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    Pop Culture

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    Miles Morales will be the Marvel Universe’s main Spider-Man!

    miles-moralesComic book geeks’ spider senses are tingling.

    After battling evil-doers in an alternate comic book line, a popular biracial version of Spider-Man is getting a promotion to the official Marvel Comics universe.

    The first issue of the relaunched “Spider-Man” hits comic stores, tablets and smartphones this fall with more fanfare than a typical new series, because the hero under the mask is Miles Morales, the teen son of an African-American father and Puerto Rican mother.

    “Many kids of color who when they were playing superheroes with their friends, their friends wouldn’t let them be Batman or Superman because they don’t look like those heroes but they could be Spider-Man because anyone could be under that mask,” says writer and co-creator Brian Bendis. “But now it’s true. It’s meant a great deal to a great many people.”

    The character has been around since 2011, replacing the murdered Peter Parker in Marvel’s offshoot “Ultimate” line and gained a sizeable following, but the “real” Spider-Man has kept patrolling the company’s main titles.

    spidermanWhen news broke that Marvel and Sony were rebooting the cinematic Spider-Man, social media erupted in pleas to have Miles Morales instead of Peter Parker as the friendly neighborhood hero.

    It won’t happen on the big screen anytime soon, but the clamoring didn’t go unheeded. When the publisher opted to fold its Ultimate line this summer in their event series “Secret Wars,” Morales landed a permanent home — alongside a mentor in the grownup, genuine Peter Parker.

    The Miles Morales Spider-Man has been around since 2011, replacing the murdered Peter Parker in Marvel’s ‘Ultimate’ line.
    MARVEL The Miles Morales Spider-Man has been around since 2011, replacing the murdered Peter Parker in Marvel’s ‘Ultimate’ line.
    “Our message has to be it’s not Spider-Man with an asterisk, it’s the real Spider-Man for kids of color, for adults of color and everybody else,” says Bendis of the series which is drawn by artist Sarah Pichelli.

    The move is part of a recent push across the industry to add a little more color of a different variety to the splash pages of superhero books to appeal to a much more diverse readership.

    Marvel has already surprised fans by introducing a female Thor and having an African-American hero, The Falcon, taking over the mantle as Captain America. And one of the publisher’s breakout hits in the last two years has been Ms. Marvel, a Muslim teen girl.

    The enormity of Miles Morales’ place in comic book history didn’t really hit Bendis, a father who has two kids of color among his four children, until recently. His 4-year-old adopted African-American daughter found a Miles Morales Spidey mask in the toy aisle of a department store, put it on and said, “Look daddy, I’m Spider-Man!” he recalls.

    “I started crying in the middle of the aisle,” says Bendis. “I realized my kids are going to grow up in a world that has a multi-racial Spider-Man, and an African American Captain America and a female Thor.”

    Marvel Comics to ‘Reinvent’ DOCTOR STRANGE

    doctor-strange-01Marvel has announced via Entertainment Weekly another new series entering “All-New All-Different Marvel”: Doctor Strange by Jason Aaron and Chris Bachalo. EW describes the upcoming series as a “reinvention” of the Sorcerer Supreme, and one that will explore him “deeper” than previous stories.

    “We wanted a Doctor Strange who was always having to work for what he gets, and to show that when he shows up and uses his powers, it’s not like Captain America throwing his shield or Thor throwing his hammer,” Aaron tells EW. “Strange has to worry about repercussions that those other heroes don’t have to worry about, because he’s a Sorcerer Supreme. We’re talking about the forces of magic. So whatever he does has repressions.”

    This is the first ongoing series for Doctor Strange since the cancellation of his last ongoing in 1996, and comes as Marvel Studios is beginning pre-production on a Doctor Strange movie starring Benedict Cumberbatch to be released November 4, 2016.

    “But I like that we’re getting to kind of rebuild Doctor Strange from the ground up,” Aaron says. “I think what we’re doing speaks to what made Doctor Strange cool and unique in the Marvel Universe. Even back in the 1960s when he first appeared, he was kind of the first guy who dealt with the occult and the mystical in Marvel. So I like that it sets him off from the other heroes we know. Really, the story that begins in Doctor Strange #1 is just the beginning—the beginning of one big arc that will really redefine who Doctor Strange is and what his status quo is going forward.”

