Sample Art from a Forthcoming Game

Over the past few weeks, as time has allowed, I’ve been working on a solo, mix-and-match dungeon crawl game. (Inspired by this, but not completed in time!) In the game, the player draws tiles that designate a creature made up of different parts. They’re assembled into some sort of post-modern hodgepodge of terror. (And by terror, I mean awesomeness.)

While not yet complete, here are a couple of samples: a gorgon and a vampire. (It wasn’t originally intended to be jokey, but honestly, drawing the vampire as such was too much fun…)

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Everybody Draw Bill O’Reilly Day

A few weeks back, National Public Radio (dba NPR) fired commentator Juan Williams following a less-than-well-thought-out appearance on Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly show. Fox News took the firing hard. Their pundits took to the airwaves decrying NPR’s abuse of the First Amendment. It was spectacularly histrionic.

Last weekend, Detroit Free Press cartoonist Mike Thompson penned a cartoon about Fox News’ reaction to the whole event. It certainly didn’t paint Bill O’Reilly in a flattering light, but the best political cartoons never do. O’Reilly retaliated by publishing Thompson’s email address and urging his readers to let him have it. Rhetorically of course. The results were the very model of decorum. Or the very Fox News model of decorum.

Yesterday, comics writer Brigid Alverson–perhaps facetiously–suggested an Everybody Draw Bill O’Reilly Day (a play on the now infamous Everybody Draw Mohamed Day, that ended with its creator in hiding, at the FBI’s suggestion).

Seems like a good idea to me.

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The Gravitational Model of User Expectation

This essay was written as a means of articulating why I felt certain games–as mechanically well designed as they might be–ultimately failed in their implementation. It was written specifically with video games in mind, though, I believe, it holds true for board and role-playing games as well.

Don’t Tell Me What to Do: Modern Game Design and the Pitfalls of User Expectation

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Finding the Balance Between Words, Pictures and Time in Making Comics

This was a talk I gave to a webcomics summer camp program at Smith Vocational High School a few days ago. I decided to flesh it out beyond my notes in the hopes that I’ll A: use it again and B: help others interested in making their own comics. Many thanks to Kevin Hodgson for inviting me to talk! The students were absolutely phenomenal: they were interested, engaged and despite the heat, eager to spend their summer day making comics!

The Delicate Balance between Words and Pictures and Time in Making Comics

by Bryant Paul Johnson

If you’re reading this, chances are you’re at least marginally familiar with comics. You know, those pamphlets densely packed with boxes of tiny illustrations and colorful onomatopoeia; Or maybe they’re the black and white paperbacks you read from right to left at your local Barnes and Noble; Or the curiously immutable adventures of cats that talk, printed on that stuff you use to pack your dishes with when you move; Or the ribald, crudely drawn comics you troll on the internet, with your morning cup of coffee, as you will the brain into action.

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A Hypothetical China Miéville Swamp Thing

I read last week (or the week before; who can keep track of these things?) that a run of Swamp Thing comics penned by British fantasist China Miéville was canceled by DC. Miéville is one of my favorite writers: he blends the horrific, the fantastic and the political into a grimy bouillabaisse of delicious reading. I would have been all over this project. (Which is pretty unusual: I can’t think of any comic from the Big Two that I’ve read more than a handful of issues in the past three or four years.) And I’m not even a Swamp Thing fan. I’ve read a few issues of it over the years (including a third or fourth generation photocopy of Swamp Thing: Guest Starring Jesus!), but never with any regular consistency.

DC missed quite the opportunity: a Big-Name! writer with some serious literary pedigree, working on a comic about a monsters and politics in Louisiana.

Anyway, a little drawing I did, imagining what could have been…

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