Sensor Sweep: Jasmine, Story Hack, Cosmic Courtship, Avalon Comics

Monday , 17, May 2021 3 Comments

RPG (Walker’s Retreat):  There is a very good reason for why you should follow Jeffro Johnson and his rediscover of how to properly play tabletop RPGs. It is because the habits of thinking that you acquire by playing them as intended are directly transferable to everyday life, and not just in the sense that learning to drive a car is transferable to learning to drive a truck. It also applies in the sense of mindset and attitude, something that men like Ivan Throne charge plenty of money to teach to you, and if you think that’s overblown then consider the following.

Comic Books (Arkhaven Comics): In no way, is a trailer that spends two-thirds of its runtime concentrating on nostalgia, a ringing declaration of confidence in its future. Marvel is worried and this trailer shows it. Why? Well, let’s take a look at where this situation came from.  In 1996 the Marvel Group went bankrupt.  Ike Perlmutter and fellow Israeli Avi Arad pushed out Carl Icahn and Ronald Perelman took over Marvel and created Marvel Entertainment.  Of the two, Arad was the real comic book fan.  He grew up in Israel reading Superman and (the real) Captain Marvel comics.

Games (Grognardia):  Does anyone remember this game? It’s a fantasy card game by TSR artist Darlene in 1982. I remember seeing advertisements for it in Dragon, but I never saw it in the wild. I was reminded of it recently while flipping through copies of the magazine from my youth and thought I’d ask if any readers have any direct experience of it.

New (Wasteland & Sky): It’s the time again; time for some StoryHack and more tales of action and adventure! Just like every other issue, you’re in for a good time when you flip open one of these bad boys. As you can tell, I’m also in this one,  but so are other great authors, as well. Issue #7 has been some time coming, but I can definitely say it will be worth the wait!

Games (Table Top Gaming News): While the Russians and Germans were the main forces involved in the Bagration actions during WWII, they were hardly the only armies involved, Battlefront is expanding the Flames of War armies for this section with the release of Axis-Allies. Pre-orders for this new book are happening now. About the book:     Background on the Finnish, Hungarian, and Romanian Armies during the epic battles for the Eatern Front in 1944 and 1945.

Cinema (Kairos): This adaptation of a Thomas Harris best seller took a bit to gain traction but has gained acclaim as the best film in its series. Not only did it introduce moviegoers to Dr. Hannibal Lecter, it influenced a new wave of police procedurals and crime dramas that run the gamut from The X-Files to CSI. If that description made you think of Silence of the Lambs, think again.

Vintage Fiction (Pulp Archivist): While most are at least somewhat familiar with Nathaniel Hawthorne as one of the great American authors, less well known is that his son,  Julian Hawthorne, was an incredibly prolific writer in his own right. Julian wrote on a wide variety of subjects, ranging from literary analysis of his father’s works to poetry to period romances and adventures. Late in his career, Julian even dabbled in the emerging genre of Science Fiction [Hugo Gernsback had only recently coined the awkward term “Scientifiction” when this story was first published.]

Fiction (Goodman Games): When I say I’m a first-generation Dungeons & Dragons kid, I mean the kid part literally. I was eight years old when D&D reached pop culture recognition at the dawn of the ‘80s. My friends and I were fascinated with the funny dice, the splendid bestiary of monsters, the words that seemed like gibberish (“Electrum”? That can’t be a real thing), and the mayhem that ensued when we tried to play it and the rules instantly fell apart in a flurry of dice rolls and gory descriptions of how we whacked that bugbear’s head off real good.

Firearms (Field and Stream): here are so many concealed-carry handguns to choose from for personal defense, that knowing how to choose the best concealed carry gun can seem about as difficult as choosing a significant other. Not to worry; the key to a good match is to first narrow the pool to the very best concealed pistol, semiauto, or revolver, and that’s just what we’ve done below.

Vintage Fiction (DMR Books): Today we salute the life and work of one of the founding masters of modern speculative fiction, H. Rider Haggard. Though his creations remain classics in world literature, his name isn’t widely recognized among the general public. So today, May 14th, on the ninety-sixth anniversary of Haggard’s death, let’s take the opportunity to celebrate him and his legacy.

Comic Books (Dark Worlds Quarterly): Reprints of 1970s material in the 1990s gave us second-hand Sword & Sorcery. Avalon Communications, a Canadian company, published two issues of Barbarians in 1998. This comic scavenged its contents from Charlton and Warren, even its covers were not new. The first issue bore a Tony deZuniga image swiped from a Frazetta painting and the second had some repurposed Tom Sutton art from The Many Ghosts of Dr. Graves #60 (December 1976). The interest in cheap S&S comics may have been spurred by the popularity of Sam Raimi’s Hercules, The Legendary Journeys and Xena, Warrior Princess. ACG also reprinted Sam Glanzman’s Hercules comics from Charlton that year.

