My sophomore English teacher adamantly despised King and insisted that his work was an affront to literature. I always felt that he didn't like me that much, since I always brought copy of "IT" to class. In my way of biting my thumb at him, I decided to chose King as the subject of my final paper for that class. I wrote an extensive biography citing references and everything. This was in the days before the World Wide Web and the abundance of information at your fingertips... I had to do some serious research through books and magazines. I remember spending house going through the computerized microfiche system at the public library to find articles written on King. Got a B... think I may have been screwed on the grade, but I accept it.
My junior year in high school, they offered a "Creative Writing" class. I jumped on-board, and then I learned who was teaching the class; the very same teach I dealt with my sophomore year. Our attitudes hadn't changed much and we butted heads a couple of times over my writing style and appreciation of the genre of horror and Stephen King. I received a B in the class that I actually felt I deserved. This made me want to become a published writer. I had a spiral notebook that I wrote outlines for so many different stories. I had pages of name combinations for characters. I even wanted to legally change my name when I was of age. It would have been Richard Baughman, in honor of King's pseudonym of Richard Bachman. Thinking back now, I'm glad I didn't make the change.
During my high school years, I continued to collect comic books and play role playing games. I never thought about merging my interests until my senior year in high school when I started to collaborate with my best friend and artist.
We had first met when he came to my high school my junior year. He played the french horn, where I played the baritone saxophone. We found common interests in role playing games and music. Later, he would open my mind up to anime and a different genre of comic books that I may have never noticed without his help.
On a casual phone call near the end of my senior year, the idea came about to create our own comic book. We each developed our own characters for the comic and even created them as RPG characters in Palladium's "Heroes Unlimited" game setting. They were Starshadow and Raven, collectively known as "The Shadows of Justice".
|This was a design for t-shirts that we had printed. The shirts actually had color to them, though.|
Here are the pages that were actually finished for our submission:
Before Jim Butcher published his character of Harry Dresden, I came up with my own version named Jonathan Spectre. This idea was based off of a human medium with some magic (Numina) in the World of Darkness. He even had a "sidekick" (of sorts) in the form of a wraith named Mimic. I had supporting characters outlined, a fictional town designed, a house where Jonathan would work out of, and an outline of about 7-8 stories. I even approached an artist (who I can't remember their name any more) to bring my characters to life. Here are the resulting pictures:
Unfortunately, I found that I had no real follow-through and never really progressed beyond this stage. If Dresden had not been published, I might have gone back to develop this idea.
All these characters, except for Marcus Jones, was originally a character of mine based in White Wolf's World of Darkness. As mentioned before, Jonathan was a hedge magician. Mimic was actually a Spectre based out of Wraith: The Oblivion. Rose was a Hollow One from Mage: The Ascension.
As much as I would have liked to bring my love of comics and RPG's together to break into the industry, it never seemed to be in the cards. What I think I'd like people to take away from this is that comics can be a great resource for ideas in your games, and likewise characters in your games can be a valuable inspiration for a comic book.
Just as a side note, I also write another blog specifically about comics books called Zanziber's Point of View. If you're interested, I'm going to write about my experiences of being a comic book inker. (Yes, mock me with your taunts from Chaising Amy all you want. I'm comfortable with what I do.)