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Amy Jo Johnson Wants to Watch a Movie With You

Culture, film, Showcase, Videos

March 15, 2017

You remember Amy Jo Johnson, yes? With all the attention being paid to the new Power Rangers movie, we thought it might be interesting to take a look at what one of the originals is doing – and, in short, she is continuing her quest to be awesome.

Amy’s gone on to act in other projects (Felecity and Flashpoint), flirted with music (The Trans-American Treatment and Imperfect),  and done a number of short films (Bent, Lines, and others). She was kind enough to take a moment from her incredibly busy schedule to speak with us before, and you can read that interview by clicking here. She’s not the sort to rest on her laurels, though, and has just completed writing, directing, and producing her first-ever feature film, The Space Between Us.

Here’s the trailer:

That looks both cute and poignant, which is interesting given the potential seriousness of the subject material.

According to press materials, “The Space Between is a heartfelt comedy about Mitch, a 35-year-old new father, whose world is turned upside down when he finds out his adored baby isn’t his. Leaving his wife, he sets out on a mission to find the man who ruined his life. As his wife Jackie is desperate to win him back, she enlists the help of her best friend and family as they embark on a journey to find Mitch.” It’s was the 2014 IndieWire Project of the Year, part of the 2015 Tribeca All Access Program, the 2015 Telefilm Micro Budget program, and developed in the producers’ lab at the Canadian Film Center. It premiered at the Shanghai International Film Festival before moving on to the Whistler Film Festival, the Savannah Film Festival, and is about to be shown at Gina Davis’ Bettonville Film Festival.

It stars Michael Ironside (Top Gun), Kristian Bruun (Orphan Black), Jayne Eastwood (Chicago), Julia Sarah Stone (Wet Bum), and Amy herself.

All of that is kind of great, but it is not the coolest part of this whole endeavour: rather, Amy Jo Johnson has started The Space Between Super Host Theatrical Tour, wherein eight lucky winners of a contest will be chosen to host a special one-night screening of the film with Amy Jo Johnson herself in their hometown. The contest opens March 15th and goes through to April 1st, 2017, with the eight winners being announced at the end of April and the film going on tour in the summer of this year.

The Space Between team will handle all of the logistics of booking the theater and the eight winners will get to take home 5% of the Producer’s Box Office earnings for their screening, and get to spend the evening with Amy Jo Johnson as the host of the event.

Giveaways are also part of the contest, with Amy awarding prizes that include t-shirts, Skype dates, and a one-time grand prize private dinner with Amy Jo Johnson and her producer, Jessica Adams. You can, should, and must click here to learn more and fill out an application, or click here if you want to learn more.  In short, applicants will submit a pitch video describing why they want to host the film and Amy in their hometown and how they plan to bring their friends, family, and community out for the screening that night.

The Space Between team can be found on Twitter and FaceBook simply be clicking the place you’d like to communicate with them. Amy Jo Johnson is also on Twitter, FaceBook, Instagram, and has her very own website, and you can find any of those spots by clicking on them. All of them are pretty great.

Good luck, peoples. The clock it is ticking.

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God of Comics: Ghostbusters 101 #1

God Of Comics, Reviews, Showcase

March 15, 2017

Well, this takes me back.

Erik Burnham was writing this comic when I first started the whole God of Comics thing for Living Myth Magazine. It had this weird stylized Dan Schoening art that made it instantly recognizable and tried to marry the various cartoons and comics that came before (excepting the one with the gorilla) and worked excessively well. It also set the stage for the themes IDW would continue to explore in the comics that followed: themes like integration, family, and diversity.

Without Erik Burnham’s work on Ghostbusters, there would be no TMNT, no Jem and the Holograms, no GI Joe. The modern IDW comics owe a lot to this title and Transformers, so the idea of Erik returning to work on the characters he did such a good job with before is exciting… especially following the fallout of the last feature film.

Let’s get this out of the way now: I enjoyed the new movie. It was not as good as the first but was loads better than the second and it could easily spark a whole new franchise. The deleted scenes are great, the themes explored therein are a lot of fun, and the characters are kind of amazing (I have a head canon that Patty is putting herself through college and is majoring in New York’s history and sociology).

The set-up here is that the original team – Venkman, Stantz, Zeddemore, and Spengler – are opening up franchises because of course they are, and that means bringing people into the home office to learn the ropes. Some of those students poke around where they shouldn’t and end up merging two universes together, a thing that happens in IDW quite a lot (and explains their weird and often excellent crossovers).

In practical terms, this means that Venkman, Stantz, Zeddemore, and Spengler will get to work with Holtzmann, Yates, Tolan, and Gilbert as equals, with respect to both iterations of the franchise being seen as equally valid. This is the best sort of writing, and this comic promises to be a lot of fun.

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372

Fiction – Love is War 03-00-02-07

Books & Writing, Short Fictions, Showcase

November 27, 2015

Every week, we’re going to post some new fiction for you to devour and read, with original art as a header, and then a collected version for purchase from our store when the book is complete. Questions? Comments? The writers are right here, and they’ll respond as they’re able. 

***

Click here to read previous entry.

***

– 03:00:02:07 –

It was a strangeness, to be sure. Sotaas was uncertain how he felt about it, especially at first. There was a closeness between Veskur and Endrall that he didn’t want to get between, but Veskur seemed to be alright with it – or, at least, she seemed to be as alright with it as she was capable of being – and Endrall was all for it. The boy spent four days regaling him with reasons why they should be lovers but still Sotaas was not certain; they knew each other only barely and had nothing to fall back on if anything should go wrong, save their mutual tie to the Lady Wyrd.

However, Endrall was insistent, so much more insistent than Sotaas was willful. Endrall held him and he felt something he had not felt in so many long years – loved, wanted, desired, cherished. And though Sotaas was older than Endrall, the boy still seemed so wise, so powerful. He walked into a room and all eyes turned to him and there was something nice about being woven to someone possessed of such gravity.

So much of Sotaas’ depth was hidden. Like a mountain, much of what made him who he was, was kept safe from eyes that might otherwise search those qualities out. Betrayal and betrayal and betrayal had taught him to do this, and so he played to his own consul, living up to his ideals as best he could and never compromising those ideals in spite of the problems and troubles that continued to assault him.

The first five seasons he was in Endrall’s arms made him feel safer than ever he had been. Endrall made him feel like he could trust people again, like he could conquer the world. The gaurn that Veskur and he had made also helped: Sotaas found himself wandering the wild places with an ease that no other noble of his House had ever dreamed of possessing, leaving no sign or mark of his passage. Thanks to this new Science, he was now always able to find shelter or location, always knew what was around him and where he was. He had always been talented at navigating the stranger roads outside of Midgard, but now his House looked to him as if he were the greatest scout their line had produced.

He was not certain how to deal with the attention that consistently sought him out.

He and Veskur were still experimenting with his gaurn, still trying to determine what it was fully capable of. The survivability and alertness he experienced while wearing the tool, to say nothing of the capacity to fade into the wider world, were apparently not enough for the Good Lady. She seemed to think that there should be more to the wonders that this tool could produce, but Sotaas was not so certain. Wasn’t what they had accomplished enough?

Sotaas did not need to ask to know what Veskur’s opinion on that would have been.

