Read Alikes – RPGs

I belong to a Dungeons & Dragons Adventurers League which provides sanctioned stories for new and experienced players. For anyone interested in learning more about Role Playing Games (RPG), I highly suggest you check to see if there is a league in your area here.

One reasons I love RPGs is the escapism and storytelling mechanics. Comics also tell amazing stories, and anyway to combine the two is great (see the picture from our latest dungeon below where we swapped out minifigures for Marvel standups!).

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There are many great comics to satiate all your RPG desires from the fantasy world of D&D, to Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the world of Grimm Fairy Tales.

 I Kill Giantsi kill giants
Written by: Joe Kelly
Illustrated by: J.M. Ken Niimura
Published by: Image Comics
Ages: Teen +
File under: Fantasy

I Kill Giants follows pre-teen Barbara Thorson, a girl struggling to handle the terrifying aspects of reality by escaping to a role-playing, Dungeons & Dragons-like game. As Barbara escapes deeper into her fantasy world, that world becomes reality. She sees omens that Titans are coming to invade her coastal town. Her friendships in her gaming group, at school, and with the adults in her life continue to break down, while all Barbara can think about is saving the world. A lot of people play RPGs to escape the issues they face in everyday life; it is the reason many people play. However, I Kill Giants is a cautionary tale about the line between fantasy and reality, the ability to understand that the story is not real, that, as a player, you can disregard the implausibility of the story. In children, the balance of fantasy and reality can be difficult to achieve, especially when peppered with real-life drama.

Rat Queensrat queens
Written by: Kurtis J. Wiebe
Illustrated by: Roc Upchurch, Stjepan Sejic
Published by: Image Comics
Ages: Adult
File under: Fantasy

Basically, Rat Queens is a story about a party of D&D characters populated with rambunctious women. You’ve got the best combination of characters for an amazing campaign: an elven mage, a dwarven warrior, a human cleric and a Halfling thief. They battle evil assassins, try to find corruption, work with, and against other parties, all while thoroughly enjoying themselves. Something really awesome about RPGs is that, while your character has certain constraints based on their race, class, and alignment, the player’s personality and experiences always seep through into the character. Wiebe has created D&D character sheets for each of his Rat Queens and it really wonderful to see swearing, sex-having, raiding and pillaging ladies on the pages of comic books.

fablesFables
Written by: Bill Willingham
Illustrated by: Mark Buckingham
Published by: Image Comics
Ages: Adult
File under: Fantasy, Folklore

Some RPGs are built off of pre-existing worlds including Firefly, Star Wars, and even a James Bond 007 (yes, you too can be Bond!). These systems have their pros and cons, you are constrained to specific characters and must work within their world, but it also opens up the possibility of exploring new outcomes for beloved characters. Fables is a comic that does just that, it re-imagines characters from traditional folklore and fairy tales and puts them in a modern day New York City where they had to hide their existence from the “mundies,” non-magical humans. Over the decade-long run of Fables, you’ll read your favorite characters doing uncharacteristic things, discovering new elements of their stories, and learn something new about how characters react in foreign situations.

Axe CopAxe Cop
Written by: Malachai Nicolle
Illustrated by: Ethan Nicolle
Published by: Dark Horse Comics
Ages: Teen+
File under: Humorous, Crime

Axe Cop’s premise seems like something straight out of a late-night character build; a cop named Axe Cop, simply because he wields an axe, and his friends Leaf Man, Best Fairy Ever, and Bat Warthog Man battle aliens, zombies and robots. Many RPG systems are very open world, their rules focus more on mechanics and less on strict foes, locations, and equipment, (such as Fiasco and GURPS,Generic Universal RolePlaying System). And, if Axe Cop seems too goofy to be true, it is important to remember that the author is Malachai Nicolle, 5 years old when Axe Cop began, and Ethan Nicolle, his then-29-year-old brother. One of the more charming aspects of Axe Cop is its meandering tale. Just when you thought it couldn’t get any crazier, the imaginative mind of a child throws you for a loop. Get ready to suspend your disbelief, because Axe Cop will be sure to stretch your imagination further than you thought possible.

birthrightBirthright
Written by: Joshua williamson
Illustrated by: Andrei Bressan & Adriano Lucas
Published by: Image Skybound
Ages: Adult
File under: Fantasy

RPGs are filled with characters who work tirelessly to complete their destinies. What happens when your destiny involves being kidnapped as a child to be taken away to another world to defeat an evil overlord? And what happens when you return home, only to discover that you’ve aged over a dozen years, and the family left behind has been looking for you for one year? For Mikey Rhodes, life took a turn for adventure when he was whisked away to Terrenos as the chosen hero to defend the world from a great evil. When he returns to earth discovering his family hasn’t aged, Mikey musts come to terms with completing his Terrenos mission, while reconnecting with his family, who still views him as a their young son and brother. If you like when fantasy seeps into the “real world”, Birthright is a the perfect combination of real-world family drama and fantasy character interacting to reconcile their two worlds.

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