Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Never Say This If You're a Villain

This just about has to top off the list of stupidest things you can say in fiction, not that it's too bright in real life...

So much for that theory.

(From the He-Man pack-in mini-comic "The Hordes of Hordak," admittedly with a tiny bit of sequential alteration.)

-Signing off.

Monday, November 29, 2010

(Mini) Game Review: Electric Box 2

Electric Box 2 is the sequel to another game which I've never played.

It's a puzzle game with a simple premise: You're building Rube Goldberg-esque machines that are intended to carry an electrical charge over to a "goal" area. The trick is that you can't directly extend wires; instead, you need to create often convoluted methods of transmission.

I played for a while the other day, and had fun until level 30 or so, usually figuring it out reasonably easily. After about that point, I couldn't figure out a single puzzle without the walkthrough.

So it's a fun puzzle game, but its difficulty may spike suddenly for you. I can mildly recommend it.

As an additional note, my kid brother played this game some and watched me play it, as well, and he had a rather loud complaint: Why aren't there regular flashlights as well as charging flashlights? (Lightbulbs serve an equivalent purpose to charging flashlights. Just what that means makes sense if you've played the game.) I told him that there was nothing a non-charging flashlight could do that a lightbulb couldn't, but he didn't buy that.

-Signing off.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Golden Age Moment of the Day (57)

My heart wasn't in what I was going to do for today, so instead you get this:

Micro-Face is a really amusing character, because he's got a scary mask and defeats villains by throwing his voice. Even Superman and Batman never pull such tricks the way this guy did on a regular basis. At least once, he never actually showed himself, and the crooks took care of themselves. And I'm not exaggerating.

-Signing off.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Don't Feed The Cat Too Much On Thanksgiving

Eh, don't have much for today, but I do have an anecdote from a Thanksgiving a few years ago to relate.

At my house, we tend to get a full Thanksgiving dinner because it represents a couple days' worth of meals if we don't have company. (We used to get company all the time-we were kind of the go-to house in the family for the Thanksgiving gatherings at one time-but it's been a while.) This means lots and lots of scraps, and it meant even more back when Dad brought home free company turkeys, which averaged more than twenty five pounds in size. (When Mom buys the turkey, it tends to be a twelve-pounder, partly because the big ones are a lot more difficult to cook.) A few years ago, we also had a lot of cats living near our house who we fed. So Thanksgiving was a happy, happy time for them.

One of these cats, who has since moved on (we don't know just what happened to him, but he was a sweet-natured cat so we tend to hope someone else took him in), had a little trouble controlling himself. He literally ate until his sides stuck out-cats can do that, you know. Not just turkey-anything that presented itself, even Jell-O. Yes, Jell-O.

I know because I picked him up after he ate too much, and he threw some of it up on me.

Ironically, his uncle, who was there the same day (and is still hanging around) wouldn't even touch the turkey. In fact, he still won't.

Anybody who thinks animals don't have distinct personalities has obviously never known more than one animal.

-Signing off.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Talk Like a Phyrexian

I don't actually play Magic: The Gathering, but a lot of the things they do with it over at Wizards of the Coast are pretty cool.

Possibly the coolest bit? The fact that they constructed a Phyrexian language.

Phyrexians being zombie/Borg hybrid monster people/things.

I'll grant you, the visuals from the video are using cheap motion comic effects, but the fact that the Black Speech muttering actually means what the subtitles are conveying? That's awesome, especially since the Black Speech muttering just sounds like muttering. It's so awesome my sister thought it was cool, and she's not generally nearly as nerdy about Magic: The Gathering as I am. (In her words, "Are you going to say that [this video] actually has your sister interested in Magic?)

-Signing off.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

(Mini) Game Review: Thanks Tanks!

Thanks Tanks! is a game that has an oddly appropriate title, considering it's almost Tanksgiving Thanksgiving.

The gameplay mostly involves building tanks with factories you capture and giving your tanks standing orders ("charge like a maniac," "retreat if hurt," and "hold this position"), and involves these rather charming graphics, though my sister compares the tanks to birds.

