Getting Truthful: Alvaro Cortes Jr
Continuing on last week's notes, where we spoke with Truthful Comics cofounder Manuel Carmona, this week we speak with the other cofounder of TC, Alvaro Cortes Jr, aka "Lance Danger".
Lance Danger helms Prospecto Arts, a "studio" he's created since junior high school along with childhood friends. He has various titles under the Prospecto Asrts banner within Truthful Comics, but today we'll focus on his flagship title, Fred Peterson: The Mighty Warlord, the longest running Puerto Rican super hero comic and as far as anyone call tell, the second longest running PR comic ever (just behind legendary Turey El Taino).
1. How did the idea for Fred Peterson: The Mighty Warlord came about?
It came about because of my love of super hero comics. Specifically the "every man" style of super heroes.
The biggest inspirations for Warlord was pretty much the "teen books" of the 90s done by DC Comics, specifically The Ray and Robin (Tim Drake version).
And to a lesser extent, Flash (Wally West), Green Lantern (Kyle Raynor), Nightwing, The Fly (Impact Comics/DC Comics) and Spider-Man.
Originally the world of TMW was set in a fictional city called Cult City, and was like that since his conception when I was in Junior High School.
But after watching the special features of the first Sam Raimi Spider-Man movie on DVD, I was inspired to move the story to Puerto Rico instead, where I was living in at that time.
2. Who has had the biggest influence on your comics career, and how has that person influenced TMW characters?
It's pretty much a tie, really.
Joe Quesada inspired me to draw. From the first time I saw his artwork on The Ray mini series in the 90s, I knew I wanted, I NEEDED to draw comics. His art was unlike anything I had seen at the time. His art eventually introduced me to Mike Mignola and Alphonse Muccha. After The Ray he was on hit title after hit title, Batman: Sword of Azrael, designing "AzBats" for the Knightfall/KnightsQuest/KnightsEnd stories, X-Factor, and Ninjak.
Then he co-creates Event Comics and starts cowriting Ash and that eventually led to the most influential comics in my life, his runs on Daredevil.
his art style is the most predominant in my art and character designs, I always look to his Daredevil and Art of Marvel art book for inspiration.
And to echo my partner in crime, Manuel, Todd McFarlane also is a HUGE influence. When I fist started taking Warlord from "just a character" I created, and realized that I was falling in love with the character and the small world that was starting to form around him, I wanted to become the Puerto Rican Todd McFarlane.
Aside from his spectacular artwork, which I discovered through Spawn at the time, reading his interviews, I saw a new light to creating. Aside form being a great artist and creator, he was a very smart businessman.
I tried to stylize the comic design after Spawn and wanted to model my website after his website and pretty much somehow follow his business model.
To this day I admire his business sense. He made mistakes along the way that cost him, but, he kept at it and came out even stronger than before I believe, so that makes me admire him even more. He's on the verge of breaking the indie comics record in a few months, shattering Cerebus long reign at 300 issues. And I'm not too far in chasing PR's longest running comic, Turey El Taino which had 36 issues, and I'm wrapping up chapter 25 soon.
In terms of writing, Christopher Priest is my all time favorite writer. His run on The Ray, the ongoing series version of the 90s, pretty much modeled my writing style.
If Joe Quesada was the artist that made me need to draw comics, Christopher Priest was the writer that made me need to be a writer. Me made heroes more relatable to an extent I had not read at that time.
My current favorite writer that I feel has been influencing me also is Scott Snyder. His Detective Comics run that was collected into the trade The Black Mirror is my all time favorite Batman story. And his epic run on Batman with Greg Capullo is now my favorite Batman run ever.
3. What tools do you use to create and what makes them the “right tools” for you?
I use anything I can get my hands on, I love to experiment. My go to is Maxon manga paper for webcomics. With mechanical pencils for the layouts and a combination of micron pens, brush pens, and Manga Studio for inking and toning. I color with Photoshop CS2.
For sketching I have a lot of sketch books, pens, art pencils, markers, prismacolor color pencils, Touch markers, crayons, Chinese markers. I have an associates degree in fine arts, so I really like to get my hands dirty with just about any medium I can use. Lately I've been doing more fully digital work after starting my Cartooning degree at SVA.
Using various tools is right for me because I like to keep challenging myself as an artist, I like to get out of my comfort zone, so when I feel I'm getting too comfortable with one way of doing things, I try to change it up to keep challenging myself, and more importantly, to keep things fun and keep myself from burning out.
4. What element of your work gives you the most personal satisfaction?
Making something out of a blank sheet of paper or a blank screen. Making something that putting out on the internet, now means that I can put something out there that, for better or worse, is going to be floating out there forever and eventually outlive me. It's my anchor. I get the personal satisfaction that will all the things that has happened, that's happening, and what will happen, I have this little comic that has stuck with me for half my life now pretty much.
It's that intangible element of feeling I left something behind that makes me feel good about this comic.
5. What has been the most rewarding thing about TMW?
It has opened many doors to collaborate with other great people. Through TMW I met Manuel, eventually Corey, the third pillar of TC.
I've written for other indie studios because of my work on TMW. I've also helped inspire other creators to do their own thing, and at the end of the day, that's what's most rewarding to me. To help inspire others to create their own thing. Whether it was "wow, that's kind of cool, I want to do something like that", or "man, that sucks, I can do WAY better", I want to inspire and motivate people the same way I was inspired by my favorite creators.
6. What is your elevator pitch for TMW?
TMW is about a regular college kid that discovers that he's a hero, and he really doesn't want to be. It turns his life upside down and he starts to grow up not just as a person but as a person that's maturing into adulthood and all the problems, victories, and losses that comes with growing up and on op of that being a time displaced hero destined to save the world.
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