Saturday, May 5, 2012

Free Comic Book Day Reviews: Part One

Yesterday was Free Comic Book Day and between three stores our intrepid party managed to grab an impressive haul of 18 titles as well as some unexpected extras. Many thanks to Quality Comics, Empire Toys, and the freshly re-located Comic Zone for making everybody feel welcome. We saw huge lines and even a lot of excited (and often costumed) children! There are still comics for children?! Consider me gobsmacked!

Join me after the jump to find out about the additional surprises and read the first batch of reviews of the books themselves!

Forbidden Era is Fun Fantasy

There's always the worry when it comes to independent publishing that you're losing out on quality, or that the editing is going to be poor, or any number of problems. With the glut of it with Kindles and Nooks and what have you, the barrier to entry is even lower.

Forbidden Era by Amanda Mondoux is not one of those books. The book takes place in a land where magic is banned, and our heroine, Myraza, is in the middle of a fairly complex battle between people and ideas. It's a straightforward plot that's complicated enough to keep you guessing.

The book is incredibly nuanced, with interesting characters and a slow burn as the story is unveiled. The characters are fun, the storyline itself an interesting take on fantasy ideas across the board. It's a rock solid book with a fully-formed universe that knows where it's going. Something you don't get a lot of in many books period.

I definitely recommend this one. It's going to surprise you for a lot of reasons, but I'm really looking forward to whatever it is that comes next. I'm glad I got a chance to read this one, and I think you should take a shot at it as well. Kindle and Nook editions are both out now.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Hawk Krall Illustrates Hot Dogs!

After having a random discussion about hot dogs on Twitter, I learned about Colombian hot dogs. And while I've only seen pictures, I can say that they are pretty insane. A bunch of sauces, crushed potato chips and pineapple, all LOADED on top of a hot dog. My description doesn't even compare to this photo.

So I searched deeper and deeper into the depths of Google, looking for a local hot dog place to try one... and I found something that might be the next best thing to actually eating one of these.

I stumbled across the artwork of Hawk Krall.

Hawk is an artist from Philadelphia who writes about food and then illustrates it. Digging through his site, you'll find various hot dogs, hamburgers, custom restaurant menus, magazine covers and the random Frank Reynolds illustration. Hawk also details the illustration process with multiple in-progress images for each illustration.

Check out as a home base for his art blog, food blog, and print shop. Click through the jump for a gallery of his wonderful hot dog illustrations, showcasing some of the best hot dogs in the world.

Dragon Age: Asunder - book review time!

Today I'll be delving into David Gaider's Dragon Age novel - Asunder! For bloody and delicious mage versus Templar action, read on!

Pre-Order Hot Toys Avengers Thor!

And seeing as how Avengers opens in the mighty US today, we'd better continue to assemble these stunning Hot Toys Avengers 12 inch figures. This time it's Chris Hemsworth as conveniently appearing thunder god Thor seen here in plastic and rubbery perfection!

You can check out his specs and more dreamy images, plus pre-order this puppy right here: Hot Toys Movie Masterpiece Series Thor Sixth Scale Figure - The Avengers

The Clone Wars Season 5 Trailer!

What better way to put a cap on Star Wars Day than showing this brief but intriguing trailer for The Clone Wars Season Five? If you've been enjoying the show as much as I have lately then this will surely whet your appetite. Clone Wars is the best Star Wars we've had in a very long time and if you've never taken the plunge I would stop to check it out. It's on the official Star Wars site in beautiful quality. And on youtube in sub-par quality.

Darth Maul's voice actor, Sam Witwer, has said many times in interviews that we've only just scratched the surface with the freshly returned Darth Maul and that large things are in store for his character. The fact that they're showing footage of him so early gives me hope that he'll appear far earlier in the series this time. And it's always good to see John Favreau's Mandalorian leader Pre Visla return.

Plus, I think it's super cute how American's call Autumn "Fall" because the leaves fall off the trees! I vote we call summer "Melt" because ice creams melt! Awwwww!

Star Wars Day: Boba Flex

Here's my animated contribution to Star Wars day. A ripped Boba Fett or as I like to call him Boba Flex!

I loved my Fett toy when I was a kid and it's the only Star Wars toy I ever bought. I even used it for reference when I was drawing this.

Oh and this is also slightly related to a little side project I'm working on with a friend but I don't know if you are ready to handle that yet

Unsung Heroes of Star Wars: A Cheer for Dickey Beer!

