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About jim

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  1. What games are you currently playing?

    Destiny 1, House Of Wolves, Dark Below, and Taken King: There are two things that would sink a game that didn't have as good shooting of half a billion dollars in investment. -No in game map. There's still only the mini-map, and this is three years (?) after Destiny 1. -Lore is still relegated to "look it up on Bungie.com" and guess what, they took that lore down. But the gameplay loop is exquisite and Bungie's complete inability to write a story I care about is a plus, because I wanted a mindless shooter who'se story I could ignore and I got one.
  2. Every comic you've read in 2017

    Mage: The Hero Denied 1: I gave it a shot, and while the art was good, the story took a little too long to get moving for my tastes. Then again, I've only read bits and pieces of Mage, so my mileage varies. Also, I'm coming in at the end so shrug emoji. Blame! Master Editions 3 and 4: No really, they're called Master Editions. At $35 a pop, Master Editions are difficult to recommend, but I got 'em for $20, which feels a lot better. They condensed the ten volume manga into six volumes.Of those six books, they reprinted them at Akira size. I'd love to see them also throw in the Blame! errata volume somewhere, but I doubt that'll happen. w/r/t content, it's still a tremendously alienating road story with grotesques, bolstered by incredible architecture. The larger page helps draw me further into the world. As a bonus (or downside, depending) there's a couple panels where it's clear Nihei-sensei took shortcuts because manga is printed at a much smaller size and no one expects the Inquisition larger size. I liked it. Des, give a couple of the grotesques a look. Wic Div 31: Someone dies in Wic Div. It's a cool death. Insexts 13: They leave on a fine fight issue. There's also sex, but that's par for the course. Ms. Kristantina's work improved tremendously over the course of the series. Ms. Bennett says it may not be the end, while Ms. Kristantina works for Karen Berger on Mata Hari (?? Mara Hati? IDK.) About Halfway Through The Land Of The Lustrous v2: Yeah. Still great. I gambled a bunch on how much I liked that first book and I'm relieved the gamble appears to pay off.
  3. What games are you currently playing?

    Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age: Hell yeah. I missed a proper bombastic Final Fantasy ass Final Fantasy. It's a very specific itch to scratch. Also, a friend of mine remarks that they liked Fran because no one ever questions the fact that she's competent, and they didn't recall a time when any of the in game characters ogle her. The settings are sumptuous, in this case it seems like they mined Middle Eastern architecture and design to incredible effect. It's worth checking in on what happens when the imperial weight of Final Fantasy touches down. Also, we begin playing Destiny 1 soon. Expect us being snarky about Bungie's storytelling choices and in awe of their art direction in the near to medium term.
  4. Every comic you've read in 2017

    w/r/t Lobster Johnson, it seems like Dark Horse cranks out more and more of these tie-ins with diminishing returns. Also, this is a reminder to me that I need to buy the Guy Davis BPRD.
  5. Every comic you've read in 2017

    Ooku v1: Fumi Yoshinaga’s main (??) manga, about Shogun-era Japan, but with 3/4 of the male population dead. The archaic language didn’t bother me and the story compelled me. One of those “oh, the thing everyone said is good is actually good” moments. There’s some same face, because it /is/ Ms. Yoshinaga. I’m sold on the palace intrigue (female shogun arrives and upends the power structure inside the all-male harem). Ooku’s a good one. Land Of The Lustrous v1: Maybe it’s because I haven’t seen Steven Universe, but I read this and immediately pre-ordered the next three volumes. The manga-ka’s style is lithe and exaggerated, bolstered by some stunning splash pages. Black Hammer 7: The team finally arrives at Kirby. I view this as a condemnation of DC and Marvel that they couldn’t figure out a way to publish a story that obviously honors their long histories. Lucifer 13: Two stories (the first by outgoing writer and Marco Rudy, the second by incoming writer and Ben Templesmith) which I enjoyed. This reminds me of a time Vertigo could reliably produce above average superhero adjacent work. The Unworthy Thor 1-5: Man, Coipel is great when you give him time. When you don’t, though… Legion of Monsters: Juan Doe and Dennis Hopeless turn in a fun mini. Years ago, it was the first time I saw Mr. Doe’s art. Returning to it, there’s a couple panels viewed from two feet behind Eliza Bloodstone’s ass which are eyeroll-y, but the collection holds up. Crosswind 3: The work Cat Stages turned in is a badly colored mess that makes it difficult to figure out where any given scene occurs. The process material in the back of the issue (props to the team for that) shows how reliant Ms. Staggs is on computer effects which she’s a novice at using. Hannah tells me she’s done a lot of IDW work, but if this is Ms. Staggs firing on all cylinders stay far, far away. Gail Simone appears to enjoy the bodyswap/fish out of water story she’s telling, which I enjoy more the more i recall of it. This, of course, ignores that the east side of Chicago is a lake and not an actual neighborhood. Redlands 2: Enjoyed it. Portions Of The Comic Book History Of Comics: Man, this is sad, funny and informative. Alan Moore’s secret origin is that he was kicked out of school for being “one of the most inept LSD dealers.” Comics! Also, the part about Stan Lee and Jack Kirby is so fucking depressing.
  6. Every comic you've read in 2017

