Monthly Archives: November 2008

Superheroes in Love: Barack and Michelle Save the World!

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Something has happened to love. Over the course of history, it has gotten distilled.

Sanskrit has 96 words for love; ancient Persian has 80; Greek has 3; and English has only 1. Modern man continues to experience an infinite variety of emotional states, but a single 4-letter word has taken them all upon its back.

That is a heavy responsibility for such a little word. Love is strong; it does not shy away from the challenge. Love is alive today in every place on Earth. We can even find it flourishing in Vs. System.

Vs. System is a trading card game blueprint that builds its walls with myth. Comic book superheroes provide the most powerful and longest-lasting myths of history’s Modern Age. Our pulp-based heroes and villains do not command our worship, but they do command our attention.

If we want to remember what it was like to honor myths as deities and partners, we simply need to look to Ancient Greece. During that age, people didn’t just play on the kitchen table with cardboard representations of their heroes—they interacted with them directly.

Although we have, for the most part, lost our belief in the power of mythological gods and goddesses, we still derive hours of entertainment from our modern imaginary superheroes—and they still get frisky when it comes to love.

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That introduction was written for Valentines Day two years ago on the mothership. This morning I was inspired to dig it up in honor of a real-life superhero couple that is on the verge of saving the day for the whole world.


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Vidya Rao has written a spectacular article for NBC’s Today Show website, documenting the overwhelming sense of revolutionary love that we have been getting ever since Barack and Michelle Obama first burst into the public spotlight together during the Democratic primaries.

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It started with the fist bump seen ’round the world. Soon there were stories of rousing family Scrabble battles and date nights, in spite of election mayhem. Then President-elect Barack Obama referred to his wife Michelle as “the love of my life” during his election night victory speech, embracing her tightly and kissing her afterwards, while millions of people worldwide watched.

“They took a moment to face each other, to kiss and hold one another, regardless of the magnitude and spectacle of the night,” said Camille Washington, a Bay Area blogger on Soulbounce.com, a music and culture site. “That says a lot.”

The Obamas represent a welcome change as an openly affectionate and romantic couple for many Americans. Some experts say that the soon-to-be first couple embody the ideal healthy relationship, and that they can stir up love around the country.

“Michelle and Barack are so obviously in love it’s actually helping me to believe in love again.”

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We could not agree more, and it is one of the main reasons we put everything we had into getting these superheroes into the White House. Sure, they are just people like you and me, but they will be role models for an entire planet… and beyond.

Kathlyn Hendricks, author of several books including “Conscious Loving” and “Lasting Love.”, says…

“The model of harmony, shared humor and easy communication that the Obamas reveal really is a new model — if ordinary citizens practiced this each day, our world would transform very quickly in positive directions.

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It is, perhaps, the most exciting part of the Legacy Content being created by our new President-Elect. Love returns to the highest office in the world, and its healing power washes over every human being. If the aliens are watching, they will surely see a change in the energy field. Which leads me to a question.

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Which comic book characters have the healthiest relationships, and what superheroes do Barack and Michelle Obama most closely embody with their love?

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Filed under Politics, Vs. System

Batman is Dead, Long Live Batman.

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That is the before and after. After almost seventy years of continuous sequential mythology, Bruce Wayne is gone, killed in the final frames of Batman R.I.P. this week in comic book shops everywhere. But what sort of death is it? In the words of its Chaos Magician creator:

“This is so much better than death. People have killed characters in the past but to me, that kind of ends the story!” said writer Grant Morrison.

“I like to keep the story twisting and turning,” he added. “So what I am doing is a fate worse than death. Things that no one would expect to happen to these guys at all.

“This is the end of Bruce Wayne as Batman.”

At the New York Comic Con 2008, DC Comics gave away pins featuring Nightwing, Tim Drake, Jason Todd, and Hush with the words “I Am Batman” beneath them.

The pins were also being given away at the Newsarama booth by DC’s executive editor Dan DiDio during HeroesCon 2008 in Charlotte, NC and again by DiDio at Emerald City Comic-Con in Seattle.

Which leads me to ask: Who do you want to wear the black rubber suit next?

I am rooting for Jason Todd.

