Sunday, September 23, 2018

On fiction IPs, quick publishing, and burnout

This is going to be a bit of a compare and contrast piece, covering two now well established series, another that is in a fledgling state, and two others that I have great hopes for. The established series are Galaxy's Edge from Nick Cole and Jason Anspach, and the 4HU(Four Horsemen Universe) headed by Mark Wandrey and Chris Kennedy.

Galaxy's Edge does a lot of stuff very much right. They started with a bang, filling a desire with their #starwarsnotstarwars postings on twitter, and marketing that as the overall idea of the series. The money they spend on covers is large, but clearly successful, as they get emails from new readers drawn in by the covers. They've even been spotted in a few physical bookstores, something few indie books get, at least before they get signed by a publisher. Their output is about a book a month, and while that's great, all the books are by them, and start feeling the same after so many.

4HU started off a bit slower, with the first four novels being by Wandrey and Kennedy at 2 books each. And then they opened up the floodgates to other authors with anthologies. This let them get a feel for the audience early on and built the draw and talent pool available quickly. Currently, it sits at a 3 week release schedule plus some. The cover art varies a bit more, but there are only a couple I would actually replace of my choice. The cycling of other authors into the release schedule, with the novels tying together, but not directly interfering(through edicts such as only Chris and Mark actually write the 4H, and even appearances of characters from such need approval) with the other stories.

Silver Empire recently had a successful Kickstarter campaign for a universe called Heroes Unleashed, with interesting ideas that are somewhere between the two. What was termed Wave I will have 5 authors doing novels(likely series if successful). Morgon Newquist(school of arts and war) created this world with short stories in two anthologies(Paragons and HA! HA! HA!), and the others involved include some others I've reviewed here: JD Cowan(Grey Cat Blues, Knights of the End), Kai Wai Cheah(No Gods Only Daimons, Hammer of the Witches), Jon Mollison(Sudden Rescue, Adventure Constant), and Richard W. Watts, with whom I am unfamiliar.

Bradford C. Walker and Brian Niemeier both have run Indiegogo campaigns(Brian's is still live), related to their #AGundamForUS work, and both have some good ideas. Now, if both do well, they will eventually face the challenge of putting out new material and keeping a fresh feel to their stories, which is where I think Galaxy's Edge has begun to fall flat, so this is no mean feat. My advice would be to do a contained series, maybe 6 books, at first, and perhaps invite other authors after, either for shorter arcs or standalone novels. Yeah, this is a throwback to the books they are somewhat imitating, but it did work then, and should work again, if they find authors that get what they're doing.

When you play Social Justice, the world loses.

Monday, August 6, 2018

DC in denial of reality, and Hard Case Crime dismisses readers

I know there's the GenCon bit everybody has seen and written about. I just didn't expect the con to deal itself a deathblow this fast, and that's all I'll write here for now.

DC co-publishers Dan Didio and Jim Lee recently did an interview on ICV2 regarding DC's sales year to year and the industry. Bounding into comics provided a little commentary via numbers, but didn't go into analysis, instead asking for opinions in the comments section. Didio seems to think the biggest problem is over-saturation of the comics market, while Lee is pointing to declining traffic at Barnes and Noble and waning interest in The Walking Dead.

Both are in at least some way, dead wrong in how they're looking at things, though they have made a move to get into WalMart, and that will likely help. But neither espouses concern for the health of comic book stores, their primary outlet. They refuse to name either their or Marvel's recent badly moving books as reason that the industry suffers, especially the Diamond overshipments. Instead, they are pointing their fingers at the high quality of new publishers popping up. They do mention the high price point of issues, but fail to mention any remedy for that, nor is any mention of the mostly fail that digital comics are(DRM kills the ability to really share or collect, because you don't OWN the book you bought, not to mention the inability of reader programs to really work with experimental panel layouts, among other issues).

Now, yes, over-saturation will indeed make individual company and title numbers fall. But that doesn't change what the industry numbers should look like, which are down 4% from last year. That doesn't explain over 60 stores in the USA closing this year so far. Unless you explicitly mean, "Marvel overshipped to stores enough that they went broke." A shrinking industry is something they should be massively concerned about, but they don't express that anywhere. But that has NOTHING to do with small press comics.

You want better sales, DC? Quit the diversity classes and get great writers and artists onboard, and pay them well. Tell AMAZING stories, and quit gaslighting the characters into something they never were. New guys? fine. Quit messing with Superman, WW, Bats, etc. Put out some newsprint titles at $2 or less, like Alterna does. Get it together, and make some money selling comics.

Now, onto Hard Case Crime. This is going to be tough for me. 

Hard Case Crime, on their Twitter account(my information again from BiC), has explicitly stated they don't want money from Trump supporters. For those not in the know, HCC is one of the larger crime pulp revival presses, with well over 100 titles by now, including Lawrence Block, Mickey Spillane, Max Allan Collins, and Michael Chrichton(as John Lange) in their catalog among others.The covers are magnificent portraits that tell you something is going down.

Insulting writers is a bad look in general. Insulting your customer base is a worse one. I like their books a lot, and have been excited about the comics partnership they developed with Titan. Now, I have to either cut them off, or be a blasted paypig to people that hate me openly. "Don't give money to people that hate you." -Brian Niemeier

Goodbye, Hard Case Crime. 

When you play Social Justice, the world loses.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Converged company signals its imminent end

Alderac Entertainment Company has been a bit converged for awhile, but was still attempting to focus on making good games, and having a measure of success with that. Yesterday they made an announcement regarding its big convention event(GenCon, PAX Unplugged, and a few others), Big Game Night. For their 2020 Big Game Night events, they're looking for games from women designers.

Before any idiot thinks that I don't think women can make good games, that's not true. But WHY THE CRAP SHOULD IT MATTER? Either the game is fun, or it isn't. Some of the Virtue Signallers went to the trouble of making a geeklist of games with women designers, omitting in many cases the male co-designers. But if AEG wants something that will sell long term, it's a path they will actually avoid. Almost all of the popular designers are men. And yes, people do buy games just based on the designer.

But let's look at the hobby itself. Most of the players are in fact, men, likely somewhere between 2/3 and 80%. Especially when you're talking about people that actually seek out new and complex games. Most game players don't try to take apart mechanics and see how they fit together, though; they tend to try to understand this game that they're playing now(This is aside from teaching games, a somewhat different skill). Some try to understand the mechanics, but don't develop a vocabulary for it. Others figure out how the pieces fit together, and like to discuss them. And the smallest set is those that actively design games(mechanically, not graphically necessarily).

I used to like AEG, even when they literally stepped away from making games I wanted to play. But why should I bother if they're going the "women who code" route? Even if they get the games they want NOW, they probably have to spend the next whole year rebalancing it and finding balance issues. Maybe they can get the games done in time. Or maybe they'll end up with a nice train wreck of money lost on rights and development and graphics.

And AEG joins Renegade on the list of companies I'm not buying from anymore.

When you play Social Justice, the world loses.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

On the comics collapse

There's a lot of talk of the markets shrinking in sff and comics from the tradpub sources, and here's a bit of my theory on the comics side.

I think Marvel and DC, with some help from Diamond(active to a point, but I have trouble believing they're that dumb) might be actively colluding to close the comic book stores. Diversity and Comics has made a good amount of noise over the fact that over 60 shops have closed this year alone.

Marvel is being overshipped, and the stores have to pay for the books. DC had a few exciting and high selling things early in the year, but their more recent moves are really bad from a sales standpoint, and the stores would be more inclined to take those chances after the big early sales.

Diamond, for the third real player, has for years made it very difficult and expensive to reach retailers and the public eye via their catalog. Alterna Comics has had trouble with them not shipping reorders and reprints, and the publisher has taken to shipping them directly himself. Most small press stuff can only be bought at cons or maybe from a local store, though one, Hollow Harbor, has connections with Miniature Market and sells through them.

Now, the why. They dominate the marketspace. They make a better percentage off of digital sales, though Diamond should be panicking over store closings. And through the digital space, they can better keep people from noticing smaller material, entering their entire back catalog over time. Why? Image almost took an equal share at one point, especially with Jim Lee's Wildstorm part of the business. He sold out for security over taking chances to become a giant in his own right as a publisher. Well, that and Batman.

