Lucien Maverick’s “Desire”

I’ve been replaying Persona 5, with the goal of getting every single confidant up to par, making the ultimate fusion, so I can command the ultimate persona.  This is how sad and boring and awful my life is.  One of the side-missions is Yusuke having his slump as an artist.  He goes to Mementos and paints what he sees there and calls it “Desire.”  The painting is very elegant in craftsmanship, but he admits its shortcomings in theme.  He wants to capture the essence of desire, so you get to go around with him and help him find out what the meaning is to him.

I did a post years ago called “Lucien Maverick’s ‘No Apologies’“, where I outlined what I would have done if I had visual art talent to demonstrate what my vision of living without apology means.  My unapologetic self.  As I am the type of person who gets random bits of odd inspiration, then has to run with them, I thought about what I would want to visually represent what I see as desire.  And I am sharing it all with you.  Let’s get down to it.

When I think of desire, I think of something…passionate.  I keep thinking violent, but that can read really weird to people.  I’m not some psycho.  The violence and passion I think of is much akin to the monologue Gomez has in Tim Burton’s Addams Family film, when he is watching Morticia sleep.

For too long, I’ve lived a life where I feel trapped, unable to be the person I want to be.  When I was with someone who changed my life, there was such freedom.  Such unbridled need to break free.  She showed me what it meant to be who I want to be.  But then she was gone.  And ever since, I’ve been desperately wanting to find that freedom again.  That escape from the confines of my poverty-stricken life to live the way I want to live.

So when I say that desire is passionate, violent, burning, consuming, don’t mistake it for me wanting violent things.  I just want to experience and be allowed to let who I am loose.  Everywhere I go, all day, every day, it seems like I am having to be who I am for someone else.  I hate it from the bottom of my little black heart.  But then I let some of my true self out and everyone is totally mad!  It’s infuriating!  Let me be who I am!  Let the weird, nerdy, perverted, loyal to his friends man free!

But more than that.  This desire as I see it is darkness.  I am drawn to it.  The knowledge contained within.  The danger.  I walk in dangerous parts of town alone, daring Lady Luck to finally come at me.  To give me a chance to finally cut loose and see if it’s her will to have me dead or if I can rise above it.  For years, I was hip deep in that.  Now I’m not.  I ache for it, long for it, would kill or die for it every day.  Got a girly-mate who gets to be hip-deep in that world eventually.  Every day I feel this crippling sense of jealousy.  I got out for logical, rational reasons.  However, that’s not desire!  This is about what I desire, not what I logically choose to do.  I long for that darkness.  I long for the danger.  The feeling of knowing that I can die at the drop of a hat, and there being no fear of that.  Lately, the urge is stronger than it has ever been.  My oldest companion was taken away from me.  Just like the woman I loved, this one was taken away by a selfish person who didn’t stop to think about who would be left behind.  What this would do to me.  I’m fundamentally broken inside.  More days than not, I feel dead.

I don’t fear death.  I’ve been dead before.  When I smashed my skull open, my heart stopped.  I was dead, until I was shocked back to life.  Death is something that has been on my mind for so long.  Part of me longs for it.  A by-product of the brain damage-fueled depression that will never leave me for as long as I live.  I see death as a companion that most of you probably fear, but I stare into their eyes, almost like a lover.

Now the question is – how to represent that?  What visual elements could bring this concept to life?  What ways could I express that.  My dark, strange, passionate, needing desire?  My never-ending search for Death?  My desire to roll the dice with Lady Luck and see if this is the day that she finally comes for me?  How could I express that?  Always saw Lady Luck as a masked woman.  A mark that shows no emotion.  She’s a trickster, after all.  Maybe have it be her face, from above.  A large cloak, to which one can see inside.  In there is darkness.  The darkness I seek.  Fire is all around the edges.  Her hands are seen above, throwing the dice.

There I am in the darkness of her cloak.  The flames around the edges, burning away at who I am, and who I want to be.  From behind, there is another form.  Feminine, in a way, but then not.  It’s arms are around me.  It’s face is a skeleton.  It’s Death.  The spirit that is with me.  Loving, giving, yet always taking away.  I can’t go with her, where she is.  To do so means that I would have to die, and I keep being told by everyone that being dead is bad.  That I shouldn’t do that.  My hand clutches its bony fingers, but I know that I cannot escape.

