Frustration with the way the big publishers have destroyed what once was a thriving eco-system with their endless events, their oversaturation of the market, their insane overpricing of books, pointless reboots and their complete disregard for their core fan base. But out of that frustration, a fire started burning inside of me and I decided that nothing good would come out of me criticizing the "big 2" and their practices if I didn't do something about it. So, I decided I needed to start a publishing company, even if it was small, through which I'd be able to create the books I've been wanting to read for so long. I knew that if I was going to start a company I needed someone I could trust, my first choice was my longtime friend and colleague Alvaro Cortez Ortiz Jr. He's always had the same passion for comics that I have and we make comics pouring our heart and soul into every page. We wanted to make comics without worrying about publishers trying to desaturate our stories in order to get more money out of our readers, we're not in the business of gouging our readers' pockets; we're about telling interesting stories with cool art.
2. Who was your greatest influence?
My greatest influence wasn't just one person, they were a few actually. Men like Walt Disney, George Lucas, Jack Kirby, Todd McFarlane, Joe Kubert, Andy/Adam Kubert and last but not least my Grandfather; Manuel "Agudo" Hernandez.
3. What got you started in doing a comic series?
I guess you can say that my creativity got me started cause I read my first comic (which was a Detective Comics issue in the 90's) and I quickly decided that I wanted to create that very thing I read, it was love at first sight.
4. What do you hope to accomplish with your comic?
I hope fans get a kick out of reading it and fall in love with these characters, I hope to earn the respect
of my peers and I hope to cultivate a fan base that will eventually allow me to be a full time creator.
5. Do you have any other artistic interests outside of comics?
Yes I do! I write music and I sing/rap in both Spanish and English.
6. What are your three favorite comic book writers?
Alvaro Cortez Ortiz Jr, Darian Kovach and Brian Michael Bendis.
7. What are your three favorite comic book artists?
Jack Kirby, Joe Madureira and Greg Capullo.
8. What kind of equipment or style of drawing do you use?
I use a Staedtler Mars Technico 780C 2mm lead holder mechanical pencil, Strathmore Bristol drawing pages, Adobe Photoshop CS6 (I don't need anything else) and now I'll be using my Surface 3 128GB tablet computer. That's basically all I use to create my comics.
9. What sort of training or academic program did you pursue to become a cartoonist?
I studied at the Joe Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Arts for about 3 months and due to some personal problems I had to drop out. I also studied at the School of Plastic Arts of Puerto Rico and I gotta say, I learned more in those three months at the Joe Kubert School than I ever did at the School of Plastic Arts in PR.
10. What has been the highlight of your cartooning career?
That's easy, putting out my very own comic book! That was a dream come true for me.
A normal drawing session for me looks somewhat like this... I grab one of my big mugs of coffee, put on music on Pandora (it's usually Frank Sinatra, John Mayer or 90's Alternative Rock) or put on a podcast I follow like Dan Burke's The Art Studio, Secret Identity or Radio Free Asgard. Then I check my emails, my Facebook page(s), and figure out what exactly I need to do tonight. Then I sit down in front of my drawing table and get to work. I usually work for about three hours a night on weekdays and five to six hours a night on weekends. It's hard work people!
12. Are you affiliated to any publisher, group or are
you going rogue?
I started Truthful Comics a few years back with my dear friend and brother in arms Alvaro Cortez Ortiz Jr.
13. What are you currently working on?
I'm currently working on my creator owned Project: New Wave series, not only the main comic book which will be uploaded directly to the Truthful Comics website and then printed in a trade paperback (TPB) but also a few mini series and one-shots as well.
14. What's the premise?
Project: New Wave's premise is basically about a military group of young "humans" with extraordinary abilities who tackle on the problems too big for regular soldiers or even NAVY S.E.A.L.S. to deal with. Of course, they soon discover that what seemed to be a pretty normal thing isn't quite that simple and they find themselves at a crossroads; do they stay where they are and do what comes easy to them or do they make the hard choice and jump into the unknown with nobody to trust but themselves?
15. What kind of impact has cartooning had on your
life and could you ever see yourself not doing it?
Well, I can tell you that cartooning has led me to meet incredible people, I've had great opportunities, I've learned great life lessons about how some individuals just want to use your gifts to their advantage and then dispose of you and I've found an outlet with which I can express my deepest thoughts without inhibitions. Honestly, I'd have a hard time feeling motivated in life if I couldn't draw or create; it'd feel like dying to me.
I do... but it rarely works for me. What I usually do to stay motivated is look at my colleagues work and it quickly sets me on the right path again. I'm blessed to be surrounded by such talented individuals that it's hard to not only stay motivated, but strive to be a better artist every day; that's the beauty of surrounding yourself with the right people.
17. What's the part of the process you could do without?
There are a few things about the process I could do without, the main ones that come to my head are Inking and Marketing. I could draw all day and night no problem, but as soon as I try to ink a page my hand starts to shake; I guess I'm not confident enough in my inking and think I'll mess up my pencils. Marketing to me is like pulling teeth! LOL!
18. What's the favorite part of the artistic process for you?
Creating new characters! To bring a character that's never been seen before and flesh him/her out is an amazing experience! I love reading one of my writer's scripts and trying to put on paper what they see in their minds... there's nothing quite like it.
19. What is the most challenging aspect of cartooning for you?
The most challenging aspect of cartooning for me is trying to set a balance between my art life and family life. One or the other will suffer if you don't establish that balance early on. It's a struggle really. For me, sometimes it takes me a few minutes, maybe hours, to flesh out a page but then I think that my boy wants me to read to him or play with him and what could've taken me an hour; suddenly takes me two days. The most important thing you have to remind yourself is that the main reason why we do this is to provide for our families and to make them proud, but it you neglect your children or your wife in order to create your projects; instead of pride they'll feel resentment towards you. Never loose sight of your North, that's your family and in some cases; God.
My future plan is to unify the indie comics community. I understand that it's an impossible dream but dreams are free and I'm a pretty stubborn person when it comes to giving up on my dreams. I feel that we as indie creators sometimes feel the need to compete in order to stand out from a sea indie creators out there, but I don't think it has to be that way; actually I think that's the complete opposite of what we should be doing. If you try to do everything on your own your only line of reference will be yours, you'll chances of success will be far less than if you join others who might have a different approach than yours; you'll prevent yourself from acquiring now skills and knowledge because your too busy competing to lean anything new. I want to change the way indie creators have been working so far, I want to unify our community rather than separate. it's a monumental task I know... but it's worth it! Also, I want to change the comic book shop owner mentality and try to make them see the value of acquiring books outside of Diamond, we need to put a stop to this monopoly. Again, I know it's a monumental task... but well worth it not just for me and my crew, but for all of the indie comics community!