Or at least, not as much as I used to be, especially over the past few years.
I know it's not necessary to provide an explanation for why I've been MIA as of late (especially over the past year or two), but I feel it's worth it to provide one.
Over the past few years, I've recently taken up cosplay as a hobby and it's been really good for me so far; I've joined entire circles of friends that I wouldn't have found otherwise.
And especially over the past year or two with how my own Doom Marine cosplay has evolved, I felt that some kind of Doom-related story could definitely go with it.
Over time, this idea started to evolve from "a standard Doom story where a Doom Slayer lookalike roflstomps all the demons around them" to "a deeply introspective look at trauma and how one can recover from it and relearn how to connect with people". And yes, there is a legit explanation as to why I chose manga as the medium in which to tell this story.
Oh yeah, so I'm writing out a Doom manga, and here's basically why I decided to even write it out in the first place in its current form.
Massive walls of text to ensue next. It's also gonna get really dark at points (as in, some of it requires a content warning), so just keep that in mind.
Spoiler: A Personal Backstory
I know things are going to get really sappy really quick, but I feel it's worth it to expound on a personal level why this project exists in the first place.
I also need to provide a content warning for topics like suicide (both the ideation and the act even if it's not specifics) as well as sexual assault, intimate partner abuse (sexual/physical/emotional), self-harm, and mentions of a school shooting though I again won't get into specifics. And there's the general mention of death.
To put it lightly, I expected my early adulthood to be more like my teenage years; filled with good friends and carefree times. I ended up with a rude awakening particularly in my college years; I think I can safely say that my early adulthood was… not good, to put it lightly.
My sophomore year involved the first time I ever had a falling out with a friend, which led to a pattern of self-destructive behavior that came purely of desperation to essentially replace that friend (all because I failed a class which took a toll on both my mental health and my academic standing to the point where I just felt like transferring to a different major). It even culminated in a sexual encounter that I ended up dubious of (and thankfully didn't actually happen seemingly due to divine intervention but said incident messed with me a lot more than it initially did).
Then we get to… That Year. More specifically, 2018.
For one, I was dealing with even more stress than usual, from the bog-standard stresses of increased college workload to the existential feeling of feeling more like an office stapler than an actual human being.
And then there are the stories that I feel aren't mine to tell, so I'll be concise with these.
All I can say is that more and more bad things not only kept happening to me, but also the people around me (and no, it wasn't necessarily limited to just That Year but That Year certainly had the worst of it).
My immediate family had to deal with some weird thing involving broken bones (in that immediate family members would end up breaking a bone).
One friend who I had a falling out with (not the first friend I fell out with) had ended up taking their own life.
Another friend had been sexually assaulted.
It turned out I was literally just a handful of minutes from a school shooting as said shooting was happening.
I ended up becoming friends with someone who I shared a deep emotional and intellectual connection with, and we ended up opening up to each other about deeply personal things… only for that friendship to not only dissolve abruptly but also in the worst way imaginable.
Another person who I had called a friend at one point in the cosplay community had essentially gone down a really dark path in regards to Internet-based associations, to say the least. And then it turned out they had always been an extremely manipulative POS.
A close friend of mine, after dealing with an extremely abusive ex for several years, had gone public about their said ex regarding behavior that basically amounted to sexual coercion and emotional extortion, and said ex responded by essentially forcing a SLAPP suit on them that my friend continues to deal with to this day as of this writing.
And right during that sophomore year, after the falling out with that one friend, I ended up developing some really strong suicidal ideations. Not strong enough to have me form a plan, but strong enough that I would end up feeling icky for the rest of the day.
Not until That Year, when I actually started to think about how to… well, find a permanent way out.
The closest it got to feeling like That Year was last year (2021), but only because of a global pandemic in which I didn't see a light at the end of the tunnel for; the pandemic so far has essentially been an absolute masterclass in how to unlock whole new levels of despair (especially due to friends and family members passing away unexpectedly).
Lastly, I've come to find out that I haven't been as nice of a person as I used to be. I'd end up lashing out at people way more often, I ended up assuming the worst in people way more often. I was no longer the super-friendly person I used to be, and I would keep punishing myself for it even to this day (and yes, that included various forms of self-harm).
To put this bluntly: I became way more of an asshole likely as a result of That Year. And it's not a feeling that I feel particularly good about, to put it lightly.
So I would like to put myself on the therapist's couch somehow, since I am currently unable to afford therapy and I don't want any more of my friends to end up carrying that kind of burden.
