This is Alvaro (or Lance if you prefer) here with a blog update. This post will sort of be a series of blogs mixed in with other more regular blogs I'll be doing, but this one in particular is about my passion and philosophy for comics, that can also be applied for other areas in life as it may come. Formally known as "The Tao of Danger", just thought "The Book Of Danger" sounds a tad less cliche LOL Let's start this off with something I found the other day going through old files of paper in my room/studio.
I found a print out of goals I had set up back when I was a freshman in college in 1997/98. It was actually from the first computer I ever owned (a NEC Windows 95 machine my father had sent me from New York when I told him I was going to mayor in computer programming). At this point, I was near the end of the original run of Warlord I made all throughout high school in notebooks, and decided that I was going to reinvent the story to try and actually publish it someday, so, inspired by the then new Ultimate Marvel reimagining of Spider-Man, I started writing like a man possessed the "Ultimate Warlord" kind of reimagining which is about 80% of how the final published material has been so far on the webcomic. In the middle of all that when I started thumbnailing out the first issue and designing the covers and inside back covers, I wrote a simple page of goals about how I wanted Prospecto Arts to be, with 4 key elements. Not knowing what a mission statement was back then, looking now, it was actually more of a mission statement concerning those for key elements: 1- Commitment, 2- Desire, 3- Quality, and 4- Heart. I'd like to somewhat update this mission statement.
- Commitment- I had put this one first because back then I considered this one to probably be the most difficult one, though I think it can be true now as well. As I wrote back then, in life we have many responsibilities, and I'm not even talking about the comic making process itself. We all have lives and people that live in them. We have to divide time for family, friends, work, church if you go to any or practice whatever belief you have, and if you have no kind of belief I'm sure there are many other responsibilities to keep you occupied. Not only we have to deal with it, it's important to do so to keep a balance in our lives. If our personal life is not balanced, it can sometimes affect whatever you do in life, not just in comics. And to top it all of, when we do have the time to create, we have to face very stiff competition and a very demanding public.There is nothing wrong with healthy competition, that is always unavoidable, and it's good as long as it doesn't become the only focus to do your creation. There will be times fans, other creators, or just people that are filled with ill intent that will always try to put you down. Try to make you quit. Make you doubt yourself more than you already, especially if you are your own worst critic. But always remember something I learned a while back: If you are your own worst critic, you MUST be your own greatest fan as well. And constantly remembering why you are committed to this despite the ups and downs. Because this is what you love. This is what you want to do, whatever reason you have for doing it. For that you have to have commitment with your product. With your readers. You must have commitment with yourself. And if you can't deal with that, like I wrote in that print out, "then go to bed and read a Disney book with your night light on"!
- Desire- This one I will leave pretty much as I originally wrote it. Yes, desire. Desire to see this dream through so bad, you can almost taste it. Of course not to the point of obsession, because as I mentioned before, in life there are many fulfilling things that one should never miss out on. But if the chance is there, leap at it. Hold it. DO NOT LET IT GO. I mean, if you never take the risk, how would you know if it would've worked? Remember that desire. That kid in you that always thought "damn, it would be cool to have people reading my stuff" as you hold your copy of (insert random comic here).
- Quality- This one I will modify a bit from what originally I wrote. Many people will have different concepts of what is quality. It's almost like love, you ask 10 different people what their definition of quality is and you'll likely get 10 different answers. Also like beauty, quality is in the eye of the beholder in some cases. But one thing is certain: not put out something out there just for the sake of putting something out there. Produce something that we are certain we gave our best, our absolute best out there. People can tell when you put out something half-baked out, and when you put something out there with pure effort. We have to remember something I learned a while back as well: Every comic or webcomic we produce, is going to be somebodies first effort they'll see from us, and someone else's last thing they'll see from us, what kind of impression do you want to make?
- Heart- I'll leave this one mostly intact, but ad a couple of things to make it clearer. Do everything you do with heart, not just your comic, everything in life. People, like with quality, can tell when you do something with your heart completely into it. Not to show off. Not to be better than someone else. But for the pure joy of doing something that you absolutely love. Chances are, you'll come across people that will love your works for that. But again always remembering there are other things in life that are fundamental. For as hard as this whole process is, never forget the beautiful things in life that God gives us. Again, believe in whatever deity you believe in, or you don't believe in, still, you have to remember the things that make life worth living. Don't ever take yourself too seriously. That's why in a way I don't see this studio as a studio, it's almost more like family. The band of misfit toys that saved Christmas in the end. Look at the world around you from time to time and you just might be surprised at what it has to offer.
That's pretty much the long and short of it. I'll finish this off with some sentences of the original print out:
"Be prepared. This will be difficult at times. Stressful. Excruciating. Maybe even painful at times for you and everybody around you. But just remember in the end, when you're holding the very first issue of your very own comic right there in your own hands, in all it's paper and ink glory, *edit* or staring at your screen or mobile device, reading comments from people all over the world reading your webcomic */edit*, holding a piece of your dream materialized, you'll think the same thing I think: it was worth it."
Alvaro "Lance Danger" Cortes Ortiz Jr