Comic Book Curious

Gabriel Valentin Interview Transcript

August 27, 2021

Gabriel Valentin has spent over a decade touring, working with writers and assisting music producers in their recording sessions. In 2014, he created the live art show known as Digital Lizards Of Doom. D.L.O.D. has had three national tours, has been showcased on six different cable networks, secured a record deal with Noize Cartel Records, and created a YouTube series for Meltdown Comics and Collectibles, a noted Hollywood comic store. He has also developed entertainment for channels like Nerdist, SYFY, SPIKE TV, Warner Bros and Nintendo.


Nate: Ladies and gentlemen. Welcome, Gabe. Tell us who you are, what you do and all the things, Gabe.

Gabriel Valentin: What's up everybody. My name is Gabriel Valentin. I'm the writer and creator of Digital Lizards of Doom. It is a Sci-Fi space, fantasy adventure tale that just pays homage to all of my, a lot of my favorite things, pirates, adventure, espionage, robots, Kaiju battles, just witches, goblins, everything.

Gabriel Valentin: And that's mainly the, the source of fun confusion, pain, anguish, and love of my entire life. It's just Digitalization of Doom is a black hole, an abyss of, of passion. And that's what I do pretty much takes up my entire life. And yeah. So I'm here talking with Nate!

Nate: So, oh man I would love you to, before we get into the questions, like the pre questions, I would love for you to talk about one of the things that I admire about you is your energy and the way that you are with people, which is amazing.

Nate: Another thing that I really admire about you is your hustle, like the way that you think creatively. And I feel like we're in the same tribe, with that where we're trying to think about what are the different ways that maybe haven't been explored to reach people with comic books or just the whole brand of Digital Lizards of Doom, because it's, it's more than just a comic book. Will you talk about how your thought process and all these really innovative things that you've done, that people might be able to take a page out of your book. Cause I think that you're a real innovator in

Nate: that way.

Gabriel Valentin: Thanks, man. Thank you so much, dude. Yeah man, like, so. Basically I think one of the easiest things to spot in Digital Lizards of Doom is in book one, it's such a vastly different approach to the- the comic book, graphic novel storytelling medium.

Gabriel Valentin: And for me, that idea came from a lifetime of reading, a really cool graphic novel. I've been reading comics for a very long time. So I'm very familiar with how comics work and how they read- American comics, Japanese, manga, all that stuff. But I would finish a really good book and then I would try to, you know, pass it on to a friend or a family member and they wouldn't really know how to read it.

Gabriel Valentin: They wouldn't be able to, they would know where to start, like, do I read left to right or right to left or it was very confusing. So I've always had this idea of like, what, what would be a cool way of what would be like a gateway to get people into reading comics? And so I've had this idea for, for years, way before I was even writing comic books.

Gabriel Valentin: And so eventually when it came time to write my own story, Digitalization of Doom, the idea of having, you know, this, this entity that was communicating with a text, like text message style and this different form of communication. It not only made sense to me because of the story, but also it fulfilled this long question I've had in graphic novels for years and years and years about like, what's the best way to get people interested in graphic novels who don't know how to read them? So those two ideas came together after a long, long time of just different tests, like testing different things and trying to figure out the best way of doing this. But basically we came up with this new format, which is each character has its own emoticon and a little text message bar.

Gabriel Valentin: And you read it the same way you would read a text message conversation on a phone. And for me, that's really exciting because anyone from the ages of six to like six and up basically can -they communicate with their phones. They almost, everybody has a cell phone and that's the most common way of communicating these days is through text messages, not even phone calls anymore.

Gabriel Valentin: So, so now anybody can pick up Digitalization of Doom and they can understand it right away. And my goal is that it gets them interested in- in the graphic novel media, the comic book media, it shows them. Cause I think it's just really daunting- you know, you open up an 82 page trade paperback and, and there's a lot of pages and there's a lot of words, and there's bubbles that are connected.

Gabriel Valentin: And I feel like people are missing out on so many great stories because they're afraid to take that leap. So hopefully this is like a nice little, like preview or warm up to the big game, I guess. And hopefully it just gets people interested in comic books. And, and also I feel like the story is very appropriate and something that we need right now in- in the world it's just very positive.

Gabriel Valentin: It's about working hard. It's about doing the right thing and just all of these, these morals and beliefs that I would like to pass on to other people. So, yeah, it's a, it's a, it's a crazy trip, you know, we've, we've gotten, I've gotten more praise about it than I have criticism, which is nice, but we have, we have gotten a little bit of criticism from, you know, like the classic fans of classic comic books.

Gabriel Valentin: They, they want the panels, you know, they really enjoy the panels. They don't like the text message thing, but what's, but here's, what's really crazy. What's really interesting is the artists who I'm working with- they seem to love it more than anybody else because they, they get to do a full splash page of their art.

Gabriel Valentin: And it's not, it's not covered up by any word bubbles. So it's basically a graphic novel, a picture book, a coffee table art book its own novella, its own story and just this beautiful- I mean, I don't do the art, so I I'm allowed to say this, but the artwork in these books is absolutely gorgeous.

Gabriel Valentin: Like writing aside, cause I'm-I'm just the writer and the producer, but the artwork is just amazing. So I feel like anybody can pick this up and, and get something from it. And I, and I believe that like a hundred percent, like whoever you are, never read a comic book, you- you love comic books. You've only only, you don't like Sci-Fi, you don't like, you don't even like cool art, but you like good story. Like it's, it has something in there for everybody. So I'm really excited about what the future holds for that series.

Nate: Tell us what it was like for someone who is now diving head first body first, swan diving into comic book production and creation.

Nate: And I I'm lucky enough to have hired Comics Experience, which is Andy Schmidt. I don't know if you know who that is, but he was at Marvel for a while and at IDW, and he started his own company where you can take classes. Amateurs can take classes from professionals and they all have creative services.

Nate: So you can hire them, say, I want an 80 page graphic novel, and they go, okay, cool. This is how much it will be a page. We'll give you an artist, a colorist, and you know, bubble guy and the per page so the complete thing for you which has been taking out, like you had to do all of the, that groundwork yourself and like produce everything, find the people.

Nate: What is that like, say, I, I didn't have comic experience. What was that journey like? And then on top of it, you're like, and I got this idea about text messages and like a new way of it. And then your price point is a little bit higher than other comic books that I've seen. And I'm again, I'm a newbie, so I might, you might be like, no, it's the same.

Nate: But you know, I was so excited to to buy yours. Yours was like, was displayed at comics and stuff in San Diego. And I was like, "I know Gabe, I'm getting this." And I have a video of it. I'll- I'll send you.

Gabriel Valentin: That's awesome

Nate: Yeah, you know - tell-tell us a little bit more about the journey of actually, you know, being an artist is one thing - and 'artist' meaning a creator in one thing, and then actually doing the damn thing is a whole nother thing. So yeah, you have a lot of you know, stage knowledge about that because you are, you did volume one and you said, I think it's like eight, eight volume series or something?

