Game Front 1-on-1: ‘Marauder Shields’ Creator Koobismo
The art, however, is one of the more impressive portions of the “Marauder Shields” experience. For someone who claims he’s not an artist, the comic is remarkably well-made and draws a lot of inspiration from Mass Effect’s visual style as well as lots of other comic books. For an amateur product, “Marauder Shields” is of a high level of quality — it’s clear that Koobismo has a lot of experience with comics and a reverence for the medium.
Growing up in Poland, Koobismo said, meant that his exposure to comics during his formative years was limited to whatever he could get. He even started learning to read other languages so that he could read more comics.
“My first comic book experiences were a bit limited by my geographical location, but I was an avid reader since my earliest years, a big fan of all the ‘X-Men’ and ‘Batman’ titles, ‘Punisher,’ ‘Ghost Rider’ and basically everything I could lay my hands on. Both ‘Judge Dredd’ and ‘Heavy Metal’ were amongst the things I jumped onto whenever I could, but it was really hard to get a fix. You’d really have to live in the pre-Internet Eastern Europe to understand the desperation with which a young comic book fan launched at basically anything that could be described as a superhero comic book. The sole reason I started learning German was to import comics from our western neighbors.”
As time has gone on, “Maurader Shields” has become a lot more than just a comic. Koobismo is responsible for that side of things — he’s written the entire story arc, he says, and has a plan for all 60 or so episodes — but it’s help from a growing team of other people that is expanding the “Marauder Shields” experience into an audio format. Koobismo said DeviantArt user JeffDaniel serves as the project’s audio producer as well as “my awesome second in command.” He also pulls double-duty as the voice of Adam Solheim, one of the original characters in “Marauder Shields,” in the audio version of the story.
The production values of the audio versions of the comics are also very high, especially considering the fan-made nature of the “Marauder Shields” project. There are a number of voice actors who lend their talents to the audio book, and several others who assist in the project in different realms.
“For a while now all my rumblings have been filtered by a pro editor, the awesome Adoree Lyssa, who makes sure that I don’t drown in my grammatical errors, English being my secondary language and all,” Koobismo said. “…Speaking of audiobooks — they started off with Matt ‘Calavera’ O’Connor sending in an incredible audio version of the twenty-first comic episode, ‘Keys and Echoes.’ I was blown away by his version of Nihlus, and decided that this is definitely the way to go, enhancing the original story with a bit of audio spicing. We’re aiming to turn all of the episodes into a single big audiobook in the end. Our current cast, aside from the people already mentioned, includes Natalie Loftus, Nokyo-Chan, Minty, StephanosRex, AssaultSloth, Flacjacket, Omahdon, Kyle Chapple and Alex Schickling in confirmed roles, with even more voice actors either pending, or awaiting recording time. We will have some voice cameos by awesome BioWare coolcats as well, but we’ll announce the details on that once their lines are ready and pending.
“Aside from them, the team is always growing in numerous directions — Signo Vir is currently working on our official website, Sepharih and AssaultSloth both designed a new logo for us, InverseReality is working hard on various stuff connected to our presence on conventions, Artfreak is writing an actual fic based on my comics. And more people send in their contributions each week.”
Throughout the controversy surrounding the ending to Mass Effect 3, Koobismo used “Marauder Shields” to rally support for the Retake Mass Effect movement, the loose affiliation of players working to push BioWare to rework the ending of the game.
Koobismo said that it shows the power of the Mass Effect story that so many people are willing to work together to defend it, expand it and grow it; he attributes the strength of BioWare’s creation to the outpouring of support he’s received from people who want to help make “Marauder Shields” better.
“The thing about Mass Effect is that it was always something incredibly engaging — it wasn’t just a game, it was an adventure, an experience,” he said. “…I think people really want to defend that experience, they really want to save it from oblivion. We really want to do something about it, not just be accused of whining every three seconds. And you know what? In my opinion this is exactly what Mass Effect was all about — in an extremely twisted way, we’re replaying the theme of uniting individuals of different cultures, origins and views to protect something we care about.”