April 16, 2008

The Romance of Gaming . . .

This was a sweet little story I caught this morning.

Hacker proposes to girlfriend via casual puzzle game Bejeweled

Awesome. Just awesome.

And I love the line from the story: "A word of advice to any guests, though: don't sit next to two other people wearing the same color, or all three of you will vanish."

~ Ben

April 15, 2008

"Comics Worth Reading" -- Thrivers

For a comic book writer who has a blog, I don't blog about comics much, do I?

Well let's change that, shall we?

In the spirit of my last post, about the Clockwork comic, I hereby start something new for my blog. Comics Worth Reading. These are comics that I feel are, uh, worth reading.

Today, I want to point you in the direction of Eric Merced's blog, where he has posted a comic called Thrivers.

In his own words, Thrivers is "a short 12 page comic with the goal of bringing awareness to the mass about emancipated Youth from the Foster Care system".

In MY words, it's a beautiful story that is, unfortunately, too often very true. The art for this story is spot on. The dialog and pacing are smooth and natural. The message is strong without being preachy.

So please, check it out HERE. You'll be glad you did.

~ Ben

April 3, 2008

Clockwork Comic

Okay, so after Wizardworld Chicago I was totally going to post some links to some of the cool people I met at the show last year.

That was almost a year ago. And I totally didn't do it.

Yeah, I know, BAD Ben.

Anyway, one of those people . . . well, two of those people . . . were Jane Irwin and Paul Sizer.

I met Jane at my first convention as a creator, up at the Motor City Comic Con in Novi, MI. Jane was probably the first comic creator I met, in person, who was actually doing some of the things I wanted to do. It was cool to talk to her. She pointed me in the direction of some other cool people at that convention.

Jane's comic was Vogelein.

It's a charming story about a clockwork fairy trying to make her way in the modern world. She needs to have her clockworks wound every day, which leads to some tense situations, especially when, as the story opens, her current "helper" has died of old age. All in all, it is an amazingly told story. I cannot recommend it highly enough. (If you go to her website, you can look at the free previews: http://www.vogelein.com/vogelein/index.shtml)

Jane's husband, Paul Sizer, is the creator, it turns out, of a comic I had enjoyed years ago when I first got back into reading comics. Little White Mouse is the story of a girl who gets stranded on a mining station in the far reaches of space. I liked the story and always felt bad that that poor girl was trapped there. However, while for me the story ended there, that wasn't the end of the story. This year at Wizardworld I picked up the graphic novel, which contained teh complete adventures of Little White Mouse. It's a cool little story, and it goes in all sorts of directions you would never expect. Again, highly recommended.


I recently found out that the third Vogelein book had been delayed. This was a huge disappointment to me. Now, the first two books are fairly self-contained, so it's not like I was waiting for the resolution to the cliffhanger of the end of the LOST or BATTLESTAR GALACTICA season. I just liked the characters and their world and looked forward to returning.

But all is not lost. It turns out she's been working on another project. One of those projects that really excite me. One of those projects where you find something historically interesting and just can't help writing a story about it! (This happened with me with the story of David Bushnell's Turtle submarine in TimeFlyz book 2, a story I'd been wanting to tell for years before I got the chance.)

It's called Clockwork Game: the Illustrious Career of a Chess-playing Automaton. It's the true story of the Turk, which made tours around the world as a clockwork chess playing, well, robot. It captured the imagination of the world as people were amazed by this MACHINE that could PLAY CHESS!!!

Check it out. She updates the project every Thursday with a new page. The story begins here.

~ Ben

The Vogelein covers and Clockwork Game art is copyright Jane Irwin. The Little White Mouse cover is copyright Paul Sizer.

April 2, 2008

Nano Film Review #8 -- There Will Be Blood

Well, I finally saw it. I felt like I should, it being nominated for so many rewards and stuff.

It was an interesting movie to watch. I couldn't stop watching Daniel Day Lewis as Daniel Plainview, but his character is completely unlikable. Which was sort of the point.

To me, the movie was almost great. There was just something missing. Redemption, maybe? The movie is the opposite of what we normally get in storytelling. The two main characters spiral downward, flirting with redemption but ultimately rejecting it. A third main character manages to pull himself from the spiral, a welcome relief.

But the acting is superb. Daniel Day Lewis is awesome. The cinematography is beautiful. And I love that so much happens off screen. This film, for the most part, focuses completely and utterly on one self-absorbed man. And there are a number of scenes that reinforce that powerfully -- they focus on that one man. Things are happening around him, but the camera is on him.

All told, I recommend the movie if you want a character study of a corruption and ambition featuring an incredible actor.

I saw it in the theater. (Which was a weird experience itself.) It's now available on DVD.

Oh, it also seems to have spawned into some sort of meme on Youtube and the interweb, based around the "milkshake" line from the film. Most are lame. Really lame. However, Saturday Night Live did a really funny sketch featuring the characters from There Will Be Blood and No Country for Old Men. And Juno. If you plan on seeing the movie, I recommend staying away from those as much as you can until after you've seen it. If you don't plan on seeing it, or alreay have . . . click below: