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Keeping It Together

When doing a comic book series, it's important to remember the world that your characters live in.

When dealing with comic books based in a shared environment such as an MMORPG, you always have to keep in mind the history of the world set up in that MMORPG.

For instance, in the now-defunct City of Heroes MMO, the events of September 11th, 2001 never happened. Instead, the devastating crisis that has changed that world happened in 2002, when an extradimensional alien army invaded and briefly subjugated the whole planet. So to make a "9/11" reference in that world would be meaningless, but making one about the worldwide invasion of 2002 would.

Likewise, the catastrophic event in the world of Champions Online MMO is the Battle of Detroit, which happened in 1992 and was so devastating that it literally destroyed the city and gave rise to a new one called Millennium City.

But there's more to this than just the backstory of that world. You also have to keep track of events going on with other comics based in the same world. The events that happen in your comic don't just happen in a vacuum. They potentially have an impact on other comics.

For instance, the events told in the "Obey" storyline in the "Justice-Knights" series had an impact on characters in the Guardians of the Dawn hero group, bringing the founding members together for the first time in a story that would be told in the "Guardians of the Dawn - 2012 Special". Likewise, the events told in the "House of Sothis" storyline in "The Crucible" would have a direct effect on Furia Powers, with the aftermath being seen in her own series, "Furia and the Guardians".

This is where cooperation and collaboration with other comic creators come in. Keeping track of the various events and storylines between different creators keeps the continuity of each of their comics intact, and thus expanding on the world they all live in. This is where resources such as those available to comic creators here come in.

The world is a huge stage, and when you have multiple "actors" performing on that stage, it's important they are aware of each other and what they are doing. Keeping it all together makes the performance on that global stage that much greater, and makes the performers on that stage that much more important.


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(Submitted by BattlerockX (talk) 02:35, 14 May 2017 (PDT) )



Previous Features

BattlerockX 17:02, 2 March 2017 (PST)

Using Public Figures In Comics

One of the ways that comic writers try to bring their readers into their fictional world is in the use of real-world people, places, and events.

Probably the most memorable use of real-world characters in comics is the oversized DC Comics special "Superman Versus Muhammad Ali". While the casual reader may think that this boxing fight would be tremendously lopsided, the writers found a way to make the fight realistic and for Superman to face Ali without his powers. But he wasn't the only real-world figure in that issue, as numerous celebrities could be seen on the cover, including the Jackson 5, Lucile Ball, John Wayne, Orson Wells, and former Presidents Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford.

But using public figures in comics is not a relatively new concept. In fact, DC's first incarnation of Action Comics had a fictional story where Superman stopped World War II before it could even begin. In one issue, Superman traveled to Germany, Italy, and the Soviet Union and personally snatched Adolph Hitler, Benito Mussolini, and Josef Stalin and delivered them to the League of Nations for war crimes trials, thus stopping the threat of another world war. Of course, the writers had to then outright state at the end of the issue that it was just a work of fiction and wishful thinking.

Legally speaking, anyone considered in "the public eye" is considered a public figure, and thus can be used in fictional works without having to worry about copyright issues. Government leaders and politicians quickly come to mind, but this also applies to entertainers, athletes, and even religious figures. In 1988, the United States Supreme Court ruled that televangelist Jerry Falwell was a public figure, and, thus his image could be used for parody or satirical purposes.

But some people are not comfortable using real-world figures in their creations, even if they are in the public eye. In those situations, what the creators do is they create their own figure. Sometimes it's a pastiche or parody of a real-world person or even a combination of several real-world people. The best example of this is the character Garry Becker, who is based on the real-life media personality Glenn Beck, but is not a direct impersonation of the person.

President Barack Obama has been seen several times in comics published through Battlerock Comics, most recently in "Furia and the Guardians" #20. As president, Obama was clearly a public figure. But with him stepping down at the end of his second term, his "public figure" status is a little more murky.

On the other hand, newly-sworn President Donald Trump has been a celebrity decades before he decided to run for office. His larger-than-life personality has made him someone almost born to be subject of fictional characterization.

But even as a long-time public figure, there are a few things one should not do even to someone like President Trump (or "Citizen Trump" for that matter). Libel and slander charges can still be filed against people if it can be proved there is actual malice involved in the portrayal of the figure. Even if they don't prevail, sometimes just the threat of legal action is enough to convince people to not use real-world figures.

