Aquaman review and Convergence coverage

As an update to my last review, I do want to report that Swamp Thing will have his own Convergence title!  Although I am sure it will be a short lived and limited run. That being said…
   Thank goodness Aquaman is not getting quite the same chop for DC’s upcoming Convergence event. Whew.  Without giving the best parts away I can’t say enough good things about all the character building The New 52 did for Aquaman. He came out of it all smelling like roses. It is no wonder he is going to survive because his popularity is higher than it has ever been before. So I wonder why he is going to survive and Aquaman and the Others is not? That is the one sad twist to this review is the cancellation of that title which I happened to also enjoy very much. It brought even more depth to him as well as a fresh drawing board as far as back stories and aquaman relevant characters. Although the series was short lived I feel like it should have stayed as well and I can almost bet it will make its way back to having its own title sooner or later. It is worth checking out if you ask me.  Obviously the latest solo run has helped his reputation quite a bit as well and I only hope Convergence doesn’t take too much away from what has been established of him thus far.  Although rumor has part of the chop he will receive is he is going to be losing his arm again.. I have collected various Aquaman titles in the past before but never as a whole. I am here to tell you I have every graphic novel of the New 52 run as well as the most current issues.  If you have not checked any of them out do it asap! Geoff Johns kicks off the series and it couldn’t have been a more explosive of a start ! It engaged me through the very in depth writing and the art work is stellar. I have always dug underwater scenes and you can’t get much of a cooler backdrop than Atlantis. 
 
So obviously I have alot of good things to say. Normally I back off from reviewing something I already love since I am bound to merely gush about it through my entire article. However with his New 52 rebirth it almost seems to me like it is a better character than ever before. I always saw the potential but until Geoff Johns stepped I never really felt too many writers actually captured the toughness we all wanted to see out of Aquaman. There was no better super hero for me to emulate as a kid. The lack of general knowledge about him was part of creating a mystery to him that played a large part in the appeal I had for him.  That’s when my curiosity about him started it’s momentum. Essentially what is coming to light with The Convergence event is that he is going to be separated from the ocean itself? His home as well as the source of his strength and powers..  They are shooting for a dark and intense Aquaman.. Did I miss something ? I though the latest Aquaman was dark and intense?  Hell playing his character in the Video game God’s among Us will tell you that much. So I am weary despite his survival it does seem they are re-inventing him again and since I have enjoyed everything about him recently I stand concerned. Now that he is also going to be in the Justice League movie as well as his own movie haven’t they finally mined the moxie out of the character so why the need for change? Aquaman is bigger, badder, darker and better than ever before ! I can’t wait for the movie and Jason Momoa is going to be a great Arthur Curry!! 
 
 
 All this Convergence talks gives me a headache. It is not generating nearly the excitement that the Blackest Night or New 52 did. Of course this has yet to be seen. These are just my initial feelings considering I have thoroughly enjoyed the New 52.  At first glance the new art work for Aquaman it looks a little too cartoonish for me. I always had an affection for Aquaman there was not a super hero that I liked to mimic more than Aquaman while hanging out at the community pool. Now he is poised to be a major hero for the next generation and I couldn’t be more excited. However I am a bit cautious with the constant reinvention of characters. I don’t mind major plot changes but entire character changes is a bit tiresome. I know the next generation of comic book fans will have a lot more info on Aquaman and decidedly they will point him in the direction he is supposed to head.Obviously his movie his bound to generate a lot of new toys and comic titles. People are going to want more of a Aquaman and I only hope DC keeps the quality level up as high up as it has had it for the last several years.   
Hank Van Hawkins
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Constantine Review by Hank Van Hawkins

 

Constantine - Season 1Without me sounding overly excited about another DC product, yet again, I have to say the TV series of Constantine is quite on the mark. The actor Matt Ryan is a superb Constantine; a lot better than Keanu Reeves was in the movie. I have heard a lot of people believe they took some wild liberties with the film version in fact. The TV show is spot on. I haven’t read a ton of Hellblazer myself, save for a few issues here and there.  I knew of Constantine, but I had yet to come to know him. In the New 52 I have run across his character while being a huge fan of Swamp Thing. They are known to run into each other within the DC universe. In all honesty I became a fan of Papa Midnite initially. He is an awesome bad guy/heel.   That is when I first bought something of The Hellblazer series at a brick and mortar shop when it was his title. Without being too much of a spoiler, a few of the high points in the TV show thus far have involved Papa Midnite.  Their relationship with one another is one that runs back and forth from friend to foe with a fury.   It definitely stirs up a lot of enjoyable drama that I enjoy.

