I spoke with a good friend recently and he gave some tough love in the form of constructive criticism about “The Ronin“. In discussing T-shirt designs for my upcoming Kickstarter campaign, he said these words: “What sets it apart from everything else we’ve seen in this genre?” I came back with some details about the story that I feel make it an epic, and then my friend (let’s call him D) followed up with this zinger: “My only interest in the story so far is in supporting your work.”
It felt kind of like this.
That one hurt. Now I know that D wasn’t saying this to hurt me, he was saying it to help me. At the time all that I could muster was a pretty pitiful: “Well, I appreciate that.”
I’m pretty sure that I made this face too.
The point of all this is that D woke me up. In an effort to protect some of the juicier elements of the story, I haven’t done a good job of explaining what makes it different or makes it so amazing! Now at this point I have two options: I can type up a super long post detailing what I think is so great about “The Ronin” and the story, or I can show you in our work. I am choosing to show you why this story is so amazing by making each and every issue the best that it can be, but I am also making a change in how I present it starting right now.
In the Beginning
I absolutely LOVE stories of change, growth, and/or redemption. There is nothing like watching a character change in front of your eyes and “The Ronin” has two amazing characters that evolve and morph as the years pass. The first is the Ronin character himself whom I think is the ultimate bad guy character. Whether it’s theft, murder, sexual assault, arson, or just plain menacing, the Ronin does what he wants, when he wants, and how he wants with little resistance and seemingly zero consequences. There is absolutely no remorse and nothing particularly redeeming about him when the story begins.
Now even if you are one of those people that enjoys rooting for the bad guy, at some point it gets a little boring. “If this guy is so big and bad” you might be thinking, “what’s the point of just reading about a guy kicking butt and taking names?” Because something changes in the Ronin that causes him to see and to do things differently. Remember, this guy is like a 12th century Darth Vader and there’s no Luke in sight, so you’re probably wondering what could possibly happen to change a character like this? Well, you’ll have to read the book. Just know that something happens that gives him pause and sets our “villain”on a different path. Neither the Ronin character or the reader know exactly where this path will lead, but it’s a heck of a journey!
A 12th Century Darth Vader. Who knew?
The second character that we see grow and change throughout the book is a victim of the Ronin that seeks revenge. Now before you classify this with every B movie on Netflix, let me just say that this is not your typical avenger. This person’s life is full of pain and sorrow, and he becomes single-minded in his quest to kill the Ronin. At this point things sound pretty straightforward, right? Wrong! This is just the beginning.
They say that life is a journey. There are millions of cliches, stories, song, films, and yes comics about “the journey” but this story really is about two men on a collision course, and how they each change and grow in different ways. If you recall from my Game Plan post, “the narrative is presented out of sequence, structured around… distinct but interrelated storylines” so you’ll read about characters and events that may seem unrelated, but play an important role in the overall story. Each piece of the journey is revealed through different short stories that all culminate in one outstanding climax.
“The Ronin” is an epic in every way. I hope that this explains a bit more about the story itself without giving it all away. Does it sound like something you’d be in to? I hope so. Thank you for reading. Stay Vigilant!