Archive for September, 2010

h1

(More) Guild Wars 2 Concept Art by Kekai Kotaki

September 29, 2010

(click to enlarge image)

More fantastic Guild Wars 2 art by the ludicrously talented Kekai Kotaki. Y’know, just in case a few of you weren’t anticipating the game enough already. Kotaki’s art work never ceases to amaze me and its getting to the point that if he illustrates a cover or concept art, well, I’ve got to have that thing (fortunately my wallet is keeping me somewhat in line…but for how long!?).

Along this vein, don’t forget about the Art of Guild Wars 2 hardback prominently featuring Kotaki’s art if this kind of thing is up your alley. The book can be purchased at the Official Guild Wars 2 site. Here’s the solicitation:

‘The Art of Guild Wars 2 is a hardbound book packed with 128 pages of eye candy by ArenaNet’s award-winning artists. The vivid collection of concept art offers a long-awaited glimpse into the world of Guild Wars 2. Within these pages you’ll visit the undead realm of Orr, meet the mysterious sylvari, and behold the fiery war machines of the charr. This book is a must-have for any Guild Wars fan.’

[GW2 concept art from Kotaki’s Cake Mix blog.]

Advertisements
h1

What’s Next for Usagi…

September 22, 2010

It appears that the rest of the year will be a busy one for Usagi Yojimbo as well as his creator, Stan Sakai.

First up, in October we’ll finally see the release of Fantagraphics 2-volume hardcover limited edition release Usagi Yojimbo: The Special Edition. As noted, it is a limited edition run so don’t hesitate too much about your decision to own it, because I don’t reckon it will last long. Following that we’ve got the “Taiko” (Japanese drums) storyline, “Toad Oil,” a one-shot story featuring the Lord of the Owls and more.

Additional commentary on these storylines and an upcoming exhibition featuring Stan can be found in CBR’s recent interview:

Following the Lord of Owls story in January, there will be a two-part arc called ‘The Red Scorpion,’ in which ‘Usagi goes against a gang who are terrorizing the entire area.’ Sakai also noted that #141 will be the 200th issue of ‘Usagi Yojimbo,’ taking into account its runs at Fantagraphics and Mirage as well as several specials.

Next year, Sakai will be the subject of an exhibition at Los Angeles’ Japanese American National Museum. ‘ 2011 will be the Year of the Rabbit, and they want to do a retrospective of my work on ‘Usagi,’ Sakai said. ‘In conjunction with that, they’re doing a little documentary about me. They started filming at San Diego con, so they got interviews with Sergio Aragones, Scott Shaw!, Mark Evanier, Stan Lee and a whole bunch of others. It’s kind of neat. You get to hear your eulogy even before you’re dead!’

You can read the rest of the interview here. Gotta love the Fall! Family, Food, Football…and Usagi!

h1

Sanderson’s ‘The Way of Kings’ 1 Credit at Audible.com

September 21, 2010

Just wanted to let anyone interested in picking up the audio version of Brandon Sanderson’s The Way of Kings: Book One of the Stormlight Archive know that until October 31st Audible.com is offering the book to members for only 1 credit despite it’s hefty page count. And, of course, this is the same audio featuring the voices of veterans Michael Kramer and Kate Reading (of Wheel of Time fame) that everyone was a buzz about several months ago so there’s an awful lot of incentive to pick this up.

I’ve got the hardcover on my shelf already, but I know I’ll be picking up the audio as well so as to get the most out of both approaches to the story.

Here’s Macmillin’s offiical synopsis:

Widely acclaimed for his work completing Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time saga, Brandon Sanderson now begins a grand cycle of his own, one every bit as ambitious and immersive.

Roshar is a world of stone and storms. Uncanny tempests of incredible power sweep across the rocky terrain so frequently that they have shaped ecology and civilization alike. Animals hide in shells, trees pull in branches, and grass retracts into the soilless ground. Cities are built only where the topography offers shelter.

It has been centuries since the fall of the 10 consecrated orders known as the Knights Radiant, but their Shardblades and Shardplate remain: mystical swords and suits of armor that transform ordinary men into near-invincible warriors. Wars were fought for them, and won by them. One such war rages on the Shattered Plains. There, Kaladin has been reduced to slavery. In a war that makes no sense, where 10 armies fight separately against a single foe, he struggles to save his men and to fathom the leaders who consider them expendable.

Brightlord Dalinar Kholin commands one of those other armies. Like his brother, the late king, he is fascinated by an ancient text called The Way of Kings. Troubled by visions of ancient times and the Knights Radiant, he has begun to doubt his own sanity.

Across the ocean, an untried young woman named Shallan seeks to train under an eminent scholar and notorious heretic, Dalinar’s niece, Jasnah. Though she genuinely loves learning, Shallan’s motives are less than pure. As she plans a daring theft, her research for Jasnah hints at secrets of the Knights Radiant and the true cause of the war.

h1

The Last Unicorn (cont.)

September 13, 2010

The [6] covers for IDW’s comic adaption of Peter S. Beagle’s The Last Unicorn, as illustrated by Renae De Liz and colored and inked by her husband Ray Dillon, have been fantastic. I hadn’t had the chance to update past the first cover so if you’ve enjoyed what you’ve seen do yourself a favor and check out their respective websites for more by these two talented creators (and hopefully we’ll hear word of an IDW trade-paperback collection of this series soon).

As for what Peter S. Beagle has to say about the adaption as reported by IDW:

‘I’m delighted that IDW is doing this adaptation of my book,’ says Beagle, ‘and by the real concern they’ve shown for the integrity of what I wrote. Peter Gillis is a wonderful choice as a scripter — I couldn’t have done a better job myself — and Renae and Ray have brought my characters to vivid life. Together with IDW, they are achieving something I honestly hadn’t believed possible.’

Nice praise indeed.

h1

Valkyria Chronicles 3?

September 1, 2010

Sega’s Valkyria Chronicles made its debut on the PS3 in November 2008 and quickly garnered critical acclaim from fans and professionals alike for its unique visual presentation, solid strategy role play, gripping story and the unique action elements it brought to the genre. Sales weren’t as quick to follow at first, but due to the efforts of enthusiastic fans getting the word out about the quality of the game and thanks to some compelling downloadable content and a couple of timely discounts by Sega and retailers, Valkyria Chronicles turned the corner and ultimately proved to be a happy success for Sega both in Japan and the United States. So much so that they publicly thanked fans for their support and deemed it worthy of a sequel on the Sony PSP (releasing this week to yet more acclaim for anyone interested).

Well, as happy as most fans are about the way things are shaping up for the series, many are also hoping for a new entry on the PS3 to continue the great presentation and experience that they had with the original title. Well, this new teaser site just went up, and who is to say just what it means. Valkyria 3 perhaps? On the PS3? I suppose we won’t have to wait too much longer to find out with that ominous 9.16 date. I mention it here because the series is certainly something with crossover appeal that will likely appeal to fans of speculative fiction. Whatever the case, it made my day and I hope a few of you at least will check out the series to see what all the hub-bub is about.

[Update: Valkyria Chronicles 3 was announced as heading to the PSP last week at the Tokyo Game Show. However, if sales continue to rise with the critical acclaim I wouldn’t be surprised to see another appearance on the PS3 in the relatively near future.]