Their work brought them closer and closer, though sometimes Veskur would pass on the chance to re-examine the equations that seemed to be her only joy so that they could look at the myths of faraway cultures. It was through these studies that Sotaas learned more about the Hsien and the Kami, the Trahmin and the Darroken, the Zaerm and even the Coeecians. These studies kept him amused. He wasn’t certain what Veskur was searching for in the lies that the lesser nations used to justify their place in this world.

In the quieter hours of the night, Sotaas admitted to himself that he didn’t care what Veskur was looking for. It passed the time, and gave him more of an excuse to wander further and further from the lands any Vanir knew.

When things turned dark with Endrall they would both turn to Veskur. Endrall would retreat and spend some time alone with her, and then the Good Lady would talk with him and then everything would be alright again, at least for a little while. Sotaas wondered what the two of them got up to, but believed that Endrall was up front about everything they did. Veskur herself sometimes asked Sotaas if he knew what the two of them were doing and Sotaas said that he did, confident that Endrall was hiding nothing from him.

It would be seasons later that he would learn otherwise.

Endrall was going to Veskur for physical affection in addition to whatever advice the Good Lady could offer. Outside what Sotaas had been told, the two of them were exploring one another with a desperate hunger that bordered on insanity. Sotaas sat still and quiet when he learned this. He could be forgiving. He and Endrall spoke of it for a time and then he went to confront Veskur, who shook and looked even paler than usual and would not meet Sotaas’ eyes.

“I thought you knew,” she said. “I thought you knew I thought you knew I thought you knew.” Sotaas looked at her through the senses that his gaurn offered and saw the hairline fractures that were beginning to form in Veskur’s psyche, the evidence of a terrible breaking to come. He knew, then, that he and Endrall were all of what was keeping the Good Lady from shattering completely.

Love is War 03-00-02-07

They talked everything out, Veskur confessing her entire litany of sins, of every time that Endrall had come to her for comfort. Sotaas listened and was reminded of the core betrayals that had shaped his life – the time his mother had abandoned him in the wilds to die, the time his closest friend had turned on him and tried to destroy him – but this was something new. His mother’s sin had been apathy and his friend had acted out of sheer malicious spite, but Veskur had believed they were being open with one another when they had not been.

It was damaging, terribly damaging to the tie between them, but that tie and the order of Deeam kept the two of them talking and they worked what crossed them to a parallel.

All that crossed between him and Endrall, however, was harder. Endrall berated him, mocked him, tried to make him feel less while depending on him for emotional stability. He tried to undermine every dream Sotaas built for himself, doubted the rightness of his decisions, made him question the purity of his vision or the strength of his will. And whenever he questioned him on this or pointed out the flaws in the boy’s logic Endrall would explode, yelling information that spun in circles before fleeing back to Veskur, still expecting the Good Lady to set things right.

The Good Lady always seemed to find the time to set things right.

When Endrall announced that he was going to the Darroken lands and that he intended to bring Sotaas with him, Sotaas was ecstatic. Here was a chance for the two of them to escape the confines of Midgard and talk things over without the shadow of Sahr Eri looming over them or the spiked balm of Veskur Wyrd there to soothe the fury in their hearts.

From the moment they left, however, things began to sour. Endrall sat back and expected him to handle everything. “You’re from House Ygg,” he would say, looking down at Sotaas with contempt. “You’re supposed to be able to find your way around wherever you happen to find yourself.” And, though he could do this even without the gaurn he had left behind, Sotaas’ victories were still not quick enough to satisfy the man that had brought him here.

Endrall grew sick as well as insulting. Farrell came and met them in the Darroken capital and spent his time drinking and seducing everyone around himself with a leer on his face. Sotaas never slept with the fox but the two of them went out often, whenever Endrall’s moods became too much for Sotaas to take. The two of them would crawl from one pub to the next. Farrell liked to get other people intoxicated so that he could have his way with them; Sotaas just wanted to dull the pain.

By the time they returned from the Darroken lands, things were over between he and Endrall. Endrall could not even be bothered to say anything that was not an insult. To add injury, the moment they were back he fled north and entered the Good Lady’s keep, falling into the eager arms of the woman that lived there. Sotaas would hear later about how Endrall cried and cried over how badly he had failed him, these claims made with a vehemence equaled only by Endrall’s accusations that the Good Lady had taken advantage of him in a moment of weakness.

It didn’t matter at that point. Sotaas wanted nothing to do with either of them or anyone else. He wrapped the gaurn around his hand and went to House Wynn, took Deeam aside and spat at his feet and told him that he was washing his hands of all of it. Deeam looked concerned, even offered to listen, but Sotaas was having none of it, not then, not ever again. Growling, he spun the sigil on the back of his hand and activated the Ethcinos Sciences that he and Veskur had been working on for so long, fading into the background and walking into the wilds.

No one would find him. No one would ever find him and he never wanted to speak with any of them, not ever again, not after the insult and the injury he had suffered at the hands of those people that had once claimed to love him as much as they loved their own lives.

***

More is coming next week. If you like the artwork, why not go and thank Meghan Duffy at duffyartdesign.com? She’s cool people.

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436

Vancouver Theater: Off Leash

Culture, Reviews, Showcase

November 9, 2015

Dogs are interesting.

Here’s a wild animal that we decided to co-habitate with – not tame, not really. Dogs are no more tame than we are; social animals looking for acceptance and adopting the behaviors they witness around themselves. They want to be loved as much as we do but are more honest about it, giving so much and asking only for a place to live, the occasional walk, and maybe a cookie.

The Fugue Theater is producing an operetta about that strange relationship. Off Leash, named for an off-leash dog park, is about four dogs and their humans, the lives they all live and the ease with which everyone can get a little lost in what’s expected as opposed to what is.

Every dog's worst nightmare - rain that keeps walks at bay.

Every dog’s worst nightmare – rain that keeps walks at bay.

Starting this theme off are the characters of Buddy, and his human, JB (both played by Kerry van der Griend). JB is a shy dog who spends much of his time at the off-leash park lying under a bench, staying close to his human. JB assumes that this is because his dog is shy, but we learn that this isn’t so much the case – Buddy stays close to his human because his human needs that support and comfort; he’s gone through a messy divorce from an emotionally abusive relationship that now has his questioning everyone he does.

JB runs into an aging dog, Jacques, whose human happens to be his estranged uncle, Danny (both played by Simon Webb). Danny would like to reconnect in his old age, which JB assumes is coming from a place of guilt – so when Danny says that JB’s mother was terrified of her son catching “the gay” from her brother, it’s an admission that shocks JB and allows him to connect with someone he can feel safe around.

That moment comes in the first few minutes, but the entire play is full of those moments, the narratives we give ourselves getting in the way of the lives we can live.

Nowhere is this more evident than in the characters of Sasha and her human, Isola (both played by Laura Di Cicco). Sasha is a pure-bred show dog that has been trained to obey. Isola has gotten her for protection instead of affection, but a dog doesn’t understand that. Dogs love without condition, but accept the conditions put on them – they’re pack animals, like humans, but much more honest about what they need.

Paralleling that sort of control is Isola herself. Grounded in a world of unquestioning obedience, she’s moved herself up a social hierarchy to make that obedience work for her. She’s intelligent enough to recognize that some of what she does is evil, but is not invested in changing a system that works for her. She’s as wound up as Sasha, who, whenever given a free moment will chew the wall or bite her own tail from the stress she lives under.

