Friday, March 17, 2017

Bouncer Story - Saint Patrick's Day

Saint Patrick’s Day Memories:

It was a while ago, 2005 or 2006. I was single and dating a lot. I met a woman on Craigslist and we decided to meet for a few drinks and get to know each other. She said she liked dive bars so I suggested we meet at The ‘Vern for a few beers on a Thursday or something.

Little did either of us know that we agreed to meet at The ‘Vern on Saint Patrick’s Day night.

First, for the non-native Portlanders, The ‘Vern is a classic dive bar. More the real kind and “Old Portland” than what you see today. It was a punk rock hang out, whatever that means, for a while. It’s not actually called The ‘Vern, it’s real name is “Dave’s Tavern” or something but the TA of TAVERN burned out decades ago and it never got fixed so it’s just called the ‘Vern now. I think it became “punk rock” because the jukebox was decidedly punk over anything else. The place was kept up just enough to keep it legal and even then…

Secondly, I’m not a St. Patty’s day guy. Thought I was but I’m not even a lick of Irish, nor Christian, nor do I care for that stuff. If anything my white side is Scandi/Norman, and if any of my line comes from some Celtic lands it’s as a conqueror and not a native. On top of that I see St. Patty’s as an excuse for people to be drunk dickheads. I will assume responsibility for that though as I am the one hanging around drunk dickheads. I’ve solved the problem by not being a drunk anymore, nor being a dickhead tough guy, or even going out to invite such shit into my life.

So there I am sitting at a table on a first date with some woman I had never met before at the Vern listening to some Dropkick Murphy’s on St. Patty’s day over some PBRs. Her name was Angie and she was pretty and new to Portland and getting out and meeting people. I liked her but I knew right off she was not into me and my kind and I called it right off to make things more comfortable for us. She wanted to hang though and we were being friendly towards each other and I was answering her questions about Portland.

The bartender is a buddy of mine and he’s doing his duty (on top of serving on St. Patty’s day) of making me look cool in front of a lady and spotting me PBRs and saying cool shit about me.

Everyone is being friendly when a group of “St. Patty Day revelers” loudly walks in and is disruptive. They are lead by a “I’m from fuggin New Yowk!” guy who can’t stop spitting. Those guys and Texans are the same. Texans spit on the floor less though.

Some other regulars are at the Vern and the bartender buddy gives me and some of the other regulars The Look. The, “I’ve hooked you up and it’s payback time.” Look. Apparently we’re going to get in a fight with the rowdies. The New York rowdies get louder and tougher. The bartender asks them to tone it down some and this is taken as a great offense and they get more asshole-ish. I’m keyed up and am sure I’m on the floor soon. I do my shot and tell Angie, “Hey, this is going to get stupid. Stay out of the way OK? Actually, you might want to leave.”

“Oh shit!” she says, “are you going to kick those guys out?” Angie asks.

“I’m not sure… I’m waiting…” then New Yawk Spit Dude throws a punch at one of the regulars that was too close and squared off.

Bartender jumps in and so do some of the other regulars and it goes south right off. I wait for an opportunity to grab a dude and throw them out and it comes and I do. Others follow. I end up squared off with New Yawk Spit Guy and we tussle and head outside.

“I’m from fuggin New Yawk Bro!” was his battle cry. We get outside and are locked together like 2 fat bears fighting over mating rights. Somehow I trip him up and he falls down and I back off to make sure none of his buddies are closing on me. New Yawk Spit Guy tries to get up but some other Vern regular runs up and kicks his head and knocks him the fuck out. He then takes off because New Yawk Spit is now convulsing on the sidewalk doing the “I have no idea I’m KOed” thing that freaks some people out. His buddies gather around him and are now calling 911 on cell phones. I back off as I know it’s cops time. Angie is walking down the street on her phone, that was the last time I saw her.

I thought I’d get busted for this one but plenty of people saw the one guy that kicked New Yawk Spit in the head and KOed him. I did not know him. I was scrutinized by cops and told to go home. New Yawk Spit got hauled off in an ambulance and threats of suing everyone were made. Sympathy and empathy aside – fuck that guy.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Bretons and Enfilade 2017

On my bench now are Bretons (mainly for Saga). I started work on them a month ago and putting out about 4 figures a week, all mounted of course as that’s the “flavor” of the figures; So more like 8 figures a week if you break up horse and rider.

