Introducing Teoatl, an upcoming graphic novel project by Kevin Garcia, an Austin-based high school teacher raised on the Texas-Mexico border, and Emmanuel Valtierra, an artist raised in Mexico and based out of San Antonio – the first comic book to cover the birth of the Aztec empire!
Although Kevin’s been a professional writer for years, and researched and wrote for Marvel over 10 years, and although Emmanuel has illustrated other books – including his groundbreaking Codex Valtierra that tells the alternate history of the Mexica defeating the Spaniards as a Precolumbian-style foldout codex – this would be the first panel-to-panel comic either of us have created.
We aren’t trying to tell the exact, true-to-life history, but build an epic sword-and-sorcery story based on accounts by friars and early colonial historians, as well as modern-day archeologists and folklorists. We want to treat Mesoamerican culture and tradition with the kind of reverence Norse and Greek pantheons enjoy in pop culture, with a story told from the perspective of people who lived in the early 1300s. In fact, every named person in our story is someone who would have actually lived in the Valley of Mexico at the time, according to historians and Mexica records.
Originally, we were going to launch in March, as we’d been researching and planning the book since late 2019, but when COVID hit, we decided to shelve the campaign. Emmanuel and other artists who rely on comic cons for their livelihood were hit hard, and we decided to wait as the our friends and colleagues struggled with the first few months of the pandemic. We finally decided to launch when it became clear the problem was not going away any time soon, and we launched to coincide with Hispanic Heritage Month, or as we’re calling it for our story set before any Spaniards set foot on this continent – Prehispanic Heritage Month!