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Hook him up, he is ready to become the new Caped Crusader. Batman is Dead, Long Live Batman – hopefully with a Red Hooded dark side.

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Thanos Turkey with Currs Stuffing and Fresh X-Babies Attack Sauce.

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That was last year’s Vs. System Thanksgiving feast, live on the mothership. I was playing as the newly released Galactus, and my three wonderful children were running hordes of one-drop army dudes to swarm their father into submission. You can click that link to see the decklists and the final results. For the Feast of 2008, we have a fresh recipe from the other side of the Atlantic.

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The center photograph is the actual gamestate that Joe “lordoflimbo” Clarke found himself in on turn six the other night in Britain. How in the world could so much stuffing come out of a single 60-card deck?

Before we start, you will need to know where to find the mythical Currs to stuff your bird. This is from the official Marvel Comics’ continuity book:

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Currs:

Home World

Unknown

First Appearance
Annihilation: Silver Surfer #1, (2006)

Distinguishing Features
They use sensory like tentacles to find their way through the cosmos. They are only found in packs of threes and are attached to each other by a glowing umbilical cord.

Physical Description
Dog like creatures with no eyes.

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That’s the meat of the deck, allowing the Thanos Turkey to spill its juicy bounty all over the board. Here is the actual recipe, by the Jankmaster Chef Joe Clarke himself. I hope you are hungry.

Thanos Turkey with Currs Stuffing
25x Currs, Army
4x Thanos, The Mad Titan
4x The Captain, Can’t Remember His Real Name
1x Sinestro, Yellow Lantern

1x Mind Gem

4x Genosha
4x Birthing Chamber

3x Carrying the Torch
4x Annihilating Conquest
4x Strategic Thinking
4x Heroes of Two Worlds
4x Invasion Plans

Basically, you want to mulligan for what feels right. It isn’t a specific condition, but if there was ever an auto-keep. It would be Thanos and a Genosha.
Turn 1
Play Currs.
Turn 2
Play Currs
Turn 3
Play Thanos
Turn 4
Play The Captain,
Naming The Captain/Annihilus
Turn 5
Step 1 – Play The Captain.
Step 2 – Name The Captain/Annihilus/Magneto
Step 3 – Name The Captain/Annihilus.
Step 4 – Activate Genosha drawing 4.
Step 5 – Activate Thanos, to re-use Genosha. Hopefully KOing a duplicate Birthing Chamber.
Step 6 – Use all the Invasion Plans you have.
Step 7 – Go into combat with the Currs.
Step 8 – Power-Up all your Currs, as it is the only reliable way of filling your KO’d pile with them.
Turn 6
Step 1 – Activate Thanos putting Genosha back in your row.
Step 2 – Recruit Thanos.
Step 3 – Use Genosha.
Step 4 – Let your opponent build
Step 5 – Play all available copies of Strategic Thinking.
Step 6 – Name The Captain/Annihilus/Magneto/Currs
Step 7 – Name The Captain/Annihilus/Currs.
Step 8 – Let some Currs resolve, until you have 6 characters in play.
Step 9 – Activate Birthing Chamber.
Step 10 – Activate Thanos, re-using the Birthing Chamber.
Step 11 – Let all the other Currs resolve and bring in as many as you can.
Step 12 – Play all the Annihilating Conquests you have available.
Step 13 – Profit.
Usually, about 10 Currs come in for free. A really good draw can get you somewhere in the region of 14. Don’t worry about having enough draw.
Thanos with Genosha is something really really special.
Really really special indeed, just in time for Thanksgiving. I have always adored Thanos. Especially as the boss in the original Marvel Super Heroes game on Playstation One with Thanos chicks and everything.
Which brings us to the sauce.
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x-babies
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My friends, that is the flavor. It is the last card in the new Marvel Evolution set, which for all we know will be the last Vs. System set ever printed. It tickles my soul. See, if you click back over to last Thanksgiving, you will remember my mutant mashed potatoes that eventually evolved into the deck named “X-babies”. It was the first recipe that I created completely from scratch, and it made me the Marquee Champion of Miami before it went on to worldwide fame and fortune. Here, on Thanksgiving day, I would like to give thanks to Ben Seck and Billy Zonos for naming the final card in the MEV set in my honor. Not only will it fit perfectly inside every Vs. System dish I have ever cooked, but it stuffs me full of delicious bliss. Happy Thanksgiving, to one and all.
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Going Rogue.