Constantine - Season 1

  One of my comic book habits is that I do like to wait until an arc is complete before getting into it. Just knowing the answers in the next issue are already there and able to be bought at the store serves me comfort. I simply hate waiting on comic issues as well as TV episodes now thanks to both Gotham and Constantine as well as the Flash and Arrow for that matter. Yet at the same time, it’s great. Because there is an adrenaline rush on Wednesdays at the comic store. You’re getting that issue you are anxiously waiting for.  That being said, Constantine has me on the edge of my seat. When I get home from my gigs on Friday night, it’s the first guilty pleasure I want on my DVR.  I surely hope people outside the comic book world come to love this character/TV show as much as me so it can have a long life on Friday nights.  The writers seem to be wrapping up the episodes nicely each time with no real cliff hangers continuing over to the next episode, even if the themes are complex at times.  Just to keep my point short each episode is simply a great starter kit to the world of Constantine.   

    It’s a no brainer that this show has to stay on the air. It is miles above the current programming, that’s for sure. With so many detective shows and programs like Grimm, it seems obvious DC’s true talents will come to battle it out with all those guys on prime time.  I firmly believe they will only grow in their viewership over the next few years. Especially considering what else Major networks are offering up.  Mark my words, DC is about to rule the TV roost. I still keep a toe in the water over at Marvel, but the Agents of Shield hasn’t been enough to capture me even for an entire episode. Granted, I have a short attention span.  With all this being said I have to suggest Constantine to anyone who likes a good detective show.  It obviously has its supernatural twist where there are battles over good and evil as well as confrontations with both devils and angels. I’d love to hear some feed back or criticisms otherwise, that’s for sure.

Hank

‘Big Trouble in Little China’ Comicbook review By Hank Van Hawkins

This ain't your daddy's Kurt Russell Big Trouble. Ok, may be it is. And, maybe that's what made it great.
This ain’t your daddy’s Kurt Russell Big Trouble. Ok, may be it is. And, maybe that’s what made it great.

Big Trouble in Little China Comic Book review

Including 5 page preview of issue #6

   Whew this is a cool title. I loved the movie as a kid and nothing excites me more than picking up where a story left off via comic book or sequel to see what became of our heroes and protagonists.  Despite the dialogue being sparse in places, the artwork functions well in telling the story.  I have to tell you I was exited before even opening the book. Although it took me a bit to warm up to the idea, because at first glance it appears to be a novelty to sling some comic books. However, that being said, the stories flow well and it fed my curiosity without totally satisfying my hunger for more.  Also, all the characters from the movie are all still accounted for and now find themselves delving deeper and deeper into the dark side of Little China.

    Obviously this is for fans of the movie. On the flip side though this title could easily convince a comic book reader to want to seek out the movie if they had never seen it before. So, its appeal works to a two pronged effect. Essentially extending the stories from where the movie left off while at the same time being a real hearty promotion for the movie itself. It is a cult classic as it is and has already proven to have a healthy shelf life. Although I had my doubts before reading it, I have to say that it feels like a well executed idea. I know I am anxious to check into the first four issues now. Not to mention I am going to keep a close eye on where they keep going with the stories and arcs. Because they still have the same enemies as in the movie, they have introduced a lot of new strange and weird characters that are both friends and foes to their cause.

I am more than pleasantly surprised by the voracity of the title to do such a thing as picking up where the movie left off or simply just exploring the world created by the movie quite a bit more. I am suggesting this as a read for fans of the movie by all means, but I am also recommending it to comic readers to check out at least an issue and take a little peek inside of this very unique and creatively built world.  The main hero in the story to me is Wang, and he remains intact and still at the side of our favorite wannabe hero Jack Burton and they are both still on the run from the Lords of Death.  It’s an action packed comic and sure not to disappoint you, regardless of how big a fan you are of the movie.  The only other thing I want to express is that Jack Burton’s smart mouth and over the top attitude carry over from the big screen to the small page without missing a sarcastic beat.

Hank Van Hawkins

Want to know more about Big Trouble in Little China? Have click the link in the previous sentence, and read below for a 5-page preview with a couple variant covers.

