Andy’s Current Favorites: August 2020

GhostAndy

102380642_10158439670604804_5381519564782526610_nHey Gang! Andy Larson here, back with my monthly set of quick hits on lots of random comic book and pop culture nonsense that could be their own separate smaller articles, but since I’m a sucker for giving GotS fans decent reading content, I’ve squished it all together into one hodgepodge.

Before I begin with that though, I wanted to again give a shameless plug to our weekly podcast in hopes of getting a few more listeners before the next episode comes out tomorrow. Last week was the second part of GotS’ first foray into doing a non comic book related podcast as we tackled the topic of what our favorite video games have been over the years!

Now, for those of you that have come to appreciate the fact that our podcast is solely focused on comic book news and reviews, let me state publicly, that these episodes about video games are more of a fun summer time treat for our fans vs. some sort of change in course for our podcast going forward. You can still count on our podcast providing you with your weekly comic book fix, but if once in a while we can give you something a little different, we’re happy to oblige.

That being said, the video game episodes are something near and dear to our hearts as we are all some what avid gamers here at GotS in one way or another. In fact, in searching through our archives I thought I’d share this pic I found of the GotS folks, myself and my two fellow co-hosts, Chad Smith & Rob Stewart, playing a session of Rock Band from a couple years ago at one of our Halloween parties.

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Just making it clear that it was several years ago though, as we are definitely respecting the social distancing as I feel all of you out there should too.

Still though for those of you that are intrigued why Stew is in a suit and tie in this picture, if I recall correctly it’s because he went as the infamous internet creepy pasta figure “The Slender Man”, and this pic was taken after he removed the mask because as he claimed, “it was so difficult to breathe in that damn thing”.

As for myself, if you are wondering about the bullets on my belt, I went as a WWII version of Captain America. In fact, here I am in the full costume with my son, Jakob, who was really little at the time. He’s 8 years old now so that should give you a rough idea about how long ago this party actually happened (if the notion of actively playing Rock Band at a party wasn’t a good enough indication anyways).

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Yeah…I know. Jakob’s face in this picture is priceless. I’m sure the pic was taken after he took a look at Stew in the Slender Man costume, because that was unsettling.

But anyways, those video game episodes Part 1 and Part 2 are still available for you to listen to on not only this website, but any of the myriad ways you get our podcast like Apple Podcasts, Spotify and others!

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Current Comic Book I’m Reading:

Giant Days Volume 3

by John Allison, Lissa Treiman, & Max Sarin

 

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One thing I don’t do enough is follow up on some of the series that we review on some of the episodes of our podcast. Sure, I might read the first trade or two of a particular indie darling as my assignment for that week, but I often don’t come back and read the rest. Not because I disliked the book, but just because there are so many comic books to read and review that I often get caught up in the whirlwind of the show and the constant pressure to “move on” as it were.

Well, given I have this particular article every month, and the comic I often talk about in it is not a “full read pile” review, I thought that this would be a great opportunity to revisit some of those past series with an update. Therefore this month I decided to go back and read more of Giant Days!

For those of you that haven’t listened to the episode about this Eisner award winning coming of age saga about three young women in their college years, I highly recommend clicking on the link below after you are done reading. But in short, Giant Days volume 3 did not disappoint in continuing the terrific characterization and humor that the first two volumes delivered. In fact, I feel like this is the type of comic that just gets better the more issues you read of it given once all the main characters are introduced such as Esther, Daisy, Susan, Mcgraw, and Ed, like any good sitcom, the wheels start spinning faster as the narrative’s momentum starts pushing you through to the next issue and the next.

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The main character development of volume 3 really comes from the characters of Ed, who driven by the burden of unrequited love for Esther, does some significant “growing up” from a sexual standpoint as men his age often do, and from Susan, who gets embroiled in a campus political campaign that costs her a relationship with Mcgraw.

Honestly, as someone that is a “shipper” at heart, I think that was my biggest critism of the series through volume 3 in that the relationship between Susan and Mcgraw seems rushed. It’s somewhat of focal point of the book, yet it’s like they were too quickly put together as a couple, and even more quickly broken apart. Now whether that’s John Allison commenting on the flighty nature of college relationships in general or the classic “Sam/Diane” notion that it’s boring from a story perspective to have a couple be happy and content, I’m not sure.

But what I can say is that although hilarious and well written, I thought the move to break them apart was somewhat premature. Either that or the actual coupling of them in the first place was, but regardless, as a result it lacked any of the emotional punch that the split should have had. I can’t help but feel we weren’t given enough time to care about the relationship to care that it really broke apart, and that’s makes this somewhat of a wasted effort.

