Change the world (this one is a little long)

Current population of the planet
7.4 billion

Number of Asians on the Earth
4.436 billion

process that.

Then ask yourself why has no one ever created an all-asian graphic novel before? Because I don’t have an answer.

I’ve said it a dozen times, if Asians united as one force they could literally change the face of the planet.

If I was a bit more conspiracy-minded I might think it’s in the best interests of the other cultures to sew the seeds of dissent amongst the Asian community across the globe out of fear. There’s a lot of “in-fighting” amongst the various Asian cultures that to me, as an outsider, is a real shame because the potential for them to become the most powerful force on Earth is right there.

When I first got the idea for War Dogs (back in 2013) I thought “someone has had to have done this already but fuck it, I’m gonna do my own thing). I mean everything has been done before. Every meal has been made, every song has been sung, every book has been written, so on and so on. Its really all in how you arrange the elements of a particular thing that makes it unique.

It’s the ingredient of You that makes a thing special. How YOU cook the meal, how YOU sing the song, so I figured no one is like me but me so that will have to be enough to make this graphic novel stand out from all the others.

So I just put my head down and got to writing not thinking, for a second, that I was doing something no one had tried before. Knowing how huge the Asian population is I figured something like War Dogs had to be out there somewhere, most likely in Asia, and I just hadn’t come across it yet.

But my friends of Asian descent kept telling me “no”. “We’ve never seen anything like this before. No one has done this for Asians yet.”

I refused to believe it…for months. I felt like if I did I’d be blowing smoke up my own ass, bullshitting myself into thinking what I was doing was some one-of-a-kind thing. I mean, that’s something pretentious assholes do. Hipsters, for example, thinking their song, or their special pasta sauce, is the first of its kind and it never is. I’ve always been afraid of being perceived as some artistic douche with his head up his own ass. I’m very practical. I was raised that way.

Even though I’m an artist who loves comics and video games and all the fun geek stuff, I’ve never been one to walk around deluded about the world. I grew up in the ghetto in Brooklyn. From the projects of Brownsville Brooklyn to the co-ops of Starrit City. My evolution has been slow but forever forward and upward. You can have dreams in the hood but you have to keep them to yourself because people will shit on you just as a knee-jerk reaction. The ghetto doesn’t promote dreaming as a thing, it just doesn’t. Its angry and hard and the only thing that matters to anyone is money.

So I would keep my dreams and ideas to myself and just work on them on my own like I am now with War Dogs.

I relate to Asians because Latinos have had the same shit thrown at them by society since arriving in the country. It’s how gangs are made. White America, for the most part, attacks anything new and different for a long time before they wear themselves out and slowly accept the culture in question and Asians are still moving up the social ladder slowly but steadily.

Just like Latinos, they kept their head down and their mouths shut in the early days of arriving in the country and were picked on by the “natives”. This type of racism inspired a “wall” against the average white American because the Asians just expected the hate, much like Latinos did, back in the day. And who can blame them? You’re accent is mocked, your food is insulted, your appearance is ridiculed, for decades, until some white mainstream group takes a shine to your food, or music, or just finds fucking your culture sexy and exotic all of a sudden.

And yeah, I know not all white people are guilty of the aforementioned behavior but you have to own your shit and face up to it. Asians and Latinos weren’t oppressing themselves. They were denying themselves cab rides, or well-paying jobs, or forcing themselves to sit in the back of a restaurant.

Growing up, there was an in-joke my cousins and I would share every time we went out to a restaurant in the city (Manhattan). And that was, they’re gonna sit the Latinos in the back, either near the bathrooms or near the kitchen and serve us last.

And it happened every time no matter what. We weren’t loud, or dressed poorly, or doing anything that would suggest we couldn’t act properly in public yet it happened every time. We would be served WAY after several tables full of white people got served and not until someone at our table got up and raised a bit of a fuss about it.

