Sunday, April 13, 2014

"FELINUS: In the Dead of Night" comic!

Here it is, FELINUS: In the Dead of Night, the all-new 4 Pager starring the Man Cat from Ghoulash!

 Have you read the previous appearance of Felinus in the Poster Comic "The Legend of Felinus" ? Check it out here.

Unfortunately, I'm limited here on Blogger as to the size I can post images at. If you can't read IN THE DEAD OF NIGHT clearly, please consider visiting my page at DeviantArt where I've been able to post a larger version as one continuous strip (click on the image to Super Size it!)
You can read more about the history of this new character, and see lots of production art, in a previous post here. Thanks for your continued support and interest in my work, it means a whole lot to me!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

My 8 week stint at El Roble Intermediate school

A few weeks ago, I wrapped up an 8-week assignment at El Roble Intermediate School in Claremont, CA. I was co-teaching the class with art instructor Wendy Kubiak. This was for the ARTOON program produced by the Claremont Museum of Art. CMA member Lori Lamas, who runs the ARTOON program, actually had me come in one day last year as a guest speaker for the program, and this time around she asked me to co-teach the full 8 week program.

The program, which ran after school on Tuesdays, featured over 30 students who were instructed to create a one page story. They were told to think of that page as part of a longer comic or graphic novel of their own design.

Wendy Kubiak outlined the parameters of the project to the class, and I provided some initial storytelling demonstrations in how to lay out a page, moving the narrative from panel to panel, and basically provide guidance throughout the creation of the page.

We also had a guest artist visit the class, Jules Rivera, a cartoonist whose work includes VALKYRIE SQUADRON and MISFORTUNE HIGH (currently being run as a Kickstarter for Book 2). Jules provided the students with entertaining and informative tutorials on character design and coloring with markers. 

I really enjoyed working with this group, as it's always inspiring to see young creative minds at work. Whenever there were any questions about drawing or storytelling, I'd offer suggestions, and it's always great when you know you've helped someone solve a problem. But really, just seeing the types of stories they're telling, and their process in creating that story, that's a real learning experience.

One thing that's always interesting to me is while I walk around the class and look at their stories, I get an inkling on which of the students are heavily into manga and anime (Japanese comics and animation) and which ones are superhero comic fans. Video games and movies are also big influences, and sometimes the students will create stories based on themselves and their passions:

She's got her music, drink and snacks messily strewn about her table while working... Pretty much the way I make comics, too!

ARTOON Director Lori Lamas checking in the assignments. 

With the completion of the course, the last step was for Lori to take all the original art and have put them together in a digital file, where they'll printed and mounted onto a large 8' x 24' display piece. That will be on view outdoors at the Packing House in Claremont, CA. 

The unveiling for the piece will happen this week, on Friday, March 21. The ceremony, which will be attended by the students and their families, takes place at 5:30pm. Regrettably, due to a business trip up North, I won't be able to attend. But if you're available, please stop by and support the hard work by the students.

A great moment: This was the last day, class had already ended about 5 minutes previously, and these boys jumped in to help their classmate finish his piece. That's the collaborative spirit of art...and friendship!

My thanks to the Claremont Museum of Art, Lori Lamas and Wendy Kubiak for the opportunity to be a part of this excellent program. And to all the students for their creative energy and great comics!

Friday, March 14, 2014

SUPER 75ers.... A brand new comic!

So I've got a brand-new comic I've produced for online consumption, a 4 page story featuring the debut of...

The SUPER 75ers!

They're a superhero team active in the mid 1970s (the same era I started reading comics...). Taking cues from the pop culture zeitgeist of the era, I came up with a group of characters drawing from kung fu, blaxploitation and exorcist films & comics. And also, I haven't actually done a story with a team, so it was fun juggling the three characters around.

And of course, heroes really shine when confronting villains, so I present this monster amalgamation:

Here are the individual promos I made for the heroes:

The 4 Pager featuring the SUPER 75ers is the second one I've done (the first featured my brash, blue T-rex DINOSAURIO), and I've got another in the pipeline. But right now, it's time to head back almost 40 years ago and read the premiere adventure of the SUPER 75ers!

Click here to read the SUPER 75ers on my DeviantArt page. If you want to enlarge it, click on the comic page. Use the NEXT > arrow to advance to the next page (located in the top left-hand corner).

Sunday, March 09, 2014

Latino Comics Expo coming to San Jose, CA this October!

As the Co-Founder to this event, I'm very happy to announce we're having our Expo this year in San Jose, CA. This is our 5th show we've had since starting the Expo back in 2011. I actually debuted my first comic book (EL MUERTO) at a convention in San Jose back in 1998, so it's nice to be heading back to the town where it all started!

We'll be announcing in the days and weeks to come, including our Special Guests, exhibiting creators, panels, workshops and more. Check out our official site at: Latino Comics Expo.Com

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

¡VIVA EL MUERTO! on Tumblr

I've started a Tumblr for EL MUERTO. Or actually, re-started it! Back in August of 2013 I created it, but haven't posted since. So last night I got back on and added a few posts. I've even created some posts that'll be automatically uploaded in the next couple of days.

