We-View – DeJa Vu without the Fun

Posted in Uncategorized on May 13, 2009 by thegeekwearsprada

“It’s like deja-vu, all over again.” ~Yogi Berra

Last Wednesday, I wrote a review on Powers: Who Killed Retro Girl and gave it a very good review. I appreciated the banter and the good dialog. So on my own recommendation :-), I purchased Volume 2: Roleplay and Volume 3: Little Deaths expecting the same quality and fun loving dialog.

Little Deaths

But, after reading both 2 and 3, I can tell you that my fondness for Detectives Walker and Pilgrim has unfortunately waned.

While Volume 2 is passable with 3 PRADAs, Volume 3 is a solid 1 PRADA.

Going into Volume 2, I loved both Walker and Pilgrim but after Volume 3, Deaths I like Walker less and I don’t like Pilgrim at all.

In Little Deaths, yet another superhero is dead. Olympia, who has a fetish for redheads, mysteriously lays naked in a sleazy, rundown apartment. The superhero’s reputation is soon tarnished by his little black book of conquests and quickies. Woman after woman after woman is revealed to have had an affair with him, a married man, and Walker and Pilgrim are sent in to find his killer.

While the there are some relatively interesting/enjoyable portions in this volume; it quickly becomes redundant, dull, and at the same time the character of Deena Pilgrim becomes downright annoying with her rough language and brashness.

I am being very generous when I give Powers: Little Deaths 1 PRADA.

rating 1

Timewaster Tuesday – Hey Kids!!! (Government) Comics!!!

Posted in Timewaster Tuesday with tags , , , , , on May 12, 2009 by hergeek

Just recently stumbled across a fun little archive of digital comics.  It’s the University of Nebraska – Lincoln digital archive of government sponsored comics.  Dates on the comics range from the 40’s (mostly military instruction comics) all the way up through 2006, where the government issued a series of comics the explained the economy (and, yes, it is quite ironic.)  Scattered amongst these comics are some real gems that are illustrated by some legendary talents such as Milton Caniff, Scott Adams, George Perez, Chic Young, Al Capp and even Walt Disney!  There are over 160 comics to download and browse.

Here are some that I enjoyed:

Will Eisner tells us how to maintain an M16A1 rifle

This is Ann, a 1943 comic by Dr. Seuss about the dangers of malaria

Walt Kelly’s Pogo Primer for Parents (TV Division), written in 1961, that guides parents in how to deal with TV and their children.  I loved this line from it:

“There are a few things to practice not doing.  Do not be afraid of your t.v. set.  These things are probably here to stay.  Do not be afraid of your child.  He is not here to stay, he is a precious visitor.”

Dr. Rex Morgan, MD Talks…About Your Unborn Child!  I wonder how effective a comic book was at convincing you not to drink and smoke while pregnant?

And my favorites – Smokey Bear’s Story of the Forest, along with The True Story of Smokey Bear.  I have very fond memories of these comics.  Every September we would go to the Apple Festival, the county fair in the farming community where I lived until I was six.  There was a carnival, and produce and livestock judging, and shows, and my grandfather was always working in the fish fry booth run by the American Legion, and tractor pulls and demolition derbies, and the Illinois Department of Conservation building where we would always end up with a goody bag of stuff, and I got a copy of theses comics every single year.  Man, did these bring a smile to my face when I read this.

Glad I stumbled across this site.  It made for a nice timewaster this morning while I was on a boring conference call!

Miscellany Monday – Dr. Dubai?

Posted in Miscellany Monday with tags , , , , on May 11, 2009 by thegeekwearsprada

There was a competition to come up with a soaring structure for the Zaabeel Park in Dubai. Vision Division of Sweden came up with a structure based on Al Hakawati (a storyteller). Al Hakawati  was and remains a fixed figure in Arabic speaking communities. These storytellers carry on the tradition of orally broadcasting traditional stories in the evening in an open areas of the towns, reciting from memory epics of Arabic lore.

The statue will be the home of a library for children in the base and will recite stories and historical information, accessible to the general public via speakers placed all over the park. The statue will have other large public areas for reading, relaxing, and for social gatherings. Sunlight will pour in through window openings perforating the walls creating a bright indoor environment.

The statue will be designed with special joints so that the head and arms will be able to move, much like the joint in the double-length buses seen around the world. The arm and head movement will be controlled by computers and will have prerecording movements for different effects.

I think the design firm must a have a deep seated fascination for Watchmen and Dr. Manhattan because this statue looks very much like that character to me, minus the blue tint.

You decide.

Tabletop Thursday – The City of Death

Posted in Tabletop Thursday with tags , , , , on May 7, 2009 by hergeek

Since we’ve been deeply entrenched in our D&D game, our tabletop minis games have been neglected even more than ever.  And quite frankly, we miss setting up cool looking terrain and pushing figures around the tabletop.  So after some deep discussions with my fellow grognards over snifters of Pepsi and bowls of Doritos, we decided to make the first Monday of every month “Minis Monday.”  

