Category Archives: In-Depth Review

Something about this comic/product caught my eye, for good or for worse, and a paragraph or two wasn’t enough to make my opinion clear on said item.

Adapting Public Domain Literature to Comics: How it’s Done

Before I blast off into theoretical realms unknown I think it’d be beneficial to lay a solid foundation for the ideas I’ll be talking about later in the series.  First and foremost is the term public domain, which I’ll be throwing around a lot and transmuting into an acronym when I get tried of writing it (PD).  If something is in the public domain, and in our case we mean any literature in the PD, it is no longer under any sort of copyright protection.

So anyone that’d like to publish, let’s say The Art of War, can.  It being written over 2000 years ago puts it out of reach of even the most dedicated copyright lawyers of the period.  That isn’t to say that you can copy modern translations of the work though, present day lawyers will jump all over you for that.

Here’s another example: Let’s say you wanted to write a sequel to Robert Louis Stevenson’s “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” in comic book form. Well Cole Haddon has done just that in his comic series “The Strange Case of Mr. Hyde.”  Seeing as the venerable author died in 1894, at the tragic age of 44, and over 100 years have passed since his demise, his work has fallen out of copyright protection and into the public domain and is now open for adaptation.

The same is true for other such masterful authors as Jane Austen, Jules Verne, Mark Twain, Bram Stoker; the list goes on and on.  Granted things get a bit trickier if you want to use works penned by the recently deceased authors of our age, what with copyright laws seemingly being pushed back to infinitum by our legislators, but that’s besides the point.  For the third and final time – Public domain literature is free of copyright restrictions and can be adapted and tweaked at will.

So how have comic books creators taken advantage of this phenomenon?  Over the past few years I’ve noticed 4 main classifications of adapted PD literature in the graphic storytelling medium: 1) Strict adaptation, 2) tweaked adaptation, 3) untold adventures, and 4) the patchwork universe.  Of course there are always exceptions to every rule and these classifications are by no means immutable, but I think they do a good job of setting up the ground work for discussion.

A strict adaptation is when a creator takes a novel and transforms it into a visual tale.  Here the writer must pick and choose which words to rip from the prose and feed to the reader while the artist must do their best to make sure that their every picture is worth a few hundred words at least.

This has got to be the most difficult PD adaptation a creator can undertake.  They hack and slash the time-tested work of a master, reassemble it into something that communicates the story visually, and then find an artist with the ability to make it look and feel right.

Unfortunately, unless the finished product is something of such surpassing brilliance that it outshines its progenitor, most of these graphic novels tend to be merely an introduction to their meatier original material.  Great examples of this type of PD adaptation can be found in the Puffin Graphics collection.

Tweaked adaptation occurs when a creator changes the events of the original work to suit their own creative desires.  That probably sounds incredibly vague but for those of you well-versed in mainstream comics think about Marvel’s “What If?” books.  There the writer changes an important event in the history of the Marvel U, e.g. General Ross originally becomes the Hulk instead of Banner, and then reveals an all-new aftermath over the course of the comic.  It’s still a Hulk story with the same events leading up to the Gamma Bomb explosion, but stars a different Hulk.

A good public domain tweaked adaptation is the Wachowski Brothers’ unfortunately unfinished Doc Frankenstein series.  In the comics Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein’s Monster is a super genius hounded by warriors of the Catholic Church.

Awwww yeah Doc Frankenstein!

The Wachowski’s utilized the classic origins of the motley monster (with one or two slight adjustments) to cement the foundations of their tale, but from there tell a decidedly different story in a completely different and original universe!

The tweaked adaptation is almost like a catch-all category for the comics that don’t quite fit into the other more defined classifications.  In the end, a tweaked adaptation stars characters from one specific public domain universe and can be subject to an almost limitless number of variations depending on the whim of the creator.  They can rewrite history, add new main characters, tell the tale from a different point of view, modernize the story, or take classic characters and put them into an entirely new universe, like the Wachowskis did.

Untold Adventures is a very common type of public domain adaptation found in comics.  As of right now I’m not quite sure if the Untold Adventures should be just a sub-category of Tweaked Adaptation, but bear with me.  By definition (my own of course) they’re simply stories about public domain characters that haven’t been told by the original author but are told in the original universe.  I’d also like to include a few small stipulations: 1) the PD character’s origins remain relatively untouched unless the tale takes place at an earlier date, 2) the setting remains true to the original and outlandish, non-genre events are kept to a minimum (no alien attacks or time traveling madness here).

Any of the recent Sherlock Holmes comics fit the bill for this one.  Tarzan comics, which usually begin as adaptations of Edgar Rice Burroughs original novels, inevitably become Untold Adventures once the creators have run out of material to adapt.

On an interesting note in Tarzan: Le Monstre by Stan Manoukian and Vince Roucher, Tarzan actually goes toe to toe with three other public domain characters: The Phantom of the Opera, Frankenstein, and Jekyll and Hyde.  While I would consider this an Untold Adventure, it has elements of the Patchwork Universe as well.  There is bound to be crossover between the categories and this comic is a perfect signifier of that fact.

Finally we come to the Patchwork Universe.  These occur when creators combine different public domain characters and universes into one overarching narrative.  In these stories the Big Bad Wolf might fall in love with Snow White, or Sinbad the Sailor might meet John Carter of Barsoom in an attempt to expel H.G. Well’s War of the Worlds aliens from the red planet.

The first volume of the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen combines elements purloined from such megalithic authors as Jules Verne, Sir Conan Doyle, Robert Louis Stevenson, H.G. Wells, and many many more.  Bill Willingham’s Fables goes even further, drawing from ancient fables, legends, folk tales as well as the public domain to tell his stories.  As I said above the Patchwork Universe contains elements from multiple PD universes and combines them into one narrative.  Simple as that.

How many Fables can you spot?

WHEW!  And there you have it, how public domain literature is utilized in comics today.  Obviously this is a constantly evolving phenomena, with new comics being written and published daily, but I think it does a passable job explaining just what a PD comic can be.  I hope this was informative and I’ve got more on the way so stay tuned!

Adapting Public Domain Literature to Comics – The Introduction

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

Reading Alan Moore’s The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen for the first time was an enlightening experience for me.  I was still relatively new to the comics scene and at 16 years old I had just started reading and collecting, using the gas money my parents gave me to get to school to fuel my funny book obsession.

The League introduced me to an incredible new phenomenon far more stimulating than the super hero stories I normally read: it used famous characters from classic public domain literature in a totally original graphic narrative.

It wasn’t until maybe a year, a year and a half ago that I really started to take an interest in comics that utilized these classic texts for inspiration.  That’s about the time I started working with Kelly Roman on his on his graphic novel, The Art of War.  In The Art of War Kelly takes the ancient military document by the legendary Chinese general Sun Tzu and uses it to construct the backbone of his own original narrative.  His is a graphic novel that combines one of the most well read public domain works in history, one written as an instructional manual for waging war, with a unique tale from his own imagination, and the resulting synthesis yields something never before seen in comics.

There are WAY too many good Fables covers to choose from!

While doing some editing work on the book I started to think about the strengths and weaknesses of the public domain comics I had read in the past.  Things like The League and Bill Willingham’s Fables sprung to mind.  I wondered why someone would use characters created hundreds of years ago?  Why would they adapt a text without a narrative?  What are the benefits of adapting a work instead of creating something completely original?  What are the weaknesses?

Thus began an intellectual journey that’s taken me nearly a year to put to paper.  While some of the answers to the questions I’ve posed above may seem glaringly obvious, I think it’s an incredibly complex issue without a single easily explained answer. In writing all this I’ve found that I still don’t have the vocabulary to put everything I’m thinking into words, though I shall try my darndest.  My goal is to break down what I think are some of the strengths and weaknesses of adapting public domain work to comics and how creators might go about it successfully.

Stay tuned in the coming weeks for more updates, but as I’ve been writing all day my brain feels sufficiently drained.  Each subsequent word I type sounds less ideal than the last and so I leave you with the promise of genuine cerebral stimulation in your future, if you are but bold enough to read with an open mind.

Goodbye for now,

Ben

Moriarty: The Dark Chamber #1 Review

Moriarty: The Dark Chamber #1

Great public domain literature adaptations redefine our understanding of classic universes and the characters contained within.  Alan Moore’s re-imagining of British heroes and villains in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, and so many other works draw us in because they tease a decidedly different rendition of a tale or character we’re intimately aware of.  We want to be surprised by a new take on our favorite classics and we’re excited to see where the authors might take them.

Moriarty: The Dark Chamber #1, written by Daniel Corey with artist Anthony Diecidue, takes the great detective’s arch-enemy down a road we’ve yet seen him travel: the way of the hero.  It wouldn’t work as well as it does if Corey had simply cast him headlong into a suit of shining armor though.  Rather he sets the stage for a compelling tale of criminal intrigue set just before the woes of World War I.  There’s a bit of political unrest, a dab of the supernatural, and a mystery just big enough to end the Professor’s self-imposed exile from the dark underbelly of the world he once ran.

The story takes place 20 years after Sherlock Holme’s death, and the Professor is working odd jobs for the petty criminals of London.  He’s a shade of his former villainous self.  Without the detective, where’s the challenge?  While some of the narrative runs dry at times, Moriarty himself is exceptionally well written.  The character is calculating, driven, dangerous, egotistical, and incredibly self-aware.

I was intrigued most by Corey’s display of Moriarty’s deductive abilities.  Unlike a lot of other pseudo-detective stories in comics, in which the hero finds clues but only reveals the solution to the mystery at the end (the typical “parlor scene”), you actually witness the Professor’s powerful mind working through certain situations with terrifying clarity.  Using his masterful deductive reasoning abilities he discerns intimate details of a man just by looking at his handwriting.  These episodes are fun to read because you feel as though you’re there standing beside Moriarty, seeing what he sees and uncovering the secrets with him.

Anthony Diecidue puts you next to Moriarty with his awesome pencils and wonderful line work.  His hatching adds a dingy aura to the pages, and the colors, a palette of blacks, grays, and browns, only enhance the dreary, rundown feel of London and her denizens.  Occasionally the inks seem to vary in width for no particular reason, as in one panel Moriarty will be realized with thin fine lines, while in another directly next to it he’ll be blocky and almost misshapen, penned into existence by a much thicker instrument.

Unfortunately with such a drab, atmospheric color scheme nothing jumps off the panel.  It sets the tone but doesn’t draw the eye.  However, when events explode later in the issue Diecidue experiments with a brilliant gamma green that really lights up the page and hopefully indicates more brilliant color work later in the series.

Moriarty: The Dark Chamber #1 is an absolutely solid first issue.  Corey and Diecidue mined material from one of the most celebrated literary universes in history and do Sir Doyle’s ultimate villain justice, all while crafting a comic with a unique flavor all its own.  I can’t wait to see more.

Unlimited Highlights: Thor vs. Loki

HAVE AT THEE!

I’ve haven’t read too many Thor comics in my time and I honestly regret it.  Thor’s a fun character and a ton of awesome writers and artists have added to the Golden Avenger’s long list of illustrious deeds, but I’ve never had a reason to pick up his books.

That all changed when I saw Chris Samnee’s art on the Roger Langridge penned “Thor The Mighty Avenger.”  I really enjoyed the series’ unassuming innocence; it was a breath of fresh air in a medium filled with hyper sexualized and hyper violent content.  I know Marvel has been gearing up for the jawsome looking Thor flick with plenty of new series but there hasn’t been one I’ve really dug like Langridge and Samnee’s all-ages delight.

However while reading for my Unlimited Highlights freelancing (which you can check out here) I came across the amazing Loki mini-series by Rob Rodi and Esad Ribic.  Up until now I had never really given the Thor/Loki dynamic any careful thought but Rodi did a wonderful job of humanizing the malevolent prankster into someone I could empathize with.

Before I had read the Loki series I had always seen him as Thor’s annoying younger brother but through this amazing series I realized that he’s less a recurring nuisance and more an integral part of the Thor mythos, working as a perfect foil to his half-brother’s obvious heroic attributes.

After reading through the mini I’m of a mind to say something as outlandish as the Thor/Loki struggle may be the best hero/villain foil in all of comics, even trumping the Batman/Joker dynamic.  While the Batman vs. Joker relationship is a great metaphor for sanity vs. insanity, Thor and Loki have something a little more permanent.  Batman and Joker are mortal characters in comic books, while Thor and Loki are immortals in their comics, but also ancient gods of Earth.  That they were once worshipped in our reality adds a bit of metafiction to their conflict.  They are very literally linked by destiny, fated to clash time and time again as each Ragnarok brings about the Twilight of the Gods.

In the mini-series this issue is thrust into the forefront: Without Thor, who is Loki?  Therein lies the truth that Loki lashes out against, that he is fated to fall to Thor in every universe, that his role is that of the schemer, the trickster.  Unlike Thor who is destined for glory, Loki will only ever know darkness and defeat.  There’s just something so human about his struggle.  Every hand is against him and yet he fights to defy his destiny.

I don’t want to spoil everything about the books so I’ll just stop here.  I recommend the series wholeheartedly and to anyone who enjoys Thor, mythology, or just comics in general: You won’t be disappointed.  It’s a stunningly captured tale that lays bare the inner workings of a relationship that goes much much deeper than ever I gave it credit for.  This is Loki’s story.  Seriously, read it, you’ll be glad you did.