Even though I've lately been working on it, it felt like for the longest time I could never show any kind of emotional vulnerability. I ended up building emotional walls to keep myself isolated from the world around me, and most of them remain up to this day.
But even though I'm not quite out of the woods just yet, I am doing much better than I used to be.
I do have good days in my life again, and I've been tirelessly working to make myself a better person.
Spoiler: Doomed Connections
Ever since I was five or six, I was a fan of the Doom franchise. I first discovered it through a "Doom Battlebook", and I've stuck with the franchise ever since. I sought out the main titles wherever I could, I checked out the spinoffs, I even supported as many fan efforts as possible.
Come about two decades later, and here I am. Aside from some fan works, I never actually contributed much to the Doom fan community and was more of a casual observer than anything (even if I did get more involved in the last decade).
To say that it has meant so much to me all these years would be an understatement. It got me through the good times and the bad times, it was there for me when I needed to celebrate and it was there for me when I need something to vent my frustrations.
I remember after the time I had experienced the bitter-tasting end of a romantic relationship, I booted up the game one afternoon. Normally I'd take breaks every few levels, but I only stopped once to have some lunch, and I still remember the feeling of elation and satisfaction that washed over me after beating the whole game in one sitting (a thing that's an entirely tall ask of me to do nowadays).
Aside from maybe like these deep intellectual discussions and a few memes here and there (as well as some artistic items), I feel I haven't truly contributed that much to the Doom community. I tried my hand at mapping a long while ago and got nowhere, I experimented with mods (both coding and graphics), I tried my hand at creative writing.
So there's a reason why I haven't posted as much here as I used to:
It feels like I haven't contributed much to the community, plus I really don't have the time I used to have since most of it's being spent on… well, just being an adult.
And let's just that that due to everything surrounding Doom Eternal (and to a lesser extent, a certain Doom movie), I haven't felt as proud to be part of the Doom community as I used to be.
Combine all of that, and I've lately been wondering if it's even worth it to try contributing at all or even stay a Doom fan. But I do know I want to contribute at least one big thing to Doom as a whole.
Spoiler: Doom Eternal is Both the Best and Worst Thing to Happen to the Franchise…and now that's finally off my chest, let's talk about this new Doom project I've embarked on and why I ultimately decided for this to be a manga.
Just a heads-up that this particular section is going to end up turning into a rant I desperately needed to get off my chest, so just bear with me.
After the release of Doom 2016, I was beyond stoked to see what id Software had in store for the franchise (and of course they had to follow up with a sequel considering the momentum the Doom franchise had built up just like that).
And then the game was first revealed during That Year.
Due to everything else that was going on during That Year, I found it surprisingly difficult to get hyped for Doom Eternal. Unlike 2016 where I was just chomping at the bit for every piece of info I could find leading up to the release, I found myself more passively absorbing information regarding Eternal.
I cannot stress this enough:
None of this lack of hype had anything to do on id Software's end or even the Doom community's end, I was just too preoccupied with everything else and I was only able to really bring myself to get hyped fairly close to the game's final release.
Yet, for whatever reason, I felt like some kind of weird alien for not feeling super-hyped all the way through.
On a side note, I was even worried about the franchise's trajectory given the story that was being introduced (namely with the Maykrs), but come the actual game, my fears were pretty much put to rest as the overall reaction to the game's story was essentially "well, that makes sense".
And then everything happened post-launch. From the Mick Gordon incident to the Ancient Gods discourse to what happened at The Game Awards and everything in between, it constantly felt like for the first year after the game's launch, Doom Eternal was essentially caught in what seemed like this looming cloud of constant bad news.
But in spite of all that, the Doom franchise had reached a level of relevance not even 2016 managed to achieve with all its hype of resurrecting a long-dormant franchise. Hell, Doom was no longer this bizarre retro curiosity that had more in common with Pac-Man than Super Mario Bros., being somehow "too nerdy and too niche for most people". Well, and the crossover memes with Animal Crossing definitely helped.
People who had never even heard of Doom before now wanted a piece of what everyone was talking about. Not only that, the gameplay pretty much was able to back it up in how intricately it was designed.
But then The Ancient Gods happened (more specifically, Part 2). I don't think I've ever seen a level of vitriol seen towards… anything Doom-related since maybe Doom Annihilation.
Hell, even Doom 3 at the time of release (or re-release with the BFG Edition) was largely met with memes, and the 2005 movie ended up being a guilty pleasure for many.
On top of all of that, I somehow managed to forget there was this entire backlash against Doom 2016 prior to its release, namely on how "generic" it looked, from the open multiplayer beta to how Hell (and to a lesser extent, Mars) had basically looked a dull orange.
