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Ruminations on the Exhumation of Past Comics
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I mentioned last post I was putting together the big Chingazo collection. Well, it’s put together alright, all 374 pages. That’s a lot of comics, and old comics at that. I’m not really one to dwell on my past work so it really wasn’t a stroll down memory lane on my way to court Nostalgia McPastime. There’s a lot of work in it that was definitely of it’s time, and I don’t mean culture, but it’s a product of a time in an early 20-something year-old man’s life (lots of guns, lots of ass). Looking back on this work, it was so just so raw and uncouth I can’t believe I used to hand this work over to editors like “Gimme a job” and then be totally befuddled when they didn’t. 92% of it is drawn without the aid of pencil, I was just free handing it with pens, and 100% of it was made without any scripts, outlines, or plots. I concocted these strories as I drew them, hence the total rawness.
But even as I complain about what I’ve seen during this revisit, there are some highlights to this burgeoning work.
A.) We Meet PJ for the first time!
We first get a glimpse of one Penelope Jane Alvarez as the helpful neighbor of Toonster in Chingazo #5, and then she steps out into her own story in Chingazo #6. Inspired by someone I knew in high school, I set out to write a goody-goody type character that despite her best efforts to stay on the straight-and-narrow, she’d always get caught up in the weirdest situations that often tested her ethics. Her character was the straight-man to the quirky Toonster character and I paired them up early on. She even had some appearances in my UH comic strip Sunnyland (where she was a college student). Later, in Screw Comics! we find she’s paired with her nerdy friend Gizmo. Needless to say, I always have fun writing her.
In her later stories I push the smart-girl edge of her personality, so she’s quite adept working with mechanical things and technology. It’s good to see glimpses of this in her story, as she’s helping Toonster work on his car.
She’s a bit more grown now, but she got her start in Chingazo and the comics are all the better for it.
2.) We Meet Hambone and Juju
A dynamic duo of stoner characters that are always getting into sticky and strange situations. Juju was the far more spaced out one, while Hambone had his head on straight. Hambone is a DJ while Juju is your local herb man. These guys weren’t really inspired by anyone I knew but sometimes their shenanigans were based in some reality, like in Chingazo #5 when they went to the office and computer store.
Well, okay, that didn’t exactly unfold like that, but I imagined it on a trip to the office supply store once. These guys are fun to write cuz they’re versatile enough to fit most any situation. After Chingazo they bake a cake in an attempt to win a bake-off so they can pay their rent.
And then we meet again in Screw Comics! 1 as these two are out to find their missing stash and missing turntable needles.
Fun times! Great to see where these two guys get their start.
D.) The Scope of the Stories
Okay, this last one is a catch-all of sorts, but going back and flipping thru these stories I was like Damn, I went there. Take the story Toymatic for example (Chingazo 3 & 4); it’s a story about an upcoming graffiti artist who takes to the streets and learns a very hard lesson.
Where else are you gonna read about a street artist starting at the bottom and then gets put in a complicated situation thru a freak accident?
A Night to Remember is also pretty notable (Chingazo 7). After some archeologists uncover a mysterious artifact, one of them gets a visit from a strange creature who gives him a glimpse of a possible future.
Twists and turns abound when it’s revealed just who the creature actually is and where he comes from.
And of course the epic Toonster Advetures (Jet pack episode)(Chingazo 5).
This is the one where Toonster inadvertantly prevents a 9-11 type event from happening in the city of Sunnyland. During the testing phase of his jet-pack, he lands on a passing plane and sneaks in to refuel, right as some evil-doers demand they “turn the plane around”.
This was made in 2005, and to this day I still think it’s a bit taboo to depict a 9-11 type hijacking or anything pertaining to how 9-11 unfolded. But it didn’t stop me, and looking back it’s not like it ever besmirched any of our fallen citizens or the religion or followers of Islam or anything like that.
Well, there you have it folks. The new Chingazo book is still in preorder and will be out in the month of May. Peep it here in ther store. If that’s a bit much feel free to pick up any other book or zine. You just had a glimpse of their origins. Talk to ya soon!