Sunday, August 17, 2008

Comic Con Report, Pt. 2

You know, Ira brings up a great point in his update below. I have never understood the "I have no money" excuse. If you don't want a book, fine. There's no need to lie. Why not just admit that you hate love and have no interest in re-igniting the passion in your life? That's a perfectly acceptable reason as well and it's much more honest. Look, I know we have high pressure sales tactics and sometimes when we lock in on someone it can be difficult for some people to walk away. So they just come up with the simplest excuse possible (to them) to walk away. All I'm saying is that a simple "No" will suffice.

It's been about 15 years since I actually worked in the comic book industry so another thing I love about the convention is that it gives me an opportunity to reconnect with old friends. And unlike Albert and Ira, I don't really know too many of the creators personally. Sure, I know who they are and what they do for the book but often times I can't really put too many faces to names. Even the lovely and talented Mr. Ethan Spaulding of Operation: Gutterball fame, the man who illustrated my "Encuentro de la Semana" love letter to luchadores in the latest issue is someone who I've never actually met (we have, however, spoken many times on the phone). Getting the chance to actually talk to some of our creators face to face is always a nice treat. Almost. Angry Bob is shockingly less interesting then you'd think he'd be. Go figure.

And then there's the usual cast of characters. Friends that I see a little more frequently but I was still happy to see them nonetheless, namely HMLC contributors Rob Goodin, Louie Del Carmen and Rafael Navarro, who, as previously mentioned, shared our table. These creators in particular are usually at the various shows pushing their own individual products so they're hustling just the same we are. By the way, be sure you click those links and check out their books too!

Here's another round of pics for your enjoyment....

The Teen Titans' Hawk & Dove were very excited to find our booth. Very excited. Especially Dove there on the left.

And while we're on the subject of thinly veiled phallic symbols.... here's Plastic Man.

Chewbacca? More like COOLbacca.

Hellloooooooo Kitty

These little ladies were at the con promoting the cosplay café, Royal/T in Culver City. According to their flyer, Royal/T is Los Angeles' first meido kissa restaurant which basically means that the service staff there dress as, and I quote, "elegant maids." I'm told that the café primarily caters to otaku, aka obsessive anime fans. Sounds positively pedo-rific to me.

Oh, hey. What's up, Michelangelo?

Wonder Woman and Awesome-X. Booosh!

I've already talked about this someplace else but I want to go ahead and mention it here. I want to give a very special thanks to Señor Ira. He's the taskmaster that's responsible for putting all of this together, which I'm sure can be like herding cats sometimes. From cracking the whip on the creators, to making sure we're registered for the various conventions, to dealing with the tax collecting section of the City's Office of Finance, Ira is the guy that makes the magic happen. Playing the bad guy can be a thankless job but without him, Hot Mexican Love Comics never would've emerged from it's 10 year hiatus. It may seem like some of us need a break from each other by the time an issue is published but we've all had a tremendous amount of fun because of the book and it's all due to Ira. So thank you, Señor.

So what's next for Hot Mexican Love Comics? In the short term, nothing. I think we're all going to just take a break for a moment. There's the West Hollywood Book Fair coming up in September but I think we're going to skip that one (right, Angry Bob?) so can concentrate on November's Alternative Press Expo in San Francisco. As far as new products are concerned, I believe we may have a new sketchbook ready for APE. We shall see.

Until then, stay tuned. Any new updates will definitely be made here. Thanks for stopping by and we hope to see you all again soon.


San Diego Comic-Con Review: Day Tres Y Quatro

The heat was ON!

The rise in temperature came in the form of Larry "L-Dogg" Reynosa, co-founder of the book, who joined us Friday night and worked the Con on Saturday. It was a BUSY day, but manageable with Four of us working the table in shifts, as detailed in his post (see below).

It's been three weeks since the con, so my memory is getting a little fuzzy. But hIghlights included the visit by (see previous posts for links and photos) and visits by various friends, co-workers and lovers.

