What you see here is one of my latest illustrations, commissioned by my friend Chuck –one of my first patrons! if you’re into motorcycles, you should check out his podcast Wheel Nerds— in order to commemorate a very weird incident involving his better-half, a ‘cursed’ trip to Vegas –which will be further explained on a future post– and a closet in their home. As the artist, I can neither confirm nor deny the veracity of how the story was portrayed! –I do as I’m told, yo 😉
Srsly tho, Chuck’s idea for the commission proved to be too complex to do it any justice with a single, ‘static’ image. Which is why I opted to approach it as a comic-book page instead –which proved to be more than adequate, considering the ‘Marvel-ous’ style requested by my patron!
Now, I wouldn’t consider myself to be a ‘hardcore’ comics fan myself. In fact, as a kid the closest thing to comics I used to read were the quarterly volumes from a collection of literary classics in comic-book form called Biblioteca Ilustrada, which circulated in Mexico during the early 80’s. My mom got them for me through our local newspapers stand, and were gorgeously illustrated with black-and-white pictures drawn and inked by incredible artists. I still have several of them left, and to this day I still check them out occasionally not just to reminisce my childhodd, but also to learn from these masters.
One of my cousins was –and still is– a big comic book geek. It was through him that I read The Death of Superman series in the ’90s, which was probably one of the biggest events in the comics field –and which, unsurprisingly, ended up being nothing but a big gimmick, since no way in hell would DC have the balls to get rid of one of their biggest and most important characters! Still, it revitalized the boyscout image of Supes, and paved the way for the narratives which would be later explored (and exploited) once superheroes took over the silver screen.
It was also through this cousin that I got introduced to Kingdom Come. And THAT was a true revelation! It made me re-appreciate the format in a whole new way. Alex Ross’s supreme art style made me realize what comic books were REALLY all about: MYTHOLOGY. Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman are our new gods wearing capes and spandex. You see, I’ve never been much interested in the ‘POW’ and the ‘KABOOMs’ and the fights that take pages and pages; but reinterpreting the eternal struggle between the forces of Chaos and the Forces of Light (and in so doing, surreptitiously studying the human condition)? That’s when you get me hooked!
So I became a comic book fan –or rather, a graphic novel fan– at a later age. Became a fan of Alan Moore –and with all due respect to his ‘hatred’ for the way his work has been commercialized and escaped out of his control, ‘V’ for Vendetta is still one of my favorite comics-based movies of all time; which is why it featured so prominently in my Reframing the Debate essay– but without a doubt my favorite saga of all time is now The Invisibles by Grant Morrison. I bought the ginormous omnibus edition and I consider it a bible of sorts for me, because EVERYTHING about it resonated with me in a very profound way. If Kingdom Come opened my eyes to the Mythology of comics, The Invisibles revealed to me their MAGIC.
Not only that, it showed me the magic can jump from the pages of the book to your own ‘real’ life. But that’s for another discussion, I believe…