One of the things we did with our Mongoose and Meerkat project with Jim Breyfogle was create D&D stats for a few of the stories so they could be run for B/X.
Something I’d love to do for a future Kickstarter would be include some minis for Mangos and Kat. The idea had me playing around with HeroForge, which is a site that allows you to create custom one-off minis for tabletop.
The only problem is that HeroForge DOES NOT allow commercial licensing, so even if I made some awesome minis using their tools, we wouldn’t be able to offer them as part of a Kickstarter or anything else.
That didn’t stop me from coming up with these as sort of a ‘proof of concept’ based on Dark Filly’s designs. If we’re able to, in the future, we’ll have Filly do some model art and get a 3D modeler to make us some 3D models for real minis. In the meantime, I thought these were kinda cool.
While we’ve hit our $1k goal, we’d still love to see this go much much further for Misha!
This is a fantastic collection that has received a lot of praise from everyone who’s had a peek at it. Cirsova and StoryHack readers will recognize a few of the stories in this collection, but there’s much much more!
We put in the order for proofs earlier this week, so we’re crossing our fingers we will get them in time. But this collection is just about ready to go! All we need is your pledge!
Don’t forget that you can also pledge for a copy of Misha Burnett and Louise Sorensen’s joint anthology, Duel Visions!
We’ve just received Schuyler Hernstrom’s foreword for Endless Summer, and we thought it was too good not to share.
Discussing stories is a complicated business. Buried somewhere underneath layers of criticism, commerce, and identity you might find some deep understanding of Misha’s work. But I worry that careless digging will disturb the landscape. I challenge myself to think about his work with the care and sensitivity that he puts into it.
For me, Misha is the consummate craftsman. He carefully constructs vessels designed to take you to other places. Each one is different yet bears certain hallmarks that identify its maker. The people populating Misha’s stories are understandable and relatable. Misha understands what people want and what they need. A rhythm beats behind the prose. It is plain when you want it to be plain and colorful when you want it to be colorful. You see and experience things that are at times bizarre, outlandish or horrifying, and yet it seems plausible and real.
How does he pull all this off? It is his craft, a thing he has studied and worked at a long time.
It’s an interesting paradox. Misha is a deeply sensitive and intelligent man interested in the fantastic. But this is wedded with another side to his personality, the engineer and the tinkerer. The two sides come together and create art and you have a watertight vessel for exploring all the dark and strange corners of the universe. Ultimately, it reminds me of Japanese joinery. Timbers are locked together without nails or plates. If you squint and stare long enough up at the rafters, you may perceive the lines hinting at interlocking tenons. It’s a kind of sorcery gained from hard work and a special something that the artists possesses.
Misha is a treat for me. As a writer, it is difficult to read something for enjoyment without trying to pull it apart. But reading an author with such command, such careful control, I can relax and enjoy the magic. After all, I’m the sort of person that doesn’t want to know the magician’s secrets. I want to enjoy the show. This collection is a front row seat.
Misha Burnett’s Endless Summer has 17 days to go! In the meantime, enjoy this piece that is probably the longest anyone has written on Reggie Byers’s Shuriken in years…
One of the weird indie comic title I’ve gotten into fairly recently has been Reggie Byer’s Shuriken.
The basic concept is that a young Japanese woman is a professional bodyguard for a firm that offers special protection and assassination services–she has moral qualms about killing, only opting for protection gigs, and this ultimately puts her at odds with her organization.
From what I’ve gathered, Shuriken was a pretty successful and well-loved property as far as indies go. The main thing it had going for it was that it was one of the first Amerimanga [it was written and drawn by a weeb who was also working on a licensed Robotech title]–when more Japanese manga and better Amerimanga became more readily available in the late 80s and early 90s, Shuriken was probably easily overshadowed.
It’s hard to say “Shuriken is good” today and really mean it, even though I really enjoy it. Byer’s art is not great [though it’s certainly middle-of-the-pack to above average when it comes to B&W indies if you look at them as a whole], and his writing serviceable at best [though miles above some of today’s superstars… looking at you, Bendis!]
The first two Shuriken series by Byers have a certain charm, though. It may be the sort of cringy charm that comes from it literally just being an OC of an 80s weeb with just enough talent to pull it off, but it has a charm nonetheless.
Really, I think the main appeal of Byers’s Shuriken is that, setting everything else aside, Kyoko is someone that you would like to know and enjoy spending time with: she’s cute, fun, and a good, caring friend–SHE is charming, and that’s kind of enough to carry it.
Shuriken relaunches with the Shuriken: Cold Steel series. While the art is better in most objective senses, it abandons the Amerimanga style and loses much of the charm and emotion that Byers’s rough designs conveyed. The writing [S.A. Bennett], while marginally better, feels like a more generic 80s action comic–it loses its weebness, and at the same time, Shuriken loses her warmth. After the events of Blade of Shuriken, she’s turned into a surly layabout who’s managed to alienate her friends and blow through her wealth. She’s a very different Kyoko from the loving, caring woman who is there for her friends and family to laugh and cry with. Frankly, she’s kind of a bitch.
The third issue has a guest writer, and Shuriken plays a small role in a team story [feels like a backdoor pilot?], and I haven’t read the second half of the series yet, so maybe it gets better?
Ironically, one of the first letters in the letters column of Cold Steel complains to Eternity about starting a new Shuriken series with so many of of their other series [including two of their Shuriken series] left unfinished.
Cold Steel cites the last arc of Blade of Shuriken in its continuity, obviously throwing out the never-to-be-finished Shuriken Team-Up series whose first issue ends with Shuriken being thrown out a window by a demon after some other guy staked two succubi with the wooden legs of a chair he’d smashed. [The Team-Up book was actually not bad, and I can see why people were miffed it was canned].
After Cold Steel, Eternity offers Shuriken Vol 2, the 4th or 5th series, depending on how you count them.
Honestly, this is the first Shuriken book I would call legitimately good. This title goes back to a manga style [Eternity’s internal solicit brags “It’s manga!”], though not Byers’s Amerimanga style. Both the art [Wes Abbott] and the story [S.A. Bennett] are reminiscent of the pre-GitS Masamune Shirow whose work was gaining traction in the west through publication of books like Dominion and Black Magic via Eclipse just a year or two before.
Bennett seems to have a bit better grasp on the character [at least in the first issue] than he did at the start of Cold Steel, but she still doesn’t feel like the same “go to the carnival and win a Cerebus the Ardvark doll” Kyoko. Still, I’m curious to see where he goes with her in the remaining issues of the last Eternity run.
Despite her appeal, both Shuriken and Byers’s stars rose but briefly–in his hands, Shuriken was a charming, if mediocre, IP; out of his hands, she was just another martial arts character in a sea of martial arts characters at a time when the trope was falling out of vogue and better “authentic” manga titles were becoming available to comic readers. The sad saga of Shuriken ultimately ends with Marvel buying Malibu and killing the IP in favor of introducing their own character Shuriken in their Malibu UltraForce series.
Anyway, if this post made you curious to check Shuriken out at any point, you can find most of it available at MyComicShop.com.