Flame of Tartarus

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Flame of Tartarus

Post by Buster »

I'm working on something, a comic I plan to post to smackjeeves about a pyrokinetic who calls himself 'Hellfire' when behind the mask since as he puts it, his flames burn away the wicked, outside the mask he's a parking enforcement officer for the city of Titan Cove, the capitol of an archipelago that on the surface appears sustained by sumer tourism but is actually a hub for export of arcane goods, and a place that has a population including sentient machines, a thriving spell caster community, and multiple species.

This isn't the story of 'the hero', Hellfire (AKA Officer Gymbal) isn't actually that important in the grand scheme. The story is mostly about balancing the double life rather than focusing on being a cop, or superhero battles. They're just backdrop, you honestly could swap them out for any two clashing lifestyles and the plot would be at least somewhat similar.

Problem is, I have no title, and no major antagonist. actually I don't have any antagonists, just a main character and a supporting cast of about 12, all but two of whom (Dawn Star, a fellow Super, and her nemesis Stryker) are from the officer side of his life.

I wanted to call it "Call me Helfire" but that's taken apparently...

suggestions would be appreciated.
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Re: I Need your help

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So it's more oriented as a slice of life comic?
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Re: I Need your help

Post by RandomGeekNamedBrent »

I'd suggest just "Hellfire" but that's probably also taken. maybe something like "Hellfire's Wrath" or something?
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Re: I Need your help

Post by Saturn381 »

How about "Tales of Hellfire"?
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Re: I Need your help

Post by Buster »

D-Rock wrote:So it's more oriented as a slice of life comic?
Maybe, in that it focuses on the character's life, but it would have a more internally consistent timeline and arc structure with fewer arbitrary skips/gaps compared to what's more common in that genre. One continuous storyline, not detached episodic storylines with time gaps between them. And definitely no 'asynchronous timeline' (ie: storylines occurring deliberately out of chronological oder) nonsense.

and the hero thing might not be the main focus but it's still there.

...which may actually be the antithesis of SoL style storytelling, I'm not sure...

...uh...

?
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Re: I Need your help

Post by Legotron123 »

For the villain, how about a guy who, as long as he has his power on, you can't remember anything about him. Even if you're looking right at him, you don't know he's there, and anything he does your mind just rationalizes away.
Or maybe a guy with mild time powers? No time travel, but he can speed up or reverse the aging of things, and can make his enemies move in slow motion and himself move super fast.
Either of those sound cool?
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Re: I Need your help

Post by D-Rock »

Guy named for the flames of hell trying to find balance between hero stuff and normal stuff.

How about calling the strip "Limbo"?
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Re: I Need your help

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RandomGeekNamedBrent wrote:I'd suggest just "Hellfire" but that's probably also taken. maybe something like "Hellfire's Wrath" or something?
Taken. Both of them. Multiple times. WH40K fic communities seem to like that word.
Saturn381 wrote:How about "Tales of Hellfire"?
That immediately makes me think of fanwork of the "Tales Of (name here)" videogames...
Might send the wrong message.
D-Rock wrote:Guy named for the flames of hell trying to find balance between hero stuff and normal stuff.

How about calling the strip "Limbo"?
That could work, though a quick google search shows several comics that already use variations on that word as their name, or part of their name. it might be taken. I'll need to dig a bit further.
Legotron123 wrote:For the villain, how about a guy who, as long as he has his power on, you can't remember anything about him. Even if you're looking right at him, you don't know he's there, and anything he does your mind just rationalizes away.
Or maybe a guy with mild time powers? No time travel, but he can speed up or reverse the aging of things, and can make his enemies move in slow motion and himself move super fast.
Either of those sound cool?
One sounds too OP to ever be anything but inept comic relief, as the moment he's an actual serious threat to anything the perfect detection evasion makes him unstoppable.

The other might be usable, I'll need to think on if I can work that into the framework Welsh sent me over PM.
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Re: I Need your help

Post by Douglas Collier »

Does your character have a first name, or is his first name Hellfire? I was wondering because maybe his first name could be Hal (maybe short for Halberd?), and his nickname would be Halfire - kind of a nickname the office gave him that's so close to his alter ego that he finds it ironic enough to tolerate. Also, Halfire might not be taken. ;)

If you're looking for villain powers, I had a dream last night about people throwing magical powders into fires to open windows into other spaces (the location depending on how much powder you throw and in what direction). Maybe they find or develop a magic powder that can teleport them to those places or cause explosions? You could call the powder pulverulences.
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Re: I Need your help

Post by Legotron123 »

Thought of some more villain powers.
1. Someone who, as long as they're standing still, can build up a "charge" that grinds them enhanced speed, strength, and durability. Just have to outlast them.
2. A sort of escalation ability. The longer they fight, the stronger, larger, and faster they get, so you'd have to get them before they ramp up. Though it would only work if they thought the person they were fighting was a threat, and they ramp down in the absence of one.
3. The ability to absorb the energy of any attack they see coming. Have to catch them off guard to take them down.
4. (Joke Ability) The power to always be slightly better than anyone else in the room. Comes with the downside of always having to be incredibly smug.
What do you think?
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Re: I Need your help

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Douglas Collier wrote:Does your character have a first name, or is his first name Hellfire?
Officer David Gymbal, Titan Cove Police Dept. Aka 'Dave' or 'Hellfire'

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Re: I Need your help

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Oh, he's an anthro dog?

That gives a couple more possible paths regarding the title, like maybe a reference to Cerberus being the guardian of Tartarus or other guard dogs from legend.
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Re: I Need your help

Post by Hlaoroo »

My suggestion? Forget about the title for now. Once you get into the writing proper and your story is fleshed out you'll probably find it much easier to find a suitable title. As far as I know, most writers will tend to use a working title for most of the story, just so they have something to refer to the story by, and then come up with a better title once the story is done.

As to antagonists, since you want the focus on balancing the double life and not on superheroes or anything, I actually wouldn't come up with too many superheroes to fight. Instead, I'd look at people that might upset his balance - his boss, whomever he's in a relationship with, a controlling family member, a secret lover, perhaps a criminal of some sort that threatens to expose his secret identity.

Don't feel that you have to stick to just one main antagonist either. Any great story will have multiple obstacles and multiple antagonists for the hero to overcome.
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Re: I Need your help

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Uh, roo, this is not a book. there is no 'done' there is just the next arc, and I have an outline for the first arc already. it's mostly character introductions and establishment padded out so it hopefully wont feel like exposition, with conflict between Hellfire and Dawn Star (as in the other hero) to keep things moving, since Hellfire's looking more like a serial arsonist than a hero at that point.

the problem isn't that there's no suitable title, it's that the one that i thought fit best is already in use by someone else. I'm worrying about it now, because I can't register the page on smackjeeves to start putting pages up without one, it generates the url from the title.

I wanted to go with "Call me Hellfire" because it's all about him choosing this path, and dealing with how it sends his life going sideways being essentially two people. the 'this is who i want to be' thing seemed to fit the theme. But I cant use that...

.

the character thing was more just me looking for a way to save myself time with something that doesn't happen till at least the 3rd arc anyway, and I've yet to manage to scale any of the stuff in this thread down enough (getting A Rank & S Sank material when I need D Rank) to be usable... which actually makes more work for me. so yeah abandoning that side of it for now, welsh gave me something i'm gonna use as a framework but i'll figure the missing bits out myself.
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Re: I Need your help

Post by Hlaoroo »

Ah. Well, the same thing can apply, just when you've planned or written a couple of arcs instead of just the one.

As to a title... How about instead of hellfire, something along the lines of Brimstone?
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Re: I Need your help

Post by Welsh Halfwit »

Hlaoroo wrote:Ah. Well, the same thing can apply, just when you've planned or written a couple of arcs instead of just the one.

As to a title... How about instead of hellfire, something along the lines of Brimstone?
Brimstone's just as bad.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brimstone

Brimfire?
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Re: I Need your help

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How about a character who's really only there for comic relief? You could do a short arc during points in the story to lighten the mood. Someone you'd expect on a show like Andy Griffith. That had a guy who was a real nuisance, and the worst he ever did was shatter windows just to mess with the characters. Though tonal dissonance would be your greatest challenge there.

Still unsure on name, myself. Something that brings up his chosen path in life, how he's balancing it, and so on. Basically, something to do with identity.

