When embarking on his professional career as an artist just a couple of years ago, it’s fair to say to say that Texas native Arturo Torres was not contemplating Kawhi Leonard erotic fan fiction. After continuing his successful partnership with San Anto’s Shea Serrano, this is where Torres finds himself on Tuesday, via their addictive Basketball (And Other Things) newsletter.
Currently at 27,000 subscribers, Basketball (And Other Things) is a weekly valentine to the NBA that expands on the flavor the creative duo unleashed in their New York Times bestseller, The Rap Year Book. For Torres, the positive reception to both projects helps validate his decision to fully embrace his journey as an illustrator.
“Both of my parents are from Mexico,” says Torres, whose roots are in Coahuila. “I was raised by a single mother. My father was abusive to my mom, so we did therapy. It was actually there that my therapist gave me my first set of art supplies. She saw that I would draw a lot so she bought me my first supplies.”
Growing up in Garland, on the outskirts of Dallas, Torres continued to draw. Never really into sports, he eventually turned to comic books where he discovered a key influence in Jack “King” Kirby. Torres also credits Dallas artist C. Kirk with encouraging him to pursue his dream and providing living proof that being a full-time artist was a possibility.
“I was so fascinated by the way he constructed storytelling into his illustrations,” says Torres describing Kirby’s influence. “That’s what I want to do with the newsletter especially. I want to make every single panel as big and dynamic as Jack Kirby was doing back in the 60’s and 70’s.”
"kawhi leonard, vulnerable but sexy, and an enchantress"
Today’s edition of Basketball (And Other Things) delivers on Serrano’s promise of a literary romantic interlude with Leonard from earlier this season, dubbing Kawhi the “Offensive Lover of the Year.” This week’s offering also gives subscribers the option to contribute to the newsletter for only the second time.
When Serrano and Torres previously accepted funds from readers, they donated $2,705 to the Genesis Women’s Shelter in Dallas, where Torres once lived with his mother and younger brother.
“We’re just doing this because we love what we do,” admits Torres. “If we can share it with the rest of the world, why not do it? I want the artwork to be as dynamic as Jack Kirby. To a lot of people these aren’t just athletes. They’re superheroes in these kid’s eyes. So I want to have the same feel and the same look.”