Fire is all around us, as the world burns away.  But it doesn’t burn like an inferno.  A cold, blue color.  My fire is contemplative, almost playful.  It wants to feel and grow.  It is free to come and go.  And in the distance, on a hill overlooking us, a tree that is alight with that flame.  My innocence.  What’s left of the part of me that is still a normal person, like all of you.  That’s what burns.  The flame wants to tear it down so that it can leave my life forever.  My eyes gazing upwards, to the cold mask that is Lady Luck’s face, wondering what the dice that almost seem to glow a fiery red will come up as.  The numbered faces seem to drip like blood.

Man, that got kinda crazy.  But yeah, that is what I see when I picture desire.  My own personal version of it.  Do with that what you will.

Until next time, a quote,

“Trust is for old married’s, Buffy.  Great love is wild and passionate and dangerous.  It burns, and consumes.” – Spike, Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Peace out,

Maverick

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Lucien’s Review: What Remains of Edith Finch

From the creators of The Unfinished Swan, a very depressing but poetic story comes another tale that is equal parts depressing and poetic.  There is just one major flaw holding it back.  It is nowhere near the artistic rendering that its predecessor was, but that doesn’t do too much damage to it. The problem is that doing a review of this game means that I get to go into more the artistic merits of it than the gameplay elements.  This is a game for those who like unconventional games that take your mind to very strange places.  If that isn’t your jam, trust me, best to just pass.  So now let’s put on my hipster hat and go into a game that I can already see the anti-SJW crowd calling a “walking simulator.”  A title that this game whole-heartedly does NOT deserve.

The plot goes that Edith Finch is returning back to the family home.  It’s a dark house that has as many stories as it does dead bodies in its cemetery. A tragic story of a family that Edith has returned to so she can uncover.  And along the way, she comes to some realizations about this home and what it represents.  Does the mystery come together in a fitting climax where all the disparate elements make sense and you have an emotional catharsis much like the previous work of this company?!  Well…no.  But props to how close they got.

As I said, this game is not a walking simulator.  To call it that is to be underselling how this game plays.  Sure, the story of Edith is pretty much just walking from place to place with basic environmental interactions.  However, each of the narratives that tells the story of one of the Finch family dying incorporates all kinds of gameplay dynamics.  My favorite being where you have to manipulate the sticks on the controller to do different tasks at the same time.  Can get confusing, but that fits with the narrative.  While this game lacks the novelty in the pain elements from the last game, it does at least have something going for it.

When I saw the original promo for the game SJWs fawn all over, Gone Home, this is what I thought I was going to get.  A game where you explore an abandoned home, but there is a definitive creepy edge to it.  While I wouldn’t call this a horror game, its use of atmosphere is truly fantastic.  Without a single jump scare, this game makes the house it is set in very ominous.  As you uncover all the secrets and build up the narrative, the place gets less and less inviting.  Which just makes the fact that it never really builds to anything that much more frustrating.

The best thing about this game is the first three quarters of the narrative.  Sure, the exposition can be a little much, but you learn to roll with it because you think it is building to something.  Which brings me to the thing that I need to talk about.  I will try and avoid outright spoiling the ending, but I will spoil the elements of how it comes together which may set your expectations.  If that’s something you want to avoid, go to the Final Verdict now.

Here’s my problem – the ending.  This game has some pretty great build-up.  Right as we are FINALLY getting to see where it was all building to and if it would be something more, the game just stops.  In the most anti-climactic way ever, it just stops.  I was so frustrated by that.  I mean come on!  We are finally going to know what the mysterious force surrounding this house is, and you stop?!  What the hell!?  I was actually really stoked to see just what it was that had come into contact with this family.  It is hinted that the actual stories being told in this game give the forces at work power, but since you never get to find out what it actually was, you never know!  I hate that this game has so much great narrative tension build, only for it to crash and burn.  Part of me thinks that the development of the game got a little rushed at the end, or maybe they had written themselves into a corner and decided to go with the “you never know what it was” thing, but I honestly think that works against this game.

