Thursday, March 26, 2015

Table Top: Review

I have been rather tired and unwilling to write much lately, but I am back now and I want to discuss what I think is my favorite non-dramatic webseries: Table TopTable Top features Wil Wheaton playing all kinds of board games with his friends, game designers, and other celebrities. You may think watching people play games would be slow and boring, but I assure you the series is addictive and the episodes are put together to keep the game play moving while allowing the viewer to understand the gameplay and laugh along with the players!

I am a gamer. Somewhere along the way I became much more serious about game playing than most of my peers.  I have studied rulebooks, played more and more complex games, and looked far and wide for opponents to play with.  Mostly I just love playing.  I think the best games are fun whether you win or lose, and some of my best stories are about times I’ve lost. I still enjoy playing very simple games and party games, but I really enjoy something a little more deep, but not so complex the rules slow you down. That being said, my favorite board game is Magic Realm, a classic and extremely complicated fantasy board game that I’ve organized online tournaments for.  But enough about me.

Wil Wheaton is an actor best known for playing on Star Trek: the Next Generation.  His character wasn’t in many of the later seasons that I am most familiar with, so I can’t say much about his acting.  However, I can say he’s a great host for Table Top and does a wonderful job introducing the games and keeping things interesting and educational during the show!  He’s obviously very knowledgeable about games (maybe as much as me) and he’s very funny in victory or defeat!  The many players featured in different episodes range from experienced gamers to novices, yet all seem to enjoy themselves and do well at playing the games. 

I particularly like the extended episodes.  Partly because I can’t get enough of a good thing, and partly because it’s fun to see all the interactions between the players (and sometimes the crew).  I enjoy watching episodes about games I play (Takenoko, Small World, and Stone Age for example) but also games I’m not familiar with (yet) such as Castle Panic or Dragon Age. It’s great to see this series showcasing such a great hobby as board gaming! I would love to play a game with Wil some day!  Maybe Magic Realm?  Well…that’s probably too deep for table Top…

Monday, March 9, 2015

Goodbye, Spock

I now many people have been writing far better eulogies than I am doing here, but I also realize that Mr. Spock is and will always be a huge part of geek culture, and therefore I would be remiss if I did not say something about the passing of Leonard Nimoy.

I consider myself a medium-sized Trekker, in that I know the history of Star Trek, can recognize the main characters, have seen many of the movies, and watched a lot of the final few seasons of the Next generation.  That being said, I know

Mr. Spock, the most recognizable character in the Star Trek pantheon.  Leonard Nimoy was a great actor, who portrayed many characters over a long and successful career.  However, Spock is his most recognizable achievement. From the beginning of Trek to the recent reboots Spock is the anchor of the cast.

I think it’s a great accomplishment of an actor to create a character that is so recognizable.  That’s what I am trying to say.  Leonard Nimoy, I salute your accomplishment.  Rest in peace.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Review: Agent Carter

First let me say I am totally in love with Hayley Atwell. Her portrayal of Peggy Carter is just so perfect and she is just so amazing and adorable at the same time.  I can’t imagine a more perfect casting.  I would think just about everyone else who has seen this series would agree with me.  This show totally belongs to Ms. Atwell and she shows no trouble carrying it on her beautiful shoulders.

Agent Carter tells the story of a government agent fighting evil and sexism in America after WWII.  I am a sucker for period pieces, and this period in particular in very engaging to me.  Partly because this is the time when Marvel Comics earliest roots were beginning to form.  Long before Stan and Jack would change the world with the Fantastic Four there were plenty of little comics written and drawn by all kinds of hard working people nobody knows, getting very little credit.  But these guys laid the groundwork that eventually became the franchise that created Agent Carter.  Likewise, Peggy Carter helps lay the groundwork for what eventually becomes SHIELD and the current Marvel cinematic continuity.

But mostly I loved the series because it had that edge-of-your-seat style of writing where you’re expecting twists and tragedy every second.  The story had lots of action and intrigue, and kept me wanting more every week.  And now I want more even more than I wanted more before.  The series left the future promising peril and I hope we get to see some more of Agent Carter and friends.  If only they could get Jim Hammond, the android Human Torch, to guest star!

Hint!  Hint!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Astro City #20 (I'm getting old)

I’m getting old.

I guess we all are getting older each day, but I’ve been thinking about age lately.  And I must give credit to Kurt Busiek and his current Astro City storyline for making me do so.  Astro City 18-21 features the tale of some heroes who are dealing with getting old. I am old enough that I started reading comic books back in the 70’s. I never thought about the heroes I was reading about getting old.  I eventually picked up that DC comics had characters that had been around since the 40’s and hadn’t aged at all.  Marvel’s heroes originally aged at a regular pace, but that aging stopped around the beginning of the 70’s.  There have been some time-travel or non-continuity stories that involve the regular characters being older, but there aren’t any significant changes associated with age.

Astro City, however, takes place in real time.  Stories are dated, and many tales have been flashbacks or period pieces about the history of the Astro City world.  This allows Kurt to explore what happens as time goes by for the characters.  In this case, the story revolves around a couple of heroes, Quarrel and Crackerjack, with no special powers who have relied on their acrobatic abilities and some gadgets to fight super-villains. Now they are getting older and slower.  I can relate.  I’m not a super-acrobat, but I really do feel less able than I used to, and though I don’t whine about getting older, I am aware that it changes things.  I think the characters are in a situation similar to an athlete who can no longer compete on a professional level and now has to decide what to do with his life.

Astro City has always been a very character-driven series, and the exploration of the two main characters of this arc and their relationship is extremely engaging to me.  It’s about getting old, but it’s also about the trials and triumphs these characters have experienced on their journey.  I’ve just finished issue 20, and I’m eager to find out how it all ends. I just hope Quarrel and Crackerjack will have a happy ending.  And then we can check back on them later and see how they are doing again!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Art & Spring Schedule

I just wanted to post some recent sketches this week and mention I have 2 conventions appearances scheduled for this spring: SPACE in Columbus April 11 & 12 and Motor City Comic Con in Novi, Michigan on May 15-17!  Hope to see you there!

This is a little preview of what you will see in this year's OH, Comics anthology:
Just a pencil idea I'm working on:

Myzla, the Mutant Elf!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

What a Jerk!

Kate Conway is a talented award-winning actress from Canada. She is the star of the webseries Out With Dad.  And she is the co-writer of the episode “Out After Dark” that I had the pleasure of drawing as a comic. She has now released a new series wherein she admits to being a jerk.

I think it is rather brave of Kate to come out and admit that she is a jerk.  I know some people who are jerks, and they seem to have the same problems: 1) they do not know they are jerks or 2) they do not admit they are jerks.  So, hats off to Kate for being honest.

Except for one thing!

I don’t think she’s really a jerk.  The first episode really does make her look like a bit of an unkind person, I’ll admit.  I, however, believe it’s all an act.  The way I see it, if Kate is such a great actress that she’s won all these awards, she would be ACTING like a jerk, and not really be a jerk at all.  Make sense, doesn’t it?  In fact, there’s probably no way we have of knowing what kind of person she is, because any way she acts could be…acting!  Thinking about it just boggles the mind! Maybe she’s nice, or mean, or apathetic, or maybe she’s not even Canadian and just acts like one!

But my point is, the show is very funny.  I’ve gotten a few people to watch it and they thought it was funny.  So everyone else should watch it and then think it is funny, too!

If you don’t, you’re kind of being a jerk.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Review: Out With Dad 3.21 & 3.22

It’s about time I got around to writing about the finale to season 3 of Out With Dad, my favorite webseries.  I actually have 2 episodes to season 3 I have not reviewed, but I think it will work well to discuss them both at the same time.

Episode 3.21, “Vanessa Goes Home” is the perfect example of how you do not need a lot of verbiage to tell a good story.  The majority of the 5-minute episode is silent, and the silence builds up to the ending very well.  About the ending, I don’t think many of us viewers were surprised to see Vanessa come home to a welcoming house.  However, the specific event of her Mother moving out was surprising to me.  It looks like her dad has decided that his daughter’s well-being is more important than the supposed “rules” of his religion.  Good for him. The embrace between Father and Daughter was joyful, and the return of Vanessa to the world of color ends things beautifully.

And then there’s 3.22, “With Family and Friends”, the finale.  Wow. This one ended up well beyond my expectations and certainly ended up differently than I predicted.  The opening scene with Nathan and his parents…just classic!  Hilarious and yet very real.  The mirrored expressions between Nathan and his dad was the perfect ending.  It also shows the great detail Jason has put into this series. The next scene between Rose and Nathan sets up the situation.  It is also interesting to see Rose use some of Claire’s favorite dialogue.

At the barbecue, Angela shows up with her daughter, Carly, leading to an awkward exchange between Angela and Nathan.  This does not bode well for the senior relationship.  The conversation about the GSAs is educational and also shows the personalities and relationships of the characters.  Claire is so gung-ho, Alicia is desperate to help, Kenny is brass and Rose is timid about the whole thing. Unfortunately, it also serves to illustrate the real differences between Rose and Claire.  Though as Nathan noted earlier, Claire is helping Rose come out of her shell, it remains to be seen if Rose will ever truly emerge.

Which sets up Vanessa’s return quite nicely.  I don’t have a good comment about the reunion and its repercussions, I’m afraid.  I’ll just leave it alone for now.

My initial thought concerning this episode is: how could you?!  Jason, how could you do something so cruel!  After they’ve come so far, how can you do this to Angela and Nathan??!  I mean, I like the romantic stuff between the kids, but I figure they have a long time to find true love and settle down.  But the parents?  They may never have another chance at happiness!!  They simply MUST iron things out and get together absolutely for good!

Anyway, I’m excited to hear that Jason has another season in the works, and I’m very curious to see where he will take things from here.  I have my thoughts and predictions on the future, and maybe I’ll get around to writing about them soon.