Archive for August, 2009

Disney acquires Marvel Comics for $4B?

Monday, August 31st, 2009

Reportedly, Disney has purchased Marvel Comics for 4 billion dollars.

In related news, “Spider-Man 4” is now filming, with Spidey battling the evil Dr. Flubber.

Disney to acquire Marvel Entertainment

Monday, August 31st, 2009

More Here:
Here’s what we MIGHT be seeing:

marveldisney1

Or, God forbid:

spideymickey

Game Review: “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra” for the Wii

Saturday, August 29th, 2009

gijoe410x246

Most of us are acquainted with the idea that the video games tied in to motion pictures are lesser offerings, often budget-priced mini-games.   In this case, however, the video game version of “G.I. JOE: The Rise of Cobra” is a direct sequel to the movie with an original plotline that picks up where the movie left off.  It is also inspired by the very first animated mini-series from the 1980s.  Obviously, some people have been doing their homework.

It is so directly tied to the movie that Zartan is not amongst the characters because he is occupied at the end of the film.  However, somehow the Joes don’t know who Cobra Commander is, despite their capturing him at the end of the film, and Destro is also at large. It makes me wonder if the movie’s ending was originally supposed to have Destro and Cobra Commander getting away. Actually, that would explain why their being captured and then locked up in tubes looked so fakey and disconnected from the scenes around it. If that’s the case, it would be too late for the game-makers to take that info account. Anyway, that’s my theory.

So long as I’m pitching theories about the behind-the-scenes politics, I’m guessing that the game-makers weren’t allowed to use any unseen characters that were likely to appear in any sequel to the film, which would explain why the characters you are allowed to play are either the prominent characters from the movie or some of the lesser lights who will never be in a sequel such as Sgt. Flash, Kamakura and Agent Helix (who?) but not Lady Jaye or Flint.

The Plot:  Baroness is being transported in the mobile PIT when Cobra Vipers beam in and teleport her away.  Yes, Cobra now has the MASS Device and their new teleportation ability is what you must seek out and disable/destroy.  The pursuit will take you through jungles, deserts, polar terrain and gigantic Cobra facilities.  You will rescue captured Joes, uncover more of the plot as you push forward, and listen in to Dial Tone’s snotty radio chatter.

The writing is not bad at all, especially when it comes to capturing the G.I. Joe tone and inserting some excellent inside jokes.   The character voices are sometimes funny, other times annoying (Gung Ho’s complaining every second that he isn’t shooting gets tiresome), and some of the voice acting is terrific.  The first time a Cobra BAT appears during an animated sequence, it is launched into the battlefield and lands with an Iron Mannish thump.  There is a slight pause as the Joes take in the image, since up til now they’ve just had to battle Cobra vipers and ninjas.  One of the guys observing your actions pipes in with perfect “what the hell?” comic timing: “Is…………..is that a robot?”

“G.I. Joe: ROC” is an old fashioned 3D arcade shooter. And I mean shooter; aside from pressing computer panels and the occasional recharging of some electrical generators…which is also done using your weapons…it’s all shooting.

You can play two-player or allow the computer to operate the second character (and you can switch between the two).  There are three classes of fighters: soldiers, commandos and heavies.  Soldiers are your standard fighters, commandos tend to have sword/close combat abilities (which are almost useless unless you’re fighting ninjas), and heavies can lay down some serious firepower.  One problem with this arrangement is that often you’ll get into situations where you need one type of fighter in order to access a locked door, and the only way to get that person on-site is to access a teleport pod if you can find one.

Each character has a different primary weapon and a different special ability.  Your primary weapon is the one that makes you just hold down the firing button for the whole game. Your secondary weapon might be something like a grenade or bazooka, which you have to acquire and you can only hold up to three at a time.  You can do a close-quarters attack (if you’re a commando such as Snake Eyes, this will be a sword strike), but often you’re bringing a knife to a gunfight.  An interesting aspect of the game is your reliance on cover in order to avoid fire and heal damage; you’d better get used to doing that if you want to survive at all.

Fire! Fire! Oh, wait, he has shields.

