Reality Is The Playground Of The Unimaginative

Home Of Swords, Sorcery, Superheroes, Sonic Screwdrivers, Supernatural Scares, Star Stuff, Sci-fi, Smeg, and Silliness

Saturday, 30 June 2018

Public Service Announcement: A Nation Reborn Through The First Purge...


You Can't Believe Your Eyes When You're Dealing With Mutants...


The Gifted, Fox's brilliant X-Men TV show, returns on September 25 in the States and hopefully soon after over here.

In the meantime wrap your eyes around these optically challenging character posters released to promote the upcoming second season.

This Is What I'm Talking About...

I consider June a month well served. I may not have penned anything particularly profound or set the gaming alight with my thoughts and revelations, but for the first time, in as long as I can remember (which, admittedly, these days isn't that long) the top ten posts of the month on HeroPress are devoid of my eye-candy posts.

Which isn't to say I'm disparaging my Wonder Woman Wednesdays or my Sunday cosplay collections, I love compiling and sharing these posts.

But I'd always hoped that HeroPress could be a more rounded magazine, like a Loaded or Playboy... you might pick it up for the glamour shots but you stay to read the articles.

And, unlike a lot of my peers, I'm not driven by the numbers of readers I get (although more is always better, of course), but what you're reading on the site.

I'm delighted by the fact that in June, 50 per cent of the most popular posts on HeroPress have been directly related to my gaming, be it the reports on my progress bringing Knight City back to life or my sad lament at the audacity of real life getting in the way of the fun stuff.

Not counted in that tally are the top two posts, which have RPG links as well: my love for the wonderful Fiction Empire site and a well-deserved celebration of Ryan Devoto's ultimate gaming set-up.

The other popular posts this month were a gorgeous animation marking Superman's 80th anniversary, an old discussion about separating the "creator from their creations" (when the artist in question has said or done something despicable can we still appreciate what they have made?), and a news piece about Tuesday Knight member Erica and her campaign to support independent book stores.

All of these speak to the central focus of HeroPress (even though I don't know why there was a sudden interest in a discussion question from 2015) and I'm proud of them, delighted that people are actually reading them.

The key, of course, is self-promotion. I don't mean being a dick about things, but hanging out in Facebook groups etc that share my interests and, then, when I've written something I think might appeal, sharing the HeroPress article to the relevant group.

It's a shallow thing to admit but "liking and sharing" one of my (HeroPress) posts on Facebook really helps broaden its reach.

And I'm not just looking for adoration (although, again, that's always welcome). Constructive criticism of a point I've made can be very helpful and encourage me to rethink something - a process that's crucial in game world creation, for instance.

That's not to say I'm inviting people to piss on my chips either. If I'm clearly a fan of something don't hop on my Facebook wall and tell me "it's a load of shit". If you've got a beef with something write that on your own wall, start a blog or a podcast.

When it comes to geeky hobbies, let people like what they like. These things might mean the world to you and I, but ultimately they are just frippery, mental distractions from the shitshow all around us.

Try to be positive and if you disagree with something I've written, explain why.

Will I be able to keep this quality up? Who knows?

A lot depends on the weather, as this current heat wave adversely affects my already poor health (for reasons too dull to go into), making me increasingly lethargic and less inclined to put fingers to keyboard.

The Fantastic Four Are Nearly Here...


As the clock counts down to the most important comic book event of 2018, the return of The Fantastic Four, Marvel has completed its quartet of portrait covers, by Artgerm, welcoming back the First Family.

Reed and Sue Richards - aka Mr Fantastic and The Invisible Woman - join The Human Torch and The Thing on variant covers for the new issue one,which relaunches the greatest team comic in Marvel's portfolio on August 8.


Another eye-catching variant cover recently unveiled is this wraparound Joe Quesada piece featuring Galactus:

Mickey Mouse Shorts: Nature's Wonderland...


Friday, 29 June 2018

Fleamarket Friday: Kickstart Your Way On To The Mean Streets Of Vigilante City...




Vigilante City is the latest offering from Bloat Games, using their wildly popular Survive This!! system - a blend of old school Dungeons & Dragons mechanics with some modern sensibilities, and seen in Dark Places & Demogorgons and other offerings.

A love letter to Batman: The Animated Series, as well as The X-Men, Spider-Man, and TMNT cartoons of the 1990s, Vigilante City is a street level superhero RPG giving players the choice of playing masked vigilantes driven by chutzpah alone or low-powered metahumans ("MegaHumans", as they are called in the game) as they battle to clean up the streets.

