This is an article about me written by my buddy Steve that I forgot about that, was publsihed last summer. Oh, well. Better later than never. In his inimitable style, the article is actually more well written than the dialogue in my comic. Damn.
Let My Robots Go!
Don’t call Joe Alterio a comic-book guy. He’s a storyteller. His medium of choice happens to be comics, or “sequential narrative” as the highbrow will have it, but in another life, he freely admits, he would be a shadow puppeteer. The point is getting the point across. Get it?
Sitting in a Capitol Hill coffeeshop, Joe looks perfectly comfortable behind his warmly glowing laptop, watching the neighborhood traffic- mostly stylishly disheveled twentysomethings- flow glamorously by. “Of course,” he says, correcting himself, “It’s no secret that comic books are the refugee of outcast young males.”
Hailing originally from Boston, MA and currently residing in Seattle, Joe spent eight years living in Los Angeles, earning a film degree from USC and afterwards doing animation for the likes of Nickelodeon and Adam Sandler. Joe turned his long last year in tinseltown in all its frustration and glory into 365, a graphic novella/comic journal wherein he rendered his daily struggles into three-panel diary entries, short, simple, and sweet. There’s a sense of immediacy to the way the story is told - written as it’s actually happening- not to mention a certain existential horror in the way that the writer has no better idea of how his story will end than we do. As 365’s tumultuous year progresses, Joe spends time both with the important, life-changing events and the tedium of daily existence. The simultaneously simple and complex moments build towards an intimate portrait of an artist suffering the post-college careerless/lovesick blues. 365 can be found at select bookstores as well as from www.joealterio.com. Daily strips can be downloaded to your ipod freely from www.clickwheel.net.
Critical response to his work has been uniformly positive, though Joe is hardly one to rest on his laurels. Upon arriving in Seattle, he began his ‘Robot Revolution’ Poster Series- not-quite-ironic posters wherein sentient robot revolutionaries (the Robo-equality party) urge their fellow robot-laborers to rise up against the injustice of servitude. The posters, reminiscent of labor-movement era propaganda, are rendered in bold colors and confrontational imagery, and are both hilarious and strangely touching. The posters have been shown and sold in Seattle as well as other parts of the country, though Joe isn’t content to keep the robots stuck to the wall. “The printed page is a dinosaur waiting to die,” he says. “Everything lies in the internet.” Joe sees the internet as a way to completely flip the way information is presented to the reader, for instance allowing interactive comics where the reader is dropped in the center of everything and allowed to explore.
Perhaps taking his own advice, Joe has recently launched his most ambitious offering yet: a serial web-comic based around the sprawling, dystopian world of the robot revolution posters. The storyline imagines an alternate present wherein robot laborers have begun striking against the capitalist society that enslaves them. Call it socio-political commentary or just call it entertainment, Joe’s robot revolution begins in March and can be found for free at www.robotrev.com. Viva la revolution!