Gabriel Valentin: Eight books did that was a long haul. I mean, it actually still is because there's, there's one more, there's one more task we're trying to figure out for for book two.

Gabriel Valentin: And I guess it's not really a spoiler, so I can say it, but basically yeah, because of this new format, because of how I wanted the story to, to read and how I wanted the audience to experience this story, that was, that was so important to me. So, not a lot of people know this, but we tried to do it as a comic book at first.

Gabriel Valentin: It originally was- I was looking at all these ideas that I just talked about with the text message thing. And I said, that's going to be way too expensive. Like we, we just, I can't do that for a first book. I mean, for one we have to figure out a new layout. You know, I have to get a, I have to get a graphic artist to create that layout.

Gabriel Valentin: This isn't a standard layout, so it's, it's not something that the artists can do because they're not familiar with it. The emoticons, we have 25 emoticons for every single character that talks on the book. So that's, that's almost I mean, it doesn't sound like a lot, but that's almost another, that's almost the price of another book in itself because you're drawing, you know, 25 times eight or 11 characters in book one that talks. So it was a mess. So there was some pretty big leaps. We hadn't figured out with that but then after we messed around with the whole comic book format and it just didn't, it didn't hit. It didn't, it didn't have the breaking, the fourth wall element that I really wanted for this story.

Gabriel Valentin: It didn't have, it didn't have the- the kind of you know, like stories from the crypt kind of vibe where, you know, the crypt keeper greets you in the beginning, and then he brings you along on this journey and you're, you're more, you're not a fly on the wall. You're almost a participant. You just can't interact with the characters.

Gabriel Valentin: And that was the vibe I really wanted to, to nail down with, with book one and, and on so now the challenge, and I think we did a good job, but it was, it was very expensive. We basically we basically made about three, three or four different books almost entirely. So yeah, the, I don't like admitting how expensive the first one was, but it was very expensive.

Gabriel Valentin: But we, but it was worth it. And you know, hopefully, hopefully I I'm able to pay myself back by book four or five, but- but it was worth it and we got a, we got a good system down. And now for book two this might confuse some people, so I'll try to do the best job at explaining it as I can.

Gabriel Valentin: But for book two for those of you who don't know, the whole story takes place in a fictional world that's inside of a video game. So long story short, this ancient pineapple demon named Pineapple, Pete. He trapped an entire universe of characters inside his, his video game. And he's, he's playing this game and we don't quite know his intentions yet.

Gabriel Valentin: I do, you guys don't know his intentions yet. But he- he's basically manipulating these characters and allowing them to play out these fantasies and the characters will slowly become self-aware as the book series continues. Now for every book, there's three non-playable characters that we call them.

Gabriel Valentin: So these characters get unlocked as you read more books. So every book there's three new characters that get unlocked. So the little tiny things like that, like figuring out, you know, we, we want to stick to this three characters, getting unlocked thing for every, every story, figuring out spacing, figuring out story, making sure stuff fits together, it's cohesive. Even where do we put that on the page at what point of the book does that come in? Is it in the beginning? Is it, is it right when you open the book? It says characters unlocked? Is it, you know, a couple pages in to remind people of the world that they're in? So there's, there's so much trial and error that goes into it and it gets really exhausting, but But that's, that's a, that's a problem I think, where we have all that solved for book two. And then that should be the last big, like, I don't wanna say innovative, but the last big change, the last big switch up, I guess, wrench in the gears for a while. And the books are actually written too. So, I, you know, the, I know how this all ends, it already has an ending.

Gabriel Valentin: The last the last book is written, but the last, I think like 32 pages are going to be, I, I, I highly doubt those are going to change at all. The last 32 pages of the entire series is is pretty set in stone on what's going to happen. So, so hopefully there's no more huge surprises, but, but yeah, little, little things like that, man.

Gabriel Valentin: Just, just putting this together and yeah, it gets, it gets a bit pricey and I pride myself on, on paying artists. And I want to, you know, I'm an artist and I'm trying to make my living as an artist. So, yeah, it's, it's a bit much so, but that, that's part of why we charge a little bit more for the book.

Gabriel Valentin: And but you know, hopefully people enjoy it and I, and I feel like, I feel like it's worth it. I mean, the, of course I have a biased opinion, but I feel like when you hold it in your hands and you see that $25 price point, it's, it feels a little bit better cause you're like, oh, this, this feels like, this feels like I'm I'm about to go do some stuff.

Gabriel Valentin: Like this feels like an adventure, so.

Nate: So that was a, that was a decision - you were like, we want you to take this seriously. You're going to pay a little bit more, but this is something sacred.

Gabriel Valentin: Yes. Yeah.

Nate: Yeah, cause I'm sure you were like, well, I could do it for this. I wouldn't make my money. Like, I'm sure that was a, a real decision.

Gabriel Valentin: Yeah

Nate: When you're the business model of, it all. Tell us about your artistry. You said you were an artist. I know you're a musician. Tell us about that.

Gabriel Valentin: So writer, I've been a writer, this sounds so cheesy, but I feel like I've been a writer my entire life. I used to write stories for my family, like when I was a little kid and I've always tried to make people laugh, you know, just, just growing up there's you know, we had like some, some problems at home and, and stuff like that and just kind of a wacky family.

Gabriel Valentin: So, I would always try to like ease the tension and make people laugh and just tell stories and you know, escape, escape to my own little worlds. So, that's just always been a part of me like who I am. And then when I was a teenager, I got into like music, punk rock, and I realized, you know, I didn't, I wasn't really an angry person.

Gabriel Valentin: I've never really been an angry person. But I loved punk rock. I loved the anger behind it. Like I love the, well, I didn't even hear anger. I heard passion, you know, like that's, that's what drew me to it. And so I realized, you know, I'm not really that pissed off about my own life, but I could like be pissed off about, you know, my girlfriend being an ancient Greek goddess and then being eaten by a dragon.

Gabriel Valentin: You know, that sounds like something I could be pissed off about. So, so like my music just kind of took on this fantasy element and it's, it's kind of a trip like here I am doing DLoD now, but if you go back to the songs I wrote as a teenager, they're, they're not that different, like different characters, but I'm still singing about like, you know, fighting evil and battling wizards and, and just like doing all this crazy stuff.

Gabriel Valentin: And I really it's something that I, I enjoy. Cause I'm like sweet, like I know who I am. I'm just, I'm just a goofy weirdo. And I've just kind of accepted that. So it's been cool, but

Nate: Well, and you can tell by reading it that you- you have a good sense of humor and you want people to laugh and you're trying to bring joy to people through different-

Nate: I hope so,

Gabriel Valentin: man, I that's, that's the ultimate goal, dude. Like I'm not trying to sound too out there, whatever, or anything like too spiritual or whatever, but like, dude, I, that is the ultimate goal, man. I want to make a story that is funny. That, that means something to people that people can identify with.

Gabriel Valentin: But, but ultimately I want to bring joy to the world and I know that sounds big and like crazy, but like, but that's, that's what I want to do, man. I want, I want this book to be an escape for people. It's an escape for me. It's therapy for me. It's, it's why I'm writing it. So, I want it, I want it to help people.

Gabriel Valentin: I know I ,can't be the only person in the world. Who has had a weird upbringing and a weird life. So hopefully this, this book reaches other people and they can identify with the characters and, and see something inside these characters that's, that's a part of them. So.

Nate: Tell me about that. Tell me about what the comic book community or the nerd culture means to you and like how you found your, your staff, or your people, and, you know, what does that, what does, how, you know, you, you seem to, you said it just now you said that I'm pretty consistent, you know, from I'm a creative, I have always been a creative and for someone like me who is now, who always loves superheroes, but now it was kind of diving into nerd culture and seeing how it really is a lifestyle and community for a lot of the gamers and comic books, you know, readers and fans.

Nate: Tell me a little bit about that.

Nate: Yeah man I I don't know, like, I, I, I just, I've never really fit in, you know, I've never really, even, even with some of my best friends you know, they've always been good at stuff and they've always been good at like skateboarding or sports or you know, they're like popular with their popular, popular kids or and, or even good at like shooter, shooting games, you know, like, cause I suck at shooters to this day.

Nate: I, I, this is why I stick to RPG kids. Like this is, this is why I'm an RPG player through and through. But, but yeah, so I just kind of grew up around that and I never really felt like, whether it's true or not, I'm not sure, but I just, I never felt like I fit in anywhere. So it was just always easier for me instead of, you know, I'd get bummed out about it and sometimes I still get bummed out about it, like a little bit, but it was just easier for me to just escape to my own world and just make my own thing and do my own thing.

Nate: And through that, you know, I've, I've found a lot of other people in the community who felt similar. You know, we would go to a comic book shop to pick up, I, I read a lot of trade paperbacks. I love getting trade paperbacks and just escaping to a world for, you know, a couple hours.

Nate: Wait, what is a trade paperback? What is that?

Gabriel Valentin: Oh yeah. So a trade, a trade paperback is like, so you have your single, you have your single issues. Like your Batman, you know, number one, number two, number three. The trade paperback is those, those eight issues, those six issues - whatever - all squished into one, one book. So, that's a trade paperback.

Gabriel Valentin: So, and basically a graphic novel, but not an original graphic novel. It's, it's, it's something that existed in single issues before, but then was put into a one single collection. So, so I love-

Nate: How much did they run you? Are they around 25 bucks or 50 bucks or how much?

Gabriel Valentin: It depends. Like a lot of a lot of the, the bigger ones, like you get, like your 62 pager ones are probably going to be around 16 to 20 bucks. Anything over like 120 something pages is usually around 25. And then you get some, I'm trying to see if I have any on my shelf right now, the big thick, omnibus ones that, I mean, those can run like 50 or 60 bucks.

Nate: I listened to Neil Gaiman's Sandman recently, which is kind of like an epic thing.

Nate: Wait, so for an 80 page or an 88 pager that would be around 20 bucks or 18 bucks or something like that?

Gabriel Valentin: Yeah, I would say like, yeah, and a lot of it depends on the quality of the book - not writing-wise or art-wise, although that, that helps too. But but what it's made out of, you know? Is it, is it like our books, we print in South Korea. And they're a very -we print with Tri Vision, which is a an amazing printing company. And it's a, it's a little bit, it's a lot, a bit better quality than the stuff that you can get in the states. And, or you're paying a ton of money for it. So we kind of meet in the middle with Tri Vision and it's just a great, it's a great, great book.

Gabriel Valentin: I mean, you have, you have the first copyright. Yeah. So, I mean, if you flip through the pages and it's, it's thick pages, like there's weight to it, the, you can bend the book, you can really get in there without worrying about, you know, breaking it. So, so those, those types of things really depend on the, the quality of how it's, how it's made and then that translates to the price.

Gabriel Valentin: I hope I don't get in trouble for saying this, but you'll notice a lot of the DC, the smaller trade paperbacks, or more, actually more so the Marvel trade paperbacks, like I have when I have a couple Scarlet Witch ones, the paper is a little bit cheaper, so they can sell those books at a cheaper price.

Gabriel Valentin: They can sell them for like $15, $16, $12 sometimes. But the paper, when you, when you open it, you'll see the difference. Like if you bend it too much, pages will fall out. The paper is very thin. It can rip very easily. So, but I mean, that's their thing. There's no, I guess there's no right or wrong way to do something.

Gabriel Valentin: It's just that all of, all of those things affect the price, so.

Nate: Sorry. Yours feels like it's a little bit matte as opposed to glossy. Was that a choice when you were..?

Gabriel Valentin: Yeah. I didn't want to have people like bleh, you know, like blasting people in the face, like with all the reflections and stuff. And the art pops a little bit more when, when it, with this, with this matte style.

Gabriel Valentin: And so, yeah, I mean, dude, it was like everything down, like every tiny decision was made. We started production on the, on the series. Well, I had been writing it for years before this, but we started production on the series in 2018, I think, end of 2018. So there was two years of just trial and error and I I'm so glad the artist who- who worked on book one, stuck it out with me. They're amazing Margo, Prodan and, and Ernie Najera. And it was just, I wasn't sure if I was going to make it through, like, I, it was, there was so much, there was so much to do. There's so much to do, but, but now here we are on the other side and it's amazing.

Gabriel Valentin: I, I just started production on book four. So we just, we just got, our artists for book four, book two is almost finished.

Nate: Wow.

Gabriel Valentin: Art-wise. We're gonna be, we're going to be showcasing a lot of that artwork coming up here soon. And then probably be going to pre-order sometime in June or July.

Gabriel Valentin: So, and then book three is actually almost finished production-wise as well, where I'm more, I try to work on two books at a time because we have different artists I'm able to do that. So it's like bouncing around from virtual studio to virtual studio cause everyone's, you know, working remote right now.

Gabriel Valentin: So that's, it's a little fun. Like I got these binders, I wish I could grab them, but I have these binders of, of these, of these books. And so just switching back and forth from notes and stuff to, from book to book, but it's, it's exhausting, but I'm so excited. I can't like book one is, is awesome. I loved it, but it's, it's very much an origin story and book two just like, it just takes things to a whole new level. So I'm really excited for people to check it out.

Nate: I'm actually having that conversation right now, because this guy named, that Sean connected me to Sean, Wynn connected me to Adam P Knave, if you're, you know, Adam?

