Saturday, December 8, 2007

Cream City Conversations with Gabriel Bautista

In an effort to keep this blogspot from becoming just another place for a person with fingers and a keyboard to rant, I've decided to use the blogspot as a place to promote other creators while I'm promoting my own works.

Why bother?

Do you ever use Google search?

Do you ever use that search engine to find new comics/creators?

Well, this blog will come up when searching the web for comics and the name of the creators I'm promoting through online interviews.

What I probably won't be doing, here, is posting images. I don't feel it's my place to get involved in online galleries and such. I'm just creating a new 'bookmark' for the work of artists you may not know or have heard little about.

With all that being covered, let's get down to business.

First up is the infamous Gabriel Bautista, co-creator of the online battle site and virtual art school ENTER VOID. Galvo, he's also known as, has been punching in countless hours to provide internet savvy artists with a place to hone their skills. He's also contributed his art skills to several independent/self-published and small press publications. In many respects, he's a growing blip on the force'o'nature radar mainstream comics often monitor for up-and-comers. AND he embodies the kind of creator the underground community so desperately needs.

CCC: For those who don't know, Name and location?

Gabriel Bautista Jr, or GALVO to those who know me artistically via the interweb. My location, the burbs of Chi-town. We are the true wind walkers.

CCC: How did you become interested in creating comics?

Typical Marvel and DC upbringing ya know? What really got me started on those monthlies was that 2099 series that Marvel put out ages ago, I was about 13 or so and I was just FLOORED with how they redesigned Spider-Man, and the fact that he was totally Mexican and from what I remember the first issue involved a lot of talks of Dia De Los Muertos (Day of the Dead). I was totally into the whole Marvel game before that, but really... Spidey 2099 was what really got me into drawing comix.

CCC: What was your first published work? Did you self-publish that work?

First published work was through a lil studio out of Wisconsin, STARCROSS STUDIOS. I had a lil 8 pg story in the anthology [Cream City Comics] they put out (it's crazy to think you used to run it Amado! hahaha!) I was really proud of the entry though, it was the most work I had ever put into a comic.

*Note: Star Cross Studio is still around and publishing comics, sans Arex... and Jerod Luening.

CCC: If you self-publish, what do you gain from that experience?

I think self-publishing should be a must for everyone who wants to be a comix king, not only 'cause it shows you how much work goes into it, but it also gives you a real taste of FREEDOM. Real publishers can be nitpicky as hell when it comes down to the most trivial things, as I've seen and experienced personally... and sometimes that kind of kills the dream. On top of that, you get to understand how the whole process of printing your own book. Helps you when you're getting into it with the big boys.

CCC: If you've been published by other publishers, compare the experience to self-publishing.

I'm on the verge of getting published, so right now I'm in the final stages of mainstream publishing and, lemme tell you... it can be a bit nerve-wrecking. From what I've seen among friends, for the most part, editors are really cool cats and they usually bring out the best in your work. But sometimes that means you have to 'X' something you really like or do things that you wouldn't quite agree with or even like.

The nice thing about self-publishing is that you don't really have anyone to breathe down your back, but that can be a bad thing too. Sometimes we as artists don't catch mistakes and/or opportunities that you can take advantage of in your work when self-publishing. So, I think it's always a plus to have SOMEONE around to review your work.

CCC: Give us a list of your published works (self-published or otherwise)?

Most of my published material has been in PULPO PRESS anthologies. I've colored every cover, and had a story in each one. Aside from that, I've published my own works as mini comics every year during con season. Most of which can be found at

CCC: Describe the art scene where you live. If you've lived elsewhere and were producing art there, compare those scenes.

DEAD. I live in one of the many suburbs of the Chicago land area and even though I attend the Art institute out in this area, there isn't much of an art scene out here. I think sometimes it's not so much the LACK of scene, but the lack of INSPIRATION or even WORK ETHIC.

A lot of the cats at school don't do much but sit around and play the latest and greatest that their next generation gaming system has to offer. It's a bit depressing at times, simply because these cats are my competition of sorts in the future. And... while it's great to think that I won't have MUCH of a competition pool to get an alright job... it also means there isn't anyone around for me to be a rival to. If you ever find yourself a group of people that like to draw all the time, or go out and just draw till their fingers fall off... STICK WITH THEM. It's a gold mine, I tell yah.

CCC: Do you belong to any online or 'real world' art groups? If so, list them and describe how that/those group/s benefit you.

The only real art group I belong to is Its a comic battling website I developed many years ago, and now run with a brother from another mother, Senor Toast. The site is really the only thing I keep up with nowadays. It's a great place for people to expand their skill set in the ways of comix and it's free of charge. Why not take advantage of it, right?

It pushes you to become better, and it has [worked] for me for years. The site is full of comic artists that are now breakin' into the game as well, so it's good to have them around critiquing and supporting the younger generation with their growing.

CCC: What is your ultimate or immediate goal in creating comics?

My immediate goal is to put out a book through Oni or Top Shelf or anybody else who can feed me. But at the same time, doing so, I want to produce a book that will make people drop their jaws and shed many tears in joy and fear of how heartfelt of a story they have just read. I want people to remember my stories like they do when watching an award winning film. My ultimate goal in comics is to stay fresh... to be able to continue drawing comics and not dry up like so many others have in the past. I want to draw epic comix for life.

CCC: What do you think is lacking from the underground art scene? If you had the power, what would you do to address that void?