Lastly, there is Ruby, a pitbull rescue dog that is being cared for by an older woman, Carol (both played by Karen Ydenberg). It amazes me that pitbulls are given such a bad rap when they were literally bred to watch over children – it’s their humans that have failed them, and not they that have failed us. Carol is all too aware of this, but the other humans are too wrapped in sensationalism to question what they’ve heard, and all too willing to believe the worst. That’s why pitbulls are to be muzzled at all times.

Dogs make good people.

Dogs make good people.

The other dogs, of course, have no such trepidation.

Carol is someone who cares for children and lost causes both. We get that right from the start, but it’s confirmed when we learn that she’s looking for people to help her save both the off-leash park itself and, later, her daughter. The off-leash park is in danger as humanity does its level best to develop and pave over the wild places that both dogs and humans need to thrive; there’s no plan for what to do with the park, only a desire to pave over it.

It’s been argued that the wildest parts of our nature have no place in the modern world. We don’t play unless it’s competition, we don’t run unless it’s in gyms, don’t climb unless it’s an organized activity in the proper setting. Dogs, being more honest than humans, are happy to run and play. Ruby is unmuzzled, then all four dogs make a break for the underbrush, and that’s when tragedy strikes.

Jacques is murdered by means of decapitation.

The immediate assumption by the humans is that the pitbull did it. Buddy and Sasha seem fine with Ruby, but Isola hears nothing of it. She knows how pitbulls are; she’s never met one until now but she’s heard about them in the news.

“Your dog is violent” Isola says. “She needs to be put down.”

There’s no evidence of this; Ruby doesn’t have any blood on her mouth. Despite this, the other humans are willing to believe this narrative, and even Carol seems doubtful as to her dog’s innocence. We’re too invested in the way things are supposed to be and doubt our own experiences because of it – and this can sometimes have fatal results.

At the very least, this discord between what is and what we want can cause damage within ourselves. Poor Sasha feels this intently – she remembers that another dog died in those bushes, but she also knows that she’s supposed to get the balls that Isola throws. So, when one gets thrown by accident really far towards and then past those bushes, she runs and reflects that she must have been bad, that maybe Isola is punishing her, but this is what she has to do to be accepted and even loved.

These concepts are the heart and soul of Off-Leash, and explaining the complexity of the play feels like explaining the benefits of having a dog to someone that’s never lived with one. It’s simple and cute and has a lot of funny moments, from human actors doing their best to be dogs, to some of the situations and dialogue. It’s touching, with the monologues and themes that it explores. It trots along the fine line of simple fun and thoughtful discourse, and does it with enough aplomb that anyone should be able to enjoy it, but it is a production that will give you exactly how much you put into it.

And it's worth putting the time into.

And it’s worth putting the time into.

Bill Murray once said “I’m suspicious of people who don’t like dogs, but I trust a dog when it doesn’t like a person.” The rest of us could learn from that, I think, whether the person in question has two or four legs.

This is the second time we’ve been thrilled and surprised by the maturity and subtext of the Vancouver theater scene, and we’re looking forward to delving a little deeper.

***

Photography provided by Mark Halliday, who you can visit by clicking his name. 

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667

The Truth – The Most Dangerous People in America

Opinion, Showcase, The Truth

October 28, 2015

Well, it happened again.

Ho-hum. Just another day in the United States of America. We expect this now. It’s common place, to the point where many people see this and think ‘what did the girl do to deserve that?‘ or, worse still, ‘given that cops are violent crazy people, why would you ever disobey one?‘ And, yes, this seems like it might actually be a best case scenario. The police officer, in service and protection, didn’t kill the girl on sight, taze her to death, choke her to death, or lock her up and leave her to die. That makes her luckier than the more than eight hundred unarmed bystanders that police officers have kill so far this year – not people involved in crimes or suspected of crimes, just people that happened to be alive when they met cops and then weren’t.

Several investigations, all spear-headed by police officers to look into the misdeeds of police officers, and underway.

Wait.

What?

Cops have a tough job. We’re not saying that they don’t. They have one of the hardest jobs in the world, and we as a society have given them a power we give no one else – the power to end the lives of other civilians within our civilization. They are supposed to uphold the law with a sense of justice; the word “police officer” means “office of the city’s people,” with connotations that these are the best humanity has to offer. Guardians. Protectors. The ones we turn to and trust to protect us.

And maybe that once was the case. And, sure, most cops are going to be good people. Well, some of them. A few of them, surely? See, the thing of it is, when a police officer helps to cover up the murder or assault perpetrated by another police officer, that cop stops being a good guy. That cop is now aiding and abetting a criminal, and because of that decision a criminal is walking free with a power that they are going to keep abusing.

There’s reasons for this, though. Violent crime is on the ri… oh, wait, that’s been on a steady decline for the past decade. Still, it’s a hard job. They see the worst that humanity has to offer with very little in the way of reward, and they protect us from dangerous criminals. You can rely on police to help you at any time and to keep your family safe. Cops are the best of us, honest, stalwart, and brave.

Maybe they were, once upon a time; we don’t know. We do know that the public perception of cops has changed. We know that people are getting in the habit of filming police officers whenever they show up, and that the police are angry that we’re now recording them, that they don’t like the idea of body cameras. Cops like being able to act with impunity, but have been increasingly unable to handle the responsibility we’ve given them.

Remember, we pay for police officers. They’re government employees. They’re supposed to be protecting and serving us, going after the most dangerous criminals and keeping us safe. They’re supposed to enforce the law across a wide populace fairly and with justice in mind.

Or maybe it’s just us.

Us, like those of us that aren’t cops, and us, those of us that are. Police officers are murdering innocent people. Police officers are proving themselves to be dangerous, well-trained killers who are protecting other dangerous, well-trained killers.

We like to think it was better once upon a time. You’d get stories of cops doing terrible things, but the officer was right there. Smiling. Happy. Confident. That’s not the kind of man that could do a bad thing, right? A pillar of the community. I’m going to put forth that it was never better – it’s just that everyone is carrying a camera now, and we can see how vile, violent, and vicious cops are now.

No wonder they want us to stop filming them.

Funny thing is, cops are supposed to have body cameras and cameras on their cars, for their protection as well as ours. They’re supposed to be accountable. Cameras often get turned off and footage goes missing or gets edited. Worse, the people investigating cop wrong-doings are often cops themselves, and they find themselves innocent despite the evidence far too often.

This is not to say all cops are bad. There’s good cops out there, great cops that are doing good things, but they’re the ones we don’t hear about too often because too many of them are breaking the law and otherwise terrorizing people.

So, the question is a simple one – why? Why are cops such violent psychopaths? The answer is equally simple: training. Cops are supposed to de-esculate situations, but their training often makes them violent, and the stress of their job is enough to make anyone mentally ill. It’s a hard and largely thankless job, but cops need to learn how to solve problems without resorting to violence, and they need time to recover mentally from the terrible things we pay them to protect us from.

Because police officers are necessary given our population, economic model, and justice system. We need them to save us from the broken souls coming out of the for-profit prison system and the thieves that take everything from us without consequence. That’s just truth.

