Axel Alonso: Editor in Chief
Felipe Smith: Writer/Design of the New Look
All-New Ghost Rider: Robbie Reyes
The lowrider culture is a tight-knit community that's built upon creativity, passion, the love of classic American cars, and of course the family unit. Yet regardless if you're a solo rider or in a car club, the underlying theme of our culture is based upon the love and loyalty we share with our cars and our extended families. But it is in these relationships, both old and new, that we find the proper alignment that helps create the world we love. Our world, as stubborn as it can sometimes be, always finds room to explore new options and the love is a universal feeling shared by other parts of the car world.
It was decades ago where lowriders were frowned upon and not a welcome entry to many car shows, but nowadays we've taken the spotlight while also becoming a highlight for many of today's most popular shows. In addition, we're slowly gaining the respect of the hot rod world for our fit and finishes, and while they may not easily accept the hydraulics and the wire wheels, we've definitely earned their respect when it comes to the quality of our builds.
That said, as our reach and culture expands, we're excited to have been able to team up with Marvel Comics for what is definitely an industry first for both of us. The launch of this collaborative cover marks the first time that two publishing giants (from two different worlds) have worked together and we're more than excited to have been recognized as a valuable force. But the excitement is one which extends far beyond just the Lowrider Magazine brand. In the end we're excited that Marvel recognizes our readership as a viable market and in turn that means that the culture we've collectively built, maintained, and expanded is growing and catching on.
So when you question why we decided to do this, it was simply to give our culture a chance to expand in ways we've never seen before. So the next time you see a lowrider make an appearance in a movie, in print, or in a commercial, remember that it's all because of the blood, sweat, and tears we've all invested in a lifestyle and culture that speaks to the soul.
On that note, this cover marks a very special edition put together by the artisans over at Marvel Comics and we did a little sit-down and Q&A with the masterminds behind the Ghost Rider brand as well as the All-New Ghost Rider that will be in bookstores and comic houses soon enough. Enjoy!
Would this be the first time that a comic book teamed up with an automotive magazine to launch a new title? And what made Lowrider Magazine a good fit as a partner?
Axel: Yes it would be. This is definitely a first in our industry and we're very excited to be partners. I was the one who said we should definitely touch base with Lowrider Magazine on this project. I'm half Mexican and grew up in California, so I used to watch lowriders and I have always been well aware of the magazine as a brand and as a culture, so it was tailor made and, lo and behold, it all came together and we're here now.
How do you feel the new Ghost Rider fits in with our readers?
Axel: I think Lowrider Magazine readers could identify with the character and the backdrops of the new Ghost Rider. It's the overall vibe and aesthetic of the book that will catch them and the main character is also born in East L.A., so the book very much borrows from an aesthetic I'm very aware of and Lowrider is definitely a crucial and integral part of that.
How did you decide that the new character of Robbie Reyes was going to be an East L.A. native who drives a supercharged car inspired by a Dodge Charger?
Axel: Ghost Rider is part of an initiative I set forth for the group to find a number of characters that were cool and the idea was to reinvent them and give them a new life. Editor Mark Paniccia talked with Felipe — the writer — and they came up with the idea of turning the white motorcycle-riding Johnny Blaze (Ghost Rider) into something new. That is how Robbie Reyes came to life as a kid born in East L.A. who drives a tricked-out and haunted car inspired by a 1969 Dodge Charger.
Felipe: The biggest thing is that he's from East L.A., so I wanted him to be a black sheep in his community. It's not uncommon for many youth in East L.A. to want a lowrider because of family influence and surroundings, but we wanted Robbie Reyes to be a black sheep in the community. The car also plays a big role in how he raises money through street racing in order to take care of his brother. The car was also used for a lot of things on television that I used to watch, so there was definitely influence from my childhood memories.
Comic books have been known to implement the use of cars here and there, but what prompted the heavy use and integration of the automotive lifestyle in the all-new Ghost Rider brand? And would this be a first for any comic brand?
To my knowledge it would be. Our comics definitely reflect the car world and our artists use references from all around the world, but this would definitely be the first time that it was deeply influenced by automotive culture. You'll see this as a common theme throughout this comic.
How do you feel our readers will be able to relate to this new character?
Felipe: Robbie Reyes will appeal to a young audience because he's living the struggle. He's a high school senior that's street smart and he takes care of himself and his mentally impaired brother. His character is all about hope, so once he gets the power, he finds ways out of his situation and sways away from a life of violence. I think every teenager can identify with him because we've all wanted something and have always had hope regardless of the need in mind.
Will this comic book appeal to those who aren't into comics? Or those new to the comic book scene?
Felipe: Yes. This will appeal to even a non comic book fan. I write based on my own experiences and I also use a lot of references when it comes to touching upon backdrops and situations so people are sure to enjoy the realism involved.
Axel: This is a very cinematic comic book. It's very accessible and you can get into it just like a movie, or movie trailer without having prior knowledge of his character.
How will this Ghost Rider be different from the others?
Axel: In comparison to previous Ghost Riders, he's young and inexperienced in life, but his harsh inner-city upbringing, overall distrust for most people, and serious contempt for his violent surroundings make him the perfect host to introduce a new experience.
In closing, we'd like to thank the crew over at Marvel Comics for making this happen. Though it may seem like a comical marketing gimic—no pun intended—the truth of the matter is that Marvel Comics is a powerhouse responsible for some of our fondest childhood memories. As a brand, Marvel draws huge parallels to lowriding in the simple fact that we are both movements that influence the next generation of comic book lovers and lowriders. That said, Marvel is a brand that's dedicated to their craft much like
Lowrider Magazine is to the scene, so by allowing us to co-brand with them signifies that we as a movement (and as a culture) have created something that permeates the mainstream while providing permanency to the lowrider lifestyle. Till next time...keep your setups charged, your fittings tight, and your ground contacts clean.