Page 45 is up…Five and Terri explore the ruins, have a chat, Terri apologises for Spark being a bit of a mouthy ass, and a little background on the setting. I’ve also experimented with changing the shape of the speech bubbles. So far, I’d been relying on the speech bubble shapes provided by Photoshop 7 (haha, blast from the past…) and…well, I hadn’t had much luck with them. They don’t accommodate the text well enough – they always seem to either clip off the text on the corners, or have too much white space, and it ends up obscuring huge chunks of the background at times. So, I’ve decided I’m going with irregular, free-hand speech bubbles now. They follow the shape of the blocks of text much more naturally, and block out less of the panel.

So who were the Dark Cousins? We don’t have an omniscient narrator in the comic, just Five and Terri, and while Five is knowledgeable enough about the Wastelands, there’s only so much long and rambling history she can info-dump in one page! Fortunately (like with the entry on Wasteland money), this blog-roll exists in part to provide a ‘behind the scenes’ on the comic.

The Cult of the Boardwalk were, according to Five and Terri, one of the ‘Dark Cousins’ cults. Who they’re the Dark Cousins of, we’ll meet later, but needless to say, cults that worship the past (or a warped perception of it) are commonplace in the Wasteland. The guys who once inhabited the old Boardwalk venerated the more brutal aspects of the closing days of the Times Before – the panic, disease, turmoil, and population crash that followed the plague that tore across the world at the end of the 20th Century. The Dark Cousins in their various incarnations believe that all of humanity should have died in the Cataclysm, and that all subsequent post-apocalyptic societies and settlements are aberrations, existing in a world from which humans should have been eradicated. (Hey, nobody said these guys were sane…)

Dark Cousin cults never seem to last very long, and for good reason; they have a penchant for harrassing and terrorizing whatever peaceful settlements they fetch up near, steal resources, and keep diseased animals. Usually, they’re driven out by the local sherriffs, militia, and angry locals with shotguns before they can establish a real presence. However, when they do inevitably leave, they leave a ‘parting gift’ – poisoning the sites of their former temples and bolt-holes by dumping toxic waste and other noxious material, so that the society that drove them out won’t be able to reclaim it in a hurry.