Historically Bretons are people from Brittany in what is now western France. They migrated from Briton (Wales and Cornwall) during the migration period and settled there and in Galacia (northern Spain). They kept up their Celtic lineage and a nation grew.

Their “flavor” in Saga is mounted javelin throwing troops. Their Saga Battle Board supports this. Right off the bat you’ve got mounted troops with range capability and special tactics that boost that with some hit and run type special moves thrown in for even more flavor. The range (mounted move of L and shooting attack of M) coupled with some guerrilla tactics every now and then gives them good flavor. The big counter to that is their lower armor.

My interest in them is mainly due to my interest in Normans (their neighbors to the east) and the relationship between the two. Seems most of the time they were at each other’s throats and then in 1066 William brought Rufus with him to England and the Bretons (re)established themselves in Briton after some notable action at Hastings.

Also piquing my interest was to run, yet another, Saga warband. Being a quasi-completionist I wanted to have a faction or 2 for every book in the Saga Dark Ages world. Saga Core I have Vikings and Normans. Saga Varjazi and Basileus I have the infamous Pagan Rus. Saga Raven’s Shadow I have Norse Gaels. Saga Northern Fury I have Scots and will soon have Bretons. That’s how much I like the game!

Further, I can combine my Breton and Norman collections into larger armies for other games I am interested in like Lion Rampant or Hail Caesar. I can also do so with my Vikings and Norse Gaels and Scots. Pagan Rus figures are a bit distinctive in both sculpt and bases (snow) so, aesthetically, not the best to mix with. I am contemplating some future projects with Mongols though so I can get into Medieval era Rus…

On my work bench, currently, are the first 4 of 16 Warriors (or Soldiers as they are denoted on the Battle Board). To speed things up I am doing the 16 figures in only 2 major colors and all the horses will be base-coated in Army Painter’s leather brown primer. The figures are all Gripping Beast thus all metal. I like the “pill” shaped 2” x 1” bases but I have been moving to multi-basing some figures but that is another blog post altogether.

My deadline (we all need deadlines right?) is end of May, Enfilade. I have volunteered to host a fun little game Friday night called “Fight for York” based off the 1069 Harrying of the North by William the Conqueror. Historically there was not much of a battle, probably a lot of little skirmishes with one side being over-powered compared to the other. It all culminated into some pretty actions on the part of the Normans though a lot of evidence currently are indicting that William’s harrying was not as bad as initially thought. After all that William placed his friend (and cousin?) Alain Rufus, Big Breton Guy In Charge, as the Duke of York or something like that. He then became very rich and pretty powerful.

My Big Plan is to play a small battle between William and his Norman retinue of knights and archers with his Breton allies. They will be tussling over a chapel that is just outside York against Svein and a group of invading Danes (Vikings) and their Scottish allies. It will be for 4 players and I am providing everything but the skills and gamesmanship.

I reserved my room at the Red Lion Olympia, after my annual tripping over the difficulties of reserving rooms on line and then being advised by many to call it in. I've also signed up for a few games on the PEL but am holding out for a few periods though the longer I do that the more the games I'm interested in are filling up.

Hope to see some of you there and hope to have a beer with you Saturday night if you are so inclined.

Friday, February 17, 2017

What have I been doing all winter?

Dang… going on another 2 months of not posting anything. Why? I could toss down the usual “holidays, bad cold, work, yadda yadda…” and it’s all true but I’ve also been lazy. My brain is thinking “what am I even blogging about and what do my blog posts even add to the hobby and community?” and 2017 has had a few shifts in how my mind works for many reasons.

I have not been getting out into the woods and that poses a problem to me. I like to be in the woods. Small fire, cold day, hot cup of coffee, some meat, silence…. things I love. I live in the city and do not have a back yard even. If I did I could do this in a back yard.

I got pretty unhealthy the past few years. I was closer to 400 pounds than anyone needs to be. I joined Weight Watchers and I am now closer to 300 pounds. I’ve got a ways to go but, so far, it’s been good. My wife, Gretchen, is a huge inspiration and my partner in this journey of getting healthier. As it should be we are a team and doing this together. By the end of 2017 I hope to be at my fighting weight of 250. Then I will reassess my needs and get into some more physical things like martial arts (always a favorite of mine) and more hiking.