And this is why I leave the writing to everyone else.
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Re: I Need your help

Post by Legotron123 »

Have you considered using Latin names? It goes well with the hellfire them, and I doubt enough people use Latin for their comic titles to take away any potential names you might've had.
As for characters (and not powers this time), how about someone whose power occasionally takes them over like in werewolf stories, where they blackout and cause all sorts of death and destruction. You have the hero fighting a villain who is simultaneously a mindless murder beast and an innocent man, and you can't do anything to the former without hurting the latter.
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Re: I Need your help

Post by D-Rock »

Starting from Legotron's suggestion, I looked up the Latin word for Limbo. Apparently it's "Limbus."

Not much of a change...
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Re: I Need your help

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is brimfire even a word?
i get the feeling that anything made from that would wind up looking like a word salad title...

As for rocky, comic relief characters outside comedic settings annoy me to no end, I'm not sure I could bring myself to write one. They belong somwhere that's as inherently silly as they are. I find it better for any levity to come from the regular characters in ways that don't require breaking character or creating unfitting characters.

Lego, i don't actually know any latin. Yes, i use it occasionally when bonnie's talking about magic, but that all comes from google translate. as to the other suggestion that would make for an interesting moral dilema. i'll have to remember that.


I was messing with a few random generators and got "Eye of Flame" and "Life Among The Ash" along with about 500 pages of word salad... you think either of those would work?
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Re: I Need your help

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Is the city he lives in a more downtrodden place to live? If so, I'd think Life among the Ash would be better.
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Re: I Need your help

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Actually it's a national capitol and a major tourism hub.
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Re: I Need your help

Post by D-Rock »

Can you tell us more about the city? It might help with the title.

So far, a guy struggling with balancing his life, with rather dark-oriented powers if his name is Hellfire, in what I'm guessing is a pristine city? I'm sure something can be thought up with that, but if not, still really liking Life Among The Ash
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Re: I Need your help

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Yeah, more info about the setting would help. One thing I'm wondering is how people get their powers here. Is it genetics? Radiation? Magic? Interdimensional space whales?
Also, one thing to keep in mind is that not every criminal is going to use their powers for something like robbing banks. Depending on what their powers lend themselves to, they might use them for anything from pickpocketing to insurance fraud.
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Re: I Need your help

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The city is called Titan Cove, It's the capitol of a nine-island archapellago. The city is wedged between a natural harbour, and a mountain that takes up half the island, it's also the location of the region's largest sea and air ports. It gets it's name from the fact that said mountain is oddly shaped; up close it doesn't look like anything, and what it looks like from a distance is revealed to be an illusion, but viewed from the next island over it looks like a massive humanoid seated in a meditative pose (Hence the 'Titan' half of the city in it's lap's name).

The city was quiet (deliberately so, as the local gifted community were common knowledge to the archapellago's inhabitants but not much of the outside world) up until about ten years ago, when a malfunctioning AWP (Android Weapons Platform) codenamed 'Project Striker' went on a killing spree and made it down town before exploding for unknown reasons. Because of the incident, and the police force's inadequate response, the city suddenly had international attention, and local law enforcement who were viewed as incompetent, not a good combination. Troublemakers started coming out of the woodwork, only to be met by the arrival of Morning star. It's unclear whether she's a machine, or a living being in a suit, but she's efficient and has become the city's self-appointed protector, taking care of all of the big threats that pop up (not that there are that many). in the years since things have calmed down, but nobody's perfect, and she's no exception; every now and then someone is able to keep low enough under the radar that she doesn't notice, but is still something TCPD can't/won't deal with, which is where Hellfire comes in. Problem is he has a bad habit of leaving behind burnt buildings and nothing left to capture/arrest, which has him on star's radar, because the only ones who know he's not just some arsonist want him gone.

As to powers, there are two main sources; the gifted have natural powers that run in bloodlines (though not by genetics or any traditional heredity) and tend to emerge after the previous user passes; the other being pact-based magic granted through deals with other realms. Neither method is alignment/morality specific, explicitly or implied. This includes Hellfire's own powers, they're just regular pyrokinesis, he chooses to use them the way he does. Also, almost all gifted manipulate an energy form, so a lot of Storms Gambits and Jubilees, very few Jean Grays or Wolverines. (one of the more mundane applications gives new meaning to 'welding by hand') Then there's the sapient machine portion of the population, and those with access to advanced tech or the money to procure it.

