Every week, Fanbase Press Contributor Phillip Kelly plays and reviews a handful of brand new independent video games, all costing no more than $25. Why? There are a lot of indie games out there, and if he can help you, curious reader, to parse through the selection with even a little more knowledge, then, by god, he’ll die content.
Issue #12 of Steven Prince’s Monster Matador closed one era for his bullfighter-turned-demon slayer Ramon, when he finally recognized that his beloved daughter Adelita would be safer with her uncle instead of traveling the road by his side. His mission has not changed, and Ramon’s adventures continue in Tango of the Matadors!
While the world is rightfully staying inside, many forms of entertainment have chosen to be safe and take a bit of time away from the world until things are able to done in a way that doesn't endanger themselves or others. One of those teams happen to be from Critical Role, the online juggernaut that focuses mostly on long-running Dungeons & Dragons campaigns that has given fans thousands of hours of content to enjoy and be moved by. After partnering with Dark Horse Comics, the team took their incredibly popular first campaign, focused on the group of disparate idiots that eventually became the legendary Vox Machina, into a new medium that focused on the adventures the players had with their characters before they became a viewable show. This brings about a fun irony, as Vox Machina: Origins shows the titular group before they were legends, bringing to life the stories of the Critical Role cast before they themselves became legends in their own right.
The nitty-gritty: In BOOM!’s second Slayer anthology, we’re technically introduced to three Slayers, though one of them should seem rather familiar, especially if you’re up to date with the whole Hellmouth series. In this new series, we meet a version of Buffy, presumably the version that BOOM!-Buffy met in the Hellmouth. We are also introduced to a Filipino Slayer that was depicted on the Chosen One variant for Buffy #5. And finally, we meet an Irish Slayer who encounters the legacy of a particular dark and handsome vampire.
Madeleine Holly-Rosing’s short story, “Here Abide Monsters,” was originally published in the Steampunk anthology, Some Time Later, which I had the pleasure of reviewing a few years ago. Set in the world of Holly-Rosing’s Boston Metaphysical Society, it tells the story of Duncan, a young Irish lad in pre-Civil War United States, attempting to lead Mae, an escaped slave, to freedom and safety.
Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein was about the ambition of science, about playing god, and about how humans are more monsters than the monsters they create. These themes have resided comfortably in fiction ever since, from Blade Runner to just about every zombie story ever written. Mike Mignola’s Hellboy has always been about fitting in, the monsters we have within us, and the internal and external fight against those monsters. Frankenstein Undone is the border between these two worlds, the crossing of these themes, and a conversation between creators and it fits like a glove. #StoriesMatter because they allow us to feed off previous stories and reflect on what matters to us in new stories.
The team of Evan Dorkin and Veronica and Andy Fish are spinning a tale with multiple threads that inevitably will continue after next issue’s conclusion. There are just too many things at play, and they are all wonderful. I would hate to see any of them get short shrift.
I've never been a huge fan of horror. I don't know why, but so much of the genre always seemed to rely on incredible amounts of bloody gruesomeness and jump scares that I never enjoyed. And I have held this aversion to mainstream horror so long that I've forgotten... I actually love it. Now, I'm not fibbing above; I've never seen most of the big-name slasher flicks, and the last horror film I recall seeing was Blair Witch, which wasn't frightening to me because they were careless in shooting and I didn't think that you could get lost in the woods that close to the roads. (Camera angles hid the actual roads, but tree ages and symmetrical placement were just kind of dead giveaways.) No, when I recall scary stories that actually pique my interest, I think of the works of Neil Gaiman, the Bachman Books by Stephen King, and Are You Afraid of the Dark? on Nickelodeon. Well, the subtitle for the first part of the Black Sand Beach definitely invokes its influences, and Richard Fairgray nails the feeling of that terrifying boundary between curiosity and revulsion.
I have to admit that I bought the first Murderbot novella because Amazon’s algorithms kept forcing it in my face every time I got on the site. It had a bunch of Hugo Awards attached to it. Plus, it sounded pretty cool, so I bought the audio book for when I was at the gym. (Yes, that was the time when we could all go to the gym.) It was funny, irreverent, and had me hooked. It also helped that the actor doing the narration was awesome, so I bought the rest for when I traveled to comic cons. (Miss those, too.) Soon, my husband couldn’t get enough. It was a no-brainer to pick up the novel when it came out.
Small towns are strange places, all with their own cultures, customs, and sets of rules. Each of them is unique, and many are insular, with tight-knit communities that look out for each other at all costs. In Eden, Wyoming, the concept of a close community is obvious. In the middle of nowhere, this small town lives by its own rules, setting itself as a haven for second chances. Founded by those who live in defiance of the law and run by those with criminal histories of their own, Eden has one major rule: There will be no crime inside the limits of Eden, Wyoming. Breaking this cardinal rule brings dire consequences, handed down by the co-founder of the town, Mayor Laura Shiffron. Along with her son Mark, the town postman who lives with Asperger Syndrome, they attempt to keep the peace . . . which goes about as well as expected when the entire town is made up of those who've made mistakes or who take pleasure in operating under a different system of right and wrong.