Speaking of which, Saturday afternoon also ushered in the arrival of my darling, "Lady J". Traveling solo via train to meet up at the convention, my fiancee was worried about getting in the way, knowing how crazy Saturday can be. We already had a full complement of people behind the table and space does become an issue. But contrary to her worries, Janice was a great help. She allowed for longer breaks of the nucleus, kept items and funds in order when behind the table, and got lunch and snacks for the crew during very busy times. MOST important, she became the official photographer of scantily clad MEN, the type which L-Dogg would want to photo himself, but his machismo would never allow.

So for one day of the 2008 Convention we had the full nucleus: Beanrobot, Angry Bob, L-Dogg, the Lady Janice and yours truly, your Ambassador of Amor and Editor-In-Chief, Senor Ira. Yes... Saturday was the biggest day of sales for HMLC. FIESTA!

As a treat to our hard-working crew, we celebrated at a fine dining establishment in the Gaslamp district of downtown San Diego. Special shout out to writer/producer Joss Whedon (of Buffy the Vampire/Serenity fame) he was at the table next to us at the restaurant and took the photo attached below. (Okay, he WAS there, and we did want him to take the photo, but our waiter did it instead).

Sunday, the final day. Larry left Saturday after dinner. Bob had left that morning. We were down to three. But it was a special trio. Albert, Janice & myself worked the first convention of the modern era of HMLC together in San Francisco We were veterans by now. And feeling confident after three solid days of sales, we figured we could relax a little this final day. So much so that we even showed up late (we needed to catch up on some sleep).

The day started a little slow and we started to hear more excuses. One passerby made Albert go through his whole pitch before he revealed "I have no money". Albert's response:

"I'm sorry sir, I'm going to have to ask you to leave."

Much to Janice' chagrin (who hates that I push myself and the crew hard for sales), Albert & I agreed that once we hit a certain number of sales for the day we would slow way down, but something unexpected happened. A flurry of activity by people who were waiting for last day sales. Some purchased on previous days and wanted issues from other years, some saw us and promised to come back (and they DID!), some were seeking passion and some just stumbled upon us. But they all did come. And they came to buy! ARRIBA!

One of my favorite sales of the day came in the form of two young men who were looking a bit lost. I offered to assist. They said they were looking for the booth that was giving away "Threats". Let me inform you, dear reader, in the program for the convention which lists info about booths and locations, our submission mentioned "Our talented staff of lovers and artists will be on hand signing, sketches and giving advice on Amor! Special Bonus, Canada's own "Angry Bob" will be on hand this year dispensing hugs and threats!" When I write blurbs like this, which comes from the heart, I don't know who is gonna read or pay attention. But the fact that these two guys came looking for our angriest lover made me happy. They purchased two issues apiece.

So we had a ton of sales, and easily passed our projected number. We were doing so well, that I quickly upped the goal for the day and stayed on focus. Albert agreed as long as he could take a break. DONE! Unfortunately, the last hour of the convention slowed way down. I was hearing far too many excuses of no cash and became surly. I was on a mission of sales. So when someone would stop to talk about the book without purchase, saying "I'd like to buy but I have no money" my new response was "And I have no more time for you", and would turn my back. I apologize friends and future lovers. That was not very considerate. But I was getting punchy after four straight days of selling, and Janice & Albert kept giggling when I would do that.

Albert was also getting desperate. His new tactic was this: he would draw his new character "Chicano Cat" on a post-it along with a note that said "I love you" (it looked something like this):
Then surreptitiously walk over to someone and whisper "hey" and hand him this note. This actually worked a handful of times and people would buy a copy. Albert, you are an artistic genius.

5:00 pm... quiting time was quickly approaching. People were leaving without buying. we were three sales short of our new goal. Janice sat behind the table as Albert & myself pounced on everybody and anybody who passed by. Success came in two forms. My friend Adriana saw us and made a last minute purchase of our convention exclusive shot glasses. And Albert lured in a lovely young lady with his adoring eyes, did a quick sketch and a sale of two books. HUZZAH!

The convention was now over. Our biggest year yet. A lot of work, a lot of passion and a lot of fun. This entry is long enough. Please enjoy this attached photos.

I think we all know EXACTLY "What's goin' on" in this photo

These young lovers met us at last years convention and wanted to keep their relationship HOT!

Stacy Jo... the basement still has some room for you.