I think that as part of our May 4th Star Wars celebrations that it is only proper that we honour an unsung Star Wars hero - somebody great that perhaps not a whole lot of people know about. In this inaugural year for Fruitless Pursuits I hereby nominate the hard work of Dickey Beer.

Now, we may not sing songs about Dickey Beer (yet), and perhaps dicks and beer aren't two things that usually go together, but whether you realise it or not, we've all certainly been entertained by the host of vivid characters that The D-Beer helped to bring to life. Effortlessly straddling the gulf between stuntman and Dutchman, he was the stunt double for both Luke Skywalker and Boba Fett on Return of the Jedi, as well as a biker scout, a stormtrooper, and my favourite, Barada.

Sadly, Dickie Beer was later pwned by a rogue Sarlaac on set:

Thankfully, Mr. Beer recovered and lived on to do stunts on plenty of other great films like Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Cliffhanger and Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon. You can read an interview about his experience on Return of the Jedi here where he offers a number of fascinating insights. For example, he reveals that for him RTOJ was "just another movie" and that Harrison Ford and Mark Hamill were "just normal people". Interesting...

We salute Mr. Beer, and if you're having a beer today to celebrate Star Wars Day then why not make it a dickey one?

May the 4th: Darth Maul Mythos Statue

Happy Star Wars Day everyone! And a cursory look around the world wide wubz proves there's still plenty to celebrate. Many online retailers have special Star Wars products and offers up today, not the least of which being our friends at Sideshow Collectibles. They've recently unleashed a group of artists on the Star Wars universe to create their own unique takes that expand the mythos. The most recent to be revealed is a meditative Darth Maul inspired by the Star Wars Tale Nameless. Check him out!

If you ate giant apples then you'd have a physique like that too! You can see more images or pre-order here: Star Wars Mythos Statues Darth Maul Mythos Statue

Be sure to check out Sideshow's May the 4th celebrations here and you can get enter to win a life-size Darth Maul bust (be prepared to pay for shipping though) and you can get a free "Sell Out to the Dark Side" T-shirt with qualifying in-stock purchases of $40 or more. They'll let you participate in that one even if you're a filthy Australian like me!

Star Wars Day Follow Friday: Bonnie Burton!

Bonnie Burton is the Senior Editor at Lucasfilm, writer for, author of The Star Wars Craft Book and You Can Draw Star Wars, co-host of Vaginal Monologues, founder of, recent guest star on The Guild, upcoming guest on Tabletop (so excited!), and I'm just going to stop there because there is so much more..

But most of all she's @bonniegrrl on twitter!

She tweets and retweets Star Wars and sci-fi nerd-ness ALL DAY LONG. So many of my favorite images and articles have either come from Bonnie or via Bonnie. You could stop following everyone else and just follow her, and your twitter feed would be just as awesome, and possibly even better. :)

Click through the jump for more, and then go follow her!

Wookie Kong: Perfect Star Wars Day Attire

"Let the Wookie win" may be sound advice, but it'll be awkward playing this game if that is the case. I mean, if you let him win, then he keeps the love of your life. But if you win, he'll rip your arms off.  Choices

With a shout out to Grug for finding this, Ript Apparel has this beauty of a design (designed by Beware1984) on sale as a shirt or hoodie today. Keep in mind its a one-day only sale site, so if you don't grab it today you won't be able to otherwise.

While a cool design, I'm not certain how "logical" of a game it'd be. I mean, once the helmets get to R2, do they catch fire? I'm not going to argue on it because I've already ordered it, but there are some serious anger management issues to work out in this particular senario between these Space Bros.

Thank GIF it's Friday

And a happy May the 4th to you all.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Hockey Geekery

All of us here at Fruitless Pursuits love geeking out over nerdy stuff, but some of us also love geeking out over the traditionally less nerdy area of sports. A guy who shares our geek sports love is Dave from Dave's Geeky Hockey. What started as a few 'Hey wouldn't this be cool...' ideas has escalated into teaming up with custom jersey company Rinkgear to get some of these designs off the computer screen and onto the backs of fans. I myself have this bad boy on the way, and fittingly it should arrive just in time for ACTUAL winter:

 Jump below the cut for a look at a few more of Dave's kickass designs.