Loki #1
Loki #2
Loki #3
Loki #4

Why Fighting Game Stories Lack Substance: Round 2

The second installment of WFGSLS is here guys!  First off I want to thank everyone who commented here at I Speak Comics, Shoryuken.com, and at Eventhubs.com.  While some of your responses were pure trolling (heh, shame on you) I really appreciated the well-thought out rants, diatribes, and essays written by readers both supporting stories and not.

However, I wanted to point out that I’m not trying to force feed you the idea that fighting games NEED stories (after 20 successful years without them why would I try?), but rather I’m trying to explain why they don’t have them.  Do I believe fighting games might provide a more well-rounded experience for players if they did have a serviceable canon?  Absolutely, but that’s besides the point.  So without further ado, it’s on to part TWO!

Round 2 – Multiple Characters and Endings but a Want of Modes

SFII Character Select Screen from MobyGames.com

It’s safe to say that while Street Fighter put fighting games on the map, it was Street Fighter II that changed the game forever.  How?  By adding the character select screen.  Now what was once a single player/character experience exploded into a flurry of unique choices when deciding one’s combatant.  SFII featured 7 all-new fighters, from a bear-hugging wrestler straight out of the U.S.S.R., to a green mutated monster that somehow rolled out of Brazil’s darkest jungles.  Never before had such a whirlwind cast of freaks and fighters found their way into an arcade cabinet.  Add to that a Vs. mode which encouraged human competition and a rock solid gameplay system and you’ve got a game that people are still playing to this day.

However these unique new characters weren’t fighting in a vacuum.  In one bold and brilliant move Capcom took a huge step in sculpting the SF universe into something more tangible and gave each fighter an ending cutscene after defeating Bison, the dastardly dictator of Shadowloo and end game boss.  From that brief ending vignette you could sleep easy knowing that Chun-Li had avenged her father and that Guile had avenged Charlie, that Ryu had walked out on the awards ceremony and that Ken had finally married Eliza.  Wait, what?  And there we’ve stumbled upon our problem: Multiple characters with unique endings creates confusing canon.

Chun-Li defeats M. Bison to avenger her father by JcDizon:

Guile beats down Bison to avenge Charlie by JcDizon:

That needs some clarification, multiple characters with unique endings in which they all defeat the main boss separately, cause confusion.  Why?  Because the player doesn’t know what really happened at the end of the 2nd World Warrior Tournament.  At least not until a subsequent game comes out.  The same goes for Mortal Kombat and a whole host of other games, Samurai Showdown, Soul Calibur, Bloody Roar, the list goes on and on.

In the case of SF the character endings acted as a reward for players determined enough to battle through every warrior on their quest to defeat Bison.  So unless you beat the game, you wouldn’t know what your character was fighting for in the first place.  For some of us that doesn’t matter but it’s unquestionably poor storytelling.  Again, we can blame it on the arcade mentality.  No opening cutscenes meant the player got into the game quicker and unless they were familiar with the system, lost quicker, ensuring a constant stream of coins plinking into Capcom’s cabinets.  If a player did manage to reach the end, the minute long cutscenes probably wouldn’t have cut into Capcom’s bottom line.

Yet unbeknownst to the developer, this move set a very damaging precedent in terms of story development in fighters, as it was mimicked by almost every other fighting game at the time.  In an attempt to make every character a star in their own story, to empower the player, and foster a connection between the player and their digital avatar, they effectively retarded the development of narratives in fighting games for 20+ years.  Why?  Because very few games gave players a “true ending” in their mess of unique character-specific endings.

Mortal Kombat II Endings.  Which one is real? from samspir

Without a “true ending” game developers are forced to almost work backwards when they’re trying to set up the narrative for a new game.  They need to make it clear what happened in the previous game and then further the story from there.  If they don’t, well then you get things like retcons and developers resorting to different media sources to make canon understood, i.e. official SF sources telling info not found in-game.

So what do I want to say here?  I think that adding characters adds almost infinite depth to gameplay and creates chances for unique story developments, but because of a 20 year old tradition that gives every character their own unique story ending, in which they’ve “saved the day,” it’s very difficult to solidify canon and create a tangible, consistent story.  Not making the “true ending” clear immediately leaves players to imagine what happened and could possibly lead to extra expenses when developers release other media sources to confirm or deny story elements.  Yet that’s only half the problem.

