Saturday, April 28, 2012

Latino USA: A Cartoon History

"Latino USA: A Cartoon History" written by Ilan Stavans Illustrated by Lalo Alcaraz
        "Latino USA: A Cartoon History" was originally released in September 2000 and is a really good book. This book was written by Ilan Stavans (The Hispanic Condition: The Power of a People) and illustrated by Lalo Alcaraz (creator of the daily comic strip "La Cucaracha"). Lalo's cartoons make it easier to absorb all the historical information this book provides by making it fun and entertaining.   
         "Latino USA: A Cartoon History" is being re released in paperback very soon so we thought it's be a great to spread the word and we were very lucky to score an interview with it's illustrator, Lalo Alcaraz.

Art: Lalo, It's been about 12 years since this book was originally released and a lot has happened in the world since. How excited are you for this re-release and what thoughts come to you when you hold the book in your hands?

Lalo: Only 12? Then we have to change the misleading "15 Year Anniversary Edition" on the cover. This time around it was much easier to work on this, since we added 50 pages, and not the whole enchilada, or other Mexican dish. The first time around, I really hadn't worked on such a big project, so I must admit that I was pretty bad on meeting deadlines. But now I'm GREAT on meeting deadlines, right?

Art: Yeah, sure. *shakes head no* 

Art: The book's author, Ilan Stavans who also wrote, "The Hispanic Condition: The Power of a People" has called you his "Artistic Soulmate". What was it like working with him and have you kept in touch?

Lalo: We work well together, I'm not sure about the Artistic Soulmate thing, though we do wear matching sweaters when we speak on the phone. Actually, it was great working with him, as he usually took my suggestions and implemented them in the script, or let me draw my character disagreeing with his POV, etc. LOL!

And yes, we stay in touch, we just got another book deal to do yet another cool history book, so it looks like we are gonna be in touch, esp this summer. I got a lot of pages to sketch!

Art: You and Dr. Stavans covered a lot of historic events and important people ranging from Columbus to Selena and Bill Clinton to  Edward James Olmos. Was there an event or person that was not included in the book or that you wished you could have included or done different?

Lalo: I learned sooooo much working on this book, there almost isn't enough room in my already large cabeza to fit all this knowledge about Latinos in the USA...I don't think we left much out, except Edward James Olmos secret flight to Mars. WHOOPS

Art: You've been cartooning for a long time. What's it like when something like a "re-release" of your work comes along or you come across work you did a long time ago? 

Lalo: I try not to look back. I've been spending a lifetime learning about deciding when something is DONE.

I know you're nowhere near retiring but do you ever stop to think about how long you've been in the game?

Lalo: Can't I retire soon? Damn. You now what's changed, its the internet! I get to use that to propagate my toons all over the planet.

Art: I know the past couple years you've come out with Calendars. Are there any plans in the works to release another book?

Lalo: I've done calendars for like 20 years. I hope to do one for 2013, if the Mayans allow it. Bookwise, I am plotting an editorial cartoon treasury, and am currently writing a kids book about a little brown kid who likes to draw cartoons and to annoy his sisters.

Lalo Alcaraz, (at our branch) reading or admiring his work? (Read the post about his visit here

       Art:  Lalo, I want to thank you for your time. I know you're a very busy man. Congratulations on the re release of Latino USA: A Cartoon History. You know I'm a fan and I'll be picking up a copy for myself. Please give my regards to Daniel D. Portado and Mexican Mitt if you happen to see them. Thank you.

Lalo: Daniel D. Portado just asked me when you will be Self-Deporting yourself, you seem to be holding up Self-Deportations in your area. Also, Mexican Mitt, who is hot off his big win as the number juan funniest fake politician Twitter account, says he doesn't know either of us.

Art: Daniel, I'll have to look up how many vacation days I'm allowed for "Self Deporting" then I'll choose my vacation errr deportation spot. I hear Jacksonville, FL. is nice this time of year. 

@MexicanMitt, if you're reading this, CONGRATULATIONS and you're always number Juan in my book.

@LaloAlcaraz will be at LunaSol Mexican Vintage in Whittier on Fri., May 4th at 7pm. He'll be signing copies of "Latino USA: A Cartoon History 15th Anniversary Edition", posters, mini originals and stickers and La Cucaracha artwork. Basically if you bring it he will sign it. There will be FREE comida (food), Art, live music by "Los Hot Boxers" raffles and mucho mas!  



  1. Excellent and super funny interview! Loved it loved it loved it! * three snaps all around*

    1. Thank you for your time. We appreciate it. :)

  2. Replies
    1. Thank you. Lalo has been a big help. :)