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I, Dork

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Posted by sohmer on Jun 20 2007, 05:45 PM

I'm honestly not sure where or how it happened, but I've become a comic dork again. The one thing I am most sure about, however, is that the blame lies with you, and your oh-so-helpful suggestions.

In any event, I've been assaulting the comic book shops of late, devouring a few series in addition to Buffy, Gargoyles and the remnants of Marvel's Civil War.

Speaking of, when Spiderman announced last year to the world that he was, in fact, Peter Parker, I was under the illusion that this 'Marvel Special Event' was something completely new and ground breaking to the world of comics. As it turns out however, the mutli-issue, muti-title, and multi-brand story arc isn't as new as all that.

After receiving numerous recommendations from you folks, regarding the mid-90's Marvel Event, Age of Apocalypse, I quickly ordered the first 2 trades like the sheep that I am.

I'm about halfway through the 2nd book now, and sweet Jebas, if comic books and graphic novel would have always kept this scope of story, I doubt I would have ever left the fold.

Thus, I have two questions of the day to pose:

Firstly, am I the only who's enjoying (or previously enjoyed) the hell out of the Age of Apocalypse?

And secondly, are there any other similar type 'epic events' aside from this and Civil War that I should be reading?

I'll meet you in the forums.

- Because I Can.

Ser Duncan and I

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Posted by sohmer on Jun 13 2007, 11:49 AM

My intention for this post was actually to discuss my great fondness for all things Joss Whedon, most especially the Angel and Buffy television series, and how that adoration is translating to comic form, with the release of Dark Horse's Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 8.

As luck would have it though, my mind just ingested the graphic novel Hedge Knight, and I'd feel heavy remorse if I didn't talk about it while it was still fresh. Buffy and the gang will have to wait a little, as it's the land of Westeros that's occupying my limited brain space.

By now, it should be no secret how very much I enjoy George RR. Martin's Song of Fire & Ice. The world and characters he created have captivated me in the way few authors and series have ever managed to do.

Martin's novels move at a pace that I've yet to see exceeded, and he is known for never holding back with his characters. For him, the story comes first, the characters come second. As a writer myself, who has great love for my own characters, I assure you that this is no easy feat.

My level of appreciation for the series will become every more apparent to you in the coming weeks when I finally get to parody it properly.

The tale of Dunk & Egg, set 100 years before the setting of The Song of Fire & Ice, is told by Martin in 2 novellas, Hedge Knight and Sworn Sword, published in 1998 and 2003 respectively. Hedge Knight was later adapted in 2004 as a graphic novel, which happily arrived from Amazon.com this week.

Regardless of the interior contents of the novel, as soon as I saw George RR Martin's name on the cover, I was feeling fairly confident that I would take great joy out of the upcoming read.

The art simply blew me away. The portrayal of Westeros, the characters, the landscapes, simply outstanding. As a long standing fan of the series, it's always a difficult adjustment to make from what you have in your own head and what appears on paper when conceived by someone else. Yet I was in no way disappointed, or left feeling unfulfilled.

The action scenes came across as epic as they should, and got my heart beating the way it does when I watch the battle of Helm's Deep on DVD.

The story itself is highly enjoyable, and expands on what was previously only known to us as legend and myth. The dialogue is all Martin, which is a credit to Ben Avery, who was brought on for the adaptation.

All put together, this ranks for me as the top placing graphic novel I have ever read, and I don't put that out lightly.

Pick it up, folks, you won't regret it.

I am now anxiously awaiting the graphic novel release of the second novella in this prequel series, Sworn Sword, which is supposedly coming out at some point this year.

It best be soon.

- Because I Can.

Blizzcon is MyCon

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Posted by sohmer on Jun 11 2007, 04:20 PM

Just wanted to post a quick blurb today folks, before I re-appear this week with another long winded fantasy/book/comic related rant.

Lar and I are thinking of attending Blizzcon in August, and we were curious to know how many of you were planning on showing up in Anaheim.

Additionally, I wanted to stab in the dark here and see if by some chance we had any Blizzard employees reading the strip. We'd like to attend, and premiere the new 4 minute short we're working on.

If anyone knows who I should be speaking to, please send me off a note.

- Because I Can.


And on Saturday, I will Rest

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Posted by sohmer on Jun 01 2007, 05:28 PM

A couple of months ago I mentioned that I was rather keen on developing an encyclopedia of sorts for the characters, stories and world of Looking For Group. While I may not have talked about it much since my bold announcement, that by no means signified that we weren't hard at work on it.

