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Yars' Revenge The Comic Book Continued, Part 3

Posted by StanJr, 21 April 2014 · 657 views

Now that I have established that there is fertile soil for planting in the Yars' Revenge universe, I'm going to take a minute to give you an overview of my vision for that universe and write a bit about the backdrop against which my (first) story is set.
 
Being such a fan of the original material, my first goal and my "Prime Directive" if you will, is to stay as faithful to the original 9 page story, written by Hope Shafer, as possible.  Likewise, I plan on taking advantage of the visuals provided in that comic by Cirocco, Garst and Kimura.  Those three created an impressive amount of depth in what could have been completely throw away panels.  More on that in a minute.
 
Since the original comic is all expository and the real action of the story is meant to take place in the game play, that leaves a lot of room for creativity.  It also provides lots of seed material to grow the story beyond what is explicitly stated.  You can rest assured I have no interest in turning the Yars' Revenge world on its ear.  The Yar aren't going to be people in Yar consumes or the whole thing isn't going to be set in someone's backyard with the Yar being actual flies that think they are people, or any other insanity.  I am going to take the source material straight.  Humans develop faster than light travel, they crash in the Razak Solar System and the Yar evolve from the wreckage of that crash.  That's the story and that's what I am going to work with.
 
The big blanks in that story are what I look to fill in.  What exactly did they evolve from?  Just the flies?  What triggered the mutation?  How long did it take to evolve?  Why do they have human torsos and human-like minds?  And maybe the most important question: How do they know all of this happened?  How are you aware of the birth of your species?  I won't have time to answer all of these questions, but they certainly inform the direction of the story and my vision of the Yars' culture.
Speaking of that, Shafer provides very little outside what is necessary for her story in terms of the Yars' society.  I hope to broaden that a bit.  I want to explore this interesting Utopia, open it up and find out what makes it tick.  The introduction of the Qotile gives a perfect opportunity to do just that.  One of the dominant themes in my first story arc explores the effect of something like outside aggression on a society that otherwise knows only peace.  This gives me a chance to explore the idea on a grand, cultural scale, and it also allows me to manifest those concepts concretely through characters.
 
On the subject of characters, I am striving for consistency there as well.  The principle characters in Shafer's story will continue their story arcs in my tale as well.  Not all of them are going to be marquee personalities, and some may not even get their own action figure (HA!), but they all factor into the first issue prominently at the very least.  I have no interest in discarding existing characters just so I can shove some character I created down your throat and pretend that it's much better than what came before.  I have plenty of new characters to introduce and play with, but they will come organically from the source material.  There is plenty to be done with the characters we have already been introduced to.  Now, having said that I will caution you that I am not averse to killing characters when it serves the story.  I also have a strict "dead is dead" rule.  If a character dies, that death has weight and meaning and will not be reversed.  I'm not against a "back from the dead" kind of story, but it will be a very significant story and will be an exception, no the rule.
 
One of the most important ways of developing these characters is to better understand how the Yars' civilization is organized.  Luckily, Cirocco, Kimura, and Garst snuck in plenty of material to work from.  If you look at page 5 of the original comic (here, go look), you see a large grouping of Yar.  All are dressed differently and their garments bear various insignia.  Shades of early Star Trek!  (Now imagine you have the chance to play with that and determine what those clothing styles mean and what those symbols stand for!)  Those three artists didn't have to include those kinds of details.  All of those Yars could be in generic garb like the recruit from the earlier pages, but instead these Yars are given distinct outfits.  I plan to take full advantage of that.  Each of those symbols will stand for different parts of the Yar culture.  Furthermore, the cut and style of the dress will indicate social rank or at least responsibility.  Note that the Yar who relates the secret history of the Yar to the recruit has a long stripe down the right side of its smock.  On page five another Yar has the same stripe, but the collar on his smock is different.  BAM!  You've got cultural organization!  There is a lot of fun to be had with that.
 
So that you don't think I will get bogged down in the details, however, I would like to make it clear that my main objective with this comic is to tell fun, science fiction stories.  A lot of what I have been talking about thus far is the backdrop that grounds those stories in a world that has substance.  That is very important to me.  But it is also important to tell action-packed space adventures.  With their fantastic abilities and unusual history, the Yar give me lots to work with in that capacity.  
 
The first story arc tells the tale of what happens between the Yar and the Qotile.  Can they overcome this devastating foe?  If they do, what happens to them afterwards?  Are there more Qotile out there waiting to pounce?  Or are the Yars defeated and forced to flee?  Where can they escape to?  I plan to answer all of those questions with this opening, three part story.  It is important to me that each issue be a full story, so I will tell three separate stories with the through-line addressing the bigger picture items above.  I prefer readers to walk away from each issue feeling like they saw something, not just that they were set up for the real story that comes next issue.  Modern comics are absolutely terrible in this way.  $3.99 for the rising action of a story?  No thanks.
 
That is the goal of the first story arc, to resolve the conflict between the Yar and the Qotile and explore the ramifications on the Yar culture.  It will be a complete tale and if no other stories are ever told, you could walk away from it feeling like you got the whole story.  However, I also plan to leave the adventure with enough loose ends that future stories could be told.  That's the "Boba Fett" effect.  You get Boba Fett's full story in Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, but there is enough mystery around him that you could tell more stories (and heaven knows that horse has been beaten to absolute death).  My goal is to tell a complete and satisfying story that leaves you wanting more.  It's a trick I picked up from Peter David's legendary run on the Incredible Hulk back in the 90's.
 
And there you have it.  My big picture and some of the details from my vision for the Yars' Revenge Comic Book!  I expect it to be a great deal of fun, and also be totally geeky for classic gamers!  Next time, I'll talk characters, share some (very) rough storyboards and the script for the first few pages of issue #1!!!




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