Setting a Comic Book

The comic book idea I’ve been batting around for ages is pretty flexible in terms of setting. It could be a dystopian cyberpunk story, or a Lord of the Rings style fantasy. It could even be a pirate story. In fact, that’s what I’ve sort of been leaning towards over the past year or so. The core concepts could translate into just about any era of history or into any imagined future. So I find myself struggling with when to set the piece. I want to be original, to a certain extent, but I don’t want to pick some obscure and lifeless epoch just to be different.

It’s also worth noting that I don’t envision this as a story which takes place in our world, but instead in a world roughly analogous to ours. So I suppose I could introduce anachronistic elements no matter which age I chose to set the story in. Then again, would they really be anachronistic if this were a world entirely different from our own?

Do you see where a boy might become confused?

Basically, the core elements of the story are these: You’ve got these people with superhuman powers. They could be mutants or magicians; It doesn’t really matter. They’re trying to stop this other group of superhumans who are attempting to expel the people our heroes represent from the lands which our heroes’s forefathers forcibly took and colonized. There’s your central conflict.

Set it in a dystopian cyberpunk future and this becomes, perhaps, a turf-war between gangs. Or else a larger conflict between the city-states left behind after the apocalypse. Or something. I’m not particularly fond of this option, especially because I think the dystopian cyberpunk thing has been done to death.

Set it in space and you’ve basically got a rip-off of Star Wars and Star Trek and probably a dozen other space operas I’m not familiar with. And as much as I love the idea of space-ships, I was kind of hoping for big boats with sails and stuff. I’ve definitely been seeing a more terrestrial conflict.

So, that leaves me with the past. But where in the past? The colonial period is what I’ve been thinking. But if I choose the colonial period, am I stuck with colonial costumes? Or can they be stylized versions of colonial costumes without people getting pulled out of the story? I’m definitely not looking to create a T&A book, with pilgrim women in plunging necklines and hot pants, but for every historical period I think of there ends up being something about the period which doesn’t fit.

So I guess it really comes down to how anachronistic can I get without going too far? Can I replace gunpowder-based guns with energy-based guns? Can I take swords from different periods and mash them all up? Can I introduce flying vehicles centuries before they should be introduced? How do I make it clear to the reader that, while this may remind them of the history they know, it is not the history they know?

In the end, what I’m trying to create is somewhat allegorical fantasy world. And I’ve never done that before, so I’m a bit nervous.