Sunday, December 29, 2013

Looking back at 2013, and ahead....

A few more days and we're off to a whole new year!

That means another year's worth of experiences, new challenges to undertake, new goals to conquer....

For me specifically, it means continuing to pursue new opportunities for teaching my comics classes, as well as pursuing further venues in which to explore my art.

It's going to mean more comics, too. In the end, I like creating in various mediums, and I do mean to pursue more painting and gallery shows. But really, I want to continue in creating new comics, and further my skills in telling stories. Entertaining stories with strong visual identity, but also honing in on what makes storytelling in comics so appealing to me as an artist.

A large part of this past year involved putting a lot of work into organizing three comic conventions! In the end, the events were all worthwhile endeavors, but there's no way I want to spend 2014 as involved in organizing events on that scale. In between all the heavy lifting of putting on these shows, I managed to squeeze in various comics works and drawing assignments. Those moments seemed liked finding a heavenly oasis while marching through a large landscape of unending tasks.

As a co-founder and Creative Director of the Latino Comics Expo, we put on two shows this year. One in June at the Cartoon Art Museum in San Francisco, and another in Long Beach at the Museum of Latin American Art.

In between those two shows, I managed to work on the San Gabriel Valley Comic Book Expo, in my capacity as a Director of the Nuvein Foundation.

I've been on the Board of the Nuvein Foundation for some years now, and was the instigator of our first Comic Book Expo a few years ago. This past Summer though I informed my friends at Nuvein that I'd be retiring from the Board following the latest SGV Comics Expo so I could focus more on getting back to creating artwork and pushing to take the Latino Comics Expo to further heights.

One of the biggest projects I was working on in between all the conventions (and that includes the ones I appeared at that I wasn't involved with as an organizer) was putting together my first trade-paperback collection, the LOS COMEX CODEX. An anthology of 5 of my comics that are now officially 'out-of-print'.

Another anthology I published recently was COMICS!, a full-color collection featuring my 12 one-page Poster Comics. Three of those comics were actually created this year, the others dating back from December 2011.

I contributed a cover to a recent issue of DITKOMANIA, the zine devoted to the career of comic book legend Steve Ditko.

Wearing my writer hat, I also contributed to HEY KIDS, COMICS!, an anthology featuring essays by a variety of creative professionals about their early childhood memories of comics.

I did a pinup for THE NEW ADVENTURES OF THE HUMAN FLY, as well as doing the production design for the book. As a childhood fan of the Fly, it was a real joy to have worked on this book.

Another project that gave me a tremendous amount of pride to be associated with was LATINOS AND NARRATIVE MEDIA, a new scholarly work by Frederick Aldama. I was asked to write the forward to the book, which led to me also providing the cover. And it turns out that I'm also one of the subjects of the book, in an essay entitled 'Javier Hernandez's El Muerto as an Allegory of Chicano Identity'. No one was more surprised than I to find out about that!

I even managed to squeeze in a pinup for new friend of mine, Nathaniel Osollo. He asked me to contribute to an online edition of a new story of his series DARK MOUSE (which you can read here).
In light of my earlier lamentation of being too involved with organizing events this year, as I wrote this post it dawned on me that perhaps there was plenty of time to produce new work! Well, let's suppose 2014 will see even more work, because my plan is to focus on putting one one Latino Comics Expo next year, so that can only lead to more hours available for creating.

In between all of these events and publications, my comics workshops and classes kept me gainfully employed. It's always a rewarding experience working with new groups of students and seeing them create their own works. I also kept busy with numerous signings and appearances at other comics conventions and art events, so it really is a non-stop lifestyle, this 'art' thing.

Creatively, whether producing a convention or creating new artwork, the important thing for me is to leave a mark. Express myself in various ways to connect to people, to share ideas, to celebrate the imagination. Met lots of people, solidified some new friendships, made partnerships with other like-minded folks and organizations.... Basically just lived the life I had this year.

Just last month I debuted the first of a new series of comics I've entitled '4 Pagers'. Literally 4 page comic shorts. The inaugural one, DAWN OF THE DINOSAURIO, can be read here. The next one due in January features a trio of characters who've been living in various sketchooks of mine over the last several years. A superhero team operating in the 1970s.

Appropriately, the era in which I grew up in and fueled my imagination from so many sources (comics, television, music, toys, movies, etc) will provide me with my first story in the New Year. The past keeps me in the present, the future began so many years ago.....

Thursday, November 28, 2013


Here's a brand-new comic I've just finished today, on Thanksgiving. A 4 page color comic that's actually a prequel to one of my recent comic books, DEAD DINOSAURIO.

DEAD DINOSAURIO featured the story of a T-Rex that was awakened at the height of the Conquest of Mexico by a young Aztec boy, Eztli. Together they fight back against the Spanish Conquistadores, but ultimately they don't survive. They are however resurrected as Dead Dinosaurio and Eztli, the First Calaca...

Well, I always was keen on showing some adventures of my cobalt-colored tyrannosaurus back in his heyday (some 65 million years ago, give or take an epoch or two!), DAWN OF THE DINOSAURIO does exactly that. I have more tales of Dinosaurio to tell one day, as well as a series of 4 pagers featuring all-new characters and ideas I'd like to produce as well. Four pages are relatively quick to produce, and they work in a printed format as a double-sided color print folded in half... Viola, a 4 page comic! 

After my series of a dozen one-page comics (Poster Comics), I've gotten real interested in creating short, tightly compressed stories. For now, I'd like to move onto these 4 Pagers, which will allow me to continue to explore a new batch of characters, and be able to do so in color.

By the way, the Poster Comics are collected in a printed comic book called COMICS!, and are also available to read online here. DEAD DINOSAURIO is now out of print, but it's available in my trade-paperback collection, THE LOS COMEX CODEX.

For now, please enjoy this first comic, the inaugural Los Comex 4 PAGER!

Friday, November 22, 2013

My cover and foreword for LATINOS AND NARRATIVE MEDIA

There's a new book on Latinos in media featuring cover artwork by me. I've also written the foreword to the book.

LATINOS AND NARRATIVE MEDIA is edited by Frederick Luis Aldama, an Art & Humanitites Distinguished Professor of English and founder & Director of LASER/Latino & Latin American Space for Enrichment Research at Ohio State University. Aldama has written over a dozen books, often dealing with Latino culture and identity as viewed through media and the arts.

In addition to being asked to write the foreword, Professor Aldama also informed me that I was in fact the subject of one of the chapters in the book! Written by David William Foster, the piece is entitled "Latino Comics: Javier Hernandez's El Muerto as an Allegory for Chicano Identity"

The book is an examination of the influence of Latino culture and creators on a wide spectrum of the popular arts, including film, animation, video games, tattoo art and comics. To be the topic of one of the essays took a minute or so to wrap my head around. When I originally set out to create El Muerto, my goal was to selfishly create a character that I wanted to see in print. Something that would let me express myself through the medium of comics, mixing up a wide variety of influences that inspire me. That people would find things in it that perhaps I wasn't consciously trying to address is flattering, but also speaks to the way creative people spin their stories. Whatever media we're working in, our inner lives and experiences can't help but flavor the final product.

The cover of the book uses artwork from the cover of one of my comics, MANGA MUERTO Vol 1. I submitted several images to the publisher, and in the end they used the one they liked best. Looking at the final cover, designed by Will Speed, I think they made a great choice. This book is a scholarly treatise, so my personal guess is that the comic art on the cover perhaps might give the book an appeal to a wider audience. Again, I don't know if that's the case. But having my artwork printed on the cover of a hardback book, one dealing with a subject I'm very invested in, is a great honor. 

If anyone is interested in purchasing the book, you can do so direct from the publisher, Palgrave Macmillan. I have a 20% off coupon I can send you if you email me at The book retails for $95 but you can get it for $76.00. I'm assuming this book (at least the hardcover version) is priced for the academic field (colleges and libraries), which explains the price. I'll be sure to write a post if a paperback edition is released.

By the way, Aldama wrote a book specifically covering Latino comics a few years ago. Titled "YOUR BRAIN ON LATINO COMICS", it features 21 interviews with writers and artists, one of which features me.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Celebrate Steve Ditko's birthday at Stan Lee's Comikaze this weekend!

