Thursday, October 31, 2013

Monster: Shoggoth variations

Here's a little Halloween present, a la Causey Variant-style:


One of the hardiest varieties of the gibbering horrors, these creatures have endured the rigorous vacuum of space long enough to evolve a sort of exoskeletal rind. Once they've made planetfall or boarded a space station they gather up their mass into into crude limb formations to hunt prey with lumbering, clumsy locomotion or futilely reaching out with flacid tendrils. No one is exactly sure why they would do this, since shoggoths are much faster and more effective killing machines in a quasi-liquid state, but the result is definitely unsettling to potential victims. Regardless, they are difficult to exterminate--even with rapid laser fire--due to their incredible powers of recovery.


It's tough to pin down where the "were" begins and ends because too often these nasties are caught between transformation. The lycanthropic virus that causes were-shoggothancy can affect a variety of species (e.g. canine, human, etc.) but determining the original form is often left to DNA confirmation after the beast has been dispatched. Fire seems to work. Lots of it. Yes, use that.

Also called "Deep Dish Shoggoth" are slathering, oozing mounds of cheese, red sauce, and spongy pizza dough. They are just as happy to be eaten as they are to devour prey. Probably why there's not many of them around, save for a few who opted to become crime lords and surround themselves with Italian robo-guards. Come to think of it, that never worked out for them either.  
Note: Sh!t Shoggoth was also contemplated, but was deemed too stomach-turning by our astrobiologists. Feel free to list in the comments any shoggoth varieties you've encountered!

Monday, October 28, 2013

New Star Wars bloopers show why stormies have it so rough in combat

Here's a hilarious "recently discovered" gag reel from the first Star Wars film (A New Hope, 1977)! The beginning has no audio, but it starts up about 50 seconds into the clip.

No wonder the stormtroopers are such terrible shots--their armor is actually dangerous to wear! No traction on footwear, utility belts flinging off without warning--not to mention the obviously terrible vision out of those huge helmets. Makes standing up seem like a challenge, let alone trying to shoot straight!

Via Collider

P.S. Maybe I should work up some rules for ill-fitting armor for when players need to go incognito behind enemy lines....

Saturday, October 26, 2013

A THOUSAND Worlds and Counting!

This week, the number of exoplanets reached 1, 010! It's been more than 20 years--1992, to be exact-- since the first confirmed extrasolar planet (a.k.a. a planet outside our solar system). Since then, the tools have vastly improved from Earth-based telescopes that had to contend with atmospheric interference to space-based ones like the Kepler telescope which has been racking up finds since 2009. 

The field of exoplanet research has expanded beyond just locating planets, it now encompasses classification--separating the gas giants from the rocky abodes--in the hopes that another Earth-like planet might be found.

As of today, eight candidates have been identified as being in the "Goldilock's Zone" of their respective parent stars (i.e., sustainable temperature for liquid water), where life--at least as we know it on Earth--might have the best chance to thrive. 

In the meantime, the bounty of alien worlds has been plentiful. From NBC News:
Indeed, the current tally is likely just the tip of the exoplanet iceberg. For example, a study published last year estimated that every star in the Milky Way hosts 1.6 planets on average — meaning that our galaxy likely harbors at least 160 billion alien worlds.

And those are just the planets with obvious parent stars. Another recent study calculated that "rogue planets" — those that cruise through space apparently unbound to any star — may outnumber "normal" worlds by 50 percent or so.

The number of confirmed planets should continue its dramatic upward swing in the near future as astronomers continue to hone their techniques and analyze data collected by instruments on the ground and in space. 
Here's to the search for an alien Earth and all the exoplanets yet to be discovered!

Update: Here's a nice little video recently put together by MIT, explaining some exoplanet basics:

More details:

Thursday, October 17, 2013

VIDEO: Superheroes of the DC Universe

Wish Supes a happy anniversary with this awesome montage of him through the ages, plus some fan-made fare!

Wonder Woman Short Fan Film (2013)

Modern and mythic qualities perfectly blended. Seriously Warner Bros. get it together!

