Friday, June 26, 2009

Yen, TP, Yaoi Gen on latest Diamond cancellation list

Sharp-eyed Tweeter (Twittee? Twitterite? Twittista? ) Sean Gaffney spots several Yen Press books on the latest Diamond Previews cancellation list, and MangaBlog follows up with YP’s Kurt Hassler, who reconfirms the release schedule for said books. In other words, the books are still coming out, but Diamond has passed on them, and DM retailers must rely on another source. Anime News Network lists all the Yen Press books affected, plus cancelled items from other manga/anime companies, which includes Tokyopop, Go Comi (via PGW), and, unfortunately, Yaoi Generation; as a younger publisher with fewer established distribution avenues, YG may be hurt most by this latest round of cancellations, although it is possible they do a significant amount of business through direct online sales like many other yaoi pubs.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Some news for you: Robinson, Bagley step aboard JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA

I hope that Robinson gets more editorial support on this book than McDuffie got.

So, let’s get right to it: Writer James Robinson and artist Mark Bagley will be the new ongoing creative team on JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA, starting in October. I’ll give you a minute or two to wipe the drool off your keyboards.

All done? Great. The fun doesn’t stop there. We managed to snag Robinson for a quick second to talk about the upcoming assignment, and how it ties into his current JUSTICE LEAGUE: CRY FOR JUSTICE mini-series, with artist Mauro Cascioli. Take it away, James:

'It's a thrill to be given the reins of DC’s flagship team book and to know that my partner in crime(fighting) will be the esteemed Mark Bagley who's dynamic storytelling skills I intend to make full use of. It's further exciting/gratifying for me that I can dove-tail the events of Cry For Justice into the main book where post-Blackest Night will emerge a new team and a new exciting direction as they get caught up in the next wave of events building throughout the DCU.'

A link to the cover image is here.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Group, The Player and The Lonely Universe

This entry is a bit of an essay, some musing that are percolating in my backbrain as I work on other things (like racing to finally finish the Deadworld system manuscript), but it isn't something that I wanted to forget about. So, we have this.

If you find things interesting, please comment.

This is sort of about comic books, a little about pulps, and something about role-playing games as well. Once upon a time, comic book characters were islands in the streams of the larger universes of their companies. Over in their book, The Challengers of the Unknown were the greatest heroes on Earth (despite sharing an Earth with Superman) because they were the stars of their own books. Most comic books, not the mention the pulps that proceeded them, followed this model because the idea was that the main character(s) should be the hero of their own story and not have to have the day saved by a guest star swooping in during the final act.

Don't get me wrong, this isn't a bad way to tell a story. I whole-heartedly condone it. Then Marvel Comics came along and they pushed forth the idea that each and every one of these characters shared the same city, or the same larger world or universe, and what happened in one story touched what happened in the others. This isn't a bad way to tell a story either, and it works great if you want to sell all of your company's books to as many as possible, rather than just selling a corner or two. Two perfectly valid and yet opposing methods for telling your stories.

If your hero, no matter how cool or potent he may be, has to share a world with Superman or Thor there is a good chance that they'll end up becoming a second banana in their own book. This means a balancing act in your storytelling, figuring out a method to make your hero the best without it looking silly in the face of the competition in the larger setting. Some pull it off, some don't.

This also becomes a challenge in a role-playing campaign where your characters are set against a backdrop of a larger existing world. Licensed RPGs come to mind, like the old Marvel Super-Heroes RPG from the golden years of TSR, but big, giant settings with big, giant characters also can be troublesome here. Settings for D&D, Dragonlance and The Forgotten Realms, also fit into here. How does your character stand out when they have such big characters to have to compete against for screen time? The opposite extreme is to make the characters the only heroes of the setting. I did that in a super-hero campaign using the old Marvel game back in college. "'Where are the Avengers?' 'Out of town.' 'What about the Fantastic Four?' 'Negative Zone, probably.' 'Who's left?' 'You guys have to deal with this.'"

The problem is, while it puts a bandage onto the situation, it doesn't actually solve anything and in some places it can strain the credibility and suspension of disbelief for some of the players involved (not to mention the game master). In our case it wasn't always a problem because we ran a humorous game that, at times, thrived on inconsistencies. Could we have come up with a better way to handle it? Maybe. Maybe we could have.

The reason that I'm bringing this up is because my Danger! Patrol setting is popping up in the back of my head again. It'll probably be my next task. The thing is that I want a rich, full world that has got a lot of heroic people to it but they can't overshadow the Danger! Patrol, a group of people who put on jump suits and take on big menaces using just their fists and what they have in their heads to fight them. This can lead to problems if you postulate a Superman or a Thor in the setting.

