Monday, October 12, 2009

Encyclopedia Graphica

So, I read a number of comics. not as many as I used to, but a fair number, and every now and then I'll pick something up that interests me. I find that, unlike my early teens where I just picked up everything that had big guns, scantily-clad women, and explosions (Rob Liefeld, I'm looking at you), I tend to look more at the authors of a particular series when I consider picking it up. Warren Ellis, Joss Whedon, and Robert Kirkman are the kinds of writers I like to read; they tend to put out interesting material, no matter what character they are writing for.

Guys like Mark Millar, however, I try to avoid. He tends to take things that I like and make them into something else entirely. When he took over the comic book The Authority from Warren Ellis, the characters stopped really being interested in trying to be the most powerful super-beings on the planet and really seemed to be concerned with becoming slutty rock stars. His comic book Wanted was similar; the main character was so unlikeable that the transition to the big screen, and the resulting complete rewrite, made it a much more interesting story, a rarity in comic-to-movie transitions.

So, since I read a lot of comics, I am often interested in running or playing in various kinds of superhero games. My current favorite at the moment is Mutants & Masterminds, by Green Ronin; it is based on the d20 system that D&D 3rd Edition utilized, but it takes that and makes something much more flexible out of it. It makes it fairly easy to create most kinds of superhero, and to emulate most popular heroes, and the Power Level structure tries to keep all the PCs around the same level, so the Batman gadgeteering detective can be somewhat similar to the Superman-alike.

Superhero games are less about character advancement and more about the character stories. Unlike in D&D, new items and gadgets don't show up for the PCs all the time, except as plot devices; you aren't constantly upgrading your gear, but refining your use and control of your powers. Not to say that superhero games will necessarily be deeper - supers games tend to involve a fair amount of corniness, especially when supervillains get involved.

Superheroes are not the only kind of comic I read, though. I've been a big fan of Mike Mignola's Hellboy and BPRD comics for a while, and Robert Kirkman's Walking Dead comic series is one of the best, if most depressing, series I read on a regular basis. There's games for that, too; I know of several zombie (or survival horror) games, but my personal favorite is All Flesh Must Be Eaten by Eden Studios. It tries to handle basically every kind of zombie movie or story, from the silly to the serious, and it, plus the various published supplements, handle this pretty well.

There are probably other comics I read, but I can't think of them at the moment, and I'm beginning to get long-winded here, so I'll leave it where it is, though I welcome comments and questions.

No comments:

Post a Comment