History & The Pulps are Featured in War Bears, A Comic Book Review!

21 Sep

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Released Sept 05, 2018

With two incredible Canadian talents, Margaret Atwood and Ken Steacy, get together to create a comic book, the industry better pay attention. Published by Dark Horse ComicsWar Bears offers two well-meaning stories than one; the main narrative sees Alain Zurakowski as a struggling artist in an era where life is a struggle. The early 20th century was tough for many; not only did a world have to deal with and recover from two World Wars, but also the Depression made getting employed tough. In a dog eat dog world of 1943, this young man manages to get a job at a Toronto-based comic book company (not New York, where the action was at) and has to deal with ornery coworkers. One particular individual steals this kid’s ideas, and the conflict may well run deeper in later issues.

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The Predator, A Review & My Hopes for a Shared Universe

19 Sep

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

  • Spoiler Alert

Ever since Arnold Schwarzenegger put the smackdown on a lone alien hunter Predator on screen, this creature left a huge mark in the world of sci-fi and pop culture. After countless crossovers into comic book universes, I find leaving him in 21st Century Fox‘s own shared universe makes for better tales. Throughout many millennia, this hunter species took down dinosaurs, strange aliens, primeval man and elite fighting units. Ultimately, the movies are about who is this galaxy’s apex warrior.

No sequel or followup will ever surpass the testosterone pool from the original film. The Predator tries, but without the widespread recognition of the actors, some people may ask who are these stars? Those performers whose career shone brightly the 80’s are very well known and they still are to this day.  The talents from this decade are only recognizable if fans have seen their work. From Chuck to Hatfields & McCoys to Game of Thrones, thankfully the roster is decently represented. The characters these performers played represent the best of the best for that division of the military; quite often, they are in a situation where the fight is about the survival of the fittest.

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Going Behind the Scenes with Crowdfunding the History of Origin System’s Ultima

17 Sep

Click here to visit the Kickstarter Page

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Fans of classic computer role-playing games can get to read all about how Origin Systems’ Ultima series came to life. The many hurdles which occurred along the way in the software development cycle are exquisitely explored. It reads like a very deeply researched paper. I had the opportunity to look at an early draft of a preview chapter (which is available on www.theira.it). At the same time, readers will get to learn more about the creator, Richard Garriott, and how this series evolved from its eight-bit days to thirty-two. This book is finished, and just needs support from fans to facilitate translating it from its native language, Italian, to English.

The love for this game is strong despite not having any titles on the latest generation of machines to play. Does anyone want it? No definitive answer exists. This game has seen many sequels and the Avatar returns every time. In this interview, both author Andrea Contato and photographer/artist Enrico Ricciardi talk about their love for this product and how this crowdfunding campaign will go:

Could you please introduce yourselves?

Andrea: Here in Italy, I wrote a lot of articles for computer, technology and videogames magazines. In 2014, I created an online magazine (www.notiziedalfronte.it) whose goal is to document the history of the First World War, as though you were reading events as it unfolded on that day. There is exactly 100 years of delay.  That is, on September 20, 2018, you’ll read the news as it would have appeared on September 20, 1918 and so on. This site is followed by more than 3.000 Italian readers. This makes me a historian communicator.

I am a collector of stories. That’s exactly why wrote this book. The Ultima series is special because Richard Garriott was able to change the formula of his games many times. He succeeded at renewing it without losing the loyalty of his fan-base. There are very few video game series that spans their life in decades as Ultima.

Enrico: I am a professional fashion and advertising photographer since 1985 and am based in Milan. Apart from my job, I love all the visual art forms, and I believe the video game medium is one of the new expressions of art. In the last 10 years, the technologies made available to graphic designers and developers has allowed recreating fantastic worlds with extraordinary realism. They are real works of art. One such game is From Software’s Bloodborne (inspired by H. P. Lovecraft). Their amazing use of lighting technique and choice of colours perfectly materialized the gothic atmosphere this great writer described.

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Where forth art thou, Cornelius & Titania? A Fringe Theatre Review

15 Sep

  • Played at the 2018 Victoria Fringe Festival

If William Shakespeare and Ricky Gervais were to meet, I am sure the play they would create together would be like Pamela Bethel‘s Cornelius & Titania or A Tragedy of the Commons (A Comedy). The bureaucracy found in many an office, middle-management, higher management—whatever the case may be, is handled by Cornelius (Tallas Munro). He’s accepted the fact he will never appear in Hamlet, whenever it is performed. The words he set on paper created real people. That is, they have souls. Existence is fleeting. Without reciting the words from the bard’s own hand, the performer is not channelling the spirit of those characters he created.

When Titania (Christina Patterson) gets replaced by hologram technology, this Faerie Queene is at a loss. I can only imagine how the stage play she is from would look with laser projections and robots taking over. This gentle breeze tries to adjust to “office” life, waiting for the chance to return. Magic no longer works because it’s not in the pages of this show I was watching. Other characters like Hecate get a mention, which leads me to believe the “real world” is set in the future, where computer programs have replaced many human performers. Shades of The Congress can be felt here.

This show offers a few satirical moments, not only with what Shakespeare’s work represents but also with whom controls life. The fax machine is the only interface to the real world. For a moment, I thought the Moirai are at work. They handle the threads of destiny which bind many a person, even those who are fictionalized.

Perhaps I’m reading more into this work than in what Brethel intended. Her characterizations of these titular characters are not without a few moments of pop culture familiarity. From the 70s sitcom, Bewitched, I felt Patterson’s portrayal of Titania had a touch of Samantha Stephens spunky attitude. Munro’s steadfastness has nothing to compare to. His gift for character voices in the play’s start had me wondering if he’ll be auditioning for Jim Henson Company. In all seriousness, this emerging talent is worth following.

In this void where they exist, The Bureau, they simply keep busy with mundane tasks. I’m sure a mythos exists, but that would require a follow-up tale. This one-off is sadly that, and I feel it should at least tour the Pacific Northwest Fringe Theatre circuit. With this experimental project, I can see the potential for it to grow or evolve into a web series. Bethel is an accomplished playwright and most of her shows have played at select festivals around the world. Should this sleeper hit find a following, I’m sure she will fashion a follow-up. My curiousity is peaked.

4 Stars out of 5