Robot 6

Sam Humphries on the secret life of Sacrifice

by Cliff Chiang

2011 was a great year for writer Sam Humphries; he and artist Steven Saunders self-published and self-distributed a successful one-shot called Our Love Is Real, which sold out several times and eventually was picked up by Image Comics. From there, he teamed up with artist Dalton Rose for a six-issue, self-published and self-distributed series called Sacrifice. The first issue came out last month and told the story of Hector, a time traveler/Joy Division fan who finds himself in the middle of the Aztec empire. The comic includes not only references to Aztec culture, but also pop music and the culinary delights of Rancho Peñasquitos.

Humphries has guest-blogged with us several times in the past, so when it was time to send out invitations to the big Robot 6 birthday bash, I put him at the top of the list. He brought gifts, too, in the form of a rundown of the various references included in the first issue of Sacrifice, a look at the Jade Edition cover variant of issue #2 by Wonder Woman artist Cliff Chiang and critical information on the healing powers of tacos. You can pre-order a physical copy of the second issue through, or you can find it at several comic shops. The first issue can be downloaded now via Graphicly or comiXology.

Now let’s hear from Sam …


The secret life of Sacrifice by Sam Humphries

“Every time I see you falling…”

While waiting for Hector, Violet is jamming to “Bizarre Love Triangle” by New Order. One of the greatest singles of the 20th or 16th centuries:

You can hear it for yourself here.

Rancho Peñasquitos

Take the Ted Williams freeway east from the 5, and you will find Rancho Penasquitos, aka the PQ, aka the Jewel of the Black Mountain. Hector’s 21st century hometown is a real-life suburb hidden in the hills of north San Diego county. It is one of my favorite places on Earth, and not just in July, when it is about a 30 minute drive from Comic-Con. Home of the infamous Ladies of the PQ. I will never reveal its secrets.

Golden Bagel

Sorry Violet, Golden Bagel is actually the finest food in all of Rancho Peñasquitos. You can find it next to the Vons grocery store on Black Mountain Road. Ask for the “Al’s Special” (bagel with cheese and tomato, toasted). #promoted


The Aztecs can’t actually lay claim to Quetzalcoatl. The Toltecs also worshiped him, and they did it first by a couple of centuries. Quetzalcoatl got around. Playa gotta play.

“Thirty days to get out here…”

You could conceivably walk from San Diego to the Valley of Mexico in 30 days. OK, so I didn’t try it myself. Prove me wrong, if you dare!

Aztec stone calendar monument

Hector’s tattoo and probably the most famous piece of Aztec art of all time. Contrary to popular belief, it is not a functioning calendar, although it does display the glyphs for days of the month. The purpose of the design is in dispute, but the stone itself (12 feet in diameter) was most likely used as a sacrificial altar.

Photo credit: gripso banana prune/Flickr


The capital city, and the economic, military, political, and religious center of the Aztec Empire. When the Spaniards arrived and conquered Tenochtitlan, they built their own city right on top of it. Today it is called Mexico City. At the time of the Spanish Conquest, it was the third largest city in the entire world.

Sacrifice artist Dalton Rose and colorist Pete Toms absolutely crush it in their double page spread of the city. What, you thought I was just gonna give it away here? Go buy the book! #promoted


In medical terms, this is a catch-all designation for any neurological condition associated with chronic seizures. It can be caused by any number of things, from genetics to childhood fevers. Epilepsy affects over 50 million people (including yours truly) but we understand very, very little about it. The brain is a messed-up and confusing place to be.

“It was your ability to go into the spirit world…”

As with many religious cultures, the Aztecs revered epileptics as shamans who could travel between this world and the next.

99 cent tacos from Jack-in-the-Box

They really do cure everything, including hangovers. This one I have tried myself. Trust. #promoted



I haven’t picked this up yet because I was less than impressed with “Our Love is Real.” I’m fond of history, though, so this might appeal to me. I wonder if the characters refer to themselves as “Aztecs,” because in the 16th Century, that wasn’t a term.

Scott: No, they don’t. :)

While we’re not 100% historically accurate with everything in SACRIFICE, it was part of our mission statement to push back against the broad, damaging misconceptions spread about the Aztec people since the Spanish Conquest. So while we punted on some details, this is definitely not a Euro-centric view, or even 20th century-centric view of the Aztec Empire.

Thanks for the quick answer, Sam!
I appreciate the work that goes into making stories historically accurate.

I stumbled onto issue 1 in Desert Island Comics in Brooklyn a few weeks ago. Just a solid book all around — quality paper, intriguing story, skillful drawing (the kind the reader can easily understand), masterful coloring, and good overall design of the book. A comic team that has an actual refined sense of design and storytelling — a rare find these days. Bravo!

I could not find issue #1 anywhere, some dealers had not even heard of it. The one guy who had heard of it said he wasn’t putting it out just yet because it was in such a low print run he was waiting until it was in high demand. This way he could sell it at astronomical prices! I found it online at but haven’t received it yet so hoping it eventually gets to me instead of an email telling me they were unable to fill my order. Really looking forward to reading it though!

Thanks for this feature, I’ll be downloading SACRIFICE tonight when I get home.

I love time travel stories and I’ve been interested in Aztec and Mayan history for a while, too.

Looking forward to reading this and really appreciate the behind-the-scenes stuff.

Hey Francisco! Yeah, it’s part of the perils of not having a publisher or distributor, you can’t cover as much area as you’d like to. I really appreciate the effort! I just dropped off a bunch of second printings of issue 1 at Meltdown Comics in Los Angeles, and they have been known to do mail order. I of course encourage you to shop local, but if that’s not working, Meltdown and eBay may be your best bets for issue 1.

Gary, hope you enjoy! I am hopelessly addicted to Aztec history so I hope you find a lot to dig.

Ahoy there, Sam! This is great stuff! And as for tacos curing hangovers, I gotta remember to try that sometime :)

All the best
~Timothy Connolly
The Hourly Planet, editor in chief

I was psyched to hear about this, because i had to wait until the Image edition to read ‘our love is real’ which i thought kicked much ass.
Not sure what to make of this one yet, but it’s a longer story so I’ll wait and see. I did however, get 4 of the different covers – standard, TFAW, a Jade ,and a signed Warrior edition! I don’t normally go all in for variants but a shop in my area had the regular and two of the variants so i figured what the heck.

Hey Sam! I got my copy of Sacrifice #1 in the mail yesterday so I am a very happy guy. I also pre-ordered #2 from so I should be getting that when it comes out. So are you and/or Dalton Rose going to be at Wondercon in Anaheim this coming March? Would love to meet you guys and get my books signed and maybe a sketch for my sketchbook by Mr. Rose. Did I mention I just got the latest print of Our Love Is Real? I learned about it reading about Sacrifice so found it online and ordered it. Can’t wait for Sacrifice #2!

sounds very interesting. Too bad that I have no hope of reading this unless someone scan it or the author puts it digitally available…

I hope is really well documented, as a mexican Im tired of the media mixing aztecs, mayans, incas etc, I not talking 100% scholar level accuracy but at least to feel that research was made and a effort to be accurate was made.

PS: Those are aberrations of tacos…

Calm down sordatos, I am a born and raised Mexican but there are more serious issues to worry about than tacos and comic books. I read comics for the pure enjoyment and escapism, if I want historical accuracy I’ll read books meant for those purposes. So if you choose to read comic books just enjoy them for what they are, or not. After all it is your choice.

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