Monday, August 31, 2020

Dog Day Afternoon

This Zatana story from World's Finest 278 is fun. (Every superhero should thwart at least one dognapping!) I have always loved the way Zatana's magic spells are read backwards. The art here is by Dan Spiegle. I love Dan's art. I think he is one of those great talents that has gone largely under appreciated.

Friday, August 28, 2020

Top 100 Board Games (Honorable Mentions)

It’s all the rage among board game enthusiast types to list their: Top 100 Board Games.

I never considered doing this myself. I just never felt like I had played enough really good games to warrant such an endeavor. I barely have the shelf space for much more than 100 games, and my shelves are full. If I want a new game, something has to go.

That wasn’t always a problem. Buying new games is a bit of a gamble. I watch reviews. I do the research. I make an informed purchase, but there is never any guarantee that I am going to like the game. So, for awhile, my game shelves contained their share of "so-so" games (and a few downright stinkers.)

Over time, things have worked themselves out, and I have gotten to the point where I really like every single game on my shelf. As a result, my board game purchases have slowed to less than a trickle. That’s fine. I have enough games.

That said, I do like the idea of trying something new, sometimes. But, if I like that "something new," I must begin the agonizing process of deciding what game I am willing to get rid of in order to make room for the new one. To help this process along, I have ranked my games.

I really like all of my games at this point. So, I had to determine which games I considered to be super-fantastic and which games were merely awesome. And … what do you know? I have made a "Board Game Top 100" without really intending to.

I have been talking a lot about comic books lately. So, I'm going to share some board game love for a nice change of pace. Before I dive into my very own "Board Game Top 100," I have a few...

Honorable Mentions:

105 – Talisman

Talisman is an adventure quest classic, and will always have a spot on my game shelf. This is a roll and move game where you travel around the board drawing cards to have encounters, fight monsters, gain treasures and become the most powerful adventuring hero that you can. I love this game. It just missed my top 100.

104 – Planecrafters

Planecrafters is a quick light-weight card game about making airplanes. You form the planes out of the cards as you play, which looks cool and is a lot of fun.

103 – My Happy Farm

I love farm-sim style computer games like Harvest Moon. This game does a good job of capturing the charm of these games as you grow vegetables from season to season in order to feed your animals and fatten them up. As you feed your animals you add cards to increase the size of the animals. It looks silly, but also cute and funny. The player with the fattest animals wins.

102 – Legacy: The Testament of Duke de Crecy
This is a game where you manage the evolution of a family through generations. Try to get your daughters and sons married off to the best possible candidates to improve your station. This is a great worker-placement style game. I like it a lot, but there’s a bunch to keep track of and manage as you play, which makes it a little daunting to get to the table.

101 – Dragonwood

A super light card game where you use matched sets of cards to defeat monsters and gather treasure in a charming fantasy setting. This one is a really good family game. It’s another one that barely missed my list.

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Gonna Wash That Terminator Right Out Of My Hair

If robot terminators from the future travel back in time to conquer us, they will start with secret infiltration until their numbers are strong enough. (A tactical certainty.) They could be walking among us right now. (Or, could they?)

In looking and acting like us, they will have to take showers and wash their hair. They would read the instructions on the bottle to make sure they are behaving as normal humans would:

"Lather, Rinse, Repeat."

Wouldn't that trap the computer brains of the terminator invaders into an endless loop of washing their hair?

Was this the intended purpose of these instructions all along?

Is the shampoo industry a secret branch of the government established to defend the world from robot invasion?

I think so.

So, if someone is taking way too long in the shower they could be a terminator. (Hmmm ... Kaylee ... )

(Just some of the things that I think about while in the shower.)

Tuesday, August 25, 2020


This weekend Julie and I had the opportunity to play: Planet - a really neat little tile-laying game with an interesting thematic twist. In Planet players take turns drafting tiles to create their own custom world. The tiles show various terrain. There's: rich soil (brown), dry sand (yellow), lush forest (green), open water (blue), and frozen tundra (white).

After you draft your tile and add the tile to your world, it's time to see if you attract any wildlife. Wildlife cards have specific requirements. Maybe one card wants water that is adjacent to forest. In this case the player with the largest contiguous forest that also touches water somewhere along its boarder will "win" that wildlife card.

Planet scores points in two ways. First every player receives a "secret" objective card. These cards simply give the player points for having a substantial amount of a specific terrain type. In my case, my secret object was to collect a lot of tiles that had sand (or desert) type terrain on them.

The second way that Planet scores is for the wildlife cards. You get 1 point for every wildlife card whose natural habitat matches the terrain type specified by your secret objective. However, you get 2 points for every wildlife card whose natural habitat does not match your secret objective! This creates an interesting challenge and will impact your choices throughout the game.

