Ko Fight Club

Q: What does the name of your comic mean?

A: First, it's "Ko", not "KO" (an understandable mistake, since people probably think KO means Knockout, as in boxing...) "Ko Fight Club" is russ-wordplay. "Ko" (a Japanese word) and "Ko Fight" are terms from go. Go is an ancient Asian strategy boardgame I enjoy. I saw the wordplay combining one of my favorite games with one of my favorite movies (Fight Club), and there you go.

Q: What is your comic about?

A: Several things.

Many of my comics are related to go, an ancient Asian strategy game.

Many are related to other boardgames.

I also make comics for the Bench.

My comics so far are mostly independent strips rather than an ongoing storyline. If you'd like a continuous narrative, I started one on July 2 with the 13-strip Vampire Rancher story. There is also the Watchmen Bench series.

I experiment with various art styles, panel layouts, color vs black & white etc. I'm new to making comics, so I'm having fun playing around with it, and at this point I can't imagine settling down into a single format for every strip... I plan to continue doing go, boardgame, and Bench strips as well as other types of stuff, in both single-strip and ongoing-story formats.

Q: What is go?

go stampA: Go is a 2-player boardgame played on a 19 by 19 grid. It originated in Asia 3000 or 4000 years ago. I learned it in 1995. One player takes black stones, the other takes white stones. Players alternate placing stones on the intersection points. The goal is to surround more territory than your opponent. Stones which are fully surrounded by opponents' stones are killed and removed. The rules are remarkably simple and elegant yet give rise to very deep strategy. It is a game of pure skill (no chance or hidden information). The game's strategy is arguably more complex than chess (since chess programs rival the best human players, but the best computer go players are only my strength, and I'm a mediocre amateur).

The Web Go Page Index is a huge list of go-related links. The American Go Association has info and links about go, and there's a newsgroup rec.games.go. A good free Windows program that will teach you the basics and play 9x9 go with you is David Fotland's Igowin. There is an Austin Go Club which meets Tuesday evenings in Dobie Mall Food Court. (Chinese go stamp image from Chuang's Go Page.)

Q: What are these other "German-style boardgames"?

settlersA: Games like Settlers of Catan, Carcassonne, Vampire, Acquire, RoboRally, etc. typically have more complexity or interest than "family games" like Monopoly, Risk, Boggle, etc. But they are not ridiculously long and complex like hard-core wargames either. They fall into a nice middle ground, typically playable in 15-90 minutes (depending on which game we're talking about), and typically they are multiplayer. They are called "German-style" because many of them in fact are German. The newsgroup rec.games.board is a good source of boardgame info. If your town has a game/hobby/comic type store that sells wargames or roleplaying games, there's a good chance it also sells German-style games. I have started a boardgame links page.

Q: What is RussCon?

A: My weekly boardgaming night. The RussCon page has more info, including my advice for starting a successful boardgame group and back issues of my weekly newsletter from early 1998 onward. I'm NOT looking to recruit new RussCon people from the net, as we already get rather crowded! :)

Q: What are these "Bench" comics?

gabeA: The Bench is a nifty "open source comic" site started by Tycho and Gabe of the Penny Arcade comic. As of August 1, there have been over 2500 Bench comics posted by hundreds of people, mostly using clip art from previous Bench and Penny Arcade strips. I've done about a hundred or so Bench strips. It's what got me started making comics, and I still enjoy making Bench strips even though I've shifted more of my comic energy to "pure" Ko Fight Club strips. Thanks to Tycho and Gabe for creating the Bench! Unfortunately Tycho burned out on running the Bench site and it died in early 2001, so many people's Bench strips are probably lost to the mists of time...

Q: What is this Watchmen Bench stuff?

my watchmen iA: My insane homage to Alan Moore's great graphic novel Watchmen, retold in the context of the Bench. Go here to see them. These are where I started using lots of my own art in comics for the first time, instead of the clip art style of earlier Bench strips.

Q: What is Watchmen?

the real watchmen iA: One of my favorite books, it's a graphic novel by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, originally published as 12 issues by DC in the mid 1980s. It's brilliant and works on many levels. It deconstructs the whole superhero genre with Alan Moore's literary cleverness and great characters while simultaneously giving a good twisty plot with mystery, romance and adventure. It's easily available in a trade paperback collection now. I recommend this book to anyone. It's really the book that got me interested in comics.

I've done various Watchmen comics.

Here are some good sources of additional info on Watchmen:

Here's a cute single-panel homage done by Jonathan Thayer, "When the KollumaƱeros dress up as DC Comics's Watchmen".

The Halloween comic strip at Striptease has a Watchmen cameo. There's also a short Watchmen essay.

Check out Snail Dust's Watchmen strips from January 2001!

Artmen is a 22-page parody.

Something Awful parodies Watchmen!

Watchmen Lego characters

If you know other sites with homebrew Watchmen art, let me know!

Q: Where can I find Fight Club info?

A: There is a Fight Club Web Ring.

While in Denver, I found this article "I'm OK, You're KO'd" in their alt-weekly Westword. It's interesting reading about a real life fight club of sorts which is rather less dramatic than the movie.

I enjoyed this British Fight Club site.

Q: Where can I find the Fight Club font?

A: The one I found is called "Fight This". I have a Windows version, and a Mac version also exists. Several Fight Club sites have it, e.g. this one and this one. I have also seen it at a general-purpose free font site. Sorry, I can't recall where; it was 6 months ago when I found it.

I usually modify the K to be a little more readable when I use the font. The real font's K is missing the lower right bar, making it too confusable with a Y, I think, at least in the context of the phrase "Ko Fight Club" since most people don't know the word Ko to begin with! The movie logo also modifies the letter C to look a little more conventional in "Fight Club".

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All my stuff on these pages is Copyright © 2000-2004 by Russ Williams.