Saturday, January 31, 2009

Friday, January 30, 2009

Hot Boredom

If there was a picture in the dictionary for "corporate cubicle cuteness," this would be it.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Who Makes The World?


Ahem, yes, what she said.

Dark Helmet (Rick Moranis) plays with dolls in the one and only "Spaceballs"

By popular demand (okay, really more like my demand) for your viewing pleasure, true believers.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Oh yeah, new action figures came in today

I'm on a roll today, sorry if you can't keep up with me, but the O-dogg Blog moves fast and furious.

Anyway, here are my new series one figures: Rorschach, Ozymandias, The Owl and his paramour, The Silk Spectre. If I un-box these, I may have to put on a little video puppet show via YouTube to depict some hot action figure romance with old Owl and 'Spectre. Remember Rick Moranis playing with his action figures in "Space Balls"? Yeah you do ... that's what I'm talkin' about!

In the words of the Great Obi-Wan Kenobi

"Who is the bigger fool - the fool, or the fool who follows?" - Star Wars IV: A New Hope.

It's my birthday, It's my birthday, It's my birthday

OK, so it's not really my birthday, but I feel like it is after ordering this sweet t-shirt from - 20% off for true believers and fans of the show. You know you're a legit fan when you receive texts from SciFi with updates on Battlestar Gallactica and special offers for official schwag. It was a tough choice between this shirt and a shirt that says "WTF?" really big, and then in small letters it says "What the frak." I may have to put on another fashion show once this baby arrives. Stay tuned.

Adventures in parenting: McNuggets, hand dryers and adobe murals

I was making the long drive home with the kiddos last night and heard the dreaded words: “Daddy, I have to go to the bathroom, hurry!”

I knew there was a really big McDonalds right by the freeway entrance I was about to enter, so turned the other way toward the inviting golden arches. I was greeted by the sweet smell of greasy, fried burger meat wafting through the sloped, hillside parking lot. It reminded me of the old-school smell of all burger joints from back in the 80s, so immediately knew I was in for a Twilight-Zone-style treat.

My boy was carried in one arm while I held my little girl’s hand and we entered: THE GRANDEST McDONALDS EVER. It was huge, a massive spectacle to behold … and it looked like a Mexican restaurant inside. From the outside, the MassDonalds looks like it is two stories, and it is, I just don’t know if there are upstairs dining tables. Anyway, this McDeez is near the historic Mission San Jose, so the d├ęcor is all Southwestern looking, as if I had just walked into a mom and pop joint in New Mexico. There were Mexican-style murals of the Mission painted on the wall, complete with a prayer to the Sacred Virgin Mary. Nice.

Best of all, near where you order, there is this giant open area, like an indoor patio with this huge brick/adobe waterfall structure – how soothing it must be to enjoy processed chicken McNuggets to the sounds of running water.

So, the bathroom, you ask? Clean, private and large. Thank goodness. My girl protested going into the men’s room with me and the boy, but there was no other option. Thankfully, the bathroom was empty and the only toilet stall was this massive, private fortress fortified by real walls on all sides. I held my son and retreated to the corner to stare at the tiled wall to give my little princess her privacy. I marveled at the size and strength of this stall - I’m sure you could survive a nuclear blast in the confines of this luxurious latrine.

My daughter finished, pulled up her pants and decided to start dancing to the pleasant elevator music playing on the muzak system. She claimed she couldn’t button her pants because she was “too busy dancing.” It was very cute, watching her shake her groove thing with one hand trying to button pants, in the middle of the stall, in a bathroom, inside THE GRANDEST McDONALDS EVER.

I took her to wash her hands and she was horrified by the hand dryers. She protested, but I explained there was no paper towel option. She braved it and dried away bravely until she couldn’t take the heat. With that, we were on out when she melted my heart with a very formal gesture of gratitude: she looked at me and said “Thanks, father.”

Someday I’ll reward my little treasures for being such troopers through the whole ordeal. We’ll come back to THE GRANDEST McDONALDS EVER not as loiterers, but as conquering heroes with cash for food and a camera for that awesome waterfall.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Have you heard?

