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Shortcast 74 – Texas the Rabbit

Shortcast 74 – Texas the Rabbit

POST-APOCALYPSE NOW: After D. Bethel talks a bit about the California fires (he’s safe albeit drenched in smoke from the Camp Fire––please donate money over supplies to help most during this time of containment and rebuilding), Andrew discusses his hour or so playing Fallout 76.

#IRONSHITES: Richard Meyer and the ComicsGate controversy has been covered many times before on the show, and the latest installment has Richard Meyer aka “Comics & Diversity” putting his money where his mouth is. His 120-page graphic novel, Iron Sights, (written by Meyer, art by Ibai Canales) has been released (it cost $20 for a copy of the book if you contributed to its Indiegogo campaign) was summarily criticized by Twitter user, Jafleece, in a spectacular and validating fashion. The 60+ thread starts here:

Andrew and D. discuss not only what they saw from the thread, but what this says about the claims Meyer and ComicsGate have been levying toward the industry for awhile now.

END BITS: Also, they spend some time at the end to discuss the death of Stan Lee, below is the clip that D. mentioned was his favorite Stan Lee cameo, from this year’s Marvel’s Spider-Man by Insomniac Games.

And, for good measure, the Pokémon: Detective Pikachu tralier:

RELEVANT LINKS:

RELEVANT EPISODES:

INFO:

For all intents and purposes, that was an episode recap.

FEATURED MUSIC:

-“District Four” by Kevin McLeod (incompetech.com)*
-“Disco Medusae” by Kevin McLeod (incompetech.com)*
*Tracks are licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Shortcast 71 – Someone Was Alone

Shortcast 71 – Someone Was Alone

WEEK IN GEEK: It’s a week of adventure as Andrew literally leaves the state while D. Bethel brings a journey to a close. Along the way, Andrew talks about playing Final Fantasy V on iOS while also dipping his toe into the meta-craziness that is The Stanley Parable while D. Bethel is actually having fun (?!) with season 2 of Netflix & Marvel’s Jessica Jones.

RELEVANT LINKS:

RELEVANT EPISODES:

INFO:

For all intents and purposes, that was an episode recap.

FEATURED MUSIC:

-“District Four” by Kevin McLeod (incompetech.com)*
-“Main Theme” by Sylvester Levay (Theme song from Airwolf).
-“Disco Medusae” by Kevin McLeod (incompetech.com)*
*Tracks are licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Con Artists #03 – StocktonCon, pt. 3

Con Artists #03 – StocktonCon, pt. 3

In the final episode of this initial experimental run of Con Artists, the second and final day of StocktonCon has come to a close and rather than have an exhausted (which they were) drive home, Kyrun Silva of Taurus Comics and D. Bethel again probe into different aspects of reading, making, and selling comics. They probe the circumstances that would have to occur to go pro, the processes of writing and editing comics, the different facets of indie comics, and dive deep into nostalgia to close out the weekend.

Creating this podcast ended up being a very enlightening process, shining light on angles of creativity previously hidden by ignorance, willful or otherwise. We hope you’ve enjoyed Con Artists and, with luck, there will be more in the future!

OTHER EPISODES:

  • Con Artists #01 – StocktonCon, pt. 1 : The drive home from the first day of the show. Kyrun and D. discuss making sales, confidence, and the comics they grew up reading and enjoying.
  • Con Artists #02 – StocktonCon, pt. 2 : The drive to StocktonCon to start Day 2 of the show. They discuss the importance of continuity, the level of fan engagement and ownership over continuity, and Dan’s strange reading habits growing up.

REFERENCES:

  • Kyrun’s favorite cover from his favorite run of Darkhawk:
Cover to Darkhawk #22 (1992). Art by Mike Manley.
  • D. Bethel’s favorite cover from his favorite run of X-Men:
Cover X-Men #7 (1992). Art by Jim Lee.

––––––––––––––––––

Special thanks to Kyrun Silva for agreeing to this experiment (and for driving us to and from the convention). Thanks to Ben Schwartz of Empire’s Comics Vault for hosting the table.

FEATURED GUEST:

-Kyrun Silva of Taurus Comics

FEATURED RECORDING EQUIPMENT:

-Tascam DR-40

FEATURED LOCAL COMIC SHOP:

Empire’s Comics Vault

FEATURED EXISTENTIAL WESTERN WEBCOMIC:

Long John

FEATURED MUSIC:

-“Road Music” by D. Bethel

Shortcast LXIX – Ain’t No Rules

Shortcast LXIX – Ain’t No Rules

WEEK IN GEEK: This week, Andrew takes some dungeon mastering advice from Mike Shea aka “Sly Flourish” and his The Lazy Dungeon Master book while Dan becomes smitten by the new Marvel’s Spider-Man game by Insomniac Games.

