fantasy


Game/Life Balance U.S. Podcast #054: Gen Con 2018 Board Game Review Special

Facebooktwitterredditmail

In a special solo episode, Cody discusses his favorite games from Gen Con 2018 and offers some buying recommendations if you’re looking for the latest and greatest in strategy board games. Plus, learn a little about the role-playing game worlds of Starfinder, Arcanis: The World of Shattered Empires, and Savage Worlds. Continue reading “Game/Life Balance U.S. Podcast #054: Gen Con 2018 Board Game Review Special” »


Game/Life Balance U.S. Podcast Episode 25: Fantasy writing and board games of Gen Con 2016

Facebooktwitterredditmail

Cody and Jon discuss the fantasy writing workshops, board games, and other geek culture they experienced at the world’s largest gaming convention: Gen Con 2016!

Show Notes:


Bachman’s Best – Birthright #8

Facebooktwitterredditmail

birthright01

The best thing I read last week was Birthright #8.

Written by Joshua Williamson

Lines by Andrei Bressan

Color Art by Adriano Lucas and

Letters by Pat Brosseau

Month in and month out this title continues to be one to look forward to and a highlight each month in my pull list. Birthright is the best new fantasy story I have picked up since East of West. In 8 issues Williamson has done plenty of world building and filled the pages with action. It’s fast paced, beautiful, and filled with original creatures and fantastic ideas.

It is a hard book to talk about because when you start reading it you think it fits very nicely into a tried and true cliche fantasy story but then you hit the twist. And it’s a good one, not going to spoil it but it sets the story on it’s head and leaves the reader reeling for many issues. There’s not another book I read each month that seems so jam packed with story and yet so short, it’s always sad to reach the end and face another month long wait, and also so completely worth it to dive back in each month and follow the continuing adventures.

birthright__1

The beauty of Bressan’s lines and the power of Lucas’s colors flipping from dangerous darks to powerful neons is a stunning combination. As great as Williamson’s story is I’m betting Image could still do well selling this books with just the art and no words on the page.

Go out and hit your LCS and find the first issue. It went to multiple printings and shouldn’t be too hard to find. Or better yet, if you’ve come to trust my judgement go grab the Birthright vol 1 trade paperback. It’s Image’s standard $9.99 for a first volume which is how they get you hooked but believe me it’s worth it. It’ll be the best $10 you spend until the next Avengers film comes out.

 

comics-birthright-poster


Kill The Boy

Facebooktwitterredditmail

Joining us this week is Night Attack’s Justin Robert Young.  We talk Kit Harrington’s acting ability and comparisons between Jon Snow & Danaerys Targaryen. Will the Boltons make it out alive and how weird is a love story for a eunuch? Find out on the latest Tyrion’s Landing.


High Sparrow

Facebooktwitterredditmail

Arya has to wax on & then wax off. Jon Snow knows about beheading people now. Margaery throws some massive shade. Also, Sansa NOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!

 

 

 

Join Tyrion’s Landing as they talk about it all.


Season 5 Primer

Facebooktwitterredditmail

We’re now on the Gonna Geek Network!

 

Welcome back to Tyrion’s Landing! Today we’re going to reset where everyone is at to get ready for season 5! Is it April yet? Nikkie’s run out of time machines! Or so Jeannie believes.


Wednesday’s Webcomic: Guilded Age

Facebooktwitterredditmail

Guilded Age is a long-running, intricate, and hilarious high fantasy webcomic that surprises you with its depth and cleverness at nearly every turn, and one enormous plot twist you will not,  and I repeat not see coming. Billed as “the Saga of the Working Class Adventurer,” Guilded Age tells the story of a small group of ne’er-do-wells questing for cash. When they happen to get together and form a startlingly effective team, their local government decides to put them on salary to solve problems and spread peace, although this is usually achieved by the judicious use of violence. As their work takes on more and more political importance, their team grows, as well as the possibility that the very existence of their entire world is in jeopardy.

