Mesoamerican cultures are profoundly interesting and while we do know a lot about them, there are still a lot of mysteries that attract the attention of both historians and amateurs. The Aztecs have inspired a lot of authors over the years, whether it’s movies, books, comics, or video games. The Aztecs have been and still are part of modern day (pop) culture and that is what we are going to talk about in this article.
August 13, 2021 saw the release of the first issue of Aztec: Warrior God, a graphic novel written by David Towner. The graphic novel has seemingly attracted a lot of attention globally, with about 40,000 pre-orders registered before August 13, 2021. Aztec: Warrior God is a graphic novel combining history, legends, and a lot of elements from modern superhero comics, which makes it very unique and special. It is also an exploration of America’s indigenous cultures, which makes it even more socially relevant in a period where minority groups are fighting for their voices to be heard. Aztec: Warrior God will certainly help with that and we can truly recommend it.
The author, David Towner, is an American entrepreneur, producer, and filmmaker, known as the director of Our Scripted Life, a very entertaining 2020 film, as well as the short films Posers, Tailwackers, Sa passion de tulipes, and Corporate Ladder. He has also written, produced and acted in several other projects.
We had the pleasure of sitting down with David for a quick interview, who told us a lot about the graphic novel itself, but also the inspirations behind the book, as well as his plans with the idea and, of course, his future career. We had a really great time talking to David and here is the transcript for you to enjoy as well.
- Can you tell me about Aztec Warrior God and what led you to bring this project to life?
Aztec Warrior God is a graphic novel series that exclusively features indigenous lead characters. The core group of superheroes are Aztec and Inca, who emerge from the underworld in 2021, but the story incorporates characters from Hindu, African, and other American Indian cultures. The series is female-centric and unique with regards to how the characters approach conflict. They attempt to resolve problems with diplomacy and intellect but, like any superhero series, they sometimes have to resort to using their powers.
- What was the genesis of the book?
I spend a lot of time in Mexico but was not intimately familiar with the history of Aztecs. On one trip, I had a few days of spare time and decided to join a local expedition. I became fascinated with the culture but mostly with the mystery of how this massive, advanced empire of over seven million people seemed to vanish overnight. My writer’s brain took over and I created the entire series in my head. The nature of my story created an essential release date of August 13, 2021 which is the 500th anniversary of the fall of Tenochtitlan, the Aztec capital.
I felt a sense of urgency in 2018 and started looking for artists in Mexico who would have familiarity with the culture. Unfortunately, two years passed with no luck but in early 2020, I hit the jackpot with brother and sister team Diego Lopez Mata and Carla Andrea Lopez Mata. We were in a time crunch but luckily, I had the first novel completely written. They were able to illustrate the entire project, working around the clock, in 10 months.
- You have a really nice premise here. You have managed to mix indigenous history characters into today’s love for superheroes. How did you come to this idea, and do you think it works and why?
That part of the story comes from a quote from the Lakota Warrior, Crazy Horse. Four days before his death, he prophesized a time in seven generations in which all indigenous tribes would unite to help solve the world’s problems and all of the world’s young people would seek their guidance. Seven generations from Crazy Horse’s death in 1877 perfectly coincides with the emergence of the Aztecs in 2021.
- Can you tell us more about your heroes? Which one would you say is the leader, which ones are strongest, smartest and also, which one is your favorite?
The superheroes in the series are truly an ensemble cast who spent 500 years training on the same fighting techniques and weapons, but each has unique powers. All five of them have been granted immortality which is preserved by drinking from the “healing waters” in the underworld. Tupaq, the Inca, has cloaking ability. Amoxtli is a shapeshifter. Tlachinolli can control fire. Chimalma and Necahual have the best hand to hand fighting skills. Amoxtli was chosen as the spokesperson due to his humility and benevolent personality.
- What about villains, can we find out more about them?
The first series of novels features one villain, Adrian Volkov. He is a Russian Oligarch who has the covert support of the Russian Government. The first conflict that introduces him is in Chapter One. He is selling vaccines for a Lassa Virus pandemic to the highest bidder and letting poor countries suffer. Our heroes later learn that he is also the one responsible for creating the virus.
- You have some really nice character drawings, can you tell us a bit more about illustrators Diego López Mata and Carla Andrea López Mata and their background?
Diego and Carla are a brother and sister team based in Guanajuato, Mexico. They are skilled in various mediums, but I learned of their illustration through another comic series. I was very fortunate that the pandemic had reduced their workload and they were available to help me. I have now engaged them full time and they are also equity partners in the series.
- Do you plan to make a sequel to “Chapter One, Emergence”? If so, when can we expect it?
Yes, The entire series is ongoing and we will release a new title every three months. After each series of four novels, we will release a compilation novel. “Chapter Two, Redemption” will be released November 12, 2021 at our banquet in Los Angeles.
- You were in the past a writer, director and producer of a few movies, what made you change direction?
I still write screenplays and my initial instinct was to create “Aztec Warrior God” as a film. I realized pretty soon that the story was best suited to an episodic format. I also realized that the visuals that could be created to bring these characters to life were too good to pass up so I decided that a graphic novel series would be the best medium. Ultimately, I would like to create a film or television series based on the novels.
- What can we expect to happen on November 12th, 2021? Except for the book release of course. 😁
On November 12th, we are holding a banquet in Los Angeles that will serve multiple purposes. Primarily, it is a fan appreciation event in which some of our biggest supporters can come to meet our entire creative team. We are also holding an art event in which aspiring artists can submit original works of art that have been inspired by Aztec Warrior God.
The best art will be displayed at the event and the top artists will be offered an opportunity to work with our team as illustrators. We will also have a red carpet event in which some of our celebrity and industry supporters can come to demonstrate their support publicly.