The first comic book I ever read was the 21st issue of Iron Man. It was written by Archie Goodwin and drawn by George Tuska. It changed my life. From that point forward I devoured every comic book, sci-fi/fantasy movie and TV series I could get my young hands on. Shortly after turning nine my mother and I moved to Aguadilla, Puerto Rico. Luckily for me there were translated DC and Marvel comic books everywhere and my favorite shows were subtitled. There was something else too. My mother's uncle had a large comic book collection which he generously allowed me to read and it was in that stack of translated comic books that I first encountered El Santo, El Enmascarado de Plata(the silver masked man). I'd never seen a comic book that looked like this:
This isn't from that first El Santo comic I saw; I don't recall exactly which issue it was but this sample is precisely the way these comic books looked. Sepia toned inks combined with photos and line art with backgrounds being either photos and/or line art. My young mind was blown as it had been when I first saw that 21st issue of Iron Man. I soon discovered that El Santo, along with Blue Demon and Mil Mascaras were real wrestlers from Mexico and not only did they wrestle but they starred in movies and in comic books! These masked luchadores became idols of mine. A few years later I moved back to Brooklyn and gradually lost touch with the world of El Santo and the other heroes. For a time they would be supplanted by other comic book and movie idols and then practically forgotten. Many years later I picked up an issue of FilmFax that had an article on the movies of El Santo and Blue Demon written by Scott Rhodes. Suddenly my love for these real yet unreal masked men came roaring back from where it had lain dormant for so long. By that time there was a booming market for the buying and selling of VHS tapes( something that didn't exist when I was a boy and teenager) and I began to build a small but growing collection of these great MexiLuchaMovies. Those old comics are harder and much more expensive to find but I've managed to find a few that were reasonably priced. These comics and movies form the basis for "Wrestler Zero" which is both my original creation and tribute to these larger than life yet real masked wrestlers.