A good rule of thumb with public figures is to use their appearances sparingly. A quick cameo is best. Don't have your comic character do anything the real-world person isn't already known for or anything that they wouldn't do or say in the real-world. (Given who our current POTUS is, that is a pretty wide berth)

And if you still have doubts or hesitations, then pass on the public figure and create your own.

Using real-world public figures can be a good tool for your comics, but just remember that they are still people, and you should always ask yourself if you would like to see yourself portrayed in someone else's comics in the same way.


Have a suggestion or a comment? Talk about it here!


(Submitted by BattlerockX (talk) 17:02, 2 March 2017 (PST) )

BattlerockX 04:16, 19 November 2016 (PST)

What Is A Protaganist?

Simply put, a Protaganist is the main character of the story. It comes from the Greek term for "first combatant", as in the first one to compete for a prize or contest.

The protagonist is usually the central figure in any story. They are the ones taking all the risks, taking all the glory, and usually are the ones that end up with some kind of victory at the end of the story.

Although the protagonist is usually seen as the "hero" of the story, they don't necessarily have to be an actual hero. As writer/creator David 2 (aka Battlerock X) says, "we are all protagonists in our own life stories". The protagonist is the main character, so naturally we want that person to do the right thing at the end of the story. But what determines "the right thing"? That falls on the responsibility of the writer or creator.

In the Marvel Comics mega-crisis miniseries "Civil War", equal arguments could be made regarding the split within the Marvel superhero community over the federal registration and regulation of superhero activity. Both sides led by Iron Man and Captain America felt they were right, and neither of them were willing to back down in the climactic battle. Both sides were protagonists in their own respective comic books, but ultimately it was Marvel's Editor-in-Chief that made the final decision who was in the right... Iron Man's side. Tony Stark gets appointed Director of SHIELD and Captain America is assassinated before he is arraigned in court.

But in the movie "Captain America: Civil War", things turn out a whole lot different. Because Captain America is the clear protagonist in the movie (and not just because it's his name in the title), he is allowed to prevail. Otherwise it would have been known as "Iron Man: Civil War", or "Marvel's The Avengers: Civil War" (which is essentially what the movie was anyway).

The protagonist doesn't have to be a hero. He or she could also be a villain. For instance, the one-shot special "Naughty Nadya" features a clear villain who does what she believes is right. Does she prevail? Obviously and eventually. In the Battlerock Comics one-shot special "The Libra Order: Debts Of Honor", we are introduced to a whole group of super-villains who have some sort of vendetta against a superhero, and they get their chance at settling to score. Do they prevail? Not all of them. But the central character does, who, in this case is the unseen deity-like narrator known as Libra. In this case, Libra is the protagonist, because everything the villains do benefit Libra's sense of cosmic balance.

We want the protagonist to prevail because we are seeing the story through their perspective. It's the responsibility of the writer/creator, then, to at least make it palatable to the reader.



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(Submitted by BattlerockX (talk) 04:16, 19 November 2016 (PST) )


BattlerockX 17:10, 4 September 2016 (PDT)

What Is An Antagonist?

An antagonist is an adversary, or someone who is opposed to the protagonist or main character of the story. It comes from the Greek word for "opponent".

An antagonist is often seen as "the enemy" or an "arch-enemy" in a story, but that doesn't necessarily mean that the person in question is a villain, or, even that the character is seen as "the enemy".

In the "City of Heroes" comic series, Lord Recluse is seen as "the enemy", just as he was in the now-defunct City of Heroes MMO. But if you played the MMO as a villain, then Lord Recluse may or may not be your adversary or even "the enemy". In fact, if you are seen as a villain, then the heroes of Paragon City would be your antagonists.

Sometimes an antagonist can be a friend; someone who would otherwise support you, but is actually opposing whatever it is you are doing. Maybe they have a different agenda. Maybe they question your motivations. Maybe they know something you don't and don't want you to get hurt.

In the motion picture "Man of Steel", most people would correctly see General Zod as an antagonist to the movie's protagonist, Superman, but he wasn't the only one. Jonathan Kent, Superman's adopted father, could also be seen as an antagonist, since he spent his time keeping young Clark Kent from using his powers out of fear of public reaction. Even though he did it for the seemingly right reasons, he was still as much of an antagonist as Zod.

