Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Mini-comic in progress: DEAD DINOSAURIO

The above work-in-progress logo is for the project I'm currently working on, a mini-comic: DEAD DINOSAURIO & EZTLI: The First Calaca.

You may be aware of my Calacas of Justice project? Where I'm creating a team of Day of the Dead superheroes, based in part on classic superhero archetypes (or cliches). I've done two Poster Comics featuring The Spider-Calaca and the BatiCalaca. Calacas is Spanish for the skeletal figures you often see during Dia de Los Muertos, the Mexican holiday celebrating the life of deceased loved ones, friends and family members. 

Add to that growing roster of characters Dead Dinosaurio, and his young sidekick Eztli (that's 'Blood' in  Nahuatl, the native language of the Aztecs).  A boy and his dinosaur. Whether it's Moon Boy & Devil Dinosaur or that kid hanging out with the giant turtle, Gamera, there's a whole genre of a fiction teaming up a kid with a giant creature. That's something I definitely wanted to explore in a comic. 

 The boy who rode a giant, nuclear turtle!

As a way of introducing these two, I had to conceive an origin story for them. Who was the boy? And why did he have a T-Rex for a pet? Originally I thought of them as having a prehistoric origin (even though we're told that humans and dinosaurs were separated by millions of years). Then I came up with the idea of making the boy a young Aztec. But then I had to come up with a reason for him running around with a dinosaur! Well, that was easy...

During the Spanish Conquest of Mexico, I figured, young Eztli had come across a huge chunk of amber embedded into the side of a mountain. While not recognizing what was inside (perhaps it was Quetzalcoatl, the feathered serpent diety?) he began to slowly scrape away as much rock from the amber tomb as he could, returning every day to start anew. Once the Spaniards launched their siege of the Aztec city-state Tenochtitlan, Eztli runs back into the mountains and tries desperately to free the thing within the amber, praying that it will somehow be able to help his people....

  Thumbnails to a three page sequence.

This shouldn't be a spoiler, but, as seen in the above, it wasn't a god that was encased in the amber....

 So, before there can be a skeletal version of Eztli and the dinosaur, there has to be flesh & blood versions of them. That's what this story is about. The artwork for the book will be colored in gray tones, which still need to be added, with the final, printed book available by July. I'll keep you updated here as well as on my Twitter, DeviantArt and Facebook pages.

In researching dinosaurs, and Mexico and the Conquest, I discovered that about 15 years ago there was a movie about a Tyrannosaurus Rex running rampant during the Conquest of Mexico! Tyrannosaurus Azteca !? To say I was surprised was an understatement. A little bruised ego never stopped me, though.... You can watch the film on YouTube. It's quite....something else. So, if there was a precedent for the niche genre of dinosaurs and the Conquest, well then, I'm happy to add my own unique take on it!

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