In addition to being asked to write the foreword, Professor Aldama also informed me that I was in fact the subject of one of the chapters in the book! Written by David William Foster, the piece is entitled "Latino Comics: Javier Hernandez's El Muerto as an Allegory for Chicano Identity".
The book is an examination of the influence of Latino culture and creators on a wide spectrum of the popular arts, including film, animation, video games, tattoo art and comics. To be the topic of one of the essays took a minute or so to wrap my head around. When I originally set out to create El Muerto, my goal was to selfishly create a character that I wanted to see in print. Something that would let me express myself through the medium of comics, mixing up a wide variety of influences that inspire me. That people would find things in it that perhaps I wasn't consciously trying to address is flattering, but also speaks to the way creative people spin their stories. Whatever media we're working in, our inner lives and experiences can't help but flavor the final product.
The cover of the book uses artwork from the cover of one of my comics, MANGA MUERTO Vol 1. I submitted several images to the publisher, and in the end they used the one they liked best. Looking at the final cover, designed by Will Speed, I think they made a great choice. This book is a scholarly treatise, so my personal guess is that the comic art on the cover perhaps might give the book an appeal to a wider audience. Again, I don't know if that's the case. But having my artwork printed on the cover of a hardback book, one dealing with a subject I'm very invested in, is a great honor.
If anyone is interested in purchasing the book, you can do so direct from the publisher, Palgrave Macmillan. I have a 20% off coupon I can send you if you email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. The book retails for $95 but you can get it for $76.00. I'm assuming this book (at least the hardcover version) is priced for the academic field (colleges and libraries), which explains the price. I'll be sure to write a post if a paperback edition is released.
By the way, Aldama wrote a book specifically covering Latino comics a few years ago. Titled "YOUR BRAIN ON LATINO COMICS", it features 21 interviews with writers and artists, one of which features me.