Posts tagged “Steven Universe”

Friday, 8 September 2017

“Of the Month” September 2017

Show of the Month

The Tick

I’m surprised at just how well the Tick always seems to work. There have been 4 iterations of the character and premise and they’ve all been great (though later comics that weren’t written by Ben Edlund didn’t quite grab the mustard as mightily as they might’ve). This latest version on Amazon Prime has much of the same absurdity and humor as the other versions (see: Very Large Man), and Peter Serafinowicz’s performance in the blue suit is full of the blind, enthusiastic gusto that you expect from the Tick. But this is the first version where there is actually deep, psychological development of some of the more “regular” characters, especially Arthur. For the first time these characters aren’t just send-ups of superhero tropes (though they are still that), but they’re actually fully-developed characters that have real lives. I’m also very surprised that Edlund decided to go for a much more mature-rated program: there is lots and lots of realistic blood and quite a but of foul language. But somehow the contrast between the Tick himself and this more-realistic world makes the character even more himself. Also: I <3 Dangerboat.

Link of the Month

I Went Gaming

A pair of people, the Lundy brothers, who make video games. They’re in the midst of a “game a month” spree throughout 2017 (though they’re a month behind). Are the games any “good?” It’s… hard to say, but the appeal lies in their absurd and funny themes and aesthetics. All the art is hand-drawn by Laramie Lundy (the Olive Fool of Fools Play Improv) in his signature disturbing style (he’s one of the artists behind The Abyss art book that came out last year). There’s a menu-based street fighter game, a punk Guinea pig racing game, a door-to-door knife salesman game, a game about joining a cult, and the like. They’re completely unpolished and rough, but there’s something irresistible (for a few minutes at least) about the worlds that they create.

Podcast of the Month

The Official Steven Universe Podcast

This podcast, all about the best TV show on the air right now, is actually recorded at the Cartoon Network offices and hosted by an intern there. As such, it has unprecedented access to all the people involved in the show; they mostly work literally just outside the room where this is recorded. It’s full of amazing insight and anecdotes and behind-the-scenes work about making the amazing Steven Universe.

Categories: Of the Month.

Monday, 3 July 2017

“Of the Month” July 2017

Album of the Month:

Steven Universe: Soundtrack (Vol. 1)

It’s SOOOO GOOOOD. I already wrote a post about it, so go read that.

Show of the Month:

GLOW

A (very) fictionalized account of the origins of the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling (GLOW) TV show and promotion from the 1980s. This is a raunchy, hard-R comedy about a struggling actress (played by Community’s Allison Brie), whom nobody likes, trying to find her place in this group of crazy and hilarious women. Standout performance by Marc Maron as the show’s director: a sleazy, insensitive man with a heart of more sleaze. It’s very funny and the 80s aesthetics are spot-on. There’s some great tension between wondering if this whole GLOW thing is empowering for the women involved or exploitative. Full disclosure: I’ve only watched the first 2 (of 10) episodes so far, so maybe the series sucks after that? But somehow I doubt it.

Organization of the Month:

Metropolitan Development Council of Tacoma (MDC)

In their own words:

MDC is a vital community resource for Tacoma and Pierce County. Founded in 1964 as a non-profit Community Action Agency. For most of our more than 50 year history, MDC has responded to community needs by providing services that address the needs of low-income families. We have introduced national model programs such as “Housing First,” “Healthcare for the Homeless,” “College Bound,” and the “Educational Opportunity Center,” which, in turn, have improved lives and given hope to thousands of residents. Known by many names in the early years (e.g. Tacoma Pierce County Opportunity and Development, Inc.), our legal name is Metropolitan Development Council. We are currently doing business as MDC.

These are good people doing real good for the people who need it. Donate today to help out.

Categories: Of the Month.

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Get the Official Steven Universe Soundtrack. Do It.

Qui sont les Gemmes de Cristal? NOUS sommes les Gemmes de Cristal!

Qui sont les Gemmes de Cristal? NOUS sommes les Gemmes de Cristal!

Last week finally saw the release of something Steven Universe fans have been clamoring for since days of yore, the release of the Official Soundtrack! I’ve been listening to it a lot and I’m not crying you’re crying shut up.

This isn’t just some “Best Of” travesty that has a handful of songs from the show, this album has 37 whopping songs for your enjoyment:

Most of these songs have been available on teh internets for a long time in various forms, especially from series composers Aivi and Surasshu’s Soundcloud account. Many of the songs, though have only been available because the audio was recorded directly from the broadcast episode, so the quality hasn’t been all that high. BUT NO LONGER! The songs on this album have all been re-mastered and any interfering sound effects removed. The results are gorgeous clarity.

