Last year, one of the best video game stories I have ever seen was released and quickly died. Alan Wake developer Remedy made the incredibly poor decision to release their game on the same day that Rockstar Games released one of the biggest selling games of the year, Red Dead Redemption, and at sixty buck a pop, most people just buy one game at a time.
Alan Wake is an Xbox exclusive action game that feels more like Twin Peaks than Gears of War. This is no accident, as Twin Peaks was cited as an inspiration for the game. Another clear inspiration is much of the early work of Stephen King. The character Alan Wake is a successful thriller writer, more Castle than King, suffering from writer’s block, which is the worst thing ever. (We know. We’ve been waiting a year for this review.) He and his wife Alice go on a lovely vacation to clear his head. But, things go predictably, and horrifyingly, wrong.
Almost immediately, Alice goes missing and Alan wakes up a week later with no memory of the time. Things get weird from there. He finds pages from a manuscript he wrote during that missing week. The story they tell is the one you are playing. Before long, Wake is attacked by creatures called the Taken, locals who have been consumed by some sort of darkness. (I believe in a thing called love, just listen to the rhythm of my heart.) These guys are the perfect way to transition to the gameplay, as I don’t want to get too far into the story, which is one of the best I have seen in a game, or any other medium.
Dear Fanboy Comics Readers:
It is with great joy that the FBC Staff and I welcome you to our shiny new website! We hope that you will enjoy the vibrant new look and feel of the site, as it offers easy access to our Blogs, Podcasts, Interviews, and Publishing. As a visitor, you will be able to create your own user profile and participate in forum discussions for all of our content!
In addition to providing you with the latest in geek news, Fanboy Comics strives to assist artists of all kinds in the production and promotion of their art. For this reason, we designed the new website to offer greater prominence and visibility for creators who wish to promote their work through our company. FBC offers a vast array of services to artists, including assistance with development, publishing, and promotion, as well as the opportunity to work with a community of creative professionals. Under the Publishing section, you will find projects that are currently being produced by Fanboy Comics. You may also be interested in viewing the FBC ApprovedTM section, which showcases the work of artists who independently created and produced their work.
Lastly, we would be remiss if we did not extend a special thank you to our web designer, Robert J. Peterson, to whom we are eternally grateful.
Thank you for being a part of the Fanboy Comics ‘verse! Enjoy the new website!
Barbra J. Dillon
With Issue #44, IDW’s Angel series comes to a close. IDW has taken the vampire with a soul through a multitude of adventures during their time with him, some good and some less than good. While the final issue of Angel is not exactly the pulse-pounding ending the series deserves (and some of that can be blamed on Dark Horse’s snatching of the license), they do manage to deliver something the tortured lead character is not necessarily used to: a sense of hope.
Here’s a quick summary of Issue #44:
While Connor attempts to use his unusual powers to save Anne from the demon baby growing inside her, Laura channels her anger over the death of Mr. Polyphemus into a protection spell that is barely holding off the epically evil James. Just when all seems lost, a portal opens courtesy of the future version of Illryia, and our hero Angel comes jumping through.
James and Angel trade punches until James gains the upper hand. Using the vanishing gem provided by Darrow, Angel is able to momentarily immobilize James, but a twist of fate knocks the gem from Angel’s hand, sending it through a portal to the farthest point of the outer realms, or as James calls it, home. With the help of Connor and his new super powers, James is defeated and the demon inside Anne is born without killing her.
Back at the new offices of Angel Investigations, the team reflects and bonds over the events of the previous issues. Angel makes a final stop at Wolfram & Hart’s white room to make it clear that he’ll always be there to stand in their way. And even if he’s not, Connor is following in those footsteps. In the final shot of the series, Angel does his trademark exit down an alley as he contemplates Doyle, Cordy, Wes, and his other fallen friends. They’ve always been and continue to be his reason to keep fighting. It’s time to get back to work.
Dear Conan O’Brien and Staff,
As a longtime viewer of your show, I must submit a formal complaint. You are too humorous for your own good.
Prior to watching the newly-released Thor movie in theatres this past weekend, I was privy to your cut of the Thor trailer. Needless to say, I have been unable to watch the Marvel-generated trailers when they appear on television in the manner in which they were intended. Unfortunately, all of Thor’s dialogue has resonated in my head in a flamboyant and highly effeminate tone. In fact, I was brought to laughter in the movie theatre this past weekend when Thor repeated the lines that appeared in your cut of the trailer.
Dear Mr. Tarantino:
On behalf of fan-boys (and fan-girls) everywhere, thank you for the many films that cultivated our adolescence. Our teenage years were laid to a soundtrack of K-Billy’s Super Sounds of the '70s, as we mimicked some of the coolest, most bad-ass characters that we had ever witnessed, the likes of which had not been portrayed since Boba Fett. The wit of your dialogue and the ingenuity of your storylines captivated us and spawned a generation of Tarantino groupies.
