The Adventure Zone: Here There Be Gerblins is a graphic novel by Clint McElroy, Griffin McElroy, Justin McElroy, Travis McElroy, and Carey Pietsch, based on the Dungeons & Dragons podcast The Adventure Zone by the McElroy boys (which I also recommend) and drawn by Carey Pietsch. It follows Magnus, Merle, and Taako on what seems to be a standard boy guarding gig but turns into a disaster of epic proportions.
1—Meet the Boys
Magnus Burnsides is a human fighter with proficiencies in, well, almost everything. Taako is an elf wizard who used to have his own cooking show. Merle Highchurch is a dwarf cleric spreading the good word of Pan with an Extreme Teen Bible. And of course Griffin, their D. M. (Dungeon Master) who pops in to make comments and chat with his players. It’s kind of meta but you soon get used to the conceit and just go with it. It’s all in fun. Continue reading “The Adventure Zone: Here There Be Gerblins—A Great Translation”→
Kill the Farm Boy, by Delilah S. Dawson and Kevin Hearne, is the tale of a Chosen One who runs away from home and promptly gets crushed to death by Fia, a seven foot vegetarian warrior who feels really sorry about it. This accidental death kicks off a quest by Fia and a ragtag crew of others for, well they don’t really agree on what they want. But they all want something and the best way to get it is to cross the lands of Pell in an epic-ish journey.
1—Meet the Adventurers
There’s Fia, of course, who just wants to settle down and grow a rose garden. There’s also Gustave the enchanted talking goat who ran away with said Chosen One farm boy to avoid being made into curry and now hangs out with Fia hoping to maintain same. And Agrabella, the only Wakeful person in a castle cursed to sleep, a bard who decides it’s time to leave said castle and follow Fia to find out what the heck happened. There’s the Crepuscular Lord Toby, who really wants some artisanal crackers and cheese, and to become a full blown Dark Lord. And lastly, there’s Lord Toby’s huntswoman Poltro, who got dropped on her head once too many times as a child but does her best as a rogue despite a crippling fear of chickens. Together they all venture forth to visit Grinda the Sand Witch. Continue reading “Kill the Farm Boy—Not Your Average Epic Fantasy”→
Competence, by Gail Carriger, is the third in The Custard Protocol series. This time out, we follow Primrose and her brother Percival, rather than Prudence, as the main characters. We start out with Prim being inadvertently abandoned in Singapore when the Spotted Custard, her airship, springs a helium leak.
1—Prim’s and Percy’s Adventures
After being separated from the Spotted Custard, Prim—along with Tasherit, a were-lioness—Prim must secure helium for her ship by stealing a mushroom. Then, after Prim and Rue receive a coded missive from Rue’s mother, Percy must plot a dangerous and little-used course to South America to rescue an endangered species of vampire, the pishtacos. After Rue’s first attempt to meet with said pishtacos goes awry, it’s up to Prim and Percy, using nothing but good manners and logic, to convince the vampires of their good intentions. And none of that even takes into account Percy’s attempt to use a book club to save a soulless man. Continue reading “Competence—Prim and Percy Come Into Their Own”→
Death by Dumpling, by Vivien Chien and the first in the A Noodle Shop mystery series, is a cozy mystery that follows Lana Lee’s amateur investigation into the murder of her family’s restaurant’s property manager Mr. Feng after Lana accidentally delivers him lethal dumplings.
The plot kicks off when Lana’s mother’s best friend Esther comes running into the restaurant with news that Mr. Feng is dead. Initially everyone thinks it’s an accident—Mr. Feng had serious shellfish allergies. But Detective Trudeau, of the Fairview Park Police Department, thinks it was murder. What’s more, he seems convinced that the Lee’s cook, Peter, is the killer. Lana can’t believe that the boy she grew up with is a cold-blooded murderer and set out with her best friend Megan to prove him innocent. But Peter’s suspicious behavior casts doubt in even Lana’s mind. Continue reading “Death by Dumpling—A Delicious Mystery”→
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is a stand-alone sequel to the original Jumanji movie. It follows five kids after they get sucked into a video game that that used to be a board game. Once there, they must conquer obstacles and survive to return home.
