Saturday, December 31, 2011

My Favorite Games of 2011

Even though my list of favorite games for the year 2011 are posted on the left side of the screen, I wanted to write a few words about my five favorites:

5) inFAMOUS 2 - Loved the first and was looking forward to the continued story of Cole MacGrath.  This will be a running theme in my list but it isn't often that I finish a game and restart it almost immediately.  While I didn't exactly do that with this game, I had trouble staying away while attempting to play something else.  Didn't last too long (about 2 weeks) before I was back doing an evil run through.  I've never had so much fun being an asshole in a game.  LOL.

4) Gears of War 3 - Admittedly, I was a bit skeptical after part 2 but the whole game was a major improvement from pacing to the addition of 4-player co-op.  Horde Mode continues to be lots of fun and Beast Mode adds a nice twist.

3) Batman: Arkham City - This could easily be anywhere in my top 3 but lands here by the narrowest of margins.  Having so many villains from Batman's universe was awesome and fit the story very well.  Have yet to collect all of Riddler's trophies so I'm still roaming the streets and having a blast doing so.

2) Dead Space 2 - While not as creepy as the previous release, DP2 still had me at the edge of my seat.  Stand outs for me were improved zero gravity gameplay mechanics, a backstory that actually intrigued me, huge action set pieces and no shooting of fucking meteors.  The only downside for me was that the surrounds weren't utilized nearly as much as the previous version.  While the game was still atmospheric, I wasn't as tense as I was in part 1 when the sound of a bottle rolling on the floor would just creep me the heck out.  Also, the multi-player did nothing for me.  With only just 2 games in the series thus far, I can't think of any other franchise, outside of Bioshock, where I look forward to another sequel more than Dead Space. I still plan to go back for a Hardcore run sometime in 2012.  One of the few (until that point) games where I immediately jumped back into a new play through after finishing it, the sequel to my 2008 game of the year was narrowly beaten out by...

1) Portal 2 - As much as I loves me some Dead Space, for me there's something to be said about finishing a game and immediately wanting to jump back into that world for more.  Oh wait, did I say that already?  Well, with inFamous 2 I went back and started a replay after 2 weeks away.  I started a replay of Dead Space 2 immediately after finishing but how about 2 replays?  Counting co-op, Portal 2 is the only game I've ever played through on 3 consecutive runs.  After my campaign run, I enjoyed many laugh-out-loud moments when I finished co-op runs with Thomas and Romier.  I remember practically getting cursed out by Joey when Romier and I were playing because we wouldn't let him sleep back when we spent a weekend in Pennsylvania.  Brilliant game mechanics, superbly-written witty dialogue and some of the best voice acting I've experienced in gaming, Portal 2 was immediately my "game of the year" to beat back in April when I first finished it.  From the single player (Chell, GLaDOS, Wheatley (Stephen Merchant) and Cave Johnson (J.K. Simmons) to the co-op (Atlas and P-Body), no games cast of characters left such an indelible impression on me.  I was grinning from beginning to end.  Kudos to Valve.

Writing this, I just realized that all top 5 (and 7 of 10) games were sequels.  But I must add that there were games released during the year that I either didn't pick up or picked up later in the year (black friday) and have yet to start and is the reason they weren't considered for the list.  Games like... 

  • Crysis 2 (never picked up)
  • Deus Ex: Human Revolution (late pick up)
  • Ico/Shadow of the Colossus (late pick up)
  • Killzone 3 (never picked up)
  • Child of Eden (never picked up)
  • Battlefield 3 (never picked up)
  • Dead Island (late pick-up).

Monday, November 28, 2011

New York Comic Con 2011: Day 3

Over a month later and I remembered that I hadn't posted a few words and pics from my third and final day at the Con.  While there was still a fourth day to attend, I was too tired and broke to even consider making one more trip.
The day ended up being a mixed bag.  While I was able to meet some creators and purchase some prints, I wasn't able to hook up with any of the guys.  Cell service was horrendous while AT&T's 3G was practically non existent.

In addition to getting some cool prints, which I posted pics of in my previous post, I was able to meet some creators and celebrities while just seeing others as they signed for a looooong line of fans.