Next was picking out a game.  We love the idea of connected games, making a campaign of some sort, but to be successful with those, almost as much work needs to go into them as with creating and running an RPG.  So after a lot of discussion, we settled on breaking out our Mordheimwarbands, and trying out an extended Mordheim campaign.  This had a lot of things going for it. 

  • We had the minis already painted up
  • We had lots of terrain for it
  • Games were short, usually no more than 1.5 hours, so with some good time management we could get in a couple of games a night
  • It had a built in simple campaign system that needed no prep time or refereeing

vision_of_mordheim

Sides were decided, with me taking the Sisters of Sigmar (warrior priestesses with big ass hammers!), another player taking Witch Hunters (puritanical heretic burning fanatics), a third taking Skaven (giant bi-pedal mutated rats), and a fourth taking Reiklanders (Germanic warriors with big swords).

Our first game was run Monday night.  Through the luck of the draw, we had Witch Hunters vs. Skaven for the first game, and the scenario they rolled up was  “Breakthrough”, or as I now like to call it, “The Skaven Player Did Not Read the Scenario Rules.” The Skaven player, as the defender,  was supposed to keep the Witch Hunter player from getting 2 of his figures to within 2 inches of the Skaven’s end of the board.  Simple enough, let the carnage begin!

The ruined buildings were all set up, and then the Witch Hunter spread his wardband out across the board. The Skaven player bunched his warband up on the right side. I looked at the Witch Hunter player, shrugged, and said OK.   The game started, and the Witch Hunter player sprinted five of his figures down the left side of the board, while the entire Skaven warband went after a small detachment of hunters.  The Skaven player watched, confused, as fully half of the witch hunter force was ignoring him.  As the Witch hunters came within about a foot of his end of the board he asked, “Am I missing something?”  The Witch Hunter player and I just laughed and flipped open the scenario for him to read again.  Next turn, the Witch Hunter hounds loped to an easy victory, with only 1 casualty taken from both sides.

So, it wasn’t exactly an auspicious start to our campaign, but it was a funny one!  I’m going to try and take pictures of future games to post up here as I look for something to write about document the campaign.

We-view Wednesday – The Powers That Be!

Posted in We-view Wednesday with tags , , , , , , , on May 6, 2009 by thegeekwearsprada

“I hope our wisdom will grow with our power, and teach us, that the less we use our power the greater it will be.” ~Thomas Jefferson


Why is there a police department when there are superheroes to protect the population? That is a question answered in Volume 1, of Powers: Who Killed Retro Girl written by Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Avon Oeming.

Enter Christian Walker, a chiseled-faced homicide detective in the local police department. His story is classic. He has been assigned a new and fairly inexperienced partner named Deena Pilgrim who has recently been transferred from the SWAT team.

As their story unfolds, we get an inside look at their relationship. And she could not have arrived at a better time because someone has murdered one of the world’s most respected superheroes, Retro Girl, who is found dead near an elementary school. Walker and Pilgrim are called up to track down her murderer. Their task is not an easy one because of the interference of numerous characters from the busy-buddy Detective Kutter (Walker’s former partner) who seeks glory at every turn to the press, as well as an impossible autopsy. After all; how do you do an autopsy on a superhero who is seemingly indestructible?

Trust, in the beginning, is the focus of the Walker-Pilgrim partnership. Type-A personalities with different investigative styles, the new team clash as outspoken, gung-ho Pilgrim and quiet, by-the-book Walker work together. At one point their relationship is tested when Pilgrim gets too nosey and looks into Walker’s personal life with Retro Girl, after a mysterious package arrives for him (props to Laura Petrie and the inflatable raft).

Bendis certainly has a gift for dialogue, which is pithy, tense, and highly entertaining. The back and forth banter flows with humour and intensity, making Retro Girl quite a fun reading experience. At times the art panels supersede the dialogue totally, creating dramatic visuals. Through the entire volume, I had difficulty navigating the pages, filled with word balloons and panels, some times needing to read across two pages but getting lost in the gutter. This does not, with my limited knowledge conform to other volumes/comic books that I have read, but I contribute my difficulties to this being a large book and not an individual comic book issue. The pages with the news casts were particularly troublesome for me as they moved from horizontal to vertical and then back again, but as the book progressed the rhythm became apparent and my difficulties lessened and then ceased altogether.

I think this is the first time a review of mine will not include a detail of the artwork, because the art work takes a backseat to the words with its simplicity. This book was much more entertaining because of the story itself which would make an ideal movie in my estimation

Powers is a very good read with well written characters who live in an exciting universe filled with superheroes and supervillians, and characters that are murky fun to encounter. Check this out and I can almost guarantee that Volume 1 will deliver!

