Searching at Trino’s Globe in a pop culture context

S1: Welcome back. You are listening to KPBS Midday Edition. Comic-Con Museum just opened Torino’s Globe. The exhibition showcases one particular of the most well-liked and celebrated cartoonists in Mexico , Jose Trinidad Camacho , far better identified as Torino. KPBS arts reporter Beth Accomando wanted to location the exhibit in a larger pop culture context , so she spoke with author and San Diego State University English professor William Riccio.

S2: Bill , just before we speak about this exhibit of Trans Globe , speak a small bit about oneself and your obsession with pop culture , each professionally and personally.

S3: Properly , I discovered how to study from comic books. My sister and my grandmother , Anna , raised me on Small Dot Archie comics Sad Sack. And actually I discovered to study with comics. So comics , pop culture , well-liked entertainment , you know , had been my planet. And I was born in the early 60s. And so tv was all the things. I one particular of my early publications and my mother got my late mother got pretty mad. I stated I was raised by tv. Proper. But but it is correct. If not , following college , we get our Television trays and we’d sit in front of the tv. So Television comics , the motion pictures. I grew up in Laredo , Texas , along the border. They had been our entertainment and tv in Laredo just before 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 , well-liked and entertainment was my IV bag , appropriate ? That is that is just what I appreciate 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 well-liked 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 definitely investigated that. Yes.

S3: Yes. My initial important 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 , simply because it is viral. The notion certain suggestions of Mexicans transcend books , tv , billboards , motion pictures. 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 notion of the adverse notion of the and you say Mexican , but , you know , most Latinos , there are these funny small boxes that I had to open and investigate simply because they are so endemic. That is , they are a all-natural component of the background of American entertainment. So I wanted to break that down. That is why I named it a seductive hallucination , simply because it is everywhere. It is completely permeated consciousness to the point exactly where it has to be broken down simply because we do not 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 pretty tiny player in it , but I am a component of what is now named the Center for Comic Research at San Diego State University. The two ringleaders are this amazing 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 nonetheless a graduate student. And I’ve taught and written and published about comics as as a type of side gig , a small 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 planet at the Comic Con Museum , and this is Jose Trinidad Camacho’s operate. So inform me a small bit about type of your familiarity with him and type of the lineage from exactly where he comes from in terms of his cartooning ? Certain.

S3: Mexico has a wealthy tradition of sequential art , that graphic narrative , these are the fancy terms as professors get in touch with comics , but they are comics and. And he’s in a extended line. I guess it would start off 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 pretty achieved , funny , silly , nasty , dirty comic book comedian. You know , I was pondering for an American audience not familiar with Reno’s operate , who may possibly we assume of him as ? And he’s type of silly. So not Garry Trudeau , not Doonesbury , but Garry Trudeau , Doonesbury plus Jon Stewart , perhaps from The Each day Show. Sassy , ironic , comedic , and then a small nasty. You know , he’s he’s got some dirty stuff and it is cool. It is funny.

S2: Properly , it is fascinating simply because it appears like his operate spans such a diverse variety simply because he does children’s books and however he’s also accomplished a film which type of reminds you a small 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 simply because it is got a it is got some pornography there. His film belongs on Adult Swim. I imply , it is undoubtedly irreverent. It is about a wrestler and zombies. And this wrestler has this dominatrix , a lady , bare chested lady. You know , one particular of the issues that strikes me about Reno’s operate is that we’ve got to be cautious as Americans not to impose our puritanical lens onto Mexico. Mexicans in common are considerably far more and this is regardless of it getting a heavily Catholic nation , they are a small bit far more effortless going about the physique. They are a small bit far more European about nudity. And so what may possibly scandalize us ? You know , I could see it on Fox News , appropriate. 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 undertaking his children’s books , he’s just attempting to entertain. He’s pretty entertaining. I imply , why need to individuals come out to the Comic-Con Museum to see the exhibition ? Due to the fact it is funny. But bring bring a pal who speaks Spanish simply because there are a lot of jokes that are type of inside Mexi Mexican jokes.

S2: And simply because this is for radio. Describe the visual style of his drawing. I guess.

S5: The closest approximation in American comic strips would be anything.

S3: Style sensible would be like Hagar the horrible. He’s got a pretty loose and fluid freestyle. It definitely appeals to me. He’s not one particular of these. It is not like Ernie Bush Miller’s Nancy. There is not. These are not meticulously planned and drawn panels. His panels are absolutely free , effortless , 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 one particular level , but then type of have a punch line that is pretty silly. Yes.

S3: Yes. Yes. I assume that may possibly 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 , one particular of the conclusions of Tex-Mex seductive hallucinations of the Mexican is that Mexicans are no unique 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 as well human. And I assume we see that in in 3 news operate. 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 ? Properly , 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 motion pictures. And so his concentrate is on we can assume of it as North American well-liked culture. And so in his operate , 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 correct of most comic strips , is he’s got his eye open to hypocrisy.

S2: And you brought up Luchadores. Yeah. And speak a small bit about type of the value of that in Mexican culture and how it is played out in some of Chino’s operate.

S4: Yeah , I a.

S3: Handful of years back I got to be one particular of the speaking heads in Carlos Avila’s documentary on Mexican wrestlers. And one particular of the issues I stated there that I assume is correct is that Mexican wrestling in Mexico is like opera for the operating class. You know , we do not have the blue hair’s going to see lucha doors , although. You have got operating class individuals who’ve worked difficult week wanting to do anything 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 operate mythology , the fakery of wrestling is what appeals to individuals. They know it is fake. They know it 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 , an individual , the initial human laughed when the other human slipped on a banana peel. We like to laugh at these issues. And that is what you get when you go to a Mexican wrestling match.

S2: A single of the issues about his operate , as well , is there is this pretty humanistic excellent to the type of humor that he’s undertaking.

S3: Yes , it appeals.

S5: I imply , this is not I imply , it is pretty much it pretty much does the operate a disservice to get in touch with 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 nowadays is just human beings attempt to leave a small trace of themselves behind. And what he leaves behind are some definitely 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 planet will be on show at the Comic-Con Museum in Balboa Park by way of July 5th. Coming up , a nearby author writes about a dystopian future that in several methods puts our present into query.

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