Tag Archives: liz sherman

Dave Johnson + Liz Sherman = Bliss.

lizsherman

If I have said it once, I have said it a thousand times. One of my most cherished memories in all of Vs. System history is the unveiling of Liz Sherman’s Uncontrolled Power.

We learned recently that Mike Mignola and his wife personally gave the green light to the artwork on this myth-busting cardboard masterpiece, although the original Dave Johnson painting was a bit too blue. Here’s the before and after. I still can’t believe I was a part of it. Liz never, ever, ever looked like this in the comics or the movies. Only in our beloved trading card game. Forever.

lizshermanblue

lizshermanagain

Leave a comment

Filed under Greatest Hits, Vs. System

Blurring the Distinction: From Art to Reality.

zinco

The art on that card has always made me scratch my head and wonder how I got so lucky. As an integral part of Vs. System’s history, that little proud zinco product not only brought one of Mike Mignola’s most magnificent paintings to real life on the Pro Circuit, it cemented something special inside of me.

See, here’s how it goes. One person crystallizes a myth in words and imagery. Then a whole bunch of others celebrate it and expand its existence in the collective psi-bank. Finally, the commercial conglomerate sanctions it with official releases. Continuity and canon arise from imagination, and we all live happily ever after.

What am I babbling about on this glorious Sunday morning? The myth of Hellboy, of course. Specifically the link between a fan-created Playmobil set that was eventually purchased by Mike Mignola himself, and our beloved Vs. System cardboard incarnations.  Feast your eyes.

anugunrama1

anugunramacard

roger

rogercard

johannkrauss

johannkrausscard

liz1

lizcard

abe

abecard

kroenen

kroenencard

rasputin1

rasputincard

box

bprdhq

hellboy2

hbproduct-closed

Leave a comment

Filed under Comic Books, Vs. System

Hellboy + Liz Sherman = Bliss.

hellboylizsketch

hellboylizsherman

(The best Liz Sherman I have seen, by Roc Upchurch.)

hellboy1 hellboyjetpack

lizsherman lizshermanagain

Flipping cards has never been finer. For the second weekend in a row, Nina and I have been turning Hellboy and Liz sideways on the kitchen table until the tentacles explode the moon and rain down from the heavens. Last night our seven-game series came down to the final swing, and I had the firestarter’s Uncontrollable Power ready to burn for the win.

Hottest. Cardboard. Ever.
51wwhmsnrdl__ss500_

Leave a comment

Filed under Comic Books, Vs. System, Weekend in Heaven

Heavenly Hellboy.

somethingiscoming

The Hellboy Essential Collection contains the only 60-card constructed Vs. System decks ever produced for public consumption. It remains the pinnacle of mythological madness and trading card game bliss. Mike Mignola personally painted a large portion of the exquisite artwork, while Matt Hyra made sure the mechanics were magnificent tightness. It worked perfectly, in ways that still blow me away.

Nina and I have played two seven-game series so far this weekend. We switched teams for each house championship, with Thule Society claiming both rings. The first was 4-2, the second 4-3. The decks are wonderfully balanced. Each team has two different themes. It is the most fun we have had playing Vs. System, maybe ever.

Before we start the next series, I want to share some of the intense mythological eye candy that we have been wallowing in all weekend. Rub your eyes and blink, this stuff is for real.

hellboy

rasputin

Those are the original unpublished designs for the insert sleeves in the UDeck boxes. The final illustrations for the outer box holds just the arcane antiquity, without the illustrations.

rulebook

The rulebook included in this set is, perhaps, the best single item that Upper Deck Entertainment has ever produced. Comprehensive, creative, colorful, and cool as anything else in the world.

kroenen

As I mentioned earlier, Mike Mignola himself did most of the paintings for the cards. Kroenen drips in eternal cardboard glory because of it.

lizsherman

That is Ryan Sook’s hot take on Liz Sherman. If I have said it once, I have said it a thousand times. Our game took her places she never would have gone in the comics.

breakoffthehorns

Alex Garner broke off the horns…

acceptyourdestiny

Tim Townsend accepted the destiny…

littleboy

… and Jason Pearson hilariously illustrated the biggest little beats we have ever seen.

That’s all the time I have to share the beauty of the Hellboy Essential Collection, I need to shuffle up and flip some cards. If you need more words, you can check out the Little Red Men deck that we built as a community.

I will see you back here soon, on the other side of Hellboy Heaven.

1 Comment

Filed under Comic Books, Vs. System, Weekend in Heaven

Save-It Saturday: Huge, Annoying Tentacles.

Here at Full Body Transplant we have been getting some sightseers surfing for squid. Watchmen squid, to be precise, but squid nonetheless. So, Save-It Saturday is serving historical calamari this morning as the next recipe in our archival soup.

The photograph at the top of this post is one of the crowning achievements of our time at Metagame. My magnificent Met-loving managing editor actually allowed me to photoshop myself and Matt Hyra into the halls of hysterical fake history. And we lived happily ever after.

