Sunday, December 23, 2007

Planet Comic Book Radio episodes #4 & 5 up on the website

I've negleted to mention this before but my radio show now has it's own dedicated website:PlanetComicBookRadio.Com. While still found on the Perspective Radio internet podcast, having our own site for the radio show is something I've wanted since we started. Now you can listen to any of our previous episodes (5 of them as of this post). We also have profiles, polls, and soon, reviews of comics and comic's-derived media!

Last week, 12-18-07, we recorded Episode #5, the Podcast Before Christmas!
My guest was Alan Rutledge, a comic dealer who specializes in back issues, particularly from the Silver and Bronze Ages of comics (my favorites!). Alan is an old friend of mine, I've been buying from him for over 5 years. He has a booth at a local show called Frank & Son Collectible Show, kind of like an indoor swap meet for comic books/toys/manga/anime/sports collectibles, etc. It's open on wednesday evening and all day saturday.

Alan's appearance allowed me to brind a new type of guest on the show. Not a comic creator or author of a book relating to comics, but a vendor. And being a back issue dealer, that opened up the topic to interesting aspects of comic books. We talked about the grading scales for comics and how the Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide sets the standard for the whole industry. We also talked about the various eras of comics and the market forces that led to the creation of the Direct Market. In the interest of trying to create a fun show, I also asked Alan to grade some comics, live on the podcast! I handed him my copies of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #13 & 21, ROM #1 and even slipped in a copy of the very first EL MUERTO comic book from 1998!

It was the photocopied, b&w NUMERO UNO EDITION. I think I made a total of 300 or 400 of those babies, and to this day only have about 5 of them myself!

Also on the show, in keeping with the Holiday Season, I performed the first ever recital of my El Muerto Christmas poem, THE NIGHT BEFORE NAVIDAD! (The astute JAVZILLA readers will remember the poem from last year...I've slightly edited the poem to reflect the final version I read on the show) I'll be honest, I was a little nervous about reciting the poem, my fear being that I would muck it up! But it came out good, and again, I'm always looking for ways to make the show fresh and original and fun.

Alan was in-studio, which is always nice because it really makes it feel like he and I are just talking like we do at his booth. Two guys chatting about comics!

On Episode #4, 12-11-07, I had the oppurtunity to interview Michael Aushenker, an L.A.-based cartoonist who's been publishing his own books for over a dozen years. Mike's also been a great friend of mine for about 10 years, and in fact I remember telling him about my soon-to-debut comic book EL MUERTO when I was introduced to him by another friend of mine (and future guest), Rafael Navarro. Mike's most well-known character is EL GATO, CRIME MANGLER, an explosively hilarious book that's half Three Stooges madcap comedy and half slam-bang superhero farce.

Mike and I have collaborated over the years, contributing artwork in the form of short stories or pin-ups to one another's books. Mike also contributed an EL Muerto painting to the Galeria del Muerto found on the DVD special features to THE DEAD ONE.
His interview on my show gives you a pretty good idea of the man's work over the last 15 years. He's currently a contributing writer to BACK ISSUE magazine, published by Two Morrows.

Mike was another smooth and easy interview to do. He was also in-studio so again, it was just like me and him sitting around talking about comics! Of course, I have to make sure I keep somewhat to a format. I do want people listening to gain a clear picture of the work my guests do. But as long as I can conduct the interviews in a conversational setting, I'll be happy with the final product.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Bill Mantlo/Rom, Spaceknight benefit auction on Ebay

A couple of posts back I mentioned that I had contributed some artwork to a special gallery show. Floating World Comics (Portland, OR) hosted a show with artwork featuring the 1980s Marvel Comics cult classic, ROM, SPACEKNIGHT. With over 100 artists contributing all-new images, this event marked the largest collection of Rom artwork ever!

The person for whom this show was created for is Bill Mantlo, the original writer of Rom and scores of other Marvel Comics in the 70s & 80s. Bill was the victim of a hit & run accident back in the 90s as he was rollerblading in New York. He suffered a major head trauma and has never been fully functional again. His brother Mike has been his caretaker ever since. This auction will be used to raise money to aid in Bill's care. Jason Leivian, the owner of Floating World Comics, created the idea for the gallery show out of his sheer love for the work of Bill Mantlo, particulary Rom, Spaceknight. Rom was a toy robot action figure that Bill was able to turn into a 70+ issue Marvel property!

So when I found out about this event I absolutely had to submit a piece. Now that the gallery show is over, Jason is putting all the pieces on Ebay to allow everybody to purchase the artwork. Looking at some of the pieces, I am amazed by the variety of work. Even Walt Simonson created a piece, and it's a beauty. It's getting some really good bids, too. Bill Mantlo is going to directly benefit from his creation. Not the ideal circumstances, of course, but any comfort that can be provided to the man is worth pursuing.