Like I said before, these characters aren’t operating in a vacuum, and neither are their different endings.  Both of these items are inextricably connected to the second part of this post: Arcade Mode is generally the main way through which players glean each character’s story.

What I mean is that because the characters aren’t a part of a mode that distinctly supports storytelling, the developers are limited with what they can do.  Arcade Mode is immutable and constant, an intrinsic piece of every fighting game.  But if developers wanted to give the player a story, a meaningful story, they shouldn’t rely on the Arcade Mode to do it, but rather a Story Mode or maybe even go the route of Tekken 5 and give us an Adventure Mode.

We’ve been given the same host of modes since the beginning: Arcade, Vs., Online Vs., and Training make up the bare minimum when it comes to fighters.  Every once in a while you’ll get Story, Survival, Team Battle, and others to help liven up the experience but they rarely give the narrative more meat.

Standard Mode Select Screen of the Darkstalkers persuasion courtesy of GiantBomb.com

As many people in the comments have pointed out, there are exceptions.  BlazBlue has taken a big step when it comes to developing their unique universe by including a dedicated Story Mode (to some other commenter’s chagrin).  In it each character battles specific characters and the story changes given certain circumstances (win, lose, what have you) and not every character battles Hazama, the final boss.  Soul Calibur II had Weapon Master Mode which attempted to make the player the main character in their own unique narrative, while 3 & 4 tried a BlazBlue-ish route (though 3 came out before BB), with small choices between fights and even mini-games that affected your character’s health in the next match.

Then there are the Adventure Modes that never quite seem to fit, ala Tekken 5, but I suppose we can’t blame them for trying.  I think that the rise of console gaming has actually provided an outlet for more storytelling avenues in fighters and might help rope new players in for the long haul.  Instead of trying to get players in and out, players are encouraged to play for hours at a time and an Arcade Mode that you can beat in 30 minutes isn’t quite as interesting for a new player as a Story Mode that details the universe and its denizens, but I’ll get to that in a later post.

The KoF franchise actually does something interesting and has a sort of “true ending” feel throughout the series, as the story unfolds character’s gameplay actually changes occassionally (Iori losing his flames to Ash), but again, if you finish with any designated team they will have won the tournament and different plot points will be revealed, which may or may not be canon.  You don’t know until the next game.  Two steps forward, one step back.

Endings from KOF 2003 from FighterFan – Part. 1

In my eyes X-Men: Next Dimension, for the Gamecube, PS2 and XBox, has one of the best dedicated Story Modes out there.  While BlazBlue’s might be more in-depth and more interactive, it doesn’t have the same rigid style and concentration on pure storytelling.  It stands as a great example of what can be accomplished from a purely narrative point of view.  Though, having 40 years of established canon, well-known characters, and professional comics scribes working on the project is one heckuva crutch to lean on.

X-Men: Next Dimension Story Mode from vidfreak727

So this time around, why do fighting game stories lack substance?  Because a multitude of characters have their own unique endings resulting in questionable end game canon and because developers are still following a 20 year-old tradition, telling the story through the Arcade Mode without exploring the plethora of other options out there.  Teams are innovating and experimenting though, make no mistake about that, and if the depth of BlazBlue and others is any indicator, I’m excited for the future.

And that’s it for Round 2.  Hopefully this entry creates some more conversation and I’m sorry if I missed any of your own favorite examples of great Story Modes.  The sheer number of fighting games out there makes it impossible for me to catch every single gleaming exception to my aforementioned generalizations, so people with more knowledge than I are always welcome to drop some of it on me.  Stay tuned for Round 3!

Keep fighting,

Sumo out!

Why Fighting Game Stories Lack Substance: Round 1

I’m a sucker for a good story; I think most of us are.  A well-told tale transports you to a different world, a different universe, transforms you into someone you never thought you could be, and introduces you to people you never thought you could meet.  Stories terrify, inspire, inform, entertain and in the realm of video games add entirely new dimensions to the player experience.  We know that narrative in games is important (50+ hour long RPGs prove it), so after 20 years of fighting games why do the genre’s stories still suck?

Why don’t I have any idea what’s happening in Mortal Kombat?  What is going on in the Mishima Zaibatsu?  Does anyone know where the Alpha series fits into Street Fighter canon?  Welcome ye olde fighting game fanatics and storytelling strumpets to the first part of “Why Fighting Game Stories Lack Substance.”