The game isn't terribly difficult for the most part, but sadly, neither is it particularly exciting, though one level had a ridiculously massive tank with three turrets and a range boost that could barely move. Watching that thing beat a retreat was, quite frankly, hilarious.

Adorably, you make money in the form of coins, which you scoop up with the mouse. Aside from that, there's rather little to talk about here.

If you like tanks, this game is between the good games in this post and the bad one (Zorro Tank). If you don't like watching cartoony tanks, this game probably isn't really for you, although you might want to check out the level Dragon's Lair for its hilarious giant tank.

-Signing off.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Golden Age Moment of the Day (56)

My favorite Air Fighters feature from back in the day is the Iron Ace. Why?

He was constantly doing stuff like this.

Apparently, the artist had both a knack for and a desire to draw mid-air collisions. It seems to just be his thing.

And so in Air Fighters #11, the Nazis build an indestructible rocket plane shaped (and used) like a giant boomerang.

They even had to fire it out of a little moving shack which was designed to catch it. (Naturally, it was defeated by destroying the shack, although not before the plane killed some poor Dutch boy's father and his dog. And no, I'm not making this up.)

-Signing off.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Random Aside: The Dogs of C Kennel

So there's this comic in one of the relatively local newspapers called The Dogs of C Kennel. It's a comic, published by the same company that publishes B.C. and Wizard of Id (oddly, B.C. hasn't run in that paper for years) about a bunch of weird-looking dogs in a pound doing things that range from very doggish to very un-doggish (e.g., one of them owns an iPhone).

Today, a strip ran that made me wonder "Why the flipping heck are you drawing a comic about dogs? You aren't nearly as good at drawing dogs as you are at drawing people (such as that rather sexy woman)."

I mean, look at this strip from earlier this month. Look at those legs on that dog. That's totally messed up. I mean, compared to the way the rest of the dog is drawn, it looks so wrong that it takes me out of the comic for a moment whenever I see the legs.

It does look a bit like the way that characters in B.C. are drawn in terms of "anatomy," but the style of detailing of the C Kennel characters' faces is higher and (perhaps more importantly) the scaling is different. In B.C., characters are shown at a distance, and so details are fuzzier and weird anatomy is less offensive (at least to me). In C Kennel, the characters are shoved right up in your face most of the time.

Which isn't to say that C Kennel is awful comics or anything (I certainly don't hate it)-I just think the art is a bit weird.

Just a little series of thoughts I've been chewing on since I read the paper this morning.

-Signing off.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Invid's Guide to the Star Wars Universe: Alien Species #8

This week's selection looks like it's going to be rough.

71. Bagmim. The Bagmim are "tall" and "have a reputation as good fighters when aroused." (TMI! TMI!) Their primary appearances were in the Hand of Thrawn duology by Timothy Zahn, as one of a huge crowd of players during a crisis in which the Bothans (of "many Bothans have died to bring us blah blah fishcakes") were being threatened with annihilation because they apparently played a role in the massacre of a peaceful, good-natured race's home planet (said peaceful people later becoming the diplomats of space and making lots and lots of friends). The Bagmim were among those who sought vengeance on the Bothans.

Rating: 3/5, if only because of the amusement factor of the phrase I started this entry with. I'm sure that, had their appearance been more protracted, Zahn would have fleshed them out a bit more, as well.

72. Baldavian. "They were unusually good at reading lips."

Rating: 2/5 merely for their epically lame article (the above sentence is one of only two in the whole thing).

73. Balinak. The Balinak somewhat resemble anthropomorphized seals, minus fins and plus legs... or possibly really skinny polar bears. They have a dual-lung system (gills as well as "normal" lungs). They sculpt ice for their dwellings because their whole planet is glacial.

And they look ridiculous.

Rating: 2/5. There's potential for something like this, I'm sure. But I don't like this particular execution of it.

74. Balosar. Remember that guy in Attack of the Clones who offered Obi-Wan a death stick, and who was told (via Jedi mind trick) to go home and rethink his life? He was a Balosar.

Unfortunately, drug use has been made into a huge deal for the whole Balosar species.

