November 25th, 2011
First of all, a confession: I’m not very good at computer games, in the same way that I’m not very good at telly, or at keeping up with my friend Jessica (whose collected editions of Uzumaki I eventually had to get The Boy Fae the Heed to return, due to my shameless ineptitude).
I don’t know why, but in my flailing attempts at adulthood, some things have ended up getting pushed to the side and properly playing computer games has been one of those things. For perspective: I don’t think I’ve properly lost myself to a full-length computer game since the original Half-Life, or maybe Deus Ex. I still play the damned things, of course, but it’s more of a social occasion or a light distraction – a little bit of Death Tank on the weekends with my pals, a wee bit of Arkham Asylum when I need to feel like Batman and eating Mulligatawny soup just won’t cut it.
So sure, I can admire the way Jason Rohrer tries to make the simplest game mechanics into little tests of your capacity for guilt and sentimentality, just as I can giggle when people take pot-shots at his work, but put something like Bioshock down in front of me and I’ll have to admit that I just don’t have the time for it.
I am a grown man, after all, and like all grown men, I’ve got comics to read!
So why is it that when I started to think about horror, about what I could possibly contribute to Notes From the Borderland, that I couldn’t escape from a pair of zombie computer games that I play for laughs with my friends?
Ah, well, maybe it’s the friends that are problem here.
What’s worse, after all – to stumble out into the borderlands on your own, or to do so with your friends, knowing that you’re going to betray them, or be betrayed by them, or that you’re at least going to let each other down when the real nastiness shit starts?
Click here 4 a little taste of that Borderland madness!
October 25th, 2011
Botswana Beast: [post-factum editorial note: these were written intermittently on a GoogleDoc, in sections post- the release of Marvel's 2011 event Fear Itself, I think after issues 4, 6 and 7 were released unto the buying public.]
Right, son, I’mo get my fit-to-print pants on:
Where to start, oh, man; I guess you bought Fear Itself, I was surprised you did because you are a grown-up who buys [LOL interjection] grown-up comics, and you bought it because of how I described it to you at Kapow!? (How much punctuations should I put there? Feels like I should put more) Which was – I dunno – it was in April, so I guess just after the first issue? And I described it as “Final Crisis set in the Marvel Universe” which is… it’s not inaccurate, but, basically the lesson is never, ever listen to me.
Because it’s been – and I know some folk don’t think it inarguable that Final Crisis was a good comic, let alone a great one (I think “you are probably wrong” to these people, not necessarily on a permanent basis, just on that matter) – but it’s been a disaster, really, and at this point I kind of wish I’d sold you, or more importantly, myself, on “Age of Apocalypse set in the DC Universe” aka Flashpoint which has been… I don’t know, not good exactly? Momentous? They both have nice art, that is all I’m going to say on art. That is the Art Statement. Mainstream comics are not about art, they’re about commerce. The artists on Fear Itself and Flashpoint really did a good job – but it was the Marvel eds and Johns that built these.
It’s been so bad – whilst also offering glimmers of something that could have been really good, Marvel is my district, really, it always has been in comics, but it’s been so bad that I can feel my Zombie embers burn out as it progresses; I’ve fiended Marvel for a decade, which, whatever, bloggers don’t tend to do (“I’m not you, blogger. I’m not you.”) possibly because they are largely at some level involved in an industry which the company can and has run jackbooted over as it please. And I’m not: you’ll get purely sideline sniping here. So, yeah, I looked at September’s offerings from them and, assuming Mark Waid performs the first-time feat of maintaining my interest in a comic he’s writing past three issues, the art on these is really nice, I’ll get Daredevil, I’ll probably fork out £3.25 for DPMAX2, I’ll definitely get the Elektra:Assassin trade at some indeterminate point and that’s it. (It is necessary to discuss Marvel comics in transactional terms, always). Now, there may be other aspects at play here, I may have taken Alan Moore and his former friend Steve Bissette’s rejoinders to heart, it may be that I am envious of Matt Fraction*, it may be that, given I have a second imminent baby, probably [EDIT: yes] arrived by the time this sees printernet, I’ve decided to rationalise cutting back in all these ways, who knows what my Crowleyan Will hath wrought? But anyway, Fear Itself is coincident with my final days as a Marvel “fan”, it transpires. It’s complicated, I guess; but anyway, anyone who sez: Kirboycotters are all people who weren’t reading Marvel anyway – no, I am yr counterexample. But, you know, do what you like.