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Here's a sample from my Wall of Crazy. As I said in my video, I think that Nightshade and Serapha are modeled after the game's designers, Robin Spriggs and Kelly O'Neal.

Before Kelly O'Neal deleted her myspace, it had some high quality Capes & Cowls art. There were the promotional images that
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added to the gallery. There is also the art for three characters: Nightshade, Serapha, and Baron Necro*.

According to the bio in Adventure Book #1, Serapha is an angel incarnate named S'Rapha Z'Nel. The name Z'Nel bears a resemblance to O'Neal.

Here's a side by side comparison of the Serapha art from O'Neal's myspace and her picture from IMDB.



But Nightshade is definitely the star of the show. He is the only character to be featured on the cover of the game itself, the Rule Book, and Adventure Book #1. He is always front and center. He is also used in the majority of the examples in the Rule Book.



As for Nightshade and Spriggs, the side-by-side comparison is less obvious, but there are similarities.



I'm working on the assumption that Gilda Sue Rosenstern is played by Kelly O'Neal**. In her Capes & Cowls YouTube video, Gilda Sue begins to gush about one character: Nightshade.

She says (beginning at 2:45): "I will confess that my very favorite character of all--and this might be why I love the book--I got a little crush on the Nightshade. Now he's the star***, Nightshade, here's his little card. You can see all his special superpowers are listed here--everybody's got special superpowers. Y'all, the Nightshade, honest to goodness, I believe is gonna have ta' be this season's Gilda Sue's Sexiest Superhero Alive. I mean, this man has got it goin' on. He has a black and purple suit made of night****. I know. I mean, can you wrap your brain around that? Can y'all even begin to imagine what in the world kind a' kisser a man with a black and purple suit made out'a night might be? I know I can."

(This dialogue makes me wonder if perhaps Spriggs and O'Neal were romantically involved. Perhaps they had a falling out, and this is why Capes & Cowls is no longer in production?)

And here is where I really sound like a crazy person--crazy like a fox. Nightshade's real name is listed in Adventure Book #1 as Grayson Thorn.

Take Spriggs and turn it into Sprig. A sprig is an offshoot of a plant, as is a thorn. There is also the poem by Robert Burns, the nation poet of Scotland, "473. On Chloris requesting a sprig of blossom’d thorn"

Requesting me to give her a Spring of Blossomed Thorn.

FROM the white-blossom’d sloe my dear Chloris requested
A sprig, her fair breast to adorn:
No, by Heavens! I exclaim’d, let me perish, if ever
I plant in that bosom a thorn!


Finally, take Spriggs' first name, Robin. Judging by the game, Robin Spriggs is a comic book fan, and Robin is the name of Batman's sidekick. The original Robin's real name was Dick Grayson. He eventually moved on to become Nightwing.

And that, my friends, is what I'll be telling them when they come to take me away.

*I'm unsure why Baron Necro is included. Is it simply because he is the first character alphabetically? Is he modeled after the elusive Jazz Lieberman? Or is it something more sinister?

**This assertion is debated, but I stand by it. She also reviewed his book, Wondrous Strange. Here are O'Neal and Rosenstern's faces overlapped:



***Now why would she call him the star if she isn't aware of the author's intent? Aside from the art and my assumptions of his Mary Sue identity, there's nothing to say he is the star of the game.

****This isn't really in the bio. It says he has "a costume fashioned from the essence of his eldritch benefactress," "Mother Night herself." Further indication she was involved with production.
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~Ryan McSwain
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One more piece to show the priority of Nightshade. Here is the back of the box and its sides. Guess who is on all of them?

And in the promo art, which isn't ordered alphabetically or by team, guess who is right there at the top? Perhaps Diablo Azul is his primary antagonist, as he is the most prominent villain in the game. And Serapha is dead center.

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I'm convinced. Especially about the Grayson Thorn thing - nice catch.

While I don't think you're wrong, nonetheless I do think you're crazy.
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FlyingArrow wrote:
I'm convinced. Especially about the Grayson Thorn thing - nice catch.

While I don't think you're wrong, nonetheless I do think you're crazy.


Thanks and I agree.

Back when I was still working full time I spent several weeks worth of off-hours trying to track down a copy of the board game and the comics it was based on. It just about drove me bonkers.

Eventually I'll do another Wall of Crazy post about the whole ordeal, as my friends have told me it is interesting, frustrating, and bizarre.

But I think I might turn it into a novel first.
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I'll mourn over the marble steps, Junkies of the world lay across the monuments, I climb and blister on the mount, Drunks take a piss where heroes once bled out
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Fun stuff on a great game. You did some substantial Net-ective work on the designers and character.

I can tell you're a visual person, Ryan. No wonder you enjoy comics as much as you do. I'd like to believe I have a knack for visuals and symbols, but I wouldn't've 'seen' anything like that for Capes and Cowls!

I don't think you're crazy or obsessed either. Just having fun utilizing the internet to find more about a game that's criminally underproduced, underspotlighted, and of course, underplayed!
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Hex_Enduction_Hour wrote:
Fun stuff on a great game. You did some substantial Net-ective work on the designers and character.

I can tell you're a visual person, Ryan. No wonder you enjoy comics as much as you do. I'd like to believe I have a knack for visuals and symbols, but I wouldn't've 'seen' anything like that for Capes and Cowls!

I don't think you're crazy or obsessed either. Just having fun utilizing the internet to find more about a game that's criminally underproduced, underspotlighted, and of course, underplayed!


Thanks, Hex. I do think I was on the verge of crazy, but I pulled back. I certainly understand why folks go nuts looking at stuff like the JFK assassination and other things where you'll never be able to completely find the answers you're looking for.

Among other crazy things I did, I contacted several online book-finders and all the major back-issue comic book sellers, looking for an issue, any issue of the comic book. When that didn't pan out, I called or emailed every comic shop in Georgia (where the game and comics were printed) and still came up empty.

No one had heard of the game or the book.
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Oh, one more yarn connection on this virtual wall of crazy: there is no way that William Yonder/Wyrdling isn't Robin Spriggs's secret identity here on the 'geek. Wyrdling had promo art that isn't available anywhere else and was answering rules questions in a word-of-god fashion.

Sorry to pull the mask off of the Lone Ranger, but since he doesn't seem to be active any more I think it may be all right.
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