I give this 5 PRADAs and I can’t wait to begin the next volume.

rating-5

Timewaster Tuesday – The Hunt for Gollum

Posted in Timewaster Tuesday with tags , , on May 5, 2009 by hergeek

While listening to NPR last week, I heard a segment on “The Hunt for Gollum”, a not-for-profit 40 minute film being created by fans and released for free on the Internet.  Upong getting home that night, miraculously I managed to remember to look up the website and watch the trailer for the short film…and was very impressed.

Fan films have been around for quite a while.  Just do a google search for Star Wars Fan Films and you get over 2 million hits.  Heck, George Lucas even embraces the fan film community by judging a contest for his favorite fan film!  Go on YouTube and search for Batman Fan Film and you will see about 1500 entries, the most ambitious of which is Grayson.

 Most fan films are a few minutes long at best.  Many are in the form of trailers for a movie. But this movie…The Hunt for Gollum…this one feels different.  This steps above the usual fan film.  The story is good, the acting is good, the cinematography and directing, effects and fighting…all very, very good.  At least as good as anything that you will see on the SciFi channel (faint praise, I know…but I did mean it as praise.)

Give this one a look.  It’s 40 minutes of fun.  I’ll be interested to see how Peter Jackson and New Line Cinema and The Tolkien Estate react to the movie.

Miscellany Monday – Close Encounters

Posted in Miscellany Monday on May 4, 2009 by thegeekwearsprada

I hope everyone had the opportunity to share Free Comic Book Day with someone they love. Late in the day, via phone, I went to a comic book store with Her Geek.

I really feel uncomfortable at the comic book store and it might be (probably is) of my own making. Maybe if I dressed appropriately and smelled appropriately and acted appropriately, I would feel more comfortable but I really can’t change my PRADA wearing self any more then the nerds that frequent the comic book store can change themselves. What I could do, however, is to tone myself down.

Since I was in the Tampa Bay area visiting my parents, I had not been to this store before so I tried to be a bit more approachable to the people that surrounded me, thinking that I would fit in more. That meant; I did not wear fancy clothing and in my estimation I dressed down—jeans with a hole on the thigh and rather tattered on the bottom, solid colour, non-embellished tank top, and flip flops.

Simple.

Down to earth.

Accessible.

As soon as I walked in to the large, crowded store I was immediately overwhelmed by the reek of the unwashed bodies that were meandered between the displays of comic books, gaming supplies, and the large selection of toys and collectibles. I think I must have been the only person there that showered that morning and the perfume that in Husband’s words made me smell tasty was lost in the stereotypical scent of ripe geeks.

I took the long walk, passed the recommended titles, passed 2 men about half my age, and on to the comic books along the wall. The two men looked at me briefly and in turn I smiled at them (my normal friendly smile) and quickly they diverted their eyes back to the comics they were perusing.

Deeply engrossed in an issue of Red Sonja another man stood as a barricade, blocking my way to my target location.

“Excuse me,” I said.

He neither looked up nor moved. I repeated myself, this time louder. He looked up casually, slowly, and then looked as startled as a deer caught in the headlights of a car on a dark country road. The deer wasn’t expecting the car and this man did not expect me. He didn’t know what to do or, I think, what to make of me, the only female in the store. It was as if he had never seen a woman before. I smiled and that shocked him into the understanding that he was in my way. He backed away so quickly from the wall that he nearly bumped into the display behind him. I clenched my lips together so I didn’t laugh and managed a sympathetic smile, not wanting to spook him further.

I made my way from comic books to graphic novels to gaming and back again to comic books, picking up a few things here and there and listening to the Her Geek in my ear. With each step I took, I found myself around different men with different geek stereotypes; bad hair, ill styled and ill fitting clothes, poor hygiene routines. When not in the immediate vicinity of geeks, I felt their gaze from behind shelves and behind books. I honestly do not think that I was being paranoid nor do I think so highly of myself that stares from strangers would be warranted.

Finding a few things that interested me or were recommended to me I journeyed to pay for the items that I held. I said hello and smiled at the guy that looked like John Lennon, circa 1972, behind the computer terminal. It appeared that he was internally daring himself to look at me, let alone smile. “Should I? Shouldn’t I? Should I? Shouldn’t I?”

Shouldn’t I won out.

I put the books on the counter and handed him my credit card. He tentatively took my card and began purchasing process. When the purchase was complete. He held my card out to me, thanked me, and in the split second when we were both holding on to the bag that contained my books, he looked at me. I smiled and thanked him and his lips took a decidedly upward turn but alas the smile was not meant to be. He turned away and thanked me back from behind the safety of his diverted eyes.