Playing this for the Wii, I’m a little disappointed that it doesn’t take any advantage of the Wii’s controls.  This is entirely a button-driven game.

First problem I encounter with the game: I can’t see what I’m shooting sometimes.  This is one of the downsides of the X-Men movies and their “all those colorful costumes are now black, okay?” color schemes which have now become the standard for comic book adaptations.  When your characters are wearing black leather and the opponents are in dark costumes and you’re fighting in a dark cavern…well, that may be more realistic but it sure makes it hard to see what’s going on!  I think that’s one reason why your health indicator floats next to your character’s head: it also tells you which person you’re looking at.  The Wii’s weaker graphics can’t be helping.  But it’s more than that:  sometimes I’m successfully targeting something and I have no idea what it is.

That’s going to require some explanation.  The targeting system is a bit flaky.  Point in a direction with the movement stick, and if there’s a target there, the system will find it for you.  Nice.  Problem is, there are all of these non-enemy targets that you can also find, such as power-ups and little point boxes.  I can’t tell you how often I’m stuck in an intense firefight and then I realize that my character is choosing to blast away at a little box that’s worth some points instead of the two ninjas who are trying to kill me.  Granted, you can force the character to pick another target using the right/left/up arrows on the Wiimote, but those aren’t the most accessible buttons when you’re trying to use the B trigger.

The biggest frustration for any players will probably be the camera angles.  When the camera dictates that you are to move forward, the angle will not change if you decide you need to backtrack.  And you will need to backtrack at times to recover vehicles, grab points and goodies you missed, return to a teleport pod, or to take down some enemies you bypassed.  Unfortunately, you’ll be backtracking blind, running towards the camera as it shows you where you’ve been.  Other times, the people you need to shoot will be out of camera view.

Wild Bill and Lift Ticket (NPCs, I’m afraid) will airdrop various vehicles for you to use.  Steering the vehicles is sometimes a pain, but they can be a lot of fun and often they’re the key to taking down some of the heavy opposition.

Some bugs I’ve found: At times your shadow will appear halfway up the wall or even on the ceiling.  Also, bonus items will float in the air, beyond your ability to retrieve them.  Most annoying, enemies can shoot you through walls, boulders and stalagmites.

I do have to share one nice plus of the game: the accelerator suits are incorporated into the game, and here they make sense!  They act as a power-up which you can earn as you move along.  Activating the suit (with a hearty “Yo Joe!”) will give you invulnerability, deadly firepower, super-speed… and it kicks off an instrumental version of the much-missed “A Real American Hero” theme song!  If you disliked the accelerator suits in the movie, you’ll find them super-sweet here.

Similarly, Rip Cord (the character people hated in the movie) will be your best friend.  Your mileage may vary, but I found him quite useful because his special ability is a miniature robot cannon.  Run out into a firefight, throw down the cannon, and then leap back to the safety of a cement barrier while the cannon does a better job than you do of taking out enemy fighters, cannons and automatic gun towers.

The real challenge is not to get to the end of the story (which is surprisingly easy to do) but to stay alive.  If you play on easy mode, you can die and be reborn right away, but it costs you your points.  Harder levels will not respawn your character, but you can rejoin at the end of a checkpoint…and on the hardest level, you are dead, period.   I tried playing on the harder levels and it seemed almost futile; it’s bad enough losing points.  Thus, staying alive requires some real skill.

I don’t know if this game deserves the full sticker price of $50, but it’s definitely worth a rental.  As I said, I got through the storyline just by playing in the evening for a couple of days, which leaves only replaying the levels to get a better score and find any data files or other goodies that I’ve missed.  I would have preferred if this game had had more levels or more challenges, or perhaps some mini-games.  You could spend the same $50 to buy a Super Mario Galaxy or Twilight Princess that will preoccupy you for a good month or three; in that regard, “Rise of Cobra” is a lightweight game that you’ll be done with within the month.  That said, “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra” has some problems, but it can be fun, especially with a friend.