Despite that though, if you enjoy humor or slice of life comics, I still can highly recommend picking up Giant Days as volume 3 continued the solid storytelling that I expected from the series after doing the initial review on the podcast.

Click here to listen to a Review of Giant Days Volume 1 & 2

9.24.19

 

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Current Favorite Video Game:

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic

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Again back to last week’s podcast, I’m sure that some of you heard me name this particular game as my favorite RPG of all time, which again was some feat given the massive amount of games from this genre I’ve played over the years. What some of you might not know is that I’ve actually recently restarted playing this classic tale of the war between Darth Revan and Darth Malek some 4,000 years before the events of the original trilogy of movies. Replaying in a way that I didn’t even think was going to be possible when the game was originally released way back in 2003, and that’s on my Kindle Fire of all things!

Yes, a couple years back, Amazon was offering a free version of KOTR as part of a deal with up and coming developers called Kindle Underground. It basically touted the fact that the game could have some bugs in it because it was “a work in progress”, but offered the game to those that wanted to “play test” it. Turns out that this particular version of KOTR is the same one that they would eventually release on mobile devices so it was in essence the production version that I scored for nothing.

Now I will say that I haven’t really touched the game since I originally snagged it and squirreled it away like delicious nerdy acorn. But since we did this video game podcast coupled with the renewed interest in Star Wars thanks to my kids current obsession with it, I decided to replay this game once again for the first time in 20 years.

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Of course, I am doing this with the intention of getting the “Dark Side” ending which is not how I beat the game the first go around. I will say that’s more difficult than you might think as believe it or not, I’m a decent guy so it’s somewhat against my nature to act like a “space jerk”. Still though, given the fact that the main character in this video game is actually a Dark Lord of the Sith, it always seemed to me that picking the “Sith” path was the actual correct way the story should flow, despite many out on the interwebs saying that BioWare specifically said Light Side Male is the “canonical” ending to that game.

Regardless, I will say that it’s a bloody shame that this game hasn’t been released for the Nintendo Switch, given they have proved it can be ported to systems as simple as tablets and phones. Aspyr, the company that made the ports of this game for these mobile devices, has made other Switch ports of previously released Star Wars related PC games over the past year including Jedi Outcast and Jedi Academy, so I don’t see what the hold up is. Probably has to do deal with the license of this game reverting to Electronic Arts and the fact that they seem to hate releasing games to the Switch with a passion.

Oh well, until then I am getting used to the notion of playing this game by swiping the screen as I lay in bed late at night, so maybe this whole replay on the tablet won’t be so bad!


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Current Favorite TV Show:

The Original Twilight Zone

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Time enough at last!

Such a famous quote from one of the best known episodes of this landmark anthology series from the golden days of television, I think given the past couple of months in which many of us have been living in COVID 19 enforced isolation, we all have felt like Henry Bemis more than a little bit.

For those of you that have been living under a pop culture rock though, I’m referring to the episode where a nerdy Mr. Bemis who cares little for anything other than his precious books survives a nuclear war and is thrilled to finally have enough time to sit by himself and read. Of course, his plans are derailed when he breaks his coke bottle glasses which pretty much renders him blind, thus unable to enjoy his solitude.

I feel like that’s very apt for our current circumstances in which I’m sure there are many that found initial excitement in being able to work from home, hoping to fill there free moments catching up with all kinds of TV shows they missed, video games they didn’t get to play, and lots and lots of books to read. All of course without the constant interference of dealing with other people.

Of course, after a few weeks of this, many realized that social isolation isn’t everything its cracked up to be, and that their paradise of free time came with a major price, shattering their coke bottle rose colored glasses. I feel like this a major reason why some folks are being so irrational about taking even a modicum of precautionary steps now. They refuse to realize the bomb has already gone off. We are living in the world after that, not the world before. And the world after is a very lonely isolated place, with plenty of time to read books, but little to no time for human interaction. And even if we wanted to read those books, we can’t see them right because we are racked with anxiety and stress that why would we want to?

So even the seeming “upside” of a post apocalyptic wasteland has been washed away by our actual experience, and so these folks want to do anything to go back to life as it was before, even if that’s denying science and common sense.

But that’s enough of me waxing my personal opinions under the guise of a TV show review. Long story short, I have been watching a decent amount of Twilight Zone over the past couple of months since COVID started. My co-host, Chad Smith, asked me the other day if I had watched any episodes of the new Jordan Peele reboot of the show, to which I unfortunately had to say “no”.

Although I might have time to watch Twilight Zone, I don’t have the motivation to get CBS All Access to get a version that’s not available at the click of a button on Netflix. I probably would watch it if it was on CBS network TV, but those are the breaks…

 

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