If there are any long-time readers out there you’ll know my ultimate goal in life is to edit comics. I think I need to mention a necessary caveat here: I want to be able to sustain myself while doing it. I want to edit comics and somehow make bank. I know it’s probably not the most… feasible goal, but ever since interning at Marvel and working with Kelly Roman on The Art of War, I’ve known that I want to edit comics.
As a Digital Rhetoric and Professional Writing Master’s student here at MSU I have the chance to study comics past, present, and speculate on their future. Because there aren’t any classes that specifically address comics in this curriculum, I’m forced to somehow find ways to talk about funny books in every course. It’s not as hard as you’d think, and actually all of my professors have been very open to exploring alternate forms of rhetoric.
This semester I’ve gone a step further and enrolled in WRA 470 – Editing and Publishing and I’m working with my friend Dr. Dianna Baldwin on an independent study focused almost solely on the editorial process in comics. Our first assignment? Thinking about the changing face of comics editorial in the digital realm.
But what the heck does that even mean? Well I’m going to try to make this a little more clear by doing a little focused rambling here on the blog.
How did we come to this topic? Well a man by the name of Agre wrote that to be successful you should try to become a thought leader in your field. My field is comics and when I think about making my mark in the industry, I think about becoming an expert in digital and web comics. It’s such a new space for the medium and we have so much to learn, and as a graduate student here at MSU I think I’m in a unique spot to actually contribute to these sorts of comics conversations. Specifically, I want to understand the editor’s role in this brave new world.
First I want to get an idea of what it is comic editors actually do! What are their duties? I have a general understanding of what they do on a very micro level, having done it myself with The Art of War, but I’ve only edited one graphic novel. I would love to hear what industry professionals to say about editorial duties. I also want to talk to writers and artists working in print about how they see editors and what they think an editor’s job is, and finally I want to talk to creators and web creators that don’t work with editors. What is their editorial process?
You can’t not edit your comics right? So if they don’t employ honest to goodness editors, they must resort to other means. Is editorial work left up to the casual glances of close friends and family members? Is it purely a personal editorial process? Do they put their work away for a few days and let their future selves edit the comics? Do fellow comics creators lend their editorial expertise? If readers are able to write comments about pages or strips, could that be considered a new form of comics editorial? These are some of the questions that I hope to address in the coming weeks.
The man with the plan, the savior of Willamette Parkview Mall, the one and only Frank West runs point on my totally awesome UMvC3 team. Why? First and foremost it’s tons of fun finding new ways to level him up. Second, he has really fun combos and surprising mix-up ability. Third, Level 4 and 5 Frank is an absolute beast.
Below I’m going to go over Frank’s movement. I know what you’re thinking, “an entire post dedicated to Frank moving around?” He has more tricks than you might think, not all of them useful, but if we’re getting down and dirty with Mr. West why not go for broke?
On the Ground Frank’s walk speed isn’t really anything to write home about and neither is his standard jump. His wave dash on the other hand is pretty alright and can help you connect combos you couldn’t otherwise.
The Slide (D+H): Online you’re going to see Frank users whipping this bad boy out all the time. It goes under a fair amount of projectiles, has decent range and priority, and is kinda safe. Great for dodging projectiles and scoring that first hit.
The Slide (Level 4-5): The range increases, allowing for projectile punishes at longer ranges.
Desk shows off some more creative ways to use Frank’s slide while chucking zombies. I’ve never tried to use this in a match but it looks kinda awesome.
The Roll – Level 2+ The roll makes Frank’s ground game a million times better. The roll gives him access to mix-ups, makes his block strings safe(r), and gives him a legitimate way to avoid just about anything his opponent throws at him. You can even power through nearly full screen beam hypers by rolling, x-factoring, and rolling again into Survival Techniques, as Yoshinator demonstrates in this little clip
Use it after a kneedrop to get you out of some sticky situations, use it in the corner on incoming characters for some mixup shenanigans, use it behind assists to cover your approach, it’s a poor man’s excuse for a teleport but god dang we’ll take it!
