Thursday, April 26, 2007

North & South

HM Cover, colored by my good friend Andrew Wilson.

Georgia On My Mind

Dear Diary:

I spent last weekend at the Atlanta Comics Expo, a very peculiar show I must say. I had never heard of this event (with good reason, this was their first show) but I 've always wanted to visit Atlanta and since I was invited, I decided to go.

The convention was small but cozy. Well, maybe too cozy. The organizers were very nice and helpful, the place was clean and well lit. I usually don't care much for conventions that are held in hotels and this one was no exception. Upstairs from us there were having an international dance contest and one level above it there was a prom going on, or rather, several proms, I prefer convention centers, thank you very much.

I thought the attendance was pretty poor, lack of advertising or just plain indiference, take your pick. Oh, and surprise! the people attending the show were mostly super hero comic book freaks, rolling their plastic coolers all over that nice corporate carpet.

Diary, I know you've told me several times not to stare at people for extended periods of time but I couldn't help myself, Atlantans love to dress up, before I left, Jana said: "Watch out for the weirdos" and I didn't know what she meant, Lotsa girls in tight costumes prancing around, fat spidermen and all sorts of gay caballeros wearing their underwear on the outside, just like in those creepy Alex Ross' drawn (and painted) comics. That's what she meant! Pretty nasty shit but the women were something else. Southern girls love to flaunt it, even though they swear they are shy and proper. They really are very generous to say the least, I don't know what they eat down there or what kind of hormonal chemicals they dump in the water reservoir but they're all "healthy" females. God bless the South!

I stayed at The Francavillas, Francesco, his lovely bride and their 3 cats showed me what real southern hospitality is all about. I had a chance to check out the city and its surroundings, at times I felt I was in a time tunnel. On prom night I saw a divided city, there were black proms and white proms but I didn't see any integrated proms, maybe I was in the wrong side of town.

Plenty of affluence, new luxurious houses everywhere. The land is cheap, of course, I wasn't surprised to hear those new home prices were pretty low.To be fair, compared to New York everything else is inexpensive. With the same money I paid for my house I could have gotten a castle down there, the thing is who wants to live there?. . . . Exactly!
The good ol' South is still not integrated enough for my taste, it looks too much like Hoboken, NJ —after they kicked the puertoricans out of town— I still prefer Toronto. Mexicans of course, have their own area, which looks like shit and is adyacent to the upscale neighborhoods they serve. This is not exclusive to the conservative South, I've seen the same thing in "progressive" California and in "liberal" NY.

When I used to live in Tustin, CA I worked in Santa Ana, that was kinda odd because things generally were the other way 'round. Santa Ana used to be a shithole where they dumped all the Mexicans who worked in Tustin (a right-wing, ultra conservative town without porn and with a curfew). I said "used to" because I haven't lived there in 15 years. Late Saturday and Sunday nights you would find scores of rich white kids from the gated communities of Orange, Anaheim Hills and Tustin and even Fullerton, buying cheap crack and other cocaine derivatives from the local "Cholos" behind the Bristol swap meet.

I worked delivering pizzas for "Me & Ed's" back then and I recall asking Glenn the manager: "Why is the map partially covered with red Magic Marker™?" he said: "We just don't go there!", "but we're two blocks away!" "Damn it, man! What part of We Just Don't Go There, don't you understand!" I was instructed to tell the people from Townsend Street to come and pick up their pizzas at the restaurant, "Sorry, Ma'am, we just don't fuckin' go there, understand?"

Whenever any of the drivers got the munchies we would write up a fictitious order from Townsend. We would cover an entire extra large pizza with jalapeño peppers and mushrooms (this trick would render the pizza unsellable) and place it on top of the oven, 30 minutes later the manager would say: "There's an old order from Townsend up there, anybody hungry?" The silent rules were simple: if it's up there for longer than 30 minutes, it's fair game.

Back to our lying already in progress: On Friday night we had dinner at the legendary Trader Vick's, the most beautiful Tiki bar on the western hemisphere. There I met some talented individuals such as Tyson McAdoo, Dave Cook and Derek Yaniger, had a nice chat with a nice man named Bob Shrek (no relation to the Ogre in that unwatchable piece of 3-D horse shit) whom I learned later, was a big-shot editor at one of the two Comics giants, I forgot which one.

I'm going to give this convention a free pass this time around because the show is new but you're on notice, Atlanta Comics Expo! I doubt I'll be back, though. That's too bad because I really got used to the Southern Belles exhuberant proportions and the way they walk and talk. "Ya'll come back ya hear?" . . . Not me.

The Province of Alberto
Diary dearest, can you believe it has been a year already since my first visit to the fine city of Calgary?, I miss it very much, particularly those Flamer girls.