From what I saw, the marketing wasn't 100% sure how to market the game until maybe the final trailer, and it was the strength of the campaign alone that pretty much launched 2016 into "instant classic" status.
But even with that, I still remember how so many demon designs were either changed dramatically or scrapped entirely; case in point, both the Cacodemon and the Baron of Hell both were recolored to look just like their classic counterparts when their concept art showed entirely different aesthetics (and that's not even talking about the Imp).
And without getting into too much detail (or spoilers), I am just going to say this as bluntly as I can:
Every single time I hear about some discourse about Doom Eternal, I just want to jump out of a window because I never want to hear about any discourse coming from that ever again.
Doom Eternal (and to a lesser extent, Doom Annihilation) showed me that there is so, so much evidence to the opposite that the Doom community is somehow "the most wholesome community imaginable" because I have seen quite possibly some of the WORST, most entitled fans I've ever seen outside of the Halo, Star Wars, or Metallica fandoms. Absolutely NOTHING will EVER satisfy them.
Case in point, I remember going to a Metallica concert well over a decade ago when I was barely a teenager, and I still remember this one guy who just would not clap or stand for anything that went past (or even included) …And Justice For All, as he would just sit there with his arms folded.
That's exactly what I see in so much of the Doom community.
That and there seems to be the never-ending cycle of:
*Makes new thing*
"I hate new thing; old thing better, make like old thing."
*Makes like old thing*
"New thing is rip-off of old thing, originality is dead."
Every single time I see Doom Eternal trending on Twitter (or Annihilation trending anywhere in the Doom community), it feels like I just ate a sock. I swear to god people will NEVER stop complaining about the Dark Lord or Joan Dark until the eventual heat death of the literal universe we inhabit.
This is not the fault of anyone at id or any one specific person in the Doom fan community, but rather this innate need to turn fandom into a personal and core part of one's identity to wrap EVERYTHING around which has only gotten more pervasive over the past decade, including one's personal politics.
It's gotten to the point where it feels like I have to do a sociological profile on someone before I can discuss something like The Matrix or the Terminator/Alien/Predator franchises (or at this point, literally any piece of media).
That's not even getting into the manbaby industrial complex which primarily serves to make a mountain out of a molehill over literally everything, ESPECIALLY whenever there's even a remote hint of a minority finally getting something in a piece of media. But that's a whole another topic entirely and it'll take me forever to talk about that (plus it's already taking me forever to even talk about the Doom Eternal discourse alone).
Lastly, it feels like general audiences are becoming more and more incurious people who aren't much interested in what other people think or feel, and said audiences' idea of a good time has essentially boiled down to "what if Batman met Mario?" just as long as it got them their fix of nostalgia.
"Don't work hard to make our version of art. Don't tell stories in exciting and new ways. Don't be sensitive and vulnerable. Don't kill off that character we love so much. Don't retell the same story from a new perspective. Don't do anything to rock the boat or change the status quo. Don't do anything that proves that you're more than a dirt-covered animal whose only thoughts is to eat and reproduce. Don't do any of those things because I'm here and my sheer ignorance and unwillingness to understand renders your art meaningless."
As long as people insist on being comfortably dumb, things will continue to be this way. The beatings will continue until morale improves.
And this is not an issue that's exclusive to just media consumption, but seemingly this pervasive mind-virus that's taken over every aspect of society to ensure that injustice continues to exist.
I'm tired of seeing more and more of my friends dropping like flies, either just giving in to abject despair or literally ending up as a statistic. They all deserve much, much happier and more fulfilling lives.
I am just so tired of it all, and I'm very much past the point of anger that I'm now just absolutely bewildered by everything.
And no, the status quo is not fine; how else did we even get here in the first place?
"Don’t you dare make anything sincere or deeply personal, or else we're going to call you an ego-tripping, clout-chasing fake who milks imaginary problems for pity and then we'll just assume you're just self-absorbed and whiny."
Cue the horrible canned laugh track and applause.
I think it's safe to say that the Doom Eternal discourse took a significant toll on my mental health.
On top of everything else.
Spoiler: Why in This Format?
The easiest and most straightforward reason is because I'd love to see a Doom title that tackles darker and heavier topics akin to how the MachineGames Wolfenstein titles did it (without necessarily ending up with something so abjectly bleak that you ultimately stop caring about the characters). And as they say, be the change you want to see in the world.
