Tuesday, January 25, 2011

My upcoming comics for 2011 and beyond...

I'm working on my latest comic book right now, I've written a script for another book to be illustrated by another artist, and my research for a 3rd project has begun. Here's a look at what I have coming up in my publishing plans for 2011:


In the time since Pt 1 was published, we saw the publication of MANGA MUERTO Vol 1, MAN-SWAMP, COMIC POP, The COMIC POP SKETCHBOOK and the limited edition WANTED:WEAPON TEX-MEX (all currently available in my Web Shop!). But now it's time to finally getting back to the continuing adventures of El Muerto!

Here's the first page I've inked. It's not actually the first page of the comic, but I wanted to start off with working on a splash page as a way to hit the ground running. Also, this way I have something to show you with a little extra pizzaz! The page needs just a couple of details finished, then it will be scanned and taken into Photoshop for the inevitable clean-up. 

Here are a couple of shots of my thumbnails, the 'rough drafts' of the actual story:

I plan out the majority of the issue in my head, kind of like running a movie in my brain, where I literally see the visual narrative of the story. Then I scrawl out the story onto paper, often noting the placement of word balloons. Sometimes I'll add the dialogue, but more often than not I keep drawing, as I haven't decided upon the exact words I want the characters to say, although I know what the scene is about, and how they're expressing themselves. Once I'm done doing the thumbnails for the whole book, I'll pencil and ink the entire story, at full size, after which I scan the pages into the computer. I bring the images into Illustrator and create the word balloons, and dialogue the entire story, at this stage.

I'll be posting lots more about the production of DEAD & CONFUSED Pt 2 over the next several months, along with sneak peeks and publishing dates/details. The other comic that I currently have in the works is:


 Dead Dinosaurio, Sharpie drawing on canvas board.

This comic is a change of pace from the Muerto story I'm working
on for several reason. One of the things about this comic is that it's conceived and geared to be an All-Ages book, meaning the content is appropriate for younger aged readers. Clean, action-packed, comic book fun, like a Saturday morning cartoon. The other thing that makes this book different is that while I created all the characters, I'm only going to writing this one. I'm working with a fellow comic book creator, John Narcomey, who'll be penciling and inking the book. We're doing a coin toss who see who'll color it!
BatiCalaca, acrylic painting on canvas.

John's the creator of GHOST FACE, JUNGLE JIVE and a few other titles. I've know him for some years. A lot of times, artists tell each other "We should work on a project together." Well, the timing, and project, were right, and so John's on board to help me launch the CALACAS OF JUSTICE. I'm finishing up some of the character designs for John, but I'll update you folks here in the coming months on the progress of that book as well, including the first look at John's take on these characters.

Spider-Calaca, acrylic painting on canvas.

Who are the Calacas of Justice? A team of superheroes from the afterlife city of Posadaville. 'Calacas' are the skeletal figures which are commonly used in the art of Dia de Los Muertos (The Mexican Day of the Dead). These characters are inspired by the popular superhero archetypes we all know and love. Visually, I wanted to give them a certain design that calls to mind those illegal, knock-off toys you occassionaly see of Superman or X-Men, for example. The colors and details are sometimes off, but they resemble the original characters to a point. But they're often wonderfully garish and bizarre looking.

 Calaca Americano, digital drawing created in Adobe Illustrator.


My final major project I'm working on this year is Top Secret. It's a fictional tale based on a real person. A famous person, for that matter. What's really interesting for me is to actually be researching my subject. I've never really had to do much research for my previous comics, other than the usual visual references (what's a crocodile look like, carnival scenes, taking photographs in my city, etc.).

But due to the fact that this is based on a real person, I wanted to get a pretty good idea how the person thinks, acts, talks, etc, plus accumulate as many relevant biographical anecdotes as possible. This has included purchasing a handful of books (autobiographic & biographic) and DVDs, and even getting a Researcher's ID card at particular local library/museum. Also, doodling the character's likeness, along with other supporting characters, is something I do to help me get familiar with the subjects.