Right now, I have been thinking along the lines of keeping the setting at a "pulp level" of power. Yeah, there's a history of people pulling on costumes and doing the "right thing" for the greater world, but no super-powered individuals have risen up. Or, if they have, those powers aren't Earth-shattering. The people might be faster, stronger, tougher but they aren't hugely powered. Most heroes in this world are content with keeping the status quo on a larger scale and working at keeping their own corners of the world clean, one fight at a time.

Again, a valid approach. You get the macro and the micro in some semblance of balance and more importantly you don't have to worry about the players in a home campaign being overwhelmed by the off-screen stars of the world. If you keep everyone at roughly the same "level," you don't have to worry immediately about the cool stuff being done by characters besides those being used by the players. And that is what is the most important, the player characters not doing the important things.

This is one of the things that you have to take into consideration when designing a game or a setting for role-playing. One of many, obviously.

Oh, and a part of my thinking for what might or might not go into Danger! Patrol has been the fact that I've been reading Ed Brubaker's great Incognito comic.

Monday, June 15, 2009

John H Williams III: Batwoman Art

batwoman1cover, originally uploaded by JH Williams III.

This is from the flickr stream of artist John H Williams, showing some of his work on the Batwoman run of Detective Comics.

He Might Need That Back Now...

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Sunday, June 14, 2009

Preview: Phonogram 2: The Singles Club #3

This links to some preview pages for the upcoming issue of Phonogram 2. I love these guys and this story.
As the Ice Queen of the Phonogram universe, Emily Aster is only afraid of two things: her past catching up and spending time in dodgy indie venues. In the latest of the seven-stories-in-one-night of the Singles Club, she's having to deal with both. Plus, two complete back-up stories featuring the art of LEIGH GALLAGHER (2000AD, The Witching) and LEE O’CONNOR.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Zombie 'Deadworld' on the horizon

Dark Hero Studios partners David Hayter and Benedict Carver have joined with Pandemonium's Bill Mechanic to turn the comicbook 'Deadworld' into a zombie feature franchise.

Hayter ('Watchmen') will write the screenplay, and he and Mechanic will produce with Framelight's Robert L. Robinson Jr. and Jeffrey D. Erb. Carver and Pandemonium's Suzanne Warren will be exec producers along with Gary Reed, who wrote and co-created the comic.

Pandemonium and Framelight will finance development.

'Deadworld' veers from the popular zombie mythology of depicting an apocalypse in which humans are overrun by flesh-eating corpses. 'Deadworld' picks up four months after that event, where the Dead overtake the Earth, with humans few and far between. Protag is King Zombie, a Harley-riding corpse who holds a grudge against the survivors who made him an outcast.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Downward Spiral of Wizard Magazine

At the above link reports on the latest goings on with the downward spiral of Wizard Magazine. It seems that the magazine once read by everyone is now being read by fewer and fewer. I know with sites like Newsarama and Comic Book Resources in the mix I can get my comic news and information fix in quicker bites than Wizard could deliver.

I don't think that I've picked up a new issue of Wizard in over a year, personally, preferring to focus on getting my news off of the internet.

Its a shame to see the passing of an era but that's the thing about eras...they all end sooner or later.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Tonight At The Gnarled Oak

It's like high school and college again for me as I dive deeply into my music library for an old school goth set. Loads of "fun" for everyone involved. I'm the lead off for a mini-festival of depressing music at the Gnarled Oak with three other DJs and myself bringing a variety of sad and depressing songs of heartbreak...with a little extra nihilism on my part.

My setlist:

1. Bauhaus - Bela Lugosi's Dead (9:36)
2. Joy Division - Dead Souls (Peel Session) (4:57)
3. Miranda Sex Garden - Are You the One (4:28)
4. Mephisto Waltz - In The Room That Love Exists (4:40)
5. Tones On Tail - Burning Skies (6:27)
6. Einsturzende Neubauten - The Garden (5:12)
7. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Red Right Hand (Remix) (6:01)
8. Girls Under Glass - In The Darkness (5:23)
9. Suspiria - Allegedy, Dancefloor Tragedy (4:37)
10. Alien Sex Fiend - Now I'm Feeling Zombified [Extended Version] (6:52)
11. Andi Sex Gang and Marc Almond - The Hungry Years (6:50)
12. Die Form - Cantique 1 (6:37)
13. The Shroud - Alice (3:18)
14. X-Mal Deutschland - Incubus Succubus II (4:29)
15. Screams For Tina - 11:11 (3:37)
16. Brilliant - Scream Like An Angel (4:38)
17. The Sisters Of Mercy - Lucretia My Reflection (4:56)

From 5pm until 11pm SLT at the Gnarled Oak on Prime in Second Life.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Fantasy writer David Eddings dies

Bestselling fantasy author David Eddings, who wrote The Belgariad and The Malloreon series, has died aged 77.

