Saturday, November 21, 2009

8-Bit Left 4 Dead!


This is a couple days old, I apologize, but you all know I can't pass up an 8-Bit downgrade of our favorite modern video games! Apparently, Pixelforce NES and Eric Ruth are teaming up to launch this 8-bit gem in January 2010; available for download (if you have a PC-Justin Long and John Hodgman would not approve... well Hodgman would approve in character, but really I think he'd be unhappy). So this isn't just a clever animation, its a game demo! In the end, the game will feature all 5 special infected (right now you'll only find the boomer... who is offensively cute for so depraved a corpse), all 4 campaigns and all 5 maps. If you thought gun butting a hunter in the head was hella fun, wait till you try it in 8-bit!

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Panel Discussion - Scans from Batman and Robin, Daredevil, Hellboy, and More!

These are a bit late, but there were a ton of books this past week, so we couldn't just let it go. Firstly, the aptly named...

Took Long Enough - Batman and Robin #6
AHR and I have often discussed the rich vein of misery-ore that is Jason Todd; and yet he has gone untapped since his unceremonious resurrection during a crossover event (Superboy punched a wall... yep.) Leave it to good ol' Grant to breathe life into a character that virtually everybody hates. Here we get a taste of the unique pathos that could only belong to a character who was universally hated, voted to die, pointlessly resurrected only to be universally hated again, starred in terrible crossover event comics, and constantly struggled for the approval of a psychotic who is now dead. Much like Dini did for Hush, I now care about Jason Todd.

Added bonus of Grant's Jason Todd? An unironic awareness of the absurdity of the DC Universe-I love it when characters call the DCU on its super hero death BS. Much like Ralph Dibny in 52, Jason seems to be uniquely aware of the fact that people die and are reborn willy nilly in this world. Why is it only the crazy ones seem to notice?

No Comment - Green Lantern Corps #42

Yikes. Is it just me, or do these two seem to be having too much fun defiling the zombie corpse of Kyle's ex? Makes you wonder what kinda green constructs they "play with" in their down time. Feels more like a disturbing scene from Dexter-if Dexter was set in space and featured red-skinned hotties and zombies... and if Dexter was a pervert.

Best Return to Form - Daredevil #502
It's great to see Kingpin revisiting his Frank Miller glory days-back to his ol' needlessly-murdering self. Super classy touch using the shadow to depict the action, with the contorted hand in the foreground. On an unrelated note: Never make fun of Kingpin's juice.

He's Behind You! - Batman and Robin #6
Usually, there might be a bit of dramatic irony-the character unaware of his/her surroundings while we, the readers, can clearly see the danger looming. That's not how Batman and Robin roll. First you have newRobin being a dick, like the dickish homicidal 10-yr old he is. Then you have him actually announce "He's behind you", all non-chalant like. Then BAM. Classic.
And a less clear cut example from earlier in the same book... but looming danger indeed! Look out Batman! There's a psychotic hanger-on arming himself with heavy artillery behind you! Whew, he caught it. Don't want newRobin doing this again.

Meh... No biggie - Hellboy: The Wild Hunt #8
Wow, waita take a heavy situation lightly. Not only do they casually mention it, but visually, they're tiny within the already small panels. Great way to completely downplay the crazy shit that just happend. Just so you know, that's excalibur, the sword in the stone, that he's lackadaisically swinging around.

Cute Overload - B.P.R.D.: 1947 #5
Lastly, another bit of Hellboy. For a hellish demon spawn, Hellboy makes a pretty damn cute kid. I was torn about which panel to choose-there were about 6 or 7 adorable panels... and putting them all together tells a cute little mini story about Hellboy wanting to play catch (awww). For the rest of the adorableness, pick up the issue (also other stuff happens).

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How To Enjoy 2012

(Minorish spoilers for 2012, but trust me, it doesn't matter)



Do you love movies about the apocalypse? Sure, we all do. One of the most unpleasant aspects of being aware of your own mortality is dealing with the fact that the world actually DOESN'T revolve around you, and once you're gone the story of mankind will continue just fine. In apocalypse movies, not so!  Sure, you're going to die, but take this lovely parting gift with you; everyone else and the world!

As much as I love seeing famous landmarks fall down, it's a sad fact of Hollywood movies that the better the special effects, the most emotionally dishonest the story is going to be. I don't go to an apocalypse movie to feel good about how mankind's plucky will to survive can withstand even supervolcanos and ash blocking out the sun for a million years - I go for the catharsis of oblivion!