My first exposure to Bill's work was in 1975, with Marvel Team-Up #39. The story opened with Spider-Man talking to a young Puerto Rican kid on a rooftop. The boy was tending to his pigeons when an assassin's, meant for Spider-Man, stikes one of the birds. As a young Mexican-American kid myself, I appreciated the little bits of Spanish that Bill worked into the boy's dialogue. Bill continued for another year or so on that book but worked on numerous characters throughout his career. He created the story for The Human Fly, the real-life Canadian stuntman who approached Marvel with idea of creating a comic book series based on his exploits. Bill's idea was that the Fly was involved in a fatal car accident that killed his wife and children, leaving him a cripple. But through sheer willpower, he eventually made himself walk again. He decided to adopt the identity of the Human Fly as a means of inspiring others like himself to walk again, to live again.

Maybe we'll have a Human Fly benefit show one day.

In the meantime, please check out the Rom artwork at Floating World Comic's Ebay sellers page. My original inked drawing is up at auction, which also inlcudes an 11x17 color print. Whichever artwork you buy is fine, because you'll be getting a unique piece of Rom art and most important, Bill Mantlo will be recieving some extra help this Holiday Season.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good Knight.

Friday, December 07, 2007

MY SEVENTIES SHOW podcast episode now available!

My special edition podcast, MY SEVENTIES SHOW, is now available to listen to at PERSPECTIVE RADIO.COM. Recorded live on Tuesday, Dec. 4, this episode was especially fun for me to put together. A total flashback, it also allowed me to focus on two current projects from a pair of gents who grew up with similiar passions as I did back in the idyllic 1970s.

Back in my early days, I would look forward to spending saturday afternoons in the park drinking a 7-11 Slurpee and reading comics. For about one buck and change, I could get a couple of 25¢ comics, a Slurpee and a Zero candy bar and spend time with the superheroes.I swear, I cannot tell you how much, to this day, I associate the taste of a cola Slurpee and a Zero bar to such a valued and treasured time in my life!

Then there were the hours spent playing with my MEGO 8" action figures! THE WORLD'S GREATEST TOYS they were called, and rightly so! 8" fully posable figures with fabric costumes, these are legendary toys for a whole generation of us graying, overgrown kids. I was completley fortunate and spoiled as kid, because I had a pretty good collection of these toys. One year, and it's my all-time favorite Christmas memory (um, other than the time with Mom, Dad and the siblings!), I recieved not only the fabled Joker Van, but several other characters alongside that: Joker, Penguin, Riddler, Green Arrow and probably one or two others. Today, I've got very few of those originals left, but the priceless memories keep me warm at night!

So, to indulge myself, and entertain my radio audience of course, I concocted a special retro show that touched on these ancient memories. My first guest, Paul Merolle, runs his own company called POP FUN MERCHANDISING, which lovingly produces TOON TUMBLERS. These are collectable glasses featuring colorful images of Marvel superheroes, using the iconic imagery all recognize. Paul had been an enthusiastic collector of superhero drinking glasses and 7-11 Slurpee cups, so it's very cool that he turned that passion into an eventual business. I actually heard of Paul months prior when a Google search for "7-11 superhero Slurpee cups" turned up an article he wrote some years ago for the Collector's Glass website. After finding out about his company, I actually ordered the stunning SPIDER-MAN NEW YORK COMIC-CON exlcusive frosted tumbler. I tell you, slap a Steve Ditko Spidey image on a product and you got me hooked!

Really though, these TUMBLERS are very nice collectables, and I'd recommend getting these as gifts for any Marvel Comics fan this Christmas. PopFun carries a nice variety featuring characters like the Punisher, the Fantastic Four and the X-Men, among others. They even have a Holiday themed glass!

My second guest, and my first in-studio guest at that, was the bombastic Benjamin Holcomb, author of the new hardcover book MEGO 8" ACTION FIGURES:THE WORLD'S GREATEST TOYS!. When I first heard of this book months ago, I knew I had to have it. And when my own radio show came about, I thought it would be a perfect subject for a show. When I found out that Benjamin lived in the area, I emailed him and offered him a spot on the show. He immediately agreed, to my everlasting gratitude. Then after contacting Paul I was able to put together my first special edition episode, MY SEVENTIES SHOW.

Benjamin and I hit it off immediately, as our previous email exchanges were truly a meeting of the geeks! His book, published by Two Morrows (among their many publications is my favorite magazine THE JACK KIRBY COLLECTOR) has just been published and at over 250 full-color pages, is truly a milestone in Mego fandom! Literally packed with info and trivia on the Mego super-hero line, Benjamin's book is both a loving tribute to a bygone era and an exhaustive report on the production, marketing and art of the Mego dolls.

