Monday, September 23, 2013

Pulp Noir Monday: Noir Wars

"Detective Dante Victor"
Image ©2013 Sillof
Continuing in my posts of pulp-era themed games, books, comics, movies, and TV shows, today's post covers a bit of a different source - customized action figures by a true artist, Sillof, from Siloff's Workshop. This particular line of customized action figures is called "Noir Wars" - Pulp Star Wars. For more pulp era posts, including "Tales of the Gold Monkey," RPG supplements like Weird Adventures and Heroes of Rura-Tonga, and comic books like Masks, Half Past Danger, and Black Beetle, check out my Pulp Noir tag.

What Is It?
Sillof (not his real name) creates customized action figures that are based on well-known properties like Star Wars, DC Comics, or Marvel Super Heroes, and then puts a twist on them by putting them into a different era, such as Feudal Japan, Victorian England, the Wild West, or World War II.

This particular line of figures showcases all of the main Star Wars characters such as CP30, R2D2, Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Chewbacca, Princess Leia, Obi Wan Kenobi, Boba Fett, and the Stormtroopers, and re-designs them as though they were characters in an old Film Noir type movie taking place in 1930s or 1940s San Francisco.

Unlike every other Pulp Noir resource I've posted about to date, this one is pretty much just visual. Each character has a line or two on the website that describes that character's personality in the setting (e.e.g, CP30 becomes "Chip Pepperdino" - a reporter the local newspaper who wants to be close to the action without actually being part of it). But, looking at the visuals and knowing the source inspiration for the characters just opens up a ton of imaginative ideas.
Femme Fatale, Lola O'Gannon
Image ©2013 Sillof

Cool Bits
Seriously, this whole thing is just cool. I have posted about Sillof's work before, and that post has consistently been my #1 or #2 post of all time in terms of page views. So, clearly I'm not the only one who gets how great his work is.

It's an extremely creative endeavor to come up with the idea in the first place - how various characters from the media would act and look in a different setting. But then to actually have the artistic chops to pull that off by custom-making actual action figures to represent those thoughts -  especially when you consider that Silllof is not a professional artist but a teacher by day who creates action figures as an artist outlet - is nothing short of amazing.

Sillof also creates a unique setting-appropriate persona for each character, giving an instant role-playing hook for using these as PCs or NPCs in a pulp-era RPG.

Any Good Ideas Here for My Role-Playing Games?
As with all of the sources in this series of posts, the answer is of course "yes." You may be thinking it's odd to use a series of action figures as inspiration for a tabletop RPG, but as noted above, the real beauty here is that Sillof has re-imagined popular well-known characters and placed them in a different setting. He doesn't just say "This is what Darth Vader would look like in a pulp setting." Even if he did, that might actually be enough because his sculptures are so well done artistically and very evocative of the eras he portrays. But, Sillof goes a step further by writing little backgrounds for the characters and how they integrate into the setting. Darth Vader becomes Detective Dante Victor - a "classic dirty cop. Paid to clean up the crime but actually taking payoffs and making sure the mob has protection."

As Sillof notes in the introduction to the series, "The line is meant to be a pure film noir with no elements of fantasy or sci fi.  You have all the archetypes of classic noir:  old disillusioned cops, reporters, dirty cops, the mob, the femme fatale, the private detective, etc."

There are tons of ideas here to use as characters, either as a GM looking to expand his repertoire of NPCs, or as a player looking for an idea for a new PC in a pulp game. 

Who Will Like It?
If you can't appreciate the artistry of these figures or look at them and think of ways that you'd want to use these characters in your games, I don't know how to help you. Seriously... there's no reason that everyone shouldn't like these.

Is It Good for Kids?
Absolutely. Your kids will get a kick out of seeing Sillof's reinterpretation of classic characters re-imagined in new and inventive ways. You're sure to end up poking around the entire site and seeing all of the various sets of figures, and it's something you can definitely sit and enjoy with your little ones. Unfortunately most of the figures aren't available for sale, and the ones that are have a very high price-tag as they're all custom one-of-a-kind creations, so your kids won't be playing with these toys. But they'll enjoy the pictures just the same.

Hanging: Home office (laptop)
Drinking: The Dudes' Double Trunk IPA
Listening: "Ramblin" by Ornette Coleman

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