Batman: Dead End Short Fan Film (2003)
Sandy Corolla's take on Bats is 10 years old already and it's still a breath of fresh air in the Batman mythos. Some might say that it takes the genre-crossover a bit too far or the dialog isn't fully baked, but its fun take on the Joker is infectious. Plus, you couldn't do better than this for a "year one" type look for the Dark Knight himself.

P.S. Word is that Superman Vs. Batman starts filming this weekend. Seems so soon, especially when you consider the glacial pace at which WB has been weaving together their Justice League Plans!

Also posted over at Spellcard

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Rick Remender returns to space comics with "Black Science"

One of my favorite wa-hoo, space comic creators Rick Remender (Fear Agent) is coming out with an all new sci-fi comic November 27. His stories tend to have a strong pulp influence and it looks like his latest titled Black Science will likewise cling to that mode. Remender is teaming up with artists Matteo Scalara and Dean White on what looks to be a gorgeous series...

(Click images to embiggen) 

Comic Book Resources did a Q&A with Remender, here's what you need to know about the Rickster's approach to writing:
CBR News: Rick, your body of work has been fairly pulpy, and it seems like a mode you've been really successful in. What do you love about the world of pulp meeting the world of Sci-Fi?

Rick Remender: The basic recipe I follow is taking a Saturday morning cartoon aesthetic and mixing it with true science and adult themes for a fully realized cast with identifiable motivations. I love to focus on wild ideas, and in a visual art form, such as comic books, it's mandatory to give the reader and artist a visual story. Lester Dent-style structure, pulpy sensibilities and classic Sci-Fi aesthetics deliver that when done right. This sensibility allows me to delve into big crazy ideas with a seedy underbelly, which I then decorate with fully realized characters with big hearts. When those things come together in the right balance I feel that's when I'm at my best.

I've always been drawn to science fiction with a touch of horror because it allows for an infinite amount of possible dilemmas for your characters, dilemmas that carry huge consequences, which is why I like to include a horror aspect. Peppering horrific fates throughout an adventure leaves you on pins and needles for the fate of the characters, which you hopefully have come to care for, and are rooting for.
The story itself is set to focus on a morally gray scientist, traveling parallel dimensions, who will come face-to-face with the consequences of his work. He sounds like the polar opposite of Heath Hudson, the gruff and slovenly, ray gun slinging protagonist from Fear Agent, Remender's previous space pulp series. It also sounds awesome!

Check out the full CBR interview with Rick Remender!

MTV Geek (now defunct) did a preview story with more images back in September.

UPDATE: CBR has just posted some new teasers. These look like they could be covers for some weird science horror RPG! (Click them to enlarge.)

Images: Comic Book Resources

Friday, October 4, 2013

Heading to FallCon!

I'll be out at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds tomorrow (Saturday), braving the rain and cold with all manner of geekdom to get into FallCon, the "one day wonder" comic book extravaganza. 

I'm a big supporter, espescially since there's a really strong community of creators here in the Twin Cities. If you're local and outand about and can spare $8 ($7/ a food shelf donation) you should come check it out!

Mars Attacks Kickstarter launches--is already funded!

Holy extraterrestrials! I've been keeping tabs on this awesome miniatures game for Mars Attacks from UK-based Mantic Games, patiently biding my time.

It looks like it's not only kicked off this morning on Kickstarter--as of noon, central time it's now fully funded and cutting a brutal swath into the stretch goals!

This touches all the right nerd buttons:
  • Alien skull-faced Martians!
  • Miniatures galore!
  • Post apocalyptic Earth terrain!
Throw in a bunch of extras like some spunky humans with baseball bats and you had me at "Ack! Ack!"

UPDATE: They've posted a video demonstrating gameplay:


May 16th, 2014, cannot come soon enough!

Via io9

UPDATE: Sorry folks, looks like Warners has yanked the Godzilla clip. Once an official one pops up, I'll revise this post. Until then, here's a little something to tide you over: