The gang from the Enchanted Tiki Talk Podcast met me in person at NYCC and we did a follow-up interview all about the Figment comic mini-series.
I’ve gone on at length about my love of tabletop role-playing games and how I feel they’re the best entertainment money can buy. Sitting down to create a new interactive tale with a group of friends is a joyous experience that few other things can match. Playing RPGs strengthened my storytelling skills and lead me down the creative path to becoming a comic writer.
I want to talk about one game in particular that stands out among the dozens and dozens I’ve played over the years: FENG SHUI.
Feng Shui is an Action Movie Role-Playing Game written by Robin Laws. It takes the heightened intensity of Hong Kong-style action films and, in a simple and cohesive way, creates a storytelling framework that encourages everyone playing to have a great time. It changed the way I played games and, for many designers and players alike, it was a milestone in the way that it injected storytelling ideas into the mechanical components of gaming.
Here’s the thing: In practically every tabletop RPG that came before Feng Shui, there was a distinct divide between narration and action. You could “role play” all you wanted as the story progressed but, once the action kicked into gear, it was time to break out the dice and hope for the best. No matter what you envisioned in your mind as weapons clashed, the rules alone would dictate who hits, how much damage they take, and the end result therein. The narrative component was completely pushed out in favor of cold numbers and probabilities.
What Robin did with Feng Shui was to weave the narrative back into the heart of the action and make it integral to how the game is played. Describing what you’re doing during combat, how you’re doing it, and making it as entertaining as possible grants you bonuses to achieve the very thing you’re describing. Instead of the rules working against your wildest imagination, it propels it forward and makes action scenes a bombastic rollicking part of the story instead of a number crunching speed bump. It’s no longer about min-maxing the stats and hoping the dice play your way, it’s about entertaining the whole table as the Game Master rewards your inventiveness and creativity.
That critical shift in focus made a massive difference in how our group played RPGs. It pushed Feng Shui to the top of the pile whenever we wanted to pull together a game or teach new players what RPGs were all about. It made the mechanical part of the game fun and encouraged everyone at the table to contribute in a way I’d never experienced before.
Feng Shui effortlessly codifies the ridiculous entertainment of action movies and empowers everyone playing to throw down in an over-the-top thrill ride with an infinite production budget. It rewards involvement, energizes storytelling, and never fails to surprise.
Our college gaming group ran a Mission Impossible-style episodic campaign called Agents of Intrigue. It started off as a simple throw-together format to run games when we weren’t sure who would be available from week to week and, over dozens of wild sessions and years of play, it evolved into a sprawling cast of colorful characters and weaving plot lines punctuated with wry humor and bone-crunching action. To this day that campaign is one of my favorite gaming memories.
The Feng Shui 2nd Edition Kickstarter is currently running down its last day of fundraising and I heartily encourage everyone I know who loves games to contribute. Beyond the PDF or physical book of rules, you’re helping support one of the best RPG games of all time while receiving a toolkit for creating new heart-pounding stories of ultimate ass-kickery.
DO IT and tell ‘em I sent ya.
Announced over the weekend, I’m part of the creative team launching a tie-in comic for the Ultimate Spider-Man animated series featured on the Disney Channel.
You can read all about it in our new Comic Book Resources interview.
Amazing Spider-Man was the first super hero comic I ever collected, so getting the chance to write stories for everyone’s favorite web-slinger is a pure delight.
Comic Book Resources has just posted up a new interview with me along with a new preview of Dungeons & Dragons: Legends of Baldur’s Gate. Click on through to read about how the series came about and my plans for the new series that launches next week!
Over on Sequential Tart, Suzette Chan interviews Steve and I all about Wayward, including our influences, research, Japanese culture, and the trials our characters are going through. Give it a read!
Another incredible convention season wraps up with the annual New York Comic Con. I’ll be there from Thursday through Saturday (I’m heading home Sunday before the show opens to spend Canadian Thanksgiving with my family) and, if you’re there, I hope you get a chance to come by and visit!
ARTIST ALLEY TABLE W-16
Wayward, Skullkickers, Samurai Jack, Pathfinder, Figment… lots of different books you can bring by to get signed.
In addition, IDW will have special advance copies of Dungeons & Dragons: Legends of Baldur’s Gate, with a space hamster-tastic convention-only cover, there for Max Dunbar and I to sign.
Beyond the table set up, here’s where you’ll be able to find me for signings/panels:
06:15-07:00pm Hasbro/IDW Panel – Room 1A14
11:00-12:00pm IDW Signing – Booth 1844
01:00-01:50pm Dark Horse Signing – Booth 1636
04:15-05:00pm IDW Panel – Room 1A14
02:00-03:00pm Image Comics Signing – Booth 1544
Today sees the release of FIGMENT #5, the final issue of our mini-series. From last December when Bill Rosemann first approached me about writing the story through to now, it’s hard to believe how quickly it all went.
I’m really proud of the work our team put together and I’m so happy that fans of Journey Into Imagination have enjoyed it so much.
