Imagine if it had been William Shakespeare, England’s greatest playwright, who had discovered the truth about the Great Old Ones and the cosmic entity we know as Cthulhu, rather than the American horror writer H P Lovecraft. Imagine if Stratford’s favourite son had been the one to learn of the dangers of seeking after forbidden knowledge and of the war waged between the Elder Gods in the Outer Darkness, and had passed on that message, to those with eyes to see it, through his plays and poetry… Welcome to the world of Shakespeare vs Cthulhu!
We're taking a quick break, and will be back next week with all our (ir)regularly scheduled cool stuff.
On the horizon: there's more from Kuzhali, Stark, Selena, Molly, Becky, Silvia, Jamie and the One Comic team, our DGLA reviews, some very special guest posts, some super-nerdy data stuff and the start of a brand new feature series.
Don't forget, if you're a blogger or reviewer, leave your details in the comments here. And if you're looking for blogs to read, well, look there too.
Nostalgia hits us in various ways this show, as we take a look at issue six of Paper Girls, written by Brian K Vaughan with art by Cliff Chiang and Matt Wilson, which tells the story of characters from 1988 brought forward into the present. (And some others coming back from the future. Possibly. Exactly what’s going on remains tantalisingly intriguing.)
Are board games getting worse? A data analysis of board game ratings shows that the market is absolutely flooded, but 'peak quality' may have passed us by:
The number of extra-special gems released each year is slightly increasing, but it’s plateauing. Truly great games represent a smaller and smaller part of the year’s releases.
Sites like Kickstarter and IndieGoGo are mainly responsible for the surge in (questionable quality) board game releases. Without needing to convince a publisher of a game’s worth, any chump can get his name on a box by convincing a few hundred people to throw $10 their way.
Although the volume of board games (a predicted 6,000 in 2016) pales in comparison to other publishing endeavours (music, books, etc), it does make for a useful microcosm of the changes in the market. There are still diamonds in the rough, but as the rough becomes more accessible and less filtered, the ratio of diamond-to-rough falls. That's understandable - what's more worrisome is that the raw number of diamonds has been falling since 2012...
Stark says: “I don’t give a curly-hair, yellow bear, double dog damn if ya did.”
If you like your Westerns obscure, oblique and cult then I have four words for you, friend: Monte. Hellman. The. Shooting.
Silvia: Tal, Molly Tanzer of Ko-Lo-Ra-Do. Well, when last we saw our hero Tarl Cabot (what kind of name is that? I still can’t say his damn name) he had returned to Earth. But not for long! Soon he’s back in the world of Gor, where men are manly men and women are very pretty but like not threatening, like you totally could ask that chick out and she’d give you her phone number instead the number of a local deli shop. It’s obvious something has gone terribly wrong in Gor and now Tarl is a, gasp, Outlaw of Gor!
Okay, so I think part of the problem with this book on a technical level is that the first person point of view is just super annoying. Tarl is supposed to be writing all this shit down and it’s like for fuck’s sake, I’m bored. I’m so bored. Write funner, or something. Bad narrator.
We're (almost) up and running! As is tradition, I want to set out my list of Special Judging Criteria for this year's reading.
For 2016, after much deliberation, I'm not going to tackle all the finalists. I'll be sticking to the Morningstar titles:
I'll add links as they appear.
One perk of being a Londoner? The BFI Southbank. Anne and I were there recently for an Indiana Jones marathon (all three films!), and I was reminded - for the 857th time - what a wonderful place it is. Pros: an unbelievable selection of movies from the timeless to the trashy. Cons: they don't sell popcorn (heathens!)
Smuggle in some Haribo and check out the website, because there's an amazing line-up for the rest of the summer. A few highlights below.