A lot of things have helped me lose the weight I have lost already. Gretchen, WW meetings and accountability, my own will. The weakest link in that is my will and one that I found that really helped me was a re-embracing of my warrior nature.*

*I could go on and on about “warrior” culture and the spectrum that term calls up. Many will disagree with my opinions and have their own opinions. For me “being a warrior” is closer to literal. My military service is over but I still feel the need to serve and protect. I am not a police officer either, my charges being my family and my work. After that comes my community. Order of care for me is: Me, My Family, My Work, My Community.

I caught the History Channel show The Selection. In A nutshell – 30 civilians go through an abridged version of BUDs (Seal training). They can drop whenever, it is not a competition. It brought me back to my days in the Navy and my regrets about not trying out for BUDs again after my first failed attempt. I recognized I’ve kind of been wallowing in that failure for a long time. I used to be really fit and capable but I’ve kind of let it go since my failure. I’ve had a go at other things since – SCA heavy fighting, Aikido, Kendo. I just really let it all go though. The show had actual BUDs instructors instructing civies as though it were real training. People dropped left and right but what really lit a fire was the dynamic of instruction and it brought me back to my own experiences.

 The instructors were hard. No kid gloves, they lit into students like you would imagine. When one was failing or gave up they gave very honest and calculated advice and uplifting words. When a student was succeeding they’d try to make sure they didn’t get to big in the head. When one failed the real-world advice would come out.

You did good. What we are putting you through is very difficult. Take what you learned here and use it in life. You know your limitations now just take it one more step next time. Good job.”

 My favorite exchange was:
I am in Hell Instructor.”
No you are not. Hell is a construct of the human mind. You are here, right now, in reality. You have choices.”

Enough about my hubris and struggles. What does this equate to? Am I going to slow my wargaming roll? Nope, not at all. Wargaming, for me, is many things. It exercises my mind in both a sporting and martial aspect. It keeps my “craft” busy with the painting and modeling. It allows me access to people I normally would not be around socially, their beliefs and opinions and the variations therein are important to me. Also I learn from them. What I am exposed to, if processed properly, will make me a better person.

After Ambuscade there was an inadvertent long break from gaming for both I and Spencer (organizer of Ambuscade). Many reasons – as noted above we had holidays, weather, and work. On top of that add political turmoil and the resulting protests. Getting around town and hauling 100s of figures about was getting kind of hard among the shoppers, protesters, and ice.

 Spencer solved that by organizing a few games in his basement and a “big” 6 person game of Lion Rampant using his Celtic Dark Age figures and my Viking Dark Age figures. Came out to over 100 28mm figures per side and we had a rousing battle with the Irish pulling out a last round win. Very fun and exciting.

It’s “get ready for Enfilade season” too and that’s lit a fire under my ass. I’m hosting a game named “Fight for York” using Saga. 4 players, Vikings vs. Normans in a winter terrain, based off the historical accounts of William the Conqueror’s Harrying of the North. All I have to do to get ready for it is finish painting up some Bretons and get some terrain squared away. Other than that it’s all about squaring away the funding for the trip and it’s a go. No Saga Tournament from me this year, I do hope someone else takes up the mantle and hosts one.

Speaking of Saga, Saga is my favorite game I am actively playing.  It was the final nail in the “I’m going to be doing this a lot” coffin in that I played some other historical wargames in the past but Saga was the one that made me get the t-shirt. I do like other games but the ones I actively play now I have some pretty big issues with some parts. Of course, what I am actively into right now (meaning I play them regularly and can muster an army to play from my own collection) is 80% skirmish games and 25mm, the only non-skirmish game I am playing is Warlord’s Pike and Shotte.

Speaking of Pike and Shotte I did pick up a copy of Pikeman’s Lament and am looking forward to a first game of that.

I am interested in other eras and rule-sets but right now, pre Enfilade 2017, I am sticking with what I have. I do hope to explore some other games at Enfilade though.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Happy Holidays 2016

It’s less than a week before Xmas and Solstice is right on us. Just wanted to get this post out to wish anyone reading this a Happy Holidays and I hope 2017 brings you satisfaction with your endeavors.

