Axel-In-Charge: Extending "Secret Wars," Excitement for a "Totally Awesome Hulk"
I love these posts where an artist takes you from initial concept to finished work, and here’s a fine example of that: Bryant Paul Johnson, the creator of the wonderful faux-history webcomic Teaching Baby Paranoia, shows us a step-by-step account of his creation of an illustration for the Avarice Industries RPG, which is yet another Kickstarter project that has already exceeded its goal. Johnson discusses composition and character design and shows his work along the way. Good stuff!
Gamers and global manga fans are already familiar with King of RPGs, a graphic novel about, well, RPGs, by Jason Thompson and Victor Hao. (Thompson is well known in the manga community as a former editor and the writer of Manga: The Complete Guide.)
Now they are taking a new tack, extending their story on the web via a King of RPGs webcomic. It’s a nice brand extension, as the webcomic looks like it will be accessible to readers who aren’t familiar with the books as well as those who are longtime fans. Thompson and Hao have added plenty of bonus content to the site, including the original story pitch, and they plan on updating the webcomic two or three times a week.
With Kick-Ass in theaters and Marvel’s Daredevil-driven Shadowland event on the horizon, it’s a good time to be a street-level vigilante hero. Now you can be one in the privacy of your own home, thanks to blogger Jon Hasting’s DIY RPG Street Level.
Hastings says he drew inspiration for designing his homemade game in large part from the ’70s & ’80s Marvel characters who will be throwing down in Shadowland — Moon Knight, Luke Cage, Daredevil, Punisher, Ghost Rider, Iron Fist and so on — as well as indie takes on the concept from Mike Baron’s Badger to Mark Millar & John Romita Jr.’s Kick-Ass. Now, what I don’t know about role-playing games could almost fit into the Grand Canyon, but it looks to me like Hastings captured the spirit of what makes these characters fun: The skills your character can develop include “finding shit out,” “taking a beating,” “doing violence,” “telling people what’s what,” and “keeping your shit together” (for those interested in doing a Daredevil: Born Again-style campaign, I guess), while the amount of “Heat” you’ve drawn to yourself from either traditional law enforcement or the criminal underworld is a major factor in your success or failure. Actual superpowers are optional; if you want your character to be able to light his fists on fire thanks to some experimental drug/martial-arts mojo, that’s fine, but it’s also fine to just have him roll out of bed, put on a jumpsuit, and beat up some muggers.
Hastings is concerned that he may have overdesigned the game, but he needs to have it playtested to be sure. Why not give it a spin yourself?