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Archive for April, 2017

Review: The Gathering 11th TAGCOM [Toys and Hobbies Convention] (April 29, 2017)

04/29/2017 Leave a comment
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Clockwise: Present and accounted for at The Gathering 11th TAGCOM (Toys and Hobbies Convention). | Looking though the lens of a toy for sale at the convention. | Photo opportunity with Justice PH. | Kong: Skull Island merchandise. | All ready for Disneyland: Some hats that we picked up. | If money were no object, I would have scooped up all of the all of the available Fallout 4 5″ Vault Boy 111 Bobbleheads in a heartbeat.  Pictured are the Melee Weapons, Strength, and Repair Bobbleheads.

I ate my words today.

What I thought would be (at the most) a half-day event–The Gathering 11th TAGCOM [Toys and Hobbies Convention]–turned into a whole day affair.

Yep.  The Fam and I ended up staying from 11 am till closing.[i]  Even I can’t believe it myself.

It was loads of fun.  Lots to see. But we were all dead tired by the end of it all.

A fun and fulfilling kind of tired.

The Sights

Despite only occupying what seemed like a very generous 3/4 of the Megatrade Hall 3, there seemed to be a little something for everyone.  Character beanies and dinosaurs aside, what stood out for me was the amount of Godzilla merchandise spread out among the vendors.  There was a ton and I’m sure they have been around, but for me, it was like they all appeared out of nowhere.

Read more…

Oh How You’ve Changed Monopoly (April 28, 2017)

04/28/2017 Leave a comment
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New Board. Old Board. Always ready for action!

It’s been about a decade since the last time I’ve rolled dice on the old Monopoly board.

A lot has changed since then.

New streets. New railways stations. New prices.  New mortgage payouts.

And after tonight a new winner in a five-year-old first time player.

Congrats Bud!

After our fun, competitive, and entertaining game; I couldn’t help but wonder: Why all the changes?

I mean, the old version has been around since the mid-30’s.  A tried-and-tested product that stood the test of time.

This will take some getting used to.

I guess when it all comes down to it, even a gaming juggernaut like Monopoly isn’t immune from the changing times.

Categories: 2017, Reviews Tags: , , ,

Review: The Walking Dead: Road to Survival (April 27, 2017)

04/27/2017 Leave a comment

Clockwise: Negan before. | Negan after 2nd tier upgrade. | Garrett is injured as part of the storyline. | Rick Grimes. | Face-off against The Governor’s men. | “Congratulations: You have completed all of your daily missions.”

Over the past four days, I have been playing The Walking Dead: Road to Survival game on my iPad Pro.  It’s fun and engaging because I get to use familiar characters like Rick Grimes, Negan, Tyreese, Nicholas, and Dr. Stevens.  But to tell you the truth, it is a spectacular waste of time.

If you’re on Facebook (which you most likely are), you’ve seen the ads[i], “Over 20 millions players.  Join now! It’s free!”

Now, I’ve been putting it off that very tempting offer for awhile now.  Largely in part because I knew that if I got a hang of it: I’d be hooked.  Hey, don’t judge.  It beats catching Pokemon right?

The Walking Dead: Road to Survival game is based on the comic book creations of Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore, and Charlie Adlard, and features a number of characters, weapons, artifacts, and storylines from the book.

The advertisement wasn’t lying though, the game is free to play.  However, a plethora of in-app purchase options are a necessity if you want to progress faster and further along the story mode and leaderboards.  Bottomline, if you are a purist freebie player, you’ll never ever get to top the spenders[ii].  It’s how the game is designed.  It sucks you in.  Gives you hope.  You get the general idea.

Progress

I’ve gone as far as I could go via the freebie route: sub level 6 of Stage 9: Speedway.`  I’ve surmised that I’ll need to pay for bigger guns and stronger characters if I want to progress any further.  I have enjoyed though the game’s other mini-games such as raiding the camps of other players[iii], Daily Missions, and Leveling Up characters.

That’s about it for now.

I’ll keep you guys posted.

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[i] I’m paraphrasing here!
[ii] Spenders – Refers to players who have availed or continually avail of in-app purchases in order to expedite their gaming experience.
[iii] 307 wins and 38 losses as of 5/7/17.

The difference between single issues and trade paperbacks and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (Non-spoilers) (April 25, 2017)

04/25/2017 Leave a comment
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Aside from getting into an early screening of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 | I was able to find several issues on sale for P200 over at Comic Quest.  Issues 7-9, 17-18 of Fatale, Issue 2 of High Roads and Issues 6-7 of IDW’s Ghostbusters for the Fam

As part of my education as an aspiring comic book writer, I have made it a point to find time to listen to the creative process of other writers.   It is a mandate has also made me more open to the idea of reading books that fall outside the Marvel and DC Comics spectrum.[i]  This will be the first of many posts where I’ll try to pass on what I’ve learned about the creative writing process or maybe something about comics in general.

The difference between single issues and trade paperbacks

In one particular interview featuring writer Ed Brubaker (Captain America, Kill or Be Killed), someone asked if the essays located in the backspace[ii] of several issues of Fatale[iii] would ever be compiled into a trade paperback or featured as additional material in future editions of Fatale.

Brubaker’s response was simple: No.

He reasoned that it was a complicated process as there were many authors who had contributed essays throughout Fatale’s 24-issue run.  These were published as one-offs–meaning that any subsequent publishing would require consent from the aforementioned authors.

