Monthly Archives: August 2010

news with natalie 08302010

time for an update! here are the most important things of the day (if you happen to be looking at the world through a kaleidoscope, like i am).

ONE: corgis on a treadmill? why??? check out this adorable video. i know there are really only two corgis…but are there really only two corgis?! YOU decide!

TWO: iowa contributes to national news? this is definitely newsworthy. iowa state used their carillon to play lady gaga’s BAD ROMANCE. the video is over five minutes long (which may be longer than the actual song), so don’t waste your time watching it. just revel in the fact that iowa is once again leaving its mark on this amazing nation.

THREE: angry man tries to pay his property tax with 33,000 pennies. i love this story so much, but that’s really all there is to it. he went to the treasurers office and tried to pay his $330 property tax, in pennies, but was DENIED. justice? where is the JUSTICE? if you want to read more about this amazing story, check it out here on gawker.

FOUR: oh my godddd, can you even handle this photograph? i love this so much, mostly because of this quote: ‘once the shock wears off, i’m sure she’ll say yes.’ yeah? are you sure? who is this guy anyway? it doesn’t matter. anyway, in reference to this photo, i say mostly because let’s not forget his amazing pants, tan, or tattoos. his dead stare makes me wish he was asking me. but i digress.

FIVE: this faaaantastic gem of a german man, thilo sarrazin finally broke the silence about jews, and said that ‘all jews share a certain gene.’ yeah? cool! maybe we should put them somewhere where they can all be together, comfortably. maybe…in a…camp! sorry thilo, someone already thought of that. read more on that here.

well, that’s that! see you next week for news with natalie!

love always,

70 Aspects Of Batman: 26


From Wikipedia:

Jean Henri Gaston Giraud (born May 8, 1938[1]) is a French comics artist. Giraud has earned worldwide fame, not only under his own name but also under the pseudonym Moebius, and to a lesser extent Gir, the latter appearing mostly in the form of a boxed signature at the bottom of the artist’s paintings.

Jean Giraud was born in Nogent-sur-Marne, in the suburbs of Paris, in 1938.[2][3] At 18, he was drawing his own comic strip, “Frank et Jeremie” for the magazine Far West. In 1961, Giraud became an apprentice of Jijé, one of the leading comic artists in Europe of the time, and collaborated on an album of Jerry Spring.[3] In 1962 Giraud and writer Jean-Michel Charlier started the comic strip Fort Navajo for Pilote. It was a great hit and continued uninterrupted until 1974. The Lieutenant Blueberry character, created by Giraud and Charlier for Fort Navajo, quickly became its most popular character, and his adventures as told in the spin-off Blueberry, are possibly Giraud’s best known work in his native France. Giraud’s prestige in France – where comics are held in high artistic regard – is enormous; In 1988 Moebius was chosen, among 11 other winners of the prestigious Grand Prix of the Angoulême Festival, to illustrate a postage stamp set issued on the theme of communication. Under the names Giraud and Gir, he also wrote numerous comics for other comic artists like Auclair and Tardi.

The Moebius pseudonym, which Giraud came to use for his science fiction and fantasy work, was born in 1963. In a satire magazine called Hara-Kiri, Moebius did 21 strips in 1963–64 and then disappeared for almost a decade. In 1975 Métal Hurlant (a magazine which he co-created) brought it back and in 1981 he started his famous L’Incal series in collaboration with Alejandro Jodorowsky. Moebius’ famous serial The Airtight Garage and his groundbreaking Arzach also began in Métal Hurlant.

Moebius has contributed storyboards and concept designs to numerous science fiction films. In 1982 he collaborated with director René Laloux to create the science fiction feature-length animated movie Les Maîtres du temps (released in English as Time Masters) based on a novel by Stefan Wul. In 1988 Moebius worked on the American comic character The Silver Surfer with Stan Lee for a special two-part limited series. Giraud is also known to be a friend of filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki. From December 2004 to March 2005, the two of them shared an exhibition at La Monnaie in Paris.

