A Few Words On Bernie Wrightson

Well, very few, actually. I was initially going to say some stuff here about meeting Bernie Wrightson at a Creation Convention here in NYC back in 1981 or ’82 where during a rare quiet moment I tiptoed up to his table and mumbled out some great appreciation for his work. He responded with thanks and when he saw me clutching a portfolio, asked if I was interested in drawing comics before humbly pointing me to Graham Ingles and Franklin Booth and a few other names as illustrators to look up when I had the time. But I don’t feel much like retelling the longer version of that story just now.

The internet is chock full of his amazing work, so here’s one link of many to sink into for a spell. Funny that I just ordered a bottle of India ink and was planning to break out the brushes and dip pens to do some de-stressing over a ton of stuff. I guess I’ll have Bernie on my mind at many points, but I won’t even try to emulate his style, as his Swamp Thing and other horror imagery had me hooked in since about 1970 or ’71 and was my primary reason for wanting to draw.

Back in a bit. I was working on something else – well, a few somethings else, but once again, the wind has left the sails.

 

-GW

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An Update In A Few Languages

(Thanks, David S.!)

Current mood: See above. Too much annoying real world stuff going on to focus on the good things happening, but more incomplete posts than you can shake a stick at are coming. I did something fun for a short spell yesterday afternoon – an unfinished bit of art that helped clear some brain space and shake a mojo berry loose (the tree is baring less fruit these days… must be microwave damage or something). Take a look:

Today, it’s snowed in mode (whee, blizzard!), but no stress on that front. I’ve a stack of movies to get to, plenty of food and nothing but time. Although, I’m hoping this storm passes fast and the streets are clear enough by Thursday, as I’ve got a game trade to finalize that’s already taken too long to complete. Ah well… we shall see what’s what. Oh, and Daylight Savings Time is crappy – we need to dump it here in the U.S. of A.
-GW

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Plantronics RIG 4VR: PlayStation VR Gets A Big Aural Plus

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One key element to a great Virtual Reality experience is immersive sound quality and out of the box, Sony’s PlayStation VR is somewhat lacking thanks to the budget-minded earbuds packed in with the unit. While far from terrible, it’s hard to feel fully dialed in with those teeny buds tickling your eardrums. Fortunately, the fine folks at Plantronics got on the case and have come up with a great solution with their great RIG 4VR headset (MSRP $69.99). Officially licensed, they match the PS VR perfectly, fit over the big headset with an adjustable headband, connect to your PS4 in one of a few ways and yes, sound absolutely great for the price point. Continue reading

The Other 99 Returns: Killing Time Gets A Few Good Tweaks

 

It’s baaaaack… Thanks to input from its Early Access player base and critics, UK developer Burning Arrow has been hard at work fixing up its survival game The Other 99 with a number of big changes to the formula and a brand new opening that reveals a bit more about how your character ended up on that deadly island:

Corrections and improvements include :

– New Starting Area.

– Massively reworked Balancing.

– Better interaction for survival with the world (e.g. now you can drink water from rivers, etc..).

– Rework of the Survival Guide (Hunger & Thirst related).

– Overhauled the island with new props populating the environment.

– Rework of the combat.

Hmmm. It looks as if I’ll be diving back into this at some point soon, as those improvements were needed and publisher Deck 13 has been great at keeping me posted on these updates. My poor backlog is killing me, but this one is getting pushed up a few notches because it’s got some decent replay value going for it.

-GW

Film Review: Donald Cried

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Some things will never change. Some things will always be the same. Lean down your ear upon the earth and listen. ― Thomas Wolfe, You Can’t Go Home Again

Well, sometimes reverent listening isn’t all it’s cracked up to be when you go home and find things not only unchanged, but unhinged. Kris Avedisian’s excellent Donald Cried is a great, gloriously uncomfortable can’t-miss classic, a bleak comedy (it’s not for the kids!) with a sentimental side that will get under your skin if you identify with any of the characters portrayed here. Even if you don’t, you’ll be laughing one moment and reflecting the next. A sort of love child of Chuck and Buck, The Odd Couple and Curb Your Enthusiasm, the film serves up a perfect trip to hell for its poor protagonist, Peter Latang (Jesse Wakeman) after he heads up to Rhode Island to take care of his late grandmother’s affairs. Continue reading

WRC 6 Slides Onto Console, PC

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Rally fans looking for another fun spin around assorted twisty tracks now have another entry in the genre as Bandai Namco, Bigben Interactive and developer Kylotonn present WRC 6 for your approval. PC (via Steam), Playstation 4 and Xbox One versions are out NOW, so I’m gathering you know what to do, right? Granted, Codemasters has the edge with its own rally games. But it’s always great to see other options available to fans who don’t mind playing as many rally games as possible. This one’s going to be more than welcome around here.