Fiction (Bloody Spicy Books): So, I felt the itch for a Parker. I don’t generally like to re-read, there too many books in the world (and my library) for that. But I wanted a Parker. So, “Slayground” found it’s way into my hands and I was off to the races. In my first reading of the series “Slayground” was a standout. It strayed from the standard Parker formula of planning and heisting, instead doing a “Die Hard” in a closed for the winter amusement park against a crew of mobsters and dirty cops.

Forthcoming (Mens Adventure Magazines): As I also recently announced in that group, my latest project with Wyatt Doyle, titled the EXOTIC ADVENTURES OF ROBERT SILVERBERG is now available for pre-order on Amazon. Silverberg is, of course, best known as one of the world’s most acclaimed writers of science fiction novels and stories. But most of Silverberg’s many science fiction fans are unaware that he also wrote fiction stories and “sexology” articles that appeared in MAMs in the ‘50s and ‘60s — some under his own name, most under pseudonyms.

Horror (Too Much Horror Fiction): Author Thomas Tessier, born on this date in Westbury, CT, in 1947, has long been one of my personal favorite horror writers. One of the first books I reread when I began this blog was Finishing Touches, which I hadn’t read since the late 1980s. It’s an erotic horror masterpiece, filled with a fatalistic conviction that I find irresistible—and featured a credible mad scientist too. He forayed into the devious mind of a stalker in Rapture and made his shocking sociopathic behavior seem rational. Nightwalker, his second novel, is an ambiguous tale of lycanthropy praised by both Stephen King and Peter Straub. Not too shabby!

Weapons (Brain Leakage): Studies have shown that at ranges under 21 feet, unless a defender has his gun already in hand, it’s incredibly unlikely he’s getting a shot off at a committed, knife-wielding attacker. This basic principle is behind the “21 Foot Rule,” which has played a major part in both Law Enforcement and Defensive Firearms training for decades. This short excerpt from the police training film, Surviving Edged Weapons, gives an excellent crash course and overview. I also recommend tracking down and watching the entire film. It’s an hour and a half well-spent for students of the subject.

RPG (R’lyeh Reviews): Alien: The Roleplaying Game has three themes and is designed to be played in two different modes, suggests three different campaign models, and uses the Year Zero engine. The three themes are Space Horror and Sci-Fi Action, combined with a Sense of Wonder, whilst the two modes are Cinematic and Campaign. Cinematic mode is designed to emulate the drama of a film set within the Alien universe, and so emphasises high stakes, faster, more brutal play, and will be deadlier, whilst the Campaign mode is for longer, more traditional play, still brutal, if not deadly, but more survivable. Of the two, the Cinematic mode is suited to one-shots, to convention play, and as introductions to the mechanics and setting of Alien: The Roleplaying Game.

Scholarship (Tentaculii): Another scholarly fantasy journal found. The Catholic St. Austin Review (StAR) has a range of themed issues, with the current one returning to “Tolkien”. Sadly not open access, though one essay per issue is free.

History (Skill Set Mag): Some humans have the uncanny ability to hold a grudge for a lifetime. Lauri Torni, who would later become Larry Thorne, was one of those people. Thorne took umbrage with the Soviet Union’s 1939 invasion of Finland. He took it so personally that long after his home country’s war was over, he decided his hatred of Communists and their wars of expansion was reason enough to keep fighting.

Games (Game Tyrant): Over the last few years, retro re-releases have become an increasingly common practice. Unfortunately, some are done better than others, and it feels like there are companies out there using them as mere cash grabs to take advantage of the retro revolution. Out of all of the companies producing these types of releases, Retro-Bit has been consistently at the top of my list for quality and overall bang for the buck.

Warhammer (Track of Words): Welcome to this 40k Reading Order article, where today I’m actually looking at two series which intersect and overlap, both by Graham McNeill, as part of an ongoing set of articles in which I’m providing recommended orders for various Black Library series. The Ultramarines series – (mostly) featuring Uriel Ventris – and the Iron Warriors series – featuring Warsmith Honsou – can be read separately, but fit together brilliantly to form one larger whole, and between them they include almost 30 stories. Graham has kindly provided his suggested (in-universe chronological) reading order for the whole lot, so if you’ve ever wanted to read these series but haven’t known where to start, look no further than this article!

3 Comments
  • John E Boyle says:

    What a great set of links! H.R. Haggard, Westlake’s Parker, Rober Silverberg, concealed carry and the 21 foot rule; what more could I ask for?

  • Mike Tuggle says:

    John E. Boyle,

    Agreed! It’s a great blend of genres, with plenty of old and new hits mixed in.

  • deuce says:

    That new STORYHACK sounds great!

    MANHUNTER was an excellent movie. Being a big fan of Petersen and Mann at the time, I saw it during its original release. Better than SILENCE OF THE LAMBS.

    Nice to see Ryan Harvey is a Prydain fan.

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