Gabriel Valentin: I don't, I don't think I do, no.

Nate: Yeah. He's he was a New Yorker for 38 years and he's got a really dry sense of humor, which is why I hired him because he's, he's won an Eisner and a Harvey award.

Nate: So he's, you know, he's got the, that legitimacy, but he's kind of a wise ass. And that's something that was really important to me as someone who I spent, you know, year and a half, two years maybe writing what I thought would be good, but not trusting myself in going, whoa, what, what the heck do I know? You know, I mean, I'd rather run this by some pros to see, you know, they've, they've done the thing and I'd like to learn from them at least on the first few what it's like and so it's been a real cool learning curve. And and you know, and it's, it's, you know, you're right. You just got to pay, you have to pay and you have to pay well enough that it makes it worth it a while, because if you're not giving them a cut or even if you are, what is that going to yield, you know, after you sell it? So that, and, and the first I have this kind of innovative idea about how to be interactive with it. And this first book is, you know, he and Andy both said, you know, well, like make this an origin story and I wanted to jump right into it, but that's, what's happening right now.

Nate: Is, is figuring out, oh, okay. So how much, how many, if it's 80 or 88 pages or whatever, how much of this is an origin story? And and, and even though you're not getting into the real stuff that you want to get into it's super important. You got to set up the universe, set up the world. So, I know exactly what you mean by saying, okay we're, you know, we're kind of laying the groundwork at this point.

Gabriel Valentin: Yeah, man. It jogs your head. Doesn't it just rattles your brain because, and especially sounds like you were also working on this for a long time. When you put a lot of thought and time into it, and I'm sure you drive around or you, when you're traveling and you see something or something inspires you and you write these notes down, and then when you work with a team, you know, you have a group of people saying, you know, we can do this, we can't do this, or we should change this or we should change that.

Gabriel Valentin: And it really makes you, already as an artist, you know, we're so, critical of ourselves and then, but then also it makes you, there's already so much doubt and then, you know, makes you really second guess everything. And it's a, it's a slog dude. It's, it's wild. Like, and I don't, I don't know. I don't know the answer.

Gabriel Valentin: I don't know. You know, people are like, "oh, like how do you combat that?" I really don't know, man. I, I just I just, just keep doing stuff. I, I try to surround myself with people I trust kind of what, you're, what you're saying with with your buddy hiring that guy, you know, someone who has an opinion, someone who's a wise ass who can, who can come in and you know, really not tear down your ideas, but think about them constructively and give you an alternative if that's what you're looking for and finding someone like that is so important.

Gabriel Valentin: The multiple people like that is so important because you know, you're never gonna please everybody. Of course, you know, we know that, you're never gonna please everybody, but there is a, there is a vein, there is a nice vein that you want to hit and I think that first and foremost, the easiest way to hit that vein is just make something that you yourself believe in because that- even if someone, even if other people don't get it, that passion, your passion, your writing is going to come through and the person might not get it right away, but they might- they'll get it later because they'll be like, all right, this isn't really my thing, but there's something here.

Gabriel Valentin: I'm going to keep reading it because there, there's something -we do that with, we do that with TV, right? We do that with books you know, regular novels and stuff. So, you know, there's sometimes you don't like your favorite books or your favorite TV shows right away. I know most of my favorite shows I was not a fan of in the beginning, but I said, there's something here.

Gabriel Valentin: I'm going to keep watching because I think I'm just not in the right head space for it right now, or I'm not, I'm not picking up on something that this writer's trying to tell me. And sure enough, you know, you go down the road long enough and you end up on this wild adventure and it's, it's just awesome.

Gabriel Valentin: And so, but that's cool, man. I'm glad. I'm glad you found so, but that's, that's, that's so huge, dude. That's, that's massive. So yeah.

Nate: I mean, and the thing is, as, as, I don't know if for you and I'm learning this now, you know, it's a freelance world, so you have to be very, you have to walk that, that, that fine line of being, you know this is for you, your priority. This is for me my priority, but it's not necessarily their priority and it's on their list of things to do. And that is something that I've had to learn to navigate with being like what's going on, where I haven't heard from you, what, you know, and, and how do you project manage things efficiently, but also generously.

Nate: And how do you lead in that, in that way? Because we're not millionaires, we're not able to pay. I mean, I'm not able to pay top, top dollar yet. I'm not able to pay. I mean, it's like, from what Andy told me, these guys at Marvel DC games, three, four, $600 a page, you know?

Gabriel Valentin: Yeah.

Nate: So I mean, jeez, that, that, that would be, you know, tens of tens of thousands of dollars to do.

Nate: So it really takes some, some nuance and delicacy.

Gabriel Valentin: Yeah. Yeah, it does. Yeah. And, and creative thinking, a lot of creative thinking problem solving. It's-

Nate: Yeah, well, speaking of creative thinking, tell, tell, I mean, just in like in a, in a, in a list, almost like a bullet point list, let's go through different innovative ideas you've had whether it's music videos, you know, like talk about all those cool, like you've done a little commercials or, and you've got people dressing up, like your characters, you have all this cool shit. That you're almost like preemptively doing this, hoping or, or leading people into that Comic-Con experience or this multimedia experience and, and like, like that you were just saying, driving down the road, you get these ideas.

Nate: You're like, oh, maybe we should do this, that. So it's just like, talk about what makes this different than a comic book, any other comic book, because it's truly is you know, aspiring to be more, I don't know, interactive or more, I don't know, experiential.

Gabriel Valentin: Yeah. I I've just always loved world-building.

Gabriel Valentin: Yeah. And I think we, we have, you know, these I think a huge goal if, if I can be so bold would be to have my own theme park someday. My own Digital Lizards of Doom theme park and somehow just make it free. I don't know how that would work. I don't know if it's like, I have no idea, but I've always been blown away at like how ridiculous these theme parks can get positive on the positive side and the negative side, you know, how ridiculously expensive they are.

Gabriel Valentin: I understand there's a lot of work that goes into maintaining these places. So I understand that, but, but on this, on the, the other side, it's like, how cool is that, that you can go and visit this world and you can interact with these characters? And so, from our first show, actually from Digital Lizards of Doom for a show we played this show at House of Blues.

Gabriel Valentin: And again, those would be who aren't familiar - there is a music element to Digital Lizards of Doom. And so we, we played this event at House of Blues and I actually had Dizzy Doom and Commander Echo come out on stage and they had a whole like laser sword battle and then a nerf gun war and they took people in the audience hostage and- or Commander Echo did, and Dizzy had to come save him with that person's significant other. And we just, and this was all while the show was going on all while the music is going on. And, and so just, I really, I want to create this immersive experience - I mean even down to the book itself. It's very, it's very breaking the fourth wall. There's, you're a participant in the story, whether you, whether you want to be or not just by reading it. Pineapple Pete is aware of the reader's presence and he makes that very clear throughout the, throughout the book. So, yeah, and like the, having people dress up as characters. That's amazing. We've actually had a lot of different cosplayers and stuff. We've had some people dress up as Pineapple Pete. We've had some people dress up as Dizzy. We've done some bounding things which bounding is like, you wear accented colors of that character.

