Wrestling and comics have always gone hand in hand, the perfect tag team. Yet, in Mexico’s lucha libre culture, that connection finds deeper connecting roots. Memories of the legendary El Santo and Blue Demon speak to a time when luchadores were real-life superheroes, when the men behind the mask (or “enmascarados”) were completely submerged in their characters and were taken as real warriors fighting for Mexicans everywhere.


Mexican luchador Canek Jr. wants to further that legacy with his own comic, the self-titled Canek Jr., and so took to San Diego Comic Con 2023 to talk about the book and its future in a refreshingly bilingual panel titled “Segunda Caída: Historietas y Lucha Libre.”

Accompanied by artist Rulo Valdés (whose work appeared in Batman: The World under Mexico’s entry with a script from author Alberto Chimal) and panel moderator Mareo Flores, Canek Jr. took the stage to present pages and sketches from the series along with a few stern declarations on why it’s important to capture Mexico and the Mexican experience in the comic.

Canek Jr. and Valdés both spoke about the state of the 21st century luchador. They commented on how social media has led to a generation of luchadores that are more interested in TikTok fame than earning it through the grind of practice and fine-tuning technique. “La disciplina ha bajado/there’s a drop in discipline,” said Canek Jr., adding that luchadores nowadays don’t all possess the desire to build their “espíritu/spirit.” He hopes his comic brings this into the conversation once more and help readers better understand what it takes to be a luchador.

The comic itself owes much to the classic enmascarado movies of the past and mixes superhero storytelling with an emphasis on capturing the richness of life in Mexico, down to the way people move about using public transportation and what they sell in public spaces (bootleg DVDs included). Valdés made it a point to call out the use of the infamous yellow filter Hollywood movies use to portray Mexico in drug cartel and crime stories, as if the country’s problems were ugly enough to produce its own smog.


Canek Jr. wants his comic to show Mexico’s colors, its vibrancy. It’s not for the purposes of hiding the bad to portray an idyllic version of the country. It’s about producing an honest version of Mexico where its beauty is just as important as its darkness. In the comic, Canek Jr. faces monsters and creatures that threaten the very people that make sure they always have enough of their hard-earned money to see their favorite luchadores duke it out. The upcoming issue will be centered on The Day of the Dead.

Valdés claimed the intention is to “sentir a México/to feel Mexico.” Drawing Mexico, Valdés added, meant respecting it. “Es un cómic que queremos que todos lean, pero que primero sea para Mexicanos propiamente/it’s a comic we want everyone to read, but that it responds to Mexican readers first.”

This sentiment extends to Canek Jr.’s very design in the comic. Valdés stated that one big difference between American superheroes and luchador superheroes can be found in the way costumes feel on their characters’ bodies. American costumes don’t show seams. In fact, they come off like a second skin.

Luchadores wear masks where the seams show, meaning there’s an element of danger to them. They remind people someone’s underneath it. This is the reason why mask-against-mask matches are so important in Mexican lucha libre. It’s as if they protect the luchador’s very soul. Thus, removing a mask can be an act of serious violence, the possibility of which is always present.


Valdés wanted to make sure the mask carried all of that detail in it, so that it’s allowed to have the same narrative power that it has in real life. “La textura de la máscara se tiene que sentir/you have to feel the texture of the mask.” This quality alone makes the story come across as authentic and specific to its culture.

Canek Jr. is already one issue in and can already be found online. Stay tuned for details on the upcoming issues, and remember that a color filter doesn’t define an entire nation. Canek Jr. and Rolo Valdés are on a mission to make sure everyone knowns that, via comic and a few German Suplexes to make sure people get it.

Miss any of our earlier SDCC ’23 coverage? Find it all here!