 

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Here is another of the variant covers for the comic

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Gotham- a rebuttal on the criticisms

Gotham

A few words on the criticisms of Gotham

 snitches I felt it was about to time to review the new Television series Gotham on Fox. I wanted to hold back my enthusiasm and try to give a somewhat subjective review of the show and also  not to be in too big of a hurry to either praise or scorn it myself until at least several episodes in.  Also, the reviews I have read online  immediately after each episode have been scathing and very critical so far,  which I find somewhat perturbing. I say that because the TV shows of our comic book characters are going to take different liberties than the comic book.  This is prevalent in any major comic book character that finally hits the live action big screen whether TV, movie or cartoon for that matter.  It gives us yet another angle/story arc of the characters we love.  They should take these liberties and I am glad they do.  

How can you not like that? Much less be super critical of it? There is a method to the madness.   Granted, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. But it is a risk and a liberty that I feel must be taken.  ( Side note: case in point personally for me Jonah Hex’s debut on the big screen should have been closer to the comic book character. Because if you ask me in that instance they took way too many liberties and it didn’t work. There is a fine line. )

Hank and Richard discuss some of the criticism about Gotham and discuss their opinions about the show on their podcast SOBS. You can listen here.

  Anyway, the critics are not wrong in saying this, but so far I think the writing on the show has been solid if somewhat sparse. That doesn’t bother me for keeping it less is more is favoring those who may not be familiar with every character or many comic books in general.  The shows and movies are more or less about promoting the comic books. That’s why the Easter eggs have been somewhat obvious.  It is stunning the amount of characters Gotham harbors and always has. It is a critical epicenter in DC’s Universe.  It’s a great idea for a show.  None the less, it is being kept  intriguing week in and week out and I can’t say enough good things about how phenomenal the characters are. I love the casting and every one is doing more than a solid job of filling these characters proverbial comic book shoes. The never ending twists and turns of Gotham’s history  is a fertile field of episodes and outlandish bad guys with their sordid back stories.   

The future of Gotham

Hank likes me, he really likes me
Hank likes me, he really likes me

The future of this show excites me.  I am looking forward to every Monday from now on. The continuity of the stories and characters is closely tied to enticing the viewer’s curiosity.  Making it a easy hook so to speak because  I am known to plead for those folks that are not comicbook geeks to check into shows like Gotham that can give them a glimpse of the magic that is within the pages of comics. It’s a good starter kit and it’s not just a show about when Batman was a kid. I hear that lot. Even if it was, how great is that? Tune in to find out. Basically what I’m saying is that I like to write and review things without giving too much away. Because part of the fun of getting to know a series or a particular arc in a comic book is about coming to know the characters and the details within each one by getting excited  by it and then going out and buying it and having fun reading it for yourself. That is the beauty of reading and lending an open ear to some imaginative wonder that always leads you to wonder a little more about the world that we live in.

Gotham is a very overtly corrupt place, and when you see that candidacy in the show and you can also take a  closer look at the world we live in see the same type of callousness in the very cities and states that we live in.  I’m not saying it’s outright social commentary, but comics have always had their finger on  the pulse of popular culture and I am glad to see them continuing the tradition on TV now. I figure it’s a great master plan to get more people reading comic books again.

What do you think of the Fox hit Gotham?  Leave a comment or let Hank know through the contact form, or even his Facebook page here.

Hank has reviewed several of the DC TV shows. Please follow the links below to read them.

Hank’s Flash Review

Hank writes about Green Arrow

Nintendo’s New Digital Content for Nintendo systems

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It’s been slow around Fear and Gaming he past few days. I was put up in the hospital getting my spine straightened out. I had a bit of adamantium added to my skeleton, and a tune-up and hard-drive upgrade tee hee. Thanks for the well wishes friends. Now, onto Nintendo News. 

Nintendo has been doing a great job lately not only revamping their digital portal, and that trend continues today with the highlights below. They’re also making a genuine effort to get virtual console games to the people with Super Mario Advance. Pokémon Puzzle Challenge  is another treat for the sweet teeth of our faithful Pokémon fans as well.

If you’re looking for some more retro fun and discounts after splurging on Mario and Pikachu, then have a look at a couple delicious delectables  from the Sonic family.

Stay tuned for more news soon, and take in all the great images provided by Nintendo and yours truly. 

Also, if you haven’t had your Pikachu and Pokémon fix after this article, stop by one of my favorite blogs that is put together with love and dedication by Blue Hobbes here! The blog is done lovingly and with dedication. Blue Hobbes is moving, so stop by his blog and wish him luck.

If you’re having a hankering for some DC tv and comics content, stop by Hank Van Hawkins’ page here.

