Tuesday, October 11, 2011

WIP yo hair...

(...dusts off cobwebs...) Well it's been awhile hasn't it? I haven't had much time to post here because work has been keeping me pretty busy. That's a good thing mind you... It's a nice feeling to be able to pay my bills on time for once! Aaaaaaaaaaaand I've been busy working on a new comic!

Here's a little sneak peek. I'd say it's about halfway done by now (due in part to my glacial drawing speed) and I'm hoping to get it finished and printed up before the end of October.

Then all I gotta do is get it into people's hot greasy little hands. That's the easy part right? Who knows I may even finally get to go to STAPLE! now that I'll have something to show off. Anyways watch this space to see what happens next. Oh and hopefully more manga and board game ramblings in the next couple of months.

Friday, July 1, 2011

It was a great party and everyone had a fun time. We played a couple of games of Ultimate Werewolf and Time's Up. And we were both totally surprised when Jhonna & Mike and their son Sean gave Lynn a copy of Key Harvest and me a copy of Pocket Civ. Awwwwww... Thanks guys. And what else did we play?

Dice Town- This had been unavailable for quite some time but it's back in print (to coincide with the new expansion of course...) A really fun and fast paced Liars' Dice-esque game that is super easy to teach.

Metropolys- Yet another game from the "I want a copy of this but I can't find it anywhere OH SHIT THERE IT IS BUY IT QUICK!" list I keep in my head. This is an action-oriented auction game with some surprisingly subtle strategic elements. Like Dice Town it's a breeze to teach and it's proven to be very popular.

Asteroyds- One of my faves. It's like Robo Rally in that you have to "program" your ship to race through space to collect glyphs and win the game. The catch is that you have 50 seconds to program your ship and you have to take into account the trajectories of those pesky 'roids who are more than happy to smash into you. Crashes and lols were had by all.

Roadzters- My collection had been lacking a dexterity game so I got a copy of this. It's like Pitchcar but instead of flicking discs around the track you play using the Z-Ball which is this interesting little marble-sized guy with weighted ball-bearings inside so it will travel a distance and then stop. I've heard with some practice you can actually put some spin on the ball and execute some pretty impressive turns.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

ANOTHER gaming party!?

Memorial Day came and went and what better way to celebrate the holiday than to have friends over and play some games! We had a great turnout and the party lasted all day and well into the night and we managed to get in some great gaming...

Cyclades- Lynn had been wanting to pick this one up ever since she'd played it at one of the meetups. We had five players all struggling for control of ancient Greece and frantically bidding to win favor with the Gods and John managed to sneak a victory out from under our noses by amassing four philosopher cards to construct a second metropolis.

Ultimate Werewolf- After Cyclades more people had shown up and we started playing UW. Unlike standard Werewolf, the ultimate version has a variety of roles you can assign to players to keep things interesting. Like the Priest who can choose one player a night to protect from being killed. Or the Cursed Villager who turns into a werewolf if he's attacked. It was a lot of fun and I think it's pretty much my favorite party game.

Mansions of Madness- We'd picked this one up on our last round of game buying. It's a Lovecraft themed exploration game that takes place in Fantasy Flight's Arkham Asylumn universe. This was a loooooong one. Don't get me wrong, I love this game. It's just that set-up takes quite a while and the game itself lasted about four hours! It was a gas. The investigators struggled bravely against and endless horde of zomibes and in the end solved the mystery and ended the horrible curse. Huzzah!

Yomi- Following in Dave Sirlin's tradition of games with simple yet deep mechanics and good player balance Yomi is Janken/War-esque card game mimicing a fighting game. I'd really been wanting to play this but by the time I got around to it it was the end of the night and I was pretty worn out. Still I really liked what I saw and wouldn't mind playing it again.

We're glad the party was a success and we can't wait for the next one. Of course we need to recover from this one first...

Friday, May 13, 2011

Steve Mellor is hella rad...