Air Mobility I know what you’re thinking, “Air mobility?” What I mean here has nothing to do with air dashes, hovering, or teleports, because Frank can’t do any of that crap. He can however, drastically alter his momentum once he takes to the skies. His air mobility doesn’t change as his level increases.
Air Tools of Survival L (QCF L): Frank breaks out the plunger/broom/paddle saw and attacks, which halts all of his forward momentum and causes him to remain stationary in the air. This is great to avoid chip from horizontal style hypers like the Metsu Hadoken, Goddess Bracelet, you know. Granted if you’re super jumping over the beam already… Well it’s always good to have options right?
Air Tools of Survival M: Frank hauls off and swings for the fences. Again, his forward momentum stops and he plummets to the ground. You can still attack while falling, after you recover of course, so you’re not completely helpless but you’re probably going to only want to do this one in combos. If you need extra airtime definitely use the L version.
Air Kneedrop (D+H): Frank loses all of his forward momentum and plummets to the ground, scoring a hard knockdown if he connects with the enemy’s noggin which opens up opportunities for photographs, Tools of Survival H, or assists to continue the combo. There aren’t all that many hypers this move will help you avoid (if any?) but it’s a great option when your opponent is just holding down/back and it comes out quick enough to surprise the occasional turtler.
Ok, in the next post I’ll break out some of my own strategies for landing that elusive hit and some combos I rely on when I finally get in. As always if you have any questions, comments, or whatever feel free to type something down below. You can follow me on Twitter at KingofBreaker for tons of fighting game coverage and other such stuffs’Til next time freaks and geeks!
You guys have seen me occasionally posting things about the graphic novel that I’ve been doing PR for right? Well a few months ago I started up a blog that deals exclusively with The Art of War comic book news.
I’ll be posting links here to my posts over there but I just wanted to give everyone a heads up: you’ll be seeing lots of mini-posts here sending you to awesome real posts there. We’ll start this one off with my latest work of genius (not really) – Kelly Mashes Up Art of War Art.
What’s up everybody? I know it’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything, seriously about a month, and I want to rectify that immediately, this being a new year and all. I want to talk about my main team in Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Frank, Thor, Ghostrider. This series of articles will attempt to examine each character’s strengths and weaknesses, assist abilities, their positions on the team, and my priorities with each.
Part 1: The Overview
This team is built to get Frank to Level 4 off of any stray hit. Frank rocks the point position, Thor backs him up with Mighty Spark, and Ghost Rider waits in the wings with Chain of Rebuttal at the ready. This team has some really surprising synergy too. Their DHCs work well enough, it’s pretty easy pumping Frank up to Level 3/4, and Frank and Thor’s assists are great for whatever character is on point. At this point Ghost Rider feels like a rather one-dimensional character and I’m really only using him for his assist (thinking about changing it up to Rocket Raccoon soon), but I really enjoy leveling up Frank, their DHCs are definitely workable, and I like playing with such a unique team so on with the show!
The Point Man
Why do I play Frank on point? Well next to Thor, Frank is my favorite character in this game. He’s got a ton of fun and useful special moves, he can relaunch out of nearly any situation, he has an anti-air hyper, he can toss zombies at the enemy, and when you put in the work he becomes an absolute monster at Levels 4 and 5.
Frankly (pun intended) as noted above, the point of this team is to get Mr. West to Level 4-5 off of any hit. As long as my two assists are alive that’s totally possible. That being said I don’t have a ton of advice for playing Frank alone because very rarely does Frank find himself without backup in my matches. I don’t mean that I’m so stunningly great that Frank always has assists, it’s just that he’s usually the first to go and then it’s up to Thor and Ghost Rider to hold the line after things go south.
How do I level Frank up? My strategy for pushing Frank into that mythic land of Level 4 is gratuitous use of Thor’s Mighty Spark assist. You guys have probably seen videos where Frank combos into Dr. Strange’s Eye of Agamotto or Dormammu’s Dark Hole assists right? No? Well then check out Dream King’s totally awesome Frank combo vid here. Anyway Mighty Spark’s initial start-up blast radius works in much the same way. Off of any hard knockdown call Thor, take a photo that pops them into the electricity, which does a nice little 7 hits, and carry on with the damage.