Now POD printing approaches usefulness for comics printing at competitive prices, and if alternate models start hitting the mainstream comics market in news and books, then they don't control the industry anymore. Dave Sim became a legend for self publishing Cerberus; these days, he would have gotten rich at it as well. So yes, they're terrified of Arkhaven and Dark Legion. D+C's Jawbreakers and Ethan Van Sciver's Cyberfrog have them shaking. And they don't have a clue what to really think about the project Chuck Dixon has gotten going. Red Rooster? Should eat up a good chunk of Astro City/Black Hammer readers.

Mark Waid talked to Antarctic Press to get them to drop Jawbreakers. He's now under investigation for tortious interference. But I wonder how deep the DOJ is going to look. As a leading Marvel writer(history and reputation, not current talent), he might unwittingly have led the Mouse to a trap.

When you play Social Justice, the world loses.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Comic Review: Earth AM from Hollow Harbor

Cower not, fierce reader! I'm still around, and right now, I've got a comic for those of you into indie sf books. It's from small publisher Hollow Harbor.

Earth AM takes place over 200 years into the future, and humanity has split into four factions. There are skyrytes, cyborgs, underaneans, and humans. AM stands for "After Mutation". The first issue has no clear resemblance to contemporary comics.

The writing is solid, with very solid art backing it up. There's a bit of background in there, though it's not a world origin. That, we're dropped into. We do get more backstory following one of the leaders, though.

The humans are desperately trying to hold off all three of the other factions, the Skyrytes need food for their aerial cities, the Underaneans are destructively greedy, and the Cyborgs seem to be plotters at the level of the Byzantine Empire.

Anyway, here's a sample page from their site that's inked but uncolored:

This is a small publisher, and doesn't appear to be in regular distribution. You can get digital versions of the book via kindle, and if you want a physical copy, Miniature Market is carrying them. (Both are based in St. Louis). They have another book, Tyrants, that I'm looking to check out soon.

Right now, I'd give this book a solid 8/10 fell deeds.

When you play Social Justice, the world loses.

Monday, April 2, 2018

PSA on drug reactions

Yes, I know I haven't written in awhile. I'm having some trouble adjusting to the new area, or at least, more than I thought I would.

But now I'm going to take some time discussing drug reactions. If you know you're allergic, don't take it. Make sure the doctor and pharmacist know.  Allergic reactions to drugs go wildly bad.

For instance, reactions to Bactrim go from some mild rashes to swelling of the face to sloughing of all of the skin(most extreme, and this does include the lungs). There are some NSFW pictures online if you want to see how bad certain regions of the body can react.

I've also had a friend that had a severe reaction to Hepatitis C series immunizations. While these reactions are rare, they are very dangerous, and usually involve intensive care for awhile, as well as befuddled doctors. 

Drug reactions can be as varied and dangerous as food allergies, so if you are taking a new drug, try to have someone watching. I had my reaction severity limited, because someone else recognized reaction symptoms that I missed. I was saved a LOT of pain and suffering because of that.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Injustice Book Review: The Ophian Rising by Brian Niemeier

Cower not, fierce reader! This day, I finally take a look at Brian Niemeier's latest novel, the last of the Soul Cycle. Yes, I'm running way behind my normal schedule and pace. I've been buried between work, injury recovery, and learning a new town(and some of these are going to be ongoing). But enough about my productivity issues. Let's look at this tome.

First, it is way too complex for tradpub to have considered it. Yes, even with three prior books, we still have new things to encounter, and I'm grateful that we have more discovery to make. For proper comparison, tradpub sff ALL passed on Dune, which had been serialized in magazine form as a few pieces. CHILTON published Dune as a whole work.

I can hear someone complaining they want action right now. BE QUIET, YOU! There's plenty action in this book, and at times it feels like we go from complex idea directly into a fight. And why not? It doesn't have to be a man with a gun, it can be any real threat. The action flows well, though sometimes the abilities of characters do make it hard to track exactly what's going on, which I would count as one of its few flaws.

And we aren't limited to action, either. We have intrigue, secretive groups, and worlds across multiple planes. Threats to the souls of all in the world, and a revelation of the truth connects it all to help bring a close to the story.

All in all, an excellent finish. If you haven't gotten into this because you wait until series are done, GET CRACKING. Take your time, there's a lot to digest.

The Ophian Rising: 8 of 10 fell deeds.
The Soul Cycle: 9 of 10 fell deeds.

When you play Social Justice, the world lose.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Thoughts on the first batch of comics from Castalia House

I'm talking both Arkhaven and Dark Legion here, and we've got four books to discuss.

Quantum Mortis: A Man Disrupted #1: Well, Ethan van Scriver and Diversity and Comics both gave this one such a bad time. It didn't deserve all of that. The art is not great, true, but there's no problem with the text heavy spots. It's a different book. They are kind of right on the generic panel bit happening, which might work well if they decide to eventually take this another direction: motion comics, which are part comic animatic(easier with simpler styles/figures), and part audio book. I could see that working well, actually.

Right Ho, Jeeves #1: A Binge at Brinkley: I'd not read any Wodehouse before, and honestly wouldn't have, but Chuck Dixon adapting this with Gary Kwapisz on art, his collaborator from Civil War Adventures? Sure, I'll check it out. And I'm amazed. This is light, funny, and the art is top notch and filled with detail, yet more caricatured than Kwapisz' other work. I look forward to the rest.

Rebel Dead Revenge #1: Stonewall's Arm: Mr. Gary Kwapisz with a solo work, and the first Dark Legion book, which Vox has stated is done and I believe about 300 pages. The art here is far more realistic in style. The story in just issue one has enough racial material that I doubt any other publisher would touch it, never mind the story's quality of art and writing. Yeah, this is a really well done book. I believe the phrase is, "Shut up and take my money!"

eCONcomics: Well, this is interesting. The art, from what I can tell, is there to keep your attention, and help focus on concepts. And yes, there are some sequential sections, but Mr. Keen doesn't quite get to presenting concepts in the comic book idiom. The concepts are all in text, which is fine, and his writing on economics isn't a problem. I'm less convinced that economics is a subject that can be well done in comics, that is properly using its unique advantages. This book certainly did not to that end.

Now, overall, I'm really happy with these. The pricing might seem a bit high, but there are NO ads, which typically litter comics every few pages. I'm interested in what the physical will look like, but will wait until the collections hit most likely. Is it a great start? No, but I'd say it's very solid, with only eCONcomics being one I wouldn't recommend, and Quantum Mortis less strongly recommended, only because so many comic fans are art focused.

When you play Social Justice, the world loses.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

DC Animation makes a mockery

I will make no effort to hide the fact that I really dig the old DC Elsworlds titles. For the uninformed, these take the characters of parts of the DCU and put them in a different time and place. The first one was Batman: Gotham by Gaslight. The DC animated films group decided it was time to make an animated version of the classic, and with my enjoyment of the orignal(and its sequel), I thought I would give them a chance, even after the debacle that was Batman and Harley Quinn.

And having seen the film, I can now solidly say they have lost the entire idea of what the DCU characters are, what heroism is, and are perfectly happy to throw the original under the bus to tell the subversive story they want to tell. Do NOT see this film. This will have spoilers.

As a piece completely apart from any version of the DCU, with NO knowledge of the characters, it might be fine. But give me the original by Mike Mignola, Brian Augustyn, and P. Craig Russell over this. That had great art, knew how to place a story in history, and willingly placed extra characters in the mix.

The film didn't even really try to match the mood the art set, just some mimicry of the costuming. Here's a panel from the original:

And now the costume from the animated:

Yes, its similar, but the animated version is very bright in comparison. There's also the fact that the stories deviate greatly. In the comic, Bruce Wayne starts in London, and returns to Gotham by ship, where he encounters an old family friend and lawyer. None of this is present, nor is the lawyer, who ends up our villain. So instead, we jump to the Gotham World's Fair being part of our setting(which is in the sequel), and instead of a villain outside Batman's circle, they turn one of Batman's supporting cast into the villain.

