You have the ability to overcome great fear. – Hal Jordan’s power ring, “Green Lantern: Secret Origin,” DC Comics
Back in March, I received an email from one of my agents, simply entitled “audition.” Briefly, the email said “Can you get this back to me by tomorrow a.m.? VERY Confidential.” Scanning down the email I saw the attachment – JohnStewart.doc. Before I even opened it, I was giddy.
You see, I am a comic book geek. I have been reading them since I was a child; some of my fondest memories include my father asking me “George, did you get the new X-Men comic yet? No? Let’s go get it,” and promptly heading out the door to the local comic book store, a thing that was so much rarer in those days than they are even now. My allegiances have shifted around from publisher to publisher over the years, but there has always remained a special place in my heart for the DC Universe. In DC, you can have your Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman; they are fantastic long running characters. But my favorites are the Martian Manhunter (much more low key than the previously mentioned Man of Steel, Dark Knight, and Amazon Princess, but just as powerful), and Green Lantern.
For those not familiar with the mythos, Green Lanterns are universal policemen, entrusted by the Guardians of the Universe to protect their little slice of space from all sorts of evil, large and small. To do so, each Lantern is given a green power ring. These rings are often called “the most powerful weapons in the universe,” because their abilities are only limited to the willpower of the wearer. Indeed, those who are chosen to be Green Lanterns are selected not because they are always brave, but because of their ability to overcome great fear with willpower. Earth is lucky (as it is in most comic books) in that it has three lanterns assigned to it and its sector; Hal Jordan (the subject of last summer’s kind of regrettable film, Guy Gardner….and John Stewart.
Stewart was created at a time when there was a dearth of African-American comic book heroes, and over time has become a steady member of the DC Universe. Many children found out about him during the run of the Justice League and Justice League Unlimited cartoons on Cartoon Network, where he has been presented a s a strong, honorable, and powerful character.
As I mentioned before, the source of a Green Lantern’s power is willpower. The ability to overcome fear, or virtually anything else, by force of will. Green Lanterns are capable of building enormous machines, contain stars going supernova, and more by sheer force of will. And if you think about it, that is what the pursuit of any career, especially as one as fraught with pitfalls and perceived rejection as voiceover, depends on will. The will to power through the slow times and keep plugging; the will to keep auditioning when it seems you just can’t turn one over; the will to keep trying.
So I deny the need for talent? Of course not. All the willpower in the world can’t get you past an inability to interpret copy. How about money? No, unless you have a ring that can will you into some cash to handle the expense of getting started. No, I do not deny that there is more needed aside from just wanting it.
But one must want it and must keep driving forward, and show the will to push through the inevitable disappointment of auditions not won and agents not impressed enough with your abilities and the lack of time and all of those things if the career is to come. Willpower isn’t all you need, but it is a lot of what you need.
And the audition? As of June 2012, I am John Stewart in a non-player character role in the massively multiplayer online role playing game DC Universe Online. I join a list of actors who have portrayed John Stewart that includes Phil LaMarr, Kevin Michael Richardson, Michael Jai White and Ken Thomas. There are some stories in which the power ring is referred to as a “wishing ring.” Well apparently, some wishes do come true.