Lea's Unimportant Farewell to BK Q&A!

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Re: Lea's Unimportant Farewell to BK Q&A!

Postby Kureejii Lea » Tue Jan 19, 2016 7:38 am

Rambling answer time!

Gonzo wrote:Are you allowed to share any earlier drafts of Phage's background/role in Spark of Life?


Hmm... the thing is, there's still room to use certain unused aspects later down the road, so I don't think I want to scuttle that. Sorry!

Spin wrote:Since you were offering to answer ice cream flavor questions. What video game was Gamer Deer playing?


Devil Chao May Cry 4. It's about a dark chao armed with two bubble wands on a quest for vengeance after losing to Chacron in the chao races.

MetalSkulkBane wrote:Hmm, I was going to ask about Phage's past, but maybe it will be funnier to find out on my own.


Welllll, you might find out some things in the near future...

...Can you describe your relation with Sonic? First contact, favorite characters, ect?


I think I've spoken of this before, but I was pretty much into the series from the start. I only knew one person who owned a Genesis though so I only got to play the earlier titles at her house and then later on PC. Video game related media seemed pretty niche when I was a kid (relatively speaking of course) so any related cartoons got my attention just by virtue of existing... for better or worse.

Mordum wrote:I think one thing I adored about Spark of Life is that it created a genuine sense of melancholy in a franchise I don't think was ever particularly the best at it -- as much as I adore 06's story and tend to argue it as the best Sonic story, a lot of it is still rising above mediocrity and much of its intrigue comes from the accidental implications of its many flaws. Spark of Life, by contrast, I love for basically all the reasons it intends to be loved. I think that it also hits the right sweet spot in terms of how one should ideally tackle heavier ideas in a series like this: the story isn't really "dark" at all, as much as it's just melancholy and bittersweet.

Do you consider Spark of Life generally leaning toward your natural writing sensibilities in terms of tone and style, in that it's probably a good representation of the sort of tone and themes you prefer to write about, or would a more typical story from you, should you have free reign on whatever you doing, actually feel like something else entirely?

Basically, was it your writing style that came out in Spark of Life, or did you adjust your style FOR Spark of Life? And if you don't mind a sub-question, what're your particular favorite things to write about (emotionally and thematically) and what was it like to either tap into them or avoid them for your Sonic work?


Wow, hmm... gonna have to try to not sound like an incohesive rambling idiot for this one. First, I'm really happy to hear that the tone I was aiming for came through. Initially I wouldn't have said that I naturally gravitate towards the melancholy/bittersweet angles (though with Spark of Life, especially regarding Ellidy's character, it was deliberately at the forefront, and I knew from the start I didn't want it to end with the doc and Nicole having reached an immediately perfect understanding or anything because that's a lot to get over)... but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that seems to be nonsense. Like, specifically, I was thinking of the little Knuckles vs Break Man story, because beyond 1) being more or less assigned to that one (not that I minded because I thought it'd be cool to have a chance to work with those characters) and 2) told that it had to be a fight and that Knuckles had to emerge the winner, I did have free reign on that one, and, well... whoops. So apparently I do have a bit of a tendency in that regard... which is a little funny because with media, I usually go for action/comedy content over "drama."

All that said, I do really like exploring emotional angles, and I do want to try to make characters experience situations that readers can emphasize with -- they don't necessarily have to relate to them, but I'd like them to find themselves invested in the story and looking forward to the possibility of a happy ending. I agree that themes like death and loss in and of themselves aren't automatically "dark" -- not to sound overly dramatic, but they're realities everyone has to encounter at some point, so I don't think it's bad to acknowledge them. To that degree, I don't think such things are out of place in the Sonic series, but taking it too far for cheap "edge" just seems to loop around to ridiculousness. Obsessing and lingering on the dark and driving up the angst for the sake of angst can at the very least get tiresome, and I think Sonic in particular should still have an end goal of fun, or at least hope. In that sense, I think stories about sadness and regret can serve as a nice vehicle to those goals. Going back to the whole "darker" thing, I think Sonic and the Black Knight is a nice example of what works for this series, having Sonic himself confronting a seemingly harsh situation frankly, but not without kindness and optimism.