2016 was a decent year for me. The usual fumbles but also many wins. The fumbles always involve money for me but I am ignorant on finances so that’s the usual.

2016 Wins In War Gaming-
1) I finished a playable English Civil War collection of models. Scots Covenanters – small unit for Pike and Shotte, big unit for Skirmish Level rule sets. I will add to it in 2017.
2) I learned a lot at Enfilade this year, 2016 being my second Enfilade.
3) My war game group expanded.
4) I learned a lot about the hobby of historical wargaming in general. The ins and outs, why stuff is done the way it is, the history of the hobby (in general and locally).

2016 Wins in non-war gaming:
1) Oakland Raiders made it to the playoffs for the first time in 14 years.

 Gift-giving is a thing in my circle and I am hoping to get some new Kolinsky sable brushes. If not I’ll just buy them next month.

Some people call them New Year Resolutions – I like to make myself an oath, a “Viking” tradition for some of them (though I do not follow the modern Asatru religion, I like the traditions). I did not make one last year so I am due. I always try to take my oaths seriously and not be frivolous. I also tend to make them based off self-improvement or knowledge/skill that I lack. I will make this one official here:

In the name of all the delicious things that may fall from the ginger beard of Thor I, Gabe “Rollo” Martin swear to take either Laughing Crowe’s shoe making class or get into Trackers Earth Black Smithing class in 2017.

The pragmatic aspect in holding me back in these is money, as is the usual. The shoe class is $400 and the black smithing class is $1000. I’m not getting a new car in 2017 as rent went up for me in the style of high Portland rent (the city’s problem du jour) but I will try to swing the $400 or $1000. Not sure how but I will try.

Why those and not “world peace” or “to be a better citizen”? Oaths like that are bullshit in my opinion. I like to be useful more than anything else. To me usefulness is the key to both good citizenry and relationships. Why shoes or black smithing though? Why not get better at my weak spots in war gaming (which would be terrain craft)? Well, being useful to me also means being a jack of all trades. I have spent a lot of time at the historical war gaming craft the past few years so it’s time to step back out of that box (just one step!!) and get back into some other skills.

Also, being a child of the Cold War, I fully admit to my paranoia and pre-occupation to the apocalypse. I know, a real disaster looks nothing like Mad Max or The Walking Dead. The whole, “When the shit hits the fan the only valuables left will be beans and bullets…” thing is a total crock. BUT… I still follow that and part of my preps is to have skills like making a Viking turn shoe or hammering out some nails.

I have black smithed before and I have even made a pair of turn shoes (and failed) but it’s always been a try it on my own thing. In 2017 I’d like the most formal training I can get in either.

Next thing I’d like to do is get better at sewing. I know the basics and can hand sew real good but being able to understand patterns and measurements and turn out clothing items on a machine would be a great skill to have and would even be a “legacy” skill for me as my Mom was a professional seamstress.

Looks like I want to be proficient at dressing someone in a sturdy and reasonable outfit – under clothes, shirt, pants, cap, belt and buckle, shoes… 

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Ambuscade! 2016

Winter is Coming!! Now that that is out of the way let’s talk about a little event we had last weekend called Ambuscade!

Last Summer Spencer had mentioned he wanted to hold a Saga Tournament and that idea evolved into a historical war gaming event. As he moved forward with the idea he made contact with Victor Cina and a few others in the local Portland historical scene. What got planned was Ambuscade! An all-day historical war gaming day.

He planned 2 periods with up to 8 tables per period. His hope was to fill around 6 tables per period for a total of 12 games and some extra room for more in case it happened. The venue was Guardian Games in the upstairs big room that can fit 50 people or so, “tavern” service in the Critical Sip downstairs so 21 and over only.

Many tables were filled but we did not get the full 12-16 games.

I had showed up before 11:00 Saturday to set up and socialize a bit, Bryan and Spencer were the first ones there. I was running a Saga – Feast for Crows game: a four warband game that is usually played with 4 point (smaller) warbands but I like it better with a good 6 point (standard) warband. Plus, we could handle the longer run time of a 6 point game as we had 4 hours per period.

I set up my game at my table as other game-runners came in. *Andy showed up and set up his Check Your 6 game, looked like a WWII dogfight type scenario. A Flames of War all tanks table got set up that looked like a bunch of fun.