From the ones I remember:
  • Steve Ellis - artist on Box 13 signed and drew a sketch in my trade (see pic above).
  • Kody Chamberlain - writer and artist of mini-series Sweets signed my Sweets #1 issue.
  • Kevin Brown - plays Dot Com on the NBC sitcom 30 Rock.
  • Greg Capullo - longtime artist on Spawn and currently drawing Batman.
  • Jason Aaron - longtime writer on Scalped and currently writing Incredible Hulk.
  • Olivier Coipel - artist on Marvel's Thor, Seige and House of M.
  • Tony Moore - co-creator and early artist of The Walking Dead, signed my TWD action figure.
  • Robert Kirkman - creator of The Walking Dead, signed my TWD action figure and dvd.
  • Leinil Yu - artist on Mark Millar's Superior, signed my Superior #1 issue.
  • Todd McFarlane - co-founder of Image Comics and creator of Spawn.
  • Justin Gray (writer), Jimmy Palmiotti (writer), Amanda Connor (artist) - have all collaborated on some of my favorite books.  They were nice, engaging and gracious enough to sign quite a few of my books.
  • Terry Moore - can't go a day without stopping by to say hello to one of my favorite comic creators.
Overall, a good time though extremely tiring.  Next year, I'll most likely spring for the VIP ticket so I can have somewhere to store my bag and have less to carry around.

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

New York Comic Con 2011: Day 2

After going unprepared on day 1 (Thursday), day 2 saw me headed back to the Javits Center with enthusiasm, determination and books in my backpack.  One of the books was my Walking Dead Book One hardcover for a Robert Kirkman signature.  Now, I debated whether I wanted to make this line again after being on line the previous day with nothing but a comic con pass.  In my defense, I made the line that first day hoping that his staff would have the new "Rise of the Governor" hardcover available for sale to have signed but, though they were expected in, the books never arrived so I settled for having my pass signed instead with the thought that I'd just do the line again the next day.  So, here I was on line again, enjoying a pleasant chat with a fan who made the trip from Pennsylvania.  As it turned out, that chat really helped the hour-long wait go by pretty quickly.  Finally, Kirkman signed my book along with my Walking Dead season 1 dvd slipcase and my "bloody" Rick Grimes Walking Dead action figure which, from what I understand, turned out to be a New York Comic Con exclusive.  Afterwards, I was able to score a signature on my book and action figure by Tony Moore who drew the interior art on the first 6 issues of the comic and the cover art for the first 24 issues.

Another creator I revisited was Terry Moore.  I really enjoy visiting Terry and his wife Robyn.  Unlike most other creators who have to be pulled away for panels or can only been seen after long waits on line, Terry is an independent creator with his own booth and is almost always there and very approachable.  It's quite common to see Terry and/or Robyn in conversation with customers about all things Strangers In Paradise or Echo.  After having purchased the Echo hardcover book, which he signed, along with a Rachel Rising (his new series) t-shirt on Thursday, I went back on day 2 with my copy of the fabulous Mary Jane Loves Spider-Man 2nd volume hardcover book which he wrote.  He signed it as we chatted about Echo and how it's been optioned for a movie with a screenwriter currently attached.  I told him I'd see him again the next day with more books for him to sign and he graciously told me he'd look forward to it.

Also, I visited DC's hour long Batman panel where current creators Lee Bermejo (Batman: Noel), Chris Burnham (Batman Inc.), Tony Daniel (Detective Comics), Greg Capullo (Batman), David Finch (Batman: The Dark Knight), Kyle Higgins (Nightwing), Amy Reeder (Batwoman), Scott Snyder (Batman) and Peter J. Tomasi (Batman and Robin) all shared their views on their respective books and took time out to answer fan questions.  It was an interesting panel but, more importantly, a nice hour break off my feet.

All in all, I had a great time but I'd be lying if I didn't say I got home with pain in my legs and back.  Lots of walking, waiting on lines, and carrying a heavy backpack of books on the subway to and from Comic Con can take it's toll.  But, when you're there taking it all in, meeting new people (fans AND creators alike) and enjoying all the wonderfully creative costumes and outfits being worn and shown at the show, all you can think of is.... I get to do this all over again tomorrow.

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Comic Con Goodies

While I decided to not attend NYCC on the final day, I do have more pictures from days 2 and 3 to post. I'm just extremely tired and need a day or so to reboot so I should have them up in a day or so. For now, here are the prints I purchased.

This one was from the great Amanda Connor. She personalized it for Angelise.

This Spider-Man print, which I gave to Angel, is one of 2 that I purchased from Greg Horn.

Here's the other Greg Horn print.

Here's a Walking Dead print from Tony Moore.

These final 2 are from Vinnie Tartamella.

