I'm going to share a list of influences that shaped Rat Rage. Hopefully, this will be a fun insight into what made it what it is today. May I remind you, this series of mine is 15 years in the making. Jinx, Rai, and Nini were created solely for an imaginary "video game", (and unbeknownst to me at the time, was really a pen-and-paper RPG) with a whole different setting and story compared to what it is now.
So I'm going down the list of some positive influences that molded my imagination of Rat Rage to its current comic/graphic novel form.
Looking at Rat Rage as a whole, it's certainly no doubt, that there are many design elements in Rai's original design that were extracted HEAVILY from the True Blue. Not only design-wise, but right down to the vivid and colorful atmosphere of Sonic's earlier Megadrive/Genesis titles. (Click here to see an older drawing of Rai and Nini.) In my mind as a kid, I always pictured Rai and crew to be an alternate SEGA entity. And that was the driving force in the creation of them. It was even to the point where the original purpose of the "game" was to collect 6 Trophies! (Emeralds, anyone?) Of course, I had to change some things eventually, but if it wasn't for this 'hog, RR would've just been a pipe dream with a clog.
When this show premiered in 1992, thanks to my love for Batman as a kid, I was inclined to watch it. (What kid wasn't?) But this show definitely solidify Batman's "image". Honestly, thanks to this show, since I wasn't really a reader of the comic books, it was the first time I was introduced to the infamous rogue gallery that Batman is well-known for. This was of course, budding inspiration for me, as I didn't really have an arsenal of bad guys in RR, let alone their own backstories. Due to the original premise of Jinx being the lead character, participating in sword fighting competitions, the list of antagonists were pretty lame. But I owe to Batman:TAS for shootin' me a pick-me-up in the troublemakers department.
THIS WAS IT. When I first caught an airing of these cats, this is where the inspiration really hit. The Pizza Cats brought a flow of inspiration to my brain, and prompted some major overhauls with the concept of the story within Rat Rage. The characters were zany and wild, you couldn't help but dig the ideas behind the Pizza Cats' methods of operations, (I still love the gigantic pistol launcher to this very day,) and it was probably (at the time) the coolest portrayal of anthropomorphic characters (other than TMNT); considering growing up from Looney Tunes/Tom and Jerry in that department. And names like Speedy Cerviché, Polly Esther, and Guido Anchovy really helped me play with the concept of naming characters in RR. Good stuff.
I played the original Megaman off and on in the late 80s, and I fell in love with the Rocker (as we all did), but it wasn't until Megaman X, where I became a hardcore fan and meshed some of that "edge" that was given to the previously cute Megaman, onto Rat Rage. Rai's overall shape is similar to Megaman's. And, X and Zero is such a solid duo that I focused on adapting traits in RR. Rai's weapon design was influenced by the original Megaman, only Rai has to mix compounds to create ammunition types that can be effective against a certain enemy. When Zero came on the scene, I liked the idea of a main shooter/backup swordsman combo. So Rai and Jinx = X and Zero, and it's one of my fondest homages in RR, I'd think. (Megaman music in general is the soundtrack to RR's creation to this day!)
Do I even need to explain WHY this show was such an influence? Yeah... Nuff 'sed.
When I first saw Vash the Stampede, I immediately saw an on-screen likeness of character to Rai's character. Vash has strong morals. Rai has a strong sense of justice. Vash is goofy. Rai is foolish. They both lose it over the opposite gender, they both have mysterious weaknesses that affect them, and they are both sharpshooters with a single gun. And for the overall concept of the story, I must say, I think Yasuhiro Nightow is a GENIUS. I'm also prompted to say, great minds think alike, yadda yadda. FUN FACT: Roxelle the Breeze was created partially as a homage to Trigun, within the name and her alias "Fiery Witch", the same mechanics of "Vash the Stampede", and "Humanoid Typhoon". Lil' FYI for ya'.
I LOVE GAINAX! The quality of GAINAX's animation pushes me to portray that quality (in a sense) in comic book form. I study key frames by Sushio and other key animators in the studio, and the life they invoke in those characters is such an art-- and it's SO SOLID (at times, in JUST the keyframes!). So I'm glad to say, that the action in Rat Rage is heavily influenced by GAINAX as a whole.
And there ya have it! There are obviously some more influences here and there when it came to the creation of Rat Rage, but these above are probably the most direct of em all.