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The Spock/Jaws crossover we were all waiting for.

§ March 9th, 2020 § Filed under collecting, eyeball, sterling silver comics, video games § 5 Comments

Okay, I’m back, barring any further shenanigans. Quick update on the eye…still a little cloudy, but it’s very close to being clear and I suspect I’ll be back to whatever passes for normal in short order. Then it’ll probably be time for the other eye to go south on me again. Sigh.

Next…I did my jury duty service Monday. Waited around all day, wasn’t called in as part of the three different groups of jiuror pools pulled into courtrooms. Free for another year, hopefully!

Before that…the previous Friday, a construction crew behind my shop, building an addition to the restaurant, somehow managed to cut through the shop’s internet and phone lines. THAT WAS DELIGHTFUL. And of course the repair crew showed up Monday while I was at jury duty, where they managed to fix one of the problems and not the other. Hopefully we’ll get that final problem fixed Tuesday. Here’s hoping. …I had workarounds for both services, so the shop was still able to function, but…bleah.

In addition, since my vision hadn’t been that great in my good readin’ eye, leaving it difficult to read any print comics, I availed myself of the DC Universe app and my iPad to read some of the digital comics they had available. And that’s how I, at long last, finally read Garth Ennis and John McCrea’s Hitman run. I actually read the first four or five issues when they were originally released, but for some reason didn’t keep with the series. It’s the usual combination of serious war stories, thoughts on what it means to be a good person, and outrageous/weird/grossout humor, mixed in with Mr. Ennis’ general and hilarious contempt for superheroing (the exception being Superman, natch…and maybe Catwoman). Interesting that the title caaracter has been left mostly untouched outside of the creators’ work (though I seem to recall there was a New 52/Rebirth/whatever namecheck).

Anyway, it’s a good series, even if I kinda had to cover the screen now and again whilst reading it in the juror waiting room.

And one last thing…at long last, my Blip collection is finally on its way to becoming a thing, with the acquisition of issue #5 in a recent purchase:

It has all the latest and hottest tips for playing Zaxxon, which is good because I’m terrible at it.

Blip was Marvel’s short-lived video game comic-sized magazine from the early 1980s, of which I owned one copy originally, but had since discarded and now of course I wish I had back. But as I recall, the series hadn’t been terribly popular at the time, and just kinda stunk up the back issue bins as unsellable stock. But it was also the first place a comic book version of Mario from Donkey Kong (and likely other video game characters) appeared, making those particular issues quite the pricey items. This issue just has a Tootsie cameo on the cover, which frankly should make it a collectors item all by itself.

Anyway, send me your spare Blips. I might even pay you a nickel or two for the more notable ones.

No, he’s just carrying the elephant.

§ March 2nd, 2018 § Filed under video games § 6 Comments

Well, I was busy working on something else Thursday evening and didn’t get a chance to write up a proper blog post…but, you know, I probably gave you enough to read this week. So, here, please enjoy this full-page illustration from the inexplicably-in-my-collection Pac-Man: An Activity Book from 1982:

You’re welcome!

“This Gravitar comic book is too hard to read.”

§ July 7th, 2015 § Filed under pal plugging, swamp thing, video games § 9 Comments

Just announced: a few other minis or whatever, plus Swamp Thing, a mini-series written by Swampy’s cocreator Len Wein and illustrated by Kelley Jones. It’s the same creative team as the Convergence: Swamp Thing mini-series from a couple of months ago, which…uh, well, didn’t really do much for me, but that’s more the result, I think, of Wein writing to editorial edict, having to tie othe story into a half-baked crossover event. I’m looking forward to seeing the results of Wein and Jones on a standalone series.

Okay, I’m looking forward to Gerry Conway on Firestorm, too, and, as a longtime fan of Sugar & Spike, and also as a longtime fan of outright evil, this update of Sugar & Spike as grown-up detectives just seems downright amazing. Especially given that Keith Giffen is at the helm. Good thing this is a mini-series because as an ongoing it would have the stink of death all over it, but I honestly can’t wait to see what’s going on here.

You know, if feels like as if a couple of my ideas from this post from a while back are coming to fruition, or at least close enough for horseshoes. …C’MON SOLO ALFRED COMIC.

• • •

In other weird-ass news, Dynamite’s made a deal with Atari to not only create new works based on its properties, but to reprint old Atari-related comics as well. While I’m sure most of you are looking forward to the deluxe hardcover treatment of the Yar’s Revenge cartridge pack-in comic that is surely coming, I’m more intrigued by the possibility of a fancypants edition of the old Atari Force series. Yes, at long last, Tempest and his power-mullet on high grade paper with computer coloring. Oh, and also one of most fun and beautifully-illustrated newsstand comics of the ’80s, featuring the work of Gerry Conway, Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez, Mike Baron and Eduardo Barreto, although good luck convincing anyone of that because it was named Atari Force, after all.

Part of me wants Conway and Garcia-Lopez to return and continue the story, but, well, “you can’t go home again, probably,” says the guy who was looking forward to the Swamp Thing comic just a few paragraphs ago. But boy, I sure did look forward to a new issue of Atari Force every month. That was one of my all-time favorites. …Ah, heck, I do want to see them back on the book. I can’t help it. We’re all fanboys about something.

Oh, and if you’re doing new graphic novels based on Atari properties, I volunteer to write this one.

• • •

So, hoo boy, how ’bout that Airboy thing, huh? I discussed the new Image series briefly on my site a little while back, and it seemed like most folks were into it, and then #2 came out and boy, did people turn on a dime. Twitter pal Charlotte took on the task of explaining just what went wrong and it’s definitely worth a read. And it’s good to see that the writer, James Robinson, released a heartfelt and thoughtful apology. A few folks have commented on Charlotte’s article not getting what the big deal is, not understanding that here, in what would ordinarily be the very future-sounding year of 2015, there are still human beings begging other human beings for the right to be treated as human beings, and maybe portrayals like in Airboy #2 aren’t helping the cause. A couple of the more egregious comments have been deleted since I last looked, thankfully.

Anyway, it’s certainly an unfortunate incident, but at least it’s resulted in good discussion such as Charlotte’s article. Hopefully some folks who need to will learn a little something from it.

• • •

Grant Morrison is the new editor of Heavy Metal, and blogging brother Tim O’Neil has just a few words about that particular development.

Let’s write about comics and such for another 15 minutes.

§ July 31st, 2014 § Filed under green lantern, swamp thing, this week's comics, video games § 1 Comment

A bunch of you told me this was coming, and here it is, now in my possession, the 1:10 ratio variant cover for Super Secret Crisis Wars #2, which was inspired by the cover for House of Secrets #92 (the first appearance of Swamp Thing, of course).

This cover is by Andy Suriano, who notes next to his signature that the image is “After (Bernie) Wrightson” and that it’s “For Weezie!!” — AKA Louise Simonson, the writer of Super Secret Crisis Wars, and, oh, by the way, was also the model for the woman on the cover of that original House of Secrets #92.

Suriano might as well have added “Buy This, Mike Sterling” next to his signature as well. This also makes the second Powerpuff Girls-related Swamp Thing parody that I own (the first being the first issue of their IDW series).

In other ridiculous comic news…well, I wasn’t going to buy Injustice: Gods Among Us for the Xbox 360 at $59.99 or whatever the price point was, but I noticed that it recently was available in the Xbox store as a $7.99 download, so, you know, what the heck, I can probably get eight bucks of entertainment out of it. And to be frank, I liked it a lot more playing the full game than I did when I played the demo way back when. Getting the actual “story,” such as it is, and the cut scenes setting up the battles actually does help quite a bit in fleshing this game out into more than just a punch-em-up. Not much more, granted, but I’m having some fun with it. Plus, I’m trying to actually use the special fighting moves each character has, rather than my usual “push every button on the controller in a panic” strategy in dealing with games like these. I’m mostly successful.

This last Wednesday was the rare Mike-less Wednesday at the shop, as I ended up being stuck at home all day waiting for a locksmith to come and repair the lock on my front door…well, not all day, but by the time everything was done, there wasn’t any point in making the drive to work. Hopefully I won’t return on Thursday to find smoking ruins and “MIKE MUST DIE” painted in blood on one of the remaining walls, because I wasn’t thrilled the last time that happened. Alas, the lock problems were a special morning surprise, and not anything I planned for, so I had precious little work to do at home whilst I waited for the Friendly Neighborhood Locksmith to make his way to me. A little eBaying, a little store website maintenance (i.e. getting the store website back up because someone screwed up somewhere…not saying it was me, but…um, it was me)…

…and a little catching up on reading this week’s new comics over lunch. My fifteen minutes are almost up here, so let me just throw out the fact that I really enjoyed the Red Lanterns Annual. In fact, the Red Lanterns title in general is a lot of fun. I was skeptical as anyone on the Tumbling-Twitter-Journals about this when it was announced, that the world surely didn’t need a comic about the Red Lanterns, of all things, and who are, well, kinda gross when you get right down to it. But there’s always something interesting going on in the title, and this recent annual was stuffed with all kinds of crazy events and twists and turns, and personality conflicts mixed with the occasional grudging friendships are entertaining to read. I certainly like this comic more than the Green Lantern titles, which aren’t bad as such…just seem a bit staid compared to their more crimson-hued cousin.

Sinestro is good, too. Must be something about Green Lantern villains/antagonists that make for compelling reading. …Where’s my Myrwhydden series?

Actually, I’m pretty sure that’s EXACTLY how the video game industry works.

§ May 10th, 2013 § Filed under video games § 6 Comments

So former employee Josh #1 pointed me to this survey, asking which characters you’d like to see available as downloadable content for the Injustice: Gods Among us video game.

Well, if I’m mentioning it here, you can probably guess 1) which character is among the possible choices, and 2) how I voted. …I have no idea how official it is, or whether the results would have any impact. I half-suspect any DLC available for the game was prepped ages ago, but my knowledge of how the video game business works is fairly minimal. It’s all wizardry and deals-with-the-devil as far as I know.

I did actually play the Injustice game, or at least the free demo they offer for cheap bastards like me who will settle for just the demo in place of dropping sixty bones on the full game. And…well, I’m not really much of a Mortal Kombat/Street Fighter-type fighting-game guy, as previously mentioned when I wrote about my previous interaction with this type of game. But it was a game with DC Comics characters, so at the very least I thought I’d give it a looksee and “dig” what all of you kids are “hep” to these days.

And…yeah, it was certainly a fighting game. I really do prefer the video games that allow you to explore environments and interact with characters and solve puzzles and such, so my attention was generally drawn to “I wish I can explore the background setting the characters are fighting in” versus “if I repeatedly hit this button, I’ll keep kicking Wonder Woman in the shins.” I do like that in the background of one scene you see Atom Smasher fighting it out with…Giganta, I guess? I kind of wanted to send my Batman avatar over there to check out what was going on, but no, I had to stay on the main screen there and fight Lobo.

It was an interesting diversion, but I think the demo slaked any desire I had to play this game…there’s just a sameness to it all that doesn’t keep my interest, he said with no ironic critical side-glance at the superhero genre whatsoever. And it’s sort of bland…the Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 game at least had some interesting visual flourishes and voicework. Injustice gives you a thin-sounding “stay down” from Batman when he vanquishes his opponent. Maybe there’s more in the main game, playing in the story mode or whatever, that provides a more enriching experience, but the novelty of a fighting game with DC characters wore out right quick.

That’s not to say I won’t buy it if Swamp Thing becomes available. But even in that case, I’ll wait ’til the game drops under $20. That’s about the right price for it.

Plus, Batman fighting and beating Doomsday? I call no way.

SPECIAL NOTE ABOUT THIS POST: it was going to be my Iron Man 3 review. No idea how I ended up writing about this.

“Press left trigger + B to enter The Green.”

§ October 26th, 2011 § Filed under retailing, video games § 7 Comments

So I was thinking about the Wisdom of Lobo blank funnybook we were talking about a couple of days ago. Mostly, I was wondering about its relative scarcity and its market value, and…checking in the price guide, it’s not even listed, as least as far as I can find. (I forgot to check the “promotional” section of the current guide at the shop, but it’s not in the promo section in this 5-year-old price guide I have immediately available to me here at home.)

I remember selling The Wisdom of Lobo on its own way back when, having busted open two or three of the slipcased sets to sell the books and slipcases separately. I don’t think we sold it for more than two or three bucks (and making sure any purchasers knew the pages inside were blank). I still do think it’s pretty weird that I haven’t seen any copies come our way in collections for so many years. …A quick check on Amazon shows that copies of the slipcased sets sell from about $12 to about $120, if that tells us anything, other than some sellers have high apple pie in the sky hopes.

Speaking of funnybook sales, while doing cycle sheets this week, it was pointed out that Kick Ass 2 #4 seemingly had a sales burst after having been on the shelf for a while. Generally, most comic books see the majority of their sales in the first week, with a strong drop-off in the second week, and some dribs and drabs in the last week or two. But our last few copies of Kick Ass 2 #4, which probably would have been pulled off the rack and put in the back issue bins (where, oddly enough, Kick Ass back issues sell out almost immediately, to people I know have been in the store while they were still sitting new on the shelf) were gone, baby, gone. And it took me a second to figure out why, until I recalled there was a bit of online outrage over the contents of that particular issue two or three weeks after its release. And, thus, we get our late in the sales cycle bump. “It’s an ill wind” and all that.

In completely unrelated news, the commenter formerly known as Professor Booty, Señor Editor, has this question for me:

“…I seem to recall you mentioning the game LA Noire here sometime ago (great game!), but did you play ‘Arkham City’ yet?”

I did enjoy L.A. Noire, though it could have used a multiplayer shoot-’em-up free roam thing so my friends and I could shoot each other in the face while speeding vintage cars around 1940s Los Angeles.

Arkham City I haven’t tried yet…in fact, I’ve only played the demo level for Arkham Asylum, though I keep meaning to get around to picking up a used copy or something, at some point. Arkham City does look fascinating as an immersive environment, and to be able to play Batman in it…well, that’s hard to resist. I’ll get around to it sometime, I’m sure. (Making it harder to resist are Señor Editor’s own thoughts on the game, as well as Chris “Señor Batman” Sims’ comprehensive overview.)

But if there was a Swamp Thing video game in this style, I’d be all over it immediately.

So I bought myself a comic book for my birthday.

§ March 15th, 2011 § Filed under giant-size man-thing, video games § 7 Comments

“What!? A comic book? The devil you say!” The devil I do say, and the comic I picked up was this one:

Even though I dropped Thunderbolts years ago after the Kurt Busiek/Fabian Nicieza storythreads pretty much petered out, I found myself intrigued when I saw that Jeff Parker introduced Man-Thing onto the team during his recent run. But, for whatever reason, I didn’t start reading the series again, though once this issue popped up in our weekly shipment, I had a hard time resisting that great Art Adams cover. Took me a couple of weeks, but I finally relented and picked the darned thing up.

The story inside is Man-Thing-focused, which was an added bonus (since in these modern days of funnybooks, the character featured on the cover may not necessarily be the character starring inside). For those of you who’ve been reading Thunderbolts this whole time…are there other issues of this series of late that are Man-Thing heavy?

• • •

For my birthday, the girlfriend gifted me with a couple of Xbox games, one of which being the Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 fightin’ game all you kids are into. Now, I don’t know any of the Capcom characters, really…well, Chun-Li I recognize, I suppose, from Street Fighter covers and those splayed-leg PVC statues from the back of the Previews catalogue. And I’m not entirely sure I understand the game just yet, as it’s a bit more complicated than the last video fighting game I played and so far, my play strategy has been “mash the buttons in a panic” over “ah, I have my opponent at a disadvantage, so I shall use this two button and joystick special combo-move to defeat him.”

My initial three-player team was Thor, Wolverine, and She-Hulk, and I managed to direct them successfully through several matches (on the easy level, of course), until I reached the battle versus Galactus and promptly had all three virtual butts handed to me. But, it was fun, and I imagine I’ll catch on to the subtleties of the game in short order.

There is the nice touch of having situation-appropriate dialogue when certain characters oppose each other (such as She-Hulk mentioning something about a family reunion when encountering her cousin, the Hulk). And apparently there’s a (non-playable cutscene, darnit) cameo for Man-Thing at some point, just to bring it back to the original topic of this post.

The other video game I was given was Soulcalibur IV, another fighting game, but this one has, somewhat inexplicably (despite some awkwardly-written in-game backstory attempting to explain), Yoda from the Star Wars series. So, apparently, at some point Yoda will be fighting this one gal with the thong swimsuit and a whip, which is, um, a bit weird, I guess. “MmmMMMmmm, catch a cold from a draft, you will!”