- David Gonzales (cartoonist)
David Gonzales Born 1964
Occupation cartoonist Known for creating the Homies
Gonzales began drawing comics while he was in high school. The characters of these amateur comic stories were barrio guys, as Gonzales grew up in the tough streets of a poverty-ridden barrio. The main character of his strip was called "Hollywood". His schoolmates liked his drawings so much that they began asking Gonzales to draw some strips for them.
Eventually, Gonzales made his way to Lowrider Magazine, where he had his monthly comic strip, also named "Hollywood". While drawing for Low Rider magazine, Gonzales became inspired by other people that he knew. He admits that the "Homie" character, "La Gata" ("The Cat") is loosely based on his wife. Gonzales slowly but steadily introduced the "Homies" to the public through his comic strip at Low Rider magazine.
He also sold "Homie" products on beach stands across California. Gonzales drew his characters on t-shirts, which were later sold to customers. He and his wife also sold other types of products related to the "Homies".
In 1998, he released the first set of "Homies", sponsored by Lowrider magazine. The "Homies" figures were also sold in supermarket machines that year.
Gonzales initially had trouble selling his product, in particular because the LAPD claimed that the "Homies" glorified gang life. Many stores stopped selling the Homies. Met with the challenge of re-creating his characters to ensure that the product would sell well during a comeback, Gonzales went back to the drawing board and gave the "Homies" a new life when he gave each individual character a biography as a well to do person.
When the "Homies" returned to retail stores and supermarkets, such as Walmart and Safeway, Gonzales was also able to introduce "Los Mijos", another toy that he invented and that are co-related to the "Homies". Once again sponsored by Low Rider Magazine, the "Homies" returned with such new items as posters, Die-Cast cars and other articles.
Gonzales claims, however, that after he gave "Homies" characters positiveand life-affirming biographies, the police have actually met him at public functions multiple times and some officers have ordered figures from him personally.
The Homies are a group of tightly knit Chicano buddies who have grown up in the Mexican American barrio ( neighborhood ) of "Quien Sabe", ( who knows ) located in East Los Angeles. The four main characters are Hollywood, Smiley, Pelon, and Bobby Loco. Their separate and distinct personalities and characteristics together make up a single, composite entity that is the "HOMIES." In an inner-city world plagued by poverty, oppression, violence, and drugs, the Homies have formed a strong and binding cultural support system that enables them to overcome the surrounding negativity and allows for laughter and good times as an anecdote for reality. The word "Homies" itself is a popular street term that refers to someone from your hometown or, in a broader sense, anyone that you would acknowledge as your friend. In use in the West Coast Latino community for decades, the word "Homies" has crossed over into the now mainstream Hip-Hop street culture that has taken America's young people by storm.
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