SIDEBAR
»
S
I
D
E
B
A
R
«
Mann vs. Machine – What I’ve Been Doing 21 Aug 2012 [FB/IB/F/BT/GO]
Aug 20th, 2012 by Dan

Big video game week for me while simultaneously being a terrible week for tv that I would normally watch. Since I did most of my watching at Tiffany’s…well…I think you can guess what kind of tv I was subjected to.

Movies

Jeff, Who Lives At Home – It’s my first Duplass brothers film and I kind of dug it. Not amazing by any stretch, but a breezy, fun way to spend about 77 minutes. It’s one of those coincidence/fate type of films, but it’s got such a pure heart about the whole thing that it just feels right. Like the Kevin basketball game stuff, I mean, that was just beautiful as Jason Segel and Evan Ross connected on a level that was beyond words. They were a team unit and they dominated that game, which made the betrayal that much more heartbreaking. Ed Helms did a fantastic job as an asshole, but I gotta admit that the Susan Sarandon parts fell flat for me. Just not that interesting at all.

TV

Friends – Killed some time watching old Friends episodes. “How old?” you ask. We’re talking S1, Rachel meets that Italian guy who she dates for a while old. Pre-Ross and Rachel make out in the rain old. That old. The show still has its charm, but it’s weird to see them in a state where they don’t all know exactly who they are yet.

Fashion Police – Guys, straight talk express here. Ryan Lochte was on Fashion Police this week. That guy is the biggest idiot I’ve ever seen. I just wanted to laugh every time he opened his dumb mouth, but not because he was funny, no, because I was amazed that a person could come off so poorly on television.

Pretty Little Liars – This show is about some person who murders these girls’ friends? I don’t really understand what’s going on here. It’s like Veronica Mars a bit, but with a larger group of Veronicas who are all rich and impossibly good looking. They’re all in high school, I guess, but one of them lives with her boyfriend in an apartment? I dunno. I don’t really get it. It was ok, but I’m not about to break out the box set or anything.

Breaking Bad – The show got a little slow when they were unable to cook, but now that they’re moving product again and we’ve got the promise of having to introduce some muscle to the operation…I’m digging it, man. I love how cold and unconcerned Walter acts toward Jesse. Dude is a total asshole to him. Also loved how fucked up the meth heads who robbed Skinny Pete looked. Hey, guys, that’s the true face of meth. It’s not pretty.

Top Chef Masters – Felt proud of myself for properly guessing that Lorena was Venezuelan. Other than that…it’s just not as exciting to see professional chefs do their professions for charity. The stakes are too low.

Drop Dead Diva – This show is still pretty ridiculous with its take on the law, not to mention that I’m constantly distracted by how much not-Judy Greer looks like Judy Greer to me. Highlight of the episode HAS to be Chef Ben-Israel who was delightfully bizarre, per usual.

Music

I guess I didn’t do much music listening this week, but…BUT I had Alex Cuba’s “En Armonia” stuck in my head all weekend. Here’s a performance at Stubb’s. The conversation is kind of annoying (and there is some clipping), but it’s still a fantastic song.

Books

Does the color reprint of Scott Pilgrim count?

Video Games

Persona 4 Arena – I do really like the way that the story mode works and is progressing, but I’m more annoyed with the way that they’re all “To be continued…” until you unlock certain stories. I’m almost there though, guys. Just a little longer and I’ll start clearing stories like crazy. The fighting game itself is pretty tough, but the story is great.

Spelunky – Not as much time this week as I should have played, but I’ve been rushing too much and not making it as far as I should. Still haven’t beaten it from the mines because I’m focusing on the City of Gold too much.

Metal Gear Solid 4 – Had a rather unfortunate mishap where I accidentally saved after getting an alert on my save file. It’s my fault for only having one save file. Now I’ve got plenty to revert to and I’m back to Act II in about the same position. I’ll keep pushing forward on this trophy mode for an hour or so each night.

The Old Republic – Mini-event that was kind of “meh”, but still net me a bowcaster. Just release HK already, guys.

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive – The beta opened up to everyone who pre-ordered on Tuesday. Pretty solid game. Guess what, guys? It’s CS. The addition of the gun game mode is pretty nice, I dig that, but the meat and potatoes remains bomb planting/defusal and hostage taking/rescuing. Love it. Best pure shooter out there.

Team Fortress 2 – Most fun shooter probably goes to TF2 though. Mann vs. Machine…it’s tough, but it’s also really cool to have a completely different paradigm and completely new goals to work toward. If your team composition/teammates are kind of terrible, well this is gonna be a giant ball of aggravation and stress, but it’s otherwise lots of fun. I just want to play Scout all match though. Let me do that, please!

Driver: San Francisco – Only played like 20 mins of this. Not too bad, but man do those muscle cars have terrible understeer. Or is it oversteer? Guys, I don’t know anything about cars or driving.

Scott Pilgrim’s Precious LIttle Life…IN COLOR! [BT]
Aug 19th, 2012 by Dan

Scott Pilgrim Cover Comparisons

There’s also quite the size difference in the reprint.

The best comic book news (so far) this year is, without a doubt, the announcement of color reprints of Scott Pilgrim. I’m a huge fan of the original graphic novels and of Bryan Lee O’Malley so I was completely stoked to see what this new version would bring to the table.

"Launchpad McQuack" Comparison

I never noticed how frightening Stephen Stills’ teeth were in the bottom left until I started looking at these photos in detail.

“But Dan,” you might ask, “aren’t you generally opposed to remaking and endless tinkering with media a la George Lucas?”

