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.

zondag 9 november 2014

Just noticed this...

I was going through King City to get scans for the Top 10 Cats article below, and then I found this on the inside of the cover. A nice little reference to House to Astonish, my favorite comics podcast. Pretty awesome!

vrijdag 7 november 2014

The Top 10 Comic Book Cats!

So far I've put up a bunch of article about comics, and I'm having great fun writing them, but I know what pays the bills here in internetland. lists, and pictures of cats. So, to prove that I am not above a little pandering to the audience, here is the list of the 10 best cats in comics!

A little disclaimer: this list focuses purely on proper, catlike cats. A bunch of them are super-powered, some can talk, but all of them look like cats, behave like cats, and most importantly, have the attitude of cats. While Blacksad, Tom Poes and Krazy Kat might be cool characters, they are basically just fuzzy humans, and won't be found on this list. So...

woensdag 5 november 2014

Musings on the Color Wheel

This is a picture of the color wheel (Or color star, or color pie) from Magic the Gathering. But eagle-eye Magic aficionados will notice something strange. Doesn't Wizards of the Coast keep hammering on the fact that white is not good, and black is not evil? And why is the red/blue distinction based on elements rather than on the clash between emotion and intellect?

The answer to the riddle is that this picture is from Wayfarer #1, a Magic: the Gathering comic book published by Acclaim in 1995. In that distant era the color wheel was a bit different than it was now. And I thought I'd take a look on the development it went through over the years.

dinsdag 4 november 2014

Fate Reforged spoilers!

So it looks like Wizards of the Coast also realized that Wedge were to cool to be just a one-set thing! This new card spoiled at last weekend's Penny Arcade eXpo in Australia shows that the clans are going hybrid in the next set, Fate Reforged. At the same time it was revealed that the set will have no three-color cards. So why hybrid? At this time we can only speculate, since we only have a handful of remarks and two cards to go on, but speculation is fun, so here I go...

Fate Reforged is supposed to link the sets Khans of Tarkir and Dragons of Tarkir, and thus needs to play well with both. This hybrid card obviously plays well with the three-color cards in Khans. It has all three colors itself, after all. But since hybrid costs can be paid by one color or the other, this card not only works in the three-color decks that Khans wants you to play, it also goes into two color decks. Which makes it seem very likely in my eyes that in Dragons of Tarkir the various clans will have been altered from representing three colors to just two. Since [[name]] is always green, but can be buddies with red or blue (or both), I'm guessing Temur will end up either in GR or GU colors. Which one of those two I'm not quite sure, but I'm betting RG. That would mean that the color pairs will all be allied-color. This is the most strikingly different from Khans of Tarkir or the two options, and would showcase how the world has changed.

This would of course still mean we don't get a full wedge-block, but maybe it will be enough to see the theme in two sets? It would be a nice water-testing for the oncoming two-block paradigm.

PS: For those wondering, the cat article has been slightly delayed, look for it on caturday!

zaterdag 25 oktober 2014


Saga is pretty hard to define. High-fantasy Sci-fi? A sprawling epic about becoming parents for the first time? A hilarious comic that tries it's best to break your heart? It's diverse, is what I'm trying to say. The bizarre universe filled with magical spaceships, robot-princes and animal people, played completely straight, reminds me most of Doctor Who. But the tone of the setting, whith its grey versus grey morality, and conflicts in which you could root for either side is more Game of Thrones. And despite the ghosts and the monsters and the magic and the spaceships the plot revolves around personal stories, full of genuine emotions, where it finds a balance between humor and drama that brings to mind the dialogue of Buffy: the Vampire Slayer.

By the way, if I ever do a list of my favorite tv-series, Doctor Who, Game of Thrones and Buffy will all be on it. So... this is going to be quite the positive review. You have been warned. If you still dare to go on, click for more!

Khans of Tarkir

Magic: the Gathering has brought out a new expansion recently. (Which is not that surprising. Given how many cards they produce each year, you could say that almost anytime and be correct.) And what do we do when a new Magic set comes out? We review it of course! Unfortunately, I'm not much of a tournament player. I just do some drafts for fun and play a whole lot of Commander. Thus I'm not very well equipped to review the power level of the new set. Instead, I thought I'd focus on something else: the design as a whole. Not that's something I find very interesting! I designed my first cards about a week after I was first introduced to the game, and have gobbled up any behind the scenes info Mark Rosewater has revealed about how to make cards. And what better way to get better at this design stuff then to pull apart an actual set?

Check the Khans of Tarkis set review, after the jump!

maandag 13 oktober 2014

The Incal

I'm trying to broaden my horizons. I know quite a bit about American comics, and have quite a few classics from that side of the Atlantic in my collection. But my knowledge of Manga is not that deep, and though I grew up with European comics, I mostly just know the gag strips and the boy’s adventure comics like Asterix of Spirou. Which is of course disgraceful for an internationalist and multiculturalist like myself. Hence why I googled for a couple of "best off" lists, and picked up a few classics. Among them The Incal.

So what did I think about it?

Uhm… I'll tell you after the jump!

Baffling genuis in a gag comic: De Psy

Here's a comic strip I wanted to share with you. I found it in an old Robbedoes collection. And I absolutely love it. Unfortunately it is in this crazy made-up language we in the Netherlands insist on speaking, but the art is pretty expressive, so you should be able to follow most of it, and I'll translate the dialogue were it's really necessary (And besides, if you're reading this you're probably a close personal friend of mine)


Translation and analysis after the jump!

Discworld: Raising Steam

(Just so you know, these first few posts are articles that have languished half-finished on my hard drive for a while, so they are not the most topical of texts)

Is the new Discworld novel any good? 

There was a time when you wouldn’t have to ask that question. Every book was as splendid as the last one. The biggest complaint anyone could level at them was that they didn’t feature their favorite character, but they were all amazing. But with the last couple of books people have had problems. And people know where to put the blame. The negative reviews started around the time Terry Pratchett was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. But the change of opinion among the fans was far to sudden. Alzheimer's is slow, creeping. If it had influenced mister Pratchett's writing style the decline should have been much more gradual. Which made me wonder, was the quality already in decline, but were people just not willing to admit that until there was something they could blame it on? Or did the diagnosis confront people with the fact that their favorite series will one day end, and does that knowledge influence their enjoyment of the books? Actually, I did not see much of decline myself. Granted, Unseen Academicals didn’t do much for me (but then again, it was about football) and Dodger was a real misfire, but the other recent books of mister Pratchett were still as amazing as ever, certainly the Moist von Lipvig novels and the Long Earth books.

But anyway… Raising Steam.