All-in-all, this is a decent game.  As games purely for art’s sake go, it’s fine.  But I think the lackluster ending really does damage to the whole narrative, and that is a real shame.  That doesn’t make this a bad game.  Just not one that I would recommend.  Do with that what you will.

Final Verdict
6 out of 10

Peace out,

Maverick

In Memory, In Ink

I have a friend named Quinn.  Ever since she was ten years old, she lost the ability to speak.  She got incredibly sick.  It was a disease that caused massive inflammation all over her body.  She nearly died.  A fever of 104, death nearly came for her but she came back from it.  Now she no longer has the ability to speak.  It’s been a very hard life for her.  You don’t really think about the value that the ability to speak has until you lose it.  So much of her life was hurt, and she has been trying to come back from it for as long as she could.

Through all of that, there was her incredibly supportive mother.  Even when she found out that her daughter was gay, and her father kicked her out of the house, her mother did everything she could to help her.  To the point that they ended up getting a nasty divorce because the mother hated the father for how he treated their daughter, which in turn translated into how well he treated her sister because she was the child he had always wanted.  Meanwhile, Quinn had her mother.  When she was really little, as I understand it, Quinn was a very talkative little kid.  Her mother called her “Chatty Monkey.”  It was with this in mind that when she died, Quinn had an idea for a tat.  But since she has no artistic talent, it just stayed as an idea, until now.  With the help of my dear friend Kathryn, it has finally come to fruition.  As it will when it is immortalized on Quinn’s skin forever.  One of three tats, all of which have great significance for her.

16901932_10155070158909111_1716337255_nThe monkey is to stand for the nickname that her mother had for her all her life.  The gun is because her mother was a crack-shot, most specifically with a revolver.  The smoke is because, the unfortunate truth is that her mother was a chimney.  You can extrapolate how she died based on that.  Woman went through a pack a day.  I try not to judge how people live, but as her coughing got worse, even Quinn felt terrible.  The woman left our state to go be in a warmer climate, and it did help.  But it only went so far.

A wonderful woman has passed away.  She left a legacy of a connection between mother and daughter that is unmatched, from a girl who life has been horribly unkind to.  How people keep their memories close.  Quinn is putting this memory on her hip.  So when you see this image, keep in mind the connection it symbolizes.  Let me know the connections that you have with people who have left your life and how you keep that alive in the Comments.

Until next time, a quote,

“Death is not the greatest loss in life.  The greatest loss in life is what dies inside us while we live.” – Norman Cousins

Peace out,

Maverick

Lucien’s Worst Game of 2016

As I said in a previous post, it has been a slow year for gaming.  This means that there have been some mediocre games that have come out.  And while some of those mediocre games bug me, like Rise of the Tomb Raider, it isn’t nearly bad enough to make this list.  I had been going to do a review of this game, but I never did.  I just couldn’t deal with it anymore.  It was so annoying.  I wasted my money on it.  I want a fucking refund.  But nope!  Because PSN doesn’t do refunds, because Sony are a bunch of greedy mizers.  This game was bad, in every way that a game can be, aside from being visually interesting.  I’ve waited to talk about it long enough.  Let’s get down into my worst game of this year…

Bound

When I think of all the complaints that people have about Gone Home, the one that always sticks out to me the most is when people call it “pretentious.”  The reason is that I don’t think that it is.  Is it the amazing game that everyone believes it to be?  Absolutely not.  It’s a misleading game about a girl being home alone, with all the marketing making the game out to have some kind of nefarious edge.  Instead, it was just a game packed full of 90’s cheese about a lesbian dodging her duties as a soldier to be with her girlfriend.  Yeah, that’s it.  There’s really nothing more to it.

Speaking of, here we have a game that is about a pregnant woman on a beach, ripping pages out of her notebook while going into a fantasy world as a ballerina character to act out metaphors for her broken life.  That’s it.  There genuinely is nothing more to it than that.  You get to go through some admittedly-cool landscapes to solve a narrative that is WAY too far up its own ass.  Plus, the gameplay is boring, repetitive, and after a while you start to realize that all the worlds look alike.  At least with Alice: Madness Returns, while the gameplay got repetitive, you had these unique environments to explore.  That made it all worth it.  Every level in this game looks exactly the same.  It got to the point that I couldn’t tell if I was moving forward or backwards in places.