(fill in your own comment here)
(Larry edit: "Please, for the love of God, someone call Child Protection Services immediately")

 Lady J is practicing for her proctology exam. Albert is a willing patient.

A visit to the consulate is required to insure the love flows.
Despite not being at the convention center, our visit produces some very passionate results.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Comic Con Report, Pt. 1

Ahh, July.

Each year, not only does it supply us with horrible stories of illegal fireworks and mutilated teenagers, it also brings with it the San Diego Comic Convention. Which is great because that means it's time to get off my ass and start hustling the last issue of Hot Mexican Love Comics.

We've had a new book each summer for the last 3 years so usually I head down to San Diego for the whole weekend in order to pimp the book to its fullest but this year, with the addition of Jazzy Jake to the Hot Mexican Love family, I knew that I wouldn't be able to go for the entire weekend. Picking my spot, I figured that I'd be able to be the most help on Saturday since that's usually the busiest day. I wanted to get there bright and early as soon as the doors open on Saturday so I left my place around 9:30pm on Friday night.

It's usually a two hour drive from the San Fernando Valley to San Diego so I wasn't too worried about the trip. I had a recently renewed Sirius radio contract, a fully stocked iPod, a bottle of Dr. Pepper and a large packet of Skittles (mmmm, sugar rush) so I was good to go. Traffic's light around that time so I was making good time until I hit Long Beach where the 405 turned in a single lane due to unforeseen "police activity" (thanks KNX 1070) It only pushed me a hour back turning my two hour drive into a three hour drive which normally wouldn't be a huge deal but I popped the Skittles early into my trip so by the time I hit downtown San Diego, I was crashing fast. It's now 1:30am, I'm tired, cranky and in need of sleep. Or a beer.

I got the hotel address from Albert the day before I left but apparently I forgot where it was. No worries, I'm a resourceful guy, I'll use my navigation system. Brilliant! .....or not. The hotel we were staying at was recently purchased by another local chain so at that particular time, there were two hotels with the same name. Not paying attention to this, I park my car five blocks from where I'm told the hotel was. I sling my bags over my shoulder, grab the awkwardly-sized box of comics I brought with me and start walking. I get to the properly named hotel and call Albert who informs me that I went to the wrong location. The correct hotel, one with the same name mind you, was literally across the street from where I parked. I was just too tired to notice.

Once everything's straightened out I quickly realized that I'm now even more tired, even more cranky and even more in need of sleep. Albert suggests we go to the hotel bar, which sounds like a fantastic idea to me. But by the hotel mess got figured out, it was now well past 2:00am. In other words, it's off to bed.

The next morning, we seemed to get off to an slow start. Four of us were working the six foot table which meant that we were a little cramped. This was Angry Bob's first full convention with us and I've got to say, he did a great job. He worked the West Hollywood Book Fair with us last September but the San Diego Comic Con is an entirely different animal. It's the biggest comic convention in the country and over the last few years, it's grown to encompass far more than just comics and it's packed with so many people. The aisles are just packed with people so the convention is a pain in the ass just to attend, to work it is even worse.

Truth be told, every single year I dread the convention. Because like I said, it's a pain in the ass. We're usually stuck there at our table, pushing the comic and we rarely get the opportunity to actually see the rest of the convention of meet up with friends who we know are at the convention as well. But this year, Angry Bob changed all that. Having a fourth person there really freed us up to work in rotations, something we never really had the chance to do. I think all of us got the opportunity to stretched our legs and walk around for a bit. Which was really cool.

The show itself was cool. Like I mentioned, it started out slow to us but after a while we realized that it only seemed that way. Before we knew it, we were on pace to sell more issues than we'd ever had before. But none of seemed difficult. We were all so.... relaxed. Man, the difference an extra body makes. That is the power of Angry Bob.

We met some really interesting people too. I got interviewed by a Spanish language newspaper from San Diego that wanted to talk to me about racism in comics. I tried to rope Albert into the conversation but I think he exited stage left as soon as he realized that it was semi-serious. I don't blame him, I was planning to do the exact same thing to him. I'm interested to see how the article came out but I'm not exactly holding my breath. Last year, we got interviewed by four different outlets, including NPR, and none of those ever surfaced. To my knowledge, at least.