Werd. Pun intended ...

Take that!, Wii Fit

Haha, your boy O-dogg has the last laugh! I re-took the Wii fitness/balance test and reduced my "Wii Fit Age" from 44 to 29! I'm on to you now, Wii Fit, I know your tricks and traps and I will avoid them to my heart's content while meeting and exceeding all goals. In the words of Bart Simpson: eat my shorts, dude.

RORSCHACH'S JOURNAL, January 28th 1985/2009

Great quotes from a great man (even if he is fictional).

- This city is for strangers like the sky is for the stars

- Waiting for a flash of enlightenment in all this blood and thunder

- Heard joke once: Man goes to doctor. Says he's depressed. Says life seems harsh and cruel. Says he feels all alone in a threatening world where what lies ahead is vague and uncertain. Doctor says "Treatment is simple. Great clown Pagliacci is in town tonight. Go and see him. That should pick you up." Man bursts into tears. Says "But Doctor... I am Pagliacci."

- This city is dying of rabies. Is the best I can do to wipe random flecks of foam from its lips?

and the greatest Rorsch' quote of all:

- Dog Carcass in alley this morning, tire tread on burst stomach. This city is afraid of me. I have seen its true face. The streets are extended gutters and the gutters are full of blood and when the drains finally scab over, all the vermin will drown. The accumulated filth of all their sex and murder will foam up about their waists and all the whores and politicians will look up and shout 'Save us!' And I'll look down, and whisper 'no.' They had a choice, all of them. They could have followed in the footsteps of good men like my father, or President Truman. Decent men, who believed in a day's work for a day's pay. Instead they followed the droppings of lechers and communists and didn't realize that the trail led over a precipice until it was too late. Don't tell me they didn't have a choice. Now the whole world stands on the brink, staring down into bloody hell, all those liberals and intellectuals and smooth-talkers, and all of a sudden nobody can think of anything to say.

My Sweet Sugar Lumps

Thanks for the pampering and tending to my sugar lumps, Pantuf.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

I ... AM ... SORE - and I'm loving it

A nice little Sunday today. This morning I did the thing I love to do more than anything else: play football. When considering Maslow's hierarchy of needs, there is no doubt that I am at the climax of the triange when I am playing with the pigskin - totally self actualized. I didn't play anywhere near my 3-touchdown standard today, but I don't care, it was fun in the sun that beats a treadmill and naked guys in the locker room at the gym any day. Of course when you don't play the sport of kings for a while, it'll leave you pretty sore until you get a couple of games under your belt - but it is worth it. It's like a quirky old Cal State Hayward psychology professor used to tell our class: "sometimes, it hurts sooooo good."

So, I followed up football by finally installing the Wii Fit at my house - we've had it under wraps for a week and decided today would be the day to rock it. I didn't know what to expect, but man, I am SO impressed. This combination of the Wii and the balance board is the very definition of innovation - regardless of the industry. To use colorful, kid-friendly graphics and cartoonish Mii characters to encourage posture, balance, limber muscles and strength is really amazing. On top of classic yoga and plyometrics, you can go running, ski, slalom, head butt soccer balls, walk across a tight rope, hoola hoop and tons of other stuff. My daughter seems to enjoy it as much as my wife, each for their own reasons, but working toward the same benefit: a fit, balanced body. The only thing I didn't like was that the cheeky Wii assessed me as 40 FRAKKIN' YEARS OLD in 'Wii Years.' I am SO butt hurt over that. I'm going to kick that Wii's ass and meet every weight and BMI goal it charts out for me. The gauntlet has been thrown: my Mii Avatar is gonna be the slimmest, sexiest thing you ever laid digital eyes on.

Well, after football and 'Fit, my body is begging for a massage - I don't suppose the good peole at Nintento have figured out how create some hardware and software that simulate a nice, deep, slow massage. Until then, I'll have to imagine that massage until the virtual world produces a good alternative. Spreaking of which, my dentist supposedly has a massage lady and I wasn't even offered one last week. HURRM ...

Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Lady or the Tiger

If you have 9 minutes to spare, this is a story everyone should know, right up there with the works of my boyz Eddie A. Poe, Willy Shakespeare and Stan "The Man" Lee. Seriously, a nice re-telling, with a great narrator and visuals to match.

Billy Elliot and the Swan Lake

Not normally my kind of movie, a story about a dancing English boy, but man is it powerful. The macho stuff is satisfied by the dad and brother characters ... and yet there is something so strong, mature and confident about the grown-up Billy stealing the show at Swan Lake. Bravo, true believers, bravo.


I will boycott all non-comic book, or non-cartoon-based movies if those jokers in the 'Academy' don't award Heath Ledger the best supporting actor Oscar for his role as The Joker. He stole the whole frakkin' movie - The Dark Knight was essentially marketed with The Clown Prince of Crime as the lead character. 'Nuff said.

Watchmen schwag to start hitting shelves in 6-8 weeks

I've been pretty aroused lately, but now I'm really at attention - 2 supplemental Watchmen DVDs and 2 Watchmen Soundtracks being released in March to coincide by the release of the highly anticipated movie on 3/6/09!

Since the pirate 'comic-within-a-comic' won't be part of the movie as it was in the Watchmen grahic novel, good ole Warner Brothers is releasing the booty a few days before the movie - a full on anime version of The Black Freighter on DVD. I'm still debating between the 'Freigher and this audio-book style version of the Watchmen with voice actors and interactive comic book panels on Blu-ray disc. Hurrrm ... choices, choices.

Then there is the decision to be made between the soundtrack and the original score. More choices. I don't know what to do with myself, I know I want it all, but unlike Ozymandias, I can't have it all. Sucks.

You know what, if someone markets Watchmen watches fo realz, I ain't gonna hold back anymore, se la vi, I'm gonna go for it all ...

New "Sideswipe" in Transformers 2

So ... this is how the Transformer known as "Sideswipe" will look in the movie sequel. I'm not too jazzed, because, well, they made him look too much like the autobot "Jazz" from the first movie.

Back in the 80s, Sideswipe was a bad-ass, red Countach Lamborghini with a rocket launcher on his shoulder.Now he looks like all the rest of the mostly indistinguishable movie version transformers, all silvery and gray. I get that he's not a lamborghini because of the movie company's tie-in with Chevy or General Motors, or whatever Detroit automaker they partnered with.

Still, couldn't they at least have made Sideswipe resemble his old self? Wouldn't something like this look so much more legit:

//Sigh// that's all I can say ... another of life's little let downs ... perhaps there is some hot chocolate in my future to transform this funk around.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Quoth the Raven: "Graphic Novel"

I'm seriously thinking about buying a collection of Edgar Allan Poe's works adapted as comic books, bound into a handsome, hard-bound graphic novel.

I remember being so enraptured by the work of Poe as an elementary and high school student - his short stories were so vivid, I could picture them, like a comic book, in the grottos of my labyrinth of an imagination. I also remember some very 80s-style dramatic-film adaptations of his works that they'd show us via closed circuit TV at Catholic school. I'm yearning to recapture the magic, so I think I'm going to go for it ... all it will cost is a half-off $5.99 price plus shipping + handling, courtesy of the Science Fiction Book Club. Don't snicker, they offered me lots of free stuff to join.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

In the Thunder and Rain

Any time, any place.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

What a Week! Ronch, Ronch, Ronch

Rorschach's Journal - January 2009:
The weather on the diverse streets of the San Francisco Bay is gorgeous.

Thursday. Season premier of The Office - two men fight over a woman, she ends up with neither of them. Hurrm ...

Friday. Season premier of Battlestar Galactica - a woman who once quarreled with femme fatal (Starbuck) for the affection of her husband (Apollo) shoots herself in the head. Double hurrm ...

Weekend. Birthday parties gallore - a Wii Fit, a very happy little girl, a nice dinner at Skates on the Bay at the Berkeley Marina. Season premier of Flight of the Conchords - like a sweet sugar cube to the mouth, Ronch Ronch Ronch ...

