Thursday, July 31, 2008

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Two for one (of Mutt & Jeff)

Sorry for the long gaps in my posts, I've been script supervising on a ton of films around the area.

To quasi-make up for it, here is a double dose of those lovable duo from the turn of the 20th century. All done by Bud Fisher.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Red Romance (by Lansdale and Timm)

A segment for the short lived horror anthology Flinch, published by DC. This one was created in 2000, and with beautiful art by Timm bringing fully to life a funny little scenario by Lansdale. Enjoy.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Monster Rally (by Jack Davis)

A memorable drawing by Jack Davis, for a novelty record of the same name. Certainly puts most "serious" records covers to shame. This is also an example of, however you view mp3s and itunes, cover art has certainly gone downhill over the last decade. This looks horrible on cd and would be not existent thanks to today's downloading. Some advancement.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

The hidden Treasure of video games

"When I first rented Gunstar Heroes, back when I was in seventh grade, I really had no idea what I was getting into. It was one of the very few scant games that I rented and then bought - a true measure of quality when you're a kid with a $5 a week allowance - and made me a Treasure fan for life. Some of their successive games weren't quite as good - I didn't initially care much for Dynamite Headdy or Mischief Makers, though they've since grown on me quite a bit - but even the worst Treasure games usually attempt to do something interesting, even if they fail at it."
-Hardcore Gaming 101 webmaster

First off, a bit of explanation. I worked on this article during a few hours, and was unable to finish it. I bookmarked it for a later date, hoping to complete it before the post-it date. I then got a heavy workload and it passed by without me noticing. I apologize, won't happen again.

(Now please excuse me while I get a little long winded and philosophical in trying to explain why I chose to post this.)

The reason I linked to articles about these various games is that I'm am tremendously entertained and inspired by the experience of these games. Much like Vidal, Mingus, and Fleischers, I can't imagine my life without them. Most people speak of videogames dismissively, as it was a matter of ultimate humiliation to play one. Granted some like superman 64 are, but then so is watching a tragically boring film like the The Haunting ('99 remake). There are just as many bad films, books, and albums as there are video games, so why single them out?

Perhaps because the films that they were morphed into were utterly horrible (while, curiously, the films that portray the feeling of playing a game --such as Tron, King of Kong, segments of Last Starfighter and The Wizard-- are thoroughly enjoyable) spilt over to games themselves, while the simultaneous rise of the Playstation which transformed games into mass entertainment. And as critics (supposedly) know, nothing mass consumed can ever be good.

But in a way videogames can be remarkably similar to literature. Much like books games put you in the thick of things and takes you on a journey, one that has many stops and go's. Depending on the time and length you play/read them, the more varied your experience will be. Playing Resident Evil 4 at 2 am is much like reading the last few chapters of the The Things They Carried; you have invested so much into this method of life you hope it comes to something fruitful.

Contrarily, film relies more on emotions and a feeling that last but a few hours.It is the last place a story should be, and if it does do so, it usually sacrifices something. It is meant to be repeated to gain a non-contemptible view of it.

This why fans of Final Fantasy 7 hated the movie; it was but a few hours and had no investment in your life, and in fact radically changed that person initial perception of how the story played. How is this not the plaintive cry of the novel consumer who finds his favorite book "ruined" on the big screen(of course the book remains the same but that's another article). Clearly both require a rather hefty load of that person's time, and is usually not instantly satisfying (which isn't necessarily bad thing, just that it is not). In fact, usually the long moments of tedium make the good snap and sparkle even more(except in the best cases).

But now I turn about; some games are like that, FF7, the Zelda's, Warcraft. On the other hand there is the best NES games, which matches film,cartoons, and popular music for a mood,a dizzy height, an exaltation. At their best no one was better at this than Treasure, who time and time again captured that feeling that make games utterly memorable. Not in characterization or or some personal "achievement" or even sense; it's the mood and blood pumping. You see it in slapstick, horror, funny drawings, music, essays and now Gunstar Heroes. And Alien Solider. And so forth

This is what games do best, it may only last in 15 minute spurts , but while it lasts it is your life. And then you'll stop and forget about it. Then get flashbacks randomly and feel that same sense of satisfaction. That is what games are all about and Treasure is king in that regard. And somehow they were always--always--trying some something new and spontaneous. Have fun reading these articles. Then try them, I'm sure you'll like them.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Rarebit again

One of the creepiest rarebits I have seen, and a starling concept for a newspapers strip read by millions. It also seems eerily similar to an E.C. comic story decades later, proving how much of an influence the old strips were.