Thursday, April 17, 2008

The more I teach the more I learn.

Before I get started boring you, here's something I found interesting. I had researched my genealogy and names origin in school and decided to redo my research to see if it was accurate. It was correct and thought I'd share it with you.

VASQUEZ-From the root VASCO; son of.

From the medieval Spanish name Velasco, which came from the Spanish surname Velázquez, which possibly meant "CROW" in Basque. A famous bearer was the Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama, the first person to sail from Europe around Africa to India.

Alternate meaning-"SHEPHERD" of-from the Basque region (Southern France to Northern Spain)


Old Germanic in origin. Rudolph; meaning- FAME WOLF

I thought it was cool. So, I guess I'm a famous Wolf that Shepherds Crows/Ravens. I had some acquaintances that believed in tossing some black magic at people, via the Raven. I imagine if I put stock in that nonsense it wouldn't affect me much.

The stuff I write will be both philosophical and practical so take what works for you and disregard what does not.

I will be doing this in a very specific way by using the book of Five Rings by Miyamoto Musashi as translated by Stephen F. Kaufman (Hanshi 10th Dan) as a template. Like before I will liken the martial arts with the art of comics. I want to emphasize that Miyamoto Musashi is Japan’s Sword Saint and possibly the greatest swordsman that ever lived. He lived in a time when killing was a way of life. Just like the old west so his ideals are extreme and uncompromising. For the few of us that choose this “art” of comics as way of life and not just a hobby we must view it in an uncompromising way. If not, the quality of the art suffers, our paychecks suffer and the efficiency of reaching our goals will suffer.


Musashi was a warrior. To a samurai, achieving perfection was death. Or in death we finally realize perfection. We recite that perfect poem as we relinquish the graspiness of life that clouds our minds. For us, admitting perfection in our own skill or art is a rare if not completely unattainable thing. In fact if we begin to view our work as without flaw then, we are indeed dead. (Value your Editors) There will be no chance of improving upon perfection and so what will be the point of continuing? That is not to say that we cannot view someone else’s art as perfect. That is the nature of “subjectiveness”.


“Warriors understand the only real measure of his ability lies in being able to beat men in fights.”-Musashi

This is true for a warrior because that is what he does. His occupation is rooted in combat. We as artists, more specifically comic book artists may in theory compete with one another in an over crowded market but in truth the only person we need to fight is ourselves. Be aware of those that make exclamations of superiority. Those that bark more than they bite like the Chihuahua. Those that seek rivalries and conflict in an industry like ours are simply insecure. Fame seekers that are done before they begin. Beating others makes you a fighter, but conquering yourself makes you a Master in the only way that makes sense. Every time you are working on something, try to beat yourself. Study and push yourself. Friendly rivalries have there place, the other kind only distracts you from defeating the only thing you need to be concerned with. Your own limitations.

For instance, I learned a new word this week: Mary Sue. Or for a male, Gary Stu. This is a character, or a style of writing that is created for one purpose: Wish Fulfillment (Of the writer/creator) I’m plugging this subject in here because this occurs a lot in this market where it’s so easy to do. With a publisher as big as Marvel and DC with so many editors and fans it’s hard to get anything by that is selfish to the writer because rest assured an irate fan that feels a good story is taking a back seat to the selfish wishes of a writer will be heard and acknowledged. They are paying for it after all.

In a smaller market where we can pretty much publish whatever we want with Print on Demand and even old style photo copy comics, we don’t have those checks and balances as much. So unless you have honest friends or editors with balls, we can get caught up in our Mary Sues and create and write characters that only serve us. Now, if we don’t care about what others think or don’t care about pushing ourselves as creators it’s ok. However; if we want to push ourselves, avoid creating all powerful, generic characters or hollow stories that push the limits of the generic. (Hence my NAZI-ZOMBIE-NINJAS in my Fan Girl piece) It was tongue in cheek.

It’s not easy writing something original these days, or creating something completely original but it’s not impossible. Quantity is not quality so as long as you keep trying to say something honest and evaluate your self you have nowhere to go but up.

Thanks for listening,

Humbly yours,

Rudy V.

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