Game mechanics: Bit Wonky
Story: Good
Acting: Excellent
Replay value: Medium
Graphics:  Good, not great, at least on the Wii
Inventiveness: Low

Overall verdict Rent this one, but definitely worth a rental.

5 out of 10

“Offline” indeed

Friday, August 21st, 2009

I was reading this archived message board post about how Nightcrawler was created.

Why? I was learning more about Dave Cockrum and had found a link to it.

This message board post from 2002 is Dave’s write-up about how he first conceived of Nightcrawler, pitched it to DC as a member of the Legion, and then brought it over to X-Men as a member of the New X-Men.

Dave posted to the board as “Dark Bamf”. Then I looked again at the board member information when this caught my eye:

“Member Is Offline”

Dave Cockrum passed away in 2006.

“Offline” is an interesting euphemism.

Free Destructoid stuff during Twitter Party on Friday!

Friday, August 21st, 2009

I’m passing this along from my friend at Rocket XL:

We just set up a Twitter party with Destructoid … We’ll be giving away a PS3 Slim and limited edition Eddie Riggs (Jack Black) statues to lucky followers who tweet using the hashtag #brutallegend during the party. Below is some info about the Destructoid/Brutal Legend Twitter Party you can share:

• Party Date: 8/21/09 (Tomorrow!)
• Start Time: 3PM Central
• End Time: 5PM Central
• Prizing:
· 1 – PS3 Slim
· 5 – Eddie Riggs Statues
· 25 – Fan Packs (stickers, zipper pulls & patches)

• Join the party with the hashtag #brutallegend

• Follow @dinomas and answer his questions to have a chance to win the Slim PS3 and other prizing

• Use a Twitter tracking service like www.tweetgrid.com, with the #brutallegend tag, which will help you follow the party in real time

• Destructoid posting – http://www.destructoid.com/we-host-a-brutal-legend-twitter-party-you-win-a-ps3-slim–144995.phtml

We’ll be working with other Brutal Legend initiatives as well and let me know if you want to be kept up to date. Also, if you have any questions pls feel free to ask and definitely let your readers know ASAP, as the party takes place tomorrow at 3pm Central.

Brutal Legend Doth Cometh!

• All things Brutal Legend – www.brutallegend.com

• Join in the discussion – www.twitter.com/brutallegend

• Breaking Brutal Legend news – www.facebook.com/brutallegend

In Season Four, there’s MORE!

Wednesday, August 19th, 2009

More action! More Violence! More Monarch! More Henchmen! More Bowie! More Super Science!
MORE VENTURE!!!
Although there MAY be less Brock…

Apple Movie Trailers: Legion

Monday, August 17th, 2009

Legion looks very bizarre.

I’m tempted to do that David Spade “I liked it the first time I saw it…when it was called The Prophecy!” except I didn’t like The Prophecy.  It looks to be yet another post-religious film with little understanding of doctrine aside from what it can use to tell the story it wants to tell.

Wait a minute… people in an isolated diner facing off against supernatural menace?

Actually, it bears more similarity to “Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight” which was an okay movie.

Geoff Johns revisits some old favorites

Friday, August 14th, 2009

Over at Dixonverse, they’re discussing a topic I’ve been thinking about for a while:  Geoff Johns seeming to go overboard with the material from a number of Alan Moore stories.  While I like much of what has been happening…indeed, Green Lantern and Green Lantern Corps are the ONLY DC Comic books I still buy… this does bug me somewhat.

Mogo, and the F-Sharp Bell, and Qull of the Five Inversions: they’re from short stories.  Moore managed to tell very intriguing stories in far less than 22 pages (let alone multi-issue story arcs taking half a year)  and they were one-off throwaway bits not intended to be the launching point for epic sagas.  “Tales of the Green Lantern Corps” was an uneven back-up series that would occasionally produce a gem such as “Quarzz Terranh Knows Joy” (or whatever it was called) and sometimes introduce a Corps member interesting enough to revisit later (such as Ch’p, Stel and the Green Man).  The point was to take the Green Lantern mythos and do something you couldn’t just do with Hal Jordan, such as ending with the GL’s death (or a credible possibility of death on the last page, which isn’t the case with Hal) or showing an alien approach to using the ring.

