Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Link roundup

1.  From the Reddit short horror story thread:

I begin tucking him into bed and he tells me, "Daddy check for monsters under my bed." I look underneath for his amusement and see him, another him, under the bed, staring back at me quivering and whispering, "Daddy there’s somebody on my bed."
2.  "Microsoft spent more to advertise Windows 8 and Surface than it made in Surface revenue."  Via.

3.  New York's attempt to ban large sodas blocked by court as arbitrary.

4.  "I have no problem whatsoever with purchasing toys to unlock new characters and powers in a video game — as long as those toys aren't sold randomly in blind packs, like Disney Infinity's Power Discs." (Amazon already has a large selection available for preorder.)

Monday, July 29, 2013

Link roundup

1.  The Onion:

Longtime acquaintances confirmed to reporters this week that local man Michael Husmer, an unambitious 29-year-old loser who leads an enjoyable and fulfilling life, still lives in his hometown and has no desire to leave.
2. I don't know if these characters will appear in the Torment video game, but here are new miniatures based on Numenera.

3. "A New Jersey judge has ruled that Atlantic City's Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa may legally determine how much weight its cocktail servers, the so-called Borgata Babes, can gain without being fired."

4. The ESPN 30 for 30 Blu-ray Collector's Set is $35 at Amazon.

Art roundup

Legend movie poster available at Amazon. Via.

"As a tribute to the Washington Nationals outfielder nicknamed "The Shark," Roger Bernadina, the P-Nats will memorialize the fan favorite with a half-man, half-shark figurine dubbed by the Potomac Nationals front office team as 'The Shark-A-rine'."

Adventure Time wallet by Martin Cendreda and Poketo.

Captain America-inspired dress. Via.

S.H. Figuarts - Shocker Combatman available for preorder. Via.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Link roundup

1.  Photoshop Phriday suggests anti-vaccine ads.

2.  Videos from the Starship Century Symposium (including a talk by Neal Stephenson).  Via.

3.  Consumerist:

A security engineer at Square recently posted his tale of how he came to realize that the reason he couldn’t get a good seat at some hot new San Francisco eatery wasn’t because human beings were furiously clicking away every time a table opened up, but because human beings had created scripts to constantly search for openings and immediately make reservations...So does he give up? No. He builds a better reservation trap, which he has also made available to the world via GitHub.
4. "Henry Shrapnel was about twenty-three years old when he came up with the concept of shrapnel in 1784."

Art roundup

Flame Princess and Chandra Nalaar (Magic The Gathering) custom vinyl toys by Shaun Nakasone.

Adventures of Captain Marvel serial poster.  There are a variety on sale at ebay.  Via.

Wasteland 2 screenshot.

Game of Thrones branding at Shutterstock.  Via.

80's Aquaman-esque anti-shark wetsuit.  Via.

Pages from David OReilly's sketchbook from the book Animation Sketchbooks.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Link roundup

1.  Olly Moss:

I get paid ONLY in posters that I sell myself after mondo. So a high after-market price is technically beneficial to me.
Do people who actually want my Mondo posters still bother trying? Seeing people frustrated is depressing especially when so many hit ebay.
2.  No privacy.

3.  This feels like karmic revenge after the original Jetfire toy looked nothing like the cartoon character...

4.  "Man Booker longlisted author Donal Ryan was rejected 47 times before his novel was accepted by a publisher."

5.  Last Exit to Nowhere's limited edition t-shirt for A Field in England is now available (Warren Ellis raved about the movie).

6.  The just-revealed Star Wars Black Series 2 figures are available for preorder.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Comic review roundup

A few of the comics I've read recently:

Before Watchmen: Minutemen/Silk Spectre: Aside from disrespecting Alan Moore and the greatness of Watchmen, publishing Watchmen prequels never made much sense - - the characters themselves, aside from Doctor Manhattan and The Comedian, are nothing more than generic comic book characters.  And other than Rorschach, their costumes are ridiculous.  Watchmen is an enduring success because of the brilliance of its storytelling and the total mastery of the comic book form demonstrated by Moore and Dave Gibbons.  The Before Watchmen project was an intriguing experiment - - if you simply throw A+ creators at a project will you get great art?  Well, at least as to the Minutemen and Silk Spectre series, the answer is a resounding no.

The two series are paired together in the collected edition apparently because Darwyn Cooke wrote and illustrated Minutemen, and cowrote Silk Spectre with Amanda Conner (there's otherwise no connection between the two series).  I thought Minutemen would be a can't miss comic because Cooke is a brilliant writer and artist.  But shockingly, Minutemen is a disaster in every way.  The panels themselves are frequently so packed with writing that they're unpleasant to look at and difficult to read.

Even worse, the text itself is almost laughably poor:

It's also pretty clear that Cooke had no real story to tell about the Minutemen.  The comic only really comes alive during a few pages focusing on the menacing Comedian.  For those few pages sprinkled throughout the volume, I was reminded of Cooke's skill:

But the Comedian is only a bit player in the otherwise instantly forgettable story.  Whether the fault is with Cooke, or DC editors, Minutemen is a puzzling failure.

