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Deep Pulp

Sorcerer's Skull - Fri, 10/05/2018 - 11:00
Currently, I'm alternating my reading time between two pulp science fiction novels from the 1960s: Lin Carter's Tower of the Medusa and Gardner Fox's Warrior of Llarn. Neither writer is hailed for their great literary accomplishments, though Gardner Fox made substantial contributions to Silver Age comic book history. Both write in a style that harkens back to the days of the actual pulp magazines (which, in Fox's case is where he got his start) and whatever their deficiencies can occasionally turn out a serviceable yarn.
originally published in an Ace DoubleCarter has a flare for world-building, if occasionally done in too formulaic and always pretty derivative sort of way. He has a "genius" of combining subgenres that no one had put together before: His Lemuria stories, for instance are basically Conan in a Edgar Rice Burroughs yarn. His Gondwane tales are a faux Vancian mix Oz, Flash Gordon, and the Dying Earth. Tower of Medusa here feels a bit like a C.L. Moore riff in conception: In a future interstellar civilization where less of old knowledge makes ancient tech seem as magic (or maybe it was a fusion of the two?) a tough guy thief and his side kick are coerced into a difficult job: the theft of a jewel called Heart of Kom Yazoth. The story reads more like Moore's husband Henry Kuttner in his early pulp stuff. It has none of Moore's atmosphere. Still, it's an above average Carter effort, I feel like.

Warrior of Llarn is a Sword & Planet yarn. Earthman Alan Morgan gets transport to a distant world by means as yet mysterious. He saves a princess and gets involved with a war between two civilizations. The level of technology of the world is a bit higher than Barsoom, and Fox provides a Dune-esque (a year before Dune) explanation for why people with energy weapons might still use swords. Like Fox's earlier Adam Strange stories for DC, the planet has suffered a nuclear war in the past, which is the cause of it's strange creatures and current lower level of civilization. Fox's story is old fashion, even quaint in many ways, but he's accomplished at delivering the goods. It is not boring.

Calvin’s Commentaries: Button Men

First Comics News - Fri, 10/05/2018 - 07:15

Button Men has been around for a while now. Debuting back in 1999 when the characters were actually on pin-backed buttons, which was a rather cool idea.

You wore your button, and others, during game conventions and the like, wore theirs. Players would meet up and start rolling dice in a game based on the ‘button men’s’ stats.

In brief, “Button Men is a dice game about fighting. Each fighter is represented by a set of dice, and players take turns capturing each other’s dice. It’s a compact game that only takes about 10-minutes,” details the ruleset.

The game was popular and won the Origins Award for Best Abstract Board Game and Best Graphics Presentation of a Board Game.

“Over the years there have been several expansions to the game, from Cheapass Games and many licensees. There are more than 300 characters in the game, with new ones being added all the time.”

Fast forward to 2017 and the game has been re-released sans buttons, with the characters now on cards. The game lost a touch of its character with the switchover, but there is a cost-saving to production I am sure.

The game setting is now one centered on gangsters.

“Selaria, better known as Fight City, is a lawless town on America’s Gulf Coast. The year is 1952, and Fight City is in the middle of a never-ending crime war,” details the rules sheet.

“Fight City was founded in 1788, by shipwright Solaris Kronauer, and it has always been a strange world unto itself. The city sits at the mouth of the Lawaree River, between Alabama and Mississippi. Fight City is a haven for crime, double-dealing, and shady characters from all walks of life.

“Needless to say, everyone in this city has a good reason to pick a fight with just about everyone else.”

Of course, the background doesn’t influence gameplay, but it is a nice add-on in terms of flavour.

Button Men does remain a strategy dice game. It was designed by James Ernest.

The new ‘starter set’ contains 48 characters and enough dice to play. The suggestion it is a starter hint at expansions to come, which is not surprising given the number of characters in the earlier button run.

While this is basically players rolling a handful of dice, D4s through to D20s, and comparing numbers, there are some nice options to play as well.

For example, poison dice are worth negative points. If you keep one of your own poison dice, subtract its full size from your score. If you capture an opponent’s poison die, subtract half its size.

Poison dice can often be the deciding factor in a game, and they do influence play when used.

Shadow dice are another option. They cannot make power attacks. Instead, they make shadow attacks, which works slightly differently: use one of your shadow dice to capture one enemy die. “The captured die must show a number greater than or equal to the attacking die, but not greater than the attacker’s size,” states the rules.

And there is a rush attack: “use one of your rush dice to capture two of your opponent’s dice. The numbers on the target dice must add up exactly to the number on the attacking die…

“Rush dice also have a weakness. They can be captured in a rush attack by any type of die.”

The game could benefit with some alternate coloured dice to easily designate the specialty dice, although most gamers have tons of dice on-hand.

You will have to play with the specialty dice because they add some nice strategy to an otherwise rather boring dice-rolling contest. With the special dice, the game is well worthy of exploring.

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

Calvin’s Commentaries: Dikarya

First Comics News - Fri, 10/05/2018 - 07:04

It is very hard to beat an abstract strategy game that has wood pieces and a wooden board as well. Aesthetically, it is the epitome of beauty for me in terms of board games.

So when I first laid hands on Dikarya from designer and craftsman Nick Ryan I was immediately smiling.

Of course, good looks only go so far.

A game should be fun to play, and in the case of an abstract strategy game, it should be challenging as well. Perfect information games, in particular, two-player games of the genre, should make you think as you play.

In the case of Dikarya I was first aware the game was very much a tweaked version of a much older game, so thanks to email, I asked Ryan about this game’s specific origins.

“Dikarya is basically latrunculi which is an ancient Roman game,” he explained via return email.

For those not familiar latrunculi, www.boardgamegeek.com gives a quick history; “roughly translated as ‘Robbers’, this abstract battle game was known to be played by the Romans, and versions of the same game may well have been played before by the Ancient Greeks and Egyptians, and afterward by the Persians. Games archaeologists and historians disagree hotly about just about every aspect of this game: board size, number, and distribution of playing pieces, use of a king piece, age, priority, etc, etc; the list goes on. However, there is evidence that the game existed, both in literature and in archaeological finds.”

It was this ancient game from which Dikarya was born.

“I was searching for wholesale wooden pieces to purchase to produce my own Latrunculi game (Idyllwild games.com),” said Ryan. “I had a hard time finding the right pieces but did come across little mushroom-shaped wooden knobs, it sparked the idea of ‘Hey, I could make a mushroom themed Latrunculi!’(Dikarya is a subkingdom of fungi). Then I was thinking about the fungus theme and thought little spores would be a cool idea and would make the game unique.”

So how exactly does Dikarya play?

Each player places their 12 Soldiers along one side of the board and places their King on the row forward, four spaces from the right. Each player receives 3 Spores each, and are placed in the circles on their side of the board.

All pieces may move any number of spaces in the horizontal or vertical direction, except a placed Spore piece.

A single Soldier is captured if it is surrounded on two opposite sides. If a Soldier is “captured” remove it from the board.

Multiple Soldiers can be captured along a line.

Up to this point, the game mimics what many think the ancient game played like.

As Ryan noted the ‘spores’ add a new twist.

When an enemy Soldier is captured, the capturing player may place one of their Spores in the captured Soldier’s place.

When a Spore is placed, it becomes a “blockade” and cannot be moved for the remainder of the game.

A Spore placed on the field may be used – by either player – to capture another enemy Soldier(s).

The spores are an interesting addition to gameplay, adding a level of strategy regarding when to place them, and recognizing how that placement will affect the game moving forward.

Ryan said he developed the game because he likes the genre to start with.

“I love chess but when I played Latrunculi, I really loved the simple ‘back to basics’ gameplay,” he said. “It’s easy to teach newcomers. And if you like chess, Dikarya / Latrunculi is fresh, yet similar feeling.”

So are there tricks to being good at Dikarya.

“My wife is actually better than I am,” offered Ryan. “I would say stay focused and don’t be too aggressive. Also moving a piece to a square that is diagonal of an enemy piece is usually a good move.”

You will want to note the suggestion because this is a beautifully made game that really should be on a gamer’s want list.

Check it out at the above-mentioned website.

Thanks to fellow gamer Adam Daniels for his help in running through this game for review.

 

 

 

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

New Anti-Drug Awareness Video “A Single Moment Matters” Launches to Highlight the Devastating Effects of Drugs  

First Comics News - Fri, 10/05/2018 - 06:41

ELKS DAP (Drug Awareness program) and the DEA create new video in partnership with SMOSH and Stan Lee’s POW! Entertainment

 

 

October 4, 2018; ELKS DAP (Drug Awareness Program), the nation’s largest all volunteer drug education group, and the DEA, today released a national awareness video “A Single Moment Matters” as a powerful campaign to bring awareness to the long-term effects of drugs. The video will premiere on SMOSH, the largest digital comedy brand in the world, and was created in partnership with Stan Lee’s POW! Entertainment.

 

The video is available on SMOSH’s hugely popular SMOSH Pit YouTube channel starting today, October 4th 2018, along with additional content running on SMOSH’s Twitter & Instagram pages using the hashtag #ElksDAP. Viewers can watch the full video or a short overview using the following links:



 

The drug awareness video is created to show how easily a single moment in your life can put you on a path to drug addiction and severe consequences in your life. The video is shot using popular SMOSH talent. In the video the SMOSH cast members Courtney Miller, Keith Leak Jr., and Noah Grossman are thrust into a situation in which, unbeknownst to them, they will meet an alternate version of themselves and see what life could have been like for them had they gone down a different path. The stories show how easy it can be to slip into an addiction, with one story showing how Noah had become addicted to drugs after an accident.

 

Celebrity make-up artists helped depict the physical effects of various narcotics and prescription drugs on the young SMOSH talent to create a real-life before and after transformation of the actors, leading to dramatic and emotional reactions as they see themselves in these devastating situations. The video shows the shocking effects each drug has had on them and in each case the SMOSH actors struggle to grasp what they are seeing. The experience is shocking and genuinely emotional as they see their own reality recreated in such a dramatic and devastating way.

 

The video is produced by SMOSH, in partnership with ELKS DAP, the DEA and Stan Lee’s POW! Entertainment. Stan Lee’s POW! Entertainment joined as a producing partner and was passionate about the project as co-founder Stan Lee has been including real-life issues in his superhero characters since the 1970’s. In 1971, Stan Lee was asked to include an anti-drug story line in the Spider-Man comics while at Marvel and now in 2018, Stan Lee and his company, Stan Lee’s POW! Entertainment, continue this tradition by partnering with YouTube sensation SMOSH, the DEA and the nation’s largest all-volunteer drug awareness program ELKS DAP to create a very special anti-drug video for release on the SMOSH Pit YouTube Channel.

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

Two Major Franchises are Creating their own Exclusive Streaming Services. But is This a Move that Could Backfire?

First Comics News - Fri, 10/05/2018 - 06:31

Give people easy access to what they want, at a reasonable price, and they will gladly become your customer. It’s a mantra that has seen the rise of many an internet streaming giant in the last ten or so years.

And now, we have two new contenders for our viewing dollars.

Officially launched on September 15, DC Universe ($7.99 per month or $74.99 Year) is a bright shiny new streaming service that promises subscribers a mix of “new original live-action and animated series,” along with “classic TV series and films, a curated selection of comic books, breaking news, an expansive encyclopedia, and access to exclusive merchandise.”

We all know how popular comic characters are these days, and Warner Bros is jumping in with both feet in an attempt to capitalize on the DC comic franchises.  https://www.dcuniverse.com/join/

Not simply a place to stream new TV shows and old episodes of DC properties. DC Universe also features “a rotating, curated selection of digital comic books” that you can read on your phone or tablet as well as plenty of merchandise offerings you won’t find anywhere else.

The crown jewel of this new streaming service is a gritty and dark series, Titans following

Dick Grayson (Brenton Thwaites) and a rag-tag group of soon-to-be superheroes including Starfire (Anna Diop), Raven (Teagan Croft), and Beast Boy (Ryan Potter).

Their initial offerings sound tempting but it should be noted that many of the DC properties and blockbuster movies like Wonder Woman, Man of Steel, or Justice League are still under contract with other streaming platforms. It’s unlikely they’ll be popping up on DC Universe any time soon. The same goes for the CW’s Arrowverse. This undercuts the “exclusivity” angle this service is aiming for and if their initial offerings are not enough to hold consumer interest, it is likely they’ll see subscription numbers decline quickly.