My main b&b to Lv. 4 uses Thor and Ghost Rider’s assists, works anywhere on the screen, builds 1.5 meters, does a decent 730k damage, and leaves the opponent in the corner. If I have enough meter and I’ve got a low-health character caught in the combo I’ll DHC into Thor’s Mighty Tornado for a nasty 930k. I’ll post some combo vids in the next installment.
The Second in Command
I love Thor. While I don’t doubt that the ass-kicking Asgardian would rather be out on the front lines, I really like him in the second slot. Why? Sadly I’m not the greatest with Thor, I’ll admit that. I have trouble consistently zooming around the screen with Mighty Strikes and I choke all the time going for Mighty Hurricane grabs.
I feel like I can get the most damage out of him as an assist for Frank. However if I need to DHC for a nice Mighty Tornado or what have you I’ll definitely let Thor mix it up. In the second spot he’s always available for Mighty Sparks assists and Mighty Tornado/Thunder make great DHCs after any Blue Light Special, Survival Techniques, Hellfire Maelstrom, or Spirit of Vengeance. DHCing into Mighty Punish after Survival Techniques sets up some nasty resets that almost always results in a dead character. Get the spinning knockdown into a M Mighty Smash and let the reset shenanigans begin!
When Thor is on point and Mighty Striking around the screen, Shopping Cart is an awesome pseud0-lockdown assist to set up the Mighty Hurricane. Unless I’m punishing or going for a reset, this is one of the only times I’m comfortable attempting the grab and it’s usually pretty successful. Speaking of assists, I have yet to find a decent use for Ghost Rider’s Chains of Rebuttal when I’m working with Thor. I just can’t seem to capitalize off of a hit on reaction, heck even when I see it coming it’s nearly impossible because Thor move’s so slowly after foes. In the corner it’s fine but mid-screen it’s a nightmare.
When it comes down to it I really just think Thor is the coolest. I love his character model, his animations, his voice actor, everything about him is just awesome. Now I just need to get better with him.
Ghost Rider is my MvC2 Tron: I only use him for his assist. Chain of Rebuttal comes out fast, covers a large part of the screen, and causes a wall bounce. With Frank I usually have no problem scoring some sort of damage when it connects but with Thor… Ugghh. Ghost Rider as an anchor honestly isn’t all that great. He has some phenomenal Level 3 X-Factor damage but it’s so hard to get in without assists.
When I do eventually hit my enemy I really enjoy doing Ghost Rider’s combos. I use Mighty Spark after his flame pillar OTG for some pretty decent damage, but unfortunately, at this point in my hands, the Rider just isn’t a super combo heavy character. Depending on the matchup I’ll put Ghost Rider on point and lock my opponent down with Mighty Sparks and Shopping Carts. Conditioning them to expect the Jump S opens up a lot of people to his ok 2L and far reaching 2H.
Every day I think about switching Ghost Rider for Rocket Raccoon. Rocket’s got better assists, more versatile combos, more useful DHCs (for this team in particular), and not many people are playing him. The only problem is that he seems very very execution-centric and I’m not all that great with my hands. That’s why my second team is Nemesis, Hulk, Spencer. I think Ghost Rider is fun, but I could probably get better everything elsewhere. For now, this is what I’m working with.
End of Part 1: The Overview
So that’s my team in a nutshell. It’s not the best by any means but I’ve had a decent amount of success with them. I’ve gotten to 7th Lord a few times but grad school and life always seem to get in the way and BOOM, the next thing I know I’m back down to 9th Lord losing to your and your grandmother. Blech. Anyway, next I’m going to be focusing on some specific Frank strategies and combos that I use in matches so be sure to check back soon!
You can follow me on Twitter for more fighting game madness at Kingofbreaker Find me on Xbox Live at iFight4Food