Here we see some excellent Weekly Geek fan art from ukku, a German listener/reader who perfectly captured the true essence of the good Doctor. Based on this Dr. Helmig comic, it truly is remarkable. Thanks, ukku! You can check out her website with all sorts of artistic thingies here.
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Tank Girl is back in remastered form! While this news isn't entirely current, since all three volumes were released April-July 2009, we're making up for it by giving away a set. That's right, all three volumes can be yours by participating in a little contest we cooked up! Submit your best photos that depict post-apocalyptic landscapes or scenes to our Weekly Geek Flickr pool and make sure you tag the photo submissions with "Tank Girl Contest." You, dear readers and listeners, have until Monday, Nov. 23rd to submit your photos and we'll announce the winner on that Monday's podcast.
As astute readers may have noticed the Penny Arcade Expo was last weekend, and it took Seattle by storm. I attended with our fearless editors Chris and Jinny and was left as amazed and exhausted as they were by the whole event. I got to see some great games, stunning cosplay, and meet some cool new people.
As the exhaustion prevented me from getting into fresh new foods yesterday I humbly submit a few of my favorite photos from PAX in lieu of an article on cooking. Click through below to see my favorite photos, or check out my PAX 09 Flickr set - and of course check back next Tuesday for your regularly scheduled dose of dish!
Michael Kupperman writes:
A gentleman in Connecticut had been buying magazines- mostly men's magazines- for several decades, from the forties to the early seventies- and deconstructing them. He would take them apart, and then he would make a new magazine from the remnants of several, arranging the pages to highlight certain stories and downplay others. He would staple the pages back into the cover, and then he would cross out whatever stories weren't in his version with a wax pencil. Finally he would stamp his name on the cover and number the whole thing, presumably for his "library."
Quite a sharp contrast to the scanned comic backups I've been consuming this month. Absent are the yellowed pages, dog-eared spreads, and general abuse / defacement that naturally translate to affection. I'll take what I can get out here but it's like comparing a fluorescent buzz to the sun.
I agree with Mr. Kupperman (certainly you own and treasure a copy of Snake 'n' Bacon, right?) in the value of his score, an inorganic snapshot of a different generation combined with one member's personal interpretation by way of amorphous grease pencil and personalized stamp.
As I type my external hard drives grow hot to the touch and I imagine the satisfying drag of a melting was pencil across its aluminum chassis, making my mark should any happen across it decades from now.
You can see more of these scanned covers, an admitted source of inspiration to one of my favorite comic authors, here.
[via Michael Kupperman]
Once upon a time, a year prior to a certain bombing of a certain harbor named after the June birthstone and Roosevelt still ruled over our fair republic with an iron fist, a clumsy teenager named Archie Andrews was crapped out on the comics stage as the retarded brainchild of a man with the rather dubious name of "Bob Montana". For over 60 years, the badly written, poorly illustrated and cheaply printed Archie Comics is still churned out monthly. Like buttermilk, nobody knows who consumes it, but somebody's got to, because they sell it.
Well, actually, I take that back. That's my churlish Internets persona talking, the spawn of a 21st century irony, a childhood where Archie's Riverdale was a hopelessly backwards neverland of malt shops, Model T jalopy races and that weird crown-hat-beanie thing that Jughead wears. Truth be told, I have something of a fondness for the absolute brainless mush of Archie and Pals, and I'm known to occasionally pick up a digest. That they're called "digests" is somewhat bizarre, since "digest" implies that somewhere there are individual copies bought and sold on a regular basis.
Still, there's an art to reading Archie Comics. First off, you must know the rules of this strange little continuity:
- Archie as a teenager in school exists concurrently with Little Archie, Paranormal Investigator Archie, and whatever the hell happens over in the "New Dynamic Look" Archie. Time is always subjective, but usually at least 15 years behind the current fads. You know something is no longer cool the second Betty adopts it: they're just now getting in-line skates.
- Archie and friends are basically commedia dell'arte interchangeable characters. In one story, Archie can simultaneously be the most popular kid in school and an utter graceless buffoon. Do not try to rationalize characterization. You will fail.
- Archie exists in a permanent purgatory, which he can never escape, no matter how hard he tries. Jughead is the omniscient overlord of this universe. Betty and Veronica are his tormenting demon-harpies, ripping his flesh off and his heart out daily. Like Phantasm, Archie thinks it will all be over when he dies, but in truth he reincarnates as a hideous troll being named Little Archie and the process starts over again. Actually, the Phantasm motif is pretty constant throughout, only Veronica's father is Angus Scrimm.