As Benjamin was in the studio, I was presented with a new dynamic as far as interviewing a guest. We literally were sitting side by side browsing through the book, often starting a topic based on the page we were looking at! I'm trying to conduct my show with as free-flowing spontaneity as possible, and I think the interviews demonstrate that. While I did indeed have some notes and questions to refer to, I let Benjamin's and my own enthusiasm run the interview.

One of my favorite parts of the book are the two-page spreads showcasing 360 degree turns of each figure! It's like having the figure there in front of you. And buying the book is a fraction of the amount of money it would cost to buy one of these figures in any decent shape!

Benjamin actually sat in on my phone interview with Paul, as he himself was interested in the Toon Tumblers! I'm telling you, those of us lucky enough to have grown up in the 70s were completely spoiled and brainwashed by the sheer magnitude of magical toys, trinkets and all-around coolness that shaped our childhoods. After the interview, the show ended and I was finally able to get my Mego book signed! One of the advantages of hosting your own show is inviting in guests under journalistic pretenses and then hitting them up for fanboy autograph!

I took Benjamin to a local Mexican 'mom & pop' eatery and he indulged in the best taquitos he's ever had! We caught up on one another's back story. Apparently, Benjamin came across my EL MUERTO comic book back in 2001 or so. I was attending the Alternative Press Expo (APE) with a friend of mine dressed as El MUERTO and Benjamin had seen my booth and early comics! At dinner I gave him some signed copies of the Muerto comics and a movie poster. He's a real energetic guy with a great sense of fun and creativity. I'm invited over to his place to check out some of his primo Mego collection in person! After I visit him, unless I have to sign a disclosure, I'll tell you all how that went!

My sincere thanks go to Paul and Benjamin for enthusiastically sharing their passion with me, as they really made MY SEVENTIES SHOW possible. I wish the best to them and their current projects. Remember to listen to the show atPERSPECTIVE RADIO.COM.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

ROM, SpaceKnight art show in Portland

Here's my contribution to tonight's art show dedicated to comic book writer Bill Mantlo, ROM, SPACENIGHT. Organized by Jason Leivian of FLOATING WORLD COMICS, the show features over 100 artists/cartooonists/designers from around the world.

The show is a benefit for Bill Mantlo, the original writer of ROM, and 100s of other classic comic book stories throughout the 70s and 80s. Bill suffered a severe head trauma back in the 90s and has been cared for by his brother Michael. All proceeds from the show will be sent to Michael Mantlo to assist in Bill's care.

The show will run for a few weeks. For more info, please go to Floating World's website linked above.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Comics virtuoso MORT TODD interviewed at PCBR

Last week (Tuesday, Nov. 27) I had the pleasure of interviewing Mort Todd for my radio show, PLANET COMIC BOOK RADIO. This was what I called a 'career-spanning' interview, and a one-hour show could only scratch the surface! Listen to the interview here!

Mort Todd, while only in his early 20s, was the Editor-in-Chief of CRACKED Magazine. From there, it's been a very diversified career in comics including publishing his own mag, MONSTERS ATTACK, launching the MARVEL MUSIC line of comics over at the House of Ideas, working with such greats as Dan Clowes on various projects and with comics legend Steve Ditko on pitching Ditko's objectivist hero MR. A as a television series! Other things Mort has worked on include the comic strip versions of SPEED RACER and RAT FINK, independent filmmaking and rock & roll posters and album covers. Mort's creator-owned works include BAT LADY and MOLLY THE MODEL, the first interactive strip.

Among Mort's current works are SADISTIK, his adaptation of the European cult classic photo-comic, KILLING. Mort is a producer of the SADISTIK documentary, DIABOLIKAL SUPER CRIMINAL. The film had it's world premire last month in Italy and Mort is currently involved with the distribution phase of the film. All the while continuing to produce new comics and photonovels based on this phenom.

I met Mort through an interesting Ebay transaction. I had seen some copies of Marvel Comics' BOOK OF THE DEAD and CURSE OF THE WEIRD listed. These comics were edited by Mort in the 90s and featured rare, 1950s pre-Code horror comics from icons such as Wolverton, Ditko, Everett, Heath and Orlando. Well, one of the issues reprinted a very rare story. The first appearance of The Zombie, Simon Garth. Created by artist Bill Everett and writer Stan Lee! Well, I ordered the books and a few weeks later I received the package. Only problem was, the issue with the Zombie was missing! I wrote the seller, explaining that the book was missing from the package. Soon, I received the comic in the mail. I thanked the seller and explained that normally I wouldn't have fussed too much, but I had really wanted that issue! I went on about how much I loved the old Marvel artists and also shared that I was a publisher of my own book.

At that point Mort told me about his own love for the classic comics and that he was in fact a comic creator himself. We immediately hit if off and exchanged packages of our own comics. Eventually, we got along so good that back in 2005, when we hosted our first panel to show the teaser trailer for the EL MUERTO film, I asked Mort if he could moderate the panel!

