Return to Azeroth

•September 4, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Some time in Winter of 2006 my then Girlfriend (now Wife) got me into World of Warcraft. It took me a while to really get into the game. I bounced around classes, wanting to like Warriors but finding i was too tunnel visioned to play melee. Then in June of 2007 i created my hunter Bedrock and for the next five and a half years he was my constant companion. He and his wolf Jet fought and killed the Prince in Kara, emptied Naxx and became known as “the Undying”, Killed the Lich King, and so many more things. Then the Cataclysm came and I started to lose whatever it was that I had to raid and sit at the computer for long stretches because I had too. Firelands broke me and pretty much the guild as well. I came back for Panda’s for a small time but left before the expansion was over almost two years ago. My WoW days were over.

Just over a week ago (after months of talking to a co-worker about WoW) i fired it up on a ten day trial. The original Bedrock (for reasons) had transferred servers and was now Lodestone. At the time we moved i didn’t want anyone else to have the name so i made a place holder. I deleted that and made a new Hunter named Bedrock and there I was in the snow covered Dwarven starting area. Little did I know that some time since i left WoW had found its magic again.

It took me a bit to go though all of my toons to see what I had and to understand all the changes that have been made in my absence. My wife laughed at me. I had been talking about it for a few weeks and she told me to do it and have fun. She sat there on that first night back home in Azeroth and said. “Dammit you are making me want to play.” She went into her office and fired up a ten day trial. We started to play together and laughing. “How do I WoW” was said more than once. Trying to remember all the / commands sent us into giggle fits more than once. “Oh yeeeeeah” and “Right I forgot” have been said a ton. I didn’t realize how much I missed this game until I head a Dwarf Guard tell me “Be Good!” i got goose bumps. MY smile stretched across my face and I was happy.

A week on and we have bought the expansion. are in our early level 40’s and bought a game token with gold that we had on our old mains. We are hoping to hit 60 over the weekend and boost up to 90 to see what the xpac looks like. I know it won’t be like the old days, as we don’t want to be in a big time raiding guild. I know that most of what made the memories were the people we were with. It is my hope that my wonderful Wife and I will get to play together and have a nice time together, find goofy achievements to pull off and see some of the game we missed (i promised to get her a particular achievement she missed out on with the old guild) and maybe hit up the LFR or Time Walking events. Hell we may just play WoW Pokemon all night who knows. All i can know is it looks like we will settle for having fun.

Book Review: “Mouse Guard: Legends of the Guard Vol II”

•April 18, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Mouse GuardEvery Culture has a tradition of story telling going back all the way to our days in caves lit by fire. It was in those days that we started our oral traditions, painting lessons as tales, our old teaching the young with naught but words. It is in that vein were we find this wonderful Mouse Guard Anthology. The basic premise is one any gamer would recognize stories told in a warm Inn. The Inn keeper has asked the story tellers back for a contest. It seems the last time they were there they did not pay their bills and whoever told the best story would have their bill erased.

Each Mouse in turn tells a story each with some sort of lesson for the reader to find. Tales of pride that kills, honor in death, love waits, or weapons aren’t always wielded by the powerful. Each lesson the stories give is one that is suited to the all ages nature of the book. My personal favorite of the stories is “Love of the Sea” by Christian Slade is told without words to great effect pulling in the reader to love found and lost then found once more.

The stories while geared to the younger reader are beautifully illustrated and have something for the adult reader too. While the stories have elements of danger and high adventure they don’t drift far into the world of the gritty that too many super hero books do. I would tell any parent who asks me about a comic to read that this one is the one they want.  A Special thank you to The House of Pop Culture for lending me this book to review. Check them out on Facebook.

 

Fishing with Pop

•August 22, 2013 • Leave a Comment

I am not different from many kids who grew up in the 90’s when it comes to parents. I, like many of the kids I grew up with, had parents who split up before we were teens and all the drama that comes with it. For a lot of us this meant that we only got to see one parent every other weekend and for many of us (myself included) that was the fate of Dad.

I think I was luckier than many of my peers as I could count on Pop to call my sister an I every Wednesday at 7pm like clock work and be there every other Friday to take us to his place for the weekend. During the summer Pop and I would take a day to just go fishing. He would spend the day with me away from his lawn business more often than not drowning worms instead of catching fish and listening to what ever goofy comic book induced fantasy I was having at the time. I can remember spending the days before the trip daydreaming about the wonders we may catch or the things we might see.

Like almost everything fun between Father and Son they where also mini competitions. They where never anything more than bragging and pride but it was fun to be able to say that I caught more than he did only for him to smart off right back “Yeah but i caught the biggest!” It was in these trips that I got to see my stressed out old man find his easy smile and relax for a day.

