When I first played FINAL FANTASY XV, my favorite character, like many other people, was Gladio. A sexy man with an eagle emblazoned on his back, huge sword, and deep rumbly voice? Sign me up!
But then Chapter 10 happened. You know, the train scene. And then the swamp scene. And then Episode Ignis. Oof. Talk about having chance after chance to make this character anything but 'just the tough guy who yells a lot' and failing every single time. I still like him and think he's charming, but they could have shown him as more of a big brother character (which I assume the devs were going for) rather than what we got.
The extra scene for him that I think they got right was Episode Gladio - he and Cor got some needed screentime, we got some Devil May Cry-ish beat-em-up action gameplay (as much as we could get in FFXV's combat system), and Cor got some much-needed development (poor guy, getting booted from being the fifth boy band member to being a severely demoted extra). While Gladio is still one of my favorite FFXV boys, we all know who the best boy is. Well, I know which one is my personal favorite anyway, lol.
I had drawn Cor for about a year before trying my hand at a comic - I couldn't quite get a likeness on him for a very long time, because I was scared no one would like my interpretation. Drawing your own characters is one thing because you can never get them wrong. Drawing a character that everyone already knows and has a version in their mind that they prefer is another.
I dove in anyway, because that's what you do when you need something to exist - you make it so that it exists! At least, that is my motto.
Because of the post-train Gladio scenes and Cor's minimal screen time, I decided to make a comic with a little of what I wanted to see instead: happy, charming-but-tough Gladio, and a Cor who is serious about training but definitely not afraid to smile. More balanced characters - but this time, in a sultry after-training scene ;3
You may notice Cor has tattoos in this one and a prominent neck scar. The former is fantasy, speculation, an idea that he would just look good with them and maybe a relic of rebellious times long past; the latter is a detail from observing his character model in the game taken to a more noticable form.
The comic book took a bit of time to make because I really wanted the visual style to be something unique while still getting good likenesses of the characters. I loved studying the characters, drawing their sexy physiques, and making the story short but very sweet :3
Fandoms have an interesting way of taking characters very seriously. I took the characters seriously too, until I decided not to one day, which is how the Cor-headed horse / Corse / Koruma came into being, lmao. Koruma coincidentally, is a portmanteau in both English and Japanese: Cor horse = Corse, and Koruma is Koru (Cor) + uma (horse).
He is a silly creature that reminds us that none of this really matters, and that's okay. Somewhere along the way Koruma's signature food became burgers, and he lives on an island with miniature Corses and Eggnises (Ignis chickens lmao) and after all that weird lore just sort of happened, he became a beloved art crime of mine, lol.
I'd have a pet one if I could! But the best approximation I can make right now are small keychains. It's like you're walking them on little leashes everywhere you go~
The reception to HARD & FAST! has been overwhelmingly positive, and I'm very happy to make a comic that people are so into. I love FINAL FANTASY XV, Gladio, Cor, and Episode Gladio, and this comic - though mostly smut - is a small love letter to all of them ❤