Likewise, Marvel's "Captain America: Civil War" has several antagonists as well. Baron Zemo and Crossbones may have been the villains of the movie, but they weren't the only antagonists. Iron Man and his allies could clearly be seen as antagonists as well since they opposed Captain America's attempts to save his best friend, even though they were also superheroes.

Even though the lines between good and evil can be blurred, the line between protagonist and antagonist can actually be reduced to the extremist saying "with us or against us". If you oppose the protagonist, even for the right reasons, you are an antagonist.

This is something to keep in mind in comics as the lines between heroes and villains get blurred even further with the introductions of anti-heroes and anti-villains. But those are subjects for a later time.


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(Submitted by BattlerockX (talk) 17:10, 4 September 2016 (PDT) )

BattlerockX 17:29, 4 August 2016 (PDT)

Variant Covers

A Variant cover (sometimes known as an Alternate Cover) is a special cover to a comic book publication. This cover would be different from the one that is normally published with that particular issue.

Sometimes a special cover is created for special occasions, such as to promote a cause or an event, such as cancer awareness. Sometimes a special variant cover is created for attendees at conventions. These special covers can increase the commercial value of the issue, depending on the rarity.

In the 1990's, the major comic book publishers put a lot of money into variant covers, including multi-panel covers, as a way for comic book buyers to buy more issues simply to complete their collections. Of the major publishers, Marvel Comics exceeded themselves on the use of variant covers for many of their #1 issues. In fact, it could be said that this act of commercial desperation not only contributed to the "burst bubble" of the comic book craze, but also to Marvel's eventual bankruptcy filing in 1996.[1]

Today, variant covers are mostly a way for guest artists to showcase their talents.


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(Submitted by BattlerockX (talk) 17:29, 4 August 2016 (PDT) )


BattlerockX 15:27, 12 June 2016 (PDT)

The Comic Formats

When it comes to making comics online, there are actually a few formats that you could use.

The most popular document format is PDF. Originally this was from Adobe, but it's become so universal that other applications now can create, open, and even edit PDF documents. The City of Comic Creators prefer to use this format because it is so widely popular, but it is not the only format available.

CBR, otherwise known as a Comic Book Reader file, was traditionally the online format for comic publishers. Other extensions in this group are CB7 and CBZ. Some comic book creation programs will export your comic to only these formats. This is why comic publishers have traditionally preferred to use it.

There are plenty of applications that are available, some for free, that will allow you to view all of these formats. Some will allow you to also extract the image files in these documents or even edit the documents themselves. The good news is that there are also some programs online that will covert a CBR or CBZ file into a traditional PDF. How good of a job it does depends on the program, so be sure to try a few different ones to see which program would work for you.


Have a suggestion or a comment? Talk about it here!


(Submitted by BattlerockX (talk) 15:27, 12 June 2016 (PDT) )


BattlerockX 16:06, 19 May 2016 (PDT)

The Different MMOs

Massive Multi-Player Online Role-Playing Games or MMORPG or simply MMO is the source of fan-made comics here in the City of Comic Creators.

Once upon a time, these uses to be subscription or "Premium" services, where you paid a regular subscription for access. New players would usually be offered a free month to try the service out, and then either pay the regular subscription or else cancel and move on to something else.

But then a new kind of service started coming up. Borrowing from small PC games (and later copied by cellphone and tablet apps), MMOs started offering either "Free-To-Play" or a hybrid "Freemium" service. While players could still pay a regular subscription fee, new players could also play indefinitely for free. Usually "Free-to-Play" or FTP players would have a limited number of options to choose from in terns of character customization and powersets. MMOs offering the hybrid "Freemium" service would still offer the "free" features, the FTP players would also have the option of purchasing those extra features without having to do a full subscription.

Before their end in 2012, the City of Heroes MMO provided what could best be described as the ideal "Freemium" service for players, allowing new players to experience the game for free, and then purchasing their already-numerous additional features afterward to customize both their characters and their accounts. Sadly we would never know just how profitable the formula would really be for the MMO, since their parent company pulled the plug a little over a year into the service.