RELEVANT LINKS:

  • D. Bethel’s Good Day Sacramento appearance in support of CrockerCon:

  • Also, the completed drawing D. Bethel did for the Good Day Sacramento appearance:

INFO:

For all intents and purposes, that was an episode recap.

FEATURED MUSIC:

-“District Four” by Kevin McLeod (incompetech.com)*
-“Disco Medusae” by Kevin McLeod (incompetech.com)*
*Tracks are licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Con Artists #01 – StocktonCon 2018, pt. 1

Con Artists #01 – StocktonCon 2018, pt. 1

Welcome to the only briefly previously announced, limited series, side-podcast called Con Artists.

Hosted by D. Bethel, what you’ll hear over the next three weeks––posting on Tuesdays––is a conversation between D. and Kyrun Silva, another independent comic creator based in Sacramento known for founding the imprint, Big Tree Comics, before leaving and starting a more focused venture with Taurus Comics, as they drove to and from this year’s StocktonCon where they shared a table in the Artist Alley.

Day one table setup D. Bethel shared with Kyrun Silva of Taurus Comics at StocktonCon 2018.

Starting on the drive home from the first day of the two-day event, the discussions of Con Artists are much less focused than that of the main show, A Podcast [ , ] For All Intents and Purposes, and instead follow the natural progression of the conversations as they occurred.

That being said, the conversations revolve around a clustered group of comics-focused topics: making comics, reading comics, and selling comics.

In those topics, D. and Kyrun talk about their history of comicking, the books and characters they grew up loving, and the art of tabling and selling at a show like StocktonCon. It’s two guys talking shop while driving down the freeway. Though it’s an experiment disguised as a side project, [ , ] For All Intents and Purposes is proud to host the limited series and we hope those listening enjoy it.

OTHER EPISODES:

  • Con Artists #02 – StocktonCon, pt. 2 : The drive to StocktonCon to start Day 2 of the show. They discuss the importance of continuity, the level of fan engagement and ownership over continuity, and Dan’s strange reading habits growing up.
  • Con Artists #03 – StocktonCon, pt. 3: Where Kyrun and D. talk about the breadth of indie comics, writing comics, and dive headfirst into personal nostalgia.

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Special thanks to Kyrun Silva for agreeing to this experiment (and for driving us to and from the convention). Thanks to Ben Schwartz of Empire’s Comics Vault for hosting the table.

FEATURED GUEST:

-Kyrun Silva of Taurus Comics

FEATURED RECORDING EQUIPMENT:

-Tascam DR-40

FEATURED LOCAL COMIC SHOP:

Empire’s Comics Vault

FEATURED VEHICLE:

-2003 Ford Expedition

FEATURED HIGHWAY:

-CA-99

FEATURED MUSIC:

-“Road Music” by D. Bethel

 

Shortcast 66 – Trusty Rusty

Shortcast 66 – Trusty Rusty

WEEK IN GEEK: Andrew finally plays Asmadi’s One Deck Dungeon by playing Handelabra’s One Deck Dungeon, a rogue-like solo/co-op card game that has been adapted into a video game version while D. Bethel follows Laura Kinney’s continuing post-Wolverine adventures in X-23 by Mariko Tamaki and Juann Cabal.

RELATED EPISODES:

RELEVANT LINKS:

INFO:

For all intents and purposes, that was an episode recap.

FEATURED MUSIC:

-“District Four” by Kevin McLeod (incompetech.com)*
-“Disco Medusae” by Kevin McLeod (incompetech.com)*
*Tracks are licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Spotlight: Games at E3

Spotlight: Games at E3

E3 tends to throw a lot of information––and games––at the public. D. Bethel has thoughts on a few of them.

Having been a console-first gamer my entire gaming life, I tend to pay close attention to the news and videos coming out of the annual Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3). At this point, I don’t get particularly hyped about the games that get announced (I hear people that hit social media after a press conference exclaiming, seemingly in earnest, “I NEED THIS GAME NOW!” Chill, dude) especially since few games shown at E3 anymore are surprises, having been announced months or years earlier. If anything, being a guy who is way into process, I’m excited to see what state these previously announced games are in and what kind of games they actually end up being. It’s like a big public presentation of the middle portion of the transition from idea to final product.

With that in mind, there a few games really stood out to me, with a few that may have slipped under the larger coverage of the show.

Ghost of Tsushima – Sucker Punch Studios (PS4) – Release TBA

The games I discuss in Shortcast 59 are only from the Sony press conference. Though I’ll be broadening my scope for this Spotlight, there was one game from Sony’s exhibition really got its hooks in me.