Oh, and then there is the repetitive control scheme for the repetitive hazards that you come across.  I felt like my time was being wasted so many times in that fucking game.  But, you know, I could actually have dealt with that if it weren’t for the fact that the narrative is such pretentious bullshit.  It’s trying to be all vague and metaphorical, but it doesn’t read that way.  It reads as that episode of Nostalgia Critic examining “The Cell,” where he has the director dancing in the background shouting “ask me what it means!  Ask me what it means!”  Groj, I hate this fucking game.  Wasted $20 on that.  No joke, for a game that is 3 hours long, they charged $20.  Unbelievable.

And then, the game just ends.  No build-up.  No final boss.  Hell, no fucking pay-off!  Like, it gives you some bullshit choice, that I guess you are supposed to leave open to interpretation, but it doesn’t read like, that.  Again, “ask me what it means!  Ask me what it means!”  This game is every pretentious SJW circlejerk where they get to go on and on about how deep and poetic a game is.  And this is coming from someone who LIKES art games.  My second-favorite game of this year is ABZU, a game which is literally a giant underwater level with VERY smooth controls.  I am going to eventually be doing a huge Critical Examination post about that game, because there is a very interesting lore there.  But this is just artistic bullshit.  It’s some poncy art student wanting to pretend to be all deep, while in reality just making crap that looks nice, for a bit.

Fuck this game.  Fuck this game so hard.  Since I didn’t do a review of it, I’m going to give it a Final Verdict to close us out.

Final Verdict
2 out of 10

Peace out,

Maverick

My Comic Book Idea Coming to Life

To anyone who doesn’t remember, I had an idea for a comic book that I made a post about (linked here).  It tells the story of a man who is murdered and subsequently approached by Death.  It makes an offer to him that he can stay in the world of the living and live a normal life, so long as he acts as the Reaper, going after the souls of the undead who have transgressed in a way that Death finds unacceptable.  He takes the contract and thus is given back his life.  Now he is a being who can travel between the land of the living and that of the dead.  He becomes embroiled in the politics of the undead and the nature of the Unlife currency that all undead want in order to not have to stay in the City of the Dead.

My problem when thinking of this really cool idea is that I can’t draw.  At all.  I can write with all the flair and flourish that I could ask for, but that form of artistic expression is forever beyond me.  However, I recently got a beacon of hope from an unlikely source that has quickly gone from a workplace acquaintance to someone who is very important to me.  She said she wants to do some panels of this comic.  I was emphatically behind that, but didn’t feel the need to crush her creative energy by making what I had in mind very outlined and rigid.  I recognize that sometimes genius happens at moments you do not expect.  She has completed her first initial sketch for the project, and I think it’s awesome.  So let me show all of you.

14937016_10154719305514111_1630433156_nThere are no words for how awesome I think this is.  I cannot wait to see what she comes up with next.  And because I want to see where this goes, along with giving her work more exposure, I will be posting what she comes up with on my site.  Let me know what you all think down in the comments.  This is the initial sketch of the Reaper in my comic.  So badass.

Until next time, a quote,

“I dream my painting, and then I paint my dream.” – Vincent Van Gogh

Peace out,

Maverick

My Comic Book Idea

I’ve talked about if I were to make a movie, what I would do.  I also talked about a video game idea.  There is another thing that I wanted to tell all of you about.  I can’t draw, so I will never be able to realize this idea either.  I have thought about this extensively, and the only thing I could do with this idea is turn it into a comic book.  This wouldn’t work in any other medium.  The visual style would be dark as fuck.  At least for all the stuff with the protagonist when he’s on the job.  Let me tell you about my comic idea.  Really wish I could draw.

The name of the comic is “Reaper.”  It tells the story of a man who dies.  When he is killed, he ends up in a kind of limbo space.  There, the physical manifestation of Death comes before him.  It tells him that he lived a typical life, so he would be going to the Necropolis.  It’s a gothic, vibrant city of the dead.  The only way to the Beyond is to accept that your life is over before you die.  To not have any remaining attachment to the mortal realm when you leave.  For the bulk of people, there is the endless city of the dead.  The bulk of those there never leave.  However, there are forms of Unlife that wander the living world.  Most of the time, Death lets them be.  So long as they aren’t hurting anyone.  But there are times when those who are part of or channel Unlife have to be brought to heel.  For this purpose, there is a being that is employed.  It is chosen by Death, based on categories unknown.  Only Death knows why it picks people.