Press start for some Pokemon fun
Press start for some Pokemon fun

NINTENDO DOWNLOAD HIGHLIGHTS NEW DIGITAL CONTENT FOR NINTENDO SYSTEMS – NOV. 6, 2014

Nov. 6, 2014

This week’s Nintendo Download includes the following featured content:

Nintendo eShop on Wii U

Sportsball is a sport about...balls.
Sportsball is a sport about…balls.
  • Sportsball – In this fun local multiplayer game that entertains a room full of friends, up to four players take the reins of exotic birds that flap, tackle and dunk balls into the net for points and glory. Play against your friends in more than seven game modes, or customize options to create your own. Call up all your buddies, hop on your birds and play Sportsball! Click here to watch a trailer for the game.
  • The Swapper – In this atmospheric sci-fi puzzle game set on abandoned space station, solve puzzles by creating clones using the Wii U GamePad controller. Click here to watch a trailer for the game.
Yeah, more...Guardians of the Galaxy. Now, can we get a New movie for Howard the Duck or one for Spider-Ham? Ugh.
Yeah, more…Guardians of the Galaxy. Now, can we get a New movie for Howard the Duck or one for Spider-Ham? Ugh.
  • Disney Infinity (2.0 Edition) – Disney Infinity (2.0 Edition) allows you to conquer a game universe with endless opportunities to create stories and action-filled adventures featuring new Super Heroes, characters and powers. Enjoy up to four players in online multiplayer, use your Wii U GamePad controller to create your own worlds in the Toy Box, activate missions or unlock toys in Play Sets. Click here to watch a trailer for the game.

Virtual Console on Wii U

  • Super Mario Advance – Play the Game Boy Advance remake of two NES classics, Super Mario Bros. 2 and Mario Bros., offering hours of running, jumping, lifting and POW action.

Nintendo eShop on Nintendo 3DS

  • Sonic Boom: Shattered Crystal – Free Demo Version – Try it before you buy it. Download the free demo version of Sonic Boom: Shattered Crystal. Sonic must team up with Tails, Knuckles and new friend Sticks to rescue Amy from the clutches of Lyric and his robot army. Click here to watch a trailer for the game. The full version of Sonic Boom: Shattered Crystal launches exclusively for Nintendo 3DS on Nov. 11.
  • nintendogs + cats: Golden Retrievernintendogs + cats: French Bulldognintendogs + cats: Toy Poodle – The fun of the nintendogs games returns, with multiple breeds to choose from, accessories for your puppies and kittens to wear, and the ability to let your puppies and kittens train and compete in different challenges and activities. Plus, get a free nintendogs + cats theme for your Nintendo 3DS system when you buy one of the nintendogs + cats games in the Nintendo eShop. You’ll find the download code for the free theme on your Nintendo eShop receipt. See the game information page for offer details. Download codes are available while supplies last and expire on Dec. 31, 2015.

Virtual Console on Nintendo 3DS

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  • Pokémon Puzzle Challenge – Journey to Johto for the ultimate puzzle challenge! With the help of many favorite Pokémon, you will take on Gym Leaders like Jasmine, Pryce and Falkner on a quest to become the Pokémon Puzzle Champion. Use lightning-fast reflexes to form chains and combos that will help clear all the challenges that await you. Click here to watch a trailer for the game. Plus, you’ll get a code for the Pokémon Omega Ruby and Pokémon Alpha Sapphire Special Demo Version with your purchase of the Pokémon Puzzle Challenge game. You’ll find the free demo code on your Nintendo eShop receipt. Download codes are available while supplies last and expire on May 31, 2015.

Nintendo eShop on Wii U and Nintendo 3DS

 

  • PIKMIN Short Movies – Watch the colorful antics of Pikmin as they jump into three short movies: The Night JuicerTreasure in a Bottle and Occupational Hazards. Directed by Shigeru Miyamoto, the three shorts are available in HD for Wii U and in 3D for the Nintendo 3DS family of systems. Get all three in one pack in the Nintendo eShop. You can also download a free demo of the Pikmin 3 game in the Nintendo eShop for Wii U. You will be able to transfer your data to the full game if you decide to buy.

Nintendo eShop Sales

  • NintendoeShop on Nintendo3DS
    • Siesta Fiesta is more than 30 percent off (reduced from $5.99 to $3.99) until 8:59 a.m. PT on Nov. 13.

Price reduction:

Also new this week:

 

N3DS_SonicBoomShatteredCrystal_02
Sonic Boom has gorgeous visuals, though we haven’t given it a spin yet.
N3DS_PlanesFireRescue_01
Join the fight against forest fires. Clearly, SOMEONE didn’t listen to Smokey.
N3DS_Nintendogs+cats_poodle_01
This dog has definitely went straight through the uncanny valley to the creepy as possible creepy puppy plateau.
WiiU_TheSwapper_03
The Swapper is a great game with some solid indie type cred.

