Category Archives: comics

Hiatus ends now!

As @katgonegamer so wonderfully started a new blog over there, I can’t help but comment on her first post.
See, I might write about games here more often than not, but I don’t consider myself a gamer. It’s not that playing video games does not incorporate quite a number of my free hours (I’m looking at you here, Monster Hunter 4 ultimate!), but that my interests aren’t limited to video games. I enjoy reading comics as well. (Yeah, I know this is the geeky way.) I read literature. (I teach English, so that is pretty obvious.), and I also have an active interest in history (Being a history teacher this is again obvious.) Then I like to program (Captain Obvious to the rescue–I teach ICT as well.)

As I’ve just realized, I haven’t been playing video games for a rather long time. I fondly remember the games I played in my youth: Summer Games, Summer Games II, Winter Games, Roland’s Rat Race, Ultima V, Bards Tale II, Space Taxi and quite a lot more. All of these I played on the C=64. I switched to a PC shortly before going to university and played a bit of Doom and Heretic. LaterI enjoyed Age of Empires and Age of Kings as well as Starcraft. Then my interest in games dwindled away for a long time and was only reawakened when my firstborn got a Nintendo 3DS XL for Christmas. Quite a long hiatus.

That said, I have been playing on my Nintendo 3DS for well over a year and can’t imagine ever giving it up again.

Rant: Lego Marvel Super Heroes

I freely admit that I’m an “old age” returner when it comes to video games. In fact, I never thought that I’d return to gaming after my youth of playing with the C= 64 and, much later, the original Nintendo Gameboy.

Well, our daughter wished for a Nintendo 3DSXL last Christmas. She got a nice red one with a small number of games. Long story short, 7 days later I was the proud owner of a blue 3DSXL as well as some games. (Apparently leaving gaming behind can be problematic.)

I grew especially fond of the Lego games. So far I’ve mastered:

  • Batman
  • Batman 2
  • Lord of the Rings
  • Pirates of the Carribean

What I really like about them, apart from the humour, is the fact that while you can die in the game (=lose all hearts), all you lose is a mere 1000 points because you are resurrected immediately next to the spot you died on.

It is this ease of play that really makes the Lego games utterly enjoyable. With this in mind let us turn our attention to the Lego Marvel Super Heroes game:

Lego Marvel Super Heroes BoxLooks pretty slick, right?

Let’s start the game. The first character you get to play is the Hulk. Guess his role. Yeah, right something like:


Sad, but true, this is the only Lego game that I’ve played where you can’t jump. We’re not talking about a double jump, but about a simple hop. And it is not only the Hulk, but every character has been made jump-less. Spider-Man for example can use his web, but mostly has to walk or run up to his opponents. Very funny, when compared to the comics.

But wait, there is more!

You also don’t resurrect after you die. Instead, the mission (=level) fails and you have to start again. This means that you will have a rather hard time to beat the bosses at the end of each level. I can’t even remember the number of tries it took me to take out Doc Oc at the end of the first part. Well done, folks. Nothing like that to turn gaming into a frustrating experience.

And finally:

In all other Lego games so far, beating the boss lets you enter the next chapter of the story. Well, not with Lego Marvel Super Heroes. Here you have to beat the boss and have had collected enough special bricks throughout the level. In case you haven’t, tough luck, enter free play mode and try to find the remaining ones. Utterly enjoyable, especially when it is so easy to die and in consequence fail the mission.

So, do yourself a favour and stay away from this game.




Peter Parker returns as Amazing Spider-Man

Amazing Spider-Man #1Today is the day Peter Parker returns as Amazing Spider-Man in the appropriately named Amazing Spider-Man #1 (AKA the Marvel Now reboot). I’m really happy about this as Spidey is one of my childhood heroes back from the day when I quit reading Mickey Mouse for, ehm, serious comics.

Therefore, no wonder that I grabbed my issue and can’t wait to read it. Still I wish they had changed the cover. I’ve already bithced about that here.

The Digital Comic Museum

Apparently, there is a digital comic museum. Museums are always nice to have, especially when one doesn’t have to actually subject oneself to the elements (aka go outside) to visit one.

What really makes the Digital Comic Museum outstanding is that you can not only look at the items, but also download them for your research (aka reading pleasure). The only downside to the museum is that for obvious copyright reasons comics and characters from the major publishers (DC, Marvel and Disney to name a few) are missing. That said, it still is a tremendous resource for anyone interested in pop art/popular culture and its history before the 1960s.

Thanks to Open Culture’s Rebecca Onion for the point in the right direction.

Now, I’m off to research!


My Little Pony: Friends Forever #2

My Little Pony: Friends Forever #2With “Friends Forever” the comic franchise My Little Pony got a second ongoing series right next to “Friendship Is Magic”. And while My Little Pony: Friends Forever #1 was a rather disappointing start (the story was uninspired and the art mediocre), #2 is a different story entirely.

Written by no other than Jeremy Whitley (of Princeless fame!) it promised and really delivered! It’s full of great ideas and references to popular culture (just like in the original Friendship Is Magic series!)

What’s even more important, it sends out a strong message of friendship and support especially to those who are ostracised by others. Long story short: I like it!

Here is a short sample for you:

My Little Pony #2 sample

The Bunker (restart from Oni Press)

As mentioned here, I really enjoyed reading The Bunker. So, I’ve just gotten my copy of the new (restart) edition of Oni Press.

The Bunker (Oni Press) #1After thumbing through the book I have to say that the change from black & white to coloured pencil art definitely adds to the gloomy dark mood of the comic series. And while I normally don’t like republishing stories so soon after their first publication, I’ll make an exemption on this one and get it, too.

If you’d like to see a direct comparison between new and old artwork, here is one:

Art comparison

Art comparison

More can be found over at Joe Infurnari’s tumblr!

Ms. Marvel #1 review

Ms. Marvel #1What seems to be the most anticipated comic book of 2014 (at least at the moment) has come to its audience. And apparently everyone of this audience and their mother and dogs seems to like it.

Well, I for one can’t really judge it after only one issue, but I’m not very convinced of the story. There are several downsides I noticed, but what really threw me off was the use of every cliché that could possibly come to mind given that the hero of the series is a muslim and has (who would have thought) muslim parents:

  • Kamala is a geek/nerd. She likes the smell of bacon, writes fanfiction of Marvel superheros and is an outsider at ther school because of her religion/ethnic background.
  • Her schoolmates use her and her friend’s religious beliefs to ridicule them.
  • Kamala’s brother is a very devoted muslim, praying all the time. He is ridiculed for this by his own family.
  • Her father is the family’s patriarch.
  • Kamala believes that she would be treated differently by her parents if she were a boy. (Compare previous point.)
  • Possible love interest in the not-muslim and not-Pakistani figure of Bruno.

Come on. Isn’t this just a bit too much?