Archive | August, 2012

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MMF: Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service Volumes 1-4 Review

Posted on 30 August 2012 by VinnieAve

I had heard about this series for a while and had meant to look at it eventually but with the Manga Moveable Feast I decided to check out the first four volumes of these series.

KCDS follows the adventures of a team of people with various supernatural powers and a few with more useful mundane powers. None of them are particularly competent but this leads to a series of odd adventures that often send them around the world and interacting with some of the less than reputable types in the world as they find corpses and try to fulfill the last wish of the person.

Within the first four volumes there is some playing with different formats for storytelling before settling on doing standalone stories with some elements of continuing plot (this is really only hinted at in the last chapter that I read) and since I only read the first four to prepare for this I can’t comment on that too much (although I did purchase the digital copy to read later). Within these books are stories that take an entire volume (vol. 2 if you want to get a long story), some that take up two of the series standard length stories (standard here being about 50 pages).

I enjoyed a lot of things about this series. The overall creepy but humorous feel of the book is really enjoyable and the characters are very fun, with each of them getting some of the focus every now and then. There is some focus on Kere Ellis, the puppet that channels the entity of an alien, but this is mainly due to the popularity of the character (in my opinion, I really like the character). All the characters have some fun quirks that make any story fun no matter what is really going on. The book is chock full of fun references to other manga and folktales, which make for a great easy way to get a feel for the characters. Luckily Carl Horn did a great job making extensive translation and editor notes that make is easy to read when you see that is a reference but you’re not sure what is going on.

There are some issues I have with the series. The first is the gore level of this very high and honestly is very realistic, for me this was off-putting but I know that some people really like this kind of thing. I suspect that this was a common issue for many people since the gore level drops as the series goes on. This is not to say that the gore isn’t there but it is less frequent. As for general story-telling issues, there is a tendency in the one part stories to have a sudden revelation when they solve the mystery and then suddenly they end the problem, there is such a rushed storytelling style to this book that it really isn’t good, however, I hope that this might be explained through the previously mentioned subtle storyline.

All-in-all I really enjoyed these four volumes, although they didn’t make the best marathon since the stories tend to be similar to each other so this might have been better to read this as a monthly or as the books were coming out. If you like a quirky black comedy this might be one to checkout. It had a great team element which can be a fun style of writing.

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Technology Thursday Starts Today

Posted on 30 August 2012 by dragon2777

You thought that we forgot about all the tech geeks out there, but I assure you that we did not. Starting today every Thursday will be Technology Thursday bringing you cool geek gadgets, the newest smartphone apps, geek toys and anything else that may tickle the fancy of a tech nerd.

To start things off I decided to show off a really cool toy/gadget that I just picked up from Think Geek, the Doctor Who Smart Safe.

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Godzilla: King of the Monsters

Posted on 27 August 2012 by VinnieAve

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The Underwater Welder

Posted on 22 August 2012 by VinnieAve

I really enjoy graphic novels, they are so much more fulfilling than reading a chapter each week. So for the next few weeks at least I’m going to talk about a graphic novel, trade paperback, collection, or some such longer comic work. To start this off I’m going to talk about Jeff Lemire’s (Sweet Tooth, Animal Man, Justice League Dark) new graphic novel The Underwater Welder. The basic premise is this Jack Joseph is an underwater welder with a pregnant wife when he finds a watch that his father gave him on one of his jobs. This sets into motion his journey through his memories of his father and the resultant effect on his present day life

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This sounds like it could be a boring story but honestly this is what I like out of comics, not the usual super-hero stuff which is fun while it lasts but really doesn’t have a lasting effect. This is the kind of personal story is really what makes comic and any kind of narrative story telling great. That is not to say this is a great book. This is a strong book, one that I think will be enjoyed by more than the usual comic readers. This is the story of an expectant father remembering his own father. This was the most compelling part of the story, not his memories but his fight with himself in remembering his father and actually looking at who his father was. With a son on the way he doesn’t want his son to have the same kind of memories he has.

Examples of a serial panels to emphasize the slowness of time

The book speaks about the power of memory. This is a running theme, the man’s long term memory of his father runs for long stretches and after a while he starts to live in his memory more than in his own life. What is particularly powerful is when he interacts with his younger self, and you see the disappointment that Jack still harbors after all these years as he watches his younger self live these events for the first time. The use of memory tends to be disorienting, particularly at first which works since the character feels this himself to the point of even losing for hours at a time.
The art in the book is black-and-white and is combined with a use of shading and line effects conveys the proper amount of motion to this book. The art itself is in a sketchy style that particularly when it came to the faces I found to be lacking, the faces were fine when it came to Jack and his father but his wife in particular was ugly, which didn’t quite fit the story. I love the curvy lines to portray ocean movement and sounds. Throughout the book there is an excellent cinematic technique that is used which is have an image get repeated and get closer. This makes the drama of a scene really come to live and it was used very here.

An example of the curved lines to show waves.

I don’t think that The Underwater Welder is for everyone but it a nice father/son story which a bit of a supernatural element. The weakest part of the book is the face and character design but this is overcome by the other elements. If you like creepy stories this is one that is worth checking out. I hope this one is read because I enjoyed it and will recommend it people when given the chance.

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Neon Genesis Evangelion Podcast

Posted on 21 August 2012 by VinnieAve

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Being a Better Geek: X-Cutioner’s Song

Posted on 18 August 2012 by VinnieAve

DM’s Introduction

As a small boy I knew very little regarding comic books. I didn’t have the pocket money to collect them nor did I know about them to have the interest. A few I had received as gifts over the years kept them on my radar though. X-cutioners Song changed that though.

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The Oatmeal is Trying to Save Tesla’s Lab!

Posted on 16 August 2012 by Jessica Dunn

Do you know Nikola Tesla?  No?  You should, so go read this.  Okay, now you know who he is and now that you know, here is why you need to know Tesla, RIGHT NOW.

We just so happen to have one of Tesla’s old labs here in the New York state, but the land is for sale.  The non-profit organization, The Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe, wants to buy the 1.6million dollar property and turn it into a museum dedicated to Tesla, unfortunately, there is someone else looking to buy the property and turn it into some kind of retail space – probably a strip mall with a Dunkin Donuts or a Subway or something. Continue Reading

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Issue 1 – 8/15/2012

Posted on 15 August 2012 by VinnieAve

Sadly, the column will end with nothing impressive. Issue 1 is not what I had hoped it would be and thus I will either be doing Vin’s Picks or a graphic novel/trade review each week. This week was nice and light honestly.

Before Watchmen: Rorschach – I had given up on these a while ago and this book reminded why. While these aren’t bad book, there are other books doing the same thing but better. This story is set in the dirty 1970s of New York, which is a neat setting. The problem with this book for me is the art, which is well done but I find that the realistic style isn’t the best for storytelling. Also, this is Rorschach, there could have been some really inventive art-styles going on but alas, Before Watchmen is really playing it too safe. Continue Reading

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Team Fortress 2 – Still Alive

Posted on 14 August 2012 by Jessica Dunn

Valve has announced that they will be rolling out yet another free update to the free-to-play first person shooter, Team Fortress 2.  In case you’ve been living under a rock, this is the deal with TF2 – the game was originally released in 2007  as part of the original Orange Box, which also included titles like Half-Life 2 and the first Portal game.  Since then, TF2 has gone free-to-play, presumably completely supported by the item shop which sells in-game items for real cash.  So, five years after its original release, this free game is still pumping out massive content.

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Splice Podcast

Posted on 13 August 2012 by VinnieAve

So this is a short one but really this movie doesn’t deserve that much. Take a listen.

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