The young man, Steven Bordeaux, was chosen after he is the victim of murder.  Death takes his soul and makes him an offer.  It wants him to become the next Reaper.  He is free to live life as he sees fit up on Earth, while also fetching the creatures of Unlife that go too far.  Simple as that.  The trade-off is that if he becomes a Reaper, he will not be able to go to the Beyond.  When his time is up, and his soul finally passes the mortal realm, he will be in the Necropolis.  Given the fact that he wants revenge against the person who killed him, and that he isn’t ready to die, he makes the deal.  Little does he know that this deal is something that is from a person’s nightmares, and the strings attached are more than anyone can bear.

Powers

If you have a comic book hero, you need some powers for him, right?  Well, the Reaper comes with an interesting assortment of abilities.  This can vary from Reaper to Reaper, so it isn’t set in stone.  The first thing is the fact that this entity can change from its true undead form to a living facade.  But it is undead.  Make no mistake.  The mortal form can eat, sleep, fuck, and do all that stuff, but it still is something that is living dead.  Its native form is shrouded in a black cloak.  The body become skeletal.  It makes how the clothing stays up a matter of contention.  Chalk it up to undead powers.

In mortal form, this being can also be injured like a person.  But there is a catch – all mortal injury can be fixed by going into undead form.  However, this uses up the pool of Unlife that the Reaper has.  Like fixing injury when it is in its natural state.  But as previously stated, all the mortal functions work.  All of them.  Even though it’s a facade of magic, it has to be convincing to the people in the living world.  A neat trick that Steven discovers is that he is able to look at a crime scene or old photos and see memories.  The Whispers of the Dead, is the name of that trick.  A room where a person dies has whispers there.  He can see them, and it all becomes clear to him.  Steven first finds this out when looking at old photos, which he then puts to use at the office, to help solve old crimes.  He works as a records keeper, so he has plenty of time to go through stuff.

The primary weapon of a Reaper is the iconic Scythe.  It is a weapon that cannot be touched by any mortal.  If a mortal lays hands on it, it will suck the life out of them.  This also happens with gloves.  If their actual hand wraps around it, the Scythe will react and suck their life out.  A Reaper’s Scythe is a malleable weapon.  It can change shape, depending on the Reaper’s preference.  This has limits, of course.  It can’t become a gun.  However, any bladed weapon that could theoretically exist, it can become.  The shape changes based on the will of the Reaper.  However, at the end of the Scythe is something very important.

See, a Reaper can be injured.  To repair injury in either mortal or Reaper form takes Unlife energy.  With typical undead, Unlife is a resource that can be traded.  They keep it in banks in the Necropolis.  So long as they have enough Unlife, they can exist in the mortal realm.  Reapers are different.  Their Unlife regenerates over time.  If their standing pool runs out, they can be killed.  But there is another thing.  Their Unlife comes from a lantern that is at the end of the Scythe.  If the lantern is destroyed, a Reaper will instantly die.  But this is MUCH easier said than done.  Only certain kinds of devices can destroy a Reaper’s lantern.  Or it would take unimaginable brute strength.  The lantern is also where a Reaper stores the souls of the undead that he claims for Death.

When a Reaper travels, it can do so on foot, though they often don’t walk like normal people.  A Reaper’s body can swiftly travel as a kind of mist.  This trick can only be done in bursts, because if it is used too much it will drain their Unlife.  But using it too much would have to be something constant.  Like a sustained mist form.

Another weakness worth mentioning is the fact that a Reaper is just as susceptible to necromancy as any other undead.  However, this has a trick.  See, if they are in mortal form, they are immune.  So long as a part of them is in their mortal form, they cannot be totally controlled.  But any part of them that is in their natural state is able to be manipulated by necromancy.

