PAUL BENJAMIN: Writer, Editor, Supermodel

Marvel Heroes – The Story So Far

I talk a lot in my blog about my life as a U.S. Foreign Service spouse living in Uzbekistan. I don’t tend to write a lot about my career in comics and video games. That’s because half the time I’m not allowed to talk about the things I’m working on. You see, most entertainment project contracts include some form of non-disclosure agreement. Whether the project is a big deal or a small one, the publisher likes to maintain control over what information is released when. In today’s Internet culture where a film that costs 100+ million dollars can be spoiled by anybody who sneaks a cell phone onto the set, it’s an understandable concern.
That said, I thought it would be fun to talk a little about a recent project. It’s called Marvel Heroes and it’s the upcoming MMO (Massively Multiplayer Online) based on the Marvel Comics characters. I wrote in-game voice over dialog for some of the heroes and/or villians appearing in the game.
That’s just about all I can say. See what I mean? That doesn’t make for much of a blog entry. However, even though I don’t know when the game will be released, can’t answer any questions, and won’t speculate based on what I do know, I can still tell you about what’s been officially announced.
So far, a few of the game’s characters have been made public, along with their character designs.
Here are two of Marvel’s most fun-filled characters, both of whom I’ve written on previous projects. I’ve done Spidey here and there in comics and games. Deadpool, the “merc with a mouth” is Spidey’s equal in the smart-mouth category. I wrote his lines in a Wolverine video game. These guys are a blast to write because they say all the sarcastic things I’d think but never actually let slip in a polite conversation. I guess if you’re wearing a mask you can get away with it. Having super powers probably helps.
Here’s one of my favorite comics characters of all time. Ben Grimm, aka the Thing is a rough-around-the-edges blue collar type despite years of living in what is probably the most expensive real estate in Manhattan. Writing a fight between this Fantastic Four strongman and the Incredible Hulk was a highlight in my career.
This next guy, the one with the white hair, robot arm and big gun is Cable. I don’t think I’ve ever written Cable, though I may have written about him back when I worked on the Wolverine Encyclopedia. In a genre where character backstories can get complicated, Cable’s history should win a prize for being the most tangled web. You seriously need a flowchart for this one. Here’s a taste: Cyclops of the X-Men married Madelyne Pryor who looked just like his (at the time) dead ex-girlfriend Jean Grey, aka Phoenix. Madelyn and Cyclops had a baby named Nathan who got infected with a virus that was turning him into a robot. To save Nathan, they sent him into the future with a stranger who claimed she could cure him.
In the future, Nathan’s saviors used some of his as-yet-uninfected flesh to clone him so that there would be a version of him without the virus. That clone was kidnapped by bad guys and grew up to be a villain called Stryfe. Nathan was raised by a couple called Slym and Redd. He didn’t know it, but Slym was actually the mind of Cyclops projected into a different body in the future so that he could raise his son. Redd was Jean Grey, now back to life and spending time with Cyclops after his wife turned into a super-villain and died. Nathan grew up and became Cable: a freedom fighter in the future, battling his clone Stryfe and assorted threats. Once he was old enough to have white hair, presumably older than Cyclops in the “present day” of Marvel comics, Cable travelled back in time and started hanging out with the X-Men, including Cyclops, his dad, now younger than Cable himself.
Seriously. I couldn’t make this stuff up. Okay, actually, I can. And do. And get paid for it. Which is pretty damned awesome.
As the Marvel Heroes MMO team reveals new character art, they’ve started with silhouettes of the characters to tease the audience before revealing the actual designs. This is a perfect example of what designers call the “silhouette test.” Basically, if you want to design a unique, easily-identifiable character, you should be able to figure out who you’re looking at just by seeing their outline in shadow. Here’s Canada’s most prominent hero, Wolverine.
Pretty obvious, eh?
I’ve never written Marvel’s version of Thor, but my own version of him announces high school sports games in my Pantheon High manga graphic novels. Still, even when it’s just an outilne, you can’t miss the Norse god of thunder!
And finally, America’s super soldier, Captain America. I’ve been enjoying watching the movie in English and in Russian to practice my language skills.
So, turns out I have a lot to say about comics and video games, even when I’m not yet at liberty to reveal any details.
In the meantime, if you want to follow news about the game as the latest details are released, click on this link:
Or go here, to the home of the game’s developer, Gazillion Entertainment:

Leave a reply