 

While DC Universe might have a huge mountain to climb to become a streaming giant in its own right, another major player, Disney is also developing their own exclusive streaming service. And unlike DC, they have plenty of exclusivities to offer right off the bat. Hello Disney Vault… Yeah, well played.

Disney Play – Will launch in 2019 (Estimated between $8 and $14 a month.)

In August of last year, Disney CEO Bob Iger announced that the company would soon pull its beloved animated titles from the streaming service and all other competitors.

CEO Bob Iger revealed that about 500 movies from the Disney library, along with about 7,000 episodes of Disney TV shows, will hit the service. https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/disney-ceo-bob-iger-says-marvel-star-wars-movies-will-be-streaming-service-1034566?_ga=2.77822932.1373301270.1538144346-7329109.1538144346

The entire output of the studio, animation, live action at Disney, including Pixar, Star Wars and all the Marvel films. Star Wars and Marvel fans will have plenty to be excited about.

Jon Favreau is making a live-action Star Wars series that’s set three years after Return of the Jedi. MCU fans can look forward to live-action Loki and Scarlet Witch shows, starring Tom Hiddleston and Elizabeth Olsen.

https://www.syfy.com/syfywire/whats-on-disney-play-disneys-streaming-service

While Disney will launch with plenty of exclusivity, there will be some initial comingling of Disney owned properties as contracts and rights expire.

Netflix currently has a deal with Disney for the streaming rights to Marvel and Star Wars movies until 2020. This means after Ant-Man and the Wasp, there will be no more MCU movies on Netflix. Starting with Captain Marvel, Disney Play will be the only place to stream the franchise.

Netflix also holds streaming rights to the Netflix original series featuring Marvel characters: Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, The Defenders, and The Punisher. This is unlikely to change.

Hulu’s original Marvel series Runaways will also likely remain on Hulu, as Disney hasn’t indicated that it will be nabbing that series. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/05/business/media/disney-streaming-service-ricky-strauss.html

In addition to the Netflix and Hulu offerings, there will be some delay on Star Wars Movies reaching the Disney Play service. Television rights to Episodes 1-6 of the movie franchise are currently held by Turner Broadcasting and do not expire until 2024

It should be noted that the Disney brand is considered family friendly (though they own studios that produce adult oriented content) so there won’t be any R-rated movies on Disney Play platform

With all the exclusive content, these services seem like true contenders to the three giants currently dominating the internet streaming services. But I have to wonder if Warner Bros and Disney have considered the implications of adding to the glut of streaming services already available to consumers. What impact will this additional exclusivity mean in the digital marketplace? Would it have been more prudent to team up with a current giant and share in the profits?

Looking back at the impact of the rise of streaming media, there is a very clear correlation between cost and ease of access that allowed the current giants to get where they were.

In the early aught’s Cable reigned supreme offering upwards of 400 channels to consumers for roughly $200 a month. Then between 2006 and 2008 consumers were introduced to streaming services like Amazon Video(06), Netflix (07), Hulu (08).

Hulu, at $14.99 a month, promised next-day views of most current cable Television season shows.

Netflix, at $10.99 a month, promised full season binging at the click of a button as well as a huge list of popular movies.

Amazon, (Included with a Prime Membership) $8.99 monthly, hosted a seemingly unending library of movies, television, and niche documentaries.

Give people easy access to what they want, at a reasonable price, and they will gladly become your customer.

These three giants changed the way we watched television. Their offerings overlapped some, but each had its specific target and hit the bullseye every time. Cost played a huge factor in consumers adopting the new platforms. Combined at just under $35 a month, consumers could stream all three for a fraction of the cable bill they were currently paying and switch to a lighter, and easier to afford internet service bill.

The rise of these three streaming services had another unexpected corollary effect. BitTorrent, commonly used to share files and known as a marketplace for media piracy began to see a serious decline. According to Sandvine’s new Global Internet Phenomena report: sandvine.com

In 2011, file sharing was huge on fixed networks and tiny on mobile. In the Americas, for example, 52.01% of upstream traffic on fixed networks and 3.83% of all upstream mobile traffic was BitTorrent. In Europe, it was even more, with 59.68% of upstream on fixed and 17.03% on mobile. By 2015, those numbers had fallen significantly, with Americas being 26.83% on the upstream and Europe being 21.08% on just fixed networks.

During the rise of the three major Streaming services (potentially unethical) file sharing via BitTorrent was on the decline. Pirate streaming sites like TVShack.net, PlanetMoviez.com, ThePirateCity.org and Ninjavideo.net, found their end between 2010 and 2012 (Some still continue to operate, though less trafficked today) as the three streaming giants beefed up their video offerings while keeping cost low.

Give people easy access to what they want, at a reasonable price, and they will gladly become your customer.

Today there are countless streaming outlets and smart TV’s capable of connecting consumers with the shows they want, but the top three remain so because they have grown and adapted with the times.

New players emerged during the rise of streaming, offering specialty content, access to cable television channels without the high price tag, and seasonal favorites only available through their connection.

Showtime

Price: $11 per month, or $9 per month when purchased through certain services, such as Amazon Prime and Hulu.

HBO Now

Price: $15 per month.

Starz

Price: $9 per month.

Sling TV

Price: Sling Orange costs $25 per month; Sling Blue costs $25 per month. A combined package still costs $40 per month. Add-on packs cost $5 to $10 extra per month.

While these offerings are not a complete list, they are at the top of the list. They represent services that consumers use when they want exclusive content, and cancel when they’ve finished watching. HBO for example, with its hit series, Game of Thrones, sees its subscriber’s rise and decline yearly as the season runs its course.

When you add up all the potential channels and offerings, the resulting monthly cost begins to rise to the levels of Cable TV subscriptions. A fact the big Cable companies are aware of and use to lure consumers back to their annual contracts.

Along with the rising cost of accessing all this exclusive content, the corollary effect we saw between 2011 and 2015, with the decline of BitTorrent, has begun to reverse course in the last two years. The rising cost of specialty streaming services with exclusive content are beginning to push consumers to seek other methods of finding what they want without going over budget.

Too many services, not giving people easy access to what they want, while adding to consumer’s financial burden, will undoubtedly see their customer base dwindle.

The market is already flooded by an overwhelming assortment of specialty streaming services and piracy on the rise again. I have to wonder whether or not the exclusivity of these two new streaming platforms was truly the best idea. And as I asked above. Would it have been more prudent for these media giants to team up with the current streaming platforms? Would that have been the more profitable move? Only time will tell.

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

ART OF WRESTLING ROAD DIARIES 28. The Kingdom

First Comics News - Fri, 10/05/2018 - 06:10

Guests: Matt Taven, TK O’Ryan & Vinny Marseglia. The Kingdom has been a great stable for ROH for over two years. Colt and the whole crew get together and talk wrestling and life.

Sponsor:
www.BlueChew.com (Code: COLT)

Music:
www.youtube.com/TheUkuleleTeacher
www.superfunyeahyeahrocketship.com

Image Photo:
www.portraitofawrestler.com/

Image Design:
Jimmy Lee

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

Action Lab Entertainment Exclusives For NYCC 2018

First Comics News - Fri, 10/05/2018 - 06:07

Limited edition comics are available for purchase while supplies last.

Action Lab Entertainment will be exhibiting several limited edition New York Comic Con exclusives at Booth 3044. In addition to their mature Danger Zone imprint exclusives, they’ll have an exclusive cover for MIRACULOUS ADVENTURES OF LADYBUG & CAT NOIR.

MIRACULOUS ADVENTURES OF LADYBUG & CAT NOIR #5
Created by: Thomas Astruc
Written by: Thomas Astruc, Mélanie Duval, Fred Lenoir, Bryan Seaton & Sébastien Thibaudeau
Artist Name(s): Zag Entertainment
Cover Artist(s): Brian Hess
Letters by: Justin Birch
Edited by: Nicole D’Andria and Bryan Seaton

This issue of Miraculous: Adventures of Ladybug and Cat Noir collects four Zag Entertainment webisodes: “Inspiration”, “Busy Day”, “Homework Essay” and “The Notebook”. Join Marinette as she gets inspired by the amazing city of Paris, tries to bake enough macaroons in order to spend time with Adrien, writes an essay about a person who inspires her and helps Rose (along with the rest of her friends) try to feel better after Chloé insults her.

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

Krypton: Emmett J. Scanlan to Appear as Lobo

First Comics News - Thu, 10/04/2018 - 22:32

Let’s hear it for the Main Man!

At San Diego Comic-Con this summer, the producers of Krypton announced that Lobo, the intergalactic bounty hunter known for his mean attitude and meaner right hook, would be prominently featured in the SYFY Superman prequel’s second season. Today, it was announced that Irish actor Emmett J. Scanlan will be the man bringing the universe’s last Czarnian to life.

Krypton’s take on Lobo will be a ruthless bounty hunter who murdered his entire species, and who possesses a genius level intellect when it comes to matters of warfare, making him a deadly adversary. Imbued with superhuman strength and virtually immortal, Lobo will keep coming until the job is finished. His word is the only thing Lobo holds sacred; and although he’ll never violate the letter of an agreement, he might disregard its spirit from time to time!

That description sounds pretty true to Lobo’s comic book iteration as well. Lobo was born into the utopian society of Czarnia, but left after wiping out his entire race. Since then, he has worked as one of the universe’s most effective, relentless and violent bounty hunters. Part of what makes him so good at his job is his ridiculous power set. The guy has super strength that rivals Superman’s (and let’s not forget, in Krypton, Superman doesn’t yet exist), plus he has powerful regenerative healing and is essentially immortal. And that’s to say nothing about his practical skills. Lobo is one of the best brawlers in the universe, as well as an excellent tactician.

It remains to be seen how Lobo is portrayed on Krypton, but as his fans know, he isn’t always a villain, and lately has been portrayed as more of an antihero. While Lobo’s not above lying, cheating, stealing and killing, he is a man of his word when it comes to any contract he takes on, and sometimes those contracts are actually to the benefit of the universe. In fact, this code of his has allowed him to forge understandings and alliances with many of the DC Universe’s heroes, including some of the Green Lanterns, Superman and most recently, Batman, who enlisted Lobo into the Justice League of America.

Scanlan has had a long career in the Irish, British and American film and TV industries, with hefty roles in Safe, The Fall and long-running British soap Hollyoaks, and will appear in this season of Amazon’s Lore. On the film side, his most notable role was in Guardians of the Galaxy, but if he looks familiar to DC fans it’s likely because he played Det. Jim Corrigan in two episodes of NBC’s Constantine. (Sadly, though, we never got to see his Corrigan become host to the Spectre before the series was cancelled.)

While Lobo has appeared in a large number of DC’s animated series, including Superman: The Animated Series, Justice League, Young Justice and Justice League Action, as well as in 2013’s Injustice: Gods Among Us, this will mark his very first appearance in live action.

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

DC MEET THE PUBLISHERS PANEL FEATURED SURPRISE GUESTS WITH EXCITING NEWS TO KICK OFF NEW YORK COMIC CON

First Comics News - Thu, 10/04/2018 - 22:20

Acclaimed Writer Brian Michael Bendis Reveals His Curated Wonder Comics Imprint

DC Icon Marv Wolfman Talks About His Upcoming Comic Book Based on Funko’s New Line of DC Primal Age Action Figures

Whenever DC publishers Dan DiDio and Jim Lee host a “Meet the Publishers” panel to kick off New York Comic Con it’s always full of surprises for the fans who attend, and this afternoon’s curtain-raiser was no exception.

In addition to talking about the success of books like Tom King’s HEROES IN CRISIS and the success of the Walmart 100-Page Giant comics, the publishers revealed their first surprise to fans when they invited superstar writer Brian Michael Bendis to the stage to talk about his work on SUPERMAN and ACTION COMICS, as well as his creator-owned stories from Jinxworld.