    Trouble by Mark Millar and the Dodsons. This comic’s a stinker. It’s a misfire on almost every front. -The covers are embarrassing and everyone but the girl models are credited. Unless, of course, I missed the credit. -Mark Millar can write some gleeful dark comedy but as a romance comic writer he’s hilariously miscast. -The Dodsons draw good cheesecake, but why get the Dodsons on a project that thinks it’s for young girls? -For some reason Marvel needed it to tie into the universe somehow so the story’s about how Uncle Ben and Aunt May met. This also makes Uncle Ben canon impotent. -There’s portions of the Millar dialogue that feels incorrect. I cannot imagine any girl who has a lot of sex in high school happily saying post-coital “yeah, I’m super fucking pregnable.” They tend to be terrified of that. It’s a dumpster fire, but I didn’t hate it as much as I thought I would. Detective Comics: The Black Mirror by Scott Snyder, Jock and Francesco Francavilla. This comic ISN’T a stinker. Hell, it’s great. Snyder spins a frightening, tense yarn and the two pencillers do great work. It inspired fear. East Of West 30-34 by Hickman and Dragotta. Finally, some guns go off. Hickman’s got a couple great lines, “Justice is what the strong do to the weak’ is my favorite and the series remains a well oiled clockwork machine. It’s like talking about 100 Bullets past a certain point, pieces are moving around the board and no one’s fucked up. Steady as she goes. Scarlet Witch 11 and 15 by James Robinson and Del Duca and Vanessa Del Rey. I’m kinder to Robinson than Hannah is because of the one shot format of the comic. If this was a traditional constructed as five or six issue minis, I wouldn’t’ve bought any of it, but thus far, I’ve bought six issues. I don’t think the story’s hard to follow, Scarlet Witch traces back her Romani heritage and fights off a larger threat (to the core of magic, maybe?) that only she can stop. Magdalena v1 by Tini Howard and like three other dudes, idk. Pure popcorn comics, but given Magdalena’s history in the Top Cow stable (TITS! WITH WOMEN! AND DEVILS!) this is an upgrade. I wouldn’t buy it at full price, but now I know to look for later trades at a con. I didn’t expect anything from the at bat and it hit a single.
  7. Every comic you've read in 2017

    The Heavy Metal Order tl;dr Heavy Metal ran a crazy clearance sale on their website at the end of June. Said order shipped last week, and only after three emails, a phone call and a PayPal claim. This is super shady. Druillet-Loane Sloane Something Or Other Aside from a weird 90’s LOOK WE CAN USE PHOTOGRAPHY IN COMICS THANKS TO COMPUTERS, it’s bugfuck nuts and completely beautiful. Near as I can tell, it’s about a woman who commits an interstellar train robbery to wake up a religious/resistance leader by giving the sarcophagus he’s buried in a blowjob. Euro as fuck. Milo Manara-Fatal Rendezvous Manara draws a lot of rape. Like every other “rape story, but with a twist”, the female character comes to enjoy it and there’s information at the end not included in the extortion of her body. It’s difficult to complain when it’s $2, but still left a bad taste in my mouth. Juan Giménez and Roberto Del Prado-Apocalypse Sr. Giménez elevates the story about an American Vietnam vet that sees a child blow up helicopters Akira-style and meets that person again, decades later, manipulated by Vietnamese gangsters. Sr. Giménez’s watercolors remain stunning. The story’s okay, maybe it lost something in translation, idk. Juan Giménez-Overload Juan Giménez art book. Literal stunner for the art. Multiple embarrassing misspellings. At least one unclosed parentheses I caught, there might be one more. But look. Sr. Giménez’s work carries weight, and not merely in the breasts of his female characters. His Tarot deck is fucking incredible, from The Empress to Justice to Chariot, just goddamn, Juan Giménez. Please, Humanoids, find a way to expand on this for a re-release! I’ll even copy edit it for you! For free!
  8. What You've Read 2017

