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 Post subject: Doin' A Superhero Thing
PostPosted: 05 Mar 2013, 22:41 
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I had an idea, and it took over my brain.

It is, basically, a police procedural set in a superhero universe. Specifically, it centers around the eponymous Project Domino, a government agency tasked with dealing with superheroes, aliens, mad scientists trying to take over the world-basically anything too weird for anyone else to handle. ('Project Domino' is probably going to end up being a nickname for what's actually called the Department of Metahuman Affairs or somesuch.)

Everything I have right now is basically just a big huge pile of sketches, mental doodles, and random ideas unbacked by any form of research or development. But I've had a huge amount of fun with it so far and I'd really like to try to make it a webcomic. It's going to be a bit of an uphill battle, given my complete lack of knowledge with drawing comics, using image editing software, or hosting a website, but I'm interested enough in the idea to give it a go. Of all the ideas I have running around my brain 24/7, this one is one of the only ones that feels like something I could do now-or, well, soon, rather than at some point in the future when I'm out of college and have a slightly better idea what I'm doing.

Anyway. Project Domino occupies a position somewhere between the FBI and the MIB. They were formed after a very Hulk-like incident involving a monster being chased across the country by a rabid general. They finally pin the monster down in a city square, news cameras are out, everyone's watching, and then the monster transforms back and it's just some poor hapless teenager who happened to be the son of a scientist got caught in an experiment gone wrong. Then he commits suicide. So now everyone wants to know why they just watched the Army apparently goad a disheveled, sobbing teenager into shooting himself on national TV and it's at that point that the American government realizes they need a slightly more nuanced approach to dealing with these kinds of things.

Originally, Project Domino was just designed to be able to defuse dangerous 'abnormal' situations with as little collateral damage as possible -y'know, if "bullets won't stop it!", they're the people who find out what will stop it, rather than just shooting at it uselessly until it tramples them like 70's UNIT-as well as to be able to intelligently deal with situations that have extreme extenuating circumstances, such as people being mind-controlled or not able to control their own superpowers. Then they were called in to deal with a first contact situation, and after that their jurisdiction expanded to cover dealing with just about anything that's too weird for anyone else to want to deal with. In the modern day, they cover a very broad range of situations-handling alien relations, disarming abnormal weapons, investigating illegal use of superpowers, providing grocery delivery to agoraphobic mad scientists, etc, etc. They exist in kind of a weird limbo when it comes to public/governmental opinion on them. Congress tends to refuse to understand any more about the bizarre and complicated world of super-things any more than they can possibly avoid; on the one hand, this often makes the Project seem really incredible and heroic for beating back the scary scary forces of incomprehensible darkness on a daily basis (even if they often only accomplish this through sheer luck and dirty tricks), which allows them to get away with a lot and not have to explain themselves too much, but on the other hand, when they need to explain themselves they often aren't given the chance to. "What do you mean you need more funding to defeat Dr. Impossible? You just defeated Dr. Horrible last week!" "Yes, but Dr. Horrible only has Type B-3 telekinesis, whereas Dr. Impossible has the much more dangerous-" "Details!"


Like I said, this is all still very loose-none of the characters even have last names yet. But here's some stuff I've cobbled together.

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These are the three agents who make up the squad that the story mostly follows. That's Rosa on the left, Natasha/Natalie/Nicole (haven't decided yet) on the right and Mikhail on the bottom. (Obviously the designs are still being worked out.)

Woman-Whose-Name-Starts-With-An-N is the leader of the group, whose character description right now can be summed up as 'tiny but kickass'. She's a single mom-her teenage son Dakota has the tentatively-named Tesla Syndrome, a disorder that causes most of the typical qualities of mad scientists but can be treated with medicine. I think her expression there sums her up pretty well: she takes no shit from anybody whatsoever.

Mikhail has turned out to be some kind of cross between my Imperial Agent and Hotch from Criminal Minds. He's very...stoic, somehow managing to keep up a sense of deadpan professionalism tempered with a smattering of dry wit no matter what insanity his job throws at him on a daily basis. He also likes to cook, has a sweet tooth, and has superpowers (he can fly).

Rosa, whose ethnicity is still up in the air at this point, tempers the other two a little bit; she still takes her job very seriously, but she isn't quite as stiff-necked about it. (N tends to be more serious because she has the most responsibility and the highest rank of anyone on the team; Mikhail is just like that.) She might be gay, probably has a cat, and likes video games.

In the corner there is a doodle of a side character: Emile, a congenitally deaf agent whose ability to turn off his hearing implant comes in handy in a couple of stories.