During this series of posts I’m going to attempt to break down the reasons for the lackluster narrative and plot development in the fighting games of today.  Some are historical, like the first point I’ll be making, and some are theoretical, but in the end I hope to shed some light on the legitimate failings of today’s 1 vs. 1 fighters, their causes, and how developers and designers might be able to avoid these pitfalls in the future.  Let’s get started!

Picture courtesy of the incomparable Kineda.com

Level 1 – The Arcade

If any developer, designer, player, or writer absolutely needs to blame the current sorry state of fighting game stories on any one thing, they can blame it on the arcades, the place where this whole mad scene started.  The early ancestors of our beloved Street Fighters, KoFs, and Mortal Kombats saw their genesis in the arcades way back in the 1970’s and 80’s.  That’s where Ryu scarred the King of Muay Thai in the first World Warrior Tournament and the rest, as they say, is history.

Street Fighter hit arcades in 1987 and became an incredibly popular cabinet.  Without any formal explanation of how to pull off Ryu’s soon to be iconic special moves, players were forced to spend their hard-earned quarters figuring out the joystick motions and button pushes needed to throw their very own hadokens and shoryukens.  From there they would pit their skills against a host of martial arts experts in a bid to become the world’s greatest street fighter.  There was no plot, just the seed of a story trapped within Ryu’s drive to become the best, which has become a central theme in the Street Fighter mythos.

Street Fighter’s ending provides only a hint of Ryu’s masochistic obsession.  Thanks to Sonichurricane.com

And therein lies the first piece of the problem: the first incarnation of the most influential fighting game ever had no discernible plot.  Yet this dilemma is two-fold, the rest of the blame sitting solidly on the entire arcade mentality: player in – player out.  Think about it, most arcade games are incredibly difficult to just pick up and play well, requiring hours and hours and dollars and dollars to master sufficiently.  Combine that with flashy screen-obscuring explosions and break-neck speeds and only the players with the fastest reflexes and the best memory could ever hope to beat them.  Put all these elements into a cabinet, toss it into a crowded, distracting, noisy arcade and give players a single, solitary life (or three) and you’ve insured that gamers hoping to master the system will throw heaps of currency into your game’s gaping vacuous maw.

Why would a developer write an engrossing narrative for a game that was only supposed to be played for a maximum of five minutes per person?  Capcom wasn’t trying to forge a connection between the characters and players, but rather make a butt-load of money in a very short amount of time. They just so happened to create a compelling gameplay system for people to experiment with and exploit.  They knew they didn’t have much time to rope players into the experience, so better to grab them with their system than with a story.

As the arcade scene developed, more and more games copied the initial format of the Street Fighter franchise and its predecessors.  The “fight past a host of character in 1 vs. 1 fights ’til you reach the boss” formula remains unchanged to this day.  While the gameplay blossomed to include a variable cornucopia of new player choices: super meters, advancing guard, guard cancels, custom combos, dashing, aerial raves, and what have you, the format stagnated and would surely smell if anyone stopped to take a sniff.

Why don’t we?  Because we don’t need a great story if we have great gameplay, varied character design, and a community of players that wants to play at the highest level.  That’s what Street Fighter bred; a new generation of battle hungry fighting gamers, a hardcore group determined to compete and become the best.  At that level it doesn’t matter if you’re playing as the despicable dictator or the virtuous hero so long as you win.  That’s always been the draw, the one-on-one competition, Capcom knows it, and storytelling fell to the wayside.

Thus ends Round 1 of “Why Fighting Game Stories Lack Substance.”  Now you know what started this heinous snafu of craptastic character cliches and negligible narratives.  You can blame it on the arcades.  But while the arcade scene may be the progenitor of this mess, there are other, more diverse reasons for the sorry state of things so be sure to check back often so you don’t miss the next installment of “WFGSLS.

PEACE,

Sumo

“Continued on” Narration Box in DC’s Superman Comic

Supes by Leinil Francis Yu

This is the paper that I submitted in my grad school application as an example of a single-authored academic paper.

I wrote it outside of college (GASP!) and I got all of my research from the MSU Special Collections library.  It deals with DC’s editorial practices during their first 30 years gleaned from looking at over 500 Superman comics.  This is something I was incredibly interested in and I’m hoping that if anyone digs on incredibly geeky comic book minutae they’ll give it a read and let me know what they think.  Also underneath the paper I’ve added some photos of actual comic pages for reference that might make this whole thing a little easier to understand.

The Use of the “Continued on” Narration Box in DC’s Superman Comic Continue reading “Continued on” Narration Box in DC’s Superman Comic