So yeah. It’s not the Watchmen squid, it’s the huge, annoying tentacles from Hellboy. It’s copying over to the blog with bad spacing, and eventually the source links from the original will shut down and the images won’t load. It is delicious while it lasts, and there is nothing like squid for breakfast – or Save-It Saturday on a Sunday morning.

Bon appetit!

hellboyfike

Hellboy Preview: Huge, Annoying Tentacles and Karl Ruprecht Kroenen

Rian Fike
View all articles by this author

What are you afraid of?

If you are Selma Blair, the answer is simple: Huge, Annoying Tentacles. When she was creating Liz Sherman on film for Guillermo del Toro’s version of Mike Mignola’s Hellboy, Selma had to face her deepest, darkest phobia. This is what the brilliant actress had to say about her experience with Vs. System’s latest Army characters:

They actually scared me. Tentacles are the one thing I have problems with. In person, those tentacles were so terrifying, moving on their own and going everywhere. They really made me sick. I was repulsed, and you didn’t see them as much in the final cut because of it. Yeah, I don’t like them. I don’t like slugs or tentacles or calamari or anything. Tentacles made me turn into a vegetarian in high school. I’m not any more, but in high school, we were dissecting squid.

Huge, Annoying Tentacles scared the pants off the former winner of MTV’s Best Movie Kiss of the Year. Now they are going to be mad fun to play with on the kitchen table and in the tournament hall. They are non-unique Army characters and they are a near-perfect representation of the timeless fear that is unleashed and celebrated in the Hellboy Essential Collection. Let’s find out where these creepy crawlers came from.

When Mike Mignola first penned the legend of Hellboy, he drew upon the most hideous and horrible source material that humanity has ever known. Some of his inspiration was non-fiction, but that will need to wait until the second half of the article. Right now, we need to look toward H.P. Lovecraft.

Widely acknowledged as a master of modern horror, H.P. Lovecraft gave us Cthulhu. No single being carries as much weight when it comes to terrifying its audience. Cthulhu is one of the Old Ones, sometimes described as of the sum total of all human fear. Huge, Annoying Tentacles are its signature move. If you are having trouble pronouncing the name, don’t worry. Cthulhu cannot be spoken. Lovecraft himself explained it like this:

The actual sound—as nearly as human organs could imitate it or human letters record it—may be taken as something like Khlul’-hloo, with the first syllable pronounced gutturally and very thickly. The best approximation one can make is to grunt, bark, or cough the imperfectly formed syllables Cluh-Luh with the tip of the tongue firmly affixed to the roof of the mouth. That is, if one is a human being. Directions for other entities are naturally different.

Mike Mignola created the Ogdru Jahad as homage to Cthulhu and the Old Ones. Like its predecessor, this indescribable evil is an ageless being from the beginning of time. It continuously strives to destroy the world completely and throw us all into a state of utter chaos and madness. When Guillermo del Toro interpreted the Ogdru Jahad for his feature film, it had one resounding characteristic: it had Huge, Annoying Tentacles.

Luckily for us, Hellboy and the B.P.R.D eventually thwarted the Thule Society and their attempt to awaken the Ogdru Jahad. The world did not end, and we get to live on for many more games of Vs. System. For better or worse, there will now be Huge, Annoying Tentacles involved, and they will take some getting used to. Playing against these suckers can be exhausting.

The fear caused by this card turns any lower-cost Thule Society character into Rogue, Anna Raven. Aside from the upgrade in looks, why is that good? What is the benefit in attacking an exhausted character unless it is She-Hulk, Jennifer Walters? I hope you are ready, because there are some amazing powers that can answer those questions.

  1. Exhausted defenders are not able to attack back on your initiative turns. Huge, Annoying Tentacles will form the basis for some suicidal stall strategies. Since it gives its power to any smallish characters that it can team-up with, it has me dusting off the Armies of Qward and preparing a new world order for Army swarms.
  2. Whether or not you stun the defender that you turned sideways, you can stick it to the board for the next turn with Adhesive X or Nahrees.
  3. There are some amazing pumps that key off exhausted defenders. The Arkham Inmates are singing “Let’s Go Crazy” as we speak. Every character in the game is practicing their Sucker Punch for a Crushing Blow thanks to Huge, Annoying Tentacles.
  4. Two words: Golden Death.
  5. Some of the darkest, scariest characters that I know just got a whole lot better. Check out Charaxes, Drury Walker; Yelena Belova ◊ Black Widow; and Mystique, Villainous Shapeshifter. Huge, Annoying Tentacles will bring them out of the binder and turn them into the KO machines they were born to be.

As frightening as Huge, Annoying Tentacles are, there is another card in the Hellboy Essential Collection that takes even more of my breath away. Karl Ruprecht Kroenen will chill you to the bone. He is a character that Mike Mignola invented to personify the coldness and cruelty into which the human mind can condense when its sights are set on true evil. This is what happens when the warmth of the human heart is completely extinguished. The pulp version of Kroenen actually froze himself for years, waiting until the proper time for his apocalyptic agenda to be completed.

