Rod Espinosa is a Filipino comics creator, writer, and illustrator. In addition to his lengthy work Neotopia, for Antarctic Press, Espinosa has done extensive work adapting and illustrating literary classics into comics form, as well as creating comic book stories of important events from American history.
Espinosa was born in the Philippines. He graduated from the Don Bosco technical college with a certificate in architectural drafting and got a degree in advertising art from Santo Tomas University in Manila. He worked for various companies in the fields of advertising, software entertainment and film before finally settling into a life of a comic book author.
Espinosa's work on The Courageous Princess at Antarctic Press earnt him a nomination for Promising New Talent and Best Artist for the 2000 Ignatz Awards and a 2002 Eisner Award nomination for Best Title for Younger Readers.
As both writer and artist, he authored the Neotopia series (4 volumes, 140 pages each), which was published in graphic novel form. In 2006, Novotopia, the German edition of Neotopia, got a nomination for the Max und Moritz Prize in the category 'Bester Comic für Kinder' (best comic book for younger audience).
His past work include the Battle Girlz series, a manga novel adaptation of Alice in Wonderland, The Alamo, Dinowars and Metadocs. He has also written and conceptualized popular Antarctic Press titles such as I Hunt Monsters and Herc and Thor.
His work is also featured in a series of American history comic books dealing with the subjects of George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Lewis and Clark, The Boston Tea Party, The Alamo, Jackie Robinson, the Underground Railroad, Abraham Lincoln, Patrick Henry, Cesar Chavez, The American Revolution, the Transcontinental Railroad, and Clara Barton.
Espinosa's latest endeavor is creating, developing, drawing, and self-publishing his own game board, titled Adventure Kingdom. He is also working on the continuation of The Courageous Princess in between freelance jobs. He works on The Prince of Heroes series of online and print graphic novels, of which two volumes were released early 2010.
In 2008, Espinosa won an international contest sponsored by the United Nations and the World Health Organization entitled Stop Tuberculosis. The Stop TB comic book educating people about how to avoid Tuberculosis featured Soccer star Luis Figo as the spokesman.
In 2009, Espinosa joined 60 other Filipino artists from all over the world and contributed to the tribute book Renaissance: Ang Muling Pagsilang, the sales of which were donated to the victims of typhoon Ondoy.
In 2010, Espinosa returned to draw a second book for the United Nations, featuring a "dream team" of soccer players led by Luís Figo. Score the Goals features the Millennium Development Goals as outlined by the U.N., WHO, and the Food and Agriculture Organization.
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Neotopia is a four-part comic book miniseries (consisting of twenty issues) written and drawn by Espinosa, and published by Antarctic Press. It is set 800 years after the rise of a movement which tried to destroy the capitalist system and build a new, better world.
Neotopia features the supposed Grand Duchess of Mathenia, Nalyn, environmentally friendly inventor Philios, the faerie Nimn, the telepathic and telekinetic dolphin Ki-Ek, elven bodyguard Marro, robot warrior Sergeant Tinbolt, the Chiropterian Monti, and Tridactylian professor Felder.
In the comic series, the nation of Neotopia is gone, but other nations have sprung up. The comics follow a conflict between Mathenia, which follows the precepts of the Neotopians, and Krossos, which is a dystopian industrial dictatorship, ruled by the inhuman Lord Emperors. The change in humanity resulted in the emergence or re-emergence of various nonhuman civilizations, including wood-elves, the bat-like chiropterans, Dalphinii dolphins, and the alien Tridactylians.
The story begins with Princess Nalydania, a woman who orders her serving girl, Nalyn, to impersonate her at all public functions, including lessons. She leaves to attend an important ball in another country. The land of Krossos declares war on Mathenia, and attempts to kidnap the look-alike Nalyn whom they mistake for the actual Princess Nalydania. Nalyn escapes with the help of friends, and searches for allies in the war.
In her travels, Nalyn and her friends encounter the humanoid hyena corsairs, the utopian island of Eriden, and a queendom of amazons on the island of Eriland. In the final issue, Nalyn and her allies attack Krossos' fortress capital. Within it, they find substantial amounts of gold, patents to all known devices, and deeds to the entire world. They find the Lord Emperors of Krossos — who it is revealed are men who forsook their humanity in order to gain 'perfect' bodies through technology. They desperately offer Nalyn a share of their wealth; 40% of the world, as well as technological immortality, only to discover that she set fire to their library of patents and deeds on the way in. She offers them a choice to surrender and let the old world die, or refuse and die themselves. They refuse, and she leaves, ordering her forces to destroy the palace.
The story of Neotopia is decidedly socialist. Its portrayal of the final days of the old world, and most notably of its greatest empire, Elyssion, is harsh. In a series of monologues written from the viewpoint of the Mathenians, Espinosa touches on such issues as capitalist oligarchy, pollution, the lack of community in large cities, slave labour, gender bias, and cruelty to animals and children.[original research?]
- The Courageous Princess
- Battle Girlz
- The Alamo
- I Hunt Monsters (Antarctic Press)
- Herc and Thor (Antarctic Press)
- U.S. Presidents Biographies series (ABDO, A Family of Educational Publisher):
- Historical Animals series (ABDO)
- Dolly the Cloned Sheep
- Bud the Traveling Dog
- comic book adaptations of literacy classics (ABDO)
- Graphic Classics series (Eureka Productions):
- Super Roommates
- Evil Diva
- Courageous Princess — writer and artist
- Alice in Wonderland Manga (Dark Horse Comics) — adaptation and art
- A Christmas Carol (Dark Horse Comics) — adaptation and art
||This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. (May 2010)|
- Cynthia de Castro (8 September 2008). "The Prince of Heroes". AJPress. Retrieved 30 April 2010.
- Buchanan, Rebecca (7 September 2009). "Comics For the Classroom: Take Two". Retrieved 1 May 2010.
- Ellis, Warren (3 November 2000). "Come In Alone" (47). Comic Book Resources. Retrieved 1 May 2010.
- Carter, R.J. (18 February 2006). "Comic Book Review: New Alice in Wonderland #1". www.the-trades.com. Burlee LLC. Retrieved 1 May 2010.
- "At the Brookline Public Libraries: June 14". Brookline TAB. 12 June 2007. Retrieved 1 May 2010.
- "Vaincre la tuberculose par la BD". www.auracan.com (in French). Auracan. Retrieved 1 May 2010.
- "Figo marca goles a la tuberculosis desde las viñetas de un nuevo tebeo" (in Spanish). Mundinteractivos, S.A. Retrieved 1 May 2010.