During the late 80s and early 90s I read a lot of comic books. I used to be addicted to them. But, as life goes on and families happen, I drifted away from one of my favorite types of reading. Recently via this blog, I was introduced to a comic writer/illustrator with some serious talent. His comics remind me a lot of the comics I read in my younger days. I feel very fortunate to have him on the blog today. Please give a warm blog welcome to Luis Cruz of CruzinComics.
Thank you Mike.
Before we get into the meat of the interview, can you give the readers a bit of information about yourself?
I’m the publisher of CruzinComics and Creator/Writer of Jennifer The She-Wolf, BLOOD-KILL and FUEL OF LIFE: An Illustrated Short Story. I love to read and write Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror and, a little Erotica. I’ll let you in on a little secret, I’m also physically disabled, (I write, draw and, type with my mouth) but that doesn’t stop me from having fun.
When did you first decide to be a writer/illustrator? Which came first, and how did the one influence the other?
Well at first, up until I was about nine years old, I wanted to be a New York Police Officer. However, my Doctor made me realize that due to my disability it would be impossible. My Doctor, noticing that I had the talent to draw, suggested that I should look into doing something with that. When I was seventeen years of age, a friend of mine took me to meet with an editor from DC Comics who after looking at my artwork, told me that he liked my artwork. He then asked if I could show him how I draw with my mouth, but after noticing how long it took for me to make one illustration, suggested that I stick to the writing which he thought was very good. By the way, I later discovered that the editor I met was the editor of Batman, Mr. Dennis O’Neal.
Jennifer the She-Wolf, Blood-Kill and Fuel of Life are the three bodies of work I am familiar with. Can you give the readers a quick couple of sentences to describe each work?
JENNIFER THE SHE-WOLF is a New York City Homicide Detective and a Werewolf, but she wasn’t always like this. Throughout her life she has suffered and lost three very important things, her husband, two children, and she thinks, her Soul.
BLOOD-KILL is an ancient spirit which was placed in the body of a dying Detective. However, the body of that spirit is revived and has been walking the Earth for centuries looking to reunite with his spirit.
FUEL OF LIFE: An Illustrated Short Story basically asks what if human blood was used on alien space vessels as fuel for a species we called Vampires?
Can you tell us what projects you are working on right now? Maybe give us a bit of detail?
I’m currently working on JENNIFER THE SHE-WOLF #2 and the rest of the series which tells the story about a young woman who was turned into a Werewolf in 1920. Once turned, she was never allowed to see her children, who she left with her Aunt. However, unaware to her is that her daughter was turned into a Vampire, also against her will. The difference is that the daughter had to kill the Aunt and her brother to quench her blood thirst, because the Vampire that turned her never returned to train her.
I’m also working on a project that I plan on releasing soon titled, A CRIPPLED EARTH. The premise of that story is what if there was a parallel universe with an Earth just like ours, except that the people on that Earth are in wheelchairs. Everything this Earth has they have, everything the people on this Earth do, they do- Everything. On this other Earth, Alien contact has been made, at first through Satellite transmissions, then actual physical contact. Much of their surprise, the Aliens are very much Humans, physically normal Humans. Although the Aliens are Human, they are much more technologically advanced. They offer the wheelchair people a cure which will make them physically normal, the question is how will this cure effect their way of living and how many will actually take the cure not to mention how will they be looked upon and treated by their own kind.
CruzinComics: What made you decide to start your own publishing company? How did that start out? Give us the origin story!
CruzinComics began because I noticed that I was receiving a few “Work For Hire” contracts from publishers stating that anything I created belonged to the publisher, which is a very common agreement in the industry. I began to think and realized that if the movie, television or toy rights to the properties were licensed, then they would be the ones to gain by it not me because I’ve already been compensated for it. Once I realized that, I started CruzinComics by first reaching out to my friend and Artist Miguelangel Ruiz who helped in creating the Logo. Then I took some of my old character I created and stories I wrote as a teen and began to “flesh them out.”
Quick break from the ‘serious’ questions, if you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?
Due to my physical disability, the superpower I would love to have is telekinesis, that way I can get things on my own and not depend on anyone else.
What has influenced your work? Why did you choose the genres you work in? Are there any artists/writers you look up to?
The Underworld movies has to be the biggest influence, when I saw that the werewolves can change at will and not be restricted by the Moon, I thought it was genius. The funny thing about the genre I write is that I didn’t choose it, it kinda chose me. A former comic book publisher, called N.A.S. Studios hired me to write a comic book titled The Cursed And The Damned, which was about werewolves vs. zombie’s. It was my first time writing something in the supernatural/horror genre in which I enjoyed writing. It was different from the superhero stuff I wrote before for another publisher which doesn’t deserve to be named. I’m a huge fan of writers Kevin J. Anderson and Timothy Zahn, but in the comic book world, I’m a big fan of writers Chris Claremont who I had the honor of meeting in person, Rick Remender, Neil Gaiman, J. Michael Straczynski, Alan Moore, Geoff Johns, and Grant Morrison. My favorite comic book Artists are Todd McFarlane who drove around in my wheelchair at a New York Comic Con (I have the video to prove it), Jim Lee, Jim Valentino and, Richard Bonk.
You have a talented group that works with you on your projects, can you embarrass them a little and tell us a bit about them? Maybe share something to help us get to know each of them?
I have been blessed to have worked with a great creative team. Henry Simon, a fantastic artist and a great Friend. My good friend and advisor Miguelangel Ruiz; publisher, creator, artist and writer of MYTHOGRAPHY COMICS. Angel M. Martinez who goes by other names such as An-Hell and most recently Ammardi, (I think he might be having an identity crisis or he may be Schizophrenic… Just joking) is a wonderful artist and also a good Friend. Last, but not least, is my friend and letterer, Jorge Medina Co-Founder of M.A.S. Media Studios. Well, there you have it.
When not working on your comics, is there something else you are passionate about?
When I’m not busy working on my comics or a script you will find me out-and-about with my friends and or visiting my Grandmother at the nursing home.
How long does it take to complete a comic? What is the process?
That depends on the Creator/Writer. I’m just the writer, so once I’m done writing the story and script, I send it to the artist who will either do the penciling, inking and coloring. Keep in mind that not all artisst do all three things, but I’ve been blessed with artists who do. Then it goes to the letterer and finally off to the printers. However, the most important process in completing a comic book depends on your financial situation, because payment must be made to the artist and the printer.
Promotion is important for Indie Artists, what have you done that works? What didn’t work? What do you plan on trying in the future?
The best promotion is your social media networks, also, don’t only print your books but place them in as many digital platforms as you can. There are plenty of choices such as, ComiXology, Amazon, Indy-Planet and DriveThru-Comics, just to name a few. Don’t hesitate in reaching out to a comic book reviewer and asking if they’d be interested in reviewing your book and do the same with podcasters also, you’ll be surprised at the response you’ll get. To promote my comic book I had shirts printed with the cover on them, they sold very well but it gave me a headache trying to figure out which were popular colors and sizes, I wouldn’t advise that anyone who is just starting in this business try that until after two years. I also had Baseball caps printed with one of my comic book images on it, which didn’t do as well as the shirts did. I’ve done pretty well, considering I don’t have a website, so I guess my future plan is to actually create a website.
What advice would you give to a young artist/writer out there?
The only advice I can give is to never give up on your dreams, if a door doesn’t want to open, find a window to get inside.
Well, that’s it. Thanks again for taking the time to talk with us. We appreciate your time and look forward to seeing what you have coming for us to read in the future.
Please use the following links to follow Luis Cruz and CruzinComics!
Coming Soon from Luis M. Cruz
A CRIPPLED EARTH
What if there was a parallel universe with an Earth just like ours, except that the people on that Earth are in wheelchairs. Everything this Earth has they have, everything the people on this Earth do, they do. Everything…
On this other Earth, Alien contact has been made, at first through Satellite transmissions, then actual physical contact. Much of their surprise, the Aliens are very much Humans, physically normal Humans.
Although the Aliens are Human, they are much more technologically advanced. They offer the wheelchair people a cure which will make them physically normal, the question is how will this cure effect their way of living and how many will actually take the cure not to mention how will they be looked upon and treated by their own kind.