    Aaron and Bachalo have worked together previously such as on the launch of the Wolverine & The X-Men series in 2011. Here is sketches from Bachalo posted by EW:

    This is exciting news people!

    BLAKE’S BACK ISSUE BIN – Suicide Squad

    Suicide-Squad-Comic-Logo-MovieWelcome to Task Force Collected, recruit… now pay attention! We have intelligence that indicates the upcoming Suicide Squad movie could be the breakout sleeper hit of DC’s upcoming wave of new films. It has mega starpower in Will Smith and Jared Leto, fan-favorite character Harley Quinn’s big-screen debut, and a wealth of great comic stories to mine for material. Are you skeptical that a non ”A-list” title that lacks mainstream name recognition and relies on an ensemble cast of fairly obscure characters can compete with the comic book box office big boys? Tell it to Guardians of the Galaxy, pal.

    Your mission, recruit, is simple — Our reconnaissance has identified a classified list of highly sensitive collectible issues relating to the Suicide Squad and its key individual mission. You are to procure one or more of these comic books from the Collected Web Store and keep them safe. Don’t worry; this isn’t Task Force X — should you fail this mission, you won’t blow up… but the prices on the comics probably will the closer we get to the movie release! Act now, and good luck.

    Suicide Squad (vol. 1) #1 – First ever Suicide Squad solo issue! (click HERE to purchase this item from our web store)
    Detective Comics #474 – First modern appearance of Deadshot! (click HERE to purchase this item from our web store)
    Legends (aka DC Legends) #1 – First appearance of Amanda Waller! (click HERE to purchase this item from our web store)
    Legends (aka DC Legends) #3 – First modern appearance of the Suicide Squad! (click HERE to purchase this item from our web store)

    Firefly – A Game Review by J. R. Honeycutt

    Firefly-The-Game

    Playing Firefly feels a great deal like you’d imagine being in the ‘verse with Mal and the crew would – resources are only scarce when you need them, money comes and goes freely, and the good luck to avoid crime lords, Reavers, and the Alliance lends a great deal to your prospects for survival.

    Before I begin, a short synopsis: this is a good game that becomes a VERY entertaining one if you’re a big fan of Joss Whedon’s incredible and tragically short-lived show.

    First impressions: The box is heavy! There’s a ton of material here for a game that retails for the same as most standard-size board games, and in this way it reminded me of Small World; but, instead of a bevy of tokens, there are 381 game cards and a Ticket-to-Ride-sized game board. The box is roughly the same size as Betrayal at House on the Hill (same width and length, a little shorter) and will fit on any shelf on top of your standard-sized games. The cover art is about what you’d expect – a planet, Joss Whedon’s name, FIREFLY, and CAPTAIN MAL REYNOLDS and his lovely (I’m looking at you, Inara) crew. 9/10 (I freaking love FIREFLY, they could have just taped a cutout of Nathan Fillion to an empty milk carton and I’d have given it a 7/10)

    Box Control: The box is well-designed to hold the game components, though the cards wouldn’t fit in the box if sleeved. It’s a tight fit once each of the tokens are poked and bagged, and to be honest I’m not sure why GF9 didn’t increase the box dimensions by an inch on each side to allow for a little extra room for these things. Aside from this I’m extremely pleased at the presentation, and the way the components are divided makes for reasonably easy setup and take down. 8.5/10

    Rule book: The rule book is about 15 pages of actual rules (with some breakdowns of cards and such to go with it). It’s very effective at describing how to set the game up, what actions can be taken during a turn, and what players can do to advance (and ultimately win) the game. The rule book definitely falls short in describing specific interactions – it left me with the feeling that the rule book was printed before heavy play testing, and Amy and I ran into a couple situations that we had to interpret for ourselves due to no mention in the rule book. It’s adequate, we were able to play the game, but there were a few too many times where we were digging for info for 5 minutes during play. There’s no index for game terms (though they’re highlighted on the pages) which made things a little harder than they needed to be. 6/10

