Pablo The GorillaOut of curiosity, did you know that 'Playboy Magazine' has selected a Gorilla to be one of their next new 'playmates of the month'? Yeah! No word of a lie. From those on their list, Gertrude the Gorilla was chosen to be Miss Ape-ril! Now if you want to know about another amazing ape, then I suggest that you check out the following interview I did with my mate, Don Nguyen, who's created a comic book that'll make you go bananas. Please enjoy!

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1) What are your own origins, Don Nguyen?   I'm originally from Seattle, but I've lived most of my life in Los Angeles. I fell in love with comic books around the age of 5 or 6 years old, when my mom would take me to the library with her so she could study. My earliest comic book memories involved me flipping through well-worn copies of Walt Simonson's 'Thor' and John Byrne's 'X-Men'. This led me to search for more comics. I found and read compendiums such as 'Little Orphan Annie' and the original Bill Finger / Bob Kane version of Batman (from 'Detective Comics', if I'm not mistaken). It was also at the library that I discovered that some of my favorite cartoons, television shows, and Sunday strip characters were also comic books.

2) What inspired you to create, ‘Pablo The Gorilla’?   Pablo actually started out as a tag. Growing up in L.A. housing projects, you are always exposed to graffiti. Instead of tagging a name or handle, I was more interested in 'bombing' pieces. As a kid, I remember going to Graffiti Park in Venice Beach, California, and being in awe of the mural work that enveloped every surface with paint. There was a finesse and energy to every line and curve of each piece. Pablo derives his origin from that. Instead of the repetition of a name or word, I was intrigued by the idea of iconography. Also, I've always been fascinated with primates and evolution; particularly, gorillas. I grew up watching 'King Kong', 'Planet of the Apes', and reading Michael Crichton's 'Congo', et cetera.

Pablo The GorillaWith the storytelling, I tried to tap into some of the indie-spirit behind books like 'TMNT', 'Tank Girl', and 'The Crow.’ I hope even a smidgeon of that inspiration comes across. I also grew up with 90s comics where everyone was a cyborg (as well-popularized by Rob Liefeld and Marc Silvestri, just two of the Image Comics co-founders); so, that definitely plays into it.

3) In your own words, how would you describe this story?   Pablo is really just your average albino, cyborg gorilla. He wants to live his life and do his job delivering pizzas. However, the government that created him wants their AWOL pet project back. Also, something or someone else is after him as well: with darker intentions. The dangers of pizza delivery, right? The story is also a bit about the duality of wanting to belong to something without standing out from the crowd.

4) What song would you say best represents this comic and why?   Kid Cudi's 'Pursuit of Happiness' was one of the songs I listened to a lot when I was coming up with ideas for this story. I really liked how Kid Cudi discussed mental health issues on the 'Man on the Moon' album, something I hadn't really heard before in rap. This specific song spoke to me because it has this catchy, slow-drawn beat and delivery, but there's a certain poignancy to it. It talks about hope and struggle: things are going to be ok, but there's hurt and sadness in the journey. I feel like Pablo's story rests in those themes.

5) If you could get a celebrity – either living or dead – to promote your wares, who would you choose, and why would you want to choose this particular person?   Stan "the Man" Lee, no doubt. Who better to sell you on comics than the legend himself (may he rest in peace). Stan was always so enthusiastic. I would have loved to had just conversed with him. I was lucky enough to have met him once, and to see him at a few panels. Controversies aside, he was the face of Marvel and the face of comics for the longest time. You can't buy the amount of goodwill he built up.

Pablo The Gorilla6) During your time in this field, what is the one thing that has kept you in good stead?   I'm fairly new to the comics industry still, even though I created the webcomic, 'Jupiter the Space Pug', with my friend Matt Jackson in 2011. I didn't table on my own for the first time until Rose City Comic-Con, 2018, after putting out the Inktober graphic novella, 'Siren's Song', with Andy Nordvall. We promoted the book at San Diego Comic-Con last year and it recently peaked at #1 on Kindle's Sci-fi & fantasy art books TOP 100.

I just keep working at my craft, being patient, getting feedback, and I try to rise to meet any opportunities that present themselves. For example, you can find me on Jim Lee's SDCC 2015 Spotlight Panel. I think I waved like a madman to get his attention to pick me to go on stage and draw with him. It's moments like that, I find humbling and fulfilling. They drive me to continue and improve.

7) If ‘Pablo’ had a motto, what would it be?   That's a tough one, but I'm going to say, "Fight when you have to, for whom you have to."

And on that note, I'd like to thank Don for telling us about his comic book, 'Pablo The Gorilla', before directing you towards his websitefacebooktwitter, and instagram pages.

PABLO THE GORILLA - APES LOVE PIZZA PABLO THE GORILLA - APES LOVE PIZZA Reviewed by David Andrews on July 18, 2019 Rating: 5

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