I've mentioned before that I've always been fascinated by comics and video games that never quite made it to the shelves, and this week, YouTube's PTOPOnline, which specializes in unearthing those exact unreleased games, found one that's of particular interest: a Justice League fighting game for XBox360 that was in production back in 2012.
What makes this one so interesting (at least to me) is that we actually did get a Justice League fighting game (of sorts) in the form of Injustice: Gods Among Us just a year after this one was in development. Well, that, and the fact that it's illustrated with that timeless comic book conflict of Bizarro vs. Bane, in what seems to be a battle of who can best punch the other directly in the crotch. Give it a watch!
I've always been fascinated by unfinished stories and pitches for comic books that never came out. There's always a level of mystery to them, trying to figure out how things might've been different if we actually got these stories that, for whatever reason, never actually made it to the shelves. This week, our pals over at Robot 6 unearthed one of the most interesting examples I've ever seen of a great comic that never happened: A Final Fantasy comic, based on the video game, by Kurt Busiek, Dell Barras and Mike Mignola.
And here's the really interesting part: The book may have never happened, but it got close enough that, of the four-issue adaptation of Final Fantasy IV, all four issues were scripted, with covers my Mignola, and two were actually drawn.
Q: Which video game series would you love to pitch a comic series for? -- @rrob_IV
A: I'm not going to lie to you, Rob: I have always wanted to make comics about video games. I think I've talked about this before, but the first memory I have of actually trying to make comics was laying on the floor of a hotel room at Myrtle Beach one summer vacation, drawing a version of the junkyard scene from Batman #425 that had Blanka and Dhalsim from Street Fighter in place of the standard thugs. It was actually a pretty big dream of mine, and a few years ago, I actually got the chance to pitch a comic based on one of my all-time favorite games. I even ended up writing a pretty big chunk of the script.
So, since you asked, let's talk about the time that I almost wrote a comic based on Final Fight.
The Holiday Gift-Giving season is upon us once again, and as always, that presents a pretty unique problem for comic book readers. We tend to hit our local shops or Comixology every week to grab our favorite books, so when it comes to finding something in comics that we really like, well, chances are good that we already have it. Fortunately, there's a lot of really cool stuff out there that's related to comics that makes for a fine gift.
So whether you're looking for something to give to a comic book fan or just looking for something to tell your loved ones to look for so that you don't end up with another box of Spider-Man themed Monopoly (note: this is the worst possible present), we're here with the first installment of our 2014 Holiday Gift Guide!
For those of you who prefer to see Batman driving around in a car with a gigantic gun sticking out at the top, blowing up tanks, shooting people and also shoving crooks' heads into electrified fuse boxes, we have some good news! For those of you who don't, well, maybe just close this window and go for a walk for a few minutes or something. See, this week brought us some new footage from Rocksteady's upcoming Batman: Arkham Knight video game, in which Batman takes on a small army of soldiers and (presumably unmanned) tanks led by the title villain to rescue a few NPCs in an all-out assault on Ace Chemical.
And just so you don't think it's all just things designed to make me grumpy, you also get to see Batman doing a straight-up Street Fighter-style shoryuken, and that's pretty awesome.
If you've played one of the previous two LEGO Batman games, or really any of developer Traveller's Tales LEGO games, there's a certain degree of knowing what you're getting into with LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham. Though it certainly has a new coat of paint on it, so to speak, many of the mechanics and gameplay objectives are the same as they've always been.
The developers make up for that by giving players more of everything: playable characters, levels, collectibles, power-ups, costumes side quests, Easter eggs and locations. Mix that more-is-more mentality with an enduring charm and sense of humor, and you've got a pretty compelling package, albeit one that tends to bring out some of my worst tendencies as a player.
DC Comics has taken some heat over the past couple weeks for some licensed apparel that implied, or outright stated, that boys can be superheroes but girls have to settle for being superheroes' girlfriends or wives. The criticism reached a point where DC itself had to issue a statement promising to review its licensing process.
Another example of a licensee making a bad gender-related decision flew a little lower on the radar last week, but in this case the licensee, Wonder Forge, issued an apology itself. The game makers failed to put any playable female characters in its game, Justice League: Axis of Villains, and people -- particularly a concerned parent -- complained about the Target-exclusive game.
“If the harassment is so bad, why don’t women just report it?”
“I want to believe these women, but if they’re not willing to come forth and put their name to these accusations, I just can’t.”
“These claims of harassment are all so overblown. I never see it happening.”
I have been a woman in the comics industry for a few months now. It has been wonderful. It has also been terrifying.
Terrifying in a way I’m used to, though. When you grow up enveloped in the miasma of “tits or GTFO,” “attention whore,” and “fake geek girl,” fear becomes the price you pay to enjoy your hobbies. You don’t even think of it as fear most of the time. Sometimes you join in the fear mongering yourself, enjoying the a**hole glamour of not being too pussy to call another girl a slut. Sometimes you hide in woman-heavy spaces, which go maligned elsewhere (“Tumblrinas!”) but do a pretty solid job of keeping you safe. The fear comes back eventually, though, as a slew of graphic rape threats or a simple joke about “feminazis” you are expected to chuckle along with. It might be in response to a screed worthy of Andrea Dworkin—or maybe you just tweeted something about disliking Guardians of the Galaxy. What matters is that you were a woman with an opinion on the internet, and now you must be punished. You must be made to fear.
It's been a long while since we heard anything of the highly anticipated Batman: Arkham Knight, the last word being that the video game was pushed from its original 2014 release slot into 2015. Now, DC and Warner Bros. Games announced that the final installment has a firm release in June 2015.
One of the biggest issues in the news this week has been the ongoing rampant misogyny and outright terrorism in gamer culture, specifically the attacks on Depression Quest developer Zoe Quinn and feminist media commentator Anita Sarkeesian -- both of whom have suffered exceedingly personal attacks and threats on their lives (including the horrible one in the graphic above, which was sent to Sarkeesian via Twitter). The former for merely talking sexual agency as an independent, adult woman, and the latter for criticizing the industry's treatment of women in its games. What do these issues have to do with the rest of geek culture? Well .... everything. Misogyny in gamer culture is a symptom of a larger, systemic issue. And something needs to be done about it. Now.
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