World of Warcraft | Out of the Garrison

When Warlords first came out, I thought garrisons were the coolest thing since sliced bread. I couldn’t stop logging in. I was there through remote desktop every chance I could to send my followers out and gathering up resources.

Jump ahead a few months – most of my followers and buildings maxed out, I’m turning my surplus garrison resources into crafting materials which I’m starting to become overloaded with, and I’m not sure what to do next. My people still bring me back things, but there doesn’t seem to be much to look forward to in the garrison any longer. I’m realizing I’ve spent most of the expansion running around inside there, and wishing there was as much outside it to capture my attention.

I think I’m going to finish leveling some alts and go back to running old raids solo for fun. I also want to engage in some raid finder to see the content without the pressure of being on a raid team.

It’s still a great expansion, but I’m feeling like there’s something missing in garrisons to keep me wanting to continue to develop things. I’ve gotta get back out into the world and find some adventure!

Comic Reviews for this Week

Here are my reviews for what was in my comic bag this week.

The Sandman: Overture #1 (of 6)

10 out of 10
My favorite book this week. I’ve never been a big reader of Sandman before, but this may get me to go back and read all of the old issues. Everything about the book was beautiful – the layout, the use of text and images. There was a lot of lettering for a comic, but it was so well written, I really enjoyed it. As a starting point, this book make me want to learn more about what was going on, which is perfect.

Danger Girl: The Chase! #2 (of 4)

7 out of 10
This was not too bad. I really miss seeing regular J. Scott Campbell art, but this book captures the fun and feel of the original series. It’s a bit gratuitous, but it was an enjoyable read that didn’t require knowing years of back-story and crossover issues to follow, which is nice.
7 out of 10
Still my favorite on-going series. Otto has laid some brilliant plans for Peter Parker and Spider-man. but they’re starting to come unraveled, and Carlie finally knows who he really is. How much longer can he keep it up? The entire Superior story arc has been a great exercise in an old question – if you suddenly found yourself running someone else’s life, could you make it better? And if so, why can’t you do it with your own life?

The art in this issue was great in a few spots, but near the end I thought some of the pages looked a bit rushed and not quite up to the standard. Still, a very good read.

Guardians of the Galaxy #8

4 out of 10

I’ve really looked forward to this book every month, but this one was a bit of a let-down. The art is normally filled with detail and expression, and this book looked sketchy and flat to me. It’s just not a style I like. To make matters worse, it’s part of the big Infinity crossover, which makes the story part of a much grander mess. Hopefully they get back on track next issue.

Infinity #5 (of 6)

6 out of 10
The art in this book was very good, but I’m really not a fan of the big multi-book crossover events after Age of Ultron. Nice visuals, but the story is a mess. There were some good scenes, so it was,’t terrible, but I’m just not motivated to follow the entire thing in the intended order.
3 out of 10
Meh. The art didn’t really do it for me at all. I think they were trying to go for a retro look, but nothing about this book really appealed to me.

6 out of 10
I haven’t read an issue of Witchblade in years, so this issue was my re-introduction to the series. Like many other books this week, there were some really strong, good-looking pages, and then there were some that just didn’t seem up to par, looking like the same amount of time and care didn’t go into the entire book. The main character seemed to come off more like a man to me, which was a little jarring. Not too bad, though.

7 out of 10
This one was pretty good. The art and story were really in sync, and the character seems to be heading toward what could be a finale. Kaine is a very different kind of Spider-man, and there’s plenty of angst and redemption themes going on.
5 out of 10
Why does DC seem to do some many alternate universe/future books? This story takes place a few years down the road, and seems to kill off a few major names. They seem to really make big leaps and take chances when it’s not part of the main continuity. The art was very good, but the dialog really sounded like a comic book – and not a very good comic book. Seeing Sandman in the same week and having a yardstick to measure just how good the writing in the comics medium can be, this was a big letdown. Not a bad book, but not great.

Looking for Book to Ink – Day 1

Today marks the official beginning of my campaign to find a comic book to ink. It doesn’t have to be a regular gig, or even a full issue, but I’ve been practicing and getting my hand back, and I’m ready to get a fresh credit to my name as an inker. To be more specific, I’m looking for a paid gig that will definitely be published, and not spec work or unpaid samples. My page rate is very negotiable, as I’m looking to rebuild my name and reputation after a long break. My line work is clean and I’m fast, having done two pages a day when required. I’ve never missed a deadline, and was often the person editors would send work to when others fell behind. I can also do lettering and coloring if need be. I can do traditional hand drawing with ink on paper as well as digital inks from scans.

I’ve visited the Marvel, DC and Image submission guidelines, and the general consensus seems to be, “Don’t call us, we’ll call you. Put your work out there, network with people, and get yourself noticed.” Well, here I am. If you’re an editor, drop me a note. If you’re an artist who is looking for an inker, or knows someone who is, drop me a note.

My first professional work was on a book called The Tick, over Ben Edlund’s pencils. From there, I worked on many of the Malibu Ultraverse titles in the 90s, working over a slew of diverse and talented pencilers. After Malibu was absorbed by Marvel, I didn’t have steady work, so I self-published a few books of my own called Shanghai, which I write, drew, colored, lettered, and acted as publisher, dealing with the printers and distributors. I returned to the mundane art fields, while still dabbling in comics here and there. The last book I worked on was the World of Warcraft comic for DC.