However, a Reaper’s biggest weakness is weapons that are blessed with the Beyond’s light.  Such weapons can make injuries that are not able to be fixed until the affected area is given a spell that removes the light’s power.  Or, if the Reaper is desperate, they can use their Unlife to heal it.  But healing injuries from Beyond weapons takes extreme amounts of Unlife.  They are also susceptible to control by Necromancers, if they are in their native form.  If their body is completely destroyed, it can be repaired, but doing so will deplete their Unlife to a level where any injury past that will destroy them.  So they typically run from fights that get that bad.  Also, repeated sustained injury can deplete their Unlife fairly quickly.  Like hitting them with an unrelenting hail of bullets.  However, keeping a Reaper in one place for such an attack is nigh-impossible.

Setting

The major settings of this are the mortal realm (particularly the city of Anchor Haven), and the Necropolis.  While the guardians of Beyond do make an appearance, what is Beyond is never seen.  Anchor Haven is a coastal city.  The recession hit it hard, and now there is growing poverty.  His apartment is in a part of the town right next to the college.  It’s not a great place, but it could be worse.  He shares it with one roommate.  The office he works at is used by law enforcement.  He does clerical work for them, along with sending unknown “gifts” to help them solve cases when he uses his talents to see the past of the dead.  One of the places that Steven frequents is a dark building in a run-down part of town, that is used by the Bone King as a conduit for the living and dead.  It’s the entrance to the Necropolis.  He also frequents an apartment complex that houses all kinds of types who do magic, along with a brothel which caters to the undead.  It is here that he goes for information, along with a casual sexual relationship with a vampire there.

The Necropolis is something unlike anything you have ever seen.  As a Reaper, Steven is able to go between worlds.  In the city of the dead, you look as you desire to be.  Souls that were corrupted by Unlife look as they were.  It’s part of the punishment from Death for transgressing.  The architecture of the city is gothic in the extreme.  It’s a very damp place, with mist and water almost always covering the place.  There is no daylight there.  It is a city that goes on without end.  It cannot get crowded.  There is no end to the place.  Outside of the city is the Forest of the Dead and other such things.  However, the city is always alive.  Everything is congregated around a central hub.  It’s the link between worlds.  Those of the dead who get enough Unlife to return.  Or can make a deal with the Bone King.  New arrivals also show up there.  The people of the Necropolis are a pretty outgoing bunch.  Death really does level the playing field.  Neon signs and twisted architecture are everywhere.  The place that Steven visits the most is Handsome Duke’s bar inside of the Moonlight Casino.  Here, he can get all kinds of information.

Characters

The Reaper himself, Steven, is a man who lived a pretty ordinary life, up to the day he was murdered.  Unlike some characters, his murder wasn’t the result of a seedy corruption.  The reason he was killed was because of an angry suitor of his ex-girlfriend.  The girl was dating him, and the man got enraged after an argument.  He sought Steven out and shot him in the chest.  He got a Bachelor’s in Business Communication and was living a pretty ordinary life before becoming a Reaper.  He deals with hardcore depression, following a head injury.  Becoming a Reaper changed his outlook on life.  He is sarcastic by nature, and not eager to get involved in the politics that his job entails.

The next person is Steven’s roommate, Chloe.  She’s more than a bit of a punk, but she uses this as a cover.  All the assurance and confidence she gives off is a smoke-screen for the fact that she suffers from near-crippling self-doubt.  This is tied in to the fact that she is a closeted lesbian, who can’t come out due to the fact that her family would disown her.  As such, she has all kinds of tats and other rebellious things, but she cannot openly show who she is due to not wanting to be alone in the world.  She eventually starts a relationship with Steven’s younger sister, which he is openly critical of, due to the fact that she indulges in a lot of unhealthy habits, smokes habitually, and has been known to do drugs.

At the office space of the police, there are Detective Laura Holland and Marcus Cortez.  They in the homicide department, and often get tasked with looking into murders.  Every so often, they are given envelopes from an unknown source (Steven) detailing things about a case, and what they missed.  This, along with a series of murders committed by an unknown assailant in black robes, leads them to start investigating the Reaper.  Laura is brash and cocky, eager to prove that she’s the best.  There are some deep-seated feelings that she is being looked down upon by the other cops, even though she has almost never been mistreated by her fellow officers.  Her partner, on the other hand, is an old dog.  He’s settled in to the fact that he is not going to be doing the big cases anymore.  Before the envelopes started arriving, he was content clearing boring cases, or filing away the ones that he could tell they would never find a culprit for.  When they start investigating the envelopes and the mysterious figure in black, he regains some of the old spark in him that made him a great cop.

