As we continue on the path to our Valentine’s Day 2015 launch (85 days and counting), we hope more people will come to us and share their own personal Ryu/Chun-Li stories. Today we are honoured with a blog entry from…
Michael, the blog is yours.
There are two kinds of Street Fighter fans: the artistic and the competitive. I actually fall into the former category. Street Fighter II World Warrior was actually one of the first games I played when I got introduced to video games as a little boy. I played it with my brothers at home and at the nickel arcades. Time passed and with that came more fighting games, including Tekken and Mortal Kombat. I played those games too. But as I grew older, and now as a young adult, Street Fighter continues to be my favorite fighting franchise. And my two favorite characters are Ryu and Chun-Li.
Ryu is the classic lone world warrior. He travels the world and fights to become stronger than he already is. He’s a skilled fighter, a near master at his craft. But this doesn’t satisfy him. That fascinates me because Ryu doesn’t want to be better than others as much as he wants to be better than himself. And beyond his desire to improve, he is humble. He doesn’t walk with his chest all buffed out. He doesn’t walk around brash and bragging. He just walks. After a fight, he walks to find the next one. Ryu’s life is an unending journey of self-fulfillment tempered with modesty, and that is why I always admire Ryu as a character.
The only character that just edges above him as my favorite Street Fighter character is Chun-Li. On the surface, she brings much to the table: her signature legs, her lighting quickness, and her superb fighting skill! (Seriously, who doesn’t find a woman kicking ass sexy?) But what appeals to me even more is what lies beneath her physical attributes. She’s intelligent, sweet, caring, compassionate, and feminine. She has a strong sense of honor, justice, and devotion to her family. Taking all these things together, she definitely lives up to her title as “The Strongest Woman in The World” A title only reinforced by the fact she was the first female character to emerge in a fighting game, a violent world full of maleness where she proved she could not only hold her own, but come out on top against world renowned fighters.
Using either Ryu or Chun-Li, I can pick up a controller and play Street Fighter as well and sometimes better than the next guy, as many of us can, but the competitive scene hasn’t really interested me. I was never fascinated with “who was the best of the best” as much as I was intrigued by Street Fighter’s wide range of colorful characters and their stories.
I play and watch Street Fighter to follow and enjoy the game’s ever progressing story. Every Street Fighter artwork I see, every Street Fighter comic I read, every Street Fighter cinematic I watch, I wonder: “Has Ryu found out what it takes to become a true warrior?” “Does Chun-Li finally get to destroy Shadaloo and avenge her father’s death?” These characters are on a journey with many twists, turns, and obstacles in the way of their final destination, and I enjoy every moment of it. But now, sadly, the moments of this journey have become few and far between. I know all there is to know now about the Street Fighter story to the end of Street Fighter III 3rd Strike, the current end of the Street Fighter story (As most of us know, Street Fighter IV is actually a prequel). And I’ve read every comic UDON Entertainment has to offer. I had no choice. I had to hit the internet to find more!
I have gone on to YouTube and fanfiction.net to find any kind of creative content that would satisfy my need for more Street Fighter story. There is one author that I remember distinctly. His handle is benlie-gwevin-fan1. The reason I remember this story is because it not only featured, Ryu and Chun-Li, my two favorite characters, but it had those two characters… together… as a couple… fighting for a shared common goal. And there wasn’t just one story. There was an Akuma saga, a Shadaloo saga, and a SFII saga. I was hooked! And with every page I read, the idea of Ryu and Chun-Li together instead of apart was burned into my mind. But as much as I loved these stories, a comic book fan like me can only live on pure text for so long. My cravings for something visual began to rise.
I eventually got so desperate that I tried to find any kind of fan made Street Fighter comics online, particularly starring Chun-Li since she is my favorite. One image search led to another and then finally I came across a Ryu/Chun-Li image that I had never seen before. It was a picture of Chun-Li and Ryu standing in a spring with their swimsuits on, with the big bold yellow word PERFECT sharing space with them. I thought to myself, “Oh, this is new, I wonder if there is… yep, there’s more… more… and more!” and that’s when I was found the Ryu x Chun-Li Project. And there was not just art, but a blog!
I checked the blog every day, rereading past entries, seeing new artwork I hadn’t seen before. It was amazing. And it was all part of a much bolder, grander plan: a fan-produced graphic novel: Street Fighter: The Heart of Battle. A SF Fan named Sean Anderson had worked for over two years to create something that my heart has been yearning for a long time: a new Street Fighter comic with Ryu and Chun-Li as the centerpiece! I had found my heaven. I now have a new Street Fighter story to anticipate. It is like counting down to the release of the next Street Fighter game. My excitement was overwhelming. And a big part of that was Sean. He is a Ryu/Chun-Li fan like no other before him. Most fans just watch and hope other people will make things happen for them. But Sean, I could see from his blog, was a true man of action, and he was going to take Ryu/Chun-Li beyond the realm of text only fanfiction and the confines of a few pieces of fan art. He was going to take Ryu/Chun-li to the place I’d always hoped they would go: to the next level.
Like most people watching Sean’s project, I started by “liking” his Facebook page, read more entries on his blog, saw his calls for help, and then decided to…wait. So I waited. And waited. And…waited. But as I waited, something was eating at me. Here was Sean working so hard on something I knew when he was finished was going to make me happy, and he was more than willing to let people help, and yet, as a Ryu/Chun-Li fan myself, I was just waiting and watching him work. It was like watching a fellow human being trying to climb up out of a deep well and me not reaching my hand down to help him out.
Finally, I could stand it no longer. And I am pleased to say I have not just donated to the Ryu X Chun-Li Project, but I have written and commissioned an awesome multi-page mini-comic for it! I have always wanted to write my own Street Fighter comic, and now I have. And now with the help of an amazing artist, Sergio Briseno, it is coming to life.
A soon to be colored panel from my upcoming mini-comic
Now perhaps your thinking, Michael, you could have produced your own Street Fighter mini-comic any time. Yeah, that’s true. But I would have had to do it alone. What your not thinking about is the bigger picture. Sean’s project isn’t just a book anymore. At nearly 250 pages and growing, It has become a community, a place where people wanting an official Ryu/Chun-Li story have placed their hopes. Sean is not just giving us a book. He is also going to take a shot at convincing CAPCOM to produce something Ryu/Chun-Li as well. And with all of us behind him, it may just work. But I know, as many do, CAPCOM, like any company, responds to money, and by putting my money into a comic for Sean’s project along with him and everyone else involved in the Ryu/Chun-Li Project, I am showing CAPCOM that if they did produce something official for Ryu/Chun-Li, I would seriously put money down for it too. “Hope, sacrifice, pain: they all collide in a dangerous fight for love.” That’s what my upcoming mini-comic is about. And very much what the Ryu X Chun-Li Project as a whole, in its attempt to make Ryu/Chun-Li something CAPCOM gives some serious thought, is about too.
I still check the internet for any news of new upcoming Street Fighter games or creative work. I’m still waiting for the next UDON Street Fighter comic to show up. But, above all, I’m waiting for the graphic novel “Street Fighter: The Heart of Battle” to be released. Valentine’s Day 2015 may seem so far away, but that is fine, because I now know that a Ryu/Chun-Li story will finally be told in a visual medium, a message will be sent to CAPCOM in the form of one amazing graphic novel, which like a great cathedral, is the work of many hands. And the best part is… I, and my story, will be a part of it.
What about you?