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Jai Nitz, Jaime Portillo and Julian Lawler In El Paso 021709 (PR)
posted February 12, 2009
 

January 27, 2009

For Immediate Release

Re: El Paso in the Comics ………………….

Contact: James Bucky Carter (915-747-6243); jbcarter2@utep.edu

Not only is there an underground comic book scene in El Paso, but the Sun City has its very own super-hero!

On Tuesday, February 17, The UTEP English Department will host "El Paso in the Comics," a presentation featuring two local comics writers and keynoted by Jai Nitz, DC Comics writer and writer of the All-Spanish issue of the super-hero series Blue Beetle, which is set in El Paso. The event will be in the Blumberg Auditorium from 6:30-8:30. Admission is free.

James Bucky Carter, Assistant Professor of English Education and comics scholar, will moderate the event. He and Nitz will be joined by Jaime Portillo and Julian Lawler, local comics creators who will speak about how the Border Region is influencing their current and upcoming comics projects.

"Proximics is an interesting thing to study in comics," says Carter, who is writing the Blue Beetle entry for an upcoming revision of an encyclopedia on comic books. "In super-hero comics, and in DC comics in particular, it is common for heroes to work on macro levels and be based in cities that are stand-ins for actual metropolitan areas. Think Gotham for Batman or Metropolis for Superman. Both are stand-ins for New York. Often, the less populace the home base for the hero, the less serious he or she is taken as a major player on the hero scene. For a DC series to feature a prominent hero in a named city like El Paso says some interesting and exciting things about our region and how it may be viewed in comics and to the comics industry."

Jaime Reyes is the teenage alter-ego of the most recent Blue Beetle. He is of Hispanic origin and attends El Paso High. The series has dealt with issues such as immigration, border patrol, and border trafficking.

Nitz will speak about writing Blue Beetle #26. Portillo will discuss his recent mature-readers graphic novel Gabriel, in which a vampire is responsible for many of the murders in Juarez, and Lawler will discuss an upcoming project that deals with the issues of voicelessness and violence in the Border Region.

Nitz will also speak to several classes at UTEP and to area high school students during his stay in El Paso. He will also do a signing at Dave’s comics and Paintball on February 18 from 11:00-1:00.



Bios:

Jai Nitz is a Hispanic comic book writer from Lawrence, Kansas. He won the Xeric grant for self-publishing in 2003 for his pulp-inspired anthology, Paper Museum. He won the prestigious Stoker Award for best writer of illustrated narrative in 2004 for Heaven’s Devils from Image Comics. Most recently Nitz wrote Blue Beetle #26, the first all-Spanish comic from DC Comics, showing the adventures of El Paso’s native superhero. Nitz is currently writing the Southwest-set El Diablo for DC. Nitz has written for DC, Marvel, and Image comics, working on characters from Batman to the Fantastic Four to Hellboy.

Jaime "Jimmy" Portillo was born and raised in El Paso, TX. He began his college education at EPCC and continued on at UTEP, where he received a B.A. in History (2002) and Chicano Studies (2005). Jaime released his first book in 2008 titled, GABRIEL, a vampire graphic novel that takes place in El Paso and Juarez. This story received the prestigious Xeric Foundation grant. GABRIEL has gone on to become a highly critically acclaimed book. He is currently collaborating with Arturo Delgado Molina and Dany Morales of Juarez, Mexico’s, DEATH MOON COMICS. He is thankful for the support he has received from his fiancée Maribel Cisneros, his parents, Enrique and Estela, family, and friends.

Julian Lawler is an El Paso native, born and raised in the desert southwest. He received his B.A with a double major in American Literature and Anthropology from the University of Texas at El Paso in 2008. He has been editor-in-chief of Broken Tree Publications since 1999. He has published numerous comic books including Industriacide, Prophet of Dreams, Zodiac, and the underground comic book Triangle Man. Industriacide #1 was critically proclaimed as "Certified Cool," and labeled breakthrough in the field of comic books. Prophet of Dreams #3 received a "Spotlight On" distinction, which is a recommendation for readers to take a look. He plans to release a new comic book series titled Superheroes, Inc. in 2009, a book that focuses on the El Paso/Juarez area. Julian Lawler has also had several poems published in the Crysalis and the Rio Grand Review. He has published literary criticisms on Bewilderingstories.com as well as a pair of fantasy novels, Prophet of Dreams and Nightland.