From Parts Unknown With.
Er, With From Parts Unknown
new idols now that Blassie is gone.
my noble readers know of my appreciation for masked wrestling.
I've been tuned into Lucha since I can remember El Solitario
and Mil Mascaras appearing for LeBell promotions in LA.
Parts Unknown, the premier publication for mask aficionados,
has been putting out fantastic publications since the mid-1990s.
I was lucky enough to get two of FPU's best, Mr. Unknown and
Demonia del Feugo, to answer a few of my questions.
Garcia- When did the mask first call to you to
give its glory to the world? Who was the biggest influence
in getting you into the world under the hood? Was it Max Moon?
Unknown -- (laughing) Well, after a fashion, it
was Max Moon, but not until later... The FPU hooded staff
thing was initially inspired by a mid-80's issue of this Sunday
newspaper insert from Mexico City called "Lucha Espectacular."
this photographer/reporter in a silver mask with the paper's
logo stitched on the forehead and sides. He'd be in all kinds
of trouble with the rudos for not taking flattering enough
Parts Unknown" was first put together, the all-masked
staff was a must and I came to the forefront as a walking
spokesperson for both the mag and the source material. That
was around 1995 or so, when the first wave of lucha talent
invaded WCW and made words like 'huracanrana' sort of household.
Konnan was largely responsible for that talent brokerage,
and he was Max Moon back in the day, so there you go...
del Fuego -- Loving wrestling most of my life it was around
90 or so when I came across a wrestling tape in Spanish showing
these amazing Mexican wrestlers in masks. On this first tape
I got a glimpse of Lucha Estrellas such as Blue Panther, Atlantis,
and Mascara Sagrada, but seeing Hijo Del Santo against All
Star in a mask vs. mask match really started my love for the
that I was on the hunt for everything Lucha Libre, in particular
everything masked. Being in Southern California it wasn't
hard finding magazines and videos, so when I found a female
match with Vicky Carranza/La Senorita/Selema vs. Rossy Moreno/La
Diabolica/Martha Villalobos I truly heard my calling. I was
going to wrestle and I would be in a mask.
Ya'll have introduced a number of great comics to your readers,
including Quebrada, an Italian comic that I can't understand,
but love anyway, and helping get the word out on Sonambulo.
Where do you find this stuff? Who do you got working on locating
such amazing work? Are you, like us here at Fanboy Planet,
big comics fans?
-- Personally, I have always been a huge fan of comic books,
which is part of being drawn towards the masked luchadores.
They have a real super hero/villain quality to them.
a trip to San Diego ComicCon, I was lucky enough to find From
Parts Unknown as well as great comics like Sonambulo and
El Gato. I'm a true believer in supporting people with similar
visions of giving the public more access to lucha libre culture,
and would imagine they all believe the same. We found each
other and have become a family. All of the staff keeps their
eyes out for new masked wrestling creative ventures and brainstorm
with each other on new ideas.
the big budget adaptation?
? -- Discovery and accessibility of exotic media are HUGE
parts of what we do. FPU is all about recommending media and
merch that's done right. Before eBay and the net and all,
it was next to impossible to score Mexi-mask stuff if you
weren't living along the borders or could make trips into
all we could in issue #1 to find as many people importing
the stuff as we could, and pushed them like crazy on our readership.
Most of these guys did REALLY well as a result, and word got
out, and from then on a lot of dealers actually sought us
out. We never run ads or plugs for anything or anyone we don't
patronize ourselves, so we know we're hooking readers up with
the right dealers.
comics - I'm really into them and I'm fascinated by that industry.
It has all the 'inspired madman tilting at windmills' appeal
that, say, indie film and underground rock have, but with
far less potential to ever make a nickel. You run into a lot
of eccentrics and self-motivated types in comics. Lots of
great ideas making the page in one way or another.
are actually a great way to get a concept out there and to
lock down a property for yourself. Look at what that did for
the creator of Men in Black. I found Raf's "Sonambulo"
through a comic store in Michigan, and he was a gateway to
guys like Mike Aushenker (El Gato) and Javier Hernandez (El
Muerto) and later Ted Seko (Attack of the Super Monsters),
and that really inspired me to do the same gateway service
as a regular feature of FPU.
"Quebrada"... the creators were partly inspired
by a chance meeting with myself and La Reina Arana, then came
to us a year later with the finished comics and we were absolutely
blown away. FPU was a similar 'common ground' of sorts for
us and others meeting up with Eddie Mort and Lili Chin - who
sold "Mucha Lucha" all the way from Australia. They
hooked up with guys like Jorge Gutierrez and some of the Spumco
alumni and have done great things with that show. Keeping
this interlinked family-like network of creators and vendors
and other talent has really paid off for a lot of projects,
and if we had anything to do with that by putting FPU out
there for them, thats just fantastic.
I've been on the hunt for the best Masked Wrestler movie.