One HUGE problem with this: Elseworlds aren't about completely changing characters, they're about moving them to other settings, and giving them different backgrounds. This is a massive change to the character. Because the villain is changed to Jim Gordon, who in the comics is a hero, and not given to fanaticism or murder. If the role had gone to Harvey Dent, who is also present, I could maybe have dealt with it. But of course, both of these deny part of the original premise: that Jack the Ripper not only got away, but went to Gotham after his crimes in London, which weren't even talked about in the film.

There's also a great deal of fixation on sex in the story, which I do not recall from the original. Of course, given the other deviations from the original story and plot, I shouldn't expect any uprightness to be left in the work when they're done. And there was plenty of story to fill time if they simply told both Elseworlds books as one film. in fact, I'd guess enough for an hour and half to two hours of animation. So why bother changing it? They hate the content, they hate the history, and they hate the geeks that actually know the stuff they deride.

Save yourself the time of watching the film and find the original book.

When you play Social Justice, the world loses.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Modiphius' John Carter of Mars

So Modiphius Entertainment finally launched their Kickstarter for the John Carter of Mars RPG. At this point, I have to say I'm not interested. Not because I wouldn't enjoy playing in the world. The Conan RPG from them has some nice ratings but is unranked on RPGgeek.

As someone that digs John Carter, why am I not that into this KS campaign?

Because they announced the project over 2 years ago. It, and the boardgame, and the miniatures they announced? Should already be out according to the announcements. What happened? They decided to push it back for the Star Trek RPG. It was announced at GenCon 2016, and they pushed Barsoom aside for Trek, instead of putting Trek in the queue. I'm honestly surprised they haven't for the Fallout miniatures game. And where's the John Carter boardgame?

So yeah, starting your production several months after your announced release date loses some of my interest and trust. What happened to the rest? Quite simple. Somebody else did a similar KS launch without prior hype.

Pinnacle Entertainment launched and ran a campaign for a game that, to my was unknown to the public beforehand. Flash Gordon is getting an RPG, and it looks like the people involved have a great love of the character and property, giving it lush art, and even getting a foreward by Sam Jones, the last actor to have the opportunity to play Flash.

From what I've seen, Modiphius is also run shoddily. Which can be par for the course in a niche industry, when you're pushing product for an even smaller niche. This is not saying that Pinnacle doesn't have it's own issues. But they know that the fans want their stuff once it's announced.

When you play Social Justice, the world loses.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Crowdfunding worth a glance 1/22/18

There's a blizzard outside, so I've got some unspent energy to use on a post instead of the moving stuff or work, which is closed. How much snow? I dread digging out my truck. I dread digging out TO my truck.

Let's ignore that for now, and look at some cool stuff.

First, I'm going to mention the Arkhaven Comics campaign Vox(and others) put together for Will Caligan, who was fired from Short Fuse Media as an artist for saying a straight guy shouldn't want to kiss a transgender "woman". I REALLY wish I could back this, but my money setup is awkward currently. But Vox also posted this nice list of possible adaptations to be done by Will and Chuck Dixon:
Nick Cole (The End of the World as We Knew It)
Peter Grant (Rocky Mountain Retribution)
Lawdog (The Lawdog Files)
Rolf Nelson (The Stars Came Back)
Kai Wai Cheah (Flashpoint: Titan)
Rawle Nyanzi (Sword and Flower)
John C. Wright (Swan Knight’s Son)

Another one that's late in the campaign that will be great value is the Spring/Summer Cirsova subscription .  It's got Dominika Lein, Abraham Strongjohn, Nathan Dabney, Donald Jacob Utivlugt, and possibly more of James Hutchings' My Name is John Carter. Give the man a buck for digital!

Now for some games.

Scott Almes is going into the overtrod theme of zombies with Tiny Epic Zombies. That said, the game is relatively inexpensive, and ITEMeeples are cool. Also, there tends to be a lot of game in those little boxes, and this one's got five game modes built in.

Like resource management, and wish deckbuilders did more? Well, Seize the Bean might have what you want. Upgrade your coffee shop, attract more customers, and avoid bad reviews.

