Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Initivative: Superhero RPG Appendix N Blog Challenge

I've got to hand it to my good friend WQRobb of Graphs, Paper, and Games. Not only did he follow up my recent post with a doozy of his own, but in the comments section of his entry, he came up with an idea for another post that frankly, I'd love to see everyone who is into Superhero gaming do.

WQRobb asks, (an excerpt from his comment) "Is there a way to communicate what you are trying to do? Sort of an "Appendix N" of Superhero gaming?"

"There's a blog post idea...", he suggests. It's a great suggestion. Actually, it's a challenge.


The Initiative: Superhero RPG Appendix N Blog Challenge

I challenge you, the Superhero RPG GM, and/or player, to list between 5 and 10 Superhero comic books, and 5 to 10 Superhero live action or animated shows or films, that typify your style of Superhero RPG campaign.

Minimum is 5. Maximum is 10. This means you have to really think about the ones that best embody the type of Supers gaming you prefer. Who's up for the challenge?

I'll start!

Barking Alien's Superhero RPG Appendix N:

Superhero Comic Books (Including series, collections and graphic novels):

Astro City - Especially Confession, Local Heroes and Shining Stars
(Various publishers, Currently DC Comics, 1995-Present) By Kurt Busiek, Brent Anderson, and Alex Ross
Green Lantern (DC Comics, 1970-1987) By Various - Not always a continuous series
Justice (DC Comics, 2005-2007), By Alex Ross, Jim Krueger and Doug Braithwaite
Marvels (Marvel Comics, 1994) By Kurt Busiek and Alex Ross
The All-Star Squadron (DC Comics, 1981-1985) By Roy Thomas, and Various
The Avengers (Marvel Comics, 1970-1979) By Various
The Legion of Superheroes (DC Comics, 1974-1989) Paul Levitz era primarily
The New Frontier (DC Comics, 2004) by Darwyn Cooke*
The New Teen Titans (DC Comics, 1980-1984) By Marv Wolfman and George Perez
The X-Men (Marvel Comics, 1975-1980) By Len Wein, Dave Cockrum, Chris Claremont and John Byrne.

Superhero Non-Comic Book Media (Including films, animated TV series, games, etc.):

Batman: The Animated Series (Warner Bros., 1992-1995), Animated TV series
City of Heroes (NCSoft, 2004-2012) MMORPG By Cryptic Studios
Justice League/Justice League Unlimited (Warner Bros., 2001-2006) Animated TV series
Superman/Superman II (Warner Bros., 1978 & 1980) By Mario Puzo/Richard Donner
Superman: The Animated Series (Warner Bros., 1996-2000) Animated TV series
Teen Titans (Warner Bros., 2003-2006) Animated TV series
The Greatest American Hero (ABC Television, 1981-1983) By Stephen J. Cannell
The Incredibles (Pixar, 2004) By Brad Bird - Best Superhero Film Ever Made
Villains & Vigilantes (Fantasy Games Unlimited, 1979, 1982) RPG by Jeff Dee and Jack Herman

I'm a little short of 10 for the non-comic book, comic book Superhero media list because, quite frankly, I don't feel there were ever that many films, movies and games that got it exactly right.

Now bare in mind, I am not talking about getting Superheroes in general right. No, no. Avengers, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Iron Man, the Champions RPG, etc., are all awesome examples of the genre.

This is the Appendix N for the type of game I want to run, the type of Superhero themes, settings and styles I am trying to emulate.

I loved Watchmen, The Dark Knight Returns, the (early) Wild Card anthology novels, and of course, DC's Kingdom Come (perhaps my favorite, all-time Superhero story). However, those deconstructed tales of what's wrong with the concept of Superheroes in a post-modern world are not the kinds of stories I am looking to tell right now.

Think I overlooked something? Disagree with one of my picks? I would love to see yours!

Up, up and away,

Barking Alien

*There is also an animated film version of New Frontier. I highly recommend it.


  1. Challenge accepted! (And thanks fora all the bloglove there...)


    2. Awesome! We have a lot of likes in common.

  2. I am working on a superhero post myself but I may have to do a version of this myself. Very nice, and I'd play in that game!

    1. I'd love to have you there! Looking forward to seeing your list.

  3. Since I don’ have a blog (and it would be in Spanish, anyway), I’ll answer here. First, I have to say that I have never been an avid comic reader and, in fact, I started buying them quite late, already in my 20s. That shows a lot in my answers. Also, keep in mind that it shows my “ideal” superhero references, not those of my current campaign (which had a lot of input from my players in terms of thematic inspirations, including several comics I know about but I haven’t read).


    The Ultimates, vol. 1 & 2: The best I have read, period.

    Ultimate Spiderman: by Bendis and. It is not casual that the team had the longest run in Marvel’s history.

    Freak’s Squeele: A French pseudo-manga. Not really a superhero comic, but it is all about superheroes.

    X-Men: I really dig the concept and the characters, although I usually find the actual comics somewhat underwhelming.

    Fantastic Four: Just the opposite, I don’t find the idea or the characters that appealing, but having Reed Richards in a comic is usually a sign that something interesting is going to happen.

    Dr. Strange: The only silver/bronze age comic that I have really enjoyed. The weirdness Dikto put into it caught my eye.


    X-Men & X-Men 2: They are almost a two-part movie, and the second is probably the coolest superhero film yet (The Dark Knight is a better movie, but not a superhero movie).

    X-Men Legends: Videogame. As I said, I like better the X-Men in other media that comic.

    Young Justice: Animated show.

    Superman Returns: It is a boring movie, but the first scene is what superheroes are all about.

    Freedom City Universe: RPG setting. When I read about the characters, I often think “I would like to read that comic!”

    1. While we definitely differ slightly in theme, you bring up an important distinction in style when developing a campaign.

      All of my previous campaigns have been heavily influenced by the players and PCs. In the early years, this meant my ideal game, and the game I was running, matched perfectly. We all read essentially the same comics and were roughly the same age.

      More recent times have seen a greater mix of influences and styles, and I've tried my best to merge these together into something enjoyable to everyone.

      Now, I face a group with fewer shared references, and even less overall familiarity of the genre. At the same time, I feel a greater personal desire to go old school and run my 'ideal' type of Superhero game.

  4. One day I still hope to GM a superhero game inspired by: Jack Kirby's Fantastic Four and Fouth World Saga, Madman, The Tick, Freakazoid!, Chapolin (a mexican superhero parody TV show), Alan Moore's Top Ten and Tom Strong, the PC game Freedom Force, mexican masked wrestler movies and japanese tokusatsu. In my mind, it would be awesome! Maybe one day.

  5. This is a terrific idea and I was happy to jump in on it.

    1. Do you have a link to your site Theron or the site's name?

  6. Terra Obscura (Tom Strong series)
    Top Ten
    Cosmic Odyssey
    Squadron Supreme 12 issue series
    Legion of Superheroes (Great Darkness era or LSV Baxter series era)

    DC Heroes MEGS
    The Incredibles
    The Watchmen movie
    Armageddon movie (Think about it. Comic book characters saving the world.)

  7. My contribution:

    Thanks, it was a fun subject to think about.