Watch as we unbox April’s Loot Crate. The theme was Quest and there were a bunch of super cool things inside like a David Bowie/Labyrinth shirt, a Viking horn cup you can wear, Harry Potter socks…and more. The best thing? Probably the box. Check it out and if you love it, go to lootcrate.com to get your own. (But hurry, the deadline to get May’s box is May 19th at 9pm PT!)
Comics, gaming, genre television and movies. Wil Wheaton is covering out all in his new SyFy series, THE WIL WHEATON PROJECT. Wil talks about how it all for started and how he plans on keeping it fresh every week. Plus Marvel loses a show runner but we get our DAREDEVIL.
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I don’t know if you already knew about this Steampunk charity bundle in support of Direct Relief, which has already made over 16 thousand dollars. Contributors get to save the world by buying steampunk.
The bundle includes thousands of pages of great reading, hours of gaming fun, and tons of fantastic music. You can get it all for just the donation of a dollar (though larger donations are encouraged and appreciated). The money raised by sales of the bundle helps fund to Direct Relief (directrelief.org) which is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that provides medical assistance to people around the world who have been affected by poverty, natural disasters, and civil unrest. This bundle includes award-winning games such as Syberia, music from such artists as the acclaimed Sxip Shirey, and exclusive content such as the Cities of Ether anthology by G. D. Falksen. The great thing about this is that for as little as a dollar you get thousands of hours of entertainment and art, and you also help people all over the world by supporting Direct Relief. The more people know about the bundle, the more they chance they have to pick up some great Steampunk themed games, books, comics, and music, and the more funding the charity gets that can then go and help people all around the world. It’s a great win-win situation for everyone.
A few days ago I decided enough was enough. My rig was light on hardware, but I had a few good programs and some decent resources at my disposal, so it seemed time to take on Jinteki Corporation, whose work in the biotech sector I can only assume is more sinister than the public realizes. I made a run at a few of their servers in the hopes of scoring some of their secret agendas, but it wasn’t long before they’d lured me into a trap that put an end to my attempt at hacking them. Then again, I’m sure I’ll make another run at them in the near future since all of this happened in Android: Netrunner, a card game I’ve recently become enamored with.
Prior to six months ago, I hadn’t played a tabletop game in years. This is probably not very unusual for an adult; but even as a kid, I didn’t play them often. My infrequent interaction with board and card games probably had something to do with the fact that I’m an only child who wasn’t particularly socially skilled, meaning a group of playmates with which to play games wasn’t a given for me. But it was probably also partially due to the fact that most of the board and card games I was exposed to never struck me as particularly unique or engaging. Sure, a game of Scrabble here or a hand of Uno there could be fun, but I never found myself jonsing for another round of either, or any of their ilk.
Then what happened six months ago, you may ask? A friend of mine introduced me to a slew of new titles over the course of a two-day gaming marathon. They ranged from card game Dominion, to storytelling game Fiasco, to the Game of Thrones board game, to name a few. Over more than 15 hours of gaming, I found that I liked almost every game we played. A couple more get-togethers after that turned into me introducing other people to some of the titles I’d enjoyed most, and I realized that as quickly as I’d started wanting to play a board or card game once a month, I’d moved on to wanting to play one once a week. When my gaming Sherpa introduced me to Android: Netrunner a few days ago, it only took a single playthrough for me to immediately want my own set of the game.
But how was tabletop gaming able to suck me in so fast? The larger selection, greater uniqueness, and higher quality of titles today are certainly big factors. And I’m sure it doesn’t hurt that a lot of my friends are into tabletop gaming now too. Of course the combination of more engaging games and a circle of friends to play them with will make the experience of gaming now much better than my childhood experiences. Ultimately, I don’t think my status as a tabletop game convert can be entirely credited to the games themselves, or the people I play them with (fun and lovely as both are). Like many other things in my life, my gaming geek outs can be traced back to a pretty simple fact about me as a person:
I am a fangirl.
When I get into a new TV show, I move incredibly quickly from pilot viewing to binge watching. When I like a book that kicks off a series, I don’t wait to finish the first installment before buying the rest of them. And when I started doing improv, I was going to at least three shows a week before I’d finished my level one class. But this behavior doesn’t come from a conscious decision on my part to get more into the things I like. And I’m also not a fangirl of things like Doctor Who and the Mountain Goats because something about them made me love them exponentially more than other shows and bands, respectively. I’m a fangirl because (for better or for worse) anything I love, I love intensely. My favorite movies and comics may bring out signs of this propensity, but the trait itself is ingrained in me independent of any specific work. Trekkie or Browncoat, Gaimanite or Potterhead, I think all fanboys and fangirls have this in common. We couldn’t keep ourselves from nerding out about the things we like if we tried. Then again, who would bother trying? Embracing my status as a fangirl makes it easy to unabashedly delve headlong into anything I think is cool and have a great time doing it.
