Saturday, September 1, 2007
Elders of the RuneStone...the Early Years Pt. 2
Back for more, eh? Well don't say I didn't warn you! Wait...okay, I'm warning you NOW.
Continuing on with the history of the characters, Adder was always one of my personal favorites. He was based loosely on a grade school friend of mine who studied ninjutsu, had bright blonde hair, and was somewhat of an outcast. I knew I wanted a really cool, dark and mysterious ninja-like character. An initial idea I had for his origin was that his abusive father kept him locked in his room as a child and the only outlet he had for his emotions was comic books, and this warped him into an obsessive vigilante. Yes, it was a horrible idea.
Later on one of my older brothers, Jim, was taking classes at a local martial arts studio run by a guy named Tom. Tom's style, called Tang Wei (sp?), was basically a refined amalgamation of every known martial arts style and technique. Handed down and streamlined by hundreds of generations of an Asian family who acted for centuries as the Chinese emperor's bodyguards, the style was finally passed on to Tom, the first Westerner to learn the style, since he was adopted into the family. This became the basis for Adder's fighting style, known as Nakashi Do.
I always wanted Adder to wear a black mask, but wanted to keep in the "urban ninja" feel. So my initial designs had him simply wearing a T-shirt and jeans, and originally I had him use taped up wooden fighting sticks as his primary weapon (a nod to one of my favorite comic characters, Casey Jones from TMNT). Eventually I added the black overcoat, and a few tweaks to get his look of today. I think it was Robert who suggested the chest strap for his throwing knives. Posted here you can see a conceptual drawing that hints at a future look (from 1997, first year of college).
One last note: Ever since I can remember, I've always had very cool dreams (being James Bond, being a werewolf, and yes, being my own characters). And very involving, very scary nightmares. Perhaps this was the inspiration for the nightmares that plague Adder, but what exactly his mean...well, you'll all just have to wait and see! ;)
So onto Jenny, aka HardTap. She went through several changes. My initial thoughts were to make her plain and fairly unattractive, but I like the way she looks now: cute in a nerdy sort of way, kind of like the ugly duckling story--lots of people may not seem attractive until we see them for who they really are. And that's how some people fall in love. I'm told. :)
I originally pictured her as a quiet, shy, mopey kind of character, the "nobody" girl that slips through the cracks and is never noticed. While this was much like many girls I knew in school who never really got their due, it made her kind of an uninteresting character and not very fun to write. Enter the pigtails. She was tweaked to be much more outgoing, to the point of being "wacky", with her own goofy, crazy way of doing things, and that is what makes her an outcast from the otherwise preppy cliques of her high school. How many people do we know who are shunned because people are too proud or lazy to try walking in their shoes? For a while I had her wearing bright red suspenders with a neon yellow and white-striped shirt, but it turned out to be just too much. As I "got to know" her character more, she turned out the way she is today--a "grungy" tomboy who is cynical about the world, but counteracts that with her great but often unappreciated sense of humor.
Her powers were also tweaked. Whereas originally she had a forcefield to protect her from danger, I rehauled her with sweet-looking translucent energy armor that for some mysterious reason looks somewhat alien. Hmmm...
Thus ends Part 2. Stay tuned for Part 3, coming soon!
ALSO keep on the lookout for some awesome additions to the site coming very soon: FREE downloadable wallpapers and a downloadable version of the Preview Book we debuted in Wizard World Chicago a few weeks ago!
And be sure to register on the new Darkhan City Forum, accessible on the home page.