WiiU_Kemonomix+_01 WiiU_TheSwapper_02 N3DS_SafariQuest_04

WiiU_Kemonomix+_title_screen

 

In addition to video games available at retail stores, Nintendo also offers a variety of content that people can download directly to their systems. Nintendo adds new games weekly to the Nintendo eShop on the Wii U console and the Nintendo 3DS family of systems, the Nintendo DSi™ Shop for the Nintendo DSi system and the Wii™ Shop Channel for the Wii console.

The Wii Shop Channel offers games and applications and uses Wii Points™, which can be purchased via the Wii Shop Channel. The Nintendo DSi Shop offers games and applications and uses Nintendo DSi Points™, which can be purchased in the Nintendo DSi Shop.

Remember that Wii U, Wii, Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo 3DS XL, Nintendo 2DS and Nintendo DSi feature parental controls that let adults manage some of the content their children can access. For more information about this and other features, visit http://www.nintendo.com/wiiu or http://www.nintendo.com/3ds.

‘The Flash’ on CW review by Hank Van Hawkins

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The FLASH TV show review

  Ok, here I go with another review about a Superhero that not everyone may be so up to date on. I know I wasn’t at all familiar with the Flash short of his appearance in the Justice League movie. He was a super hero that  I never really ever got around to knowing before. Of course alot more attention is being brought to the character thanks to his new CW show. Which I have thoroughly enjoyed and I would have never guessed the endless crime fighting possibilities for the world’s fastest man would be so plentiful and engaging. Just for the record DC is killing it on the TV scene as of late.  Of course it was the TV show that set me up to buy a few issues from my local brick and mortar to further my research for this review in particular.  I was far from disappointed because the comic fed my curiosity as I waited for the next episode to air this week. It also proved to be serendipitous because one of my personal favorites Deadman made an appearance in the comic issue I bought. Which again pushed my curiosity further. The same curiosity that keeps me wanting to find out more not only about the hero himself but all of his battles with his more than formidable enemies.

    The TV show does a stellar job of summing up Barry’s back story in what I consider well timed flash backs much like they do in the Series Arrow. So regardless of where you pick the series up at a back story is sure to be dropped in by some sort of flash back or dream sequence and again the writers are making these moves flawlessly thus far. Barry Allen is a engaging character himself  even before becoming the Flash. His back story is awash with injustice and it is a large part of what propels him to use his powers for good once they are bestowed upon him. With this chip on his shoulder he makes fighting crime look easy as he anxiously awaits the next clue to the mystery of who it was that killed his mother when he was just a child.  Which is well established as his main priority albeit constantly being sidetracked by the constant discovery of Central City’s next rogue meta-human as his first prioritized task at hand.

  A fantastic thrill ride that can be enjoyed by anyone whether you are a comic book nerd or not. I feel like all these TV series DC is doing are a great introduction to heroes you may have never explored before. Watching them on the old boob-tube is a good way to find out if you would enjoy the comics or not.  It’s nice to find out some info before actually purchasing the books. Personally I tend to lean towards the bad guys because it seems that every one of them carries as big a chip on their shoulders as Barry does.  So it always makes for a great episode when another villain is introduced and Barry and his team have to figure out on the fly on how to stop them dead in their tracks. The Flash proves to be very worthy of the mainstream TV audience. Because if main stream TV needs anything it, needs super heroes and it could stand to take more general direction from the world of comic books in doing so.  DC is more than up to the task. It seems that they took enough notes from The Walking Dead’s TV success to try and replicate it for itself and its own heroes. So if you haven’t watched the Flash already I bid that you do so soon!

 

Hank Van Hawkins 

Someone drop a lady? Someone drop a lady?
Someone drop a lady? Someone drop a lady?

‘The Collector’ by Sergio Toppi review

The hardcover cover art for The collector by Sergio Toppi
The hardcover cover art for The collector by Sergio Toppi

“The Collector” By Sergio Toppi Review

By Hank Van Hawkins

  As soon as I signed into Boom! comics with my fresh sparkling new press pass, I saw a lot of titles that piqued my interest. But, the one that drew me in right away more so than any of the others initially was The Collector. Despite the fact it is an entire graphic novel, I know I could have started off by choosing a few single issues of something else first but I had to sink my teeth into this one right upon seeing it.  It is a translated work by Italian artist Sergio Toppi.  With the basic plot and cover art it was speaking to my personal tastes, so I dove right in. The premise of the character alone is enough to get my imagination in gear.  The art work has a surreal undertone, almost immediately exposing the artist’s love for impressionism.  It is bare bones drawing at it’s most poignant. If anything, his art organically inspires the artist in all of us to not worry about coloring outside the lines or worrying about every little mark having to be exactly perfect. Honestly, the art is transcendental.

I usually take in the art work before diving into the writing as a matter of fact. I didn’t get too far before my curiosity couldn’t hold it’s rabid thirst for The Collector’s story, and believe you me, there is a lot of depth to the tale. It obviously speaks out about the collector in every collector out there, somehow leading to this guy as one of the original purveyors of a practice that is all too common in this day and age whether it is comics, cards, games or antiquities for that matter. There isn’t alot out there that isn’t collected in some capacity. 

 He is a well rounded and well financed eclectic eccentric with his hand in many creative business ventures.  He is a worldly gentlemen whose interests push through to many facets of the finer things in life. And in turn, keep him on the move to the next piece of his “collection.”  In order to collect, one must have monetary means to feed the habit so to speak. Of course, I love westerns and any story seemingly set in anywhere in the 1800’s. So it is an easy and interesting read and again, the art work is very eye pleasing and the story line plays up the primitive look of the drawing as well. He has a vigilante streak to his persona that comes in handy when he finds many characters as obstacles that are in the way of his pursuit. He is a gentlemen about his rogue means. His power of persuasion is pervasive as he uses his manners to ask many a stranger for his next clue to the object of his current affection. 

 I really love how he comes across famous historical figures and heads to historical places, all while on the hunt. It is at the least a page from the “who’s who” of tribal chiefs and Native Americans during the first arc. An entertaining tale with its roots in reality. Anytime you can have Crazy Horse as one of the characters, of course I am going to buy this book ! It holds up tremendously well considering it was first released in the sixties. His drawing style is actually very similar to Jack Jackson, a famous illustrator of many underground comics from the 60’s . He is one of R. Crumb‘s peers. Jack himself drew and wrote many historical stories about outlaws and lawmen from the roots of The Republic of Texas and it’s as if both of these guys prayed at the same art altar at one time or another. 

 Anytime archaeology and artifacts are woven into a story line it seems to appeal to history buffs, lit freaks as well as comic book readers. This is a all round great read.  It portrays the rough hewn grit of the old west as the Collector moves on from artifact to artifact which keeps each arc in the story stirring enough to keep your attention.  He is part Jonah Hex and part Indiana Jones . A great culmination which I only wish there was more to read. It also reminds me of the french comic hero Blueberry, but with the added angle of the search for each artifact and its back story, all the while shifting nicely into the current pursuit of the next piece. He lives on the edge during each of his crusades where he constantly flirts with disaster during each of his pursuits. He extinguishes any one who happens to stand in his way. Nothing nor anyone stands in his way. A relentless collector.

If you have never read a graphic novel before and the form is new to you, there would be no better place to start than the collector.

Please read on for a preview of ‘The Collector’ by Sergio Toppi

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Have you read the collector? How about any of Hank’s references in the article? Leave a comment and discuss.

Review of Green Arrow-introducing Hank Van Hawkins

One of the many incarnations of Green Arrow.
One of the many incarnations of Green Arrow.

    

Well, I want to start off by saying I love doing reviews and I couldn’t be more excited to take part and share my take on many things creative week in and week out. I am starting off by reviewing The Green Arrow. Not necessarily a particular issue, arc, or the CW TV show. I am reviewing Green Arrow as a whole in general.  That being said, the world of superheroes and comic books is an ever expanding universe and can sometimes overwhelm a newbie or first time reader. Simply sometimes by not knowing where to start or which hero to start with. As for myself ,I have many titles and arcs that speak to me and peak my interest, and they are in turn compelling me to buy the newest issues directly off of the stand every Wednesday. (Of course I will make more notes of these in the future!) So I always say/suggest to go exactly for what you like and what stokes your own curiosity. From a collector’s standpoint maybe it doesn’t have a lot of dollar value per se. But, if you enjoy the story and the art work and it respects and satisfies your curiosity then that is all that really matters, Therefore it is valuable to you and it makes it that much more easier to pass the fascination on down the line to the next generation.

   That being said I am going to review some lesser known and or out of the normal heroes as a whole sometimes, if not only to discover their stories for myself but to help the general comic connoisseur to have as much information about a title/hero (without giving away spoilers of course) before simply buying it blind.