This weekend will be my first time attending STAN LEE'S COMIKAZE, a three-day comic book/pop culture convention being held at the Los Angeles Convention Center. The show starts on Friday, November 1 and runs all weekend. I'll be in Artist Alley, sharing table AA955 with Jose Cabrera.

Interestingly enough, November 2 is Steve Ditko's birthday. Ditko, back in the 1960s, collaborated with Stan Lee over at Marvel Comics and together they created Spider-Man and Doctor Strange. Over the decades, Ditko has continued creating comics for various publishers, and even today, at age 85, he's still releasing new material through his co-publisher Robin Snyder. (Check this link to see the books, as well as ordering information for the titles).
In addition to selling my own comics and prints, I'll also have available "DITKO CONSIDERED", my one-page Poster Comic on Steve Ditko, and the most recent issue of the fanzine DITKOMANIA (edited/published by Rob Imes) for which I created the cover. On Saturday I'll have a little birthday celebration going on for whoever wants to join in. I'll be providing some snacks, and sharing some classic Ditko comics. So stop by and let's talk Ditko!

And if you can't make it out to Comikaze, you can always occupy your time by checking out my Pre-order campaign for my upcoming book "COMICS!"....

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Pre-orders for "COMICS!" now available!

My new comic book is available for Pre-orders from my webshop. Here's the full, wraparound cover:

COMICS! is a full-color book, making available for the first time in one collection my series of one-page comics (Poster Comics). That's 12, full-color comics, plus 7 pages of behind-the-scene extras, including character designs, production art and commentary on creating comics in one-page stories.

 (A sample of the Poster Comics)
 (A page from the behind-the-scenes extras)

Every copy of COMICS! that's pre-ordered will come with an original piece of art: a 5" x 5" sketch on Strathmore Bristol illustration paper, done with color markers, of one of the characters featured in stories. COMICS! is printed in a large magazine size, 8" x 10.5", comes with a cardstock cover, and features 20 pages in full color.

(Esperantos and Kaiju Kamen color sketches)

If you haven't already purchased THE LOS COMEX CODEX (
my 138 page trade-paperback collection), you can order it together with COMICS! and get a package deal for both, saving you about $5 in shipping costs! Pre-order the 2 for 22 deal!


To Pre-order COMICS!, visit the Los Comex Webshop. Independent comics creators like myself appreciate the direct support from the readers!

Pre-orders will run until Monday, November 4!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Here comes.... the COMICS!

New book I'm working on. It collects all 12 of my Poster Comics in one volume, complete with bonus material (sketches, behind-the-scenes commentary, etc). It'll be my first full-color book, too!

More info to come. But it'll be here in time for your Holiday gift-giving needs!

Friday, September 20, 2013

My gallery of one page Poster Comics

I've just published my latest Poster Comic, "Kaiju Kamen". You can read it online at my DeviantArt page.
"Kaiju" is the Japanese word for 'monster', and is often used to refer to the giant monsters such as Godzilla, Gamera and others found in Japanese monster films. "Kamen" translates  as 'mask', so my title refers to the blue masked monster wrestling the giant octopus beast....

This is my 12th Poster Comic I've done since starting these in December 2011. Originally my goal was to do one a month, but in the later half of 2012 my workload became busier, so I suspended the project until May of this year. KAIJU KAMEN is my third one this year, and I've definitely got more planned. 

The original idea behind these 'poster comics' was to have a way to create comics featuring many of the ideas I have for new characters. A full-length comic book (30-50 pages) can take me several months to finish, and with other commitments I have during the year, it seems unlikely that I'd ever be able to get all these done as completed stories. So the relatively limited time it takes me to do one of these provides an outlet for these characters to make it into a story, however brief they are. Another reason I like doing these is that I can print them in color. Printing a one page, full color poster at 11" x 17" is cheaper than printing a full-color book, and it's way faster to color as well.

My first four, shown above, had that excitement you get with a learning curve, as they were my initial attempts. One of the critical things about these one-page comics is the planning and editing. How do you tell the story you want to tell, in a very limited amount of space, and still follow a beginning-middle-end story structure? And without drawing 30 panels per page! At least that was the challenge I made for myself.  

One page comics have a long history in the medium, so I wasn't creating anything new. What I did notice was that often, one-page comics have been used as humor stories, or as brief educational/informative devices. Also, they've been used to great effect to advertise products, such as the famous Hostess Twinkie and Cup Cake ads that appeared in comics from the 1970s and 80s.

