The Art of Doktor No

For amusement and personal development.

“Cuauhtli” production report (January 2023)

Slow progress and experimentation

Unfortunately, I don’t have good news here. My creative process had stalled a bit, mired in experimentation, research and trying various new processes of creating comic, not mentioning daily life getting into the way.

The silver lining here is that good projects needs time. You simply cannot speed up certain things, and creating fantasy comic book is one of them.

Creative writing challenge

Here things gets tricky. Creating basics of the world and interesting characters is only the first half of the the process. The rest is creating an interesting story. I am gathering ideas for plots and adventures, and brainstorming them ditto character development and world building. Its not easy task for sure, another one is setting the tone. I don’t want to shy from mature topics and there would be some violence, but on the other hand I don’t want to create “dark/low fantasy” that makes reader depressed and disturbed (more on that here).

Disappointments and mixed feelings about Aztecs in comics

Since the beginning of the work I tried to gather other existing comics set in Mesoamerica to gather some inspirations and just look how creators tackled that. Unfortunately I noticed that way too often creators sensationalise things like human sacrifice, extrapolate those religious rites on whole society, creating dark, depressing visions that are not only historically inaccurate (e.g. the 24 thousand human offerings in one holiday is a colonial era fabrication; modern archaeologists and historians agree that it was 100s per year and they were mostly war captives) but also mean-spirited. For example “Queatzalcoatl” by J. Y. Mitton is concealed sadistic pornography. “Le Serpent et la Lance” by Hub (who did “Okko” series) is failed thriller with bad storytelling, and I wonder if creator have some personality issues. “Le Azteques” by Andreas (creator of “Rork”) is a mess and admitted failure by author. “Helldorado” is a horror fantasy that basically replicates prejudices of Mel Gibson’s “Apocalypto”. And so on. My feelings are best described by attached screenshot from Red Letter Media’s show on YouTube.

The massive “door-stopper” sized novel “Aztec” by Gary Jennings is mixed bag because author went overboard with graphic sex, that feels like a cheap gimmick for increasing book sales, and despite being fairy historically accurate there are some inaccuracies (despite authors claim of 12 years of research while living in Mexico), but that’s maybe because it was written in 1970’s when our knowledge about Aztecs was smaller than today. Also author does the sensationalisation of human sacrifice and cannibalism, and main protagonist does despicable things. On the other hand Aztecs are humanised and shown as sophisticated people with rich culture and arts, in contrast to intolerant and ruthless Spaniards.

In conclusion, I stopped looking for fictional works (especially comics) set in Mesoamerica for inspiration, because its a waste of time.

Roadmap for next months

What lies ahead? First of all, I decided to put main storyline on hold, and finish short 6 page interlude unrelated to main story, that introduces reader to the magic in this world. Next I need to flesh out concept art for extra characters and do more studies of architecture. Stay tuned and watch this space.