Okay, week one of our behind-the-scenes/hiatus extravaganza!
This week will mostly be the process and ideation that eventually lead to what we now call Roeke. Fun trivia stuff like, the comic was originally going to be titled "Mother Bear," but my girlfriend (and others) said that that title was "Stupid" and "didn't make sense." Haha. My reason behind it was that a mother bear is downright fierce when protecting her cubs, made perfect sense to me. I don't remember my reasoning why, but at the time my heart was set on not using the main character's name as the title, and that clearly worked out for me.
When college was starting to wind down and I was getting ready to commit a good chunk of my spare time to making some comics I was trying to think of what comic I'd like to produce first. I wanted to do something short and sweet so I could just start putting stuff out there (most my ideas to that point were for long-running or ongoing endeavors... so the fact that I got myself down to a 5 issue mini is progress!). Amidst a blast of artificial Megaman and Metroid nostalgia (I didn't play those games as a kid, but rather discovered them as an adult) I'd begin to fuel a desire to do something with that kind of video-game progression; where the protag would get consecutively cooler upgrades in order to defeat their foes.
So, with that percolating in the back of my mind, I eventually came to the conclusion that the main bad-guy force would have to be robots, because duh. So, what were these robots after? What motivated my as-yet-nonexistent protagonist?
Well, the robot's mission came to me pretty quickly, and will be better revealed next issue (sorry, no spoilers!), but their target wasn't originally our hero's daughter- or child, even.
I consider myself something of a feminist, so I think - even before I'd made the actual plan- I knew my main character would be a woman. Especially since my favorite game in my "newstalgia" binge was Super Metroid. From there, and this might be problematic, but I ultimately decided to make the baby her child because I didn't want it to be read as "ONE WOMAN'S QUEST FOR A MAN." So, making it her child, though some people might scoff "OH, so the only thing you think could motivate a woman other than a man is her own child?" to me, inspired the kind of motivation I needed for her perilous journey. So, if you're skeptical, stick with me, because I think I earned the child as motivator. Anything else I came up with beforehand just wasn't strong enough, and 90's games had no subtlety, so this felt more authentic. If you're gonna traverse a strange land and fight deadly robots, it's gotta be for something REALLY IMPORTANT.
So, Roeke must save her child from Robots, cool. I can make a fun comic with that! At first, the kid was going to be her son, but, following the same logic as above, I didn't want this to be the "my life is worthless without boys" book, though I think it wouldn't have been so bad as it's her child , but we've got Miri now, anyway.
After that, I sketched and brainstormed what kind of sweet upgrades she should get, decided what order to get them in (gotta escalate!) and worked out what/who my villains were gonna be. Upon reflection, I think that's where the robots idea really came from, they were cool things to fight AND a vehicle for Roeke's upgrades, it was a twofer! Thanks, Mega Man! And when it came time to plot, I figured the home invasion and 3 on 1 unfair fight would be a good way to set everything up: personal stakes for Roeke, establish the bad guys she can't hope to fight with just her fists- or all at once, for that matter, and show her doing better with an upgrade (Spider's arm) to establish my modular video-game hero. In a real video game, if it wasn't a cutscene, it'd have been a mandatory defeat first level (a la Mega Man X).
Well, as we wrap up this week's post, one more piece of trivia for ya: "Megamom" was a term coined by my then-roommate, Sifa, who used that as shorthand to remember what project I was talking about when I mentioned Roeke (as I have other things cooking and we'd discuss all of them, it helped him keep it straight). If I took myself just a little less seriously, and could get over having a title too close to Mega Man, you may have been reading MEGA MOM instead of ROEKE, heh.
Next week, I'll get concept art and page layouts up for y'all, then hopefully an interview with James or Amanda the week after that.
I made a comic once, it ended up being called "Roeke."
Born in California, Justin now resides in Portland, OR. He's had a passion for comics from a very young age