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Interview With a Hitman

Written by  Published March 25, 2013 05:55
Noir isn’t just the French word for the color black. Noir is a term used for a whole genre of films and comics.  You could say that Noir films are the antitheses of musicals and noir comics are opposite that of superhero stories. Superhero comics are usually brightly colored and generally tend to be more upbeat. The one thing they do have in common is that they’re both filled with action and most involve some sort of crime. Most noir comics are done in black and white and sometimes include a splash of color, usually red.  The subject matter is dark and always dangerous. Noir is where we see wise guys, tough guys, crooked cops and of course the femme fatale. There are a lot of great noir comics floating around out there, but it’s hard for them to get mainstream publicity since most carry an R-rating for their content. Well, close your eyes or read a different review if you’re easily offended by heavy action, great story telling, clean artwork and a little blood because this is the review of El Cuervo. El Cuervo is a neo-noir online graphic novel by Drezz Rodriguez. There are currently eight chapters available and is free for you to enjoy. It begins with a hit man named El Cuervo on a job. While he is on the first couple of jobs we learn a little about the man who is one of the most feared and “talented” hit men around. With each chapter we learn more and more about his character and we find that he’s more than just a hit man.  

Here is El Cuervo’s, Eddie Vargas’s, background information;

“A contract killer with an impeccable track record, El Cuervo is highly sought after for his skills and his efficiency. Little is known about his personal past, but his involvement in numerous assassinations are well documented by law enforcement and organized crime syndicates. His work has taken him to a number of foreign locales for professional attention which no petty thug could imagine pulling off. Currently under the employ of Don Giacomo Marino. El Cuervo is faced with the task of eliminating a number of members involved in a RICO trial designed to bring down the Marino family. After a botched assassination plan, he is forced to take the daughter of his last kill to a safe location in order to shelter her from the fallout of the failed mission. During the course of his work for the Marino family, a plan was devised to eliminate El Cuervo in order to sever all possible connections with the assassinations and the clan.”

Creator Drezz Rodriguez was nice enough to answer a few questions about El Cuervo.

 

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One of the first things that are noticeable with this webcomic is the way the pages work.  It’s very fluid and works very well in this format.

JK:  I love the way the comic scrolls, it seems much more fluid than most other digital comics.  Was this your design?

DR: I actually use a wordpress theme called Touchfolio by Dmitry Semenov, which is a responsive theme that is set up for mobile devices for galleries of photographers and artists work. What I liked about it was the ability to flick and skim through the gallery images, so with a bit of CSS tweaking and modifying, I set it up so it would display my comics and give me the ability to break it down into chapters. Really easy to work with and a much better reading experience than the typical clunky "click-to-next-page" system we're so used to using with Comicpress and Comic Easel. I was SO tired of the standard setup, so I experimented with a number of ways to keep the reading flow simple and fast.

JK: You're up to 8 chapters right now, how many chapters are in this story?

DR: The first book encapsulates the first seven chapters of the story - which is El Cbasically Eddie's revenge. The second book is probably going to be closer to 8-9, (since Salvation ended up being a lot longer than I anticipated) and will focus on the other characters and Eddie's interactions with them. There's also a plan to create a few 16 page minis to accompany the books as 'side-stories' to explain some of the 'missions' and elaborate on some details from other parts of the story.

JK: Can all 8 chapters be read online and for free?

DR: The entire story will always be available for free at the site. I'm a firm believer in that.

 

For me, the essence of webcomics is all about that free model – and payment for that work comes in the form of merchandise or physical copies of that work. I see it as more of a support mechanism. Fans who want to see the work continue go out and buy items the artist produces. That way they can afford to make ends meet, and keep making free things for you to look at. Because El Cuervo is still in its infancy (since 2010) the community and fans aren't numerous – but they are very supportive. All I have to do is give them an outlet for showing that appreciation and that will probably come in a deluxe PDF download of the books for a nominal price.

JK: How often do you update?

DR: Right now, I update once a chapter is done. I tried so many different ways of updating, but they didn't really make too much of a difference traffic-wise, so I decided to keep it at a pace that I was comfortable with. I'm guessing that you'll see a chapter hopefully every 3-6 months until both books and all the side stories are complete. I'll be blasting out the notifications weekly on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter so people don't miss it.

JK: On your site you mentioned considering the idea of having a print version of your comic, is that still something you're considering?

 

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DR: Absolutely. The thing is, there has to be a demand for it. I'm not the kind of guy who jumps into something like that with the hopes of selling everything and turning a profit and making a living. That's bad business. Sure, there's always an element of risk – but what makes me less interested in carrying a bunch of stock is the fact that I'm not doing this to make a living. The 'hustle' isn't there – so I'm not going to take that risk because I don't need to. When the time comes and the demand is there, I will definitely package up the books and get them printed.

JK: Who are some of your biggest influences?

DR: I have quite a few, but the biggest ones are most definitely Frank Miller, Tim Bradstreet and the Hernandez Brothers. There's something about Black and White comics that appeals to me. I guess if you can convey a message with one colour and create mood, expression, ambiance etc without having to rely on colour and endless hours of Photoshop work, then I think it’s a success. Mike Mignola was really good at that too.

I had an 'influence map' on the old site. I may have to revive it, seeing as I draw inspiration from so many folks like: Todd MacFarlane, Geof Darrow, Carles 'Iron' Hierro, Peter Bagge, Shawn Martinbrough, Jose Ortiz, Stephen Bliss, The Kuberts, Katsuhiro Otomo, Quentin Tarantino,  and so on.

EL C 2JK: El Cuervo is for mature audiences and has an R rating, is that strictly enforced?

DR: It's not. Oh, how irresponsible of me.

To be honest, the internet is such a hard thing to control and censor – you could easily do an 'age-verification-check' but any kid older than 5 or 6 can figure out that if you plug in a birthday for someone born pre-2000s, you're going to be accepted. Why add an extra barrier for folks who are of age and would have the money to support your work?

For the longest time I didn't have that disclaimer on the site. I used to get a few e-mails of some people that were a bit shocked and displeased, but those ceased the minute I put up the warning. I'm not a babysitter, so it’s not my responsibility to guard young eyes against the content I produce. We're so quick to blame everyone else for problems that come from neglecting our own responsibilities based on our morals and beliefs. Then, we have the nerve to expect others to adhere to the same ideals we do. Face it, we're ALL different and we all have different tolerance levels.

I think my comic is less appalling than some of the furry porn comic sites out there. So take that for what it's worth.

Each chapter is approximately 30 pages long and filled with action, drama and fantastic artwork.  If you want to follow along on Eddie Vargas’s journey you can do so by going to www.el-cuervo.com

Enjoy The Light But Embrace The DarXide

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Column: DarXide #41 | Columnist: DarXide | Twitter – @DarXideXPress| Email – Mystery
©2013 eXpertComics.com | DarXide

Jessica Kirby

It was a cold winter day when we had decided to play hide-n-seek in the house. I hid in a dark closet in the attic. That's where I found my first comic book. I have never returned from that dark closet in the attic. They have tried to drag me back into the light. But they cannot. I will forever be on the DarXide.

comment:

  • Comment Link Dan Robertson Sunday, 31 March 2013 07:48 posted by  Dan Robertson

    I thought I would give it a try, we both know this isn't my standard fare but like you said getting out of the comfort zone and all that. So it is everything you said in the interview / review I really enjoyed it, still not something I lean towards but it is well done.

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