While the poetic voice is an accurate depiction of the vicious young online gaming culture, I found it difficult to solicit my brain for comparable me...moreWhile the poetic voice is an accurate depiction of the vicious young online gaming culture, I found it difficult to solicit my brain for comparable memories and images when the majority of my focus is spent searching for a trace of something likable. In reading about video games, I expect to rise above the level of gaming vitriol and explore the medium with curiosity, but with grotesque language running so rampant, wielded by an author unsure of the emotional power of the words he's using (although with possible self-awareness), I can't possibly recommend this.(less)
Picked up this collection after listening to George Saunders on an episode of Bullseye with Jesse Thorn. Each story walks through the trials and usual...morePicked up this collection after listening to George Saunders on an episode of Bullseye with Jesse Thorn. Each story walks through the trials and usual downfall of morbidly flawed characters attempting to make a living in some ludicrous business venture, from the titular CivilWarLand, an imagining of Gettsburg as an amusement part, to a "raccoon rescue agency" to a low-rent holodeck. The structure to each story is functionally similar - Down on their luck character suffers through day after day or a miserable job just until things get better, things do not get better, character tries something out of the ordinary to help someone (or themselves) to get through the day, often with horrible results. Despite the repeated themes, I relate to every character for their tribulations, the nagging justification that "I'll put up with this just another week" that creates a never-ending cyclical loop of depression. Sorry, I think I'm just projecting at this point.
I am an absolute sucker for the inclusion casual, yet horrifying supernatural as a means of symbolizing real-life troubles (It's why I'm such a big Joey Comeau fan). I believe there's one instance in this collection in which the protagonist has regular conversations with a family of 19th century ghosts who routinely recreate their own murder-suicide every evening.
Recommended to anyone who has ever felt stuck, lost, or just all-in-all gloomy.(less)
**spoiler alert** As tired as I am of the zombie subsection of the "humans are the real monsters" horror genre, I was extraordinarily pleased to see m...more**spoiler alert** As tired as I am of the zombie subsection of the "humans are the real monsters" horror genre, I was extraordinarily pleased to see my main gripe with survivalist circle-jerks addressed. I get into frequent arguments with fans of zombie-themed works (more often than I should) concerning the original George Romero criticism pointing out that as comfortable as we all are in our society, many of us would turn on each other the moment disaster begins its approach. Ultimately, I have the strong suspicion that if you watch and become exited by the movie trailer for something like World War Z, you will make me nervous and uncomfortable.
The compendium took ages to get there, but I felt immediate relief when Rick addressed this point after having a decision he made needlessly putting his family over the good of the group result in someone dying. What follows is this beautiful stoppage of time and display of character growth in which we all come upon the realization that any group of people, at a theoretical level, is supposed to benefit the lives of its members. There is no such thing as dead weight, no Mexican standoffs as everyone turns on each other for their own selfish demands. There is only assistance. This point is so often lost in most survival horror stories, instead implicitly condoning a creed to do whatever it takes to survive, because that's the only thing that matters.
Survival for the individual (or family) is not the sole priority. Survival for humanity is.
More horror than parody, I had expected TBIFOS:SDDTI (Okay I'm never using that again) to run somewhat similar to John Dies at the End (or the wonderf...moreMore horror than parody, I had expected TBIFOS:SDDTI (Okay I'm never using that again) to run somewhat similar to John Dies at the End (or the wonderful JDATE) in terms of its comedy and insanity. Instead, it's more the 28 Weeks Later to JDATE's 28 Days Later. That's not a condemnation mind you, it's just written more as a light zombie-like story rather than a whirlwind of literary chaos.
The humor is centered mainly in the narration than in the plot itself (aside from Benny Hill-style attempts by the characters to rescue one another), so jokes are delivered in a stream-of-consciousness way similar to many Cracked articles. Strangely, it remains that way until the ending, which drove me into laughing fits and concerning my landlord to my state of health. Anything that makes my landlord concerned gets extra points from me.
Even though it was a light read, it was gripping to the point where I lost sleep, so if you're looking for bags under your eyes or reading under your sheets with a flashlight like it's sleepover camp, well there's that.(less)
If you're unfamiliar with Josh Wilker's baseball card analysis and self-reflection, take a look at his blog (http://cardboardgods.net/). Here, Josh Wi...moreIf you're unfamiliar with Josh Wilker's baseball card analysis and self-reflection, take a look at his blog (http://cardboardgods.net/). Here, Josh Wilker tells the process of his life through 1970's baseball cards as if the stages in his life had been the original subjects in the photos and not the particular baseballsman pictured. Each Topps card is dissected so that every aspect, the background, the facial expression, the possible photo doctoring, the stats on the back weave a story tied into the author's personal memories which such seemingly exact precision that I must wonder how many cards the author sorted through to find the perfect moments. The perfect influence. Only here can I imagine anyone having Kurt Bevacqua as their perfect muse.
The familial relationships centered around his trading cards is something I've experienced myself, not only in sports cards, but also in my binders of Marvel Superhero trading cards. Despite having never read many comics, my older brother and father had, and thus could regale terrific stories pulled from 1960's issues of Fantastic Four as I completed a binder page with a Human Torch hologram. This shared fantasy brought about a kind of male bonding through this supernatural physical extravagance that I ultimately tagged along with just to fit in with the family. To this day, I may be able to recite the origin story of the Thor character Beta Ray Bill (great name, only behind Alpha Ray Al), while not having actually read any Beta Ray comic. To me, the character felt purely a creation of my father's imagination and was meant to be cherished, for even then I knew how rare creativity was in my family. When I go home for the holidays, I'll go back through my Marvel sets and see what I find, even if it's just some arbitrary stat ratings so I can compare how strong Ghost Rider was compared to Sabertooth.
There is mention of a Buster who works for the sports monopoly conglomerate. I asked Buster Olney on Twitter about his wiffleball pitches.
@Buster_ESPN: I had a full Wiffleball repertoire, born out of living an amazingly boring and sheltered farm life. @cardboardgods: Think Pedro's repertoire plus a Niekro knuckler, a Sutter forkball, and some Bob Gibson chin music. No fun. (less)
When I was young, I tried several times to read comic adaptations of my favorite cartoons. After being disappointed with the Simpsons a...moreOh my goodness!
When I was young, I tried several times to read comic adaptations of my favorite cartoons. After being disappointed with the Simpsons and Animaniacs comics, I was a little hesitant getting into Adventure Time, even with ALL-TIME-FAVORITE-COMIC-MAN-AND-CLASSY-DOOD RYAN NORTH at the literary wheel of this COMIC BOAT.
The most impressive feat is the combination of sticking to the Adventure Time delivery and flow while maintaining a very Ryan Northian voice. Heck, there were panels (that worked!) where you could remove all the characters and replace them with T-Rex and Utahraptor. I think I should try that with post-it notes and see what happens. Also, the inclusion of Tony Millionaire-like tiny sub-comics at the bottom of pages felt like a SECOND ENTIRE COMIC BOOK THAT WAS JUST THREE PANELS LONG! What a value!
Do I have any reservations toward recommending this? If you haven't seen any of the show, I doubt much of it will make sense (sense in the Adventure Time context, you know what I meant), but then why are you even reading reviews based on the comic? Similarly, there are a few callbacks to specific episodes or very very minor characters, so missing a few episodes may mean 1 missed joke out of twenty billion. That is an estimated number of jokes in this volume. I lost count after 1.5 million.(less)