Divines Amongst Us: American Gods, and Fantasy Beyond Fantasy

Just this Sunday gone was the season finale of American Gods, and oh boy, did I enjoy that!!

I have noticed, however, that the series is still a bit low-key in the audience markets I am familiar with: the UK and Spain – and actually, from what I hear, it has not really made much of an impact in Europe yet. This has got me wondering and coming back to something I talked to you guys a while back, about modern fantasy and the certain decline we are experiencing these days. I wonder if perhaps American Gods has fallen a bit out of the radar because of that. But of course, here we have another problem to factor in, which is the network that distributes the show: STARZ. STARZ are the fellas that brought us the wonderful Black Sails, and I feel American Gods is having the same distribution issues. We do not get this network here in the UK, so it may become more popular when probably Sky decides to strike a deal for its consumption. Nevertheless, at the moment the only place where you can watch it in the UK is through Amazon Prime. Amazon Prime have been very clever about their deals particularly in what regards high budget TV shows of a geeky content: Vikings, Black Sails, Gotham, Lucifer, etc…So, we are having some of the coolest TV shows one can have these days, but thanks to network shenanigans, some of you folks are, sadly, missing them.

Continue reading “Divines Amongst Us: American Gods, and Fantasy Beyond Fantasy”

Europa V America: Reflexiones sobre los tableros de Aventureros al Tren

Hoy voy a daros la chapa un poco sobre algo a lo que le llevo dando vueltas desde hace ya un tiempo, y que por fin he conseguido asentar, al menos conmigo misma. Este es el dilema que me llevo planteando desde hace un par de años sobre las dos versiones standard de Aventureros al Tren: el mapa de los EE. UU y Europa. Salí de dudas el pasado fin de semana cuando fuimos al torneo, o liguilla, que tienen montado todo este mes en Board in the City – del que seguro ya me habéis oído hablar con anterioridad; el café de juegos de mesa en Southampton (UK). Esta liga se juega con el mapa europeo, por tanto, fue con esa versión con la que jugamos. Éramos cuatro, y todos hemos jugado con ambos mapas, y la cosa que tiene cuando juegas con gente que conoces y con la que has jugado más veces, es que más o menos sabes por dónde van los tiros. Así que, este era buen escenario para observar y cuantificar, en comparación con otras partidas que hubiésemos jugado con el otro tablero. Así que aquí os dejo mis reflexiones; muchos supongo que habréis llegado a la misma conclusión; o tal vez no, tal vez vuestras experiencias sean completamente distintas, pero ya que hay tanta gente que pregunta en que se parecen o cual el mejor para principiantes y distinto tipo de jugador, pues aquí dejo esto.

Continue reading “Europa V America: Reflexiones sobre los tableros de Aventureros al Tren”

Y a ti como te gusta tu Carcassonne…? (Expansiones y variantes)

Hoy me voy a poner a comentar una cosa que es realmente gustos más que nada – pero bueno, de gustos también hablamos. Así que hoy me voy a dedicar a comentar las expansiones del Carcassonne que a mi personalmente me gustan, las que son mis preferidas y el por qué – Y si hubiese alguna que no me hace ni pizca de gracias, pues también.

Lo primero comentar que, a mí, personalmente, me gusta jugar el juego original y no las nuevas variantes – que hay algunas que son muy chulas e interesantes, pero prefiero lo clásico. Sobre todo si estoy jugando con gente primeriza que se puede hacer todo un lio, prefiero no complicarme la vida. Y de esa forma, luego ya si quiero,  me lio yo la manta la cabeza y le pongo las expansiones que me apeteca. Normalmente, de la lista que os voy a dar a continuación juego con todas, o casi todas al mismo tiempo. Así que aquí os dejo mi listilla:

El rio I & II: ésta, para mi, es obligatoria. ¿Por qué? Pues yo creo que al tener el rio ahí por el medio le das más gracia al juego. Tienes que pensar más desde el punto de vista de distribución de las granjas. Y también cambia algo el sentido y dirección en el que se ponen las fichas. Normalmente veo que en juegos sin rio, hay muchos mas cuadraditos en blanco, y no un mapa coherente (y a mi me gusta que estén todas las fichas unidas de una forma u otra, sin espacios ni nada). Además, el rio es una puñeta honesta: no como ese caminillo a medio cerrar que te han plantado ahí para que no puedas terminar tu ciudad, ahí a mala sangre. El rio pasa por el medio, y si te va bien, pues bien, y si no, pues chimpum. También hay algo que me tira mucho a mi, y es la coherencia. Muchas ciudades medievales se construían al lado de fuentes de agua. Me gusta saber que mis chaneros chanereantes y cerditos tienen donde beber; es cuestión de inmersión, supongo. (También pueda ser que sea yo muy rara). Continue reading “Y a ti como te gusta tu Carcassonne…? (Expansiones y variantes)”

Really Cool Awesome Chat with Nic & Stack from Owlman Press!