Rating: 2/5. I'm horribly amused by the character who appeared in the movie (commonly known as "Elan Sleazebaggano"-no, really), but the fact that they've turned the whole race into a bunch of drug addicts takes a lot out of what they could have gotten.

75. Balti. They are actual anthropomorphic walruses, rather than imitation anthropomorphic walruses like "walrus faces."

Rating: 3/5. I don't like animal aliens in general, but walruses are cool.

76. Balmasian. Balmasians invented a holographic projection-based fortune cookie.

Rating: 4/5. Not quite so awesome as the fuzzy dice aliens, but they'll do.

77. Bandie. Bandies were oppressed by a neighboring species. Oh, no!

Rating: 1/5. Whatever, guys. Whatever.

78. Barabel. Barabels are huge reptilians who are described as "cold-blooded" and who are obsessed with the hunt. They aren't the only "cold-blooded" massive reptilians obsessed with hunting to inhabit the Star Wars galaxy, but they are more interesting and unique than the other case that I can think off the top of my head. Why?

Well, first off, Barabel are more commonly good-aligned beings than evil-aligned. (Not invariably, though-they were once caught chopping up sapient insectoids to feed to an insectivorous species after a trade agreement violation.) That in and of itself makes reptilian creatures more interesting.

Second, they're often jovial by nature.

The page quote from the Barabel page is a joke. Yes, a joke:

"What are invaders called on Barab I? Prey!"

I love that apparently, Barabel have terrible joke delivery.

Rating: 5/5. I like Barabels.

79. Baragwin. The Baragwin are huge, thick-skinned beings, with a body shape similar to a rancor's (huge, low-slung head and generally humanoid form, with very large arms) and a sense of smell that allows them to smell emotional shifts in others. They are generally quite intelligent but enjoy cultivating a false impression of their own stupidity in order to fool others into underestimating them. They treat all others equally.

Rating: 4/5. The Baragwin sound rather entertaining, all things considered.

80. Barri. It's a bit questionable to put the Barri here, as they are described as "semi-sapient." They apparently are enormous (seemingly incorrectly described as being 5 meters in size-if you look at the picture, it's clear they're just a bit bigger than that) and travel from planet to planet somehow by clinging to asteroids and derelict spacecraft, periodically chewing on said objects for nourishment.

Rating: 4/5. While it's pretty inexplicable how they get anywhere, I like the idea a fair bit, even if the illustration is odd-looking.

Hm, this bunch were less lame than I expected.

-Signing off.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Space Crazy Comics: For Amusement Only

"For Amusement Only" is a Ditko-drawn story from Outer Space #18. And it's a doozy.

We start with a guy that only Ditko could have drawn, a big-wig botanist, making an observation about plant growth.

His observation that it's been growing quickly suddenly takes an absurd turn...

Putting his expertise, not to mention the narration, further into question is the fact that news of this sudden change is swiftly brought into the office by somebody else.

And the plants do exhibit fantastic growth.

Things swiftly start to look rather like this story, but worse, since they don't have atomic spaceships and whatnot.

Not to mention that the option taken by the parties in that other story aren't even working here.

They can't even kill them with fire.

World leaders are forced to coordinate large-scale evacuation efforts, but traditionally vegetation-light areas are also succumbing.

Even mountain ranges offer no refuge; only one landmass and the oceans offer places to stay. (Never mind that the oceans have plant life too.)

Things are looking very bad. Then, suddenly...

Wait, what? What?

All of these problems have been caused... by a possibly teenaged girl/woman? (On the greatest planet in the universe!!)

Things go more or less back to normal, and...

I really don't know what else to say about this story, other than the fact that the reason behind all of it is really inventive, amusing, and absolutely terrifying, by the standards of its genre and time.

-Signing off.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

(Mini) Game Review: Battalion: Ghosts

Battalion: Ghosts is the sequel to Battalion: Nemesis (which I accidentally rendered as "Battalion Nemesis").

This game sees improved graphics, more diverse gameplay, and various other improvements, and its storyline builds on the previous one's. It also uses the same gameplay engine as a multiplayer version.

In a sentence? Everything's better.

Which isn't to say that you shouldn't play the first one; you should play that one and then this one.