    Game play: The box says “Find a crew. Find a job. Keep flying.” This is 100% descriptive of what game play feels like, and that’s a very good thing. Each player starts with a ship, a captain, and a few jobs to do, and everyone is competing to finish the same set of goals first. The goals are tough and require that players accumulate resources like crew, equipment, fuel, spare parts, and CASH MONEY before attempting these goals, which sets players in motion as soon as the game starts. Because of the variety of jobs available and the ways in which they’re acquired, players are often zooming around, burning fuel and barely passing skill checks, with little-to-no interaction with each other. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as there are still some opportunities to trade with each other, but those feel a little forced. For the most part, it feels like you’re in space with your ship, avoiding the Alliance or the Reavers (or both if you’re unlucky) and trying to keep enough fuel in your ship to make it to the next planet. Crew cards lend symbols (there are three types) that are needed for skill checks, which have to passed often, and are occasionally very difficult. For the most part you can plan ahead and hire crew to meet the requirements of expected skill checks (like when you need to finish a job or complete a goal) but there’s enough random encounters and skill checks that it keeps the game lively.

    Mechanics: The thing you do most often in the game is fly around, and you’re spending precious fuel to do it. Each fuel costs $100 (you start the game with $6000 and 6 fuel, and there’s only 5 spots on a 50-spot board to buy more). You spend two actions per turn to acquire new crew, or new jobs, or attempt to complete jobs (both legal and less so), or fly around space. SPACE. The game does a great job of making you feel like a glorified space trucker with a gun, and a weird sense of morality. Back to mechanics: Kaylee is a mechanic, and is in the game, therefore the mechanics are sound. But really, there’s a lot of looking through cards, a dice roll every other turn or so (not strictly awful, because a lot of cards let you modify rolls). There’s a bit of “press your luck” involved when you get low on cash and fuel, because it’s entirely possible you could get stranded in space if you have a bad encounter, and the game is basically a race to the finish line (to finish the shared goal first) so losing actions or whole turns to float to a base to refuel can really put you behind. There’s nothing super special here, and there weren’t any mechanics or rules that made me stop and redefine what a game is/does… but, on the flip side, the rules were easy to understand (for the most part) and game play flowed pretty intuitively in most situations, which indicates a well-designed set of rules/mechanics. 6.5/10

    Flavor: One of the coolest things about Firefly, and one of the things that made the show really compelling, was that, despite Mal’s insistence that he and his crew were free to do as they pleased, it felt like they were always beholden to somebody else… a crime lord, a stowaway, a bride-turned-assassin, or whatever – there was always somebody or something else forcing the crew’s hand, causing them to push their luck in situations they wouldn’t have preferred. This feeling really comes across in the game – you’re always juuuuuust a little short for that cool thing you want to do, and it always costs a liiiiittle more than it feels like it should to get things done. That, combined with the random appearances of Alliance and Reaver forces, and the impact of failures in skill checks, creates a kind of natural drama that fits the flavor of the show really well. 9/10
    Firefly: The Game by Galeforce NineFireflyBoardGame
    Overall: If you’re a Firefly fan, this game steps up two notches. It’s not the best game – it’s really hard to be great – but it’s good enough to buy and play and enjoy. If you’re not a Firefly fan, then I’d say play this one before you buy it, and give it a good chance. I definitely recommend staying away from a 4-5 player game for your first time, as the game moves pretty slowly as players are getting used to it. A 2-player game took Amy and I 2 hours, and we didn’t finish it. This isn’t Battlestar Galactica, possibly the best co-operative/competitive game ever made (if not, it’s Betrayal) that also ties theme perfectly into game mechanics. BSG is a 10/10 in this genre, and I give Firefly a solid 7/10. The game is interesting, if not compelling, and there’s enough going on that it seems massively re-playable. I’m really curious to see if there’s a line of expansions for this (INSERT JOKE ABOUT FOX CANCELLING EXPANSIONS), because I think there are some things that could be done better, and certainly we could use a set of errata for the rules. 7/10

    Find a crew. Find a game. Keep playing.

    This review provided by the good folks at DFW Nerd Nights. This organization is a great group that uses games and game playing to raise awareness and money for different charities. Their motto is “Play Games and Help People” Check them out at DFW Nerd Night

    STAR WARS X-WING Miniatures Wave 3

    wave3ships

    Star Wars X-Wing miniatures game wave 3 figures are back in stock at ALL locations!