“Mogo Doesn’t Socialize” is a wonderful story that loses most of its ending’s power if you’re going to use Mogo again and again in other comics.  It’s like having Rosebud the Sled, Verbal Kint and Tyler Durden as a recurring superteam in the DCU.

The bounty hunter from that same story showed up in GL Corps.  Know what bugged me?  I guess I always thought that story was ancient history, not a current event.  The Book of Oa contains tales of things that happened to Green Lanterns throughout history… and we’re talking an organization with 3600 members that has been active for a BILLION years!

Qull of the Five Inversions?  I was pretty sure he was just a liar.  After all, not long after that story was published, the entire GL Corps was destroyed after their execution of Sinestro caused the Great Battery to lose power.  (Remember, how only Hal, John, Guy, G’nort and a few others had rings, and it was a while before the Corps was restored?)  Then in 1994, Hal Jordan causes the deaths of all the Guardians…so Qull’s prediction of drums with blue skin couldn’t be true.  The whole point of the story is that Qull manages to produce fear in Abin Sur, and he dies because of the starship he is flying in instead of using his ring.

By the by, Johns’ interpretation of that story is very literal: there are aliens called the Inversions, and there are five of them.  Huh.  I always thought that was just Qull’s name, that there were five things “inverted” about him.  If there are only five creatures on that whole cordoned off planet, that’s way less scary.


As has been pointed out about the Black Mercy, it’s taking one cool story element (a McGuffin excuse for telling some cool imaginary stories) and running it into the ground.  The Black Mercy shouldn’t be packaged with the Mongul action figure as though it’s his primary weapon.  It was a plot device, pure and simple, and next time Mongul appears he will resort to something else.

All of these little elements that Alan Moore rattled off as throwaways… Ranx the Sentient City, the Children of the White Lobe, Sodam Yat, etc. … they were cute references to a mythology we haven’t heard yet.  That was neat-o.  Spending several years setting all of them up as canon seems like it’s missing the point.

If I wrote a story where Batman encounters Rip Hunter and Rip says, “Last time I met you was fighting alongside your daughter during the Atlantis/Paradise Island/Gorilla City war… oh wait, that hasn’t happened yet!”, do I need to worry that some kid who loves that issue will, fifteen years down the line, spend three years building up to a Atlantis/Paradise Island/Gorilla City War mega-event as a glorious in-joke where that disposable humorous line comes true?

Look, Blackest Night seems like a great storyline and I’m looking forward to reading it.  And I like Johns a lot, really!  But Johns should be a writer who tells his own stories instead of “What happened to those characters at the end of Crisis on Infinite Earths?”or “Let’s start integrating as much Kingdom Come future into the DCU as possible!” or “What if Blackest Night really did happen?”  He should be creating the characters and telling the stories that cause future fanboy-cum-writers to want to revisit HIS work.  And hopefully, they’ll have editors that tell them to just do their own damn stories.


Video game review coming: “G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra”

Monday, August 10th, 2009

We will be posting a review of “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra”. Watch this space!

Beautiful new Tron Legacy trailer

Sunday, August 9th, 2009

Actually, this is billed as an SFX test, but this trailer is amazing.

Bruce Boxleitner is in this, too! Excellent.

Here’s a point for discussion: I actually appreciate trailers like this, featuring a single exciting scene to get your curiosity, rather than the rapid flashing Blipverts of dozens of moments from the movie.

A few more thoughts about G.I. Joe

Sunday, August 9th, 2009

These thoughts regarding G.I. Joe contain spoilers, so I’m hiding them after this break.

REVIEW: Cobra assaults civilization; “G.I. Joe” assaults senses

Saturday, August 8th, 2009

One of the highlights of the film is a sequence where our heroes pursue terrorists who are threatening to destroy Paris with a W.M.D. Guns blazing, they take out the terrorists but not without many casualties. While Paris and millions are saved, the Eiffel Tower is destroyed and it is a Pyrrhic victory.

But enough about Team America: World Police.  We’re here to talk about G.I. Joe, which is very similar except that the acting isn’t as good.

First, I will start with the best surprise about G.I. Joe: it wasn’t as bad as I feared it would be when they first announced that G.I. Joe would be an international force headquartered in Belgium. Unless I missed it, and in this cacophonous film that is certainly possible, Belgium is never mentioned, nor the new acronym for the organization.   This film’s production has been as tumultuous as the many aborted attempts at bringing Superman back to the big screen.  Hard to believe that the film now subtitled “The Rise of Cobra” once had a script where Cobra didn’t appear at all since the creators thought it was a dumb organization.

To its credit…and also its detriment… G.I. Joe is for the most part a live action version of what we got in the cartoon show.  Swarms of one-person vehicles firing blasts at other vehicles.   A villain with a campy voice whose motivations don’t make a lick of sense.  And two organizations seemingly drowning in money for headquarters, equipment, ships, planes and weapons.

Summaries of the plot can be found everywhere, so I’m not going to bother beyond what’s necessary.  Christopher Eccleston plays Destr- er, McCullen, a weapons manufacturer who has invented nanites that can tear down anything.  He built the technology with NATO funds, which is why he has to steal them back from NATO forces.  Of course, he also has a subterranean complex the size of Wichita, so he doesn’t appear to be hurting for money.  His is the most complex character in the film, since he wants to take over the world (boo!)  and take revenge on the French (that’s fine).

Dennis Quaid commands the screen in a thankless role.  As macho as he comes across, his part is still the equivalent of Basil Exposition’s in the Austin Powers films and he probably filmed them in a couple of hours.

Sienna Miller turns out to be a very good actress, much more than just a pretty butt that is highlighted in all the posters, and there are other excellent actors in this film, but with this script there is not much for them to do to give their characters more depth.

The action in this movie is non-stop, probably so that the audience doesn’t have time to reflect on the wisdom of the plot.  The editing makes Michael Bay’s Transformers look like a Benji movie.

Unlike the cartoon with the ubiquitous parachutes, here people die in large numbers.  To avoid an R rating, no result of any gunshot is ever shown.  People scream and then the camera immediately cuts to something else.  The video game-style loss of life reaches the height of ridiculousness in a sequence that puts the Matrix to shame. Two Joes in accelerator suits are running through the city streets of Paris chasing after a Cobra Hummer that begins chucking mini-vans full of people at them.  Duke and Ripcord dodge the vehicles and keep on running with nary a thought towards the families that are getting squished.  They might as well be hopping over barrels hocked at them by a giant ape.  Focusing on the civilians for even a few seconds might help to put the stakes into perspective, but would probably get in the way of the adrenaline rush.

The frantic, rapid, constant camera cuts may be fine for this current ADHD generation of teens… and I add that qualification only because my niece says the action in Transformers wasn’t hard to follow at all, so she may have some kind of Wally West perception thing going on… but I found the movie to be a headache waiting to happen.

When the movie ended, the credits rolled and the soundtrack cranked up to some really horrible boom boom rap song, I thought it was the appropriate ending to a mediocre film that made my eyeballs bleed.  Actually, the perfect ending would still have been an instrumental version of the “A Real American Hero, G.I. Joe is There” theme song, but I knew the film-makers had avoided it.  For a second, I thought about toughing it out through the whole credits just to see if there might be a silly PSA where Ripcord saves a kid from a construction site or something, but I gave up.

Look, you all know my politics.  Maybe I’m wrong.  Maybe, despite the ample evidence that American films with a “rah-rah go America” attitude do just fine in overseas sales, maybe this film would have been dismally wounded in sales as every critic east of the Seinne would have been making comparisons between G.I. Joe and America’s military arrogance, etc.  All I know is that the oh-so-obvious attempts to distance this property from America gave this thing a stinking odor that it did not need to have…and the many ways it stinks in addition to that did not help.

It’s sometimes hard to believe that “The Mummy”, a pretty good action film that is rock-solid entertaining, is still Stephen Sommers’ best film.   Is there no greatness in him?  Can’t he try to do something with just a little more maturity than that of a 9-year-old playing Hungry Hungry Hippos?