Sucker Punch is a studio with whom I’m nominally familiar. I never played the Infamous series of games, having been an Xbox 360 owner at the time of their release, but the idea intrigued me enough and the general response to the series was always positive, nor had I touched a Sly Cooper game as 3D platformers never really appealed to me despite the series’ general good regard among the community. With that said, I hold neither Sucker Punch nor their upcoming game, Ghost of Tsushima, to any metric aside from what they show of the game itself.

And what they showed of Ghost is fire.

In fact, it seems like a game made specifically for D. Bethel. According to Sucker Punch creative director, Nate Fox, Ghost is a wholly linear, narrative-focused game that takes the player through 13th century Japan in the midst of a war with the Mongols. With that, teenaged Dan, the Japanese history nerd, perked up. Additionally, it’s a historical samurai action game with no supernatural elements whatsoever as Sucker Punch aimed for “a grounded game.” Comicker D. Bethel, who’s making a western webcomic with no supernatural elements, perked up as well. Combined with the deliberate combat that looked similar (though let’s hope it’s not too similar) to Bushido Blade and Way of the Samurai, super gamer nerd Dan became invested.

Like with Rockstar’s Red Dead Redemption before it, the idea of a AAA grounded historical game that isn’t simply a tactical war game nor an RPG seems like an avenue less explored by big studios; so to see Sucker Punch tackle it (and with Red Dead Redemption 2 out this October!), I’m definitely keeping my eye on this one where, before, it wasn’t in my field of vision at all.

Sable – Shedworks (PC only at the time of this announcement) – Late 2019

Here’s where I walk back my console cred and mention a PC game. E3 held what it called its “PC Gaming Show” that showcased upcoming PC games in the same manner that other press conferences showcased console-focused games. Tucked among those games was Sable, and I can’t believe it’s real.

Games––like any art––start with an idea; often, that idea can be rather abstract.

I’ve watched the trailer a few times and I know it’s a game, but I couldn’t tell you what kind of game it is yet. The visuals stunned me. Surely a lot of people are going to be calling this a “hand-drawn” game, which it obviously isn’t. Instead, it’s doing some high-level and artistic cell shading that eerily––EERILY––evokes the work of French cartoonist, Jean Giraud (aka Mœbius). Most accurately, it seems to be an homage to his long-running Métal hurlant (a magazine Giraud co-created and was published in the US as Heavy Metal) strip, Arzach.

Pages from the first appearance of Arzach in the pages of Métal hurlant (1975). Source: Humanoids Publishing.
An image from Mœbius’ Voyage d’Hermés series (2011), created for boutique clothing company, Hermés. source: Hermés

Created by the two-person UK developer, Shedworks, their main source of inspiration seems to be from the strides in open-world development that The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild made than directly trying to interpret the work of Giraud into a video game space. Instead, the game apparently focuses more on the exploration and interaction with this breathtaking landscape rather than on RPG-like character growth and battle. Apparently, there’s no combat at all in the game, which is an intriguing proposition (No combat?! How is that even possible?!?!) that brought with it, to an extent, an internal sigh of relief. Finally, something different aside from just the visuals.

My joy doesn’t come from gleefully pointing out that this game seems to ape Mœbius’ style or comic at all––there’s no joy in that––but that this game vivifies his aesthetic perfectly. This must look like what the artist had in his head from which he could only capture still frames and arrange them on a page. Of all the games being written about, Sable genuinely gave me pause.

Sea of Solitude – Jo-Mei (PS4, XBox One, PC) – Early 2019

As an academic English person––albeit one who specialized in Composition and Rhetoric––whenever popular culture reveals a literary depth to it, it draws my attention with laser precision.

I heard on a podcast––sadly, I don’t remember which one, but probably Waypoint Radio––about a game shown during EA’s press conference that caught people off guard because Cornelia Geppert, the creative director of German indie studio, Jo-Mei, got surprisingly emotional and thoughtful when presenting the game, Sea of Solitude.

While “getting emotional” seems to be a highly subjective term––Geppert comes across as more nervous and genuinely excited to show off her game at the largest gaming trade show in the United States––her candor with the game’s themes and what they are trying to say with the game surprised me more.

A major argument in the discourse around games is that they are superficial entertainment, escapist power-fantasy exercises and that’s the baseline level of appreciation for them. Some even argue that such an angle should be our only appreciation of them (“Keep politics out of games!” “Keep your X agenda out of games!” “Games should be more like they were before!” etc.).