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(Submitted by BattlerockX (talk) 16:06, 19 May 2016 (PDT) )


BattlerockX 16:34, 7 April 2016 (PDT)

Types Of Comic Publications

Not all comics are created equal.

Most comics are considered regular publications, which means they have no set number of issues. In theory, a comic could go on for an infinite number of issues. But some comics are not designed to go on forever.

A Mini-Series is a comic series designed to last for a finite number of issues. This is usually up to five or six issues. An example of this is the "Guardians of the Dawn GRADUATION" mini-series published by Battlerock Comics.

On the other hand, a Maxi-Series is a limited comic series with a larger number of set issues. The basic rule between a mini-series and a maxi-series is that anything between three and six issues should be considered a "mini-series", and anything more than six should be considered a "maxi-series". DC Comics has been rather notorious for a string of weekly maxi-series that lasted precisely 52-weeks, although they were also the ones that really began the whole "maxi-series" concept with their 12-issue special "Crisis on Infinite Earths".

A "One-Shot Special" is just what it describes. It's a single-issue comic, usually treated as a "special" issue connected to some other series. A great example of this is the one-shot special of the "City of Heroes" comic published by Dark Horse Comics that first introduced comic readers to the world of the City of Heroes MMO.

Another type of comic publication that should be noted is the Graphic Novel. This was actually a way for comic publishers to show more mature subject matter without having to worry about being censored by the Comics Code Authority. Since "graphic novels" did not fall into the category of "comic books", the publishers did not have to run those stories through the CCA. The best examples of these were the "Watchmen" mini-series and the "V for Vendetta" series published through DC Comics, as was the one-shot special "Batman: The Killing Joke". The graphic novel was popular in the 1980's and 90's, but pretty much lost their impact when the Comics Code Authority lost their control over the comics world.


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(Submitted by BattlerockX (talk) 16:34, 7 April 2016 (PDT) )

BattlerockX 01:21, 5 March 2016 (PST)

Terminology

Retcon

"Retcon" is short for "Retroactive Continuity". It is used in fiction to either add to or change a past event in a story.

Major comic publishers like DC Comics use a retcon to allow new writers to re-tell the origin story of a character, or to flesh out a story that was previously told so it can better fit into the current writer's vision of the character.

A retcon can also remove past events in a comic series that could be considered too controversial. Probably the best and most extreme use of a retcon was in the TV series "Dallas", where an entire season of events were wiped away as simply being a "dream"[2].



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(Submitted by BattlerockX (talk) 01:21, 5 March 2016 (PST) )

BattlerockX 16:23, 5 February 2016 (PST)

Terminology

MMORPG

MMORPG is the abbreviation for "Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game". Sometimes known simply as "MMO", it is a kind of online game which utilizes virtual role-playing in a large social setting. This is different from other role-playing games in that the social interaction allows for both cooperative adventures and team competition.


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(Submitted by BattlerockX (talk) 16:23, 5 February 2016 (PST) )

14:34, 25 January 2015 (MST)

Getting Ready for "Furia and the Guardians"

Guardians of the Dawn GRADUATION #1

With the start of the new year, we have the start of a brand-new comic series... "Furia and the Guardians".

But if you don't know who Furia Powers and the rest of the Guardians of the Dawn are, here's a quick primer list.

First, we have "The Guardian Powers". The 15-issue series shows a small "ghost group" of heroes struggling to clear their group's reputation and still carry out their goals. Furia herself appears in Issue #12 and later takes center stage in the "Guardians of the Dawn 2012 Special".

Then there is the return to "the city" with the three-part mini-series "Guardians of the Dawn GRADUATION", and even though Furia herself doesn't appear until the very end, you can get caught up as to what the other Guardians have been doing during that "lost time" between the two series.

And just to make things interesting, we have the one-shot special "The Libra Order: Debts Of Honor", because there are some parts of the story seen in GRADUATION that will make sense when you see things from the villain's perspective.

And to wrap this list up, we suggest you also check out "The Crucible" #12-14, since the events of the "Luminary Lost" storyline will be referenced in "Furia and the Guardians" #1.

That's quite a list, huh?

Happy reading! And Happy New Year!


Have a comic series you would like to see featured? Suggest it here!


(Submitted by BattlerockX (talk) 14:34, 25 January 2015 (MST) )

19:11, 3 July 2014 (MDT)

Return To "The City"... (sort of...)