Having viewed the faux-trailers in the midst of Grindhouse and, most recently, Inglourious Basterds, I must beg of you: please choose your friends and business partners more wisely. It seems as though you have fallen into the wrong crowd, Mr. Tarantino, and by the wrong crowd, I mean Eli Roth. While your films were once intelligent and violent with an artistic flair, they have become so over-the-top with the gore and camp that characterizes Roth’s films that I shudder in disbelief when your name rolls through the credits. You are quickly falling off the pedestal on which your fans had placed you, and I would hate for movies like True Romance, Reservoir Dogs, and Pulp Fiction to be tainted by association.
Everyone has a favorite music album that will always hold a special place in his or her heart. Just think back to that first time you heard yours. No, seriously. Think about the first time you heard that album. I will wait…
It was all new. Even if it was a band you were familiar with, there was something different that really struck a chord with you. Don’t you wish that you could reclaim that experience - even just once?
My personal favorite album happens to be Green Day’s American Idiot, and, recently, I was able to re-experience it in a whole new way. For those of you who are unaware of the album, it is a rock opera that tells the story of Jesus of Suburbia as he embarks on a journey of self-discovery.
Invincible #68 just came out, and boy is it great. Robert Kirkman’s Invincible is, by far, the best comic series currently running.
For those of you unaware of Invincible, here is a quick recap: Mark Grayson is your typical, teenage boy dealing with all of the usual problems including school, girls, and growing up. That is where the normalcy ends. His father is Omni-Man, an alien who came to Earth and became its greatest hero. The series started just before Mark’s own powers began manifesting.
The series is notorious for being a pastiche of iconic comic book characters and playing with the usual conventions of the medium. Omni-Man is an obvious nod towards Superman, and his team of superheroes strikes a strong resemblance to the Justice League.
So, last night was the big night. As I stated in my last post, there are very few things in this world that I love more than Star Wars. When my uncle called a month ago and asked if I wanted to see Star Wars in Concert, I didn't even give him a chance to finish his sentence. I didn't even know what the hell it was! I hear Star Wars and I'm there. So, it was me, my uncle, and my two younger cousins. The older of the two is obsessed with Star Wars, so we have a lot in common. While I do have a great deal of knowledge of the prequels, I haven't seen them nearly as many times as he has. And, although I feel like less of a man when someone younger than me knows more about Star Wars than I do, I just have to remind myself that he was raised on the prequels.
The car ride there was pretty funny, because my uncle and I kept singing Bill Murray's lounge singer version of Star Wars from Saturday Night Live. My cousins were not as amused. For those unfamiliar, here's the video.
Well, I just got finished watching Disney Pixar's Up. First and foremost, I would like to say, John Lasseter and crew, you sneaky sons-a-bitches, you did it again. As the menu screen slowly burns into my TV, I sit here wiping my eyes (equally from tears of laughter and from other squishy emotions) and pondering what makes a Pixar film so great. I don't want to say that their works are formulaic, but they do have a rhythm and rhyme that is distinctly Pixar.
Most are aware that there is no great story without great conflict. Hamlet, The Divine Comedy, Porky's Two: The Next Day; they all shared this ethos. Pixar has taken spinning tragedy into a wonderful plot to an art form, though. Let's run down a quick list. Toy Story 1 and 2 (soon to be 3) all dealt with loss of some kind. With Monster's Inc., it was a loss of home for poor Boo. A Bug's Life, well, you have me there; maybe going through changes, metamorphosis, and what not. I don't really remember that one well. Touching, but not to say so tragic that one feels the immediacy of the loss. Childhood playthings, the home and friends you grew up with: these are the things that we look back on with nostalgia and ennui. Moving on.
Ahhh, where do I begin? I should start by saying that I was in no way all that excited to see this movie. My first beef was that Cameron had a bit of a dispute over changing the name of his movie, so that it wouldn't be confused with the live action Avatar: The Last Airbender movie. Cameron, of course, got his way; his name stuck, and theirs needed to change. So, already this dude is rubbing me the wrong way. Not only that, but when I was in elementary school, I was obsessed with the Titanic. I had read so many books on the subject, it could make your head spin. But, did I see the movie? Nope. Looked lame to me. I did catch parts of it on TBS sometime this past year or so and wasn't impressed. Terminator 2 was the last flick of his that I enjoyed.
When my Twitter was blowing up about James Cameron's motion picture epic Avatar, I just kind of rolled my eyes and said, "Whatever." I can't be fooled by super amazing CGI. I need story! Why is it that we can't have a visually-brilliant movie with story to back it up? Because the general public doesn't care about story anymore. This is really sad. I get grief for liking the Star Wars prequels sometimes. Fine! I will be a Star Wars geek until the day I die. I hope my friends fulfill my dying wish to be cremated and my ashes scattered across the Tunisia Desert.