ThunderCats, No! (Part 2 of 2)

ThunderCats, No!Last time, we scratched the surface of an ill-advised attempt to make the ThunderCats franchise darker and edgier. The sexism, gore, and terrible storytelling of the first two issues pales in comparison with the final half of the miniseries. As always, I must share my pain, so let’s explore issues 3-5 of ThunderCats: The Return.

Read more at the Screamsheet!

How Excited is too Excited when it Comes to Birthday Presents?

Birthday PresentsSeven years into this parenting thing, I still don’t know how to strike the right balance with anything. Am I too hard on them or too lax with discipline? Do I give them a suitable number of presents or do I spoil them? If there’s one thing I’m sure about, it’s that I overthink things.

This week’s lesson in self-doubt comes from my son’s birthday. By now, he knows the drill: for several days on end, every friend of ours he meets will give him a present of some sort. And I’m sitting here trying to temper his excitement by focusing on that old nugget, “It’s the thought that counts.”

My son, always one to wear his thoughts on his sleeve, has made no bones about how excited he is to receive presents. He’s even approached our friends and asked, “Did you get me a present for my birthday?” When he does that, I squirm uncomfortably because it seems like that’s all he cares about.

Read more at BabyCenter.com!

Thundercats, No! (Part 1 of 2)

Thundercats, No!

I don’t know why, but many people really seem to want kids’ entertainment to get re-imagined in a dark and gritty way. That’s one of the main complaints people seem to have about the upcoming ThunderCats reboot, which looks sillier than the original. While adult clamor for a darker version of ThunderCats (often ignoring that the awesome 2011 reboot was more mature and didn’t last more than one season), it’s worth noting that there is danger in going dark just for the sake of getting grim and gritty.

The ThunderCats franchise serves as a good example of why “more mature” often isn’t and why dark and gritty doesn’t necessarily make for better storytelling. See, the early 2000s had a ThunderCats reboot of its own in comic form. The resulting miniseries, ThunderCats: The Return is probably one of the worst comics I’ve ever read.

I don’t like to suffer through bad comics alone. So let’s take a look at this train wreck together, shall we?

Read more at the Screamsheet!

Phantom Histories: Gaston Leroux’s Phantom of the Opera

Phantom of the Opera

The Phantom of the Opera is one of my favorite stories but also one of the most frustrating.

The original story written by Gaston Leroux was published as a serial in the French newspaper Le Gaulois, but is now available in novel format in most bookstores. Because of its serial nature, though, the story doesn’t read naturally if you just sit down and read it chapter after chapter. It’s an excellent book, but it commits some big literary no-nos, such as introducing a major character in only the final act. Nonetheless, it is a compelling read with a character that is evil yet likable and ultimately very tragic.

With some narrative flaws but an otherwise terrific story, the original work seems like it would be greatly improved by adaptation. Despite having received numerous film versions, I don’t feel that any of the adaptations of Leroux’s novel have quite captured the original charm. Yes, some of them are very good in their own right, but they always leave out one or two elements that leave me wanting.

The end result is that I’m a big fan of The Phantom of the Opera, but I am still waiting for what I would consider a definitive version – a tale with all the character development and tragedy of the original story without the literary problems caused by the format in which it was released.

Read more at the Screamsheet!

Out Now: Thirst for Knowledge

Thirst for Knowledge

Something sinister lurks within an old elven siege fort…

Thirst for Knowledge is a Pathfinder adventure for 9th-level characters that slams together pulp sci-fi, fantasy, and horror in the tradition begun years ago with Expedition to the Barrier Peaks. Exploring a strange metallic cave, the heroes must rescue some lost dwarves from an alien priest of Cthulhu – but the knowledge they gain during the adventure might be even more dangerous.

Thirst for Knowledge serves as part three of the Ravenous Ruin adventure path from Wayward Rogues. With a little modification, it can also stand alone as its own adventure.

Check it out at DriveThruRPG!