Jane Johnson, publishing director at Eddings' UK publisher HarperCollins, paid tribute to the author. HarperCollins was his publisher from 1990 until 2006, when his last title, The Elder Gods, was released.

She said: 'The Voyager team and I were immensely sad to hear the news. The arrival of a new Eddings novel used to be a grand event for the whole division. In the 90s, each one was guaranteed a Number One position on the Sunday Times hardback bestseller list, selling 100,000 copies apiece.

The Beatles: Rock Band

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Tuesday, June 02, 2009

This Week's SL Setlists

I'm previewing the setlists for this week's DJ sets in Second Life. You can search for either "The Gnarled Oak" or "Fiction and Lattes" to find the locations, or if worse comes to worse IM Walton Vieria and I'll send you a limo. Both of these sets are for Wednesday, June 3, 2009. While the Oak setlist is pretty much locked in, I might still play around with the Orion set.

The first set will be at the Gnarled Oak and is a cat-themed set. Music about cats and kitties...and something else that some consider to be cat-like. This set is from 5-7 SLT. The music is all over the place for this set, just the way that I like it.
1. Tom Jones - What's New Pussycat (2:19)
2. Fletcher Henderson & His Orchestra - Kitty On Toast (2:45)
3. Theme From The Thundercats Television Program (1:15)
4. Cat Power - Werewolf (4:08)
5. Golden Boy and Miss Kittin - Rippin Kittin (4:48)
6. REM - Fuck Me Kitten (w. William S. Burroughs) (3:30)
7. Grinderman - No Pussy Blues (Midfield General Remix) (7:59)
8. Minus 8 feat. Sharon Harris - Pussycat (3:45)
9. Harry Chapin - Cat's In The Cradle (3:50)
10. The Cure - The Love Cats (3:38)
11. Shonen Knife - Catnip Dream (4:32)
12. Lene Lovich - Cat's Away (3:43)
13. The Aquabats - Cat With 2 Heads (3:00)
14. Catspaw - Bad Cat Sitter (2:43)
15. Stray Cats - Stray Cat Strut (3:15)
16. Devastations - All Cats Are Grey (6:39)
17. David Bowie - Cat People (Putting Out Fire) (4:13)
18. Derrick Morgan - Copy Cat (2:33)
19. Lush - Cat's Chorus (3:24)
20. Ladytron - Black Cat (5:08)
21. Devo - Pink Pussycat (3:12)
22. Mud - The Cat Crept In (4:02)
23. Sugarcubes - Cat (Icelandic) (3:00)
24. Oakenfold Feat. Brittany Murphy - Faster Kill Pussycat (3:14)
25. Squeeze - Cool For Cats (3:11)
26. Katrine Ottosen - The Love Cats (4:42)
27. Tipsy - Kitty's Daydream (Longhair mix) (2:26)
28. Go Home Productions - I Dream Of Pussy (2:58)
29. Lords of Acid - Pussy (4:05)
30. Spank Rock - Put That Pussy On Me (Josh Console NOT RNB remix) (4:00)
31. Miss Kittin - Kittin Is High (3:51)
32. Husky Rescue - Sweet Little Kitten (4:38

It gets a little "mature" near the end. The second set (from about 7-9pm SLT) is at the Orion Club. No theme to it, just really great tunes.
1. eve massacre - Drop The Queen (Queen + AC Slater / Drop The Lime) (4:42)
2. The Reborn Identity - Wonderful Liar (3:46)
3. The Reborn Identity - In for the Kooks (3:29)
4. MadMixMustang - Viva Les Boys (5:22)
5. Darkspring XL - Travis Meets Joe and Bill (Robert DiNero vs. Unknown) (1:43)
6. (Josh Console) - Command Your Rabbits (4:52)
7. The Kooks - Young Folks (3:59)
8. CSS - Cannonball (3:23)
9. Jonathan Coulton - Code Monkey (3:09)
10. The Crystal Method - Cherry Twist (Deadmau5 Remix) (6:04)
11. Daft Punk - Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger (Deadmau5 & Glenn Morrison Remix) (6:16)
12. David Bowie - Let's Dance (Chilly Bolly Radio Mix) (5:15)
13. Dean Gray - Boulevard of Broken Songs (Dance Mix 05) (6:18)
14. Death in Vegas - Hands Around My Throat (5:05)
15. Aggro1 - Steely Dan v. Caninesounds (6:30)
16. Instamatic - Neon Sex People (Neon Neon vs. Depeche Mode vs. Latour) (3:54)
17. The Jam - Town Called Malice (2:56)
18. Joan Jett & The Blackhearts - Bad Reputation (2:48)
19. Jimmi Jammes - Sgt. Pepper's Paradise (Extended Edition) (4:00)
20. Joe Jackson - The Harder They Come (3:53)
21. Zombies! Organize!! - Robotacus (3:39)
22. mc chris - Nrrrd Grrrl (2:27)
23. The Streets - Let's Push Things Forward (4:08)
24. Soundhog - The Without Me Song [censored version] (Eminem vs. Led Zeppelin) (5:51)
25. Soft Cell - Tainted Love/Where Did Our Love Go (8:56)
26. Sister Machine Gun - Caught Between the Bullet and You (8:28)