One thing that's key to creating these is to not be too precious with the idea. Meaning that not everything I want to say about the character will be in the story, but I try to focus on showing them doing what identifies them, as far as their role as action heroes. 

For example, in the top left comic from the second batch below, the robot sentry, Andromeda X7X, is shown confronting an advance scout in a planned alien invasion. So the story specifically highlights her role as a guardian of Earth. Below that story is a biographic comic on Steve Ditko, the artist who co-created Spider-Man and continues his 60 year career even today. With the Ditko story, it was matter of identifying the key points of his career that I wanted to convey, so from there is was drawing those scenes and then scripting the narrative.

A lot of my character designs revolve around very distinctly identified characters. So if I have a caveman superhero, he's easily identified as such (the comic just below, on the left). Or the newest one, Kaiju Kamen.... A monster with a mask. I love the iconographic nature of comic book characters, so in some ways a lot of the character's identity is perceived upon initial viewing. That helps tremendously in these one-page stories. With an image that's bold and expressive, some of the 'writing' has already begun.

Comics have unique relationship to their reader. A certain amount of collaboration occurs between the creator and the viewer in that the story is read at whatever pace the reader chooses. As the storyteller, I'm providing the roadmap, but the reader brings their own understanding to the experience, perhaps filling in the thin space between the panels with their own mental imagery. So whether it's a 12 panel story or a 48 page comic, I still provide the reader with a reading experience, and hopefully it's a worthwhile one. 

My plans for this Poster Comic series include another round of stories featuring additional new characters as well as a variety of non-fiction stories. A historic political/celebrity event, an adaptation of a public-domain movie, and a couple of biographic pieces (similar to the Ditko comic). Eventually I'd like to collect them all in a book of some type. Perhaps a full-blown 11" x 17" collection? We'll see....

You can read all these Poster Comics online over at my gallery on DeviantArt. Just click the one you want to read and it'll open up to a much larger size. Enjoy!

Sunday, September 08, 2013

"HEY KIDS, COMICS!", plus a few other books I've contributed to recently

I have an essay in the new anthology called HEY KIDS, COMICS!, which has just been published and is available to purchase online. The book features essays by such comic book veterans as J.M. DeMatteis, Steve Skeates, Steve Englehart, Robert Greenberger and others.

The book is compiled and edited by Rob Kelly, an illustrator and writer (winner of the Comic Book Writer of the Year award for the ACE KILROY web comic, Philadelphia Geek Awards). Basically I wrote about my earliest experiences with comics, and how that evolved into a childhood of not only reading comics but watching superhero cartoons and tv show, as well as playing with action figures and collecting anything with superheroes on it. Eventually, all that led to my eventual career as a comic book creator (or so I like to think!). 

For the latest issue of DITKOMANIA, I've contributed a full-color cover. 

Published and edited by Rob Imes, the zine is a quarterly publication dedicated to the work of Steve Ditko, the legendary comic book artist who co-created SPIDER-MAN and DR. STRANGE, as well as creating THE CREEPER, HAWK & DOVER, MR.A and host of other characters. You can order copies directly from Rob. Info at the DITKO-FEVER website.

THE NEW ADVENTURES OF THE HUMAN FLY, the revival of the 1970s Canadian stuntman/superhero (who starred in his own comic book from Marvel Comics from 77-79) was published this summer. 

Edited by Michael Aushenker, the book features an all-star cast of creators, including artists who worked on the original series. I contributed a pin-up, as well as having worked on the production of the book. Currently available online as well.

Published in August, my own LOS COMEX CODEX is available directly from me in my webshop. It's a 138 page collection of 5 of my out-of-print titles, including DEAD DINOSAURIO, THE COMA and WEAPON TEX-MEX Vs EL MUERTO

And coming up on the horizon this Fall is a new book by Frederick Aldama (Arts and Humanities Distinguished Professor of English at Ohio State). The book is called LATINOS AND NARRATIVE MEDIA: PARTICIPATION AND PORTRAYAL.

I not only contributed the artwork for the cover, but I also wrote the forward. The book features essays on the topic of the media and popular culture as created and influenced by Latino authors, artists and other creative professionals.