In the beginning—1996—the board game Jumanji was found on the beach and taken home to a kid who says “who plays board games anymore?” and goes back to his video game. So in the middle of the night the game changes itself into a game cartridge. The hapless kid puts it in his console and is never seen again. Continue reading “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle—Fun Fluff With Heart”→
Get Smart is a movie based on the ‘60s parody sitcom tv series of the same name. The movie follows Maxwell Smart, the best analyst in the US government secret agency CONTROL. When the identities of CONTROL’s secret agents are leaked by a mole, Max finally gets his dreamed for promotion to agent.
As stated above, there are many kinds of humor in Get Smart. Slapstick, situational, puns and wordplay, etc. But it’s all character driven. I liked most of it, but as with all humor, your mileage may vary. Max—played adeptly by Steve Carell—is at the heart of much of the humor, as befits the main character, and some of my favorite moments come from his outspoken candor and self-honesty. But everyone else gets their moments too. Continue reading “Get Smart (2008 movie)—Many Kinds of Humor”→
Ciaphas Cain: Hero of the Imperium is an omnibus volume containing the first three Ciaphas Cain books, as well as three short stories. They’re by Sandy Mitchell. Fight or Flight is the very first Ciaphas Cain story and For the Emperor is the first book. The stories take place in the Warhammer 40,000 universe—where the term “grimdark” originated from—but Ciaphas’s stories are a more humorous take on it all—Ciaphas, despite his heroic reputation, is a self-centered near-sociopath and it’s his commentary on things that lend the comedy. Not that there isn’t a hefty bodycount in these military scif stories.
The stories are presented as Cain’s private memoirs, which have been placed under Inquisitorial seal, and the book has been annotated by said Inquisitor.
1—Fight or Flight
Fight or Flight follows the newly minted Commissar Cain on his very first mission. He has no heroic reputation yet, and has finagled his way into a post with the Valhallan 12th Field Artillery on a little backwater planet that should see little to no action. Of course, that doesn’t turn out to be the case, and the events that follow in the wake of a tyranid invasion start Ciaphas on the path to that glorious reputation. Oh yes, and this is also the story where he meets Jurgen and Jurgen’s smell. Continue reading “Ciaphas Cain: Hero of the Imperium—Fight or Flight and For the Emperor”→
The Hitman’s Bodyguard, directed by Patrick Hughes, stars Samuel L. Jackson as the hitman and Ryan Reynolds as the bodyguard. Michael Bryce (Reynold’s character) is contacted by his ex-girlfriend, Interpol Agent Amelia Roussel, after a mission to transport a witness goes horribly wrong. She asks Michael to protect hitman Kincaid and take him to The Hague so he can testify against a genocidal dictator. It’s more fun that it sounds.
The chemistry between Jackson and Reynolds is great. Kincaid has tried to kill Reynolds in the past but that’s quickly set aside for the mission. Rather, uptight, has-a-plan-for-everything Bryce and…I wouldn’t call Kincaid laid-back, precisely. More that he just goes with the flow of life while ending the lives of others. Anyway, they spark off each other and bicker throughout the whole movie. It’s great. Continue reading “The Hitman’s Bodyguard—Unexpectedly Romantic”→
Overly Sarcastic Productions is a simply animated Youtube channel hosted by Red and Blue, who recap classic literature—like the Iliad and Beowulf and Paradise Lost—Shakespeare, legends and myths, and history in an informative and amusing way.
The first playlist I went through is Red’s Trope Talks! These are videos where Red talks tropes. Though she references Tvtropes.org on occasion, I don’t believe she’s affiliated with them. One of my favorite of these videos is Red’s take on Romantic Subplots—I totally agree with all her points. She also talks beginnings, Evil Empires, Paragons, the Five Man Band, and the Power of Friendship, to name a few. As of this writing, there are twenty-two videos in the Trope Talks! playlist. I plan to watch them all again when I get through the rest of Red and Blue’s videos, which currently number about two hundred. Continue reading “Overly Sarcastic Productions—History, Myths, and All Kinds of Good Stuff”→
Supernatural is a paranormal horror tv series that follows brothers Sam and Dean Winchester as they travel around America hunting monsters and demons. The bloody, beating heart of the show is the close but tortured relationship between the brothers.
1—In the Beginning
Supernatural begins with two deaths—that of Sam and Dean’s mom many years ago, and with Sam’s girlfriend in the present. Both end up pinned to a ceiling and catching fire. This should give you a good indication of if you can handle this show’s level of gore and violence. From there, the boys head off to find their father, who recently disappeared, and discover a demonic conspiracy. Continue reading “Supernatural—After Ten Seasons, I’ve Had Enough”→