An excited group of fans, friends and fellow comic book creators met the team behind DC Comics' latest legacy hero Thursday as issue number one of "El Diablo" hit the shelves. Writer Jai Nitz, penciler Phil Hester and inker Ande Parks assembled at Elite Comics in Overland Park, Kansas for an afternoon of autographs, sketches and congratulations for the new book, which introduces Hispanic anti-hero Chato Santana as the DCU's new El Diablo.
The original El Diablo -- Lazarus Lane -- once revived by a Native American shaman, now serves as the host body for the Spirit of Vengeance. Nitz told CBR News that while the original EL Diablo is back, he's now 170-years-old. Along with him is a new El Diablo, who's more of a modern day Robin Hood, infused with the Sheriff of Nottingham. "The new 'El Diablo' is set in the DC Universe and interacts with existing heroes, villains, and organizations," revealed Nitz back in November of 2007. "To people like you and me he's a diabolical criminal/gang lord that won't think twice about murder, extortion, smuggling, or drug running. But to the people in his neighborhood he's Robin Hood. Whether or not he's a good guy or a bad guy depends on who you talk to. You'll have to read #1 to see how he becomes El Diablo."
Among the attendees at the Elite signing were writer B. Clay Moore ("Hawaiian Dick," the upcoming "Billy Smoke"), artist Tony Moore ("The Walking Dead," "Fear Agent"), artist Nathan Fox ("DMZ"), and the writer-artist team of Dennis Hopeless and Kevin Mellon ("Gearhead").
Resident Kansans Nitz and Parks, along with fellow Midwesterner Hester, enjoy the company of an ever-expanding base of local creators. Sharp-eyed "El Diablo" readers will notice the title character's nemesis Agent Aaron, who is named after fellow area creator Jason Aaron ("Scalped," "Ghost Rider").
"I got a bunch of nice notes from local pros that couldn't make it to the signing, and it reminds you how awesome it is to make comics in Kansas City," Nitz told CBR News.
"El Diablo" is Nitz's first miniseries at DC after a run of single issues, including the all-Spanish "Blue Beetle" #26. Acknowledging his relative newcomer status, Nitz attributed the success of the signing to the art team of Hester and Parks, who've been responsible for such acclaimed work on "Green Arrow," "Nightwing," and "The Irredeemable Ant-Man."
"All told, Elite Comics sold about 100 copies of a book with a 'cult favorite' art team and a writer that no one has ever heard of. That's great for any shop in America," Nitz said.
"El Diablo" #2 hits stores October 1 from DC Comics.
chat with the El Diablo team.
El Diablo for a fan.
|Seated from left: Nitz, Hester and Parks
talk to fans as they sketch and read about
local El Diablo media coverage.
|B. Clay Moore and the "El Diablo" team|
|Elite Comics owner William Binderup
has the "El Diablo" creators tag his"Return of the Jedi"-era Imperial Shuttle.