So, for all things El Muerto, such as artwork, comics, photos, the film, etc., that'll be the place to check. Including sneak peaks at the upcoming EL MUERTO: DEAD AND CONFUSED Pt 2...


Monday, February 03, 2014

Finding Felinus: Catching a character by the tail!

On January 13, I posted some drawings on my DeviantArt page. Two ideas I came up with on whim for some new sketch dolls, a Ronald McDonald parody and a mash-up of the Pink Panther and a werewolf. (I had produced some of these sketch dolls in the past, which are blank doll bodies that I draw on with fabric markers). 

I'm a long-time fan of the Pink Panther, both the movies and cartoon series. It just occurred to me that a pink werewolf panther would be a funny idea, and since I was considering doing a series of these pop culture mash-ups, it was probably inevitable I'd get around to the Panther. Here's the actual first-ever drawing I did of the 'Panther by Night' (the name itself is a nod to the 1970s Marvel Comics superhero/werewolf series):

(The very first drawing of my pink wolfman idea)

After drawing that dual cannibal clown & panther sketch, I had a couple of laughs just looking at them. Then it occured to me that perhaps there was more life to my rose-colored wolfman than just as a sketch doll... So I redrew the character, this time thinking of more than just a design for a doll.

One of the things I did was change the color of his pants from green (which was what the Werewolf By Night wore) to grey. I was slowly pushing the character away from a straight 'homage', and also I felt that the grey worked really well against the warmness of the pink. Already I was thinking about exactly who and what this character was. I came up with an origin story, and constructed it so it would fit the format of my Poster Comics, my one-page stories done in a much quicker process than a full-length comic would take.

 (Rough draft for the one-page Poster Comic. Note that the title 'Panther by Night' was still being used)

From the beginning I knew he was a werewolf, one with a nod to the Pink Panther. Something about the sheer audacity of a pink wolfman just appealed to me. The color pink is an
appealing color, one with a seductive, playful vibe. And the visual of a wild feral beast-man with pink fur had just the amount of outrageousness I was looking for in a new creation. Besides the Panther, there's a handful of pink characters that came to mind: Hanna-Barbera's cartoon mountain lion Snagglepuss, Piglet from Winnie the Pooh and Frankenberry from the classic monster cereals. Why not add a fuchsia-colored lycanthrope to the mix? 

While I had come up with the idea for a Poster Comic, I hadn't yet began to create the finished product, but I was curious to explore the character's world with a mock cover. Before the week was over (Jan. 17) I designed this image, something that I imagined could have been on the comic book spinner racks in 1975:

As I worked on this drawing it really hit me that the character was ripe for it's own life in a comic. In the few short days since coming up with 'Panther by Night', my mind had spun around an origin story, and identity and alter ego for the man cat, a rouges gallery of monsters and madmen and supporting characters to further define the star.

More studies followed, trying to figure out the character and how he moves, who he is. 

The more I fell in love with this idea, the more I began to question the original name I picked, "Panther by Night". While the initial source for the concept came from an admiration and familiarity with the Pink Panther films (mixed in with the werewolf/superhero lore of the comic book), I wasn't trying to create a copy of that world. A friend of mine had even asked me if this was going to be a comedy, with the lead character taking clumsy pratfalls at every turn! I assured him that was never my intention, and shared with him some of my ideas for the story.

There's a mythology to the Pink Panther series, even though it's a screwball comedy series. The Pink Panther diamond, it's cultural significance to the Middle Eastern country of Lugash (an invention of the screenplay), the Inspector, Kato, etc. The stories and relationships of the various characters to one another are so familiar to me that by taking the entire mythology apart and using a few elements as starting points, I then infused it with monster movies, superhero comics, spy films and other things that catch my fancy, and built a whole new construct from it. One whose result is a wholly original idea for a completely new world, in an entirely different medium and genre.  It's like looking at someone's elaborate Lego sculpture and using some of the same pieces they used in your own sculpture, even using some of those similar pieces in totally different ways.

With that desire to establish the concept as it's own, after much trial and error, I christened my character Felinus. It can often be a challenge to find a name that hasn't been used before, but I often find that researching a name sometimes actually leads to other discoveries, which in turn further help you develop and enrich your original idea.

Within 2 weeks after I originally came up with the initial idea for the panther doll, I penciled the one page Poster Comic (on more or less Friday the 24). My friend (and fellow comics creator) Rafael Navarro had mentioned that he'd be more than willing to ink something featuring this character, so I asked, and he provided the inking on the Felinus Poster Comic. By Friday morning on January 31, the comic was posted online. You can see the results of our collaboration here.

 (Felinus, penciled by Javier Hernandez & inked by Rafael Navarro) 

It always amazes me how you can come up with a little seed of an idea, then look at it from different angles and eventually spin a whole world out from it. That's how it worked for me with this Felinus concept. I kept seeing new connections between each new character, and creating new concepts out from previous ones. It's almost like the idea has always been there, but it took some outside influences to crack the ice and get things moving. 

