Maria D. Valderrama
Toulouse (France), Sep 21 (EFE).- They are not the ingredients of a recipe, but the protagonists of a comic of humor and adventure: Onion & Pea (onion and pea, in Spanish) are the heroes of the adolescent dream of José Villena and David Tomaselli from Malaga.
The two meet at the Cartoon Forum, which is being held until this Thursday in the French city of Toulouse to turn their book into an animated series.
Villena is an illustrator and resident in Malaga, while Tomaselli works as an engineer and lives in Zurich (Switzerland), but in their spare time they both try to translate the heroes they created when they were only fourteen (they are now 46) into animation, imitating the comics they couldn’t get out of their heads.
The result was an onion with a big nose and a layer, and a peas with glasses. These two characters try to get Leo, the human protagonist of this saga, out of the trouble he gets into with his friends, often because of these vegetables with too many big dreams.
“After high school we kept it in a drawer, but we met again at the university and we remembered that onion and pea project. We rescued it and began to develop it professionally,” Villena says in an interview with Efe.
The first comic was published in 2014, after four years of work, thanks to the American syndicate Gogomics. Now they have three of this saga of adventures that for a year and a half they want to turn into animation.
That is why they have traveled to the main meeting of co-productions in Europe for animated series, Cartoon Forum, in search of partners to create their first trailer, an essential part in the development of a project of this type.
“We are looking for financing, either producers or televisions or platforms interested in participating in the series project in international countries, not just Spain,” says Tomaselli.
VEGETABLES WITH LAYER
More than thirty years of a very amateur adventure has taught them to lose their shame: Villena wears a t-shirt with the drawing of his heroes and gives away keyrings, caps and mugs of these vegetable superheroes.
On their social networks, Instagram and YouTube, they post pranks with the Onion & Pea puppets and show what their universe would be like if one day they became video game or TV heroes.
“In 2020 we presented ourselves to the Iber Series comics call and ‘Onion & Pea’ was selected for its catalogue. That was when an animation studio became interested in the project and told us that it could work”, indicates Villena, who illustrates the comic while Tomaselli writes the script.
They developed the idea of a series that they presented to the Weird Market, where it was also selected, before presenting it to Next Lab, which they won.
This last award allowed them to make a presentation of their project at the Annecy Animation Festival, where Villena did not hesitate to go on stage dressed as a flying onion.
“Seeing the positive return that our project has had, we are encouraged to move forward. That is why now we need co-producers or a television company to be able to make the ‘teaser’ (puzzle) and present it to the next Cartoon Forum. This year we have come to learn, to see how it’s done, to make contacts,” says Tomaselli.
After spending a decade self-financing their creations and hiring professionals interested in their history to advise them, they explain that a Belgian television has been interested in joining the project as a partner.
But the gigantic budgets that this type of creations require would force us to continue looking for allies on television.
“We don’t know anything about this world, we simply ask and they explain to us what the next step is. We go step by step,” they say.
In addition to the humor and adventures that “Onion & Pea” promise, their comics aim to educate in values such as friendship, sports, respect for others and equality. But always from entertainment and with curious facts, an essential requirement in the magical world of cartoons. EFE
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From high school comic to animated series, the dream of two people from Malaga in Toulouse
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