bluegargantua: (default)
Hey,

So in a world with Superman and other incredibly powerful superheroes who do general rescue work along with stopping crime, are people more foolish? If you have a reasonable suspicion that if you get in a jam a magical man will show up to save you, do you take bigger chances hoping for a bigger payoff?

And I figure your general visibility must coincide with your willingness to gamble on a super-rescue. If your dangerous failures make it to the general news, that must mean a greater chance for a hero to hear about it and come to your aid. So maybe you only take big chances if it would make big news on success or failure.

This is what got me thinking about all this:





later
Tom

p.s. Of course, as the clip above shows, there may be enough risks already...
bluegargantua: (Default)
Hey,

So I recently finished up Sleeping Dogs for the XBox. It's a semi-open sandbox world where you run around a Hong Kong analog. You're an undercover cop infiltrating one of the Triads and you have to balance your responsibilities to the law vs. not getting your cover blown. It's trying hard to evoke Hong Kong action flicks and it does a pretty good job.

There is slow-mo bullet time action, but alas, no doves fly up when you do it.

Not that there's a lot of gun play. This is Hong Kong and so you beat the crap out of people. There are also some sweet environmental effects so you can slap a guy with a fish or drop kick them into a telephone booth and then beat them down with the receiver. It's a bit like a cross between Grand Theft Auto and Batman: Arkham City in that you can run around and do everything but the rocket launchers are replaced with martial arts combos.

It was fun and in the summer doldrums I'll take a fun video game but it had a couple of problems.

  • While you could enter slow-mo bullet time, I had a lot of trouble getting it to trigger, so I'd go sliding out into the open to get my clock cleaned.
  • The driving leans to the realistic end of the spectrum (well, I can leap from car to car and take them over, but it's the driving physics I'm talking about here). The problem is that I want to hit the emergency brake and go sliding around a sharp turn all Tokyo Drift style, but I pop the brake, the car slews to the side and then just stops. It's very hard to slalom through the streets.
  • When you're on a mission you get docked Police XP for doing bad things -- killing innocents, stealing, and property damage. Lot of high speed chases in this game and even just driving to a mission checkpoint you can ding a fender or loose barrier and start losing points. The problem is that when you aren't in mission mode, these don't apply so you often forget when you start a new mission and then your police score gets ruined from the outset when you take the fast lane across the island to your next location.
  • The dating mini-games are pretty terrible. You go on one date and then never see the girl again.
  • There are karaoke mini-games. Ugh.
  • The ending is 80% you being a bad-ass but 140% someone else handing you a resolution. You basically beat up a lot of people so someone else can solve your case for you. Bit of a letdown.

I'm mostly quibbling though, like I say it was a great game for mid-August when nothing is out, but once the fall sets in you'll have much better options.

* * * * *


On to comic books -- sometimes people will recommend stuff and I'll look at the artwork and go "meh" and never bother. Then I pick it up and it's like "hold up, let me get on the bandwagon!". Scott Pilgrim vs. the World was like that and now we can add Finder to that list. The first volume in the Finder Library was on sale for cheap the other day so I picked it up and devoured it.

Finder is a weird mix of sci-fi and fantasy and usually that's the kiss of death for me, but here Carla Speed McNeil does an amazing job of bundling it all together. It seems to be set in the far future where most people live in domed cities made from ancient technologies no one understands but what they do understand lets them live a pretty comfortable life. Almost everyone belongs to a clan of some kind and if you're a member of a clan you tend to strongly resemble others from your clan...which might be a neat trick letting the artist get away with drawing fewer people.

The book mostly revolves around Jaeger Ayers who occupies a pretty low rung on the ladder of society. He's a mixed-clan member of a nomadic clan and he took on the role of a sin-eater within that clan. But first and foremost, he's a Finder -- a scout, a thief, a tracker and general problem-solver. He works with a mix of practical and mystical tools to change things. Hopefully for the better, but even he admits he can't be sure. The bulk of this first collection is about Jaeger trying to resolve the complicated relationships between his former army commander (who went nuts) and his wife and children (who constitute the closest thing to a family Jaeger's ever had). It's a tangled plot that teases itself out in strands here and there until it starts weaving back together into a climax.