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-GW

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Bill Paxton: It’s Hard To Forget The Guy You Saw In Everything


 

So, we’ve lost Bill Paxton too. Foo. Rather than run clips or comments of and about the well-known sci-fi/fantasy flicks he was a part of, I’ll just leave two viewing suggestions you may not have seen or maybe have seen but not in a while. Up top is One False Move, director Carl Franklin’s great, kind of 90’s noir about a trio of criminals who commit a series of murders in Los Angeles and escape to the tiny town of Star City, Arkansas. Paxton played the bored and too eager for action sheriff Dale “Hurricane” Dixon who gets more than he bargains for after LAPD detectives roll into town. The film also features Billy Bob Thornton (who co-wrote the story with Tom Epperson) in a key role as one of the killers. I won’t spoil more other than to say it’s a brilliant thriller with a few curve balls up its sleeve.


 

The second film is in my opinion, Sam Raimi’s most perfect movie, 1998’s A Simple Plan. Author Scott Smith adapted his great 1993 novel into the screenplay and we get Paxton and Thornton working together again as Hank and Jacob Mitchell, two brothers who along with a friend of Jacob’s (Brent Briscoe), discover a crashed plane with a dead pilot and over 4 million dollars in cash inside. Yes, the take the money. Hank being the smartest of the bunch keeps it safe, but things go deep south as greed, anger and a bit of murder follow the man and their ill-gotten sack of loot. Both films would make a nice double feature, but feel free to add the excellent, disturbing Paxton-directed thriller Frailty to that short stack (or tall stack if it’s a marathon):


 

Yeah, I said two films, I know. But I think Bill would have probably appreciated the gesture, this going off script stuff. So long, pal – you made the movies you were in a lot better for a good while and will continue to do so each time fans go back and discover or rediscover everything you were part of.

-GW

The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing: Extended Edition, PS4 Bound Soon

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Finally! PS4 and PS4 Pro owners looking for another solid isometric action/RPG can put down Diablo III: Reaper of Souls for a spell and pick up NeoCore Games’ fast-paced, fun and often funny The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing: Extended Edition on February 28 (March 1 in EU territories) for $14.99. This deal includes the first part of the trilogy and in addition to its single player campaign mode, you’ll get the ability to play co-op and PvP multiplayer modes. This is the second console port for the game, as the hatted monster slayer has previously appeared on the Xbox One. Yes, next week is incredibly busy for Playstation fans. But if you’re not grabbing the big AAA games dropping next week, a little Van Helsing is more than enough to keep you busy.

-GW

Alien: Covenant Does The #TBT Thing A Day Early


 

Well, well. Referencing that infamous dinner scene from the original ALIEN, this “Last Supper” prologue also manages to give an idea of how close to the vest Alien Covenant is going to be playing a few of its cards. Granted, I wasn’t expecting anything revolutionary with the upcoming film, so this clip does indeed hit the right notes. I liked what I saw, although that larger crew means a lot more victims which will hopefully not translate to the film feeling repetitive. Eh, I’m not really worried much, though.

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Oh, by the way, when you go to that site link above and register, make sure you mess with the MU/TH/UR 6000 computer interface for a bit of fun. Ask it some questions that are ALIEN-related, if you need a hint.

-GW

Switch-ing: With Reservations (And Some Ironing), Yes.

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Not surprisingly, actually getting out and about to lay eyes on and try out something for oneself is a hell of a lot better than sitting on one’s rump in front of a computing device babbling nonsense about what one thinks they know about something they haven’t touched yet. Be it food, books, movies, or in this case, Nintendo’s upcoming Switch game system, you really aren’t doing anything other than heavy guessing and heavier petting of your own negativity until you try the darn thing out.

Spending about three hours with the system and way too many games for one event revealed at its recent NYC showcase reveals it’s a solid bit of kit with a few big to little issues around things like software/peripheral pricing and a to be announced (imperfect) online service that sounds as if will need some major tweaking if it’s going to compete with the (less imperfect) services Sony and Microsoft offer for their game hardware.

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Let’s get the first point out of the way: that live press conference from Japan was somewhat awful if judged by western perspectives. The droning English narration, the greatness of Goichi Suda trying to work the room off-script and failing spectacularly as he revealed work not yet started on the return of Travis Touchdown, the too-sedate responses to every announcement – none of these made for good optics.

Couple that with too many YouTubers and a few games journalists putting out quickie bash pieces so quickly that by the time a bunch of post-conference trailers that weren’t shown dropped online, many complaints about the small software lineup were rendered invalid and worse, the short attention span theater antics didn’t take into consideration that early announcements change into more concrete plans that make better sense as launch windows open.

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But let’s talk games from this point onward until I get to the problem stuff I see that needs ironing out. Continue reading