We take a moment to break down and review the Old Republic Paint Adventures, a thrilling tale that has captured the hearts of many on our Cantina forums.
Yes, you’ve read it correctly: a Star Wars medium set in the Old Republic era! Why yes, it does follow the new canon. No, it is absolutely not canon in any way. It is about as canon as the Freemaker Adventures and it is probably not what you were expecting to see in regards to new Old Republic content following the Disney purchase and the restructuring of the Galaxy Far Far Away’s lore.
To some of you, the concept of this medium is entirely familiar, and indeed – some among you have participated during its original run back in 2011 when the galaxy was introduced to the characters of Mynock, Kestrel and Trooh.
What is the “Old Republic Paint Adventures”, exactly?
An interactive webcomic hosted by Lankist on the old forums for BioWare’s (at the time) yet-to-be-released MMO, it painted the adventures of a man seeking to escape the mundane life he’s led. A man called John Konteego, a simple accountant who left for Nar Shaddaa to start his own smuggling life – earning street cred over the next year and a half as he grew into the role of a gun-toting, hard-drinking outlaw named Mynock.
The interactivity of the comic and Lankist’s own humor often imbued the storyline with the absurd and the comical, but at its core it had heart and soul – the author’s own efforts and the investment of the community.
The concept was not new at the time, and indeed, it came around the time as Andrew Hussie’s Homestuck was hitting its stride – but the concept of a Star Wars themed Paint Adventure, drawn in a quaint and charming style, enticed many who browsed those boards at the time, including the eventual author of its sequel, Alamact.
A sequel, you say?
Back in January 2016, Alamact found himself reminiscing about those years and sought to revisit and recapture the bliss of an aging medium. The original series was never completed – it was nearing the end of its run, with only one tenth of the story remaining to be told. To prepare for the launch of the game, BioWare pulled the plug on the old forums and as a result, the comic was lost to all but the memories of its readers.
It was these memories that drove Alamact to contact Lankist on Reddit during a chance reunion, where Alamact pitched his concept of a proper sequel to him: to give the characters the conclusion they deserved, and tell the tale of new heroes for a new audience. “The Knights of the Old Republic II to Lankist’s Knights of the Old Republic I.”
It was going to be bigger and more ambitious in every way imaginable, providing a fierce companion to the official media released by Disney. It kept us busy as we waited for the upcoming films to come out, and given its interactive nature, it felt like the purest expression of the Star Wars fanbase and universe, helmed by a surprisingly gifted storyteller who came from the unlikeliest of places.
Looking back at it now, nearly three years ongoing, even in the crudely drawn and simplistic nature of the first couple of chapters, you could tell Alamact had always meant for this to become something truly special, even if he never believed and only dared to hope.
Back in 2016, the two skeptics knew the realities of the time: the sequel would have been fighting an uphill battle to gain traction strong enough to support its interactive format. Despite Lankist’s apprehension, Alamact’s persistence remained strong and the original author did his best to guide him on the way to the sequel’s release.
Taking his new role in full stride, Alamact ultimately chose our very own Cantina forums as the comic’s home and launched the adventure there.
Against unlikely odds, Alamact’s pipe dreams for the adventure were starting to come true. The comic was taking the Cantina by storm. We were introduced to this vast array of diverse characters, and some among them went on to become treasured icons over the years, establishing themselves as pillars of the Star Wars pantheon in the eyes of its readers. Many old veterans of the adventure returned to the sequel in earnest just as new fans discovered the magic for themselves for the first time.
The sequel was everything the oldtimers could have hoped for, but Alamact understood that he had to adapt it for a different audience. The landscape had changed forever after the announcement of the sequel trilogy and the renouncement of the old Legends. By splitting the continuity, it had inadvertently created a divide that perhaps, has yet to be mended to this day.
By setting the story in the new canon, yet in an era that was treasured by many Star Wars fans, Alamact took the best of both worlds by utilizing the freedom created by the continuity reset, all the while providing a respectful homage to what came before.
How, then, did he incorporate Lankist’s own adventure into the vision he had for the sequel?
Despite being made in the Legends continuity, the old adventure was the space western of a space western genre. A self-contained story fueled mainly by its characters and centered around its main protagonist as he traversed the criminal underworlds of the galaxy.
It was this trait in specific that allowed Alamact to safely reposition the story to an ideal time period with minimal loss: the story was to be told during the twilight years of the Old Republic. It would depict a more nuanced take on the conflict between Jedi and Sith.
Rather than being this mythical battle of good and evil, it strove to paint a complex view on one of the darkest chapters in galactic history, leaving us to wonder what truly happened when you stripped away the myth, the idealism, the embellishments.
As a continuity nut, the author did his best to carve out what the Old Republic era once was, ever mindful of what the Story Group was doing and spending hours beyond count trying to reconcile the disparate continuities and the individual visions of the comic’s burgeoning readership.
We felt like pioneers, boldly venturing to something familiar, yet something new, under the inspired guidance of our Rear Admiral.
The reset of the Star Wars continuity gave Alamact the perfect opportunity to tell a grand, sprawling epic detailing the interpersonal journeys of our heroes as they became swept up in a dangerous game of galactic politics and the final crucible of the war between Jedi and Sith. It was a tale that was to be told through the eyes of our five protagonists.
A Jedi deserter who abandoned his teachings, embittered by the Force, chasing the material in a misguided quest for fulfillment.
