Artist Jesus Rodriguez remembers as a kid watching his uncles sketch lowriders and Chicano cartoons reminiscent of the “Homies” characters popular in the late 1990s and early 2000s. He said he worked hard to make his art just as good as theirs.
Today, Rodriguez is giving his own Latine spin on some of the most popular superheroes and anime characters. On TikTok, Rodriguez takes requests from his more than 30,000 followers to draw characters like Superman and Batman as Aztec warriors and the Joker, The Mandalorian, and Dragon Ball Z’s Vegeta as mariachis.
“I’ve always had a love for old-school animation, but my daughter has been introducing me to the newer animation,” Rodriguez, 36, told Remezcla during a recent interview. “Recently, I did these Batman and Superman drawings and that sort of blew up.”
Other characters Rodriguez has drawn in his own fusion comic style include Sailor Moon dressed in a ballet folklorico outfit; Japanese manga character Naruto as a bandito; and an Aztec version of Tanjiro Kamado from the anime series Demon Slayer.
Currently, Rodriguez lives with his family in New Mexico, where he works as a case analyst for the state. He said his dream would be to do art full time.
Although he said it’s impossible to choose between Marvel and DC Comics (“I love them both”), Rodriguez is excited to see what Marvel does with Latine characters like Namor (Tenoch Huerta) and Namora (Mabel Cadena) in the upcoming sequel Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
“Marvel is being more inclusive, so it just makes sense,” Rodriguez said. “Times are changing. Not every superhero has to be white.”
To see more of Jesus Rodriguez’s drawings and to purchase his work printed on apparel and other items, visit his page at TeePublic.