He’s a cartoonist…who also happens to be Latino, and we are very excited to have the chance to speak with Javier Hernandez about his work and passion for the world of comics. One of Hernandez’s comic works “El Muerto” was successfully sold to Hollywood, and turned into a live action movie. In addition to cartooning, Hernandez is also co-founder of the Latino Comics Expo.
Cartooning is a way of life for Hernandez. Growing up, Hernandez studied art in college, he says: “this was back in the late 80s there weren’t a lot of cartoon classes. I was classically trained. The cartooning, that was self-taught!”
Hernandez’s Cartoon Characters
It wasn’t long until Hernandez started publishing his own cartoon books under his own imprint “Los Comex”, his label just celebrated its 15 year anniversary. Hernandez has several characters he works with in his comics work. They include: “The Coma”, “Weapon Tex-Mex”, and “El Muerto”. Hernandez says: “One of my most recent books is titled, “Dead Dinosaurio”. It’s about a young Aztec boy, during the Conquest of Mexico. As the city of Teotihuacan is besieged by the Spaniards, the boy runs up a hill to find the Tyrannosaurs Rex he had discovered there embedded in a block of amber. The dinosaur is released, and he and the boy strike back against the Conquistadores. Of course, we all know how that story ended!”
In fact Hernandez says he finds a lot of inspiration in Aztec culture & mythology,, the folklore of Mexico and the luchadores (Mexican masked wrestlers).
Making it in Hollywood
Hernandez says he wasn’t an overnight success in Hollywood. His success occurred slowly and it started out from and interview he did with National Public Radio (NPR). “I tell young creators - don’t ever turn down an interview”, says Hernandez. An independent producer/writer heard his interview – and a few years later…Herndandez’s comic book received the Hollywood green light, becoming a full-length feature film with Wimer Valderamma as the star of “El Muerto”.
Paying it Forward
In addition to working on his own comics, Hernandez sets aside time to teach the business and art of cartooning to young people. He says, “on the level of a creator – a lot of people respond to your work…and it’s great to inspire students…as well as for these young kids to see this Mexicano-Americano working hard to get his voice heard.”
Visit Javier Hernandez’s website at Javzilla.com
ACADEMY OF SPECIAL DREAMS FOUNDATION NOW FEATURES VIRTUAL 3-D ART GALLERY AND LIVE-STREAMING VIDEO AVAILABLE ONLINE
More community news, disability advocacy resources and job postings will also be featured.
Los Angeles, CA -- May 14, 2013
- The Academy of Special Dreams Foundation, in furtherance of its mission to increase public awareness of the creative talents of people with disabilities, today announced the launch of its newly redesigned online website featuring a virtual 3-D art gallery and live-streaming video together with other improvements making the website more navigable and fully searchable. As the principal way the Academy of Special Dreams Foundation fulfills its mission, the online website integrates links on the main menu and throughout the site to the Academy of Special Dream Foundation's Twitter and Facebook presence, an area in which the Academy of Special Dreams Foundation has become increasingly active over the past several years. In addition, the online website will support the growth and development of working artists in the special needs community around the world by providing online job postings in the arts for those seeking employment.
“This new online face of the Academy of Special Dreams Foundation represents another significant step in fulfilling our mission to increase public awareness of the creative talents of people with disabilities. Through our newly redesigned website, we have made it easier to showcase the artistic expressions our nearly 100 artists in residence, for example, by our virtual 3-D art gallery that will recreate the look, experience and enjoyment of seeing the art in a formal exhibition hall," said ASDF President Michael Dergar, CEO and Founder of the Academy of Special Dreams Foundation. "Now everyone can appreciate their creativity in a visual setting that is reminiscent of the finest art galleries in the world."
The redesigned website utilizes “containers” with both text and graphics to draw visitors to specific content. The website homepage will reflect the most current content while ensuring that a visitor can easily navigate and search for past featured artists, the virtual galleries for each of the artists in residence, upcoming events, scholarship and working artist grant applications and news items about the special needs community, and at the same time share critical information about legislative or international issues of interest to both artists and other audiences.
The site was designed and built by Harisvision, an independent web design and development firm which has been supporting the Academy of Special Dreams Foundation for several years. "We especially want to thank Angel Reyes of Harisvision, all of the Board Members, as well as all the volunteers and supporters of the Academy of Special Dreams Foundation for all their time and support in the launch of our redesigned website," said Mr. Dergar.