So, stop giving cops military ordinance they don’t need and start giving them the training they need to not kill people. If you’re going to take the money normally spent on education, welfare, healthcare, and the other services that stop crime, or to pay off mistakes cops made in years gone by, then make sure it does some good and get cops the training they need.

We know they know how to kill people. We see them do that plenty, but we expect more: Service. Protection. Dignity. Let’s see more cops like this and less of this. Let’s see the police earn the respect they once had and have now lost before things turn bad.

Because riots are the language of the unheard.

I didn’t say that. Martin Luther King did – “It is not enough for me to stand before you tonight and condemn riots. It would be morally irresponsible for me to do that without, at the same time, condemning the contingent, intolerable conditions that exist in our society. These conditions are the things that cause individuals to feel that they have no other alternative than to engage in violent rebellions to get attention. And I must say tonight that a riot is the language of the unheard.”

So, with all that in mind, here’s another question: can you hear us now?

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799

Proving Grounds

Culture, Lifestyle, Showcase

October 26, 2015

Winter is coming.

I know that’s a tag line of a popular series of novels and a television series on top of that, but the Starks are inevitably right. Winter is coming. It can be hard to get out of bed, hard to go to work, hard to go out and do anything. Hard to go to the gym, to stay limber, to do much of anything but wait for the world to thaw.

The simple reason is that the gym is boring. Admit it – if you force yourself to go, you go out of a sense of obligation. There’s no other way to get your exercise in and be an adult.

… and be an adult.

Huh.

Okay, let’s start there. We’re all adults now, right? We get to decide what that means. And, yes, pumping iron is all well and good. It’s something you should do, but it’s repetitive and dull. If you dig it, cool, but if you’re looking for something to get your blood pumping and your body moving, maybe you should consider something a little more adventurous.

Maybe, if you live in Vancouver, you should step to the Proving Grounds.

Proving Grounds is an unassuming place huddled out among the edges of New Westminister, a secret tucked in along the borderlands of Coquitlam, Burnaby, and Surrey. It’s right beside the Columbia Skytrain Station, maybe a block east of that strange place. And what it offers? Stranger still.

So many cool weapons to try.

So many cool weapons to try.

Full contact melee weapon fighting.

Swords. Warhammers. Daggers and axes and maces. Hard foam weapons that can take your full strength while giving whoever is being struck nothing more serious than a light bruise, and that’s on a very good hit. The weapons are all weighted and cut like their real-life counterparts, too.

Quoth one of the people we brought with us to check Proving Grounds out, “I thought a sword was just a hunk of metal. I didn’t expect them to handle differently.” And yet, a rapier is different from a katana is different from a bastard sword, and Proving Grounds has a host of different blades to try, to say nothing of those aforementioned axes, warhammers, staffs, daggers, and a host of other weapons.

Never used any of those weapons before? That’s not surprising. The modern world has distressingly few moments in which one’s skill with a sword are called upon. Thankfully, techniques honed on a thousand battlefields over the centuries have been preserved, and Proving Grounds offers instruction in quite a few different disciplines in between testing those lessons in a practical setting.

Wanna know what it’s like to engage in a katana duel without the loss of limbs or blood? Proving Grounds is your hook up.

For the horde!

For the horde!

Looking for classes on Kenjutsu – the art of Japanese sword fighting? Knife fighting? How about hand-to-hand self defense – BJJ and MMA? Proving Grounds does all of this. Drop-ins are welcome. The instructors are friendly, professional, and willing to work to enhance what strengths you have naturally.

That last bit is an important tack. Too often, instructors in self defense will demand certain things be done a certain way, whether or not such techniques work with your body or not. Proving Grounds will cater to you, and help you develop a style that works for you while giving you a safe space in which to test and refine it.

All by itself, that one quality puts them in the running for one of Vancouver’s best dojos.

They’ve also got combat archery. Bows and arrows. The writer of this article got an arrow to the face – it was like being attacked by an itinerant pillow. It took me a few moments to understand what had happened, and it didn’t even hurt. I wear glasses and they were fine, too.

Proving Grounds 001

This dude. Hit me in the face.

Archery, as it turns out, is a lot of fun and much more involved when you’re running about, avoiding zombies, while attempting to line up a shot.

Oh, yes, Proving Grounds also does games. You can book sessions for games which run from shurikan tossing to zombie hunting to king-of-the-mountain style challenges. They’ve got full day programs, partial day programs, whatever works for you. They’re accommodating people. You can even set up group rates for your friends and go out in groups of six or more, having a blast and hacking at one another without blood loss.

And you want a work out? There’s nothing quite like maintaining balance while swinging a sword around, trying to keep up your own defenses while hacking through those of your opponent. There’s nothing like the thrill of victory, the agony of defeat – the knowledge that you’re testing your might and skill against someone else in an equal place.

Those muscles you’ve honed? The cardio you’ve done? The iron you’ve pumped? Even the stretches, the running, the everything is put to the test at Proving Grounds.

Safety is a concern, of course. The instructors are first aid certified, but of the eight hours we spent hacking at one another, the only injury we suffered was when one of us tripped – after the game was over. Both instructors present were still quick to jump to the aid of our fallen friend, and we were back up and playing with all due haste.

You can find the Proving Grounds website by clicking here, and find their pricing by clicking here. Clicking here will not physically take you to them, but will show you where they are on Google Maps. That’s nearly as good.

This is a place we would recommend checking out. Come for the novelty of it, but stick around because they’re awesome and one of the best work-outs you’re going to find in all of Vancouver. Boys and girls welcome, the space is friendly and the game intense.

Step on up. Proving Grounds. Tell your friends.

Yeah. How awesome is this?

Yeah. How awesome is this?

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353

Fiction – Love is War 03:00:02:01

Books & Writing, Projects, Short Fictions, Showcase

October 16, 2015

Every week, we’re going to post some new fiction for you to devour and read, with original art as a header, and then a collected version for purchase from our store when the book is complete. Questions? Comments? The writers are right here, and they’ll respond as they’re able. 

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Click here to read previous entry.

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– 03:00:02:01 –

Life was a whirlwind of passion, sensation, joy.

This was a truth that Endrall Sahr had long believed and now that he was beginning to venture out from underneath his father’s shadow he was learning so very much. Grais, his first love, had proven to be nothing more than the poison that his father had warned him women acquired with age – the few missives she sent were filled with the blackest sort of bile. Endrall shouldered them with due grace and cried into the shoulders of Figo Jera and Veskur Wyrd, two people that were becoming her closest friends and confidantes, and other things as well.

He was young and beautiful, wise beyond his years, possessed of a mature air and charisma that drew others like motes around a star. He smiled and the world paused to watch, he laughed and all that would ever be chuckled along with him. He was quiet and lovely and shining – everyone said so – and worth so much more than what he had been born into. Given all that he was and all he could do he felt as if his talents would be wasted doing anything other than changing the world.

Sometimes, he considered what it was he wanted to do. His father and all his House were renowned healers, the best the Vanir had to offer. He could do what they did, be better at it than any other member of his line. He could turn his mind to the realm of politics, to the games the Houses played with one another, games that his House generally avoided. He could save his House, make it as mighty as Fehu or Wynn in the world of treaty and word.