I really enjoyed it. I'm still not a huge fan of the artwork, but it's not the worst I've ever seen and the story really makes up for it. So yeah, go grab Finder it's aces.

later
Tom
bluegargantua: (Default)
Hey,

I forgot to mention, Comicazi in Davis Sq. gave me a free graphic novel. I got to pick one of three choices.

I picked Moon Knight: God and Country.

It was awful. I was tempted to go back to Comicazi and demand my money back.

later
Tom
bluegargantua: (Default)
Big News, True Believers!

Deadpool is basically Wolverine with guns instead of claws and an annoying wise-cracking attitude instead of an annoying grim-loner attitude. In fact, I just realized that they're really one and the same guy: a fast-healing mutant suffering from extreme (mutant) bi-polar disorder.

But, Tom, you say, while your idea is stuffed full of merit, there have been numerous Wolverine/Deadpool team-ups to cater to each hero's slavering fan-base. Surely such team-ups would be impossible for one mutant no matter how bad-ass he is.

I have two possible theories -- a.) A Tyler Durden scenario where such team-ups are filtered through Wolver-pool's fractured consciousness or b.) an additional mutant power allowing physical projection and embodiment of his psyche.

Worst case, I assume Deadpool is simply a poorly done clone of Wolverine. Nicaragua simply couldn't afford a high-quality super-soldier program, quality cloning equipment, or adamantium in sufficient quantities. So they grab some spit off Wolverine and hope for the best.

But I stick by my original theory that they're just one guy
Tom
bluegargantua: (Default)
Hey,

So what with the recent spate of lawmakers being assholes towards women, I thought a bit of reading about the lives of sex workers in India might make for some uplifting reading.

It....did? Didn't?

The book was Beautiful Thing: Inside the Secret World of Bombay's Dance Clubs by Sonia Faleiro. This book generated a lot of buzz in the UK and I was anxious to check it out, but while it was interesting, it didn't quite meet expectations for me.

So Sonia is living in Bombay and she gets to know a number of women who dance in Dance Clubs. They're not strippers exactly and while they will have sex with their customers they very clearly don't consider themselves prostitutes. Like a lot of societies, India struggles with how it deals with sexuality. The problem is that crime, corruption, poverty and equality all come together to create a situation where sex-for-hire is despised even as it's endemic in the population.

Sonia gets to know one particular dancer named Leela, a 19 year old girl who was pimped out to the local police by her father when she was a child. The life has actually been fairly rewarding for her financially, although her traumas past and present keep draining her money away through a life of non-stop parties and consumerism. The book also follows a number of the people surrounding Leela, her best friend and fellow dancer, the bar owner/lover who employs her, the local group of trans women she hangs out with, her mother who shows up unexpectedly and well outstays her welcome, and various other folks.

It's interesting. It's also a little unsatisfying, but I can't quite quantify the reason. Maybe I wanted maps of the area for context? A few more high-level factual blocks to illuminate how Leela's problems are mirrored at large? The book ends on something of a cliff-hanger and I feel that a post-script could have been supplied? Just a little something.

Still, Ms. Faleiro does have an ear for voices and the people she follows have distinct ones. She doesn't shy away from using strings of Hindu words, but always supplies a translation or more than enough context that you never feel lost. It's an interesting book and there's probably a number of folks on my friend's list who might want to give it a read.

For those of my friends who read comics, I picked up issue one of Saga by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples and I have to say it starts off like "Angel and Demon have a baby and are on the run from Heaven and Hell -- IN SPAAAAACE!" and then it really starts to rise above it's premise. I'm on-board for a few more issues anyway. Also, there are boobs, penises, and umbilical cords so...not really for kids.

later
Tom
bluegargantua: (Default)
Hi,

If you love comics, you'll get a kick out of this. If you're not into comics, but you're interested in people who are, you'll get a kick out of this.

It's a bit long and NSFW-language, but it's totally worth it.





