Ivan Velez Jr.

Ivan Velez Jr.

Velez at a February 28, 2014 signing at Jim Hanley's Universe in Manhattan for Qu33r, an LGBT comics anthology.
Nationality American
Area(s) Writer, Artist, Editor
Notable works
Tales of the Closet
Blood Syndicate

Ivan Velez Jr. (born 1961) is an openly gay Latino American creator of comic books, known for his work with Milestone Media and for creating Tales of the Closet, one of the first comics to depict the everyday lives of LGBT youth.


Velez was born in 1961 to parents of Puerto Rican descent, and raised in the South Bronx. He was trained at the Hetrick-Martin Institute for the Protection of Lesbian and Gay Youth and studied illustration at Syracuse University. He created Tales Of The Closet in 1987, as a multi-cultural initiative for Hetrick-Martin to be used by schools as a teaching tool. He worked on AIDS-awareness videos and literature for Gay Men's Health Crisis.

Velez was involved in the development of Milestone Media, a superhero comics production company with a focus on multicultural characters, published by DC Comics. He wrote and designed characters for Blood Syndicate, Holocaust, and Static, including such characters as Kwai, Aquamaria, Boogieman, Dogg, and Iota.

Following the cancellation of the Milestone line, Velez wrote for DC's other imprints and for Marvel Comics (where he was the company's second Latino writer, after George Pérez). These assignments included Ghost Rider, Venom, and Abominations for Marvel; Eradicator and Extreme Justice for DC's main superhero line; Flinch for Vertigo; and Scooby-Doo, Dexter's Laboratory, Ben Ten, and Power Puff Girls for DC's Johnny DC imprint.[1] His work has also appeared in Gay Comix, for which he illustrated one cover,[2] and the anthology Qu33r. He has edited graphic novels for Dutton Books (Dead High Yearbook), earning an award from the American Library Association.[3]

He received a 2004 Xeric Grant to republish Tales of the Closet. He received a 2015 Creative Capital grant to support his publishing imprint, Planet Bronx Productions.

He is a teaching artist for the New York Public Library, the Bronx Museum of the Arts, and the Queens Public Library. He hosts cultural events primarily in New York City, such as "Mr. Papo's Drink-N-Draw Pop Up Art Show", and "Oso Oro".


  1. My Creations, at PlanetBronx.com; by Ivan Velez Jr.; retrieved June 24, 2011
  2. NYU Pride Month Brings Two Comics Events! at Prism Comics, October 21, 2009
  3. Your Brain on Latino Comics: From Gus Arriola to Los Bros Hernandez, by Frederick Luis Aldama, page 279-291, University of Texas Press, 2009. (via Google Books)
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