Interview - The Great Comics Adventure Kickstarter

by Héctor A on October 10, 2016

Rian Heist is a board game creator and comic book fan. Over the past 2 year he's taken to Kickstarter to finance seven different games. I talked to him about his latest, Golden Age-inspired project, the Great Comics Adventure.

What's the Great Comics Adventure?
The Great Comics Adventure is a game that I've been working for a little over two years. A game that celebrates historical characters from Comic Book history--that is designed to be easy to play for all types of tabletop gamers. With my past games I tended to have complex rule-sets and I really wanted to make a game that kids could play as well as adults, giving them introductions to the characters from the Golden Age of comics—most of them characters they never heard of.

How did you start creating board games?

My Kickstarter story goes back quiet awhile—most of my previous campaign experience was for local ideas and events. I even tried to Kickstart a Bacon Museum! However with a graphic design background I thought it best to try something that fitted my expertise. It all started when I first created a tabletop Game called Crisis Averted. It was a social game where players would use their knowledge of super heroes and pop culture to find the best solution to crimes and disasters. However the idea was very simple and the players really needed to rely on their imagination to get the most out of the game, also the goal was rather large and we were not successful. I did not give up though. I created Reclaim Oz shortly after which was funded in less than 48 hours, I consider that game my true introduction to creating board games. Since then I have had seven games released and funded with the help of the Kickstarter Community.

A lot of readers aren't all that familiar with Golden Age comics, what was your introduction to the era? 

I have read comics ever since I was a little kid, but I did not have any previous knowledge of Classic Comics apart from characters that are still very active today, like Blue Beetle and Captain Marvel. My expanded introduction to the Golden Age was actually through a visit to a Comic Book convention in Michigan, the Grand Rapids Comic Con. I was going from vendor to vendor and one comic really stood out, it was Tom Strong #11 featuring Doc Strange. The was about the time I was reading Afterlife with Archie and something just clicked. I started doing a lot of research into Pulps, Science Fiction Magazines, Classic Comics, and I realized that these characters would be perfect for a tabletop game. 

What makes those books important?
We can trace the Golden Age to 1938 with the launch of Superman—which is the most important character in all of Comic Book history, right? Well he was always second in sales to another hero—Captain Marvel. The Golden Age solidified Comic Books as an actual way to tell stories—away from the daily newspaper comics. It established the medium and without that foundation we wouldn’t have Comics the way we do today. They were created during a a very dark time in history, World War II, and people needed heroes that could do more and take on bigger enemies—they needed hope. A lot of kids during that time were given hope through the characters featured in the Great Comics Adventure. 

I'm really intrigued by the geographical aspect of the game, what went into that? 
When I created the game I looked at popular destinations for families during the late 1930’s and 40’s and started picking cities based off of that. Where people visited and vacationed, where kids would take the comics with them sitting in the backseat of a Willys Jeep Station Wagon. I wanted to get as authentic with the locations as I did with the characters and cards. When creating the post-card style cards used in the game I even went back through the Public Government archives to use stamps from the era. 

Were there any comics set in Salt Lake City back in the 40s?
I don’t think so. In the Golden Age it was more common to see heroes overseas than anything else. When at home, it was always just a small nameless town where a handful of people seemed to live all reading the paper about the hero that in reality is their pharmacist. There is a lot of humor in the comics from this era, which is something we don’t see a lot anymore unless you read The Goon or Tiger Lawyer. I wanted to capture the hope and humor of the 1940’s in the game and I think I was able to accomplish that. 




There's a companion book that you've released in Amazon, how did you choose which comics to compile in Great Comics Adventure #1?
I chose the characters that can give readers the best overall experience of Golden Age comics, they all have a very different tone than modern comics—the characters in the book definitely convey an image that shows the variety those comics had. In the comic I have the Black Terror, Captain Triumph, Miss Masque, and Atomic Mouse. We are hosting a giveaway on Amazon for a free digital copy of the comic until October 23rd, all you need to do to enter is visit the link and send out a tweet.

Have you considered contributing to the Hero Initiative or a similar organization?
I think that the Hero Initiative is a great organization to help creators when they need it the most. I will be purchasing all my convention tickets through the Hero Initiative to help contribute to their organization If any of you are planning on making a trip to a Wizard World Convention this year or next, please follow this link to get your tickets a percentage of the proceeds will help the Hero Initiative. We have had three games funded this year, I would like to say that I could help even more if we continue to grow as a company going into 2017.

Where can people find you online?
All of my games are sold exclusively through the Game Crafter which can be found here. If you would like to reach out to me personally your best bet is on my Facebook page for The Liquid Gamer Podcast, it is a quick way to get a message to me with any questions you may have about the Great Comics Adventure. Another way is through Twitter @WestAries I tend to check it every hour or so. I am available most of the time though all of those different channels, unless I am playing with my kids.



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