Sage's Stray Thoughts: Sept. 26th, 2014

Hello there, and welcome to a new column on JiH.   I'm hoping I can make it as regular as Bottom of the Pile or Battle Rap Wednesdays--which is to say, about as close to weekly as I can reasonably get it.   Basically, the column will be devoted to my thoughts on comics, video games, anime, toku, and really whatever else comes to mind--up to and including my own life, depending on how I feel.    Cool?  Let's get started, then.




Games

#gamergate: Worth mentioning really quick: This #gamergate nonsense is still going on, so here's where I'm coming down on the issue.  The idea that you're not a "gamer" because some people give it a bad name is toxic thinking.   Far too many of my brothers and sisters in the black community are ashamed to call themselves who they are because of a few bad apples.   That's wrong, and so's this.  I'm not making any delineation between the two, even if there are a few obvious differences.   If you play video games, you're a gamer.  From those who play literally any and everything to those who play only a handful of titles or less a year. Don't deny that part of yourself just because of a few assholes.

To be clear: sexism, racism, and the cases of homo or transphobia I've seen are not only wrong, they're disgusting.  I've got friends who many online would be describe as "dudebro" (though they wouldn't refer to themselves that way) who wouldn't dare do some of the things I've read about online.  There's no excuse for this behavior--sending death threats because you disagree with someone is reprehensible, and those responsible should be promptly arrested. 

But if they didn't do it over gaming, it'd be something else.  Gaming's what they hide behind.  Don't let people like THAT define your existence.


Welcome to the Triad: Uh-huh.  This is literally my worst nightmare for a Sleeping Dogs sequel come to life.   Seriously, 2014 has been one of the most disappointing years for video games ever.   Online AND PC only?   No one asked for this.  I know this came directly from their publisher Square-Enix, but...still.  This is impossibly idiotic.  Worse is that when it fails to sell, Square will cite a lack of interest as to why they don't continue making sequels.

Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition comes out in three weeks, and I'm picking that up just to enjoy the game in HD and pretend this new cashgrab of a thing doesn't exist.

Comics


America's Best Comics: I started reading Alan Moore's Tom Strong earlier this week.  For those who don't know, Tom Strong was apart of Alan Moore's late 90's/early 2000's "America's Best Comics", a testament to his superlative talent as he wrote an entire line of comic books pretty much by himself.

The titular character is a throwback to Doc Savage and other pulp concepts.   He grew up on an island raised by two parents that were obsessed with the idea of raising a child in an environment where logic prevailed over everything else, including love.   The result was Tom, human with advanced intelligence and a "peak human physique" that also had an extended lifespan due to a mysterious plant native to his home island known as the Goloka root.
 
Reading it so far, two things stand out: this is around the time Alan starts to push away from superheroes due to his sordid history with the two primary publishers of the genre, and it's obvious.  He calls them "science" heroes, people with capes are rarely anywhere to be found or quickly killed off, and there's no such thing as a "secret identity".   The other thing is that for a comic book, it's incredibly dense.   Alan always was (and still is) a pretty verbose fellow, but it's almost a throwback to the 60's and 70's when comics were more of a 50/50 split of storytelling and art, rather than the 80/20 in favor of visuals that it is today.  Take a look at one of the pages:


As a result, The adventures read like updated versions of dime store pulp novels, or more well-written stories of the science fiction focused comics of the 60's and 70's.  It's a testament to how good of a writer Alan is this was actually a critically acclaimed book in an era where things were moving towards "widescreen storytelling" and captions in a comic book were becoming more and more scarce.   They're nothing ground-breaking to be sure, they're just exceptionally well-written comics from one of the brightest minds the comic world has.  I'm looking forward to finishing both this and the other series in the line eventually.

Tokusatsu:

 

So this is a thing, about nine years after I thought it would be.  Garo is a series that some toku fans pegged to have be pretty decent as an anime back when the first series came out back in 2005.  From this it looks as if the series will be set in the past, which will hopefully fit into official series canon and possibly even show us the origins of the armor itself.   (Probably not though--Japan's never been as hung up on continuity as us.)

Because I'm an idiot who doesn't know how to pace himself, I'll be doing a little summary/review/speculation series thing over on The Tokusatsu Network, so if you for some reason like reading my work be sure to check it out.



It's almost October, which means the new series of Kamen Rider is upon us.  Y'know, my friends made so many jokes about Gaim being about goofy dancing fruit samurai, and then it turned out to be this incredible series filled with drama and neat plot twists and awesome fights so very little dancing.

...But I get the feeling this series might be a lot more silly.    From the two writers responsible for saving Kamen Rider from the wreckage that was Decade with Kamen Rider W, comes Kamen Rider Drive, a series where for some reason someone thought it was acceptable to put a wheel on the dude's chest.  I'm reserving judgment for later, but I will say Drive fits right in with the terribly designed Tokkyuger team, but it's certainly possible the writing will save this and make it into another W-level classic.

Anyway, Word tells me I've rambled for over 1000 words so I should cut this short.  I'm writing at both Bleeding Cool and TokuNet now, so be sure to check out my stuff over there.  Here's a link to my latest articles:

Campus Special Investigator Hikaruon Review
Destiny: An Alternate Perspective
Multiversity: Society of Super-Heroes Annotations



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