The moment was unreal. I walked into the hotel on Saturday night knowing what was about to happen but, also, not quite feeling like it was happening. I was scheduled to meet with Sergio Aragonés and Kevin Eastman, both being the creators of Groo the Wanderer and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, respectively.
I waited in the lobby with the event coordinator, David Wadley. David was a top-tier professional. He is, by far, one of the nicest people in the industry I have met to date and was a huge help with getting around the Sacramento Convention on Sunday as well. After conversing for a few minutes, David and I, along with another unnamed reporter, were greeted by Sergio Aragonés!
My nervousness kicked in, but Sergio was all smiles. He greeted us and shook our hands heartily. He wasted no time living up to his “Living Legend” title. I honestly felt as if I were meeting up with an old friend. His personable attitude, along with his eagerness to answer any and all questions, was really a breath of fresh air. We started by heading out to the fire pit right outside the lobby. It was a nice little area and it actually made the interview even more amazing.
Red Headed Mule: Thanks for taking the time to allow me to interview you. I know you had a long trip.
Sergio Aragonés: It’s no problem! I needed the fresh air after a six hour drive.
RHM: Still. I do appreciate it. When I first read Groo, I laughed hard. I have to say, in an industry filled with vigilantes and superheroes, how do you keep a comedy comic so successful?
Sergio:: Well, the one thing you have to know is there is room for everything. When I was growing up, there were comic books. Kinds now have televisions and, with that, cartoons. It’s very hard to take away from that because technology was advancing. It used to be you can give a kid crayons and they would color for hours. Now they have video games and movies.
Luckily I have a fan base with Groo and Mad [Magazine]. Now you have other things like these! [He points and picks up the phone on the table] These are going to be the future of comic books. You have everything at your fingertips now.
RHM: In regards to the character Bat Lash, did you ever hope that DC would give you more time with the character?
Sergio:: I LOVE the westerns! I had a whole life planned for him. Up until he was an old man. I had to have help from my friend Denny [O’Neil] because I had a hard time putting the English dialogue to what I wanted to say. But when I first read him, I did not write him this way. He was supposed to be a western and they were making him funny. But then I had my run and we tried to show the seriousness of the west. We didn’t make it many issues before we got cancelled but the book actually did sell pretty well.
Sergio:: Oh yes! It was something around 100,000 copies.
RHM: That’s amazing! Some books nowadays don’t even get that kind of distribution.
Sergio:: Yes, but it was different times. Now you have movies like ‘Avengers’ making billions of dollars and people wanting more of that.
RHM: Well, that brings up another question. What would be some of your favorite movies and genres?
Sergio:: Oh, well. I LOVED the Japanese movies growing up and my father used to work on the movies. And I loved Seven Samurai by Akira Kurosawa. I also loved Tetsuwan Atom (Astro Boy). The Japanese culture is just so wonderful. They have shows in Banraku that are just amazing. And the level of detail is just…inspiring.
RHM: I appreciate the time you’ve given me sir. If you don’t mind, can I ask you one more question?
Sergio:: Of course!
RHM: What is your favorite genre in entertainment?
Sergio:. Oh, well. I love comedy, action…I love it all. I like the ‘Star Trek’ movies and, when I did the issue of Mad, I was told J.J. Abrams office called asking if the original art was for sale and that he wanted to buy it. I said of course but I had to bring it to him personally! So I got to bring him the art and it was a very fun time meeting J.J. Abrams.
At that point, I thanked him heavily and we all walked back into the hotel. We parted ways at the elevator where he went back up to his room and me, along with David and the other reporter, sat back down in the lobby to wait on Kevin Eastman.