Everything is always as it seems.
I had the privilege of diving into Joshua Hauke’s newest set of The Brother’s Three series, Potato-Brained Ideas. Each time I get to reading one of these books, I’m instantly reminded of why I love them so much. It’s the perfect illustration of family dichotomy: parents and children trying to outsmart each other, the dry wit of the adults balanced against the wild wackiness of the boys, and enough imagination to fuel both sides forever. Experience and knowledge matched against youthful exuberance and willingness to buy into any situation is what drives the plots inside, and it never fails to entertain because the stories come from a place of truth. Reading this, you fully expect to know how life is in the Hauke household through a lovely Muppet Babies-style filter, and the underlying love and fun of it is a wonderful thing to share with your own family.
I discovered the valley of the shifting, whispering sands.
My first experience with Brandon Sanderson was with his completion of the late Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time epic, and while the style was certainly a shift, the increased pace of the narrative only heightened my enjoyment of it tremendously. (I think it’s a pretty common belief that Winter’s Heart was hard to get through.) Since then, I’ve sought out all of his works, and the Mistborn trilogy and its continuing world may be my favorite fantasy series going right now, so there was no question of picking up this title for a review opportunity.
Nothing’s gonna harm you, not while I’m around…
A little while back, I got hold of Benjamin Mikkelsen’s first issue of Stuffed in the IndyStash subscription box. It was my pick of the box, and I’m now following his sites and eagerly anticipating any new entry into the series. I just got my copy of Issue #2, and my level of excitement has grown exponentially. The first issue introduced us to young Sam who is plagued by terrors of the mind that may or may not be part of the real world, as well. In the final page, we see him gain a protector: his stuffed bear. Now, the bear is cute, fuzzy, and a bit worn in his natural state, but when he steps into the fray, he stands taller than a man and is a hardened warrior, a gentle, yet strong, spirit protecting his charge.
Fifty years ago, the Enterprise first embarked on her five-year mission, taking interstellar explorers from their living rooms on a journey through the stars. There was a lot that made the show unique, not the least of which was because a show that was openly “failing” going into its third season has become a force unto itself, inspiring a fandom that espouses continuously the remarkable nature of its stories (this writer included). Though I’m more at home in the 24th century with Picard and the Galaxy and Sovereign class ships, there’s no denying that without the original adventures of a slow-speaking, but quick-acting, captain, his Bilbo-loving First Officer, and their intrepid crew, there wouldn’t be a United Federation of Planets, any continuation of the name Enterprise, or such a bright future predicted in sci-fi.
What if god was one of us?
Welcome to Elan, but not the one you know from the Riyria Chronicles. Not yet, at least, as this new series is set 3,000 years prior to the world as it stands in those volumes. The Rhune are ordinary humans with technology befitting the cusp of the Bronze Age and the life expectancy to go with it. The Fhrey are godlike to them, having a life span that crosses millennia and with one sect harboring a magic that can quite literally reshape the world. This is the world that Michael J. Sullivan transports us to in Age of Myth, and the great care that he has taken in his world building is evident from the first chapter. All the creatures in it have an order, one which has been set by the Fhrey and not challenged for a very long time. Ripe with history and wonders that inspire the imagination, it’s the perfect setting for storytelling in the vein of the greats of the genre.
Being in charge sucks.
Skottie Young told us that Gertrude's journey was meant to be a 48-page limited run, but he never expected the popularity that it's received (which is silly, because it's SO good). This issue is basically him writing himself out of the corner of the ending he had originally come up with (which was lovely and fun and oh-so perfect for the tone of what he had created), but according to him, it would not make for much fun going forward.
No, I am your father.
My father died when I was eight years old. He died six months after being diagnosed with a tumor in his brain, and it’s simple now to say that my whole world was changed. That was the same summer that The Lion King came out, and though I was too young to understand that it was based on one of the greatest works of drama that has ever been written, it shouldn’t be a surprise that the subject matter touched me deeply. I felt that Simba had it easy: Scar was responsible for killing Mufasa, and though he avoided his past for a long time, he was able to convert his grief into action against Scar and triumph. I wasn’t able to comprehend the breadth of what cancer was enough to turn my sadness and loss into energy against it; I had no scheming uncle to toss upon his own allies, so though I experienced a profound empathy with the character, I also found myself competing with his pain in a way. The scene that stayed with me was when Rafiki confronted Simba on facing his past and not running from it anymore. In this way Rafiki became my first Mystic (as an archetype). The following scene with Mufasa’s spirit brought me little solace and further distanced me from what I felt was a story not quite enough the same as mine.
He that lives by the sword…
In the final issue, the stage is set for a big showdown. Takeo and Shobei are set to fight their final bout, this time with steel and one of them not walking away. Nobunaga has contracted the disease that lays waste to the people of the island, and everyone seems poised for celebration or disaster.
When slackers rule the Earth: an adventure 30 years in the making.
There’s something magical that happens when you find all of your responsibilities absolved for a day: the joys of summer vacations spent fritting away time with no care; a canceled class replaced with a sunny day in a park; snow blanketing the world and burying work; school and transit in a gentle, yet firm, suggestion of “nope.” These are examples on a page, but nothing can convey that feeling save through art, and no film does it better than Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.