Friday, October 25, 2013

Fanterview: Arclight Comics (Part One)

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Arclight Comics is represented in this Fanterview by Edward Williams

Well, hello there! First off, I’d like to thank you for being a supporter of Missing Worlds Media (MWM) and our first project, City of Titans!

How did you first become interested in comics?

I’m an 80’s baby, so I grew up in the 90s (best time to grow up, hands down!). My first exposure to comics (or superheroes rather) were the slew of animated television series back then: X-men, Batman, Spider-Man and so on. It was the X-men that really resonated with me though. Here were these people with great powers, but were feared and hated because they were different. That spoke volumes to me because I could relate to that. Plus I’ve never seen anything like it before in my life. That’s what really propelled me into becoming an artist, too. I colored and drew on everything after the premiere. From there on out I was hooked.

Any favorite characters in particular?
My favorite characters happened to be blue: Beast, Archangel, and Nightcrawler. Where characters such as Jean Grey and Ororo could blend in with society they could not. As an African American that really hit home for me at that age (6). I knew I was different and I knew some people treated me as such. No matter what I did, no amount of “good” would cover that up for some people. Hank was brilliant, but all people saw was his mutation. Kurt was a great man of faith (I’m a preacher’s kid, so I took to that), but the church demonized him. It was so important to me as a young boy to see how they overcame those prejudices and struggles. Even though they looked like monsters, the inside was what mattered. Hearts of gold. Warren might be hit or miss there. ;-)

You were pretty excited for the X-Men movies, then! Any of those stand out as your favorite (or least favorite?)
This might come as a shock, but I am not that big a fan of the X-films. Were some of them good? Yes. But as an avid reader and fan I did not like their transition from the source material to the big screen. After Wolverine Origins I pretty much threw in the towel with the X-films and have been in that vocal minority screaming, Give the rights back to Marvel! With the exception of Iron Man 2, Marvel has outdone themselves in film. Excelsior, as Stan would say.

Have any of the recent comic to movie translations really stood out to you then?
The Avengers. That wasn’t a movie---that was an EVENT! That was a year’s worth of expectation that exploded that Friday opening night. That was the first time I cosplayed, too. I was Hawkeye and my best friend was Cap. We took pictures with kids and everything. That had to be the pinnacle of geekdom that year.

I’ve never done cosplay - is it intimidating the first time?
It is at first. People are looking at you like you’re on fire or something, but then you kind of forget about what people have to think and get to the fun part of it. After a while we received compliments from people in the crowd. We also came across a few others that night. It was pretty epic.

I drive a SMART car, so people already stare at me like I’m on fire. Is this a different level of fire? Like - oh, hey - ‘Your shirt’s on fire’ or ‘ERMAGHERD-Your-House-Is-Burning-Down’ level of fire?
LOL! It’s more of like a bonfire. It catches your eye and it draws attention, but nothing of that level. Does that make sense?!

It does, thank you for clarifying that.

What was the first MMO you played? Since then, any favorites or ones you keep finding yourself returning to?

City of Heroes. I’ll never forget it. I read about it in Wizard magazine and immediately joined the pre-Beta forums. The community is what really kept me there. I’ve never experienced something like it in my life. I’ve only been able to come back to it----well, until they sunsetted the thing. I’ve tried Champions Online, DC Universe Online, and Marvel Universe Online. They just don’t compare. Marvel U Online is just----ugh, good Lord. Next question. Lol.

How did the shutdown of CoH hit you when you first heard it?
I was shocked like most. It didn’t make sense to me. Here was a great game creating revenue for the company and all of a sudden the plug gets pulled. No explanation whatsoever. It felt like a scandal. We needed Olivia Pope on this one. LOL!

What was one of the things you found different in the CoH community than any other online MMO community?There was something truly remarkable and inspiring about it. Here was this nucleus of high-octane, creative energy that built a universe bigger than the game itself. Characters came to life. They weren’t avatars built for end-game raids. They took on personalities, emotions, and had stories. No other community has been able to replicate this. Champions might come as a close second, but City of Heroes had the best. Have you seen the Virtueverse? The amount of creativity there alone is a testament to the community, and that’s from a single server.

Do you think it’s something to do with the genre of MMO - superheroes - that lends itself to have such a robust and involved community?
Yes. Superheroes are just special. They’re American mythology. They are the things we as children dream of being---and nothing stops us from believing we can be these people because as a child the imagination is infinite. But something happens to us as adults. We stop believing, stop imagining, and shut down. City of Heroes did something to fix that. For a brief moment in time, the children we once were could come out to play. The superheroes we imagined ourselves being became reality (as much as a 3D world would allow us to get). There were no limits, no rules----we were finally able to take to the skies and be that ideal we strived for as children. It was us reconnecting with our imaginations and childhood, and with a game that good, it let us get wild.

Come back next Friday for Part Two of our Fanterview with Arclight Comics where we talk about the how company was formed, the challenges of a start up comic book company, and City of Titans!

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