Jean Genie and Ziggy Starfox
More Murder OAPS (Not mine)
The second week of the interregnum between Issue 5 and 6 of Judgment Day, and we have AXE: X-men #1 and AXE: Starfox #1. Despite what I said last time, Death to the Mutants #3 is actually next week. If you want to know an official reading order, then in this case, it really doesn’t matter. They’re two parallel self contained incidents during the period.
However - Death to the Mutants #3 is actually before AXE: Starfox #1. Starfox is stand alone, but does refer to events of Death to the Mutants #3. As such, if you’re someone who’s been following Eternals, you may wish to save reading it for next week to get the full experience.
Anyway – AXE: X-men continues our teams dungeon delve of the Progenitor, while the Progenitor take a dungeon delve into the cast’s consciousness. This time we’re centred on Jean Grey, who is a lot, in a completely different way to Tony. For all the high stakes, this is another deep character concentration, and sets up Jean for our final confrontation. Francesco Mobili draws and Frank Martin colours, and creates a real painterly, classic look here. Also, Jean’s hair is appropriately enormous. Telekenetic Hairspray is the best.
AXE: Starfox is Daniele Di Nicuolo and myself (and Frank William on colours) trying to set the stall out for rethinking Eros, a character who I feel tends to have been failed by his writers. This is effectively the fourth of the Eternals specials, taking the format of the Uranos one. As in, a study of a character’s history embedded in a present day situation. People were asking about Eros when I was doing Thanos, and I think they go hand in glove (or hand in Infinity Gauntlet. Whatever.) I also have some fun writing Zuras – he’s a character who I haven’t exactly done much with, and generally has had a Bad Time in my run. I try to give a stronger take on him here. And Sui-San too, for that matter.
Let’s show a page of Starfox, as the X-men preview is from the middle of the issue, and this is the opening…
Back next week with AXE: Eternals #1, Immortal X-men #7 and Death to the Mutants #3.
And Golden Rage 3, which is the one which does the violence the team has been promising, while also showing they’re not just going to do the violence the team has been promising. I do love this.
I did manage to fit in a Decompressed. I’m not sure how. This time I talk to Wes Craig about Kaya #1, which is out today and a lot of fun.
Wes actually turned a question back on me, asking how I create characters, and my answer has been nagging at me ever since. What I said is certainly true, but not complete. I describe a couple of tactics which I often use, but they’re not really the whole toolset. I suspect this is worth writing about down the line.
I also see there’s a link to a logo generator in libsyn now, so maybe I’ll actually work out a way to have a proper station ID instead of the minimalist stuff I have now? That’d be nice, right?
Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff is one of my favourite RPG podcasts, and exemplifies the designer-as-polymath of a certain generation of creators. They know a lot about a lot, and do segments on all manner of things. Recently, they did a huge series on the history of horror movies, and now have collected all of them into a free wheeling audiobook, which you can buy and listen to here. This is good stuff.
A few months ago, Gita Jackson and I got on a zoom and had a wide-ranging chat about the nature of Fantasy, as part of their process of putting together an article on (er) the nature of Fantasy. The full article has dropped over at Motherboard.
The NME has a big profile article about Arkane’s Harvey Smith, who really is the remaining guardian of the Immersive Sim’s flame, the genre which was my particular stomping grounds when I was a PC Journalist. It’s strong, and gives the sort of lens we rarely see on a game creator – it’s extremely personal, and takes the desire to make a certain sort of game seriously as they would a genre of music.
(I was thinking about pulling together some of my old games journalism into an Ebook, and all my writing on Immersive Sims strikes me as a useful backbone. I wrote a lot about them, to say the least.)
Wil DIE-Discord pointed me at this article on Orcs which circles a lot of the problems, but also shows a lot of nuance. It’s especially good at Tolkien’s awareness of the issue of orcs, and how a flattening of Lord of the Rings does it ill service. I find myself thinking of the Rohirim’s hunting the Woses, through this filter. This isn’t a good versus evil world, as much as the characters say it is.
Long, but with a lot to think and argue about. Sam Kriss on why the Internet is already over. The economic angles are what are sticking with me from this, the stuff I just don’t enough about. I joked when I was on Substack that I was willing to suck venture capitalist’s money to get a free mailing list. How true is that of everything? I read this, and it hardened my desire to be online a whole lot less.
I turned 47. This is what I looked like.
In all these decades, I still not have learned to convincingly smile.
So, after 9 days in the plague house, I ended up turning up positive. The day after my birthday. I feel fine – the only real significant symptoms I had was the day before I was positive, when I had a cough. Now, I’m basically asymptomatic.
But this is the first day I’ve actually been back at my real working desk in the shed in the garden. While I’ve managed to do work, it’s been small stuff. In reality, I haven’t written a page of script in over a month. This is something that hasn’t happened in as long as I can remember.
It’s been weird, and I can feel my anxiety spike at the very idea of it. I am also aware that there’s part of me that has loved the simplification of life – I cook, I clean, I make sure Iris doesn’t pull the coffee table down on herself. It’s like cosplaying a hobbit for a while. These days are precious, and I’m trying to be conscious of that, even when I’m imagining that I can hear dawn lurch over the horizon as Iris has decided that sleep is for weaker beings, and is working on her sit ups.
But I am back in the shed. I’ll start work on another script, likely tomorrow. With the deadline pushed back a month, I’ll be able to write them in order. There’s also the joy of the nearly-complete DIE RPG manual that’s arrived, which I’ll be doing last pass tweaks (the bare minimum, to avoid Zach murdering me) and pulling the details we need for the character sheets.
I am tired. I will stop.