Monday, December 29, 2008

Fast Thoughts - The Week of 12/24/08

The last batch of new comics of the year.

Crap! That means I need to pick out by best of 2008 picks...

KNIGHTS OF THE DINNER TABLE #145 - The comics were funny, as usual. I particularly liked all the nice touches as to how B.A. used the previous campaigns to build upon his usual game world - all while apparently putting the screws to his players even as they cheer about how Bob's old character is being worshiped as a god while another of his characters went on to establish a splinter-group religion in an unforgiving terrain.

But the real surprise - for me at least - was that my letter on the Kenzerco forums regarding the firing of Noah Antwiler was printed. And even more surprising was how badly it was mangled by someone who apparently doesn't understand the difference between sarcasm and irony. Seriously. The version in the magazine omits my disclaimer of ironic content (included only because I know that few get Swiftian humor these days) and changes (irony) to (sarcasm).

The original letter is up here, and goes a little something like this.

WARNING: The following post contains irony and the use of sarcastic ranting as parody. The irony-impaired are advised to use caution before reading this.

(irony on)

Gaming the Movies stinks!

Seriously. We lost Gamers Rant for this?

Instead of the brilliant comedy and sarcastic kvetching of Noah Antwiler, we are - thanks to the whining of a few people who aren't trusted to handle sharp objects (my personal theory for why the "dotted-line" failed) - now being treated to a column that gives us gamemasters advice on how to strip-mine various geek movies for material for their role-playing games.

Because apparently there are a lot of game masters out there who have no idea how to rip-off movies and TV Shows for game fodder, whom have been demanding such hot tips as "You could easily recycle some of the gangs from the movie, such as the Disco Boys, the Red Eyes or the Susies" for their comedic superhero games." and they needed an entire three-page column on how to do this.

Wow. Thank you, Jim Davenport. Thank you for this great service you have done for the gaming community - devoting three pages to giving instructions on how to do what 90% of all hack gamemasters already do!

(irony off)

In all seriousness, I think the new movie column is a poor substitute for The Gamer's Rant. Not only does it lack the humor that I read KODT for - it's also fundamentally useless as a column since all of it's advice boils down to "Rip This Off For Your Game" (which I don't think most GM's need someone to tell them to do) and it's reviews read like transcripts of the old Chris Farley Show skits on Saturday Night Live (Remember when you walked across the broken glass in Die Hard? That was awesome!)

I'll still keep reading the KODT, of course. As a customer who buys through my FLGS instead of the website, I already know - by The Powers That Be's own admission - that my opinion is worth less than that of those of other fans. But I have too much self-respect to troll the boards and I'm happy with Noah's work at The Spoony Experiment. KODT'S loss in the Internet's Gain.

RED SONJA #40 - And here it is - the new status quo. Lady Sonja as a sort of Avatar of Morrigan (the name isn't used, but the general description of Red Sonja does fit) with Red Sonja as a secret identity, Osin the geriatric Barbarian Bard as her sidekick and a long-running quest to get some magical doo-dad before Sonja's treacherous sister and her scoundrel lover can.

It isn't my Red Sonja but it is by no means a bad story. And we still have the monthly features in Savage Tales for those of us who prefer a more Conan-ish Sonja. Definitely an underrated title.

WONDER WOMAN #27 - Okay, I'm officially lost. I'll confess to having not studied the Wonder Woman mythos as closely as I have some aspects of DC Comics history. And I freely admit to having not read the better portion of the Titans/Young Justice oeuvre. But is it just me, or do Donna and Cassie seem REALLY out of character here?

Seriously. Donna being all hard-core, bad-ass "this is how a proper Amazon must act"... is that how she is now, after the... what is it, the third or fourth rebirth/reimagining?

I don't know. The last time I read anything she was in regularly was the Wonder Woman comics that came out just after she and Kyle Rayner broke up in Green Lantern. But my vision of Donna has always been that of a slightly less uptight Diana, who treated all the Amazon ritual stuff like a lapsed Catholic treats Christmas.

And while I've heard quite a bit about how Cassie's characterization in Teen Titans of late has been so off-course they had to hand-wave it as being mind-control (funny how often this happens to the teenage heroines, isn't it?), I don't really see Cassie - who if I recall correctly - got schooled on the Amazon thing a LOT more than Donna ever was requiring a lecture on bearing up under pressure.

And I'm still unclear as to where we're going with Space Zeus, Athena dying (wasn't she more powerful than him now?) and all of the Amazons apparently being hand-waved out of the normal lives they were magically waved into during Amazons Attack so that we can usher in Zeus' new defenders of Olympian ideals. Which, if we're going to be accurate to Greek myth, is going to involve a whole lot of drinking, rape and nude male wrestling. Probably not in that order.

I suspect it will all be clear in the trade...

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