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7906  Community / Off-Topic / I suppose it makes sense on: January 20, 2009, 05:08:31 AM
Abseiling K-9 units
7907  Community / License to Improvise / Re: A thought... on: January 19, 2009, 11:02:12 PM
I dislike giving them the construct quality because it rules out a lot fo the conditions Transformers have explicitly been shown suffering
7908  Community / License to Improvise / A thought... on: January 19, 2009, 01:22:54 PM
Transformers as horrors
7909  Community / Fiction and Story Hour / Digging In The Dirt - passage 1 on: January 18, 2009, 10:41:37 PM
I'm standing in an open yard outside a white house with a boarded up front door and closed storm shutters, its garden beds full of weeds. By my feet is a broken mailbox , rusting away in the tangled grass. It's clearly been years since anyone lived here. This is not the home coming I'd imagined when I'd left.

I mount the stairs like a woman condemned, each step marked by the hollow groan of wood and the fluttering of the  breeze playing with the faded remains of crime scene tape tied to the banisters. The crowbar in my hand is a key to beginning to understand what happened here, but it's the unfamiliar weight of the compact RX4 Storm snuggled against the small of my back that comforts me because it's not something I feel afraid of.

The air smells musty when I crack the chipboard sheet open and the morning sun shows me the collection of broken glass and shattered wood that's all that's left of the front door. Stretching away beyond that is the hall carpet covered in the dark stain that had once been my father's blood, unbound by even the memory of chalk or tape. I have to jump slightly to get past it and follow my shadow into the gloom.

Everything is in disarray, things swept off shelves and out of cupboards and left strewn haphazardly across the floor, every single container left open and emptied. The lounge suite has been torn open, the stuffing spiling out over the spray pattern left by my mother's murder, the place she fell as unmarked by others as my father's. Pillows and mattresses have suffered the same fate. No room had been left untouched by the people who did this, suggesting that if they were looking for something beyond sheer destruction they didn't probably find it.

But if they'd been looking for something, why start by killing the people who could've told you where it was? It must have been something the killers thought they could find without help, because it's easy to tell that the first thing they did was kill the people in the house before they ransacked it.
7910  Community / Off-Topic / Re: Batman/DC Universe Discussion on: January 18, 2009, 12:29:19 AM
Quote from: Number Three
For example, ever since this big manga wave hit, I have never found a single book of Japanese born, American raised Stan Sakai's fantastic english samurai drama Usagi Yojimbo in the chain stores.  Since the book chains are more than happy to carry Dark Horse Comics translated manga, the only conclusion I can come to is that they don't bother with the critically acclaimed, Japanese-themed, already-in-print series because it was originally written in english, so it wouldn't fit.  Angry )

I suspect it might have more to do with the fact that on the face of it it may be interpretted as a furry book
7911  Community / Off-Topic / Re: Batman/DC Universe Discussion on: January 18, 2009, 12:27:18 AM
Another thought on the Japanese output: the manga I'd refuse to buy I'd probably watch as an anime of because movement and sound (dubbed, naturally) can cover and make up for a multitude of sins, investing static images and printed words with drama and dynamism and emotional intensity (which subs just don't give you anything like you get from dubs).
7912  Products / Spycraft 2.0 / Something gunbunny players and GCs might appreciate on: January 17, 2009, 01:16:57 PM
Nazarian's Gun Recognition Guide
7913  Community / Off-Topic / Re: Movie News, Reviews and Reaction thread. on: January 17, 2009, 03:48:49 AM
I'm watching Sky Captain for the first time since its cinematic release -- and I've realised I'd forgotten just how much I disliked Polly Perkins. To the point that even though it's an enjoyable story her presence in it still makes me reluctant to actually spend money on buying the DVD
7914  Community / Off-Topic / Re: Godzilla Likes to Roar on: January 16, 2009, 08:35:23 PM
Godzilla's just got a barrel chest and massive pecs.
7915  Community / License to Improvise / Re: Futuristic Hacking - Avatar Battles on: January 16, 2009, 12:37:57 PM
Fantasycraft tease
7916  Community / Off-Topic / Re: Batman/DC Universe Discussion on: January 16, 2009, 10:40:08 AM
You should really check out the Marvel Adventures line -- they're actually fun, where the characters are all likeable and heroic. The Avengers book in that line is complete and utter win - Iron Man, Cap, Spidey, Thor, Storm, Hulk, Wolvie and Giant Girl (Janet van Dyne).

They team up with the Agents of Atlas against Kang

Or here's the solicit for issue #31: Good Things Come to Those Who Bait! With the Avengers vacationing on the sunny California beaches, Tigra hopes to finally conquer her fear of water, but things go sour when Iron Man challenges Luke Cage to a deep sea fishing contest and the two of them, ahem, bend the rules a bit. Iron Man sends a sonar pulse to stir up the really big fish, unfortunately rousing not only a monster from the deep, but also one seriously angry Prince of Atlantis...Namor, the Sub-Mariner! Lucky the Avengers brought the Hulk along! It's the slugfest to end all slugfests, and it does nothing to help Tigra's fear of water!
7917  Community / Off-Topic / Re: Reaperwatch 2009: Weep for the Wicked on: January 16, 2009, 10:05:43 AM
Sir John Mortimer, creator of Rumpole of the Bailey and defender of Lady Chatterly
7918  Community / Off-Topic / Re: Batman/DC Universe Discussion on: January 16, 2009, 09:35:29 AM
DB(Z) and Sailor Moon typifies the Big Eyes Small Mouth art that turns a lot of people off from manga -- and you'll notice that they're pitched at a very young audience for whom that physiogonomy is closer to the other bizare inhuman and childish faces they're exposed to (big eyes area signpost of infancy, and seeing that on !youngsters trips a squick factor in many people).

