I have been following Shawn’s comic and wiki since about August, and rabidly check every Tuesday and Thursday for the update on the comic!
I love the “fresh” feeling of his comic and steampunk setting. I think that his art style really enhances the steampunk atmosphere and really sets a wonderful mood!
So I’ll end the gushing on all of this and turn it over to Shawn, to who, again, I give a hearty thanks for this awesome opportunity!
Mike asked me if I’d take the time to ramble about Clockworks a bit and I said I’d love to.
For the uninitiated, Clockworks is a steampunk/fantasy webcomic, that updates every Tuesday and Thursday. It’s also a roleplaying game setting, created by yours truly. Eventually there will be a fancy Savage Worlds sourcebook you can buy detailing the world and setting the stage for your adventures there, but for now it’s just my home game every other Sunday and a wiki.
Clockworks grew fairly naturally in to the all encompassing beast it’s become. Late last year I was kicking around ideas for my next campaign, and one of the suggestions I offered up was a sequel of sorts to New Dawn. New Dawn was a Savage worlds campaign set in a steampunk world full of strange monsters, ancient legends, reawakening old gods, emerging magic, and all kinds of high adventure. My players went for it, and the game ended up being set 50 years after our old campaign. At this point, I really had no plans of making a webcomic or published setting or doing anything beyond drawing cool maps and coming up with a great villain. During character creation, I was so entertained by the PCs my players had made that I wrote the following post:
“He’s an inexperienced immigrant monster hunter, she’s a detective searching for her missing parents! They’re friends with a troll with a heart of gold and a thief with a mysterious past! They fight crime!”
Someone commented that they’d watch that TV show, and one of my players half jokingly replied “Or maybe a webcomic? ;)” This stuck in my head and would not let go.
Clockworks: the Game began in March, and Clockworks: the Comic premiered in June. At this point, the pace of the comic is so much slower than the pace of the game that I suspect I’ll be doing Clockworks for another 5 years or so, at least. It’s a good thing I love this setting and these characters.
As for the comic, I’d like it to be the greatest anything ever, eventually. I probably won’t get there, but it’s good to have a goal. In terms of complexity of character, action, humor, and drama, my benchmarks are Buffy: the Vampire Slayer and Avatar: the Last Airbender. I’m not there now, but again, it’s good to have a goal.
Some of the influences on the comic are obvious, some are less so. I grew up on Marvel comics in the 80’s, and then Vertigo comics in the 90’s. But honestly the main influence on my drawing style is Calvin & Hobbes. Bill Watterson is a genius, and although Clockworks is miles apart from Calvin & Hobbes in look and tone, to me the influence is obvious. Other influences include turn of the century propaganda art, German silent films, Yoshitaka Amano, and more.
The setting of Clockworks is a bit more modern than most steampunk stories, a bit more 1920s and a bit less Victorian. (I suppose you could label it Dieselpunk, but the technology is still very much ether, steam, and clockwork even if the society has advanced some.) There’s a bit of a generation gap going on in the setting: where the older characters have more of the classic steampunk feel, and the younger characters (like our heroes) have more of a “punk” feel. This is partly because New Dawn was a bit more of a traditional steampunk setting, and I wanted to show how the world had changed. It’s also partly because I wanted the fun of propaganda posters and heroes in trenchcoats.
So, where’s all this going? Clockworks: the Game will wrap up early next year, but Clockworks: the Comic will continue for a long time after. Clockworks: the Savage Setting should be out in two years. I’m shooting for GenCon 2011. The basic idea is that the comic fans will enjoy the game and gamers will enjoy the comic. (Really, this entire thing is just an elaborate trick to make other people care about my homebrew setting. So far: victory!)
One important part about the comic and game is that the world of Clockworks is a big place, and while our heroes may be the most important people in their adventure, there are thousands of other dangers and plots out there for your group to deal with. I absolutely want to make a setting that’s big enough that the characters from the comic don’t overshadow your own adventures. I think that will become clear as the comic unfolds, and we see places like Irone and the Vori Islands and Upper Clorencia.
I think that’s enough rambling for now. See you every Tuesday and Thursday!