Amusingly, even at 37 tracks there are some omissions. Most are tiny little ditties that Steven bursts out that only last a second or two, like “Steven Tag” and “Hey, Mr. Postman,” and “It Might As Well Be Your Birthday”—the last of which even has background music, watch:

But the two most grievous omissions are “Do or Do Nut,” Mr. Smiley’s hilarious workplace-safety song, and “Li’l Butler,” the brilliant theme song for an absurdly awful sitcom:

Minor quibbles, I assure you. Listening to this album in order is like listening to the core emotional evolution of the whole Steven Universe series. I mean, you don’t get songs like this in just any children’s cartoon:

Shut up I’m not crying you’re crying shut up.

The Steven Universe Soundtrack Vol. 1 (VOLUME ONE, PEOPLE; THEY GONNA MAKE MORE!!!!) is available on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, and Google Play. All 37 songs for less that ten bucks. GIT IT.

Categories: Music.

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

“Of the Month” January 2017

TV Show of the Month:
The Expanse
The Expanse

A very intelligent Sci-Fi show on the SyFy channel. At its heart it’s a mystery—Why did these events happen? Who orchestrated them? Why? How? It slowly unfolds into an epic scope but stays focused on a core cast of about six people, sifting its story through the lenses of three intertwining storylines: an old-fashioned, hard-boiled detective; a crew of working-class space miners; and a very powerful government worker of nebulous rank and legality. Periodic vignettes and flashbacks show what life is like in the Solar system about 200 years from now. Turns out it’s a gritty, downtrodden, paranoid place. A powderkeg waiting to blow. But should the fire be put out or should the flames be fanned? Gripping and exciting. Excellent.

Comic Book of the Month:

Steven Universe: Too Cool for School

Basically like an episode (or likely a two-parter) of the cartoon, “Too Cool for School” wonders what would happen if Connie took Steven to school for show and tell… and he ended up staying. There are monster fights, gem superhero action, and some junior-high drama all mixed in together. It’s great fun.

Tabletop Game of the Month:

Takenoko

Takenoko (Japanese for “Bamboo Shoot”) is a game about creating a bamboo garden in which a hungry panda lives. Points are scored by laying down certain configurations of garden tiles, by growing certain configurations of bamboo, or by having the panda eat certain configurations of bamboo. It’s a very easy game to learn with some surprisingly complex strategies, and the art style is delightful. The little panda playing piece is pretty durned cute!

Categories: Of the Month.

Friday, 3 June 2016

“Of the Month” June 2016

Book of the Month:
alif-the-unseen
Alif the Unseen by G. Willow Wilson

My second “Of the Month” in a row for G. Willow Wilson! I think that might be a first. Anyway, yes, apart from writing amazing comic books, Ms. Wilson also wrote this novel, an urban sci-fi/fantasy mashup that takes computer programming and djinn and wraps them up in a fascinating yarn that is ultimately about the importance and power of language. It’s rather fast-paced and its unnamed middle-eastern city setting is exceedingly well-drawn. Ms. Wilson certainly has a gift for descriptive prose. It’s like a cross between William Gibson and Neil Gaiman (particularly in one thrilling sequence where coding a program becomes an hallucinogenic vision trip). I wish the protagonist were just a bit more likeable, though; he tends to get pissy and mean when he’s under stress, and he’s under stress pretty much the whole entire book. Overall an excellent read.

Musicians of the Month:
aivisurasshu
Aivi & Surasshu

An amazing duo made up of two composers: an organic girl named Aivi and a machine boy named Surasshu. They make beautiful, lush compositions with classical instruments and chiptunes interwoven. They’ve written an album, but also music for video games as well as music (and songs) for Steven Universe! Yes, much of the mind-blowingly-awesome compositions from Steven Universe came from Aivi and Surasshu. So give them a listen, fo’ realsz.

TV Show of the Month:
puffin rock
Puffin Rock

When you have a toddler, you end up watching a bunch of TV aimed for the toddler market. A bunch of it is, let’s face it, crap. So when you find a great show, it’s like finding a diamond in the rough. Puffin Rock is an Irish-made cartoon about a small island off the coast of Ireland populated by shrews, seagulls, seals, crabs, and (of course) puffins. And it’s frikkin’ gorgeous. Seriously, this series has some of the best artwork I’ve seen in a cartoon. It’s like Little Golden Book come to life. And the characters are rather charming (their little Irish lilts do help quite a bit), especially main character Oona and her little brother Baba, who is undeniably one of the cutest cartoon characters in existence. The stories are light and breezy and never hit you too hard over the head with a moral or message. It’s fun. And oh-so-pretty.

Plus it’s narrated by Roy (Chris O’Dowd) from BBC’s The IT Crowd. Seriously. So that’s just a hoot. He gets flustered and tongue-tied sometimes, and sometimes even tries to interact with the characters and influence them in spite of the fact that they clearly cannot hear him. It’s some of the more enjoyable narration I can think of.