While I don't want to say it's something I enjoy writing about per se (because that starts to sound a bit masochistic), I think I like exploring regret as a theme, especially for character-specific growth... not necessarily as a motivator but more as a catalyst, I guess. I suppose I like the idea of it being something to work through and overcome rather than just make up for and correct, and it's an aspect that can take a lot of forms, making it interesting to adapt to different characters and situations. I wouldn't want to leave any character wallowing in it extensively without an end in sight, though. Off Panel is nice because it's a chance to poke fun at things and not take anything seriously, but I wouldn't be opposed to doing an actual story that's more on the lighthearted side either.

Thanks for the thoughtful question! If anything it might make me a little more mindful of avoiding stumbling off the angst cliff into the valley of deep suffering in my writing. Balance is key and all that.


SonicBlueRanger wrote:Do you think next time you do a backup they'll actually credit you in the solicit? :(hearty laughter):


Wouldn't that be cute? And maybe people will even read the credits, too!
Seriously though, mistakes happen. Sometimes it just may be a matter of databases "assuming" certain norms. I think I may have been credited in some Off Panels I didn't do, actually, so I guess it goes both ways.

Serious question though how did you and Ian come up with the idea for Spark of Life?


Y'know, it's been so long... aside from "Nicole could use a new origin story" I don't remember a lot of specifics at this point. I know Dr. Ellidy didn't have a name nailed down for a long time during development. Something else that was a driving factor (and went through a lot of talk with Paul Kaminski) was exploring Nicole's relationship with Sally and using that to cover some past events, and I'm glad that those angles were able to be incorporated (even though stuff still got cut in the end... I'm getting better about avoiding those kinds of problems).

akessel92 wrote:Wait what kind of ice cream is cassia and cloves favorite? Also, what would phage's be if she could have one?


Heh. Well then... I'd imagine Clove tends towards stuff that's not overly sweet or more on the refreshing side. So I guess something like mint chocolate-chip if not fruit sherbets. Cassia likes food in general, so she wouldn't be afraid to indulge in whatever has the most forms of chocolate/marshmallow/sprinkles/etc. in it. Phage has a hard time nailing down specific feelings anyway, so she would probably create some kind of complex review aggregator and an extensive database of ice cream flavours to determine which is "best."

DabigRG wrote:Who were you guys's favorite Sonic character (Sega/cartoon/Penders/Gallagher/Bollers/whatever) growing up?


Espio and Bunnie were probably the prominent childhood faves, I guess Mighty too. I think I liked the idea of Julie-Su back then more than the actual execution...

P.S. Thank you for the amazing stories you helped bring to us and I wish you luck in your future endeavors! :)


Aw, thanks!
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Re: Lea's Unimportant Farewell to BK Q&A!

Postby Kureejii Lea » Tue Jan 19, 2016 7:47 am

(continued)

therealfalconpawnch7 wrote:Is there a Sega character that you want to write for that you have not yet?


Oh, let's see, there's this one guy... blue, goes fast, his name is in the title... you know, that guy?

Actually, I think it's kind of funny that I haven't gotten a chance to write him at all.

LordLaharlsVassal wrote:One of my favorite new characters from the new rebooted universe is Dr. Ellidy, are you guys done exploring him or will you revisit him in the future?


We'll see him again!

Joggoman wrote:First of all, for only having written three stories, yours have been some of the standouts of the post-reboot comics. Can't wait to read more!


Wow, thank you!

Joggoman wrote:What was creative process behind Cassia and Clove? Did the characters and personalities come about on their own, or were they specifically made to fill the role of "unwilling Eggman subordinates"?


Hmm... there are a few different angles going into this. One was that I'd been toying with the idea of a pair of sisters as new characters for a bit, in part because we don't seem to see a lot of sibling interaction in this series -- a lot of characters have sibling-like bonds, but aren't actually related (not to devalue such relationships, it's just funny when it starts looking like almost everyone grew up a single child, and no one ever has more than two kids per family), and those who were often had some degree of separation (they didn't know each other well or didn't interact much). It wasn't a major priority or anything, just something lingering at the back of my mind.