There's a third game; maybe that'll be the one I finally have time to do a full writeup for.

-Signing off.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Golden Age Moment of the Day (55)

Sometimes when people post lone comic panels for humorous purposes, the humor comes from the loss of context from the original story.

And sometimes, knowing about the story (in this case, from the Samson story of Fantastic Comics #7) doesn't help one whit.

Yes, you read that right. This random bad guy, name of Sanglor (no, I don't know) destroys his island. His own island.


Apparently just to be a jerk.

Here's a tip, guy: Most people sell their old homes.

-Signing off.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Just Plain Crazy Comics: The Half Men

Don't have too much time for this one, but here we go.

"The Half Men" is a story from Mysteries of Unknown Worlds #8.

It features a "crippled," sickly guy (it isn't clear exactly what was wrong with him, but he apparently was racked by constant pain), a blind man who lost his wife, and a man who lost his family in some sort of accident embarking on a journey in a fantastic submersible mole machine in an effort to find oil on the sea floor.

The reason they take the machine down on the dangerous voyage despite being its joint inventors is because each feels that he has absolutely nothing to lose.

They don't find oil, but eventually find their way to the center of the Earth (naturally). There, they are greeted by a crowd of mysterious people who claim to be mutant sorcerers (quite literally "a mutant race that men called sorcerers"), who seem to heal the cripple and the blind man and bring back their various lost loved ones.

Here's the main point of the story that makes me remember it and makes it creepy: The last of the men to be convinced to join the sorcerers, before being convinced, looks at the crippled man and the blind man and tells them that they're crazy, because they're clearly still affected by their conditions. Then the head sorcerer puts a hand on him, and he suddenly can see the differences, and can also see his lost loved ones.

That suggests to me that it's some kind of elaborate deception, either to keep them from returning to the surface, or simply to make them happy. Either way, it's rather creepy.

-Signing off.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

(Mini) Game Review: Battalion Nemesis

Battalion Nemesis is a military themed turn-based strategy game. (Be warned, it only works on that site in fullscreen mode.)

Supposedly, it's based on some old game called Advance Wars, which I have no familiarity with at all.

I can tell you, though, that it's a generally amusing and entertaining game, if occasionally repetitive. I'd recommend it.

I'd say more, but I've got little time for it at the moment.

-Signing off.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

I've Been Nuked...

...by a sudden explosion of web content.

I'm not sure how my web browsing got so out of hand today, but it did. No time for a proper post, but here we are with an image from Atomic War #1, which I've mentioned in the past.

-Signing off.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Invid's Guide to the Star Wars Universe: Alien Species #7

We're finally getting into "B" this week!

61. Askhew. The Askhew are "ambiguously canon" furry sapient beings. They hunt brown banthas but worship blue banthas.

Rating: 2/5. Worshiping blue banthas sounds suspiciously drug-induced, but the blue banthas actually have their own article, which I'll get to later. What really bothers me is that there seems to be more information on blue banthas than on these guys.

62. Assembler. Assemblers are awesome. They're spider-things that create huge webbed networks of interconnected organisms, all subservient to a primary Assembler. These networks are contained within huge husks that float around in deep space, assimilating nearby space dust and possibly hapless space travelers. The only known Assemblers appeared in several books as informants and go-betweens for bounty hunters such as Boba Fett.

Rating: 5/5. Didn't you read my previous statement of Assembler awesomeness? Probably the best part of the Assemblers is that they aren't hive-minded bugs spiders but have a lot of the trappings of such. Also, one of the two known Assemblers was created as an accountant by another Assembler (seriously, read the article, it's fun) and retained his original name when he killed the other and went into business for himself. His original name denoted his function: Balancesheet.


63. Avogwi. The Avogwi are one of two sapient species which may be known as Altorians (I briefly mention Altorians here). Avogwi are giant birds of prey (between five and six feet tall, or thereabouts, though their wingspans are much too small for them to actually fly even though they do) who 1) violently object to the idea that they may be related to the other Altorians, the Nuiwit, because they see the Nuiwit as pathetic prey animals, and 2) regard all of the universe as either predators or prey, with the predators being the strong and the prey being the weak.

