Today, I want to show a piece of art from a sketch to the finished piece. This time, it’s the cover art for The Legend of Jamie Roberts, volume 2. (It’s still on Crowdfundr, by the way! Get a pre-order of the book while you can.)
Here’s the initial sketch that I drew in 2015…
Here’s a redraw of the same sketch, drawn in 2020…
Here is final art I made for the cover art of Volume 2…
Are you a Fan Club member already? Then you’ll get a Punk Rock Thomas sticker added to your rewards bundle! If your rewards are digital-only, you’ll get him as a phone wallpaper.
If we can get to 15 backers, I’ll add the Punk Rock Jamie sticker to folks who order physical copies of volume 2!
If we can get to 20 backers, I’ll add Ranki stickers for folks who order physical copies of volume 2! (Be prepared for Ranki to be a little ~steamy~ by Ko-fi standards, wink wink).
At 25 backers, I’ll add a Punk Rock Daniel sticker to bundles!
The campaign is only two-thirds of the way to our base goal. So if you have the means, back the campaign and order your books today! Any amount, from $2 to $200, helps us reach these stretch goals. And if you’re broke, share the link! Sharing is caring and it helps a lot.
Point of Inspiration is a new series of posts where I share different sources of inspiration, and what they inspired in my work!
Today, let’s talk about Ganondorf from The Legend of Zelda.
First of all, his reveal for the Breath of the Wild sequel, Tears of the Kingdom, has me swooning. (And I’m not the only one.) I’m not shy to admit that I like some cake with a generous helping of BEEF.
Second, this villain is fascinating to me. He’s appeared in maybe half of all the Legend of Zelda games, but his appearance (nearly) every time is like a boogeyman coming out of banishment to antagonize the world at large – not just the main characters of Zelda and Link. It’s like he reappears to not only terrorize people; he also wants to claim a prize he thinks is rightfully his. (Usually the land of Hyrule).
I’m not going to bury the lead here – Ganondorf was a major point of inspiration for the antagonist of The Legend of Jamie Roberts, Ragun Ranki.
Like Ganondorf, Ranki is a) a redhead, and b) someone banished to another plane of existence for amassing too much power. And after a long time being banished away, he comes back to the world to cause chaos.
Here’s where things diverge a bit. For one thing, Ranki is a lot more…(how should I put this?)…flirtatious.
Don’t get me wrong, fan works exist to give this kind of air to Ganondorf, as well (looking at you, Tale of Two Rulers). But in the canon, Ganondorf isn’t nearly this persuasive and willing to flaunt that.
For another thing, Ranki has a family still alive in the story. We’re getting into spoilers here for the comic, so if you haven’t read The Legend of Jamie Roberts, go do that.
But in short, having Ranki’s relatives still alive in the story is going to complicate his goals. Only time will tell how they will react to each other if they cross paths again.
Of course, other ideas inspired Ragun Ranki (especially Ansem and Xemnas from Kingdom Hearts). But Ganondorf was the launching pad.
The other day, I got on Twitter, because I’m back on that platform for the fun of it. (Follow me for RPG content and hot takes). While scrolling, I spotted a Critical Role fanart piece. For folks not in the know, Critical Role is a show where nerdy voice actors sit around and play Dungeons & Dragons. In the fanart, The Dungeon Master sits at a table with miniatures scattered across it. The miniatures, of course, are the players’ characters.
One of the responses to this fanart said, “Hey! This is so good! Shout this out to Crit Role so they can use this into their intro sequence instead of using colonialism!”
Did that make you scratch your head? Here’s the missing piece:
Critical Role’s intro reel shows the cast in explorer costumes, poking around fantasy ruins. This is a callback to fiction like Edgar Rice Burroughs (Tarzan) and H. Rider Haggard (King Solomon’s Mines). You know…fiction where rich white explorers poke around “lost continents” (read: Africa and India) to search for treasure.
Burroughs and Haggard wrote in a time when this narrative was seen as “romantic” and “adventurous.” Nowadays, this isn’t as good – it’s seen as exploitative of the native people. (Because it is).
Thing is, this Twitter commenter got me thinking about my own comic, The Legend of Jamie Roberts. It’s about a genderqueer pirate and their two best friends treasure-hunting in a land full of dragons. This is true – but it also leaves out the Indigenous people I have in the story. Put a pin in that for a second.
One of the works that inspired this comic is the Dreamworks movie The Road to El Dorado. It’s no joke that this movie is a foundational piece of who I am as a person. A LOT of my humor and sensibilities stem from this movie. (And The Emperor’s New Groove, but that’s for a different time).
Here’s a secret about The Road to El Dorado, though…
When the movie came out, the ads declared that this movie would have a “respectful presentation” of Central American history. Why? Because the art and animation teams went on location to do research. So imagine the backlash the movie got when people watched it and said, “ah shit, of COURSE the Indigenous people think the two white guys are gods.”
Now, Breadsword on YouTube already did a fantastic video on the history behind The Road to El Dorado. So watch that for more context. But the reality is: The Road to El Dorado is a callback NOT to Indigenous Central Americans. It’s a callback to Bob Hope and Bing Crosby comedies. The Road to El Dorado’s twist was that not everyone believed the two protagonists were gods. But the doubters kept up the charade for the sake of the people.
When I rewatched this movie for roughly the 187th time, I thought, “What if white people came to a new land… and actually INTEGRATED instead of raiding?”
That’s how I started writing The Legend of Jamie Roberts. At least…one of the previous drafts.
Now, The Legend of Jamie Roberts DOES have three white people plotting to rob Indigenous people. I’m not going to sugarcoat that. They’re pirates, after all. So what’s my twist?
Well, in Chapter 6, Jamie Roberts is going to do something that has lasting consequences. And they destroy something. And for the rest of the story, they have to deal with the consequences of their actions… and the reactions of the Indigenous people.
In Chapters 7 and 8, the story is going to shift from “I’m seeking treasure” to “I’m seeking redemption.”
That’s right – I’m going to subvert the White Explorer narrative.
The trajectory of “I’m seeking redemption” has been at the core of the story since the start. It took several drafts and many years of writing to figure out WHY. But I’m confident in this final draft of the story.
I hope you stick with me. Because The Legend of Jamie Roberts is about to get REALLY juicy.