Back before Pandora or Spotify told you who you would enjoy listening to based off of your current listening selection, well, there was this guy. This guy hung around record shops, clubs, and concert venues and waxed on and on about this band and that, coaxing out tidbits of your personal music preference, then suggested bands or tracks to check out on the merit of his knowledge of music, and not some "what people who listen to X also like Y" formula created to sell shampoo and acne cleaner to music (or what sometimes passes for music) listeners. I miss those guys. Occasionally, you still run into folks who can pass along a good suggestion or two, but it's a hard line to follow when it's so easy to submit to the ease that is musical complacency.
Love is in the air at Fanboy Comics! In this magical month of romance and enchantment, the FBC Staff and Contributors decided to take a moment to stop and smell the roses. In the week leading up to Valentine's Day, a few members of the Fanboy Comics crew will be sharing their very personal "Love Letters" with our readers, addressed to the ones that they adore the most.
To the Clowns in the Sky,
Space. The Final Frontier. A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away. Too far away for me, and I have little patience to sit through a history lesson. I prefer my sci-fi to take place in a not-too-distant future (possibly next Sunday, A.D.) way down in a place called Deep 13. Do I need Vaders and Mauls when I can have Forresters and T.V.'s Franks? Why deal with Klingons around Uranus or 1000 Falcons when I can hang out with the gang of the S.O.L. (Satellite of Love)? Why bother with an effeminate golden droid with a bad British accent or a blue and silver extra large suppository that won't speak in the same language as everyone else? Or a whiny farm boy, a smug smuggler, or an even more smug Captain? I prefer the likes of robots made from spare parts by a man trying to stave off insanity by loneliness and depression from being exiled by evil overlords. Or as many call them . . . bosses. This is the life I'm more partial towards, spending my days cracking wise on crap movies with a couple of robots. It's the American dream.
There are images and sounds that immediately recall memories of one another. You see a black-and-white photo of a baseball mid flight, soaring out of the park, while a half-twisted Babe Ruth has yet to drop his bat and CRACK!, that noise of leather and wood embracing and separating at once springs to mind. You hear a song that played during a climactic point in a film, and you're suddenly envisioning it in your mind, possibly still wondering why Chewie got shafted out of a medal at the end of A New Hope. The combination of sight and sound is ageless, but, in print, it is much less frequent. Unless animated, the written word, with or without illustrations, rarely gets a soundtrack. The most recent combination that springs to mind is the album Haunted by songstress Poe that was developed as a companion piece to the surreal book House of Leaves written by her brother Mark Z. Danielewski. That was in 2000. Nothing else is jumping out at me. That is until Love & Monsters jumped into to my line of sight.
Just when you think you're out, they pull you back in. Adhering to the comment I made in my last The Final Plague review, recaps be damned (at least by them). The boys working with Action Lab aren't about to surmise what happened in previous issues, and, quite frankly, neither am I. Okay, I lied. The Final Plague tells a tale that, as partakers of most any media these day, we've seen a few times. The infected. Those that change from their original state of being to something else. Vampires, werewolves, zombies, fair weather fans of sports teams once they start doing well. The Final Plague skews from that well-worn material and spins it with something that hasn't been a real worry since the days of the Black Death. Infected animals. Jumping from one location to another across the fruited plain, we are shown that distance isn't a factor when it comes to these viral creatures . . . unless we find out in a future issue that the spreading of the virus has been happening longer than we have been shown to this point. We'll have to wait and see.
When I opened the shipping box from Buffalo Games, I saw an envelope with my name written on it laying on top of the contents. What's going on here? Is this a death threat (again) or a bribe to give the games a good review? No, merely a card with the Buffalo Games logo watermarked on the cover, and inside accompanying a business card was a hand-written note explaining the contents of the box and well wishes with an interest in hearing what I have to say about the 3 games included. I've never received such a gesture with a package of review games before and was touched and intrigued.
Arrested Development. It's not just the name of a TV show involving people saying, "I've made a huge mistake," or a '90s hip-hop band that sang about a man named Mr. Wendel who was apparently from Tennessee. It's actually the name of a condition where someone becomes psychologically and/or emotionally stunted. I'm not sure which came first, but I know that the latter applies to the main character in the film The Unusual (Calling of) Charlie Christmas.
Meanwhile, back on the ranch . . . When we last left off, a farmer and his family were having a smidge of a rodent problem. City folk react quite drastically when one makes an appearance in the home, but country folk know it's part and parcel of living in God's country. It's always an annoyance when the shine of their blood red eyes hastens your heartbeat for a moment or two. It's when they won't stay dead that it becomes more of a nuisance.
*Please note that this article is an opinion-editorial.
On a Facebook Wall: "How do you think he would like it if I sat him between X and Y at our event? Ha!" 3 months later: "Hey guys, I can only private message and not post on my Wall because I've been banned from Facebook for the next 12 hours." It appears that if enough people disagree with your comments or opinion, all they need is enough people they can convince to report you, and the power trip can begin.
Have you ever been in a situation where someone is speaking a foreign language and, even though you can't understand the words, you get the basic gist of it from the manner in which it's conveyed? Wait, strike that, reverse it. That's what listening to Strangled by Strangulation is like. The manner is one thing, the context a complete other.
Many hands make light work. A saying that goes back a long way, but not nearly as long as sickness, I'm sure. Disease has always been the bane of mankind, striking fear into those that know the symptoms and not the cure. There must have been a caveman that correlated a cough with sickness. A caveman that paved the way for science to discover vaccines and treatments to battle the plagues that ravaged mankind. Of course, he probably took a more direct route to eliminate the spread of disease by clubbing the one that coughed to death. Cough drops wouldn't be invented for thousands of years, and an itchy throat is a real drag. But, getting the cougher backed into a corner and taking them down by oneself can be difficult. That's why many hands make light work. Fast forward a bit, and you get a game based on the history of illness, virus, and plague. You get Pandemic.