I have a confession to make.
I don’t ‘get’ Warhammer 40,000.
Don’t get me wrong. As a setting for battlegaming, it’s the shizz. Giant death-dealing spaceships, hulking space marines, extraterrestrial… things… born of chaos itself. There’s a lot of fun stuff going on.
But as a setting for good storytelling, I don’t get it. It seems it’s all about the endless conflict between the guys who are being hoodwinked by the fake god-emperor, and the guys are aren’t being hoodwinked. War stories can be fantastic; stories about fighting, and fighting, and more fighting, tend to be less so.
I’ve tried to engage with it. I really have. Maybe it’s me. Maybe I’m just missing some important detail, somewhere.
And here’s where I get conflicted. Aaron Dembski-Bowden is a writer I rate very highly – in all honesty, his blog is one of my favourite things on the whole internet. And these days, he’s mostly known for his Warhammer 40,000 tie-in novels. He’s a two-times New York Times Bestseller thanks to those. You can probably see where I’m going with this. I like the books – I love the guy* – but… y’know… it’s Warhammer 40,000. It’s hard for me to get on board, in a ‘crazed superfan’ kind of way.
The Road to Jove, a wholly original webcomic by Aaron Dembski-Bowden (writer) and David Sondered** (artist) has just launched. As I write this – at half past eight on the morning of February 7th – the first three pages of the comic are online, and they are achingly beautiful. A girl. A great big robot. And real tenderness, already, in just the comic’s cover and the first three pages. Oh, and some grisly horror too.
So, go read it. Bookmark it. Wait for more. Repeat.
Y’see, now I’m getting into the ‘crazed superfan’ zone…
(Oh, and I know this post is stepping a little way outside the Lloyd of Gamebooks remit of focusing on gamebooks, interactive fiction and maybe RPGs. But ADB has done a whole bunch of RPG writing, and is a big gamebook fan. So I figure, why not?)
(Post by Paul Gresty)
* …I have even hugged the man, on occasion.
** …who I’ve never hugged.