Following yesterday's announcement of UDON's upcoming Mega Man Tribute compilation art book, we noticed there were some concerns among those of you interested in contributing or simply purchasing the book. As such, we brought these before them to find out some answers, hopefully putting some issues to rest once and for all (and hopefully avoiding any wasted efforts on the part of the contributors). Naturally, the foremost concern for many of you is the inclusion of work and characters based on the Battle Network and Star Force series; or rather, the lack thereof. Some people had it right in the comments of our last story, but to set the record straight, we are putting it out here for all to see.
From Matt Moylan, Managing Editor for UDON:
BATTLE NETWORK/STAR FORCE:
We would have loved to include these Mega Man series in the book, but unfortunately it wasn’t logistically possible. Battle Network & Star Force are not fully controlled by Capcom - they have manga/anime partners who also have a say in how the characters are used and portrayed. We pushed to allow them to be included, but Capcom said it was a no go.
Some of the aspiring Ace Attorneys among our visitors have brought up a seeming contradiction in this, however, asking "if UDON can publish Complete Works art books for Battle Network and Star Force, then why are the characters off-limits here?"
We were able to secure the rights to the Battle Network and Star Force Official Complete Works art books because they contain no new art. They’re simply translations of existing art books, compiling official artwork that was approved by all parties years ago. Si, there is a big difference between all-new projects, and localized projects.
A second concern involves content, as per this rule: "All content must be kid-friendly. No nudity and no extreme violence. Also no smoking, drugs, or alcohol use. If it is too adult for the Mega Man games, it is too adult for this book."
Die-hard fans of the series know that the Zero series has shown its fair share of bloodshed and cleaved robotic beings, while Sera and Roll have had their "free" moments in Legends. Dr. Light smokes a pipe, and for some, Dr. Cain getting flat-out plastered is a favorite moment of Iwamoto's Rockman X manga.
So what is "too adult" here? Well, things may not match up as much as fans of more "mature" content may wish:
Follow your common sense for this. Don’t try to find any loopholes of “but so & so smokes in this game,” etc. Just follow the above rules.
Another question surrounding one of the rules found on the official website for the Tribute states that "Characters or designs unique to Mega Man-related comics, manga, or animated series may not be included. Submissions must be of game characters only. For example, the green Mega Man from the Captain N animated series is not allowed."
To elaborate, Moylan says:
DESIGNS FROM OTHER MEDIA:
Artists need to stick to the video games for reference. You’re welcome to draw in any style, and alter designs in your own cool way, but characters and designs from other media are off limits. Off limits examples would be the Captain N green Mega Man, the Ruby Spears animation Mega Man design, or the original character iX from the Bandai card game. Again, it’s because Capcom does not own these interpretations of the characters.
Rule of thumb – you can draw whatever style you like, but when you’re looking for reference just look at official game art or screen shots.
We opted to pry a little further on this one. After all, supposing one wants to draw in the style of Hitoshi Ariga's Mega Man Megamix manga, that brings with it certain designs as well. To that, Moylan noted:
In this specific case, Ariga is a good friend of UDON. If people want to draw Ariga’s version of characters, I’m sure he would be thrilled. Though really, Ariga’s characters are the classic versions just drawn in his own style.
Of course, by that same token, one could also posit that many of the Ruby Spears characters are simply the Classic versions drawn in their own style. So, then, what do they mean by "drawing in the style of your favorite manga or cartoon artist?"
Finally, if one is to stick to the game designs, where does that leave things such as the designs seen on various package art, such as those for Mega Man, Mega Man 2, the European equivalents, or most recently, Mega Man 9 and 10?
Official game box art depictions should be fine source material, too. Capcom seems to have embraced that stuff lately.
Thanks once again to Matt Moylan and UDON for helping to clear some of these issues up!