But Bendis came with news of his own, revealing the first details of WONDER COMICS, his personally curated line of teen-focused, in-continuity comic books scheduled to debut in early 2019. The line will be anchored by the return of Impulse (Bart Allen) and Superboy (Conner Kent), teaming up with Robin (Tim Drake) as the nucleus of an all-new YOUNG JUSTICE, which Bendis will write with art by his ACTION COMICS partner in crime, Patrick Gleason. As a tease for his Saturday evening spotlight panel, Bendis also announced the rest of the first wave of titles:

  • NAOMI, which Bendis will co-write with David Walker (CYBORG), featuring art by Jamal Campbell (JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA: VIXEN)
  • WONDER TWINS, written by Mark Russell (THE FLINTSTONES, EXIT STAGE LEFT: THE SNAGGLEPUSS CHRONICLES, DC Black Label’s SECOND SON) with art by Stephen Byrne (JUSTICE LEAGUE/POWER RANGERS)
  • DIAL H FOR HERO, an updated take on the Silver Age classic series from the team of writer Sam Humphries (HARLEY QUINN, GREEN LANTERNS) and artist Joe Quinones (BLACK CANARY/ZATANNA)

The panel had even more surprises in store: Dan DiDio made reference to a recent interview on DC Daily where he talked about finding some old sketches and designs for a 1980s-era comic and toy line called Primal Age. With an announcement by Funko of a new retro-style barbarian fantasy-themed action figure line called DC Primal Age, Dan had to confess that the interview he did was part of a larger stunt and there was never a comic planned.

However, the joke was on Dan when DC writing icon Marv Wolfman took the stage. Wolfman spoke with Dan and Jim about his plans to write a comic book based on this new line of toys by Funko, with art provided by Scott Koblish. Titled DC PRIMAL AGE, Wolfman revealed initial details about his story, explaining the mythos behind the toy line and how it will be rooted in the sword and sorcery genre, reminiscent of DC comics like WARLORD and HERCULES UNBOUND. In addition, the DC PRIMAL AGE comic will also include several short stories featuring DC characters rendered in the style of Funko’s new action figure line.

Fans received a firsthand look at the new line and were treated to a special surprise, receiving a New York Comic Con exclusive Mr. Freeze DC PRIMAL AGE figure.

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

KIRKMAN ANNOUNCES FINAL STORY ARC OF OUTCAST BY KIRKMAN & AZACETA

First Comics News - Thu, 10/04/2018 - 21:18

PORTLAND, OR, 10/04/2018 — Robert Kirkman took to the stage today at New York Comic Con to announce the series’ final story arc of his co-created horror series with Paul Azaceta, OUTCAST BY KIRKMAN & AZACETA. The final arc will kick off in December with issue #37.

The final arc will build to a crescendo of plot twists over the course of twelve issues and end on issue #48 will the long-planned ending to the psychological horror series first launched in 2014 to critical acclaim.

“It’s been a long road getting here–but I’ve said since the beginning Outcast was the first series I started where I had the ending planned before we began,” said Kirkman. “We’ve been building to what’s coming since the very first issue and it’s great to finally be at the point where we can tell this final epic storyline! Working with Paul has been an absolute thrill and I’m extremely proud of what we’ve done together over what will be a five year journey.”

OUTCAST BY KIRKMAN & AZACETA follows Kyle Barnes, a young man who has been plagued by demonic possession all his life and now he needs answers. Unfortunately, what he uncovers along the way could bring about the end of life on Earth as we know it.

OUTCAST BY KIRKMAN & AZACETA #37 (Diamond Code OCT180225) will hit stores on Wednesday, December 19th. The final order cutoff deadline for comics retailers is Monday, November 26th.

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

[EHM 2018-10-04b] Exhibition Eleven Sens 3 @ Habs 6

Furiously Eclectic People - Thu, 10/04/2018 - 20:24

Trade
Defensive LD-man Simon Bourque was traded to Calgary for LD Brett Kulak who arrived lacking game fitness and was sent to the farm.

This may be Koivu's last game to prove himself.

    Hischier(7)-Domi(8)-Dadanov(8)
    Byron(6)-Rychel(7)-Gallagher(7)
    Thornton(9)-Dawes(8)-Lehkonen(7)
    Koivu(8)-Jokinen(7)-Baun(7)
    Valiev(7)-Weber(9)
    Alzner(9)-Green(8)
    Sergachev(8)-Honka(8)
    Haugen(-)
    Zenko(6)

The Sens goalie made this an easy game and a surprise for Habs fans hoping to see Koivu succeed. Is it too little too late?

Sens took 9 penalties and the Habs stayed out of the box...

Haugen was slated to start but at the last minute Hartley put Zenko between the pipes. We have no idea why.

Byron had a tough game and struggled at times but did pot a goal. Domi had the most minutes for a forward and Green had 27 minutes!

One of the main changes this game was Koivu's line being limited to 20 second shifts, so his linemates saw less than 10 minutes of action while he pulled extra time on the powerplay where he assisted on two goals. One was a faceoff draw to Alzner who tossed it toward the net and it bounced of a Sens player tied up with Dadanov. Faceoffs is one of the reasons Koivu was coveted.

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Categories: Miscellaneous Blogs

Cullen Bunn and Laura Braga join the Archie Horror squad as two new mini-series launch!

First Comics News - Thu, 10/04/2018 - 19:34


BLOSSOMS 666 #1: CVR A Braga

BLOSSOMS 666 #1 cover art by Laura Braga

Comics horror-meister Cullen Bunn and artist Laura Braga are bringing the trouble-making Blossom twins into the Archie Horror stable with a brand new mini-series!

In BLOSSOM 666, launching January 2019, Cheryl and Jason Blossom seem like the wealthy, popular, and likeable teens we know and love, but in this world they harbor a deep, dark secret — one of them is the Anti-Christ! Both want the title, and no one in Riverdale is safe. As Cullen puts it, the new mini is “one part Omen, one part Cruel Intentions, all Archie!”

And Archie Horror has one more surprise up its sleeve next year — two popular series will collide in JUGHEAD: THE HUNGER VS. VAMPIRONICA! The mini-series, from the HUNGER creative team of writer Frank Tieri and artists Pat & Tim Kennedy, will be an all-fangs-bared fight to the gory finish as each world’s dominant monster faces a brutal challenge to the status quo. As Frank says, we can be pretty sure that “all hell breaks loose (maybe quite literally).”


JUGHEAD: THE HUNGER VS. VAMPIRONICA Teaser Art

JUGHEAD: THE HUNGER VS. VAMPIRONICA teaser art by Pat & Tim Kennedy, Bob Smith, and Matt Herms

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

OSR Commentary In Praise Of DA2 Temple of The Frog By Dave Arneson, & David J. Ritchie For Your Old School Campaigns

Swords & Stitchery - Thu, 10/04/2018 - 17:45
"Green Death... That's what old hands call the Great Dismal Swamp. For centuries, this tangled maze of sluggish watercourses, stagnant ponds, and festering marshes has defended Blackmoor's southwestern frontier. Large armies and smaller parties have disappeared altogether inside its vast, dripping, claustrophobic corridors. Among those who have dropped from sigh in this arboral hellNeedleshttp://www.blogger.com/profile/11243274667834930867noreply@blogger.com0
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Okay, Cut to the Chase! Kickstarter - How Much?

