With a new comic book trilogy on the way after a successful first comic book trilogy, animated video short, and selectable player avatar in S2 Games’ Heroes of Newerth, Aluna’s mark on the media world has grown. Created and developed by actress/producer/writer Paula Garcés and her husband Antonio Hernandez, Aluna premiered at the 2010 Comic-Con with its self-titled first comic book. Garcés was the model/motion-capture actress for the animated short and the Aluna video game character, and the alternate cover of The World of Aluna, now available in print on Amazon and your e-reader from iTunes, Kindle, Nook, ComiXology, DriveThru Comics, Google Play, Overdrive, IVerse, Biblioboard, Madefire, Axis360, Blio, Entitle, EPIC!, Trajectory, SpinWhiz, Smash Words, Kobo, and wherever eBooks are sold along with related Aluna merchandise.
Aluna is a mystic tribal princess in the 1500s who returns to defend her homeland of Colombia after she was taken from her native land of by conquistadors and raised in Spain. Colombian native Garcés recently answered our questions on The World of Luna, its development, social movements among Latinos and women, family life, and the road ahead.
Please describe the creative process of starting the Latina superhero world of Aluna with your husband Antonio nine years ago once you had the basic concept centering on the Colombian Hogi tribe’s Aluna philosophy. What are specific female/Latino themes and ideas you want to keep throughout the Aluna franchise?
Well, part of creating Aluna was to fill a void of misrepresentation of Female/Latino in the Superhero world. It was important to do it in a way that wasn’t lipstick and heels only. I wanted it to be organic and natural as if it was a male superhero. So I think the answer to your question will be to keep the flow of her story and her roots interlocked with just great superhero storytelling. First and foremost this is a superhero story, it just happens to have a Latina character at the center.
Please describe your work with Aluna artists Adrian Barbu, Antim Marius, and Casandra Ciocian. How did you make choices on the characters’ costumes (fashion, color, etc.) to balance appeal and practical use?
The search for the right artist was not easy. I love the feel of realism in comic art (just my preference). So we interviewed hundreds of artists from around the world before we choose Deveo Media to lay the art down for us. I looked at many images of how they dressed in the 1500s and added a bit of a pirate costume with a sprinkle of Catherine Zeta-Jones’ character from the Zorro movies to design her costume. The art, pencils, and coloring were AAA for us. They did an amazing job laying down our vision on paper. As for the characters, I had them draw a few different styles from my descriptions and chose the one that felt right for me that represented a villain, a lover, and a mother and father in my eyes.
What historical elements are changed and/or enhanced in the Aluna narratives?
We had an amazing writing team working with Antonio Hernandez and myself (Ryan Galletta, Dooma Wendschuh, and Corey May). They are the writing geniuses behind the Assassins Creed and Batman Arkham Origins video games. They understood it was important for us to make sure that the atrocities [committed against] many native people in that time be represented while also interjecting new mythology of the Americas into this storyline. So we kept the baseline of the true history of the 16th century and added the what-if alternative of a demigod coming in and kicking their ass.
How did some of your previous experiences in your personal and professional life help you in the Aluna development?
Being an actress is not easy, and being a Latina actress is even harder. Most of the roles out there are not written for Latinas and the ones that are, are almost always difficult to get because there are so many Latinas trying to get them. Aluna’s story is very similar. She never fits in anywhere she goes. The Spanish never accept her as a proper lady, and the natives never see her as a true native South American. She is always trying to prove herself to everyone in her life. I would almost say Aluna is always auditioning to the world but never gets the role.
I enjoyed reading the vibrant comic book series with my daughters. What do you feel are the key elements in creating a universe with strong narratives that connect to audiences?
I love that you read this to your daughters! That is a dream come true for me so thank you! Growing up, I loved reading my Archie comic books, but I never had a choice of going into a comic book store and having many choices of female superhero comic books. Times are changing and choices are coming but there is still an uphill battle. The key elements in this Universe as I see it is that Women can be strong whether they wear a dress or not and do not need to hide behind a man to be a hero.
Family is definitely a key part of your life, which also benefits your professional career. How do you envision future opportunities for entertainers involving their family in their work? What role might new technologies (virtual reality, etc.) and media outlets (streaming, etc.) play in these opportunities?
Well, technology has definitely brought change to the family dynamic good and bad. The good: If you go to YouTube, you will find many families becoming celebrities in the streaming world by posting their family together reviewing video games, cooking, or just building things. This side has brought them together. Now the bad: Families are not interacting too much anymore because they are entranced [by] their phones, tablets, computers. I’m hoping that both worlds get closer and find a balance where families can interact and enjoy technology TOGETHER!
What are some future plans for the World of Aluna? Will we see a possible video series? Are you partnering with other Colombian actresses/actors, filmmakers, and entertainment executives?
We have many surprises coming in 2019. I can’t say right now, but I will say keep an eye open as I will be teasing a few things soon…
What are some of your future projects in the entertainment world?
I am currently filming season 2 of Netflix’s hit comedy series On My Block reprising my role of Geny Martinez, mother of four kids, and this will take me through the end of 2018.
I like production and creating and I think you will hear a bit more of me being behind the scenes in the coming years.
I am sure we will. Thank you very much for your time.