Flash Review - Rock Mary Rock

A short review for you all today.  Rock Mary Rock is a four part mini-series comic by Nicky Soh.  Soh had the first issue available for sale at Denver Comic Con, and will be selling the comic on his Etsy shop.  The comic centers on Mary, a young girl who find a magnificent vintage guitar in the basement of an old theater.  The catch?  The guitar is haunted by the ghost of 70's era rock star who died before he hit his prime.

Issue 1 introduces the main characters well.  Soh is very good with acting and expressing his character's emotions.  The character designs are very easy to read and I look forward to seeing how Soh makes them perform in the future issues.  The main characters including Mary, her grandmother, and Rock (the Ghost), all seem well thought out and fun.  The colors by Jeremy Lawson add to Soh's line work to form a cohesive style and feel.

Overall, I'm looking forward to seeing the rest of this series and more of Soh's work in the future.

The Professional Gamer - October 19, 2015

Hello readers! I've had a fun and challenging week.  The boss was away this week, leaving me in charge of the design group.  And, things went pretty well.  I've got another week of responsibility, then I go back to my normal position.  But, it has been fun to be in charge, if only for a little bit.  Anyways, what have I been doing this week?  I'm glad you asked!

Playing: Opening session of my revived tabletop RPG (formerly D&D 4.0, now Pathfinder), went quite well.  My players all seem to be fairly excited about the story that I've teased out for them.  And, the rules are familiar enough to me that the adjustment in running the game was not hard at all.  Crystal and I are planning to trade weeks of running games, so look for more updates in two weeks time.

Reading: My attempt to read through Pretty Guardian: Sailor Moon has failed.  Well, its delayed at least.  I'm two chapters from the end, and Sailor Moon is about to face off against Sailor Galaxia.  Alas, the books were due back to the library and I had no more renewals left.  I will get the last volume back as soon as possible.  In the meantime, I read two short graphic novels: The Ring of Saturn and Casting Bones.  In both cases, I'm still collecting my thoughts, but will have full reviews for both in the next few weeks.

Watching: I feel like most of the serials that I've been regularly watching are leaving me in an awkward position this week.  I have one episode left to watch of My Love Story, but it hasn't posted to Hulu yet.  And Steven Universe is now on hiatus (reportedly until 2016).  I did catch Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor's (brief) appearence on The Late Show this week (the Welcome to Night Vale creators come in at the last 5 minutes).  It's cool to see some guys who are making something that is, at least to my mind, incredibly geeky, get some mainstream press for it.

That's all I've got for this week.  I'm off to put together some plans for D&D next week.  Have a great week, and game on!


TCAF Comics Roundup 1

This is first in a number a post that I'm going to put out on the comics that purchased at TCAF.  My plan is to post reviews of a few comics at a time over the next few weeks.  If I can manage that, then I should be able to start posting about my Denver Comic Con purchases by Labor Day.  

To be fair, this first round of reviews will be comics the I purchased in Toronto, but outside of TCAF.  Some were purchased at the Little Island, and others were purchased direct from artists that weren't exhibiting at TCAF this year, but still had a few books available to sell.  Without any further delay, let's talk about some comics.

Silly Kingdom: Alengrimrickshaw's 211th Birthday and A New Steed Indeed by Katie and Steven Shanahan

Two comic fantasy tales by the Shanahan's.  In Alengrimrickshaw's 211th Birthday, the Princess decides that the court wizard has been far too dour of late, and decides to hold a birthday party for him.  Alengrimrickshaw, the wizard, is offended when he hears that they plan to invite Markus, the Jester, to perform "magic" tricks at the party.  Alen decides to make it rain (fire) to spoil the party, and things get out of control.  In A New Steed Indeed, the Prince is jealous of Peatrid, Prince of Belfront, and his new unicorn steed.  Unhappy with his kingdom's traditional mount (a llama), the Prince sets out with Markus to capture a unicorn of his own.  It turns out, the unicorns are super jerks, and the Prince is in over his head.  

Both stories are fun, but if I were forced to pick, I would say that A New Steed Indeed is the stronger book.  The dialogue and situations create a humorous atmosphere, but I think Katie's ability to stretch the emotional expressions of the characters really bring this to another level.  If you get a chance to purchase these comics, I highly recommend it.