I don’t have much to say about Moebius as I haven’t read much of the stuff he’s worked on at all, shamefully. As I mentioned in one of the previous 70 AOB posts, my knowledge of European comics is sadly lacking when compared to what I know about the American or even Japanese variety. His linework is great, and his painted work is absolutely stunning. His Batman work (and his work in American comics in general) is quite limited, consisting of the pin-up at the top of the post and an 8-page story, examples of which can be seen above and below this paragraph. I can’t remember the circumstances, but this short story was intended for publication by DC as a bona fide Batman story until someone in the upper echelons nixed it, presumably due to its less than badass depiction of the Caped Crusader. The story was ultimately published by the Heavy Metal-inspired Penthouse Comix (which was related the smut magazine of the same name) in 1995 under the title “This Is Not A Batman Story”.

Thanks to Scott for the assist.


Golden Veins Aural Teaser Trailers

This will be a quick post, but I promise to be back with something much more interesting in the near future!

We just wanted you all to know that we’ve uploaded a couple of Aural Teaser Trailers for the first six singles:

Let us know what you think!


while on the site, you can hear full versions of all six tracks from the inaugural single: “Gravitational Collapse” – available 09/14/10 (PRE-ORDER NOW!)

70 Aspects Of Batman: 25


From Wikipedia:

Cameron Stewart is an Eisner Award and Eagle Award -nominated and Shuster Award-winning Canadian comic book artist, who has worked for DC, Marvel, and Dark Horse Comics.

Stewart is best known for his work on Catwoman with writer Ed Brubaker, and Seaguy and Seven Soldiers: The Manhattan Guardian with writer Grant Morrison.

October 2006 saw the release of The Other Side, a miniseries about the Vietnam war illustrated by Stewart (and written by Jason Aaron), for which he travelled to Vietnam for research. The Other Side was nominated for an Eisner Award in the Best Limited Series category of 2007.

Along with Frank Quitely and Frazier Irving, Cameron Stewart has been one of Grant Morrison’s greatest collaborative foils over the last five years. In addition to their work together on  Seaguy and Manhattan Guardian, Stewart also recently drew an arc in Morrison’s Batman And Robin title. Stewart’s clean but kinetic style fit the three-part story like a glove, which detailed Dick Grayson’s efforts to resurrect Bruce Wayne with the help of Batwoman and The Knight & Squire, England’s answer to the Dynamic Duo.

Stewart also designed the Cowboy Batman that appeared in Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #4 and was set to illustrate the issue but was replaced, possibly due to the recent announcement that he will be the artist drawing Grant’s final Batman And Robin storyline.

I think Cameron’s a great artist…I highly recommend checking out his blog for more Batman-related stuff and other examples of his work. He’s also the artist and co-writer on the upcoming Assassin’s Creed comic which is coming out soon and may be of interest to some of the readers of this site (Matt).


p.s. Sorry for the long gap between 70 AOB posts. I hope to get them going on a more regular basis. Thanks to everyone who stops by to read them. Meeting someone who actually reads them in person is what inspired me to get back on the horse. Thanks, Ronny!

p.s.s. Did I spell your name right?

the PSP (PlayStation Portable): the most undeservedly successful video game platform of all time by a country mile.

I just learned that the PSP has sold or shipped or whatever almost SIXTY MILLION UNITS. WHAT?!?!?!?!?!? WHAT?!?!! Argh. Let’s put this in perspective with the sales for some other successful or, at least, high quality systems . . .

Nintendo 64 ~33 million
Genesis ~29 million
Dreamcast ~10 million

All of these systems had libraries and especially exclusives that would make the PSP blush. I bought a PSP back in 2007 because I just had to play Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles. I had a few other laughs with the system, like Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops and especially Ultimate Ghosts n’ Goblins. There are also a couple of exclusive series that the critics like (Loco Roco and Patapon) but beyond that there are very few high quality exclusives for the system. Most of the financially successful and/or critically admired games for the system have been available elsewhere, especially PS2, and the PSP version ALWAYS suffers in the comparison. And please don’t mention the terrible Monster Hunter series. That won’t earn you any points. Rockstar was kind enough to release a couple of original Grand Theft Auto games for the system, which both made their way to the PS2 within a year or so. Originally, I tried to give it a go on the PSP but it was pretty unbearable due to the PSP’s other big problem outside of its shitty library . . .

