Californeapolitan

mediumdigital

date. 2020

size. 3500 x 3150px  200dpi

byRoberto Duque

city. Calgary, Alberta, Canada

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Welcome to Ice Cream Social, the summer's socially distant group art show, featuring creators and makers from all walks of life, coming together to share their love of the greatest treat known to man. Each week through Labor Day, come chill with new artists as they discuss a wide range of topics spanning their personal journeys, art, pop culture, and, of course, ice cream! Halfway through our frozen adventure, I'm proud deliver yet another potent flavor, this time from amazing artist in illustrator Roberto Duque, as well as shake up the toppings a bit for a sit-down with content creator – and admitted non-artist – Dave Shevlin.


Previous Ice Cream Social flavors include digital art by comic book creators Brendan AlbetskiMarcelo Biott, and Adam Reck, as well as a fun sketch from #AuGhost creator Jeff Somogyi, masterful embroidery from Zach Gesford, the ultimate ice cream sandwich from sandwich swami Deli Fresh Threads, pyrographic wonders from Michael O'Shields, crocheted wizardry by Chelsey Scully, a fantastic oil painting courtesy of Maria Solias, and a colorful triptych from jack-of-all-trades Wally Tautz.

Being a grumpy, short, hairy Canadian from Alberta myself, I identify with Wolverine


Roberto! Thanks for being a part of inaugural Ice Cream Social! During this socially distant art show, the most fun for me has been to get that first look at the work. We're going to get the scoop on "Californeapolitan" soon, but let's start at the beginning. How'd you get into art in the first place?

I feel like I was born with a pencil in my hand. I’ve doodled and painted throughout my life. My dad even built me a cabinet for my toys I could draw all over to keep me from doing it on the walls. The goal was always get to comics, but now there are so many avenues where I can take my skills and share with the world.

You had a piece of furniture specifically made for you to tag? That's incredible!

Get my junk off the floor and don’t wreck the walls.

You said you always wanted to jump into comics, and a cursory scan of your work says that's clearly your wheelhouse, but what are some of the other avenues you alluded to that you'd like to bring your art to?

I went to school for television production and writing. My classmates found out I can draw so I was the go-to storyboard guy. Also interested in creating my own comic and TV series. Character design, painting backgrounds for animation. I’ve been designing t-shirts for indie wrestlers during the crisis so they have some sort of income while they can’t wrestle. I like to dip my toes in a bunch of different places.

As a wrestling fan from Calgary, are you going to break my heart right now, or will you confirm that Bret "The Hitman" Hart is, in fact, the best there is, the best there was, and the best there ever will be?

It is law. He is the greatest of all time. He is my personal hero. He’s number 1 in my top 5 faves. Most Calgarians my age and older have a Hart family story. My mom worked at a department store that sold fabric, mostly to the Hart sisters to make gear for the boys in Stampede Wrestling. They have a Christmas card from them somewhere in their place.

I'm originally from New Jersey, but I feel the exact same way about Hart. Even as he trashed the United States during his 1997 feud with Steve Austin, there was no question in my mind Bret was the good guy. What's your favorite Hitman memory?

I met him at a Blockbuster signing when he was WCW champion. My brother had these old wrestling programs they would hand out during Stampede. Had stuff from his very early career, Davey Boy & Hogan when they were in Japan, that kinda stuff. There was a huge line behind us but he flipped through the binder for a bit. Like he hasn’t seen them in decades. He could tell we were lifers.

Bret Hart as WCW Champion in Blockbuster Video. This is the ultimate 1999 snapshot. 

There seems to be a natural overlap between pro-wrestling and comics fandoms. Why do you think this is?

They both deal with over the top action, melodrama, and unique characters to latch onto and follow on their adventures. Things are serious, hilarious and absurd in both mediums.

Who is a superhero you think would seamlessly fit into the world of WWE?

The better question would be who wouldn't fit in with pro wrestling? Captain America/Kurt Angle is actually a great crossover waiting to happen. And I completely see Booster Gold so good in a comedic heel role that he eventually gets a lot of fan momentum and a run with a midcard title.

Good stuff. As we ever so slowly bring this back around to ice cream, let's build an ice cream themed wrestler. Hit me with their gimmick, name, and finisher.

I’d make mine female. Have her in a sailor type outfit like ‘Scoops Ahoy’ from Stranger Things, but with an alternative punk rock twist. Very punny maneuvers. Her finisher would be something of a fisherman buster but instead of the suplex it’s a pick up, twist and sit out slam called The Final Scoop.
I suck at names so I won’t even attempt to name her.

The Final Scoop! I love it! In a way, our mutual hero Bret Hart is the original ice cream wrestler. A white guy in black and pink, he's basically a sharpshooting Neapolitan. How's that for a segue? Tell me about "Californeapolitan." What came first? The composition, the color scheme, the name?

Hahaha, damn. I love 40s-50s pin up girls. The playfulness of the settings, composition, the technique, but instead of going full cheesecake I scaled it back and made it more contemporary. Then I thought to add some of the lines and give it a Neapolitan scheme that reminded me of a lot of those psychedelic posters from the 70s. Each girl represents a frozen treat and a flavour of Neapolitan to tie it all back together with the theme.

Wow! I'm elated you put so much thought into this. The results speak for themselves, but I'll add my two cents anyway: this is a terrific illustration. The chocolate lab itself is a great choice to include.

Most of the time my stuff is a certain size so I don’t have a lot of room to add those special details. 

 

What sort of employment would you consider a dream job?

I’ve got a few because I can’t be held by a certain title. I want to have a run on one of the big two titles that is mentioned for a long time. Jim Lee X-Men and Batman, Sal Buscema or John Romita on Spider-Man. When people mention my name one day they attach it a certain title.

I’ve always wanted to be a part of The Simpsons in some capacity.

And the last one is to be an executive producer/creator of my my own television series. Another hero of mine is Larry David. [I] would love to follow his rise to fame. I have a web comic strip about my life after high school I’d love to adapt into animation.

This is a lot to take in. Firstly, I truly appreciate these lofty goals, and I hope you hit them all. Let's go back to being the next Jim Lee or John Romita. Hit me with one Marvel and one DC title you picture me telling my grandkids, "This Duque book is the one you gotta read!"

Now I want to be clear, I don’t want to be the next Lee or Romita. I just would like to be in the conversation of “Check out Batman comics by Jim Lee, Jim Aparro, Tony Daniel, Roberto Duque, et cetera.” Put my stamp on a character and it’s associated with that character.

DC I would totally wanna be in the Superman echelon. Everyone wants Batman. And that list is crazy long. Doing Superman is somewhat low key until you really break it down and hear the who’s who of comic legends that have come out of the Superman offices.

As a Marvel Zombie, Marvel is just too huge for me. I’d want lengthy runs on Spider-Man, X-Men, Daredevil and Iron Man. But I got one in mind that I must tackle. A bucket list character: Wolverine.

He’s my all time, top level, numero uno character in all of fiction! He’s my boy. Being a grumpy, short, hairy Canadian from Alberta myself, I identify with him the most and can bring a certain voice and style to him. Plus I’d never wanna leave.

Quite the list. I'm very intrigued by this love of The Simpsons. I was a huge fan growing up, especially those nascent years, where it was this counter-culture revolution. But, its long since shed that skin and become a bit of an elder statesman in TV, maybe even forgotten, for as much as something that still airs new episodes 30 years later can be forgotten. So to hear a young artist speak so highly of it, it's surprising.

I was a fan since Day 1. My parents didn’t know any better so they plopped me in front of cartoons to keep me occupied. No doubt The Simpsons raised me. My wife watches episodes today and makes certain connections to my personality.

They are well past their prime but every once in a while they come out with a gem. I think the show and the format needs a change and update to stay fresh and could go on for a few more years. But I do believe if any of the main cast happens to pass away, that would signal the end. They didn’t replace Mrs. Krabapple or Troy McClure when those actors passed. I don’t see them doing that for Homer.

I wanted so badly to do a run on the Bongo series I even emailed their offices professing my love of the series to at least let me do a pin up or a one page story in the final issue.

This has been a very fun dive into your mind. Can you talk about Septembryo (amazing name, by the way), or any of your upcoming projects?

Septembryo is my first creator owned series with my co-creator. It’s about a struggling musician who questions everything about his life when a freak accident turns him to the world of the supernatural. We touch on astral projection, meta physical existence and telepathy.

Michael's story is based on experiences and research on all those subjects. There are scenes in the book lifted from his life. I’m in the middle of issue 6 and had to halt production due to COVID (just to give our readers a break until everyone got back on their feet).

Escaping Falconridge is my web comic strip. A kid fresh out of high school trying to make it as an independent adult but is held back by his friends and family. It’s a mix of Arrested Development and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. I developed it in college as an hour drama and it morphed into a cartoon series and now into a comic strip.
 
I’m also on the final stretch on another book called Preggers, about a lowly barista who can’t catch a break and suddenly discovers he impregnated a monster. Ridiculous and fun. It’s a part of a series called B Movie Garbage. So it makes sense after hearing the title. I have other comic series in different stages of production.

 
That's quite the workload. With so many flavors in the bowl, you're asking for a brain freeze. Which reminds me... let's shift gears into dessert mode before we wind down. Do you have a favorite local mom and pop for your ice cream needs?

We’re pretty simple. We’re in the 'burbs so we stick to Dairy Queen by our house. But when we need something pallet-cleansing there’s a place called Village Ice Cream. Strawberry Shortcake pints, chocolate dip pistachio on a waffle cone. All natural ingredients. To die for. Also a must for pastries called Pretty Sweet. Birthday cake cookie sandwich and themed special orders like Harry Potter or seasonal treats.

