Aztec of the City by Fernando B. Rodriguez
Summary: Two Latino cousins become superheroes right here in San Jose. One is a scrapper, fighting crime with whatever comes to hand. The other is the vessel of his ancient Aztec ancestor.
2011 Graphic Novel Contest Winners by Various Authors
The Cliff: Two dogs stay out a little too late and run into something very scary...
The Adventures of Agent Bucktooth: A young toothy superhero thwarts the villainous Dr. Mayhem.
Arrow's Forest Friend: An indoor cat goes on an outdoor adventure and meets an outdoor cat.
Flower's Canvas: A beautiful young florist makes deliveries all week to a shy young artist who is inspired by more than the flowers.
Little Red Riding Hood: A retelling of the old classic with a darkly heart-warming twist.
The Black Queen and the White Knight: If chess pieces could talk...
Pure Element: Revelation: A young man is haunted by dreams of a beast, yet somehow the dreams have prepared him for his waking life.
Turning Point: A young woman seeks to avenge the murder of her grandmother by a mysterious man named Wulf.
Rabbit in the Moon: A mother tells her daughter a bedtime story about a rabbit who is sent on a quest to find the Fruit of Longevity.
Join in the Discussion!
Week 1: Comics and graphic novels follow certain formats that have held fast for decades. Panels depict each scene and carry the story through in a linear fashion. Sometimes, there are interludes or even mini-comics that are interspersed. In Aztec of the City, there is a one page comic called Burrito that is placed in the middle of the first story. What do you think of this formatting style? Does it enhance the experience? Can you think of instances in other art forms or media where this breaking up of the story is used?
Week 2: What does an author gain from the retelling of a familiar folk tale? In two of the Graphic Novel Contest Winner entries – Little Red Riding Hood and Turning Point, the tale of Little Red Riding Hood is revisited. Both are much darker versions than the one I was told as a child. What themes in the story are most compelling to you? Why?
Week 3: Where do superheroes come from?
Editorial Review of Aztec of the City:
"Since writing Your Brain on Latino Comics in 2008 I have been eagerly awaiting the arrival of more of Fernando Rodriguez's trademark incredibly immersive and culturally aware comic book series, Aztec of the City--a series he inaugurated in 1993. He's done it again, bringing his influences from the Avengers to the X-Men to pre-Columbian history into the making of the kinetic, modern-day Cuauhtémoc incarnation in ex-boxer, construction worker Tony Avalos as Aztec of the City. He fights all variety of evil-doers, including street thugs, high-tech gunslingers, and la llorona. Rodriguez continues to thrill and educate his readers with his volume 3, issue 1 of Aztec of the City, introducing the cousin of Avalos, Tony Torres as the Super Latino. Rodriguez's sharp writing and artist and collaborator Ernie Polo's crafted images create a compelling visual rhythm and allow us to move through layers of historical time--the conquest, death of Moctezuma, and then reign of Chautemoc, for instance--as well as learn about today's struggles of Latinos in the U.S.: struggles for employment and keeping the familia intact. I couldn't put it down. Bravo, Fernando. You've done it again."
— Dr. Frederick Luis Aldama, author of Your Brain on Latino Comics
Fernando Rodriguez Answers Your Questions
Many thanks to the author of Aztec of the City for answering questions submitted through the Online Book Club!
Which comics inspired you and which comics do you enjoy reading today?
Rodriguez: I was inspired by reading of all the heroes from the Marvel Comics universe of writer Stan Lee and artists Jack Kirby, John Buscema, Gil Kane and a host of others. Heroes like The Silver Surfer, the Sub-Mariner, Avengers, Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, Captain America, Spider-Man, Fantastic Four, X-Men and Dr. Strange.
I still buy and read only the new Daredevil series from Marvel and have just finished the wonderful children's book, "Lucky Luis" with art by my good friend, Rhode Montijo and written by Gary Soto. I also recently enjoyed the trade paperwork, featuring the first four issues of the African-American/Black hero, "Brotherman". In this day and age, the quality of the 2 major comic book companies Marvel and DC has dwindled and I have looked to read and collect most new black and white page comic books published by small independent artits and writers like myself.
Stay tuned for more!
About Aztec of the City and it's Author:
San Jose's very own comic book writer, publisher, & creator, Fernando Rodriguez returns after a 6 year absence, featuring the new volume 3 version of Aztec of the City, which made it's first appearance on Cinco de Mayo, 1993 under the self-publishing imprint of El Salto Comics. In the premier issue, the Aztec of the City's alter ego Tony Avalos was a mild-mannered, hard working construction worker and the Aztec was flying around fighting bad guys, while the newest version, now presents young Avalos is a 19 year old college freshman and the Aztec hero no longer flying about like Superman, but continuing the brown crusade against crime as the unprecedented Aztec warrior supreme.
Says Rodriguez: "I'm extremely honored and humbled to have been invited to participate in the library's book of the month club. It's been a very eclectic and ardeous journey in getting this new Aztec of the City comic book back into the comic book industry and local market. The book, its heroes and characters, have all undergone extreme changes in what is now a college-level reading series dedicated to Mexican-American, Chicano, Latino super heroes in a world where they haven't existed before."
"The stories convey and pass along a culture of the many generations of Mexican-Americans who are now an integral part of the American fabric. Response to the new volume 3 version of the Aztec of the City comic book has been outstanding and we anticipate an even greater legion of comic book fans and followers as we work hard to prepare and present the continuing saga of the two Hispanic cousins who become Chicano super heroes in Aztec of the City # 2."
"Artist Ernie Polo of Mountain View, CA has done a tremendous job on both the new cover and story. Aztec of the City is now a college level reading story whose focus is to share with everyone the culture and histories of the Mexican-American heroes they depict. We also introduce in this new comic book version, the story of the Super Chicano. A struggling out of work Latino who dons the Mexican flag as a cape in his crime-fighting adventures.''
Fernando Rodriguez Discusses Aztec of the City: