Thursday, September 03, 2009

Sporadic Geek Update (9/3/09)

Once in a while I like to imitate the excellent Morning Medieval Miscellany done by Professor Scott Nokes at Unlocked Wordhoard. Doing a daily update of all things pop culture related would be an absurd task for an amateur blogger. I much prefer doing individual posts highlighting things that interest me, at least as my "regular" post technique. But there are times when it's nice to kick out a Sporadic Geek Update featuring things that might otherwise be overlooked.

  • Following the merger between Marvel and Disney, Sony has backed off on the Spectacular Spider-Man Cartoon. Does this mean that Spidey is headed over to Toon Disney? What about the new Avengers and Iron Man cartoons?


  • SF Signal has a good discussion about what San Diego Comic Con can learn from Worldcon and vice-versa. With the exception of the highly predictable "pretentiously disdainful view from the old guard" by Lev Grossman, the comments are excellent. Notice the difference between his snarky anti-"common fan" rant and the insightful comments by Jeremy Lassen of Night Shade Books. Lassen presents the difference between the SF "tourist" and the SF "devotee" as a good thing and looks at each con in its proper light. Grossman, a critic for Time Magazine and best selling SF/Fantasy, slanders the unwanted popular rabble in a fashion typical for one who favors "literary" works.

    Lassen's Night Shade Books is a publisher of books important to the SF/F historiography. Night Shade keeps alive brilliant writers like Manly Wade Wellman and Clark Ashton Smith by releasing beautiful editions of their works. They also promote exciting, and often overlooked, new talents like Liz Williams and her Detective Inspector Chen series.

    Lassen's trying to bring in new fans and introduce them to classics. Grossman is content to denigrate those who are introduced to SF/F via Hollywood. This is ironic, because Grossman's blog at Time isn't usually so filled with venom, and his writing is engaging. One expects a little, "I wish the casual fan understood how rich the SF genre is," but one would rather not read "the rapid expansion and mainstreaming of -- for want of a better term -- nerd culture is a dangerous thing." This isn't to say there isn't room for criticism of SDCC, and how commercial it has become, just that I would have rather read it without the snark. Snark is so 90s.


  • Matt Tarbit has done a wonderful job in creating a visual representation, with links, to all the games featured in Green Ronin's wonderful Hobby Games: The 100 Best. If you are looking for the perfect resource as an introduction to "Hobby Gaming," you cannot do any better than this book and Tarbit's webpage gives you the pictures the book lacks.


  • Wolfgang Baur, and his exciting Open Design Project, have announced three new projects that are awaiting patron support. I am particularly excited about Red Eye of Azathoth, though I wish they were offering it in Gumshoe format in addition to Pathfinder and Basic Roleplaying.


  • Kobold Quarterly has an excellent interview with Joseph Goodman regarding the state of the role playing game industry.


  • Catalyst Labs, the Battletech people, have a good blog post about role playing gaming and "those kids today."


  • Topless Robot -- Village Voice Media -- provides us with a trailer for the next installment in the Star Blazers saga. Like the writer on that site, Star Blazers was my first anime. I eagerly awaited each new episode as a kid. I have embedded the preview below, but head on over to the website and give them some traffic.





  • Progressive Boink has a demonstration of the typical immature fanboy hatred of Rob Liefeld. Liefeld is certainly not among the best artists in the field, but in a field filled with talented artists who are constantly behind deadline Liefeld is a worker. I remember reading in the introduction to a Hawk and Dove trade paperback that Liefeld was one of the most tenacious "submitters" in DC Comics history. He was constantly submitting work and had a huge productivity level. He is also one of those who expanded artist's rights within the industry, took on powerhouse Marvel, and was one of the founders of Image Comics. Image is to this day one of the shining lights of the industry and promotes a number of excellent titles -- books like Invincible, or a number of other titles. Sometimes an artist's legacy isn't in the work itself, but in what that artist has done for the field as a whole. He still cannot draw feet, but he certainly didn't deserve the treatment he received from "Yellow Hat Guy."
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