The Aztec of The City

Block2Block radio host David Madrid talks with Chicano comic book creator Fernando Rodriguez about his latest release of “Aztec of The City” one of America’s first and only Chicano/Latino super heroes, originating out of San Jose.

Tune into Block2Block radio, airing Wednesday mornings from 8-10am on 91.5 FM KKUP. (South Bay and Central Coast) For more information or to suggest an interview contact host and producer David Madrid at:

"Aztec of The City" Community Pre Release Event on Friday February 17 at 7PM Location: Silicon Valley De Bug (701 Lenzen Ave. San Jose, Ca)

For more information about “Aztec of The City” booking and distribution contact: Adriana Garcia 408.250.9245/ Aztec of The City Face Book

Interview with Comic Writer Fernando Rodriguez
         “Aztec of the City” Comic book

What sparked your inspiration for Aztec of the City?

In high school, I would stop in and have lunch at Panchos' Restaurant/Diner on Post Street.  One day, I asked the waitress in Spanish, about the guy kneeling over the fallen princess in white with the volcano and mountains in the background and she knew about Cuauhtemoc. Those Jesus Helguera images were always on my mind and I may have subconsciously, long ago, decided on bringing those paintings, those heroes, and those stories, to life.

 Years later, I was also at a Brian’s Books comic book store in Santa Clara buying Daredevil when it dawned on me that there wasn't anything ''Mexican'' and believe me I looked all through that store, wondering why in the heck I hadn't seen that void in the comic book industry earlier and from that I went about creating a Mexican-American comic book hero, and the Aztec of the City was born. I was further convinced by reading the odd-shaped black and white comic book, "Brotherman,” an African-American hero put together by the Sims brothers in Texas.

 Did social issues in aside from personal experience influence your writing? 
This new issue is titled, ''Drive Bye'' and deals with the aspect of innocents lost to this form of random violence. We introduce Tony Avalos, the Super-Chicano, whose life mirrors many of my own personal experiences and I made San Jose the city in the book because I love this community.  Tony Avalos started out as a 19 year old construction worker, and has evolved into a San Jose State College freshman in the new Volume 3, he doesn't fly nor speak en ingles.

 Why San Jo?
Because I love this town. I grew up here. Have all my family, friends and son in this city. Because I attended San Jose High, San Jose City College and ran for the San Jose State University Track Club. Because I love St Joseph's Cathedral. Because my mom is burried here. In the Marvel Universe, everything happened in New York, where StanLee is from. With DC, their stories take place in mythical cities like Metropolis, Gotham City, which I never cared for too much. Make mine, Marvel!!

 What (or who) inspired you to begin creating comics?
It was definitely Stan ''The Man'' Lee. I was 12 years old, working at Collector's Corner, taking home a few comics a day and reading everything Marvel. There was also this little book of over 100 poems in my grandfather's dresser that my uncle Agustin Rodriguez published in Morelia, Michoacan, Mexico that said to me at 5 and 6 years old, that things like publishing your art was possible.

 What is your favorite comic?
Daredevil has been something I have continued to buy and follow since being mesmerized by Wally Wood's, Darevil # 7versus the Sub-Mariner cover of 1964 and through all of Gene Colan's classic issues of the 1970's. Brian Michael Bendis and the artwork by Alex Maleev, during the 1990's was sheer incredible magic and that pretty much has kept me following the series deep into the latest new teams of Ed Brubaker, Mark Waid and Paolo Rivera.

 How did you partner up with your illustrator?
Ernie Polo picked up the 2004 issue of Adelita/Tales of Aztlan and emailed, asking if I needed an artist and after we met at my Godfather's house, Once I was back in Mexico, we stayed in contact with emails and phone calls and it took all of 5 years and a miracle of the Lord to get this new one printed.

 How do you feel your comic contributes to the Latino culture?
Wow. I just imagine a world where young Chicanos, Latinos, and Mexicans, have on their wall, an Aztec of the City poster instead of Superman, Batman. A room where same young kids of our heritage are playing with Aztec of the City, Super Chicano, El Gato Negro, Sonambulo action figures along with Captain America and X-Men.

 I 'd like to pass away knowing I left some pretty cool comic books in this world. Stories liked by Latino/Chicano/Mexican kids living in America, which help them remember and appreciate their culture and history. Comic books are a great introduction to reading and hopefully from Aztec of the City, young readers and fans would elevate to Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Victor Villasenor's, or even classics like Tolstoy's. I think it contributes simply by existing as an alternative to mainstream popular heroes and books.

What is your next project?
Well, there's a lot of pre-written things in storage, so the plan is follow with Aztec of the City Vol 3 No 2 with the story revolving around the history and mystery of the fallen princess, Popocapatepetl and how they relate to Tony Avalos /Cuauhtemoc in 2019 San Jose, CA while also, dedicating the last 6 pages to short stories of Adelita, Tales of Aztlan: The Cesar Chavez Story, Mestizo, Aguila and the Super Chicano.

 What would you say to aspiring Latino comic book dreamers?
I would tell 'em, like Ritchie Valens in Luis Valdez's La Bamba, looking at his brother Bob Morales's artwork, ''Yeah man, do it. Go for broke.''

This article is part of the categories: Arts & Culture  / Audio  / Community  / San Jose//South Bay 
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Its about time!! Eastside San Jose, CA needed a Super Chicano/Latino Hero!! Our unique culture deserves a unique Icon !

Fernando Rodriguez has AWESOME talent ! Blessings and Good Luck with The Aztec of the City!!

Hasta Pronto Hermano!


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