Remember why you liked comics in the first place?
Our Comics Empower Project continues!
This time, Ed tells his story:
I used to read comics every day when I was about 8.
I read Sonic the Comic every fortnight and when I was done, I’d ask my parents to take me shopping to buy the latest issue.
I was particularly invested around the time when Robotnik finally got the power of the Chaos Emeralds and became a god, only to be outwitted shortly thereafter. I remember being really excited to find out what happened next.
I loved to go back and read over old issues.
My best friend had every issue from about #40, and I’d only started collecting them from well after #100. We used to read them to each other and talk about continuity (believe it or not!). It came to an end eventually when one week there was no more Sonic the Comic in the store, and the title seemed to simply disappear.
After that, although I stopped reading comics for a bit, my creative side continued to grow as I started making games.
I’ve created 2 Tabletop Roleplaying Games now – and I never thought about comics or how they were useful or important to what I was doing.
I’m more of a creator than a writer, and I realized quite quickly into the production of my first RPG that I needed some help with the writing.
I sent out some posts on places like DeviantArt, and I got some responses, and chose a candidate based off a few interviews and some of his written work. I didn’t know at that time that he was an accomplished ghost writer for comics (ironically, superhero comics!).
I created my game’s expansive universe, and helped bring it to life 500 years of playable history – it was no small feat!
And then this writer asked asked, “Have you ever considered a comic?”
I certainly hadn’t, and I wasn’t sure about the idea. Comics are only for superheroes, right?
We spoke more about it and he persuaded me to give it a try.
We targeted what I felt to be the most important story within the entire universe – “The Last Stand of Stiletto Unit”. I found an artist who was willing to do pencils, inks and colours and this writer offered to do the lettering. When the comic was finished, I still wasn’t certain what would come of it. I knew the game was good, but I wasn’t sure if anyone would actually read the comic.
We went to a convention as part of the game’s early life. I took 5 copies of the game and 20 copies of the comic (it was a small convention for gaming).
Nearly everyone who played the game was interested in buying the comic! I couldn’t believe it – a hard Sci-Fi comic about a team of Resistance fighters trying to save their Solar System is hardly what I thought comics were about.
People were fascinated with the chance to learn about how their team got up to that point and the comic’s visuals really drew people in.
I ran a Kickstarter where I offered the rulebook, and I put in the same comic as a low-level digital reward, and as a few dollars above the digital rulebook price, bundled with the rulebook. It outsold the rulebook on its own by a huge amount – it was the most popular tier.
I started looking into comics more thoroughly.
Since then, I’ve learned what the difference is between writing a comic and writing regular stories, and more importantly, to value comics as a form of creativity I’d never considered carefully beforehand.
Since then, I’ve begun planning to produce comics with every game I create (even a fantasy comic for Era: Lyres!) and have even created a comic on its own, which just finished a successful Kickstarter.
People love comics, and I am learning to love them too, as a medium of storytelling that lets you show people in under a second what you have in your mind as a creator, rather than having to describe it. Comics have given me the chance to expand my universe beyond what I can fit in my rulebook, a way that’s more engaging than just adding additional short stories to my book.
I will not ever only make comics. I suspect, however, that I will always make comics. They give me a chance to express myself in a way that nothing else does.
Check out Ed’s Lyres Kickstarter here.
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