Guardians of the Dawn Spotlight #0

With the release of the new mini-series, "Guardians of the Dawn GRADUATION", now is a great time for readers to get caught up with everything that went on with the Guardians of the Dawn hero team.

We suggest the following reading list...

  • Guardians of the Dawn Spotlight - Starting with the text-only Issue #0 all the way to the one-shot Guardians of the Dawn AFTERMATH, here's your chance to see the Guardians as they start from relative obscurity into both fame and notoriety. Find out how the Guardians formed a partnership with Europe's Dawn Patrol. See the connection between Midnight Arachnia and one of the most dangerous contacts in the Rogue Isles. Find out what happened to Galatea Powers that caused her hair and personality to change. And find out what catastrophic event could take down the Guardians and send them into hiding.
  • The Guardian Powers - Following from the events in AFTERMATH, a core group of Guardians struggle to continue as a "ghost group"; carrying on with their lives while also working to unravel the mystery surrounding the tragedy that vilified the team. See the introduction of new heroes like Elite Ice Queen, Pharon, and Furia Powers. Find out what happened to the missing heroes, and see the sacrifice that would lead to a miracle.

By the time you finish with the Guardians of the Dawn 2012 Special, you should be all caught up and the events in "GRADUATION" should make perfect sense.

At least until Issue #2 is released...


Have a comic series you would like to see featured? Suggest it here!


(Submitted by BattlerockX (talk) 19:11, 3 July 2014 (MDT) )

06:03, 21 June 2013 (MDT)

In Memory of Ascendant

Cover of Ascendant's comic "Quiver"

We here at the City of Comic Creators have been saddened by the recent loss of Tre Chipman, the City of Heroes MMO superhero and comic creator known as Ascendant (spelled with an "A"... D-A-N-T!).

Ascendant was one of the original members of the CCC, and one that made a serious contribution to the MMO itself.

Ascendant is best known for his "Ascendant-O's" sketch, a prolonged dialogue that was made between himself and his agent-uncle Saul, whereby Saul's attempts to provide merchandising of Ascendant's likeness had disasterous results. Starting with a breakfast cereal containing his one weakness to a Action Play Headquarters renamed into his "A"-Hole, the phone conversation goes from bad to worse for Ascendant.

(Note: Saul would later manage Captain Catastrophe in the pages of "Tales From Paragon City" #4.)

The conversation would be so memorable that developers made it part of the in-game MMO canon and then had random NPC characters in the transit stations taking phone calls and saying they are not Ascendant.

Ascendant would also have a brief appearaince in Issue #19 of the Top Cow Comics incarnation of the "City of Heroes" comic series.

In addition to his presence in the MMO itself, Ascendant was also a comic creator. One of his works was a comic issue called "Quiver", which told the origins of a female archer by the same name. Although it never progressed further than the one issue, it was that issue that helped inspire some others to pursue their own fan-made comics.

Both Tre and Ascendant will be missed.

Click here to read about the loss and more on his contributions to the CoH Community.

Click here to see the "Quiver" comic.


Have a comic series you would like to see featured? Suggest it here!


(Submitted by BattlerockX (talk) 06:03, 21 June 2013 (MDT) )


09:45, 31 January 2013 (MST)

Where It All Began

City Of Heroes - The Original One-Shot

To mark off the start of our new MMO resource, we go back to where it first started; with the City of Heroes MMO and its various comic series.

The original "City of Heroes" comic was a one-shot special published by Dark Horse Comics designed to introduce readers to Paragon City. Although the series focused on newcomer Thunder-Clap, it also introduced Apex and War Witch, two favorite characters that would eventually be featured in the Blue King Studios incarnation of the series.

The original comic would set the stage for two more incarnations of the comic series published by both Blue King and Top Cow, as well as inspire all of the fan-made creations made since then.

We here at the City of Comic Creators would like to thank the developers in Cryptic Studios and Paragon Studios for eight years of inspiration and encouragement. The MMO has ended, but the adventures and the heroic experiences will never end.


Click here to see the series page which features all the incarnations of the comic series.


Have a comic series you would like to see featured? Suggest it here!


(Submitted by BattlerockX (talk) 09:45, 31 January 2013 (MST))


FYI

As new articles are created, please copy the most recent one below the "Previous Features" line.