Dog stalks a wolf

An intense drawn out showdown between Rasta the Vizsla and a wolf

2 Toy Teases: Dunny 2012 and Hot Toys Hulk!

A small image of Kidrobot's 2012 Dunny series has leaked onto the net revealing the designer line-up and case ratios. You may have to squint hard to take in all the designs but it's a reasonable taste of what's to come. This image is from Vinyl Pulse who are well worth your time:
One of my favourite things about the 2011 Dunny (which led me to buy a whole case) was the huge number of uniquely sculpted pieces. It looks like 2012 will carry on that tradition. I'm particularly enamoured by that three-boobed design by Kronk, but unfortunately it looks to be a hard to track down chase.

And join me after the jump for a glimpse of the upcoming Hot Toys Avengers' Hulk!

Some Early May Book Recommendations

A few books that might be worth your time if you're looking to fill your bookshelf with some recentish (in most cases) genre fiction:

iPhone Film-making: Zombie Case Study.

Our friend Sam O'Sullivan drew our attention to his new short film, Zombie Case Study, shot entirely on an iPhone. Having only recently upgraded to a 4S myself, I'm really inspired by the ability to shoot a quality film using only a phone and I think that Sam's film illustrates really innovative ways of working with the phone's advantages and exploiting its limitations. It makes film-making accessible to everyone and this is a fine example that will make you sad that you're not doing it yourself.

Plus Sam's film has crowd pleasing/consuming zombies, so if you want to see two young Australian men dealing with a zombie situation in a way that only young Australian men can then check this out:

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Wil Weaton's Tabletop Playing Zombie Dice

If you have not watched Tabletop, it a show that stars Wil Weaton and is produced by Felicia Day. For some that statement is enough for you to drop everything and go watch it all right now, or scoff and guffah and roll your eyes at me (you know who you are). But don't, theres more!

Tabletop is on the youtube channel Geek and Sundry (I don't know what that means) and is about a nerdy guy doing nerdy things with other nerdy people who like doing nerdy things, but don't do the original nerdy things that the first nerdy guy is doing.

Wil Weaton will teach you to play games, or else.
Translation - Wil Weaton is playing board games with geeky celebs. Its great. And tomorrow (May 4th 2012) he is playing Zombie Dice from Steve Jackson Games. Find out more and read the official press release after the jump!

Diablo 3 banned character names - from filthy to immature to confusing

Blizzard must have an incredible list of accumulated banned account names, after their many years of dealing with idiots. Appearing on the Diablo Wiki is a sneak peek of a mere 1000 of them (!) and it makes for highly amusing reading. Some are logical - UpMyButthole and JennaJameson making perfect sense, and there is of course all the copyright infringement stuff (SuperMario) but I had no idea that alcohol brands were off the table (OH NO Luke, you'll have to start a character NOT called Radler!) or that Agnostic is a bannable title. Many more treasures lie within:

Fruitless Pursuits Guide To Free Comic Book Day - Part 2: Silver Level Books

In Part 2 of our look at this Saturday's 10th annual Free Comic Book Day, we look at the Silver Level books. 

Silver is the color coding for the books that are not available at all stores. There are 36 Silver titles in all, and it would take some serious shopping around to get all of them. (Is it still considered "shopping" when everything is free?)

To help you get a head start on your favorite free comics, we've detailed the 36 additional books that will be available on Saturday. Click through the jump for lots of more info!

Celebrity Apprentice Recaps Episode Eleven: Lampanelli Loses It More!

Being a celebrity must be incredibly taxing. Under pressure many prove to be delicate creatures whose giant egos shield a fragile, seething mass of issues and insecurities. Never has this been clearer than when watching loud-mouthed comedienne Lisa Lampanelli who spews so much evil out of her maw this episode that they needed to get the boardroom fumigated. 

To hear about the next farcical task and Lisa’s greatest meltdown, join me after the jump!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Tron Uprising

The style is pushed even further in this new Disney animated series of Tron

Looks so eye****ing beautiful even without Olivia Wilde

Fruitless Pursuits Guide To Free Comic Book Day - Part 1: Gold Level Books

This Saturday is the 10th annual Free Comic Book Day! It's a worldwide celebration of the comics industry, where comic shops, publishers, writers and artists band together and give back to the fans by giving away a whole bunch of free comics. It's a great way to reward loyal collectors, and hopefully make some new fans.

Are you planning on going out? Did you plan your attack? Things can get pretty crazy when things are free. It's not quite the level of Black Friday yet, but it's always good to be prepared. 

To help you, we're going to show all of the free books that will be available, starting today with the GOLD level books. These are top titles from top publishers, available at all participating stores on May 5th, 2012. 

Click through the jump for a look at the big ten.

What's Out? 2nd of May 2012

Here's what comes out today but don't forget there's also Free Comic Book Day this weekend!

