I want to land on horror every time I can.
Die For Me, Argentina: CJ Camba's on a mission to saturate Buenos Aires with the horror comics that it deserves.
MagiciansHouse: Good to see you, Mr Camba! I know that you're a guy who likes to stay busy. What've you got cooking up these days?
CJ Camba: Now I'm working on a 21 page horror one-shot with writer Danny Djeljosevic. It's called Just Another Swamp Song and is sort of a mix between Jennifer´s Body and Swamp Thing, so you'll have scenes going on in the high school and in the swamps. In 21 pages Danny has been able to put together different cool ingredients to have a varied arrangement of moments and moods: It has some gory scenes, but overall is a love story with a dose of humor.
Recently I started a creative partnership with the writer, María Eugenia Alcatena. We both love the horror genre so we decided to start doing this series of short stories and start pitching them to publishers and anthologies. We want to display our work in front of as many eyes as we can and explore different approaches to see what we are capable to build as storytellers within the limits of horror.
And the third project I have in development is Mice Wars, which is my creator-owned series. It´s an antiwar series starring a different cast of characters, which are rodents, mostly rats and mice. I´m reading, researching and writing the scripts, but I've already started doing pages that I use as previews of the series.
I noticed that Buenos Aires hosts a pretty impressive summer Comic Con. Do you find that the comics community there is strong, or are the crowds only interested in all of the billion dollar superhero movies?
We have a strong and healthy community in terms of creativity and diversity. The sales number of comic books maybe are not that big compared to other markets from the world, but with every year there are more and more books coming out and a lot of activity built around that, like presentations, cons and exhibitions.
Superheroes have a good presence here, fueled by the last fifteen years of Marvel and DC´s blockbuster movies. Those movies with all their attached merchandising and all the marketing power that those companies own (Disney and Warner) obviously drag a lot of people, but it just makes them closer to the characters more than to comics. A lot of people now know who Rocket Raccoon is, but just some of them will consume superheroes comics, and a few others, once they´ve been initiated into comics as a medium eventually will get interested in other kinds of material that´s available.
Also I should point that here, there are a lot of people interested in manga and anime. So, like I tell you, diversity is one of the keywords for the comics community here. In most cons you'll find creators and readers interested in superheroes, sci fi, manga, european comics, indie comics, zines, or graphic novels. There's room for everyone here.
You label yourself as a "Horror Comics Artist". That's a sub-genre within a sub-genre. Why is it important for you to self identify in that way?
The decision was based just on a desire made at an intersection between two of my goals. I'm struggling to establish myself as a freelance artist, but since I love horror, fantasy, creatures and all that creepy and weird stuff I´m trying to capture the attention of publishers and editors that work with those kind of projects, that way I can give them my best work and I can enjoy what I'm drawing for a living. That doesn't mean I´m not available or that I don't have the capability to work on other types of material. For example I did a biographical comic about journalist and writer, Rodolfo Walsh. But since I'm into this for the long haul I want to land on horror every time I can.
As the mainstream goes, horror comics are not a hot commodity. Do you wish that they were more popular? Or do you think that's what makes them so damn cool?
Yes, I wish they were more popular because that would imply more opportunities for all the artists and writers out there. I don´t have trouble imagining horror comics becoming a trend. I don't think that would make them less cool or something like that. Maybe its true that when something becomes hot and the publishers start to push material to sell based solely on the topic criteria, overall quality dilutes, but I believe that we can also find some gemstones floating in the midst of a hypothetical flood of horror books, made by creators that in another context they would have faced more doors closed to put their stuff into circulation.
What's the dream project that you'd like to take a crack on?
I´d say that my dreams are populated by my personal projects. I´d like to find the time and resources to just have to be focused on telling stories of my own in the best way I can.