scary halloween fun

October 30, 2008

I’m going to be leaving for work in about an hour, but I thought I would acknowledge the fact that tomorrow is halloween because I will probably be too busy to post for a few more days. In fact, I have been too busy to do anything of late including reading my comics, with work and freelancing for the newspaper. Tuesday night we went into production and I was laying out the back page. Loved the way my photos turned out and I worked on a special headline on photoshop which took me hours. This was compounded by the server going down for a time, so IT had to fix it and all we could do was wait. I was pretty wiped yesterday as a result.

What are you doing for halloween? People have asked me. My friend is having a party and his band is playing, I was going to try to stop by after the game. However, since halloween falls on friday this year, I will have to cover the Duarte vs. Workman game, and if I get out early enough I might stop by the party for a bit. I say if because I don’t know how late the game will go or how long it will take me to write the game story for the Trib. So yes, most likely I will spend my halloween at a HS football game. Should be intriguing. Trick or treat!

zombie infestation in Azeroth

October 24, 2008

Yea, it was fun there for a while, until I died. Could be because I’m just a level 13 casual player (warrior) but I was easily zombified by the plague zombies the other night. When you turn into a zombie, the Horde guards at Ogrimmar and neighboring cities will kick the crap out of you. Your toolbar changes and instead of your usual weapons they change into different abilities.
Got to be a drag after awhile because I kept getting killed and my gear took major damage but since everyone in town was either dead or fighting off the zombie invaders, I was not able to fix it.

At right is a screenshot of how it all went down.
Damned you Lich King! Your undead minions will not deter me from reaching level 20 before the expansion pack is out. There’s a Hallow’s End event tonight on Brill on the Zangarmarsh (U.S.) server to fight the Headless horseman’s flames. I wish I could log on but I have to cover a game. Wow insider has more info.

wow has a new patch: But is it fun?

October 21, 2008

By now it is probably known by most that the new WoW patch 3.0.2 has been released just in time for the upcoming release of Wrath of the Lich King. Similar to when Burning Crusade came out, a major patch has been released which provides new elements to the game. A quick glance at the patch notes gives more specifics.

I think it is interesting that Blizzard has chosen this time to do so. From an industry point of view, it makes total sense. Mythic is making a play for their share of the MMORPG market with the release of Warhammer Online and even though the release of Lich King was probably planned prior to Mythic’s september 18 release of WAR, it’s good for Blizzard to have new content out to counter this push. Also, Blizzcon just wrapped up recently and it seems that interest in all of Blizzard’s games is at an all time high, Wow included. Personally, I think this is a great time to be a gamer with releases of Fallout 3, Diablo 3 and Starcraft 2 still upcoming.

As for the new Echoes of Doom patch, it is fun even for a lower level casual player such as myself. We had tons of fun setting up a party the other night and the halloween content was fun. Trick or treating in Ogrimmar and other cities guaranteed bonus XP, and even costumes and masks for your characters. Bobbing for apples was a nice touch. It seems Blizzard is pulling out all the stops to insure Wow remains the king of all MMORPGs and we as players reap the benefits.

New blog on local sports

October 17, 2008

I am sorry that I have skimped a bit on content for this blog of late. I have been pretty busy. I was named the new sports editor for the Walnut Weekly so I have been busy covering games for them. I have to cover at least one sporting event a week which is good for my career but this blog and my other comics related contributions have suffered. I have started a new blog to document some of my sports journalistic endeavors in case anyone cares. Hopefully some time will open up and I will continue to update this blog. See you guys soon.

Penny hooked on MMORPGs

October 7, 2008

If you were watching that great baseball game in which Boston turned away the Angels in the final inning 3-2 or the MNF game in which Reggie Bush ran back two scores, but the Vikings won 30-27, you may have missed Monday night’s best sit-com. The Big Bang Theory scores again by poking fun at the MMORPG crowd again!

This time, the show saterizes Age of Conan as Penny turns to Sheldon when she becomes addicted to an online game. There’s some amazing dialogue in this episode, but unless you’re a gamer, you may not appreciate the subtle  humor. To wit:

Penny bursts into Sheldon’s room to ask him if she should accept an invitation to raid with a higher level group. She wants to know if it’s the right thing for her character to do

“Are you crazy? They just want you for dragon fodder,” he responds

Penny: “You’d think you could trust a horde of Hungarian Barbarians.”