This is all very straight forward, and makes Planet a super simple basic tile laying game, but Planet has just a little bit more to offer.

Remember that I mentioned an "interesting thematic twist?" Well, Planet comes with these large 12 sided polyhedrons. Players don't place their tiles on the table in front of them as in other tile laying games. The tiles are magnetic and stick to the sides of the polyhedron. Thus, Planet is played around a globe as each player builds their own custom world over the course of 12 rounds.

The polyhedral world globe may be a gimmick, but it's a good one, and it elevates Planet from a basic tile-layer to one that stands out in the crowd. The globes are great fun to play with, and terrain areas can wrap around on each other forcing players to think in three dimensions. No other tile laying game does this!

Planet is an awesome game! The scoring is interesting. The tile laying is unique, and the game looks gorgeous!!

Monday, August 24, 2020

The Call of the Cosmos

I really love this short Green Lantern story from Adventure Comics #459. Art is by Joe Stanton. Joe would be my number two for favorite Green Lantern artist.

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Dollar Comics

When I first began planning my “dream” comic collection in order to “relive” my childhood, I knew a few things that I wanted. I wanted 4 color comics printed on newsprint. I wanted equal parts DC and Marvel. On the Marvel side, I knew that I had to get ROM. On the DC side, I knew I had to get Dollar Comics.

“Dollar Comics” isn’t a comic book title like, “ROM.” It’s a comic book format. In the mid to late 70’s and early 80’s the Dollar Comic was the “Cadillac” of comic books. Early issues were 80 pages including advertising. Later the books were trimmed to 68 pages but with no advertisements. These comics were anthology titles featuring a variety of stories, characters, and creative talents.

Dollar Comics are special to me and I wanted as many of them in my “dream” collection as I could fit. I have since snatched up Dollar Comic series: Adventure Comics, World’s Finest Comics, Batman Family, and Superman Family, as well as several independent Dollar Comic issues that were part of a thing called the DC Special Series.

Dollar Comics weren’t mere comic books, they were epic events! I remember the summer of 77 and my 11th birthday. Mom had warned me up front that money was tight this year and that my birthday was going to be “small.” She wanted me to understand that I wouldn’t be getting elaborate gifts this year. I told her that I understood, and I did. I set my expectations accordingly.

First, she made me a homemade German chocolate birthday cake. This is my favorite cake, and mom was (and is) a great cook. The cake alone would have made my little 11 year-old day, but there was more: a “Son of Big Chief” paper tablet for drawing, a box of 12 Pedigree Pencil Crayons, a rubber “baseball” (it was molded with raised “stitching” like a baseball and painted white,) and finally two (that’s TWO) Dollar Comics!!

So, the Dollar Comics were yeah, a dollar each. The tablet was 79 cents. The pencils were like 50 cents, and the rubber ball was probably a quarter. All told the birthday probably cost my mom about 5 dollars including the cake. It doesn’t seem like much. (It’s around $20 today.) I know it was all that my mom could afford, and that she wanted to do more. The thing was, I was thrilled!!

For the record, the two comics were: World’s Finest #246 and Superman Family #185. These had cover dates of September and October respectively, but they were on the store shelf in July. Comic book cover dates were supposed to be used by store owners as a sort of expiration date to let clerks know when to remove old unsold comics from the shelves. So, they were always several months ahead of the current date when the comics came out.

I read and read and read those two comic books until they were falling apart. They meant so much to me that they were among the first things that I bought when I began rebuilding my comic book collection. The other gifts were important to me, too. I was always drawing and always needed paper, that was just a fact of Jeff. And the rubber ball, well … it’s got a story all its own (but, for another time.)

Maybe it was about the expectations set ahead of time, but I remember that birthday more vividly than almost any other from my childhood. I LOVED those DOLLAR COMICS!! These were the kind of comic books that important people like the President or the Queen would read!!  The most expensive, most exclusive, most awesome comic books that money could buy and I had TWO of them!!!

Yeah, life was good. Thanks, Mom!

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Frank Miller -- Daredevil

I had so much fun showing off my favorite hero/artist pairings that I'm going in for round two! Hero/Artist Team-Up - The sequel! -- For Daredevil my favorite artist is: Frank Miller!

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Michael Golden -- Doctor Strange

I had so much fun showing off my favorite hero/artist pairings that I'm going in for round two! Hero/Artist Team-Up - The sequel! -- For Doctor Strange my favorite artist is: Michael Golden!

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Bob Layton And John Romita Jr. -- Iron Man

I had so much fun showing off my favorite hero/artist pairings that I'm going in for round two! Hero/Artist Team-Up - The sequel! -- For Iron Man my favorite artist is: Bob Layton and John Romita Jr!

Bob Layton does the inks over John Romita Jr's pencils and is the key to this particular favorite. (See my post on ROM Spaceknight about inkers.)