Now we ask Dan to tell us about himself, how he first came to SCCS, about his deaf
news reporting, awards, cartoons, his fascinating blog posts, deaf politics and any
other subject he wishes us to know about. Dan take it away ---
MH: When did you join the SCCS? And how did you find out about it?
DM: I think it was three years ago that I joined SCCS. I found out about SCCS at
Comic-Con when I went there with Cynthia.
MH: What made you decide to start a cartoon strip?
DM: I have been drawing cartoons and comic strips since I was a child. I developed
drawing skills at age 4. My mother provided me with art supplies and encouraged me
to develop my art interest. I remember my late grandfather, a diplomat who had work
to do in his office, would provide me with a box of art supplies to keep me busy while
I was placed in a room at his house on Embassy Row in Washington, D.C. and I would
draw picture after picture all day there.
Aside from his expertise in diplomacy, my late grandfather had some drawing skills
and would doodle a little when he was bored in his office. He also had a keen
interest in the arts shared) (a common interest that all my family and culture, and had
a particularly interesting library at one of his few residences where my father and I
visited, in Annapolis, MD. It was a small nice apartment that he would use whenever
he went to Annapolis for sailing on his yacht Excelsior.
Among many treasured books in the library he had collected were, oddly, comic
books...Asterix and Tintin. He gave me those comic books to read while he and my
father attended to business.
Since that experience I became an avid Asterix and Tintin fan. My mother gave me a
copy of Tintin in French one time for my birthday. I learned Spanish a little by reading
a comic book my grandmother gave me when we were traveling in Venezuela,
Condorito, which is popular in her native country Chile. (My grandfather was U.S.
Ambassador to Venezuela at this time.)
Later as I was growing up I became enamored with MAD magazine, especially the
comic strips by Sergio Aragones (who came from Mexico), Antonio Prohias (who
came from Cuba) and Don Martin. MAD magazine was one of the biggest influences
on my style in comic strips. I collected for a brief time in the '70s PLOP!, a comic book
that Arigones put out but didn't last too long a time (wasn't it inspired by PLOP!, a
different comic strip that appeared in Chilean Condorito?). I
am also a Snoopy fan as well as a Dick Tracy and Spiderman fan. I collected MARVEL
and DC comics all my childhood. I would doodle often when I was at school and
friends would often ask
me for cartoons.
Later in my life I attended California State University, Northridge and majored in
commercial art. I eventually graduated from Rochester Institute of Technology in
Rochester, New York, with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting/ Illustration. My comic
strips and cartoons were published in deaf-owned publications - SILENT NEWS,
DEAFROCHESTER, DEAFNATION, JDCC News (Jewish Deaf Community Center),
SIGNews and more. Published by Communication Service for the Deaf in South
Dakota, SIGNews is currently the leading deaf community newspapers out
in America and can be accessed at www.signews.org/.
Currently, I am spending more time on painting and pastel work as well as illustration
for different projects. I just completed a book project last spring for DawnSignPress,
a deaf-owned publishing company that is based in San Diego and puts out children's
book and educational materials on sign language and Deaf Culture,
www.dawnsign.com. The new book will be announced soon in due time. I am now on
a second book project that is in slow progress due to a chemotherapy treatment I
was undergoing. I look forward to resume doing cartoons and illustration this fall
after I complete my treatment and relocate to Los Angeles.
I like Lalo Alcaraz's La Cucaracha strips. I had been reading books on my
grandmother's native country Chile and its history while recuperating at my home as
I was undergoing chemotherapy treatment for my liver condition and as a result of
my ongoing immersion in Chilean heritage I feel inspired to create a humorous comic
strip about a deaf Chilean-American's journey of discovering the Chilean soul. That
will come out in the near future.