The Academy of Special Dreams Foundation believes that all persons, regardless of their disabilities, should have equal opportunities to express their talents and to be successful in the Arts. As a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation, the Special Academy's mission is to increase public awareness, appreciation and recognition of the creative talents of people with disabilities by providing opportunities that encourage, promote and showcase their artistic expressions.
We appreciate your support of the Academy of Special Dreams. You can follow the work of the Special Academy by subscribing at http://www.specialacademy.org or became a Fan at facebook:
Do you remember waking up every Sunday with excitement…cause Sunday mornings meant the comic section in the Sunday paper! Well, I may be dating myself - but I remember those days reading the Sunday comics section as a kid, while eating some pan dulce my dad used to bring home on Sunday mornings.
Comics with Sabor!
Well, I have to say…these ain’t your old comic strip days anymore. We got our first taste of that when Hispanic.com heard about the upcoming Latino Comics Expo in San Francisco (June 1-2, 2013) which is in its 3rd year. Really it’d never crossed our minds about Hispanics/Latinos in the comic world…but boy were we wrong! The expo features both Hispanic and Latino comic artists as well as those artists who involve latin themes within their comic art.
Why Latino Comics Expo
We reached out to Ricardo Padilla and Javier Hernandez, the founders of the Latino Comics Expo to discuss Hispanics, comics, and what’s next for the spicy world of Latino comics and artists!
Javier said: “it all started when Ricardo and I were branstorming to increase the exposure of Latino artists in San Francisco. And I thought…well I’m a cartoonist – so let’s try to put together a Latino comics expo.” Ricardo was and still is a long-time patron of the arts in San Francisco, so he approached San Francisco’s Cartoon Art Museum about the idea. Now three years later, the event has proved to be so successful…Padilla and Javier have been invited to take the Expo on the road, and will be hosting the Los Angeles Latino Comics Expo which will be held at L.A.’s Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA) (August 17-18, 2013).
Latinas and Comics
And as the largest gathering of Hispanic comic artists in the country…we are glad to hear Latinas are doing us proud. Ricardo says, “the Latin Comics Expo has a friendly Latino vibe. The thing we are proud about is that sometimes the comics world is male dominated, but we are proud that there is a good contingent of Latina artists doing comics and in attendance. We are not yet 50/50, but ya mero (almost). It’s a nice mix”. Javier says, “we were all raised by strong Latina women – so it’s great to see them doing comics and pushing it forward. And it’s inspiring to young Latina girls to see these ladies: Gabriella Gamboa, Liz Mayorga, Crystal Gonzalez, just to name a few. “
If You Go
At the San Francisco event over a dozen artists will be displaying their work, and at the L.A. event 50 artists will be taking part. Guests can interact with artists and obtain autographs and even request commissions. Literary agents, collectors, and universities also attend to scope out new talent and purchase work at the yearly event. Panel discussions will also be on the menu. Javier says, “we look at it as a tiny Comic Con. It’s a great chance for you to come spend 10-20 minutes talking to the artists – get an autograph. It’s so hard at Comic Con, it’s so crowded to try to meet people. This is a more intimate venue, so you can definitely network and meet people!”
So check out your favorite Latino artist at the event…or learn more about cartooning at your leisure. Pan dulce consumption not required…
For more information on the event visit: www.LatinoComicsExpo.com
Here’s our round up of Hispanic/Latino news for the past week. Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments!
Secretary of Labor nominee, Thomas Perez, is getting plenty of support among Hispanic groups. Another candidate, Adolfo Carrión Jr. who’s running for NYC mayor, just may be 100 years too late to be the first Hispanic NYC mayor. Here’s the pic of the first Latino NYC mayor ever. Ok, over at Rush Limbaugh, they’re talking about the Hispanic vote and why it ISN’T the reason Romney lost. Wasn’t that 2012 news?...eh – moving onto 2013… So is Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz “Hispanic” or not? Bill Richardson is saying no here. Ruben Navarrette is saying yes here. Whadya think? The Atlantic thinks the “GOP doesn’t need Hispanic outreach – it needs a Hispanic takeover”. The GOP may want to look at Colorado where Hispanic lawmakers are pushing through changes. On a -we don’t know what to make of this this note- Jersey City’s mayor (who is running for reelection) is saying that when he was photographed naked on his porch in 2004 he was “sexually accosted by Hispanic girls”. Um, yeah. On another –you’re serious? note- Jason Richwine’s thesis said Hispanics have a “low IQ”… coincidentally or perhaps directly…he is no longer with a job.
