Café Con Comics: Boricuas in the Comic Book Industry
The event held uptown at the Hunter College center for Puerto Rican studies featured a panel of speakers and an Exhibition which celebrated the careers of Puerto Rican comic book artist!
The talented panel of speakers consisted of Will Rosado (illustrator), Felix Serrano (colorist), Chris Batista (artist) and Curator Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez (writer).
The exhibition also featured a collection of work by Emilio Lopez (illustrator), George Perez (writer/illustrator), Wilfredo Torres (penciler), Alex Schomburg (artist), and Gustavo Vazquez (artist).
The panel discussed the process of creating a comic, and all the different roles (writer/ editor/ penciler/ inker/ colorist/ letterer) and the responsibilities that go into creating a comic book. They also talked about time restraints, meeting deadlines and how technology has changed the industry. Back in the day there wasn’t really international overnight of work, most of the work was done here in the U.S. Now with computers and digital programs, an artist can easily make color edits, email and upload pages so there’s much more demand for international work.
Diversity in comics is a major topic right now. Chris Batista talked about how the styles have changed and what was deemed acceptable for artists throughout the years. The 70’s comics had a very classic and distinct look with very diverse features that made each character unique. Turning away from the classics, the 90’s had more of a homogenized, stylized look. The industry required big huge muscles, and a very particular look. Chris mentioned his frustrations and taking criticism for wanting to stick with the more diverse classic looks. Back then he was pushed to make Cyclops with bigger muscles instead of the much slimmer classic Cyclops. He was also told to make the same faces and to draw Storm “less black.”
But times were very different back then, now things are very different.
Colorist, Felix Serrano described how as technology moved forward and colorist got better with Photoshop, that they were finally considered part of the artistic team. Eventually colorist still pushed to get their names on the cover. Felix mentioned at one point George Perez, was the only Puerto Rican comic artist he knew of.
“Now I’m on the cover and now somebody will look at that.”
Will Rosado pointed out that he grew up reading Perez comics, and how Perez was a pioneering influence.
Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez talked about his breaking into the comic book industry, and his background as a curator and activist. He also discussed everything that’s happening now in the industry for diversity. How it’s a business, and the industry is marketing diversity for business to sell, and changing characters which are already corporate brands.
Edgardo wants to use this opportunity to tell new stories. He made Borinqueña, not just to have a Puerto-Rican hero but because we need a hero that is a symbol who creates a community and an opportunity to work together. This project is connecting artist with a sense of pride. This collabo was not only for the panel but for a poster of an image reflecting Puerto Rican history done by Puerto Rican comic book artist.
With a goal to raise awareness about the debt crisis, and tell a story which brings artist together, with this project Edgardo hopes to be a mentor, and to bring women and new artist into the industry.
Exhibition open from October 5, 2016 to January 27, 2017
La Borinqueña, is more than just a superhero story, the protagonist, Marisol Rios De La Luz represents a symbol of hope.
In a time when Puerto Rico is in dire need of help, New York born activist/writer Edgardo Miranda- Rodriguez decided to create La Borinqueña; a Puerto-rican superhero who draws her powers from “elements and mysticism” found on the island of Puerto Rico.
Dec. 22, 2016 La Borinqueña #1 Officially goes on sale, you can preorder here now !
*La Borinqueña will debut December 17 and 18, 2016 at the Comic Fest (Aguada Con) 2016 in Puerto Rico.
“Written by Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez, edited by Matthew Barbot, illustrated by Emilio Lopez, Will Rosado, Eric Jimenez and introducing Sabrina Cintron with digitally coloring by Juan Fernandez. Cover artwork by Ralph Anthony "Rags" Morales and Emilio Lopez with a collection of variant covers by a who's who of Puerto Rican comic book professionals featuring the talents of Wilfredo Torres, Will Rosado, Felix Serrano, Gustavo Vazquez and Christopher Sotomayor.”