Of course like everything else when you get older other things get in the way and the fishing trips became a casualty of adulthood, work, and limited vacation days. Thankfully life has a way of letting things fall into place from time to time and on a lazy August Saturday I got to spend several hours with the old man on a lake in my old stomping grounds fishing. Some things felt as if the endless march of time had not moved a day. Lures where lost to boulder fish, reels spooled out knotted line, and both of us removed enough grass from the lake to make a nice lawn. The fish weren’t really biting but that is why it is called fishing not catching. The time spent not catching much was filled with catching up on each other and all the things that never seem to get said in short phone calls used to keep up when time allows.

Time did find its way to move on and I had to head home. It was then in the ending moments of this lucky to find day that no matter how much time passes between this trip and the next I will still be that young boy looking forward to going Fishing with Pop.

The Return of Poison Elves

•April 11, 2013 • Leave a Comment
Poison Elves #10

by Drew Hayes

In 1997 I mostly read X-Men comics and what ever super hero book was cool at the time. It was then that my old haunt (Guardian Comics) was having a sale on back issues. When you are in your late teens a 75% off comic sale is too much to overlook. I bought most of X-Men that had anything to do with The Brood but, lucky for me, one of the owners told me to check out Poison Elves. I was looking to read more adult themed comics and, at 75% off, I was happy for the advice.

In every comic collector’s life, there are going to be comics that change the way you look at the medium. Poison Elves was one of those comics for me. Here I was, a kid who had been reading comics since he was 12, and never before had I picked up a comic as uncompromising as this. From the art, to the execution of story, Poison Elves was a sharp punch to the jaw.

A good example of this was issue #10 (the cover pictured there). A wordless comic, each page depicted a sex scene between Lusipher and Cass consummating their relationship paired with the two of them assassinating marks for their guild — Sex and Violence. Each scene was more brutal and more passionate than the next, ending with the two of them resting in each others’ arms.

When your diet of comics consists of X-Men and Spider-Man, Poison Elves was so new and so different I couldn’t stop reading. I called the comic shop and added it to my pull list before I had gotten through the stack I had already bought.

It was Poison Elves that made me look for other comics that were not just the super heroes nor PG-13. This comic was my gateway to Sandman, The Crow, and V for Vendetta; as well as  contemporaries such as Preacher and Dawn.

The comic did more for me than just show me more and better things to read, it also helped me deal with the death of my Grandfather. He died some what suddenly in February of 1997 — three months before I graduated High School and that about broke me. I went from a somewhat normal teen to a sullen, angry, and wrathful teen. I fell into, what I would later understand as, Nihilistic Behavior Pattern and it did nothing good for me.

In the comic, Lusipher was very much walking nihilism and his actions and dealing with his despair at life held up a mirror to me and let me see what I was doing to myself and the people around me. Granted, it wasn’t fast or automatic, but after about a year of reading the comic I could see too much of myself in Lusipher. It made me think about life in ways I am not sure I would have otherwise.

You can imagine how much it hurt to find out that Drew Hayes (the creator and artist for the series) had passed away in 2007. He had told us (through the letter page of the comic and the comic itself) that he was sick and that was the reason for the sporadic, at best, release of new comics. Sirius (the publisher) was putting out mini series to keep up reading so there was no reason to think the comic would not go on. Then he died…and with him the story. Issue 80 gave us some unfinished art and some notes on how it was supposed to go. No end. No final word. It was just over.

Thankfully, we were wrong — the story would live on.

Nine years after the last issue of the Sirius run, Ape Comics got the rights and all of Drew’s notes and it lives again. While it starts at #1 all over again, the story doesn’t. This new series picks up from where the comic stopped so long ago. It is all there too, same characters, same smart ass commentary on the world and the same essence. The art had to change, Drew is not there to draw it, but the new artists use a style that does justice to the original.

In truth, I am so happy to have this comic back from oblivion to finish the story I don’t think I could say anything bad. I have very high hopes for this comic and will be buying it monthly just as I did before. I can only hope that this time we see the end.

The Moral Grey Ground

•September 12, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Image

No comic book character walks the line between Black and white than Oliver Queen the Green Arrow. In all of his comics that I have read is that more true in issues 59 & 60 of Green Arrow vol 2. The long and short of the plot is that Green Arrow and Black Canary are trying to stop a child predator from raping and or killing another little boy. How far do they go to do this? Black Canary flirts with a bar full of thugs that the bad guy is in to stomp him down then force his hand to try and grab a kid. When he does she jumps in the van beats the hell out of him forcing him to crash on a pair. Seems like where the story ends right? Not even close, the weight of the story is coming up. Canary manages to hand cuff the kid toucher in his own restraints and hops out. Green Arrow and two detectives are waiting outside of the can and start to try and figure out what they can do with the guy since he didn’t get he chance to hurt the kid he tried to grab. Well as luck and the weight of the van on a damaged pier would have it the van falls in the water with bad guy in it. This is where we see Green Arrows justice come into play. He just stands their with the cops and lets the bad guy drown.