Veskur told him that he was destined for greatness, and if anyone knew it would be her. He didn’t see why he couldn’t do both politics and healing, perhaps make one an extension of the other. Figo said it would be difficult to do that, but Veskur believed he was more than capable. Grais told him she hated him and all he was, despising him for his wandering heart, but while he had been moving, growing and becoming more, Grais had stayed the same.

Static things and people did not interest him. He put the idea of her on a mental shelf and resolved to come back to her later, when there was time or when he felt like it. He knew it didn’t really matter; he strongly suspected that other people existed only for his own amusement.

Figo sometimes stopped by to have small hurts healed. He had returned to the borderlands, picking up his fight with the Coeecian horde. His legend was growing and they called him the Prince of the Rose, his levl in his right hand, the glove that his Lady had made him adorning his left. The legend of him upon the battlefield was coming to rival that of even the fabled Golden Champion and he was much sought out, his soldiers coming to be known as the Band of the White Rose.

As for the Golden Champion, she spent much of her time in the back countries, passing on what she knew to the future leaders of the Vanir nobility. Endrall had yet to meet the woman, but he was sure their paths would one day cross.

Endrall had visited Figo on the rolling hills of southern borders, learning to heal along with the rest of his House’s nobility despite his father’s protests. Figo was as gentle as he ever was, eyes haunted and smile sad, the core strength of him always in evidence. Veskur came and joined them sometimes and the two of them would go out and walk the land together, leaving everyone else behind. The soldiers Figo commanded did not like this, but Figo assured them nothing would happen, that the Coeecians would not be able to touch them.

When the lovers were out of earshot Endrall learned it was not the Coeecians that Figo’s soldiers worried about.

He had heard the stories, of course, the many whispered horrors that people lay at the feet of Veskur Wyrd. His father had warned him and Farrell had warned him and the Band of the White Rose did nothing but repeat tales whispered in all the noble halls. Veskur made herself a simple target for innuendo, but Endrall had never asked her about any of it. The woman did not lie and he was not certain that he wanted to know the truth.

Figo took other lovers besides Veskur and Endrall. Some of them came from his Band, though none of those relationships bore the passion that bound him and Veskur together.

Endrall could sometimes see those ties that bound people, webs of light that shone different colors and blazed with the intensity of the sun. He was not certain what the colors meant – he had tried to keep track of them, thought they might be tied to emotions, but if there was pattern it was not one that he could recognize. The webs that tied Veskur and Figo were strong, stronger than any he had seen before or between anyone else.

He wondered what it would take to sever them entirely and claim both of them for himself.

There was no maliciousness in the thought, no intention to cause either of them harm. Endrall was a healer: he only wanted to make people stronger, better, to heal the wounds within themselves so that they could be more. Veskur spoke of things like that sometimes, when she was lucid and had remembered to do things like sleep and eat. Figo tried to make the people around him better, too, though Endrall warned him that he made it too simple for people to take him for granted. His soldiers especially.

Figo’s Band of the White Rose had the lowest number of casualties in any of the Vanir’s forces, Endrall knew, but not a one of them lay this remarkable statistic at the young noble’s feet. No one thought to credit the glove he wore for this, either, Veskur’s little mark of affection. Endrall wondered if he could talk Veskur into making him one, wondering what sort of power it would have.

It was with this in mind that he made his way into the northern wastes, a trek he made with more frequency than even Figo. He sought control of his own destiny, a mastery and completeness that had denied his father.

My life was set by your mother, Endrall’s father had said, narrowed eyes matching tight lips. I live this hell because of what that woman did to me. Despite his father’s misgivings, Endrall could not help but feel that Veskur held some secret, some bit of wisdom that would help him accomplish more than any other Vanir in history.

Veskur was not at her keep when he arrived this time. He was as late as he ever was, but still her absence annoyed him. Her servant had the gall to tell him that she had left to walk her lands after three days of fruitless waiting.

“When do you expect her back?” Endrall asked, not bothering to hide her annoyance. The man was only a servant.

“I will send her a message,” the servant answered, bowing his head. “After that, I expect it will be a matter of hours. She doesn’t like to wander far when she’s expecting you.”

“Well, there’s that, at least.” Endrall removed his gloves, finding the idea of her tied to her home for want of him amusing. “Still, it’s rude of her to keep me waiting. We will have words when she returns. A piece of my mind as a welcoming gift.”

“Which one?” the man asked.

Endrall blinked, not understanding, and the man left.

He was permitted free entry and made himself comfortable. He was one of the few people that Veskur let into her home when she was not present, one of the highest gifts that the Good Lady could bestow on anyone. A number of letters between her and Figo had gone missing during the time when that Raido noble had stayed with her and she had grown increasingly paranoid since, especially with Figo’s ever more frequent absences.

He knew that Figo was growing, but still felt tied to Veskur while Veskur assumed nothing was wrong – it was a surprising sort of stupidity from someone that was otherwise intelligent, one that Endrall was taking advantage of in order to sate his curiosity.

Veskur returned eventually, her face white and drawn. Endrall ripped into her anyway, watching her nervous eyes and the way her shoulders shook and felt nothing, nothing. When he took her in his arms he felt her melt, her breath on his chest. She wanted him so very much.

Only two people were allowed into Veskur’s laboratory when she worked – he and Figo. He followed her in while she worked, he telling her of the many things that were happening in his life. Sometimes, rudely, she would try to interrupt him to bring up her own little foibles, but she had never been the most social of creatures and so he forgave her this indiscretion before resuming his tales.

“Hey, Veskur?”

“Yes, Love?”

“You built Figo one of those gloves,” Endrall said. He swallowed, dropping his gaze as Veskur turned to look at him with her haunted, haunting eyes. “Could you build me one?”

Veskur was still for a long time. There was a single long sigh where Endrall thought there should have been a scream, and then a valley of silence.

“I sometimes think I made a mistake building Figo his,” Veskur admitted, the words a faint whisper. Endrall looked at her, her slumping shoulders and twitchy fingers. “There’s a weight to them, a terrible weight. Figo didn’t want his. Why do you want one?”

“Figo’s has let him take control of his world,” Endrall said, leaning forward on his stool. “I’d like that sort of freedom. And you’ve said yourself that I’m more your equal than Figo is.”

Veskur nodded; she had said that when she noticed how his body language mirrored hers, how the two of them processed information in ways that seemed to echo one another.

“If we are equals in mind and spirit, should we not be equal in capability?” he asked, staring at her and realizing that her gaze had gone distant, to some place only she could see.

“Even so.” Veskur blinked and shook her head, the madness that claimed her so much of the time shrugged off for the moment. “Do you know what these gloves do? How they work?”

Endrall gave a slight shake of his head, frowning. He did not like admitting his own ignorance.

“Every time you make a decision or perform an act, there is a chance that it will work and a chance that it will not work,” Veskur said, perching on the nearest surface. “For every choice or act performed by every person, this is true. We live in a world of endless possibilities where anything could be and the chances of success as are determined by circumstance as by skill.

“The glove creates a circuit, similar to the circuits used by lesser scientists, only this one eliminates all but one possibility – those other possibilities simply cease to have any weight or any chance of coming into being. Energy is focused through this tool to destroy a single possibility, the energy of that destruction then used to eliminate the next and the next until only the desired outcome is possible.