Which brings me to my next thought; if you don’t stand up and make some noise no one will pay attention. Some will call it minority bitching or what have you, but fuck them. Make noise and make change. Progress is horribly slow but it does happen if you take that first step.

I just read that Disney is going to make a live-action Mulan movie with an all-asian cast because they want to avoid the Hollywood White Washing controversy that has finally been brought into the light by Asians and those that support them. Took a while but it’s happening.

So maybe after War Dogs there will be an army of comics geared towards the largest demographic on Earth. It’s all gonna be based on money unfortunately, at least as far as mainstream America is concerned.

But I’m not worried about the money. If I was I would not have ever started the project. Never spent a year writing, re-writing, and networking amongst Asians getting them to send their photo reference so I could draw them properly. Never would have pout myself through all the stress that comes with a venture of this kind. What if this fails? Who’s asking for this? Who’s gonna even care? Why would anyone give a shit about a Latino writing an Asian action drama in comic form?”

I had to get all Risky Business about it. “Sometimes you just gotta say What The Fuck? Take your chance, make your move.”

My focus in on Europe and the Asian audience across the planet. Anyone else who digs what they see and wants to get down with it, great, if they don’t, fuck em., I’m not even interested in reviews from comic sites because I’ve seen how biased and cunty they can be to others just for the sake of being that way. With a large enough Asian audience behind me, critical approval is unnecessary and irrelevant.

And frankly, anyone can be a critic but it takes balls to actually put something out into the world. Sittin back and judging is for punks.

Put up or shut up.

I need an army to help get this thing out there and I feel I’ve bonded with the right people. Asians have shown me more love than my own Latino people for this project. They really appreciate the effort and are super excited to see it out there and I couldn’t be more grateful.

What started out as a whim, a flight of fancy – if you will, has become somewhat of a movement. War Dogs is known in several countries around the world already and isn’t even out yet. I mean from the UK to Germany, Norway to LA, and Washington to Brooklyn, the word continues to spread almost every day.

All I ask is that you help me spread it.


Love ya

Pete H Feb 2017

Un-killing someone in the story

The entire War Dogs story is 200 pages that I decided to break up into 3 books. Still and all, while editing as I work on pages, I am making tiny changes to the script.

Good photo reference saves lives. 🙂
Someone I’d killed off in War Dogs, has been un-killed because he sent me a lot of really cool reference. Don’t say who you are (you know who), if you’re reading this.
All kinds of surprises in store in this graphic novel series.
Book one will end with some good old fashioned violence and bloodshed.

If you’ve downloaded the teaser preview from the Gallery section and liked that you’re going to love what’s coming for the rest of the story.

The drama gets turned up to 11 and the violence follows suit. The ending is very satisfying and I really can’t wait for people to react to the some of the surprises I have in store.

I’, very proud of this project. Everything I wanted to say is in the script and I’m getting ideas for small spinoff stories but doing it all myself, some of those stories might not see the light of day for awhile unless I come across some help.

Thanks to all who’ve ridden with me thus far. We’re no where near the end. Once this book is out it’s gonna get crazier from there. Interviews, podcasts, radio show call-ins, the works. I want to help my actor / stuntmen buddies who helped with the photo reference move ahead in their film careers if at all possible.

They deserve it. We all do.

Xue Zhang (the star of the show)

I decided, before writing the first page of dialogue, that I was going to approach War Dogs as a film project. Yes it’s a giant comic but my mindset and research and approach has been as if I were shooting it.

That being said, I couldn’t have asked for a better “lead” than Xue Zhang. He’s become a great friend and as far as a “lead actor” goes, he is there when you need him and gives you – not only what you ask for, but plenty of clever options as well. (Like I said, I know this is a giant comic and not a movie but the process of collecting reference and dealing with people over chat and the phone and email to get the reference I need is not that different from working on an indie film)

As I go through my reference folder for Xue I skimmed through the hundreds of shots I have from him and am amazed because there’s almost no expression I don’t have.

