This is late, I know! We moved across the country and we’re tired. (Those landscapes though!! WOW!) But I wanted to deliver on more Havocfest content, as promised, even if the day has passed.

In particular, I had to do this picture in 2017. It’s been in the back of my head, calling me, every single Havocfest, but it was too much of an undertaking that I didn’t feel ready for. But this year, the game turned ten, and a tribute could no longer be delayed!

Why are these costumes so important? If you don’t recognize the characters, they’re from Super Paper Mario, one of my favorite games of all time and a big reason for The Fourth’s very existence. My whole life, as I played video games, I tended to have a love and interest for the “baddies” and a desire to see things from their side. Then ten years ago, I found the crew of villains in this game to be so fascinating and charming in their familial, teasing and loving relationships and surprisingly deep stories, that I committed myself to that concept more than ever before. I spent so much time thinking about and drawing those characters, but as years passed I knew I wouldn’t be truly happy until I took that vast amount of inspiration and spun it into a story of my own with similar elements- showing a group of villains from their grandest schemes to the quieter moments of their daily lives; how they suffer and hurt, argue with and love and protect each other. What drives each of them to do what they do? With Victor’s help, that story was created.

The Fourth seems to be a parody of Zelda and fantasy adventures on the surface, but tonally I think it takes a lot from the Paper Mario series and its sense of self-parody. For my part, I would say SPM is the single biggest inspiration, although I have many others and Victor has his own that are totally different. So for me at least, this is an important tribute that’s been a long time in the making. (Not to mention that aside from doing so much to inspire the comic, the game helped me through a very difficult time in my life and just generally means the world to me.)

…And if you do know these characters, don’t read too much into trying to extrapolate their relationships and actions onto The Fourth’s cast! They’re just costumes ;)