This set is the one that I get to play around with a bit, since I don't have anyone following me like I do at the Oak. I try to follow where the crowd is going and the music follows all of that. Because of that my Orion setlists tend to be a starting point rather than a destination. After a few weeks away from them, this set is a little heavier on the mashups than I've been doing for a bit. After the week of the RFL set happening at the same time as my Boot Camp at Republik, I got a little bit burnt out. But since this weekend I'm doing a Boot Camp set, I was looking for some new bastard pop and because I was in that mindspace a few tracks snuck into this set.

I hope that I'll see some of you in Second Life at these sets, and like I said at the beginning if you like what you see and want to show up just IM Walton Vieria. Always happy to have more peeps at my sets.

Cubicle 7 Joins Rebellion Group

For Immediate Release.

The British publisher of role-playing adventure games and card and board games, Cubicle 7 Entertainment has announced that it has joined the Rebellion Group of companies.

Founded in 2006 Cubicle 7 Entertainment was set up by Angus Abranson and Dominic McDowall-Thomas, two gaming entrepreneurs who wanted to create a games publisher fostering some truly iconic brands. Since then the company has published role playing games from a growing list of properties including Victoriana, SLA Industries, Starblazer Adventures (based on DC Thomson's 80's Starblazer comic series) and 7th Circle's Chinese fantasy Qin.

Victoriana is a fabulous fusion of Victorian adventure and fantasy myth, SLA Industries is a gritty futuristic urban horror fuelled by classic British punk imagery, whilst Starblazer Adventure is set firmly in the heart of classic 80's space opera where gigantic fleets prowl the starlanes and devilish scientists operate enormous engines of destruction. The English translation of French publisher 7th Circle's Qin propels players in to the epic fantasies and tragic events of ancient Chinese legend.

Cubicle 7 will join other sister companies in the Rebellion Group; 2000AD, the British comic book publisher, Abaddon Books the publisher of sci-fi and fantasy novels, Mongoose Publishing (another British RPG publisher) and Rebellion itself, the massive UK based video games developer established in 1992 by brothers Jason and Chris Kingsley.

The company will be now based out of Rebellion Group offices in Swindon, UK and their support will allow Cubicle 7 to focus on a major licensed mainstream release later this year as well as a busy monthly release schedule.

"This is a great move for the company and one that will certainly benefit the fans of our games. It allows us the time and resources to fully support our existing lines as well as giving us the backing to bring new ideas -- and licenses -- to the marketplace." said Angus Abranson of Cubicle 7. "It places us firmly were we wanted to be in several years time, right now," added Dominic.

Jason Kingsley felt Cubicle 7 was a great addition to the Rebellion Group's circle of creative companies. "We have been aware of Cubicle 7's ambitions and enthusiasms for some time and approached them with a view to combining resources to make a good thing great. Rebellion is very excited to be welcoming C7 into its family. Wonderful things await!"

For further information, interviews or images please contact Chris Birch

Find out more about Cubicle 7 games at

About Rebellion

Rebellion is well known for the Alien's vs Predator franchise games which first came out on the Atari Jaguar in 1995. Recently Rebellion secured critical acclaim with Sniper Elite for Namco in 2005, Miami Vice: The Game for Vivendi Games, James Bond: From Russia With Love for EA and Rogue Trooper for Eidos in 2006 and was nominated for two British BAFTA awards for 'Best Character' and 'Best Screenplay' later that year.

In 2007 Rebellion teamed up with LucasArts to produce Star Wars Battlefront: Renegade Squadron and the chart topping Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix with EA for PSP as well as a brand new Aliens vs Predator game in the form of Requiem for Sierra. During 2008 Rebellion produced Call of Duty: World at War for Activision on PS2 gaining yet more chart success.