If I need a specific pose he’ll do it ASAP and shoot it to me so I don’t have to wait long. He’s even stepped away (discreetly) from a social event to take a call from me and knock out a couple shots super fast because I was in the middle of working on a WD poster and needed a shot from him.

So why all this?

Because I want any indie film guys on this page who might be reading this to know Xue is more than a big beefy martial artist. He’s incredibly bright, kind, and dedicated. If you believe in him and respect him, he will bend over backwards for you. MOST people only see his physique, which to me is unfair and narrow minded.

He’s respectful and talented and a skilled martial artist and anyone would be lucky to have him in their project because he brings class to it. He gives more than he needs to sometimes and never asks for anything, even when he needs it.

That’s my brother from another mother and he’s got me in his corner. Without him I couldn’t have gotten this off the ground. Through him I’ve met a lot of skilled, talented, friendly people who contributed their likeness to “the cause”.

As far as I know there’s NEVER been an all Asian comic much less a graphic novel. I had no idea at the start. I just dove in because I wanted to pay homage to the Asian cinema I grew up loving. Friends told me in the very beginning that nothing like this existed and I didn’t believe them, I thought they were blowing smoke up my ass.

But I’ve been looking and haven’t come across anything and that made me nervous because I had to make this as best I could so it doesn’t cast a bad light on Asians as comic characters.

Anyway, all this started with Xue and I becoming acquaintances then friends. I couldn’t have asked for a better Asian lead. A lot of him is in what I wrote and he’ll do the Asian community at large proud. review on War Dogs

Here’s an interview I did with Hmoodle, an Asian entertainment website that’s proven to be extremely supportive of the project and is covering me as the graphic novel heads towards completion.

Why do This If I’m Not Asian?

I’ve been a major fan of Asian Action films since I was six. Started out watching the old Kung Fu films that would air in NY on Saturdays at 3 pm. From Snake vs Eagle to The Five Venoms and so on. I still watch as many Asian action films as I can to this day. About 3 years ago I got it into my head to create my own homage to those films and came up with the idea for War Dogs but I was determined NOT to fake my way through drawing Asians as they do in Marvel and DC.

In mainstream comics Asians barely exist and the ones that do all look the same with different or no hair. I would not do War Dogs unless I could get photo reference from Asians willing to be character models. I searched online for months.

I hit up person after person from East Asia on my Facebook friends list and some in America and even though they loved the idea no one was willing to take pics (headshots mostly). After months of getting turned down I was ready to give up and had one more person to contact and pitch my idea to and that guy; Xue Zhang from Oxford, England (now my very good friend) became the lead character.

He’s a stuntman and martial artist who’s worked on films like 47 Ronin and Dr Strange and loved the idea right away. Very shortly after he and I began collaborating on the shots I’d need from him he started introducing me to his stuntman / martial arts buddies who also loved the idea and wanted to be a part of it. The ball started rolling from there and I got dozens and dozens of actors and fighters popping up wanting to be a character in the story which was still being built at the time. So I owe a lot to Xue because he believed in my idea without having seen anything but a single drawing I did of him in a martial arts pose.

Now, a year later, I have over a hundred folders of pics from Asians in every walk of life; from acting to banking, chefs to music producers and everyone is as excited as I am about the final product. Doing it all on my own (from writing to illustrating) can be daunting at times but it’s extremely satisfying and is the only way to get it done right as far as I’m concerned. From what I’ve been told nothing like this exists for Asians. No one has ever done it. I didn’t believe it at first. I assumed it had to be done, if nowhere else at least in Asia. I thought China or Japan had to have something like this, but no, they don’t. Films yes, for sure, but comics, no…nothing. I had no idea at the start that this would be a one of a kind project.

I owe it to those movies, old and new, for inspiring me. War Dogs has been a labor of love, stress, anxiety, and passion. I hope you’ll enjoy it when its all said and done.