Last year when I arrived at Calgary, I saw a 20 ft high sign near the airport, that read: "WELCOME TO CALGARY, ALBERTO"
Having been blessed with a Texas-size ego, I naturally assumed the giant sign was for me; I immediately thought: "Wow! What a country this Canada eh? I've never been here before and they already treat me like a war hero" Somebody ought to let them know they made a mistake,though, my name ends in "O" not in "A". Great people up there but horrible spellers! Silly Canadians, gotta love 'em!

I will be attending the Calgary Comics and Entertainment Expo at the Stampede Grounds (I think) I just can't wait to get there, Calgary is without a doubt one of my favorite places in the world!

I'll see you there this coming Sunday! God bless the North!


Monday, April 16, 2007


A Child's Dream, A Grown Up's Nightmare
I was asked a year ago or so to illustrate a cover for Heavy Metal Magazine, I immediately said yes even before I knew what the rate was. It turned out the pay was dog shit but I still went ahead with it because ever since I was a kid I dreamt of one day doing a cover for HM, only it wasn't known as HM back then but rather MH.

I'm talking about the original Metal Hurlant Magazine, which started publication in 1974; the French adult fantasy magazine which was reprinted in North America as Heavy Metal, by the same people who gave us The National Lampoon Magazine, namely, Leonard Mogel. I don't care much for the magazine these days, it's pretty sucky to tell you the truth (not that I lied to you before or anything ) way back in '77 the French version was outstanding, it included: Moebius, Ives Chaland, Serge Clerc, Druillet, Caza, The Schuiten Bros, Tardi, Enki Bilal and a slew of French, Italian and Spanish masters on a regular basis.

Its American counterpart featured Vaughn Bodé, Howard Chaykin, Jeff Jones, Bernie Wrightson and many more American artists in addition to its European roster, which I thought made it even stronger than the French version at one point, but like everything great in this country, it slowly began to deteriorate, more and more smut and poorly drawn "adult" comics as well as a myriad of advertisements for porn art books, the covers always feature that "beautiful" "fuck me in the mouth" airbrushed girl. Shit, I'm going to hell!.

You guys already know I'm not a big fan of what's called "erotic art" nowadays, maybe the stories are still good, but I care very little for stories in comic book format, I'd much rather read a book, I'm a visual being, I like art and most of the art in there these days is god-awful. Once in a while I find something good published in HM; the other day my friend Jonathan Lopez gave me a copy of a Heavy Metal issue that had nothing but Sky Doll art in it, now, that was something! I still have no clue as to what the story is about but DAMN! that is one beautifully drawn book!

The sketch above is based on an old drawing (at least the bottom half is) This drawing, which I am very fond of was rejected because the girl was considered "too ugly", I beg to differ but what the fuck do I know? Now you understand why I self-publish.

I still like it better than the actual cover, which I can't show you now but you will see in July.

On The Book Front
All the artists have their books now, so please visit their websites and buy their respective volumes signed by the creators themselves. Support independent thinkers. Like my Mom likes to say: "Hoy por mi, Mañana por Tí"

Here are their links:

Andrew's Blog
Wade's SBlog
Erwin's Blog
Sean's Blog
Joe's Website
Matt's Website
Robin's Blog
Alberto's nest of hornets


Monday, April 09, 2007


First: The deadline for the "EYE CANDY FROM STRANGERS 1.0" is fast approaching, I've received tons of entries, a great deal of beautiful art, I'm so excited!! this book is going to look incredible!!

If you haven't done so, send in your submissions.

Second: Massive Shipment of Books
As of last Friday all the remaining (pending) book shipments were finalized and they're on their way to their destinations, both domestic and international orders. An automatic notice was emailed to everyone in the United States (no tracking for international shipments mailed via surface, sorry Canada and the rest of the world) Check the email account you used in your Paypal communication.

If you bought any of our books in the USA and did not receive a tracking #, please email me directly at and I'll be happy to provide one for you.

Once again, thank you for bearing with me throughout this first batch of Brandstudio Press books, I'm doing everything in my power to correct the deficiencies. Growing pains in the ass, but we'll get through them. I've already set up a system to make sure all orders are shipped as soon as they are received. We have been waiting on our suppliers and counting on their word to deliver. The artists also have had to endure the shortage but now we're good. Everyone should be fully stocked by tomorrow.

As a token of my appreciation for your patience and understanding, I'd be more than happy to pay for the shipping of your next order. Here's a coupon, click & drag& send to me. Use it wisely :)

As far as I'm concerned, each and every order made through the Brandstudio Press online store has been shipped, including the ones received this morning, we're on top of this fuckin' train and moving full steam ahead.

Any and all questions/complaints, regarding the books, DO NOT hesitate to email me personally, I'll take care of it.