The Kickstarter is for the two core books - the main rules, containing character creation et al, and a gamesmaster's guide (The Villain's Guide) that contains all the juicy setting-creation material.

The Kickstarter launched on Tuesday, funded quickly, and is already blasting through stretch goals.

For the full low-down on the fundraising campaign, investor incentives, add-ons, stretch goals etc visit the Survive This!! Vigilante City Kickstarter page.

A couple of the buy-in levels allow you to create NPCs for inclusion in the game, and one level even offers artwork for your character by Brandish Gilhelm aka Runehammer, the game's sole illustrator and creator of the setting's unique look.

The fundraising campaign runs until July 23, with an estimated delivery for the books of June next year.

If you're a fan of HeroPress and like RPGs, then do yourself a favour and check this Kickstarter out. You're probably going to like what you see...

Giddy With Excitement For A New Season Of The Peerless Venture Bros...

Fleamarket Friday: Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Sláine...

 Cover art by Alex Ronald

Author Pat Mills has released some details of Kiss My Axe! Sláine! The Warped Warrior: The Secret History, coming sometime in 2019:
In Part One of Kiss My Axe!
  • The key Celtic sources of myths & legends and where the warp-spasm comes from;
  • How I based the plot of Sláine on myself;
  • The secrets of Zarjaz and the failed artist coup d’etat;
  • The secret story of Mike McMahon’s incredible Sky Chariots and the special edition we all want to see;
With illustrations of key scenes such as the original helmeted version of Sláine!
Plus: find out why many fantasy writers give up on the Celts and what made me persevere; what the readers really thought of the first three Sláine artists: Angela Kincaid, Massimo Belardinelli and Mike McMahon – and how Fandom disagreed with them.

Includes 11 chapters, plus a ‘Skull Duggery Timeline’ of the creation and early episodes, and illustrations of key scenes such as the original helmeted version of Sláine, how the artists based Sláine on themselves, and the greatest warp spasm of all!

Chapter Headings:
  1. By The Bogs!
  2. The Masks of Sláine
  3. Kiss My Ex
  4. Celtomania
  5. The Zarjaz Move
  6. Chariots of Fire
  7. Warp-out!
  8. Sky Chariots and Shoggey Beasts
  9. No Winners
  10. Dragonheist
  11. ‘He didn’t think it too many.’
The complete book is, sadly, quite a way off: I'm backed up with projects and unlikely to get started on Parts Two, Three & Four until much later in the year. So it'll probably be early 2019 before Kiss My Axe - the complete works, is published.

If This Doesn't Get You Pumped For Mortal Engines, Then You're Dead To Me!


Thousands of years after civilisation was destroyed by a cataclysmic event, humankind has adapted and a new way of living has evolved.

Gigantic moving cities now roam the Earth, ruthlessly preying upon smaller traction towns.

Tom Natsworthy (Robert Sheehan) — who hails from a Lower Tier of the great traction city of London — finds himself fighting for his own survival after he encounters the dangerous fugitive Hester Shaw (Hera Hilmar).

Two opposites, whose paths should never have crossed, forge an unlikely alliance that is destined to change the course of the future.

Fleamarket Friday: Regeneration, Sontarans, Davros, Daleks and Cybermen!



It's release date has been jumping around in time and space, but it finally looks as though we're only days away from the blu-ray release of the Classic Doctor Who era's Season 12 aka Tom Baker's first as the Fourth Doctor.

The box set is now scheduled for release on Monday, July 2.

Thursday, 28 June 2018

Artist Appreciation: Esad Ribić...


A selection of DC heroes and heroines by comic book artist Esad Ribić.

Nic Cage Loses His Shit In An Atmospheric Cosmic Horror Flick; What's Not To Love?


Pacific Northwest. 1983 AD. Outsiders Red Miller and Mandy Bloom lead a loving and peaceful existence. When their pine-scented haven is savagely destroyed by a cult led by the sadistic Jeremiah Sand, Red is catapulted into a phantasmagoric journey filled with bloody vengeance and laced with fire.
Written and directed by Panos Cosmatos, Mandy is due to hit cinemas in September.

It stars Nicolas Cage (as Red), Andrea Riseborough (as Mandy), Linus Roache, Ned Dennehy, Olwen Fouéré, Richard Brake, and Bill Duke.

Tapping into two of my favourite horror themes (freaky cults and the Lovecraftian power cosmic), Mandy is a must-see for me.

Nic Cage going full Nic Cage is just an added bonus!

WEEKLY WORLD NEWS: Did Cain & Abel Have A Baby Sister?


More shocking revelations about Honest Abe (the old dog!) and the latest Biblical discoveries are just the tip of the iceberg this week in the latest haul of Weekly World News headlines from their archives.