What eventually became The Light in the Dark/Consequences went through a lot of back and forth and conceptualization and tweaking and it was super stressful and blah blah blah... but anyway, at some point Paul Kaminski said that this might be a good opportunity to start some more worldbuilding and wanted me to introduce a new Egg Boss for the story. A more sympathetic angle was suggested (not an automatic requirement), and even though the story got further altered beyond that (so that they never actually interacted with the Freedom Fighters), I did put a lot of thought into the characters, thinking I could use the sisters angle for a new dynamic. I didn't want to introduce any story aspects without having some idea of where they should ultimately lead -- I wanted to be sure there was a direction to follow so that everything that happens in their story comes together and isn't just a series of "shocking reveals" introduce on a whim or whatnot with no end goal or conclusion in sight.

I had the basic personalities down from the start and they became more refined over time (yeah, I know that sounds kind of obvious, but actually writing dialogue really helps get the right feel). I think I mentioned this before, but early on they were almost badgers, and in retrospect I'm glad that didn't happen (this was before anything Boom related was out -- I knew about Sticks at the time, but not what she looked like). My earliest visual concepts had Cassia and Clove in different shades of blue, then yellow and light green respectively, then the dark/light green with the grey and black uniforms, and from there Evan Stanely made them awesome. I thought pronghorns as a species would be cool to introduce for two main reasons. One, they've got some neat visual characteristics -- some nice markings and the horns they're named for (I liked that this is a species in which the females as well as the males have horns, and while it's usually male-exclusive, it's not impossible for the females to have the prong/split thing going on, they just tend to be smaller -- so I thought that would make a nice visual indicator that Clove is the mature leader compared to Cassia). Two -- they're one of the fastest land animals out there. I didn't want to pull the whole "mongoose speed" thing again because I think it cheapens the title character a bit when entire species have the same abilities naturally, but I think some heightened agility works well within the series.

And with so many different interpretations from writers, what would you say are Sally's main strengths and weaknesses as you write her?


Well, one thing that's nice about starting over (to a degree, anyway) is that a lot of those different interpretations can be redefined or discarded or streamlined, so there's less divergence or diffused focus going on. Something I personally wanted to work on was her status as royalty. Way back in SatAM she had that line about titles being meaningless given the situation they were living in, so aside from it being her personal investment in restoring order, it wasn't necessarily part of her everyday life. But something I disliked in the comic over time was how her title essentially became a massive drag to her character. It seemed like it was little more than a source of limitations and negativity and drama constantly hanging over her head. It resulted in friction with her father. It created uncertainty in her love life (whee!) and her status as a leader and an heir (with Elias being introduced). It isolated her from her friends and from the action. I'm not saying drama and conflict are bad in storytelling or anything, but the thing was, it was so constant it became tiresome, and even worse in my opinion, any time she tried to defy the limitations placed around her, she lost out -- her friendships fell apart, she had her authority stripped from her, she was told she'd lose her birthright if she didn't comply (repeatedly), she was forced into marriage (with an impostor no less)... I get the idea of there being an internal conflict of duty vs personal freedom, but there wasn't much in the way of resolution in that regard. Even in the futures where she was queen, for whatever reason "King Sonic" apparently had more authority than she did. Anyway, that's my longwinded way of saying that Sally being a princess didn't seem to offer her character much that wasn't just a downer.

So! Primarily, I figured that instead of her royal status being downplayed (because then what's the point beyond sounding fancy?) it should be a driving force of her character. Coming back to the idea of duty, I like the idea of her seeing her title as something that carries responsibility instead of privilege. Whereas in SatAM/earlier in the comics her main goal was the restoration of her father and her kingdom, this isn't her personal story. Here I think she has the "noble" intention of using her own abilities and resources to help and protect others -- and then, on the flip side, that could easily lead her to overburden herself or inadvertently become a bit too self-reliant or even self-sacrificing, and that kind of thing could lead to subconscious trust issues... as much as she could be inspiring as a leader, overdoing attempts to spare others from burden would send the opposite message in the long run. A little along that line, I kind of like to think that for all her intelligence and tactical ability (I think her more analytical nature might be part of why she and Nicole get along so well), she's not necessarily all that self-aware -- not always this perfectly poised level-headed diplomatic princess, as much as she tries. In the past at times it really felt like she wasn't allowed to be anything less than perfect -- naturally good at so many things, always graceful, always the voice of reason, etc. so I think it's fun when she's allowed to be silly or goof up. I don't think she lacks patience if there's a plan or goal in place, but I think feeling useless or sidelined would seriously weigh on her -- like she'd be so caught up in her sense of responsibility that she'd tend towards anxiety and frustration very easily.