2012 does has some wonderful action setpieces in the first hour, and does a nice job of ramping up the tension on their way there. I would not entirely disuade you from spending 10-12 dollars on it, as long as you follow my advice on how best to enjoy it:

1. Sneak a beer in
2. Watch the first hour, or however long it takes them to get to China

Third and most important step after the jump:



3. Once they get to China, leave the theater and imagine a scenario in which all the main characters die, consumed with the horror and ecstasy of baring witness to the end of the human race.

If you need a visual aid, here you go:

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Monday, November 09, 2009

Panel Discussion - Scans from The Great Ten, Secret Six, Psylocke, and More

Best Historical Revisionism - The Great Ten #1


The 2008 Beijing Olympic Opening Ceremonies were already one of the most mind-blowing spectacles I've ever seen. How much more awesome would it have been with actual Superheroes involved? We'll never know cause all we get to see is the Great Ten standing in the center of the Bird's Nest, or whatever that mega-stadium was called. What a rip.




Fearful Symmetry - Psylocke #1

Do not wan. We get a lot of these split-screen Psylocke shots, and I suppose they serve a thematic purpose, but I don't see a reason to expose us all to this ugly smooshfest.

Oedipal Issues - Secret Six #15

Is it really necessary to show us via flashback that Floyd's mom once dressed up EXACTLY like Floyd's future sex partner, the inimitable Jeanette?

Movie Moment - Dark Reign - The List: Wolverine

This issue is actually from last week, but I couldn't let a There Will Be Blood reference go unmentioned. Especially one that doesn't go for the easy milkshake meme. Great body language from Normie here.

The Magic of Comics - Age of Reptiles: The Journey #1
I can't begin to tell you how excited I was this week when, while scanning the new books, I came across this title. As a kid, Delgado's previous Age Of Reptiles series were 2 of my absolute favorite books. The middle school me nearly died inside when I saw this. If you want near flawless visual storytelling, pick up any of the Age of Reptiles books-the entire story is told sans text, and without the conveniently recognizable expressions of the human face. Plus Delgado's always good for a clever, and unique visual cue to get a story point across. Take, for example, the middle divider with the dinosaur eyes-it took me a moment to understand what I was looking at, but it's a brilliant little moment. The first panel is the T-Rex, with the angry mama Triceratops reflected, the second is the round eyed, terrified baby dino with nothing but a full view of terrifying teeth. And the last is the determined mother, with the T-Rex and baby reflected. A great, and efficient, way to quickly get across 3 very different points of view.

Another example of great visual storytelling-we have the adorable little baby Triceratops shouting at the threatening T-Rex, the classic "is-this-kid-serious?" look on the T-Rex, followed by a quick barked out threat that sends the cute little guy shaking behind the legs of the grownups. Nearly every page of this book has a little gem like this.

In-Joke Alert - Assault on New Olumpus #1

Wheatcakes! Cause that's something Aunt May talks about...in the past. Sorry folks, slow week.

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Thursday, November 05, 2009

More Dangerous Real Life Superpowers

In the tradition of homemade Wolverine claws, here is an even more dangerous DIY superpower.

Don't try this at home, kids! Unless you really want to, in which case detailed instructions can be found here.

Please use these powers for good, or at least lawful neutral. What I want to know is who would win in a fight between this guy and the Wolverine claws guy. I think Wolvie is more likely to inflict harm without burning his own arm off in the process, but I'm willing to hear other theories.

Via Gizmodo

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Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Left 4 Dead Pumpkins-Reunited at last!


I was really excited to carve some L4D zombies this year, but was bummed when no one opted for my Tank stencil. But bummed no more! Thanks to Evan, I got to see my L4D Tank in action! I have to say, great job man! It looks pretty abominable-as anything with the Tank's gruesome visage should be! So, at long last, the Special Infected are reunited in pumpkin form! (except for the boomer-but really, if you imagine the special infected throwing a party, do you really think they're gonna invite the boomer? Yeah, I wouldn't either.) Thanks for making this happen Evan!

Now I just have to figure out what next year's batch of pumpkins are gonna be... any satisfactorily geeky ideas?

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Monday, November 02, 2009

Panel Discussion: Scans From Blackest Night, Detective Comics, New Avengers, and More

Click the pix for high res. No real spoilers this week, but still tread with caution if you're not up on your books.