Now I want to grab a few of my friends and do my own explanation of stuff. My friend Jeff has an awesome description of the Supergirl/Powergirl origin that would be ideal for this.

later
Tom
bluegargantua: (Default)
Hey,

So I gotta say, Order of the Stick has really started ratcheting up to speed lately. For a while there it was just out wandering in the desert (literally), but over the past month or so it's going after the plot hammer and tongs.

Also, the Kickstarter project they've got going on to re-print their collections is insane. They've raised over a quarter-million dollars in a couple of weeks. If you were interested in getting any of the reprints, follow the link and sign up. Rich is throwing in all kinds of goodies for sponsors.
bluegargantua: (Default)
Hey,

So my first review of 2012. It's a bit of cheat, it's a two-volume set and I finished the first one late last year, but still...

Today we're looking at the two volume set of Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse by Floyd Gottfredson. It's put out by Fantagraphics who have been on a long tear reproducing comic strip series (probably best known for their Complete Peanuts collections and their new volume on Pogo which I'm also interested in picking up).

So this time, as you might guess, they're focusing on the Mickey Mouse comic strip and its principle artist/writer Floyd Gottfredson. Floyd took over from Disney who wanted to focus on the animation and other aspects of the business and this means that Mickey's character in the comic strip began to subtly diverge from his on-screen persona. In particular, Mickey became more of an action/adventure hero in the comic strips and the cartoon comic stuff was downplayed a bit. No, it didn't turn into Frank Miller's Micky Mouse (a comic which I would have to purchase despite my self-loathing for doing so) -- but more of a kid-friendly Indiana Jones type. In fact, people were probably more familiar with Mickey through his comic strips than the cartoons at the height of the stirp's popularity.

The book comes packed with essays and ancillary drawings and ephemera used to promote the comic strip. It's all very interesting and the comics themselves are pretty good. With some of the explanatory notes, you can see how Floyd settled into his role as artist/writer and how the strip sorted out what it wanted to be. The book is also a product of the 30's and there are some unfortunate stereotypes in the book. I will say that none of them are too awful and they're really pretty infrequent (Mickey lives in a world of talking animals) and the editors go out of their way to say "yup, there's a racist bit coming up".

There are also, zeppelin air pirates so...that doesn't make up for racism, but I still love me some zeppelin air pirates.

Overall, it's a really nice collection and it's a fun, informative read.

later
Tom
bluegargantua: (Default)
Hey,

So I think it'd be interesting to do a comic where Superman's powers are very directly related to our sun. He's only Superman when the sun is out and when not exposed to sunlight (indirectly is fine) his powers quickly fade and he's back to just being a normal schmoe.

Which, so great, he's Superman during the day, but most crimes happen at night. Especially in Gotham City.

I think you see where this is going...

There'd be some fun stuff to dig into there
Tom
bluegargantua: (Default)
Hey,

So here's my pitch for a comic book series only I would read.

In the Marvel Universe there are all sorts of things that threaten the entire Earth. And it's always a hero (or heroes) from America who sort things out. This sort of thing happens in pretty much every comic book universe because...American comic companies.

But I figure in the Marvel universe, when cosmic threats rear their ugly head, there's more than one guy who would find out about it and be in a position to do something. The most likely contender for non-American savior of the planet? Victor Von Doom.

Spoilers for my imaginary series ahead )

Anyway, I think the group has a lot of potential and it'd be fun to read about their adventures in "Saving the Earth...for DOOM!"

later
Tom
bluegargantua: (Default)
Hey,

So here's my pitch for a comic book series only I would read.

In the Marvel Universe there are all sorts of things that threaten the entire Earth. And it's always a hero (or heroes) from America who sort things out. This sort of thing happens in pretty much every comic book universe because...American comic companies.

But I figure in the Marvel universe, when cosmic threats rear their ugly head, there's more than one guy who would find out about it and be in a position to do something. The most likely contender for non-American savior of the planet? Victor Von Doom.

Spoilers for my imaginary series ahead )

Anyway, I think the group has a lot of potential and it'd be fun to read about their adventures in "Saving the Earth...for DOOM!"

later
Tom
bluegargantua: (Default)
Not Me!