All natural Strawberry Shortcake pints is what I was put on this earth for. Glorious. And if the ice cream man drives by? Is there anything in his freezer that makes you chase him down?

Loved the ice cream character heads. My go to is Cyclones. Dunno if you have them, but they're an ice cream swirl rocket.

Cyclones! Yes! This is a good reliable choice. Were you ever able to get your hands on the original WWF bars?

Nope. Don’t think they ever came up here or in my neck of the woods. I’ve heard good things tho so here’s hoping the new ones are available.

My condolences. On a happier note, if you're executing the ultimate sundae, what are your toppings?
Stick to classics. Scoops of vanilla, hot fudge, caramel, peanuts. Easy.

I've got a series of rapidfire questions I've been peppering all the artists with. I know the first one is very regional, so you you may not know it: sprinkles or jimmies?

Sprinkles.

Rainbow or chocolate?

Rainbow.

Cup or cone?

Cup.

And lastly, the end-all, be-all of ice creaming question, "sherbet" or "sherbert"?

Sherbert.

Another one. I'm not going to win this debate. Roberto, thanks for taking the time to be a part of this project, and I look forward to you taking over the mantle of Excellence of Execution someday soon.

Brain Freeze

The Hitman

According to Bret "The Hitman" Hart's autobiography, he learned his finishing maneuver, The Sharpshooter, from Mexican wrestler Konnan. WWF/E Hall of Famer Pat Patterson came up with the name.

The Hitman was a five-time WWF Champion, and held he WWF Intercontinental and Tag Team Titles twice each. He also won the 1993 King of the Ring and was co-winner of the1994 Royal Rumble (with Lex Luger). In addition to his wrestling accolades, he is an accomplished cartoonist.

Bret Hart was rumored to play Batman in the fifth installment of the 90s franchise that began with Michael Keaton in the titular1989 role and ended with George Clooney limping to the box office in the widely-maligned Batman & Robin. The poor reception of the fourth film shelved any ideas for Batman: Triumphant.

Hart was once considered the most famous Canadian in the world, and was so popular that the Western Hockey League's Calgary Hitmen were named in his honor prior to their 1995 debut. (Hart was a part-owner.) The team won the Memorial Cup in 1999 and 2010, and boasts 39 alumni that graduated to the NHL.

The Hitman had a guest spot during The Simpsons' eighth season. He was originally scheduled to portray The Mad Russian, but when FOX executives saw Hart's notoriety first-hand, they drew the character as Bret himself.

The Montreal Screwjob refers to the infamous 1997 Survivor Series, arguably the most historic moment in professional wrestling. WWF owner Vince McMahon orchestrated stripping the WWF championship from Bret Hart in a match with Shawn Michaels. Hart was leaving the company, and offered to lose anywhere other than Montreal, the heart of his home country's wrestling territory. McMahon seemingly agreed, but in collusion with Michaels and referee Earl Hebner, rang the bell preemptively, awarding the belt to Michaels. A documentary crew caught all the behind-the-scenes drama on camera, leading many to believe the entire "screwjob" to be an elaborate work, or conspiracy, known to all parties. Ironically, the event marked the meteoric surge of WWF's late-90s popularity, as well as the beginning
of the end of Bret's career at the top of the card.

Good Humor

What’s the difference between an oral and a rectal thermometer?

The taste.

The Scoop

Village Ice Cream

A trio of ice cream shops in Calgary, The Village Ice Cream boasts such flavors as their original North 49 Honeyberry – a mix of Alberta grown honeyberries and a huckleberry extract – and Guide's Mint, inspired by the Canadian equivalent to Girl Scout Thin Mints. 

 

"The very first Village Ice Cream opened shop in 2012 in a plain old building on an impossible to find cul-de-sac. An improbable place, hidden away against the railway tracks.

Six years and 3 locations later, Village remains in hot pursuit of cold perfection. Places for hand-made traditional ice cream in decidedly un-traditional shops. Places to gather, share old memories and create new ones. Places to wind down or rev up. Places to connect with fellow villagers. Or, you know, places to grab a quick pint of Salted Caramel for just you and a spoon—we get it.

We are all Villagers, so come on in!"

The original WWF Superstars ice cream bars debuted in 1989, and were discontinued by Good Humor in 2009. As of January 2020, WWE Superstars ice cream sandwiches are available, but they swap a chocolate back for another vanilla cookie.

Wrapping Up

Sprinkles

8

Jimmies

3

Rainbow

5

Chocolate

6

Cone

5

Cup

6

Sherbet

3

Sherbert

7

Roberto Duque is a hyper-talented penciller with a sky's-the-limit upward trajectory. Be on the lookout for his linework to reach a future spinner rack near you. In the meantime, get on the ground floor by following the Calgarian on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube, or suffer The Final Scoop from Cherry Jubilee. (Yes I just christened the ice cream wrestler described in the above conversation.)

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