For this week’s pull from the archives we’re going to concentrate on comic reviews and gaming.

On November 8, 2013, Claire focuses on skeleton comics,

I’m very sorry. In this post I’m going to be doing a lot of “explaining the joke.” I hope I don’t ruin it for you. I think humour can survive me.

I want to talk to you about skeleton comics.

Tumblr user and cartoonist frenums‘ bio starts like this:

  • my name is alison

  • i’m 16

And I’m dead impressed about that. Not every sixteen year old has this kind of grasp on expressive simplification, panel composition or framing. Not every sixteen year old has such an apparently instinctive ability for visual comedic communication. Nice one, frenums. Nice one Alison.

Over the past couple of months I’ve come back to thinking about frenums’ Garlic Bread comic on at least four occasions. Specifically, the use of speech bubble placement as an integral atmospheric cue; why is it so funny that “Oh,” “Oh my God,” and “I’m so sorry,” cover up progressively more of Dracula’s poor face?

It’s funny because it’s real: when you make a blunder like that your attempts to dig yourself out of the hole so easily become everything. It’s funny because it’s awful: Dracula’s identity has already been callously forgotten and now even his presence–his face–is being erased by Skeleton’s spiralling self-interest. Skeleton’s rep literally takes centre-panel, as the character who should be in focus is eradicated. It’s real because it’s awful, and the awfulness is mitigated and isolated by the simple artwork and panelled delivery; abrasive action gently illustrated. It’s funny because this is an unusually sophisticated example of the comedy of embarrassment, or comedy of awkwardness–one that couldn’t be so well executed outside of a comic. How would this be performed on television? I don’t believe it could be superior. How do you privilege the words when they’re invisible? Picture: Mark Corrigan is Skeleton. David Brent is Skeleton. Is it this funny? Does the joke last so well? READ MORE

On November 8, 2013, Kristi explains why she was happy to get back to Captain Marvel,

In the spirit of full disclosure, I had sort of fallen off the Captain Marvel bandwagon in recent months. Not because it’s not a brilliant book, because Kelly Sue DeConnick writes the best damn Carol Danvers that I’ve ever read. Not because it’s not a beautiful book, because the team of Filipe Andrade (pencilst) and Jordie Bellaire (colors) has created a really interesting look for some familiar faces (J. Jonah Jameson has never looked so good). And not because the story of a Captain Marvel struggling with balancing hero-life balance isn’t a compelling one (we’ve seen Matt Fraction take a similar route with Hawkeye quite successfully).

No, what’s been tough has been Captain Marvel’s involvement in crossover tie-ins for months. And since I haven’t been reading the stories they’re tied into, I’ve been happily picking my comic up and placing it in a pile, waiting patiently for Captain Marvel to come home to her own stories.

I’m glad I stuck around. While I struggled a little to figure out what was going on with Carol (amnesia from her past adventures mixed with her brain issues? I’m having trouble finding it with a simple Google search), the story itself picked up where I remembered it: Carol’s been evicted, she’s got some serious doubts as to what she can do as Captain Marvel, but the people in her inner circle have got her back. Period. READ MORE

And for gaming, take a look at what the WWAC Staffers were playing on November 4, 2014,

Rachel Stevens is playing XCOM: Enemy Unknown/Enemy Within on PC

Developer(s) Firaxis Games Feral Interactive (OS X, Linux) Publisher(s) 2K Games Feral Interactive (OS X, Linux) Producer(s) Clint McCaul Garth DeAngelis Designer(s) Ananda Gupta Programmer(s) Justin Boswell Artist(s) David Black Writer(s) Scott Wittbecker Liam Collins Series X-COM Engine Unreal Engine 3 Platform(s) Microsoft Windows, OS X, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Linux, SteamOS Release date(s) Windows, OS X, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 NA November 12, 2013 EU November 15, 2013 Linux, SteamOS WW June 19, 2014 Genre(s) Turn-based tactics

XCOM: Enemy Within is the followup to 2012’s critically acclaimed remake of UFO Defense, Enemy Unknown. While Enemy Unknown was a standalone game, and Enemy Within is for consoles and the recently released mobile port as well. I’m playing it on PC, where it serves as an expansion with toggle-able options. The tactical game has you directing a squad of 4-6 soldiers at a time against an alien invasion on a 3D rendered, isometric grid. You’re rewarded for being cautious: the better cover you’re in, and the better sight you have on the target, the more likely you are to hit the alien target and the less likely you are to hit yourself. The expansion does reward some risk: the new resource MELD can only be recovered from the battlefield if you move quickly, even if it means exposing yourself to alien gunfire.  READ MORE

Happy Weekend!!