The next most straightforward reason (and quite possibly the main reason) is that even the original Doom has always been animesque and every single incarnation of Doom has felt very anime-like (from the original Doom and Doom 64 which feels like some kind of pulpy yet ultra-violent horror OVA from the late 80s/early 90s, to Doom 3 which contains shades of that Ghost in the Shell/Appleseed aesthetic, to Doom 2016/Eternal which is essentially just a sci-fi version of Berserk except all the sexual content is replaced with even more gore).
The last and quite possibly the most important reason is because I legitimately think a project like this has a shot at doing some good in the world, to give topics like mental health a more respectful and dignified spotlight as well as do my part to give the voices of minorities a much-needed voice especially in a space like one this manga is about to inhabit.
But I'm also not going to lie to you:
This is a work that is going to come from a very dark place, emotionally speaking. For the longest time, I've been stuck in a dark place and even though I've managed to crawl out of the hole every now and then and got to enjoy the sunlight more often, sooner or later that dark place always seems to find me again.
That doesn't necessarily mean that the work is going to be this joyless, nihilistic ride through Hell itself, it just means that the story will go to some really dark places at times.
Spoiler: What to Accomplish?I know it's just a lot to read through, but if you managed to read those massive walls of text, now you know why I've decided to do a Doom manga.
Back during the worst days of the Doom Eternal discourse, I would sometimes joke to myself that nobody in the Doom community seems to know what they actually want out of the Doom franchise despite the premise being deceptively simple (demons and shotguns).
Then I took a step back and realized that I also had no idea what to want out of the franchise myself.
Given that Doom is such an old franchise and nearly 30 years old as of this writing, there have been many, many interpretations of the original game. Back in the day, it was seen as this borderline survival horror game but it's now being seen as this balls-to-the-wall action fest. Doom 3 went to one extreme with the survival horror aspect, whereas Doom 2016 and Eternal went to the other extreme as the action fest.
And keep in mind, these are the official versions of the original game's interpretation.
And then we have the many fan-made maps and mods for the game, which throws in so many questions.
Is the music a rock-and-roll romp or the scariest ambience possible? Do we get industrial metal or eclectic prog rock fused with smooth jazz? Do we get a sweeping orchestra or is it all guitar solos?
Are the monsters supposed to look like comic book creations or these horrific abominations? Do we fight a handful of monsters at a time or do we get to take down entire legions with nothing but a rocket launcher? Is it just the classic lineup of the Doom Marine's rogues gallery or are there more demon types out there?
Who is the protagonist supposed to be? Do we get to be an action hero like the buff dudes of the 80s and 90s, or are we something more or something less? Are we a literal demigod, a cybernetically-enhanced soldier, or just a regular civilian trying to escape?
Are we looking for an arcade-like experience, a realistic simulation of how Hell on Earth would play out, or something in between?
How is one human enough to essentially counterbalance the literal manifestation of chaos itself? And more importantly, why?
One might say that none of these questions need to exist let alone be answered, that the only question is violence and that the answer is yes.
And that could be true. Or maybe it's all true. Or none of it's true.
Maybe Doom could be more or less than just the sum of one's experiences.
I know I've just gotten all philosophical, but with this project I'd like to not only explore each and every aspect of its most basic story beats and show them in a new light (from the barebones basics to the plot twists). And then I want to break it all to pieces.
And what do I want to accomplish through all of this?
Given what was discussed, either one of two things will happen by the time the manga is finished (or possibly even before that):
I end up gaining a newfound reappreciation for Doom never before felt on that magnitude, or I decide that I've had my fun with the franchise but it's time to move on to greener pastures.
Either way, it's a decision that won't be made lightly nor will it be made immediately. I know it's one I'll have to make several years from now.
But no worries if there's no desire to read the walls of text; the short of it is that a ton of really bad things in my personal life as well as extreme disillusionment with how things have been going lately with the Doom franchise has more or less prompted me to pen a manga that deconstructs (and possibly even reconstructs) the Doom franchise's premise while reevaluating my own attachment to said franchise.
That, and there's still the need to contribute at least one big thing to Doom itself.
Regarding the actual story, it's something that I'd like to keep under wraps for now, but all I can really say is that there's definitely some interesting twists on the traditional Doom stories told prior to the beginning of this millennium, and then looks to go from there. Also, it's not a remake or a reboot of the original Doom; that's all I can really say at the moment.
As for why this thread exists, I think it's safe to say that it's something that I'll be updating with news on a regular basis (be it finding an artist or the idea itself really picking up steam somewhere), just to keep everyone here updated.
More developments to come soon, hopefully sooner than later.