Stryder's Favourite Comics - 4/25/2012

Mayday!  Mayday!  It's May 1st and almost new comic book day and I still haven't posted the last few comics from April!  I blame too much working...this looks like a job for...hmmm...I dunno...Calendar Man maybe?

Or hell I could just do this thing right now! Moving along...

Superman #8 - The issue opens in media res with Superman being hunted down by power-armour wearing soldiers and (not appearing but implied) members of the Justice League!  They hate and fear him for being a too-powerful alien, a la Lex Luthor in the first few Action Comics...It's weird and random and... all a trick of Helspont, the skull-headed alien introduced last issue!  I guess the weird purple plant thing growing out of Superman's mouth on the front cover has hallucinogenic properties.  It's quite a striking cover, although rest assured, inside the issue the Man of Tomorrow keeps BOTH eyes...

Once Superman figures out that he's on a weird alien acid trip, the rest of the issue becomes a running monologue by Helspont basically espousing his belief structure and giving a lot more backstory than I really cared about.  It was well written though and Superman's responses to the guy's tirades were amusing.  Eventually Clark gets bored with the arguing and starts the punching...

Oh PS Lois' little sister comes to Metropolis and is kind of a bitch!  Also, Jimmy Olson has bed bugs.  B-Plot!!  Overall it's more of a "set stuff up" than a "stuff happens" kind of issue, but I enjoyed it!

Of course if Superman's not to your tastes, there's more after the JUMP!

Breaking Bad season 5 trailer

The Book Was Better Podcast: Teaser for Episode 17

A quick note to let you know that our teaser for Episode 17 of The Book Was Better podcast is now live! Amid Jessica and my ramblings we let you know what movie/book to bone up on for next week, as well as which part of your body to hold on to. (A clue: Your butts). It may be the thinnest junior novelization two adults have ever had the audacity to conquer!

You can grab this 8 minute mini-episode  here or via iTunes.

The Dark Knight Rises - Official Trailer #3

So this is new. 

What do you think?

Nerd History: Denis Wood and his Strange Dissertation

I honestly don't have a ton to say about I Don't Want To But I Will, Denis Wood's 1973 dissertatation via Clark University (my wife's alma mater). While there is a ton of borderline-crazy stuff in the acknowledgments in particular, the whole thing is a strange, almost avant garde approach to his work here, and it really needs to be seen to be believed. Wood went on to do some work for maps, having a number of books published as well as being featured on This American Life, but it's really his dissertation that fascinated me the most.

F**k Yeah Game of Thrones: Ghosts of Harrenhal

I should officially change the title of these recaps to ZOMGWTF Game of Thrones. Episode five: Ghosts of Harrenhal doesn’t just change the rules, it flips the game right off the table. And then jumps on the game. And then makes up a completely new game. And neglects to tell you how to play.

I foolishly thought that the Clash of Kings would occur out on the field but a new weirdness in Westeros is seeping in and shaking shit up.

Chicks dig warlocks. This is exactly what Charlie Sheen was talking about.
To hear my ill-read, uninformed recount of what went down, join me... after the jump!

Tuesday Bounty: Glorious Bounty Slaughters Everything!

After skipping last week, due to the heavy burdens of the rock-style lives of fringe web-comic creators, we return triumphant with a brand new page of Glorious Bounty, drawn by the stalwart Edward J. Grug III and written by me.

When we last left the Bounty crew they were in robot bodies and hiding in a dirty old crate. Then they busted out and started tearing shit up. It was very deep and worked on multiple levels.

Click to embiggen or check it out on the official site!

And if that left you confused, why not go back and educate yourself with chapter one? You won't regret it! Or at least won't until many years later when you're on your deathbed and recognise that this was valuable time that you could have spent with your loved ones.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Fighting Fantasy Books Turn 30

Back in the day when I was a wee lad, video games were a rarity. Toys and books and creativity were all the rage, and Choose Your Own Adventure books were the coolest thing ever to check out of your library. There were a lot of competition in the CYOA racket, but one particular champion rose to the top. Steve Jackson (UK) and Ian Livingston (co-creaters of Games Workshop) had taken the CYOA model and combined it with the unique character/adventurer commonly found in RPGs like Dungeons and Dragons and created Fighting Fantasy books. Now you the reader could play the character within the book and uniquely develop them to your liking. Collecting different items and rolling dice to determine the outcome. 59 of these books were written

30 years later, they are back in the form of iOS apps for your iPhone and iPads (well, 5 of them anyway). In celebration of them turning 30, Big Blue Bubble is selling them via iTunes for .99 cents each! So go buy them and tell us all about them!