- Archie has met The Punisher. And it was played straight without the slightest ounce of irony. Even weirder, Riverdale was The Punisher's first stop on the way to Gotham City. Figure that out.
This month, however, it has been announced that Archie will finally choose between Betty and Veronica, and he has chosen Veronica. This has happened before, although not with rings, with one of the greatest cop-outs in history: Cheryl Blossom. While I won't go into the details of the inane Cheryl Blossom's dunderheaded existence, just suffice it to say that it was bad. 61 years in perpetual adolescence and finally the eternally chaste Archie is going to get some.
I can't help but think he's making an enormous mistake. I guess it's not my Hell to live. Unlike Gilligan, who had the Skipper to fall back on when forced to choose between the down-to-Earth Mary Ann and the sultry (but utterly unlikeable) Ginger, Archie has not only Betty and Veronica to choose, but also had to weed out such non-runners as Sabrina the Teenage Witch and Josie and the Pussycats.
However, in these woeful economic times, maybe Archie is making a good choice. Veronica is wealthy and clearly capable of keeping him in chocolate malts and sweater vests for the rest of his unholy and miserable existence. Archie's life is almost Miltonian in agony. Any small bit of comfort he can get is probably more than enough to keep him from staring into the brutal realization that Jughead is the unflinching demi-lich Acererak in his own personal Tomb of Horrors.
I think I have sufficiently pumped more nerd in this opine than has ever been delved. Feel free to print it out and shellac it to a chair for future generations to behold.
Ultimately, I suppose that I have a soft shell for Archie because no matter how hard it tried, it still never changed. It was a solid rock of stasis in a steady stream of cultural devolution. I'm not sure I feel comfortable with Archie Andrews having a sex life (although I suppose... no... premarital sex has clearly never been an option for the poor guy, although I'm sure there are plenty of pics on /y/ about it). I don't think the world is ready for the the sex-howl that shook Riverdale.
What? an early comic? Yup, I'm heading out to California and I don't know when I'll be back, or if I'll have reliable internet. But you can take the next couple of weeks to come up with some questions for Dr. Helmig! (Seriously, though. Do that.)
Witness the triumphant return of Ask Dr. Helmig! My animation is going to need some more work to be presentable, so stay tuned on that. I'll still do Weekly Film Schools here and there as I come up with worthwhile ideas.
It actually took me the better part of six months to track down Nester, the mascot for Nintendo Power magazine between 1989 and 1993. The first attempt to contact him, via his agent, ended in disaster when it turned out that the address given me was actually a slaughterhouse in Arizona. After hiring a private detective (at Chris' personal expense no less... whatta guy), we finally tracked down the man that for four years stood as the gateway between the obfuscated world of Nintendo's products and the common man.
Facing Nester is an exercise in suspension of expectation. He is a broad, bespectacled man in his early 30s, the only remnant of his child-star presence being the roundish head that made him famous. I catch up with him at an undisclosed location in Tacoma, Washington.
SECKSCAB: It's been twenty years since you premiered in Nintendo Power, as a sidekick to Howard Philips in the "Howard and Nester" comic. Do you still keep in contact with Howard?
NESTER: Sadly no. I haven't seen him since he left Nintendo in 1991. I heard he was working for Lucasarts.
SECKSCAB: Apparently. Wikipedia agrees.
NESTER: I never got to say goodbye. One day he was polishing the gigantic brass Shigeru Miyamoto statue, and the next day he was gone. His desk was completely atomized, after blinking three times.
SECKSCAB: That's... odd.
NESTER: It was like he never existed. Or if he had, it was like he was killed with the Silver Arrows.
SECKSCAB: Were there any other strange occurrences at Nintendo that you can recall?
NESTER: I don't really want to talk about what they did to Donkey Kong.
SECKSCAB: So, you left Nintendo in 1993. What have you been doing since then?
NESTER: Just trying to keep afloat, I guess. We try to keep things turning here in Nester Headquarters. I did return on a consultancy basis in 1996 for Nester's Funky Bowling on the Virtual Boy.
SECKSCAB: I'm sorry, I was not aware...
NESTER: Not many are, sadly. Michael Jackson was the only one who pre-ordered it.
