Robert Thody, Education Officer | December 5, 2016
When I was 6 years old, I saw a comic book which was a mash up of lots of cartoon characters: Bugs Bunny, Popeye, Mickey Mouse and many others. It cost 1000 pesos. I read it and loved it then decided to make my own comic book. Since there were no comic drawing classes where I grew up in Mexico, I started drawing and just kept on drawing. In grade 3, our teacher gave us the task of drawing the January cover of the school newsletter. While others drew big hearts or basketballs, mine would be stick figures inspired by Ghostbusters and comic book characters. Currently, I enjoy teaching cartooning classes to young children. I encourage them to draw and keep drawing. Kids are curious and I love to see them grow. Life is an ongoing process; curiosity is the key.
In 1996, I had my own comic book published in Spanish. My character’s name is Spike, an anti-hero with no super powers. I’ve been drawing him for 20 years and he is my heritage. He’s chubby, flawed, and wants to save the world but never achieves it. I grew up watching the T.V. show Batman and I loved the character of Adam West. He was a regular guy but he went to the extreme. Spike is no Batman but he can put on a costume and believe he has superpowers. Superheroes can fight a monster alien from outer space and save a city but, Spike is just a regular guy in a costume. He has no super powers. People can relate to Spike. He looks ordinary and does ordinary things like fixing a flat tire or going to work. You don’t have to look for adventure. Life is an adventure and it’s happening all around you.
Ten years ago, I came from Mexico as an immigrant. I arrived in Cambridge but didn’t know where I fitted in. It was a strange place for me, so different from Mexico. Probably 90% of people who come to Canada as immigrants feel like Superman because it’s like they’ve come from another planet. Each immigrant has a different experience to mine but they have had to figure out a whole lot of things and face new adventures and obstacles. You know you are here to stay and have a dream or passion that keeps you going. Someday I’d like to do a graphic novel on immigration. It is a story in the works and involves the years that I’ve lived through and the years yet to come. My story is tough to tell but some may relate to it. My life has been a learning curve and I’ve needed to persevere. And my story needs telling. It’s my passion to create comic books and to tell my story.
Interviewed by Robert Thody on Saturday, August 27, 2016 at the 2016 Cambridge Comic Arts Festival.
Alfonso Espinos is an award-winning Canadian comic book creator and illustrator. He is the founder of Studiocomix Press where he is the project’s chief editor, publishing the ongoing series The Night Spike. His focus has been on publishing his own original material. He also supports and works alongside a very talented team of new emergent graphic artists and comic enthusiasts to start up in the indie comic book business by developing titles for almost all kinds of genres.