“I built the original glove, mine, with a sigil of my House working as the home for the circuit. This means that all energy that I move through and by the glove is shaped by the sigil itself. This resulted in a number of abilities, the greatest of which is the…” She paused, looked at him.

“What’s wrong?”

“I’m trying to think of the easiest way to explain this,” Veskur said. She hopped off her perch, began pacing, waving her left hand around despite the lack of glove on it. “When you stare at the world, what do you see?”

“The world.”

Veskur looked at him, and for a moment he though he had said something wrong, but then she was ranting again.

“Alright. Alright. Fair enough. But everything large is made of smaller things, interlocking parts that go towards building a larger whole. If you divide down far enough, however, what are you eventually going to hit?”

“I don’t know. God?” They both laughed; the illusion of divinities that the other, lesser, nations clung to was proof of their base inferiority. Only the Zaerm seemed to share this understanding.

“The base line of everything must be nothing, which means that the entirety of what we live within is illusion. We are all ultimately made of the same stuff, but as that illusion moves through time it adheres to certain shapes, concepts, and equations. An act is taken, a consequence results. Even our behavior and the capacity of that behavior is defined by these equations, which would be so monstrously large that one could spend a decade working through the mathematics to predict the entirety contained within a single day for a single vector.

“However, the equations would deal more with ratio than a base equation with real numbers. There are certain events or outcomes that come more naturally to us due to the nature of the math behind us, certain capacities that specific individuals carry that others, by the nature of their math, do not. Moving energies through the sign of my House allows one to change those numbers, resulting in a chosen outcome rather than a passive one.

“So when you say you want to take control of your life I understand and there is more truth to that statement than anyone else should ever know. When I fought Jesam all those years ago? I saw the whole of his life; I saw all the possibilities in it. I took away the numbers that would have given him victory while making certain the only outcome for myself with success. And, with that glove, I can do that with any one at any time.”

Veskur paused and looked at him. Endrall realized that he was shaking and forced himself to stop.

“Figo can do this, too?”

“No. No, no, no, a thousand times no. His glove does something different.” Veskur walked over to a pile of books, sorting through her notes. “As far as I can tell, Figo’s glove lets him stop the flow of time around people, places, or things for a certain period of time as we understand it. Whatever that noun is simply ceases to exist within out continuity for a specific duration and is unaware of whatever passage happens around it. He can also reset himself. The reason so few of his people die isn’t his knowledge of tactics but rather his ability to reset things to a time before the death of his soldiers and, while they may not remember what happened, Figo will. He remembers the placement and movement of his enemies.”

“No wonder the two of you were always felt so confident walking off on your own,” breathed Endrall. “Even if there had been an ambush, Figo could have reset it so that you were ready and you could change the ratio of victory to favor you and fail them.”

“Or change things so that we avoided the confrontation entirely,” Veskur said, looking up at him with eyes that were all too sharp. She ran a hand through her hair, nervous. “This is not a power to be used lightly. The math, well, the math is terrifying and the powers being used are incredibly complex. I can barely wrap my head around it most of the time. I think… I think there’s a responsibility to use power like this sparingly, if at all.”

“How come?” Endrall asked. Veskur went quiet.

“There was a river by your family’s home, right?”

“The one we dammed, yes.”

“What happened when you dammed it?”

“There was some flooding,” Endrall said, remembering the consequences of that action. A village had been lost, a full fourth of the peasants who lived in that village caught by the change and drowned. Almost all the rest had been injured, but the end result had been exactly what the nobles of House Suwilo had expected – a source of fresh water to better clean the wounds of those that came to them for healing.

“Yes, some flooding.” Veskur hissed, pacing again. “Your House moved a river, a simple river. I’m moving the numbers that define everything. There is an important illusion that we all possess, that of choice. By using that glove I remove myself from the proper equations and make up my own as I go along. Figo, to a certain extent, is doing the same thing.”

“You’ve made yourself and Figo the gods everyone else claims to worship,” Endrall whispered. If he hadn’t been sitting he might have fallen as the enormity of what Veskur had done struck him, the full weight of what lay between them.

For a long time neither of them said anything.

“I tried to make Figo’s glove like mine.” Veskur sat on the floor, hugging her knees and rocking back and forth. “I tried to make Figo’s glove exactly like mine, with my House sigil on it. It didn’t work for him, it can’t work for him. There’s something in our intrinsic math that won’t let us use the sigils that are not our own.”

“What would my glove do if you were to make one?”

“I don’t know,” Veskur admitted, closing her eyes, her voice so soft that Endrall could scarcely hear it. He went to her, held her, felt her stiffen and then relax, her head pressed against his chest. “I won’t know until it’s built. If it gets built. It’s not a toy and it’s not a tool. It’s as much a weapon as a levl, but on a much grander scale. There’s a weight to taking such a thing. Are you sure you want it?”

Love is War 00-02-01

Endrall was quiet for a moment, considering.

“Yes.”

“Alright.” Veskur whisper was a slow sigh that went trickling along his flesh. “You know I can’t deny you anything, not really. You’ll have what you want.”

“Thank you.”

“Don’t. Just… don’t.”

***

More is coming next week. If you like the artwork, why not go and thank Meghan Duffy at duffyartdesign.com? She’s cool people.

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995

Canadian Politics – The Great Goofsky

Culture, Projects, Showcase, The Truth

September 21, 2015

We really like to celebrate our heroes in Canada.

There was a small town boy named Wayne Gretzky who rose to become an international celebrity because of his skill on the ice. Hockey is pretty much the most important thing in Canada, a sport that we pride ourselves on above and beyond any normal understanding, and Gretzky was the best at it. He was hailed as the Great One, number ninety-nine, and in 1988 he was traded out of Canada to the Los Angeles Kings and never looked back.

And, you know, good for him. He deserves everything he’s claimed through the skills he mastered. Over this past weekend, though, he took a large contract to come and endorse Stephen Harper, our current Prime Minister, a man who is destroying the environment so he can continue failing at the economy.

Wayne, who has not lived in Canada since 1988, came back, shook Haprer’s hand, and said “You’ve been an unreal Prime Minister.” I suppose there’s not enough money in the world to call him a good Prime Minister, but the photo-op ensued – Harper standing and shaking the hand of one of Canada’s heroes.

We won’t be picking apart Wayne for this; there’s a host of other pundits that have done that already. And there’s plenty of other Canadian celebrities who have weighed in against Harper, ranging from acting legends Pamela Anderson, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Donald Sutherland, to more recent talents, like Katie Findlay.

No, what we want to bring attention to is this: famed political historian and scientist Dr. Lawrence Britt put together a checklist we can use to measure the presence of fascism in any given government.