Speaking of which, I’ve got some reading up to do on Android: Netrunner expansions, because new packs of cards are released monthly so you can keep customizing and honing your personal deck. How cool is that?!
TUESDAY AFTERNOON: Michael Davis
WEDNESDAY MORNING: Mike Gold
THURSDAY MORNING: Dennis O’Neil
Mainstream Comics (read: The Big Two) have begun to remind me of that much-mocked TV commercial with the old woman screaming “Help! I’ve fallen but I can’t get up!”
That business seems to me to be in freefall, and only gaming the numbers so as not to scare the horses maintains the status quo, with ongoing monthlies somehow being considered successes with four-digit sell-through estimates that, as few as 10 years ago, would’ve gotten a title canceled long before things got that desperate. And the “top-selling” titles, you’ll note, are all brand extensions – all variations on, or team-ups with, batmen, wolverines, and other tried-and-trues.
Which presents a thorny dilemma.
Neither of the “Big” Two’s corporate parents wants to be in the business of putting ink on dead trees, which – though ComiXology might claim otherwise – is still the major comics delivery-system. And publishing’s a low-margin biz, and low margins are as crucifixes to Count Disnela and Baron Von Warner. But they’ve been persuaded not to drive a stake through the comics divisions’ hearts by being sold on the dubious proposition that comics are low-cost R&D for blockbuster movie and TV development.
Yet not one of the tentpole franchises from the Big Two’s studio daddies has been based on anything created more recently than 50 years ago (the 40-year old Blade being neither tentpole nor generated by Marvel Entertainment). If you’re going to be a stickler and say, for example, that X-Men’s success owes more to the ‘80s reboot than the Lee-Kirby original, okay – 30 years ago. So far the closest Hollywood has come to building a discrete film around a newer character is the alleged Deadpool movie. Since the New Mutants and X-Force titles that whelped the character are both X-Men spinoffs, however, Deadpool doesn’t really count as something that isn’t a brand extension. If Jeff Robinov’s successors don’t share his aversion to making a Lobo film, maybe then I’ll sit up and take notice.
To make matters worse, the comics themselves are not being used as a development lab, since most, if not all, of the new titles in recent years have themselves been brand extensions. (And, when films like Red and The Losers tank, the incentive to look to newer “original” Big Two titles as source material dies with them.)
If the Big Two can’t be profit centers from publishing alone, the only way Pub Ops can truthfully be a development lab is if the publishers increasingly take back control of the creative development of their comics, which they’ve completely outsourced. This, to control new product development focused less on selling comics and more on creating potential movies and TV shows. But they probably can’t do this – at least, not easily.
For one thing, The Big Two seem to be under pressure to roll back the kinds of deals that used to give Creatives limited profit participation in new characters. And in this Brave New World of self-publishing, it’s hard to find strong, seasoned talent willing to let their new ideas be Wholly Owned by the Big Two.
So how much longer can the Big Floppymeisters justify their existence? Especially when they’re completely reliant on the freelance talent … because they no longer have editors who can control the process credibly, even if their bosses were willing to redefine the role of the editor. Few, if any, of them have the chops to pick up a pencil, graphics tablet or keyboard and make the product themselves (and show the newbies how it’s done) – the way the Infantinos, Orlandos, Lees, Romitas, O’Neils, Weins, and Shooters did when they were running things.
More in the third and final installment of this rant, written from the San Diego Comic-Con, where I’ll be looking for signs of a forced-change in Talent Relations – if any – and reporting back from my maybe not-so-uniquely skewed perspective.
FRIDAY: Martha Thomases
SATURDAY: Marc Alan Fishman
It is with much happiness and a dash of haste that I write to you near the close of the festivities and frivolities of The North American Discworld Convention of 2013. Although alas, several days before this gathering of Discworldian folk, word arrived from the highly esteemed Sir Terry Pratchett that he would be unable to attend (due to a desire to put the next novel of the Discworld, Raising Steam, into all of our hands as quickly as he might possibly do, and who can be too unhappy about that?) I am having a marvelous time, and wished to share the entertainment with you via this letter.
