Written by Zeb Larson

Nations was a game that I had heard a lot about before I finally had a chance to play it. I’m one of those guys who keeps Boardgamegeek open in the background at work, mostly so I can read reviews of games I haven’t played and scroll for trades I might be interested in. It first popped up for me a few years ago when I passed up an opportunity to playtest it, an opportunity I’ve since come to regret. After finally having gotten to play this game, I can report that I liked it, although I’m not wild about it.

For those who haven’t read up on the game, Nations is a 1 to 5 player game which simulates the passage of history for several ancient powers. Players take on one of five different states: Greece, Rome, Persia, Egypt or China. The game is played through four different historical eras: Antiquity, Medieval, Renaissance and Industrial, each of which last for two phases. Players can build up strong militaries, develop sophisticated cultures, conquer colonies and build wonders to accrue victory points. At the end of the game, whoever has the most victory points is the winner. Gameplay integrates some aspects of worker placement and some aspects of card drafting, which I’ll run through in a few paragraphs.


BATTLE ROYALE: REMASTERED Novel Features A New Translation While The BATTLE ROYALE SLAM BOOK Explores The Novel’s Tremendous Impact On Pop Culture

BattleRoyale-RemasteredhaikasoruSan Francisco, CA, April 2, 2014 – VIZ Media’s Haikasoru literary imprint commemorates the 15th Anniversary of the original debut of one of the most controversial works of modern Japanese literary fiction with the release of BATTLE ROYALE: REMASTERED and the BATTLE ROYALE SLAM BOOK: Essays on the Cult Classic Novel by Koushun Takami. BATTLE ROYALE: REMASTERED features a brand new translation of the smash hit near-future dystopian thriller along with new cover art by Tomer Hanuka and an afterword by author Koushun Takami. The BATTLE ROYALE SLAM BOOK presents an insightful collection of essays by some of the most important writers of popular fiction on the impact of the novel, related films and manga series on pop culture and the controversy and continuing social debate that has surrounded BATTLE ROYALE ever since its release.

BATTLE ROYALE: REMASTERED is available now from Haikasoru as a print-only release for $16.99 U.S./ $19.99 CAN, while the BATTLE ROYALE SLAM BOOK is offered in print for $14.99 U.S./$16.99 CAN, as well as an eBook edition for $7.99 (U.S. / CAN) for the Amazon Kindle, Apple’s iBooks Store, Barnes & Noble’s Nook Book Store, and the Kobo eBooks Store.

Haikasoru publishes some of the most compelling contemporary Japanese science fiction and fantasy stories for English-speaking audiences, and is the first imprint based in the U.S. dedicated to Japanese science fiction and fantasy in translation.

BATTLE ROYALE: REMASTERED, by Koushun Takami • MSRP: $16.99 U.S. / $19.99 CAN • Available Now!

Koushun Takami’s notorious high-octane thriller is based on an irresistible premise: a class of junior high school students is taken to a deserted island where, as part of a ruthless authoritarian program, they are provided arms and forced to kill one another until only one survivor is left standing. Criticized as violent exploitation when first published in Japan—where it then proceeded to become a runaway best seller—Battle Royale is a Lord of the Flies for the 21st century, a potent allegory of what it means to be young and (barely) alive in a dog-eat-dog world. Made into a controversial hit movie of the same name, Battle Royale is already a contemporary Japanese pulp classic, now available in a new English-language translation.

BATTLE ROYALE SLAM BOOK: Essays on the Cult Classic Novel by Koushun Takami • MSRP: $14.99 U.S. / $16.99 CAN • Available Now!

ASPEN COMICS: Lola XOXO #1 Preview!

Aspen’s newest hit series debuts!

Story & Art by Siya Oum ­


In the “Wasteland”, Lola, a young woman with a resolve fortified by a
lifetime of survival on her own, must journey across the nuclear-decimated
United States in order to find the family that was taken from her! As her
quest for the truth begins, Lola uncovers the true inhumanity of the
Apocalypse, as those who seek to hold power in a new frontier, will do so at
all bloody costs…including her life!

Aspen is proud to bring you artist Siya Oum‘s highly anticipated new series!
Sure to be one of 2014′s most exciting debuts, LOLA XOXO is ready to take
you on an incredible adventure unlike any other!

LOLA XOXO #1 is in stores April 9th, 2014!


Continuing Guillermo Del Toro & Chuck Hogan’s Acclaimed Vampire Epic!

Strain HCFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: MILWAUKIE, OR — As the world gears up for the premiere of the new FX television program adapting the original novel trilogy The Strain, Dark Horse announces The Night Eternal, the third comics chapter of this ongoing vampire epic, adapted by David Lapham and Mike Huddleston.

Following the first two comics series, The Strain and the recently wrapped The FallThe Night Eternal will begin on August 20, just after The Strain’s television debut on FX!

It’s been two years since the Master’s plan succeeded and a near apocalypse coated the world in darkness. Now able to roam freely, the Master’s legion of vampires rule the world—a horrifying police state where humans are harvested for blood. As humanity despairs, Dr. Ephraim Goodweather and an unlikely team of heroes continue their fight against extinction, all the while hoping to unlock the secret to the Master’s demise. The final chapter in the Strain Trilogy, the series that put a terrifying twist on the vampire genre, begins here.

Days of Future Past: Patlabor 2: The Movie


Review by Amanda Pampuro


mini51posterPatlabor 2 doesn’t make redundant jokes and avoids many of the soulless sequel’s mistakes. However, this sequel also leaves behind the fantastic giant robot fights that propelled Patlabor: the Movie. Having used the first movie to establish the risks of having a giant robot task force, the sequel plays out like the another cop drama, with the robots in the background, focusing on the question of Japan’s global status at the turn of the 21st century. It also might be worth noting, that while I viewed this movie as a sequel, it is more of an OVA, an extension off of the longer Manga/anime series.  Although Patlabor 2 was the next film sequel in the series released only four years after 1989′s Patlabor: The Movie, chronologically it takes place after the events of WXIII: Patlabor the Movie 3 which wouldn’t be released until 2001/2002.


When a major Tokyo bridge is blown in half by a missile, after speculation of terrorism and upon initially analyzing captured video footage of the incident,  it seems obvious to blame what looks to be a Japanese Self Defense Force fighter-jet-gone-rogue, modeled after the American F-16J (re-purposed for use by the SDF), but Shinobu Nagumo and Kichi Gotoh from Patlabor Special Vehicle Unit 2 soon untangle a much more complex international conspiracy. The majority of the movie follows Nagumo and Gotoh’s conversations with various politicians, and Shigeki Arakawa, an informant who knows a little too much about what’s going on.

Aspen Comics Presents Their First New Property of 2014: LOLA XOXO #1 Available On April 9th!

LOLA-01d-Retailer2-OUM April 1, 2014/Santa Monica, CA – Aspen Comics is thrilled to present its first new property of 2014 on April 9th, the action-adventure series Lola XOXO, created, written and illustrated by Siya Oum (Charismagic, Executive Assistant: Iris). The highly anticipated upcoming six-issue series unfolds in a dystopian western tale following young firebrand character Lola, who has been raised under the protection of a band of traveling merchants. Despite potential dangers in the “Wasteland,” Lola decides to perilously traverse what’s left of the United States in a desperate—and deadly—search for her parents.  Oum discusses her enthusiasm for the project:

“It has always been a dream of mine to have my own series. It hasn’t quite hit me. I can’t imagine how I’ll feel when I get the first printed issue in my hands. I feel like everything I’ve ever experienced, everyone I’ve ever cared for has a hand in inspiring the creation of this Lola XOXO. I couldn’t have asked for a better publisher and a better group of friends to guide me through the process. I am forever grateful.”

The Weekly Beat Down: WrestleMania XXX Predictions!

Written by Christian Miller

Hey, everyone! The biggest show of the year, WrestleMania, is less than a week away! So far, here’s how the card is shaping up:

WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match 
Randy Orton (c) vs. Batista vs. TBD

Brock Lesnar vs. The Undertaker

Winner gets added to the World Heavyweight Championship main event
Daniel Bryan vs. Triple H

John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt

IDW ENTERTAINMENT & ENTERTAINMENT ONE TELEVISION Strike First-Look Development & Produtction Agreement

Circle of Confusion Attached to Drive Creative 

idwent_eoneLos Angeles, CA (April 1, 2014) – IDW Entertainment, the newly launched division of comic book powerhouse IDW Publishing (IDW), and leading independent studio Entertainment One Television (eOne), have entered into a partnership to co-develop, co-fund and co-produce television series based on IDW’s extensive library of over 300 original properties. The announcement was made today by David Ozer, President of IDW Entertainment and John Morayniss, CEO, eOne Television.

eOne and IDW will fully fund development of each project with the intent of securing direct-to-series commitments for network and cable television.
IDW Publishing CEO Ted Adams and Ozer will serve as Executive Producers on the projects, as will Morayniss and Benedict Carver, eOne’s SVP of Filmed Entertainment, who will oversee the deal on behalf of eOne.

Circle of Confusion will take the lead in driving the creative development and production of all projects with the company’s Rick Jacobs and David Alpert serving as Executive Producers. Circle of Confusion formed a partnership with IDW Entertainment in October 2013 to assist in the development and Executive Produce the projects of the newly launched entertainment division of IDW Publishing.  Circle of Confusion is the Executive Producer of the hit AMC series The Walking Dead, for which eOne handles international distribution.

IDW Entertainment and eOne will jointly represent the U.S. network sales, and eOne will be responsible for the international distribution of programming. 

MCM Comic-Con London 2014: All You Need To Know

Written by Rachel Jensen on behalf of Kilogramme Animation Studio.


MCM Comic-Cons are huge events held every year throughout Britain and Ireland. It is a place for fans to celebrate pop-culture and explore the likes of  comics & manga, anime, video games, and film. The MCM Comic-Con London 2014 will be held on the 23rd-25th of May at Excel, Royal Victoria Dock.

Here is what you can expect from London Comic-Con this year! 


Celebrating over 30 years of ElfQuest

EQGED CVR SOL r2SEATTLE, WA/March 30th, 2014/—In 1978, Wendy and Richard Pini first published what would become one of the most revered classic-fantasy epics in comics. Today, ElfQuest continues to capture the imaginations of readers of all ages, as Chief Cutter and his Wolfriders battle savage humans, forge lasting alliances, and discover strange new lands in this ultimate fantasy adventure!

Dark Horse proudly presents ElfQuest: The Original Quest Gallery Edition, a one-of-a-kind edition, which collects the first five issues of The Original Quest (“Fire and Flight”) in their gorgeous original glory. Each page is carefully scanned from Wendy Pini’s original art to capture every stroke and detail. At 12 1/8″ by 17″, it’s as close to holding Pini’s original art as a fan can get.