What really hit me about these old comics is that first they did not try to dodge the fact that the antagonist raped and killed a kid. I can not remember the last time a DC brand comic used the word rape much less in the area of a child. Yes this was a mature reader book but even then DC is normally not that graphic. Then we have the bar scene where Canary basically uses people as weapons to kick the guys ass. that alone seems almost harsh for a hero to do but both Green Arrow and Black Canary have never been the cleanest of heroes. The final shock is the death of the rapist. When the van hits the water both heroes can save him but don’t even try. There is no moralizing about it they just let him die.

In an age of comics where hyper violence is the norm it is almost more shocking to me to see Heroes act that callously. I like the fact that we see how human those two heroes really are. They don’t bother to save some one who has done the worst crime in society even when the are able to do so and do not see it as wrong. I will admit that i am a giant sucker for the Mike Grell run of Green Arrow and that The Longbow Hunters is one of if not the best story told in comics but this story felt like a punch in the face and i am glad comics can still do this to me.

Two years is a good rest…yeeeeah rest.

•August 3, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Ok so i made a blog and then let it sit here doing nothing for a bit over two years. Why am i writing in it after so long? Well a bloody addicting Facebook game called Song Pop. I know what you are saying how did that happen. Well the game knocked loose a few memories that sat some where in a corner of my mind not used since I legally became allowed to drink. I have spent the better part of this evening trolling you tube (like fishing not  how most people troll it) for music that i had forgotten about and remembering all the goofy things that a song can bring up.

 
Black # 1 by Type O Negative reminded me of a girl I knew circa 1998 and her fishnet hand stockings, the way she smoked a clove, and the memory of the first time I was called cute with out there being a punch line behind it.

The Way by Fastball kicked loose a memory of hanging out at the Waldorf Mall and really desperately wanting an eternal summer doing nothing but being in that perfect existence that only summer in your late teens can bring.

The Crab Louse by The Lords of Acid brought the memories flooding back of a 1997 concert at the old 9:30 club and how for once in my bloody life I felt like I fit in with every one around me. (odd that i was the only one not rolling but still fit in)

Those where just a few of the memories kicked loose that I wanted put down so that maybe this time they don’t fall somewhere between the cracks of memory. If I don’t try to remember them they could just hide in the corner of my mind that knows you shouldn’t smoke in the subconscious…it’s bad for the Id. (if you get that reference grats on the indyish comics knowledge or you hung out with me far too much)

Guilty Book Pleasures

•July 7, 2010 • 1 Comment

As the summer of 1993 was winding down i found myself in the Waldorf Mall’s Walden books. I had decided that i was going to read something that was not written by Margret Weis or Tracey Hickman for the first time in what felt like forever. There I was 14 bored with 100% expendable income looking at the names of the books in all of their oddly designed glory and managing to skip all of the  millions of Xanth novels to find the book pictured to the left.

When I pulled the book off the shelf two things jumped out at me. 1) Holy shit that is an awesome name! and 2) hey isn’t that the art from the  Molly Hatchet albums? So since those two things where enough for any person to buy a book I didn’t even notice that it was book 3 of a series (i was a dumb 14). I remember very well jumping into it and tearing through the first few chapters. It was a very cool thing to me at the time, there was all sorts of adult themes in the first few chapters that I had never been able to read in books before. Sure the Dragonlance books had sex scenes in them but there where implied not straight up written out. There was also a great amount of drug use and a level of violence that I had only seen in movies Dad let me watch. I kept reading this book every night until the night before my first day of high school. I remember that night very well as the end of the book neared Shannon Hoon came over the radio telling me his life was pretty plain. There was something peaceful about that night.

I went back to Walden’s and bought the other three books int her series and devoured them in only the way a 14 year old geek could. There where adult and they where awesome.I also started to read abut the man who had paitned the covers and who the Death Dealer belonged Frank Frazetta. I tired to find posters of his so i could have them on my wall (as i did not have a van to air brush them onto) but never could find one.

Fast forward about 15 years and decided to re read them as an adult who had seen much more that the world had to offer. Guess what…those books i thought where awesome? yeah no so much. The writing was perfect for a kid who had not seen much and thought that there had to be some sort of soul selling needed to get a smile out of a girl much less get laid. Still, thinking back about reading those books as a kid I still feel the jungle that the Death Dealer was running around in. I remember with great want the weapons that the hero had and how awesome it would be to live that fantasy life. I won’t take those memories away from younger me. I have no doubts that everyone who likes to read has a similar story.  If anyone out there in internetlandia has a book like this please share with the rest of us geeks.

 
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