Betz! wrote:What's the weirdest off-panel you've ever thought of. (Published or not published)


I... um... huh. I honestly can't think of one in particular... Jon Gray will never stop bringing up the whole "shirtless Handsome Naugus" thing, even though that was clearly HIS fault. The "stereotypical fairytale Princess Blaze" one from Pirate Plunder Panic got a LOT of response... some of which was rather varied and unexpected. I guess I should've known better.

Zanoss wrote:Is a new arc with Breezie or Honey in it is planed ?
I mean, I love those both character but they where a little bit under the scene during Champion's arc so I would love to have more information about them in a close future.


There are some long-term plans for them... I will say that we'll be seeing Honey sooner than Breezie.

Protraktor wrote:Hi! I wanted to ask if there was a real-world counterpart to Cassia's illness? Just as a Y/N - doesn't need to be specific.

I ask because I feel like I might have found out what she has, or at least something extremely similar, but I didn't want to make wild speculations openly. Would it be better to just wait and see? Because I can definitely do that.


Ha, how shall I put this... it might be better to just wait and see how things pan out, but I don't want to just leave your question at that... so let's just say "no" insofar as it's not a one-to-one perfect equivalent of anything real (insofar as I know, at least), but there are real-world inspirations.

QuantamEdge wrote:Do you have any writers that you credit as inspiration?


Nothing particular, no. (wow, that feels like a cop-out -- sorry!)
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Re: Lea's Unimportant Farewell to BK Q&A!

Postby Zanoss » Tue Jan 19, 2016 9:01 am

Hey nice, thanks for your answer c:
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Re: Lea's Unimportant Farewell to BK Q&A!

Postby Mordum » Tue Jan 19, 2016 9:55 am

An enlightening answer I found a joy to read. Thank you!
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Re: Lea's Unimportant Farewell to BK Q&A!

Postby Biostar » Tue Jan 19, 2016 2:57 pm

Does Cassia's cybernetics just replace fleshy parts of her face or if they go down into the bone and are there any cybernetics she has we can't see because of her outfit?

What was the thought process behind the creation of Thunderbolt?

What are Cassia's and Clove's ages?

Can we know the name of the squid Egg Boss?
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Re: Lea's Unimportant Farewell to BK Q&A!

Postby LBD_Nytetrayn » Tue Jan 19, 2016 5:50 pm

I think that while we've heard Ian give his views on this a few times, I'm not sure we've heard it from you: outside of the Sonic franchise, what video game or comic characters would you be interested in writing or drawing for?

--LBD "Nytetrayn"
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Re: Lea's Unimportant Farewell to BK Q&A!

Postby Kureejii Lea » Wed Jan 20, 2016 6:41 am

Biostar wrote:Does Cassia's cybernetics just replace fleshy parts of her face or if they go down into the bone and are there any cybernetics she has we can't see because of her outfit?


Basically the cybernetics replaced her eyes and augmented her ears (think something like a super high tech cochlear implant), with the necessary surrounding/internal structures to support both. In her case that's pretty much it (unless you count something like a medical shunt in the arm), her body is otherwise its original squishy self.

What was the thought process behind the creation of Thunderbolt?


Well, Ian started with the basic idea forever ago -- a female underling of Eggman's who was obsessively loyal and vicious with a massive meanstreak who wouldn't be softened or redeemable or all that sympathetic -- just an all around awful person. I thought it would be funny and more interesting if her appearance was largely at odds with that, so I suggested she be a chinchilla -- something that would look small and fluffy and cutesy and nonthreatening at a glance. I especially liked the idea of her having all this fluffy fur because she was going to have electric powers anyway, and I thought it would be a neat visual -- when she's on the warpath, all that electrical energy makes her tail and such frizz out, which could look funny or make her seem more "spiky" and threatening. So there'd be room for visual contrast -- a cute tiny ball of fluff vs a crackling static-ball of condensed rage. Aware of her stature, she'd use a mech to compensate for her size and make herself seem a more imposing figure.