SECKSCAB: Really? Did he send you a note or anything?
NESTER: I think he was dismayed at the "Virtual Boy" not exactly turning out to be what his imagination assumed it to be.
Nester sips the cup of coffee that I purchased him, and looks somewhat saddened.
SECKSCAB: What was the high point of your stardom?
NESTER: Referring to my genitals as "The Rumble Pak".
NESTER: Feel free to use that. Hasn't worked for me in fifteen years.
SECKSCAB: Do you still play video games?
NESTER: I do, yes. I have a Death Knight on Ethelon named "AwesomeKillz", if anyone wants to hit me up. We have a Tabard now. Now accepting all classes and levels, seeking serious players with no drama.
SECKSCAB: So you like World of Warcraft?
NESTER: Keeps me busy, ever since my wife left me. It's just me and the WoW and the Social Security Administration these days.
SECKSCAB: I'm sorry, I was not aware you were married.
NESTER: Twice. I have a son now, Lester.
SECKSCAB: How old is he?
NESTER: He's four years old, (Amy Schultz; localization editor for HAL) is keeping him hostage for the time being. Apparently I'm a "deadbeat dad". So the judge says.
SECKSCAB: That's... er... what was your favorite game you ever reviewed?
NESTER: What the hell does it matter, man? It's all blown to Hell. It's all over. Nester the man is a broken shell and a failure. A heartbroken supertanker full of misery and regret. My spirit has been crushed, every day is a roaring success if I can find the gin.
SECKSCAB: I had no idea.
NESTER: I'm kind of bleak these days.
NESTER: No need to be snarky, man. I know the score. I know the motherfucking score. There's something fishy going on in Maniac Mansion. Grab the remote control on the third floor to summon Robo-Duck. It's a bad night for a curse. Dodongo dislikes smoke.
Nester is nodding back and forth oddly, as if his whole equilibrium is off.
SECKSCAB: So then, do you have any projects for the future? Anything that the fans of Nester would like to hear about?
NESTER: I am going to lay a gigantic dook in about an hour. Inform the press. I will accept the laudatory praise of the universe with all due humility.
With his fifteen minutes up, Nester returns to the Suncoast Video where I found him lurking.
Jinny, Ryan and I visited the Emerald City Comic Con in Seattle this weekend and walked away with some pretty amazing art from some incredible artists. This week's podcast is all about that, with Ross in tow to chat about the good, the bad, and the completely awesome. We tell you about some of the cool stuff we saw at the con, and discuss con etiquette. There's some video game talk at the end, so if that's your thing, we won't blame you. It's there. For you. Enjoy.
Ok, folks. Here's the deal.
As you may or may not know, I am a film student. Film is a very time-consuming, very difficult process. Even major studios take years and hire hundreds of people to make a simple two-hour movie everybody hates. Learning about it is even more daunting, and Dr. Helmig is competing for freetime I just don't have anymore.
But I'm not ending it. No! Instead I'm expanding what I do here at the Weekly Geek. The comic will update basically whenever the heck I feel like it and in between those sparse comic updates will be demos, showcases, and how-to's on video production, animation, and photography. Basically a dumping ground for all the things I learn and/or produce in film school. One week I'll show you how to animate on cell, the next I might show you how to do good green screen compositing, or I might just show you a funny video I made.
This all starts next week. Until then, I'll show you a little animation I did about a year ago. This was actually painted on cell, and shot underneath a 35mm camera.
Next Thursday, I'll show you how I made it.
If your DVD rack, bookshelf, or gaming library are anything like mine I'd warrant a guess at all three proving that you have already made a move to a town that's right for you. Between movie remakes and video game franchises one need not linger long to feel fetid undead breath close at hand. We have mall zombies, casino zombies, racist zombies, radioactive zombies, thinking zombies, and even playable zombies.
While I've enjoyed the gradual cross-genre escalation, to the point of peeling an Oprah's Reading List sticker from a paperback, saturation doesn't always equate quality.
In the giant bucket of media that has felt the zombie bite Left 4 Dead easily floats to the top, a rich layer of calorie-packed fat teeming with delicious enjoyment. Game play aspects aside the experience remains a finely executed spin on the classic zombie spawned scenario, situation mere catalyst for the senses as both scripted and unscripted experiences unfold. The Hows and Whys are irrelevant, major background history given but a ghost of a whisper with subtle visual cues or multi-faceted graffiti. Of the many steps Valve took in the right direction with this game's creation the deliberate separation of chapters took the longest for me to appreciate.