At The Witches Brew, there are a couple people that Steven has contact with.  The first is a young witch named Elma.  She was abandoned there by her mother, who was a prostitute in another part of town (that catered to the living.  She had no knowledge of the undead).  The girl has extreme talent, and the witches there took to educating her.  She’s a quirky girl, often with her long black hair in her face.  Steven often comes to her for spells and advice on how to take on certain opponents.  The room she lives in is almost full from top to bottom with books and spell stuff.  It’s a mess, in every sense of the word.  The next person is a vampire prostitute whose working name is Karamel.  Steven goes to her for sexual release, finding himself incapable of romantically bonding with living people anymore.  His issues with his Unlife grow as the series goes on.  There is solace with this vampire, who was turned against her will.  The girl was from Ukraine, originally.  She was brought to America with promises that she would find work.  Instead, her ferryman sold her and the girls she came over with to a brothel controlled by the Russian mob.  One of her johns was a vampire, and he wanted her so much that he turned her and kidnapped her.  It was a choice he would regret, after she tore his testicles off.  The former Reaper then killed the vampire, and set the slaves he had free.  With nowhere else to go, and the unending hunger, she went to The Witches Brew and asked for a job.  She hooks for them, in exchange for free blood.  The girl is miserable, but has stated that she has no better options.

There is also a person named Matt.  When Steven first met him, he was entranced by how different the young man was.  Given that he is bi himself, he saw no reason not to pursue the boy.  But when they got romantic, it is then that he discovered something – Matt is not a boy at all.  He’s a girl.  A girl with a very confused gender identity.  She doesn’t want to be a girl, but doesn’t have the will to go all the way with a sex change.  So she keeps her hair short, and wears entirely masculine clothing.  She’s gotten so good at her facade that she has convinced almost everyone.  But the masculine and feminine side of this person have been clashing, and it has led to some very strange hangups.  Both emotional and sexual.  He does start sleeping with Steven, and the two form a kind of weird bond.  One that leads most people to suspect that Steven is gay.  The two’s relationship is very violent, as Matt likes it very rough.  It feeds into Steven’s growing disconnect from the human condition, with him growing to love this person who is hurting and wants to be hurt at the same time.

Not far down the road from where The Witches Brew is, there is another building where a voodoo master called Kingston Laveau lives.  He’s an odd duck.  Originally from Africa, he moved to the US and changed his name.  The man is cryptic in the extreme, and the advice he gives even moreso.  Unlike Elma, the magic he does is almost always dark.  Anyone who has extensive dealings with him knows that trusting him is a terrible idea.  But his advice isn’t totally worthless.

The last person to mention in the land of the living is the Bone King.  This is a creature that is ancient.  It has existed as the steward of one of several gates to the Necropolis.  This one happens to be in Anchor Haven.  He is a very grim character, with a sense of humor to match.  Given the state of some of the undead who come through his part of the world, perhaps it comes with the territory.  This entity doesn’t have a mortal form, so it can’t wander the streets.  But its home can only be entered by the undead.  If a mortal comes upon it, the place looks like a broken down old building.  The Bone King has no issue doing business with a Reaper, but it makes clear that it takes no sides in any conflict.  As such, the creature is not the best to go to for information.  It is more of a cryptic mystic that occasionally gives Steven information.  Over the course of the series, the creature does grow to have a kind of begrudging appreciation for Steven, as he is not the most grim Reaper he has ever met (pun intended).  Eventually he becomes more of an ally than less.

In the Necropolis, the biggest character that Steven does business with is Handsome Duke.  The Moonlight Casino is a place where the dead can gamble with Unlife.  There is a bar inside where all kinds of lost souls congregate to drink.  All kinds of stories go through there as well.  Duke is willing to trade information for favors.  This forms the basis of his somewhat-favorable relationship between him and Steven.  A very amicable sort, Duke is known as someone that no one outright trusts, but who is fun enough to talk to.