Back when I was a kid Iwas dimly aware of the fact that there was more to comics than just the stuff on the spinner rack at TG&Y. Of course nobody is going to sell undergrounds to a ten year old so I did the next best thing and indulged in the teen humor mags du jour. Mad and Cracked were my drugs of choice but one title I'd flip through every now and then was Marvel's CRAZY! As a whole I thought Crazy was pretty lackluster but there was one thing about that magazine that made it worth picking up. Steve Mellor.

Mellor's work was unlike anything I'd seen before. His style combined the big-footed/classic comics influences of the Crumb/Zap crowd but at the same time forged new ground with an almost punk rock vibe. I remember his feature the "Kinetic Kids" in which he'd draw a comic strip that spanned a couple of pages and then you'd flip between the pages and it would act like a flipbook. Clever fun stuff. He also did a ton of work on the Spectacular Spider-Ham.

I loved this guy's work and it had a pretty big influence on my own style. Sadly rumor has it that he's given up the art game for acting. Oh well. He made a lot of great stuff and for that I say thanks.

If you'd like to check out some of his work go over to Shane Gline's Cartoon Retro blog. He has posted a TON of Mr.Mellor's work (Thx Shane!) and also go to the Big Blog of Kids Comics to check out Steve's classic "Goose Rider" story.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Guess who threw an awesome gaming party last night? This guy right here... and his wife... who did the lion's share of the work. :) We had a bunch of people over and got to break in a bunch of new games we'd picked up recently.

Nanuk: One of our guests brought this. All eight of us played (it plays up to ten people!) and it's kinda like Liar's Dice except instead of dice you've got cards and it's all wrapped up in an Eskimo theme. Quick and fun, would play again.

The Fury of Dracula: Ok, we've played this one before many times but we finally bought our own copy so we won't have to borrow Aaron's anymore. Bit of a marathon session on this one seeing as how all the hunters were newbiew who had to learn the copious rules but they played a good game. They tracked down Dracula and VanHellsing killed him after sustining two bites and having only ONE point of health left!

Puzzle Strike: It's like Dominion meets Puzzle Fighter Turbo and they have a sexy baby. This little gem was designed by Dave Sirlin, a guy who used to work on designing video games (notably fighting games) so he's very much aware of things like challenge and player ballance. Every turn players ante a gem into their gem pile. If your pile totals 10 or more you lose so you have to combine little gems into big gems and them crash them into your opponents. Lots of mean attacks and cool powers make this a fun game.

Survive: I have been dying to get a copy of this ever since I heard it was going to be reprinted. Players must get their peoples (with hidden point values) off of a slowly sinking island. To sink the island each player must remove an island tile on their turn. Some island tiles give you helpful stuff (swim to safety, extra boat) but most of them have things that seriously bone you (whales, sharks and of course sea monsters!) Through a some smart playing and a little luck I won. Woo-hoo!

All in all we had a great time and hopefully this will be the first in a long line of gaming related soirees.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Never shall the two Dicks meet...

Dick Locher calls it quits on Dick Tracy and I gotta confess I've got some mixed feelings about that. On the one hand I've never liked the idea of "legacy" strips. As far as I'm concerned Dick Tracy died with Chester Gould.

On the other hand Locher's take on America's favorite detective was one of the strangest things to grace the comic pages. His art had this dense, almost expressionistic, quality to it. Storylines meandered all over the place for months on end like some sort of mash-up between a fever dream and a Samuel Beckett play.

And true Dick Tracy fashion the villains met their fates in some creatively gruesome ways. Killed by a falling wind generator, blinded by perfume, dental-electrocution, crushed by a plane during a play... To top off his run on the strip Mr.Locher has given us a frog-faced serial killer being eaten by rats in a granary during a thunderstorm. Shine on you crazy diamond.

Friday, March 4, 2011

40 whacks with a Top Shelf AX

You know the funny thing is about a couple of years ago when Tokyo Zombie came out I went ahead and purchased several issues of AX (the de-facto spiritual successor to Garo) from Last Gasp figuring, "There's pretty much no way I'll ever see this in English." Well wouldn't you know that Top Shelf would have to go and prove me wrong by releasing an English language version of the eclectic bi-monthly indy-manga anthology and I've finally had some time to dive into it and I gotta say I'm loving this book.