But it was this exchange that had me laughing out loud:

Penny gets some treasure.

“I’m rich”

Sheldon: “She’s a level three and she thinks she’s rich. What a Noob”

Venom Dark Origin 3: This is how a soul turns dark

October 5, 2008

This comic book is an homage. It’s an homage to those great Spider-Man stories in the 80s including Peter David’s phenomenal Sin-Eater saga featuring the death of Jean de Wolff. Any Spider-Man fan worth his salt knows the significance of that event in continuity with the web crawler wearing his black and white threads prior to Venom’s first appearance.

Yet this comic book series is more than that; it takes what other Spidey writers like David, Danny Fingeroth and J.M. Dematteis have wrought and attempts to expand on these great stories to weave together a highly expanded origin story featuring Eddie Brock who was the original Venom. The book even follows the old comic book format of sticking the credits in the back instead of on an opening splash page.

The only problem is that the plot is highly decompressed. Wells’ story telling is very thin with each issue moving at a terribly slow pace, this issue being the most problematic of the three published thus far, in as far as this aspect of the book is concerned.

The central action of the comic doesn’t even feature Spider-Man, which is understandable as the web crawler is only a bit player in the drama as Eddie Brock and his menacing alter ego take center stage. But by recounting their origin in the church harking back to Web of Spider-Man #1, Wells seems stuck in neutral as far as plot development is concerned, devoting as much time as he does to the creature’s already well known genesis.

The artwork is another thing altogether. Angel Medina’s pencils are deliciously good in this comic. He’s one of those talents with a distinct style all of his own and his take on the dark Spider-Man and Venom are a treat for die hard aficionados of the character. While every artist seems to have put his own stamp on the character since its inception, Venom has been devolving into a monster with clawed feet and his current incarnation almost makes him look like an entirely different character.

There are also entire pages detailing events first chronicled in the Secret Wars mini series. Normally I am opposed to so much space being given to large panels devoid of text, but in this case I will make an exception because these familiar events are made fresh again by Medina’s wonderful renderings.

Medina does an excellent job of not only capturing the original look of the character, defined by the masked features of his black and white clad nemesis, but also of evoking his original motivation: His bond with Brock born out of pure hatred of the web crawler and a delusional belief that Spider-Man ruined his life following the events in the “Sin Eater” storyline. For this reason alone I have to up the ante when it comes to a bullet grade for this comic as I feel Medina is at the top of his game.

In my opinion, Marvel ruined Venom a long time ago by overexposing the character and by diluting his initial characterization, going as far as to turn him into an anti-hero for the purposes of using him in comics outside of the Spider-Man continuity. It’s good to see a comic that at least tries to get back to basics. By doing so, it evokes the old feelings of witnessing a fresh concept and the birth of great new villain for Spider-Man. Also, kudos to the House of Ideas for bringing back a part of my youth. I just wish the execution of the narrative portion of the comic would have been handled with a little more precision.

Superman is a methodist?

October 2, 2008

While doing some reasearch for a review I wrote on the new mini series Venom Dark Origin recently, I discovered this website which takes into account the religious background of comic book characters and villains. While I had read a thesis on this very subject in an old issue of Wizard,  I thought it was fascinating that some one had carefully crafted and taken time to devote an entire site to this subject.

While it is commonly understood that some characters would be associated with religion in some form or another, I thought most heroes would be of Jewish faith, considering a lot of the writers and creators from the golden age were Jewish Americans who could draw upon their own faiths for motivation.

While it is tricky to incorporate religion with fictional material as there is the likelihood of alienation of some readers, I thoght it nevertheless an interesting topic considering how religion plays a big part in a lot of people’s lives.

Here’s a partial list of some of the best known characters (and a few not so well known ones) and their religious associations. For a more extensive list take a look at the above mentioned website.

Superman   Methodist
Spider-Man   Protestant
Batman   Episcopalian/Catholic (lapsed)
Wonder Woman   Greco-Roman Classical Religion
Aquaman   Greco-Roman Classical Religion
The Hulk   Catholic (lapsed)
Captain America   Protestant
Invisible Woman   Episcopalian
Nightcrawler   Catholic
Shadowcat   Jewish
Daredevil   Catholic
Hawkman   Egyptian classical religion
The Thing   Jewish
The Atom   Jewish (lapsed)
Zatanna   Dianic Wiccan
Elektra   Greek Orthodox