Actually, Bil Keane creator of Family Circus.

But I'll always remember his work on Dysfunctional Family Circus which will probably never see a published collection, sadly.

What happens to him now? Ida Know.
Tom
bluegargantua: (Default)
Not Me!

Actually, Bil Keane creator of Family Circus.

But I'll always remember his work on Dysfunctional Family Circus which will probably never see a published collection, sadly.

What happens to him now? Ida Know.
Tom
bluegargantua: (Default)
Hey,

Why is Aquaman "nobody's favorite hero" while Namor is kind of a bad-ass? Granted -- I don't think Marvel tries to push Namor very hard (I think he gets a series every so often, but it comes and goes) so you could argue that he's not an A-list hero the way Aquaman is (or is portrayed as). They've both got the same basic schtick and Namor has goofy ankle wings that shouldn't work at all.

Just interesting...
Tom
bluegargantua: (Default)
Hey,

Why is Aquaman "nobody's favorite hero" while Namor is kind of a bad-ass? Granted -- I don't think Marvel tries to push Namor very hard (I think he gets a series every so often, but it comes and goes) so you could argue that he's not an A-list hero the way Aquaman is (or is portrayed as). They've both got the same basic schtick and Namor has goofy ankle wings that shouldn't work at all.

Just interesting...
Tom
bluegargantua: (Default)
Hey,

Today's PartiallyClips is particularly apropos for me.

"Though personally, I'd go with Press Your Luck. No Whammies! No Whammies!"
Tom
bluegargantua: (Default)
Hey,

Today's PartiallyClips is particularly apropos for me.

"Though personally, I'd go with Press Your Luck. No Whammies! No Whammies!"
Tom
bluegargantua: (Default)
Hey,

So, rather recently in the DC universe Batman died, killed by Darkseid.

He got better, obviously, because...comics.

While he was dead there were a lot of comics revolving around the impact of Batman being gone (until eventually Dick Greyson took over for awhile). But I realized there was a short-run series I would've loved to have seen.

In the series Batman's death was not generally known outside of the superhero community, but I think it would've been great if the Joker found out and then when on a rampage to bring down Darkseid. I mean no one but the Joker is killing Batman and that means Darkseid has to go.

I know, it's a bit weird. Although Batman scales up to cosmic level adventure, the Joker is a more low-level, but intensely creepy and very personal villain. He terrorizes a city, not a country or a galaxy. He just doesn't seem quite cosmic. So there's a bit of a hurdle shifting his frame of reference and making him a credible threat (or irritant) to Darkseid.

In fact, it might have been interesting if Joker never even got close to a showdown with Darkseid (or any of his minions), but his monomaniacal pursuit of that goal could still make for an interesting rampage.

Anyway, I noodle about comic book ideas.

later
Tom
bluegargantua: (Default)
Hey,

So, rather recently in the DC universe Batman died, killed by Darkseid.

He got better, obviously, because...comics.

While he was dead there were a lot of comics revolving around the impact of Batman being gone (until eventually Dick Greyson took over for awhile). But I realized there was a short-run series I would've loved to have seen.

In the series Batman's death was not generally known outside of the superhero community, but I think it would've been great if the Joker found out and then when on a rampage to bring down Darkseid. I mean no one but the Joker is killing Batman and that means Darkseid has to go.

I know, it's a bit weird. Although Batman scales up to cosmic level adventure, the Joker is a more low-level, but intensely creepy and very personal villain. He terrorizes a city, not a country or a galaxy. He just doesn't seem quite cosmic. So there's a bit of a hurdle shifting his frame of reference and making him a credible threat (or irritant) to Darkseid.

In fact, it might have been interesting if Joker never even got close to a showdown with Darkseid (or any of his minions), but his monomaniacal pursuit of that goal could still make for an interesting rampage.

Anyway, I noodle about comic book ideas.

later
Tom
bluegargantua: (Default)
Don't be fooled -- Rochester is awesome.

later
Tom

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