Lastly, I purchased the bloody Rick Grimes Walking Dead action figure (a NYCC exclusive) and was fortunate (and patient) enough to have comic writer/creator Robert Kirkman and early series penciler Tony Moore both sign the packaging for me.  Unfortunately, I didn't make it in early enough on Saturday to make the line for Todd McFarlane.  He owns the company that produces the figures and would've been great having all 3 signatures.  Dave, you lucky bastard!  ;-)

Ok, I'm off to watch the season 2 premiere of The Walking Dead.  Enjoy, my fellow dead-heads!

DVR REMINDER: After tonight's encore presentation will be the premiere of the Talking Dead live aftershow hosted by Chris Hardwick with guests Robert Kirkman, James Gunn and Patton Oswalt.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

New York Comic Con 2011: Day 1

Day 1 of New York Comic Con 2011, held at the Jacob Javits Center located on the west side of 34th Street in Manhattan, was only from 4pm to 7pm for VIP and 4-day pass ticket holders. While I had been looking forward to this years NYCC since purchasing my ticket way back in February, I almost didn't go due to low expectations on my behalf of anything remotely productive happening on this abbreviated first day. But I'm glad I did as the floor wasn't as crowded as it will definitely be during the rest of the weekend. I was able to cover lots of ground and take a good number of pictures without having to deal with passing crowds wandering in and out of my shots.

I was able to meet up with fellow LCVG members Dave, Joey, Phil and their friend Ruell. After having met up with Dave, I joined him on line to meet Walking Dead creator/writer Robert Kirkman. Not coming prepared to have anything signed, I asked Kirkman to sign my 4-day pass. Afterwards, Dave and I went over to the Abstract Studios booth to meet Strangers In Paradise (SiP), Echo, and Rachel Rising creator Terry Moore. Maria and I had met Moore at last years NYCC and purchased Echo and SiP t-shirts along with some prints of his. He was kind enough to sign quite a few of his books for me. Alot more than I had any business asking of him but he and his wife Robyn were more than happy to oblige. This year, I purchased the complete hardcover edition of Echo and a Rachel Rising t-shirt.

In addition, I was able to see and take pictures of some great looking action figures. Some figures that I saw and took pictures of were:
  • DC
  • Marvel
  • Metal Gear Solid
  • Ghostbusters
  • WWE Superstars
  • The Munsters
  • Street Fighter
  • Walking Dead
  • Universal Classic Horror Monsters.

There were some Gears Of War props and props used in movies. The ones I saw were:
  • Batman suit and miniature Tumbler from Batman Begins
  • the Joker's card deck from The Dark Knight
  • a newspaper, piece of Kryptonite and Clark Kent's glasses from Superman Returns
  • the Night Owl mask from Watchmen
  • the baby prop from The Hangover
  • the monkey prop and a severed finger prop from Hangover 2

And what would a comic con be without costumed fans? Day 1 didn't provide many since the floor was only open to ViP and 4-pass fans but there were a few around and tomorrow thru Sunday should see many cool and original costume designs.

Afterwards, I joined Joey, Phil and Ruell for a post-Con meal at a nearby Five Guys.

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Captain America: The First Avenger

Having seen the latest superhero movie, Captain America, I couldn't help but think what a great summer this has been for comic book fans at theaters. I say summer because the year started off by giving us the absolutely horrid Green Hornet. But the four that were released since (Thor, X-Men: First Class, Green Lantern and Captain America), were good to excellent. Even the weakest one, Green Lantern, was enjoyable and far better than the horrible Transformers 3.

I thought Captain America was well paced with some key character moments, bits of humor (which, thankfully, was not forced) and action sequences that weren't hard to follow (I'm looking at you Michael Bay). Excellent all-around job by director Joe Johnston and cast members Chris Evans, Hugo Weaving, Sebastian Stan, Hayley Atwell, Dominic Cooper, Tommy Lee Jones and Stanley Tucci. This narrowly beat X-Men: First Class as my favorite superhero movie this year and, in my opinion, the best one since the first Iron Man.

I never read Captain America comic books growing up or now that I've gotten back into them so I don't know much behind his origin story other than what I just saw in the movie but, in addition to The Avengers, I hope to see more Captain America movies.

Stick around after the end credits for a sneak peak at some scenes from next summers Avengers movie.

