Friday, October 31, 2008

Hey, you got your Muerto in my Baldo!

I meant to mention this a couple of days ago, but when I was reading through my local paper's funny pages, guess who made an appearance in Baldo? None other than El Muerto!

It's a neat little bit of crossover between two Latino characters, and hopefully the exposure will help El Muerto creator Javier Hernandez get some new readers.

OK, some background on who I'm talking about: Baldo is a daily newspaper comic strip following the everyday trials of a teenage Mexican-American kid named Baldo (spoiler alert!) and his close-knit family. Baldo is a typical teen, and really, really wants to own a custom lowrider someday (which, seriously, reminds me a lot of the neighborhood I grew up in). Just for the record, I have never in my life heard of anyone actually named Baldo. I did, however, know a Smiley.

El Muerto used to be a guy named Diego who was on his way to a Dia de los Muertos festival when he was snatched by Aztec gods, who promptly sacrificed him. Now those gods of death and destiny use him as their agent on Earth in the form of — this is awesome — an Aztec zombie! Also, he dresses as a mariachi. (And as an aside, Dia de los Muertos is not the same as Halloween. Thank you.)

El Muerto's sudden appearance in Baldo's barrio starts here, and you can find out more about the characters and their creators at their respective Web sites. Orale — que mas quieres?!

4 comments:

Sea_of_Green said...

>> Dia de los Muertos is not the same as Halloween<<

True. For one thing, Halloween is celebrated on "All Hallows Eve" (Oct. 31), while the Day of the Dead is celebrated on All Saints Day (Nov. 1) and All Souls Day (Nov. 2). Most people don't know that those are all very distinctive, separate holidays. Also not to be confused with Samhain, which originally was celebrated on All Souls Day (Nov. 2), but has gradually moved toward being celebrated on Halloween.

Gad, I know WAY too much about this sort of stuff ...

Maxo said...

Exactly!

One of the biggest misconceptions I see is the idea that Dia de los Muertos is supposed to be spooky or scary or ghoulish in some way, which is the complete opposite of what the day is about.

Dia de los Muertos is essentially a day of remembrance, a chance to think about our departed loved ones and feel a little closer to them. It's life-affirming, not morbid; it acknowledges death, but doesn't give in to it. (A lot of people don't realize there's also a religious aspect to it, too.)

But I understand it can be a tricky concept for people who are new to the holiday, especially since it's so close to Halloween. Thanks for giving information that sheds some light on the whole thing!

Dan said...

Totally, Max. For dumb people: Dia de los Muertos is about welcoming the spirits of the dead with sugar skulls and shit; Halloween is about scaring them away with spooky costumes and shit.

Maxo said...

Ha! I'm going to have that printed out on cards to pass out to people next year.