Wednesday, July 30, 2008


Back in 1984, I was introduced to what would become one of my favorite hobbies, role-playing. At the time I was a tried and true comic book nerd. This was about 7 years before "fanboy" became the word to describe the nerd nirvana of waiting in the First Edition, crushing on Holly, the girl working behind the counter, and deciding if your budget (re: allowance) can afford both X-Men and Batman this week.

I used to sit and draw pictures (okay trace was more accurate) that I thought were amazing and redesign my own superheroes. Like everyone my age, I wanted nothing more than create my own comic book, become famous, and have people drooling slavishly over my work. Hey what's the use of fame if it doesn't get you drool?

So imagine my joy when I heard that someone was offering a free "How to Create a Comic Book" class at the local library. I signed up as soon as I could. An event that had a profound experience on the rest of my life. I met others just like me, crazed and fanatic. I discovered I was never going to be an artist. See tracing and doing line copies of other peoples artwork is not a talent (DO YOU HEAR THAT MR. LEIFIELD. YOU HACK.) Gone was the dream of creating comic books. Granted I still hoped to be a comic book writer, but all the fame and fortune went to the artists.

It was at one of these "classes" that I met Paul. He was everthing you imagine a gamer should be. He also had a copy of Champions, the Superhero Roleplaying Game. My prayers were answered. I could create an unlimited number of costume clad, do-gooders. I could delve into the angst and grist of being a night stalking vigilante, determined to strike fear into the hearts of criminals. I could be the last cousin of a dying planet, teleported to Earth and imbued with powers to protect the mortal man. The possibilities were endless.

My forst character was a teen-age girl, cheerleader with the ability to shot energy from her hands. Top that Tim Kring.

Years followed, every weekend gathering at John's house, gathered around a small table, a pile of 6-siders before me, stopping villain after villain from robbing the bank. It was amazing. I also learned something about myself. I had a talent for telling a story. I've recieved complements on how well I draw a person in, on how fun I make the story, all the things a person likes to hear. It just took me until recently to be proud of that fact. For too long I was sef-depricating, resisting any complements and ignoring any critques. I became defensive.

It's time to stop being defensive and start being offensive. Or whatever.

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