Many moons ago, a young technologist would have perhaps seen the odd sci-fi movie, stared in wonder at a robot of some kind and pondered, “how can I make that?” A short conversation with an elder later, they might have found themselves entrusted with a copy of the Maplin’s catalogue, marvelled at the future hinted at on the cover and leafed through it to be assailed by myriad arcane serial numbers to byzantine artefacts whose purpose could only be guessed. If that young person were very lucky they would have someone to show them at least the first steps on a path towards creating an electronic automaton. The vast majority would however have none of this, as shown by the dearth of Engineers Britain is creating, electronic or otherwise. Fast forward twenty or so years, and the conversation becomes:
Here is an Arduino, contained in this box is everything that you need to know to start creating electronics which could help you understand the world.
It looks like 2015 is going to be a great year for comics, Image and Dark Horse are releasing a host of enjoyable series with great artwork gracing some of the most varied sci-fi, horror and super-hero stories around. February has seen a good crop of floppies, with new East Of West and Jupiter’s Legacy issues amongst others:
Black Science continued with it’s Lost In Space meets Time Tunnel vibe. It is up to issue 11 and should have the second collected works out in the next few months.
East of West recently restarted after a short break, with Jonathan Hickman delivering his own take on the collision between religious apocrypha and the American Dream.
Rebellion have started releasing more American format comics, mashing the tech-style from the film Dredd 3D with old-school Mega-City to create a new continuity which kicks off in Dredd Uprise.
Abe Sapien 19 and Hellboy and the BPRD: 1952 2 remain solid. I’ve been enjoying “Abe’s Odyssey” through his unfolding post-apocalyptic world and Hellboy:1952 followed the eponymous hero as a teenager on his first mission with the BPRD. Two great reads.
Mark Millar and Frank Quitely have restarted Jupiter’s Legacy after a hiatus. Quitely’s fragile, almost alien artwork made the excessive power wielded by the heroes and villains a shock each time they were manifest. The series would be worth reading for the artwork alone, paired with Millar’s writing this was a blatant win. The BBC recently followed Frank Quitely as he worked on one of the earlier issues, the programme may be still available on iPlayer here.
Moon Knight 11 was just released, it isn’t Warren Ellis, but it is still readable with a new story arc for the main protagonist.
The last thirty years have seen computer games move from pixellated bats intercepting juddering phosphorescent squares to the hyper-realistic GPU powered content found on the current generation Xbox or Playstation. Somewhere near the beginning of this timeline, a young gamer, used to the garishly coloured sprites of the Spectrum and creme coloured chassis of the BBC Micro was walking through an anonymous Red Brick Council Estate. His destination, an erstwhile peer’s bungalow and onwards onto a pub that they were both way too young to actually be allowed into. Invited into the friend’s room, the gamer saw a smooth black square attached to a tiny TV on a desk. The occupier of the room had been lucky enough to be an early adopter of the Sega Mega Drive.
King City the eponymous domain is rendered as a haven for Sasquatch super-spies, military-trained master burglars and suburban luchadors. Graham’s playful use of language wends an atypical reality with unique artefacts to deliver a superbly illustrated and readable story. If you get the chance, source this book :).
Communing with comics in a bid to clear some of my reading backlog before the start of the new year. One on my list for a few months is Tekkon Kinkreet: Black and White from Taiyo Matsumoto. Very simple, but beautifully rendered black and white artwork, with a story following two street kids with superpowers as they apply their brand of morality to an amoral metropolis.
Strange thoughts courtesy of Jeremy Holt a while ago that started a conversation centred on whether paying comic artists upfront for a project would actually reduce their commitment to said project.
Seems slightly wrong-headed to me, and smacks of the mentality peddled by some in the games industry that devs should makes games for the love of the art, whilst those same pedlars were bathing in the lucre wrung from the hard work of the possibly naive but technically gifted developers…