Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Feliz Navidad

Here's an EL MUERTO Christmas poem I wrote back in 2006 for this blog. For any newcomers, here's the link!

Thanks to everyone for reading my ramblings here over the past year. I always appreciate it when people tune in to what I have to say!

Everyone have a Happy Holiday Season and Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 05, 2008

1 Year Anniversary podcast of PLANET COMIC BOOK RADIO

On Nov. 25, I had my 1 Year Anniversary podcast of my internet radio show, PLANET COMIC BOOK RADIO. There's been a little delay in getting the podcat edited and uploaded, but I was informed the other day by producer Renato Aguirre that he finally got it done!

My first show was actually podcast live on Nov. 20, 2007. My inaugural guest for that show was good friend and publisher/creator JASON MARTIN. Jason called in again for the Anniversary show to with me well and update us on his latest projects.

Here's what it looks like as I'm talking to Jason on the show. Yep, PCBR is proud to use Apple products for our podcasting!

Joining me in the studio were my fellow producer RENATO AGUIRRE and friend and Cartoonista Co-founder JIM LUJAN! Jimmy actually drew me a brand new PCBR poster during my interviews with Renato and Jason!

Here's me multi-tasking: Interviewing Jason Martin via phone, and taking a pic of myself, with ol' Jimmy Lujan working his marker magic in the background!

Hey Jimmy, I like it! I really like it!

To cap off this special podcast, we cracked open the cider! Yeah, I know, I was hoping for champagne, but since we do actually podcast from a school (The Digital Business and Design College), we had to kinda lay low on the booze!

No doubt about it, this was a great way to celebrate a year of great interviews. I can honestly say that doing this show has been tremendously enriching for me this past year. My idea was always to put the spotlight on the many great, hard-working and talented artists I know of, either personally or through their work. As a self-published cartoonist myself, I know the sometimes lonely task of going about our work and wondering if we're reaching anyone. With this show, I feel grateful to be able to help these cartoonists get their name out there. Sure, it's not like we've got Howard Stern numbers, but a popular interview on my show can reach many listeners across the land (and beyond).

I often have guests in the studio, and what's fun about that is we can talk face to face and afterwards grab some dinner after the podcast! Our preferred restaurant at PCBR is ALBERTO'S MEXICAN FOOD, located right down the street from our studio. But the majority of my guests have been phone interviews. Besides cartoonists and indie publishers, my guest have included folks within the greater comic book culture. I've had Tommy, who runs the famous Bat-Blog, talk about how and why he runs a Batman website. Blake Bell has been on the show to talk about his book on Steve Ditko. And probably the one interview which for me was a personal dream come true, I was able to interview Peter Fernandez, the voice of Speed Racer! Peter not only voiced the original cartoons, but was responsible for writing and directing the English translation of this classic Japanese cartoon. Speed Racer of course is my favorite cartoon series of all time, and to have been able to talk to Peter was without a doubt one of the great benefits of having started this radio show in the first place.

Another show that stands to me is the Bill Mantlo tribute episode. Bill was a tremendously prolific comic book writer in the 70s and 80s. His were some of the first books I read off the comics spinner rack, and he's always been one of my favorite writers. About 15 years ago, he was injured in a serious accident, which has left him in the care of his brother Mike. So I contacted Mike and asked if he could come on the show and share with us some memories of his brother Bill. I also invited David Yurkovich, who wrote a tribute magazine for Bill Mantlo. This was another one of those special shows that makes me grateful that I have a show like this.

So as the show enters it's second year, I hope to continue with bringing more independent artists in the spotlight. And I also want to expand a little bit with even more guests that fit into the 'wider comic book culture'. Folks who may not necessarily create independent comics, but who work on books, magazines,websites devoted to comics, or have even worked on film and television projects with comic book ties. But my main focuse will be the people who create comics, and do so under their own hard work and independent spirit!

Listen to the episode here!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving Day to everyone!

For my supportive family and friends, my inspirational peers, and the wonderful fans over the years...Thanks!

Monday, November 24, 2008

PLANET COMIC BOOK RADIO 1 Year Anniversary Party Podcast

My first episode of PLANET COMIC BOOK RADIO was podcast live back on November 20, 2007. And now 1 year later, we're gearing up for a whole new year of interviews and great guests. But first we'll take a little time to talk about the good old days!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Cartoonistas kicked it at GEEKS Live Art event last night!

The Cartoonistas' Live Art event, RECESSION EXPRESSIONS, was a big hit last night at GEEKS comic shop in Whittier!