It's for the complete opposite reason that, in the wake of a recent re-exposure, I'm so fond of the ongoing series The Walking Dead.
Where each of the four "movies" in L4D are split up as to not thoroughly crush the morale of the survivors as they'd escape one predicament only to step in to another, The Walking Dead embraces that very formula to better develop interpersonal relationships in the scope of the ever widening complications of the zombie apocalypse. Where situational dialogue or panicked cries evoke attachment to the characters in L4D, a small part of the whole really, seeing the polar opposite long-haul approach as penned by writer Robert Kirkman elicits an entirely different mindset with a sort of slow-burning dread that fuels the experience uncharacteristically long enough for our main character to grow a beard or whose goals are dynamic and conclusion yet to be determined.
This isn't your afternoon in the mall or road trip to the ocean and as the series progressed, now 57 monthly released issues in, I've witnessed extremely well scripted executions of several "what if" ideas I've always harbored about the zombie apocalypse but are have rarely seen attempted in either the confines of a two-hour production or otherwise.
The image above is the first cover I ever saw and sums up a lot of what makes the series worthy of the praise its received over the years. Here we see our primary character draped in a decidedly non-bad ass quilt, entire composition vastly far flung from any cross-genre depiction (especially in a horror comic) that usually sports a buxom lass, cleft-chinned hero, or oozing monstrosity. That isn't to say that this Romero-inspired epic doesn't sport tell-tale undead gore or the ghastly ultra violence synonymous with most introspection flavored survival stories, both are certainly present, but ultimately The Walking Dead isn't really about zombies.
Comics have long since cast off super hero stereotypes and juvenile themes and while most of my favorites are long out of production The Walking Dead holds a key spot in the zombie genre as a still-breathing series representing some of the best creative content available to sport the pallid skin, rotting flesh, and guttural moaning so many of us have come to love.
The lady and I went on a bit of an Alan Moore kick last summer, having drained every little rectanglular panel of epic goodness from Watchmen, we instantly gravitated to The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. I hadn't seen the supposed crapfest that was the film adaptation, but Jinny had. She assures me that the book is vastly superior, and I can assure you she is considerably bright and astute in these matters. If you've never read the series, I can't recommend it highly enough. Alan Moore takes lesser-known (and a few better-known) literary characters and creates a nerdy, turn-of-the-century version of the Justice League set in an alternative past where magic meets science, steam powers everything, Captain Nemo is a badass with a squid-submarine and Martians plot to take over the Earth. It's a hazy, dream-like opium den of a book and it's wonderful.
A new three part series is set to begin at the end of April titled The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Vol. 3 Century: 1910. Here's the upshot:
Alan Moore's familiar cast of Victorian literary characters enters the brave new world of the 20th century, set against a backdrop of London, 1910, twelve years after the failed Martian invasion. In the bowels of the British Museum, Carnacki the ghost-finder is plagued by visions of a shadowy occult order who are attempting to create something called a Moonchild, while on London's dockside the most notorious serial murderer of the previous century has returned to carry on his grisly trade. Working for Mycroft Holmes' British Intelligence alongside a rejuvenated Allan Quartermain, the reformed thief Anthony Raffles, and the eternal warrior Orlando, Miss Murray is drawn into a brutal opera acted out upon the waterfront by players that include the furiously angry Pirate Jenny and the charismatic butcher known as Mac the Knife. This book is the first of three deluxe, 80-page, full-color, perfect-bound graphic novellas, written by Alan Moore and illustrated by Kevin O'Neill, each a self-contained narrative that takes place in three distinct eras, building to an apocalyptic conclusion occurring in our own twenty-first century. The return of the League is not to be missed!
Alan Moore has the ability to take seemingly mundane characters from humanity's literary collective consciousness and sculpt them into remarkably engaging figures. It's no surprise he's releasing something new around the time the Watchmen movie is set to hit theaters, as I am sure his name is bound to come up at a junket or two.
You can pre-order the new book now at your local comic book shop, or online.
I should mention that Dr. Helmig will be changing it's schedule to once Fridays from now on. Never cared for Thursdays myself anyway. It's a cruel reminder that the weekend is just out of reach.
