Sunday, June 23, 2024

Hellion Cross

I have spoken many times about ZSF, a space game I was/am working on. I did a metric ton of character sheets for it, just for funsies. And I have several drafts of the game written. But I needed something to get me over the edge, to help me commit to the bit.

Simultaneously I started thinking about comics again. Like, a LOT. Finally these things are aligning. I'm working on a new comic, Hellion Cross, which is set in the world of ZSF. At this moment, I have 11 pages inked. I haven't decided yet if this issue will be 24, 28, or 32 pages long. Still on the fence about that.

It has been a long time, it seems, since I dived this far into making comics. This is all I used to do. TTRPGs were a distant second in the back of my mind, though I never stopped fiddling with them. All through the 90s, 2000s, and of course beyond... always, always noodling and doodling about the elfgames.

But comics were always primary for me. I started seriously working on them in 1987 and didn't stop focusing on them until around 2012 when I suddenly shifted gears into an obsession with roleplaying games, particularly the OSR-type. Even then, the result was Black Pudding... a zine that looks a lot like a comic book.

So, what's up with the new comic? I started with a short script wherein a salvage ship finds a frozen woman who bursts out of her ice cage and sort of barges onto the ship, taking over. Much to my surprise, the character morphed before my eyes into Fawn Rainchild, the primary character of my Pan-Gea comics. I didn't expect to see her again, especially in space. But there she was, demanding to be in the book.

Who was I to say no?

So the small crew of the SS (space ship) Motorbreath comes up on a frozen Fawn, naked on a small planetoid. She comes out of her frozen spell and boards the ship, using up the hot water for a shower.

Now... you lascivious types might be going "naked", "hot shower" and thinking this is a prurient comic book. Tut-tut as they say. This is a serious comic about space adventure. The naked woman bit is just because the god damned wizard who gave Fawn the freeze spell was a pervert, most likely.

Where does the book go from here? Well, there's a secondary storyline about a robot vs. human war. At some point these two storylines will merge and we'll see a bigger picture, I'm sure. But right now I'm doing this comic the way I like to do everything: page by page, idea by idea. Hey... Mat Wagner, creator of Mage and Grendel, did it this way. So can I.

You'll know when I know.


Oh yeah. So the comic title is Hellion Cross (unless I change my mind). But it is set in the Zoa Space Frontier, or ZSF. This is the wild west of the galaxy, outside the Galactic Main where everything is safe and sanitized. It's a dangerous place. Apparently, according to what I've written so far, there's a fuckin' war going on. But I feel like this is a relatively trivial matter. The robots of the RIO (Robot Imperial Order) have been warring with the UHF (United Human Federation) for countless years. This current war is just one of many, with the robots and humans fighting over resources. Perhaps they fight so much because the humans created the robots and the robots have a lot of mommy/daddy issues as a result. The humans... they just like to fight over resources. Always have.

So anyway, the game. It is going to be called ZSF, unless I change my mind. It's a space romp RPG. The setting, the ZSF, is magical space, mind you. This is not "hard sci-fi". This is pure space opera and sci-fantasy. There are wizards and shit. You will see barbarians with swords and blasters. This is my shit.

The RPG is an original system. A big part of me wanted to use GOZR as the system, so I could just wrap that setting into ZSF more easily. But I foolishly created an entirely different one. Mostly because I wanted to get away from the d20 as the core die, even though I love it and I think GOZR's system is great. I wanted to peel away from that a little bit. Right now ZSF uses a d6 pool with exploding dice and stuff. But more on that later.

First step is to get the comic done. A setting, in action, with characters and visuals... this will help establish the tone and "what you do" in the game.

But I've rambled on long enough. Back to inking.

Here's page one of Hellion Cross, y'all. Colors later.


  1. This is one of the things I am most excited for. Whatever shape or form it finishes as will be awesome. I can't wait - but I will!

    1. 14 pages inked... The first 20 pages are coming along very easily, which is what I love. It feels like a good moment for me, creatively. Like a log jam has cleared.