"Launchpad McQuack"

I think it’s clearer that the souls of Sex Bomb-Omb aren’t leaving their bodies in color. It’s just music, you guys. Rock and roll music.

You know, random internet question asker, you’re not completely wrong. I don’t really care for all the editorial changes in Star Wars, but, here’s the thing, you don’t have to make ironclad rules for everything in life. Some things can still be awesome even if you didn’t like another similar thing…

…And boy howdy is the color reprint of Scott Pilgrim amazing. In fact, I’d say it’s the preferred way to read at least Vol 1.

ONE! TWO! THREE! FOUR!

Second best line in the entire series.

WE ARE SEX BOB-OMB!

Wallace looks weird in the bottom left there.

Story and dialogue-wise, there are no changes (that I noticed), but you do sometimes get a little more nuance or expression thanks to the addition of color. For example, I think the panel where Stacey is yelling at Wallace for stealing her boyfriend looks more angry in B&W, but more exasperated and/or embarrassed in color thanks to how pink Stacey’s face gets.

Angry Stacey

She just looks way angrier this way!

Expressions

Love the little colored hearts.

Then there are the other subtle details that my eyes never noticed in B&W. T-shirt designs, Ramona’s star-shaped ring, and even story things like the way that Knives’ clothes look like a palette swap of Kim’s as she gets more “scene”. Not to mention changing Julie so that she wears glasses in Vol. 1 as she does in later volumes.

The Old Julie

In the monochrome dimension Julie’s eyesight was still good.

Ch-Ch-Changes

Maybe the shift to color just overwhelmed her rods and cones.

I’m sure that some of the detail noticing simply comes from this being my fifth (or so) reading of Scott Pilgrim, but I do genuinely believe that these little things pop a lot more thanks to the contrast.

Then there are the things that are just executed better in color. My favorite example of this is the dream sequence where Scott’s playing a show while Ramona wanders by. In the monochrome edition the visual language of all of Scott’s dreams are conveyed by layering the white panels over an all-black page. Additionally, in this particular dream, O’Malley adds in these hazily defined lights and some looser pencil work that I think contrasts with his tighter lines (could be imagining this). In color he can still use the same motifs, but now he can also add a washed out, hazy look to his color selection. This page stands out more from the rest of the book as a dream in my eyes.

Dream Sequence

Who is that woman singing? Why does it look like Knives is on sax?

Colorful Dream

Those mysteries are NOT answered by the color edition.

The last change to the book is the addition of even more behind the scenes information. I didn’t snap any shots of those since they are bonus exclusives to the book, but we’re talking concept art, reference photos, and commentary by O’Malley about the creation of the book. My favorite inclusion was the original pitch that O’Malley used for the book. It was neat to see what elements were dropped over the years and which ones he retained as more volumes came out. Very cool stuff.

My only gripe with this book has to do with credit. I get that it would be very unconventional to list a colorist’s name on the cover of a book, I suppose. Usually top billing goes to writers and pencilers/inkers, but when the major difference between the volumes is the inclusion of color…well I just feel bad that poor Nathan Fairbairn (who did fantastic work on this volume) gets credit only on the info page and the author splash in the back. I mean, at the very least couldn’t you just namedrop him in the summary printed on the back cover? “Now with colors by Nathan Fairbairn!” It’s a nitpick, but I just feel like he did great work and he’s not getting enough publicity for it.

That aside, guys, this book is awesome. I don’t care if you already have the B&W version of this volume, you should go and buy this. Now. Hurry.

K.O.

Scott Pilgrim is an Asshole [Bookmark This]
Sep 3rd, 2010 by Dan

SCOTT PILGRIM'S FINEST HOUR

There are spoilers in this post!

Seriously…SPOILERS!

At the tender age of 24, I’m pretty sure I’ve still got a bit of the asshole that all kids have in their late teens/early twenties still left in me. That’s just a consequence of what it means to be young, I guess. We think we know better than the world and we’re tremendously selfish about what we want for ourselves, but it’s really our (Scott Pilgrim and myself) actions toward women that define us as assholes.

I’ve heard many readers complain that they can’t get through Scott Pilgrim because they find his relationship with Knives Chau to be so appalling. Here’s a quick summary: Scott meets and begins dating 17-year-old Knives Chau (he is 23), a high school student and the first girl he’s dated since breaking up with his capital ‘E’ ex one year ago. Their relationship is pretty mild, considering that Scott is Knives’ first boyfriend and Scott is not actively trying to be a dirtbag, but it’s still a little on the creepy side when you consider the age difference.

Not long after they begin dating, Scott meets “the girl of his dreams”, Ramona Flowers, who has literally been traveling through his dreams as a shortcut through Toronto. He quickly becomes infatuated with her and begins pursuing a relationship with her without breaking up with Knives first. In fact, he goes on a date with Ramona, makes out with her, sleeps with her (no sex, but still) and begins to date her all before he actually break up with Knives.

For a lot of people this is unforgivable. For me this just brings back uncomfortable memories that I’d rather forget.

Unlike Scott Pilgrim, I was a lot younger when I was that stupid. When I was 16 I was dating this girl from high school. About two months into the (short) relationship, I cheated on her with another girl. It was a one night thing, but it was still a thing. I didn’t break up with my girlfriend for another two months and I never told her. Ever.

Scott and I also have a few other particularly bad decisions in our histories like poor handling of girlfriends we moved away from or womanizing. We have been bad guys.

The climactic moment for Scott Pilgrim that allows him to finally defeat Gideon comes when he realizes these things about himself. The Power of Understanding allows him to self-reflect and grow and become something I fear I’ve yet to become: a good guy.

»  Substance:WordPress   »  Style:Ahren Ahimsa