What’s the story behind this piece?

It’s the cover of the upcoming “Spiralmind” graphic novel, created by El Pasoans Matthew Rothblatt and Ben Perez. They’re local creators who have been diligently plugging away at their own book for a few years. The marketplace in comics has changed and in an atmosphere where the purity of fan art gets muddled by profiting from fan art, it’s good to always see creators like Matthew and Ben focus on their own work. They’re great guys.

How long have you been doing comic book illustrations and how did you start? 

I’ve been doing illustrative type of work since I could hold a pencil, but I didn’t get serious until around 2005. I made a deliberate choice to pursue being a paid comic book artist and I did so for about eight years. When most people try to go that route, they think it’s a lot of pin-ups and cover art, but the heart of comic books is storytelling. I drew a ton of sequential pages, and it was a grind at times, but I loved it.

What’s the biggest inspiration behind your work?

Without question, it’s Jim Lee, and he’s of the exceptions in terms of having secured a financial future while working at DC Comics. Jim Lee rose to fame as an X-Men artist and sold his creator-owned characters to DC Comics. As a kid, I saw work he did on the Punisher comic for Marvel and knew I was seeing something different.

Any projects in the works?

I’m currently working on my first book, “Black-Bird.” The irony is that I started work in comics to draw superhero books, and all the pro work I got was for fantasy, sci-fi, or horror stuff. Now I can work on the genre I always wanted to, with a Hispanic character that tackles issues only we see here in the El Paso and Paso Del Norte region. I’m not reinventing the wheel by any stretch, because nothing is original these days. The only thing you can do is execute the material well, add your own signature to it, and try to avoid the clichés you read as much as possible.

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