It must be some blow to their egos that their arrogance let the Nuiwit monopolize trade with offworlders and thus become by far the stronger of the two species.

Rating: 3/5. By themselves, they would merely be a particularly brutal breed of Sesame Street bird. (Seriously speaking, on Sesame Street birds are the only people who are racist. Yes, really. Other than Big Bird, of course.) With another species to be their foil, they become reasonably interesting.

64. Avoni. The Avoni were would-be purchasers of some kind of bioweapon. Their ambassador who served as their proxy was named Dol Heep (no relation to the Great Heep, mentioned here.) Dol Heep was also sent to "conquer" a world struck by plague and evacuated/emptied. Or something.

Rating: 1/5. They... don't have any information beyond the fact that they wanted stuff (albeit at the expense of others). Real useful.

65. Ayrou. The Ayrou are a humanoid/avian species who are considered beautiful in appearance... but have awful screeching, fear-and-discomfort-inducing voices. They also are hoarders and have quirky debating tendencies.

Rating: 3/5. A solidly thought out, if somewhat minimal, species. I have to admit that the unpleasant screaming aspect amuses me as well.

66. B'das. The B'das... are a sapient species that is a member of the New Republic.

Rating: N/A. Too little to rate. There are too many of these.

67. B'rknaa. The B'rknaa are/were sapient rock creatures. In and of itself, this would get them something like 2/5. But there's something else about the B'rknaa: Their homeworld, the moon Indobok, was actually a full-grown member of the species.

Unfortunately, Indobok was killed/destroyed during the Yuuzhan Vong invasion. Stupid jerky invaders.

Rating: 5/5. Aside from their wonderful concept, I love the art of them. Just go take a peek.

68. B'trillan. The B'trillan were from the Core Worlds, and are known for "their strength."


Lots of strength? Not much strength? Very middling strength?

Rating: 1/5. More information than the B'das, but it's not much better.

69. Babb. Babbs are small in stature and for some reason are often thought of as contrasting Wookiees. They were seen in a group by Anakin Skywalker once.

Rating: 1/5. Oooh, Anakin saw some once! How important!

70. Bafforr tree. Bafforr trees are talking (well, telepathic) hive-minded trees. They are very pacifistic, and only become sapient when they hit seven trees in a grove. The Empire tried to figure them out, but never experimented on more than one tree at a time, which kept them from learning anything. The great Bafforr forests were greatly revered by the Ithorians, the natives of the Bafforrs' homeworld, to the extent of being at least mildly worshipped. Their pollen causes a severe allergic reaction in certain Yuuzhan Vong bioweapons, which caused the invaders to try to wipe the species out in a vicious biowarfare attack. Ithor was destroyed, but the species was rescued.

Rating: 5/5. The Bafforrs are one of those things whose combination of history, interesting conceptual design, and intertwined story importance is not only worthy of a 5/5, it's virtually perfect. It's a little sad that they were yet another victim of the frequent abuses of the Yuuzhan Vong (who were interesting, but probably not quite interesting enough to warrant all that), and the degree of their pacifism is a little extreme (they didn't want an Ithorian to seek revenge on or justice for an Imperial officer who wiped out an entire forest's worth of them, no matter the cost-then again, that was a little seven-tree grove that later lost one...), but they're still a pretty darned awesome species.

Wow, rather a lot of good ones this time.

-Signing off.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Golden Age Moment of the Day (54)

I've mentioned the Flying Dutchman once or twice before in this feature. The particular story that this one is from (um... Air Fighters vol. 2 #9) features both a pretty entertaining story and a rather... unsettling racist display. (There's no other word for it. There just isn't.)

Anyway, a mysterious odd-looking plane has been pursuing and somehow downing Allied pilots in the Pacific theater. (Another thing about Air Fighters: Even though it made no sense, the characters would hop from the Pacific conflict to the European conflict and back again at the drop of a hat with no apparent causality, regardless of their allegiance and origin.) It usually scares the bejeebers out of its victims.


Well, I have to admit I'd probably freak out too if I saw this-

-coming straight at me.