25 years later, Larry Hama’s life makes sense

Friday, August 7th, 2009

Larry Hama’s name is synonymous with G.I. Joe. He is known throughout comic fandom as the guy who wrote the bios for the action figures, as the guy who took what could have been a rather silly and short-lived toy line and brought it to life with deep characterization during his very long run on the G.I. Joe comic book.

For 25 years, people have been throwing out the line “And knowing is half the battle!” whenever they were talking to Larry. Until this week, he never knew this was a line from the G.I. Joe cartoon show (or rather, the PSAs at the end of the cartoon show). Larry had never seen the cartoon.

Just imagine what it must be like to have heard this phrase for almost half your life and never realized people were trying to make a joke for your benefit. Larry must have thought this was just some popular aphorism! Now, after ages of wondering, he finally knows why.

And knowing is half the battle!

R.I.P. John Hughes (Updated)

Thursday, August 6th, 2009

Here’s the first celebrity death in a long time that has truly hit me hard: John Hughes, writer, director, producer, is dead at 59 of a heart attack.

The films he was involved in reads like a greatest hits of the 1980s list: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Home Alone, Trains, Planes and Automobiles, She’s Having a Baby, Pretty In Pink, Some Kind of Wonderful, Weird Science, National Lampoon’s Vacation, The Breakfast Club…and Career Opportunities, a lesser hit with a fantastic poster.

Rest In Peace, Mr. Hughes.

UPDATED: I’m not alone in my sentiments that this hurts far worse than the recent death of the self-mutilated child molester that we had to be told was influential.
Big Hollywood: “The Frank Capra of Generation X has Died“, a well-written tribute that puts my meager words to shame.
Carl Kozlowski: “Don’t You Forget About Him

John Hughes’ movies were the true voice of my generation. I think the last person whose death hurt this badly was Jim Henson, also taken way too early.

WASFen Convention report

Wednesday, August 5th, 2009

This last Saturday, I attended the 3rd annual WASFen convention. That’s the Wausau Area Science Fiction Enthusiasts. Organizer Evan Cass invited me to be a Guest of Honor after meeting me at last year’s Wizard World. I found it to be a fun time, with several hundred attendees to the one-day convention.

It gets off to a slow start, probably because it is a largely local crowd and many of them are taking their time on a Saturday morning. Of course, “first thing in the morning” is when the news media shows up with their cameras to cover the convention. By afternoon the interviews were hopping, the tables were getting plenty of visitors, the most famous Guests of Honor had small lines at their tables and I had had sales of only a little less than I make during two long days in Artist’s Alley at Chicago. Actually, that isn’t a fair enough comparison: Chicago also costs much more in transportation and hotel and I have to buy my table space, whereas WASFen’s space was free and I got the Guest of Honor treatment. That makes WASFen probably the most profitable convention I’ve ever attended!

The guests of honor included sci-fi and fantasy authors such as Patrick Rothfuss, Kelly McCullough  and Kathryn Sullivan, plus comic book creators John Jackson Miller (who also does the webcomic Sword and Sarcasm) and Tim Seeley. Kathryn has three interconnected juvenile fantasy books, and I had to buy one of them (“Talking to Trees”) because the write-up on the back intrigued me. A teen-age girl takes her brother’s silver bracelet because it matches her outfit,  unaware that it is a magical key to another world!  He’s the protagonist in the other novels.  It piqued my curiosity enough that I grabbed a copy for my niece Jenny.

I didn’t have enough spare time to explore the vendor area.  The table space seemed quite affordable to the vendors who were there, and there were about 7-10 different vendors with probably enough room for 6-10 more next year.  The vendors included a few creators as well, such as Jonathan L. Switzer of “Scwonky Dog” and Jim Yoho of Episode Fun, a goofy look behind the scenes of The Phantom Menace. (Liam Neeson is represented in the comic as a trailer, since he refuses to come out after having read the script.) I also met Ryan Schwartzman of Dorkfathers, a comic shop in nearby Merrill.

