Friday, October 31, 2008

Rex Does Kongai: Gangster Flavor

Presented almost without comment since, you know, I've got two more of these to do and others besides. I will say, though, that I like the unexpected love triangle I set up between G1, 2, and 6.


Icon: A handgun and a handful of shells.

Art Style: Rough and sketchy. The Gangsters are a rough-hewn group of rugged individuals, street level soldiers who survive thanks to their wits as much as their armaments. Their art should reflect this, I feel, and the way I'd do that is by finding an artist who can create a very edgy, energetic feel. Large, bold line work and fast, jagged pens. The Gangster should look like photographs that have been painted over – like a Sienkieicz cover, full of passionate brush work and thick, heavy flat panes of paint. It's that sense of movement, of barely constrained reality threatening to break free of its chains that I'd like to see. But, as for the Gangsters themselves, they're inspired more by the heyday of mobsters and bootlegging more than any thugs from the modern day. They're a romanticized, glamorous vision of times gone by.

Stage: It's night in a seedy back alley, bathed in faint neon light and still glistening with the slick of a light, summer rain. The walls are a faded red brick, covered with worn graffitti. The alley is just outside a bar. A door is open and warm, welcoming light spills out and onto the wall beyond, an invitation to the drinks and eats inside that's more effective than its neon signs will ever be. The mouth of the alley can be seen and a lonely streetlamp burning away.

Story: The Boss, Don Vampinsiaro had run the Family or years. Leading them through crisis and to great success as they came to control the underworld. Amassing riches and priceless treasures as a matter of course as, one by one, his enemies fell by the wayside. As he grew into the twilight of his years, there wasn't any racket that the Family didn't have their fingers in. Wasn't any scheme made in the dark and carried out in the shadows that he wasn't aware of. Maybe he'd heard some early warning. Maybe he was one of the first victims. But in the Family's darkest hour he was nowhere to be found. The Boss wasn't there to lead the Family as evil Necromancers began to rise the dead from the graves. Or as the psychopathic killers began to prowl the street and claim their victims in seemingly random acts of senseless brutality. Or even as a group of rock musicians began busting up the Family's lairs and stronghouses, one by one. Without his leadership, the Family fell to pieces as his subordinates fought amongst themselves over the best way to handle the chaos that had suddenly broken out. Before long, it was every man for himself. The surviving members of the family grabbed whatever weapons they could and prepared to go the mats for their toughest fight yet.


Appearance: The obvious inspiration here is Al Pacino. Specifically, Scarface. Because that's exactly the sort of gangster that we're talking about and I'd like to have the card be a subtle hommage to that. He's dressed in an old fashioned suit, something from a vintage 70s store (I'm thinking a dark, rich burgundy), with big, flashy cufflinks and a tiepin. And wide, wide collars. In one hand he's got a machine gun. In the other a switchblade. He's snapped the knife open with a flick of his wrist. And he's balancing the gun on his hip as it wave in the air. He's screaming, yelling at his opponent, the spittle and froth jumping from his lips as he shouts his defiance at them. He's saying “You want me? Come and get me! You wanna play rough? Okay!” Well, you know the rest.

Backstory: Carlos never had anything easy. From his days as a scrawny kid, the runt of his mother's litter of far too many kids, nothing was ever handed to him. He had to fight for it. He grew up, fighting and scrapping for everything that ever came his way. He earned his place in the family by clawing his way up the ladder, one bloody rung at a time. They called him Sunshine because he never smiled, he never laughed, and his solemn, scary face was anything but bright. Finally arriving at the top as the right hand man of the Boss, he became his closest advisor and trusted like a son. When the Boss disappeared and all hell broke loose, Carlos was left in charge. Surrounded by enemies on all sides, there was nothing left to do but fight his way out. So, it's a good thing that this wartime consigliere had been practicing his whole life.


Appearance: The visual inspiration here is another famous gangster, James Gandolfini. A rolly, polly large and muscular man who's a little past his prime. I see him bare-armed, in a white wife-beater T-shirt, stained with perspiration and the occasional spatter of blood, his pants held up by suspenders. He's balding but large mutton chops stretch down his cheeks and over his jowls (He's one of those rare red-headed Italians, by the way, or at least a strawberry blond.). His nose is round and flattened, having been broken many times before. This guy is an ex-boxer and although he's now got a sizable gut he's still got the same puncher's build. He's a tall guy and muscular, his arms the size of another man's thighs. His knuckles bruised and swollen, like he's been punching a tray of broken glass. He stands, his legs spread wide, in a boxing stance, his arms raised and ready to pummel his foe.

Backstory: At the gym, they called him the Ox. He asked if it was because he was so big and strong. They laughed and said it was because the only thing slower than his wits were his punches. They called Johnny the Ox. They called him dumb. They never called him a champ. But he made good living for himself, by being the boxer who could always take a dive. He never won a fight when there was money on the line and the Family sure appreciated it and made sure it he was taken care of. When he'd taken one punch too many and it was time to hang up his gloves, the Boss welcomed into the family and gave him a job where he could put his talents to good use. Johnny wasn't much of a thinker but he knew how to fight. He knew how to hurt people. He knew how not to pay attention to the screams or the sounds of snapping bones. And, with the Family, there were always some legs that needed breaking. Someone who could do what they were told and keep their mouth shut could go pretty far. Things were going great for Johnny and then he met Ginny and they got even better. She was the bright, chirpy bird whose song filled his entire day. She cared about him, she loved him, and she listened to him. Johnny told her things that he never even knew he was thinking, the words seemed to pour out from the bottom of his heart whenever she was around. When he got the call from Carlos that the Boss was missing and everything was going up in flames, that scores were going to be settled and prices were going to be paid, the only thing on Johnny's mind was finding Ginny and making sure she was alright. He went to find her, and nothing in this world or the next was going to get in his way.