Evil is Back. Also, Make Sure to Take May 15th off.

And if you can't take it off, make certain to call in sick.

Fuck. Yeah.

Kickstart the Week: Ace of Spies by Sprocket Games

Who doesn't love a good spy game?

Ace of Spies is a card game of set collecting and sneakiness that comes from the minds of two first time designers, Michael Fox and Mark Rivera with playtesting and development by industry legend Richard Borg. Players take on the roles of spymasters, tasked with taking on missions and gathering the resources needed to complete them. The more complex a mission, the more specific your required resources will be – but it’ll also be so much more valuable!
What's interesting about Ace of Spies is that in theme of game, the Kickstarter video says very little about the actual game, and the very fun twitter feed (!/Ace_of_Spies) is also eeking out information of the game in little tiny secret tidbits at a time. It's the complete opposite of the suggested approach to give everyone the information they need, and not to make people search for it.. but Ace of Spies seems to be doing just well. They're at 29% of their $40,000 goal, with 42 days to go.

I did some of my own spy work and uncovered a gameplay demo video:

More interesting facts about the game: Ace of Spies was co-designed by Michael Fox, host of the brilliant gaming podcast, The Little Metal Dog Show. Also, Sprocket Games is offering free shipping worldwide (crazy!), and you can get a copy of the game with artwork of yourself on both an Agent card and the box top (insane!). Both of these are very costly, but wonderful gestures.

Check out Ace of Spies on Kickstarter:

Penn Jillette Responds to his Ridiculous Firing on the Celebrity Apprentice. IN SONG!

If you're one of the chosen few that reads my Celebrity Apprentice recaps then you'll already be aware of my seething, pissing disdain that man-mountain Penn Jillette (my personal favourite to win) was unjustly fired by an increasingly random and detached Donald Trump. This outrage is not to be taken lightly, so imagine how thrilled I was to discover that Penn has made an official statement about America's latest pre-emptive strike on intelligence. Although not quite how you may initially expect...

You see Penn is SINGING about his ludicrous dismissal in this brand new music video. At least I think that's what he's doing. The lyrics are generally hard to make out - in fact the whole experience is like having an angry Dr. Teeth from the Muppets yell at you.

But I think Penn is screaming about how some people bust their humps working in very difficult real life circumstances that pale in comparison to the farcical celebrity circus he has just been involved with. Or I've got the whole thing wrong and he's merely choking on something. Either way, I adore Penn so check him out!


Doctor Who Meets Metal (And More)

What is better than the theme songs to Doctor Who, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Back to the Future, and Game of Thrones? When they are done in METAL

Watch the rest after the jump

Hotel Transylvania

Here's a new 3d "cartoony" animated film from Sony Pictures, "Hotel Transylvania"

Sony pictures was also responsible for the cartoony "Cloudy with a chance of Meatballs". I loved that film it felt like a wonderful break from the Pixar/Dreamworks 3d styles (that I dig but you know too much cake..) and more like a cartoon network cartoon. Bendy limbs, large expressions, cartoon logic and an underling goal to make you laugh and have fun.

Another ace this film has is bringing on Mr Dexters Labotory, Samurai Jack Genndy Tartakovsky!!!

He began working on this film after his wonderful series "Sym-bionic Titan" was cancelled by aholes. That was really heartbreaking to lose such a clever, unique, beautiful and exciting show over the belief that they couldnt sell toys  with it. So I've been waiting for this film to come out since the demise of Sym-Bionic Titan.

Adam Sandler on this film seems to be the criticism everyone is finding with the film but I really want this film to go well so Sony Pictures and Genndy will keep making different fantastic films

I put a collection of Genndy Tartakovsky videos after the jump

Sunday, April 29, 2012

World of Warcraft Mists of Pandaria Beta Part 2: Level 85 and Beyond!

Back in Part One I tried out the Pandaren starting area and bemoaned the fact that the Mists of Pandaria beta wouldn't allow me to import a level 85 character into the world to test the larger level 85-90 content. Well all that has changed since the last time I logged in! I was able to choose a pre-made level 85 Pandaren monk and begin questing in the brand new continent of Pandaria. (Which, to be fair, is still not very misty).

If none of that made sense, then I've probably already lost you. But, if you're picking up what I'm putting down, then join me after the jump for my next bouncy panda foray into the wider world of Warcraft!