What's also satisfying as a creator is to know that a new product resonates with people. Through my online social networks, as well as talks with fellow creators, the responses have been enthusiastic. Seems like the right ingredients have been used in the creation of my werewolf ghoulash... 

I've already drafted up another story in which to further introduce Felinus, which I'll tackle before this month is over. After that, it's a matter of scheduling time amongst my other commitments this year and produce a full length story. But the groundwork has been laid, the genie has been let out of the bottle. There's a magenta man-panther on the prowl! 

Felinus © & ™ Javier Hernandez 2014.

Friday, January 03, 2014


Today is day three of the New Year. January 3rd, 2014.

Don't worry, I'm not going to bore you and me with "new year's resolutions"! What I am going to share with you is a little peek at one of things I'm doing this year (not planning, but 'doing'....)

I use this blog to write about my latest projects, or to talk about an event I had attended over a previous weekend. I've also used it to talk about a favorite comic book creator, or a filmmaker I admire. I've shared behind-the-scenes process on current works, and have shown you new artwork for upcoming projects. A way to keep folks up to date with my work, and talk about things I love.

And I'll continue to do that, but I'm also going to write a new series of posts focused on the idea of creating. Making comics, as that's my foremost creative outlet, but also talking about art in general. The creative decisions in undertaking a new project, and also taking some in-depth looks at other works from other people. Things that inspired me in the past, whether it was over 35 years ago, or last week. Also, people working today who spark some creative fires in me. Old stuff and new stuff. My stuff and their stuff.

In the past, I've meant to share some insights on my own choices in telling stories. Creating my characters, choosing what type of story I want to tell, designing the covers for my books. Why self-publishing? Why do conventions? Why make comics?

Me and Michael Aushenker at the 2011 Alternative Press Expo in San Francisco.

This series isn't meant to be a "how-to-make-comics" course. I've been teaching comics workshops for 10 years now. I love it. Working with kids, guiding them in creating their own comics is totally rewarding. But I don't teach them how to do it 'my way'. I provide them some general principals, then get out of their way as they craft their stories.

This will be more of a "how-I-create-my-comics" series. Everyone has their method on how they create their art, so I can only show you what I do. My hope is that the information posted here will be interesting to read, as I know that whenever I hear a writer, cartoonist, musician or filmmaker discuss their work I always learn something that I can either relate to artistically, or at least find some inspirational insights into the process of creation.

In addition to sharing my own work and process, I want to devote some time to discussing specific works, and share with you what I got out of them and how that shaped my own view on telling stories. There are specific creators I want to spotlight, particular comics and movies that I can point to and say "Oh, that's a favorite of mine and a big influence because....". 

I'm often asked by friends to either resume my old Do-It-Yourself comics podcast JAVILAND or start a new one. I appreciate the thought behind each suggestion, but for the last several years my motivation for doing a new show just isn't there. Besides, with the visual nature of art, I'd want to be able to share images with viewers. So I figure these blog posts will fit the bill.

I can't tell you right now how many posts in total I'll do. I'm planning on doing these at least for the duration of 2014. I'm not sure how often I'll post either. I could say once a month, but I might want to do shorter posts at any given moment. So let's keep this loose and impulsive, which is kind of how I often create anyway. There will be lots and lots of visual, but also links to websites and videos (the problem with Youtube is that at any given moment, any video can be pulled down for whatever reason. Hopefully this won't be the case with the ones I pick).

These post will be, for a large part, self-indulgent. I mean, they're meant to highlight things that I love, and how I relate to them as a viewer and creator, but hopefully every post will at least be readable to anyone tuning in.
As I mentioned, I'll be highlighting current, working artists in addition to those who may no longer be around. I'm thinking perhaps that some short interviews with a few subjects might be interesting to include. We'll see. There's no shortage of folks today whose work I admire. 

 Satan's Soldier © Tom Scioli

My most fertile era of inspiration comes from the 1970s and 80s, no question. It's the era I grew up in, and the one that's had the most long-lasting influence on me. But like I mentioned, things around me, today, continue to inspire, so expect anything and everything to show up here.

As far as a name for this series? Let's call it CREATION JUNCTURE.

Cartoonist Steve Ditko (co-creator of Spider-Man), a living legend in the world of comics, has a quote that's a favorite of mine:

"A creation is actually a re-creation. A rearrangement of existing materials in a new, different, original, novel way."

Everything I've ever created had a life even before it materialized in my mind. It's true for any creator. A movie they saw, a song they heard, a play they watched. A memory of attending a wedding, or a funeral. A first date, or their last break-up. A vacation they took, or a trip they would like to one day experience.

I'm sitting at my drawing table, or in front of the computer, or driving along the highway, and I'm  thinking of a new comic I want to create, or some other work of art I want to produce. In that moment, I'm at the crossroads. I'm fueled by ideas I received from other creative works, or by an experience as a living, breathing human being. And I want to channel those ideas into an expression, that usually finds itself manifested as a printed book, or some other work of art.

It's the point where inspiration and expression collide, intermingle, reassemble and continue forward.


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