Interview: The man carrying the Mega Man legacy

We talk to Ian Flynn, author of the Mega Man comic book series from Archie Comics, about his thoughts on capturing the right tone, taking feedback, and carrying on the character's name.

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It may not seem like it now, but once upon a time Mega Man was a pretty big deal in gaming. He was a major part of Capcom's corporate identity, a beloved action platformer, and his fame resulted in several spin-offs. Recently, though, the character has fallen into disuse. Capcom's only two known projects, Mega Man Legends 3 and Mega Man Universe, were canceled last year. He still makes an embarrassing cameo from time to time, but Capcom seems uninterested in using the character right now.

But Mega Man actually is enjoying new stories in an entirely different medium. Archie Comics began the Mega Man comic series in 2011, making author Ian Flynn single-handedly responsible -- at least for the time being -- for writing new material with the mascot.

By all accounts, Flynn is doing a fine job capturing the cheerful, light-hearted nature of the classic series. "It can be a tricky balancing act," Flynn told Shacknews. "The Classic Series is known for being one of the brighter, happier, simpler versions. At the same time, the threats in the stories need to feel real or otherwise what's the point? I've tried to approach it in the mindset of the Saturday morning cartoons I grew up with. Keep it fun, keep it simple, and make it real to the characters while keeping myself objective about it."

The story so far has followed a loose framework from some of the early games. He says he started by making notes on the stories of all ten games, and mapping out plot points to sprinkle between the gaps. "The plan is to touch on everything reasonably possible and make it all fit into one giant over-arching plot," he says. "Some purists are skeptical, but I assure you all, there is a plan."

And to that end, he says Capcom has given a lot of latitude for the project. "Capcom has shown us a tremendous amount of trust with this project," he says. "They pretty much opened the doors to the Classic Series and said 'Have at it.' In return, I've tried to respect that trust by not trying to reinvent the wheel and keep it as close to the game canon as possible."

As for being responsible for the game's legacy, Flynn says it reminds him of another retro-title that has seen hard times. "This scenario harkens back to the late 90s during that rocky period between Sonic & Knuckles and Sonic Adventure," he says. He's written Archie's Sonic the Hedgehog comic book as well, so he's certainly familiar with series that have fallen out of favor. "I sincerely doubt Mega Man is going to go through that long of a drought, but we're still happy to carry the banner of the Blue Bomber."

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From The Chatty
  • reply
    July 20, 2012 1:00 PM

    Steve Watts posted a new article, Interview: The man carrying the Mega Man legacy.

    We talk to Ian Flynn, author of the Mega Man comic book series from Archie Comics, about his thoughts on capturing the right tone, taking feedback, and carrying on the character's name.

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      July 20, 2012 1:44 PM

      Yeah the Archie comics Mega Man series is actually pretty good. I've read the ones that comprise the First Game, have yet to read the others.

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        July 20, 2012 3:04 PM

        I've been reading it since the first issue. Its really good, and has a surprising amount of depth and character growth for what most would likely write off as a kids book. I think its one of the best books on the stands right now.

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      July 20, 2012 9:03 PM

      Still can't forgive Capcom for cancelling Mega Man Legends 3. Haven't bought a capcom game since.

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        July 21, 2012 2:30 AM

        Neither have I, between the the whole Mega Man debacle and it's two major cancellations, the actionizing of Resident Evil, and their "DLC" practices. I have lost all respect for what used to be my favorite publisher/developer. (Granted, Inafune was the reason for Capcom being my favorite.)

        Even if I am interested in anything they put out now, It'll only be a rental.

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      July 21, 2012 12:15 AM

      Give me X or give me nothing! The good X (1-3); nothing after 3.

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        July 21, 2012 2:22 AM

        I'd say nothing after 5, X4 is a masterpiece and X5 is where the series was originally intended to end and go into the Zero series.

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          July 21, 2012 11:18 PM

          I can't stand badass X having a little girl's voice.

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            July 22, 2012 6:15 AM

            That I agree with lol. I think it was even the same voiceover the original Mega Man had in MM8.

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      July 21, 2012 2:25 AM

      I have the first arc of this comic, good stuff but unfortunately it's really the only place to get my Mega Man fix.

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      July 21, 2012 9:10 AM

      Mega Man needs to be a movie directed by Michael Bay.