By: Daniel Monaño, Staff Reporter | Photos By: Daniel Johnson
It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a Melvin Van Peebles reference!
7,000 B.C. might have chosen the name whimsically, the B.C. stands for Baadasssss Comics, in homage to Van Peebles’ acclaimed independent film Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song, but the group takes comic books seriously, Chuck Larantz, president of 7kBC said.
7kBC is a local nonprofit organization that supports current and aspiring independent comic book writers and artists in New Mexico while promoting an understanding of the cultural significance of comic art through seminars and workshops around New Mexico, Larantz said.
The group rotates meeting locations between Albuquerque and Santa Fe on a monthly basis. The next meeting will be in Albuquerque, he said. Details about the next meeting will be posted on the group’s website, 7000bc.org.
“For five bucks, which is our monthly dues, if we ever collect them—we’ve been kind of lax about that— anyone can attend our meetings and we encourage anyone interested in comics to come out to one of our events.”
Jenn and John Meyers are a comic book writing and drawing duo based out of Albuquerque, and the married couple also serve as board members of the group, and help organize events and projects, of 7kBC, they said.
John said that the meetings have provided him with a good place to get another set of eyes on his work in order to improve it.
“It’s a nice outlet to go to other people who work in the same field and get support, get help, get feedback and stuff like that. So it’s been a really rewarding experience,” John said.
Jenn graduated from CNM with an associate degree in Fine Art, and said that 7kBC is a great place for aspiring artists to get feedback from peers and refine their craft in a comfortable environment.
“For me it almost worked like therapy, because there’s a certain point where you’re working and you think you’re not going to make it as a comic book artist. And when you’re around these other people they tell you their experience and you find out it’s not just you that can’t sell, it’s just been a bad year or it was just that convention that was like that. So it’s been really supportive and encouraging,” Jenn said. Alina Mackenzie, a member of 7kBC, said that the meetings focus on peer-editing of members’ work and lessons on the logistical aspects of making a comic, such as making thumbnails, storyboarding and printing a finished comic.
7kBC has helped Mackenzie to integrate her fine arts background into her comics, she said.
“It’s a perfect place for people to come and get more involved (in comics). I’m an art student at UNM and it has really helped me learn about developing comics, especially using fine art to tell a story with pictures,” Mackenzie said.
Todd Bernardy is an independent comic book writer and artist who is currently self-publishing a comic book called “Kukui Project” and who said that 7kBC helped him to find his focus in comic making.
“7,000 B.C. really helped me focus on getting the first thing finished, and the first thing is the first issue. Getting 22 pages of artwork that’s lettered in a printable form and getting out there and going to the shows. That’s what happened at 7,000 B.C.— that’s how I got into doing conventions and that’s how I got into doing shows,” Bernardy said.
It can be difficult, especially for artists, to earn a living in the comic industry, so when someone first begins making comic books they need to have a clear idea of what they want to do, to focus on each individual step of the process, and to practice, he said.
7kBC played an important role in refining each of those aspects for Bernardy, he said.
“At 7kBC everybody was really responsive to my work and was really constructive to my drawings. At all the meetings you go to everybody is really supportive and I’ve never been to a meeting where anyone has been overly critical. They’ve also been really constructive.”
Every year 7kBC puts on a 24-hour workshop in which the participants have to draw and write a 24 page comic in 24 hours, Larantz said.
Aliina Mackenzie said that the 24-hour comic day is a great way to immerse oneself in comics and that she looks forward to it all year.
“It’s my favorite day of the year, I like it more than my birthday,” Mackenzie said.
Todd Bernardy said that he got the idea for one of his projects from the 24-hour comic day.
One year during the 24-hour comic day he said that at 3 a.m. he had the horrifying thought of running out of coffee and invented Java Man, the coffee-defending hero of his series “Thunder Groove Bone.”
Jenn Myers said she had never participated in the 24-hour comic day but that she commends the artists and writers who can get it done.
“I have done it on my own and I think it’s crazy. I have no ability to stay up. I have to sleep a lot so I don’t know how they do it,” Myers said.
For more information on 7,000 B.C. visit 7000bc.org or the Facebook page at facebook.com/7000bc.
To check out Jenn and John Myers’ comics “All the Growing Things”, “The Vagus Rehabilitation” Project and much more, visit typodmary.com.
By: Jamison Wagner, Staff Reporter| Photos courtesy of The Vortex Theater
“Measure for Measure,” a William Shakespeare play, will be performed in modern dress from June 27 to July 4 at the Vortex Theatre, director Denise Schulz said.
According to the Vortex press release, this play has been considered to be strange, dated and a problem play at times, but it is full of contemporary relevance and is guaranteed to entertain and engage.
“This is a play that is about hypocrisy. It is about people trying to tell other people how to live their lives, which is very much an issue in modern times” said Schulz.
A parallel to this play in modern times is how people are objecting to other people engaging in same-sex marriage. This play is saying that people are going overboard right now in making some decisions in how people should live, as well as attempting to make it into law, she said.
“I am working to not beat this idea over people’s heads but I think the problem of trying to tell others how to live their lives has come up a lot in the last few years,” she said.
This play is a Shakespeare rendition but is the Vortex performance will be based in the modern era. The attire will be modern dress but the play will not be set in a particular city, she said. The audience members will be able to watch it and draw their own conclusions, she said.