The terrible controls. Why the designers failed to include to include a double analog stick setup would baffle any logical person, especially since the internal guts of the system are so similar to the PS2. The SINGLE analog controller that is present is a funny little nub/button that looks like a speaker or microphone. It’s not great but I reckon it’s a decent solution; after all the whole package needs to be kind of flat – it’s just a shame there’s only one. (<—-wtf? A semicolon and a dash in one sentence?) Unfortunately, the d-pad is just a total farce for which there is no excuse. Whose idea was it to make the thing so stiff and unforgiving? The face buttons aren’t much better. For some reason Namco released a Katamari game for the system and for some reason I bought it. Having to play with a nub and stiff face buttons was not enjoyable. In fact, it was literally painful.

There are rumors that Sony is sharing a PSP2 with 3rd party developers. I’d love to snidely say, “Good luck with that,” but chances are it will sell a bucketload even if it’s terrible.

NOW, I know some people are probably thinking, “Hey. This guy can rot in Hell. The PSP sucks but the Wii is the most undeservedly successful video game platform of all time by a country mile.” Sorry, but I must disagree. While the Wii is indeed super overrated and its library is generally shitty, it does have many strong, exclusive entries that make it a much less worthless than PSP, Atari 7800, Atari Jaguar, CD-i, Game Gear, etc. These releases include Super Mario Galaxy 1 & 2, New Super Mario Bros., Metroid Prime 3, Zack & Wiki, Little King’s Story, Punch-Out!!, a handful of interesting retail games on the way, and the many high-quality Wii Ware games like Contra Rebirth, Castlevania: The Adventure Rebirth, and LostWinds 1 & 2.  I realize this is not a super impressive list, it’s just not as awful or as barren as the PSP exclusives library.

That is all.


marcel the shell with shoes on.

i am loving this short film called marcel the shell with shoes on. voiced by jenny slate (of SNL) and directed by dean fleischer-camp. so great!

via one of my favorite websites, VIDEOGUM.


FILMS 08162010

here are some films that i’m currently interested in seeing.

this one is called MONSTERS which for me conjures not only MONSTERS (like in cloverfield, godzilla, and monsters inc, naturally, HA) but also MONSTER (as in CHARLIZE THERON, but not like this, more like this). cool!

the story follows a journalist who is sent to retrieve his boss’s daughter (BUMMER) after a NASA PROBE crashes in mexico with some sort of foreign life attached to it.  i’ve posted the trailer below.

wait, a NASA PROBE????????? cool! i don’t think the trailer looks that good, but the following clip, as well as the knowledge that it was filmed with only 5 crew members on a very small budget makes me very interested in seeing the film.

the second film i’m reasonably interested in seeing is called CATFISH, and it sounds absolutely banal, except it was a darling at sundance (you can read this rave review). i mean, how many movies get a grade of A+?? only babe, pig in the city, according to roger ebert (review here). anyway, catfish is about FACEBOOK but it’s not the facebook movie (sigh), wait HA. guys who am i kidding, what’s the deal with this facebook movie anyway? what a gem of an idea!

here’s the CATFISH trailer.

i have to say, i am definitely INTRIGUED.


news with natalie

here is a new feature I am working on AT THE MOMENT. it is called news with natalie and it is the news.

here is today’s RUNDOWN.

swine flu is over! if you didn’t get a vaccine, finally you can go outside! no one overreacted about this pandemic AT ALL. be careful!

WAIT. a dramatic video containing a car crash on a RACETRACK? this does sound dramatic! click through to see the drama! see it?

one last thing–if you haven’t seen EAT PRAY LOVE, don’t! you MIGHT want to check this out, though:
it does look like an absolute delight.

i love you.


Probably the coolest thing ever: Super Mario Bros. Crossover

Somehow I just found out about this yesterday: Super Mario Bros. Crossover! Basically, it amounts to one of the coolest crossovers ever. Here’s the recipe:

the lovely character select screen

-start with the video game, Super Mario Bros.
-add Bill Rizer (from Contra)
-add Simon Belmont (from Castlevania)
-add Mega Man
-add Ryu Hayabusa (from Ninja Gaiden)
-add Samus Aran (from Metroid)
-add Link (from The Legend of Zelda)
Et voila! Super Mario Bros. Crossover at your fingertips.

