Wow or Woe, Release Date 8/30

710496_secret-empire-10-js-campbell-variant.jpgSecret Empire #10

Read this.

Dear Nick Spencer and Marvel,

You lied. Not only that, you have to do a lot to regain my trust after this $#!tstorm of an event. It had moments, but this made the TV series Lost finale seem as unexpected as the Crying Game. They lied, they deceived, and on top of all that, it was incredibly lazy storytelling.

I need to strong consider my feelings on Marvel going forward.

The Legacy one-shot better be great. Marvel has sucked since Secret Wars. There have been good titles, series that deal with characters, but the crossovers and events have sucked.

Also on the Pull List this week: Supergirl Annual, Red Hood and the Outlaws Annual, Your Pal Archie, Irredeemable Iron Man, Generations: The Archers.


Game the Game: Playetest Report

1780397-1742961_are_you_beer_super_superMy long-term gaming group and I have been playtesting my design for Powers High. We have played 3 times, and each time has been a lot of fun. I am very lucky because I have good players. Things had gotten very dark in our game, and we wanted a break from the all the heavy stuff.

We have had a fun time every session. The players are invested in their characters and the world. But, what has been most fun, is the dice, when they are rolled,, why they are rolled, and the results.

In many games, and game theory, rolling dice brings with it uncertainty. But, does it really? Often, it brings with it binary results. Failure indicates one thing, and success another. Hit, and then roll damage, or miss.

In our most recent session however, there was a dice roll that ended with a result I didn’t see coming.

One of the conceits of the game is that the 5 specific traits/ tropes determine how well characters fail or succeed at extended actions involving those tropes. The sportsball playoffs, roll Athlete. Final exams, roll Brain. Play video games, roll Outcast.

This particular action was a Halloween party, one that involved students sneaking out to drink, etc.

There was a drinking game, with involved 5 rolls by the players, and produced fun results, but not necessarily unexpected.

One character, who has a high Criminal trait (which was the trait needed to sneak out to the party), but who is basically a social wallflower, and not at all a “bad boy” got a perfect score.

I had to think for a moment what would happen.

How could I remain true to the character, true to the fiction, and true to the dice roll?

I paused for a moment, and explained that he stood at the party, awkward and relatively quiet, perhaps even uncomfortable. But, the other kids, the ones who wanted to party, drink beer, etc, basically just wanted to be in his aura. By doing nothing, he did everything.

He was cool by not trying at all to be cool.

He didn’t drink.

But, man, all the other kids wanted to be in his presence.

Strong and silent type? Yes. But, this was not at all how I might have predicted what could have happened.

The perfect score meant I needed it to be something great, wonderful, and special.

I am liking this system other new component we experienced was Rumors. Rumors are a real thing, as they should be. Some might be true, some false, some in the middle.

I handed all the characters three rumors. They chose to share them.

They laughed.

But, they also understood the gravity of the situation.

And next session, there will be more Rumors.

The first session had a very unexpected Homecoming King and Queen, the third session had an awesome drinking game.

What is happening in your games?



Crisis of Comics: A non-Crisis Crisis, How Very Metal…

Crisis of Comics takes a weekly look at some of the recent publishing woes by the Big Two, offers up theories and concludes with suggestions about what might be missing.

“The truth of the matter is this: a Crisis-level event is the next logical step for Rebirth. Though each individual book has been doing a considerable amount of leg work as far as covering the ground lost, deleted or simply ignored during the New 52 shake up, there are still major connecting threads that remain glaringly absent.”

I didn’t write that, click through to read the whole article.

As someone who is not that invested in post-Rebirth DC, or whatever it is now, I have so many questions, but just one I will pose here:

What about the Button?

Looking at this analytically, this seems like DC is just over the moon because their books are selling decently, and is doing way too much, and they might, I predict, implode again, from the weight of trying to do too much.

Is anyone going to explain, in a way that makes sense, why Babs is no longer Oracle, or are DC fans so busy stroking off to the 15 Bat-titles every month to care?

“I’ve been planning METAL for as long as I’ve been writing Batman, but I want METAL to be built upon the stories happening now in Rebirth. Most of all we want to create new material that feels really modern and different. And above all, it’s going to be fun. Even with terror and nightmares, it won’t be grim. DARK NIGHTS: METAL will be celebratory, huge and crazy.” — SCOTT SNYDER

DC is doing well, as much as I might poke fun. Do they really need another Crisis-level event? I say no.



Game the Game: Roll vs Role: Niche Protection

Scenario 1:  You’re playing a supers game, it is set in the DC in Gotham. What character do you want to play?


Most systems would have us believe that Batman would be the first pick, because he is the best ™. And Nightwing next, maybe Babs. Some GMs would argue that players should play the characters they want to play.

Not if my character sucks.

In the most recent official DC RPG, the character I would want to play kind of sucks compared to other members of the Bat-Fam, but in the comics he is cool and I like him.

I don’t like to play games where other characters out-shine me, or are better than me at everything i do. Most games break down members of teh Bat-Family this way, and in many ways it would be a matter of picking and choosing how many ranks of acrobat you wanted, and how much less competent you wanted to be.