We also have a young reporter named Naomi Cross.  At least, she appears young.  She is part of a multi-national corporation that is a front by Beyond for their own exploits into the land of the living.  The Knights are a group who is dedicated to keeping the balance.  However, there are rules.  The undead solve their own problems.  If a problem gets too large, the Knights come in and take charge.  This usually ends with a ton of bloodshed.  As such, there is a huge superiority complex with the members of this group.  Naomi is a member of this organization.  Her family all harbored a deep hatred for the Reapers, and the world they represent.  She is trying to overcome her own prejudice, while being part of an organization that is in charge of huge news outlets and some very lucrative charity work.  All of which is a front.  Naomi wants to be free of all of this, but she isn’t human in the strictest sense either.  When the new Reaper steps on to the scene, she is working to track him down.  It begins a very antagonistic relationship between her and Steven.  While not an outright villain, they do occasionally have confrontations of ideals, along with fights over who is supposed to deal with a situation when her organization gets involved.

Finally, we come to Death.  Death is a being as old as time itself.  It has been the guardian of the other side.  It can take whatever physical form it desires.  When it interacts with Steven in the world of the living, it takes the form of a tattooed blind woman.  Well, blind to everyone but those who know better.  It can go anywhere and do anything it likes.  But Death does keep to its realm.  Partly because it isn’t a fan of mortals, and partly because there are rules that were put in place by the original Compact between the Necropolis and Beyond, back at the end of the Great War.  The thing about Death is that it first appears like it has rather pure motives.  But as the series carries on, Steven begins to realize that it has a darker purpose behind what it’s doing.

Of course, that is just a small list of the most major characters.  I got a list going on of tons of smaller ones.  Like a ghoul who owns a music shop, or a beat cop who gets tied up with the undead due to her being one.  The thing about this comic is that there wouldn’t be too many recurring villains.  Must like Punisher, most villains are slain when they are confronted by the Reaper..  The true villain of the series would be the continuing disconnect between Steven and the human condition as he slowly descends further and further into his role, and his constant fight to maintain his humanity.

So yeah, there’s my idea.  Let me know what you think down in the Comments.  Wish I had the ability to draw.  This could look fucking sick!  Oh well.  Things are what they are.

Until next time, a quote,

“The tragedy of life is not death, but what we let die inside of us while we live.”  – Norman Cousins

Peace out,

Maverick

Should Games Allow You To Skip Combat?

This is a response to an article by Patrick Klepek, who believes that video games should allow you to totally skip over the part that makes it something other than a movie, and make it into a movie.  He believes that there is no reason why developers shouldn’t have that option in games.  According to what I saw on a post on Tumblr (linked here), plenty of people agreed with this. They argued that there is no reason that someone shouldn’t be able to just skip out on everything, so long as they can get what they want.  My refutation of this is going to be pretty simple, so let’s get to it.

It all boils down to this – why on Earth should developers make games that have features that you want?  What incentive is there for them to do that?  I can already hear the argument – because they will make more money!  Yeah, that doesn’t jive because we already know that they are making plenty of money.  Not to mention – how many of these slacker-gamers actually exist?  We’ve already proven that the SJW crowd, overall, doesn’t game.  So why should anyone make a game like this?

The simple truth is, if you want a game where you never have to do anything difficult or fight anyone or anything like that, then make it.  Sure, there are plenty of art games that already exist.  You have games like Dear Esther or Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture.  Or even the dreaded Gone Home.  Or there are some more involved art games, like Flower or Journey.  But they don’t want to play those games.  They want the games that everyone else is playing to be made for them.  Well, too bad.  There is no obligation on developers part to go out of their way to make a Toddler difficulty level.  Or to excise combat altogether.  Again, that’s just making a movie.  If you want to watch a movie, go watch a movie.  But it comes back to an argument that I’ve been making to SJWs now for some time – if you want a certain kind of game made, then make it yourselves.  There’s simply no excuse for people who want games to be made a certain way not to do it themselves.  There are plenty of tools for making games available.  Get on the Unity engine and start showing us what you’re made of.  Then the free market will decide if a game where you can totally skip all the parts that take effort is one that the public at large wants.

Outside of that, stop complaining.  If a game, at the easiest setting, is too hard for you, then maybe you should look to get better at the game.  Not demand that other people make things easier for you.  Entitled fuckers…

Until next time, a quote,

“It is not fair to ask of others what you are not willing to do yourself.”  – Eleanor Roosevelt

Peace out,

Maverick