It's been tough getting back to posting.
An increase in the busy-ness of my business and personal life has really taken a toll on me. Not just in the form of less time to blog and such but I've simply been really tired. Me. Tired. It is a very bizarre feeling. I can't say I like it.
I realize that in my last post on the subject of Earth-N, my homebrewed alternate Earth setting for my upcoming DC Adventures RPG over Skype, I ended with a somewhat incomplete thought.
"Lastly, I wanted to include the 'darkness behind the light' used to great effect in the graphic novel The Golden Age and in the landmark DC series' Kingdom Come and Watchmen. I have described this world to friends and potential players as 'Brighter on it's surface, dirtier below it" then what most people think of when they think of DC Comics (pre-the current reboot)."
I should probably clarify what I mean.
There is a general belief, especially among fans of Marvel and various independent comics, that DC is a squeaky clean universe of 'Darns' and 'Hecks', where the male and female married characters sleep in separate beds and the good guys never lose.
It would seem likely that part of the purpose of the recent relaunch of DC Comics is an attempt to alter that perception. Unfortunately, changing the universe to be just like Marvel's is not only a bit boring (now I have a choice between Vanilla and Chocolate or Chocolate and Vanilla! Wow! How will I decide? Indeed. Why bother?), but it also seems to me a disservice to the unique feel that DC does/did have.
In the DC Universe, the heroes are, by and large, good. They save lives, fight fires, try to stop hurricanes and earthquakes and cap off the day taking down a costumed crook or two.
The people of the DC Universe love their superheroes. This isn't the X-Men, protecting a world that hate and fears you. This is a world with a Flash Museum, a monument to Superman in Centennial Park, Metropolis and Wonder Woman being given a key to the city and such. Superheroes are celebrity in the DC Universe to a level not normally seen in the comic book universes of their competitor(s).
While it happens from time to time in Marvel comics, DC comics often shows bystanders wearing superhero symbol t-shirts and there is an in universe Hard Rock Cafe'/Planet Hollywood style theme restaurant called Planet Krypton.
So built into a DC Comics setting, at least one trying hard to keep a traditional and classic DC Comics feel, is indeed the idea that people are generally good, good generally triumphs over evil, the common citizen is thankful for the fact that good triumphs over evil and will likely show their appreciation in the form of some mild hero worship.
Of course, that's the common man.
Those in positions of powers would likely get tired of feeling ineffective in battling the dangers that threaten it's citizenry before long and look for a way to gain control over the situation. Superheroes would be viewed as either allies (classic DC), a resource under the command of government and big business (Wildstorm) or a potential danger that needs to be contained or even eliminated (various - Kingdom Come has elements of this).
When thinking about Earth-N, I wanted a world that embraced the wild and wooly stories of DC's interregnum era between the Golden and Silver Ages and then bring that world into modern times. As a result, I started to think that government agencies would see some elements of superhuman activity as useful, even necessary while other parts would need to be reigned in.
We can't have Superman bringing weird alien beasts to Earth for the Zoo in his Fortress of Solitude any time he wants. That's crazy! They could be dangerous, carry extraterrestrial diseases, etc. If Atlantis is a sovereign country, it needs a chair in the United Nations...or a tub or tank or whatever. You probably shouldn't be superheroing without a license.
This further lead me to some ideas about the Department of Extranormal Operations and the Global Peace Agency as the well intentioned (for Earth and Humanity) United States and United Nations (respectively) metahuman law enforcement organizations trying very hard to hold closed the cartoon closet of superhuman activity that threatens to spill out into the hall way of reality and bury it in colorfully costumed boxes, sports equipment and other brik-a-brak.
While those are the well intentioned groups, there are those whose black ops approaches are far less savory and even these two have some skeletons hidden away (and I'm not referring to the D.E.O.'s Director Bones either).
The road to Earth-N gets a bit darker as we continue to drive it's less know backroads...