S1: Welcome back. You happen to be listening to KPBS Midday Edition. Comic-Con Museum just opened Torino’s Globe. The exhibition showcases a single of the most preferred and celebrated cartoonists in Mexico , Jose Trinidad Camacho , improved identified as Torino. KPBS arts reporter Beth Accomando wanted to spot the exhibit in a larger pop culture context , so she spoke with author and San Diego State University English professor William Riccio.
S2: Bill , prior to we speak about this exhibit of Trans Globe , speak a tiny bit about your self and your obsession with pop culture , each professionally and personally.
S3: Nicely , I discovered how to study from comic books. My sister and my grandmother , Anna , raised me on Tiny Dot Archie comics Sad Sack. And actually I discovered to study with comics. So comics , pop culture , preferred entertainment , you know , had been my globe. And I was born in the early 60s. And so tv was almost everything. I a single of my early publications and my mother got my late mother got quite mad. I stated I was raised by tv. Proper. But but it really is accurate. If not , immediately after college , we get our Television trays and we’d sit in front of the tv. So Television comics , the films. I grew up in Laredo , Texas , along the border. They had been our entertainment and tv in Laredo prior to cable was , you know , we had 3 , two or three American channels and we had seven Mexican channels from Nuevo Laredo. And so English and Spanish , preferred and entertainment was my IV bag , proper ? That is that is just what I like to do. And so personally , they had been a refuge for me. They had been supply of not just entertainment. I discovered I am an English professor now and my deep affection for language , each English and Spanish , is a outcome of pop culture. And so for me , that was like the wealthy treasure trove from which I derived a lifelong obsession with comic books and tv and preferred culture.
S2: And you went on to study type of Mexican American stereotypes that proliferate in American pop culture and have written about that and actually investigated that. Yes.
S3: Yes. My initial significant book was Tex-Mex Seductive Hallucinations of the Mexican in America. And it was wholly focused on the evolution of Mexican stereotypes in the United States , sort of like like COVID , the evolution of the virus , since it is viral. The thought distinct suggestions of Mexicans transcend books , tv , billboards , films. The the bandit , of course , the now the narco. The bandit has evolved from Pancho Villa into the narco , the drug narco drug dealer. The Latina hot blooded , attractive femme fatale , of course , has been a staple considering that Lupe Vélez. But the thought of the damaging thought of the and you say Mexican , but , you know , most Latinos , there are these funny tiny boxes that I had to open and investigate since they are so endemic. That is , they are a all-natural portion of the background of American entertainment. So I wanted to break that down. That is why I named it a seductive hallucination , since it really is everywhere. It really is entirely permeated consciousness to the point exactly where it has to be broken down since we never assume about it any longer.
S2: And we are sitting right here at the Comic-Con Museum and you are a professor at San Diego State University , which now has a plan focused on comics and type of elevating it on this academic level. I am so. Excited.
S3: Excited. I am a quite smaller player in it , but I am a portion of what is now named the Center for Comic Research at San Diego State University. The two ringleaders are this unbelievable professor of history , Beth Pollard , and an equally exceptional librarian of unique collections. Pamela Jackson and I get to play in their sandbox and what I get. I’ve been teaching comics the university level considering that 1985. I began at Cornell University when I was nevertheless a graduate student. And I’ve taught and written and published about comics as as a type of side gig , a tiny side hustle considering that then. And fortunately I get to collaborate with Beth and Pam and a entire group of professors , lecturers and staffers at SDSU that are into comics.
S2: We are right here in Torino’s globe at the Comic Con Museum , and this is Jose Trinidad Camacho’s perform. So inform me a tiny bit about type of your familiarity with him and type of the lineage from exactly where he comes from in terms of his cartooning ? Positive.
S3: Mexico has a wealthy tradition of sequential art , that graphic narrative , these are the fancy terms as professors contact comics , but they are comics and. And he’s in a extended line. I guess it would start out with Jose Posada with his printmaking shop in Mexico City and then moving into the 20th century. You have a cartoonist like Rios , who was identified for his left wing satirical revolutionary comics 3. You know , at the at the finish of this cycle is just a quite achieved , funny , silly , nasty , dirty comic book comedian. You know , I was pondering for an American audience not familiar with Reno’s perform , who may we assume of him as ? And he’s type of silly. So not Garry Trudeau , not Doonesbury , but Garry Trudeau , Doonesbury plus Jon Stewart , possibly from The Each day Show. Sassy , ironic , comedic , and then a tiny nasty. You know , he’s he’s got some dirty stuff and it really is cool. It really is funny.
S2: Nicely , it really is fascinating since it appears like his perform spans such a diverse variety since he does children’s books and but he’s also completed a film which type of reminds you a tiny of Fritz the Cat and that type of lewd and crude style of comedy.
S4: Yeah , yeah.
