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Colville and Robles Roll for Insight on Vox Machina Origins #2
Critical RoleCritical Role

Colville and Robles Roll for Insight on Vox Machina Origins #2

Critical Role is Geek & Sundry’s D&D RPG show, featuring talented voice actors on an epic journey. Catch them on every Thursday night at 7:00 PM Pacific on the Geek & Sundry Twitch channel.

Vox Machina Origins #2, published by Dark Horse Comics, stars Critical Role‘s “troublesome twosome,” as Travis Willingham puts it: Grog Strongjaw and Scanlan Shorthalt. While the book is packed with Scanlan’s trademark humor and Grog’s trademark carnage, like the two characters themselves, there’s more to the story than first meets the eye.

Vox Machina Origins #2

Writer Matt Colville and cover artist Nick Robles spared some time away from Exandria to chat about the comic book, Grog, Scanlan, and just what makes Vox Machina so compelling.

Spoilers for Vox Machina Origins #2 below.

More Than Meets the Eye

Like the first issue, Vox Machina Origins #2 opens about 4-6 months before the group’s journey together began on the stream. Grog and Scanlan have cast their lots with a somewhat uptight band of adventurers. “On the surface, they’re in it for the cash, the booze, and some hanky-panky with the local Ladies of Negotiable Affection,” says Matt Colville, writer for the series.

But there may be more to their motivations, Colville says, revealing a little more about their current situation.

Vox Machina #2

“Scanlan and Grog are with The Wing, led by a Paladin and a Cleric, both of a local Good-aligned church,” he says. “And Scanlan is just a constant thorn in the Paladin’s side. He enjoys being an agent of chaos under this Lawful leader.

“Then for a moment, Scanlan notices how all the local peasants are just miserable. Poor and without hope and it bothers him. He says, ‘Huh. Funny Arnicor never said anything about it.'”

Scanlan may have joined the group just to mess with the uptight Paladin, but he can’t ignore what he sees happening around him. “Arnicor, the Paladin, never said anything about the poor, destitute peasants,” Colville says. “Why not? He’s supposed to be the Good Guy, he never even noticed them. But Scanlan did. Maybe there’s more to Scanlan than meets the eye.

“Grog, on the other hand, is exactly as he seems.”

Double Trouble?

Most people may see Grog and Scanlan as double trouble, but not cover artist Nick Robles. Their size difference didn’t pose a problem when he was putting together the cover to Vox Machina Origins #2. “Characters varying height is just part of something you’re going to have to eventually do,” says Robles.

Vox Machina Origins #2

But as characters, he admits, they are prone to a little trouble. “They seem to be pretty challenging when they pair up,” Robles says, “unless they run into the city watch.”

For Robles, a fan of Critical Role since 2015, digitally painting the cover art was an incredible opportunity. “Geek and Sundry reached out and asked if I would be interested in working on a secret project they were starting,” he says. “My schedule was tight, but I carved out a little time. There was NO WAY I was passing on this gig!”

Getting the Band Together

For Colville, his biggest challenge lay in getting the Vox Machina we know and love to get together from various beginning points. “Getting the team together is tough because you have to begin with them apart, there has to be an obvious reason why they should work together,” he says, “but it can’t be too obvious otherwise there’s no drama. They have to meet, clash, separate, then some external force has to urge them together.

“You’re weaving these disperate threads into one fabric and it needs to flow and seem logical. This is Not Easy™.”

Vox Machina Origins #2

Once they’re all together, Vox Machina would never describe themselves as heroes, or even nice people. But there’s no denying that the characters are beloved by Critical Role fans worldwide. “They have a high bodycount often of civilians, but these are NPCs we never meet,” Colville says. “They care about each other and the world and fight to save it and each other. They fight for the NPCs we do get to meet.

“They are emotional characters who routinely make clear their affection for each other. I know they describe themselves as ‘not nice,’ but I think of them more as unorthodox.”

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All Images: Geek & Sundry/Dark Horse Comics, Nick Robles and Olivia Samson

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