Her cybernetics come in the form of a pack on her back that's connected to four electrical cables that connect to nodes on her hands and forehead. In part this was for practicality (ideally, she can remove the cables if they're in the way of clothing or whatnot), but since it looked like her true self wouldn't be seen at first, the idea was that the cables and the red light on her forehead would further confuse her design in silhouette (like inside the cockpit of the mech) before her true appearance was revealed. Her design got some slight tweaks along the way -- mostly some change in button placement and other minor details on her top (it was originally sleeveless, with the high insulated gloves covering a lot of her arms) and some gradual alterations to her general shape, I guess. Her colour scheme is based on 70s decor.

What are Cassia's and Clove's ages?


This kind of thing isn't necessarily set in stone until it sees print, but in our "super secret internal documents" *cough* they are listed as thirteen and nineteen respectively. Clove is Cassia's sister rather than a mother figure, but she's still taken care of her most of her life.

Can we know the name of the squid Egg Boss?


Sorry, you're gonna have to wait until Eggman's Dozen. So, in the meantime, fun fact: she went through about three different designs and something like ten rejected colour schemes. Oh wait, that's not fun.

(not to give the wrong impression, I just helped with this one towards the end, she's not really "my" character or anything)

LBD_Nytetrayn wrote:I think that while we've heard Ian give his views on this a few times, I'm not sure we've heard it from you: outside of the Sonic franchise, what video game or comic characters would you be interested in writing or drawing for?


I think I talked about comic/cape book stuff before, so in terms of video games... I guess Zelda would be something neat to take on. Like, do an original story/adventure while keeping the usual themes of the series, something with a full story arc and a conclusive end rater than an ongoing deal. There'd be a nice amount of space in which to introduce original concepts, characters, locations or directions while still firmly keeping it Zelda series-centric.
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Re: Lea's Unimportant Farewell to BK Q&A!

Postby Daluna13 » Wed Jan 20, 2016 11:57 am

So an off topic question when are we going to hear you on Ian's podcast?
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Re: Lea's Unimportant Farewell to BK Q&A!

Postby Biostar » Wed Jan 20, 2016 12:49 pm

Kureejii Lea wrote: the idea was that the cables and the red light on her forehead would further confuse her design in silhouette (like inside the cockpit of the mech) before her true appearance was revealed.

Aw, yes. I remember people thinking she was an insect or crustacean mobian during that panel.

Do people under Eggman's command still have bombs hidden in them somewhere?

What are the current ages of Razor, Coral, Pearly and the fish princess?

Where did Razor get Crusher?
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Re: Lea's Unimportant Farewell to BK Q&A!

Postby Sparky » Wed Jan 20, 2016 3:35 pm

When are we going to learn the current ages of the Freedom Fighters compared to the official ages for the game characters?
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Re: Lea's Unimportant Farewell to BK Q&A!

Postby Betz! » Thu Jan 21, 2016 8:37 pm

What would your ideal Boom episode be? (you should give a very detailed summary. Please?)
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Re: Lea's Unimportant Farewell to BK Q&A!

Postby Unknownshadow675 » Mon Jan 25, 2016 11:11 am

I asked Ian this for a friend so I might as well get your opinion for my friend as well.

Do you like the Wild Thornberries? Or however you spell it.
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Re: Lea's Unimportant Farewell to BK Q&A!

Postby Yarcaz » Mon Jan 25, 2016 12:23 pm

Did sonic and the freedom fighters (in either pre-reboot or post-reboot archie) ever play board games or card games like monopoly, uno, chess, etc? (This can include classic games such as hide-and go seek, etc.)
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Re: Lea's Unimportant Farewell to BK Q&A!

Postby Meliden » Mon Jan 25, 2016 2:47 pm

Something crossed my mind just for sating curiosity - by what you know, is Clove the youngest Egg Boss, or have you seen character documents that project any one of the others as younger? You don't have to say who, if so.
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Re: Lea's Unimportant Farewell to BK Q&A!

Postby Specs64z » Mon Jan 25, 2016 3:04 pm

If her life was on the line, would Clove be able to hold her own in a fight? Or is she more of a strategist?
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