*Andy D. was there but Victor C. is the one that set up the Check Your 6 game. My bad!!

My Saga – Feast for Crows game ended up being me (Normans), Brian (Anglo-Saxons), Bill (Scots), and Jeff (Vikings). Jeff was new to Saga so he used my Viking miniatures in a pretty standard set up (Warlord, Hersir x6, Hersir x6, Bondi x8, Bondi x8, and the infamous Old Men With Bows).

My table was set up with a winter aesthetic (my favorite). I used my winter ground Fat Mat, some of my home-brewed birch trees, some winter flocked pines (Xmas time is a great time to get a few packs of those), some rough/rocky ground with snow details, and some frozen ponds.  Play commenced and the un-official Viking-Norman Alliance was crushed by the Anglo-Saxons and Scots. The ultimate winner (by slaughter points) was Brian’s Anglo-Saxons. The game was fun and there was some teeter-totting but by round 4 losing the game was a forgone conclusion for my Normans and it was about not offering points to the Scots anymore. Those defensive dice the Scots get and the mitigating of fatigue was just too much for my Normans who lost the opportunity for a decisive strike and crumbled in the ensuing drawn-out fight.

Mainly, I sent in my knights a bit early and left them and my Warlord exposed to a Scots counter… and counter they did and took me right out.

Looks great for the Normans but looks can be deceiving. 

There was a lot of participation in the other games of the first period too.

The second period offered up Spencer’s Sudanese battle (Brits vs. Bujah tribes in 54mm) using the newish Men Who Would Be Kings rule book – another Mersey offering via Osprey books. Same base mechanic as the x Rampants with enough difference to differentiate the time period. Also in the period was a beautiful looking game, ziggurats and everything, of In Her Majesty’s Service.

In between Periods many went to get sandwiches at the famous Bunk Sandwiches (notably the best Cubano sandwiches in the US … so says a few Food Channel shows) and all throughout the day, while gaming, Grognards went down to the Critical Sip to buy a beer or some other refreshment.

I played in Spencer’s Sudanese battle game using 54mm figures. This would be my second time at this scenario. I played Brits with Spencer while Bill and Jeff played the Bujah tribsemen. The scenario victory conditions for the Brits are simple – go 5 rounds of play without taking a casualty. As we have found in 2 games that is a really hard thing to do. It’s fun trying though.

Spencer and I both made a break for the buildings for cover as the Bujah were hot on our tails. I was able to get 2 squads into and next to a building and formed up to deliver volley fire. Spencer’s squads had a bit more difficulty but finally, a round after me, was able to get a squad into a building. All went well and promising for our heroic British rifles but the sun set on luck and some bad rolls turned into a route of our boys in khaki with my last unit fighting to the last man in the back alley behind the buildings.

All the games of the second period wrapped up and clean up was had. It was barely passed 1800 and Spencer had the room reserved until 2100 so he asked me, “Want to get a game of Saga in?”

“Sure.” I answered. I loaned him my Vikings as I had brought my brand new Norse Gael warband that I had not played yet.

We set it up with a few Grognards left lingering about. Warbands were 6 points and the scenario was Challenge. I opened it with an immediate attack on his warlord with mine leaving 2 points of damage on him. He answered with moving Viks forward limiting my choices of action. I answered with some Challenges, the mainstay of Norse Gael Saga Board Abilities. There was some stumbling there as it is a new mechanic for both of us. The game went back and forth culminating with Spencer’s lone Viking Warlord making a last ditch attack on mine and Norse Gaels winning by just a point or so.

We cleaned up and got out of there just before our time was up in the room at 9:00 pm. I had spent a whole day wargaming and it was great!

EDIT: Beja not Buja.
These People

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Getting back into some Dungeons and Dragons

I got a text from my old-buddy Dan (Otis) last week. He wants to “get the band back together” and game, role playing games – like Dungeons and Dragons. It’s been a long time.

 I gamed with him for years in the 90s and 00s. Actually we met through gaming. I had just gotten out of the Navy in 1993 and came home to Vancouver, WA (literally north of Portland across the river). The first thing I did other than enroll at the local community college was go to my old Friendly Local Comic (and games) Shop – Pegasus Comics owned by Dark Horse. I got caught up with the comic guy there who I had not seen in 4 years. We talked about the comics I missed while I was gone and I put up a 3x5 card on the cork board saying I wanted to get back into some gaming.

