Cartoonist & Illustrator
Días de Consuelo
Graphic Novel suitable for Middle Grade and Up
Best Young Adult Nonfiction Book - International Latino Book Awards
Overfloweth Title - Graphic Novel Diversity Award, Virginia Library Association
Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Award Nominee - Graphic Novels & Comics
Días de Consuelo is an intimate immigration memoir in the graphic tradition of “Persepolis” that connects the personal recollections of the author’s abuela with the storm of events that made up one of the most important uprisings of the 20th century: The Mexican Revolution. Published by Radiator Comics.
The scope of the story is wisely kept small, allowing the complexity of the Mexican Revolution and its impact on the characters to serve as a backdrop for this deeply personal and affecting narrative.
Amazing. At first, I felt like I was watching a classic movie with Pedro Infante and María Félix, but then it became my story and made me feel closer to my own history and to the parts of my family that I didn’t know.
New Comic Series!
MICE Mini Grant Winner 2023
Each issue of "Hacienda" features short story experiments that jump across time and reality to reflect on media, manipulation, and memory--including acts of collective forgetting. Suitable for Ages 16+/ Adult
"Ambitious in a professional way, an academic way... I abundantly admire Ortega’s character acting... He isn’t afraid to go big and broad with expressions and add in an interesting mug or two on each page... comic book writing doesn’t get much smarter than this."
Review of Issue 2, October 2023
An ambitious, multi-layered narrative that cuts through history, class, status and power in a deftly constructed story which takes the reader back and forth in time to reveal the conceit and illusion undergirding dominant paradigms in a way that only comics can. This complex concoction of culture and character made for a winning combination."
- Comics Workbook (Refers to "Spirit Search", Issue 1)
Middle Grade and Up
A single issue comic made up of vignettes about immigrant life on the Rio Grande where Texas, New Mexico and Mexico meet. The main character, as in "Dias de Consuelo", is the author's grandmother, Consuelo, whose early life in the United States offers new opportunities--and new dangers. Stories contained within this small collection involve a brush with death, tequila smugglers and a magical wedding.
School of the Americas
Zine for YA/Adult Readers
Embodying the concept of the banality of evil, this zine features graduates of the School of the Americas, historically a training ground for Latin American dictators and military leaders in the ways of counterinsurgency including torture, kidnapping and blackmail among other techniques. Located at Fort Benning, GA the SOA may have changed names but remains open as ever continuing with its immoral imperialist agenda. A portion of proceeds from sales of this zine will go to SOA Watch, an nonviolent grassroots advocacy organization determined to close the SOA.
Comics: Frame by Frame
I was invited by the ICA/ Boston Art Lab to create an interactive educational experience about telling stories through comics. I turned the art lab space into a comic book where participants were able to move the panels around to create a new narrative and experiment with telling their own stories.
I'm Dave and I tell stories through the power of words and images.
Thanks for looking at my work. I was born in El Paso, Texas where I began my art education and discovered the passion for narrative storytelling through comics.
My self-published comic book series Días de Consuelo is about the early life of my grandmother who was born during the Mexican Revolution. Those issues were collected, edited and published as a graphic novel by Radiator Comics in March 2022. Días de Consuelo was selected by Society of Illustrators for their Illustration 65 annual.
I am a 2021 grantee of the Collective Futures Fund, a program of The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. I am also a recipient of multiple artist grants from the Massachusetts Cultural Council. My comics have been published in several periodicals and anthologies, including Tales from la Vida: A Latinx Comics Anthology, New Frontiers: The Many Worlds Of George Takei, Irene Book 5, and Beautiful/Decay Book 6. An excerpt of Días de Consuelo appeared in the Illustrated PEN section of the PEN America site. My short comic Hacienda won First Place in the Comics Composition Competition by Comics Workbook.
Other self-published publications include a short comic about my grandmother’s teenage years living on the Rio Grande (River), historical works about the Mexican Revolution (Battle of Juarez and Zacatecas 1 and 2), a zine about U.S. influence in Central and South American governments (School of the Americas), and a short series of illustrated Latin American sayings (Dichos 1 and 2).
I was invited to create "Comics: Frame by Frame", an interactive educational comics project in collaboration at the Art Lab at the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston. My comics have been featured at many international fairs, notably Toronto Comic Arts Fair, Comic Arts Brooklyn, New York Art Book Fair, Boston Art Book Fair, Small Press Expo, and Latino Comics Expo.
I live near Boston and divide my time between comics, illustration, and teaching. I also create and edit video media including motion graphics. If you're an art director, I'd love to discuss how we can work together on your project.
(Photo by Michelle Falcón Fontánez for Boston Art Review)