Over the course of their translation from comic book to feature film, both Liz Sherman and Karl Ruprecht Kroenen received a major upgrade and an expanded presence in the Hellboy mythos. Guillermo del Toro fleshed them out thoroughly, allowing Liz to love and Kroenen to kill. In the director’s hands, they became a yin/yang supernova of opposite power and symbolism. Their migration to Vs. System in the Hellboy Essential Collection captures these content extensions intact, and our cardboard contests are going to get wicked because of it.

Karl Ruprecht Kroenen is one of the most disturbing villains ever created. The skin-crawling evil that his character distills is nearly non-fiction. The Thule Society team affiliation that he represents is based on tragic historical fact. The bizarre and unsettling psychosis of surgical addiction that he unveils in the cinema is an all-too-real example of abnormal human behavior. This character is a true horror.

He is also nearly impossible to kill. This is neatly represented by his evasion ability. You can be assured of his presence for multiple turns, and at the beginning of each combat phase, he will be prepared to employ one of his twisted toys. If the top card of your deck is an Army character that has been brainwashed to follow the orders of the Thule Society as they continue their mission to ritualistically destroy the entire world, then Karl Ruprecht Kroenen will add it to your arsenal. He may find a natural minion with Huge, Annoying Tentacles, or he may expand his troops with a Team-Up. Either way, he brings a terrible beauty to the tortured eyes of Vs. System Army lovers everywhere.

What are you afraid of?

Rian Fike is also known as stubarnes and he is not afraid of anything that he can eat with hot sauce. He wishes that he really could meet Selma Blair, with or without Matt Hyra. If you wish to speak with him about some fears of your own, make an appointment at fullbodytransplant@dadeschools.net.

2 Comments

Filed under Comic Books, Save It Saturday, The Interwebs Rock!, Vs. System

Hellboy: Hottest Myth on Earth.

How do I love Hellboy? Let me count the ways.

lizsherman

1.  Liz Sherman, Uncontrollable Power.  When Mike Mignola’s myth burst its way onto Vs. System cardboard with the Hellboy Essential Collection, the hottest firestarter in comics was given a major ugrade in image.  She was rather muted and moody in the books.  Our game got her to shed her clothes, and that painting by Dave Johnson is one of the most gorgeous things that I have ever been a part of.

2.  Vs. System allows legends of all flavors to be blended together.  In anticipation of tonight’s premiere of  Hellboy II: The Golden Army, I was actually able to team-up Squirrel Girl and her hungry horde with Liz Sherman and Hecate.  What would have been reserved for mere fantasy became a reality… right in our own home on the kitchen table.

3.  Hecate was a major star of the new animated feature called Hellboy: Blood and Iron. It is one of the greatest cartoon films I have ever seen, and we had a special connection to it thanks to the cardboard incarnations that we had been turning sideways all day.

4.  Guillermo Del Toro is the man.  I am especially excited about the brilliant design of the big orchid-headed Angel of Death.  It reminds me so much of the Heedless One, from Magic the Gathering.  That painting is the closest thing to a fully accurate portrait of my wife that I have ever seen.  It is by Mark Zug, and I will leave you with its incomparable beauty now.  I have a premiere to attend.  The new Hellboy opens tonight, and it is the Hottest Myth on Earth.

5 Comments

Filed under Vs. System

The full body transplant experience.

Namesake.

(photoshoppery of real plastic body armor by Rian Fike.)

The full body transplant experience grows from the urge to become the object of your desire, to merge completely into one glowing entity, to be totally in love. Not love like hearts and possessions, but love like fire.


Nina and I met under a full moon on Miami Beach at midnight, and we recognized each other from twelve previous lifetimes together. (I wrote a short story about the other lifetimes, but I forgot where I put it.) We were each accomplished Chaos Magicians, and we were both filled with the most insanely intense desire for each other.

We knew this was the one, so we waited. We waited one entire year before our first kiss. Magick often involves sacrifice, and the power we were building was focused on one of its most exalted rituals. We were going to switch bodies.


I am not one to switch and tell, but I can share some of the side effects. We began to release the exact same pheromones. We could talk without words. Sometimes our faces disappeared when we looked into each other’s eyes.


We have never sought a scientific explanation for the experience, but one day I was pixeling around with Photoshop for the next wave, I hooked up with Nick Herbert and his Quantum Tantra trip. Nick is the real deal. His experiments with the accelerators at Stanford have combined with the confirmed existence of the quantum dimensions of other realities, enough to hear an echo of the full body transplant experience in deep physics. Yes, it is very possible that the human mind is a form of consciousness that can “switch bodies” with any other physical structure, including inanimate objects. If the thing you are joining with is on the other side of the Universe, all your transportation problems are solved.


This quantum effect creates very very dangerous possibilities, but it also solves all problems associated with ethics, and Nick Herbert calls it the Golden Rule 2.0. When he was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in response, he actually used some of my illustrations in his presentation. You can click over to his site for more information…

Here’s your link, merge at your own risk:

http://members.cruzio.com/~quanta/goldenrule4.html

I know it is possible to switch bodies with someone or something else, I’ve done it.  I can’t give you detailed instructions, but the first step is the courage to give yourself permission.


14 Comments

Filed under Art I live with., Full Body Transplanting, Rambles