It turns out that I'm also one of the subjects in the book as well! David William Foster wrote an essay titled "Latino Comics: Javier Hernandez's El Muerto as an Allegory of Chicano Identity". Flattered, to say the least! The book will be published by Palgrave Macmillan and is due November 7.

This is the first time I've had work appearing in such a variety of publications coming out within the same year. In my 15 years of creating comics, in addition to publishing my own work, I've had pinups published in other comics, but the scope of titles I've contributed to this year is a career high for me. I'm glad to warrant the work, and really, it's doing something I love. Hope you enjoy some of these!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Cover artwork for new book on Latinos in media

My artwork is being used for the cover on a new book by Frederick Aldama.

Aldama is an Arts and Humanities Distinguished Professor of English at the Ohio State University. Among his fields of expertise are Latino/Latin American film, literature and comics. He's authored and edited 14 books, including the landmark study YOUR BRAIN ON LATINO COMICS

His new book, LATINOS AND NARRATIVE MEDIA, features essays by leading scholars on Latino pop culture and includes writings on filmmaker Robert Rodriguez, the animated series "El Tigre" and the film "Nacho Libre". There's actually a chapter on me titled " Javier Hernandez's El Muerto as an Allegory of Chicano Identity" written by David Allen Foster. 

That was a complete surprise to me, too! I hope some of you read this book, because I'd love to hear what you thought about it.

I was also asked to write the Foreword to the book, which was itself an honor. The cover illustration originally appeared as the cover the MANGA MUERTO Vol 1. The graphic design department did a nice job of incorporating the text into the composition of the artwork.

LATINOS AND NARRATIVE MEDIA, published by Palgrave Macmillan, is scheduled to be released on November 7. You can read details about the book here.

Frederick Aldama will be appearing at the Latino Comics Expo LA on August 17, at the Museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach, CA. He'll be conducting a presentation called "Spandexed Latinos: Geometric Storytelling in Superhero Comics" at 1pm.

Monday, July 22, 2013


I'm currently taking Pre-Orders for my new book, the LOS COMEX CODEX!

The CODEX is a 138 page collection of 5 of my out-of-print comics. Measuring 8.5" x 11", this hefty volume reprints  Weapon Tex-Mex vs El Muerto, The Coma, Man-Swamp, Dead Dinosaurio and "A Day at the Beach" from MANGA MUERTO Vol 1. The covers are in color, the interior pages are b&w (some stories are toned in gray, one is drawn entirely in pencil).

The book will debut at the upcoming LATINO COMICS EXPO LA, being held August 17 & 18 at the Musuem of Latin American Art in Long Beach, CA.

But, if you're not a local, or just can't wait, you can now order a copy of LOS COMEX CODEX, which will include a full-color marker sketch on the title page. Here's one with The Coma:

The drawings will be signed, and if you'd like, I can personalize it to you or someone else if you're in a gift-giving mood!

Here are some pages from the book:


Pre-Order price is $20.00, which includes Priority Mail via USPS. Visit my Webshop to place your order.

I also put together some Archive Editions, featuring a page of original comic book art. The pages are the actual ones I drew to create the original comic books. Most of these are 8.5"x11", but the Weapon Tex-Mex/El Muerto page is 11"x14" and the cover artwork to the COMEX CODEX is 11"x17". 

Check out my Pre-Order section over at my Los Comex Webshop for prices and the complete selection of Archive Editions. By the way, the reason I don't have any Dead Dinosaurio pages available is that most of the pages sold when I had that comic on Pre-Order last year. 

And the Manga Muerto pages? Well, that one's tougher to explain. A few years ago, I had my car stolen, and inside were the original pages to this particular story. I was sharing them with my students at one of my comic book classes the day before, and unfortunately didn't remove them from the car the following day. At least I had already scanned the pages!

Pre-Orders help me to get the book printed, so I appreciate anyone who buys a copy. All orders will begin shipping by August 22, so everyone who bought a copy will get them by the end of August. It's possible I might start shipping a few days earlier, I'll notify folks via email once the books are mailed off.

Pre-Orders for the LOS COMEX CODEX will end on Wednesday, July 31. Order through the Los Comex Webshop.