Comic Books


John Carpenter. Grown-up Peanuts characters. Slasher flicks.

It’s not like your work isn’t still gonna be there in a few minutes, so get to watching!

Presented by Book My Garage…

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Home Advisor put together a nice infographic looking at ten recent superhero movies to see who is more dangerous to the general population, heroes or villains…

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No contest: Atomic Robo by Evil Hat. If you want to know why, hit up the comic’s site at Atomic Robo.com and read the whole thing for free. Then go purchase the graphic novels, you cheap bastids!

While I was part of the initial playtesting, I hadn’t read the finished product until I had a little time on planes while running around the country on ‘vacation’ (seeing family.) Evil Hat has the print version in the final works, but the pdf is available through their preorder or Drive Thru. Behold! The dramatic reveal!

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The system is Fate, tweaked a bit for the universe of Atomic Robo, but the basic mechanics are unchanged. Character creation is fast and “no-math” — the player choses the usual concept descriptor, a couple of their modes (ex. Action, Science, Intrigue) and their skills lump under those. Those odes with the same skills stack, so a character with, say, a vehicles skill in three modes would place it under the highest mode with the +4, then add two more for the synergy with the other modes. It’s easier than it is to describe.

You can have a character slapped together in minutes and be playing, and the rules allow for tweaking your character on the fly, and whenever you hit a particular milestone connected to the adventure or character.

The main additions to the rules are in the area of “brainstorming” science ideas, in which the players get to use their skills to try and figure out a science conundrum, then the one with the best quasi-applicable idea gets to define how the bad guy or mcGuffin for the adventure works (“The giant ants were obviously created by radiation!”) As for the rest of the mechanics, it’s Fate. It you aren’t familiar with the mechanics, you can find them for free on the interwebz. Have a look, if your puny mammaliam brains can conceive it!

On to the book itself — it’s very well laid out, easy to read, and captures the flavor of Atomic Robo and the related Real Science Adventures comics very well. Explanation blurbs with pics of characters from the series help you understand the mechanics, or just amuse you. They have Dr. Dinosaur — that alone was work the price of admission for me. Do not question it!

The book does an excellent job of laying out the timeline of Robo’s adventures, describing the various organizations in competition, and has rules for the kind of support the organizations can provide and how the characters’ adventures affect them.

So is it worth the $35? How can you even ask that? It’s got robots, and science!, and punching…and dinosaurs and stuff. The layout and utility of the e-book is better than most , but I’ve got one of the final pre-release copies and the hyperlinks to jump around the book weren’t enabled yet. I assume they will be in the current or future releases. The substance? The new rules help capture the flavor of the comics, and the book gives a pretty decent introduction into the world of Atomic Robo for those who are uninitiated, but this book has a pretty specific demographic — fans of the comics — so they could always crack open the original material, if need be. The rule book is very good about pointing you and the right series and issue of the comic that ties to the material in the background sections.

It’s a buy, especially if you’re a Tesladyne booster.

UPDATE: I received the physical book today from Evil Hat. The $35 gets you the book and a free e-book download. The look of the pdf is preserved in the softback book, which has a nice satin finish to it, and is slightly smaller than usual for a game book at what looks to be a 6.5″x10.25″ aspect. (I didn’t measure it, but should be close.) Still worth it.

So, I’ve been an early adopter of e-comic books, and loved the Comixology app. I’ve been buying all the Atomic Robo stuff through the app. Problem: they just got bought by Amazon, and all of a sudden they’re doing the out-of-app purchases. Remember, Amazon is sticking to the prickish idea that you don’t own the book you bought; you just “licensed” it — so I suspect this might be part of the issue I’m about to relate:

All my bloody books are goneI did their little two-step. I “restored my books, which only gave me three issues of the latest volume of one series, and one book from another. I keep trying. No joy. I download the new app — those aren’t even showing. That’s right, Stupid here dropped probably close to $100 on a series I no longer “own.”

That’s pretty bad. Worse is I know I’m not the only one. At the last check, the App Store was running almost unanimously 1 star rating for the new version, but hey! where are the hundreds of reviews? They’re not showing. Afraid to have your customers warn prospective customers what a sorry set of sticky fingered thieves you are?

Review: the app is gorgeous and worked beautifully. The downside: you’ll lose your stuff if you’re not careful (or in my case, even if you were.) Final word: don’t download, don’t buy from them, unless you want to shell out hundreds for nothing. Go to the local comic store and make them some money; Comixology wasn’t cheaper, anyway.

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