Two Hour Wargames - Thu, 10/04/2018 - 15:07

The Kickstarter launches tomorrow. So what is it going to cost? Good question.
Each pledge level has two prices -  PDF (cheaper, but you print the game) and Printed and bagged, with the option to buy a printed for the game cardboard box.

Lowest pledge is for 1 PDF game - $30 and the highest is $350 and you get 18 printed games!  The "sweet spot" is 10 games as that gets you all of the Stretch Goals.

The Stretch Goals will get you FREE games and drive down the price of the 11th or higher game you want to buy.  You can buy one of each or 18 of one or any combination in between.This is a great Kickstarter to go in with your friends. Plus as we collect shipping after the project funds, each friend can pay for their own shipping, so even your faraway friends can join the fun.

The Kickstarter launches tomorrow - Friday the 5th at 10 AM US Eastern Time.
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

LoJack for computers used to attack European government bodies

Malwarebytes - Thu, 10/04/2018 - 15:00

Security researchers have detected the first known instance of a UEFI bootkit being used in targeted campaigns against government entities across Central and Eastern Europe. The attack focuses on UFEI-enabled computers and relies on a persistence mechanism that has been stolen from a legitimate, but often questioned, software called Computrace that comes by default on many computer systems.

This Computrace agent from Absolute Software is a service designed to recover lost or stolen computers, the underlying technology of which is based on the LoJack Stolen Vehicle Recovery System. In 2005, Absolute Software licensed the LoJack name and subsequent tracking technology to aid in recovery efforts of stolen computers. After negotiations with manufacturers, the Computrace agent from Absolute Software—or LoJack for computers—now comes pre-loaded on a large number of machines.

The Computrace software uses a novel method to maintain persistence on computers. This methodology allows the code to remain through a re-installation of the operating system or replacement of the hard drive. The software does this by tightly integrating into low-level operations that are stored within SPI flash memory modules located on the physical motherboard of the computer. These memory modules are where pertinent system resources, such as BIOS and UFEI procedures, are stored.

An Eset white paper details how Trojanized versions of the Computrace agent have been compromised to allow attackers the ability to execute arbitrary code on vulnerable machines. This code can be stored within the SPI flash modules, which prevents easy detection from many security solutions. This code execution ability, along with the persistence and tracking capabilities of the Computrace software, makes for an extremely effective combination that is difficult to detect or remediate. Eset is calling this threat the LoJax malware.

As of this writing, use of this particular attack methodology appears to be limited in scope. Research indicates that the purpose of this novel attack vector has been to install the XAgent Remote Access Trojan, which others in the security industry have linked to the Russian hacking group that goes by many names including: APT28, Fancy Bear, and Sednit.

The successful execution of the malware payload is dependent upon a computer system that has been configured to disable the Secure Boot protections that come standard on newer Windows computers.

Secure Boot is a security feature of UFEI-enabled computers, and it requires a legitimate digital signature before the system is allowed to execute any code stored within the SPI flash memory module. This is a current limitation of the LoJax malware, as the code does not have a digital signature. This prevents code execution in environments where Secure Boot is enabled, such as Windows 8 and Windows 10.

Users of Linux or other unsupported operating systems will not have the built-in protections of Secure Boot due to incompatibility with those devices. Users who must disable such protections in order to use necessary or desired software will need to remain diligent.

Though currently limited in scope, we anticipate seeing this attack vector employed by other malware families and attackers in the future.

The post LoJack for computers used to attack European government bodies appeared first on Malwarebytes Labs.

Categories: Techie Feeds

Constructing A Dark Sun and A Dying Earth

Sorcerer's Skull - Thu, 10/04/2018 - 11:00
Art by Don DixonStill ruminating on my Dark Sun riff, I figure first things first: that dark sun. Smith and Vance provide the prototype. As the Smith writes in the "Dark Eidolon": "...the sun no longer shone with the whiteness of its prime, but was dim and tarnished as if with a vapor of blood."

Not that it needs to be even vaguely scientific, but the usual way people give this a scientific veneer is to have the Sun (or whatever star) have turned red giant in old age. In our solar system, current theory suggests the Earth will have been scorched by the Sun's increasing luminosity billions of years before it goes red giant and consumes the planet entirely, but again fantasy. Also, even a red giant star burns white hot, so would hardly be "tarnished as if with a vapor of blood," but that's seldom concerned sci-fi writers, and shouldn't unduly concern us.

Another option, rather than the very luminous red giant, is the small, dark, and cooler red dwarf star. It is true that our Sun (or any star) won't become a red dwarf as it's dying--in fact red dwarfs are very long lived--but hey magic or sufficiently advanced science, right?


A red dwarf wouldn't typically look red in the sky either, but it's light diffused through dust or clouds would definitely be more orangish, at least, and it would be dim enough that you could look at it and see flares and things on it's surface. Dim enough, and close enough, because the habitable zone of a red dwarf would be very close to the star, so an Earth like world would be huddled in like a person around a campfire on a cold night.

The thing about being so close to the star as that it would likely mean the world was tidally locked; It might well present the same face to the star at all times and have a dayside and a nightside. This could then be a world with a scorching day time desert and a freezing night time desert, but it also offers other possibilities. Of course, the planet could have a 3:2 resonance like Mercury, rather than a 1:1 tidal lock like the Moon, too.

So doing a little bit of calculation, and a little bit of making stuff up, here's what I came up with: An world tidally locked to a dwarf star. It's day side is a scorching desert, dotted with dead cities and desiccated sea basins from before whatever happened happened. On the day side over the equator, the sun would be white and a little over 3 times as large as the Sun is in our sky.  Further from the equator and the prime meridian (not as arbitrarily placed on a world where the sun doesn't move) the sun is lower in the sky and redder in color.

Moving toward the night side, the land would become a little less dry by stages until you reached the terminator (no, not that one) where there would be forest and jungle cloaked in eternal twilight and wracked by fierce storms caused by the meeting of the hot air from dayside and the cold air of the nightside. Here be monsters.