Now, this isn’t some slapped-together hack.   It’s not like Mega Man’s sprite is just filling in for Mario.  Nope, Mega Man has a mega buster, a charge shot, and can call on Rush to jump to hard-to-reach areas.  Samus can roll around and lay bombs.  Bill can blow Goombas away with his spray gun.  Ryu can climb walls.  Ugh, it’s just too awesome.

Like Mario, all of the heroes can kill most enemies by jumping on them but most of them can’t break bricks by jumping up to hit them.  Each of the characters brings his/her own strengths and limitations that play out in really interesting ways.  Most of them can’t jump or run as fast as Mario, which means they end up having to solve things differently.  For example, those end-of-world fake Bowser confrontations that usually end with Mario jumping over Bowser and hitting that whatever to send Bowser crashing into the lava below?  That’s not so easy for many of the other characters, which can result in machine-gun or sword fights with the King of Koopas.  The hero characters bring their own music, too, which contributes to the overall euphoric confusion of the experience.

So far, my favorite characters are Bill and Simon.  Playing as Bill feels a lot like a standard Contra game, actually, as you can race through machine-gunning everything in sight and jumping over tricky pits.  Simon is just boss because of his brutal throwing axe attack.  My only real complaint is that the Link from the original Legend of Zelda is used, which just looks incongruous with the rest of the game.  His sprite is about half as tall as everyone else’s and is squished, since it does come from an overhead-view game, after all.  I’m perplexed by this decision because there is a perfectly good side-view sprint from Zelda II that would have fit in perfectly.

Anyway,  the creator of the game has stated that he has many updates in mind and I look forward to seeing their implementation.

If you have a gamepad, make sure you follow the instructions at the site to allow you to use one with this game, as it’s definitely worth it.

Video game critics are, generally, 1) unsophisticated fanboys and 2) rather poor at debating Roger Ebert

Part 1: It’s really not that insulting if Ebert doesn’t consider something to be “art”
As you may be aware, there has been a bit of a debate the past few years between video game nerds and Roger Ebert regarding whether or not video games can be considered art. It seems the battle was rather painful for a lot of the pencil necks because they previously had some sort of respect for Roger Ebert that they feel has now been somehow betrayed. From the beginning, Ebert only vaguely described his criteria for achieving “art” status and he gave very few examples of what sorts of things do qualify as art. He thinks of video games in the same way that he thinks of football, tennis, checkers, and Clue. In other words, he sees them as games. But that makes sense, at least from a certain perspective.

Ebert really isn’t is a snob, either. This is a guy that enthusiastically recommended the lowbrow comedy Kingpin so I don’t think you can call him an elitist, at least within cinema. However, I imagine that within his definition he probably wouldn’t call Kingpin art. My point is, I doubt that Ebert believes that only high art is worth anyone’s time. Most recently, Ebert admitted he shouldn’t have opened his mouth about video games and that he wasn’t truly qualified to make some of the judgments he made but that he stood by others, etc. etc. Naturally, the nerds rejoiced as if they had won some great battle.

Part 2: Video game critics think God of War is art (LOL)
The saddest part of this epic is that so many of the writers that so righteously defended video games from Ebert are the same people that give such excellent reviews to soulless stinkers like Halo, God of War, and Call of Duty (I picked these examples because I hate them in every way available to me and don’t find them fun or well-designed in the least but they are indeed quite popular).  These are basically mindless franchise games that involve running around and destroying everything in sight.  They do not make any real statements or emotional connections with the player.  However, a lot of people think these games are fun.  And ultimately, reviewers are only basing their reviews on a game’s fun level and production values.  That’s fine and dandy, but they prove that they are not looking at the world, media, product and art the same way a typical film reviewer would.  Giving God of War a 9 out of 10 would be the equivalent of Ebert giving Transformers **** (<—that’s supposed to be four stars).  It’s just not going to happen.  Mindless, soulless crap usually doesn’t earn widespread critical acclaim in the film world.  In the world of video games, mindless, soulless crap gets great reviews all the time as long as it appeals to the fanboy writers between 25 and 35 that work for sites like IGN and Gamespot.

Was there a point to this post?  Probably not.  Just remember, in the year 2010, video game critics are complete fanboys that look at video games as games and grade them accordingly but then become enraged when an outsider also looks at video games as games and grades them accordingly.