By Alfredo Guzman
Holtville resident and professional comic book artist, Dave Garcia, is an Imperial Valley native. Garcia is currently working on getting his original comic story, “Shadow of the West: Legend of the Night Ranger”, financed through Kickstarter.
Kickstarter is an online patronage website that specializes in organizing funding for the projects of creative people. “It (Shadow of the West) answers
the question, ‘Why did the Lone Ranger use Silver Bullets’,” said Garcia.
“Shadow of the West” has been a part of Dave Garcia’s life for a long time. “Shadow of the West has been germinating in me since childhood. I mean am I the only one that found it a bit strange that the Ranger used silver bullets on ordinary outlaws? The actual scribbling started sometime in early 2007. By the summer of that year I’d completed (in my spare time) what I called the first issue. Since then it’s turned into a 148 page graphic novel,” said Garcia.
The inspiration for “Shadow of the West” are the many personal and pop culture influences that have affected Garcia over the years. “I’ve been a fan of old westerns and old monster movies my whole life. That, along with the silver bullet thing mentioned earlier is the main impetus. I’m adding Native American myth, Texas tall tales, and some of the old ghost stories my mom used to tell us,” said Garcia.
When asked how he came up with the idea of using Kickstarter to fund his new comic book, Garcia said, “My son first suggested it. This is the first time I’ve tried it, so I’m no expert. I needed help with everything from making the video right through to getting everything uploaded onto the website. The point of Kickstarter is to get your project funded by providing incentives.”
The Kickstarter page for “Shadow of the West” offers incentives such as digital and hard copies of the graphic novel hard copies of the graphic novel, along with signed original comic book art and rare collectibles Garcia has offered only at San Diego Comic Con. The more money paid into a Kickstarter project by a patron, the better the incentive given out when the project is funded.
Promoting “Shadow of the West” has become Garcia’s focus. “That’s about all I did at San Diego Comic-Con this year. We’ve rebuilt the www.davegarcia-art.us website to feature SOTW art. And we are promoting it on social media,” said Garcia.
Dave Garcia is a veteran of the process of making comic books. “The comic process is like an assembly line; editor, penciler, inker, letterist, colorist. I started out on “The Tick” comic as an inker and ended up working on that comic for twenty odd some years. I have written whole cloth as well as adapted from other media into comics, penciled, inked, lettered and, to a smaller extent, colored comics professionally since 1985. But I believe I’m best known as a penciler.”
Garcia did receive help with the making of “Shadow of the West”. He said, “I write, pencil , ink, and letter the thing. Another local artist, Katie Limon, has helped me out with coloring the first 4 pages as samples. I colored what is considered the cover. My wife helps with editing. I prefer inking in black and white. Katie can handle the colorizing. I’ve been an artist all my life. I had no idea I was red/green colorblind until I was drafted. Colorizing is my least favorite part of the comic process. I had noticed even before that I would overmix colors and would end up with browns and greys. Now I know,” said Garcia.
When asked what his most well known comic book work is, Garcia said,”Locally, I suppose it’s a toss up between “Panda Khan,” which was co-created with my wife Monica Sharp, and working on “Archie’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.” When I’m at Comic-Con, there are many that know me for my 20 plus years working on “The Tick”.
After being asked what his most well known original comic book creation was Garcia said,”Hands down, “Panda Khan”, since it was a toy and distributed all over the world.”
Garcia concluded by saying,”Shadow of the West” is a homage to the comics I loved and read as a child. With the artwork I’ve tried to evoke the old Jack Kirby westerns of the 60s along with the Marvel Monster Comics of that same era. I have also tried to inject some humor into the mix with varying degrees of success. Having said that. there is some graphic comic violence, but it is tame compared to some of the modern fare.”