    The HWK-290™ Expansion Pack, Lambda-class Shuttle™ Expansion Pack, B-Wing™ Expansion Pack, and TIE Bomber™ Expansion Pack are scheduled to arrive in the third quarter of 2013. Each of these expansions comes with a detailed miniature starship, accurately rendered at the same 1/270 scale as the game’s other ships (as always, we worked closely with Lucasfilm Ltd. to ensure the correct sizes of each ship), and includes multiple ship cards, upgrades, a maneuver dial, and all necessary tokens.

    As a group, these starships allow X-Wing players to pursue a wide range of new, tightly focused, squad-based strategies built around their support functions and system upgrades.

    Both the HWK-290 and Lambda-class Shuttle Expansion Packs introduce an array of support options that clever squad leaders will be able to use to great effect. Designed from the ground up as support ships, the HWK-290 and Lambda-class Shuttle are versatile utility vessels that make your other starships better.

    MARVEL NOW PHASE TWO

    Marvel Now Phase Two is on its way!
    Some existing books will be refreshed with a point.NOW designation, such as Avengers #24.NOW. And there will be all new titles and relaunches!

    invadersOne of the new titles is All-New Invaders #1, written by James Robinson with art by Steve Pugh. I loved what Robinson did most recently with all of the Earth 2 New 52 stories with DC and before that his runs on JSA and Starman were both phenomenal! This will be a great creative team for the direction I hope this book goes.

     

     

     
    inhuman
    Inhuman will be another All-New Marvel Now title, with Matt Fraction and Joe Madueira. With a rumored Inhumans movie being in the next Marvel cinematic phase, you know this book will be top-notch

     

     

     

     

     

     

    rogue planetAnd then there’s Avengers” No. 24.NOW, starting a new story leading straight from the current story line, Rogue Planet, with writer Jonathan Hickman and artist Esad Ribic. As sad as I was to see Ribic leave Thor, I am super excited to see him on this title.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Other titles are rumored to be Silver Surfer and Black Widow….  What would you like to see from Phase Two?

    Harvey Awards Winners Announced – Best of the Best in Comics and Graphic Storytelling!

    harvey-awards-2013-300x285

    The 2013 Harvey Awards were announced last night in Baltimore and Saga was a HUGE winner. How many of these titles are you following? If you aren’t already reading them, check them out next time you are in the store.
    A complete list of winners follow:

    Letterer: Todd Klein for Fables

    Color: Fiona Staples for Saga

    Syndicated strip: Dick Tracy by Joe Staton, Mike Curtis, from Tribune Media Services

    Online Comics Work: Battle Pug by Mike Norton

    American edition of foreign material: Blacksad: A Silent Hell from Dark Horse

    Inker: Klaus Janson for Captain America

    Hero Initiative Lifetime Achievement Award: Sal Buscema

    New Series: Saga from Image

    New Talent: Dennis Hopeless for Avengers Arena from Marvel

    Special Award for Humor in Comics: Ryan North for Adventure Time from KaBoom

    Best original graphic publication for Younger readers: Adventure Time from KaBoom

    Best Graphic album previously published: Alien: the Illustrated Story from Titan Books (accepted by Walter Simonson)

    Best Anthology: Dark Horse Presents

    Best Domestic reprint project: David Mazzucchelli‘s Daredevil: Born Again Artists Edition, IDW

    Best Cover Artist: David Aja, Hawkeye

    Best Biographical, Historical, or Journalistic presentation: Robot 6 blog by CBR

    Special Awards for Excellence in Presentation: Building Stories by Chris Ware

    Dick Giordano Hero Initiative Humanitarian of the Year Award: Paul Levitz

    Best Graphic Album, Original: Richard Stark’s Parker: The Score by Darwyn Cooke from IDW

    Best Continuing or Limited Series: Saga from Image Comics

    Best Writer: Brian K. Vaughan, Saga

    Best Artist: Fiona Staples, Saga

    Best Cartoonist: Jaime Hernandez for Love and Rockets: New Stories from Fantagraphics

    Best Single Issue or Story: Saga #1

    NEW_RELEASE_BANNER 82813 copy

    HAPPY NEW COMICS DAY!

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