Apr 6, 2012

Friday Funnies - Dexverse Issue #1

Hey there, faithful blog reader! I'm starting a new...uh, segment? Do you only call it a segment on a show? Column? Section? Feature? Whatever the heck it is, I'm starting a new one for a couple weeks!

Unlike some of my fellow geeks, I have zero aptitude when it comes to drawing. I dabble in photography and Photoshop so I do consider myself to be somewhat artistically inclined with a decent eye stylistically. I'm also not very good at writing stories but think I'm okay at coming up with ideas for things. What this new series is going to cover are various characters I've created for MMORPGs. If you don't know what that stands for, you probably missed your exit on the information super-highway. There will be some info and images showing the evolution and/or costume variations of the characters over time.

When I started playing City of Heroes way back in 2004 I struggled for an idea for my first hero. Sure you can just pick a couple of power sets and create your costume, but if you know me when I get into "create mode" you know I am crazy about detail! I didn't just want to make any Superhero #1138, he needed to BE a character. The brain started firing and I remembered one of the comic characters I created in middle school when I was 13. His name is Captain Blaze.

Check out that school-issue math paper!
Real name Douglas Shaw? How lame is that for a hero?
I went on a kick around this time designing a few comic characters of my own and taking inspiration from the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe, committed them to paper as best I could complete with back stories and other vital info. This original version of Blaze was similar to an intergalactic super spy.

At the time of the game's release there were no "gun powers" or jetpacks, otherwise he would have ended up more Rocketeer-like. Since Blaze was from outside our galaxy, I gave him a space suit outfitted with blaster gauntlets and jet boots. I didn't intend him to be an Iron Man knockoff but he sure seems like it! His "first appearance" suit is a little clunky because I figured after traveling to Earth, he would have built a new suit from whatever he could scrounge up.

Another fun fact about me: I totally dig retro/pulp style, as you'll see!

First appearance
I developed a new history to fit him into the game world. He was now a member of an elite intergalactic force called the Nova Rangers. The Rangers were nearly wiped out by a previously unknown alien race and he followed them to Earth to get justice! At one time, I toyed with the idea of creating other members of the Nova Rangers in game but never got around to it. The high ranking members have code names just like Double-0 agents, so there will always be a Captain Blaze but it may not be the same person.

There was an online app that let you make your own City of Heroes trading card images.

Nova Ranger suit
Although reinventing him for a new time, I tried to keep him as close in spirit to the original design as possible given the game's limits. His power sets were Energy Blast (instead of a laser pistol),  Gadgets like trip mines and a cloaking field (in keeping with the spy theme) and Flying (jet boots).

Retro SciFi suit
I really like the way this retro scifi costume looks. He does have a cape here and there is a little Saturn-like planet broach clasping it on his right shoulder. Since he's an alien I decided to give his skin a yellow hue instead of any Earthly flesh color. You'll notice I tend to keep the red/orange/blue scheme the same, except for the specialty suits.

Blackstar Suit
Despite the different costumes you'll see, that's all they are is costumes. It's just the look of the character and doesn't change what he can do. I don't remember the inspiration for the Blackstar suit other than I really liked the Saturday morning cartoon by the same name. One of the costume perks you can get at higher level is a glowy effect, which I used in his visor.

Retro Spaceman
Another retro-scifi inspired costume.

Kinda looks like the cover to a sci-fi novel
The Alien Stealth suit is one of my favorite designs. The armor looks a little more organic and bug-like thanks to having segmented plates.

I did this one on a whim just to see how close to the original I could get it. A few people in game did recognize it from the original source.

DC Universe Online
The cool thing about developing the characters of the Dexverse is that I have a ready made stable of characters to draw from when I need to make characters in other games. Not that there's a lot of other comic book super hero games out there. In the DC Universe Online game, Blaze was reinvented a tiny bit more as an intergalactic, dual pistol wielding gunslinger.

I hope you enjoyed the first "issue" of the Dexverse. Tune in next week when we dip into the darker corner of the Dexverse and meet the supernatural heroine Halloween Eve!

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