GALING PINOY: The Prince of Heroes

by Cynthia de Castro/AJPress
People, young and old alike, love comic book heroes. They enjoy stories of courageous men and women who battle evil and overcome the odds. They dream of being mighty, strong and powerful like superheroes Batman and Superman. The past years, there have been new comic book heroes for the new generation. You see them in the very popular Neotopia series, the Courageous Princess, the Battle Girlz, DragonPro and DinoWars. Behind these famous comic heroes is a Filipino comics creator, writer and illustrator, Rod Espinosa.
Born in the Philippines but based in Texas since 2001, Espinosa has been recognized in the American comic book industry for his outstanding work. Rod’s work on “The Courageous Princess” got him on the nomination list for “Promising New Talent” and also “Best Artist” for the 2000 Ignatz Awards and the 2002 Will Eisner Award nomination list for “Best Title for Younger Readers”. The Ignatz Award recognizes outstanding achievements in comics and cartooning while the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards are considered the “Oscars” of the comic book industry. 

Rod graduated from the Don Bosco Technical College with a certificate in architectural drafting and got a degree in advertising art from University of Santo Tomas (UST) in Manila. He worked for seven years in various companies in the fields of advertising, software entertainment and film before deciding to pursue a career in the comic book industry. He came to San Antonio, Texas in 2001 to work full-time as a comic book editor and illustrator.

“I like being an illustrator because I get to keep my own hours,” said Rod.  “Actually, I work more hours than normal, but I get to decide when and where, which is a good trade-off. That’s probably the nice thing about being a comic book artist. I can get my projects done early if I work extra hours during the week. It also makes me feel like I’m not part of the rat race. I count myself lucky I don’t have the daily commute or the clockwork hours some people have,” he explained.

As both writer and artist, Rod has also authored theNeotopia series which was published in graphic novel form. In 2006,  Novotopia, the German edition of Neotopia, got a nomination for the Max und Moritz Prize in the category ‘Bester Comic für Kinder’ (best comic book for younger audience). Rod’s comic books include the Battle Girlz series, a Alice in Wonderland, The Alamo, DinoWars, and Metadocs. 

He has also written and conceptualized popular Antarctic Press titles such as  Hunt Monsters, and Herc and Thor.

Aside from comic books, Espinosa has also written and illustrated non-fiction works such as a series of American History comic books dealing with the subjects of George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Lewis and Clark, The Boston Tea Party, The Alamo, Jackie Robinson, The Underground Railroad, Abraham Lincoln, Patrick Henry, Cesar Chavez, The American Revolution, the Transcontinental Railroad, and Clara Barton. 

He has also created graphic classic novels such as: Around the World in Eighty Days,  Moby-Dick, William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, and William Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream. 

Writing and illustrating non-fiction books has been a new experience for Rod. He described it as ” outside the usual realm of the direct market”. Rod said,” Writing and drawing non-fiction has trained me further in doing realistic people. I have learned a lot. Artistically, I’m glad I improved. I am having fun drawing the characters as I based their likenesses on people I know.” 

Espinosa takes great pride in his newest work, the Prince of Heroes, which is an online graphic novel. “It has scenes never before seen in any other format. You get new excitement and entertainment! A treat for online readers,” said Rod. Readers can enjoy Espinosa’s newest work at http://www.princeofheroes.com.

Like any accomplished man will tell you, it takes a lot of hard work to be successful. Rod Espinosa has worked hard to be where he is right now, and all his labor has paid off well. “My work does require a lot of discipline as we are our own task managers, but in the end, it’s worth it,” admitted the “Prince of comic heroes”.   (www.asianjournal.com)

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