And that led to me actually working with Mort on a project. When it was decided that we would be including an EL Muerto comic book with the DVD release of EL MUERTO, I knew I wanted to work with Mort on it. He had often told me about wanting to work with me on a project anyways, so this was ideal. I wrote the story and did rough layouts while Mort handled the finished art with his inking and digital coloring. He also lettered the book and handled production. With all his years of experience, and his much faster production speed, he really made the book happen. I learned some things from him that helped improve my writing and layout choices. Mort's mantra was too make the book a lot more contemporary-looking, and I really applaud the final choices that were made.

When it came time to plan my first episodes on PLANET COMIC BOOK RADIO, I knew Mort was one creator I definitely wanted to interview. I've heard the playback of the show and I think it came out really good. Certainly there is a lot of information on the man's interesting career. And I feel that I'm getting into the groove of this interview stuff! When I think too much about what I'm going to say, I feel that I tend to stumble around a bit. It's when I start talking in a more rapid rire, spontaneous manner that I'm satisfied I'm putting on a good show. But every step I take to get to that point is good. You only get better and something you do regularly, and everything anyone does always sounds/looks rougher in the beginning.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

WizardWorld Texas wrap-up!

I'm playing catch-up here,but this is my report from last weekend's WizardWorld comic convention in Texas. With the Thanksgiving holiday two days ago, and my radio show starting earlier this week, I'm kind of backtracking, but at least I'm getting it blogged!

My good friend, and fellow comic creator, Dallas-based Richard Dominguez had actually approached Wizard about hosting a group of us for a 'Latinos in Comics' panel. With the able assistance of Richard's agent/rep, Ken Levin, Wizard generously agreed to not only fly me in from Los Angeles, but also some artists from Florida and Puerto Rico! Here's a pic of me, Richard and the artist of the newspaper strip, BALDO, Carlos Castellanos.

While Richard is the reason we were all brought together, a last minute scheduling conflcit meant that he had to leave us for the weekend. His brother Robert was able to watch his table for the weekend though. Richard is the creator of EL GATO NEGRO, and in fact was a big influence on me in creating my own character. Thanks Richard, we couldn't have done this without ya!

One of the other artists in our 'Comic Book Companeros' group was David Alvarez, the creator of the YENNY comic strip that appears in Puerto Rican newspapers, as well a brief run as an Alias comic book a year or so ago. David's worked quite a bit in animation as well as the Looney Tunes comic book. He's a super talented guy and incredibly funny! Armed with a quit wit and a library of cartoon voices, this guy is riot to hang around with!

Seated next to me in our Artist Alley tables were the creators of the BALDO newspaper strip, which is syndicated in over 200 newspapers. Writer Hector Cantu and artist Carlos Castellanos. I had the pleasure of meeting these two this past March at the San Diego Latino Film Festival. They actually have a completed Baldo animated series to their credit! It's currently in the distribution deal phase. Carlos was my roommate for the weekend in the swanky Sheraton Hotel next door to the convention center. Again, these two guys and myself instantly bonded with one another and led to so many insane moments over the course of the show!

Friday was the first day of the show, and there was an EL MUERTO film screening scheduled that evening. Thanks to Ken Levin and Wizard to arranging that. Apparently, the Arlington Convention Center was scheduled to close at 6pm that evening after the end of the show. But after much behind-the-scenes maneuvering, the center agreed to let us screen the film 'after hours'. I introduced the film and stayed around for the first half hour or so of the screening. Afterwards, I snuck out for about an hour and wandered the hotel. I even went up to my room and sat around for awhile. Sometimes I get restless watching the film with an audience! Also, I had no idea how the crowd would react to the film. Maybe because I was in Texas, or screening the film at a Wizard show (which is generally aimed more at the 'maninstream' comic fan, in my opinion), I just wasn't sure what to expect.

But I came back to the screening for the last 10 minutes and was happy to find that the response was very enthusiastic. I like to think that part of the reason was the relative novelty of the cultural elements in the story, and also that our film is a smaller, character driven piece, as opposed to the huge, expensive CGI-heavy blockbusters most superhero comic book movies have to be nowadays. We had about a half hour Q&A after the film, moderated by Hector. The fans were genuinely supportive of the film. My sense was that the whole indie-comic-turned-film really responds well to people. I was really satisfied to hear one of the fans come up to me afterwards and actually tell me "I'm sorry that they changed the name of the film (to the DEAD ONE). EL MUERTO is a much better name". He even mispronounced EL MUERTO but to hear this guy in a slight Texas drawl tell me this just reinforced my position on the whole name-change incident. I'd love to keep screening the movie to audiences all over the country. And not for the obvious reason of selling more DVDs (which I did that weekend!) but just to see how different types of people react to the film.

