What I’m Reading/Playing/Watching/Hearing

Book: DC Universe Infinite

A few months ago, I decided to check out whether or not I could actually enjoy reading digital comics, realizing that my tablet might be a nice way to do so, and I subscribed to DC Comics’ online digital comics portal. It has comics from all the way back to Superman’s start in 1937 to today. I decided it would be interesting to see if I could start all the way back at the beginning and read every book they have (there are over 25,000 of them).

Short story: this has been some rough reading. I’m nearly through 1943 and I’ve come close to quitting this project numerous times already. The writing in these old comics is atrocious, and they filled their panels with text, meaning it can take hours to read a single book. And the stories are so heavily filled with government propaganda, especially now that I’m in the WWII years. The propaganda is so thick that I watch as superheroes get into union busting and I can’t help wonder whether I can actually love Superman anymore. It doesn’t help that there are some terribly sexist and racist depictions occurring throughout these early books. That’s not to say they’re all terrible. There’s plenty of great early world building going on, and some of the wonderful goofy fun that comics should have. And it’s definitely been an interesting history lesson to watch these characters grow and develop (albeit slowly) into the characters we know and love today. And you certainly get a good look at what the world (of the white man at least) looked like in the 1930s and 1940s. But…that doesn’t mean it doesn’t get rough from time to time to want to continue. I’ll keep you updated on my progress with that.

Now, don’t get me wrong, there’s plenty on here worth reading. They have books all throughout DC’s history, up to and including books which were just realized last week. I just finished the Batman/Ninja Turtles crossover series last night and it was spectacular. I also recently read through a really weird crossover series featuring the cartoon characters of Hanna Barbera. Seeing Deathstroke and Yogi Bear team up to save Boo Boo (just seeing Deathstroke say the word Boo Boo) is worth the cost of admission.

Video Game: Firewatch

I’ve typically harbored a great deal of resentment toward video games which are really just interactive stories. Those choose your own adventure games which actually don’t let you do much choosing things outside of what clothes someone will wear or whether two characters will get into a fight later are not my thing. I like to feel like my actions do something in a video game. Otherwise, I may as well watch a movie and not have to push as many buttons.

But Firewatch is somehow different. It is 100% an interactive story, even if they like to market it as an adventure game. There’s maybe one puzzle in the whole thing, but most of it is just walking to the next spot so you can open up the next series of dialogue. It is an incredibly linear path from step a to b without any sort of action truly necessary from you, but I still found myself thoroughly enraptured by the game.

It’s set in the Shoshone National Forest and just walking through this forest with all the sounds and sights of nature has an almost ASMR quality to it. I felt almost like I was going through some mindfulness exercises as I hiked through the canyons and listened to these two people discuss the mysterious events happening around them. Maybe they should market it as a hiking simulator? Maybe I should seek out more hiking simulators?

The story is intriguing enough, but the reality here is that I just wanted to walk through the set pieces for as long as I could and feel the calm of being absolutely alone in the wilderness. And this game brought that to me.

Watching: Happy

Yes, yet more comics properties being made into popular entertainment that I’m sharing with you. Look, I’ve written two books that are homages to the comics, so it shouldn’t be that surprising what I’m into.

But here’s the thing, Happy is something so freaking incredible. First of all, it’s based on a comic series written by Grant Morrison, who is undeniably the best thing that has ever happened to comic books. Secondly, it has Christopher Meloni in the starring role, getting to do his best ridiculous character acting. Thirdly, it is just the most outrageous thing I’ve seen on television in a long time.

Now, I should warn you, this show is not exactly family-friendly. If you aren’t a fan of blood, guts, and sex, you should probably stay away. But if you don’t mind having some of that in your television watching, you’ll get to see Meloni eat the scenery in ways only he is capable while also getting to watch him act as a centerpiece to quite possibly the stupidest and most brilliant script ever written.

This show is like someone took all of the basic concepts of comic books and then just turned the dial way past eleven on each of them, allowing for this oddly bright and shiny toy surrounded by the darkest of storylines.

Oh, and Patton Oswalt plays an imaginary friend that happens to be a blue pegasus unicorn…so there’s that.

Hearing: August and Everything After – Counting Crows

This album is one of a few albums which defined my high school years. It came out when I was in eighth grade, but this thing was on repeat for years after it. It has this amazing quality of angst while still being hopeful about the future that even today I find myself being drawn into the emotional qualities of the music. Mr. Jones was my jam for years as I found myself wanting to be famous and loved after years of feeling like no one loved me. And Adam Duritz’s vocals will pierce your ear drums in a way that is somehow pleasant, each and every time. Well, as long as it’s not the final note in Long December, but since that’s from a different album, we can ignore it for this discussion. If you want an album that sounds like the mid-90s, I’m not sure you can get one more thoroughly situated as such than this.

Have you got any cool arts you’ve been enjoying this week?

Published by Adam Oster, Adventure Novelist

Husband, Father, Creator/Destroyer of Worlds

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