Cantú said Baldo’s heritage gives him a unique perspective on
relevant issues. When one and a half million Latino students
marched out of schools and colleges to demand fair immigration
regulations, Cantú felt Baldo should take part as well.
So in the guise of a student reporter, Baldo took to the streets
and sought to present information from both sides of the debate.
Cantú said most of the dialogue came directly from newspapers
articles. The strip sparked an outcry of hate mail. “We didn’t
set out to say what was right or wrong; we wanted people to
talk, and they talked to us, often in a very bad way,” Cantú
Sometimes the strip reflects real personal and painful
incidents. “I am always looking for ideas and storylines,” Cantú
Discrimination is a sore issue with many readers and Cantú’s
inbox is often filled with complaints, accusing him of making
the “white guy too arrogant” or accusing minorities of being too
sensitive. “Some even say they have never ever experienced
discrimination in this country,” he said.
Cantú sees claims of reverse discrimination as an effort to
desensitize; “If everyone is a victim of discrimination, it begs
the question: ‘Does it matter anymore?’” On the other
hand some Latinos find his humor paints them in a negative light
and accuse him of perpetuating the same stereotypes he hopes to
Cantú acknowledges the comic can not bare the burden of
satisfying everyone but ‘as long as it brings a smile to
someone, Baldo has done a good job.’ Often, the negativity
becomes inspiration for a new script that defuses angry flames
with a good dose of humor.
Stone isn’t surprised that some feathers get ruffled when the
strip generalizes cultural norms. She would like the strip to
focus on higher education and present strong role models.
“That is where Gracie comes in,” said Cantú. The feisty little
chica is a strong role model and exhibits a delightful thirst
for knowledge and an eagerness to be an Ivy League graduate,
noble prize winning-supermom-president.
“I am convinced there is an ‘I hate Gracie Fan Club’,” said
Cantú. He imagines a group of Goth teenagers fuming over
Gracie’s perky sunshine attitude and says perhaps there will be
a storyline based on them too.
Cantú is currently working on a script that addresses domestic
violence. Cartoons are difficult work—“they require the perfect
balance of words and illustrations; so without one, the other
doesn’t make sense,” he said.
Cantú has published two comic books based on Baldo. The strip
was briefly in queue for becoming an animated cartoon to be
aired on Univision but it never made the cut. Always looking on
the bright side, Cantú said, “Well, at least I have a theme
song,” which he shared.
Visit baldocomics.com for some