? -- "Santo y Blue Demon contra los monstruos"
is absolutely HUGE - a great first lucha film to show a potential
convert - two masked heroes fighting a mad scientist, his
midget 'Igor' and their zombie goons, plus a frankenstein,
a wolfman, a dracula, a bride of dracula, a mummy, a cyclops,
a big brain alien, and an evil clone of Blue Demon thrown
in for good measure. [CG note: I've seen it and it does
on my list is Blue Demon's "La sombra de murcielago"
(Blue Demon vs. the Shadow of the Bat) which is one of the
few lucha flicks that has a wrestling super-villain that's
equally capable in the ring as the hero. It's the best wrestled
of the wrestling films. The first "Los cameones justicieros"
(The Champions of Justice) is really special, and of course
"Santo contra las mujeres vampiras" (Santo vs.the
Vampire Women) is what I've called 'The Citizen Kane of Mexican
masked wrestler films.'
some great DVD's now, too, a real renaissance of the genre.
VCI did a phenomenal job last year with "Santo vs. the
Martian Invasion." The new VAS/Rise Above/Rebel Crew
discs aren't as ambitious, but they do have a TON of films
coming and that's just great to see. Something Weird Video
has just put out double features with all the K. Gordon Murray
dubbed stuff on them - "Doctor of Doom" "Night
of the Bloody Apes" and the "Samson" dubbed
Santo flicks, which are all great starting points in the genre.
-- Well I have this one from after the FPU Christmas Party
last year. oh wait, you don't mean those kind of movies. Err.
"Night of the Bloody Apes", yeah, open heart surgery,
nudity and tons of violence. Of course there are others I
love such as "Blue Demon y las diabólicas"
and of course "Primate of the Deep".
? -- Oh yeah yeah yeah! "Primate of the Deep",
THAT's the greatest movie of all time... s***. How could I
forget to shill my own cinematic turd?
Tell me more of your own cinematic ventures. Anything
after Primate of the Deep? Are you looking for a comic sidekick
with Curly Hair and odd timing? Do you get any offers to do
other folks' films? (By the way, Tsunami Toyota is a great
? -- "PotD" was originally conceived as bumpers
for a compilation of shorts to run on a public access show.
It has this endless fight scene in the middle that was designed
to be split. Well, the comp never got off the ground, so we
cut the two halves together, and sure enough that padded endless
fight scene REALLY watched like a Mexican film or a Japanese
hero show. So we released it as-was, threw in some extra swag
into the tape package and there you go.
future projects, it depends on the governments of the world.
If they'd just get together, pool all their financial might,
and give us the trillion dollars we truly deserve, then we
could save modern cinema. Until then, we're concentrating
say this, we've got a show pitch sitting on more than one
desk around the TV community, and we've always mused about
a public access talk show, too.
two of our ilk - our FX guy Dave Buscemi (the Paul Blaisdell
of FPU) and our graphics monkey Keith Rainville - want to
do in the future is FILM some lucha - Super8 or 16mm. Wrestling
looks SOOO amazing on film stock, and you never see it.
I've been familiar with the Lucha-VaVoom thing for a while
now, and I hadn't realized that there was a From Parts Unknown
connection until recently. Ya'll dig the Velvet Hammer? What's
it like announcing with that fellow who usurped the Beat the
Geeks throne, Blaine Kapatch?
? -- The first VaVOOM was a great experiment put together
by Liz Fairbarin, who used to manage GWAR. She, like many
of us in the Southern California area, was really frustrated
that huge lucha shows were being put on by Latino promoters
and marketed exclusively within that community. Some of these
promoters go out of their way, it seems, to keep their shows
a secret. So, she wanted a lucha show marketed to everyone
combined efforts with the Velvet Hammer burlesque, it was
instantly upgraded to a hipster happening. She signed on local
wrestling promotion WPW for the ring talent, and the Latin
Cinematheque had film showings in conjunction. We were called
relatively late in the game for some advice and graphics help,
and were happy to be on board such a cool effort. As good
as that first show came off, it was sort of a train wreck
with too many chefs, so over the next two shows, they streamlined
the operation greatly.
point, Liz now books her own wrestling talent, they have their
own line up of dancers, and no longer rely on other organizations
for promotions. They've created their own identity and carved
out a serious niche for themselves. We're on board as advisors,
and FPU's art director does the print chores for them (posters,
programs etc.), and I share the live announcing during the
Blaine, he's an important part of the show, dating back to
the Velvet Hammer. Burlesque is inextricably linked with stand-up
comedy, often BAD comedy, which is the point, and Blaine pulls
that retro-schtick off perfectly. So he was there as part
of the burlesque format, and carried that over to calling
the matches. Lucha events don't have a live caller, but for
VaVOOM, whose crowd is mostly newbies, there needs to be a
little extra exposition.
now as the straight guy to call the action, get the names
right, and such. The comedians keep the crowd into the show,
and I think it all works. Some people don't get it. Some get
offended or pissed when the comedians bag on the ring talent,
but it's all in an effort to sell the show to a not-necessarily-educated
crowd of first-timers.
is a dizzying parade of dancers and wrestlers and music and
bits, and it needs a mortar to keep it all together for the
crowd, and Blaine provides that. If it seems like he's burying
some guy in the ring, he's not, the respect is there. His
efforts are as calculated as any of the dancers or wrestlers.