They want their “A’s!” Hispanics are getting degreed! Yes, for the first time ever, the percentage of U.S. Hispanics heading to college is greater than for the white population. And this trend (we will informally predict…) is just gonna continue to spike. Get this – places like Orlando have seen a 125% growth since 2000. And what’s the area with the greatest Hispanic growth since 2000? Raleigh N.C. Check this link out for a listing of the cities with the highest numbers of hispanos and Hispanic growth. The DC area has also seen burgeoning growth of just about 100%. So all these Hispanics need homes! And this new study says Hispanics are more likely than the general population to buy a home this year…so the mortgage industry needs to play its cards right. It seems Hispanic population auto sales are also growing faster than the general market, and car dealers and auto makers are taking notice of where the dinero (cash). And this stat has been around for a while…but we still like it: Hispanics are the most digitally savvy group in the U.S. these days.
Some are asking if accused Cleveland kidnapper Ariel Castro is “tarnishing the ‘Hispanic’ brand”. That’s an interesting question…what do you think? A Latina Baltimore property developer is making news. And Denton County is getting its first Hispanic constable (Seems they still use the term “constable”…at any rate – very cool.) The Clearwater Bar Association too is getting its first Latina president.
Do you know any Hispanic community standouts? Nominate them for the MillerCoors Lider of the Year award by May 24th. Also with regards to Hispanic successes, here are the “five most creative U.S. Hispanic ideas” which were selected last week.
Are you a guy? Ok, get yourself checked for testicular cancer…studies are showing its most rapid growth these days is among the Hispanic population (my dad has it) so if you’re a dude and Hispanic- get thee to the doc and get tested often!
So we know the Hispanic market is hot these days…and you know it’s caliente when Ryan Seacrest is trying to get in the game. Yes, el Señor Seacrest is launching a Spanish language singing show with a special in English on NBC as well. More Hispanic targeted video production in both Spanish and English will also be produced in Telemundo’s newly announced “Fluency” studio. On an awards note, LatinWorks advertising agency’s President has been invited to join the Cannes Lions Film jury as a judge . And you guys remember Daisy Fuentes from the 80s/90s (former model)? Well Fuentes is back in La Voz Kids.
Yep, that’s right…advocacy! While we don’t normally associate “advocacy” with the arts, we found out policy actually plays a big part in the arts, as we found out from the folks at NALAC (National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures).
Recently, we visited with NALAC as well as some of the participants in an intensive D.C. program called the NALAC Advocacy Leadership Institute. The Leadership Institute selects community arts leaders who’ve previously participated in a NALAC Leadership program focusing on state and local level initiatives, to come to D.C. and learn about federal advocacy with regards to the arts.
We spoke with Armando Huipe, a participant in the 2013 NALAC Advocacy Leadership Institute program from USA Projects, an artist crowd-funding website based in Los Angeles, California. Huipe says: “I applied to the Advocacy Leadership Institute because I wanted to take my career to the next level. I wanted to take on more leadership roles within my company and lead projects”. In addition to his day job, Huipe along with several community partners have just launched the Latino Theater Alliance/Los Angeles. Huipe and the Latino Theater Alliance are working to engage Los Angeles Latino theater companies and individual artists, and empower them in both the local community and on the national stage with this new venture. Huipe says participation in the program this year helped, “demystify the advocacy process. I really learned how accessible my State’s representatives and delegation are”.
Hispanic.com also spoke with NALAC’s Executive Director, María López De León, about NALAC’s programs. De León" informed us “NALAC is the only multidisciplinary arts organization in the nation supporting Latino artists and Latino organizations. NALAC does extensive work in the advocacy region to raise the visibility of Latino arts in the U.S. and promote cultural equity particularly the equitable distribution of resources to the Latino arts sector.” NALAC works on behalf of thousands of Latino artists and organizations throughout the U.S. working across all artistic disciplines. De León says a major goal of the Advocacy Leadership Institute is to “provide Latino arts leaders with the confidence to advocate for support of Latino arts and exercise their options to speak directly with policy makers.” We want to demonstrate best practices and inspire artists to be effective arts advocates on the Hill or in their own communities. “ And from our earlier chat with Huipe, who says “I’ll definitely come back to D.C., as I learned my State’s delegation is very engaged in hearing what we have to say”… showing step-by-step, NALAC is succeeding in its goals.
Visit NALAC at their website: www.NALAC.org
For more information about Armando Huipe and USA Projects visit: www.usaprojects.org