EDIT: decided to drop magic from the setting a while back.
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Re: I Need your help

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Almost a world of supers. So, with this in mind, Flame of Tartarus comes to mind, from the Titan part. Sad thing is, I still like Life Among The Ash sounds better to me, but trying to see from the given context how it would fit. If Gymball lives near where the explosion happened, it could sort of work.

Sounds like Dawn Star would fall under Lawful-Light, while Hellfire would fall under Chaotic-Light.

So if I understand what you said about powers, so only one specific version of power can exist naturally at a time? Like, multiple levels of pyrokinesis could exist, while Gymbals specific variant is one of a kind?
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Re: I Need your help

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D-Rock wrote:Almost a world of supers. So, with this in mind, Flame of Tartarus comes to mind, from the Titan part. Sad thing is, I still like Life Among The Ash sounds better to me, but trying to see from the given context how it would fit. If Gymball lives near where the explosion happened, it could sort of work.
the explosion that stopped striker only caused superficial damage to the shops on market street. the thing drawing attention was the killing spree and the fact that an illegal weapons platform like him existed in the first place.
D-Rock wrote:Sounds like Dawn Star would fall under Lawful-Light, while Hellfire would fall under Chaotic-Light.


It's more complicated than that...
D-Rock wrote:So if I understand what you said about powers, so only one specific version of power can exist naturally at a time? Like, multiple levels of pyrokinesis could exist, while Gymbals specific variant is one of a kind?
mostly.
there are exceptions, but most of them are bizarre or rare one offs (a power passing down because someone drowned, only for them to be resuscitated happened once but hasn't since), the only exception to the one-at-a-time rule thats ever had more than one instance is twins awakening either the same power or opposite halves of a power at the same time. but that requires twins, in a gifted bloodline, at the right age to awaken, when a suitable power is passed on. good luck with those odds.
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Re: I Need your help

Post by D-Rock »

Granted, this is a very simplified grid, where would some of the characters fall on?
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Grabbed this from the Alignment page on the Shin Megami Tensei wiki.
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Re: I Need your help

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I can't say much without giving something i kinda want to keep under wraps away, but in simplest terms, while Dawn Star's actions show proper restraint and serve the greater good, as she intends, her goals are selfish and she breaks as many laws in the line of her 'duty' as hellfire does but the media and the public are on her side.

Hellfire on the other hand uses brutal methods, rarely shows mercy, but does what he does not for his own goals but because he feels it needs to be done, and if he doesn't answer the call who will?

those charts don't work when there's a disconnect between the intention and methods they lump into one under light and dark, or good and evil. also 'neutral' rarely distinguishes properly between whether your character is neutral because they prioritize balance, are indecisive or are just a munchkin.
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Re: I Need your help

Post by Legotron123 »

Wait, I thought her name was Morningstar, where did Dawnstar come from? Also, two more story ideas.
One is that Hellfire finds out about a secret group of villains, who've discovered (at least what seems like) a sure fire why to kill Morning/Dawnstar. Now he has to save someone he hates, who hates him as well, and (from what you've told us) generally seems to be a jerk, because if she dies there's nothing holding the more powerful villains back.
The other is about him crossing paths with another vigilante like himself, only this guy goes after the people whom he feels are holding society back, the global warming deniers and the politicians who pass backwards and bigoted laws, and uses his powers to stealthily assassinate them. The only problem is that he's perfectly fine with letting innocents die in the crossfire, and when he can't get rid of them stealthily, he goes for arranging a gas leak and blowing up whatever building they're in, and generally causes too much collateral damage for whatever good he does to be worth it. The MC quickly realizes this, and has to stop him before he strikes again.
Also, on the subject of morality alignments, I'm a fan of the D&D system, where the alignments describe their attitudes and personalities more than whether they follow the law or stuff like that. For example, Hellfire would be Chaotic Good, since he's genuinely trying to do the right thing, but doesn't really care about things like misuse of force or search warrants. Meanwhile, Morning/Dawnstar would be Lawful Neutral, since while she does save the day and all that, she does it for her own personal gain rather than any desire to do the right thing
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Re: I Need your help

