LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - This is the first in an ongoing feature series highlighting people in Southwest Louisiana:
Johnny Segura is a self-taught comic book artist who grew up in Lake Charles and who now has several published comic book series. He was recently featured at a book signing and print sale at Paper Heroes, a comic book and trading card shop in Lake Charles where Segura often went as a boy to purchase the latest issue of various series he read.
Segura has now come full circle, with several series under his belt: he is an artist and writer for "Demon's Redemption," "Billy the Face" and "Pinocchio Von Helsing." He is also an artist for "Dead Beats," "The War Forged" and "Pipe Dreams" and a script writer for "Dead Colony."
Segura says "Pipe Dreams" is his silent and violent tribute to Ninetendo's Super Mario Brothers series, which produced the iconic video game characters Mario and Luigi. "Dead Beats" is a post-apocalyptic drama, the characters of which Segura describes as "a Frankenstein Jack Kerouac, a cyborg Allen Ginsberg and a mutant William Burroughs." "Dead Colony" tells the story of an ant colony invaded by zombie ants.
Segura has made art prints for various series, including My Little Pony, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, The Legend of Zelda, Doug, Animaniacs and Freakazoid. In deciding which characters to include in his prints, Segura said that his decisions are partly based on what is popular and partly based on nostalgia from the comics and cartoons he grew up with.
Segura describes his artistic style as "cartoony," "animated" and "action-driven." Among his artistic influences is Robert Kirkman, his favorite comic book author, who wrote "Invincible."
"Whenever my style was getting to the point to where it was really developing, I was really heavily into Joe Mad, Humberto Ramos and Kohta Hirano," he added.
"[In order to get my work published,] at first, I went through the only means I knew: going through web sites. They came out horribly, because I had no idea what I was doing, and all the pages would be distorted and wrong… It came to a point where I just gave those away," Segura admitted.
Segura later met up with independent publisher CCP in Austin, Texas, and began publishing his series "Dead Beats." Segura now prints with Urban Myth in El Paso, Texas.
"What's really great is whenever people you don't even know come up to your table [at a convention] and like your stuff, and they want to give you money for your [art]. I guess that's the biggest payoff – not monetarily, because honestly, if it came down to it, I wouldn't care if I got money for it. I just like doing art ... I've been doing this for as long as I can remember," Segura said.
Segura also admitted that he is a repeat offender as an artist: growing up, he was often in trouble at school for drawing on the back of tests.
When asked where he sees himself in five years, Segura said, "Hopefully still doing this." He also advises his fans to "keep drawing."
To view a slideshow of Segura's work, visit http://greaterlakecharles.kplctv.com/photo-gallery/arts-culture/59908-swla-spotlight-johnny-segura .
For more on Segura or to view his comic books and art galleries, visit http://johnnysegura.com/index.html . Segura is also on Facebook, YouTube, DeviantArt and eBay.