Here's me, Ken Levin and Hector after the Q&A.

Ken Levin, I found out as I talked to him over the weekend, has a long history in comics. He was one of the co-founders of First Comics back in the 80s, which was one of the first major independents in the early days of the direct market. He reps quite a few comics creators and has been involved in lots of comic-to-film deals. Sounds to me like Ken would make a great guest on my radio show!

I had a great time meeting new fans throughout the weekend. Sales on the comics, prints and DVDs were brisk, and makes me hungry to go to more out of state shows. Here's me talking to my travel agent booking flights all over the country for next year!

What would a comic convention be without some superheroes and monsters? Rorschach, getting ready to become next summer's Hollywood IT-boy.....

A Yuletide greeting from Alien and Predator!

And I even got a celebrity endorsement from Dr. Strange, the Sorcerer Supreme. Just what the doctor ordered!

Hector Cantu brought some taco shells along with him on saturday, which he used for promotion! He rolled up flyers for BALDO in the tacos, but I told him we could upgrade that idea. I said the four of us (David, Hector, Carlos and myself) show sign the tacos and give them away to fans! Here's a very limited signed and sketched Javier Hernandez EL Muerto original!

I also got to meet other artists at the show. One of them was Paul Maybury, whose new book, AQUA LEUNG, with writer Mark Smith, is due out from Image early next year. Paul's what I refer to as one of the newer, younger artists. And I don't mean that in a negative way at all. It's just that I admire how productive he's been in his early 20s. I had been visiting Paul's blog over the last year, and since he now lives in Texas, he decided to make a visit to Wizard, so he stopped by my table. He also gave me the original ink drawing to an impromtu El Muerto pinup he sent me a few weeks earlier! Check out the colored version of his sweet pinup.

'The Comic Book Companeros' had a panel on sunday, which was a nice way to spend the afternoon. Moderated by Ken Levin, we got to share our experiences in creating our individual books and how we see ourselves as artists of Latino backgrounds. All said, I had a really good time in Texas. And I have to say, that the after-show escapades I had with David, Hector and Carlos have to rank amongst my most memorable. I've been doing shows for a good decade, and these guys are among the funniest and friendly I've ever had the pleasure to know. I hope we one day get a chance to get together again!

This was taken saturday night at a Mandarin Chinese restaraunt, the site of some of the most hilarious tear-inducing shenanigans ever! And all of us sober, mind you!! All I can say about that eveing is Hector is one swell guy for being a good sport, and David rocks for having appropriate porno music as one of his ring tones!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

I give thanks that PLANET COMIC BOOK RADIO launched!

My premiere podcast for PLANET COMIC BOOK RADIO went off with flying colors! The show went live this past tuesday, Nov. 20 at 5 pm Pacific Time and is now available at PerspectiveRadio.Com Just click the link with the PCBR logo and you can listen to my inaugural interview with Jason Martin, a Portland, Oregon area artist whose self-published book, SUPER REAL, is a fun romp through the world of reality TV via a superhero group book.

Jason and I have been good friends since we met a few years ago at Comic Con San Diego, and he's a very savy individual who's worked hard on his comic book, so I thought he would be a great guest to debut the show with. And judging by how fast our 45 minutes whizzed by, I'd say he was a great choice! Thanks Jason!

Jason also contributed a very stylish pin-up to the Galeria Del Muerto gallery on the EL MUERTO/THE DEAD ONE DVD! Here it is:

The show runs an hour, so for the first 15 minutes I pretty much just introduced myself to my audience. Comic creator, filmmaker, and now radio host! To think all this happened because I got off my butt and created my own comic years ago. Is a radio show a natural progression from making comics? Maybe not. But radio, like comics, and film, is an outlet for expression. The EL MUERTO film came about because of a one-in-a-million shot (or series of shots). But I was ready to move on it. Same with this radio show. Check my previous post here to see how this radio show came about

So before the show, Renato Aguirre, one of the show's producers (me being the other!) and I were running a quick tutorial on running the board. This is a small, independent, DYI outfit, so you, as the host, pretty much have the controls to everything. Pressing the all-mighty BROADCAST button and controlling the songs and station I.D. tags! Everthing. Renato had given me a rundown last week, but it never hurts to 'make sure'! So the next thing I know it's 3 minutes to 5 pm! We pop on a song to lead into the show, then I have to hit the station I.D. blurb, followed by what I hope becomes my theme song, DAZE OF THE DEAD by Richard Odie and Johhny Franco.

FYI: Franco is an old friend of mine from way back. In fact, in 1983/84, while I was in High School, he opened up the first comic book shop in Whittier. Years later when I published my first EL MUERTO comic in zine form, he wrote a song inspired by the title of the origin story, DAZE OF THE DEAD! We ended up releasing it as a CD single limited to 102 signed and numbered copies. Playing it as the opening theme for my new radio show just seemed like a great place to reintroduce it to the public.

