You Didn’t Make Me Happy

Happy Cover Art By Darrick Robertson
Happy #1 Cover Art By Darrick Robertson

Happy could have been amazing. Teaming up a cartoonish sprite with a hardboiled killer can be good comics. Having a symbol of innocence floating around a hardened kill in a brutally dark setting – I’d like to see it done well and I say I’d like to see it done because in Happy, the series becomes so heavily mired with black despair and grime that it never recovers and ultimately reads like someone’s poorly conceived Sin City spinoff.

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Review: Jack The Bastard and Other Stories

Jack the Bastard and Other Stories

By Micah Nathan With Illustrations By Phil Noto, Michael Allred, Russ Nicholson, and Tradd Moore

Review by Luke Herr

Jack the Bastard and Other Stories was a tonal shift in what I’ve been reviewing over the past few months – mostly comics. To be honest it has been some time since I’ve read any short stories that weren’t for school in one way or another though there is some strange and I’ll confess, grudge based reason for that. Anthologies have always stood mentally as these tomes filled with only three stories that support the purchase of the book, be it for class or simply because the other stories, this literary filler, doesn’t hold up to the caliber of work that the book’s greater stories might raise. So when I approached Jack the Bastard and Other Stories by Micah Nathan, it was with trepidation and without any idea of what I might expect and to open, this book has restored to me the idea that an anthology can be an enjoyable and strong read.

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The Penny Arcade Kickstarter

I had a weird flashback this morning to choir back in high school. A friend and I were discussing webcomics and I was like “oh cool!” and he suggested Penny Arcade. I went to the site, checked out the page and couldn’t work my way around the navigation. They had small buttons and archive issues and after 20 minutes of trying to get into a grove I went back to reading Dominic Deegan (and holy crap was that years ago).
A few years later once I had working wireless and a laptop I went through, read through the archives and was like “Ok, this isn’t amazing but they improved over time.” I bought their first two games for my Mac two years later when I was sunk down with depression and they were okay. I ended up watching Penny Arcade TV which was okay again.
Penny Arcade has been this always there, but nothing really special force for me. I’d had other favorite video game comics come up and when I stopped caring about games I’d still read it.
But Penny Arcade has done good things with it’s money that I like. The Child’s Play Charity is something that I can get behind. Hosting the Extra Credits video series is pretty fantastic because the series is really well done. I have a group of friends who go to at least one PAX every year and they rave about it. And despite some of the stuff tied to Scott Kurtz, I’ve enjoyed other videos on the Penny Arcade TV thing.
So you get where I am coming from – I don’t hate the Penny Arcade guys. I wish I had their success and money so I could do something but I don’t actively oppose them – but I really hate their Kickstarter – not because of them, but because it is a poorly run Kickstarter.
I’ve run a few Kickstarters, I’ve paid into a few and I’ve had friends do the same so I support the work that I do. It is a great tool to try and get donations easily while also giving people something worthwhile for their hard earned money. It is a way to honestly show your appreciation for what people do. Penny Arcade has now infamously done this in the one of the worst possible fashions (though not as good as the Kickstarter about a bet who would go to hell and Osama Bin Laden who was a demon.)

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Pitch Machine: ERAS

Ziah Grace challenged me to make a 7 Soldiers of Victory style series using any character making a pitch every day for a week. I laughed. And then I picked a buncha Bob Powell characters that almost nobody heard of and made 7 pitches that tie into the same story. Except each one takes place in a different decade. And each story has a different feel towards it. I do wish I’d fit in more female characters though but here is my pitch for ERAS. And I did this all in about 2 hours.

Ted Parrish

Ted Parrish was an actor – The Man of 1000 Faces, Master of Make-Up until the Depression hits. Hollywood folded up like a blind man playing Poker and Ted gots into fighting – he’s an angry man, he’s washed up and he just likes to beat people till they bleed. He ended up joining the underground fighting ring in Hollywood where he holds the top few spots and is lucky enough to avoid booking fights with his other personas until his luck runs out. When his two biggest personas have to refuse and they are kicked out. Ted refuses to give up and returns under another identity but he finds that the fights have changed. Now instead of fighting other humans – it is him versus monsters and if he loses, he’ll be the piece of meet chopped up into a beast. Can Ted Parrish find the source of the monsters to stop them and can he prevent his own inner demons from ripping himself apart?

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Pitch Machine: Thunderbrunch

Established during the brief period that the Thunderbolts were used as a corporate tie-in, Thunderbrunch was established as an unofficial theme restaurant for the team by New York millionaire Milo Gorgon who came from a rich Greek family. Gorgon used his wealth to secure costumes, collectibles and actual tools from the members of the Thunderbolts when Norman Osborn was pushing them as heroes. When Norman Osborn was ousted, the restaurant collapsed. Nobody wanted to eat at a restaurant honoring villains and the sales dropped off. Now Gorgon and Vincent, his nephew are the only employees feeding a few regulars and tourists. Gorgon’s family lost their money in the crash and he can’t rebuild. He just has to wait it out.
And then one day a bus pulls up with a group of people with Green Goblin tattoos. The next day a group of AIM beekeepers come in for a beer and nachos. The day after that boxes of Thunderbolts merchandise shows up along with a few smaller villains. And then it becomes a dropoff for deathrays. Androids walk in with one team and walk out with another. It becomes the hub of villainy in New York – but it also becomes profitable.
Meanwhile Gorgon and his son start breaking apart. Is it responsible for Milo to take money from known criminals, to harbor them. If you have to sell out to restart, will you be able to live with yourself? Would you risk your family to make money? What do you do when you are a man not even trying to save the world, but you just want to make money. Do you go along with what happens or do you make a stand?