Interviewee: Jorge Paz

Interviewer: Anthony Andujar Jr 

Q1 What comics got you invested into the comics medium?

JP: Here in Argentina, to me, comic books are weird, something that you have to search for, not easily available. I came across them at age 12, more specifically Mangas. Dragon Ball was being mass printed for the first time and it was cheap, for something with that many pages it was like a treasure. Then the internet changed everything, you can have any comic in the world, not only that, YouTube channels that told you what was the best. So it began my quest to find them all. My first,  weirdly, was the Red Lanterns from the new 52, Guy Gardner as Red Lantern with long hair and his beard looked so cool, then came the Marvel  event, Spider-verse (2014),  all those Spider-Men! It was like that episode of the 90’s animated series but on steroids. Then came my first love, Greg Capullo and Scott Snyder’s Batman run, a look at that Joker with that cut face, and I was a fan of comics for life.  

Q2 Who are your influences?

JP: As I said, Greg Capullo´s art on Batman is my foundation, and today still is and will always be, but I was first attracted to Mangas. I remember reading Naruto every week. Masashi Kishimoto is a beast, the first comics that I drew properly were modeled after that, with a look more to the Shonen manga kind of story than proper superhero stuff. As I grew older and read more comics, I came across a YouTube channel called Cartoonist Kayfabe, where they talked about a lot of stuff that I wasn’t aware of, things like the first TMNT run from Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird. I fell in love with the old stories of EC Comics, and Jim Rugg ́s book Afrodisiac was like eye-opening. The idea that you can tell a straight story, you can play with the medium, really spoke to me and the work of Tom Scioli and people like him told me that you do not have to draw “Superhero” style comics to do comics, and gave me the liberty to experiment and that freed me. Talking nowadays, the work of Daniel Warren Johnson and James Harren, bringing Asian influences to mainstream comics, influence my current work.

Q3 How did you get your start working on comics?

JP: Comics were always the medium that appealed to me. I first started to draw when my dad drew the Justice League for me, I was like five. I cut them and made paper toys, and played with them. They just can’t be there standing on the paper, they need to move and jump and go on an adventure.  That also told me that I could have any toy that I wanted, all I had to do was to draw them, so I had every Dragon Ball character, every Transformer, did I need a Yu-gi-oh! card? no problem, all I needed was paper and a pencil. As I said in the beginning, comics weren’t available for me, but I know them through the TV, being showcased in shows like Goosebumps, Doug, the Simpsons, Fairy Odd Parents, and others, it was an appealing mark of the North American lifestyle as I saw them from this corner of the world. So that drove me to draw my own stories, without ever having seen a comic book in person. When I created my characters that started the ball and I couldn’t stop it.

Q4 You’ve worked on a couple of comics projects over the years. What are some of the challenges that make it interesting for you as an illustrator and storyteller?

JP: How it would look when it’s finished. After doing a couple of comics, through the years, I knew that I could do this. I can make a comic book, and having that finished product is the most satisfying feeling in the world for me. Not every work is the best thing but it gives you some kind of accomplishment that you did something, that you finished something. I have to say, even though it sounds vain, that I am my own fan. My work makes me feel good, and I think that one reason is that I struggle so much in the making, a lot of people enjoy it, it is like meditation for them. But for me it’s a constant battle to stay focused and not flip the table every time that you draw, don’t like, erase, draw, don’t like, repeat…and when it’s done it is a relief ha ha ha.

Q5 You’re also a colorist aside from an illustrator. What makes coloring such a challenge when coloring the work of others aside from your own?

JP: I love coloring, it is one of the best things, giving it the final touch, where you can have fun and try stuff. And doing it for others is always a challenge because you don’t know if the other person is thinking the same as you. If they want this color here or there, but when they give you freedom it is the best thing, really, like when you are a child painting with color pencils or painting a color book or whatever. But also that is how I decided to color my work, I know that no one is thinking the same as me and I have to do it myself. With that said, I would like to embark on the job of coloring comics one day. That was a thought that crossed my mind and maybe someday I will try.

Q6 When creating stories, what is your process? What do you start with and how do you navigate the developmental stages all the way to the completed work?

JP: It starts with an idea, trying to see what theme fits or maybe you have something in mind that you want to explore and what would work or if there’s anything that you want to draw really. The end is something that I thought of early while writing a story, I don’t know why but I like to know where it’s going to end and from that, I try to build the puzzle that is a story. It helped me a bunch with the Dan Harmon story circle. I discovered it while trying to study more about writing and how to get better at that. It gave me a structure, where I can fit all of my pieces and maybe if I’m stuck I can see that and figure out what it’s lacking. I have written on my drawing board the 8 steps (YOU, NEED, GO, SEARCH, FIND, TAKE, RETURN, CHANGE) and encourage everyone who is trying to write to search it, it helps a lot.

Q7 You have a series in the works titled, Club of Heroes. What is it about and how did this project come into being?

JP: I feel I’ve been working on that my entire life haha, it’s about the first character that I’ve ever created, a boy who wears a red bandana, controls fire, and plays with his friends to be superheroes. I think I was 8 when I drew my first comic featuring that character, and of course, it was me as a superhero, and with my friends, playing pretend fighting monsters and all that. Then I got into manga which brought me to make a sixteen chapter series comic while I was in school. No matter what, I still drew the main character called “Red Ragged” through the years. But as I grew up, went to college, and started to work, I left that in the past, and when I was trying to get more serious with making comics I started drawing other stories. One thing led to another and for fun I tried to redraw my first comic but I feel that I could do so much more with all my knowledge and remaking everything I think that it could work as a modern comic book/ novel/ whatever… But I feel that this story is the big mountain in my life that I got to conquer and connected all my life since I was a kid. And it will be done soon, I see the light at the end of the tunnel so, I hope I can share it with everyone, but as I said before, I’m really doing it for myself haha. Also I hope it works so that  I can continue to explore this universe because it’s just the beginning and I want to tell the end too.  

Q8 What is it about Superheroes as a genre that continues to appeal to various cultures and people across the decades?

JP: It’s the modern myth, right? Gods fighting monsters in the name of justice and the greater good. Also, I think that we as people, create these incredible stories to inspire ourselves, to try to make us believe that if this super being can defeat their enemies we can also achieve the impossible, climb the highest mountain. That it doesn’t matter if the world is ending, we can change it or go out fighting. I think that it does work and does the job. I gained a lot of values from Goku, Superman, Spider-Man (man, the times that everything went wrong, and I was going through tough times, I thought of that image of Peter lifting that heavy rubble, saying, I got to do this, I am Spider-man I can do this, I can’t die here.) that stuff, even if that is not real, I believe it one hundred percent and I will transmit it to my kids one day.

Q9 Are there any projects in the pipeline that readers should keep an eye out for?

JP: I have a mini-story called Purple Rider on my Instagram, which is part of a bigger project about public domain characters, it’s on indefinite pause but I still I am really proud of that, I love the character and what it represents, and I’ll surely explore more of that story in the future. Also, I’m working on a project with some people on a magazine in the vibes of Heavy Metal. I proposed a Sci-Fi story about a space ranger that travels the universe trying to get a very powerful device to a resistance that wants to end the galactic empire of lizard people. As a fan of UFOs and the paranormal, I love this kind of story, and I have an unreleased project that focuses on the UFO phenomenon and conspiracies, so I took the opportunity of the magazine to unify that with my own universe. it’s unknown when it’s coming out but sooner or later I’ll release it myself I think on my Instagram page. I’m in the final stages of Club of Heroes and I hope it’s out this year (2024) or next year.

Q10 Where can readers follow your work to stay up to date?

JP: My main outlet of work is Instagram, @Jorge_pazzz, or my Facebook page, TERMINATORS COMICS. I would love to do more videos so you can check my YouTube page as Jorge Paz. 

By Anthony Andujar Jr.

Anthony Andujar Jr. is an NYC cartoonist and lover of comics and music. So much so that it led him to writing comic book reviews in between it all.