Monday. After years of neglect, finally cleaned the garage. Celebrated MLK day, as my company finally recognizes it as a legit holiday - a very productive and fulfilling day off. New 24, agent Walker buried alive. Also, sold an old TV on within one hour to a lady from Berkeley - used the earnings to replace old pillows, old toaster and old hand vaccum. Also picked up a remake of my all-time favorite Transformer, "Sideswipe" the red Lamborghini, totally sweet. Learned that Watchmen movie will release on time - hip hip hurrm-ayy ...

Tuesday. After years of neglect, finally went to the dentist. Minor bone loss and some gum recession will cost over $600 over the next three months. Not good. Floss, floss, hurrm ...

Wednesday - UPDATE: watched season premier of Friday Night Lights, very good. Wow, premier of LOST looked amazing on the new 1080p TV! Oh yeah, bought comics today: Captain America, Spider-Man, Kick-Ass and Batman ... holy hurrm, Batman!

7 days are almost done. And now it's raining ... figures. Need some Lucerne chocolate milk to cheer me up. If I could sum this all up in one word: HURRM!

Do You Have To Let It Linger?

The Cranberries still rule. Wouldn't you agree, true believers?

Has the world gone mad? Are you going mad?

Obama mania. Obama madness. Is it voluntary, or is it all part of a clockwork-orange-style brain washing?

I don't know. I don't understand. If I were a book, my title might be "Baffled By Barack." I kind of wish I could understand it - it's amusing for sure. Guess I'll buy that new Spider-Man featuring Barack himself to find out what all the fuss is about tomorrow.

As long as the dude is tough on terror, I'll be good with all the madness.

Monday, January 19, 2009

The 'Kick Ass' Movie Publicity Photo

This is kind of neat. The underground comic book, "Kick Ass," the brain child of creators Mark Millar and John Romita Jr. is already in production as a movie.

I don't even think issue #6 has hit the shelves yet, so the movie production might actually be further along in the story than the comic book. Odd, but I'll take it because this comic book is a such a breath of fresh air ... it's urban, gritty, violent, bloody, foul-mouthed and yet innocent, with the lead character being a starry-eyed teenager with no powers that tries to be the world's first 'real' superhero.

Life is immitating art as there are now legions of real people playing dress up these days. I don't think they are actually trying to fight bad guys, which make this comic/movie truly ... kick ass! Pun intended. 'Nuff said.

Is this the 'Black Widow' in Iron Man 2?

Rumor has it this actress (Emily Blunt) has landed the role of Russian super-spy, Natasha Romanov, aka "The Black Widow," in Iron Man 2. I wonder if Mr. Downey Jr. had anything to do with the casting ...

This is what we do know: the character of Rhodey will now be played by Don Cheadle, after Terrence Howard was fired by Marvel - who is in heated negotiations with Sam Jackson to reprise his role as Nick Fury. Also, I hear that Mickey Rourke is in the mix to play the villain in Iron Man 2. Sweetness.

If all of this comes to fruition, I dare to say that Iron Man 2 will follow in the tradition of The Empire Strikes Back, Superman II, Spider-Man 2, X-Men 2, The Dark Knight and a select handful of other sequels that were better than their predecors.

Bring Chucky Back to the Raiders

7 words: Bring Jon Gruden back to Oakland ... now! This would energize the Raider-Nation and lend credibility to owner Al Davis - which he is sorely lacking right now. If Davis could just swallow his ego and re-hire GM Bruce Allen and Chucky in a package deal, it'd be a dream come true in Oakland. Both are available after being fired in Tampa Bay, so why not a reunion, folks? The only thing that could make it sweeter is to bring in Rich Gannon as QB coach and Tim Brown as WR coach to teach the new Raiders the nuances of the Gruden 'East Bay Offense.'