    The Broken Earth: The Obsidian Gate-N.K. Jemisin Yeah, this one's heavy and brutal. Hannah said there was a lot of setup and exposition, but it felt necessary and didn't slow me down. It's great. My only major criticism is that the plot requires that everyone in this post-apocalyptic society goes directly from eating animals to get their protein DIRECTLY TO cannibalism. My headcanon is that a side effect of the apocalypse that begins the trilogy is that it kills all vegetarians as well as everyone who can identify a soybean.
  9. What games are you currently playing?

    Bayonetta: Devil May Cry with a female lead is a reductive (and accurate) description. What isn't in that description is how well executed the character of Bayonetta is. It's a Platinum game (Nier: Auto, Metal Gear Solid: Revengence) so it's no surprise that it's flawless control wise and hella responsive to play. Hannah and I may have more to say on a podcast, and perhaps with our first guest.
  10. What games are you currently playing?

    Yakuza 5. The first section's got a weird kinda WWE vibe hamming up a double crossing gangster plot. The second section we tapped out of after it went full Oz on us. Fun game, and some of the special attacks look super painful (see: The Essence Of Face Grinding) sit next to minigames about being a no joke safe taxi driver. We're full weebs. Darkest Dungeon: XCOM as a dungeon crawl. There's four dungeon difficulties and the first two are okay. The third is doable, if you're lucky and the fourth I haven't even tried yet. Superlative voice acting. At this point, I just look up how to beat bosses on Reddit because getting my team to a boss is a gamble and even they get there, they're bruised and softened up for a terrifically hard enemy. If I beat this game I'll record a prayer to RNGESUS.
  11. Every comic you've read in 2017

    Hellboy Library Edition v6: The guns went off. I cried. Hellboy's a masterpiece. Generation Gone #1: Okay, I secretly liked this comic, but it's still an Ales Kot work, which means there's a painfully obvious part at the front where Mr. Kot goes "DO YOU KNOW WHAT DARPA IS? LET ME EXPLAIN IT IN A WAY THAT'S SUPER CONDESCENDING" Better than Material and Sr. Lima does great work here. Basically: DARPA funds Akira and tests it on some kids from DefCon. Dept. H v2: I echo Hannah's thoughts.
  12. Every comic you've read in 2017

    I'll hold with my standby Brian "continuity is for other people" Bendis
  13. Every comic you've read in 2017

    Oh yeah, Batman/Elmer Fudd was fucking great. I have a lot of thoughts about The Egyptian Princesses, but they boil down to it's another Baranko comic, enjoy the ride. Shutter v1-4: Yes, well done, one of Image's secret successes. Long Walk To Valhalla: Nowhere midwest town person gets found by a valkyrie. What happens next is actually surprising.
  14. Every comic you've read in 2017