On the Thursday evening of this week, my good friend Erica and I hosted a cozy gala in celebration of the Glorious Revolution (of Treacle Mine Road, of course. And yes, dear readers, I do realize that we are a bit delayed from the traditional celebrations on the 25th May, but we thought it would be appropriate due to hearing that there would be fireworks on the evening of 4th July, for some other celebration of the day). It was a smashing sensation, full of good company and sprigs of lilac, and yes, even a hard-boiled egg or two. We served scumble, a most appealing drink brewed from a recipe handed down through my family for many generations, and made of apples (well, mostly apples). It is very nutritious, and was extremely popular amongst the guests; many of whom did not even begin tripping over the furniture or falling down until their second servings.
On the Friday I was most fortunate to hear several learned scholars, including that incomparable novelist of stories for young adults, Esther M. Friesner, and the wise reviewer of books for The Washington Post, Mr. Michael Dirda, discuss their choices and recommendations for literature that fans of the good knight’s writings might also like to peruse. It was most educational. I believe that Mr. Christopher Moore and Mr. Jasper Fforde may have been mentioned. We were also privileged on Friday to hear from Sir Terry himself, in a message sent from across the ocean via the mechanism of moving pictures in combination with some sort of modern technological wonder. Later, via that same wonder, the manager of Sir Terry’s affairs, a Mr. Robert Wilkins, did read to us the beginning chapter of the current work in progress, Raising Steam. It was most diverting! However, I have been informed that if I share any details more than that with you, my good readers, I may soon suffer the proverbial ‘fate worse than death.’ Which I do believe involves mimes. I shudder to think, and will therefore keep my countenance on this matter.
On the Saturday I was privileged to be a panelist, along with the aforementioned Esther M. Friesner and other knowledgeable ladies, on a panel entitled ‘Dress to Express,’ in which we discussed methods of costuming ourselves with both effect and economy. Tips shared by the good ladies and myself included the advice to repurpose items located in various thrifty shops or originally masquerading as bedclothes, curtains, or other large rectangular bolts of fabric (I believe a woman named Maria once utilized this technique to great effect); to look to hardware stores and to shops available through the wonders of technology, such as eBay, Etsy, TrulyVictorian.com, Laughing Moon Mercantile, Corset Story, American Apparel and more for supplies, items of clothing, patterns, and custom-made items; and to examine text references, references from moving pictures and moving gaming, and other similar places for inspiration and information about costuming details. It was also suggested that one might call upon friends with knowledge and skills at variance with one’s own to give advice, aid, and occasionally custom-made items, perhaps in trade for an item made for the friend.
On the Sunday, yours truly was honored to be inducted into that well-established Ankh-Morporkian institution, the Thieves’ Guild, by the head of the Guild himself, Sir Josiah Boggis; and to receive the traditional bowler hat, as well as a new guild name. Those meeting me on the street in future while I am engaged in the Guild’s business may now call me “Snake Eyes Burke” if they wish, and I will happily respond. I was also delighted to hear a wise discussion of what it is like to work with Sir Terry on his writings, in a panel featuring his esteemed UK agent, Colin Smythe, and his US editors, Jennifer Brehl and Anne Hoppe. Most enlightening! Sunday also hosted a technologically assisted long-distance discussion with Sir Terry, in which he answered questions regarding his wonderful creations. The day ended with a most marvelous gala banquet and entertainment from all over the Disc, including a quite remarkable aerial and acrobatic display by the usually quite sedate Miss Tiffany Aching.
Monday, alas, was our last day of festivities, but it did allow me the time to attend a quite amusing discourse on the world of map-making for the Disc and Ankh-Morpork. An alternately rapt and rowdy audience was informed that not only will there soon be a new map of the Disc coming to us from that historic establishment, The Discworld Emporium, but also that at some time in the near future, we will be able to purchase deeds for real estate in the great city of Ankh-Morpork; complete with a bill of sale and detailed description of each property being sold. I have already informed the proprietors of my desire for a choice and historical piece of property in the most exclusive environs, and expect to soon be able to direct everyone to the new address of Ms. Snake Eyes Burke, Esq.
That concludes my news of Discworldian festivities to this point. I hope you have been at least slightly diverted by my report.
With all sincerity and fond wishes,
Ms. Emily S. Whitten, Esq.
a.k.a. Snake Eyes Burke
Postscript: As per our continuing correspondence, please Servo Lectio!
TUESDAY AFTERNOON: Michael Davis
WEDNESDAY MORNING: Mike Gold
This is very good news. Dragon*Con announced this on their Facebook page today:
The Board of Directors and Shareholders of Dragon Con / ACE, Inc., producer of Dragon*Con, Atlanta’s internationally known pop culture, fantasy and sci-fi convention, have agreed to merge the company into Dragon Con, Inc. (Dragon Con) in a cash-out merger.
