Gilbert Deltrez goes all guns blazing in “Pistolera” (interview)
Earlier in March, Headshot Horror Publishing launched a Kickstarter campaign for Pistolera, an all-new 32-page one-shot comic set in the 1800s written by Gilbert Deltrez and featuring illustrations by Mateo Martinez and colors by J.L. Giles. We got a chance to have a quick back and forth with Deltrez who was gracious enough to respond to our questions on the Pistolera campaign. As always, the answers below are represented “as written.”
The Splintering (TS): First things first, what made you want to write a story starring a fat chick?*
Gilbert Deltrez (Gilbert): I wouldn’t call her fat, I’d rather call her motherly. That bulge in her stomach is the byproduct of being raped at the hands of a vile sheriff instead of eating too many sweets. In creating a western, I had to survey the landscape, to see what hadn’t been done yet for the genre, and incorporate into something interesting I’d enjoy seeing myself, and have fun writing.
TS: Pistolera has a really unique look and the story appears to cover some interesting subject matter. What other stories or properties would you say were an inspiration for Pistolera?
Gilbert: History was an inspiration for PISTOLERA. In researching the Mexican – American war, and the Texas Rangers that surfaced to patrol the borders during that time of liberation from Mexico, I learned that many Mexican families that resides in Texas were forced from their homes, and many were lynched as a spectacle along with slaves. That historical backdrop proved to be a perfect breeding ground to develop a strong and unique protagonist.
TS: While Pistolera looks to be mostly a western, action-adventure story, how else would you describe the tone of the book? Is it funny, horrific, or pure action?
Gilbert: The tone is grim. A harrowing reality. One that looks at our moral choices under the weight of burdening circumstances. Due to the serious tone of the book and the theme of revenge, I felt Mateo’s cartoonish art style would bring some character and a touch of levity when juxtaposed to the dark world of PISTOLERA.
TS: Your heroine, Valencia Valdez, is inspired by women of the Mexican Revolution. Any real world historical figures, specifically? Do any other characters in Pistolera draw from historical personalities?
Gilbert: Not typically. In researching the design for PISTOLERA, I came across the “soldaderas,” the woman of the Mexican Revolution from the early 1900’s. They fought alongside men as they tried to overthrow an evil dictatorship. “Soldadera” is Spanish word for female soldier.
TS: The Pistolera campaign page references a few political nuggets, including a Texan sheriff and, of course, the Mexican Revolution. Is Pistolera a political book in any way? You’re not trying to “mess with Texas”, are you?
Gilbert: It’s not political at all, but it doesn’t hide the real world nature and racial tension of the mid 1800’s. Although some may be sensitive about racism, the fact of the matter is that it existed and still exists today. Does it mean everyone was racist back then? Not at all. But we’re not gonna act is if we live in this cookie-cutter world where racial discrimination isn’t an issue and wasn’t an issue back then. Oh, and I got nothing but love for Texas.
TS: You’ve decided to launch Pistolera on Kickstarter instead of Indiegogo. What drove that decision? If the project is successfully funded on Kickstarter, are you considering a follow-up campaign on Indiegogo for those who prefer to support Indiegogo as a platform?
Gilbert: I opted to launch on Kickstarter first because I have new campaign with LAIR artist Sebastian Navas set for April. I don’t know many comic creators who have had simultaneous campaigns launched on one platform. Although I’m a comic book writer, I do have multiple stories I’m working on at once, and in building my audience, if I have to multitask on different projects across different crowdfunding platforms, that’s something I am willing to do. I hope as far as my backers allow me. So I do have plans to bring PISTOLERA to IGG as well, because I understand that there are some backers who prefer to remain exclusive on one platform.
TS: Why only a three-week crowdfunding campaign?
Gilbert: Crowdfunding brings major stress. I’m trying to keep the fire hot. If we can’t fund in 3 weeks, then we most likely won’t fund in 8 weeks. If we don’t fund, we’ll try our luck on IGG. If we don’t fund on either, we’ll take it from there, but this project is worthy of exposure. Although I’m an obscure creator, the premise is fresh and the story flows organically to be plausible and enjoyable when you’re dealing with a pregnant gunslinger.
TS: How would you characterize your relationship with the rest of the Pistolera creative team? Artist Mateo Martinez? Colorist J.L. Giles?
Gilbert: The team and I have a great relationship. I have worked with J.L. on my first two successful Kickstarter campaigns, which brought the first few issues of my doomsday horror book, UNDER THE FLESH. It’s great to hopefully be working with him if we fund this campaign. Mateo, is another amazing dude. I sought him out for commission work on Instagram, and I then tossed around the idea of collaborating on a western. He liked the idea, and I worked out the first 14 pages and shared it with him and he was sold.
TS: Besides comics, in what other entertainment mediums do you see the Pistolera story? Is a western film too obvious?
Gilbert: A western film is spot on. It would excel as a movie. I see comic books as cinematic blueprints to movies. There’s no reason why PISTOLERA can’t be another Netflix original, aside from the fact that I don’t have the cache or star power to get this thing looked at.
TS: The Pistolera book is planned as a one-shot. I don’t expect for you to spoil anything, but if Pistolera is successful, are there any plans to revisit the world you created in future projects?
Gilbert: I end PISTOLERA in a way that it can rightfully pick up from where it leaves off. Most important thing I’d like to see happen, is that we can get to the point where we can finish the book due to the great news of a hopefully successful campaign.
TS: A year from now, how would you describe success for the Pistolera project?
Gilbert: Being able to hold the complete book in my hand.
TS: What would you do with the power of the Beyonder?
Gilbert: Usher in an alternate reality in where we’d see how a world could look like now if racism didn’t exist during pinnacle points of our dark history.
We would like to once again thank Gilbert Deltrez for taking the time to answer our questions and to have some fun with us. You can follow Deltrez on Twitter @GilbertDeltrez. You can also visit the Pistolera Kickstarter page here.
*Note: I had to ask. It’s rude to assume a woman is pregnant, after all.