Like a Chicano version of Scooby Doo

I think technically it’s an Aztec-Roman Helmet because the Eagle’s wings make it look like an Aztec headpiece. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.




Rio Yañez’ Precious Little Life



NOTE: First things first, the two comic pages above are NOT original works by me. I have merely altered the amazing art and words of Bryan Lee O’Malley to fit my friends and I.

I’ve been thinking a lot about turning 30 these days. My 30th birthday is still a few months off but it’s a milestone that had been constantly on my mind. I’ve been talking with a lot of my friends about what it means to be 30 and wondering if there are any experiences I’d like to have in my 20’s while I still can.

With the support and wisdom of Mariela, I’ve really embraced turning 30 and am looking forward to it as a rebirth into a new and improved Rio. At the same time I have become completely obsessed with the Scott Pilgrim series of graphic novels. The books themselves are a pretty good embodiment of the spirit of my 20’s, especially my time at Calarts.

Mariela has been asking me what I’d like to do to celebrate my 30th birthday and I thought something Scott Pilgrim related would be amazing as a send-off to my 20’s. With that in mind I produced the two comic pages above (using the beginning of Scott Pilgrim vol. 5) as a kind of early invitation to my birthday party. For those of you keeping score that’s me as Scott Pilgrim, Ava as Ramona Flowers, Mariela as Kim Pine, Tokoztli as Joeseph, Bryan as Stephen Stills, Carina as Julie Powers, and Maya as an off-panel Hollie (I think).

My dreams of having the first Scott Pilgrim themed birthday invitation were dashed when I discovered this blog post and image below.


I thought to myself, “Well, at least I might have the very first Scott Pilgrim themed birthday party.” But one quick search of flickr and google for scott pilgrim birthday dashed my dreams a little bit further…

Behold! A gallery of Scott Pilgrim cakes!! Well, just as I am determined to be the best 30-year-old EVER and I am equally determined to have the greatest Scott Pilgrim themed birthday party OF ALL TIME.

Invites to come soon.



What we can learn from Tyrese Gibson

One thing I’ve always admired about my Dad is his ability to hustle. Whenever we have an art event or exhibit my Dad will get on the phone and call up 10, 20, or 30 people and personally invite them to it. This strategy has worked time and again for him and is one of the reasons we have the audience that we do. It’s an underdog approach that professionals in the comic book industry should make note of.

For those of you that don’t know, there’s currently a de facto monopoly in comic book distribution these days. Diamond Distributors, the company that runs the show, won’t even list comic books that don’t meet a minimum number of orders by retailers. That means it’s incredibly difficult for new and independent comic book creators to get their work onto store shelves or anywhere else.

That’s why I’m fascinated by the approach that actor/singer Tyrese Gibson has taken to promoting his new comic book Mayhem!. He’s bypassed the usual routes of promotion in the industry and gone completely grassroots.

According to this post at Comic Book Club:

Fans of Tyrese have been hitting up his Twitter feed (@Tyrese4ReaL) all day long, after the star has urged his 155,096 followers to call their local comic book shop, and order the book. Here’s the kicker: if the fans call the shop, and the shop says they haven’t ordered the book, they’ve been tweeting back Tyrese with the shops’ phone numbers… At which point the star has called the shops himself to ask them to order the book.

What I admire about Tyrese doing this is that it extends beyond a celebrity using their fame as a means to an end. This is someone committed enough to a project to use his contacts and every opportunity to spread the word about his work and shamelessly calling strangers to advocate for it. That’s above and beyond the efforts of almost anyone else in the comic book industry and something that’s sorely missing.

As for Mayhem! itself, it will be interesting to see if the hype sustains after the first issue. I do plan on picking the book up when it comes out and will be reporting back on it as soon as I finish reading it. I haven’t read a straight up action comic on a regular basis in years and this will give me a good chance to get my feet wet again.

The concept and artwork is definitely a throwback to the mid-90’s and that’s a risk to be sure. I’m a little lukewarm on the artwork of Tone Rodriguez and his design of Mayhem! seems suspiciously like a restrained version of 90’s era cheeseball Image classic Bloodstrike. Just sayin’.

I want to wish Tyrese the best of luck with his endeavors and his unique approach to promoting his comics. You can order Mayhem! right now from



Comics of Anniversaries Past

To mark every anniversary Mariela and I have had, I usually make some sort of graphic work for Mariela to commemorate the occasion. To be honest, each of those graphics from anniversaries past have fallen into the category of “old work” that makes me cringe when I look back at them. I’m really happy with my recent work but now my art from the recent past is not holding up like it once did.

Regardless of how I feel about my graphic work I am still really proud of the various comics I’ve done to commemorate our love. Below are a few highlights from the last two years

A tribute to our love (and Pinky & The Brain)
A tribute to our love (and Pinky & The Brain) Click to see full size
Click to see it full size
Click to see if full size
Click to see it full size

Be awesome to each other,


Damn it feels good to be alive today!

Dang! I’m feelin’ good today! A new comic book store just opened in the Mission District. It’s been almost two years since the Mission District has had a comic book shop. Both the legendary San Francisco Comic Book Co. and the mediocre Scott’s Comics have perished in the face of gentrification in the last four years.

I was blown away today to see that the hipster economy of the Mission District has returned comics to my hood. Caffeinated Comics is a a hybrid comic shop and cafe located right on Mission Street at the intersection of Valencia (where the old Taco Bell used to be). They’ve only been open for a month; even still, I can’t believe I let something like this slide under my nose. I didn’t try the coffee but they had a small but decent selection of mainstream comics and graphic novels. Since it’s only two blocks from where I live, best believe I’ll be hitting it up again soon.

Check ’em out at

I also got to hang out with my homegirl Cary Cordova today and we got a chance to engage in some serious discussions of identity politics.



Sekai Wa Subarashii

Life is good. My first solo-curated exhibit is a success, my Andy Warhol programming launches at the de Young Museum this Friday, and the reception to this year’s Valentine’s Day cards has been amazing. Sitting here at my computer tonight I feel like a lot of toil and hard work is really starting to pay off. The icing on the cake has been the warm welcome my Valentine’s cards received. I got them out a little later than usual amidst my crazy schedule but was really happy to see everyone get into them. Many thanks to everyone who posted them around and shared them with their special someones. I really want to send a special thanks to Sacred Yoli and Cindylu who have been great advocates of my work and have both put in extra effort to get the cards out there.

Speaking of Cindylu, the last post I wrote detailing our colloborative project was actually started months ago but I left it unfinished in hopes that I would create some additional artwork out of the images. I’ve been carrying those intentions with me for some time and I finally caught a break to get some work done after Hybridity finally opened. I sat down and created the piece below. I worked with a slightly different color aesthetic that de-emphasizes solid blacks and I’m really happy with the results. It gives this portrait of Cindylu a look like that of a silkscreen print. The final layout is styled in the flavor of 90’s era indie comics. I hope ya can dig it.



World’s Finest Collaboration

I’ve been experimenting with my new Wacom Bamboo tablet. People are shocked to hear that I’ve always done my drawing with a mouse. I got the tablet for my birthday and have had to start to learn to draw all over again. After struggling through a handful of awkward sketches I came up with the image below. The image above is my second attempt using the tablet. World’s Finest Collaboration combines two of my heroes from two very different mythologies. Much love to the Dark Knight and GGP.

The tablet will change a lot of how I make my work. I’ll probably fumble a few times along the way but I’m excited about all the potential in it.