SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - A Las Vegas man is bringing his artistic talents and message about representation to San Diego for Comic-Con.
Quincy Victoria helps run a Las Vegas entertainment company, but his passion for art -- specifically comic book characters -- has taken him to America’s Finest City each of the past three years.
“I’ve never gone to San Diego Comic-Con as a fan, but when I became a comic book artist, I made it a bucket list item that my first time to SDCC would be as a professional, and not as a fan,” Victoria said.
While being a comic book artist is currently a part-time endeavor, Victoria is definitely all-in when it comes to the dedication to his craft. It is a trait he said he picked up from his father.
Victoria credits his dad as being the biggest influential figure in his life, and it was his father’s teachings that sparked his drive to one day become an artist.
“I started really young, maybe 3 or 4 [years old]. My dad was a graphic artist by day and an oil painter by night, and he was always teaching me things here and there. By the time I hit middle school, I was copying comic books and cartoons,” Victoria told 10News.
He eventually stopped drawing other characters and decided to create his own, one that he thought could represent his Filipino heritage and culture, and still have that hero appeal that readers would love and support.
“About four years ago, I was approached by Free Isabelo of LFDF Comics to put something together, and being that I’m a proud Filipino-American, I wanted something that appealed to Filipinos on both sides of the ocean. I wanted to do a book that pulled from Filipino mythology while giving attention to the subtle nuances of Filipino culture,” Victoria said.
As the ideas flowed through his head, Victoria finally came up with his superhero, “Kawal: Soldier of the People.”
“Kawal is a Filipino man who grew up in the U.S. but was sent back to the Philippines … I picture him as a modern-day Robin Hood or Captain America who is trying to learn his culture and does it with the stereotypical Filipino humor and sensibility,” said Victoria.
“Kawal: Soldier of the People” follows the adventures of Ricky Valiente, who Victoria describes as a poor family man living in the slums of the Philippines. Yearning to fight for those who cannot fight for themselves, Ricky is suddenly given special powers by Mayari, the Philippine Goddess of the Moon, and is chosen to serve as the soldier of the people.
To Victoria, the creation of Kawal and other characters from fellow Filipino artists represents a trend in the right direction when it comes to the diversity among comic book heroes.
“Representation matters. Up until a few years ago, there were no prominent Filipino characters. Even Asian characters were very minimal, but Filipino characters were practically non-existent,” said Victoria.
He cites Whilce Portacio, Gerry Alanguilan and Tony Dezuniga among the Filipino artists who have broken through in the comic book industry and have paved the way for up-and-coming artists like himself.
“I see Kawal as bridging the gap between Filipinos all over the world, not just in the Philippines,” Victoria said.
At this year’s Comic-Con, Victoria’s Kawal and his other artwork will be on full display, and he can’t wait for San Diego to check out his creations.
“I love San Diego Comic-Con because it grabs people from all over the world. The people there are more willing to hear about independent projects and they’re really focused on what they want to look for,” he said.
While finding success in the comic book industry can be a challenge, Victoria said he’s navigating his way through by constantly honing his skills and staying motivated.
“I wanted to be a comic book artist when I was in high school. Life got in the way, but years later, I was given a chance and I ran with it,” Victoria said. “It’s never too late to start. You have to be honest with yourself, have an honest support system and learn how to take constructive criticism.”