Dan answered the card (the only one to do so) and we started to game and have been friends ever since. My first “adult” friend that was not from school or military. We became roommates in The Slaughterhouse, I was a groomsman in his wedding, and we’ve run the gamut of camaraderie. He is a brother to me.

Mathew, my other brother in gaming, moved into The Slaughterhouse after the other guy moved out. We SCAed and gamed, the 3 of us, together for years through all the ups and downs. I was also in Mathew’s wedding as a Groomsman.

Mathew and Dan were in my wedding too. 

The 3 of us wanting to RPG, probably Dungeons and Dragons, needed a Dungeon Master so I got ahold of Jason. We met randomly through a Dungeons and Dragons game in the early 00s and Jason stuck it out with me in many iterations of RPGing. Jason was a Doomhound with Dan and Mathew. Jason was a Blue Ribbon Company Plank Owner and part of the BRC mythology. I kind of “quit” RPGing in 2008-2009 as a lot of things fell apart for me then and I was putting it all back together and rebuilding my social life. Jason was the one who came to me and said, “It’s been over a year man… you should play again.”

We are now looking at playing 5ed Dungeons and Dragons, something I have not touched yet. Just me, Dan, and Mathew with Jason running the table as DM.

Having been role playing, mostly Dungeons and Dragons, since 1979, I feel I’ve done a lot. Maybe not to others but, for me, I’ve hit all the tropes and marks a D&D player could. Run long campaigns, played good guys and bad, role played, roll played, munched, anti-munched, had fun and not had fun. I have met and played with the best and worst. I have had opinions poo-poo’ed and have had the vindication and new iterations of an old system I was critical of improved with my poo-poo’ed opinions. I have sat at a table with every stereotype of Dungeons and Dragons nerd. Stinking fat-beards to candy-scented strippers.

All that under my belt, a few years ago I delved into historical wargaming and it is now 100% of what I play. I have other interests but historicals is what I do now. My hobby budgeting (time and money) is all in that direction.

My hope is that I can put some of that budget aside for Dungeons and Dragons in 2017. I’m pretty settled into my historical wargaming experience and exploring more avenues in that hobby. I love all the people I have met and have not had a horrible experience in 3 years of historicals. Enfilade is a yearly pilgrimage now. I LOVE Enfilade. I love listening to the old Grognards and look forward to becoming one myself someday. It is the first place, in a very long time, that I have felt accepted and I have something to offer.

That said, my first love would be role playing games and Dungeons and Dragons. It’s been a tough relationship over the decades that have defined me in many different ways. I’ve made and lost friends, I’ve been beaten up and beat up people over it, and I’ve had money well spent and money wasted. I learned a lot about math and English. It got me reading fiction outside of comic books. How my favored aesthetic of a woman, being a male heterosexual, was influenced by some of the art in those old AD&D books.

If all goes as planned you’ll hear about it here and I hope it goes well in 2017.

Happy Thanksgiving to you.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

The Walking Dead – Comic and TV (probably light spoilers, I try to keep it clean)

I am a huge fan of The Walking Dead comic book. In the comic world it is legendary for quite a few things, mostly meta. The joke is, “You can open a comic book store and keep it running just off Walking Dead sales.” Maybe closer to true in the 00s and into the 10s, not sure about now. I know, as Sunday Guy at Guapo, good sale days for me always included someone coming in and buying 3-4 trades of TWD.

Robert Kirkman is a true American success story. Worked hard, did some stuff, and produced first few issues of The Walking Dead in his little apartment in Kentucky in 2003, yadda yadda. Now he’s a media mogul. Comics, TV, movies, novels… he’s got his fingers in it all. Image gave him a seat at the big boy table and then gave him his own imprint Skybound.

The Walking Dead trade paper backs have, consistently, been best sellers at comic retailers. I have not looked it up in the past 2 years or so but it still chugging along. I do always hear it is the most reprinted comic book out there.