There was another room for readings and other features, such as a one-man Rocky Horror Picture Show (My wife loved that one!) and another room for gaming.

The day’s program began with Q&A for the Guests of Honor, including me. (I’ll have that video online sometime soon.) This was followed by a Jeopardy tournament, which sounded like fun. The categories included: The Demon, Swamp Thing, WildCATS, Sandman, Marvel 2099, Marvel Epic, Marvel UK, Savage Dragon and The Ray. Yes, The Ray. Unfortunately, the categories featured not one of my favorite characters, so I was at a serious disadvantage. Somehow, I still won!

The interviews and trivia game were run by David Alan Cohen, a gregarious and funny guy whom I could probably talk comics with for hours and hours. (Unfortunately, he does not yet have a microphone headset and a Skype account, so he won’t be in any Monitor Duty podcasts soon…but maybe someday!) David has an excellent voice, reminiscent of Kevin Pollack or Albert Brooks (or Kevin Pollack doing his impression of Albert Brooks). He was also selling his comic collection, and having won $30 in comics from his Comic Book Jeopardy game, I stopped by to spend it. Hey, guess what’s written on the ends of the boxes in his collection? The Demon, Swamp Thing, WildCATS, Sandman, Marvel 2099, Marvel Epic, Marvel UK, Savage Dragon and The Ray. Well, you write what you know.

The show concluded with a costume contest that graded the participants on how much work they put into the costume, its quality as a costume and whether they would act out something appropriate for it. I was invited to be one of the judges. One person came as raccoon Mario from Super Mario World 3. When asked where he(?) got the tail and the ears, Mario replied, “From a leaf”. Bonus points! The winner was a tie between two women who came as the light and dark mages from Final Fantasy. The contest was then followed by a charity auction with all proceeds going to a local women’s shelter. Evan, who probably hadn’t slept much the night before and by then was quite burned out overseeing the whole show, was running on fumes while performing as auctioneer. I believe at one point, while holding some DC Heroclix, he fell asleep and then ordered waffles. (Kidding!) I won a couple items which I’ll probably donate in turn to the FallCon auction.


View Larger Map

Wausau is a lovely, small city in the center of Wisconsin and it contains roughly 40,000 people. At least, that was the population when I lived there in the mid-1990s. That’s right, this was kind of a Old Home Week for me. From 1994 to 1996, I lived in a small duplex apartment and wrote radio advertising for WOFM when I wasn’t rewinding VHS tapes professionally at Blockbuster. In my spare time I read comic books and watched my five free movies a week. And that’s all I did. Wausau is certainly a nice town. Only problem is, there was never anything to do! How I wish someone had organized something like WASFen when I lived there.

I believe WASFen may have a chance to really take off. After all, Wausau, Wisconsin, is centrally located for comic book fans from all over Wisconsin, eastern Minnesota, northern Illinois and Da YouPee. It’s on a straight route from Minneapolis to Green Bay and straight north from Madison. When talking to Evan about the possibility of finding more pros that might want to attend, I pointed out that I knew many guys from the Twin Cities who attended a convention in Des Moines and that’s a longer drive than the simple three hour tour to Wausau.

The nice thing about a convention like WASFen is that I’m meeting comic book readers who may never make the majorly expensive trek to Wizard World in Chicago, or even to FallCon in the Twin Cities. In other words, it’s a whole new market, and I got to meet some great people…and move some product, which is always nice.

After the con, Evan Cass and I talked about the possibilities for 2010. WASFen was a thrill and I hope to be back next year.

Check them out on MySpace, and visit the Facebook page for Evan Cass, the organizer of same. If any sci-fi/fantasy authors or comic book creators are thinking of attending a future WASFen con, they should contact Evan. (His info is on the MySpace page, right under the picture of Yours Truly.

Evan, thank you very much for inviting me.

A gentleman’s duel..

Wednesday, August 5th, 2009

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FXET1kvEOAY

Now this is how Pixar’s shorts SHOULD be done!

For your loved ones…

Saturday, August 1st, 2009

Arkham care
Because even the most diseased minds can be cured. We hope.