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Mega Man vs Law Man

GamesMega ManParody

Mega Man and I have a love/hate relationship.

I almost did today’s comic as a Sprite Comic… Mega Man parodies do lend themselves to that, after all, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it.  See, I started out… as ashamed as I occasionally am to admit this… as a sprite comic artist.

For those of you not in the know, a “sprite comic” is a comic that uses sprites, either directly from a video game or often stylized to look like they’re from a video game, instead of traditional hand-drawn images (For a good example, look up 8 Bit Theater) to tell a comic story.  Sprite comics rose to fame back in the early 2000s following the popularity from a little strip called “Bob and George”, which started originally as a hand drawn comic but fell quickly into using Mega Man sprites to keep it going because the author didn’t have regular access to a scanner.  Even after getting a scanner, the author quickly lapsed into sprites again due to the fact that they were significantly more popular than his hand drawn work.

Bob and George is hailed by many as the father of all sprite comics – there were others before it, but it was the first to experience a break-out success and popularize the genre.  That’s why many people also consider it to be “Patient Zero”, because in the wake of the success of Bob and George, the internet was flooded – flooded, I say – with bad Mega Man sprite comics.

Ever since then, sprite comics as a whole have gained a significant amount of negative stigma attached to them in the web comic community due to their incredibly low threshhold for creative entry.  I liken the whole of webcomics to a nudist colony… sure, everyone’s naked, but there’s absolutely no quality control… and nowhere was the “bar being lowered” more obvious than sprite comics.

And that brings me back to my love/hate relationship with Mega Man.  See, I started just before the “Great Sprite Comic Explosion” of 200X, and was almost completely unaware of the existance of other “sprite comics”… I’d seen 8 Bit Theater a few times and thought it was neat, but that and Bob and George were sort of the only games in town at the time.

See, I realized a few key issues to start off with – like that if you weren’t actually parodying the source material, then Fair Use doesn’t protect you, or that there was no way to copyright any of these characters or designs, which made any hope of ever making merchandise veeeeeery sketchy.  So given those concerns, I made my own sprites – ones that I owned – for all my characters, as well as doing almost all my own backgrounds.

I know, in hindsight, it’s kind of lame… but I put a serious amount of work into my comic trying to do it “right”.  Unfortunately, by the time my comic really got going, the boom was on and I was buried under the mountain of dead, dying, or just really sick sprite comics.  “Sprite comics” became a dirty word, and I was painted with the same brush as the rest of them.

Now, I’m not saying my original comic was… fantastic.  Like most first children, it was the one that I made a lot of mistakes on so I could do better with the next (sorry first children, but you know it’s true).  But it didn’t deserve the treatment that it got, or that I got as an unwitting sprite comic author/artist, being rounded up with so many of the bad ones and forced into sprite comic author internment camps…

…the horrors I’ve seen, man.  The horrors.   

I think the summation of my feelings are best expressed in the finale of my old comic.  I did an arc I called “The Rockman Horror Picture Show” which wound up being the last arc ever.  A scientist at the local college created a suspiciously Stargate-like device which would let them connect to other worlds… and unfortunately, the first world they dialed was a Mega Man sprite comic world which had been overrun by hordes of bad Mega Man recolors.  As they flowed through the gate, hundreds upon hundreds of them, they killed (or at least gravely wounded) most of the cast before going on and destroying the city… and eventually the world.

There was originally going to be a heroic and triumphant return of “the good guys” who beat the Mega Men back and retook the world for themselves… but that never actually happened, and all-in-all I think it’s rather appropriate that my former comic, it’s best efforts so ruined by the onslaught of Mega Man sprite comics, end on the same note… everything good and right about the comic being trod underneath by an unthinking, unfeeling, uncaring army of Mega Man sprites.

This has nothing to do with the 3 Laws of Robotics.

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