Most of the night side, lit only by the stars, is a cold ocean. As we all know places of eternal night are havens of undead, and so must it be here. And of course, sea monsters.

[EHM 2018-10-04] Exhibition Nine-Ten

Furiously Eclectic People - Thu, 10/04/2018 - 04:03

Exhibition Nine Devils 4 @ Habs 7

    Hischier(10)-Domi(10)-Dadanov(10)
    Byron(8)-Rychel(9)-Jokinen(7)
    Thornton(8)-Dawes(8)-Reaves(6)
    Koivu(6)-Ritchie(8)-Tatar(8)
    Valiev(10)-Weber(7)
    Alzner(7)-Green(8)
    Ouellet(6)-Honka(6)
    Zenko(6)
    Price(-)

Green just edged out Weber for the most ice-time for defense and Rychel took it for offense. Ouellett, Ritchie and Tatar had the least.

The top line really seemed to click which may change Gallagher's position. Thornton and Dawes continue to gel as did Ritchie and Tatar. Koivu continues to struggle on the team. Ouellet seems destined for the farm. Valiev had his best game so far!

Team stats were pretty even other than goals and a complete reliance of Montreal on Zenko who had no one blocking shots.

Media: Price rated top goalie, Weber rated 4th best defenseman, Goldobin rated 5th top prospect.

Exhibition Ten Bolts 3 @ Habs 9

    Hischier(9)-Domi(10)-Dadanov(10)
    Byron(7)-Rychel(9)-Gallagher(8)
    Thornton(10)-Dawes(10)-Deslauriers(8)
    Koivu(6)-Tatar(7)-Lehkonen(7)
    Valiev(9)-Weber(8)
    Alzner(8)-Green(10)
    Sergachev(9)-Honka(9)
    Zenko(6)
    Price(-)
    IR-Shipachyov
    HS-Ouellet-Ritchie-Reaves (Baun-Jokinen - try-outs)

Domi and Dadanov as well as Thornton and Dawes had solid chemistry this game. We only had one minor penalty as well. Weber and Thornton had the most ice time for Defense-Forward respectively. Sergachev's reduced ice-time seemed to help him.

This defense lineup all played well. The forwards too except Koivu's line which continues to suffer. Deslauriers also did very little.

It's a conundrum with Koivu. Kersus thought he'd love to finish his career where his brother was so successful and he had the right skillset to fill out the roster. If he continues to perform poorly, Pezzetta is the likely suspect to come up and replace him. Even so, he may be a great asset in the playoffs so it might be worthwhile letting him plod along in the season.

Pezzetta grinds and goes to the net. He's a little small for his aggressive play but stands his own. Who would work well with him? Deslauriers and Lehkonen? Jokinen and Tatar? On the other hand, Byron is showing promise at centre between Rychel and Gallagher. When Shipachyov is healthy, maybe Byron centres the fourth line.

I should mention that when Ouellet was signed, there was a scramble of offers to trade Drouin made by the Habs to numerous teams. They didn't take the best potential deal, just the very first one to be accepted which bundled Drouin with a 2021 3rd pick and was sent to the Jets for their 2019 2nd round pick and 2020 1st and 2nd round picks.

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Categories: Miscellaneous Blogs

1232

Looking For Group - Thu, 10/04/2018 - 04:00

The post 1232 appeared first on Looking For Group.

Categories: Web Comics

HackMoor 2018/09/27 Negotiating with Dragons?

Furiously Eclectic People - Thu, 10/04/2018 - 03:24

​Games are on Thursday nights sometime after 6:30PM at World's Best Comics, 9714 Warwick Blvd Newport News, Virginia 23601.

We had a split meat-lover's pizza, with pepperoni removed from one half of it.

PART 1.

++++ START OF SESSION ++++

From the previous session we left off with a Troll making a critical hit on Jacko, That having been decided, we settled for my in-house critical hit that we call the "cheese" crit (because it is so cheesy). For those that haven't see my in-house cheese-crit table here it is, based on a second roll of a 20 sided die:

15 - max damage
16 - double damage
17 - double max damage
18 - triple damage die
19 - triple max damage
20 - character death

I adopted this from an early Dragon Mazazine (I think). Maybe it was an issue of White Dwarf? Not sure. Anyway it was written before munchkins padded their hit points and before the 20 hit point kicker from HackMaster. It was deadlier back then. I also never incorporated penetration rolls, which the "max" result should utilize, maybe I should.

Maybe I should also modify the table with a Quadruple and Pentuple progression?

So anyway the Trolls fought until they died and the Fire Giants were still throwing rocks from a distance. Player characters were moving to go face to face, err face to knee with the giants.

Then the Young Blue Dragon showed up, on his round he flew over the giants and landed between the party and the frontrunners who had decided to meet the giants. (There was a small argument about about flying in a dungeon with a dragon's wingspan. I countered this was a "cavern" entrance which was 80 feet wide, and it was a "young" dragon anyway. Not to mention it opens up to the Mushroom forest which was thousands of feet wide and hundreds high.

Anyway, just after the Blue Dragon landed, another Young Red Dragon appeared in the same tunnel.

Jacko, who could speak dragon, decided to negotiate.

A "Cease Fire" was called for.

It took a few rounds, but basically it boiled down to: One, two, three, four, what are we fightin' for? We didn't bother with the Pearly Gates because the Party was still on the Prime Material Plane.

The Dragons stated they were the "pets" of the Fire Giant tribe. However the Dragons think the giants are "their" pets, but don't tell the giants that. Then negotiations turned over to the Fire Giants. And why were these two mis-matched Dragons together? They were drinking buddies and were playing Axis & Allies Classic in their lair before they were interrupted by the Party.

It turned out the Giants were on their guard for invaders because they're currently under siege from a tribe of Salamaders (from the elemental plane of Fire). This area was one of their back doors that kept a heard of Minotaur Lizards for food. The lizards in turn, fed off the Mushroom forest just behind the Party.

"Apologies," replied Jacko, we just killed the herd out back. They're ready for the butcher.

It turned out not to be a problem, as the herd was bigger than the kill, so the herd can still multiply.

Regarding the Trolls, nobody burned them, so they would regenerate in time. No harm, no foul.

Jack agreed to a deal that the Party would "Help out" the Fire Giants against the Salamanders in exchange for directions and the location of any other "passers-by" (as he was still tracking the thief who stole their weapons.)

