A small-time hood uses his fighting mastery to become the boss of his own gang. Features a fight with a giant European wrestler and a long, bloody finale in which the hero has an axe in his belly half the time. The movie is a bit too long but that final fight really makes up for all the fluff. Like Man of Iron, the lead character isn't terribly likable but I guess he makes a little effort not to be a really bad crime boss.
A standard, post-LOTR epic movie with clashing armies and English accents. This should be a fun fish out of water tale but the story is structured in a way that kills any mystery and discovery. It has it's moments but no real surprises here. This wasn't the Martian Dreams follow-up I wanted.
Earlier this year I decided to support a Kickstarter campaign for a new Apple ][ game called Nox Archaist. It is going to be an RPG in the style of the 8-bit Ultima games. There are was a call-out for artwork submissions to be included in the manual. I decided to try and produce some drawings for the project. In the end I made about half-a-dozen pen and ink drawings of various fantasy creatures. This one was perhaps my favorite of the lot.
Martian Dreams is built on the same game engine as Ultima VI. Much like that game, it is much less of an RPG and more of an adventure game in which you are wandering through the world, talking to NPCs, and combining objects to solve puzzles. You're not really building up and customizing your character here. Sure there's combat and leveling up, but it doesn't really feel like it matters much.
The most important part of this game is the story and the world it's built around. Martian Dreams takes place a fictionalized the late nineteenth century setting in which space flight is a reality. Dozens of historical luminaries from the era have all been accidentally sent to Mars and it's the player's job to find them all and get them back home. Along the way the real-life talents of the characters will come in to play: George Washington Carver knows botany, Louis Comfort Tiffany know glass making, and Sarah Bernhardt knows, um, stage make-up. The only human villains are the evil monk Rasputin and the anarchist Emma Goldman.
The late-stage Hammer vampire film tries to keep up with the times be amping up the gore and the nudity. It's nowhere near the levels of Italian cinema sleaze from the same era, but it's a welcome upgrade. Peter Cushing plays a religious zealot who leads a merry band of heathen burners. Twenty or so guys dressed like Thanksgiving pilgrims, rampaging through the village, and burning random maidens is so ridiculous I could see a comedy being written based around the same premise. Every girl they burn is innocent. And these are supposed to be the good guys!
This year (2019) I forced myself to just site down and make a wood engraving with the last tiny block of resingrave I had in my studio. This is just an image of a random guy, not anyone in particular. This is the first edition that I was able to print on my cheap Chinese book press. Not the most perfect system—the blacks are a little salty—but it worked out well enough.
Well, it only took me twelve years. I have finally finished my quest to re-listen to my entire CD collection. This really didn't need to take more than decade, but in the middle of the process I decided to start reviewing each CD individually. After a while the thought of having to type a new review if I listened to a disc would discourage me from continuing. I finally gave up somewhere in compilations. The world doesn't need to know that each of the eight or so Back from the Grave compilations sounds pretty much like all the other ones. On top of that, there was an excursion into my vinyl collection in which I ripped all my 45s and then started in on my LPs too. Who knew listening to music was such hard work.
Filled with art featuring death (for the most part that means a skeleton... spooky, no?) taunting the living. The reproductions vary in quality from good to barely legible. Mostly the former. Interspersed with the images is the occasional paragraph of word salad from the author. I suspect English isn't Fritz's first language. The book closes with a wonderful suite of a dozen or so wood engravings by Eichenburg. Not the most informative book on art, but certainly pretty to look at.
This tiny wood engraving started out as a practice block. I was rendering the bones of a foot. I got bored with that and drew a dude shaking his fist. Inspiration! Anyhow, this is a small wood engraving printed on sekishu rice paper. I have been having a heck of a time getting engravings to print sharply these days so these prints are a little saltier than I like. I'm on the lookout for any advice on hand-printing wood engravings. Leave a comment, commentators!
The first chapter about sea creatures is probably the best part of this book. Lots of great illustrations of ships being attacked. There is a hint of reality to tales of giant squids and the potential of undiscovered deep sea creatures. Then there's the coelacanth. You cryptozoologists have one example of the discovery of a long-thought extinct creature and you're just going to rub it in our faces like so much Sasquatch musk. I'll give you that victory, but I'll be damned if I am going to accept your extraterrestrial bigfoot sightings.