Breaking in to the comic industry is not an easy chore; even the greatest artists had to start somewhere. Getting their work out there in conventions, workshops, galleries, all this before ever thinking of getting published, same thing with writers. After a while comes along the first big project that is sure to be the first of many, today I had the opportunity to talk to one of these rising artists right here from the border, their names Alex Reigel and Ray Ramos from El Paso Texas and Oliver Lee Arce from the sister city of Juarez Mexico. They took the time to talk about their project on Heavy Metal Magazine, called Battery Acid, out on stores February 10th.
Javi: First off tell me a little about Battery Acid. What's the story about?
Alex: The two of them travel the universe searching for bounties for a certain benefactor who is yet to be revealed.
Ray: Basically they want the hottest women ever found for some strange private collection, and when they say hot, they mean HOT.
Alex: Even those women who had lived in the past. Ginger and Sparks will get the job done and travel through time to get the bounty. But of course the job has its dangers which will come into play as the series progresses.
Javi: How did you come up with the concept for Battery Acid?
Ray: We were sitting around deciding what we might do if we could get into Heavy Metal. Having met Kevin Eastman at the San Diego ComiCon in 07, he loved Alex’s work and wanted us to submit to the magazine.
Alex: So we thought about what we liked and what we wanted to do and basically it boiled down to having fun with the project.
Javi: How did the 3 of you come together for the project?
Ray: I met Alex a few years back and he was originally helping me on my comic book called “Dusk” we worked together for a little while but then, because of family issues, Alex was forced to move away. When Alex returned to El Paso, he looked us up to see if we were still around and we got in touch with each other and since I had met Olee a few years before, we decided that we could all collaborate together and produce some kick ass work!
Oliver: I’ve always been the go to guy (and still am) when Ray needed colors for covers/pinups, letters and graphic design for some of his books. Now that Alex was in the process of submitting Battery Acid to Heavy Metal, I was asked to add grays to his wonderful pages.
Javi: What was it like working together?
Ray: We had a great time because we all know what goes into making a kick ass book. No seasoned amateurs here, we treat each other and respect each other like the professionals we truly are. But that doesn’t mean we don’t have a good time.
Alex: Us working together is tons of fun, just like Ray. He’s tons of fun, literally! Lol!
Oliver: For me, it was educational. I found out how picky gringos are with their work, (haha) and it pushed me to work even harder and to meet the deadline.
Javi: How long was it before the story got published?
Alex: The Story was submitted a little more than a year and a half ago and they finally got back to us last summer, telling us it had gotten accepted in Heavy Metal.
Ray: It was awesome and badass!
Oliver: Yeah, that’s how long anyone has to wait before their stories get accepted.
Javi: Was there a moment when you said, "you know what, maybe the story won't get published"?
Alex: Oh of course, all the time. We had written it off as just another learning experience and we could use it for our resume and of course for our portfolios.
Ray: But then out of the blue the call came and we were in and we loved it!
Oliver: Honestly, I didn’t have a doubt in my mind. If Eastman told Alex to submit to Heavy Metal, that counts for something, no? We just got to have a positive mind about these things.
Javi: How did you work through it?
Alex: We acted pretty fast, the whole story from conception to fruition was done in about 3 months, since Olee had the hard job of “coloring” the pages, he’s the one that had to really take his time with it.
Ray: Alex and I cranked out the story and art in about 2 weeks.
Oliver: Like I said, these guys are very picky. I’ve had to make a lot of changes and improve upon some things. But all of this was taking too much time. So we opted to do the book in gray scales and half tones. I think it came out pretty good.
Javi: What would you recommend to all those people out there (artist and writers) who are just dying to get published?
Alex: Keep trying, explore all your venues and always keep wanting to grow. There are a ton of artists and writers that rely on old stuff to carry their work. They rehash and reinvent old work but it is still old work, doesn’t matter how many fancy titles you paste over the old title.
Ray: Many people think it’s about being a bad ass artist or writer, but the true secret is being consistent with your work and delivering the goods on time. If you can master that, then you’ll be sure to get into the industry faster than the next wanna be Jim Lee that draws one page a month!
Oliver: I’d say don’t wait to GET published. Publish yourself! If you’re confident about your work and have the money to print, then do it! But you also have to be responsible and consistent with your work. After you print that first comic, you have the responsibility to continue. Trust me, I speak from experience.
Javi: What's next for battery acid?
Alex: Eastman liked the art and story so much that he contacted us and said he wanted more, so we are currently developing it as a series in order to continue the adventures of everyone’s favorite alien bounty hunters.
Javi: How about you guys, any projects you're currently working on?
Ray: Right now I’m working on finishing the script for War of the Independents crossover with El Gato Negro and Aym Geronimo using my character El Valiente. And also finishing up the first story arc to our cult hit Infestation: Hell’s Pass with VIllano Montanenas.
Oliver: Work, my favorite subject. Currently I’m drawing a short story for a special project for Infestacion (Coming Soon!), coloring pages for the next issues of Karmesí (Coming soon also!)and doing a lot of lettering, graphic design and pre press work.
You can get a chance to meet them in person Saturday, February 28th 2009, from 12 to 8 PM at Dave's Comics 5360 N. Mesa St. El Paso, TX.