I stand before you, a conflicted man. In most genres I consider myself somewhat of a purist. I usually have a set of unwavering standards, strictly rooted in honoring the pioneers that gave us such wonderful distractions or enhancements designed to distract and entertain us. Laxatives for the mind meant to help digest the copious amounts of entertainment fiber force fed us in the daily grind of modern life. But let's be honest, nowadays at Comic-Con nobody comes here for comics anymore. They come for swag, sex and to ingest the best table scraps of some of the most worthless and worthwhile media you could ever imagine. It's a like taking a pop culture shotgun to the head, pulling the trigger and then examining the splatter later on to sort the essential brain matter from the garbage. With lots of cons and heroes littering the crime scene. So let's get down to brass tacks. Having attended this event off and on for the last fifteen years I can attest to the following:
- The symbiotic relationship of the entertainment industry (aka Hollywood Scum with great swag) and the comic world, over the last few years, has birthed an extraordinary child akin to a modern day Goliath. And the after-birth has created a legion of old school disciples that loathe the Twilight-ization of their beloved Con. Get a group of costumed friends to chant, "I love Twilight!" on the floor. I dare you!
- It's really not about comics anymore. Whereas, in the days before the internet or the comic grading system, you bought from dealers you knew or trusted and would willingly pay more for items based on the relationships. Now, it's all about price. Dealt from vendors who have rarely opened a comic book much less read them. There are exceptions, but most of them do not even attend due to booth prices. I will now plug Ralph's Comic Corner in Ventura. Go buy your comics here!
Rather than post a litany of trivial complaints and rants, it's better to digest this beast and sort through the excrement. Let's find out what they eat and what they should be ingesting.
Things You Didn't See But Should Have
WonderMark by David Malki published by Dark Horse Press. A wonderful assortment of reproduced woodcuts accompanying viciously wicked satire. A must buy for anyone within click radius.
Check out the exclusive wooden robot designs at: www.supermodifiedstudios.com Beautiful, limited and affordable. The trifecta of any collector.
The craftmanship on these models is extraordinary and well worth the investment.
If you love robots and clean design these are an unbeatable value.
Some of the most original fashions and designs I have seen in years is at www.fatrabbitfarm.com
My one, true love. Check out these overlooked gems! I will be reviewing each in the coming week and/or days.
Cyborg Mice Arena video game available on Xbox Live Community Games for only 200 points!
Developed by Bioroid Studios it is basically the brainchild of one man, Martin Robaszewski.
Now I played a very early build of this at last years Comic-Con and was really impressed with the gameplay. But he has really turned up the heat this year. It's basically a 2 stick arcade survival shooter. But there lots of upgrades and supports 1-4 players. And even on the easy levels this is one challenging game. I suck at it and still keep playing. That, for me, is the hallmark of a great game. For 200 MS points check it out you cheap bastard!
Splosion Man from Twisted Pixel Games, LLC. Also available on Xbox Live for 800 points. I had the pleasure of speaking with one of the games developers who informed me that the same team that did The Maw (also an excellent game) produced this gem in 6 months with a team of 9 people! It's a 2D-ish platformer that employs an exploding man trying to escape the confines of the Big Science Labs that created him. 50 levels with multiplayer and unlockables including an exclusive premium dashboard theme, gamerpics, and Avatar accessories.
Expect a full review of this game shortly.
Darkvoid from Capcom is the Rocketman game that never materialized.
I had the opportunity to play this for about a 1/2 hour and it is one of the hidden gems of the entire show. In an alternate universe Tesla's wildest dreams are realized. You fly, land, shoot and repeat. Seems straightforward enough but the gameplay here is what Iron Man should have been, but sadly never was. (Don't hold your breath for Iron Man 2. I played it and it sucked just as much as the original).
Developed by Airtight Games this is the team that worked on Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge for the Xbox.
Release date: September 22, 2009.
And finally Dragon Age Origins from BioWare.
While every fanboy and his mother was checking out Left 4 Dead 2, I was checking out the latest game from this legendary developer. I got to play the game for over an hour and this feels like a Never Winter Nights 2 that we have always wanted. With over 6 years in development the quality, diversity and gameplay are everything you would expect from this AAA team. Lead designer Mike Laidlaw was kind enough to talk with me and guide me through the customization options, upgrades and moral choices and how they affect the overall story and experience. Release Date October 20, 2009.