Monday, June 15, 2009

The Way of the MANGA MUERTO pt. 1

I started tinkering around with some cover designs for my next book. MAN-SWAMP is currently at the printers, and as soon as I receive my proof, if all is well, I can place an order for the first run.

In the meantime, I'm already planning for October, where it looks like I'll have three conventions to attend on three separate weekends! One of them is APE, the comic show I debuted EL MUERTO at back in 1998 and the one show I've exhibited at every single year since. The year I'll have the MAN-SWAMP comic to premiere there, as well as the following book. This is my initial mock-up for the cover, and who knows what I may come up with later, but I'm happy with the way the design is shaping up:

The drawing was actually done in crayon, which is something I've wanted to try for awhile. The textures you get from crayons was what I was most interested in. I liked using them, but I think when I redraw the image, I may ask a friend of mine to watercolor it. The softness of crayons doesn't let me get the fine points out of them that I'd like to. But I like the pose of the character. I just need to draw his flying robot in the sky above, and tinker a bit with some compositional elements.

Flying robot? Yeah, you didn't know? Manga Muerto has a giant flying robot called SKELETRON!

Pencil layouts by me, finished art & inks by Rafael Navarro

In the debut Manga Muerto story, I introduced Skeletron along with this version of El Muerto. The whole reason of doing this story was my desire to create my own giant Japanese robot comic, so I figured I'd just turn Muerto into a Japanese-esque character, in the honorable tradition of childhood favorites like GIGANTOR and JOHNNY SOKKO AND HIS FLYING ROBOT. Marvel had licensed SPIDER-MAN to Japan in 1970 for a manga and later, a live-action TV show. And DC had authorized BATMAN to appear in manga in the 1960s. Figured I'd do it myself, as I was a fan of Japanese comic and cartoon heroes anyways. This was a four page story that I premiered in my old newsletter, THE BORDER. (It was reprinted in EL MUERTO MISH MASH). On that first story, my good friend and fellow DIY comics creator Rafael Navarro (of Xeric Award winning SONAMBULO fame) collaborated with me. I wrote the story and did pencil layouts, and Rafael finished the art and beautified it with his stellar ink work. He sure did a fabulous job, don't ya think?

The second appearance of Manga Muerto was in 2001, in a photocopied squarebound comic called SUPER COMICS BLAST. For this story, I teamed up with another friend and comic creator, Ted Seko. We decided to do a team-up story where he brought in his character, Skyman (who late was renamed Fusion Man) and supporting cast, and collaborated with me on a story involving Monster Mechs and two groups of intergalactic gangs of evildoers! Ted and I hammered out the story, I did the pencil layouts and took lead on the dialogue, while Ted did the finishes on the art and inked in his trademark style. That was a really fun time, as we both have very similar interests in some of the classic Japanese shows. Here's the cover to the long out-of-print SUPER COMICS BLAST!

Ted inked the drawing and also provided an ink wash, I handled the penciling. Ted's SKYMAN is the robot on the right. In the background is SKELETRON, whom Muerto controls via cell phone!

About the MANGA MUERTO VOL. 1 comic: It'll reprint the first two stories mentioned above, as well as featuring a brand new short story I'll be working on all by little lonesome. I've got four cartoonist in mind to ask for pin-ups (the eagle-eyed among you will have noticed that I've blocked the names out on the cover until I actually approach the people!). I threw a halftone filter over the artwork, just to see how it would look. Like I mentioned, I'm going to try to get the drawing watercolored. The logo may get some tinkering, but I like the color schemes. It seems to have a real playful, manga pop art look that I think fits these stories well. Not exactly sure of the page count, so the price point may change. But I like to mock up these covers and look them over for awhile. Often I can either get sick of them right away or see little things that need tinkering to make them better. This one I'm really digging.

Stay tuned for more updates!


Greenblatt the Great! said...

already looking snazzy, Javy! Love the crazy-zee Crayola cover!

Anonymous said...

The LONG-AWAITED return of Manga Muerto! Can't wait to see this one Javier!

Jim Lujan said...

Truly inspired! I really dig this project!

Javier Hernandez said...

Thanks for all the nice comments, folks! I'm so fueled to finish the new Manga Muerto story, and to show a whole new group of people those two, earlier stories!