From last week’s open requests post:
Pantsless Pete: An explanation of how Betty Brant doesn’t come off as creepy in early issues of Spider-man by being a woman in, using the bare minimum of her completing high school and secretarial school, her early twenties hitting on a weird looking seventeen year old.
You know that one episode of South Park where a schoolteacher falls in love with Ike, and whenever anybody describes their relationship to a guy, the guy’s inevitable answer is “…nice.” You know that? It’s like that.
Arthur Robinson: What are your thoughts on podcasting? Like what do you think of the medium? What are your favorite shows? And would you ever start your own?
I’ve guested on Squideye And The Bitter Guy once and guested on a couple of other podcasts, and in terms of the medium I think it’s radio gone indie. Which is fine and good, don’t get me wrong, but some people treat podcasting like it’s this transcendent thing, and really, it’s just radio when you get down to brass tacks.
As for doing my own, I find that unless you’re being paid, you generally either blog or podcast, not both. It’s a time thing.
RAC: Played any interesting new boardgames lately?
I recently got the chance to play Eclipse and was monumentally impressed with it. I think it’s that long-foretold board game: the playable and elegant 4X space game (explore, expand, exploit, exterminate, for those who don’t know what 4X is). The mechanics are streamlined enough that the game isn’t too hard to learn (although it’s still an advanced game, don’t get me wrong), but there’s an incredible amount of depth, theme and replayability to it. I mean, this is a Euro-styled game where you still get to design your own spaceships a la Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri, which is pretty great.
I also played a few games of Ankh-Morpork, which is a fun, fast and light game with a few major design flaws that desperately need to be addressed to make it playable (the most notable of which is that Vimes is simply much more powerful than the other personality-roles players can be).
Oh, and everybody around here is always up for a game of Blood Bowl: Team Manager or King of Tokyo. (Fun fact: any game with “Tokyo” in the title is either about World War II or giant monsters.) BBTM is a great little card game that really carries the theme of “seasons of Blood Bowl” quite well, and KoT is Yahtzee except with giant monsters instead of boring scorepads. Both are excellent.
I’ve got a few longer boardgame posts in draft form, currently. I’ll get back to them at some point.
Crazed Spruce: What fantasy books would you recommend for a person who likes fantasy movies and television, but never really got into fantasy novels?
Standalone fantasy novels tend to be relative rarities – the only author I can think of who does them regularly is Guy Gavriel Kay. Epic fantasy is epic for a reason: they tend to be book cycles rather than individual books. That having been said, The Belgariad by David Eddings is a very good “light” entry into fantasy epics. Even thou fantasy readers will mock the hell out of Eddings for reusing the same plot like six times, it’s like how every ZZ Top song is the same: you’re not there for the plot, you’re there for the dialogue and the eminent fun of the thing. And all those mockers read Eddings and loved him at one point.
If you want to go heavier, in ascending order:
– The Magician/Riftwar cycle by Raymond E. Feist, which is basically the mostly thinly disgused D&D campaign in the history of fiction, but is quite good nonetheless;
– The Servant of the Empire trilogy by Feist and Janny Wurts, which expands off to the side of the Riftwar cycle as a set of standalone books set in a different world (explaining would take a while) and, while heavier than the Riftwar books, are also better;
– The Fionavar Tapestry by Guy Gavriel Kay is middle-weight and epic and lovely;
– and if you’re going to jump into the deep end right off the bat, just go with George R.R. Martin already and save yourself some time.
And Pratchett, of course, but if you’re going to start reading fantasy anyway, it might be better to save Pratchett until after you’ve read a bunch of the books he’s parodying.
protocoach: What are your thoughts on Aaron Diaz’s reboots of the DC Universe?
I think they’re an admirable creative effort, but are coming from a place that ignores the essential appeal behind the characters in the first place, which is important in any reboot because the point of a reboot is to remind audiences why the character is vital in the first place. Most of Diaz’s reboot ideas are neat and cool, but Superman as some weird energy matrix just isn’t Superman (as DC figured out soon enough). Diaz’s ideas are more akin to the Tangent Universe or “Stan Lee’s Just Imagine” and should be considered accordingly.