Overall: 4.5 / 5

Batgirl No. 35 by Cameron Stewart, Brenden Fletcher, Babs Tarr, and Maris Wicks

This is the first Batgirl issue that is part of the "New 52" series from DC Comics.  To be honest, I have never gotten really big into anything from DC or Marvel in the past.  The last time I tried was in the late '90's when the current Spider-Man story was the Clone Saga, and the weirdness of that story really turned me off on the whole thing.  However, when I saw the first images posted for the new Batgirl character design, I was intrigued.  I've yet to visit my local comics shop, but when I saw this on the rack in Toronto, I decided to take a chance on it.  I'm glad I did.  This issue was fun, and piqued my interest in the characters, such that I'm looking at picking up the rest of the back issues.  I enjoy that Barbara Gordon is written like an actual young person who happens to be a crime fighter.  And Tarr's art is a lot of fun.

Overall: 4 / 5

Giant Days No.1 by John Allison, Lissa Treiman, and Whitney Cogar

This comic is written by John Allison (yes, that John Allison), so it promises to be interesting.  To be honest, I'm at a bit of a loss to describe it. So far, the story is centered on three women who are just starting at university.  There are some hints of supernatural events in the past that occurs before the story, but nothing really strange has happened on screen so far.  The characters are fun and the art is lots of fun.  I love the description of one of the girls as "50% hair, 100% not ready for this mean old world".  This has been a great introduction to the story, and I'm gonna try to find the rest of it.

Overall: 4 / 5

Lumberjanes No. 5 by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, Brooke Allen, and Shannon Watters

I've saved my favorite for last.  Lumberjanes speaks to me in a lot of ways.  I grew up in the Boy Scouts, and in games of make believe in the woods.  Lumberjanes is basically that, except all the monsters are real.  All of the main characters are women (in fact, there are no male characters for the first few issues), and they are hugely variable.  Because there are so many women characters, none of them ends up being completely responsible for "representing" all women.  I picked up the first 4 issues when they were available on Humble Bundle, and I'm looking forward to the rest of the series.

Overall: 5 / 5


The Gameslave Podcast - Episode 211

This week, we discuss recent happenings with local artist, Laurissa Hughes.  She has a number of current comic projects on going, which you can find at her site (check out the links tab to find the comics).

The Professional Gamer - May 29, 2015

Hi Readers!  I'm going to change up the format this week due to Denver Comic Con dominating most of my geeky activities for the past two weeks.  Here we go!

Panels: Despite the kerfluffle caused by a certain panel at DCC, the panels that I attended were overall pretty good.  I found the panels about the Denver indie comics scene, Jurassic Park, and discrimination in pop culture, to be very well run and rewarding to attend.  A big thank you to the moderates and participants on those panels for doing such a great job.

Watching: I finished watching Silver Spoon this past week.  It was a lot of fun, but the later half of the second season is really sad.  I enjoyed that the bad things that happen in the series are not so much treated as things to be fixed, but rather as things for one to move past or adjust their lives around.  I also learned that Samurai Jack is now available on Hulu.  So that's what I'll be watching for the next few weeks.  I also realized that Mako voice Aku.

Reading: I'm trying to work through my large back log of comics purchased at TCAF and DCC.  Look for articles about those to be published in the next few weeks.

That's all for this week.  Join me again next Saturday as I discuss another week in the amazing adventures of the Professional Gamer!

TCAF - Mini-comics

As I delve into my recent purchases at the Toronto Comic Arts Festival, I'm going to put up some short reviews for most of the finds (a few of the longer reads will get more attention).  This is the first such batch of mini-reviews.  In this installment, I'll be reviewing a stack of mini-comics and other self-published material.  Sit tight, we're gonna hit a lot of stuff really quick here.

Dogs I Could Live Without by Hannah Fisher

A collection of 16 illustrations of disfunctional or otherwise undesireable dogs. Very cute and funny. 

A Bestiary of Ordinary Americans by Caitlin Cass

A collection various people living in the post-modern, suburban wasteland. I'm not as fond of Cass's sketchy art style, but the humor is still good. Especially Amy.

Ink for Beginners: A Comic Guide to Getting Tattooed by Kate Leth

A short comic discussing a lot of the common questions for those interested in getting a tattoo.  I will probably never have a tattoo, but I love Leth's art, especially her big-eyed characters and colorful tattoo examples.

