Expanding the Universe

May 22, 2017

Like many fine people on this varied planet of ours, I love Star Wars. In fact, being born in 1980, I’ve been a fan for pretty much my entire life. I got a little burned out in the mid-late 90’s, but things have redeemed themselves, and I’m happy with what’s available.

There are many games available, including a collectible card game from FFG—Star Wars Destiny. A great game! I love it and am always coming up with new decks and itching to play.

Also available? Stories. Right now, comic books are hot, and it’s good to see that the hobby and art form are doing so well. Marvel has a great series going with the Star Wars comics, and they’re telling stories for some of the best characters—a Lando Calrissian series is set to debut later this year, and there will be a Captain Phasma limited series as well. Poe Dameron, my personal favorite, has his own ongoing series too.

But they aren’t doing fiction like they used to. There is of course Star Wars Insider, and sure, there are novels coming out, and thankfully they aren’t going into the ridiculous areas that the old Expanded Universe book did in the 90’s. (It’s funny because I used to love those trilogies, but looking back now I can’t understand why I was so into them—they’re terrible!) One thing they used to have was the Star Wars Adventure Journal, a great inclusion in the meta.

Geared more towards the role-playing game by West End Games, it contained new campaign ideas and characters for the table-top game, but also had short fiction. One of my first attempts at getting published was with this book, released every few months like a magazine (but man, that thing was thicker than most novels!).

Some of the fiction was great. Stories of random characters not in the movies, people that did dirty work or had crazy things happen to them, all within the realms of Star Wars. In fact, Rogue One seemed like a story that could have come from there, whether or not it was so closely attached to the first movie.

The stories behind the stories.

Why aren’t they doing anything like this anymore? Or am I just missing it?

Not just because I want to write Star Wars stories (well, I could, but I don’t do fan fiction, and I’d love to have these get out there somehow), but I’d love to read some as well. Narrative vignettes of random people, somehow doing something involved in what you see in the movies, or a far-off backwater world with smugglers getting in a shoot-out with Stormtroopers…tons of things that could happen.

What do you say? Would anyone else want to see something like this? Do you know of something like this right now?

At the very least, maybe I could contact Disney/Lucasfilm themselves and start begging. We could even do a petition for it. I hope you’d sign in.

I’m serious.

Kicking for a Start

October 2, 2016

Kickstarter has some awesome stuff going on. I hate how typically, I miss the boat with a lot of these campaigns, and don’t find out about them until shortly after they close. Fortunately, they mostly seem to make their main goal, oftentimes many times over. Still, it’s frustrating when I find out about something really kick-ass the day after funding stops.

The other day, I found out about Hath No Fury. You really should check out the page, it sounds awesome! Whether the pick my story or not, I’m excited for the anthology. I’m a man, yes, but I’ll gladly read anything that kicks ass, or characters that do so.

I think that’s the thing about this. It isn’t just about women protagonists (not unheard of, believe it or not), but women that kick ass and do cool things. I’ve long been a fan of Samus Aran, Ellen Ripley, and many of the Disney heroines (yeah, I like Disney movies. What of it?), plus many, many more. Hell, one of my favorite comic books ever was Gotham City Sirens (sigh…too short-lived. Where else could you get Catwoman, Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn, and my absolute favorite, The Riddler, all in one place?!).

I didn’t find out about Hath No Fury until after funding ended, but I’ll be sure to buy a copy, and you should too. Currently, I’m looking into other Kickstarter campaigns so I can support the hard-working people who make these things possible.

For me, it isn’t about bonuses and as much free shit as I can carry. It’s about supporting a dream. A vision. An idea that otherwise, probably wouldn’t get made. Seriously, a friend of mine told me that with books, movies, TV shows, etc., only about 1% of anything gets “professionally” made, produced, published, whatever. The other 99% either goes in the dustbin, or you make it yourself.

Getting into self-publishing, it’s easy to understand how some people just can’t let something die. While getting a paycheck is always nice, it isn’t just about the money. Well, some campaigns quite obviously are, but not usually. It’s about seeing your dream come true, your goals come into fruition. What’s so bad about that?

Unfortunately, a lot of these Kickstarters, Indiegogos, Gofundmes, etc. all have too many backer rewards. It’s like, Hey I won’t give you money unless you give  me stuff.

I have a confession. I donate to charities. Yep, I give money, anonymously, to organizations that use it to make a difference in this world. I expect nothing in return, except the satisfaction of knowing I’ve helped. Any time I see an awesome crowdfunding campaign, I wonder if my money would be better used with a charity that desperately needs it.

Sometimes I do it, other times I’ll do the crowdfunding. I understand the need for it, though, and might even do something myself some day. I hope you’ll all contribute, and support not just me, but all the other hardworking and deserving folks who will have contributed their stories (of course it’ll be an anthology! I’ve had an idea for quite some time).

In the meantime, go support the arts! Whether it’s through Kickstarter, or any of those others crowdfunding pages, or something else—a local art show, a used or independent bookstore, comic book stores, going to see a band play, donate a few bucks to a museum, or just spreading the word of fantastic artists of all sorts, we all thank you…and do the same for others, as well.