Written by Manuel A. Carmona
Today is a sad day for the comic book scene in Puerto Rico because Miguel Angel Sanjurjo, creator of Jibaro Samurai; has passed away. One of the most beloved and respected comics creators in the island, Miguel was as funny as he was talented. I know because I knew him personally. Back when I was living in Puerto Rico there was a growing local comics scene and we all got to know each other in some capacity, obviously some more than others, but with "Guelo" as his friends called him; we actually became quite close for short while.
I was doing my things as indie creators usually do, but in those times there was a group of creators who decided to join forces with whom they believed were the most talented creators at the time and also creators who'd work well with one another; this studio was called Algaro Comics. The group consisted of Efrain Morales, Rigo Jimemez, Joel Vazquez, Miguel Sanjurjo and they invited me to join as well.
For a while it was great and I have fond memories from those times, few as they were; I still remember many fun interactions with Guelo. We actually went to a few comic conventions together, we did a 12 Hour and a 24 Hour Comic Book Day Challenge, we met a few times at Cosplay meets and everytime we had a blast! It's always special when you meet someone who is as talented as you and as confident in his abilities as you are but also has humility and enjoys sharing his/her secrets, techniques and enjoys the experience of sitting down with other artists and just draw for the fun of it; almost like musicians jamming together. We had a bunch of those experiences and it pains me to say we drifted apart and we never got back in touch or could spend quality time like we used to. I'm not sure why we drifted apart, maybe the long distance, maybe his click didn't approve of him associating with me, maybe my arrogance pushed him away; whatever the case may be; it hurts because I never stopped respecting and admiring his work.
I know he'd been struggling with his health for the past few years and his mental health deteriorated quite a bit, which made it even harder for me because I knew I missed my chance to make amends, to explain to him that I always enjoyed our time together and always had fun hanging out with him; but like it usually happens I waited too long to say or do anything and now I have to live with it. Hopefully he's in a better place now, hopefully he sees the love towards him from our community, from his friends and hopefully he sees my heart and feels my sorrow and regret for waiting too long. I'll miss you and your work Guelo, and so will many, many more people! Rest in Peace and always... YUKA SLASH!!!
PS. Here are some photos from various events we spend time together.