Well, ain't this just the crappiest week ever? Unfortunately one of the programs I use to make the comics has suddenly taken a liking to crashing my computer. And since today is a Federally-mandated day for spending quality time with family (goddamn you, Abe Lincoln), I don't have the time to reinstall Windows and all that hullabaloo to fix the problem.
So... that's it really. Have a happy Thanksgiving... or "Turkey Day" if you have the personality of a demented ferret.
I don't normally just re-post things without an image or starting a larger discussion, but Penny Arcade has the absolute best take on Mega Man 9 I've seen yet. I won't spoil it. Click here and delight in the last frame. Brilliant.
What? A German late for an update? Unlikely, but true! Real life has rolled your cartoonist... comicist... Sequential art-smith? Listen, the important thing is the comic will be delayed until Friday-ish. At least until my Heroine and Satanic Orgy Box Social... um... I mean... "Midterm Examinations" (yes, that'll do) are out of the way.
In the meantime, allow the good doctor to "lay down some beats" and get "hip" or whatever the hell it is you kids do whenever you're not huffing acetone or keying Oldsmobiles.
What happens when Dr. Helmig doesn't get any questions? Well, this. I hope you're happy. Gawd.
This week the Doctor experiments with Chaos Theory.
This week Dr. Helmig interviews the author of The Book of Love.
This week the good doctor shows us the most efficient way to teach US Geography: vicious sadism!
Ask Dr. Helmig is the brainchild of one John Forster, AKA Sitnalta, a long-time member of the Weekly Geek community and our most recent addition to the site. Dr. Helmig is fueled by your questions and will run every Thursday. Let's all give a hearty welcome to a brand-new Weekly Geek Original comic series!
The Doctor is in, after the jump.
For me, I like to talk to people, I like to mail things out, it's better for me to farm, like an intelligent, organic farmer, a smaller audience of acquaintances and fans than it is for me to go mass-market with a lot of people who really wish I wasn't there.
It's a great read for anyone who is still stuck in the "omg I must be published on paper to have any real cred as a cartoonist" mode.
Oh! Also we have an old interview with rstevens if you'd like to download it here.
[link via Wired]
Italian cartoonist Donald Soffritti is producing this series of heroes and villains in their later years. With Emerald City Comicon just behind us, these seem somehow appropriate.
When I first heard about Midway's 8th incarnation of their Mortal Kombat series Mortal Kombat vs DC I was stoked. As my friends moaned and whined about how illogical it is for the Mortal Kombat cast to go up against the DC Universe I was busy imagining all the ways Batman was going to make Scorpion his blood-soaked, weeping, reptilian bitch.
My keen optimism lasted for about a day. A day which rapidly spiraled into the sad realization that in all likelihood this game would not be the game I was hoping for. Between Midway aiming for a T for Teen rating, DC being obsessively picky about what they'll allow to befall their characters, and the subsequent abandonment of the Fatalities as we've come to know and love them through the years it looked as though Mortal Kombat vs DC was going to be just about as lackluster as the Oracles at Gamephi proclaimed.
But according to Ed Boon, the brains behind Mortal Kombat, that's all a load of hogwash.
There was never any statement on our part that fatalities will be gone or that finishing moves will be gone. We did acknowledge that we won't be able to do the same kinds of outrageous moves, like tearing someone's head off and the spine being attached to it. But there are a lot of assumptions that there will be no blood in the game, that there are no fatalities in the game. It's an assumption that, because the DC characters will be in there, those features will have to be dropped. My response is that, no, we're modifying fatalities. But I have every intention to keep finishers.
That's great and all, but if you're the kind of Mortal Kombat player that I am, tearing someone's head off and triumphantly jiggling the attached spinal column as it drips blood on the viscera covered floor is the highlight of my day. Although to be fair I have been playing Mortal Kombat since 1992 and as we all know violent videogames turn you into a bloodthirsty maniac.
As far as creating a plausible storyline for how Sub-Zero is able to wail on Superman I'm still not concerned. Oh Ed claims there will be one, but let's take a moment to get a little perspective, shall we? Mortal Kombat is a game about magic ninjas using their magic ninja powers to magically ninja their way into the back of your skull by way of the front. Adding a cast of DC superheroes to that mix doesn't shatter my suspension of disbelief and to be perfectly honest, they could do away with storyline altogether so long as I'm able to rip Superman's still beating heart from his chest like I've always dreamed. Everything else is just dressing.
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