Here’s what that looks like:

fascism-checklist-big

Now, let’s see which segments of this checklist Stephen Harper has checked off:

fascism-checklist-big Harper

Point by point, each one of these has a link to support the thesis:

Identifying Enemies / Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause 

Rampant Sexism 

Obsession with National Security 

Corporate Power is Protected 

Disdain for Intellectuals / the Arts 

Rampant Cronyism / Corruption 

Disdain for Recognizing Human Rights 

Supremacy of the Military 

Controlled Mass Media 

Religion and Government are Intertwined 

Labor Power is Suppressed 

Obsession with Punishment / Crime 

Fraudulent Elections

And this past weekend gave us

Powerful Continuing Nationalism

See, Harper called upon the power of Wayne Gretzky’s endorsement to give his government a sense of age; by calling upon an icon from an almost mythical time, Harper is able to tie his own era to that which came before and give his government the illusion of representing that time, when his politics have done everything possible to destroy what Canada was in that era. And his comment of “Old Stock Canadians” is another like-comment, meant to evoke a semi-mythical tie to history, and make his party look like the natural continuance of the Canadian narrative.

That’s all kind of terrifying, isn’t it? And there’s the old question of if you could go back in time and stop Hitler, would you? Of course you would, most people say. We don’t have the technology to do that just now, but on October 19th you can, must, and should stop Harper.

Get out and vote.

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695

GIMMICK MATCHES TO BE BROUGHT BACK

Showcase

April 21, 2015

Wargames

Two rings, wrapped in a cage, filled with 10 guys representing two teams beating the everloving bejeepers out of one another. What’s not to like? Well, if you’re the WWE, it has too much of the WCW/southern stink on it and thus cannot be used. Some of the individual components have been cannibalized and reused for WWE gimmick matches: the large team aspect appears in the traditional Survivor Series matches, while the timed introduction of competitors appears in both the Elimination Chamber and the Royal Rumble.

(more…)

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2307

God of Comics 2015-04-01

God Of Comics, Reviews, Showcase

April 2, 2015

This Week: Batman Eternal #52, Batwoman Annual #2, Cluster #3, Convergence #0, Cyclops #12, Gotham Academy – Endgame #1, Guardians Team-Up #4, Harley Quinn #16, Kanan – the Last Padawan #1, Lady Killer #4, The Punisher #17, Rick and Morty #1, Rocket Raccoon #10, Spider-Gwen #3, Southern Bastards #8, UFOlogy #1, The Woods #12, X-O Manowar #35

[toggle title_open=”So good getting to chat with people. Thank you all.” title_closed=”Emerald City Comic Con was amazing!” hide=”yes” border=”yes” style=”default” excerpt_length=”0″ read_more_text=”Read More” read_less_text=”Read Less” include_excerpt_html=”no”]We are Living Myth Magazine, and we are here to read comic books! Every week, we go and feed our addiction (single issues mostly online, trades mostly from conventions or  Big Pete’s). Then every Wednesday we respect Woden, the God of Comics, and we speak of the stories that he, in his greatness, has brought us. We speak of it on twitter. That’s a preview, though, and there are times we don’t pick up the things we were looking for or end up picking up things we didn’t talk about.

So, here’s are the comics we got this week and what we think about ‘em after the reading. We rate these things on a five symbol scale. The first two symbols are for art, the second two for story, and the last is based on whether we think this is a gateway comic – is this something we would lend to friends to get them into this series? This last one is a tricky thing, but if we think it is, then the comic gets this symbol: LMM Tree of Life

Symbols can be broken down into quarters and look like this from quarter to whole: LMM Tree of Life One Quarter,  LMM Tree of Life HalfLMM Tree of Life Three Quarters, and LMM Tree of Life. Two symbols is a good comic, three symbols is worth taking the time to hunt down and look at. Anything at four or more symbols is of the highest possible quality.

If you click on a comic’s title it’ll take you to where you can buy that title on Amazon (at least until Big Pete starts selling comics online, after which it’ll take you to Big Pete’s), unless it’s not on Amazon at the time when this article is published. Non-title links will open new tabs and take you to places I think are either informative or funny, depending upon whim.

We’ll give you a very brief overview of what we thought of each comic, and whether we think you should buy it or not. We’ll go a little more in-depth when it comes to our top five comics of the week, and make sure that you can tell them apart from all the rest.

Wrestlemania was good as a stand alone thing, but story-wise? Going in was misery, and coming out we have little faith in the future.

Lastly, Aaron Golden or anyone else writing this review is not the God of Comics. That would be absurd. Comics come out on Wednesday, which was a day named for the Norse God, Woden. Also called Odin and a whole host of other things. He’s a god of many things, and we sorta think he’d dig comics, so, you know, he’s the God of Comics. Because of course he is.

Okay. Savvy? Everyone with us so far? Cool. Onwards goes us.

[/toggle]

 

Batman Eternal #52

Batman Eternal 052Okay, so the plan was Cluemaster’s, and Lincoln March just rode on his coattails. That’s actually kind of funny. Batman Eternal comes to a close and it should be interesting to see where this goes from here. There’s a lot of changes in this that I love – some of which are quite controversial – but I’m curious. Gotham evolved. Mission accomplished.

Art LMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of Life One Quarter + Story LMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of Life Half + Gateway LMM Tree of Life = Total LMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of Life Three Quarters

 

Batwoman Annual #2

Batwoman Annual 002A mercy killing that tries to make up for everything since Williams and Blackman left, and just kind of feels flat – especially with the epilogue in Batman Eternal robbing Batwoman of a book that really should be hers. The art fails to be consistent in detail and is drab besides, and the writing is, well, it’s there. It’s sad that I’m hoping this is the end.

Art LMM Tree of Life Three Quarters + Story LMM Tree of Life Three Quarters + Gateway LMM Tree of Life Half = Total LMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of Life

 

The Big Con Job #2

Big Con Job 002Okay, here’s the hook – a number of out-of-work sci-fi actors get sick of being treated like afterthoughts, because of course they do. One of their agents comes up with a way to rob the SDCC. They figure they have nothing left to lose, so they’re all in. The concept is interesting and the art captures their straits, dire or otherwise, perfectly. Fun.

Art LMM Tree of Life + Story LMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of Life One Quarter + Gateway LMM Tree of Life = Total LMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of Life One Quarter

 

Cluster #3

Cluster 003Wow, this comic. A girl with an influential family gets a life sentence and opts out of that to go to war for fifteen years instead. Her father puts pressure on the military to get her out, but while she’s out gallivanting around the galaxy she learns the truth of how corrupt the war and the powers behind it are. The art paints the harshness of this reality, and it’s all a really good time.

Art LMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of Life One Quarter + Story LMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of Life Three Quarters + Gateway LMM Tree of Life Three Quarters = Total LMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of Life Three Quarters

 

Convergence #0

Convergence 000Dammit, DC. I don’t want to like this. I really don’t want to like yet another stupid reboot meant to move away from the other stupid reboot and all the other stupid reboots. The problem is that you have some incredibly talented writers on staff, and the writing here is actually quite good, even if you do have Superman punching a neglected child.

Art LMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of Life One Quarter + Story LMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of Life One Quarter + Gateway LMM Tree of Life Half = Total LMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of Life

 

Cyclops #12

Cyclops 012I get the feeling I missed something somewhere. I’m not sure what, but this is the problem with all the damn crossovers going on all the time. Who can keep track of all this stuff? What if things happen in a book you don’t read? This is frustrating. Beyond that, this is a perfectly serviceable comic, and has been since Rucka left.