The problem with that is games are made by people who think very hard about their games. Like with any creative product (or any product), the consumer doesn’t usually see the majority of effort that went into making it. That’s part of why we are so quick to offer hot takes on games, movies, comics, toys, videos, etc. We are reacting to the product put in front of us, not seeing the complex web of thought, ability, and troubleshooting behind the shiny veneer. To an extent, good games look effortlessly made.

Games––like any art––start with an idea; often, that idea can be rather abstract. This has become more visible as creators have been more vocal with their process. From Hideo Kojima’s thematic and increasingly abstract approach to his Metal Gear Solid series to the small and decisively personal games like Brothers and Papo y Yo, consumers are seeing the level of critical and artistic effort creators put into their games.

Usually we hear these things after a game’s release. That Jo-Mei presented their literary ambition first, before the trailer, partly illustrates why I liked their segment of the press conference so much. This seems like a huge step forward for the developer whose previous games don’t seem like anything that really broke through to the larger critical discussion.

Luckily, the game looks stylish and fun––like LIMBO or INSIDE crossed with a post-apocalyptic anime––I’m excited because it piqued my academic interests while also being a game that––superficially––looks like it’ll be a fun time.

––––

E3 has been particularly exciting this year. After a year or two of the industry being hit hard by extreme successes (2017 was an outstanding year for games) and existential dilemmas (voice actor strike, labor issues, continuing GamerGate behavior), seeing good games at the show as well as developers tackling some of these issues (both positively and negatively) head on puts this E3 ahead in a lot of ways. At the very least, we get good games out of the static as developers, journalists, and players try to move the medium forward and upward.

Shortcast 55 – Occam’s Complexifier

Shortcast 55 – Occam’s Complexifier

THE SIDE OF THE FAMILY WE DON’T TALK ABOUT: While D. Bethel and Andrew went into recording with the idea they’d do a Week in Geek episode, D.’s offering (Sarah Gadephe’s Shy Boys: IRL documentary) got them off on a wildly different tangent that discusses nerds, politics, sex, and entitlement in the wake of the Toronto attack and this strange comic book controversy involving Antarctic Press and a comic made by a group of less-than-friendly creators.

RELEVANT LINKS:

  • Shy Boys: IRL by Sara Gadephede

WORKS CITED:

WORKS CONSULTED:

INFO:

For all intents and purposes, that was an episode recap.

FEATURED MUSIC:

-“District Four” by Kevin McLeod (incompetech.com)*
-“Disco Medusae” by Kevin McLeod (incompetech.com)*
*Tracks are licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Shortcast 47 – The Finest in Lottery Scratcher Technology

Shortcast 47 – The Finest in Lottery Scratcher Technology

WEEK IN GEEK: After weeks away, Andrew and D. Bethel return to talking about the geeky stuff they’ve done in the last week. Andrew plays Pandemic Legacy: Season 2 and is much surprised considering his views on the first game. D. Bethel dives into a different kind of legacy by looking at the first volume of All-New Wolverine as Laura Kinney (formerly X-23) takes the mantle of “Wolverine” from her (at the time) deceased…uh…father? Brother? Twin? Whatever. #comics

Also––a News Blast breaking story about All-New Wolverine and its cancellation announcement made this week.

RELATED EPISODES:

RELATED LINKS:

INFO:

For all intents and purposes, that was an episode recap.

FEATURED MUSIC:

-“District Four” by Kevin McLeod (incompetech.com)*
-“Disco Medusae” by Kevin McLeod (incompetech.com)*
*Tracks are licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Shortcast 46 – Wakandan Skip Fires

Shortcast 46 – Wakandan Skip Fires

BLACK PANTHER: Andrew and D. have both finally seen the newest Marvel Cinematic entry, Black Panther, and dive into the aspects of the movie that stood out for them, especially with respect to nerd culture, pop culture, and culture at large. This conversation does discuss SPOILERS for the film, so consider yourself duly warned.

WORKS CITED:

  • Trevor Noah talks about African accents in Black Panther with Chadwick Boseman on The Daily Show (bookmarked for that specific topic, but watch the whole interview):

  • Trevor Noah in The Daily Show‘s “Between the Scenes” segment where he talks about Black Panther:

 

  • Waypoint 101: Black Panther.Waypoint. VICE Media, 28 Feb. 2018. – Podcast where the staff of VICE’s Waypoint have a thoughtful look at Black Panther. (Warning: Contains SPOILERS.)

RELATED EPISODES:

RELATED LINKS:

INFO:

For all intents and purposes, that was an episode recap.

FEATURED MUSIC:

-“District Four” by Kevin McLeod (incompetech.com)*
-“Disco Medusae” by Kevin McLeod (incompetech.com)*
*Tracks are licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/