As DAZE OF THE DEAD is playing, we place the call to Jason and SHAZAM, we have Jason on the air soon as the song ends. Smooth.... Well, okay, I think in my opening, I may have stumbled over a word or two, but considering this is podcast live, I think I did okay. Once I got into the interview with Jason, I felt completely at ease. Granted, he's a friend of mine, but talking to another person about comics is not something that I have to force myself to do! Next thing I know, I'm getting the signal from Renato that we have only 8 minutes left. I was genuinely surprised that the time went so quick. I found a good spot to wrap up the interview then signed off by playing another song, "SENOR HERNANDEZ: WAY OF THE COMICS LONER" by Dr. T and The Sea Lions with Rabies! That piece was recently written by a friend of mine who's been a member of my El Muerto Message Board for a couple of years. I think it's a great little song and if you listen to the lyrics, a little too close to the mark!

All in all, a very successful launch. The folks at PerspectiveRadio.Com were very happy with it, Jason was a great guest, and I really had a great time. Very much looking forward to continuing with more guests and more shows.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Wizard World Texas: Come see me this weekend!

On Friday night at 6pm, we'll be screening EL MUERTO, followed by a Q&A with me. On Sunday I'll be on a panel 'Latinos in Comics' with comic strip creators David Alvarez YENNY and Hector Cantu & Carlos Castellanos BALDO, and comic book creator Richard Dominguez EL GATO NEGRO
This is actually my first out-of-state show so it will be real exciting to get out there and see all the Tejano comic book fans! Stop by my Artist Alley table #2320 ( I should be there when I'm not on the exhibit floor looking for cool comics or hitting up artists to be guest on my new radio show!)

Here's a link to Wizard's website with downloadble PDF's of event schedules and such.

If you attend, please stop by and say hello. I'll have copies of the DVD for sale!


Sunday, November 04, 2007

Listen to my interview from CinNews

The interview I did last week on CinNews is now archived and available for listening here. The show's host, Scott Essman, is a filmmaker himself. And like myself, a fan of comic book movies. We spent most of the show talking about our favorite, or least favorite, superhero movies! And we both agreed that Rocketeer is a way better film that it's given credit for!

We did of course talk about my own comic book film, EL MUERTO. And I took advantage of the time to announce my own radio show on Perspective Radio.Com, PLANET COMIC BOOK RADIO! It was cool being in studio with Scott for that interview, because in a few more weeks (Tuesday, November 20, 5pm), I'll be sitting in the host's chair talking to my own guest. I'll announce the name of my guest later this week.....

In the meantime, if you want to hear some geek filled talk about comic book movies, tune in to my interview.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Happy Day of the Dead to the living and the dead!

Me and Wilmer Valderrama after filming my cameo in EL MUERTO. In the heart of East Los Angeles at Evergreen Memorial Park.

Steve Ditko turns 80 today!

Steve Ditko, the co-creator of Spider-Man and artist of true visionary status, turned 80 today. A very Happy Birthday wish to Mr. Ditko.

To celebrate his birthday, I watched my SPIDER-MAN 3 DVD I picked up this past tuesday. When Stan Lee and Ditko created Spidey back in '62, no one was even remotely thinking that one day they would have laid down the foundation for a billion dollar film franchise decades later!

This has been a big year for the Ditko fans. Marvel has released several hardcover collections including the 1000+ page SPIDER-MAN OMNIBUS and the AMAZING FANTASY OMNIBUS that reprints tons of Ditko pre-Spider-Man sci-fi/monster stories he did with Stan Lee. And of course, the BBC IN SEARCH OF STEVE DITKO was all the rage when it hit the internet a few months ago (it's been put up and taken down numerous times on YouTube....and it's currently down again!).

The big new today is that Fantagraphics officially announced it will be publishing Blake Bell's long-awaited Ditko retrospective next June. This is the book that many of us are looking forward to. A career spanning, critical survey of one of the industry's premiere creators.

As an 8 year old discovering the love of comics, I was always intrigued by the uniqueness of Ditko art. And even now, decades later, I admire the man as much as an artist and as a person who stands his own ground and follows his own instincts. Here's a blog entry I wrote last year about a letter I once received from Ditko.

Again, a very Happy 80th Birthday wish to Mr. Ditko.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

I'll be hosting my own radio show, believe it or not!

No tricks here folks, just another lucky treat thrown my way. I'll be hosting my very own radio show on Perspective Radio.Com:

Perspective Radio.Com is based here in the LA area. I met the folks who run the station last year at a local arts festival and ran into them again at this year's event. I updated them on the release of the EL MUERTO DVD and they suggested that I appear on one of their other shows, CinNews, to talk about my movie experience. (That interview was conducted last night, by the way).