S3: Santos And I can not even say the title of it since it really is got a it really is got some pornography there. His film belongs on Adult Swim. I imply , it really is absolutely irreverent. It really is about a wrestler and zombies. And this wrestler has this dominatrix , a lady , bare chested lady. You know , a single of the points that strikes me about Reno’s perform is that we’ve got to be cautious as Americans not to impose our puritanical lens onto Mexico. Mexicans in common are a great deal additional and this is in spite of it getting a heavily Catholic nation , they are a tiny bit additional uncomplicated going about the physique. They are a tiny bit additional European about nudity. And so what may scandalize us ? You know , I could see it on Fox News , proper. Or The New York Post , children’s book artist pens , pornographic animated film. And then , you know , we’d all be , oh , my God , we got to cancel him. But no , no , he’s he’s a nasty and sassy and irreverent. And when he plays to adults , he’s , you know , playing to an adult audience. But when he’s performing his children’s books , he’s just attempting to entertain. He’s quite entertaining. I imply , why must individuals come out to the Comic-Con Museum to see the exhibition ? Due to the fact it really is funny. But bring bring a pal who speaks Spanish since there are a lot of jokes that are type of inside Mexi Mexican jokes.
S2: And since this is for radio. Describe the visual style of his drawing. I guess.
S5: The closest approximation in American comic strips would be one thing.
S3: Style sensible would be like Hagar the horrible. He’s got a quite loose and fluid freestyle. It actually appeals to me. He’s not a single of these. It really is not like Ernie Bush Miller’s Nancy. There is not. These are not meticulously planned and drawn panels. His panels are absolutely free , uncomplicated , floating , frenetic and funny. Funny. And he’s I have to say it once more , he’s type of silly. Some of his jokes are , you know , he’s not above a crappy pun , you know , to get the punch line. And some of.
S2: You speak about that , he’s he’s type of got some silly humor to him. And some of these appear political on a single level , but then type of have a punch line that is quite silly. Yes.
S3: Yes. Yes. I assume that may be some of the way we right here in the United States are attuned to Mexican.
S5: Art and culture.
S3: We presume occasionally the foregrounding of the political. And we’re aghast to obtain out that Mexicans like Americans are just into the exact same crap that we Americans are. You know , that is that is the wonder. I imply , a single of the conclusions of Tex-Mex seductive hallucinations of the Mexican is that Mexicans are no distinct than Americans. That is , they are funny and racist.
S5: And unpredictable.
S3: And complete of irony and contradictions. They are human. They are human. They are all also human. And I assume we see that in in 3 news perform. I imply , what does 3 no try to do as a cartoonist ? Generally , he’s attempting to make you laugh now. He capitalizes on our familiar I imply , why does he appeal to an American audience ? Nicely , a lot of his jokes are about American pop culture from The Avengers to Star Trek to Star Wars. Mexicans watch Television two and they go to the films. And so his concentrate is on we can assume of it as North American preferred culture. And so in his perform , we should not be shocked to obtain these players. Now , he’s also got Mexican staples. He’s got Luchadores , he’s got the Mexican wrestlers. And what he’s got , which is what is accurate of most comic strips , is he’s got his eye open to hypocrisy.
S2: And you brought up Luchadores. Yeah. And speak a tiny bit about type of the significance of that in Mexican culture and how it really is played out in some of Chino’s perform.
S4: Yeah , I a.
S3: Couple of years back I got to be a single of the speaking heads in Carlos Avila’s documentary on Mexican wrestlers. And a single of the points I stated there that I assume is accurate is that Mexican wrestling in Mexico is like opera for the functioning class. You know , we never have the blue hair’s going to see lucha doors , even though. You have got functioning class individuals who’ve worked really hard week wanting to do one thing on a Thursday evening , a Friday evening , a Saturday evening. And they go to the fights. They go to the wrestling fights. And as Roland Bart pointed out in his landmark perform mythology , the fakery of wrestling is what appeals to individuals. They know it really is fake. They know it really is rigged. They are not there for a type of judicial straight outcome. They are there for the exaggeration. They are there for the clowns , for the spectacle , for the violence to individuals. I imply , considering that , you know , a person , the initial human laughed when the other human slipped on a banana peel. We like to laugh at these points. And that is what you get when you go to a Mexican wrestling match.
S2: A single of the points about his perform , also , is there is this quite humanistic good quality to the type of humor that he’s performing.
S3: Yes , it appeals.
S5: I imply , this is not I imply , it really is just about it just about does the perform a disservice to contact Torino a Mexican cartoonist.
S3: He is. He’s Mexicano. He’s from Jalisco. He’s actual proud of that.
S5: But the history of.
S3: Cartooning from the cave drawings of Lascaux to currently is just human beings attempt to leave a tiny trace of themselves behind. And what he leaves behind are some actually funny meditations on the human heart and the human soul.
S1: That was Beth Accomando speaking with William Riccio. The cross-border collaboration of Torino’s globe will be on show at the Comic-Con Museum in Balboa Park via July 5th. Coming up , a neighborhood author writes about a dystopian future that in several approaches puts our present into query.
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