Showing posts with label Luke Y Thompson. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Luke Y Thompson. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Weekly Geekly Rundown for May 25, 2003: Role Playing Games, Comic Books, Film Reviews, and a Classic Film Recommendation


On the Independent Fantasy RPG Front

Jason Vey has long been a part of the OSR community. He was a part of the OSR community before there was an OSR community, back when it was people making house rules for Original D&D and trying to figure out how to use Chainmail as the combat system. Using Chainmail for combat was my first Substack post because I always attempt to be super topical. Over the years Vey has created a number of variant rules for Original D&D and has even released his own fantasy heartbreaker, a heartbreaker that was successful enough that Vey has built a community of fans and expanded his design efforts. I’m among those fans and not only did I purchase Spellcraft & Swordplay, his OSR fantasy heartbreaker, I backed his modern horror rpg Night Shift on Kickstarter (you can buy Night Shift at DriveThruRPG or at the Elf Lair Games website).

Vey is currently designing a new fantasy role playing game called Wasted Lands: The Dreaming Age that includes an interesting setting and, in true Grognard fashion, allows players to use both of the rules sets he’s designed (O.R.C.S. and O.G.R.E.S.) each of which captures a slightly different feel of fantasy and both of which I enjoy. In an industry dominated by Hasbro, but which has plethora other options to choose from, I recommend checking out Vey’s game.

Sorry, No Math Video This Week

I will however be doing a video where I analyze the Ben Milton’s claim that B/X D&D uses a 5% increase in ability per level rule. That will have regression analysis in it, so if you like math that’s going to be the one for you.

Comic Book News

On the Fantasy Comic Beat

This July will see the release of The Hunger and the Dusk by writer G. Willow Wilson (Ms. Marvel, Wonder Woman, Poison Ivy) and Chris Wildgoose (Batgirl: Rebirth, Batman: Nightwalker). It looks to be an interesting take on traditional fantasy conflicts where the two archetypical D&D style rivals, humans and orcs, must work together against a greater foe.

In a dying world, only humans and orcs remain, mortal enemies battling for territory and political advantage. But when a group of fearsome ancient humanoids known as the Vangol arrive from across the sea, the two struggling civilizations are forced into a fragile alliance to protect what they have built.

As a gesture of his commitment to the cause, the most powerful orc overlord, Troth Icemane, sends his beloved cousin, Tara, a high-ranking young healer, to fight alongside brash human commander Callum Battlechild and his company of warriors. With a crisis looming, the success of this unlikely pair’s partnership and the survival of their peoples will depend on their ability to unlearn a lifetime of antagonistic instincts toward one another…and rise above the sting of heartbreak.

Two Classic Marvel Series Getting New Omnibus Editions

Marvel recently announced that they would be publishing a ROM the Spaceknight Omnibus in January 2024 and a Micronauts Omnibus in April 2024 that will reprint the original series from the 1970s and 80s for a new audience. ROM has long been a personal favorite and the most recent Ant-Man film featured one character from the Micronauts. I wish that the film rights weren’t as complex as they are because I would have loved to have seen the full Micronauts team in Quantumania.

On another note, I think that Marvel would be well served to follow in the footsteps of DC Comics when it comes to Omnibus reprints. DC recently released Absolute Swamp Thing collecting Len Wein and Bernie Wrightson’s iconic version of the character. This collection was painstakingly recolored by José Villarrubia who is on a personal mission to color correct reprints of older comics to recapture the artistic intent in those older issues. If you look at the promo artwork for the upcoming Micronauts and ROM omnibus editions, you will see that they look extremely saturated. The colors are very bright. As Villarrubia has argued and demonstrated on hundreds of occasions, the art in the 70s comics was much more muted due to the newsprint used. The artists new the limitations of the medium, imagine that, and colored with intention that included that knowledge. I’m including one of Villarrubia’s many examples of how something should be colored below. You can see how subtle the older colors were and how they accentuated the line art in a way that is lost with the more saturated effect. I highly recommend buying the Wein/Wrightson Absolute Swamp Thing and I’ll be checking out his new series Dead Romans.

No photo description available.
Original on the Right, Villarrubia Middle, New Reprint Right from Villarrubia’s Facebook

Weekly Luke Y Thompson Review Cavalcade

Those of you who watched my first YouTube conversation video know that Luke Y Thompson is a critic and a friend. He’s been covering the geek beat for a long time and has some great insights and strong opinions. I plan on having him on my YouTube channel once a month for his insights and for the good conversation. It’s not often you can talk with someone about Truffaut, Freddy Krueger, and He-Man, but when you get the chance you take it (ed: We have not yet talked about any of those things on video). I’m including the video below and a rundown of his articles this week.

Classic Movie Recommendation

The Shop Around the Corner (1940)

This week’s episode of Ted Lasso featured a clip from Nora Ephron’s highly endearing film You’ve Got Mail and it reminded me that I need to do a video review of it and one of the films that inspired it (separate reviews of course), The Shop Around the Corner.

In addition to my day job, and blogging for a hopefully growing audience, I am an Adjunct Professor of Political Science at Boise State University. In typical “attempt to be cool” professorial fashion, and because I am obsessed with pop culture, I frequently make film and tv references in class. Unlike many professors though, I don’t limit myself to the films of my youth. I reference things the students are currently watching and I drop a lot of classic film references. I end every semester with an Ask Me Anything session with the students.