Puffin Rock is only available on Netflix in the states, but it’s worth it to seek it out if you have wee ones.

Categories: Of the Month.

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

“Of the Month” August 2015

Tweeter of the Month:
mindflakes
mindflakes

Mindflakes is funny. Take a wook:

Mindflakes is also exceptionally skilled at re-tweeting really funny tweets. I’ve found some of my favorite funny tweeters through mindflakes.

TV Show of the Month:
StevenUniverseLogo200
Steven Universe

Have I never actually done this as an “Of the Month” before? What is wrong with me!? This is the best show on television right now. Period. End of sentence.

At first glance it might seem to be in the same vein as Adventure Time (indeed, the show’s creator Rebecca Sugar (her real name) worked on Adventure Time before starting Steven Universe), but while Adventure Time takes place in a wacky, zany, anything-goes world, Steven Universe takes place in a much more intimate, careful, and unabashedly sentimental world. I’ve never seen a cartoon that hits more emotional buttons with such unnering accuraccy; it earns its sentimentality with incredibly thoughtful and insightful character work. Steven Universe is full of funny, quirky, heroic, and deeply-flawed characters who are all floundering through their world in their own ways, sometimes together and sometimes painfully alone. Heroes are allowed to make mistakes on this show, and it isn’t always wrapped neatly up by the end of the episode. Steven Universe also has some of the most careful and amazing backstory and world-building in any Sci-Fi show I’ve seen, as we view the world through Steven’s 10-year-old eyes and revelations are slowly and surprisingly stumbled upon by him.

Tabletop Game of the Month:
BANG200
BANG!

A game for a minimum of 4 people (or 3 if you get certain expansions) that simulates and old western. Each player is given a role: Sheriff, Deputy, Renegade, Outlaw(s). Each role has its own goal to complete to win the game: all the Outlaws must die for the Sheriff to win the game; the Sheriff must die for the Outlaw(s) to win the game; etc. It’s pretty fast-paced, and gameplay can take anywhere from a few minutes to quite a long time depending on just how good y’all are at killin’ each other.

Categories: Of the Month.

Monday, 13 July 2015

My Favorite Comic-Con Moments 2015

So San Diego Comic-Con is over, and there were lots of big announcements and blah-blah-blah Star Wars blah-blah-blah Batman v. Superman blah-blah X-Men Apocalypse blah-blah. You already know all about all of those, so I ain’t gunna get into ’em.

These are the things that happened at Comic-Con that I really enjoyed:

Junior Braves of the Apocalypse

A friend of mine had a comic book signing at Comic-Con. I still can’t get over that!

A FOOL DOES SOMETHING AWESOME: Congratulations to Michael Tanner, AKA the retired GREEN FOOL (on the right with the…

Posted by Fools Play Improv on Thursday, July 9, 2015

I mean, comicbookresources.com even did previews of this book. Hooray Michael Tanner! I <3 my famous friends.

Conan Goes to Comic-Con

The opening segment of Conan O’Brien’s week of shows filmed at Comic-Con was undoubtably the best part:

Joss Whedon’s Twist

Now that Joss Whedon is no longer the shepherd of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, he has time to do projects for himself for a change! First up: an original comic book about an original character:

Joss Whedon's Twist

Joss Whedon’s Twist

Joss Whedon had (unsurprisingly) my favorite single quote of the whole weekend when he described the book:

Basically deals with the most important moral question facing us, which is, why isn’t there a Victorian Female Batman? [1]

Steven Universe Extended Theme Song

There was a Steven Universe panel. And this happened:

I made the mistake of watching that during my lunch break at work last week. Fortunately no one else was around, so I didn’t have to explain that I was crying about a cartoon.

Marceline Sings!

There was an Adventure Time panel, which also contained Rebecca Sugar, the creator of Steven Universe. See, she worked on Adventure Time before starting Steven Universe, and she wrote a bunch of the most memorable songs for them. And she’s written a new song for Marceline. Whose voice actress, Olivia Olson, also just happened to be on the panel. So, y’know, she helped out:

Ash vs Evil Dead

I do believe this speaks for itself. Let me know if you’re confused about anything:

Wrongplayed

And, of course, one of my favorite Instagram accounts: Wrongplayed, that purposefully (and hilariously) misidentifies the various cosplay of the con:

I AM GROOT! #marvel #hookedonafeeling #vindiesel #wrongplay

A post shared by Greg and Mike (@wrongplayed) on

So that’s what I enjoyed and/or am looking forward to. How about you?

[1] http://io9.com/joss-whedon-just-explained-the-meaning-of-life-to-us-1717277218

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