Inhumans (Christen’s Recent Influence):
City of Seven Seraphs: Influences (Comic Books)
As we started to talk to our design team it became clear that many of us were moved by many of the same forces when sat down to create. One of the influences that came up in multiple discussions was that of comic books. With the IMAX screening of Inhumans hitting theaters today, it only felt right to acknowledge some of those influences from the team.
The concept of individual change and evolution lies at the heart of the Inhumans comic book series and the City of Seven Seraphs project. Parities like the Chrysalis Covenant (designed by Todd Stewart) or the House of Heights (designed by David N. Ross) focus on journeys of radical self-transformation and ascendancy, while others deal with the consequences of Stagnation. Christen recommends Paul Jenkins & Jae Lee’s Inhumans graphic novel for those who want to grasp the essence of this energy.
Sandman (Influencing: Liz, Scott, Loki, and Christen)
Many, if not quite all of the design team also spoke of Neil Gaiman’s masterful series Sandman. Chronicling the King of Dreams’ stories the series allowed a dizzying array of world-scapes, stories and artistic styles. Magical transitions, conceptual entities and amazing mixed media cover art were just the tip of the iceberg with this wondrous vessel of Neil Gaiman’s words. Definitely worth a look! Look at Season of Mists PB or start at the beginning with Preludes and Nocturnes.
Planetary (Influencing: Clinton and Christen)
This stunning romp through the journeys of a trio of superhuman-archaeologists as they unearth secret history of the universe. A thinly disguised “love letter to comic book culture” the adventures of the Planetary team dive through secret cities and alternate universes. Check out the Omnibus collection here: Planetary Omnibus.
Age of Apocalypse (Influencing: Michael and Christen)
Time Travel. Rewritten history. Telekinetic mutants. Multiple personality mega-psychics. Every character re-envisioned. These are the X-Men’s adventures in the dystopian reality of the Age of Apocalypse. Those same words could describe adventures at Christen’s and Michael’s game tables. This batch of brightly illustrated mutant-loving crazy resonates in the fey battlegrounds and time-lost seers of the City’s war-torn histories. Omnibus edition here.
DC One Million (Scott and Christen)
Grant Morrison’s far future exploration of a possible DC Universe introduced far flung concepts like Superman 1,000,000’s hypnotic rain power or sentient smells attaching themselves to the color orange it was an exploration into the truly bizarre. Check out the DC One Million Omnibus here. Or for slightly less Gonzo adventures look at Morrison’s Crisis Times Five or JLA: Earth 2.
Generation X (Robert and Christen)
Robert decribed this as the “C-list” of marvel mutants under the tutelage of Banshee (Sean Cassidy) and Emma Frost (former super-villain White Queen). This series relied heavily on the artistic stylings of Chris Bachalo and writer Scott Lobdell to create a legacy story that while honoring the past of the X-Men was still decidely unique. Ties to the Progression theme of City of Seven Seraphs can be seen from the series beginning until the points were several of the team members move into the adult X-Men’s ranks.
City of Seven Seraphs Comic Book Inspirations in Your Games
You might notice that Christen’s name is by every single comic entry above. Comics have served to influence him creatively for nearly his whole life. Sci-Fantasy genres like Starfinder and Aethera draw on fantasy roots to produce exciting new realities for a technologically advanced future, but few fantasy games let the tides of the future influence them in the past as strong as they influence this project.
Curated mystical lineages. Clones and doppelgangers. Magical training academies. Radical self-evolutions. Magical dimension-warping star-vessels. All of these comic-book driven ideas permeate the DNA of the City of Seven Seraphs project yet in ways meant to remain firmly in the fantasical world of planar adventure. The idea of heroism sometimes is the idea of transcending limits and entering a new state of parahuman existence.
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