A Sith Lord devoted to the light side of the Force, disillusioned by the shortcomings of Imperial society, trying his best to save a dying Empire and its tenacious people before it’s too late.
A Chiss scientist hailing from a sheltered upper class family, fleeing from an increasingly ambitious Ascendancy, fleeing from house politics and from herself as she experiences the horrors of the war and the suffering of the downtrodden firsthand.
An Outer Rim orphan, dreaming of becoming an agent of the Republic, coming to terms with its corruption, its flaws, and trying to preserve his idealism in the face of ambition as he straddles the dark political heart of Coruscant.
A Jedi Master from Mandalore, following in the footsteps of Tarre Vizsla, trying to regain his sobriety as the fiery conflict that covers the galaxy takes everything away from him.
The best part about this? These characters evolved naturally, with our own choices and suggestions. The author always delivered. Sometimes late, but never faltering.
So, the author is basically our own little image rendering machine?
Chapter by chapter, the quality of the writing and illustrations rose as Alamact eased into his role with strong confidence and growing expertise, but always tried to keep himself grounded on the three tenets that truly mattered: the characters, the humor and the interactivity.
And while the expectations have grown toweringly high over the years, and the author himself admitted that he’s felt their weight many times over, his ability and his drive to surpass them and to consistently set new milestones, has captivated the readership and instilled an unshakable trust in the author. In my opinion, that has been the main reason for the comic’s longevity and what truly separates it from the rest.
This strong sense of community, backed by Alamact’s diligence and love for the material, it’s what drew us all to the Old Republic Paint Adventures, and it is a great part of what’s kept us around still. Even after a months-long break, the community gleefully returned for our renewed run on the adventure, which is shaping up to be the best one yet.
Today, closing in on three years since the comic’s launch on February 21st, we would like to invite you all to join us on this adventure as we retake our first steps into the Old Republic era together. Seeing as how some of you guys might find reading through a 175+ page thread cumbersome, we have decided to do a review series of the comic’s chapters, detailing and analyzing the journey of our characters and the audience, with insight from the Rear Admiral himself.
We do encourage you to check it out yourselves – either by starting from the beginning or even from the latest update (if you’re not too picky about spoilers), and hopefully our review’s sneak peek will convince you to do just that. The comic has its own wikipedia, and the author has agreed to post an archive thread containing just the updates themselves that will be in sync with our reviews.
Now, I guess it’s time to finally fill you in on who “We” are.
“As one of the writers honored with reviewing this fantastic comic, I’d like to take a moment to introduce myself. My name is Nick, but in the Cantina forums I go by the username DarthSnow. By extension and for consistency’s sake, I will assume the same moniker for this series of reviews, accompanied by my partners-in-crime, teline and Dork Lord of the Bith.
I stumbled upon Star Wars News Net almost 4 years ago in the months leading up to the release of The Force Awakens, anxious for any and every bit of news related to the highly anticipated seventh episode of our beloved saga. I can’t say that I had gone through many other news sites before landing here, but I can say that it was basically love at first sight. It took me awhile, but once I discovered the haven that is the Cantina forum, I knew that I had found my online version of home.
Browsing the numerous outstanding threads the Cantina has to offer, I discovered one in the Casino gaming section titled “Interactive Comic: Old Republic Paint Adventures”. I honestly had no idea what an interactive comic was (even though it practically explains itself), and I had personally never gotten into the Old Republic era – but my curiosity was piqued.
Between the humor, artistic expression, unique story and even better characters, I was immediately hooked. As mentioned, though I had never played any of the ‘Knights of the Old Republic’ games, I had no problem following the plot line and integrating myself in the comic.
I took the time to read from the beginning, and was very glad that I did. Before too long, I caught up with the updates and started posting suggestions myself. It is an experience that is entirely unique and ever-changing. Besides being a gem in itself, I’ve found that the comic also offers me a distraction and a way to ease the time spent waiting in between movie releases.”
“Hello, Star Wars fans! On the Cantina boards, I am known as Teline and I’ll be joining the Lord Commander in the review series for Al’s Old Republic Paint Adventures. I found my way to the comic fairly late, roughly around the time of Act II’s release. As an MMO player, I was starting to feel disillusioned with the direction BioWare’s Star Wars: The Old Republic was undertaking and one day, I saw a post on Reddit about Old Republic Paint Adventures. It didn’t get a lot of traction in a niche community like /r/swtor, but it certainly caught my eye and was enticing enough to make me want to check it out. I followed the link, the thread opened up and suffice to say, I haven’t looked back since.
The characters and the story just pull you in and the wit and intrigue keep you hooked. So when I was offered this review gig by Darth Snow, it just felt right to do it. To sit down and try to break down this tapestry of storylines in a fun and insightful way and share my love and appreciation of Paint Adventures with all of you.”
Dork Lord of the Bith
“Greetings, StarWarsNewsNet! I’ll be going by Dork Lord of the Bith, and like many of you, I was a longtime visitor on SWNN, fanatically absorbing any and all news and rumours on the new trilogy. One fateful day, as I was taking a random trip through The Cantina, I stumbled upon the beautiful little thread of ORPA. Needless to say, shortly after reading the first few pages, it was clear to me that I had to join in on the fun; and believe me, there’s plenty of that going around.”
Lastly, we more than welcome you to the re-purposed newcomer thread. Feel free to introduce yourselves there and post any questions you might have about the comic. Until then, see you guys tomorrow when we’ll kick off our series with a review of the prologue and first chapter of Old Republic Paint Adventures!