As always, my favorite feature of the convention are the costumes. Every year, a large number of convention goers show up dressed as their favorite comics/film/animated character, sometimes with fantastic results, while attempts go horribly awry. In either case, I figure one reason these people dress up is a little shameless self-promotion so if they're going to whore themselves out anyway, why not get them to promote our book at the same time? It's a win-win!

Here are a few of my favorite pics this year....

Angry Bob with a personal convention favorite, the authentically Mexican star of Futurama, Bender B. Rodriguez.

The White Queen didn't need her psychic powers to see what was on Albert's mind. His thoughts were written all over his pants.'s Melany Denyse. Click here to see a shot on of the hard-working HMLC crew with Ms. Denyse. Warning: Don't click that link while at work, kids!

Our latest celebrity endorsement! Diedrich Bader, formerly of The Drew Carey Show, and the voice of Batman in the upcoming Batman: The Brave and the Bold animated series shows off his HMLC fanhood.

This guy asked if we wanted his wings on or off for the photo. Oh, on, definitely on.

I have plenty of more shots available so I'll have more pics up over the next couple of days. I just wanted to upload these relatively quickly or else I'd never get around to posting them.... which is what happened to the pictures from last year's San Diego Con. Much like our many interviews last summer, those shots never saw the light of day either.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Hot Mexican Whodunnit?

Buenos Tardes Readers, the Hot Mexican Love crew needs your help! This past weekend, at the HMLC 2008 Fiesta, there was an accident involving alcohol and hard-wood floors. No blood was spilled, but there was another type of fluid with quite a pungent aroma spread out across the living room leading to the bathroom. And it was up to Beanrobot to clean up the mess. (Oliver the dog tried to help, but the result of that would have been even more of a mess).

Now even though there were a large number of people in attendance, there were no eye-witnesses. A familiar story was one of people laughing and cavorting one moment, and the next they were stopped cold by an absolutely disgusting smell, followed by a glance to the center of the living room floor which was no longer dry.

The most detailed account we have was from one fire-haired attendee standing adjacent to the living room. She said "I noticed a friendly-looking guy sitting in a chair, turned away to a conversation and then heard a sound similar to a bucket of water being tossed out. When I turned back around, the friendly-looking guy appeared as if he was heading to the bathroom and there was vomit all over the floor."

When further questions were asked about who it was, the reply was "I don't know his name, but he's really friendly. He was wearing a dark shirt. He's a friend of Albert"

EVERYBODY is a friend of Albert!

Mind you this was in no way an accusation of somebody making a party foul (the person was not caught in the act of regurgitation), but it is the best lead we have. This event did not in any way spoil the party, but the mystery of who it was DID become a hot topic. If you were in attendance of our alcohol-filled celebration, and you have any leads or info. that can help solve our 2008 mystery, please contact us here in the comments section. Pertinent information will be rewarded... 

...with love.

Friday, August 8, 2008

San Diego Comic-Con Review: Day Dos

Hola Amigos, and welcome to the review of Day Two. Albert made it down to San Diego early Friday morning and he brought the HEAT with him. This was another busy day at the con, and with three Hot Mexican Lovers at the table (Angry Bob, Albert and myself) to sketch, sign and swoon, it seemed like there was no time for breaks. EVERYBODY wanted a a taste of our homegrown passion.

A big reward for appearing at the convention three years in a row, is that we are finally starting to build a reputation and have repeat customers. People remember us from prior years and want to reconnect, share a story of passion and insure another year of romance in their own life with purchase of our book. We are so confident in our product that this year we gave a money back guarantee to the attendees. If the passion in their own life did not increase by a minimum of 16% (after purchase) they could come back to the table for a full refund. I am happy to say there was absolutely no refunds needed. In fact, one customer from last year actually sought us out to thank us for an unforgettable evening after the con last year... after purchase of our book. NO, Albert did not have a rendez-vous with mentioned individual, he met someone on his own and shot off some skyrockets. KA-POW! (true story).

