For anybody that knows me it comes as no surprise that super-heroic role-playing is my favorite genre to indulge in. It is also the one that causes me the most frustration. To paraphrase Khan Noonian Singh from Star Trek II:
"It tasks me. It tasks me and I shall have it! I'll chase it 'round the moons of Nibia and 'round the Antares Maelstrom and 'round perdition's flames before I give it up!."
Superhero role-playing games (rpgs) were the third Genre of role-playing that I was ever exposed to. The first, as it was for many in the hobby, was the fantasy genre through the auspices of Dungeons & Dragons (Holmes edition) and Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (1st edition). early on I played many standalone adventure and one-shots, but I never really engaged in what could be called a "Campaign" until much later under the dungeon-mastering of my friend Francois "Frank" Verpaelst in his excellent "Thieves World" games. Fantasy is still my second favorite role-playing genre.
The second was post-apocalyptic role-playing through TSR's Gamma World (1st ed). My time spent playing Gamma World under my friend P. Michael Hodge could most certainly be considered a campaign in the classic sense, we had consistent characters that progressed through as series of interconnected situations and adventure. P.Mikey's Gamma World campaign was definitely a precursor to the genre that would later occupy the Lion's share of our early role-playing "careers". I say this because one of the major background features of his campaign was a secret society he created called "the Church of Mar-Vel". A group of cultist that had based their religion and philosophy on an incomplete archive of Marvel comics, and had begun to breed / engineer mutants with the powers and abilities of the gods from the holy books. I'm sure you can guess where this is leading .
An finally during a summer lull in gaming (most of our gaming revolved around school, both high school and C.E.G.E.P, which in Quebec is a bridge between HS and University) a friend called together a group of us he knew to be comic book / superhero aficionados to try an new rpg that he'd gotten his hands on. It turned out to be the boxed set of Villains & Vigilantes 2.0, and when we saw it I seem to remember we were all pretty excited about it.
We rolled up characters and our friend Carl ran us through the Intro module "Crisis at Crusader Citadel". I think most of were hooked at that point, I know that I was, and I'm pretty sure that P.Michael was too. not long after his Gamma world campaign wrapped up and he plunged head long in to V&V. Technically I started my V&V campaign first, but mine didn't shine as brightly or last as long as the campaigns run by PMikey.
For over 20 years I've had a plethora of characters in P.Michael's campaigns. In order of appearance: from the Champions of Peace (C.O.P.s): Firebird (who was Erik Menard's super heroic Identity), Will-o-wisp, and The Magi (yes I know I accidentally used the plural in his name instead of the singular Mage), from the Pantheon: Midnight (perhaps the character that is most associated with me, Duh), From U.N.I.T.-M: Psi-Fire, Ghoul (a reworking of my original character form Carl's game), and finally Midnight once again.
Then Jack Herman & Jeff Dee, the original authors of V&V released Villains & Vigilantes 2.1 a cleaned up and reformatted set of V&V 2 rules, and began their battle to regain the their rights to publish their game. In the end they achieved a complicated compromise victory and began the process of getting Villains & Vigilantes 3.0: The Mighty Protectors Kickstarted and eventually out the door. This chain of events reawakened my interest in V&V and I began to reexamine it.
In the end I've come to the conclusion that It wasn't so much the rules / mechanics that I had become disenchanted with all those years ago, but rather I was beginning to rapidly lose faith in my abilities as a game master; my ability to tell an Interesting and compelling story. It took years to hit rock bottom, but I did hit it, and have been slowly rebuilding it ever since. so now I think I'm finally ready to pick up my GMing hat, dust it off, set it squarely on my huge melon and jump back in to the game.
I will have to make a decision on this matter very shortly, as I have promised PMikey that I WILL run a Superhero campaign for him to finally play in, and after all the years enjoyment he's brought me as a player over the years (hell a lot of us). I think I owe him that, ... nay, I know I owe him that, and its time I paid up.
Erik a.k.a Midnight