I need to review my documentation...

*New column today. In commemoration of the oncoming arrival of “DC Infinite Countdown to New Year’s Rocking Crisis”, I decided to talk about minicomics. Please take this column home with you and feed it fresh water and sunshine.

*I lied a bit yesterday. I actually got three books, but I only had to pay for two of them. My shop gave me a copy of the comic-sized “The Matrix Online: The Official Magazine” #1, which was released directly by Warner Brothers (not DC, although there's an ad for the recent "Hellblazer" book "All His Engines"). Why did such a thing catch my eye, non-online gamer that I am? Interview with Paul Chadwick, of course. It’s great when the market decides to serve my current interests.

In case you didn’t know, “The Matrix Online” is the latest in a long line of time-devouring narcotic alternatives that will ruin you through your computer screen. In this one, you get to design yourself a Matrix-like character and wander around in latex fighting and talking to people and visiting places. Chadwick is the lead writer for the ongoing plot of the game, which will apparently include a whole bunch of scripted events occurring through the first year of the game’s life. Chadwick (whose interview is a very short two pages) notes that the first year will even have an overarching theme running through all events: the things people do to break peace down. There will be large mysteries to solve, and certain players will even find themselves inserted into later game-wide cut-scenes should they accomplish the correct goal at the correct time. Chadwick promises a dense overall plot, with all sorts of threads and side-stories and the like.

Really, it’s fascinating hearing him hype this game in this way, with only the slightest mention of his comics work in the introduction to the interview. The magazine as a whole is packed with profiles of beta testers, all of them identified only by their online names and game avatars. All of these people will come to know Chadwick through this game, as a controller of this fantasy community, and I suspect the vast majority will have never heard of “Concrete” or anything. But here his creations will be instantly mixed into the workings of the fans, instantly responded to, a world growing away from his control, he the god only providing sparks of presence and guiding everyone as per his Plan. Very different from comics, with such high creator control, or movies, with such constant flux and uncertainty, at least for the storyboard artist or production manager. Here, the story is fixed (well, I‘m certain the Wachowskis are working with him too), unwavering, but the meat must be provided by others from a thousand perspectives. To think like a writer in such a position, especially a writer you know from a different art form…

I imagine the money is a bit better than comics too.

*Out of time. Much driving ahead.