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Does anyone know of any inspirational cyberpunk comics? I know there’s some manga (the works of Masamune Shirow first and foremost), but what about western comics? I’ve Googled it, and some titles have come up, but these include Judge Dredd which suggests to me that some of the recommendations are based on a rather fuzzy definition of cyberpunk.
“High tech and low life”, as they say. The more tropes, the better. I want it to be a genre romp the same way I want swords-and-sorcery, gothic horror or spaghetti westerns to be genre romps. To communicate my idea of “what’s cyberpunk” in this context, I would point to the trailers for Cyberpunk 2077, and the artwork in Reality’s Edge and Cyberpunk Red (much of which can be viewed with a Google image search, as the publishers have been using their respective artwork for promotional purposes). All of these have in common that they harvest ideas from other, more original sources of the genre (a bit of GITS, a bit of Blade Runner, a bit of William Gibson, etc.) and condense them all in a very trope-affirming way. Which to me is a good thing.
This! The high-tech low-life aspect is the most defining aspect of the genre. The protagonists aren´t the shining heroes saving the world – they are people on the edge of society striving for survival in an increasingly inhuman world. Some people here, in a way, are living this right now. Again, in a way. This is the “punk” aspect of it.
This reminds me of another cyberpunk TTRPG I bought some years back. I don’t recall its name and I might have lost the PDFs by now, but it was an indie title. Anyway, a central element of the game design was that the player characters are meant to be “taking knocks” constantly. If they’re regularly able to walk away without bloody noses, the whole thing is being GM’ed wrong. This, according to the game designer, is one of the defining aspects of cyberpunk in general. It’s meant to be a rough, hardscrabble life. You have to grit your teeth through the pain or it ain’t cyberpunk. Now, I’m not entirely sure that I agree with this philosophy in its most absolute form, but it’s an interesting one to contemplate, and it does suggest at least something nebulous about the heart and soul of the genre.
Rhoderic, I don´t know if you´ve checked out the various short films that are on YT – some are really good.
I’ve seen a few of the DUST ones, including one or two that were cyberpunk-themed. A quick YouTube search for “cyberpunk short” brings up a bunch of other, non-DUST ones. Seems to be a mixed bag, but even the more corny ones have some interesting ideas and inspiration for tabletop gaming. And really, I suspect that most sessions of cyberpunk tabletop gaming would translate into very corny films at best. (“Look at me, I’ve got a trenchcoat and a katana and a pair of sunglasses that go bleep bloop! Aren’t I cool?”) 😀
Thanks for the suggestion.