But as I was talking to Renato from Perspective Radio that day at the art fair, he mentioned that they were looking to add another program to their line-up. A 'geek culture'-type of show. Sci-Fi/ movie/TV and ...comics. As we talked of the type of program it would be, he suggested that I maybe could co-host the segments on comics. Since we were speaking at an art fair that day, I would occasionally head back to watch my own table. Throughout the day I'd go back to the Perspective Radio booth and chat some more with Renato. I would start telling him about my nearly 10 years experience in comics. The trials and tribulations of self-publishing, the many travels to conventions and signings, the whole Muerto movie experience. I told him about all the artists and creators I had met in the last 10 years, and on and on.

He looked at me and said' "You should host your own show!". To which I could only agree! Seriously, that's pretty much how it happened. The next day I emailed Renato and started to outline my idea for how the show would be set up. I was even brazen enough to suggest that we drop the co-hosting idea for the other show and let me be sole host of my own show! Overnight I gave a lot of thought to hosting my own comic book radio show. Outside of the time commitment, I could never come up with any reasons not to do it. I thought about why I went ahead and accepted the movie deal. To bring my idea to wider audience. A radio show about the subject of comics is very different from a film adaptation of my comic book. But the point is, it's another platform form where to communicate ideas to another audience, in this case, my great love for the comics medium.

Opportunities like this are supposed to come once in great while. But here it was less than a month after the El Muerto DVD gets released and I have the chance to host my own radio show! The show will give me the stage to talk about the kinds of comics I like, and the various issues and people in the field that I think should be heard. I'll be focusing quite a bit on self-published comicss, with an emphasis on the artists. But there are so many other things to talk about as well. One thing I won't be spending too much time on, if any, are the Big Two publishers. I mean, they have more that enough mouthpieces, ah... I mean, outlets where their comics are talked about! Course, the thing about the Big Two is that they have had some great creators and comics in their pasts. So looking back at the comics I grew up with will certainly fill some programming.

And to be honest, as a kid I always thought Wolfman Jack, the legenday radio personality, was a very cool dude with a really cool job. Sitting in a room talking to people over the radio.
And even when I saw the Clint Eastwood movie, PLAY MISTY FOR ME, I thought that Clint's character had a great job: hosting a jazz show from the top of a lighthouse, in the middle of the night. Well, everything except the crazy stalker girlfriend he met!

This will be a pretty self-indulgent show, when you think about it. It'll be about the things I want to talk about! But it'll be my responsibility to Perspective Radio.Com and the audience to make the show interesting and entertaining. Shouldn't be too hard, considering I'm talking about comics!

Stay tuned here for info on my first guest and more about PLANET COMIC BOOK RADIO!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Live radio interview on Tues., Oct 30

Yeesh, it's been a few weeks since I posted here! Well, I've been working on some stuff behind-the-scenes, and in fact I will be using my upcoming radio appearance to announce just what exatly my newest project will be.

Tuesday, October 30, at 4pm, I'll be interviewed live on PerspectiveRadio.Com's CinNews show. Hosted by writer/producer/director Scott Essman, CinNews covers all aspects of the movie business. His previous two interviews have included Rob Zombie and filmmaker Frank Darabont (The Green Mile & The Shawshank Redemption). I'll be talking to Scott about making the EL MUERTO movie and, as I mentioned, I'll announce my latest project!

Monday, October 08, 2007

One Fast Day in San Jose

Saturday, Oct. 6, I made a whirlwind trip to the SiliCon convention in San Jose. Lemme tell ya, them one day turn-a-round flights are a killer!

San Jose, for those unfamiliar with Muerto folklore, is the city where EL MUERTO was debuted as a comic book back in 1998...last century, or millenium, if anyone's counting! I was invited to show the film and also attend a comics-to-film panel, so I was arranged to to it all in one day, as that worked best for my schedule.

My flight from LAX was scheduled to leave at 7:45am, and unfortunately I arrived at the airport at about 7:30! I rushed to the ticket booth to get my boarding pass as was told by the nice lady that it was too late to board. I panicked, of course, and tried this line on her: "Um, Miss...I'm scheduled to make an 11:30am appearance at a show in San Jose. Is there anyway I can make that flight?!". So, probably not even concerned with my reason, she dialed the checkpoint upstairs, then told me, "Okay, go up that escalator". So I rushed and then told the security guy running the screening process "Ah, they called from downstairs. My flight leaves in a few minutes..", I tell the guy, even as he's looking at me like he'd rather bounce me down the escalator!. I misunderstand what he says and proceed to the back of the line, which is about 100 or so people long. I hear a very loud, angry yell, "SIR..SIR!!!". It appears that I wasn't supposed to get in the back of the line but actually get to proceed ahead of everyone. It was really nerve-wracking hearing a guard yell in an airport. Everyone looked at me for a second as if I was a Mad Bomber or something!

