You are going to be seeing a lot of this hashtag from me.

When I was in college, I participated in a lot of online role playing – the form based, text sort. My junior year, I came up with this idea for a role play. What if World War III happened? What if large portions of the Earth were destroyed by the bombings? And – most interesting – what if people survived the nuclear fallout?

I spent weeks researching bombs – especially dirty bombs and the effects of radiation poisoning. I also dug deep in my comic collections to read about super heroes that were given their powers – instead of being born with them. Now, I was deep in my religious studies degree at the time, so I knew I just had to incorporate that as well.

Academics refer to the worlds’ greatest (greatest meaning in size) religions as the “Big Six” – divided into the three largest western and three largest eastern religions. Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Hinduism, Daoism and Buddhism. I really wanted to incorporate the big six into this role play idea, but I didn’t want to make a story about a religious war. I’m old enough to remember 9/11 and conscious enough at the time to realize what was happening.

The answer to my dilemma hit me about a week later. You see, at the beginning of every term, you have to introduce yourself to the class. State your major and why you’re choosing that field. I was originally an English major before I picked up religious studies as well. I figured learning more about religion would help me understand literature better – The Scarlet Letter makes all the more sense if you understand Puritanism. 1984 isn’t actually that terrifying if you don’t consider the complete and utter lack of religion. And that’s what hit me.

In a world pulling itself together after a worldwide nuclear fallout, what religion would there be? People would be more focused on food, clean water, shelter – the finer parts of culture, like religion, would fall to the wayside. So that’s where The Martyrs came in. There’s some sort of big bad guy that needs defeating, and the “Big Six” comprises a military team tasked with a suicide mission.

I set up the role play that day…. but no one joined.

Three weeks ago, I started working with an artist out of France. The goal was to collaborate on a webcomic. Something just for fun, to distract us from “real work.” I’ve kind of always kept The Martyrs in my back pocket as a sort of backup plot idea if I ever found someone to work on it with. I’m very happy to say The Martyrs is finally being developed. The prologue will be published to Taptastic on August 1st, and there will be new pages published every week.

I’m excited to share some concept art of the main characters – The Martyrs – and more will be coming soon as we develop the universe.

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