The comic uses interesting jumps in the story in the beginning, by telling you short stories from the team’s later missions while telling you the story of how they came together in the first place. As they reach the first climax in the story the comic the storytelling shifts into a direct line, with some side stories, frequent guest art interludes, and perspective shifts to the antagonists. Indeed, the many antagonists of this story are fascinating, with deep motivations and surprising placement. Layered between the crass jokes and jabs at MMO tropes is a nuanced plot with subtle politics and existential themes. The art is appropriately serious or cartoonish when appropriate with rich watercolor washes and tones. There was a changing of the guard in artists, and the change in style is subtle but distinct.

Page 1 Guilded Age

I’m going to wax poetic about this opening page here: Here is a beautifully drawn, colorful page that not only introduces and summarizes most of the principal characters but sets the tone for the entire epic adventure! This is a bar setter for opening pages.

The Authors and Their Other Works

The Guilded Age is created by a team: T Campbell, who writes both comics and crossword  puzzles,  Phil Kahn, a connoisseur of the internet and webcomics who also writes and draws a comic called Grown Ass Mans, and John Waltrip, known for the Robotech comics he worked on with his twin brother. The first artist was Erica Henderson who has worked in video games, comics, and illustration.


Wednesday’s Webcomic: The Order of the Stick

Facebooktwitterredditmail

Order of the Stick

This week’s recommendation is a big name, but I would like to reiterate that if at least someone hasn’t read a fantastic comic then it is worth my time to recommend it.  I am also hesitant to give any plot details whatsoever, as I believe it should all be experienced first hand. The Order of the Stick is a long running, fantasy parody comic with pithy gaming humor and complex, cerebral story lines worthy of the high fantasy pulp novels that inspire it. The art, while simplistic on the surface, will surprise you with it’s range of expression and flexibility. The story begins with one shot jokes that point out the practical failings of actually living in a Role-Playing Game as the characters discuss their levels, skill points, and passing their skill checks as if they were brushing their teeth or walking the dog. Very quickly and subtly an over-arching plot develops, and then another, and then another, and then they weave together deftly into one mind-boggling overarching storyline. The characters, which at first appear to be a fairly simple collection of fantasy trope characters, slowly reveal interesting depths and motivations. One character’s lack of explicit gender at first seems to be a simple joke, but over time becomes one of the most notable challengers of traditional gender roles I know of. The romances are also one of the most realistic and human parts of the story. Despite their cartoonish fantasy world they have all too familiar ambitions of a great romance, achieving mastery over their skills, building a family or a fortune, or simply finding some stability. The villains themselves are complex and challenge the black and white notion of good and evil in a fantasy universe. Thanks to one of the most successful Kickstarter campaigns of all time, The Order of the Stick is also available in its entirety in print.

The Author

Author Richard Burlew was formerly a professional graphic designer. A long time player and GM of Dungeons and Dragons campaigns, Burlew has also contributed to the Dungeons and Dragons monster manual and other canonical publications. The comic has updated mostly consistently over the course of it’s nearly decade long publication, although a private chronic condition occasionally prevents updates. In September of 2012, a serious hand injury prevented publication for a long stretch, but after surgery and physical therapy updates are back up to full swing with Burlew reporting he has made nearly a complete recovery.

Order of the Stick Page 1

From this humble beginning has grown one of the greatest fantasy epics I have ever read. For real. Have I ever steered you wrong?


Wednesday’s Webcomic: Battlepug

Facebooktwitterredditmail

Sometimes a webcomic is born from a strange place. In this case, an established mainstream print comic artist designed a t-shirt on the fly. The characters on the silly t-shirt became so wildly popular that a weekly webcomic had to follow, because the clamors of internet could not be denied. I mean really, who could deny the sweet, gigantic face of BattlepugThe Battlepug itself is the giant, fearsome mount of mighty barbarian mage-warrior, who is on quest for vengeance against those who destroyed his family. In an age lost to time, where bandits roam and kings squabble over petty grievances, a malevolent wizard is using giant, adorable beasts to destroy a seemingly random sequence of towns and villages. Our hero, the Warrior, is the lone survivor of one of these attacks. As he journeys to find vengeance against the mage he is joined on his quest by the massive and lovable Battlepug, a mad old hermit, a foul-mouthed and powerfully magical child, and a fearsome female soldier.