We'd like to thank these repeat customers, our growing fleet of romantics, for their support, purchases and love. I am ashamed to admit that I do not remember the name of the woman in the photo below, but I will give her kudos. She read about the convention exclusive shot glasses online and bee-lined her way to our booth for purchase Friday morning. If this is you, dear fan, please leave us a comment and your name so we can sing it with joy and echo your name in the annals of HML history.

Enough with the gab, here are some fun photos of fans and heroes with our book:

Psylocke from the X-Men

Mara Jade, Slave Leia & Senator Amidala from the Star Wars Universe. The hottest broads in the galaxy holding the hottest book at the convention.

Cobra Cmdr. & The Baroness have no reason to fight while they hold pages of passion.

The HMLC crew love the Venture Bros. & the Monarch 

Above is our favorite type of fan: he finds us, buys the entire HMLC library and smiles.

MEE-OOWWW! The Black Cat. 'nuff said.

Our final photo for the post is especially for Albert. A picture can speak a thousand words. This one left us speechless. Until our founder gently whispered " call me... "

Monday, August 4, 2008

San Diego Comic-Con Review: Day Uno

Is this photo any way to start a post for one of the most exciting events of the year? When it concerns "Angry Bob" it is. This is the room that Angry Bob and myself shared our first night in San Diego. Comfort Inn my ass. The short of it is this, we reserved the room last minute, and despite reserving it for two people, we got a tiny room with a full size bed (smaller than a queen size). FAR TOO SMALL for two such passionate men as myself and Canada's own Angry Bob. Luckily, I brought my inflate-a-bed for just such an emergency. But the room was so small, we had to rearrange it by removing the chair and nightstand and rotating the bed 90 degrees. Strike One. The photo was taken in the tiny foyer next to the toilet. Just about all the floor space is covered by the two beds here.

Due to time constraints, we passed on preview night and showed up to start the fires on Thursday morning. Thinking we had enough time, we ate a good breafast at the hotel and thought we could park at the convention center... we were wrong. We sat in a line of traffic for a nearby parking structure for an hour. Bob drove as I kept running out to the car to unload what I could. This second strike for the trip was not a good way to start a long working weekend.

So we finally got parked, unloaded and set up as the doors were open to fans. Bob & I braced ourselves for the throngs of people to coming rushing in toward us... and we watched them run right by. They were all rushing to get freebies and convention exclusives. No worries though, it was just opening hour.

For Day One it was just Bob and myself working the table. This was Bob's first time working with us outside of L.A. He was slow to start, but by lunch he was charming ALL THE LADIES, as well as dispensing his patented Canadian threats to non-passionate riff-raff. His anger helped fuel his selling frenzy for the ultimate goal of beating the number of sales from Thursday last year. Oblivious to the passing of time, Bob only saw red. Then, as his "Wolverine-like Beserker Rage" subsided at the end of the first day, he glanced at our sales ledger and produced a toothy grin while bearing witness to his achievement. We beat last year by almost 50%!  In all honesty, Bob was a great help and I was lucky to have him at the table to help sell the book and sketch characters for fans.

After the final sale was made, Bob & I went to our next hotel, the Westin San Diego, whose "Heavenly Beds" were true to form. Unfortunately, as I plopped down on mine, a leg broke off. We dealt with the hotel engineering staff for an hour before finally going down to the hotel restaurant for a meal... just as it closed. We ate at the bar, which was fine cause it had the same menu. Wow, I know it sounds like a harsh first day, but it all turned out good.  I am at a loss to think of any good anecdotes right now, except for the one of the Latin woman who asked me if I knew what she was. I looked deep into her eyes and replied "Beautiful."

Needless to say, another fan and another sale was made.

Enjoy this handful of photos mi amigos.

This here is the "Coupon Kid" a walking, talking, free advertising space which we took full advantage of.

Lobster Johnson stopped by to display his new favorite periodical.

These two cuties are part of the ever-expanding fan base of Hot Mexican Love Comics.
 We hook 'em while they are young to insure a lifetime of passion. Actually, they are Hazel & Charlotte, products of true Hot Mexican Love, being that their padre, Anthony Vukojevich, has been a contributor to the book since 1996.
We dug this kick-ass Rorschach costume. He dug our passion.