-- Lucha VaVoom has been a great boost to the local lucha
wrestling scene, too. Seeing that many people new to lucha
be so enthusiastic is really amazing to see. It's great for
everyone involved from the established Mexico City names to
our local indy stars and the gorgeous dancers involved. Also
some great local lucha vendors got some recognition and much
business including From Parts Unknown. We debuted "HoodWink"
there, which I'm happy to say did extremely well.
I know you guys have some great fans. I've talked to folks
from Seattle, Boston, LA, and even Australia who are long-time
readers. What's the average fan mail like? What about the
weird fan mail?
? -- Unanimously grateful. People are thankful for finally
having an English language resource on the stuff. People in
far flung corners of the globe are thankful for the nugget
of masked culture and the gateway it provides to the source
material. We've reached people coast to coast in the US, as
well as Canada, England, France, Italy, Australia, and Japan.
They're STARVED for the material.
have been some weirdos. Early on I had one androgynous 'fan'
from some halfway school who sent a picture of a foot and
a scrawled note promising additional revelations the more
I sent back. I didn't. We had one alleged wrestler on a hate
campaign, calling the staff fakes and posers and challenging
us to fights. Really funny. Here's a guy supposedly in the
'sports entertainment' biz who doesn't get the notion of a
worked magazine staff. And also doesn't understand the notion
of NOT attacking the press when you're in an indy fed trying
to get over in the world.
-- Our fans are fantastic and mail from them is always
greatly appreciated. We get overwhelming support from lucha
followers and only rarely receive strange mail or requests.
of the Deep
"You're too purty to be in a mask..."
the strange mail I get are requests from "fans"
who would like me to either wrestle them for X amount of money,
or remove my mask because according to them I'm "too
pretty to be in a mask."
request will ever be agreed to, but all mail is welcome. Most
conventions or shows we go to there is one wierdo around but
the good far outweighs the bad, so start sending more mail
and make sure to check shows we are attending to meet us in
? -- Considering the fetish-charged girly content we've
had, the creepy stalker types have been rare. What we do get
instead are a lot of are would-be creative types who inexplicably
bag on Mexicans with their ideas and then look for our approval.
Its a real problem, seriously, all the time we get things
like "Hey, I got a really funny idea for a Mexican masked
wrestler comic... El Taco Loco! Whadda ya' think?" Its
always from someone on the East coast or up north who's never
met a Latino in his or her life and it hasn't dawned on them
that Mexicans are real people and their culture is more than
hot sauce and Tijuana whorehouses.
even count how many lame ass gimmicks have been proposed to
me by the ignorant based on 1.) food, 2.) drunkeness and 3.)
criminal activity in some combination. Latinos are as stereotyped
with diarrhea jokes and bandito references as, say, Asians
are with Bruce Lee imitations. I'm baffled, but then I'll
see the WWE portraying their Latino talent stealing cars and
mowing lawns in skits, so there you go... I just have no tolerance
OK, it has to be asked. WHEN THE HELL AM I GONNA GET AN ISSUE
7 OUT OF YA'LL?!?!?!
? -- FPU Volume 2, #1 is looking good for October. We're
relauncing in a smaller digest format, ala "Video Watchdog."
I'm really in love with that sizing now, and with the bad
economy and crapped-out 'zine and indy comic markets, it's
less of a financial risk.
meantime, our second spin-off, HoodWink, is available now,
and a second volume in our pulp fiction line Masked Adventures
is next out. We also have a secret project in conjunction
with Rafael Navarro coming sometime next year.
the FPU operation relocated to LA, we've all been so busy
working IN the lucha industry, we haven't had nearly enough
time to report on it. Great for us, but for our fans worldwide
it does them no good. We're aware of that, though, and more
stuff is coming.
Publications is also tinkering around with a NINJA pop media
mag. Our publisher Keith Rainville was an original ninja mark
in the 80's, HARDCORE, and never left it behind. He's been
looking for a window of opportunity since before FPU's birth.
underground seems to be catching a wave of ninja-nostalgia,
and all the old Japanese films from the 60's that inspired
it all are becoming available on DVD. Ninja humor sites are
all over the web. The time may be right... Of course this
ninja mag will have all the earmarks of an Unknown Publication:
hooded staff of ninjas, ultra-biased film reviews, media and
merch recommendations and of course... girls being accosted
be all over Lucha VaVOOM 4 in October! Another shameless plug
here, we're dedicated participants in Ken Kish's teriffic
"Cinema Wasteland" convention in Cleveland, OH.
We LOVE doing those midwest horror film cons, the fans there
are really greatful for the Mexican and SoCal imports they
can't usually score locally. We'll have new products there
and be hosting a big film night.
wanna see more, be sure to check out the recently redesigned
Parts Unknown website for all your lucha-infused information
needs. While there, you can also order back issues of From
Parts Unknown, Masked Adventure, Hoodwink, and the Primate
of the Deep Video.