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Welcome changes in '24' Season 7

Welcome additions in season 7:

Freckle-faced, red-head FBI Agent Renee Walker, former soap actress Annie Wersching
Crazy director from HBO's "Entourage," Billy Walsh, as a clean-cut FBI analyst Sean Hillinger
Jeanine Garofalo ... really? yes, really, as a sarcastic/geeky-cool FBI agent Janis Gold - big upgrade over the Chloe O'Brien character of years past (more on Chloe below)

Welcome changes:
CTU is is done, disbanded
FBI is in, more based in reality

Unwelcome re-treads:
Bill Buchanon from CTU as a rogue agent doing his own thing - meh
Chloe O'Brien from CTU, acting as Bill's only side-kick, yes her crazy/ugly scowl is back

Welcome back-from-the-dead character:
Tony Almeida, much like a soap or comic book character, unexplicably back from the dead, but it's all good, he's a rogue-ish bad ass adding some intenstiy that holds up next to the man-of-the-24-hour, Jack Bauer - still tough on crime, still tough on terror

FOX, Warner Bros. Settle WATCHMEN lawsuit

Finally, it's all settled and we can look forward to a movie that is 20 years in the making. March 6th, here I come, nothing can stop this true believer now.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The FRAK is back!

Wow, after months of anticipation, January 16th finally arrived! The season premier of Battlestar Gallactica - its final season. Frak me, it did not disappoint.

Put the kids to bed, went to the gym and hurried home to sit glued in front of the now obsolete 1080i HDTV. Our heroes discover a wasteland of a post-nuclear holocaust Earth and it devastates the band of humans that are perpetually lost in space. So much so, that one of them commits suicide mere moments after seemingly repairing her relationship with her estranged husband. Shocking. Powerful. Gripping. Tragic.

The fifth and final cylon is also revealed in the season premier, but it was not as jaw-dropping as seeing a main character suddenly shoot her brains out. There were hints that our lead female, Starbuck, could also be a cylon - and in the end, it could turn out that ALL of the humans we know and love are skin-job robots. We'll have to keep tuning in to find out, true believers.

In the meantime, enjoy the frak out that premier. Some powerful acting in there from Eddie J. Olmos as he gets drunk and puts a gun to his own head in confronting his grief over the shocking suicide. What a Friday night treat this was, it was nice to be taken on a ride to a galaxy far, far away ... even if it was our own post-apocalyptic planet.

Happy Birthday, my little princess

Papa loves you very much - you make me very proud.

Friday, January 16, 2009

The Catholic Voice covers 'CruZader'

This is the most in-depth story about CruZader so far. Thank you Catholic Voice and staff writer Carrie McClish! You can read the 'Voice online in case you don't get it in your mailbox every month, and I suspect you don't, because you may be too busy reading Watchmen or the latest issue of Spider-Man featuring Barack Obama. Here's the link to The Catholic Voice article.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

How Rorschach stole Christmas

This is frakkin' good! If you have 10-minutes for old-time radio goodness, tune in, true believers. If you've read Watchmen, this will entertain and amaze you with its simple brilliance. Enjoy it like a sugar cube straight to the mouth. Hurrm ...

The Truth Is Out There

Saturday, January 10, 2009

I guess it's all over now

Well, the Christmas tree has been cut in half and set out on the curb, per the city of Pleasanton's strict instructions. I have to look at myself in the mirror and accept it:

Out with the steady diet of pumpkin pie, Mexican hot chocolate and Pyramid Apricot Ale and back in with the Odwalla Super Food, flax seed and Lucerne drinkable yogurt smoothies because Christmas season is so over. It ended gloriously with a post-New Year's eve gathering of friends at Casa De O-dogg. All raved over wifey's Mexican hot choc, the Wii and the newest HDTV. But alas, it is all done and gone.

Down with the decorations and remnants of the holiday season - it's time to get over the colds & flus and get lean & mean in the gym again.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Rorschach Fashion Show - Takalua Style

I got some Watchmen shirts, for once! Why don't you give me props, miss, for once?! Dick-tation is gettin' mad respect all over the world, or some s***.

Can all the true believers say:HURRM!?

Edward Scissorhands - THE ICE DANCE

This is quite possibly the most beautiful thing I've ever seen and heard. Simple, loving and yet so very tragic. How can you not fall in love with Johnny Depp and Winona Ryder? How can anyone not identify with poor Edward and the inability to fit into the seemingly picture-perfect pastel world around him?