You'll notice a new link on the top menu navigation of this site called "Codex". While it's empty for now, it won't be for much longer.

In addition to character biographies, race histories and plenty of other fun stuff, the big thing I wanted to was create maps, to give you all a wider glimpse at the world that resides in our collective brains.

When I initially put out a call for help, I had no idea of the response that was going to come in. The sheer amount of e-mails and offers surprised, and the amount of talent out there shocked me. Every single offer is appreciated more than I can express.

That said, it fell to us to select someone to work with on this project, and eventually, (and wisely), we decided to work with Gill and Darren, a husband and wife team of rather excessive talent.

During the first stages (way back when in September), when developing the world of LFG, I had made the conscienous decision that it would be a very 'watery' world, filled with many land masses, as opposed to a few huge land masses surrounded in water. With that in mind, our first step was to develop the continent of Legarion, where until recently, our heroes have been almost exclusively.

Darren requested that I sketch out the land mass as I saw it, no matter how poorly drawn it was (and poorly drawn it would be). After some time of cursing at my complete lack of artistic talent, I handed in this to him and Gill:



While that may not impresses you too much, I guarantee what follows will. After a few back and forths, until we were all happy with Legarion, I was sent this:



And that, that is world in which we get to play.

You'll notice that only a few points of interest are marked on the map. The reason being that as Cale, Richard, Krunch and Benny explore new areas, will they then be added, very similar as to exploring a new zone in any MMO.

It should also be noted, that Legarion is simply one of several dozen landmasses that we will be introduced to in the future. The LFG Codex will also feature breakdowns of specific cities, castles and other areas of note.

For now, I wanted to share that with you, build a little excitement before the weekend.

- Because I Can.

Losing & Telling

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Posted by sohmer on May 29 2007, 12:04 PM

I did finally finish Arthur C Clarke's Rama series last night, but I wanted to let it slosh around that empty basin I call a brain for a few days before I discuss it with you. The theological questions posed to the reader in the last 50 pages of Rama Revealed are going to take some serious mental digestion.

Instead, I thought it would be fun to ponder aloud about another topic, which would be the interesting method of storytelling that's becoming all the rage on network television of late, thanks to the success of shows like ABC's Lost.

As a precursor to the following, let me just state clearly that no matter what I negative points I may make about Lost's narrative, I will still be tuning each week until the show is off the air. I'm hooked, the shows talons lodged securely in my back, no matter what my intellect may say on the matter.

Watching Lost is an incredibly frustrating experience. While as a viewer, I want to be so invested in a series that I'm frustrated, filled with anxiety, excitement, and I am, but there are limits, and Lost pushes them too far.

That can easily be demonstrated by asking this simple question:

What is Lost About?

Not so easy to answer that, is it? I wonder if even the shows creators have figured out exactly what Lost is. And that's where the real frustration enters into play. It's obvious that the hands at the wheel have no idea which direction to go. Simply throwing more elements, more 'shiny things' for the viewer to look does not make for a satisfying experience.

In terms of individual episodes, Lost does everything right. The characters are rich and layered, each 48 minute show is driving the viewers and characters to a specific point. Taken as multiple episodes, or a season, the series makes me want to shove my head through a plate glass window (and I'm bald, so it'll hurt extra much).

Lost is an odd phenomena, where the parts are far greater than the whole.

Their method of storytelling, by asking far more questions then they ever answer is maddening and infuriating. Is that part of the fun, or the signs of a rudderless series? Considering the Lost audience is half of what it was 2 years ago, I think I just answered my own questions and points to the fact that I may not be alone in these feelings.

On the other side of the spectrum, it appears that network executives are paying somewhat close to attention to eroding audiences, and acting accordingly. I give you Heroes and Jericho as examples. Both series are heavily clad with their own mysteries and shockers, yet reveals are doled out on a regular basis giving the viewer a more complete picture and understanding of what they're watching.

We still have so many questions left unanswered, yet we're comfortable with the knowledge that we do know a few things. What we know is the base on which to build on, what we don't is what keeps us coming back each week.

Heroes and Jericho tells the complete story in such a way I find compelling, and in a way that I hope Lar and I are emulating with LFG. But then again, you tell us.

And that folks, is the topic of the day. Your thoughts on Lost, Heroes, Jericho, LFG and shows/Comics/Books of their ilk? As a viewer, as a reader, what do you think?

- Because I Can.

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