Indie Insider: Interviewing Miguel Guerra and Suzy Dias
In a world full of compromise and “mass produced” comics, a dynamic duo rise to bring the comic world back to it’s former glory. Sounds like the intro to a super hero flick, but it’s not far from the truth. I had the pleasure of interviewing Miguel Guerra and Suzy Dias, the husband and wife team behind the comic Super Corporate Heroes. We got a chance to discover what drove them to create such a time appropriate masterpiece.
Sit back relax and take a peak behind the curtain.
Tell us a little bit about youselves.
I’m a comic book creator, artist, and writer at 7 Robots. I’ve had short stories in Heavy Metal Magazine, Antarctic Press, G2 and other small publishers. I was born in Madrid, Spain. My dad is American and was stationed there, my mom is from Madrid, and I have an older brother. We later moved to Canada.
I’m a comic book creator, writer, and letterer at 7 Robots. I also work as a Project Manager for a large financial/tech in Manhattan. I’m from Toronto and have 2 lovely sisters.
We met in university and got married in Toronto. A few years after later we made our way to New York City to try our luck. You know how they say it’s the city that never sleeps? That’s because no one ever stop working! But that’s fine with us. The New York vibe is intensely creative, but also cynical and frenzied. Miguel can barely keep his pencil to paper while creating comics and graphic novels and I’ve written entire childrens books while riding the subway to and from work. The city really tapped into our creative juices.
You are in an unique situation, being married to each other and creating comics. How do you stay focused/inspired on projects and not let life side track you?
Miguel: We work at night, after the kids are in bed.
Suzy: You can’t really merge the two, at least not now. Our kids are 3 and 16 months, so it’s all them while they’re awake. Don’t cross the streams!
Miguel: One thing that we’ve never had a problem with is being creative. We always have new ideas for stories. Whether it’s reading the news, talking to friends, or talking with our kids, there’s always something that sparks an idea.
Suzy: A lot of our stories have current events in them. Super Corporate Heroes is the most blatant “current events” driven story.
What inspired you to create Super Corporate Heroes?
Miguel: The initial story, which is now the first 9 pages of issue #1, came when my brother was diagnosed with cancer and didn’t have health insurance. He had to really scramble to figure out what to do and how to get the treatment he needed. I was so angry at the thought of someone sick not being able to get a doctor to him, that the image of a man hanging from a burning building flashed into my mind. Then a superhero appears, ready to help, but the poor bastard isn’t insured and the superhero can’t help him. Suzy and I developed it from there.
Suzy: Like many people right now, we’re concerned about jobs and the overall economy. What are they cutting? Who’s seeing the most benefit? Why is 1% getting richer while 99% are losing ground? The “Take Back Wall Street” protests are a perfect example. People are getting fed up.
With Super Corporate Heroes, we’re able put a satirical spin on the global financial crisis. It may be an odd theme for a comic, but like I said, that’s why we created 7 Robots. The main idea can be narrowed down to one question — is altruism dead?
Some believe the major comic publishers are “mass producing” comics just to get more readers. What are your thoughts on that?
Suzy: I think that’s true. How can you argue that major publishers aren’t motivated by how much they can sell? Marvel is owned by Disney, DC is owned by Warner Brothers, etc. It’s not to disparage them, but if they don’t make money, they’ll get into trouble. I find the best ideas are from the outside… which often get bought out or work for major publishers. It’s not a moral statement, it’s just business. You can take more risks when you don’t have that much to lose.
Miguel: There are good things out there but overall they have to bring in money to their shareholders.
As indie creators, should art and story be compromised for the sake of readership?
Suzy: We have the luxury of saying no. We’ll print our own damn books to get them out there. The art and story for us are the most important things. If we don’t have something interesting to say, then there’s no point in doing this.
Miguel: We work on projects that we’re passionate about.
Suzy: We only work on stories we’re really into and want to research and dive into. One will have an idea, then the other will riff off of that and we’ll start to write out our ideas and it grows and that’s all we talk about for a while until it’s done. Miguel will start drawing characters and break down pages and I’ll start on dialogue and off we go.
What made you decide to take the leap from being comics creators, to creating Iberian Press?
Suzy: We’re crazy.
We published Samurai Elf vol.1 in 2006, then vol.2 in 2008. We have 3 more to go (it’s a work in progress). We loved the idea (and still do) and wanted other people to read it. We’ve now collapsed Iberian Press into 7 Robots, which is where we’ll publish, and sell art and vinyl custom toys and other things we’re interested in.
If they don’t come to us, we’ll put up a store and sell it ourselves. If the store goes bust, we’ll get a truck. If the truck gets repoed, we’ll open a shack. Thank goodness for the internet! There’s no mortgage.
Miguel: From a practical stand point we used Diamond as our distributor and you need to be a publisher/Vendor to go through them.
What events/conventions can fans find you soon?
Miguel: And the Bronx Heroes comic con which is the first weekend of May.
Do you have any advice for comic creators wanting to follow your footsteps?
Miguel: We talk to a lot of struggling writers and artists who we like to encourage. We’re all in the same boat and need to stay positive and believe in what you do. If you’ve worked on your craft, LOVE what you do, and you believe in the strength of your work, then nothing should stop you.
Suzy: This quote from Steve Jobs has gotten a lot of play since he passed away, but it always inspires:
“Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
Can an analog comics survive in a digital world?
Miguel: That’s an interesting question. I think there will be fewer books printed, but digital books will allow more people to get their work distributed. I could see really popular digital books getting published into special collection analog editions.
Any last words?
Suzy: Since that’s the last question, i’d like to mention that if anyone wants more info, they can follow Super Corporate Heroes on Twitter @superincheroes and on Facebook. Miguel posts new art on Facebook under Art Of Guerra