I started my Green Arrow journey by playing his character on Injustice God’s Among us and I totally enjoyed having his skill set at my disposal. I actually won a few battles. Woo hoo! That in itself kindled an interest in the character for me and low and behold, with a trip to the comic shop, I went ahead and thought there was no better place to start than with this year’s Future’s End Green Arrow one shot. I picked it up upon seeing the cool cover art and once I started reading it I was drawn in and immediately wanted more.  Sure Oliver Queen follows DC’s magic formula for super heroes where they take a wealthy man who turns vigilante at night much like their greatest success Bat Man, but that is where the similarities end. It is following the formula, albeit with Green Arrow’s very own sense of identity far removed from Batman. Not to mention a whole other host of foes he ends up coming to blows with.  I can never get enough of the back story of any villan/enemy/arch-nemesis. I find the bad guy’s back story is always fascinating, and The Green Arrow always delivers this in abundance. 

     I also love the wealth of plots and back stories that not only come along with Green Arrow, but his true identity Oliver Queen and his company Queen Industries. It is a fail safe method of always having another source of corruption or criminal influence to keep the character’s battles ongoing and constant, thus giving these characters a long running saga that can carry itself for years on end. I find it very easy to just jump right into the story line regardless of where it is at to the plot or arc as a whole. That is especially so with his TV show Arrow. Which I had never seen at all until this year and I think this is either the third or fourth season. It has been seamless. In fact, if anything, it compels me to go ahead and catch myself up on the previous seasons and episodes I have missed thus far. My fascination keeps pollinating with the more info I get. With the flashbacks and the constant building blocks of the current plot, it’s almost hard to miss the story line, much less the moral to the story. Green Arrow also relies on a staff of others who help him both on location and behind the scenes. Behind every great hero is a whole set of unheralded sidekicks there for support and help. Characters that not only add to the plot but to the legend of The Green Arrow himself. So, I say don’t be scared off by the similarities here. Embrace them if you haven’t already. Green Arrow is a bad ass and I have loved everything I have read, watched, and played so far.  I will continue to do so since it has indeed touched on all the hallmarks of a super hero that appeal to me. 

   Hank Van Hawkins

Co-host for SOBS

Fear and Gaming in Seattle

Yes yes I know that I love to write things from the edges of things, and writers say things are like other things that are like other things, but, so what. I haven’t written in awhile and that’s okay, because you haven’t been reading in awhile. So, here we go, and I’ll fire off some news and bits for your boiling pot of wanton desires. Eat it up!

That Nerd show-Kevin Smith episode

So Marcus Dave and I had some decent discussion on the show. I’ve never met Dave, but things seemed to go alright with him as a co-host. His connection was horrendous and I think there was a ton of lag. What stood out to me in the discussions we had was the different memories all of us have about Kevin Smith. Everyone can quote Clerks, or Chasing Amy, but we all had different points of view on what makes him great. I love the fact that he’s accessible, and is like the big brother you had, or your neighbor. The guy does a ton of things to help his friends, and you know what? I’m okay with that. Unless you have a shit ton of money, or connections, it’s incredibly difficult to break into entertainment. Music, comics, movies -any of it. If someone wants to begrudge him for throwing Walt Flanagan a line to get him some drawing gigs, so what. That’s what friends are for; to help.  So, I like that Kevin helps his pals that deserve it and because he’s still real. He grows and develops, and he branches out into comics.

 

Speaking of his comics, His Cacophony stuff with DC was wicked good. So good in fact, that some enterprising folks in Jersey City, New Jersey have decided to attempt a 3-part fan series about his comic series. I wanted to talk more about it on the show, but Dave wanted to say more sexist stuff (ha, you know you’re in trouble Dave) and I didn’t get enough time to go on about it. find the details and some links below. It’s directed by William Visnosky. 