At the end of the fall semester, one student (who knew my favorite genre was Romantic Comedies) asked what my favorite Romantic Comedy was. After a brief rant, okay not so brief, about how we are in a downcycle of Romantic Comedies (there are some good ones, but we aren’t anywhere near a peak cycle in terms of innovation/heartstring pulling/humor), I said that I don’t have a favorite. Naturally the student pushed back and asked me to give a meaningful answer, to which I replied that I think The Shop Around the Corner is one of the best and most important Romantic Comedies ever made. Not only was it remade, by the same director, as In the Good Ol’ Summertime (also excellent), it served as the inspiration for You’ve Got Mail. It’s a compelling story on many levels and one that has layers of subtlety beyond the core romance if you are willing to look. It’s a film I watch every year at Christmas time, since it is a Christmas film…even more so than Die Hard.

Monday, December 16, 2019

Geekerati Monday Geekosphere Snapshot 12/16

It's time for another snapshot of the Geekosphere! Today's post features products and posts of things I thought might be of interest to my fellow geeks.

Cat Themed Dice Trays from Cozy Gamer.

First and foremost are these cute as a kitten Cat Dice Trays from Cozy Gamer. Ever since I backed the first set of Symbaroum products, and received their mouse pad material dice tray, I've been a big fan of having dice trays at the table. They minimize the number of times you are on your knees looking under the table for a die that went wild. These trays are cute and look extremely durable. I know I'll be checking them out!

The AD&D Fiend Folio was a collection of strange monsters pulled from the pages of White Dwarf magazine's "Fiend Factory" column edited by Don Turnbull. Like many other gaming legends, Turnbull's contributions are sometimes overlooked. His coordination of postal Diplomacy games helped to build gaming communities and presaged modern internet based gaming. The "Fiend Factory" column contained a wild array of monsters. Some were classic monsters by different names, others like the Githyanki would go on to become classic D&D monsters and influence later fantasy fiction. While many of the monsters have been incorporated into the Monster Manual, and other monster books, this new volume of creatures contains many who have been left behind. As an added incentive to buy it, the proceeds for this product go to Extra Life who uses donations to fund Children's Hospitals.

From Deadline: " Legion M has acquired Brian Staveley’s bestselling fantasy epic The Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne and brought Weta Workshop aboard to begin the visual concept work for a one-hour fantasy drama series that will share the title of the bookshelf trilogy’s first entry: The Emperor’s Blades. "

"But one thing I can predict about this ninth Star Wars episode is that it won’t make everyone happy. That’s fine, mind you, but the Star Wars franchise finds itself in an odd position of being a singular pop culture juggernaut where everyone has their own ideas of what Star Wars should be. The Rise of Skywalker can’t possibly be all things to all fans."

"...the company went all-out on the toys, including an app-controlled Porsche."

We chatted briefly with Keith Baker about the new game during our last Geekerati Radio Episode, but more details are emerging.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Untalented Pot Calls Talented Kettle Black: Rob Liefeld Comments on Alan Moore

Cinerati friend, Luke Y. Thompson, has posted some very juicy quotes from a recent interview with Rob Liefeld. Rob Liefeld has often been the bane of my comic collecting existence. With the exception of his, heavily improved by Karl Kesel's inking, work on Hawk and Dove, I have never found his art work satisfying. His idea of what constitutes perspective, as shown in his Captain America #1, is as baffling to behold as it was embarrassing to read.

That said, I actually kind of like Liefeld the comic book enthusiast. He always seems genuinely excited about the medium and isn't to snobbishly pretentious.

Alan Moore, on the other hand, is a damn good comic book writer who I have found tremendously entertaining and often "deep." The fans who worship at the "Watchmen is the greatest graphic novel ever" altar, on the other hand, annoy the crap out of me. I both love and hate Watchmen. I think it is one of the best limited series of comic books to ever be collected in a trade paperback. Yes, I know that last sentence was amazingly pretentious. I love the Watchman series because it is a complex and inspiring work of art. The characters are engaging, the politics sometimes complex, and the milieu feels real. I also like how subversive the series is to many traditional tropes in comics as a medium. I hate the Watchmen series because of its Outer Limits ripoff ending and the fact that other writers thought that "all comic books should be like Watchmen" They shouldn't. I also hate the way the comic subverts Steve Ditko's paragon of Objectivism, the Question, and turns him into the unstable (and psychologically ill) Rorschach.

Yes, you read correctly, I love how subversive Watchmen is in general, at the same time as I hate how subversive it is in particular. Add to that, both Rorschach and the Question are two of my favorite comic book vigilantes and you begin to see how complex my love/hate relationship with this series is, never mind the fact that I am in no way an Objectivist and it only further muddles the issue.

Coming into LYT's article with all my Liefeld/Moore baggage made the post all the more enjoyable. There's some good "geek watercooler" conversation pieces in there that I will have to add to my "most likely to cause a comic book geek fight" quote collection. Maybe I'll have to devote an episode of Geekerati to a discussion of Alan Moore.

Here's just a taste: "If you’ve done business with Alan, you have a different opinion of Alan. He markets himself as a poet, but he’s just a ruthless businessman, like everybody else, he kept wanting to more work because he just wanted to get paid. Jeph Loeb, he can tell you."

Now go to OC Weekly and read the whole shebang. You can read the script for Alan Moore's unpublished Youngblood #4 at Kevin Church's site.