About a year ago, I started buying comics again, and discovered that there are still plenty of great stories being told in the world of sequential art, and some amazing new artists. I dusted off my crow quills and virtual inking tools, and got my hand back. I don’t where this quest will take me, but I was happiest when I was inking comics, and I want to reconnect with that again, even if it’s just for a little while.

Ruzzle! = Pixelated Crack

I’ve started playing a new phone and tablet game with my friends and family lately called Ruzzle. It’s a quick word game, taking two minutes a round to play, and has been amazingly addictive. I’m open to new friends playing, so look me up as “jeffrwhiting” in the game.

The Bookshelf – Amazing Spider-man

I’m up to issue 34 in my quest to read every issue of the Amazing Spider-man! Still in the original Stan Lee/Steve Ditko era.

The characters have continued to evolve. Peter has broken up with Betty Brant, and good riddance. Every panel she’s in is an old dramatic romance illustration. She’s far too emo to be with Spidey. Ned Leeds is sniffing around, so he can have her. In issue 38, Peter graduated from high school, and he’s just started college, where he’s met Harry Osbourne and Gwen Stacy for the first time. Mary Jane of often mentioned, and finally seen once, but her face remains hidden from the viewers. Flash Thompson and J. Jonah Jameson continue to make his life miserable. Spidey has fought the first Spider-Slayer. The Green Goblin has returned a few times, but he’s still a minor league villain. Doc Ock is probably his biggest enemy at this point.

I tried reading some of the “Untold Tales of Spider-man” series, which takes place in this era, but the art and the stories are jarringly different from the 1960’s version, and it was just too distracting. I’m mixing in the annuals, and I’ll probably add Marvel Team-up when the time comes, but I find it’s better to do them in the published order. “Untold” looks good, but I’ll come back to that later.

Out of the Game – 1 Month

I’ve been away from Wow for an entire month now, and am not really missing it all that much. There are some stray thoughts now and then, and I’m sure I’ll drift back in at some point, but I’m thinking I might start fresh if I do, with a new character on a new server. If I had people who were doing the same thing and wanted to play together, I’d jump back in at any time, but I don’t care about poking around in Azeroth by myself at this point in time.

It would have been nice if Blizzard could have done smaller, yearly expansions to give us something fresh on a regular basis, as two years is a long time to drag each release out. The patches are okay, but they aren’t enough to keep me going. The end raids are fun, but aren’t the biggest draw for me, and more dailies just doesn’t cut it. I like exploring and leveling, so when I come back, I’ll probably do some of that.

The Bookshelf – Amazing Spider-man

Continuing my reading of the complete Amazing Spider-man run, I did issues 8 – 14 on day 2.

From 1963 and ’64 – Featuring appearances by Electro, Mysterio and the Green Goblin, also the Vulture and Doc Ock return. Peter finds a romantic interest with Betty Brant, and Liz Allan starts following his around. He gives up his glasses, and as he matures he becomes less of a bully-target for his classmates. He continues working as a freelance photographer for the Daily Bugle. The stories become much more complex, as the characters develop more depth. Aunt May has had fragile health for 50 years. The art is also becoming more detailed, as Ditko defines the look more and more. Pop culture references to J. Edgar Hoover and Tony Curtis. Comics cost twelve cents a pop.

The Bookshelf – Amazing Spider-man

Since I stopped gaming a few weeks ago, I have a lot more time for reading. As a nod to his 50th anniversary, I’m going for a complete read of all 700 issues of the Amazing Spider-man – 1963 to present. I started reading yesterday, and it’s taking me longer than I thought it would, actually reading each panel. It’s going to be a long project, but it’s something I’ve never done before, and I think I can do it over a few months.

My progress so far- Amazing Fantasy 15, Amazing Spider-man 1-7
 
1963 – Written by Stan Lee and art by Steve Ditko.

These first issues introduced Spidey and the regular cast –  J. Jonah Jameson, Flash Thompson, Liz Allan, and Betty Brant. He fought the Chameleon, Vulture, Sandman, Doc Ock, The Lizard and Doctor Doom. There were pop culture references to Fats Domino and the Ed Sullivan show as signs of the times. Some of the stories are very basic. but by the seventh issue, there is some real character development starting, and relationships are beginning to form. 

Brainstorming

In my case, more like a light shower.

I don’t need anything more to do on my plate with everything going on in my life, but I’m feeling creatively void lately. Maybe I just have more time to think now that I’m not distracted so much by gaming. It’s been a long time since I’ve written anything substantial. When I look back on my Shanghai books, I’m not very happy with them, and I don’t want them to be the high point of my artistic endeavors. I’m trying to think of something new, and not go down the same roads I’ve already been down.

I’m not under any illusions that self-publishing will be profitable or even be seen by anyone. The cost barrier that was in place last time around for me has been removed now, with print-on-demand services who can cranks out physical copies as needed, instead of having to warehouse boxes of books no one wants. If I were to write a novel, crappy or not, it could be available through Amazon if I wanted to list it.

I don’t know yet what I’m going to do. My usual pattern is to start something and then never finish it. I want to move a project to completion this time. It doesn’t even have to be a big project. A short story or a small one-shot comic would be great. I’ve started some free-writing to see where my imagination takes me, and figure out if I have anything truly creative left in me, or if that time has come and gone.