I’ve known Nino now for over ten years. When I first meet him a decade back it was on a message board run by Michael Netzer. I had thrown up a press release of my first comic character Bocas. I had been screaming on the top of a mountain talking about how he was an all Puerto Rican character, with an all Hispanic cast. Mind you I had grown up reading Marvel, DC and some Image comics. Most comic characters I had seen were white or an occasional black character. There were very few if any Hispanic or other ethnic characters.
It had been a life passion of mine to create my own characters, and make them Hispanic. Well enter Nino, he had responded to my press release and told me that it was cool I had made my own character, and he wanted to let me know that his characters too were Hispanic and he was based over in Chicago. This opened my eyes to other creator owned indy titles out in the world.
Well I spoke with Nino more over email that day, and before long he told me he’d mail me copies of his book and I told him I would mail him copy of my first issue of Bocas out to him.
Well in about 4 days I had received his books in the mail, and I had sent mine out.
Needless to say I got 4 books from Nino starring his titular hero The Unbelievable Laundry Detergent Man. I quickly read through those books, and I was highly entertained by the comedic aspects of the book, yet at the same time they were very serious. The art was great, I loved how he did everything by hand. I mean everything without the aide of a computer. He hand lettered his books, he drew it, and even colored the covers himself. This here was an old school master and his books liked fabulous.
We were fast friends. He would finally receive my book and he gave me plenty of pointers on how to make my own art better, told me it was a great start yet to make it better I should do this and that. I was younger, eager and I took everything that Nino to heart.
Not only was he a great artist, he was also a great teacher.
He didn’t know it then but in a way he had become a mentor of mine from a distance, as Nino and I would talk hours on end through email and on the emerging Myspace.
A week after my father had died on April 25th 2006, I finally met Nino in person, and let me tell you this Nino was absolutely the same in person as he had been through email. We were over at some NYC comic con, and we chilled and chatted all day during that event.
I got to meet his best friend Ralphie as well at that con and we had a blast.
Nino, was the first Pro Indy artist I meet that welcomed me with open arms over a decade ago. He had no ego, he was a total pro his art is gorgeous and he always had sound advice.
His advice is worth a million dollars or more. The things he did, by contacting the press, tv shows, and the places he put his book was a major influence on how I structured Space Coast Comixx.
Nino my friend, my fellow brother in arms. Thank you for being who you are, it has been an honor and a blessing you call you a friend. You are truly a master at work, and it has become a great honor to be your friend, to work with you over the years from coloring, printing and finally having you share your art in Space Coast Comixx.