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These are some doodles of an alien race whose design I have very clearly in my head but cannot for the life of me get down on paper. They're sort of like Protoss by way of bipedal gazelles. Probably herbivores, which does not exclude them from having a warrior culture that places a lot of emphasis on honor (maybe). Most likely this is the alien race that's involved in the first contact incident I mentioned above. I have a loose idea for a flashback story about how the Project encounters/captures/whatever one of these guys whose ship crashed and they freak out because they don't want to get mankind's first extraterrestrial encounter off on the wrong foot but they have no way to communicate with him and realize that he'll probably die within days because they don't even know what he eats. (He doesn't die.)

Also: superheroes. I have a few in mind.

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I felt the need to have a Superman/Captain America-esque figure-you know, the lantern-jawed shining beacon of integrity, optimism and justice. It just seemed necessary, I don't know. I liked the idea of making him a 'good king' figure, like King Arthur or Captain Carrot. I wasn't sure what to do about his sword-per the archetype it was necessary that he had one, but also per the other archetype he's fulfilling he had to have a way to non-lethally defeat people. It'll probably end up being a magic sword that only hurts evildoers or something like that.

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A couple of doodles of a guy named Swashbuckler, as drawn in sociology class. I think of Swashbuckler as being this guy who just loves being a superhero. Other superheroes are off angsting about the trials of living a double life and bearing the world on their shoulders, but not this guy. He's having the time of his life. He's probably a stuntman in his secret identity.

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These are some design attempts for an Iron Man-like hero. Physically he's very much like Iron Man but his personality is pretty much the complete opposite. His identity is the best-kept secret in the business; this becomes relevant later. He has sort of a 'knight in shining armor' thing going on; he's probably going to be called Lancelot or something (this comic has a bit of a medieval thing going on, I don't know if you've noticed that).

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I liked the idea of having a falcon-themed hero, since falcons are awesome (and yes, I know there's already a Falcon in the Marvelverse). In Norse mythology Freyja has a cape of falcon feathers that allows the wearer to turn into a falcon; Loki steals/borrows it a time or two (which I never got, because Loki can shapeshift without a magic mantle, but nvm that now). I thought it would be fun to do something with that. Clearly I haven't narrowed down her design yet (but her wings, if she has them, are probably going to wind up being glowy magic wings rather than realistically feathered physical wings).

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Just some doodles for somebody's alien wrist-gadget/wrist-mounted laser cannon.

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This chick can create linked portals at will which retain the momentum of anything that goes in them. Totally not a shout out to anything. I can't decide whether the jacket is a good idea or not.

Not shown are a couple more superhero ideas. I wanted to have an archer type and also a ranger type and I'm still not sure whether I should combine them or not. There's also the person who has the aforementioned alien wrist-gadget/wrist-mounted laser cannon. (I'm not being mysterious. That is literally all I know about them so far.) And there's Springheeled Jack (based off of this guy), who was the first hero I thought up, but I still haven't been able to pin down his look. There are doodles of him all over my room. He has the power to jump ridiculous distances and the secondary power of being able to jump ridiculous distances without breaking every bone in his body when he comes down. I've been toying with the idea of giving his costume glider wings under the arms so he can use his momentum to glide around and cover longer distances, but I'm not sure I can pull it off without making it look silly.

Annnnnnd there's this very very rough sketch of a supervillain.

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I think he's probably going to be sort of a cross between the Scarecrow and the Medic from TF2. (His hand is sticking out like that because I realized mid-drawing that he needed a much larger gun than the one I was going to give him.)

The only other supervillain concept I've got so far is that of a Trickster figure. Like, literally a Trickster figure (whether he's the mythological Trickster or just someone capable of emulating that is up in the air at this point). I was always disappointed that Thor etc treated Loki as a straight-up villain, because there are plenty of straight-up put-upon villains out to take over the world out there, but Loki is one of the classical Trickster figures and there's so much more you could do with that. So here we have a guy who goes around causing chaos and mayhem because, well, that's what he does. Sometimes he's malevolent and sometimes he's not. He can certainly shapeshift; that's pretty much a given.

While there's no drawings accompanying it yet, there's also a subplot about a school which starts out being designed for kids with superpowers but, like the Project, winds up being for anyone who just can't go to a normal school for whatever reason, like an alien transfer student and a clone having trouble adjusting. Other students include N's son Dakota, a guy named Hector who controls fire, a girl named Chelsea who has some kind of physical superpower (probably super-strength), a superspeedster that I am having a really hard time not calling Chase, and a very young kid who gets nicknamed Captain Nightlight due to his ability to emit/control light. (The school has a very small population since superpowers are almost always acquired in this universe, rather than people being born with them.)

*deep breath*

That's all for now. I'd appreciate any thoughts.


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PostPosted: 06 Mar 2013, 11:10 
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I really like the sound of all this. I like your drawing style - I think it should lend itself well to a webcomic.