Today we bring you an interview with our good friends from Owlman Press Nic & Stack. Here they will tell you a bit about themselves, their company and projects, which are all very exciting. You have already heard about their work in this space from our review of Skum of the Stars -Skum of the Stars Review

It is thanks to their game that we met and we want to share their awesomeness with you – so hook up 🙂

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Dear Stack and Nic, please first of all could you tell our readers, how did Owlman Press get to be? Could you explain to them a bit of your background as individuals and how this all ties in together? What are your roles?

Nic: I was raised on a farm in rural New South Wales. I grew up with a lot of Western movies and developed from a young age a love of the genre. As I grew older, I really wanted to make my own. That said, for someone who grew up wanting to write the area near us didn’t cater to many interests. It was either football or fishing (there was also tennis, but that was for the weird people). Writing certainly wasn’t one. So, I pretty much felt lost all the time, unable to explore my interests until I discovered that the nearby town had a comic store. There I discovered roleplay games in the form of Deadlands: The Weird West. My first experience playing was as the Game Master and I quickly found that the role gave me a vehicle to tell stories and develop writing skills in a way that I just didn’t have access to anywhere else.  Again, after playing that for a bit I really wanted to make my own. By the time I was doing my PhD, examining the role of Tonto in the Lone Ranger, I’d consumed enough Westerns and a wide enough array of games to get a sense of what I both wanted to do and do differently with both. My first game, Frankenstein Atomic Frontier, really started as a vehicle for me to both – write westerns and roleplay games. Owlman Press came out of that.

In terms of roles, Stack and myself often initiate concepts jointly, talking about them back and forth. I typically flesh them out into actual background and add the rules. Stack manages the “public profile” side of things for our games along with managing the contacts and so forth. She is also the quality control, reading over everything to make sure it’s up to scratch. We also have great body of friends who help us develop our concepts and come around regularly to play. If you look in our books, you’ll see the same names popping up over and over again.

Stack: So, I grew up in a couple of small country town called firstly Clunes and then Scarsdale both of which are several hundred kilometres away from where Nic grew up. I enjoyed reading and writing from a young age as well as sports such as Roller Hockey until I experienced a sporting injury which has caused life-long complications and a chronic pain condition. I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do once I finished high school. All I knew was that I really loved circus/sideshow and writing. So I enrolled into a professional writing and editing degree which is where I met Nic. I hadn’t played any table top RPG type games till I met him so a whole new world was opened up to me at that point. After we started dating we started several projects together, various magazines with other writers, a local writers group nothing really stuck, and eventually Owlman Press sort of developed out of these experiences, and as the games developed further. I look after the social media side of things mostly cause I’m a internet junkie and edit everything developed through Owlman.

I deferred my writing degree several times over the years as we grew our family – being a stay at home Mum for six years while Nic studied his PhD. I eventually went back and finished the final units to attain my writing degree in 2014 (three kids later!) I considered going onto BA Honours but personal experiences helped me find a new passion in women’s healthcare and pregnancy and birthing rights. So now I find myself studying nursing which I’m loving.  

I guess this is just a fancy way of asking, how did you guys get to be so cool?! Because you are parenting, working, researching, making games, photography…I mean, do you guys sleep?! It takes some pretty special kind of people to get going what you have – apart from the fact that as people you two are just Cool, nice and pretty awesome. What is your secret? Do you struggle? We all know it is hard for independent creative people like yourselves to keep things going.

Nic: How did I get to be this cool? Easy – I do what every other cool Australian does. I hunt and kill a Dropbear every morning before sunrise, and then eat it for breakfast. Science and other sources show that eating a Dropbear is guaranteed to make you cooler. In all seriousness, however, I’m going to take the first part of that question as a compliment. I’m honestly just following my passions.

Continue reading “Really Cool Awesome Chat with Nic & Stack from Owlman Press!”

Interview with Emily Whitaker: author of Ladies of Market Street

Today we bring you an interview with independent comic book author Emily Whitaker. She will be unveiling the story behind her latest creation of Ladies of Market Street, a comic about “crime-fighting hookers”.

The comic is out for sale through amazon and you can find it here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01N37BQ3T

You can also follow Emily on Twitter: https://twitter.com/ee_whit

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So Emily, please tell us… We know you and Trey met at a local art show, and that is how you two managed to pull this off, because of your cool skills were like peanut butter and jam…But how did you come up with something as remarkable as crime fighting hookers?!