GEEKS is a great store, and they've hosted us before for the Cartoonistas Gallery Show, as well as hosting my Q&A for the EL MUERTO film screening held at the Whittier Independent Film Festival earlier in the year.

The Cartoonistas inducted a new member to the group: Roxanna:
Here's Roxy drawing two of her friends in their underwear holding large loafs of bread! (WTF?!) Welcome aboard, Roxy!

Cartoonistas Co-founder and all around Super Patriot Jim Lujan crafting another page of yummy goodness:

GEEKS went all-out with the wild and far-out promotion! Here's our plan to inspire comic shops across the nation, 'A Cartoonista in Every Front Window Display'!:

Before any human rights activists get alarmed, we did indeed rotate the artists. So every 'Toonista got their turn to be put on display!

When comics geeks read that President-to-Be Barrack Obama is a collector (probably past-tense) of Spider-Man and Conan, well..I hadda address that!:
This got a lot of amused responses. Good thing Whittier is a 'Blue' city!!!

Speaking of THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, here's a guy who debuted in issue #129: Frank Castle, a.k.a. The Punisher!!:

In addition to our window easel, and our board leaning on the wall, we even had a sit-down Cartoonista Corner. We had that place covered!:

Me and Grasiela basking in our Cartoonista Awesomeness!:

In our continued effort to promote Green Cartooning, Ted and Steve save a tree by sharing a sheet of paper! Who says this isn't the Eco-friendly Age of Cartooning?!:

"I rock!" applies to Jimmy, that's for sure.

After we finished a piece, we'd hang it on a wall and folks would pick the pieces they wanted and pay at the register:

Sal from GEEKS asked me to draw him El Muerto as the GEEKS logo (if you see my hand-lettered Geeks logo, you'll see why I computer letter my comics!):

This was a great event, for everyone. GEEKS had pretty good business that evening, the patrons enjoyed seeing the artwork and bought up a lot of the pieces, and us Cartoonistas had a fantastic time drawing and yakking it up. Thanks to my friends the Cartoonistas, everyone who stopped by and showed support, and of course to Sal and GEEKS for hosting us yet again!

Check out The Cartoonistas blog for more pics!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

APE 2008 report...PT 2!!

Day 2 of APE turned out a little better in terms of actual sales. The heavy rains from Saturday seemed to have let up a bit, so there were more people attending the show (that's my estimate, anyways). To be honest though, I don't know if they were spending that much more money than Saturday's crowd. Kinda light on sales for many of us this year.....

Course, it could have been raining bloody eyeballs, and I still would have had a great day! After another breakfast feast at Ahn's, I swung by the local 7-11 and bought several copies of the local paper. It was Sunday, and that meant the color funnies were out, and that meant that El Muerto's appearance in the BALDO newspaper strip climaxed that day.

To see El Muerto in the color Sunday newspaper strip was such a great feeling. To see him sharing the page with GARFIELD was downright surreal! I actually got to write the Sunday appearance,as well as drawing the Muerto figures. And artist Carlos Castellanos did a great job coloring the entry, as he always does. Read about the El Muerto/Baldo crossover here.

I had a copy of the Sunday strip with me at the show, and during the day a lady walked by, saw my El Muerto banner, and told me "Hey, I saw that character in the Baldo strip this morning!". I was proud as a papa to explain to her the whole crossover. I was really stoked to hear someone actually saw the strip that day.

Among the visitors that day was my lovely cousin, Monica. Hadn't seen here in, like, sheesh...15 years or so! And I didn't even know she was living in San Francisco for the last 9!

My traveling partners, and good friends, Michael Aushenker and Ted Seko catch a break in the action. I've probably partnered with Mike more times at conventions than with any other friends of mine. Not hard to figure out why: Mike's hysterical at times and always fun to travel with. A real mensch, as the ancient Aztecs used to say! And Ted is someone I met at a zine fest back in 2001 or so. He hasn't done too many shows, but the guy's made lots of of mini-comics and zines and even graphic novels over the years. He and are I launching a new joint imprint XOMIX COMIX, in 2009!

The witty and talented Chris Wisnia was down the hallway from me. Chris does some hilarious comics, my favorite being his DORIS DANGER monster books. I interviewed Chris some weeks back on my radio show, PLANET COMIC BOOK RADIO. He's a hard-working talent and real personable guy!

This guy, I'm going to have on my radio show! Rob Osborne, the electric artist and writer of "1000 Steps To World Domination!" and 'The Nearly Infamous Zango". I met Rob very briefly last year at WizardWorld Texas, but this time we had a chance to talk comic book boot camp. Once he referred to indie publishing as 'the Wild West', I knew this man was dead serious about making it in comics! Look for Rob to show up in December on the show.