By comparison, Silk Spectre is at least a competent comic.  Amanda Conner is one of the best artists working in comics today, and is consistently able to elevate forgettable characters and mediocre writing, like Power Girl.  Unlike Minutemen, with its nearly non-existent story and unpleasant text-overloaded panels, Silk Spectre features a coherent plot clearly illustrated with Conner's wonderfully expressive characters.  But that's not to say that the story itself is good.  The plot is a ridiculous Austin Powers-esque thriller, but told in a gritty manner, and the two just don't work together here.  Still, Amanda Conner's art at least make the comic worth a read:

Currently 25% off at Amazon.

And then we have Saga, Volume Two.

 Volume One is one of the best comic book series ever.  An exciting, funny, inventive, space opera fantasy.  Volume Two, by the same team of Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples is just as great.  The characters are complex and vivid, and also cool and sexy, and the story is constantly surprising and absorbing.  The comic manages to feel adult, without being dark or gritty.

This is simply one of the best comics ever written. Currently $11 at Amazon.

And if you can't get enough Fiona Staples art, try the recently re-released Mystery Society.  Mystery Society is a light-hearted pulp thriller in the style of Hellboy, created by Steve Niles and threeA's Ashley Wood, and featuring art by Fiona Staples.  Staples' stylish characters elevate the otherwise largely forgettable story.

Currently 15% off at Amazon.

Saga isn't the only great current series by Brian K. Vaughn. There's also Private Eye, his ongoing digital experiment with Marcos Martin. If you haven't tried it, it's well worth your money. Like Saga, Private Eye demonstrates Vaughn's brilliant skill at world-building. Instead of space opera fantasy, Private Eye is a detective thriller taking place in a future where privacy is prized. Great story, great art, great cosplay ideas.

Each issue is name your own price, and the interface works smoothly. (Why is the Dark Horse ios app such an unending frustration?)

And finally, speaking of independent comics, there's Becky Cloonan's collection of one-off dark fairy tales, The Mire, Wolves, and just-released Demeter. Each of the comics suffer from fairly weak writing, which is a shame, because no one in comics is as skilled at drawing sensual horror.

When the writing in one of her comics catches up to her art, the result will be an all-time classic.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Link roundup

1.  Super short horror stories thread at Reddit.  The current top vote getter:

I just saw my reflection blink.
2.  How to set up a PS3 or Xbox controller for use on a PC.

3.  A really compelling argument that Malcolm Gladwell is a fool or liar.  Until Gladwell responds.  Via.

Link roundup

1. "The secret medieval Muslim brotherhood of burglars whose expert toolkit included a candle, a bag of sand, dried beans and a tortoise."

2. How the Los Angeles sheriff's department reacted when they realized that an inmate was informing on jail guard corruption to the FBI.

3. Anthony Weiner kept sexting under the name Carlos Danger.

4.  The rich get richer: Alexander Guerrero, who recently defected from Cuba, was apparently just signed by the Dodgers for $32 million over 7 years with the expectation that he'll be starting in a month.

5. View of the Earth from Saturn.

6. Nobody's buying Hasbro's recent lousy super hero action figures.

7. 2013 SDCC exclusives available at the BBTS.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Link roundup

1. Metafilter answers: Why were Victorian mansions, like the ones the Addams Family and the Munsters were depicted as living in, seen as plausible homes for monsters by the mid-20th century?   Via.

2.  Rolling swarm.

3.  Two movies I mentioned in the past, Upstream Color and Miami Connection, are both available on Netflix streaming.  I found Upstream Color too disturbing to watch, and Miami Connection is even less interesting than watching boring karate demonstrations on Youtube.

4. New Umami burger in Burbank, specializing in hot dogs.

(GIVEAWAY OVER) First two commenters to leave their email win The Guild: The Official Companion

New from Titan Books:

Since launching in 2007, the comedy web series The Guild has become an Internet phenomenon, with over 150 million views. Created, written by and starring Felicia Day, it follows the story of a Guild of online gamers who finally meet in real life. Here at last is the official companion to the show that fans have been waiting for, featuring an Intro from Felicia, in-depth interviews and scores of photos.
Available at Amazon.

I have two copies to giveaway. First two commenters to leave their email, win. This contest is open to USA and Canada residents. (If you've won a recent contest, please consider letting someone else win.)  We have two winners.

Art roundup

DarkHeart Armoury. Via.

Nolan Ryan print by Jon Smith.

Upcoming Winter Soldier action figure via.

Ragnar's Astro figure.

Cover by MS Corley for Monk Dawson.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

DC Nation's Wonder Woman part 1

Robert Valley's Wonder Woman and her invisible muscle car star in DC Nation's Wonder Woman part 1.

Lego roundup

Lego Alice in Wonderland.

Lego Creator Highway Speedster 31006 turned into a Robotech fighter.

Walking castle, Iron Giant, Sub-Zero's fatality and more by Chris Maddison.

Dragon and gorilla by w9gfo.