The primary focus about this Top Secret project that I'll be working on, while I produce the new El Muerto and collaborate on the CALACAS, will be to continue taking notes from the various books and films I'll be watching when I'm away from the art table. I won't start drawing any of the actual pages until El Muerto and the CALACAS are done and printed. I'll also be updating you here as I go along into the research, and how it impacts my storytelling. My best estimate is that I'll start drawing this book in the Fall of this year. For now though, I guess we can refer to this mystery comic as:

One word about another project people have asked me about. Last year I announced that my political/satirical comic, DEMOLITION DOVE, was going to debut as a web comic. Well, it's still going to be my first webcomic, but I'm going to move it to next year. 

What happened was that after the horrific tragedy in Arizona, with the shooting of Congresswoman Giffords and the murder of 6 innocent bystanders, the airwaves were filled with all kinds of emotional and vitriolic talk about violence and the so-called 'targeting of politicians' by political 'hate speech'. Well, I'm not going to turn this post into my own political rant on the subject, but it was because of this climate that I decided to hold off a year on putting my story out in the public arena. Of course, predictably, even as the President himself declared that the shooting was not a direct result of the influence of political speech, the same hysterical feuds between the left and the right have resumed. There really is no hope for the two parties, is there? And to be very honest, having the webcomic run during the 2012 election year is just a way more smarter move, as a publisher!

DEMOLITION DOVE deals with an alternate world, parallel to ours to a point, populated by a different species. Think PLANET OF THE APES with bird people. It's a nightmarish world, told through scorching satire and black humor, where the most extremist elements of the left wing and the right wing are battling for control of the government, the media is an immoral law unto itself, and the world's terrorists have formed a corporation. 

The main protagonist deals with it in the only way that works in this world gone mad:

 (You can read the Demolition Dove preview story online at Webcomics Nation by clicking here)

There will be no shortage of targets and bullseyes and surveyor's symbols in this book! But, and I'm going to have to make sure to repeat this periodically, this is a fictional, satirical story, not a blueprint for political assassination

So these are the primary comic book projects that I have on the assembly line. There may be a short story or two that pop up, and of course there are other matters to attend to this year, like conventions, my increasing amount of comic book workshops and any other artistic endeavors that I end up pursuing. But this year, the focus for me will be on producing some new comic books!


Nelius said...

Nice!, sounds like it will be a busy but productive year. The new El Muerto pages looks great.

Glad to hear you will be working with someone as talented as John. I can't wait to see what you guys bust out. It sounds like a fun project.

Saving Demolition Dove for 2012 is a smart idea, so many marketing opportunities. You got your work cut out for you.

- Neil

Jason Martin said...

You know I just love the Galacas, and the Muerto pages are lookin good.
It's funny, driving home how much you're into Ditko, and seeing his work as you highlight it etc, it really helps me pin down your style... it's soooo Ditko! :)

Can't wait for the secret project (and of course Demolition Dove).
Get to work Javi!

gonzalexx said...

Excellent laying down the road, Jav. Lots of exciting projects. Sorry you had to re-schedule Demolition Dove, but I think its a wise move too.
I like that all-ages comic too. I imagine all those workshops have had an effect, being with youngsters. You just want to give and make them smile, don't you? Very Rewarding!
Best of luck! "You Da' Man"!

Javier Hernandez said...

Gonzalexx:I've had the idea for the all-ages CALACAS for a while, but yes, meeting so many younger kids in my recent workshops reinforces to me that I need more material suitable for them. Plus it's fun to use the approach I'm taking, in that I want to tell lighthearted, straight-forward action stories.

Jason: Mister Dude, thanxs! As I get older, the influence of Ditko and his art seems to get stronger and stronger, while opening up my style to further experimentation.

Neil: It's really nice to be able to hand the art chores over to someone you can trust. Plus it's the only way to increase my output!

Archie Leach said...

Hmmm...If I had to guess, I'd say the biography is on Nixon.

M Kitchen said...


Some exciting looking stuff. El Muerto with the little skull girl looks great. I also like Spider-Calaca - he feels like a Watchmen character.

And that Demolition Dove cover (?) is an instant classic!

Javier Hernandez said...

Archie: It'll be interesting to see everyone's speculative theories until I announce more info!

Mike: Thanks man. I like that 'Watchman' comment! And the Demolition Dove piece was done as a promo, but also a tip of the hat to those great G.I. JOE toy packages from the 80s. It's purpose is to ruffle some feathers...! :)