Gamesmasters can seek inspiration for adventure hooks and NPCs from (not at all fake) news stories about captured aliens, mutant dolphins, celebrity ghosts, time-lost cavers, and bigfoot hunters.

Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Tuesday, 26 June 2018

Real Life Scuppers Gaming This Month...

Gaming Makes Me Happy..

Anyone paying close attention at home will have noticed that we haven't had a gathering of the Tuesday Knights this month, to continue Pete's Top Secret SI/F.R.E.E.Lancers campaign.

Sadly, it's a truism of 'adult life' (and I use that term very loosely where I'm concerned) that gaming has to play second fiddle (or third, or fourth) behind work demands, family commitments, health issues etc

This month we were all set to game this evening when Pete - our gamesmaster - got called upon, at short notice, to organise a management conference on the coast.

There was nothing that could be done about it. We had to cancel.

We'd already scheduled this month's session at the end of the month because of Pete travelling for his job, and so this close to July there was no way to squeeze in another game before we got to next month.

The other recourse was to begin a session of "games' night bingo", where I suggest another date and three people say they can make it and two can't, so I throw out another date which a different pair of people can't make... and so it goes on...

That's why, at the start of the year, at Kevin's sage suggestion, we now create a 12-month calendar of games' nights - so we all know in advance when we're due to get together.

There'll still be some that, maybe, one person won't be able to make, but - as long as it's not the gamemaster - then we can usually carry on anyway.

Without the GM, though, there is no game.


Gaming makes me happy. All my other hobbies (comics, TV, films, reading) are - ultimately - just fuel for my gamer brain.

That's why I spend so much of my time working on campaign backgrounds, rules hacks etc for games that I may not even get to play. Because this is what makes me happy. It's as simple as that.

It's the process, stimulating my imagination, my escape from the limitations of my body and mind, travelling to worlds and scenarios in my head that are otherwise impossible to simulate without multi-million dollar blockbuster budgets.

And in games you can have a say in events, influence the narrative, unlike reading a book or watching a movie where - no matter how engrossing - you are still passively consuming someone else's story and plot.

If I had my way, we'd bust out the polyhedrals every week - but I'm not sure Rachel would be up to catering for us all that often (and I'm not sure either that a regular weekly pizza intake would be good for the waistline!) and it's already been made clear that most people have more pressing demands on their time.

So, I dream, and I work on my settings and rules hacks.

Predator: The Hunt Has Evolved...



NSFW
From the outer reaches of space to the small-town streets of suburbia, the hunt comes home in Shane Black's explosive reinvention of the Predator series.

Now, the universe's most lethal hunters are stronger, smarter and deadlier than ever before, having genetically upgraded themselves with DNA from other species.

When a young boy accidentally triggers their return to Earth, only a ragtag crew of ex-soldiers and a disgruntled science teacher can prevent the end of the human race.

Faith Is Getting Dreamy In New Series...


While it's still not the on-going Faith series I'm hoping for, Faith: Dreamside sees the brilliant Jody Houser penning another very welcome four-issue mini-series for my favourite Valiant character.

Illustrated by MJ Kim, who provided the gorgeous art for Faith's Winter Wonderland Special, and beginning on September 26, this new adventure for the ever-optimistic geek Faith Herbert sees her teaming up with the world’s premiere parapsychologist, Dr. Mirage.
Even before Faith “Zephyr” Herbert gained the power of flight, joined the Harbinger Renegades, and soared through the skies of Los Angeles, deep down she was always a hero at heart.

But what’s a hero to do in the face of a foe that exists only in nightmares? Face them head-on, of course! To protect the dreams of her teammate, Animalia, Faith must venture into a fantastical new realm the likes of which the Valiant Universe has never seen…
Any Faith comic gets my backing, so I'm already on board for this tale, but would really love the character to have her own on-going title again sometime soon.

"That Is Why You Don't Send Work Emails With Emoticons!"


An underachiever working at a major weapons manufacturing firm who finds that his co-workers have been “weaponized” by Zolt, a new energy drink designed for the military.

He must then set off to rescue his one true love from an office building full of psychotic coworkers armed with tomorrow’s deadliest tech
.
Essentially a variation on James Gunn's The Belko Experiment, horror comedy Office Uprising looks like it could be fun.

It's being released on something called Sony Crackle in the States on July 19, so I've no idea where - if at all - it'll be popping up over here.

Hopefully, though, it'll appear on Netflix or Amazon Prime at some point.

Thor: Love & Thunder (2022) + Dr Who (2022)

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