Can't wait to own this on Blu-ray, along with The Nightmare Before Christmas. Tim Burton is a master.

The Pioneer covers CruZader/CW Contest

Extra, extra! Read all about it here via PDF: Pioneer link

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Pain and suffering: Part 2 - Electric Boogaloo

Once and again, I am laid up in bed with nothing but my thoughts ... and suffering. It's like dejavu.

Another cold, turned sinus infection, now turned into an unbearable ear ache. Why, oh why, must I bear this burden every few months? Once again, I am on the verge of some important stuff at work, where I am being counted on to lead, facilitate and coordinate. Do I power through it, like I always do? Ignore the beast living inside my head and put on a happy face, while my insides are being dulled and numbed by pure, unadulterated pain?

Or do I do the sensible thing? Take some time off from the job so that I may sit all alone in my room - just me and the pain, staring each other down to see who blinks first. With the aid of a prescription and the eye of the tiger, I think I can emerge victorious.

Perhaps I stay up really late tonight and watch cable TV until my eyelids feel like 100-LB barbells. Perhaps I read my new making-of-the-Watchmen coffee table book until I fade into a dream about The Owl and his trusty airship, nicknamed Archie.

Maybe I should do the sensible thing, which should always be option #1, but rarely is: stop trying to solve it on my own and pray. Pray and submit to the will of my Creator, then rest easy knowing that the pain won't last forever.

I love to boogie

Keep an eye out for Breakfast Clubbers, The Ramones, Ducky, Little Miss Sunshine, Billy Elliot, ewoks and jazzy members of the Max Rebo Band. Cheers.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Le Tigre's "Deceptacon" featuring three, ahem, 'dancers'

Not bad, but not good either. Kind of like old, room-temperature pizza ... kind of hard to pass up. Enjoy the tunes, kids.

The Silk Spectre

Monday, January 05, 2009

I want to know what you're thinking (pure energy)

It was the summer of 1988 ... my Oakland A's were on their way to the World Series, with my hero - Jose Canseco - on his way to making 40/40 history and an MVP trophy. I was on the verge of junior high and my voice was changing like Peter Brady. Salad days indeed.

My neighbor and friend, Tom, was having his annual summer sleep-over for his birthday. He received a single cassette tape of Information Society's "Pure Engergy," and I was fired up because I'd recently seen the world premier music video on MTV. So the lot of kids did what we knew best: we threw down the boom box on the street and skateboarded our arses off. We had a sophisticated system of little, hand-made wooden jump ramps and a rail slide made of PVC pipe. We must've worn out that old tape - we'd all take turns rewinding or flipping the tape over and over until the lyrics were burned into our pre-pubecent brains.

Over the next two summers we built our own half-pipe in Tom's backyard and we were off to bigger and better things: girls, better skateboards, the Bay Bridge World Series, Super Nintendo and what have you. Still, the summer of '88 was grand - a true time of childhood discovery, including this gem by Information Society.

Thus, "I want to know what you're feeling: tell me what's on your mind," will always be a part of me.

Oak-town's Jack London Square

Friday, January 02, 2009

Time-Warp Retro 70s McDonald's - too cool

If you're anything like me, you are totally fascinated by institutions, places and buildings that haven't been renovated in decades. Take this spacious, old-school McDonald's for instance. They just don't build like this anymore - it had the most humongous front counter and kitchen area, it had a funky brick gazeebo thing in the middle of the restaurant and its bathrooms were located outside. I photographed the 30-year-old toilet and sink, but I'll spare you those visuals. Anywho, this brown & orange vinyl McDeez totally brought me back to my salad days when bed time was at 9 pm, Nintendo was all the rage and my favorite TV show was ALF. Come to think of it, maybe I'm still in my salad days, except that my bed time is much later and I now keep my action figures stored in their plastic packages.

