Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Congratulations on the release of your action/comedy comic book series, Mashbone and Grifty! For those who may be unfamiliar, how would you describe the series’ premise, and what inspired you to tell this story?
Esquivel: Thank you! Mashbone and Grifty is an action-comedy/detective satire about two loser friends who decide to solve their money problems by opening a freelance detective agency. Mashbone is a simple-minded, crazy-brave monkey-man with dreams of being a great detective, and Grifty is a pessimistic, phony tough, wannabe super cop.
Garza: They live in the corrupt border town of New Brownsville, where police and local government on both sides of the border answer to a crime lord named "El Luche.” Without a trustworthy law enforcement to serve them, the citizens turn to the most unqualified, irresponsible pair possible as a last resort. Mashbone and Grifty also run the detective agency out of a bar, so they’re constantly encountering, hired by, and foiled by some of the surliest folks in New Brownsville. Needless to say, hilarity ensues.
BD: What can you tell us about your shared creative process in bringing this story to life, and what (or who) have been some of your creative influences?
Esquivel: It’s really all about constant and clear communication. We start with putting together the main plot points of the story. Then, I'll start working on a script draft and send it to Garza We discuss any changes to the script/story that need to be made and he starts to lay everything out and begins artwork while I finalize the script. We continue to send each other our progress to make sure we’re on the same page. Once the script is done, I’ll send it to Oscar, so he can bring the comic to life then I'll go through and note any edits we need to make.
Our creative influences are pretty varied. For me, they range from animated series like Looney Tunes, Animaniacs, and The Simpsons, to pro-wrestling, to It’s Always Sunny. Quite honestly, our biggest influence is our hometown of Brownsville, TX. It was a unique place to grow up in, and our upbringing exposed us to people that were real-life cartoon characters. The entire idea of creating Mashbone and Grifty as a series is to honor the people, places, and cultures that made us who we are.
Garza: We’re constantly ping-ponging our work on Google Chat and Evernote. There's very little in this book that is 100% me and only me, and vice versa.
My creative influences are Kevin Smith, Mike Judge, and the other '90s MTV animation, Sam Kieth’s The Maxx (again, mainly the animated show), Ninja Turtles, the super-dynamic artwork of Carlos Meglia, Disney’s Tarzan, Venture Bros, and Freakazoid to name a few.
BD: What do you hope that readers will take away from your work?
Esquivel: The most important thing we want readers to take away from Mashbone and Grifty is good times and laughter. Underneath the laughs lies a story about people that are a product of their environment but decide they’re not content with the status quo and learn to step out of their comfort zones to make a difference. We want people to have a great time reading about those experiences that drive our characters.
Garza: We aren’t saving lives in the ER, or running into burning buildings with yellow coats and giant water hoses, or fighting on the frontlines with bayonets or whatever, but someone else is. When they need to blow off some steam, that’s what we’re here for. I really feel we can help people with entertainment.
BD: How many issues of Mashbone and Grifty do you have planned for this arc of the series?
Garza: Our current plan is to release 4 48-page issues a year, quarterly. Each story arc is 4 issues long, and while each builds the overall story, each issue can be enjoyed on its own. If given the opportunity to expand your series into other entertainment mediums, in what format do you hope to see it adapted?
Hey Netflix, if you’re reading this, hit us up, mang! We don’t want to get ahead of ourselves, but Mashbone and Grifty is perfect for animation! We already have an animated trailer that we use for promotions.
BD: Are there any upcoming projects on which you are currently working that you would like to share with our readers?
Garza and Esquivel: Our third issue of Mashbone and Grifty will be released on December 5 and it’s titled A Li’l Bitty Crimmus. It’s a Christmas-themed caper wherein the dimwitted detective duo try their hand at helping Santa save Crimmus!
We are also developing a kids comic that should be out next year which we’re pretty stoked about. We also sell Latinx-themed pop culture posters at Guzu Gallery in Austin, TX, as well as those same designs on streetwear which fund our print comics and convention attendance.
BD: Lastly, what is the best way for our readers to find more information about Mashbone and Grifty?
Garza and Esquivel: We are @5meats on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, and the best place to find our Comics is on Comixcentral.