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Original YouTube Link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nCTZw37a1FM

Crowd Sourcing Link http://www.igg.me/at/batman

Tweet by Kevin Smith http://www.twitter.com/ThatKevinSmith/status/518120725668851712

Walt Flanagan Endorsement https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=LsDPYqWCLIk

Liveforfilms.com Article http://www.liveforfilms.com/2014/10/06/kevin-smiths-batman-cacophony-is-becoming-a-fan-film/

 

What else? Delayed reaction to Walking Dead Season 2

Ok, so there are a few things I’ve tried to deal with, with the Walking Dead season 2 from Telltale Games. The game really got on my bad, dark and protective side. Trauma has a way of doing that to me. I think they were gratuitous with the treatment of Clem, and it didn’t need to be done. I don’t think any gaming journalist called them out on it, and I thought it was bullshit. I decided not to do a review, and I should’ve had more courage. I think the team ran out of ideas and they had a grown man, undeveloped and poorly written character smack her around in the game as a way to evoke and yank feelings out. It’s an old  method or device. I understand pushing the envelope and I understand it’s a gritty dark world. I also understand that the Telltale team is neck-deep in their own praise hole and overloaded with work. They did well on the first season, and The Wolf Among us was great stuff. You guys should be ashamed of yourselves for the entirety of season 2. Gamers and journalists ate it up because it didn’t have glaring weaknesses. It’s bad and I’m saying it. No character that I ever cared about, except for the rabid dog in the first episode, and I began to care even less about Clem. That’s all for now because I may decide to do a delayed reaction article for it.

Tell me what to do! Comic-con Dallas

As if you weren’t going to be there anyway. Instead of leaving after your cosplay showdown with Michael Jackson and a bad Jack Skellington impersonator to wank and jank to the image of that beautifully created female Link you saw, head over to see This Saturday night shindig at The Gas Monkey on OCT. 18th. Details below. Music, clever witty banter, tons of beautiful nerd girls and others of your ilk. I understand there will be dancing and some holy ghost trancing. The last part is only a rumor.

Saturday Night Shindig: One Coultastic Evening

Jonathan Coulton, dancing, DJs, surprise guests, and You

He’s been called the Joss Whedon of music. He’s a mainstay at geek events in New York and Los Angeles, and now he’s heading for North Texas. Jonathan Coultonheadlines the next Saturday Sci-Fi Social, at the Gas Monkey Bar & Grill on October 18, 2014.

https://www.picatic.com/OneCoultasticEvening

Comics-FUCK YEAH

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Ok, so I’ve picked up a few of the New 52 DC one shots, and I feel like a kid again. I have the Batman/Superman and the Superman, and wow, they’re great reads and help get you primed for the next big DC event Future’s End. Who knew that Shazam had taken over for the Caped Crusader? The covers are old school awesome holograms.   Moon Knight By Warren Ellis is top-notch. His writing and panels, use of lettering, or a lack of the lettering and sound really sets the tone quite well. White panels with black text usually stand out like a hippie at a Tea-party rally, but the man’s an expert at using space, and then exploding all over it.

 

 

In other comic news, yours truly is working away hard, long and fast on his graphic novel “Vile: Lost Legends of the American West.” We have a new artist named Francis Nuguit who has a great track record. He did some of the Robert Jordan “Wheel of Time” comics. I wish I could show you something from him, and we will soon. Head over to our facebook page to see some concepts, read the story synopsis and say hello. It’s a dark and emotional tale.

Vile:Lost legends of the American West

Alt logo for Vile
Alt logo for Vile

In future installments in this world named “Thunder Valley,” some of my friends will be appearing. My good buddy Hank Van Hawkins will be a former banker, gunslinger/gambler and mostly decent guy in the story. His name is Prickly Pear Van Hawkins. Many more of my friends will be appearing in and around the boomtown Serpentine including Appaloosa Red, who will play a madame with a dark secret and bright ambitions. Stay tuned for that, because we’re making it into a pen and paper RPG as well. Speaking of my buddy Hank, read on to read more.

SOBS

The boys playing some music together.
The boys playing some music together.

So Hank and I host a podcast about baseball, music, comics, songwriting and whatever else comes up. We need your support and look forward to you guys listening. Hank will also be joining me occasionally on my new Game/comics/randomness podcast. We’ll be featuring indie game developers, comics folks and others involved with things you love. I understand Ms. Appaloosa Red will be guest hosting with me as well. We’re gonna have burlesque, games, comics and mind-maddening music and other obligatory orgy activities. So, here is the link to the buzzsprout page where you will go listen to old episodes of SOBS. http://sobs.buzzsprout.com

 Game news?

I’ve got nothing relevant for you kiddos. Stop by IGN lol. Sorry, but this is the slow season and I’m actually digging on State of Decay again and playing the life in NHL 2014. Hope that covers it all.  Come by the twitter and try to go back and listen to some episodes of the podcasts, and for God’s sake, leave a comment or something. I need something to do while I’m kicking my own ass over not doing a better job of spellchecking. Ugh. I know this blog is ugly, but I’m too horrified to change it.Where’s my bourbon?