Battlbug is a tongue-in-cheek look at the pulp novels of the past, and the characters almost always approach their absurd situations with complete seriousness. This is a sword and sorcery comedy, although there are hints of a more serious storyline beneath it. The art is reminiscent of pulp novel covers and illustrations as well. It is brightly colored and richly detailed. THe characters are expressive and original, and every single one of the massive Battlepug’s sweet, derpy expressions warm my heart and make me squee! Even if he is rampaging through a battle! Who can say no reading more comics with that face? As an added bonus, fan’s pug pictures are featured on Fridays! The comic itself updates with excellent punctuality on Mondays. In 2012, it won the Eisner Award for Best Digital Comic. The first volume has been published by Dark Horse.

The Author and his Other Work 

Mike Norton is the writer and artist for Battlepug, and is the owner of a pug named Ninja. He has an impressive comics resume that includes the Waiting Place, Runaways, and Green Arrow/Black Canary as well as many others. He has also recently been working on Revival with Tim Seeley, to much critical acclaim. The colors are done by Allen Passalaqua, a photographer and colorist who has worked on Justice Socitey of America, Spiderman, Green Arrow and Black Canary.

A Boy and his Dog.

Our hero meets his mighty steed.


Wednesday’s Webcomic – Gunnerkrigg Court

Facebooktwitterredditmail

Gunnerkigg Court is the long-running story of a young woman and her close friends discovering their boarding school is much, much more than it seems. Quiet, polite Antimony Carver begins her first-year studies at the eponymous court and begins to notice the strange goings on and begins to investigate despite the obstacle of the tight-lipped faculty. Though she is very reserved, a gregarious and clever girl named Katerina Donlan, the daughter of two faculty members, manages to befriend her and the two of them slowly manage to unravel the tangle of myths, legends, alchemy and mad science that have built Gunnerkrigg Court. Their own unique talents and those of their classmates and teachers are slowly revealed to be tied into the broader story, as well as the ancient gods and monsters that make appearances.

Our Heroine Appears, with 2 Shadows

The stories are episodic and come to a conclusion at the end of every chapter, but all are tied into the larger, broader mystery of the origins of Gunnerkrigg Court and its neighboring forest. Some chapters are very dark and tragic, though with positive endings and thankfully there are frequent comedic chapters to balance the mood. The art quality evolves quickly and keeps a consistent style and the characters age and evolve naturally, with sumptuous rich colors and intricate detail that shows all of the author’s attention to his historical and anthropological research. The mythologies of many cultures as well as the history of science are among many of the unique things a reader may learn after researching something that pops up in the story either in the background or mentioned directly. The characters are deep and flawed, all of them acting like the children they are and growing realistically while learning about life, love, and their own natural gifts. Gunnerkrigg updates three times a week without fail, as the author keeps himself at a 30 page buffer ahead of the projected publishing date.

The Author

Tom Siddell is very private, and does not reveal much about his personal life. He prefers to only discuss the comic and the world he has built. He has revealed that he lives in Birmingham, England and that he was a graphic artist at a video game company. He recently began to devote himself to Gunnerkrigg Court full time.Many pages have an amusing comment about the page at the bottom, which I recommend reviewing, and his tumblr features many bits of fan art he’s drawn for other properties and Gunnerkrigg Court related news as well as spiders. The Gunnerkrigg Court graphic novels are published by Archaia Entertainment and lots of high quality merchandise and prints have recently appeared at Topatoco.

Treatise 5