Art LMM Tree of Life + Story LMM Tree of Life + Gateway LMM Tree of Life Half = Total LMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of Life Half

 

Gotham Academy – Endgame #1 – Top 5 Comics

Gotham Academy - Endgame 001This is everything I love about Brenden Fletcher and Becky Cloonan. The Joker attacks Gotham, the lights go out, and there are Joker zombies everywhere thanks to gassing. So what do the kids do? Hunker down and tell ghost stories and put on their brave faces, because that’s what kids do, and in Gotham you’d just get used to this sort of thing. The ghost stories themselves are fantastic, and ones I plan on sharing the next time ghost stories become a thing (fairly often around our office, actually). The art continues to be awesome, playing with light and shadow and granting a depth of darkness that is simply lovely. The reveal at the end is also great, and makes me love this all the more.

Art LMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of Life Half + Story LMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of Life Half + Gateway LMM Tree of Life = Total LMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of Life

 

Guardians Team-Up #4

Guardians Team-Up 004Cute, really, and I hope the pairing of She-Hulk and Gamora becomes a thing because it’s not easy being green and both of them could use the friendship the other could provide. Especially Gamora. The art is interesting and the clone troopers are a nice touch, but it’s the dialogue that makes this book great. If you enjoy fun this book is worth reading.

Art LMM Tree of Life + Story LMM Tree of Life + Gateway LMM Tree of Life = Total LMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of Life

 

Harley Quinn #16

Harley Quinn 016How can anyone not like this book? It’s an homage to the character starring the character, a title that knows exactly what it is and revels in the insanity it provides. The art is lush and bright and perfect, the lettering is outstanding and always is, and it’s hard to go longer than a page without grinning like a lunatic. Qualitatively, I wish more of DC was like this.

Art LMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of Life One Quarter + Story LMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of Life One Quarter + Gateway LMM Tree of Life = Total LMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of Life Half

 

Kanan – the Last Padawan #1 – Top 5 Comics

Kanan - The Last Padawan 001Can we all agree that Star Wars: Rebels is awesome? We can? Good. This comic is a prequel to that, following the adventures of Kanan back during the Clone Wars, and showing us what he was like before the Republic crumbled. And this? This is great. One of the things it does is expound on what the differences are between the Jedi and the Sith, and even the Separatists and the Republic. This one thing makes these comics better than the whole of the prequel trilogy; the philosophy and artwork that get explored here, and how it all ties into the present is even better. Seeing the depth and dignity that the Jedi carried themselves with makes this comic great, and the artwork captures every expression perfectly. Well done.

Art LMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of Life Half + Story LMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of Life Half + Gateway LMM Tree of Life = Total LMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of Life

 

Lady Killer #4

Lady Killer 004Someone needs to turn this into a Made-for-TV movie. Use this comic as a direct storyboard, hire Katherine Isabelle or Eleanor Calder or someone to star, and get the Soska Sisters to direct it. It’s that sort of comic. I like to imagine this happening at about the same time as Agent Carter, which just makes this better. Good art, clever writing, excellent comic.

Art LMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of Life One Quarter + Story LMM Tree of Life + Gateway LMM Tree of Life Three Quarters = Total LMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of Life

 

The Punisher #17 – Top 5 Comics

The Punisher 017Where do I even begin to praise this comic? The art? I’m told I need to do more of that, so here goes: Mitch Gerads and Brent Schoonover create one of the bleakest, moodiest looks at America’s capital outside of House of Cards. The fact that there’s two superheroes fighting within those confines – one of whom represents the best of what America – makes no nevermind. The darkness swallows them both, until Frank changes the rules of the game. And that’s where the writing comes into play, and where Nathan Edmondson shines. Frank is dangerous because he knows he’s limited, because his monomania plays to his training. Choosing to tackle the moral complexities of modern politics terrifies even the Punisher, and that’s where even he needs a hero. Fantastically done, all around.

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Rick and Morty #1

Rick & Morty 001Let’s get the bad out of the way immediately – the colors feel a bit washed out. It’s not actively bad, not at all, but it does make everything feel a little flat. That’s it. That’s all the bad. Other than that, this comic captures the look and feel of the show perfectly, being perfectly aware of its own structure and savvy as to its own use of tropes.

Art LMM Tree of Life + Story LMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of Life Half + Gateway LMM Tree of Life = Total LMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of Life Half

 

Rocket Raccoon #10

Rocket Raccoon 010If you ever wonder what pure imagination looks like, it’s this. The vastness of space as explored by a violent talking raccoon and his tree god bestie. It’s outstanding, the writing and the artwork both – ludicrous small details lurk everywhere, aiding to the main flow of everything while also hinting at the madness of continuities past.

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Southern Bastards #8

Southern Bastards 008Hard to believe we’re only eight issues in. This feels longer, doesn’t it? It feels like you’ve been walking on this blood-soaked ground forever, as we see exactly how far Eugene Boss is willing to go for the game he loves, and how that obsession made him a monster. The artwork drips heat and atmosphere, and there’s nothing like this narrative anywhere else in comics – a look at small town crime and how obsessions can fester into something so much worse.

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Spider-Gwen #3 – Top 5 Comics

Spider-Gwen 003I have mixed feelings on the art in this book. Every now and again it feels a little bit too loose, but then it turns around and lends itself to some brilliant bits of atmosphere, echoing itself the same way the writing does. It’s beautiful, extremely well put-together, and works perfectly with the narrative as a whole. And the narrative here shows us an absolutely terrifying Frank Castle, introduces us to a living Ben Parker and what’s left of the Parkers in the wake of Peter’s death. The pain that lingers over the Stacy family as they come to terms with who and where they are and the choice to be better, both of them for the other, is incredible. This is the best Spider-Man book being published today.

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UFOlogy #1

UFOlogy 001You know that feeling you get when you’re reading something and you think, “yeah, okay, this is good, but I know this is going to get mind-breakingly excellent soon?” That’s this comic. We get a series of introductions and a soft exposition dump that implies a lot of information very quickly, and then veers into something related but unexpected. This is going to be a title to watch.

Art LMM Tree of Life + Story LMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of Life Half + Gateway LMM Tree of Life = Total LMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of Life Half

 

The Woods #12

The Woods 012Oh, Karen. You really didn’t. You may have screwed up everything for everyone – because as far as we can tell, Adrian and the woman that nearly got things going before him have all reacted with violence, but not instigated it. In fact, it is their trust that ends up killing them. It’s so sad, but shadowed tragedy is where this book thrives. Awesome stuff.

Art LMM Tree of Life + Story LMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of Life Half + Gateway LMM Tree of Life = Total LMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of Life Half

 

X-O Manowar #35 – Top 5 Comics

X-O Manowar 035Remember when this comic started? Remember how simple Aric was, and how simple the Vine seemed? How far we’ve all come, Valiant as a whole and this comic in particular. Aric returns to the Vine world to defend it from a horror he inadvertently unleashed when he defeated the last of the Armor Hunters. He does not run, will not let anyone die because of him, will not shrink away from the responsibility of his actions – but there is nothing he can do. Not with all his power, all his might, all he’s learned and grown. How does one stop a force designed to scour the galaxy of life? The scope and scale of what’s at stake here is difficult to comprehend, but the art and small stories in the writing really drive everything home. There’s a reason we call this the best of all comics.

Art LMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of Life Half + Story LMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of Life Three Quarters + Gateway LMM Tree of Life = Total LMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of LifeLMM Tree of Life One Quarter

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