zaterdag 3 januari 2015

The Hobbit

First off all: check out the announcement below if you have any interest in Magic: the Gathering! Second off all: yeah, I'm late to the party. I only saw the Hobbit yesterday. Still, I'd like to take a moment to write something about the movie, and how it could've been better. Because while I didn't feel like I had wasted my money, that's about as high a praise I can give it. Entertaining schlock, but the more I think about it the more problems I see.

Let's start with the start of the movie: who on earth thought it would be a good idea to kill of Smaug five minutes into the movie? Yeah, I know the book also has him killed of out of nowhere by a recently introduced character, but it sucked in the book as well. You're building up the meeting with this dragon for the entire book, and then you have him killed off by a random, recently introduced character, only to introduce an out-of-nowhere clash of armies as your climax? As much as I liked that battle in the book, the way Tolkien dealt with Smaug felt stupid and anticlimactic even the first time I read the book. When I was 10.

Announcing: Multiverse in Review

Have I made any New Years resolutions? Well, I've just embarked on quite a big project, so just the one: keep working on Multiverse in Review! What is that you ask? Well, if you're into Magic the Gathering, especially if you're into the storyline, it is a sister blog to Be Nerd that you really should check out! On it I will attempt to review every single story in the MTG canon. Each entry will get a summary and review, and I'll figure out how everything in this huge, sometimes chaotic, franchise fits together. As a nerd and historian I am a huge fan of projects like this, from Fnord12's attempt to put all Marvel comics in the correct order to the TMNT chronology or the Doctor Who chronology. For the longest time I've wanted to start a project like it myself, and since I've recently completed my collection of Magic novels (well, some are still in transit, but once they have been delivered...), this seemed like a golden opportunity.

This will mean that from now on a weekly update on MiR is my main priority, and Be Nerd will get updates more sporadically. My apologies to the non-Magic fans out there. Luckily I hadn't build much of a reader base for this private project yet! Still, I won't abandon this blog altogether. Sometimes I still need to vent my opinions on a comic or movie, and then there'll always be this blog.

maandag 15 december 2014


Just putting up a little notice to say that my computer in momentarily back at the shop being repaired, and by the time I get it back I'll be "busy" with a vacation, followed by Christmas. So there will be no updates on the blog for a while. But don't worry, I've got a little project in mind that I'm currently making preparations for, so check back on January the first for an exiting announcement!

maandag 1 december 2014

Awesome comic scenes: Scrooge McDuck

Disney and comics. Americans might not have thought the two had much to do with each other, at least not until Disney bought Marvel a couple of years back. Sure, they still produce a few kids comics, but they haven't been a big comic publisher since the 50's, right? Well, that might be true for America, but across the pond...

Over in Europe, Disney comics are still going strong. They are the biggest comic publisher in Italy, and the weekly Donald Duck magazine is a well-known institution in the Netherlands. I'm not sure why, but Disney comics just seem to click more with Europeans. Keno Don Rosa, the man we'll be talking about today, might be an American, but his comics sell best in Scandinavia. And he's a bonafide celebrity in Finland. Meanwhile back in America, according to the man himself, his own neighbours don't even know what he does for a living.

Though surely they'll figure it out if they ever visit his house...

maandag 24 november 2014

Awesome comic scenes: the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

Ah, the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Alan Moore's Victorian Justice League, made up from characters of famous novels. Personally I love it. But I can also understand people who don't. The stories are really not the greatest you'll find, and sometimes, especially in the third volume, Alan Moore gets... very interested in... referencing 18th century pornography. On the other hand, the endless stream of literary references are great fun for those looking to recognise stuff they know, or looking for new literature to discover. And it's an Alan Moore comic. There is no one alive who has a better grasp of the how to tell a story in this medium. The staging of a scene, the panel-to-panel flow, transitions, parallel storytelling, symbolism... Moore stories have it all. If someone tells you that comics are just stories with pictures, give them something by Alan Moore. That'll show them that comics have more in common with movies than with novels.

Here's a quiet scene from the second volume I particularly like. It's the middle of the night, and Mina Murray can't sleep, so she's wandering through the inn where the League is staying for the night. Then she runs into mister Hyde.

Click to embiggen!

zaterdag 22 november 2014

So the president of Turkey just said a silly thing...

In short: the prime minister of Turkey claims Muslims discovered America centuries before Columbus. He bases this on Columbus mentioning finding a mosque upon arrival. Some observations.

Observation the first
Let's start with the most obvious point: If we're going to assume Columbus correctly identified everything in his diaries, he didn't actually land in America, but in Asia. And finding a mosque in Asia in 1492 is really not that special.

Observation the second
Perhaps the most persuasive proof that America was not discovered in 1178, is that the world did radically change in the century afterward.

maandag 17 november 2014

Awesome comic scenes: Lucifer

To properly set up this scene, I'd have to scan the entire comic really. No, even worse, I'd have to scan all volumes of Lucifer leading up to this. Obviously that would be a bit... copyright infringingly. So I'll just try my best to explain it.

Lucifer is about the devil (duh), who has given up on ruling hell. What he really wants is to leave God's domain, to be his own man. He's fought this Chtullu-like thing in the first volume, and is rewarded for it with a portal that exits creation. It's located in his base of operations, but has a strange effect on psychics and other gifted people. They feel that there is something there. They begin to flock to his house, camping outside. And then two actually climb in.