Pride Profile: Ivan Velez Jr. When asked what made him want to be an artist, Velez gave the answer those of us who are old enough can relate to: “My mom, if I was good, would buy us ten comics for a dollar… One time, she even got two huge garbage bags full of comics, and basically I spend that summer reading comics book on the floor.” Growing up gay and Puerto Rican in the Bronx in the ‘60s and ‘70s wasn’t easy for Velez, particularly when he couldn’t see people like himself in his favorite comics. Out of this grew a desire to create a broader representation in comics that has helped drive his career. After creating Tales of the Closet in the ‘80s, he went on to become a co-creator of Blood Syndicate. He’s also been successful bring kid centered comics alive including Power Puff Girls, Scooby Doo, and Ben 10.