In Memorium: Pete Hernandez III (1970-2018)
Pete Hernandez III
It is with great sadness that we report the death of former Lightning Strike creator Pete Hernandez III who passed away on February 5th in the US.
A well rounded creator who wrote, drew and coloured, Pete first found his away across the pond while browsing through Rob Carey’s DeviantArt page in 2011 and asked if he could colour one of his pieces. Rob agreed and let him work on a Banshee piece which in turn led to a request from Carey to colour some pages on an anthology he was working on. Pete said at the time that as his freelance work was a little slow and as he will always help a friend, he said yes. In exchange, the team from Lightning Strike offered to put some Company Man pages in the anthology which were well received. Pete had turned down approaches from the UK to print Company Man as he didn’t feel like he got a good vibe from the publishers there but was full of praise for the team from Lightning Strike who he felt gained his trust quickly.
Pete’s work was always well received in Europe and he thought that it was because of his approach to take care to tell a story rather than bombard readers with splash pages that appealed to readers over here. Coupled with that he had a progressive approach to the medium and felt that the way forward was through digital publication which would open up the world to him in terms of distribution.
Pete was a big believer in the fairness of ethnicity which shone through his work. He was immensely proud of his Puerto Rican heritage and as he created new works at his home in New York, he deliberately ensured that the main characters of his stories were of a wide ethnic background and that ethnicity was always a driving factor in the characters story motivations. Pete said that while growing up reading comics he felt frustrated at seeing characters of ethnic background reduced to nothing more than sidekicks or cheap plot devices. They were always gangbangers or living in poverty and he set out to show white readers that characters of an ethnic background could be as diverse and useful and heroic as the white characters he had grown up with. He wanted to show that skin colour was not going to be an issue with his creations but it was the things they try to accomplish that would make them great.
Pete was adopted into the Irish comics community and formed friendships that lasted right until his untimely passing. I last spoke to him just before New Year’s when he was telling me how busy he hoped to be in 2018. He was working on new book Villainous and had only finished the second script of a planned four in early December and had expressed a desire to begin an anthology title to bring together his previous works War Dogs, Company Man and more. In 2015, Pete asked me to write the forward to Company Man which I happily did but I never thought just a few short years later that I would be writing his remembrance.
Pete was admitted to hospital on January 27th with a collapsed lung after enduring a rough few weeks with his health and sadly passed away from respiratory complications on February 5th. I’m sure I speak on behalf of all in the Irish comic community when I say that we will miss Pete, his easy going nature, his undoubted talent and we extend our condolences to his family at this heart breaking time.
Rest In Peace Pete.
David O’Leary 06/02/18