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Walking Dead Season 2 Trailer

For those of you that have borrowed my Walking Dead hardcovers, I'm sure the same thought went through your mind when you saw Rick carrying his son Carl to the farm owned by Hershel. Can't wait for October! :)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Lonely Island

I have to admit, I had never heard of Andy Samberg or his group, The Lonely Island. I hadn't watched SNL in many many years and, while I vaguely remember talk of an online video called "Dick in a Box" a few years ago, I had never heard the song before. It wasn't until one of my yearly trips to Pennsylvania earlier this year to hang with some online gaming friends that I was introduced to the hilarity that is Andy Samberg and The Lonely Island. Thanks Romier! :)

Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone are the other 2 members of The Lonely Island and are writers at Saturday Night Live where Andy is currently a cast member. Before they released their albums, of which there are currently 2, the songs/videos would premiere on SNL's Digital Shorts, a segment written and produced by the group. Not only are the songs funny but the videos are well produced and have a who's who of celebrity cameos. Below, I have some of my favorites embedded from YouTube, Vimeo and Hulu. Enjoy!

You can read the rest of their story on their Wikipedia page.

Celebrity appearance: Justin Timberlake, Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph

Celebrity appearance: Justin Timberlake, Susan Sarandon, Patricia Clarkson

Celebrity appearance: Rihanna

Celebrity appearance: Rihanna, Jon Hamm

Celebrity appearance: T-Pain

Celebrity appearance: Ryan Reynolds, Elijah Wood

Celebrity appearance: Molly Sims, Jaime-Lynn Sigler, Justin Timberlake

Celebrity appearance: Natalie Portman, Seth Myers, Chris Parnell

Celebrity appearance: Seth Rogan

Celebrity appearance: Akon, John McEnroe, Jessica Alba, Blake Lively

Celebrity appearance: Michael Bolton

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Rock Band - "Swing Swing"

It had been awhile since I played some Rock Band and Angelise asked if I wanted to play some "tunes" with her.

Monday, April 4, 2011


A documentary-style movie, Catfish tells the story of Yaniv "Nev", who strikes up a Facebook friendship with Abby, an 8-year old prodigy artist from Michigan who sees Nev's pictures online and decides to send him a painting of one of his pictures. Impressed with her talent, Nev urges her to do more and in the process becomes online friends with her, her mother Angela and her 19-year old sister Megan. Nev and Megan, an aspiring model/singer/dancer, continue to keep in touch and start developing feelings for one another over the course of 8 months. Nev, however, grows suspicious of Megan when mp3's that she sends him claiming to be her recordings are in fact of other people's performances on YouTube. When a job assignment takes Nev, his brother Ariel "Rel" and best friend/filmmaking partner Henry to nearby Vail, Colorado, Nev decides it's time to drop in on Megan and her "family". The results are quite surprising.

I highly recommend this documentary and urge those that do decide to see it, not to look into the details online as to not have the outcome spoiled.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Bad Teacher (R Rated Trailer)


Starring Cameron Diaz, Jason Segel, Justin Timberlake and The Office's Phyllis Smith.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Nemesis (Icon Comics)

"What if Batman was the Joker?" That was the caption Mark Millar used to tease his new creator owned title at Marvel's Icon Comics division before it's release last March of 2010. He had a few other captions but his favorite was "What if Batman was a c*nt?" With a description like that, wouldn't that interest you? It definitely got me interested.

Nemesis has financial resources and combat skills similar to Batman but uses it for evil, making him the ultimate non-superpowered villian. Wealthy and cunning, Nemesis travels the world and informs the top cops in major cities that he's on his way and gunning for them. No amount of preparation on their behalf can prevent him from reaching his goal of getting his mark and leaving devastation in his wake.

Written by Mark Millar and penciled by Steve McNiven, Nemesis packs alot of action and mayhem in the 4-issue miniseries. Millar and McNiven also collaborated together on Marvel's Civil War and Wolverine: Old Man Logan. Two of Millar's previous books, Wanted and Kick-Ass, have already been made into movies. Nemesis becomes his 2nd book behind Kick-Ass to get picked up by Hollywood to be made into a movie, after only 2 issues.

I just got around to reading all 4 issues of Nemesis and enjoyed it enough that I ordered the hardcover to keep in my collection and share with my family and friends. I look forward to see what Millar has in store for Nemesis in the next volume.

Monday, January 10, 2011

How long has it been?!?

June 2010. That was my last blog post. Hard to believe. While so much has happened in the last 7+ months, I've only "talked" about it via twitter. Although I don't have many, if any, currently following my blog, I do miss putting down my thoughts on topics that interest me. With many exciting things happening in 2011 in the world of baseball, graphic novels, home theater, movies, TV shows and video games, I'll drop by every now and again with my thoughts. Happy New Year everyone!