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Jose Cabrera exclusive!

Comic writer/artist on the industry and the Macho Man.

Jose Cabrera exclusive!

While down at the San Diego Comic-Con I ran across the booth of one Jose Cabrera who was on hand to represent his fantastic web comic Crying Macho Man. The comic is awesome and Mr. Cabrera was gracious enough to answer a few questions regarding the online comics business. All you aspiring artists and writers out there had best take notes, because a lot of times, info like this comes at a price.

CraveOnline:  What got you started working in the comics’ scene?

Jose Cabrera: I started my professional comic venture with a semi-autobiographical comic called "JOSE: Life According to Jose Cabrera." But it became tedious and boring to put my life down on paper week after week and I didn’t make a dime. So I began a series of absurd comic strips called Crying Macho Man that I had actually started 15 years ago called "The Adventures of Abusive Step Father," where I would take clip art and add my own dialogue (tons of cartoonists are doing it today). But this time around I decided to draw the cartoons rather than use clip art. So I’d say CMM has been festering in my brain for 15 years, but technically it’s been around for 3 years.

CraveOnline:  What were some of your favorite comics growing up?

Jose Cabrera: Some of my favorite comics were the usual; Spider-Man X-Men, but I also picked up ROM (remember him) and the Micronauts. But my fave was MAD and Cracked. {I} Couldn’t live without them. My guilty pleasure was Archie (shhhhhh) Also loved R. Crumb.

CraveOnline:  Can you tell us a little bit (or maybe a lot of bit) about your book?

Jose Cabrera: Ah! Crying Macho Man has been an evolution of absurd, humorous insights into our crazy mad mad world. It’s similar to Mad in the sense that it spoofs contemporary pop culture. People ask me who is the Crying Macho Man in my cartoons but he has never made an appearance, kind of like Alfred E. Newman. He is the face of the franchise. I was talking with a good friend of mine and fellow humorist/cartoonist Michael Aushenker (El Gato: Crime Mangler) and he said he felt Crying Macho Man had the ability to go anywhere from week to week. There is so much freedom not being tied down to one comic character or story line. CMM fits my personality like a glove.

CraveOnline: Do mainstream comics interest you?

Jose Cabrera: Some comics interest me like Love and Rockets, Optic Nerve, graphic novels like Persepolis and Box Office Poison but I haven’t picked up an issue of Spiderman since I was a teen.

CraveOnline:  Do they influence you at all?

Jose Cabrera: Hmm. No I wouldn’t say mainstream comics influence me. Being involved in a cartoonist community has more of an influence. I get to read great work that doesn’t see the light of day like Subculture by Stan Yan, El Gato by Michael Aushenker, El Muerto by Javier Hernandez, Sonambulo by Rafael Navarro, etc.

CraveOnline:  What’s the best advice you could give to someone trying to get into the business?

Jose Cabrera: The best advice I’d give anyone is to have a clear idea of what you want to create. Be passionate about it and do it because you want to and not because the public wants it. Also make sure you draw with intentionality and learn how to say more with less. If you really want to learn the craft of comics I recommend renting the old silent films of Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, etc.

Learn how to manage time, money and a business. You also have to learn how to promote yourself. If you don’t promote yourself, then what’s the use of creating all that great work and not showing it to anyone?

I was talking with Sergio Aragonés at Wondercon and he said that if you really want to make it in the comic business you should have another career that brings in your bread and butter. He said he’s seen so many talented people try to get into the business and drop out after a year or so because they didn’t make bank or become the next Jim Lee overnight. And be ready for criticism. It’s key to be able to take criticism. It’s a very vulnerable position to be in because you’re comics are like you’re children and you wouldn’t want your kids to be bullied at school but they will be. So you have to be resilient and consistent and have a box of band aids ready.

CraveOnline:  Do you aspire to one day work in mainstream comics?

Jose Cabrera: When you say mainstream comics do you mean stuff I can pick up on the racks of your local comic book store? Then yes. I self publish and distribute my books like a door to door salesman. It’s a lot of work and I’m considering looking for a publisher that won’t gouge me. But I make money back and then some at the Conventions. I highly recommend doing a small comic book convention like APE or a local one in your home town. I started with a zine that I printed at Kinko’s. It’s a good way to start without investing a whole lot of money.


CraveOnline:  How do you feel about the recent events taking place at Marvel and DC?

Jose Cabrera: I’m not up on these titles. I do like some of the movies they’re putting out. 300 visually blew me away.

CraveOnline:  How has the web affected the indie comics scene if at all?

Jose Cabrera: Good question. In my experience (5 years on the web) I find it’s a good spring board for putting yourself out there. I’ve built a good fan base and have readers from all over the world, including India, China, and London etc. It gets more people to recognize your stuff. But again, I recommend getting out from behind the computer and doing the conventions if you’re really serious. You won’t make money off the web, trust me unless you’re ebay or amazon, I repeat, you won’t make money off the web. Getting out there and meeting people, being open to critiques of your work, open to feedback and ability to evolve your work is key, and when your nice and famous then the book sales online will take off.

CraveOnline:  Any future projects you want to let potential readers know about?

Jose Cabrera: I’m working on my second collection of Crying Macho Man cartoons called YOU SO LOCO that will be debuting at Comic Con 2008.