J. R. R. Tolkien once wrote in a letter to a fan, “Part of the attraction of The L. R. [Lord of the Rings] is, I think, due to the glimpses of a large history in the background: an attraction like that of viewing far off an unvisited island, or seeing the towers of a distant city gleaming in a sunlit mist. To go there is to destroy the magic, unless new unattainable vistas are again revealed” (The Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien; letter #247, bottom pg 333).
It’s for this same reason, I believe, George R. R. Martin insists on not presenting a factual history of his Song of Ice and Fire series (The World of Ice and Fire being told from the perspective of a character in that world; vulture.com/2014/11/George-rr-martin-new-book.html). It’s partly why, in my opinion, the second trilogy of Star Wars films was so unsuccessful (aside from the obvious storytelling faults). The rumours I heard about the Clone Wars had built up a story in my imagination greater than anything George Lucas could have presented to me.
Sometimes that little bit of unknown information can be infinitely more enticing than the fully revealed truth. It’s what makes history so intriguing. We can never know all of the answers for a certainty. It’s this precise device which draws players into the stories of the Dark Souls games and their related titles (collectively called the Soulsborne series), and it’s the way the stories are presented which creates such an immersive experience for the player. Read more… ›
It was five years ago this month (July 2011) that I began preparing for my second New York Comic Con appearance. I had decided beforehand to dedicate the entire summer to getting new work ready. This included new prints, my first (and, to date, only) sketchbook (for sale, that is) and a collapsible banner to draw people to my table. Amongst the pieces I created that summer were an unused cover idea I had wanted to submit to Planet Lovecraft Magazine (before it closed its doors) of Cthulhu sitting in an armchair in Victorian attire, reading a copy of the magazine and an acrylic painting of a nameless Indian female warrior. Read more… ›
Recently, two of my favourite modern creators announced an end to their beloved series. In video games, Hidetaka Miyazaki has (somewhat ambiguously) stated that “there’s absolutely no plan right now for any sequels, spin-offs or tie-ins” to Dark Souls or Bloodborne (forbes.com/sites/olliebarder/2016/04/27/hidetaka-miyazaki-puts-the-souls-series-on-hold-wants-to-do-more-mecha-games/#180de5cb1845). And in comics, Mike Mignola has ended the Hellboy series to pursue a new direction as a watercolourist (albeit new works from other creators may come out featuring the character). Yet as devastating as these announcements seemingly are–and one coming after the other, no less–more than anything these two men have earned a great deal of respect from me for making these decisions. After all, I believe firmly in the old adage that all stories have a beginning, a middle and an end. Read more… ›
This winter, Peter Jackson released the final part of his Hobbit film trilogy. So far as I can tell, the films have been well received, though I have not felt the same level of hype around this Middle Earth film trilogy as was associated with The Lord of the Rings films. Of course, this could be a personal bias, as frankly, I was disappointed with the entire Hobbit journey, there and back again. Read more… ›
I’ve always loved old graveyards. As it turns out, so does my girlfriend. (We’d both readily admit we are a strange couple–even considered individually.) For myself, considering my love for antiquated things and my penchant for writing gothic horror (amongst other things), I find cemeteries quite inspiring, and indeed peaceful to stroll through. Equally, my girlfriend finds them calming, and has always enjoyed history of any sort, even that of the Weird N.J. sort of fare. As such, my girlfriend and I have talked about visiting an old graveyard together for some time. (Quite the spot for a date, I must say.) So, just two weeks ago, when we had an afternoon to ourselves, she took me to one such site: the historical Brookside Cemetery in Englewood, New Jersey. Read more… ›