The Fire Giants agreed and would inform their superiors accordingly. They admitted they had not seen anyone else pass. But the Party was free to look down the passage. And by the way the main door on this level to the Fire Giant's realm was past a part of the Mushroom Forest the Party had not yet explored.

So the Party examined the passageway the Giant's came from and yes they found more tracks of the kind they had been following. It led to a waterfall that fell 400 feet down. (Two levels, for the record.)

The party went down the waterfall chamber and ended up at a lake. There were no tracks of the kind they were looking for. However there were Fire Giant tracks one led to a stinky chamber. Full of more Trolls, who are merely the giant's garbage keepers.

Following the Fire Giant tracks the other way the party went past the lake into other caverns and found the bottom door to the Fire Giant's realm. It of course it only opened from the inside, 8 inches thick. Still no tracks of the kind they were looking for.

Without busting the door, the Deimos decided to backtrack. Especially after I pointed out that the tunnel that led to the waterfall continued on the other side. (It was plainly obvious on the white board we use for a table where I drew the waterfall.) So Jacko left the party behind and climbed back up the waterfall pit to check if the tracks continued on the other side of the tunnel.

Note Jacko has become so powerful he can just spider climb at a speed of 190 per round.

The other side of the tunnel past the waterfall simply turned out to be the path to the Young Dragons' lair anyway and no, there weren't any humanoid tracks. So rather than interrupt the Dragons' game as the dice were being rolled for the umpteenth time to attack Moscow, Jacko went back down the waterfall to explore other venues.

Exploring the cavern where the waterfall landed in the lake further, Jacko found a tribe of Troglodytes living in otherwise unused caverns the Fire Giants were not using. Having his almost perfect ability for non-detection, he went past them and found another pit of an unknown depth.

Jacko climbed down this pit and found a 30 by 30 foot room with a 15 foot statue, a door to the North made of Iron, and a door to the South made of wood.

A cursory exam of the statue showed it was a representation of an Elven wizard, wearing flowing robes, slippers and a thin circlet. On the pedestal beneath there were six identical keyholes. Yes the statue detected as magical.

I called it a night.

Debrief, note Jack is separated from the Party. The Party thinks he is still looking for Thief tracks. Well he is, but is currently occupied by his investigation.

++++ OUT OF CHEESE ERROR ++++

BT

BBBB

PART 2.

++++ CHARACTER ROSTER ++++

CHARACTERS
Zamon, a fifth level Thug.
Grok the Dwarf, a third level WitchRanger (Battlemage subclass of Magic User).
Aerys, an Elvariel, a Fingersmith (Thief class).
Baronet Huang - a Master of the West Wind of the Stone Tiger Order, (Monk class).
Numrendir - a human Conjurist (a Conjuror, Magic User subclass)
Junkbot Jackson - a human Tracker/Friar (a Ranger 5th and Cleric 6th level).
Jacko, an Albino Dork Elf, a Multiclass (Infiltrator, Ranger and Battle Mage).

NPCs/Proteges:
Baronetess Honda - a Human Datai Samurai, Steward of Catan (formerly Temple of the Frog)
Gnomex, a Gnome Adept of Geardal Ironhand (Cleric class.)
Tanzen - a Fae-Born first level Exciter. (Fourth level Invoker, a Magic User subclass).
Fundisha - a half-Elf Swordsperson/Tout (Fighter and Infiltrator, a Thief subclass).

CAPTURED CHARACTERS (both PCs and NPCs)
Gerry Castagere, human Fingersmith, (Thief class) and ever loving devotee of Elefus, abandoned to the Blood Cult in the City of Brass on the Plane of Fire.

MISSING/OFFLINE/RETIRED CHARACTERS
Serena 2.0 - First Level Battle Mage Second (a Protege of Jacko) topside.
Count Elefus, a human Abbot of Heimdall (Cleric class). RETIRED
Felipe the Dwarf, a third level Sigil (Chosen One subclass of Cleric).
Sir Weasel, human Guild Soldier, Warlock, & Champion (Thief, Magic User, & Fighter classes) he stayed back in BlackMoor.
- and nine Pilgrim henchmen of various levels. (They wear hoodies.)
Slade Wilson - Dwarven Professional (a Bounty Hunter, Fighter subclass) Left behind at Catan.

BT

BBBB

++++ RECORD KEEPING ++++

PART 3.

This is also posted on three forums, and a blog.



--

Tracy Johnson
Old fashioned text games hosted below:

BT

NNNN

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Categories: Miscellaneous Blogs

Categorically Drinking

Furiously Eclectic People - Wed, 10/03/2018 - 22:40

Things change with time.....
The last time I did this was May 20, 2009 -

Winter/Relaxing Soft Drink: Diet Caffeine Free Great Value Cola (was Diet Mugs Root Beer but it's unavailable here now)
Refreshing Summer Soft Drink: Diet Tonic Water (was Diet Canada Dry Ginger Ale, which is still awesome)

Powdered: Tang (same but it's been awhile)
Decadent Drink: Vanilla Malt (same but unavailable here)

Hot: Ovaltine, India Nespresso, Gourmet Gold Martello (India and Gourmet Gold replace Sleepytime Tea - Tea is too much work)

All Time Beer: Guinness Draught or any German dark wheat beer (Germans replaced Blackwych stout which became unreliable in taste and in availability)
Summer Beer: Erdinger Wheat Beer (replaced Bohemian and Sleeman Clear)
Winter Beer: Old Vienna (replaced Laker Ale)
Cider: Strongbow Ginger (replaced Magners which is still better than Strongbow original but I don't much like alcoholic cider anymore)

Rum: Anything not Canadian (was Wray & Nephew but I don't really drink rum anymore)
Gin: Ungava or other small batch yellow gins (was Plymouth)
Whiskey: Macallan or Tullamore Dew (special occasions only and I never drink Canadian whiskey or rum - new category)
Mixed: Gin & Tonic (was Zombie)

Shooter: Nope. (was Polar Bear)
Schnapps: I can't remember the last time I had some. (was Apple)
Liqueur: (pretty much steer clear of. (was Maple)

Sparkling Wine: Dom Perignon (same)
Wine: Anything dark red and bitter but this is a very rare thing (was Pelee Island Shiraz)

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