Interview with Hopper Comics

Posted: April 22, 2010 in Comic Books
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During an era when most comics seem to be skewed to older readers, Hopper Comics breaks the trend by publishing kid friendly comics. For the past few years they’ve published Jungle Trek and Breaking the Ice, while also making presentations at schools promoting reading and the importance of literacy. Hopper Comics founder Carlos Samudio talks about his inspiration, the challenges of the small press, his future plans, and just where the name Hopper came from.

Tell us why you decided to start Hopper Comics.

Hopper Comics actually started off right on one of America”s most horrible days ever recorded in history. I am referring to 9/11.  It was when I was watching the news coverage of all the people working that day in the Twin Towers in NYC, that died suddenly, it occurred to me that those people had no idea what was going to happen to them. They were going about their normal everyday lives, waiting for the work day to end so they could back to their loved ones, pets, friends, whatever, but sadly, they never got that chance. My epiphany popped up right there, I realized just then how precious life really was and how fast it could be ripped away from you suddenly before you have a chance to leave your mark on the world. What if that was me? What legacy would I have left behind? Would people even remember me? What accomplishments did I achieve before my death? I then decided I wanted to leave my small thumbprint on the world, and what better way to do that than try and make a difference in society by educating our youth with reading is fundamental.   So, that’s how Hopper Comics began.

That’s quite a story. On a lighter note, how did you pick the name Hopper?

I picked the name Hopper because of my love for Frogs and toads.
I’ve always been drawn to the little hoppers and their love for life and water.  They are water creatures and water creates life and therefore I respect them.  It was an easy choice for the naming of my small press company.

Your publishing line has expanded since you began. While many indie artist are struggling now what contributes to your success?

I believe name recognition and advertising in places where you will attract the most buyers is key in maintaining sales and exposure.  I have been going to comic conventions since 2004 and people now recognize Hopper Comics and already know the merchandise before they even come to the table- which is quite flattering really.

Your motto is “Reading is an adventure,” and you do many educational presentations at schools. What do you do in your school presentations and how do they relate to your publishing plans?

When I go visit elementary schools, it’s mainly to focus on reading and how it ties in with real world jobs.   I read a book to the children first and then answer questions about the book or my comic book company.  I try to get them involved by showing them examples of how a comic book is made or show them the latest pinups of my characters.  I always conclude my presentations by telling them -never say never.  If they put their mind to it, they can accomplish anything.

What can you tell us about your new book Tex Shield?

Tex-Shield is a book about a super hero based in Texas actually.  The character was created by Phil Hughes, a local Austin-ite.  Phil is a true Texan in that he believes everything that this state stands for.   He believes in the Spirit of Texas. and decided to use that to create a super hero with super powers that fights for the common good.  Tex-Shield draws on the energy of all the great fallen heroes from the Texas/Mexico war, to the heroes of the Alamo and even everyday heroes, such as soldiers, firemen, policeman and any other public servants that gave their lives for this state.  It’s a very powerful symbolic image and I believe a lot of people here in Texas share the same strong beliefs Phil does.  Plus the costume looks pretty darn cool!

Sounds awesome. How do you choose your clients/what books to publish?

I choose clients that have a fan base already in place, if there is a large or even a small audience that loves someone’s work and I see all the positive feedback related to a creator’s stories or characters then I contact them and tell them what I would like to do for them and if they like my pitch, I go ahead and publish them.  I take chances on people that are passionate about their creations and I DO notice if they give it 110% and that’s a major factor for me in publishing someones work.

While you publish your clients comics, you also write Jungle Trek yourself. Tell us how you came about writing that?

I wrote Jungle Trek 1-3 and I began that little tale back in San Diego in 2006 when myself and another of my artist went to San Diego Comic Con.  After the convention, I went back to my hotel room, trying to come up with a new angle to sell comics and out popped Mott and his jungle friends.  I can say I literally wrote the entire story that night-all three parts and then revised it and now its one of my best sellers.  The third and final issue should be out later this summer.

Tell us anything else you’d like to share?

Keep checking out our website http://www.hoppercomics.com for all the latest news and convention appearances.  Hop to it!

Carlos is also planning  a new line of graphic novels called Black Frog comics. Website coming soon.

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