Therefore, the essay material would then remain exclusively in the single issues and serve–at least in my mind–as an added incentive to get them.[iv]

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (The non-spoiler edition)

Was with the Fam yesterday and we were able to catch the 9:00 pm advance showing of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.

What do I think?

Read more…

Kawhi Leonard, The Grindhouse, Comic Odyssey, and the Philip Tan and Elmer Santos Signing & Sketching Event (April 23, 2017)

04/23/2017 Leave a comment

Philip Tan gets the ball rolling well before his call time of 1 pm. | Philip’s three 2-hour sketches: Harley Quinn, Spider-Man, and the Dark Phoenix. | The Spider-Man sketch that Philip did for me on my Clone Conspiracy Blank Cover Variant. | Photo opportunity with Philip. | Posing for a photo with Elmer Santos. | Elmer’s Spider-Man sketch on my Champions #1 Blank Cover Variant.

What an interesting day!

Certainly one that I didn’t expect having when I woke up this morning.

Here is how things went down.

The Early Bird makes the sketch list

With Sandy’s announcement that The Hellblazer[i] creative team of Philip Tan (artist) and Elmer Santos (colorist) would be taking several sketch commissions–for free!–during their Signing and Sketch Event today, it made a lot of sense for my good friend Mark and I to make our way to Fully Booked in Bonifacio High Street before they opened at 11:00 am.

San Antonio Spurs versus the Memphis Grizzlies–a game for the ages.

Mark and I got to High Street early so we decided to head to the nearby Italiannis to catch the San Antonio Spurs and Memphis Grizzlies game.

This was a rare treat for me as I usually don’t watch television anymore[ii].  Game 4 between these two teams also served as my first game in this year’s NBA Playoffs.

And what a game it was!  As Mark and I settled into our seats, Memphis–down 2-1 in the series–had erected a formidable 10 point lead early in the fourth quarter lead by Grizzlies $153 dollar quarterback Mike Conley, Jr.

But Memphis had to give Conley a breather and almost as soon as he sat down, the San Antonio Spurs Kawhi Leonard took over and both teams battled till the end of regulation and well into overtime. Read more…

The limited edition Starbucks Night Sky Reusable Cup promo (April 21-22, 2017)

04/22/2017 Leave a comment
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Beating the heat with a Grande Green Tea Frappuccino! *Sigh* I miss my old order: Basic Black Iced Tea.

Had an impromptu lunch date with the Fam yesterday afternoon at my local Starbucks branch in Makati and while we were lining up to give our orders.  I saw this on top of the counter: A limited edition Night Sky Reusable Cup for only P100!

How could I resist right?

It had all the magical ingredients that only a Starbucks regular would love: Limited edition. Saving the environment. And! Saving money![i]

The Starbucks Night Sky Reusable Cup promo details:

We have a new partner in reducing cup waste. You.

Get this Night Sky Reusable Cup for only P100 or enjoy a 10% off on any merchandise item when you purchase any Grande handcrafted beverage on April 21 and 22, 2017.

Save P5 every time you use your cup for your beverage purchase.

  • Except coffee press and other brewing equipment.

Visit http://www.starbucks.ph for details.

Addendum:

I went back today to the same branch and the barista informed me that the cups didn’t last the day.  Good thing I had foresight![ii]

The promo is good until today so if you guys are near any Starbucks branch–who knows?  They may still have the cup.

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[i] Granted it’s 5 bucks but that goes a long way in the grand scheme of things.
[ii] Enter imaginary pat on the back.

Fearing the Sun: The Awesomeness of Eclipse (April 14, 2017)

04/14/2017 Leave a comment
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Thanks again Zack for sending me a signed copy of Eclipse #1 as well as a personalized note.

First-time comic book writer Zack Kaplan had been making comic book pitches for a number of years before Top Cow Productions’ President and Chief Operating Officer Matt Hawkins gave him his big break. The pitch–and I am paraphrasing here–probably went something like this.

Eclipse is a science fiction, murder mystery set 10 years from now where the world as we know it has changed. Sunspots have made the rays of the sun lethal to organic life[i] and civilization is now forced to live underground.  Several murders have also been discovered with the main suspect (a vigilante?) somehow unaffected by the killer sun.

Hope I did that some justice.

Now Zack was tasked to find an artist for the then projected 4-part mini series.  He looked through several portfolios and decided on Italian artist Giovanni P. Timpano who had done work with a number of franchise properties such as G.I. Joe: Infestation, The Shadow, and The Lone Ranger/Green Hornet.  However, there was a catch–Giovanni was committed to another project for the next five months.  Top Cow informed Zack that he would either have to wait for Giovanni or go with another artist.  But in his mind, Zack felt that waiting another five months for Giovanni was the right thing to do for the book.

It was; the Eclipse creative team was formed and they haven’t looked back since.

What I like most about this book is the world building as well as the transparency of the creative process detailed at the end of each issue.  In the first arc[ii], the writer (Kaplan), artist (Timpano), colorist (Chris Northrop), and letterer (Troy Peteri) all take turns in sharing their experiences in putting Eclipse together.

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[i] But according to Zack, the scorching heat has not affected water.
[ii] If you guys haven’t had a chance to read Eclipse, Image Comics released the the trade paperback last February and Issue #6 is scheduled to be released on May 20, 2017.