Post by Buster »

morning star was a typo.
Buster wrote:Problem is, I have no title, and no major antagonist. actually I don't have any antagonists, just a main character and a supporting cast of about 12, all but two of whom (Dawn Star, a fellow Super, ...
Buster wrote:Uh, roo, this is not a book. there is no 'done' there is just the next arc, and I have an outline for the first arc already. it's mostly character introductions and establishment padded out so it hopefully wont feel like exposition, with conflict between Hellfire and Dawn Star (as in the other hero) to keep things moving, since Hellfire's looking more like a serial arsonist than a hero at that point.
Buster wrote:Troublemakers started coming out of the woodwork, only to be met by the arrival of Morning Star. It's unclear whether she's a machine, or a living being in a suit, but she's efficient and has become the city's self-appointed protector, taking care of all of the big threats that pop up (not that there are that many).
Buster wrote:I can't say much without giving something i kinda want to keep under wraps away, but in simplest terms, while Dawn Star's actions show proper restraint and serve the greater good, as she intends, her goals are selfish and she breaks as many laws in the line of her 'duty' as hellfire does but the media and the public are on her side.
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Re: I Need your help

Post by Welsh Halfwit »

Reckon you have enough to be going along with, Buster, or is there any particular problems still needing gentle assistance?
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Re: I Need your help

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Had another idea for a title; Of Angels and Devils.

Dawn Star has great publicity and is seen as a great hero, what one expects of an angel, yet is willing to break the law for her own merits.

Hellfire has bad publicity and is brutal in his methods, what one expects of someone evil or a demon, yet what he does is ultimately for the greater good.

Kind of makes you question who's the real good or bad.

Helps that the typo name, Morning Star, is the translated name for one of the more famous angels of light; Lucifer. Regarding Gymball, there is a description for a warrior class of angel; archangels. The whole thing could be a reverse of the standard perception of "light vs. dark."


Or is this too much?
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Legotron123
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Re: I Need your help

Post by Legotron123 »

So uh, you didn't respond to my story ideas. Was there something wrong with them, or did you just forget?
I am so tired of the people I look up to turning out to be jerks.

You ever realize that the two longest pieces of literature in existence are both fanfics? Weird right?

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Buster
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Re: I Need your help

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Actually rocky I kinda liked your earlier suggestion of "Flame of Tartarus", though the messing with the audience's perceptions of heroes and villains was a thing I was going to do already... (among other things. traditional color schemes and designs get flipped on their heads too. Star and HF's designs are all jagged angles, dark muddy colors and glowing eyes. while Striker, 7, and Archer, (IE; the actual villains. thanks for everyone's help with some of them BTW) have clean stylized looks, and striker is mostly cobalt blue silver and white, while archer is green and gold, and 7 has seven different variations (it will make sense in context, trust me) on the classic Red & Blue.)

Also sorry for ignoring you lego, i was in a hurry when i made that last post and only really focused on the one thing. as to the ideas, i might use parts of em but i don't really need em, i'm pretty much ready to move on to designing the site now. thanks though.
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Legotron123
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Re: I Need your help

Post by Legotron123 »

One thing I think would make binge reading your comic a lot easier (though that won't become a problem for a while) is the ability for readers to "tab" whatever comic they're currently on. Then when they come back, they can press a button to go straight back to that comic, and pick up where they left off. It's a lot easier than memorizing whatever page you're currently on, or having to add it to your favorites so you don't lose it.
Like I said, binging your comic won't become a problem for a while, but it's still something to take into account
I am so tired of the people I look up to turning out to be jerks.

You ever realize that the two longest pieces of literature in existence are both fanfics? Weird right?

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Buster
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Re: I Need your help

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Smackjeeves already has a plugin for that. i haven't learned how to enable it yet though.
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Re: I Need your help

Post by Legotron123 »

Ah well. Don't forget to tell us when it gets started. Also, if you ever need ideas for characters or storylines, feel free to send me a PM.
I am so tired of the people I look up to turning out to be jerks.

You ever realize that the two longest pieces of literature in existence are both fanfics? Weird right?

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Re: I Need your help

Post by Buster »

so while i'm here, may as well get your opinions on a few concept bits.
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Re: I Need your help

Post by D-Rock »

Does he always look like that or is that how he appears only while activating his powers? Either way, I really like it. Loving the use of purple. Will his flames carry that color?
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