So I've gone on a bit about how racist Flying Dutchman is, right? Wondering how that comes into play in this story?

It's simple: There was a prophecy that this flying machine thing (which flew out of a painting) would only be defeated by "a man without fear" of a "superior white enemy... who can defeat us [the Japanese]!!"

Yikes. And again, in case you need an extra one: YIKES.

-Signing off.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Then I Got Lost

My sister is going to a con this weekend with the same batch of friends that she went to Celebration V with.

So I was driving her to a friend's house so that she could meet up with said group of friends.

Everything was fine until I got lost on the way back. Take one stupid wrong turn...

Anyway, as you might guess from the fact that the posting time is much later than it usually is on here, I got home pretty late, with no blogging to show for it. Ah, well.

-Signing off.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Your Vote Does (Not Actually) Matter To Us

Y'know, I've never been on board with this "absentee voting" bull. As far as I'm concerned, if you can't be bothered to go to the voting facility, you probably don't care enough to be involved in the political process (or you may be involved, one way or another, in extensive vote fraud, which is something that absentee voting helps right along). The only reason you should be permitted to use absentee ballots is because it would literally be physically impossible for you to use the voting facilities in your district (e.g. you were overseas at the time).

Making this even worse are the postcards sent to me (and also my sister) telling me how easy and convenient it would be to get an absentee ballot. When I say postcards, I mean I got two. On the same day.

Which, it just so happens, was today.

Good thing I don't truck with absentee ballots, because if I had waited for my opportunity (at least through this group here), I might not have been ready until the next major election.

Makes me feel like they don't want me to vote. All things considered, they probably don't.

-Signing off.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Give Him His FACE

I'm not too likely to see much of the upcoming Transformers: Prime cartoon series, seeing as how I don't have cable.

I'm not the first person to make this comment, and surely won't be the last, but...

...please, please, Hasbro and cartoon designers, Optimus Prime is just better with a faceplate.

I'm not trying to be a geewunner, really (I'm one of the least likely people on the planet to do so), but the particular facial type that they're using for this version of Optimus just looks like a halfhearted, stupid compromise between a real mouth and a faceplate.

So I beg of you, GIVE HIM HIS FACE.

-Signing off.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Game Review: Mecha Dress Up Game

Mecha Dress Up Game is almost exactly what it sounds like. It's a "game" where you can put together various diverse and fun robot parts and then (naturally) blow them up. (There's a button that says "NUKE" which allows you to do just that.) It's also got some rocking music that you can turn on.

Enough of that. Let's talk about what you can do with it.

Quite frankly, if I was going to show off everything that I had made with this game, it'd take forever. I managed to keep from going crazy and only took twelve screenshots. But that would have taken me more work to upload than I felt like, so I just did five. (Five is a nice number for Blogger's image uploader.)

Anyway, some things you can do:

Design a very spiky and sharp guy. (This is actually only moderately spiky.) Note the little curse-sealing thing hanging on the horn? That's treated as a "hat" by the game.

And yes, he's totally got Gurren Lagann's torso there.

Here's another one. I'm not sure...

...but I think I might have maxed out my MissileCard on this one.

As you might suspect, there are quite a few gaggy things in this game, and I tried to fit as many of them as possible into this next image.

You can also give your robot many different kinds of axes.

You can also build a robot that I've talked about a few times...

Yes, I gave him a TV antenna, Gurren Lagann sunglasses (technically Simon's rather than the robot's), pirate hat, gun sword, and lightsaber. Even I have my weak moments.

Anyway, if you like robots, this is a fun little doohickey to play with.

-Signing off.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Golden Age Moment of the Day (53)

One last time from Air Fighters #6's Sky Wolf story...

As a quick recap, Parliament was stolen (yes, the whole thing) by Nazis in an invisible zeppelin. Yes.

Anyway, what happens to Parliament if a crazy Nazi blows up the zeppelin?

A truly improbable impossible occurrence-it lands completely unharmed. On its original foundation.

Just in case you were worried about the fate of a fictional version of Parliament in a completely inane Golden Age comic book story.

-Signing off.