The play is a problem play as it is comedy that is not comedy, but it is drama at its finest, said Rhiannon Frazier, who plays Isabelle in the production
“We have had debates in the cast in the context of the play which is, ‘Would you sleep with a guy to save your brother’s life?’ The play poses some very interesting questions, that some of Shakespeare’s other plays do not pose because the questions do not have answers and the play itself does not answer those questions,” she said.
The play is a bit weird as many of the character’s motivations are a bit murky, said Grey Blanco, who plays Claudio in the production. Claudio only appears in two scenes, even though he is really affected by what happens in this play as Claudio sits in jail for so long between the two scenes that he is different by the time he shows up again in the second scene, he said.
“I think a lot of what is weird about this character is the way he would behave in normal life is not the way he is behaving here because he is under arrest the whole time. So who Claudio is, is affected by him being in a traumatic scene,” he said.
Plot-wise, this play can be slightly un-relatable for modern audiences since people do not really know what moral standards were like in the past, he said.
“One of the challenges in this play is you have conventions of ye old past which do not adhere to todays’ norm,” he said.
Tickets are $18 or $12 for students with ID. For more information about this show or for tickets, go to vortexabq.org.
By: The CNM Chronicle Editorial Board
It is so good to hear that local comic artists have an opportunity to thrive here in Albuquerque, with the locally made comic book nonprofit organization 7,000 B.C.
Many artists go through the hoops of getting an art degree, only to become starving artists without much opportunity. New Mexico is full of great artists, and because there are not many companies they can go to for work, there really are no prospects to for them to shine.
Many art graduates go from school to minimum wage or intern jobs that want massive amounts of experience, but do not offer any incentives. Local businesses know that there are a large number of unemployed artists to take advantage of because there are no real opportunities for art graduates in New Mexico.
It is refreshing and encouraging to see that there are organizations such as 7,000 B.C. to help striving and talented comic book artists get a step up and for artists to have a place where their art can be seen and appreciated.
The Chronicle salutes organizations that care about the employees and artists who make their products better and worth reading or seeing.
Dear CNM Chronicle,
I was wondering if you guys can do an issue on math. Why is it that no matter what a person is taking, they always have to take math? I do think that basic math is good to know. I have never been good at math, but I am good in a lot of other things. My major is Digital Media. I’ve talked to several people in the field and they said they never use math, ever. So why do we need to take so much math when it has nothing to do with our major? I have been told that it helps people think deeper, how does that help if it causes a person to drop out of college? I’ve also heard, if they didn’t force it on a person, the math classes would be empty. That is not my concern. I’ve also been told that it will help a person out in life. I graduated high school thirty years ago. I have never needed Algebra outside of school. I have asked several people and no one can give me a straight answer.
I have a friend who is taking cosmetology; she is taking Math 750 for the second time. She told me she has to take math up to Algebra 1210. Why would she need to know Algebra for the field she is going in?? I was hoping you guys can find answers and maybe even ask students around campus what they think of my question. I also know several people that dropped out of college because of math. I see no reason for this. They may have been in a great career by now. I am worried that I might fail out due to something that is irrelevant to my field. I don’t think that is fair.
Isn’t this a sad and pathetic reflection on those Europeans that came here to avoid persecution? It’s (mostly) white European immigrants who left their land and abandoned everything cultural about their history. They left their culture, their food, their history and their language. In Europe people can speak two, three, four and even more than four languages. What sad reflection that is on intelligence and pride and respect of others.
I am sickened that such ignorance promoting goes on in not allowing, in fact encouraging, others to speak more than one language. And why? Because the ignorant ones, the lazy ones, the self-conscious ones think that they are being talked about, laughed at, or put down. Ha! Who cares about anyone else when two people are communicating in another tongue?
This becomes more of the Manifest Destiny mentality and the Divide and Conquer mentality. Unfortunately those days are not over. Those who want one language, and there have been many proponents of the ‘English Only’ movement. Those who don’t want to hear anything but English spoken in this country. That is where things get messy. As a Chicano I have been made to feel ashamed of who I am and ashamed of my culture and people, ashamed of my history and my roots. Not going to happen anymore. I have come to realize that I come from a rich, proud and resilient people. I love who I am and I love learning, not just my own language but other languages. It gives me great pride when I am in public and I hear two people speaking German. I can respond to them back and yes, they are shocked to see a brown, indigenous person with Mexican background speaking their language.
Look at the San Patricio’s, those guys were fighting in the Mexican-American war, when they realized the Mexicans were fighting for a just cause they left the American side and went over to the Mexican side. Today we still have people with Irish European roots living proudly in Mexico and they speak Spanish and they are proud Mexican citizens. That is what our world should be about, people moving freely around the globe no matter what they speak.
It is sad that a country that speaks arrogantly about being one of the most powerful in the world. Powerful yes, stupido si! That is how they justify the ways of the errant. I say let’s all learn two, three, and four languages. Then we can not only boast of being powerful but smart. Viva la Raza!
Patricio Tlacaelel Trujillo y Fuentes
Cartoon By: Scott Roberts
Photos By: The Chronicle Staff
The Albuquerque Comic Expo is known for its colorful cosplay characters and the 2013 show brought out professionals and amateurs alike. Attendees paid homage to their favorite characters from a variety of genres and looked good doing it. Below are the Chronicle’s picks for Best in Show.
By: Adriana Avila, Senior Reporter | Photos By: Jonathan Gamboa
Costume: Pyramid Head from Silent Hill
“I never really entered any competitions. I’m not a professional; I just whipped this together just because I love the character.”
How do you think you did compared to the other Pyramid Heads in the competition?
“I think just having the height was an advantage, but everyone did great and I had a lot of fun.”