Berserk’s Back: Have You Got The Guts To Read It?

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Okay, I’ll admit it. I have almost NO experience with Berserk outside a poring over a few borrowed issues of the manga back in the 90’s and playing through three video games based on the manga and anime (Super Famicom, Dreamcast and PS2, FYI). That said, with Koei Tecmo set to release the gloriously violent Berserk and the Band of the Hawk on February 21, 2017, Dark Horse Comics has put out the word that Volume 38 of Berserk will be slicing its way to comic stores and online retailers July 5, 2017. Why post this so early? Well, I think I need to play catch up and I think that’s enough time to play catch up on the other 37 volumes, of course!


 

I’ve been following the game closely, but not reporting much on it or watching any videos other than trailers and official gameplay videos like the one aove because I want to go in as cold as possible and not have stuff spoiled by yakky streamers who got early access even if they love what’s coming. In any event, I need to co clear up some room on my calendar I guess. Slowly going Berserk is a lot better than the alternative, right?

– GW

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Trump: Playboy + MAD+ Dark Horse = Something MUCH Better Than You’re Thinking

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Oh, that cartoon guy with the funny hair tooting his own horn may look familiar, but trust me, he’s not only got NOTHING to do with what’s going on down in D.C., he was around before that name was a big deal. Dark Horse Comics’ second volume in its Essential (Harvey) Kurtzman series just so happens to be the complete collection of Trump, a swanky satire magazine published by Playboy from 1956-57. While only two issues made it to newsstands and a third was aborted, the talent on display was tops (Mel Brooks, Will Elder, Jack Davis, Wally Wood, Al Jaffee, Russ Heath, Arnold Roth and more). Unfortunately the upscale satire mag folded up shop and pretty much sunk into obscurity save for hard core collectors who’ve tracked down and saved a handful of copies over the decades.

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Dark Horse comes to the rescue once again with another find hardcover collection, Trump: The Complete Collection – Essential Kurtzman Volume Two (MSRP $29.99). Both full issues are here plus what would have been a third issue had the magazine stayed around. As both a slice of magazine history and collection of outstanding comic illustration from some of the greats of the era, the detailed notes on every bit of art, letters to and from principals involved and other elements lend a great insight into what worked and what went wrong. It’s a “Come for the curiosity, stay because you’re learning stuff’ read that comes highly recommended even if you’re not a fan of top notch late 50’s satire.

Granted, I’m as old as dirt, so I love the corny but reliably amusing jokes here as well as that gorgeously detailed art. As with Harvey Kurtzman’s Jungle Book: Essential Kurtzman Volume 1, plopping this on your coffee table will automatically make your friends think you’re a sly, sophisticated guy or gal with a super cool sense of humor. Hmmmm, perhaps Dark Horse out to zip over both tomes to that kinda cranky guy who needs a big laugh? Provided he makes it past the cover without blowing a gasket, I think it might generate half a laugh. I hope.

– GW

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Ni no Kuni II: RENEVANT KINGDOM – Level-5, At The Top of Their Game


 

Feh, who needs Final Fantasy and its overly complex kitchen sink boy band kettle-pot plot latest entry when Level-5 is simply making some of the best, if not THE best pure JRPGs out there today? Don’t get me wrong, folks. I don’t hate FF at all. It’s just moved so far into being too hip/ster and modern for my tastes with each installment. The first Ni no Kuni was fantastic, albeit a wee bit too epic in length if one wanted to see and do it all. Sadly, my PS3 was stolen before I got to complete the game (over 90 hours was put into those save files), but this sequel got me pumped to dive in for more and more stunning visuals now that it’s a PS4 game. Just ogle the hand-drawn and painted magnificence (oh, alright, it’s all digital, but still!) and hear that solid voice acting knowing you’re in good hands with this upcoming console exclusive. Lovely work here, just beautiful and I can’t wait to dive in.

