Monday, October 29, 2007

Now reading...

The Flash -- Terminal Velocity.

"Terminal Velocity" was the peak of Mark Waid's critically acclaimed run (so to speak) chronicling the adventures of The Fastest Man Alive. The storyline originally ran in Flash #0 and #s 95-100, but is readily available in trade paperback via Amazon. (Waid has recently returned to writing Flash, but the last couple of issues have been disappointing to say the least).

I reviewed "Terminal Velocity" in issue #1600 of Comics Buyer's Guide, where writers were asked to come up with "1600 Comic Books You Need to Read." It was hard summing up such a story within the limited word count provided (concision is the rule of the day with these types of assignments), but here's what I wrote about this epic tale of action, adventure, intrigue, and romance:

By introducing the Speed Force in the highly energized "Terminal Velocity" storyline, Mark Waid gave an exciting, open-ended explanation for the existence of most of the super-speed characters within the DC Universe. Suddenly, Kid Flash's origin didn't seem to be such a ridiculous coincidence. "TV," which saw the further maturation of the series' title character, also served to cement one of the best, most fully realized romantic relationships in the history of super-hero comics: Wally West and Linda Park.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Recently attended...

The Sci-Fi Expo--Star Wars 30th Anniversary!
Sights and sounds (well, just sights, actually) from the Sci-Fi Expo, held in Plano (North of Dallas) on October 20-21. It was a special Star Wars 30th Anniversary edition of the convention, meaning lots of B-listers from the films were on hand meeting fans and signing autographs. I spent most of my time in the dealer's room, talking with friends and checking out the merchandise, but I managed to snap a few photos along the way.

Mathew "General Grievous" Wood with Darth Vader fan

Fans dressed as Corruscant Guards

David "Darth Vader" Prowse talking to a "Storm Trooper" and "Princess Leia"

Jeremy Bullock, who played Boba Fett in the original Star Wars

Daniel Logan (on the right), who played the young Boba Fett in Attack of the Clones

A fan in an incredibly elaborate Jabba Palace Guard costume

Me and Amy Allen, who played Aayla Secura

Friday, October 19, 2007

Planning to attend...

Wizard World Texas!

The fifth annual Wizard World Texas is just around the corner, taking place at the Arlington Convention Center from November 16-18. The “family-friendly pop culture extravaganza” is the biggest event of its type in North Texas and always boasts tons of new and old collectibles, including comic books, action figures, graphic novels, trading cards, and much more.

Featured guests this year include Laura Vandervoort (Smallville’s Supergirl), Dan Didio (DC Comics’ Executive Editor), Marc Silvestri (Uncanny X-Men and Wolverine artist), Ethan Van Sciver (Green Lantern artist), Adam Kubert (Action Comics artist), Joe Jusko (Vampirella cover artist), Lou Ferrigno (The Incredible Hulk), Noel Neill (Lois Lane from The Adventures of Superman), and many others. I always have a blast at Wizard World. You can read my report of last year’s convention here.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Recently published in...

Comics Buyer's Guide #1636, where I review the following:
Marvel Adventures Hulk #1
Killing Girl #1
Batman #666
All Star Batman & Robin, the Boy Wonder #6
Creature from the Depths
Superman #665
Veronica #182

Monday, October 8, 2007

Recently reviewed in...

The Library Journal!

Weiss, Brett Classic Home Video Games, 1972–1984: A Complete Reference Guide McFarland 2007. 316p. photogs. bibliog. index. ISBN 978-0-7864-3226-4. $55. REF

This guide appears to be a labor of love for Texas-based author Weiss, former owner of a comic-book store and self-proclaimed “video kid.” It is arranged alphabetically by console, with each chapter beginning with a description and history of the game system covered and including a complete and comprehensive listing of video games released for that console. Sixteen systems are explored in total, from Adventure Vision to Vectrex. The entries for the games are succinct, offering the publisher and developer of the game, the category (e.g., sports, board game, first-person shooter), and the release date. There is also a paragraph about each game with details about game play, the programmers involved, the game's relation to other games, and critical comments. An appendix covers home-brew titles, i.e., those created by fans and amateur programmers. The book has an excellent glossary and is well indexed. BOTTOM LINE The method of organization sets this work apart from other histories of video games and gives it worth as a reference resource. With interest in gaming remaining strong and owing to the nostalgia factor among Gen-Xers, this title is recommended for large public libraries.—Samantha Schmehl Hines, Univ. of Montana Lib., Missoula

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Now playing...

Beauty & the Beast!

As most avid collectors know, the term “factory sealed” has an exalted level of significance, especially in terms of older items. The other day I was at The Movie Trading Company, browsing the vintage video game section (imagine that) and ran across a factory sealed Beauty & the Beast, one of my favorite Intellivision games and one of my favorite climbing games in general. I already own the game, of course, but I couldn’t resist buying a “new” copy (yes, there’s a seam running on back of the seal, meaning it is factory sealed and not simply re-shrink wrapped). The Intellivision take on the Beauty & the Beast theme has nothing to do with the movie, fairy tale, or TV show of the same name. Rather, it’s a Donkey Kong-inspired climbing game that is loads of fun.

Here’s my official review of the game:

Beauty & the Beast
Publisher: Imagic. Developer: Imagic.
Climbing, 1 player. 1982.

A fantastic alternative to the dreary Intellivision rendition of Donkey Kong, Beauty & Beast is one of the two or three slickest, most arcade-like games in the system’s entire library. Players guide a quickly moving character up the side of a multi-tiered skyscraper, walking across ledges and climbing up windows that open and close randomly. The goal is to reach the top, where a large, ape-like bully holds Mabel. Birds, rats, and boulders make things difficult, but they can be jumped over (in the case of the boulders and rats) or otherwise avoided. Mabel releases hearts, which can briefly make our hero invincible, making for a key strategy, especially in later levels. Reaching the top rewards players with a King Kong-like ending: the bully falling to his “death.” Other than Mabel, who is blocky and blue, the game looks great and has fantastic production values.