Gabriel Valentin: So you get, you know, like Commander Echo or, or Dizzy Doom is probably the best example, easiest example. You wear like a, a blue shirt with like yellow accents for like the pineapples and then like some sneakers and some, some gray pants or some, some jeans and then maybe like a green cap. And that would be like, we've had a bunch of people show up to shows like that, like dressed as, you know, Dizzy or Commander Echo or Warty Marters, the other characters.

Gabriel Valentin: And it's it just makes me want to cry, man. Like that. That's what I, that's what I wanna do. Like that's- that is the ultimate goal, right? That I mentioned earlier is like, it means something to people and they care about it. And, and the people who get it, I love you guys. Like, cause you know, it's gonna, it's probably gonna take a long time for people to get DLoD, but the people who are getting it right now, it's amazing.

Gabriel Valentin: You know, I, I get, I get messages every now and then that are just like, oh, I can't wait to, you know, come hang out with Dizzy again and at a show or something like that. And it's like, that's so cool that people can read about these characters and then they can come and visit the characters. And right now I mentioned before we started the interview I'm actually going to record our first session with the voice actors who are going to be doing the Digital Lizards of Doom volume one audio book.

Gabriel Valentin: So I'm so excited about that. And we have some amazing, amazing voice talent that's going to be a part of that. So again-

Nate: So I had an idea about doing a, like a stage reading on Zoom, where you have everybody reading the, you have someone playing Dizzy, someone playing Pineapple Pete and then you would have the comic book, like up on the screen and they're like on Zoom and you'd have their pictures on the side or whatever. And you would basically act through the whole book with, with actors.

Nate: That was

Gabriel Valentin: so cool.

Gabriel Valentin: We got to do that.

Nate: Right? You should totally do that. I mean, if you have those people doing that already, you might as well say, well, let's just do a reading.

Nate: Like, we'll do it all at once. And like, do it live.

Nate: That would

Gabriel Valentin: be so cool, man. That'll be so cool. How many people can you have, like on Zoom? Do you know?

Nate: Oh, you can have up to a hundred. Or more, you can have tons of people on Zoom and there's different presentational ways, you can pin people so they're at the top of your screen so you're watching them and then everyone else is in the audience and then you can unpin them and then everybody can be in the same room.

Gabriel Valentin: That's so cool. That's awesome. I love that. Well, hopefully soon too, what we can do is. You know, hopefully everyone's getting their, their vaccinations and stuff and hopefully we can all meet up and in a, in a warehouse or something like that.

Gabriel Valentin: And just do a, do a reading with everyone together. That'd be really cool, yeah.

Nate: And you're in San Diego. What else? Great conversation. Let me bus through some of these. This is just to learn more about you as a human

Gabriel Valentin: Let's do it man

Nate: And these should be short, you know, short answers because I don't want to take up so much of your time.

Nate: Is there, is there, is there any other thing that you would offer before we get into these questions to you know, like, did I cut you off? First of all, it was like, are there other innovative things that, that you're doing? I mean, I, you, you told me about this comics for kids where you can have a hospital, you can donate your books or you can raise money to then distribute your books in hospital?

Gabriel Valentin: Yeah

Nate: And, you know, and you have these music videos, you have stage shows, you have people dressing up like your characters and doing what do they call it, accenting or complimenting?

Gabriel Valentin: Bounding.

Nate: Bounding. So, and, and how have you been able to raise awareness? Like you have thousands, like six or 7,000 people following you on Instagram. How are you able to get the word out about that?

Gabriel Valentin: Just time man. It's really just been time. I I've been working on DLoD since 2014, well, actually before that. But I've been actively pushing it since 2014. So I, I feel like it's just getting into the community talking to people about it telling people like, Hey, this is a thing I'm working on. This is a thing I'm working on. Trying to get it right.

Gabriel Valentin: Trying to get it right. So asking a lot of questions. And that's pretty much it just-

Nate: Have you had any, have you had success on Kickstarter or have you done any of those crowdfunding things? And I think I've been told that those are also good ways to get awareness around what you're doing.

Gabriel Valentin: Yeah. We had we did an Indiegogo for book one and we, we ended up raising $35,000 for book one, which was- like, totally blew my mind. But, and I was able because the book was so expensive. And I don't want to say the actual number, but the, the $35,000 still didn't cover the, the book- book one and that's fine.

Gabriel Valentin: Because this is, I'm in this for the long haul, but because of that, I was able to work with a lot of the people I wanted to work with. I was able to pay a lot of my artists and pay a lot of the people who are working on the book currently. Give them a nice little chunk of change and, you know, hopefully on the next one, we can, we can double that.

Gabriel Valentin: So I can make sure everyone gets paid and, and we're all we can have a big, huge celebration, but we're working on we actually have an orchestral album coming out soon. So that's a thing. It's our, it's our entire discography but done in orchestral symphonic arrangements. So it'll be a 21 track album that is literally our entire discography thus far. We have another album coming out later at the end of the year. It won't have any of those songs on there, but it will have 21 tracks, all, all 21 songs that we have so far released. That's original music.

Nate: Cool!

Gabriel Valentin: And we're gonna be hopefully sending that out to some schools. Or not hopefully we will be sending that out to some schools, trying to get some kids interested in classical music, symphonic music and we're, we're working on a board game. You know, we have a board game in the works, but that's, that's a little bit out of my my control. Like they pretty much just call me, it's a different, it's a different creator that's doing it and they pretty much just hit me up whenever they have questions about something. So-

Nate: You were able to license it to them or pay them, or how did that work? That's something, that's something I've thought about. Yeah.

Gabriel Valentin: So there's a bunch of different moving parts. There's the, the game, the video game developer he gets paid.

Gabriel Valentin: There's the licensing, the company who licenses it, they just take the license. There's the producers. They take a cut of what it makes. So there's a, there's a few different things-

Nate: Are you talking about the video game specifically right now?

Gabriel Valentin: The, the board game or the cardboard game.

Nate: The board game, okay. So you have a video game and then the licensing of the whole brand goes to the video game, to the, to the to the board game, to the, eventually to the amusement park.

Nate: You have someone just protecting your license and licensing to these people, and then saying for- you're paying the video game development people, but they also get a cut of whatever's made, obviously.

Gabriel Valentin: So the people, the people who are developing the game, they're not benefiting from the game, they're just, they're just doing the job.

Gabriel Valentin: Like they're just they're- they're just getting paid to develop something.

Nate: They're hired?

