Alcaraz at Comic-Con 2015
San Diego, California, U.S.
Lalo Alcaraz is an American cartoonist. He is most known for being the author of the comic La Cucaracha, the first nationally syndicated, politically themed Latino daily comic strip. Launched in 2002, La Cucaracha has become one of the most controversial in the history of American comic strips. He is also the creator of "Daniel D. Portado", a satirical Hispanic character who in 1994 called on Mexican immigrants to return south—"reverse immigration"—as a response to the controversial Proposition 187. In 2012, Daniel D. Portado returned to the headlines as a result of Mitt Romneys call, during his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination, on undocumented immigrants to exercise "self-deportation."
A leading figure in the Chicano movement, Alcaraz also contributes political cartoons for LA Weekly and hosts a radio show on KPFK called the "Pocho Hour of Power." He also contributed a work of art to the 2008 Obama campaign called "Viva Obama". Alcaraz recently taught as a faculty member at Otis College of Art & Design. He will be teaching illustration at Rio Hondo College in Whittier, CA, starting in fall 2016. Alcaraz was also Consulting Producer and Writer on the Seth MacFarlane–executive produced animated show (created by Family Guy show runner Mark Hentemann) Bordertown, which ran one 13-episode season on Fox. It featured the first animated Mexican-American or even Latino family on primetime American television. Lalo Alcaraz also served as producer along with Gustavo Arellano on comedian Al Madrigal's TV special for Fusion, Half Like Me. Alcaraz also consults on films, including Pixar's Coco, coming 2017. (See Dia De Los Muertos controversy below.) Alcaraz is also a performer, and is portraying a Mexican bounty hunter in the upcoming George Plimpton & Jim Lujan feature animated film, Reveangance (2017).
Alcaraz was born in San Diego in 1964 and grew up on the U.S./Mexico border, giving him a dual outlook on life (not "Mexican" enough for his relatives, not "American" enough for some in the U.S.). He attended San Diego State University, where he received his bachelor's degree "With Distinction" in Art and Environmental Design in 1987. In 1991, Alcaraz earned his master's degree in architecture from the University of California, Berkeley.
In addition to the daily strip, Alcaraz has published 4 books, La Cucaracha (Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2004), Migra Mouse: Political Cartoons on Immigration (RDF Books, 2004), "Latino USA: A Cartoon History", (Basic Books 2000), also the 15th Anniversary Edition of Latino USA and "A Most Imperfect Union", (Basic Books 2014), another history book in collaboration with Ilan Stavans. Alcaraz is also an active speaker on the college circuit. He is represented by The Agency Group in Los Angeles.
Alcaraz is the "Jefe-in-Chief" of POCHO.COM, a website specializing in "Ñews y Satire".
In response to the Walt Disney corporation's attempt to trademark Dia de Los Muertos, Alcaraz helped lead a social activist campaign which eventually led to Disney's abandoning the idea. In particular, Alcaraz's "Muerto Mouse" (itself an offshoot of his early "Migra Mouse") criticized the Disney campaign with the byline "It's coming to trademark your cultura."
Alcaraz has received five Southern California Journalism Awards for Best Cartoon in Weekly Papers, and numerous other awards and honors, including "The Latino Spirit Award" from the California Legislature and the Office of the Lt. Governor, honors from the Los Angeles City Council, The California Chicano News Media Association, the UC Berkeley Chicano Latino Alumni Association, the United Farm Workers of America, the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, the Center for the Study of Political Graphics, and The Rockefeller Foundation.
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- "Our management and editorial honchos". Pocho. Retrieved 31 October 2013.
- Lalo Alcaraz (7 May 2013). "Walt Disney, Inc. wants to trademark 'Dia de los Muertos' (toon)". Pocho. Retrieved 31 October 2013.
- Arellano, Gustavo (8 May 2013). "Lalo Alcaraz Creates Amazing "Muerto Mouse" Cartoon in Response to Disney "Dia de los Muertos" Fiasco". Blogs.ocweekly.com. Retrieved 31 October 2013.
- Renteria, Ramon (12 May 2013). "Ramon Renteria: 'Muerto Mouse' seeks cash, not cheese". El Paso Times. Retrieved 31 October 2013.
- "Local Hero: Lalo Alcaraz | Hispanic Heritage Month | Local Heroes". KCET. Retrieved 15 September 2010.