Yehudi Mercado Brings a Cartoon Rodeo to Austin Books
Celebrating the release of 'Pantalones, TX' this Saturday
By Wayne Alan Brenner, 4:43PM, Wed. Mar. 6
Yehudi … Mercado?
That's right, the Austin-based comics creator who was responsible for the popular graphic-novel series Buffalo Speedway – that fast & furious narrative about pizza-delivery drivers on The Busiest Pizza-Delivery Day In History.
(We wouldn't want you to mistake him for all those other Yehudi Mercados out there.)
"Actually," says Mercado, "I thought of Pantalones, TX before Buffalo Speedway."
So, um, it's not precisely … new? But we thought –
"Pantalones started out as a pitch for an animated series," says the artist. "And I pitched it to Disney – and they loved it, and it was about to be optioned. But that was right when Michael Eisner stepped down and Bob Iger stepped in, and he put a freeze on all options. It all happened within a week. Lawyers were about to draw up the paperwork, and then Eisner steps down, and, basically, they laid off the whole team."
Oh, man. What a business, right? But, then, Mercado produced the hilarious, definitely adult Buffalo Speedway – and now that story's run its course – and so the man's finally re-focused his talents on this wild, all-ages tale of … um … ?
"The basic premise of Pantalones, TX is a sort of a G-rated Southpark," says Mercado. "There's a quirky little town, and the kids sort of rule the town. All the adventures revolve around the kids."
Austin Chronicle: Kind of like a junior version of Smoky and the Bandit, right? As the press release says.
Yehudi Mercado: Yeah, those were my favorite shows, growing up. Smoky and the Bandit, The Dukes of Hazzard."
AC: But, like you said, that was years ago. What I don't understand is how nobody else has picked it up. Because I know Buffalo Speedway, the way you write, and, in the first place, it's really well done, the characters are engaging, and it's funny as hell. And, in the second place, the fastest growing population in the States is Hispanic. So how the hell is your work not a multi-million dollar industry yet?
Mercado: [laughs] That's what I'm aiming for! Remember, like, back about six years ago, there was a show called El Tigre on Nickelodeon? But it was still a little like white-people's version of Mexicans. It was just a little off, like, oh, they gotta wear sombreros, everybody wears sombreros – that kind of thing. And Pantalones, TX is Latino, yeah, but it's Tex-Mex. It's Texicans. Everybody's got that sort of western twang and the Texas attitude, but they're still Mexican.
AC: And is this book a one-off kind of thing? Or do you have more storylines planned after this?
Mercado: Definitely! There's an animated short, called "Ghost Town and Down," which is about how the Sheriff and Chico – the kid – have to team up to prevent the town from becoming a ghost town. And the second book, that's coming out next, and it's called Night of the Underwear-Wolf – one of the girl characters becomes an underwear-wolf.
AC: Underwear-wolf? Bwa! [laughs] And there's more after that, too, right?
Mercado: Yeah, I originally wrote up a bunch of storylines for the animated series, so there's about ten already thought out – as books or animated shorts.
And those will be coming out in the months ahead, of course. But right now – this weekend – this Saturday – you can learn all about them and get yourself a copy of the first book and grab yourself some free BBQ and maybe even a special-edition t-shirt at the rodeolicious Pantalones, TX party at good ol' ABC.
BONUS: Don't forget to stop by Guzu Gallery right next door, to check out the cool new Deep Cuts show of music posters by some of the top artists in the country.