Gabriel Valentin: Yeah. And then the licensing company that takes it on and puts it in the stores and stuff like that, they will benefit from the sales and stuff like that. And then, so, so will the producers and the people that are putting it together. So, yeah, it's a, it's a head trip, but for me, my focus is the story.

Gabriel Valentin: So, and I, I want to see, I love seeing DLoD evolve into so many different things. So, as long as the story is pure and it's good and it's, it's adventurous and it, it contributes to the imagination and pushes, pushes the boundaries of what you can do in a graphic novel. As long as that message stays the same and it's put forth in the video games and the card games and the, the audio books, all of those things. I'll be happy.

Nate: Awesome. Wow. What a, what a great how were you able to find those producers or those people that just believe in it? They read it and they went, let me help produce this.

Gabriel Valentin: It's, it's hard, man.

Gabriel Valentin: It's really just a lot of trial and error, a lot of hitting up and talking to people on Instagram. It's really been hard in 2020 because you know, you can't, you can't go to events. There's no events going on. But conventions were the best for that. You know, you go to a convention and you meet somebody and they're like, "Hey, you know, I make toys" and you go, that's cool.

Gabriel Valentin: Like, you know, you get their info and you, you see them somewhere else. And you're like, oh, what are you working on? Oh, I'm working on this thing. Dude, let me make you a toy or, you know, so, that's, that's how I like to work. And I just, I like to just talk to people, see what they're into. And then I'm such a nerd that I get into it too.

Gabriel Valentin: You know, I, I don't know. I want to support them like, oh, you got your making toys? Dude I want to buy your toys. Where can I buy your toys? How can I support? So then it just builds this natural relationship. And that's another rule I have too is like, I only work with people I like, that's a huge thing for me is like, I only want to work with people I like. And when I started doing that, everything just falls into place, man. It's, it's been so nice. It's been so, so nice. So, what a, what a crazy, what a crazy trip dude.

Nate: Wow. I mean, congrats on all your success from just doing the thing and, and making me laugh and making other people laugh. And then, you know, galvanizing people is not easy, to inspire people around you.

Nate: But if you seem to be what you're, what you're focusing on is pure, and that is that, you know, people can see that.

Gabriel Valentin: Yeah. Thanks, man. I hope so man. I really hope so.

Nate: All right. Ready here. Like answer this in like two or three, word sentences or not two words sentences, two or four sentences.

Nate: Who is your favorite fictional character and why?

Gabriel Valentin: Favorite fictional character... Samurai Jack.

Nate: Why?

Gabriel Valentin: He, he always is focusing on doing the right thing and eh, but he struggles and he's, he, he holds to his code and he's just honorable and he's, he's always there to, to help people out when they need it.

Nate: Where can people find Samurai Jack?

Gabriel Valentin: On HBO Max right now! Yeah, you can watch the entire series on HBO Max, if you have it you can also just buy it on Amazon.

Gabriel Valentin: I actually have the complete collection, the complete series on Blu-Ray because I'm a huge fan. I actually have a Samurai Jack, let's see where is it, a Samurai Jack tattoo. So, yeah, that's my guide. Yeah. Yeah. I love that dude.

Nate: That's awesome. What is your favorite thing to do when not working?

Gabriel Valentin: Oh, man. This is, this is weird, I can't decide which one this is, it's either, it's either play video games or go kayaking.

Nate: Good answers.

Gabriel Valentin: Totally, totally like opposite things, but-

Nate: That's cool. That's, that makes it even cooler. What is your passion in four sentences?

Gabriel Valentin: My passion is to find peace for myself and hopefully to help others find that peace as well. Because the world is a scary place. And yeah. So finding, finding, finding peace, man.

Nate: That's beautiful. Is there something or funny or weird that happened at a book signing or at a convention that you remember? Like a thing that sticks out?

Gabriel Valentin: A lot of things- I'm trying to think. I'm trying to think of the best, the best example. Mike Towery, the, the founder of Comic-Con, he's been a huge supporter of us, of DLoD, and he always brings the craziest people by our booth when we have booths set at Comic Fest now and different conventions and he just always introduces me to the wildest, the wildest people. And and he just does it so nonchalantly and, and he's just, he's just a legend.

Gabriel Valentin: I love, I love that guy. So, I don't know, man. I- a specific story.

Nate: Is there, is there a best Comic-Con experience? Where was it meeting Mike? Really? I mean, that could be it. That sounds pretty epic.

Gabriel Valentin: That was, yeah, that was actually at SoCal comics. He, he bought a t-shirt. He bought our t-shirt and, while we were playing and then he just hung out by the stage and then or it was like, it was like this little, where like basically playing on the ground, like a little asphalt area underneath a pop-up and he just like hung out underneath the pop-up tent.

Gabriel Valentin: And then, you know, he had his, he had his t-shirt on, or he had his t-shirt in his hands and he was like, yeah, I'm gonna buy a t-shirt and, you know, my name's Mike Towery and I was like, yeah, I, I'm familiar.

Gabriel Valentin: Yeah, it was, it was wild. That, that was probably, yeah, that, that was probably like top, top five most amazing things. And, and, you know, most of my favorite interactions at Comic-Cons and, and signings and stuff, are just hearing other people's stories. So, I just love hearing what people thought about my story and how- so it's kind of crazy, cause it's a space, fantasy adventure, but how I've heard so many people be like, oh, that reminds me of this.

Gabriel Valentin: And that reminds me of this time, like, this happened in my life. So most of those though have been like messages online and stuff like that. I guess that doesn't count as like a, as a conventional story.

Gabriel Valentin: That's great.

Nate: What is your superhero power now in three sentences.

Gabriel Valentin: My power would be, I would like to, I think invincibility.

Nate: Oh, that's what you want it to be. What is yours now?

Gabriel Valentin: Oh, what is mine now?

Gabriel Valentin: Openness? Love? I hope yeah, that's just,

Nate: I second that emotion.

Gabriel Valentin: Okay, cool. Yeah. Just love man. The, the power, the power to love. It sounds like a Captain America or a Captain Planet episode, but, but no, really like, just to, just to love people, it's something that's lacking right now greatly. So

Nate: Yeah. What the world needs now is love sweet love.

Gabriel Valentin: That's true, man.

Nate: Who is an everyday superhero that, you know, that is not your parents?

Gabriel Valentin: Man.

Nate: Sounds like Mike.

Gabriel Valentin: Yeah. Mike would be one for sure. Mike Towery for sure. My friend Mark Erwin too would be one he's, he's just always doing awesome stuff. He's a writer or he's, I guess he is also a writer, but he's an artist for DC and Marvel and he, he's just always doing the coolest stuff, man.

Gabriel Valentin: He's always encouraging me and you know, he lives this, he lives this awesome life and a good life, Wholesome life, and takes care of his family and they love him and they respect him and others around him love and respect him. So that guy's a legend in my eyes. He's a, he's a superhero for sure.

Nate: I totally want to interview both of those dudes.

Nate: What is the social awareness that you want to share? Like a focus that you think about that is maybe a taboo thing.

Gabriel Valentin: Um I thing comics, art, animation I know that's probably not super like political or anything like that, but no, man, I I'm really. I'm really tired of hearing people go, you know, or hearing these conversations where you're talking about a show, go check out the show. It's awesome. Like the main character, she's such a bad ass.

Gabriel Valentin: She does all this cool stuff. She's amazing. And then someone goes like, "oh, how do I watch it??

Gabriel Valentin: "Oh, it's on Netflix. You go here."

Gabriel Valentin: "Oh, is it a cartoon?"

Gabriel Valentin: And you're like, "yeah, but, but it's, but you're watching it for the story. Why does it matter if it's a cartoon?"

Gabriel Valentin: "Oh, I don't do cartoons." You're missing out or "I don't do comic books" or "I don't do, I don't do books".

Gabriel Valentin: I don't do- so breaking down, breaking down those walls. Yeah. You know, be a social learners.

Nate: That's such a, I'm so glad you talked about that because I, my buddy, I just texted him yesterday and he text me back and he said, have you seen Yakuza yet? And I, myself don't watch cartoons, right? Like I, I haven't in, in 30 years and I pulled it on yesterday and you know, it's about the, I don't know if it's the first or one of the only black samurais, right?

Nate: In Japan in '83 or something. And I thought I'm watching it, and I watched the first three episodes and I'm watching robots and there's all this cool, like, this is so creative. It's so highly creative. And it's this Munga or what, you know, this genre that I don't know anything about. But I can see why people get kind of really fanatical about it.

Gabriel Valentin: Yeah.

Nate: You know what I mean?

Gabriel Valentin: Yeah, yeah.

Nate: So that was my first time watching a cartoon, and I've watched a little of the Justice League stuff, but, but I would love a list. Maybe give me a top five cartoons or cartoon movies, or I don't even think you'd call it cartoons, animated movies. Is that what you call, what's the official official way?

Gabriel Valentin: Animated shows, animated movies.

Gabriel Valentin: Yeah. Either way. You know, right. Like right now I've got five.

Nate: Yeah.

Gabriel Valentin: All right. I would say Last Airbender, first and foremost, number one I would say Castlevania, which is also on Netflix right now, Castlevania. Yakuza is great. I've only seen the first couple episodes, so I, I I haven't finished it yet.

Gabriel Valentin: But-

Nate: So Netflix is killing it right now!

Gabriel Valentin: Netflix is killing it!

Gabriel Valentin: Samurai Jack, actually. I would watch, I would watch Samurai Jack, that actually might even be before Last Airbender there's so- there is like, there was so much goodness in Samurai Jack. They're all good, but that would be my list. I would say Samurai Jack, Last Airbender, Castlevania, let's see, what else? Oh, Primal- Primals adult though. So don't watch it around kids, but-

Nate: Do you know, how, how many views? I mean, Netflix is if they have 400 million people watching it 200 million subscribe, subscriptions, how, how well do they do worldwide? Is it, are they, are they hitting numbers or is it, is it cult-y?

Nate: Do you know my question?

Gabriel Valentin: Yeah. You know, I'm not, I'm not sure, but what is interesting is I read an article and who knows if this is true or not? Cause anybody can say anything these days, but I read an article that said Netflix, Netflix is spending this next budget, they're spending 40% of their development budget on animated shows.

Nate: What?

Gabriel Valentin: 40%.

Nate: Oh, I got to ask one of my bloggers about that, to write about that.

Gabriel Valentin: Yeah. Well look it up first and do some research because I, I came across it and it was like it was one of those like news meme things. So who knows if that's true, but if that is true that's, that's pretty fast. Yeah. And I'm not sure, I'm not sure what that means, but it's, but that is it's amazing.

Gabriel Valentin: So.

Nate: Wow. That is really cool. Cool.

Gabriel Valentin: Did you find it?

Nate: No, I just wrote it down. I'm gonna have one of my awesome writer people look into it because that's the kind of stuff that I want to read. And if I want to read it, I'm hoping other people want to read that too.

Gabriel Valentin: Yeah.

Nate: Okay, cool. We've already talked about what you bring your fans in an innovative way.

Nate: Can you do something quirky, like a party trick, or like, can you do impressions or eyebrows or something?

Gabriel Valentin: I know one magic trick. I don't have a deck of cards. I'm trying to think, you know what?

Nate: What?

Gabriel Valentin: Oh, you know what I think I do have I do have a magic trick. Hold on. So, what I'm going to need is, what I'm going to need is, I'm going to actually know what I'm going to send you, I'm going to send you an email real quick. Do you have, do you have dice? Do you have a pair of dye?

Nate: Maybe downstairs.

Gabriel Valentin: Oh, okay. Well, well maybe we'll have to do the magic trick another time.

Nate: Okay, that sounds good.

Gabriel Valentin: Yeah I was gonna, I was like, I'm not, I've never done this on a livestream.

Gabriel Valentin: So I don't know how it's gonna work, but I know a couple of magic tricks that are, that are kind of fun, but other than that, no, not really.

Nate: Okay. That sounds cool. That sounds fun. That, you know, magic tricks. Okay, cool. All right. Ready? One word answers.

Gabriel Valentin: Okay.

Nate: What is your feel-good movie or show?

Gabriel Valentin: John Wick.

Nate: Good one! Comfort food?

Nate: What is your comfort food, your number one, comfort food? One word, answer. Speed round.

Gabriel Valentin: Okay. In-N-Out Burger.

Nate: Song you sing in the shower?

Gabriel Valentin: Me and Mrs. Jones.

Nate: Good one! Sweet or salty?

Gabriel Valentin: Sweet.

Nate: Fly or teleport?

Gabriel Valentin: Fly.

Nate: Three songs you're feeling right now?

Gabriel Valentin: Beautiful is Boring by Bones UK. Aristocrat, Aristocrat by Poppy and Bitch'n Camaro by the Dead Milkmen.

Nate: Great. Cyclops or Wolverine?

Gabriel Valentin: Cyclops.

Nate: Introvert or extrovert?

Gabriel Valentin: Still working on this one. I think, I think extrovert but sometimes it's hard to tell.

Nate: Super strong or super smart?

Gabriel Valentin: I have to go with super smart.

Nate: Me too. Beach, mountains or forest?

Gabriel Valentin: Mountains.

Nate: Favorite non-male superhero?

Gabriel Valentin: Wonder Woman.

Nate: Favorite author and favorite illustrator?

Gabriel Valentin: Oof. Robert E. Howard would probably be my favorite author and favorite illustrator would be Gundi Chotokowfsky.

Nate: Cool, I don't know either of those two, we'll have to Google that. Are there any, any other ones that I would need? No, we're going to, so in this interview, I might want to put some artwork, I'll put some Digitals of Doom over, over some of this stuff, you know?

Nate: And are there other, well, we won't be, will we be able to Google those people and find images by those people?

Gabriel Valentin: Oh, yeah.

Nate: Okay, cool. Okay. Last question. New York or Chicago style pizza?

Gabriel Valentin: Chicago style pizza.

Nate: Man!

Gabriel Valentin: I know, I know.

Nate: What about wait, pancakes or waffles?

Gabriel Valentin: Waffles.

Nate: Okay, that's it, man. That's the whole interview.

Gabriel Valentin: Oh, that's awesome, man. Yeah.

Nate: Thank you. That was really fun.

Gabriel Valentin: Thank you, man!

Nate: I learned a lot and I like you even more as a human.

Gabriel Valentin: Dude. I, I like you even more as a human man. We gotta do some stuff together, dude.

Nate: Yeah. Yeah. Well, I mean, for me, you know, as I said, this is a brand new world for me and I'm, my dream is to bring together highly creative people and curators and fans and create a safe space because what I'm trying to do is Crowdsource some of the, of the stuff that will get put into our graphic novels.

Gabriel Valentin: Nice.

Nate: And and, and that is, is pretty, first of all pain in the ass, but for me well worth it. And I'm hope- hoping to change the way stuff is, is being created. So, I definitely wanna, you know, get, get more, more close to you and figure things out closer to you and continue this journey, man. It's a, it's a long haul.

Gabriel Valentin: Dude, let me know. Are you, are you still looking for blog writers? Cause I might know a couple of people too.

Nate: Yeah! Yeah, for sure. I'm looking to, yeah, yeah. We're, we're looking for a toy writer. We're looking for video game specialists. We have movies and independent comic book people. We have a couple other people, but right now I have some really awesome people.

Nate: And I kind of want to end up being kind of like a Huf- Huffington post or- or kind of, People, where we're focused solely on the human interest stories. Cause you can find the lore. You know, everywhere you can, what's the next production of Loki, what's happening, you know, who's- who is better, Thor or Hulk? Or whatever, but you can't, I'm interested in finding out the creators- about them- or in the fans and giving them a place to learn more about each other and really shine spotlights. And that's why those questions are focused on, on you as a human, as a creator and as a human. And that's, that's, that's going to be our lane for Comic Book Curious.

Gabriel Valentin: Cool, man. Are you looking for other people to interview by the way, too?

Nate: Yeah. Oh yeah.

Gabriel Valentin: You should hit up my friend Bodie. He's the creator of the Curseborn Saga and his world- his world is, is mindblowing. If you really cool, it really be, it he'd be an incredible person to talk to. He actually, like he actually moved. Or he, he went to Tibet and stayed with the Tibetan monks for months on end, worked and wrote this book called The Monastery. It's a beautiful, beautiful story.

Gabriel Valentin: So, I would-

Nate: Cool!

Gabriel Valentin: Yeah. I'll- how should I put you guys in touch?

Nate: Email, and- or whatever. And I also, like, I I've interviewed everybody from Hillary, from Fresh Price of Bel Air to Marvel writers, to, you know, celebrities that are on reality shows that know not much about superheroes at all. So it's really, you know, a collection of people that, you know, Tony award winners, you know, it's all about- kind of going well, you don't know much about comics. That's cool. What do you know? You, you know, about something, let's bring that to the table and creating that space. So, yeah. Bodie sounds awesome. Your buddy that writes for Marvel, DC sounds awesome. Other independent comic book fans and creators. You know, those, those are what we're headed.

Nate: I already have 70 interviews already. So now it's just a matter of getting them out. And right now we're going to focus for the next couple of weeks on it's AI- AAPI month. So we're going to want, you know, put out, maybe you're going to start seeing it on social media. We're going to start putting out- I got a couple of Broadway star friends that are Filipino, or half Vietnamese or- they're doing good for the world or whatever. So we're going to focus on that for the next, you know, two or three weeks, and then, you know. It's also mental health awareness month, so we're going to focus on- there's this nerd gym that I want someone to write a blog about where they do like-

Gabriel Valentin: That's cool.

Nate: You know, nerdy things and it's you know, that, that kind of stuff.

Gabriel Valentin: That's awesome, dude. Super cool. Yeah. So, yeah, man. Yeah, I'll send, I'll send I'll just start sending people your way as I come across to you.

Nate: You are a beloved guy and you know, anybody that you recommend I'd love to talk to. So for sure, man.

Gabriel Valentin: Thank you, brother. What are you up to today?

Nate: Well, it's it's the blog writer thing. It's I work for an educational consultancy or I consult for an education company. And I'm also going to put together this Hackathon for in the, and that's something that I'm working on with my board for my non-profit is, how are we going to have this big fundraiser?

Nate: And we don't know, I don't know exactly what it is, but we're gonna work on, maybe it'll be like a video game is being created. A comic book is being created and like a rap song or rap video will be created all in this same weekend. So we can try to, I want to get, I want to get at some colleges like Portland State and School of Visual Arts and, you know, school, and maybe a couple in the, in, in the, in the world.

Nate: See if we can get them to come together and compete and win prizes, and that will help. The awareness for what I'm trying to do. But also you know, kind of shine a spotlight and then we'll have professional judges that will be cool. And incentivize this kind of thing for, for, you know, we want talented, no, I mean, not that it shouldn't be open, but we want to, at the beginning at least focus it on really talented kids in art schools.

Gabriel Valentin: Yeah. That's so cool, man. That's so big and cool. Let me know if I can ever do like a performance or something like that to donate to the cause. So let me know dude.

Nate: Yeah, man. Well, I will keep you posted for sure. It's really a, it's a really brand new idea that just started and now we're going to try to put some structure to it.

Gabriel Valentin: Cool. Awesome, man.

Nate: So you'll be in the loop. Thanks.

Gabriel Valentin: Sounds good, buddy. Well, I'm sure I'll see you around. I, I got to get going. I got to go get some stuff to Sean right now, so, yeah.

Nate: Great, great. He's a great guy then. We're really lucky to have him. Aren't we?

Gabriel Valentin: Yeah, dude. He's, he's amazing. So, so, right on man. Well, I'll see you soon. And, and I'll have I'll send you Bodie's contact and then just reach out to him. He usually answers pretty quickly, so, yeah.

Nate: Great. Well, what a pleasure, man! What a pleasure. What a great hour and a half talking. That's really fun. This has been a joy.

Gabriel Valentin: Yeah dude, thank you so much, man. I appreciate you.

Nate: Have a great day.

Gabriel Valentin: You too, buddy. You too, man. Talk to you soon. Peace.

Nate: Thanks, bye.


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