Superheroics for Starters

So, my most recent time-waster has been the Marvel Avengers Alliance Facebook app; it’s probably the best Facebook game out there—if you have a friend or two playing with you, or at least spamming gifts—but that doesn’t make it anything more than a Facebook game. It’s something of an action-JRPG meets standard Facebook grindquest/social-media-spam, but enough about that.

It’s yet another stop on Marvel/Disney’s road to the Avengers film, building hype and all that; between it and the Avengers cartoon on Netflix—which wasn’t bad for a cartoon, at least a lot better than the old ’90s X-Men cartoon—I’ve been getting into Marvel superheroes lately. Enough that I dug out my old single issues and riffled through them.

So, I’m really tempted to try and run ICONS, or dig out my old Aberrant/Scion mashup, because I have supers on the brain.

That’s kind of a changeup for me; I dig pulp and SF, and well-done, non-traditional-D&D fantasy, like Exalted or The One Ring. And while I’ve always wanted to run—well, play, rather, which has lead to a never-ending train of disappointment as people talk about but never run—a supers game, I never felt I had enough book-learnin’ to pull one off, like I didn’t know enough about comics to run a superheroes RPG. That’s starting to change.

To be honest, I didn’t really get supers as a kid—my mom, bless her heart, once picked up a box of old Marvel comics from the ’80s at a garage sale, and hid it away for a rainy day as moms are want to do. But while I ground through those back issues of Secret Wars and Spider-Man and The Hulk rainy day after rainy day, it just never clicked into something I wanted to get into. I always had the idea that they were too kiddie for me, for some reason. I say that as someone who came of age during the great comics explosion of the early-mid-’90s, where kids with quarters were replaced with growly old men clutching mylar polybags and backing boards, that horrible era of hype and variant covers and collecting, never reading, the damn things.

While I bought up a lot of new comics, but mostly Dark Horse or Image ones: they were hip, new, indie, tied to various motion picture properties, and best of all, these were the indie imprints that showed the most gore and skin, and as a prepubescent boy, watching Indiana Jones bayonet some German, or Lara Croft in a wet T-shirt… that was incentive enough, just knowing you’re reading something you probably shouldn’t. (Yeah, some stellar motivation right there.) And when you’re ten, things you shouldn’t see are cool. Probably cooler than they really are.

Hell, even today I buy trade paperbacks of weird, niche stuff over the tentpole, big-ticket heroes. And my unshaking devotion to Marvel over DC has began to erode; I love Marvel, its universe, its heroes, and its films, but I’m beginning to see what DC was onto with its universe. Before I picked up the four-volume 52 at a Bargain Books, I didn’t really give DC the time of day, with the exception of their most non-mainline stuff: I loved Gotham Central, and am hoping to see more Suicide Squad trades even though DC canned them. As a history buff, I sought out G.I. Combat and Weird War Tales as a kid, along with a few Weird Western Tales, and various horror/ghost story comics.

So where am I going with all this? Haven’t a flippin’ clue.

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