I've worked in comic books and animation since the early 1970s, and have screen credits on four movies, five TV series and one PBS special. Before entering the animation industry as an animator, producer and director, I was a comic book artist and publisher.
As a young boy, I was lucky that our adoptive father was a soldier, because our family was able to accompany him to the Panama Canal Zone and Germany. Living in Panama from the spring of 1965 until the fall of 1967, I spent my weekends at the beach, in the rain forest, exploring lakes, rivers and nearby islands. I fell in love with Panama, making many friends there, and was sorry when it was time to leave. They say that "Panama will fill your basket with fishes and butterflies." My wife Connie and I returned to the Western Panamanian province of Chiriqui in 2013-2014 for an awesome one month mountain and beach vacation. Connie enjoyed it as much as I did, since she had never before travelled outside of the United States.
In 1968 our family finally settled in Colorado. Around this time, I decided to pursue a career as an artist. While living in Denver for a year, my work was published in George Washington High School's literary magazine Cranberry Oblivion, and I became fascinated with the technical aspects of printing and publishing. In the fall of 1968 I joined the staff of Carl Gafford's New Milford, Connecticut-based fanzine Minotaur as a co-editor, responsible for producing 8 pages of comics for each issue. While studying art at Mitchell High School in Colorado Springs, I recruited fellow student artists and writers to create our own small magazine, and in January, 1969, the first issue of Platinum Toad appeared in the hallways of Mitchell. Printed on the school's duplicator, it included poems by my co-editor Tom Haber, a cover and other artwork by me, comics by George Laws, a short story by Martha Ann Kennedy, and assorted art by Darrel Anderson and George Laws.
I made life-long friends at Mitchell. We also produced a one-minute animated film, "First Finger," which turned out so poorly that George Laws took it to Puerto Rico so he could bury it. But we were exploring the artistic possiblities and learning from our experiences. Our teachers, Mr. Shernick and especially Mr. Jack Frost (from Snowflake, Arizona!) encouraged our creative impulses. So my senior year in high school was very formative and enjoyable.
While studying art at Missouri State University, I edited and published Realm, an acclaimed comics and science fiction fanzine, and more issues of Platinum Toad. I also got my hands on some professional camera equipment, and single-handedly animated "Burpo, el Monster de Outre Spaced," a one-minute animation. I was learning a lot.
In January, 1973 I returned to Colorado Springs and co-founded Everyman Studios, an artists' collective that successfully published alternative newspapers and underground comix. As a publisher, my biggest success was Cascade Comix Monthly, an underground comix journal that lasted almost three years. I traveled to San Francisco to get it started, recording interviews with a half-dozen comix luminaries and making valuable journalistic and distribution connections. In less than a year, I found myself at the center of the alternative comics community because of my position as Cascade's editor.
By 1980 I started to lose interest in publishing, but was growing more interested in animation. In 1981, I started hiring animators and transitioned the studio into commercial animation production, including movie titles and effects, music videos, television commercials, video games and software. We began producing our animation exclusively on computers in 1991, and the studio was re-branded as ARG! Cartoon Animation in 1994.
We were lucky that my friends and business associates prodded me to get into the newly invented Web in 1995. The studio's internet presence ultimately made the business successful. Artie.com was launched in July, 1996 and it quickly became one of the most popular animation sites on the Web, logging up to 600 million hits a year. In fact, it got more than 1.2 billion hits in 2005-2006. The ARG! studio crew has created more than 40,000 digital animations for our 600+ clients. We produce mostly 2D cartoon animation, and we output it almost exclusively in 4K resolution.
In 2011 my son Tim Romero founded ARG! Cartoon Animation LLC, purchased the studio and became its CEO. Tim is a Los Angeles-based artist and programmer with a 2012 Game Design and Development degree from the University of Colorado. I continue to work as a producer and director at the studio. I love this business, and have no plans to retire! go back, or read about my Web development work