Friday Round Up: Back to the Present

back to the future speed draw

Back to the Future in about a minute.

Our Back to the Future Theme Week was definitely a success by any metric. Views were up overall, lots of feedback on social media and several new readers. Thank you to everyone who read, commented, liked, or shared our posts this past week. Now, let’s take a look at the biggest stories of the week that are fun to discuss. It crosses movies, games, politics, toys, books and more. E3 game news including stuff about Transformers and Shenmue. Neil Gaiman‘s new TV show. A G.I. Joe RPG. A survey of comics creators showing what they earn. And more. Thanks for being a Robot’s Pajamas reader.

GAMES

It was E3 this past week so there’s all sorts of news on upcoming games. I think the one that got the most attention had to be game maker Yu Suzuki announcing his Kickstarter to produce Shenmue 3. It’s been 14 years since Shenmue 2 so you can be forgiven if you haven’t heard of this game but it was basically the precursor to Grand Theft Auto III and the open-world “sandbox” games that followed. The first game was a Sega Dreamcast exclusive and I loved it. It’s set in Japan in the 80s and Ryo Hyazuki’s father is murdered. He begins an epic investigation into who did it and why. The plan was for a game series with 11 chapters to the story although the first two games only told 5 chapters and ended on a cliffhanger. Within 9 hours of starting as a Kickstarter, it reached its $2 million goal. It seems save to assume that with the remaining 31 days that it will easily hit its stretch goal of $4 million and will presumably establish more stretch goals. As it stands now, it’s only being developed for the PC and PS4 but we’ll have to follow along and see what happens.

Here’s a new game that’ll be out this Fall. Transformers Devastation. It’s a brawler featuring G1 Transformers with a cel-shaded look. It’s supposed to have the original cartoon voice actors on it as well. Could be fun for those of us who grew up in the 80s.

One of my favorite ongoing video series is Conan O’Brien’s Clueless Gamer. He doesn’t know much about video games but he suffers through upcoming titles and reviews them. This week, he sat down with the stars of HBO sitcom Silicon Valley (which you should totally be watching – it’s hilarious) to play the upcoming Halo 5: Guardians multiplayer. Very fun.

Site creator/editor-in-chief Vincent is creating an RPG. A G.I. Joe Role Playing Game! He’s shared the rule book and stats with a number of folks and I gotta say, it looks like SO MUCH FUN. I’m trying to convince him to let me record our gaming sessions for site content. If you’re interested, sound off!

TV

american gods

Neil Gaiman’s acclaimed novel American Gods was officially picked up as a series by Starz. Technically it’s contingent on the network agreeing to whoever they cast as the lead but it seems to be a lock, just very early on to announce that it’s happening. The show will be run by Bryan Fuller who currently runs Hannibal on NBC. I don’t see how he would have time for both shows and NBC can probably keep him as long as they want. So as far as when this show would come out? Who knows. The general idea of the book was that gods exist because people believe in them. So all gods exist but are diminished in power now that less and less people believe. But in their place, people are obsessed with media, celebrity and technology and new gods have risen in those roles.

lena headey as cersei lannister on game of thrones

The show used a body double shortly after this scene in some flawless special effects work.

Game of Thrones‘ fifth season finale is on track to be its most illegally downloaded episode yet (1.5 million downloads so far). This in spite of the fact that you can get HBO Now without a cable package. Kinda sad to see so many people steal. It ended with many character deaths (at least seemingly) so all sorts of TV-only watchers are outraged while book-reader fans are in turn outraged that they’re outraged. Regardless, it ended the episode overall fairly close to the last book by George R.R. Martin. He now has about 9 months to release the sixth book before the sixth season starts and absolutely moves past his material. A lot of fans, including myself, are optimistic that this will happen. But there’s almost no way his 7th and final book will be out before the show wraps up. 

southern bastards jason latour art

One of the best new comics out there is Southern Bastards by Jason Aaron and Jason Latour. Without giving away any twists, it involves a Deep South town obsessed with football and overrun with crime. It’s one of my personal favorites so I recommend picking up a trade (or do you kids read all your comics digitally now?). Anyway, it was announced that mega-producer Scott Rudin is developing it for TV at FX with Aaron and Latour on board as executive producers. Rudin is the first producer to win an EGOT – Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony awards – and has produced movies like Addams Family Values, No Country for Old Men and There Will Be Blood

POLITICS

 

We rarely cover politics of any kind on the site. We’re more about finding the things we all have in common. But this is worth sharing. Jeb Bush’s campaign site contains a summary for Die Hard. It wasn’t a crass attempt to woo Gen Xers, but rather it seems like a programmer was just having fun and decided to insert that as meta data in the site’s JS.

MERCHANDISE

life size ant-man figure by hasbro

San Diego Comic Con is coming up and we keep learning about exclusives that will be at the show. Hasbro has an exclusive life-size Ant-Man figure. As in, it’s 0.75 inches tall, about the size of a penny. Is $9.99 too much for that figure? If you took any time to think about it, you missed out. Lines for the exclusive toys are long and start when the doors open, that’s all I’m saying. So if you want this, make a beeline to Hasbro’s booth.

180 dollar devastator

Hasbro will also have some Transformer exclusives like a 3-pack of female Transformers. Or how about dropping $180 on the 6-figure Constructicon set? Then you could build Devastator and wonder what you should eat: ramen or dust.

Lego Throne of Ultron

Lego will have the above Throne of Ultron exclusive. 203 bricks, $39.99. Not bad.

MOVIES

Jurassic World had the biggest opening of all time, displacing The Avengers. Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige had some art made up to congratulate them. In related news, apparently zookeepers all over the world have started imitating Chris Pratt’s velociraptor taming pose with their animals leading to some truly awesome images:

Zookeeper imitates Chris Pratt from Jurassic World

Terminator: Genisys had a funny bit of PR this week. Schwarzenegger dressed up as the Terminator to prank people in West Hollywood. It’s pretty good.

car jump simulation

Simulation of a car stunt for 1974’s The Man with the Golden Gun.

This is for a pretty old movie, but it’s still fascinating. In the James Bond movie The Man with the Golden Gun (which starred the late, great Christopher Lee as the villain) there is a fantastic car stunt. The movie studio actually patented it. It’s a corkscrew jump with the car making a 270 degree twist along its long axis. But how did they figure it out without some super dangerous trial and error? It was actually the first movie stunt that was computer modeled. Pretty impressive for 1974 and worth a read.

COMICS

sktchd-do-comic-books-pay-enough-to-pay-the-bills

Finally, David Harper has launched a new site, SKTCHD, about comics and he has a fantastic article where he surveyed nearly 200 comics professionals. He has all sorts of piecharts and graphs, including breakdowns in gender, type of work, and even whether their comics work can pay the bills. Interesting reading for sure.

  • Skewed_View

    Great job with Back to the Future week. You guys really went all out. I am impressed with the quantity and quality of material you got together. I’m so used to seeing websites announce a theme week, then by Friday they have posted three or four articles on the subject, so it was a lot of fun being able to come here each day and have something new.

  • 4 posts? That’s weak! We don’t mess around with theme weeks!