Nrama: You’ve drawn other dogs before Xolo (and probably other after), but how do you feel he fits into your informal canines in your cartooning?
Benton: I feel that this Xolo is a character that combines all of the pups I’ve been drawing over the years—a sort of amalgam of the ancient Aztec and modern Day of the Dead styles combined with pitbull. Mutts are the best, obviously. The Mexican aesthetic, folklore, and sentiment spoke to me more than any of the other myths of shepherd dogs, be they Cerberus or Lassie.
Nrama: Smoke, like B+F, is wordless. How hard a rule is that for you, and how much of it is just natural?
Benton: I wanted to communicate both stories without relying on written or spoken language. Not far off from a cave painting, if you stare at it long enough, the story will come through so long as the general tropes of human expression are similar. Hopefully this enables the narrative to sidestep geographical boundaries so it can be understood most anywhere. And to be honest I haven’t evolved much beyond the Stone Age.
Read the entire article and interview here: http://www.newsarama.com/25486-dog-days-of-the-dead-in-gregory-benton-s-smoke.html