July 16th, 2009

Sound Waves

Reflections On "Sound Waves" #1

Well, I'm getting caught up!  I wouldn't recommend trying to dev a video game by yourself in nine weeks.  You tend to back burner a lot of stuff.  Or, in the case of this post, IT WAS ON THE DELUXE BACK BURNER SUPREME!

The response to Sound Waves #1 has been pretty positive so far.  Although, one reader did ask me if I was ending Stress Puppy in favor of working in this, and I said no (although I really need to make up some more strips).  And I already have a fanfic, too!  Aces!

So, since there really isn't that much to talk about as far as the first issue goes, I'll just rehash the creation process.  Sound Waves initially was a lot different.  It was just a general idea that I really didn't think I would do much with.  I had this idea for a band that played music in an undersea world.  But I didn't go any further with it, since it just seemed like Jabberjaw minus the "mystery" and the "wackiness".  I really didn't know what to do with it.

When I started experimenting with chibi art, I was fooling around with game ideas that the art style would fit.  The story was from some folklore I had heard about the creation of sea otters.  Supposedly, something like 10,000 dog and cat spirits formed one sea otter spirit, accounting for their rarity.  Also, their favored status among the fates -- killing one resulted in a curse that, unless you were extremely rich or resourceful, you would never shake.  I had an idea of a little girl who accidentally kills an otter, and goes on a quest to acquire the objects to break the curse.  She meets a mermaid, who informs her of how much trouble she is in, and she and three other mermaids would guide the little girl as she sought the cure.  I eventually thought it would be more interesting if she was tricked into thinking she accidentally killed the otter by the guy who did, and was using her to do the work for him.  RPG's almost always have some sort of magic element to them, and since mermaids sing, singing became the way the player character worked the spells and that.

I wasn't entirely convinced it would work, seeing how contrived it was.  But the little girl and the idea that she would be friends with mermaids never left my head.  I did a quick, basic set of sketches of the little girl and dubbed her "Rhapsody", a name I always liked.  Shortly thereafter, I came up with her mermaid friend.  As I thought about how the characters would meet in the first place, the idea for issue #1's story came to me.  So I ran with it.

The biggest help to the story was my decision to make it a 16 pager.  22 just needed too much padding.  The tighter focus, I felt, helped the story along.  Like any shojo series, there's a casua introduction as I introduce the characters and situations instead of going with an all-inclusive origin issue or a flashback after the characters are established.  The 16 page limit is a bit of a problem, as one of the issues I'm working on could really benefit from some breathing room, but I'll figure it out.  I wanted Rhapsody and Melody to meet simply, not as a result of fate throwing them into each other's way.  And I think it worked out pretty good.
Worms Ready For Battle

Supremacy #2 Is Going To Print!


This was my biggest nail-biter of the whole thing -- getting past that #2 drop in sales (God only knows what such a drop will be like for Sound Waves).  But it looks like we are doing well enough.  #3 will be easier to weather, so this is a fantastic sign that the five issue miniseries will make it out.

I'm currently awaiting word from my editor as to whether I'll be signing again.  I let everyone here know.


Battle Of The Midway

It is official -- Midway is no more.

By September 13, Midway's home base in Chicago will be closed (the Newcastle, UK, studio was already closed, cutting the workforce by 25%).  Warner Bros. buyout deal was approved.  For $49 mil (and an estimated $69 to $74 mil in write-downs), Warners now owns just about all of Midway's IP.  So that means classics like Gauntlet and Joust, relatively recent ones like Narc and Area 51, and newer hits like the revived Blitz.

Oh.  And Mortal Kombat.  I was surprised to find out that the dev staff has over 100 people on it.  Warners is still deciding the fates of other Midway games in the pipe, like "This Is Vegas".  But Ed Boon, the current guardian and co-creator of the MK franchise, said recently that he's working on a back-to-basics MK for #9, and it promises to be ultraviolent.  Back-to-basics, huh?  Maybe he'll revive the franchise after all.

So the Chicago area loses another video game neighbor.  Farewell, Midway.  It's too bad things got out of hand for you.  (And am I ever glad I didn't try pursuing that design lead.)