It’s inevitable. Your dreams grab you by the wrist and you wind up getting suckered into art school and wondering what you’re going to do with your life. It’s especially bad when you realize the competition is already running circles around you and basically has you by the bolt. That, at least, that was my reality sometime back in 2003. Yes. I am THAT old. And so is The Rogues. Eh, sorta…
It was some time in 2004 I had the chance to go to E3 as a student. Keep in mind that during that time, E3 was HUGE. And for a whelp like myself, it was an overload to the senses that kept me buzzing for months afterward. But there was one thing from that time that stuck with me to this day…During those 4 days, my friends and I found SNK had a booth there. As to why, we had no idea: SNK hadn’t made anything (technically) new for some time. But they had tons of swag and all their arcade machines were there for free play. So, during our downtime, my friends and I beat all the Metal Slug games they had out at the time. Yyyyeah. I remember being pretty out of it by the time we got around to 5. Regardless, the onslaught of massive death machines, mechs and bullets left a dent in my head like mortar shrapnel to a G.I.’s helmet. And that’s when things began to slowly click.
There were other inspirations that would come later, like Advanced Wars, Full Metal Panic and the 2004 Teen Titans series (oddly enough), but that stint at E3 sowed the seeds for something that would haunt my ass for years to come.
So back to our little origin story. During school, I continued to wander without any real direction in regards to what I wanted to do. The school pressured us heavily with 3d animation because that’s where the money was. Problem was, I really wasn’t any good at it. I could animate in just about any medium, but in regards to the technical side of things, I was helpless. And for whatever reason, I couldn’t model anything decent to save my life. Things were kinda bleak at that point and I really just wanted to be left alone to work on drawing.
That’s around the time when I started keeping a sketch book with me. When I finished it up, I got another. And another. And another. Eventually, I started swapping sketchbooks with other students and ideas began to flow. As I found my niche with character design, I realized how bad I wanted to start doing stuff for The Rogues, but there were a few hurdles:
First off, there was no main character. None of the Rogues stood out at the time and it was more of a team with very little in regards to a proper antagonist or back story. This lead to a more comedic concept, focusing on antics instead of plot. It wasn’t until Leuki came into the story (originally inspired by Teen Titan’s Starfire) that Ghost (a.k.a. Rayde) found a purpose as her rescuer and body guard. That’s when the makings of a story began to emerge.
My second hurdle at the time was I that couldn’t draw mechs. I couldn’t really draw vehicles either, but mechs were very vital to my story, because… er… honestly, I just like mechs. In any case, training my brain to break down a complicated machine to basic shapes and back again was aggrivating. Also coming up with designs I could manage to draw over and over again required me to hone my design skills even further. needless to say, I had one hell of a challenge in front of me. One I’m still tackling to this day…