    God only knows what I've already written about, but I can't sleep because I'm angry at myself for getting half my party killed in Darkest Dungeon. Man Of Many Faces v1, 2 and Clamp School Defenders v1: Apparently you can put the CLAMP name on any old thing and it'll...yeah. A couple fine fourth wall breaking moments but maybe for complete-ists only, if that. Satoshi Kon's Opus: Hyper meta, surprisingly funny. Days Like This: Inoffensive digest sized comic from Oni about a group of black middle school girls getting talented scouted in Motown-era Detroit. Charming. A Bride's Story v8: I cannot remember for the life of me what happened, but I don't care because Kaoru Mori's shit is beautiful. The Black Dhalia (comic adaptation): They got a budget European for this and while his style fits the narrative, it does not quite click in the way they hoped it would. Browse through it to see what I mean. My Brother's Husband v1: An old school Japanese gay porn dude weaves a story of a Japanese man coming to terms with his brother's death and his own homophobia through the vehicle of his brother's husband coming to Japan to see his dead lover's home. One of my favorite things I read this year. Psycho-Pass v2: Above-average/solid sf police/detective serial. Way more backgrounds than I expected. Someone put time and effort into this tie in. Moonshine v1: Here's the 100 Bullets team and it's exactly the twisty plot and pitch perfect dialogue you've come to expect from the team. Steady as she goes, this time with werewolves. MPD-Psycho v11: I bought this because the internet told me there was a Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service crossover. This comic is even more brutal, deranged and terrifying than Kurosagi. I'm happy I read it, but if knew the crossover was so short, I wouldn't have bothered. My Lesbian Experience With Loneliness: Another staggeringly good manga, this one about a lesbian virgin with anxiety. It's the kind of thing I would've loved to see as a teenager and I'm scared I would've found a way to avoid reading it or dismiss it. She puts you in her shoes. Beowulf: DAVID RUBÍN IS A GOD WE ARE NOT WORTHY Black Science HC v1: The art on any Rick Remender project is never the problem. The problem is Remender apparently only has one narrator and that's heavy first person male that hates himself and needs to make up for his mistakes, usually catalyzed by watching his black friends die. This taste of Mr. Remender's work is a sprawling sci-fi multi world thing that resembles a "punk rock" version of wait what was that low budget scifi show where marines go through a portal to other places because reasons? It's like that. I've got a soft spot for Remender, but I prefer the Deadly Class version of his stories. The Fourth Power: Finally, Juan Giménez's other big big work is collected in a massive oversized hardcover and it's jawdroppingly pretty. It's got jarring tonal problems (the first album is space Akira, but with terrestrial dogfights, fighter pilots and maybe some war comic, but mostly also massive fucking tits everywhere. Harrow County v1-3: Cullen Bunn and Tyler Crook get together to make a southern horror comic that seems so precisely up Dark Horse's alley I'm surprised they're not paying their publisher royalties. Tyler Crook shines, and they work in a cool guest appearance by Carla Speed McNeil. Blinded By The Ice: A Yuri On Ice!!! (I don't know how many exclamation points are in that shows title and I'm too goddamned tired to look it up) fan doshinji. Cute. That's about it. Midnighter v1: Steve Orlando nailed the voice of Midnighter, but I could not begin to care about Midnighter or any of his rogues gallery or even Midnighter's friends. I haven't returned to Warren Ellis' Authority, so can anyone tell me if there's a personality to Midnighter beyond "I'm expy Frank The Tank Batman, I wear leather and I quip 'seriously' about rough sex"? ACO's the star here.
  15. What You've Read 2017

    Twenty Days Of Turin-Giorgio de Maria (translated by Ramon Glazov) Did not click. A couple cool moments, but a wait, this is what y'all made a fuss over? Maybe you had to be there. The Topless Tower-Silvina Ocampo My understanding of Silvina Ocampo from 2/3 or 3/4 of her NYRB collection is that she's like Borges, but more cruel. She apparently wrote a lot of children's stuff, and this I think is one of them. Maybe it's a fable about growing up and seeing the fullness of a human life while maybe the Devil watches? I didn't expect it to end so sweet. The Honey Month-Amal El-Mohtar Bought at WisCon on a gamble. I echo Hannah's thoughts. Recyclopedia-Henryette Mullen Hyper language gamey poetry. It skated a thin line dexterously. Bear-Chrissy WIlliams Skated that thin line less well. A little too precious (that can't be the word) for my tastes. Currently working through The Invention Of Morel by Adolofo Bioy Casares, the husband and lover of Silvina Ocampo. Interesting note: There's a character in Topless Tower and a character in The Invention Of Morel with the same name. I choose to believe it's the same person, written by wife and then husband.