Growing up, no one suspected that Ryu Cope was destined to become a supervillain. Well, they might have suspected. Probably could have guessed at it fairly easily, actually. He was, after all, one of those “quiet ones” the neighbors talk about when supervillains get caught. In hindsight, though, he wasn’t all that quiet, either. Always yammering on about the stuff he’d read and asking questions and just generally being an annoying little shi… Let’s start over.
Growing up, it was easy to see that Ryu Cope was destined to become a supervillain. Not one of those “destroy the world” kind of doom-and-destruction supervillains, but one of those “sadly misguided, do it for the good of the people” kind of supervillains who gives his henchmen hour-long lunch breaks, paid vacation and sick days, paid holidays, an excellent health plan with vision and dental, free on-site childcare, and a generous 401k. Wait. Where were we?
Ryu started questioning authority at an early age; he was never content to accept anything he was told at face value. “Why?” was his favorite question. So much so that his parents, tired of the constant barrage, finally broke down and bought him a bunch of books with titles like What to Do When Your Child Won’t Stop Asking “Why?”, The Big Book of “Why?” For
Obnoxious Precocious Children, and Even More “Why?” To Shut Your Kid the Hell Up! When young Ryu went through these books in only a few days, his parents realized that they would quickly go bankrupt if they kept buying them, so they did the next best thing and let him get a library card.
By the time he was ten, Ryu had gone through the local, small-town library like a swarm of locusts, devouring book after book on science, technology, mythology, and religion — whether or not they were appropriate for his age. Not content with just explanations of the so-called “real” world, he also delved eagerly into science fiction, fantasy, folklore, fairy tales, and even a short-lived foray into adult horror that left him too scared to sleep without a nightlight and a plush unicorn named “Foggy.” After that fiasco, his parents decided that he was reading way too much and sent him to his first summer job at a nearby dairy farm to try to keep him out of trouble. Or at least out of the horror section of the library.
Upon entering the working world at the tender age of eleven, Ryu discovered a whole new world of knowledge and information: that of experience. From that point on, Ryu bounced from job to job, field to field, in an effort to amass even more information, knowledge, skills, and experience. From blue-collar jobs like farm hand, dishwasher, janitor, and fry cook, to white-collar jobs like graphic artist, marketing executive, and college teacher.
As a young adult, Ryu had learned that knowledge was power and that power corrupts, so he was prepared to become a full-fledge supervillain. He first tried his hand at cartoon supervillainy by becoming a Game Master of his gaming group. When that didn’t have the global reach supervillainy requires, he ended up writing his own guides to gaming in an effort to spread his influence: Uncle Figgy’s Guide to Good GameMastering, Uncle Figgy’s Guide to Good RolePlaying, Uncle Figgy’s Guide to Good Fantasy, and Uncle Figgy’s Guide to RolePlaying for Non-RolePlayers.
His many other bids to fully realize his true supervillain potential include his brief stint as a stage magician and stand-up comedian, acting in the independent feature film Gameheads, the creation of his own tabletop roleplaying game (Ryu-Ki System: Sunserra), and as the creator and host (the Bad Buddha) of the Bad Buddhist Radio podcast.
So far, all of his attempts at true cartoon supervillainy have failed. Partly because he’s too easily distracted by video games, partly because he’s too interested in too much stuff, and partly because his heart isn’t truly in it (it just seems like way too much work). In the meantime, he has decided to share his knowledge and experience as a writer, as a podcaster, and as a lecturer and guest speaker (he has appeared at many science fiction conventions lecturing on subjects as diverse as buddhism, game design, publishing, graphic design, art, technology, podcasting, religion, writing, editing, role playing games, angelology, copyright law, mythology and whatever else convention organizers figure will fill a panel). He’s also still learning new things and accumulating new knowledge, and since knowledge is power, and power corrupts, it’s only a matter of time!