Pride. Pure and simple. The fact that self-publishing or getting published by some dude still living at home or in a studio apartment on the bad side of town, is a "bad thing" really irks me. It seems that sometimes cats just want to get published by the big boys to get the recognition and the green.

If you ask me, some of the best comics out there haven't come out of the big houses, and in fact, have come out of damp basements. If you take all the great stories that indie publishers have put [out] and pit them against the great stories that big publishers have put out, the big boys have nothing. And, sure, you can argue what a "great story" is for weeks, but we all know what a great story is... and we all know that hungry people often produce better work than those that are full.

So, in essence, we need more pride in the underground scene. Be proud of not being a poster boy or girl for the mainstream world. Breathe the sweat scent of underground love rich in what's REALLY hot.

CCC: Do you blog? MySpace? ComicSpace? If so, what kinds of things do you communicate through it and what is your ultimate goal in using that site?

I tell myself I will blog all the time, but it's about as constant as me flossing. I start doing it on a daily basis but then just stop for no damn reason. But, yes, I do blog >> Blogging is something amazing, lemme tell you. I love to read people's opinions on shit I don't really care about. It's fun to read... and sometimes I get to see some cool sketches I wouldn't otherwise ever get to see.

The myspace deal, ( is just something that you HAVE to do. It's such a powerful networking tool. I'm suprised they don't charge for using it. I don't really peruse the site in search for hotties or the next great band, so I usually just wait for someone to add me and then I run through their top friends list. Comicspace I messed with for about a week and then got bored after tons'n'tons of below average studio type accounts kept adding me. I know this sounds cocky, but man... that gets annoying.

I want to fly as high as the birds I hang with, so why am I going to hang with the lil birds?

CCC: Do you read any other creators' blogs? If so, what do you think of them?

I don't really like to read. I like to look at pretty pictures, and I think that's why I like drawing comics and reading comics that dont have essays attached to several word bubbles on a pin-up every other page of a comic. So, no, I dont read other creators' blogs. The only person I keep up with [are] brothers in art, steve valdez ( ), ELIO ( and Andre Szymanowicz ( really like the whole blog idea, but I really don't get much time to read any. Like I said.. I just like looking at pretty pictures. I think a lot of that lies in the fact that I feel bad because I should be drawing instead of reading people's rants.

CCC: What kinds of books do you enjoy reading?

I'm really vain, so to begin with, I like reading things that look awesome. If the book has a fresh style to it, then I'll buy it. But for the most part I like reading anything in graphic novel format. I love the fact that you can just pick a book up and spend a good hour reading a book and be done with it, just like a movie. I'm not a fan of the "OH MAN WHAT'S GONNA HAPPEN NEXT MONTH? IM SO TORN!" way of comics.

CCC: What kinds of standards and/or expectations do you place on a comics purchase?

I'm starting to stray away from the first and foremost standard that I've held dear for so many years, which is quality of work. I've been reading a few books here and there that aren't so keen on artistic ability and I've realized that what they lack in art skill they make up for in an amazing story. I used to be the type that couldn't handle crap art and a good story. But now I'm starting to value the whole package. My only expectation from a book is that story will inspire me to write and draw my own comix.

CCC: What is your favorite indie publisher?

Hands down it has to be Oni. I don't really read many comix, but all together I've read more Oni books than any other publisher (I don't count the books I read when I was lil kid, or else Marvel would win fo'sho).

CCC: What is it about that publisher you find unique?

AH MAN, the TALENT they have is phenomenal! Not only do you get fresh styles, you get fantastic stories! What else could you look for? And not just fantastic stories... but NEW and FRESH stories.

CCC: Who is your favorite creator/writer/illustrator?

It's a big tie between Scott Morse, Moebius and Brandon Graham. Scott Morse for his ability to wield different types of mediums from watercolor to paint and back to ink. Moebius for his attention to detail and just off the wall ideas. And Brandon Graham for his overall amazing STYLE and just epic thought process. That dude comes up with the wackiest stuff. It's like he has his own lil world that he keeps feeding to us on Ritz crackers.

CCC: Give us a short list of indie creators you believe are sort of shaping the future of comics (indie and/or mainstream)?

James Stokoe ( Brandon Graham ( Marley Zarcone ( Sheldon Vella ( Corey Lewis ( Elio ( Evan Dahm ( All of these cats are mostly indie, with a lil mainstream work on their belts, but they keep it real and that's what really matters.

CCC: If you could change one thing about the modern comics 'industry' what would it be?

I think, in order to change the industry at all, it's the people that follow the modern comics mainstream industry that need to change first. If people were to peel their lips off the ass of mainstream and snuggle up with some indie lovers, I think they'd enjoy themselves thoroughly. The problem is, if the big boys keep putting out the same recycled garbage, people will continue to munch on it as if it was the best steak on earth... when all they really eating is a fattening double whopper from BK. Go out and get you a delicious homemade burger folks!!

CCC: Give a shout out to any site and/or underground comic you think people ought to be checking into.

First off, for all you cats wanting to improve your comix game, make your way to Learn, grow.. conquer. Second, EVERYONE has to read rice boy. The story is sooooo insane, you'll wonder how you lived without knowing about it., visit me HA! (and check out my friends list while yer there too). Fourth - lots of the cats on this site are the future of comix.

Thanks for your time, Gabe!

And that's how it works, folks. I hope you enjoyed yourself and found the info Gabe shared helpful. Check back for interviews starring creators you ought to know.