Stronghold by B9 Kingdom

A collection of fantasy art (all of the stronghold theme), by a number of artists.  The book itself is a limited edition set that was produced for TCAF.  The illustrations are a lot of fun, with a huge variety of interpretation of the theme.

31 Drawings that Have Something to do with Being in Love and Not Being In Love by Eleanor Davis

A collection of illustrations more than a comic (at least in the sense that Scott McCloud would define it), this book features Davis's flowing forms and wordless sense of humor.

Magical Girl March by Becca Hillburn

Exactly what it sounds like.  A collection of character concepts (31 in total) for Magical Girl March.  Fun ideas and drawings.

Cap'n Cat: Former Shark Hunter by Anne and Jerzy Drozd

A nautical tale.  Captain Cat, a shark hunter turned fisherman, runs into some trouble during a fishing expedition.  A cute comic with a great sense of humor.

That wraps up my zine and self-published coverage.  Stay tuned for more from TCAF in the upcoming weeks, followed by coverage of Denver Comic Con.  Game on!

Toronto Comic Arts Festival - Wrap-up

Crystal and I had a great time at the Toronto Comic Arts Festival, meeting people, talking about art, and buying comics (possibly too much of that last one).  The atmosphere at the festival is great, and comics are really the main player.  Most of the tables are occupied by artists who self-publish or work with a small publisher, and the types of books are myriad.  Here is a list (in no particular order) of all the comics that Crystal and I picked up this weekend.  As I finish reading them, I'll post up reviews in batches.

The Gameslave Podcast - TCAF Special

Hi everyone!  Here is a quick dispatch from Toronto with special guest Angi Mauri.

  • TCAF (Toronto Comic Arts Festival)
  • FREE! (not a convention)
  • How show is selected:
    • Prominence
    • A book to release
  • Toronto as Geek Town, StreetPasses for All
  • Examples: Bryan Lee O'Malley, Kate Beaton
  • The Beguilling: Chris Betcher
  • Favorites (comics, creators, moments)

The Professional Gamer - May 8, 2015

Hi everyone! As I write this post, I'm sitting in a condo in downtown Toronto.  The Toronto Comic Arts festival is due to start tomorrow, and I'm getting really excited about it.  Travel and vacation usually means more time to enjoy life, and that's been true for me as well.  Read on to see what I've been doing.

Watching: This week, Steven Universe (along with a number of other prominent Cartoon Network serials) were release on Hulu in the US.  I have, therefore, spent much of the past week watching through the earlier episodes.  So far, I've watched 19 episodes, of the 35 currently available, and its been a lot of fun.  Steven, the titular character, is a half-gem / half-human.  Gems are a race of sentient crystals that take on human form.  Steven is looked after by a group of three gems named Garnet, Amethyst, and Pearl.  The overall arch of the show so far is the story of Steven learning to use his gem powers.  Along the way, he spends a lot of time making friends and simply growing up as a human boy.  In short, the show simply makes me feel good.  I really enjoy the use of music as well as some of the characters goofy expressions.  In short, Steven Universe just feels good to watch.

Reading: During my flight to Toronto I picked up Frankenstein again.  I had somewhat forgotten where I was in the story.  Turns out, I was in the section where the Creature monologues for 3 chapters.  The most striking thing to me is how different the portrayal of the Creature is in the book versus almost all of popular culture.  In the book, he is grotesque, but highly intelligent and very much able to discuss his feelings with the Doctor.  Whereas most popular portrayals of the Creature take after the now classic version by Boris Karloff.

In preparation for TCAF, I visited Little Island Comics and The Beguilling, two of Toronto's notable comic stores.  I purchased Giant Days No. 1, Lumberjanes Issue 5, and Batgirl No. 35.  Then we got lost in Honest Ed's, so I haven't had a chance to read my new finds yet, but I plan to do so soon.

Playing: Since my 3DS wouldn't leave me alone about it, I download the Pokémon Rumble game. It seems to be alright so far, although I am not planning to spend any actual money on the game.  

Tonight, I'll be tagging along with my artist friends to the Sparkler Monthly party.  And then tomorrow, I'll be off to TCAF proper.  Depending on WiFi availability, I'll try to get some tweets and pictures up.  Until next time, Game On!