Led by Pat Henry, David Cody and Robert Dennis, ownership of Dragon Con includes five of the six founding owners of Dragon Con / ACE (the old Dragon Con). The effective date of the merger is July 8, 2013.
Edward Kramer, who has not had any role in managing or organizing the convention since 2000, was offered cash for his shares in the old company. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
“This decision only affects the ownership of the old Dragon Con,” said Pat Henry, President and Chief Executive Officer of Dragon Con. “Our members and others who attend Dragon*Con 2013 will experience the same fantastic convention they have come to expect from us.”
Dragon Con will continue the agreements with each of the host and overflow hotels associated with the convention as well as all of the guests and performers scheduled to appear at this year’s event, either “as is” or with amendments recognizing Dragon Con as owner.
Dragon*Con is the largest pop culture convention featuring comics, film, television, costuming, art, music, and gaming. Held each Labor Day weekend in Atlanta, Dragon*Con attracted more than 52,000 attendees in 2012. For more information, please visit www.dragoncon.org.
Hopefully this will now put the major stigma of having Mr. Kramer continuing to be associated with Dragon*Con behind them.
|Bobby Nash and friend
About Charlotte Geeks:
The Charlotte Geeks are a blended family of individuals who enjoy a multitude of fandoms in the sci fi, fantasy, anime, online, and gaming realms. We strive to provide our members with a feeling of acceptance and inclusion along with a social outlet where we can all freely “geek out” without prejudice or ridicule. We are a social organization that boasts free membership and free thinking (and as available, free fun!). We do not operate for profit, nor do any of the members of the leadership team receive any compensation for their efforts.
You can read 5 Questions With Bobby Nash here.
Acknowledging excellence in this very specific skill, IAMTW’s Scribe Awards deal exclusively with licensed works that tie in with other media such as television, movies, gaming, or comic books. They include original works set in established universes, and adaptations of stories that have appeared in other formats and cross all genres. Tie-in works run the gamut from westerns to mysteries to procedurals, from science fiction to fantasy to horror, from action and adventure to superheroes. Gunsmoke, Murder She Wrote, CSI, Star Trek, Star Wars, Shadowrun, Resident Evil, James Bond, Iron Man, these represent just a few.
The Scribe Awards are being presented in July at ComicCon International.
- Darksiders: The Abomination Vault by Ari Marmell
- Pathfinder: City of the Fallen Sky by Tim Pratt
- Mike Hammer: Lady, Go Die! by Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins
- Star Trek: The Persistence of Memory by David Mack
- Star Trek: Rings of Time by Greg Cox
- Tannhäuser: Rising Sun, Falling Shadows by Robert Jeschonek
- Dungeons and Dragons Online: Skein of Shadows by Marsheila Rockwell
- Poptropica: Astroknights Island by Tracey West
- Clockwork Angels by Kevin Anderson
- Batman: The Dark Knight Legend by Stacia Deutsch
- Batman: The Dark Knight Rises by Greg Cox
- Dark Shadows: Dress Me in Dark Dreams by Marty Ross
- Dark Shadows: The Eternal Actress by Nev Fountain
- Doctor Who Companion Chronicles: Project Nirvana by Cavan Scott and Mark Wright
For Immediate Release
Pro Se Productions, a leading Publisher of Genre Fiction and New Pulp, announces that one of its most consistently popular properties is stepping beyond its covers and into the world of gaming.
YESTERYEAR by Tommy Hancock is a novel featuring a new universe of Heroes and Villains that explores the history of these characters, from their Pulp Roots in the Early 20th Century to the chaotic, power driven modern era of super powered beings. Centered around a manuscript that disappeared in the 1950s -along with its author -that has resurfaced, YESTERYEAR weaves a tale between two books; The original manuscript that peels back the gilded curtain from the Golden Age and the story of a modern publisher who has possession of the mythic tell all and has to sort out how best to use and it and stay alive.
Pro Se in conjunction with lost gamers productions announced that YESTERYEAR is being developed into a Role Play Game and will debut at Pulp Ark 2013.
YESTERYEAR has been and will continue to be tested in a variety of ways by the minds behind LGP, both internally and through application at conventions between now and April. The first official unveiling and playing of the game will be April 26-28, 2013 at Pulp Ark in Springdale, Arkansas.
Pro Se Productions is Your Home for New Pulp! Come join us as we Put The Monthly back into Pulp at www.prosepulp.com and www.pulpmachine.blogspot.com