Here’s the little note I wrote in the back of the issue for our readers:
I know it’s a groan-worthy cliché, but I can’t help it – Working on Figment has been a dream come true!
Right from the start – from concept, through development, and then into art production and lettering – everyone on the team clicked. All of us gathered momentum and enthusiasm as the project built up steam. I think that creative ‘spark’ really shows on the final printed page, each one lovingly rendered by Filipe and Jean-Francois.
Expanding the legacy of Dreamfinder and Figment has been a magical experience all around. I know how much these characters mean to fans of Disneyworld and I’m delighted that you’ve welcomed this new story into your hearts.
To the creative team, the Marvel crew, the Disney Imagineers, and our loyal readers – Thank you for letting me add a bit of steam-powered joy to the Magic Kingdom.
I was a guest on this week’s War Rocket Ajax podcast with Matt Wilson and Chris Sims. We talk extensively about Wayward, juggling multiple projects, the awesomeness of Charles Soule, Waffle House, and more. Give it a listen. My interview starts at the 36 minute mark of the podcast.
Wayward #2 arrived in stores last week and, once again, all of us on the creative team are blown away by the response from retailers and readers alike. Thank you so much for the praise and support. Keep telling others about the series as we continue to crank away making it the best we can.
• Bleeding Cool: “The new high school experience, the language differences, and exploring of a stranger world within a strange world, yeah, definitely the comic of the week.”
• 13th Dimension: “There is no question that the slowly unfolding series is brimming with promise and, in the meantime, if Zub can continue to regale us with Rori’s adventures in Tokyo, the series should continue to be an essential read.”
• All-Comic: 5/5 “Wayward is only on its second issue, but has instantly become one of most vibrant and fascinating titles in Image’s stable.”
• Big Glasgow Comic Page: 4/5 “Wayward is still a very, very open book: anything could happen.”
• Black Ship Books: “Rori continues to be a fascinating character and Cummings’ art alone is well worth the cover price. Don’t miss it.”
• Comic Book Bin: 10/10 “Wayward does indeed look to be one of the year’s best new comic book series and one of the best fantasy comic books period.”
• Comics: The Gathering: 9/10 “Wayward continues with an incredibly strong second outing that is vivid and eye-catching. Don’t miss this one.”
• Comix I Read: “Supernatural beings, a deep and confused main character and fantastic art make Wayward issue #2 a must read for this week.”
• Con Freaks & Geeks: 9/10 “As Rori’s story continues on, her powers manifest even more. Wayward’s story is progressing very strongly and is leading to something very big.”
• Emertainment Monthly: “Wayward has an incredibly unique take on both monsters and Japanese culture and Zub does an excellent job of establishing—and quickly fleshing out—his characters.”
• Fangirl Nation: “Anyone who is a fan of the fantasy/supernatural element would be interested in this comic. It is compelling, beautiful, and full of creatures that most people outside of Japan never heard of.”
• Four Color Bullet: “This is fast becoming one of my favorite books, both for content, and a nice price tag.”
• Geeked Out Nation: 8/10 “When everything is said and done you do have to take notice of the attention put into Rori’s relationship with her mom and how there are things about both of their lives that they don’t discuss for the sake of not burdening the other.”
• Iron Violet: 5/5 “I cannot express how much I love the artwork for this series! Its that rare enigma of being the perfect blend of comic book art with manga influences that doesn’t have too much or too little of either.”
• Major Spoilers: 9.5/10 “Wayward #2 is a visually stunning as the narrative is engaging. Cummings, Ruach and Zub are all on their A-game and work together effortlessly.”
• Mind Capsules: 4.5/5 “After two issues, this book has become a keeper and one to definitely pick up if you are not doing so already.”
• OmniJerBear: 10/10 “I really think it’s going to do great.”
• Pop Culture Company: “Image has another huge winner on their hands here”
• Pop Culture Maven: “Zub is not rushing things along. Cummings artwork is one of the key things that is really driving the book.”
• Reading Pictures: “Thus far, Wayward has shown it’s in a real class of its own with its hybrid version of a Japanese coming-of-age tale. Zub, Cummings and the rest of the team have something going strong and this book is just plain fun to read.”
• Reading With A Flight Ring: “I can’t believe I’m such a big fan of this book already it’s that much fun to read.”
• Rhymes With Geek: 9/10 “How nice to be able to say that Wayward is a series that only gets better in the second issue.”
• Shadowhawk’s Shade: 9.5/10 “What can I say, another mindblowing issue from a great team.”
• Talking Comics: “This art is absolutely stunning. It is beautiful, and grounds the story in the real world.”
• Unleash The Fanboy: 9/10 “Two issues in and I can say that this is something that deserves a spot on your pull-list. Highly recommended.”
• We The Nerdy: 87% “Issue 2 is continuing the trend of building and following a character worth reading about. As a reader, I can’t ask for much more than that.”
• What’cha Reading: 4.5/5 “I love Wayward more and more each issue. Rori is identifiable and the right combination of fragile and strong.”
• Word of the Nerd: 8/10 “The art is marvelous and so are the colors.”