Most music games have nothing to do with music. Re-Chord uses actual guitar chords in play, and has secret goals, chord creation(for a version of contract fulfillment), and might get some folks into it just because they know guitar.

Break out the Queen soundtrack, and prepare for the Quickening. Highlander: the Board Game might be another game with mild mechanics from this company(they also did Labyrinth, and a My Little Pony RPG), or it might be a surprising take on player elimination. You can likely wait to find out.

Dark Flight Games has a Tokyo Games trilogy. There's a train game, a dexterity real time game about building small houses, and a game set with lots of rules for a pop bottle and vending machine set of pieces, with rules for everything from stock market game to a dexterity game.

Western Legends is a game about choosing which side of the law to be on and building your legend. Some of the board locations have options that further these choices, and the playing cards function as poker cards and as action cards.

While I'm not a fan of boardgames that require apps, UBOOT might fill the spots that can make it work really well. This looks like it might be a reasonable cross between the tow, with the app generating hazards and events as well as providing atmospheric sounds.

I would be remiss if I did not mention the new edition of Triplanetary. This is definitely for old school gamers, and doesn't look to have any graphics upgrade(not a big deal to some, but others will be turned off by them). Personally? I have no experience with it, and would have to see it played.

Now, I have plenty to say on the John Carter RPG. But, I think it's enough that I might say it in another post.

When you play Social Justice, the world loses.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

The new 30 Days of Night comic: worthwhile or cashgrab?

Admittedly, with only one issue out, it's a bit early to tell. This is not a new story continuing the original, but a reboot of the story/world. Here's a post I wrote looking back at the original lightly. So what's with the new book, is it any different, and any good?

Well, I will start with differences. The new story is definitely written with new details and scenes, so it's not just new art on the old script. From my reading, I'm guessing the new version will be more filled out than the previous one. Steve Niles is clearly not the same writer he was at the start of the original, and that's fine, though I will say some of the timing in the new book has me confused.

Now, as to the art differences. WOW, that's a big change. The first was Ben Templesmith's impressionist horror in muted colors. The new book? Gotta say I'm not a fan of the art style. It's well done, but feels like a reality show.

Compare this to the original's art(I am solely looking at the first story here, not even the other two volumes done with Templesmith, nevermind the others):

Now, the new art doesn't make it bad, but it does turn me off a bit. And with the original books, I was turned off once Niles and Templesmith weren't working together. Some of the other artists did fine work, I'm sure, but the combination created something unique and not just another vampire story.

And now, 15 years later, I don't know if the new one is different or just another story. The art certainly doesn't make it stand apart, and I'm not yet convinced it isn't an attempt at a cash grab by Niles and IDW. I'd prefer they instead just work together and return to their roots with all new material personally, though I'll give the new book another shot at least.

When you play Social Justice, the world loses.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Injustice Book Review: Grey Cat Blues by J D Cowan

Cower not, fierce readers! Today we have The second novel from J D Cowan. And well, like the best stuff coming out of pulprev, this doesn't fit one neat box. And while I enjoyed his Knights of the End,  this is a completely different feeling book. Let's take a look what will make the dregs of SFF howl in pain.

First, this story has some REALLY strong male-female character roles. The jobs of each are quite clear, and the book not only isn't afraid of traditional masculine and feminine roles, but embraces them fervently. It pulls from an old story type not seen much, the youth gang story, and the male female dynamics of those seems to come through here.

Which of course, leads to: It pulls heavily from a genre abandoned by crime fiction, even in the resurgences of pulp stylings. Why? Because the genre had romance and was driven toward a future the characters may only have had a glimpse of, fumbling around in the darkness of their fights and neighborhoods.

Third, the sff parts are more decoration than anything else, and the author has no problem leaving things stated matter of factly. No detail oriented laundry list of events or theories. The milsf crowd? Not for them, but if you want a bit of style and visceral fights that feel more like the blur in a Mickey Spillane novel, you might dig this.