-GW

Shadows On The Grave: Corben’s Still Got Those Horror Chops

shadows-on-the-grave-dhRichard Corben’s artwork has always been brilliant, freakish and frightening on a few levels, but his horror work over the last few years has been a perfect blend of caricature and crazed creativity. I rather loved Rat God, his violently hilarious and uniquely stylized love letter to Lovecraft that was one of Dark Horse Comics best mini-series of 2015. Okay, Bunn and Cook’s absolutely brilliant (and I would watch the hell out of a good TV or movie adaptation) Harrow County is flat out scarier. But Corben’s style of stylistic horror is second to none in my book.

shadows-1sotg30532Shadows On The Grave #1 is the first issue in a beautiful new miniseries comprised of short stories with Corben going all out in both black and white and grey-toned art that’s simultaneously lovely, twisted and somehow realistic through all the bigfoot layers. There’s his reliable work with the human and unhuman form that makes poring over each panel a joy (yes, even the disturbing stuff is worth a look in all its glory) and his writing is just fun and tight what with all the tonal shifting going on. The man is a master of adding humor to tense situations as his characters get put through their paces by fate and other means, but I shall wisely leave the actual reading of the book to each and every one of you interested.

Issue 1 lands at your favorite comic emporium December 14 ($3.99), Issue 2 is arriving in January, and let’s see now… #3 should be next March. Yep, get this is you’re into the Creepy stuff. You see what I did there? Did you? Yeah, go get that as well.

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The Jury’s (Not) Out: Out of Service, Down For The Count

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Rather appropriate for my current situation, I’d say. Go click that pic and buy a shirt. Hell, buy ME a shirt while you’re at it!

Ugh. So, thanks to running back and forth to serve on a jury in a modern but not cleaned too regularly court packed with common folk and their assorted germs, I’m sick as a dog. Well, a sick dog with a raw throat and assorted aches. While I have no issues with serving at all other than the long waiting times, uncomfortable seating and yeah, people coughing, sneezing and sniffling like mad, feeling as if I’ve been trapped in the most boring convention meets Groundhog Day is both annoying and amusing.

Okay, I’m going back to bed now, tonic in hand. My inbox is BURSTING with nice, busy news and such,but I’m in no shape to get to it. Ooof. We’ll see how I feel in a few hours/tomorrow, as I hate being this sick for no reason other than I was pressed into service in a public place that should be a great deal better maintained.

-GW

Xanadu Next: More N-Gaging Than The Phone Version, For Sure

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n-gage-xanadu_nextSo, Xanadu Next and I… have a little history. My first and only encounter with it was via the infamous Nokia N-Gage version that, while a bit janky, was still playable and a bit of fun once you got used to it. When I found out a few years later that not only was it initially a PC game in Japan, but a much better game overall, I was hoping to heck someone would get to work on a localization.

Thank you, Xseed Games and Marvelous USA! This should be interesting, as the things I liked about the portable game are getting a big boot and yes, the truncated/changed story is now here as it should be. November 3 is the release date and $19.99 on Steam, gog.com or the Humble Store is a fair enough bargain for a game I found entertaining as a squashed-down Diablo -like ARPG experience, which interestingly enough, the N-Gage had a few of during its life cycle. Most were actually pretty good, but that’s the subject of a whole different post you should bug me about one of these days if you’re intrigued.

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-GW

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Just Feel: A Little Indie Action on Hump Day

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enjminlogoLet’s talk about s-e-x for a hot minute. Most popular videogames act like it doesn’t exist or it’s made essential to a story as a “relationship” deal where it’s mishandled like a giraffe trying to juggle watermelons while playing the bongos. Boo to most of the AAA game industry and it’s primarily clumsy pawing of a subject that should be gently approached and touched in just the right places.