Okay, so, next time you go into a pizza place that has a big screen projection TV, a gumball machine that sells stickers/prizes and functioning 1980s arcade games, plunk a quarter into "Rampage" and think of your boy O-dogg. I just might be down at Banchero's Fine Italian Food in Hayward - you can find me in the mafia-style cocktail lounge with the mile-long bar counter and its vinyl stools and spacious booths with the golden rivets.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Examiner Article about CruZader

Here is Tony's SF Examiner article about CruZader. With any luck, it'll make the print version of the publication. Here's the link, Examiner CruZader Article by Tony R. Rodriguez.


By Tony R. Rodriguez

Omar Morales is an East Bay native and the creative mind behind The CruZader comic book series. And though The CruZader has yet to be marketed by a publisher or major distributor, it’ll certainly be onto big things in the literary comic world. Morales is the architect responsible for birthing Antonio de la Cruz, the Catholic Church’s robed militant of justice known in certain circles as the CruZader. Literary agents, take heed: Snag up Morales and The CruZader!

I recently met up with Morales at the Starbucks inside Barnes & Noble located in Jack London Square. This now sleepy part of Oakland has always possessed a charismatic literary history, so it was a very fitting place for a nice literary chat.

I began: “Congrats with your CW Bay Area TV first place recognition in their Comic Book Hero contest. Have you recently submitted The CruZader to any other comic book contests?”

With humble pride, Morales responded: “There’s a contest called The Comic Book Challenge. It’s an annual contest promoted by Platinum Studios in L.A. It’s an international competition. I made top fifty out of literally thousands and thousands of participants . . . I felt blessed just to make it that far.”

I continued: “So Antonio de la Cruz, your comic’s heroic CruZader, tell me a bit about him and the comic.”

“The CruZader is an amalgam of a Jedi knight, James Bond, Van Helsing — and a ninja. Each of these has influenced me greatly. But the biggest source of inspiration for The CruZader would be my deceased uncle, Ezekiel Morales. He was a lifelong Jesuit priest, who served in Mexico as well as the Oakland Diocese. His rigid interpretation of Catholicism and love for life and community is very much alive in the CruZader’s complex persona." Morales then went on: “The CruZader is based in modern times. It has some elements of science fiction, as well as old traditions of the Church. And that’s the struggle with Antonio de la Cruz. How will he fit in during modern times? With modern morality? And still keep true to these ancient traditions of the Church? It’s a struggle the CruZader endures constantly.”

Concerning Morales’s focus on “modern times”, I probed: “Is there a ‘modern’ group of people you’d like the CruZader to fight off?”

“Yes. It would be the radical Muslim terrorists,” Morales noted with disciplined candor. “As a matter of fact, the six issue series — which I want to combine into a graphic novel — ends with the CruZader taking on Muslim terrorists who storm the Vatican and have essentially taken control. This concept begins to unfold throughout issues four, five and six. I really need three comics to tell this story.” Morales then paused in order to emphasize a strong point: “I look at the radical Muslims not as a religious group, but more of a fanatical political group that through violence wants to impose their will upon the world . . . ”

I then asked: “With Antonio de la Cruz, the CruZader, what message are you sending out to your audiences?”

“He’s not a mindless soldier for the Church,” Morales stated with earnest conviction. “He’s ready to dole out justice on anyone. Meaning, if he encounters a priest molesting a kid, he’s not going to brush it under the rug. He is not an apologist, and nor am I . . . The Church is a beautiful institution and it recognizes that it has flaws. That’s the beauty of Catholicism to me. It’s human and it knows it has flaws. To me, Catholicism is recognizing you’re a sinner first. Then asking yourself, ‘What am I going to do about it?’ That’s the message of CruZader. We are not a perfect Church. If the CruZader finds flaws within his Church, he’s going to take them on just as hard as he’d taken on the Klan or a radical Muslim or a possessed person in need of an exorcism.”

And the CruZader is such a wrecking force! Check out issue one and delve into the fierce story of Antonio de la Cruz, the piously effective CruZader, and his struggle between battling the forces of evil and balancing ancient traditions with modern times.


Rodriguez Email:

Rodriguez Blog:

Morales Website: