It seems that Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik, better known as Tycho and Gabe of Penny Arcade, have been itching to expand on some creative ideas they have been tossing around that aren't in the universe of the standard Penny Arcade strip. Over the past three updates they have introduced three new worlds, each of which they would like to explore at some point in the future. The problem is that they are just too busy with all sorts of secret work that they are contractually forbidden from discussing. They have decided to allow the fans to vote for which story they would like to see more of through the use of an online poll. A story line of the winning comic will be run later this summer during the week that Holkins and Krahulik attend the San Diego Comic Convention. The three choices are "The Lookouts," "Automata" and "Jim Darkmagic."
The Lookouts is based in a world which is covered mostly with a magical forest. Human settlements are few and far between and men must protect the roads that connect them. The Lookouts are a Boy Scout type group in which boys are taught the ways of the forest so that they can eventually take on the responsibilities of men.
Automata is based in a world where technology has led to machine sentience, only to have sentient machines outlawed. The conflict comes from the fact that sentient machines that were created before the law banning their existence have been "grandfathered" in and allowed to coexist with humanity. The main characters of this black and white comic appear to be a human detective and his android partner, living in a mainly anti-android world.
The final offering is based on the infamous Jim Darkmagic, of the New Hampshire Darkmagics. Jim Darkmagic is based on a Dungeons & Dragons character that was played by Krahulik in the Wizards sponsored pod-casts which also featured Scott Kurtz, of PVP Online, and geek legend Wil Wheaton. Jim is an egotistical mage who is more concerned with putting on a show for the fans than with completing the goals of his group, Acquisitions Incorporated.
Its hard to decide which comic I would like to see expanded, but I am personally leaning towards the more fantasy based Lookouts. Automata would also be very interesting if only because of the amount of tension that seems to exist in the world they have created. I am a little less interested in a comic version of Jim Darkmagic as it seems to me to have come across better in the pod-casts.
As of today, Automata was in the lead as fan choice with 47.8% of the over 17,000 votes so far.