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Father’s Comic Brings Him Closer to Son

(This article was written by Steven Hughes and appeared in the April 2024 issue of Explore Harlingen Magazine.)

Far-from-home income-bringing opportunities call out that’ll ensure stability at home. Traveling for work brings challenges to a family’s table. One less driver, cook, or presence. That was the situation for one Harlingen father and his son until the comic Blood Equinox entered.

Tony Valdez, creator of Blood Equinox and an oilfield worker, started the comic to stay connected with his 8-year-old autistic son. His son constantly demanded different products one could make from comic characters — posters, figurines, and T-shirts, to name a few.

Tony Valdez's son playing with action figures. Courtesy of Tony Valdez.

“I’ve always wanted him to be proud of me,” Valdez said over Google Meet. “I’m always away, and for him to have something to look at and see me every day, even though I’m not there. It’s a good feeling.”

His son’s love for the comic was instant, adding “Daddy” to Valdez’s product names, such as “Daddy toy” for the action figures. Valdez works with Eric Zertuche from Illinois on Blood Equinox figures. After connecting on Facebook, the two have already created a couple of action figures Valdez’s son gets to enjoy before the general public gets their hands on them.

Valdez is in tandem with Ren McKinzie, the artist, and Hayley Zertuche, the editor. With their efforts, they’ve already prepared several characters and stories. The poster boy for this series is  Hakkor the Crusador, a man who saves communities he randomly visits. Hakkor reflects Valdez’s life and mentality on how he would handle the situations told in the comic’s stories.

Tony Valdez with a cutout of his character Hakkor the Crusador. Courtesy of Tony Valdez.

Blood Equinox is the first time Valdez has ever written something for a comic, but he and his editor enjoy the story told. Valdez has been hunting for a publisher and may be close to choosing one. Although he’s looked at some publishers, his eye is on Dark Horse Comics as he grew up reading their comics.

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