I am calling BS!

All the characters pictured above are very different in terms of how they interact with the world.

If the system does not reflect this, then pick a better system.

Scenario 2: GM is running a Justice League game, and you can bring your favorite character.

Screenshot 2017-07-19 12.08.12.png

These characters do have some differences in their powers, I do know that, but with a quick synopsis they are fairly identical. Except, they are not.

And if you don’t know why, I will fill you in:

Elongated Man Sucks, Plas Rules!

Rest in Peace Ralph, nothing but love. One for me, one for my stretch-homie:





So Much Killing

Whatever happened to peace, love, and understanding? Isn’t that a quote?

My tastes in games have changed, as I, as a person, have changed.

Many RPGs claim to be about many things, social interaction, exploration, but their rules revolve primarily around combat.

This means the games are about fighting.

And, more to the point, they are about killing.

Games are escapism, but I want to believe that we as people should be better than being killers.

So, when I think about and design games, I try and design games that emphasize not-killing.

But, this also means thinking outside the commonly accepted genre-box most games exist in.

So, it is a challenge. But, a challenge I enjoy.

More, I want to design games that can be about mature subject matter, but not about killing. I love Cartoon Action Hour, I helped with the design of it. It does what it does very well. And, there is no killing. But, it is not, by default, “mature.”

A game like Monsterhearts can be not about killing but very mature.

This is my challenge to myself, inspired by someone taking their own life in prison. Many cheered, because, by all accounts, he was not a good dude in any way shape or form.

But, it takes a lot to do what he did. And there are people that were filled with grief, and I believe he was filled with grief.

I want to make games that can be about bringing something other than death to others.

Imagine If: Jonah Hex, Release Date 1977

Imagine if Hollywood had released tent-pole comic-book movies starring their iconic characters around the time of the source material’s release date. For the purposes of this experiment, we will say that a movie would be released 5 years after the introduction of the character, and only movies that have been made would be made.

Spaghetti Westerns were a thing in the 70s.

Producers thought they would try and piggyback on this and gave the green light to Jonah Hex. Even at the time, it was seen as a shameless money-grab, the charcter’s solo series starting the year the movie was released.

07303.jpgJonah Hex-James Caan

Caan loved playing the tough guy.






3f78c19fb61c84a776a5166aed3a345b--rocky-film-series-burt-young.jpgQuentin Turnbull-Burt Young

Many knew Young only from the Rocky films, insiders loved the character actor.







gene-wilder-web.jpgBat Lash-Gene Wilder

Producers thought Hex could use a sidekick, the director did not. Lash appears in the 2nd Act of the film only, his appearance and disappearance never explained.



erik-estrada-photos.jpgEl Papagayo-Erik Estrada

Even CHiPs (released the same year) couldn’t bring people to the box office.


Wow or Wow, Comic Release Date 8/23+

I have not been negligent, I was at GenCon, and Sabrina was delayed a week. I did stop by the store and try and pick it up, and would have found a way to deliver unto you my thoughts.

But last week is the past, live in the present.

IMG_1061A good week this week. Batgirl deserves a WOW, as does Archie, Secret Empire a WOE, but my focus, as promised, is Sabrina. This book gets better and better, as if RAS is deciding to take us down a darker path every week. The art is great, and the story is indeed chilling. I had trouble getting into this one initially, but when I revisited, this is one of my favorite books being published today. WOW!

Other books this week (not mentioned above): Nightwing: The New Order, Generations: The Thunder, Josie and the Pussycats, Daredevil, Kamandi Challenge.

For those of you keeping track at home, last week I ended up with: Future Quest Presents, Dark Nights Metal, Spider-Men II, Totally Awesome Hulk, Generations: The Best, KoDT, Iron Man, Thor, Luke Cage, and Sheena. All things being equal, I would have given the WOW to….. The Best, it had some really nice interplay between the characters.


Crisis of Comics: Secret Convergence Wars: Oh, the Places We’ll Go

Crisis of Comics takes a weekly look at some of the recent publishing woes by the Big Two, offers up theories and concludes with suggestions about what might be missing.

Of course there is a larger discussion to be had, about the quality and repercussions of Secret wars and Convergence, but that is neither here nor there.

I would imagine that the writers of the tie-in books had a great deal of fun playing in ridiculous playgrounds even if just for 1-2 issues.

But why not let those writers continue to play, and let us, the comics readers, reap the benefits.

Imagine a team, one for each of the big two, who travel from pocket reality to pocket reality, both companies have had teams like this, eXiles as one example.

Look at all the fun we could be having slash look at all the cool stuff they teased us with and then forgot:

(It is Elseworlds, but not…)

  • 1602, with Angela or without
  • Supergirl: Matrix
  • Master of Kung-Fu
  • Plastic Man & The Freedom Fighters
  • Siege
  • Infinity Inc.
  • 1872
  • Swamp Thing
  • Captain Marvel and the Carol Corps
  • Hawkman