Friday, August 15, 2014

What's Making Me Happy This Week: The Matt Signal Edition

It's been a week of a lot of bad news out there, and I've been very busy, so I haven't really had any time to prep a normal recommendation for this week. So, I'm taking a page from one of my favorite podcasts, NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour, and just ending the week with what's making me happy. It's just going to be a few snapshots of comic related stuff that I ran into this week that made me smile.

- I finally got to pick up my copy of the Atomic Robo Roleplaying Game this week. The game comes from Evil Hat Productions, which also designed the excellent Dresden Files RPG, and while I haven't gotten a chance to play yet, the design and their FATE System is elegant. The wide, crazy world of Atomic Robo is perfect for an RPG, as there are so many options of what to do and where & when to play, and it's a one book RPG; no big piles of books required, all you need is this one and you're set. I checked out the stats for the existing characters, and while seeing stats for Robo, Dr. Dinosaur, and Jenkins are exciting, what I really loved was stat blocks for Nicola Tesla, Thomas Edison, Stephen Hawking, and Carl Sagan! I think I need to create an adventure in the 70s or 80s just so I can use Carl Sagan.

- This past Sunday saw the beginning of new episodes of Beware the Batman on Cartoon Network. The past couple weeks have had unaired episodes, but those were available on the season 1 part 1 DVD, which ended the first half of the season on a cliffhanger. This was a strong episode, picking up where the last episode left off, with Ra's al Ghul having acquired a device that allows him to control the power supply to Gotham and blacking out the city. The episode has a lot of great character work, further developing the relationship between Batman and Jim Gordon, Gordon and his daughter Barbara, and dealing with the fallout of Ra's' revelation to Katana about the fate of her father and Alfred's part in it. There are twelve more new episodes of the series left, and they will continue to air at... 2:30 a.m. on Sunday morning. So, yeah, set your DVRs, folks, if you want to see how this series ends. I have a feeling like it will be remembered better than it has been treated by Cartoon Network.

- When the first wave of the new Batman family titles were announced, I wrote about how excited I was for Gotham Academy and Arkham Manor. This week saw the announcement of a third, slightly off the beaten trail Batman family title. Gotham By Midnight is a supernatural procedural, so it's kind of a combination of Gotham Central and The Spectre. Speaking of Spectre, it looks like Jim Corrigan is going to be the lead, spinning out of his involvement in Batman: Eternal, along with a cast of new characters. I have seen very little of the Spectre since the New 52, since he has mostly appeared in books I don't read, so it's been nice to see him in Eternal and to know he'll be taking a bigger role in Gotham. While DC has had a good number of supernatural books since the New 52 (one of the initial groups, The Dark, was all horror themed), the procedural hasn't been used yet, and with my soft spot for the Spectre, so I'll happily give this one a shot.

So that's it for this week. Next week I'm away at a conference for work, but I have a couple of posts scheduled, one from regular contributor Dan Grote, and one from guest writer Brandon Borzelli, and if I have the time between now and when I leave Sunday, I'll try to schedule some reviews for Monday. But anyway, have a good week.

Oh! And if you're in the New Jersey area and would like to have some fun next Saturday (that's August 23rd, folks), Garden State Comic Fest is happening in Morristown. Dewey's will be having a table, and I'll be one of the guys working it. Come by and say hi!

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