So I go through the security screening, then scramble down the hall, pulling my jacket and shoes back on as I frantically try to make my gate. Of course, the plane had left.

I felt like a limp noodle. "Ah crap.... Damn...%&$#* *$#&^(%^ _@#$@&$%^ !!!!!" You get the idea. I walk to a United Airlines customer service booth and ask for the next flight. 12:30. And the screening is scheduled at 11:30. More language follows that would embarass a drill sergeant. Okay, better call Chris Knight, my liason at the convention.

"Hey Javier, how's it going?" he asks. "Um, not good.............I missed my flight." Gulp. And worse, I had the copy of the DVD on me! No me, no screening! But I tell Chris to get someone over to Blockbuster ASAP and rent the damn thing, I'll pay! Eventually we suggests that I look at another airline, and lo and behold, another filght is available in about an hour. That means I make the screening and can grab myself a couple of sausage biscuits at McDonald's!

So I board the flight a much nicer, happier Jav. Flying into the city of San Jose, I can't help but think of the time I went there, back in 1998. I drove up with a friend, my boxes of b&w photocopied EL MUERTO comics ready to debut to the world (or at least the attendees to that year's Alternative Press Expo). Now I was flying into the same city, with a copy of the Muerto movie in my carry-on bag! Pretty flippin' cool, I thought to myself.

I get picked up at the airport by Chris and get shuttled to the San Jose DoubleTree, where the con is being held. Because I had just arrived, I wanted a little time to decompress, so I handed the tech guys the DVD and told them I'd be back in an hour and a half for the Q&A. As I wandered around the exhibitors area, I ran into a couple of LA-area comic creators and caught up with them. I also ran into Lee Hester, a local San Jose comics retailer who I had met years ago through my pal Rafael Navarro. Lee's Comics is one of the area's movers and shakers, and Lee himself is a very entertaining, dapper gent. Some years ago he and I walked across the floor of the San Deigo Comic Con singing James Bond Theme Songs! And all the time I was dressed up as Rafael's character, SONAMBULO!! (That was in my pre-El Muerto Creator days, when I could take the time to spokesmodel as my friend's creations!) How's that for a nugget of Jav-Lore?

So Lee and I catch up with one another, and I tell him that my film is screening next door. Lee then tells his employee to watch the booth as me and Mr. Hester head on over to catch EL MUERTO! I wasn't planning on watching the film again, but as usual I sat down and enjoyed it. Each time I seem to focus on another aspect of the story or on a particular character. This time I was transfixed on the lovely Angie Cepeda.... and her character Maria. Not a bad sight to fixate on, believe me.

After the screening, I had about a half hour break until the Comics-to-Film panel I was scheduled for. I relaxed a bit then soon found myself sharing a table with a couple of other comics writers and a the cast/crew of a fan film called THE CROW: PURGATORY 2. These folks apparantly have recieved some good reaction with their film, a sequel to their previous entry. Crow creator James O'Barr is said to have given his support to their film, which is cool. I'd love to see an EL MUERTO fan film, to be honest! Afterwards, I asked the Crow team if I could take a photo with them. I told them that I too often hear knee-jerk reactions that the Muerto comic, and film, are Crow 'wannabees'. That would be because Muerto's got a white skull face and wear's black, and has come back from the dead. But like I told the Crow film folks, all the guys who come back from the dead go for the b&w look: Beetlejuice, Jack Skelington, The Crow, etc.! They laughed, and agreed, and so the creator of El Muerto and the filmakers behind the Crow fan film took this picture in Dead Guy solidarity.

As I was only there at the con for a day, I didn't bring any product to set up. I walked the various exhibits and isles of the convention and did manage to come across R2D2 signing at a table!

I also ran into this gentlemen, who was toting around Rascal, the self-proclaimed Ugliest Dog in the World. Hmm....

I had told a friend of mine, Miguel,that I would be in San Jose that day. We met up at the convention later in the day and left for dinner, as I had about an hour and a half til my flight. Miguel took me to a great little Mexican restaurant not far from the hotel. We indulged in tacos, enchiladas, and strawberry margaritas (well, I did...). He brought a copy of the Muerto DVD he had purchased, and he told me how much he enjoyed the film. I signed his copy, and in fact that's been the first DVD I've signed! That felt like a full circle. Signing a copy of the DVD almost 10 years later after signing the first Muerto comics in San Jose all that time ago......

I made it to the airport with plenty of time to spare. In fact, the place was fairly empty, least by LAX standards. Kinda spooky, but at the same time a welcome relief from the whirlwind day I had experienced. In a way it's been whirlwind decade of EL Muerto. For the next 45 minutes or so I was able to enjoy the downtime. Then I was on a nightflight back to LA.

And another 10 years of EL Muerto. And more Life in general.