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  • Writer's pictureAce Hansel Jr

Welcome Blog

This blog by Mike Batt (But other creative team members will sometimes contribute)

Welcome to the NEW site from ACE HANSEL JR and the sleazy, dangerous world of Croix-Noire, one of the most dangerous red light areas in France. Fortunately, it’s fictional!

The thing is, if you are ONLY interested in the game, go for it. If you are only only interested in the comics, be our guest and skip straight to that section. The music, similarly. This site is the hub of the whole thing, and you can drop in and check it out any time, to see what’s new, etc, and we’ll use this blog to update you as to what IS new, when stuff happens.

This whole project has been a blast to create, because David Quantick’s novella was commissioned about the same time as we started writing the songs. This meant the story could inform the songs, and the songs could inform the story- before ever any of it was complete. It grew organically out of a notebook Jean-Charles had. I noticed in his half-formed lyrics (written in English, but not always completed in the form of a lyric; sometimes as a stream of consciousness) - a thread that often came back to, or referenced a district familiar to him and which he found fascinating. The real place is actually nothing much like Croix-Noire, which for the purposes of fiction, we have made rougher and more debauched; and we have created villains and back-story that added to the intrigue and story development.

Amazingly though, when I first read Jean-Charles’ notebook, I was able to ask him about certain characters and I found out that they were often, indeed, real people from his life. So for example Lucie was a real person in his life. Ratface isn’t. Ratface was created by David in chapter one, in order for us to lead us into the adventure - in which his cousin’s head is found in a trashcan! That’s David’s imagination working. But Lucie plays a part in the whole thing. Personally, I see her as a kind of Jiminy Cricket character who keeps popping up in Ace’s life when he needs help. But the real Lucie was a very special girl and a strong influence on the young Jean-Charles. Her existence enabled us to write “The Runaway” as a poignant song reflecting real events and feelings in Jean-Charles’ life.

So not only is this project a mixture of media (Comic, Album, Game, Novella) – it’s also a mixture of reality and imagination.

The decision to make Ace look like Jean-Charles, once we’d got over the weirdness of the idea (and similarly to have Col Talbot look like me) – added to the deliberate confusion, -or blurring – between reality and fantasy.

It’s one of the most fun projects I’ve ever been involved with - and I thank Jean-Charles for involving me as his co-writer, partner and producer. I also get to “edit” the comic issues, and write silly “welcome” editorials at the front of each issue, in my other secret identity as “The Editor”!

Which only goes to show that most of us are faking it and being someone they aren’t, some of the time. Like kids with a dressing up box and a few fireworks. Actually that mixture does sound a bit dangerous! But not as dangerous as a walk down Croix-Noire main street at 3am. Watch your back and look out for cyborg were-bears.

Anyway – we hope you enjoy your experience in Croix Noire, - and come back regularly. There will usually be something new.

Thanks for visiting!

All the best


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