Miami Writer & Illustrator Alexis Centeno on her Wildly Popular Vampire Webtoon “Grandpa”

In lieu of Halloween, we recently spoke with local illustrator and author Alexis Centeno, whose webtoon Grandpa in Distress is acquiring quite a following online with over 2.4 million reads and counting. The series, still in content creation, is a fantasy romance following Mari the Vampire, granddaughter to the senile Dracula, who sparks up a relationship with Sean, a friendly hacker bit by Dracula who happens to be the grandson of vampire hunter Van Helsing. So far the tale of forbidden love is outlined in 55 tiles and counting on the online site webtoon. Read Grandpa in Distress for free here.

We recently caught up with Ms. Centeno on The Jitney.

So, Alexis, how long does it take you to create one panel? 

It can take about an hour or two to draw a panel. I spend more time prepping the panels (trying out different poses and angles, finding references, etc. than actually drawing them.)

Was Grandpa always about Dracula and Van Helsing’s grandchildren?

The original story was about a vampire trying to find her Alzheimer’s stricken grandpa on Halloween night, but I changed his name from Orlo to Dracula before I launched the webtoon series. It made it easier to pitch the concept to others. Dracula with Alzheimer’s immediately paints a picture. Van Helsing was added just for the fun of it.

Grandpa in Distress

How long have you been working on this project?

I have been working on Grandpa on and off as a webtoon since Christmas Day 2014.

What’s the endgame for Grandpa? And then what’s next for you??

Grandpa has a long way to go, but I know how the story ends and look forward to drawing it all out. I have a full-time job, so I am a lot slower than other content creators, but someday, I will finish it! I have a ten series plan: the next series I make will be a sci-fi western with no vampires!

Anything else you would like to say?

Thank you to the readers who have stuck with Grandpa throughout the years. I’ve made a lot of mistakes while growing as an artist/writer and that has not made it the easiest story to follow…. I also welcome all the new readers who found Grandpa this year you have made 2019 a very special year for Grandpa & me.

To Content creators: Don’t take it personal if your series doesn’t get a million views or likes right away or ever. Building a support base doesn’t happen overnight, but if you keep at it, eventually you will find an audience that appreciates what you are doing.

Read Grandpa in Distress for free here.

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J.J. Colagrande

Has written about Miami culture for almost twenty years, first with The Miami Herald, then Miami New Times and Huffington Post. He's the publisher of The Jitney and a full-time professor.