Appearance: If Gangster #1 is Tony Montana and Gangster #2 is Tony Soprano then this guy is Jimmy Conway or Andy Garcia. The sparkling eyed, suave, handsome gangster with a smile that the ladies love and the men all trust. The hustler, the confidence artist, with so much charm that he uses it to slick back his hair. And that's how he should look, a traditional gangster in a fancy, pinstriped suit and polished wingtip shoes. His hair is dark and slicked back, following the curve of his neck. A pencil thin mustache rests above his lip. A bemused smirk is curling up his lip as he looks over his opponent, reaching into his jacket and pulling out his gun.

Backstory: Vincent was the Family's main man. Inducted into their ranks, minted and made anew, he'd welcomed into their arms after years of toiling away. He'd always been a good earner for the Family. He hustled to bring in the cash while others plodded away, always leaping from one scheme to the other. His specialty was heists. As far as he was concerned, there wasn't a better thief around. He could steal the breath from a baby and leave the candy behind. He could steal the lightning from a thundercloud. He could take your wallet and slip it back into your pocket with a signed autograph. And you wouldn't even know until you pulled it out to pay him for that bottle of snakeskin oil that he'd just sold you. Bank vault or armored truck, it didn't matter, the take was as good as his. That's how good he was. There wasn't anyone faster or quicker on the take. Vinnie had all the angles covered, knew the scene and the score and had already made friends with the band. He preferred to talk his way out of a fight – why risk scuffing his shoes? But in those rare situations when his thousand-watt smile failed him his fists never had. There's no way to fast talk the living dead, though, and with the Boss vanished and the rest of the Family scattered, those fists were all he had to rely on. Vinnie had no idea what was going on or why he had to fight his way out but there was one thing he was sure of, he was going to look good doing it.


Appearance: Sully is a tall man with a lanky build although it's hard to tell since his figure is so concealed by the heavy trenchcoat he wears. If you've ever seen Godfather then the assassin sent to kill Brando in the hospital is what I'm going for here. A dark, black, full body trenchcoat. Dark leather gloves so he won't leave any fingerprints. Sully is completely bald but you wouldn't know since he's wearing a fedora. His collars are turned up, concealing most of his face. What you can see is that of a craggy, hard-bitten man who's seen and done far too much. He's stalking towards his opponent, holding a rifle in his hands and bracing himself as if against the wind.

Backstory: The Boss called Sully when he wanted something done. No mess. No problems. Just a quiet job with no complications. Sully didn't make many friends but, because he was good at his job, he didn't leave many enemies either. The Boss could count on him. The Family could count on him. Time after time, he solved life's little difficulties the way that no one else could. He'd never failed to live up to a contract yet. Never gone back on his word. When he said he'd get a job done, it got done. No questions. No problems. So when Carlos told him the Boss had gone missing and he'd said he'd get to the bottom of it, that's exactly what he was going to do. No shadowy ghouls or showy killers were going to stop him. He had a job to do. And Sully always got the job done.


Appearance: Ginny is a doll. A short, blond-haired sex pot full of moxie. An angel with a devil's glint in her eyes. She's dolled up for a night out on the town. Wearing red with a short skirt rising above her knees. On her head is a red beret, tilted to one side as he shoulder length locks pill out. A purse, a handbag, is strapped loosely over one of her shoulders, it's swinging behind her and its contents – a bunch of handgrenades and bullets – are starting to spill out. In one hand she's got a small, one-shot pistol, a tiny Derringer that she's pointing towards the sky. In the other, she's got a Tommy gun which she's bringing to bear as she pulls the trigger, leaving a trail of gunshots and bullets behind her. She's laughing, having a great time as she watches the carnage she causes.

Backstory: Ginny loved the thrill of it. The danger, the rush of excitement that came with dating a member of the Family. The looks she got when she walked down the street on Johnny's arm, the stares mixed with disapproval and disappointment. She cared for the big lug, she really did. She could listen to him talk for hours abut the details of his latest heist or about that snitch who wouldn't be bothering them any more. But it was the glamorous life of an outlaw that she was attracted to and not his punch-drunk face. When she saw Carlos, though, she was head over heels. He was wild, he was hot-blooded, and he bristled with a confident manliness that Ginny could practically breathe. They began a passionate love affair and the thought of what might happen if Johnny found out only added to the thrill. She was on her way to see Carlos again, a secret rendezvous with her paramour at one of the Family's safehouse, when all hell broke loose. The Boss had gone missing, the dead were rising from their graves, and maniacs were stalking the streets. The world had gone mad and the dangers made Ginny blush red hot at the thought. Carlos grabbed her and told her to stay inside, stay indoors, and keep the door locked. Said that he'd be right back and stepped out into a night gone wild. But Ginny wasn't about to cool her heels on the sidelines again. She filled her handbag with weapons borrowed from the armory, hefted the guns she'd grabbed and took a moment to appreciate their deadly heft, and then she set out to just what the night would bring.

The fifth Gangster, Bobby, has sadly passed away. His card buried like so many others so, since I'm under the gun here, I'm not going to bother to write him out. I will say, though, that as far as looks, he was going to be a short, shifty guy in a hat and plain clothes. For his story, he was going to be a snitch who'd turned on the Family and gone on the run, thinking that the chaos happening was part of someone like Sully or Ox coming to get him. Alone, scarred, and on the run, he would be dangerous to anyone who approached.

1 comment:

Cheap Men Suits said...

Gangster love, hope to live a gangster type of love wearing the best gangster suit in town.