A friend I run into periodically at these shows is Jaime Crespo. I must must have first met Jaime years ago, and I don't think I've seen him for a couple of years. But we ran into each other and caught up on old times.
Jaime's what I can consider an old school/alt/indie cartoonist. His comics work dates back to the late 80s/early 90s. When he's not chatting it up with his 'old school' pals Jaime and Mario Hernandez, Dan Clowes or Keith Knight, he's talking to neo-old school/johhny-come-lately guys like me!! (?). Jaime also hosts a radio show in the Bay Area, so we're gonna plan some kinda crossover between his show and mine. I like the tiny sombrero!

APE, as you can see, is a mix of many things: You're their to sell your work and meet old and new fans, and you also get to catch up with old friends and make new ones. In my case, I also get to find new guests for my radio show! But APE has always been for me, a very fun show to do. I'll wrap this report up with PT 3 over the weekend, so come back to hear about the Indian Pizza we had for dinner, the Day of the Dead celebrations in San Francisco, and the First Meeting of the Sons of the Cat!!!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

APE 2008 report...PT. 1!!

Geez, it's been about a week since the Alternative Press Expo in San Francisco, and I think I better get to blogging about it! As it is, here's PART 1!!

Okay, so, this was my 10th APE I've exhibited at consecutively. Pretty cool! 10 years since I first debuted EL MUERTO at APE, back in it's early days when it was held in San Jose, CA.

This year, like every other year, I drove up. This time with two friends, Michael Aushenker and Ted Seko. We drove into San Francisco late Friday evening, Halloween, and picked up our badges at the mixer held by Last Gasp Publishing. After 'mixing', we drove back across the Bay Bridge into Oakland and hunted down a motel. It was drizzling on and off throughout the evening, but no major drama.

Early Friday morning, Michael and I decided to take Ted to breakfast at Ahn's Burgers, a fantastic little mom & pop diner we fell in love with on previous trips. Burgers, shakes and the All-American breakfast, that's what makes a good ol' fashioned restaurant. Course, we got there about 45 minutes early, and we were hearbroken as Mike headed back to the car to give us the bad news. But then, the front door opens and the cook (probably co-owner) waves us in! We figured it's either a sign of the economy, or just good old fashioned hospitality (I would wage the later!).

So there we are, the three of us counting our good fortunes. We already figured the trip was a success (hint to exhibitors: always look outside of any sales you may make at your table for signs of good fortune!). As luck would have it, I was served first, literally receiving the first plate of food hot off the grill!

Michael (l) and I savoring our fresh, hot meals for the press!

After eating like Kings, we head on over to the Concourse in San Francisco, which is only about 20 minutes or so over the Bay Bridge. APE is usually held in Feb or April, so this year's Fall date gave us a little wetter weather, but other than that, all seemed the same as before (keep reading!).

This year's spread at my table was pretty rockin': new El Muerto comic book, new issue of my long dormant newsletter, THE BORDER, the EL MUERTO DVD and some XOMIX COMIX promo material!

There was sporadic rain that Saturday, at times it was coming down pretty hard. Combined with the Halloween weekend, and the move from it's usual date, it's fair to say that the audience was lighter that day. And with the economy the shape it's in, spending was down. But, I have to say, I still had a wonderful experience there. Of course there is always the old fans stopping by the table, and you always make new fans at any show. But I also get the chance to meet up with those once-a-year acquaintances you see at every show, as well as friends you haven't seen in years.

Here's JB and Anita. I first met them at the Santa Barbara Zine Fest back in 2000 or 2001! JB I run into at least once a year, but Anita I haven't seen since the Zine Fest! What's that old, tired cliche....? Seems like only yesterday....

Here's a nice couple I met on the internet. (Sounds a lot worse than it really is!). Scott and Audra, who were celebrating their 1 Year Wedding Anniversary, flew in from Hawaii for the show! Imagine leaving Hawaii for rainy California! They're really nice folks, and put out some attractive work. Check out their site NEMU NEMU for the goodness!

It's not officially an APE unless Rafael Navarro of SONAMBULO fame is there with his charm and wit and eye-popping art!

Another APE regular is dear, sweet Roxie! I met her at APE years ago and she's a great pal to see every year.

Roxie and I always try to have fun at these shows, and this little trip to the JACK CHICK table qualified, fer sure!

One of the gems I bought was this particularly "imaginative" anti-Catholic Chick Tract..THE DEATH COOKIE!! Stuff like this can either be very offensive, or provide me with some chuckles. The Death Cookie!!?? That is awesome...despite the nasty bit of propaganda it's pushing.


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?!)