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That amazing upgrade to the girl with the ultimate empathy powers was drawn by jollyjack, and it leads me to a major collision of mythological loyalty.

Squirrel Girl, Longshot, or Rogue?

When it comes to the best first turn play in the history of Vs. System, that is my dilemma. I love them all with all my heart. Mulletman and Bushy Tail both feed my taste for one-drop army candy swarms, but I have always had a huge soft spot for Rogue alongside mad respect for the advice of the Pro Circuit Champions of the game.

Enter David Leader.

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The man they call “Disney” is as good as it gets when it comes to real strategy theory. Our new Rogue card actually caused him to gush. Her ability to create massive resource acceleration is taking off the gloves and teasing me with my favorite white-striped Southern Sweetie as an alternative to my usual weenie-fest on Turn one. It all revolves around the new mechanic called Shift, and David Leader explains how good it can be:

Turn 1: Shift counter on Shadowcat.
Turn 2: Proteus, add Shift counter to Shadowcat.
Turn 3: Shift out Blink and any other 3 drop (2 resource points), exhaust Proteus to add a counter to the other 3-drop (hopefully Iron Man), pay 1 to bring in Shadowcat, exhaust to bring in Blink, put down your 3 drop. If it was Iron Man, stun your hunted and drop a 2-drop.

As for drafting Shift, it’s like Boost; even if I’m not playing those teams, I want some of it in my deck, because it helps solve one of draft’s biggest potential issues: failing to use all of your resource points typically results in a loss.

And I do agree that Rogue is the best Turn 1 play ever.

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So there you have it. The godhand of Shift domination, a reason to draft toward it, and the thing that is driving me more mad than ever.

Squirrel Girl, Longshot, or Rogue?

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Filed under Vs. System

Killer Twilight Art.

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Surfing around for more Twilight vampire baseball action, I stumbled upon Exena Designs. There is an entire set of gorgeous graphic design tribute pieces sitting there on flickr waiting for you to wiggle your teeth into, all bizarrely captioned and explained with an exotic Spanish accent.

Bite!

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Pick a card, any card.

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Those are original sketch cards by Jeff Victor.  They were inserted randomly in the Marvel Masterpieces packs. They remind me so much of my day today.

I have been teaching my elementary school Art students to design their own card games, and watching them thrill with glee as they trade the Vs. System cards that I give them as rewards.

I love my job.

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Filed under Marvel Masterpieces, Vs. System

The first day of the best music of the rest of your life.

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Some moments last forever. I remember it like it was yesterday. We were driving north for a road trip, cutting across the state on the Sawgrass Expressway. The radio was on, and some sort of new sound took grip of my entire being. It was Sneaker Pimps. The song was called “6 Underground”. It changed my life. The woman’s voice reached out to my soul and asked me to dance.

I have been enchanted ever since.

Kelli Ali. That was her name. My heart had earlier been opened wide by a childhood full of Karen Carpenter, but I was nowhere near ready for this. After Sneaker Pimps proved they did not know the best thing when they had it, she went solo.

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Kelli kept the groove going with two albums in the early half of the 21st Century, and she is still the voice I most love dancing to. Now this.

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Life has changed so much since 1996, and Kelli Ali has changed more than most. Her new album is completely different, yet soothes my center just as deeply as her dance stuff. You can click this to hear some of it, or hang out while she explains:

My Rocking Horse album is very different from my earlier records and is a collection of songs which resemble dark modern nursery rhymes at times. Odes to the magic of nature and dreams and reflections on my journey are at the heart of these songs.

Acoustic guitars, flute and cor anglais, violins, cello, organ and piano are just some of the instruments we used to interpret the dreamy, folk and modern classically inspired songs.

I believe that we have created a tapestry of enchanting music and haunting melody in the Rocking Horse album, and I am very excited to share this new record with you.

I am very excited to announce the release of Kelli Ali’s new album. Almost as excited as I am knowing I will be listening to it every day until I can sing the songs in my head whenever the music stops. This is the first day of the best music of the rest of my life. It’s one of those moments that will last forever.

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