|In college I was the typical nerd of color. Disenfranchised, alienated, lonely, confused, alcoholic; I was the angry young Latin man of the 1970s. Syracuse
University was famous for being a party school and was upper-class and white. I had no clue. But, I did get to do my first published work for the Daily
Orange. ADAM was a weird little daily strip that started off as a one-a-day sex joke kind of thing to a strange and often distressing melodrama. Too bad my
grades weren't based on my strip. Except for beer and whining and my comic strip, I ignored everything else in life. Looking back, I realize that ADAM kept
|Okay. Let's skimp over most of the childhood
stuff. Too much drama. Let's just say that things
could have been easier. That's probably why I
got so obsessed with comics early on. Casper,
Hot Stuff, Superman, Supergirl, Archie... all
characters who showed great kindness to each
other.... well, maybe Superman wasn't that kind
to Lois or Kara, but he walked the walk.
Cartoons like Astro Boy and KIMBA-THE WHITE
LION got me hooked on simple pathos, and my
grandmother's Spanish soap operas showed me
the value of well placed melodrama.
ESCAPING REALITY BECAME MY ART.
|Then the seventies began,
and I saw FIVE FINGERS OF DEATH,
and just like the rest of the kids in the Bronx,
it was all over for me.
THINGS STARTED TO LOOK up for me. I began to work for the Hetrick-Martin Institute... my first real job (5 years after college)! I focused on
creating tales of the closet, along with posters and educational materials. It was a hard time for us. AIDS was exploding in the gay community
and forced sexual orientation into the spotlight. Tales would be used as an educational tool, shipped to high schools and social service agencies
to educate and start a dialogue. It was the time of the multi-cultural initiatives. I had to put myself in the spotlight... a move that my family did not
enjoy. But, damn, AIDS was killing so many of my friends and co-workers. Everybody had to pitch in and work. I got to talk about my work on tv,
Fox 5, Bill Moyer's Journal, on NPR, and lots of the gay mags. Details even asked me to contribute to their election issue... right next to Gilbert
Hernandez! It was a scary but exciting time.
Blah blah blah. I decided to GET A GRIP on my life, and in doing so, help the ones coming
after me. Believe me, it wasn't such a lofty goal then. I just saw that there was precious little
in comics, or movies to help and validate people of different sexual orientation, race, body
and/or culture. What the hell... I'd put my two-cents in and see what's up. So, I created TALES
OF THE CLOSET.
The time after college was not fun. No work, bad social habits, no friends, and no clue. Luckily i was also figuring out who i was inside, and these new
discoveries led to a lot of drawing. I realized that i was flailing around trying to find a way to come to terms with myself and the world... and that it should
have been easier. there should have been more mechanisms built into the world to deal with those that society considered 'outside' the official authorized
range of normality.
|what was this thing? political commentary? soap opera? teen angst? soap opera? goth soft porn? Navel gazing? A cry for help? I still don't know.
Bio: Raised in the South Bronx, Ivan was heavily influenced by the
chop-socky karate flicks, Astro Boy cartoons, blaxploitation films, Spanish
soap operas, and Silver Age comic books that filled every second of his free
time. So far, that hasn't changed.
His work has also been seen in several issues of Gay Comics, Details
magazine, NYQ, and HX. He has sold scripts to HBO and the Hudlin Brothers.
He has also been reviewed in the Advocate, Edge, the Village Voice, the New
York Times and on NPR.
Ivan has written several Milestone titles, especially Blood Syndicate (which
included character design for some of the cast), A Man Called Holocaust, and
a year-long run on the acclaimed series Static. Both Blood Syndicate and
Static have won awards on his shift.
Ivan has also written for the mainstream, bless his little soul. He scripted the
last two years on Ghost Rider, Abominations, and a Venom mini-series,
among others for Marvel. At DC Comics, he wrote the Eradicator mini-series,
did some hard time on Extreme Justice, and a story for Vertigo's Flinch, and
the odd PowerPuff Girls story at their kid division. He also co-edited and
compiled the award winning YA title; DEAD HIGH YEARBOOK at Dutton.
He has finished his first short film, Malaguena (a ghost story), and is writing
his first novel; Opaline's Secret.
But Ivan is mostly known as the creator of Tales of the Closet, a ten-chapter
graphic novel that depicts the lives of eight gay teenagers in Queens. He has
won a 2004 Xeric grant and will use this to begin publishing the series on his
own imprint: Planet Bronx Productions.