Meanwhile, over in France (where the heck else?), seven first-year students at Le Cnam-Enjmin took three months to make Just Feel, a very short, FREE, and let’s just say “educational” game about…

Well, let’s just see what the game page says:

The goal of this project is to mention sensuality and the pleasure in a poetic and subtle way.

The idea is to show a form of sensual relation without taboo and vulgarity.

In this experience the player personifies a caress metaphor.

This project is focus on the flow feeling.

Relaxation and surprise.

This is a 10 minutes experience.

 

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While this one’s a bit too easy to describe how to play and the overall goal, you still kind of need to play it and see…er, feel for yourself what the deal is. In fact, BEFORE you play, watch the let’s play video for a bit of hilarity as the guy playing can’t quite figure out where he’s at on the figure. Some girls and guys will get a chuckle and “It figures…” head shake while watching. Hey, some of us need a lot of practice. Yeah, me included.

Anyway, you may blush a little before the game times out, but it’s tastefully done (quiet back there!) and abstract enough to indeed be called art. So, um. Go give it a try, I say.

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I guess I should score this, right? Okay, 1 point a minute makes this a perfect 10.

-GW

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Lost Ember: Kickstart This Gorgeous Game, Please

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While I’m not the biggest fan of crowdfunding, I’ve participated in a few projects this year that jumped out and bit me because the promise of greatness was more than a pipe dream and a dedicated person or team was at the wheel guiding that vision to completion.

Lost Ember is one of those projects, I’ll more than likely help back because it’s absolutely gorgeous and it looks as if the developer, Hamburg, Germany-based Mooneye Studios is on the right track in creating an indie game for the ages. You can see (and hear) the hard work and passion for the project in every area and hopefully, the game will make its goal with time to spare (and yes, a well-optimized console port down the road, as this one’s too good to be limited to one platform)

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But enough babbling from me. Take a look at this trailer from the developer:

And this gallery of screens and art I put together a few weeks back on YouTube with fingers crossed that the Kickstarter would indeed launch and get going to a fast, steady start:

You’re grinning and reaching for your wallet, right? Well, my work here is done.

-GW

SHINESS: The Lightning Kingdom Gallery

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French developer Enigami has been hard at work on its Action/RPG SHINESS: The Lightning Kingdom for about three years now and with publisher Focus Home Interactive set to bring the game to eager PC, PS4 and Xbox One owners later this year, it’s time to take a look at it in one big video and image gallery. Here’s the most recent gameplay trailer, or more precisely, a story trailer presented at Gamescom 2016:


 

More action abounds in this earlier gameplay trailer:


 

But, wait… there’s more! Continue reading

Random Art: Not Mighty Oaks, But Mighty OK Is Fine By Me

So, yeah. I haven’t been drawing a lot lately. A few people bug me about his, but it’s that eternal struggle thing, I guess. The old self-taught artist with no big ego who’s tried and failed miz-er-ah-blee* at a few things while having successes in others stuff. I think they call that “life” or something like that? I’ll have to look that up one of these days.

Anyway, some room was recently made in the upstairs vault and mouse in hand, I knocked these out within the past week between a few actual money-making projects. Full of imperfections, like that “life” thing I keep hearing about, but I’m still working out the ins and outs of digital art. I could use a good tablet, but funds need to go elsewhere for the tie being, as this year has been lousy for me and tech stuff falling apart, going missing (Phill Katz, I haven’t forgotten you) or just giving up the electronic ghost entirely.

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This one? Ugh, but it was my first attempt at really trying out the revamped MS Paint in Windows 10. I don’t like that they changed the interface and added effects to the brush strokes, though. If I wanted to do watercolor or oil work, I have a bunch of aging art supplies stored here. Ah well. Perhaps I’ll change my mind with some more experimentation. Art classes would be great, but those cost money I don’t have at the moment.

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That one? Better, but “done, with errors on page” as they say.

*or is it miz-er-ah-bleh? I don’t speak French other than a handful of none too helpful phrases. 😀

-GW

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