Now look at Robotech or Battle of the Planets or Star Blazers or GitS or even Death Note, all targetted at older audiences from teens to adults. Those all display the typical japanese fetish for larger than usual eyes but even so the proportions of the faces are much closer to classic real-life ones.

At the moment, manga -- noticeably including "local" stuff produced in the west with an eye towards western artistic and narrative sensibilities -- is a large growth market within the comics marketplace. A generation ago it would never have happened, but the fact key anime imports like Star Blazers, Akira and Robotech broke into the western market that generation ago paved the way for manga to follow in their footsteps. Thus primed, the fact that manga comes in digests that are comparatively better value for money on a page-to-page basis is a big advantage for it.

There's also the factor that the Japanese never really got stuck in the rut of Western culture's belief that comics are essentially juvenile and male-orientated; a lot of western manga readers are women looking for the relationships and storylines aimed at them that western comics don't possess -- DC for example have just canned their second (or third?) imprint aimed at female comics buyers, and the big 2 seem incapable of grasping that the lack of any sort of major female creative input in their core circles of Silver-age obsessed old-boys is just going to keep driving the female audience they want away.

Let's look at Marvel for a good example: the One More Day/Brand New Day storyline in Spiderman, hailed essentially universally as one of the worst creative decisions Marvel have ever made. Basically, Marvel Editor in chief Joe Quesada by his own admission hates the fact that Peter and M-J are married. Not because he thinks Peter should be with someone else but because he misses the Silver Age and thinks the fact that Peter's married means readers are incapable of identifying with him as an everyman hero.

Take a moment to consider that most comics buyers these days aren't kids, they're young adults, many of whom are in long term relationships or married, even some with children. Consider also that Marvel have unsuccessfully tried to can the spin-off title Spidergirl -- about Peter & MJ's daughter May -- a number of times, a title that would appear to have one of the company's higher female audience ratios. And consider that Peter has one of the few happy relationships going in comicdom at the moment, which somethin that tends to attract female readers.

Naturally the marriage can't end normally, because divorce would just further distance the character from Quesada's creepy fantasies the audience. No. He forces a plotline on the then writer of the book -- who subsequently disowned any creative involvement -- that has Spiderman sell his marriage to the Devil in order to save Aunt May from a gunshot wound that miraculously no one else in the entirity of the Marvel Universe could fix.

Because, obviously, selling out to the Devil is something that everyone can identify with and find admirable and aspire towards unlike developing and maintaining a commited loving relationship.

It's like the Dark Age of the 90s all over again.
7919  Community / Off-Topic / Re: Batman/DC Universe Discussion on: January 16, 2009, 04:37:36 AM
Well that's part of the problem -- to the average person, comics and superheroes are essentially the same thing because that's essentially what the mainstream industry in America publishes to the exclusion of most else for newstand distribution. The only non-Supers book I've ever seen in that market with any sort of regularity are comedy books -- mostly The Simpsons -- and occasionally some of the Dark Horse Star Wars books. Thanks to the depredations of mid 20th Century censorship, the horror and pulp comics that used to be the industry's mainstay are long gone, and the war comics boom was mostly a WWII propaganda phenomena that was quickly killed off.

It's only when you go to a specialty comics store that you realise the true diversity of the medium -- mostly because comic shops are the only place to easily access the indy publishers, which frankly includes the mature-readers targeted Vertigo books -- and even then superheroics still massively predominates (not surprising given it's essentially physically idealised people nude bouncing around the pages (largely) without the actual nudity to get in the way of things.

And honestly I wouldn't touch most manga because while there are some great dynamic story telling techniques, the art is all too often hideously alien -- sure superheroines might have perfectly spherical breasts the size of their head, but they have faces the dimensions of which are obviously humanly normal, unlike far far too much manga where the women have the absurd breasts AND faces that look they belong to the evolutionary ancestors of the grey aliens. You'll notice that those manga-based animes that have really hit it off here have had phenomenal story telling AND recognisably western-styled art, though the current generation who have been raised with anime are far more accepting of it because it's been made normal to them.
7920  Community / License to Improvise / Re: New Origins on: January 15, 2009, 09:34:01 PM
The final fight in P1 shows their natural IR sight to be fairly poor and flaring crazily -- once Dutch gets more than a few yards ahead of him, he basically has to track him by sound (and likely scent -- the inside of those mandible flaps probably work in a manner identical to a snake's tongue). The helmet not only increases their natural visual range but also filters it like crazy for them.

The fact they have natural IR vision at all suggests that they should actually come from a cold planet because IR in a hot enviroment is actually a massive hinderance and hunting in hot conditions is probably something of a display of machismo rather than them being cry babies about Earth being a little on the nippy side (and AVP did show them happily running around in their usual armoured lingerie in the Antartic). but most of the EU stuff has stupidly run in the opposite direction (as does AVP2)
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