There is a wide variety of stuff sandwiched between these covers and at times it can be a bit of a mixed bag. I mean let's be honest there rarely is such a thing as a perfect anthology (although Kramers Ergot comes pretty damn close. RIP Buenaventura Press...) but the pluses far outweigh the minuses and we've been needing this book. There hasn't been this in-depth an examination of alt-manga since Viz's Secret Comics Japan or Blast Book's Comics Underground Japan (and let's throw Fantagraphics' Sake Jock in there while I'm thinkin' about it...)

The book itself is a shockingly beefy little tome. You get 400 pages in a compact 6.5 x 8.5 inch package (pretty close to the dimensions of the OG AX...) graced with a lovely cover by Akino Kondo and inside there's wide variety of alternative manga. There's good stuff by some familiar faces (Kazuichi Hanawa, Imiri Sakabashira, Yoshihiro Tatsumi, Hanakuma...) and there is a bunch of new artists who's work I've never seen before. Some stand outs for me included Enrique Kobayashi's ElDorado by Toranuskue Shimada, Takao Kawasaki's Rooftop Elegy, Shinya Komatsu's winsome Mushroom Garden, Yuka Goto's The Neighbor, Takato Yamamoto's ero-guro-esque Into Darkness, and of course Akino Kondo's pair of charming tales The Rainy Day Blouse and The Umbrella. And there were even a couple of stories in there from the volumes I bought from Last Gasp! Namely Mitsuko Yoshida's The Tortoise and the Hare as well as Namie Fujieda's The Brilliant Ones.

There are a ton of comics here and this book is definitely well worth picking up. And I just found out that it is official and Top Shelf will be releasing AX VOLUME 2!!!

I really enjoyed the first volume and I can't wait to see what the second one holds in store. Hopefully we'll see more work from AX regulars/superstars Shigeyuki Fukumitsu and Shigehiro Okada. I'd love to see Yuka Goto's totally bonkers art-brut Justice Corps in action. I've heard Toranusuke Shimada's Traumerei is a great read. And I'm dying to know what is the deal with Kotobuki Shiriagari's sprawling epic which seems to involve lots of explosions and people shrieking in terror.

Hopefully the next book will also include some artists who didn't make the cut for the first volume like the intricate screen-toned stylings of Shizuka Nakano. There's the European-flavored sci-fi/fantasy comics of Minoru Sugiyama (Mother Cosmos looks pretty cool...) And the crazy work of Michihiro Hori who's current series involves a group of high school students obsessed with making lacquered bowls. Of course if wishes were horses it'd be nice if they started including articles about manga/gekiga as well (a'la Comic Art) but I don't think that's gonna happen. Oh well.

Anyways... AX #1 is great GET IT. AX #2 don't drag yer feet gettin' here.

Saturday, February 12, 2011


Today is a good day. After what seemed like an eternity of waiting compounded by delays and fruitless searching I'VE FINALLY GOT A COPY OF AX!!! Trip report to follow...

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Dude... Where's my manga?

I'm not even sure where to start when talking about Kosuke Masuda's Gag Manga Biyori. All sorts of weird characters, historical figures and everything in-between experience crazy shenanigans after being pulled through a Gordian knot of the bizarre logic common to gag manga.

I'm only familiar with this manga from having seen the tiny 5-minute long episodes of the anime (directed by Akitaro Daichi of Sexy Commando fame...) but holy crap do they cram a lot of insanity into those five minutes. It's a pretty hilarious series and I would totally buy it if it was available in English.

fake edit: Couple of quick notes. GMB used to be in Shonen Jump but now it's in Jump Square. The latest season of the GMB anime has changed to full blown 1/2 hour episodes. This action figure of protagonist Shotoku Taishi looks hella rad.