Worst Splash Panel - Blackest Night #4
Now is the time to come clean; just about everyone on the Gnerd staff hates Blackest Night. So many splash panels like this. A sea of obscure characters made even more obscure by the fact that they're wearing stripped down black versions of their costumes. I LOVE zombies, I do, but splash pages likes this are so cluttered they're not scary, they're not shocking, they're just ill-defined and unpleasant. That's how I feel about Blackest Night as a whole, really.

Arkham gets a facelift, thugs get kicked in the face, and Jean Loring is awesome even in death, after the jump...



Most Unfortunate Remodeling - Arkham Reborn #1
So as you may or may not know, Arkham Asylum recently got destroyed for the, I don't know, 6th time? and some hotshot young doctor is trying to rebuild it as a more enlightened healing facility. Perhaps he will find out ideals are no so easily applied to reality in Gotham! But all that aside, I have to say making the entry way look like a giant mouth is probably not the sort of visual metaphor that is going to soothe the criminally disturbed mind. Not that it matters, I'm sure this building will be blown up or burnt down or frozen or eaten by a giant plant before the scaffolding comes down.

Signature Move - Detective Comics #858
In the past, I may have made light of Renee Montoya's fighting style, which mostly consists of kicks to the face. But I've reconsidered. Renee is a lady, a non-superpowered lady, and as any female member of a varsity crew team will tell you, women pack most of their power in their legs.

So I guess what I'm saying is, Montoya has found a move that works for her, and she's sticking with it. I respect that.


Most Triumphant Return - Blackest Night #4
Okay, so maybe my attachment to Jean Loring stems entirely from this fanfic/parody/deranged piece of performance art, but let's look at the facts; she shrank herself and stepped on someone's brain, and then proceeded to go crazy and became a god and spent a long time orbiting the sun trapped in a space diamond. She's pretty badass. I was saddened to learn that unlike every other comic book character, when she fell into shark infested waters and was presumed dead, she actually died! But on the plus side, Jean's status as deceased means she can come back as a Black Lantern and punch people's hearts out of their chest, like that guy in Indiana Jones. Ray, how did you ever let this one get away?


Best Visual Foreshadowing - Detective Comics #858
As we learned in the last issue of Detective (SPOILER ALERT!), the creepy Alice in Wonderland villain who faced off against Batwoman in the previous arc was in fact BW's own twin sister. Suspension of disbelief powers, activate! Writer Greg Rucka is now giving us some good childhood backstory, where we see the Kane twins growing up like normal military brats, except for a horribly traumatic kidnapping ordeal.

It's pretty hard to tell the two apart for the first part of the story, but when we get to this scene, all is made clear. Little Kate's winter gear mirrors Batwoman's costume, right down to the red boots, and Beth's pink and white ensemble foreshadows her psychedelic babydoll Alice outfit. With an art team of J.H. Williams and Dave Stewart, you expect these sorts of cool visual touches, but it's still nice to take a minute and savor them.


Best Arial Stunts - World's Finest #1 and New Avengers #58
I'm a sucker for when people are launched from moving vehicles by a sudden stop in momentum. Robin handles it a lot better than Motorcycle guy. I have to admit the Red Robin costume is finally starting to grow on me.

Meanwhile, here we have a classic case of unstoppable force meeting an immovable object. They bounce off each other with a resounding KTANG, leaving bystanders dumbstruck and gasping out censored curse words.

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Sunday, November 01, 2009

Cardboard Hobbit Feet FTW

Ladies and gentlemen, the best Halloween costume I saw of 2009. While they may not win big in the the Topical or Original categories, there is a lot of good going on here. The hobbit/right wraith height differential, the gender swap, the props (they had killer backpacks as well), and more than anything else, the FEET! That is genuine cardboard with hair glued on. This is DIY craftmanship at it's best. Awesome.

A few more photos of notable nerd costumes, after the jump...

Is it sad that I immediately recognized this as a Shy Guy and not just a spooky ghost?

Star Fleet uniforms are easy to come by, but you have to admire the dedication the accuracy displayed when it comes to hairstyles/facial hair grooming. There is no mistaking these guys for generic redshirts.

Given my unique relationship with Anakin Skywalker, seeing his doppleganger walking around in the flesh was a little terrifying, especially with little kids running around all over the place.

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