ICv2 talked to Artists, Writers & Artisans Chief Creative Officer Axel Alonso to learn more about the recently announced superhero comic Primos, written by actor and comedian Al Madrigal, with art by Carlo Barberi (see “‘Morbius’ Actor Al Madrigal to Write New Superhero Series for AWA”).

How big of an untapped market do you think is out there for Latinx comics in general and in comics for people of Mexican descent in particular?
I think it's huge. I think that the Latino community has always been overlooked and unappreciated, but we're out there buying en masse and we're looking for material. It's a massive audience. The Latinx community as a whole is huge, and the Mexican American community is huge as well. 

There are different Latino communities, and this is an explicitly Mexican comic. Do you think there will be crossover between the Mexican audience, the larger Latinx audience, and the comics audience as a whole?
That's a very good question, because it's important to make distinctions between Hispanic communities and cultures. To be Mexican is very different than to be Puerto Rican, Colombian, let alone Cuban. So the communities are very different, and there are regional differences as well. I think at the same time that there's an overwhelming interest in Latinx stories that spans all Latinx communities.

Why did you choose to do a superhero comic?
When I worked at Marvel, Al Madrigal was my friend, and he would say, “Why are there so few good Mexican superheroes?” And I said “They just weren't created.” Marvel was reluctant to build new IP. They were always digging deeper into the characters that existed already.

Al said “I want to do Mexican superheroes, but I don't want to do it if I’m not going to own it.” So when I started my own company, with AWA, I called Al right away. He came back to me with an overall pitch and out of that pitch came the Primos, because the pitch as a whole was too vast. When we zeroed in on the baby in the bathwater, the baby was the Mayan mythology and the idea that two brothers had gone into outer space centuries ago, as per the legend,. So we said, let's start there, build on the mythology, and then he came up with the idea of the Primos, three cousins who've never met, who have nothing in common, from Mexico City, LA, and Texas, and they're imbued with great power to save the world. 

Are you planning to create a universe based on this, or is Primos going to be a self contained story?
This is going to be the first season of an ongoing story that I will build upon with the Primos as the central characters. It's its own universe. He has another idea, an equally cool idea for a series he wants to do, so we'll discuss whether or not it becomes a part of this same universe.

It’s a tough sell to build a superhero from the ground up if you're not Marvel or DC. What makes your superhero different from other indie superheroes?
It starts with a high concept. A story's only as good as it as what it delivers, and in this case, I think we've got a million-dollar high concept. 

The idea is that the ancestors of the Mexican people sent a spaceship in outer space. They've been up there for hundreds of years, as we've whispered about for years, the chariots of the gods, and they came back. And the idea is that the two brothers, one of them says, “Oh my God, look what happened to our civilization. I'm going to get revenge on the people that did this to us, starting with the Spaniards. I’ll find the conquistadors.” But the conquistadors have dispersed. They’re all watching soccer and drinking wine. So then the other brother says, “No, no, no, I'm gonna save the universe.” It's rooted in the reality of what's going on in the world right now: the prominence of Hispanic culture and the way that Mexicans have been brought to the forefront of the national dialogue with kids in cages and we're being [called] rapists and serial murderers by the ex-president. We thought was a topical story but timeless as well. 

How important is the Mayan piece, the indigenous piece, as opposed to simply being from Mexico?
It’s very important. Our translation to Spanish is going to be Mexican Spanish because we wanted to hit the ear right.

Is this Al’s first comic?

Why did he want to do it as a comic?
Because it's a really quick and easy way to get something out into the world. Al realized that he can write this and we can get it done quickly and out there into the world for people to read as unfiltered as possible. The comic book medium affords you amazing creative freedom.

How many issues are in the first series?
Primos is four issues, and the last issue is extra long. That’s season one. As with most of the books we do, it functions as a season. One full story being told. But there's some loose ends and some insinuations [that] there's more to come.  I look at this as the “Primos Assemble” arc. We have three disparate characters [with] nothing in common. They need to come together, learn about their powers, and then work as a team. We have room for more action down the road, which Al has in mind.

Are you planning to develop it for TV or film?
We've already got a lot of people reaching out to us about it, so I wouldn't be surprised. The goal for us is to make a good comic book, as unfiltered as possible, Al’s vision for the team, and see what happens.

How did you how did you go about getting an artist?
First and foremost, I wanted a Mexican artist, and at Marvel I worked with a number of really talented Mexican artists: Humberto Ramos, Carlo Barberi, Paco Medina. I reached out to Carlo because I worked with Carlo on Deadpool at Marvel. I thought his style would be perfect, because he does big action adventure, widescreen, but also he does humor very well. There's a lot of humor in his work and we needed that for the book. When we talked to Carlo, he knew who Al was already, I sent him the pitch, and he said “I’m in.”

It sounds like this is not going to be a dark superhero book. It sounds like it's going to have some humor.
Yeah, this is a very friendly kind of PG-13-rated superhero adventure. It's like a Latinx Guardians of the Galaxy. It's not a G-rated book. It's not an all ages book. It's not an R-rated movie. 

It's very topical and it's very contemporary, and there are allusions to drugs and stuff like that in the book. So in that sense, it's not a kiddie-friendly book. It's an adventure at its heart, an adventure with a lot of humor.

Do you have any special promotions planned for retailers?
Dave Johnson does the regular covers for the book. The cover variants for issue #1 are by Mike Deodato and Carlo Barberi. We’ll probably do some retailer variants as well, a poster, and we’ll do a lot of promotion we haven't announced yet around the time of release. Part of the promotion is releasing it in English and Spanish. We want to make sure as many people as possible to get this into their hands, and we will do a big push behind it because we think it's worth it.