RPS: A Larping Comic
If you’re anything like me you love comics. But, why do we love comics? Is it because they contain stories about fantastical heroes and beautiful damsels in distress? Or maybe it’s because we like to see villains nearly destroy everything we hold dearly, only to have someone thwart his plan? I don’t think so. I think that’s what draws us in, but what keeps us coming back is what comics have to say about our day to day lives. In a small, but effective way, comics are often a commentary on life: the need for a hero, the struggles of life, overcoming obstacles and winning the girl/guy/half-ogre that you have a secret crush on. And that’s just what Role Playing Saturdays does. It’s a larping comic that comments on issues within games, people and the culture itself. And since it’s called Role Playing Saturdays we thought it would be fitting to give you a special weekend treat and post it on Saturdays. We had a chance to shoot a few questions over to the creator, Stephen Hawkins, to find out a little about the his heart and mind for the comic.
Can you give us a summary or overview for those unfamiliar with the comic?
Stephen Hawkins: RPS is a (usually) three-panel comic strips that follows the theatrical LARP called “Role-Play Saturdays” and the eccentric LARPing enthusiast called Hat. Through his wacky pursuits, Hat’s primary goal is to roleplay in a LARP setting unimpeded, though it is regularly interrupted by a growing cast of eccentric characters.
Where did the idea for the comic come from?
Stephen Hawkins: RPS started as a series of sketched ideas in a sketchbook. Through years of searching for a webcomic that could speak for the LARPing community like Penny Arcade did for the video gaming community, I got more and more frustrated that there wasn’t something out there that made jokes about the annoying peccadilloes, colorful personalities, and simple joy that can be found in this beautiful past time. I have said a few times that I honestly wish someone more talented was making a comic to fill this role, but living in a world without it filled at all was just getting unbearable.
What’s the story in RPS? Can you sum it up and bring people up to speed?
Stephen Hawkins: Well, there is a bit of a story going on, though it’s not the main focus. So far, the main story line is moved by the secondary character, God the Ferret. I often consider renaming him, but I like the idea that Hat presumes his pet ferret with godlike abilities is probably a good guy. Odd circumstances surround Hat and his buddies, often seemingly connected to God the Ferret. Lines being drawn, though few seem to notice. I don’t know if I’ll ever even culminate it, it’s just more interesting to write the comic for me if the characters are in a persistent world.
What are some of the bigger issues you’ve covered?
Stephen Hawkins: Most of the issues I cover refer to the odd quirks I have personally seen in LARPing communities over the decade I have been LARPing. I have been a part of quite a few of these communities.
|Most involving Troy will relate to issues of “power gaming”.|
|Similarly, Cale is my pet “rules lawyer”.|
|I often try to use characters like them to explain why a ST may have to make a call someone doesn’t like, like in this one.|
What are your most popular comics?
Stephen Hawkins: Unfortunately I haven’t gotten a large amount of feedback from my reader base (they aren’t very huge anyways), so I don’t know much of which ones are liked the best. Although I got a bit of positive noise about the small story arc that begins: here and ends here.
Most comments I get are “lol, totally” which I love. I am definitely trying to have these circumstances be familiar.
What are your favorite comics?
Stephen Hawkins: As for my personal favorites, I like this one because of just how perfectly it encapsulates that character. It still feels pretty funny to me when I reread it. I am pretty fond of this one because it just has so much in it, from fun drawing, visual gags, genre savvy characters, background gags and exploration of frustrations LARPers can experience. I am a fan of “clusterfuck” jokes (“train wreck” jokes if you will) where a lot of stuff seems to be going on at once.
Any last words?
Stephen Hawkins: Throughout everything it takes to make this comic, though, I genuinely love making RPS. It’s fun to write the characters, I am often surprised by my own jokes, and… well, sometimes something needs to be said, for the good of the community.