When I saw your 'good king' character, and before I'd read the accompanying text, I saw a guy with a crown and an apparently glowing sword and immediately thought of Stannis Baratheon. :P Somehow Stannis doesn't quite strike me as quite the same as Arthur or Carrot though. ;D (And he doesn't look much like Stannis either.) I could well imagine him as someone who models himself on King Arthur, given his overall appearance. I also think he's my favourite out of your drawings so far.

I like the portal girl too, and I personally think she looks good with the jacket - it lends a bit of extra detail and character to her appearance, though others may prefer the cleaner lines of the body suit on its own.

Initially I felt slightly uneasy about including the school for superpowered or misfit youngsters because I was worried that readers might see it as a rip-off of Xavier's school, but then I thought that this comic will be focusing largely on the 'police' force so, if the school is a subplot, and especially if it's seen to be very much connected with the main storyline (e.g. by following what N's son is getting up to) then it should be sufficiently different to avoid being thought of as another X-Men.



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PostPosted: 06 Mar 2013, 17:07 
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Enough people have done the superhero school thing by now that I'm more worried about it coming off as clichéd rather than a ripoff of anything in particular. That said, this school is a little different than most iterations of the idea in that it's not really a superhero school per se. There's no attempt at giving the kids combat training or costumes or codenames (some of them might give themselves codenames but the school certainly doesn't encourage it); they're just trying to give the kids an environment where they can learn to use their powers responsibly and get a semi-normal education without all the stress of having to hide their natures from everyone. That and having an environment that can actually handle the kids if they lose control, so you don't end up with an elementary school melting when a super-powered eight year old has a temper tantrum. That's fairly important.


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PostPosted: 06 Mar 2013, 18:36 
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It is indeed. XD

And I like the idea of having to deal with that sort of thing - you get plenty of examples of super-powered teenagers suddenly going off the rails, or not being able to control their powers, but I don't recall ever seeing an example of an establishment having to deal with the standard (and possibly frequent) cases of tantrums or generally immature and irresponsible behaviour that are a natural part of being a child, but with much more serious repercussions. XD



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PostPosted: 06 Mar 2013, 21:45 
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the Captain America-esque character, Rosa, and the Supervillains are the best ones. I don't really care much for Chell or N-leader lady.

I'm going to move this to La Galerie Café, since this isn't computer generated art.



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PostPosted: 06 Mar 2013, 22:01 
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Did I not post it in the the Cafe? Wow. I must have been really out of it. My apologies.

Incidentally, which iteration of Rosa do you like better?


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PostPosted: 07 Mar 2013, 04:43 
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I think I prefer the one on the left - she looks more feminine, and also a little more unique: the other one looks rather similar to N-woman.



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PostPosted: 07 Mar 2013, 09:04 
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dinowoman wrote:
When I saw your 'good king' character, and before I'd read the accompanying text, I saw a guy with a crown and an apparently glowing sword and immediately thought of Stannis Baratheon.
I didn't really notice the crown, and thought of Michael Carpenter from the Dresden Files.

I guess "Knight of the Cross" is kind of like a superhero.


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PostPosted: 07 Mar 2013, 11:12 
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Yes. Michael Carpenter is exactly what I was going for.


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PostPosted: 07 Mar 2013, 14:33 
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dinowoman wrote:
I think I prefer the one on the left - she looks more feminine, and also a little more unique: the other one looks rather similar to N-woman.

Exactly this. I like the darker skin tone too. It'd be cool to see if maybe she had some Hindi/Indian heritage to mix up the homogeneous Caucasian standard. Whether she identifies with it or not is completely independent. with a name like Rosa, she probably isn't particularly conscious of it.



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PostPosted: 07 Mar 2013, 17:17 
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I hadn't really registered that she was the only one with a darker skin tone, but I certainly think it would be nice to have some non-caucasian characters in the story - it'd be highly unlikely that all the superheroes/villains in your location would be white unless it's a very small, out of the way place - and now that Ethan's mentioned it, she does look like she could be of Indian descent. (No problem with the name if she was born in the US. Or adopted - one of my colleagues has three adopted Sri Lankan children, called Jonny, Lizzie and Rachel - really Sri Lankan names. :P)



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PostPosted: 07 Mar 2013, 18:04 
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I had intended her to be black from the start (both pictures of her are supposed to have a darker skin tone, but it doesn't really show up on the right one in the scan, now that I look at it), but I was having a hard time making her look particularly distinguishable until I tried drawing her features that way (on the left) and something clicked. So yeah, she is supposed to have some Asian heritage, I'm just not entirely sure what combination is going on there. As for names, I just give characters names that fit them. Rosa seemed to suit her; I figured I'd work out whatever sequence of events led to her having that name later.

^^Just curious, what don't you like about N and Chell? Something I can change?


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PostPosted: 10 Mar 2013, 09:59 
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watches with cautious interest



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