Yeah. In fact, I'll put it like this:

Picture a punk going right from a Spillane novel. Take out the sex, keep the romance. Put him in a future that is both familiar and different, more a high tech street punk setting. No, No cyberpunk, this is strictly cats that fight for territory, and looking to carve out a place for themselves.

Yeah, this was a cool novel. Get some music on, and picture this cat in both fights and dancing with his girl. 9 of 10 fell deeds.

When you play Social Justice, the world loses.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Comic book Review: Doctor Radar

This work arrive to us in translation from Titan Comics. We face no superheroes or supervillains here, but rather we have a sense of old pulp adventure set in the time just after World War I.

If you're following or are a part of the PulpRev crowd, this is a book worth looking into. Scientists killed in exotic ways, an amateur detective of renown as a fighter pilot, henchmen playing roles to complete their jobs, and more.

The art is a bit impressionistic, and the story makes wonderful leaps that manage to not jar the reader.  But this goes a long way in demonstrating that good work in comics can avoid capes and tights, and the imagination can be thrilled greatly with old style stories in any medium.

Here's some pics of the art. I am no photographer, and am just using my computer's camera.

The story is only two issues long, but leaves plenty of room to return at a later date with another adventure. Titan also advertises a collection out due in April. 

When you play Social Justice, the world loses.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Injustice Book Review: Vigil by Russell Newquist

Cower not, fierce reader! Today we start this year's book reviews with a work from our friend Russell Newquist. This work is part of the world of War Demons, but follows instead Peter instead of the lead from that work. Let's take a look at what might possibly offend the SJW crowd.

First, and most obvious, is the fact that this book is Catholic. While it has a fictional history of part of the Church, it is not nefarious, nor a cause of scandal to the Gospel.

Second, our hero is once again good. Not divided in purpose or will, his devotion to one thing rules all his other interactions. His associates are likewise devoted.

Thirdly, (SPOILER) we have a priest that has fallen into sin and has trouble with repentance. This in itself causes no scandal for the SJW crowd, but two additional facts do: that he still believes enough to refuse to celebrate mass while in the state of sin, and that our hero and his friends call him to repent and take up his vocation again.

Now, as to the action of the story, there's plenty for the length that it is. There's really only one fight in two places, but the story takes place over the course of one evening until morning. None of the characters are helpless, though all face challenges too big for just themselves. We even have a great use of a feature of Gothic cathedrals.

If you read War Demons and liked it, don't wait longer to get this story. If you haven't read War Demons, you can indeed step into the world via this book, and you won't be lost. 8 of 10 fell deeds.

When you play Social Justice, the world loses.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Normal Service to Resume Shortly, and a few plans for 2018

It's been a LONG few weeks. The move has been accomplished, though most stuff is in storage right now. As I'm yet not up to a book review, we're going to take a look at some items of interest for 2017.

Firstly, I'm going to look at book reviews.

In 2016, I reviewed 60 books. I had that beaten by summer of 2017. Total for the year? 44 individual book/magazine reviews, plus another 75 in Quick Reviews, for a total of 119 reviews for 2017.  I also did not put up a review for Russell Newquist's Vigil, though I did get an Amazon review done. This will be corrected shortly.

Now, where was the official Sad Puppies reviews, recommendations, etc.? The website disappeared just as quickly as it went up. And we were told later that they wanted it to be as good as possible. Well, congratulations to the so called owners of SP. You killed a very successful brand inside of 2 years.

On the other hand, Mr. Jon del Arroz has created the Happy Frogs. Which, following the direction of its Board of Trustees, has generated lists for the Dragon Awards, the Nebula awards, and is now preparing for the first annual Ribbit Awards, which I predict will be the most fun award in speculative fiction.

On another note, in my packing, I found a few things that will make for future giveaways.  Once I get things sorted out like work and refinding the items, keep an eye for those and post in the comments if the item(s) sound cool to you. I'll cover domestic shipping, as media mail is cheap.

Lastly, I also got paused partway through the book I'm working on. I hope to resume work on that in a day or two, and get to my first draft being finished in about two weeks. I have first readers lined up, and then I'll need to expand and cut in a second draft. While starting book two, and maybe my book in the world of the fictional game, Social Justice.

When you play Social Justice, the world loses.