON Day Two:Sneak peek at COMIC POP comic!

Since 'sneak peeks' are quite popular at comic book conventions, I'd like to give you a preview of my upcoming comic book project:
 COMIC POP is a really special anthology. Besides having a brand new autobiographic story from me, 'DOS MIL DIEZ' (Spanish for 2010), I'll also be reprinting 5 short stories I've worked on that many of my readers may not be aware of. The cover is pretty much the final version, but once I'm done putting the whole book together I'll most likely tinker with some of the text and add the price.

Let me start with the reprints. Over the years I've worked on various comics with some good friends of mine. I work with them on a project, they work with me on a project. That's what friends do. Or at least the ones I have! When I got the idea for these, I asked each artist for permission to reprint the story. These comics, for the most part, appeared in their own titles, so I just wanted to make sure they would be okay with this. In each case, of course, permission was granted!

Here's the rundown of the stories:


This is actually my first-ever published comic, a year before the first El Muerto comic debuted. I was invited by the publishers of HOT MEXICAN LOVE COMICS to contribute a story to the latest book, and at the time I was already working on the first El Muerto story. I didn't want to knock out a quickie Muerto comic, so I came up with Weapon Tex-Mex, kinda in the vein of the Thing (Fantastic Four): A big lug with a heart of gold. So in 1997, when HOT MEXICAN LOVE was published, I had my debut as a published cartoonist. The original comic was in black and white, I added the gray tones this year when I published the WANTED:WEAPON TEX-MEX mini-comic for the Phoenix Comic Con. (A few copies remain in the JAVZILLA WEB SHOP


Left, one of my pages, on the right, Michael Aushenker's cover

My friend Michael Aushenker's CRIME MANGLER series is filled with gonzo comedy featuring an oaf of a masked mexican wrestler and his misadventures in 1930s Los Angeles. For his NINE LOVES OF EL GATO (2003) romance comic, he had 9 artists each illustrate a chapter, dealing with an ex-girlfriend. He asked me to draw one of the stories, for which he provided a script. That was actually the first time I ever drew from a script, but the story was heavy on wrestling action so I had a ball with it. I even snuck in a cameo with the legendary WWE commentator team of Jesse 'The Body Ventura' and Gorilla Monsoon! This is one of the early comics I did where I used  Sharpie markers. They can be cumbersome for detailed drawings, but I liked the chunky look it gave the story.

Left, a page of art drawn by Ted Seko, script by me, on the right, Rafael Navarro's painted cover.

This was an interesting collaboration. Rafael Navarro, creator of the Xeric Award-winning SONAMBULO comic, was putting together his own anthology, featuring stories written and drawn by others. He asked me to contribute to MASKS OF SONAMBULO (2003), and I immediately thought to ask Ted Seko if he'd be willing to illustrate a story I would write. Ted and I had previously worked together on "SKYMAN AND MANGA MUERTO Vs THE MONSTER MEKS", so we had already established a routine for working together. For this Sonambulo tale, I wanted to do a story with Sonambulo as a young kid, where he meets an old witch who foretells the future he will grow into. It wasn't an origin story, but it was nice for Rafael to let me delve into Sonambulo's early life. 

This mini-comic was created for the 2007 DVD release of EL MUERTO. When it came time to working with the distributor for ideas about what to include in the DVD, I suggested we include a comic book. After giving them a budget, I set out on what turned out to be an amazing final product. I wrote the script and provided loose pencil layouts and hired Mort Todd for the finished artwork, inks, gray tones and lettering. He's been working in cartoons and  comics since his teenage years, becoming Editor-in-Chief of CRACKED Magazine in 1985 at the age of 23. We actually met some years previously via an Ebay transaction, believe it or not! Mort's tremendously talented and prolific, and his production values, as evident in the above image, really made this story sing!

In 2008, El Muerto made his foray into the newspaper funnies! I had met the creators of the BALDO newspaper strip, writer Hector Cantu and artist Carlos Castellanos, a year previously when we were all guests of the SAN DIEGO LATINO FILM FESTIVAL. We hit it off real good. So good that the day we were scheduled to speak to a roomful of schoolkids, we were scrambling to rush from our noontime lunch of Mexican food and margaritas! At the time the mentioned that they would like to have an appearance of El Muerto in their strip. So in 2008, I called them on it! They told me to come up with an idea, which took a little work on my part. Here was an established strip, a family with two kids and an aunt with an established fan base, and I had to come up with a way to bring in the Aztec Zombie! But, Carlos and Hector are flexible, and as long as the story worked, they were open to accepting ideas. It was challenging to work on the script, as I had to think of 4 panel installments, with 5 dailies. Our process was interesting, as Carlos would draw the strips per the script we all agreed on, and he would leave an empty space wherever El Muero appeared, then I would draw in my character in that spot. The Sunday strip was great, because it was not only the climax of the story (which they let me write myself) but seeing El Muerto in the Sunday funnies was very exciting. For the reprint in the COMIC POP book, I'll put the Baldo story at the back of the book, so the climatic Sunday strip can be printed in full color on the inside back cover.

Well, that's going to be some book! Reprints of my first ever comic, the El Muerto DVD comic, the Baldo/El Muerto newspaper strip and two other stories I worked on some years ago.
I'll post previews of the autobio comic as we get closer to the release date, which is scheduled for APE this October. While the JAVCON will be running through Monday, the good ol JAVZILLA blog will be here long afterwards, so make sure you keep coming back!

I hope you've enjoyed this preview of my next comic book. We still have lots more content to share here at the JAVCON, including some never-before-seen storyboards I did for the EL MUERTO movie, the CD artwork I created for an indie band, and a never-before-published El Muerto comic! I'll be recording an episode of my D.I.Y. Comics podcast JAVILAND later today, so look for that here tomorrow as well.

1 comment:

Greenblatt the Great! said...

THERE it is! Somehow I missed this post. Terrific cover, Javy! Love the classic cartoonist vs. characters motif (well, classic Hernandez is what I mean, you've always played with that imagery).

Looking forward to getting this one at APE!