Mexicans With Swords – Jarred Luján Talks ‘Twin Blades’

by James Ferguson

Making comics is awesome and sharing in their creation is a wonderful thing. I had a chance to see a seed planted for a story that quickly blossomed into a full-fledged comic by speaking with Jarred Luján, the writer of Twin Blades, currently on Kickstarter. It moved from an idea to a creative team, with artist Julio Suarez, colorist Rocco Langg, and letterer Gabriela Downie, to a crowdfunded campaign pretty quickly. I caught up with Luján to talk about the project, this fascinating world and what we can expect from the comic.

James Ferguson: What is the elevator pitch for Twin Blades?

Jarred Luján: Mexicans with swords…or: Estranged siblings must use magical swords to defend the sun from a warrior of the past.

JF: Twin Blades seems rooted in history and folklore. How did you research the elements and names for the story?

JL: Aztec mythology and history has been something I’ve been around since I was a kid. My family has always taken pride in our lineage, so it’s been something that I’ve always had an interest in. I’ve spent a lot of time studying Aztec history through academic channels, but one of my favorite works for that kind of research is Fifth Sun by Camilla Townsend, who uniquely blends the mythos with the literal history of the Aztecs to tell their story. It’s brilliant.

Many of the names in the book are either names I’ve heard of previously, like Xiomara and Basilio, or ones that Aztec mythology itself names their gods: Xolotl and Tezcatlipoca.

JF: How did the creative team come together for Twin Blades?

JL: Twitter! I committed pretty early to wanting to do this comic with an entirely latine team, so I spent about as much time as I did scripting the book as I did hunting an artist that shared a cultural background with me and had the style I envisioned. I found the artist, Julio Suarez, through Twitter, and he knew our colorist Rocco Langg from previous collaborations. So, I pretty much got them as a package, which is great because they are phenomenal on the page together. As for our letterer, Gabriela Downie, I’m a fan of her previous lettering work, and I was determined to rope her into this as well.

JF: How did the designs for the Twin Blades come about?

JL: A lot of work, hahaha. So, the Twin Blades themselves are macuahuitl, an Aztec club sword that was usually forged from wood with obsidian blades bound to them. The Twin Blades are forged from the eyes of the god Xolotl, one imbued with lightning abilities and the other with fire, which are two things commonly associated with Xolotl as well. From there, we just wanted to incorporate elements of Aztec mythos that would have made sense like iconography that paid tribute to other gods in a logical way: like the god of thunder Tlaloc having a place on the macuahuitl that wields lightning. We also incorporated tributes to the Nahuatl language, what the Aztecs spoke, by including their symbol for fire on the one with fire abilities. The brunt of this work was carried out by Julio, with me really just spitballing with him. I think, if nothing else, the macuahuitl are a great example of how much passion and love the two of us have for this kind of story—there’s so much thought and care put into them and I’m really excited for people to see them in action.

JF: Is Twin Blades intended as a one-shot or are there plans to expand the story?

JL: It was written and intended as a one-shot so long as I have to fund it on Kickstarter to do so. The truth of the matter is that it keeps me up at night for the idea that I may not be able to finish a story I intended to tell, I don’t think I have it in me to tell a mini-series that I have to fund on Kickstarter. Much love and respect to those that do, I just don’t think that is the right move for me, personally.
I think 44 pages is my sweet spot. It gives me room to make people dig my characters while also giving the artists enough room to make some banging, absolutely bonkers pages.

With that being said, if people really want more Twin Blades, I set this story like a hundred years in the future. There’s a wealth of history with the two macuahuitl to explore. I think if I revisit this world, it’ll be somewhere in the past. I’d like to explore where these things were during some of the larger events in Mexico’s history. There’s a lot to think about, but we’ll have to see where we end up.

Comicon would like to thank Jarred Luján for speaking with us. The Twin Blades Kickstarter campaign runs through April 15th, 2021. It has already surpassed its funding goal.

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