Presented in no specific order:
- Supergods, by Grant Morrison:
Fresh off of my finishing Sean Howe’s Marvel Comics: The Untold Story, I was eager for another book in the same sort of vein. It’s no secret that I like comics, but what fascinates me as much as comics themselves is the industry behind it. There’s absolutely so much there, and Morrison provides a perspective that Howe’s book didn’t; he’s worked for both companies, and he’s not from New York, so he hasn’t been a part of that very American identity that the Big Two both inhabit. As part of the British Invasion (lord, how I hate that term) of comics in the 80s, he’s also had a very singular career arc, doing as many offbeat, weird projects as he has mainstream cape books.
- Come As You Are, Emily Nagoski, PhD:
Come As You Are has nothing to do with Nirvana. It does, however, have a lot to do with the science of sex, and the way we perceive and talk about it. It’s thoughtful, accessible, and incredibly inclusive, and fantastic at enabling folks to re-examine the ways that they approach sex, right up to dismissing the myth that is the sex drive.
- Deponia: The Complete Journey, Daedalic Entertainment:
Daedalic had a sale this past weekend, so I took advantage of it to pick up Deponia for cheap–$6.50, all told. The Complete Journey contains the entire trilogy, as well as director’s commentary and what apparently is an improved inventory mechanic. I say ‘apparently,’ because I never played the original games, so I have no comparison point. At any rate, I do find the inventory intuitive and easy to use. The game itself is a point-and-click adventure that plays in the style of old LucasArts games–Sam & Max, etc. It’s not as funny as those–there’s a joke about a girl’s weight in the second chapter that just falls entirely flat–but it’s challenging in the way that I like games to be. Which is to say, there’s a puzzle to solve, rather than having calculate my jumps at a geometric level.
- Fallout Shelter, Bethesda Softworks
I really, really wanted to like this game. I waited the month or so for it to make it out on Android, and I devoted an entire weekend to it, even! But…I don’t. It’s boring, and it punishes you for not playing, which is perhaps the biggest cardinal sin I can think of when it comes to a game. It might just be me personally, but I really felt a sense of anxiety in the way the game wants your constant attention, and it just made the whole experience unpleasant for me. I’ll happily wait for Fallout 4 instead, where the world doesn’t keep wanting things when I’ve saved and exited.
- Rachel and Miles X-Plain The X-Men, Rachel Edidin and Miles Stokes
Look, I know a lot about the X-Men. My first comic was an X-Men book (Uncanny #173, which is–incidentally–the best, and I will fight you if you say otherwise), and from that moment, I dived wholeheartedly into that world, learning everything I could. I’ve read just about every issue from the first few decades, and even that level of commitment does not compare to the talents of Rachel and Miles. Starting from the very first issue, they take an indepth look at the entire history of the X-Men, averaging about four to five issues per episode. They discuss the events of each issue in detail, but more than that, they provide important context by filtering those issues both through the events of their time and through a more modern lens. On top of that, I’m not a big podcast guy, but Rachel and Miles trump my chief complaint there, as well; by recording in an actual studio, with a producer, they have a level of precision, conciseness, and overall audio quality that very few other podcasts are able to match.
- Welcome to Night Vale, Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor
Look, you probably know about Welcome to Night Vale. It’s the most popular podcast on iTunes. It’s also the only other podcast that gets by my general distaste, by being excellently recorded and produced. If you actually don’t know, it tells the story of a fictional town known as Night Vale, as reported through a local community radio host named Cecil Palmer. It’s well-written, adventurous, spooky, and absurd, and it’s probably one of my favorite things to be made in the last decade. Really–check it out.