PEDRO AND ME is the biography of Pedro Zamora, an AIDS educator and activist who became a household name when he joined the cast of MTV's reality show, The Real World. It's written and illustrated by Judd Winick, one of his co-stars on the show who, at the time, was an aspiring cartoonist. Zamora's appearance on The Real World was surreal, to say the least. His health, undermined by the AIDS virus, grew progressively worse with each episode and he passed away the day after the last show aired.
What's really compelling about PEDRO AND ME is that it's not about The Real World, which simply serves as the device that brings Judd and Pedro together. Instead, PEDRO AND ME is an inspiring, often haunting, biograpy that profiles a young man who had every reason to stop, but rose to make a difference in the world around him. It's also a journey of discovery, as we traverse the issues of homosexuality and HIV and AIDS awareness with Winick's own observations and insecurities as our guide.
Winick, who has established himself as a professional cartoonist with his Barry Ween comics and graphic novels, in addition to his work at DC Comics, has a loose cartooning style that might be better suited for humor. But I think it works here to make PEDRO AND ME more digestible, and ultimately more accessible to us, the reader.
Peter Aaron Rose is a writer, producer and technologist who lives and works in San Francisco, CA. Under the pseudonym "Peter Siegel", he recently authored Killing Demons, a graphic novel available from Engine Press and Platinum Studios.