This is actually a story that has been with me for years now.  I elude to the fact that the Ladies are also Real-Estate agents.  I get into more of this in the next issue.  But they use the vacant apartments for parties and to entertain their Johns and such things!  And it is that Real-Estate Agency that first gave birth to this strange story.  In 2003 I worked at a Real-Estate agency in New York and all the people were young artists.  We would use the vacant apartments for everything… if we needed a bathroom, a place to change, or some privacy!!!  My roommate was in love with an apartment on the upper east side that wouldn’t sell because they were asking too much.  So every Sunday she would go there to paint because the sun would come through the windows just right!  I wrote our story at first, but it was about that time that I was coming face to face with facts of human trafficking throughout the world and in the city.  The only way I knew to fight it was to write about it.  And to create women who were strong enough and savvy enough to truly fight something so heinous.  So I put pen to paper and got to create these amazing women and  fight the war the only way I knew how.  It is a serious subject, but while I was writing it I felt I wanted to be friends with these women.  And that is the joy I hope my readers have as well.

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Post-Apocalyptic Badass Kung-Fu; or how to make an Oriental-like TV series for Western people like Into the Badlands

Into the Badlands, this series AMC has kinda made out of the blue and that although it seems incredibly popular in Spain, the USA and elsewhere, it seems the folks in the UK are just not aware of it. Why though? Who doesn’t want Daniel Wu doing some crazy Kung-Fu? Perhaps you just haven’t realise the show is actually out there. To be honest, I wouldn’t blame you. Unless you are very much into your martial arts and wuxia kinda thing, the announcement of the series was fairly underwhelming when the first season came out. AMC did a very short run of 6 episode for the first season back in 2015, and it has taken them 2 years to get season 2 out. A lot of people thought the show wa snot gonna get a second chance, and I suspect that may be the reason why the season why so short. Yet, I insist, why wouldn’t you give this series a go? It is refreshing, the acting is good, and it is just not more of the same. Perhaps we should talk about this so you can get what I mean.

Martial arts are not a popular theme for TV – at least not in the west, or in non-animated form. Why? Well, it may have something to do with its oriental traditions and the fact that every time a white guy tries to do something of the sort people call it white-washing – I refer myself to Iron Fist. (Now for those of you who do not get the fact that Iron Fist is NOT white washing, but part of the colonialist themed comics…I am not gonna bother, but I suggest you speak with my friend Nick from AUS about it, and he will give you a lecture on it. Please refrain yourselves from just slacking term like white washing on to things you do not fully understand…). Of course,e I do appreciate there is an audience issue there as well: that is the reason why China produces hundreds of martial arts films a year that we will never see on our screens. Okay, fine. Yet, you would sit through the Last Air Bender, Naruto, and a long list of shōnen animes which include this at the core of their narrative…This may be the time to expand your horizons. Now, what they have done here, is not just throw in some Kung-Fu cause it’s fun – well, that too –  but because it is fitting.

Continue reading “Post-Apocalyptic Badass Kung-Fu; or how to make an Oriental-like TV series for Western people like Into the Badlands”

3 ‘Grandes’ of Spanish Comic-book Art: Kenny, Rubin & Calderon

Today I bring you something I think is pretty cool: some golden gems drawn on the spot from some top Spanish comic book artist that are not given the creds they deserve outside of my home country. So this is a tribute to their genius and to Spanish comics. If you know anything about me (if you are reading this it is likely by this stage you know something) it should not come as a surprise that a comic book scholar owns things like this. What is surprising is the art work itself. These pieces have also interesting and sentimental stories attach to them, therefore I’ll give you some details about these stories, – and the comics themselves, of course!!

El Misterio del Capitán Nemo (2012) – Mathieu Gabella & Kenny Ruiz

This is actually the piece that started the collection. I first engaged with Kenny’s work when I was in college, with one of his most renown works to that moment: El Cazador de Rayos (The Lightning Hunter). An incredibly touching story about believe, technology, survival and the making of oneself. But this reinterpretation I guess you can call it of Captain Nemo was just amazing. I loved every single page. Although very much a villain, Nemo is fantastic. There is, I don’t know, I guess slight Jaffaresque essence to him that makes him a lovable evil in a way. So how did this end up with me? Well, my parents were living in Toledo at the time and they happened to go to the Feria del Libro in Madrid (Madrid’s bookfaire), where Kenny was doing some signings. That was like 4 years ago now (2013), so very shortly after the comic was actually released.

Continue reading “3 ‘Grandes’ of Spanish Comic-book Art: Kenny, Rubin & Calderon”