Though I have not made a life-changing amount of money my own TWD sales (I’ve sold my collection up to issue 100) has made me a good amount of money. Doing the math that investment was better than gold. I started with issue #21 and bought the monthlies faithfully up to today (issue #156). 23-100 at $1.99 each (discounted due to my box subscriptions) is 68 issues for $135. Over the past 2 years I’ve sold them for over $800. I’ve then turned around and replaced them with hard covers for my own library. That’s close to $12 an issue, pretty good growth from $2. I wish I could do that with more adult investments.*
*This has topped out though. TWD comics has gained as much as it will in my opinion.

On top of all that it’s the only comic I read monthly, other titles I let build up so I have a few issues to read at a time. TWD? Nope. I buy it, I rush home, I pour a glass of milk, I read the damn thing.

What I like about the comic book story-wise:
1) Hit or miss, Kirkman is pretty calculated with his story. He considers audience emotions and psychology. He’ll lead along a trope and then flip it.
2) Pacing. Some say it got slow in some arches and I agree. It’s always come back though. 3 issues cover a day, then we get a 3 month time jump, yadda yadda.
3) Development – communities and such. Early on we were sweating a bottle of fresh water. Now are sweating making sure the trade route between the communities is clear and whether both boats are capable of fishing or trade.
4) Our protagonists, we find out later, have been through the worst. By the time they are introduced to Alexandria they find out they are bad-asses and very capable. By the time the war is over they are legendary. People talk about them behind their backs in a mythical way. Urban Legends are born around them.
5) All the bad-assery aside there are still many threats to their safety (and now whole communities rely on them) and plenty of interpersonal drama and problems. Plenty of story to go.

The Walking Dead TV on AMC, I have different feelings for.

I like how a comic book could be adapted for TV and it was good writing and a good show. Apparently and incredibly popular show. A really popular show about zombies and survivors as a matter of fact, things that I enjoy very much. Like the Avengers movies there are scenes in TWD-TV that I saw in TWD-Comic that brought tears to my eyes as it was a favorite panel brought to life on screen. I’ve had an excellent time watching TWD on my fall and winter Sunday nights. I even have a ritual kind of like when I read the comic – I have a cigarette and pour a glass of water. Sometimes I will have candy while watching but I’ve been dumping that habit. Cigarette and water though – seems fitting.

I advocate for the show when people say things like, “They always run into some bad survivor group… they never get a stable home… they never meet new “good” people…” and I say that these things will happen. And then they do. They follow the comic storyline with some differences for rating affect (Daryl).

Watching the most recent episode (the big Who Did Negan Kill season opener) I really began to turn my opinion on the show. Like Game of Thrones I felt tedium and boredom creep in. It did not help that last season ended with the Who Did Negan Kill cliff-hanger. I want to unpack that a bit here:

So, in February, after a big build-up on meeting Negan and already going through this in the comic… and a first half of a season that was useless anyways (and I recommend people skip the first half of season 6 all the time, and people have, and people have thanked me) we end up with the story-changing scene of our protagonists on their knees and the “big kill” where Negan kills a very popular character in gruesome detail. We see Negan swing and even react when he hits someone with Lucille and <end scene>.

We then go through 8 months of wondering who that was.

Come last Sunday we find out who it was. That gory scene was NOT MY PROBLEM at all. I’m not that freaked out by violence and gore. My problem was was that a whole 1 hour episode was built around that. Scene after scene of Negan explaining to Rick that Rick is now his man. Negan breaking down Rick and then turning on the rest of Team Rick. Rick and Team Rick all crying, bleeding, and being sad. Now, I get it, what was happening was sad and horrifying. I got that LAST YEAR when we showed it for 30 minutes. 10 minutes in to this new episode (and we have not yet seen who got killed BTW) we are still being shown how scared and sad Rick and everyone was. I was solid on that. 60 minutes in I was bored and did not care anymore as we got zero forward progression. Just sadness and misery.

On top of all that it felt a bit pandering, a little too engineered and not organic at all. Like a new bar opening and billing itself as a dive bar. The Walking Dead just spent 8 months showing me 90 minutes of misery and sadness. As an ex-friend once said, “They are shitting in your brain.”

Unlike many others though I will not say “I am done…”.  I have said that with Game of Thrones and other shows but I never make a big production of it. I just quit watching and if asked I answer honestly. I’ve never identified as an advocate of those shows though and TWD is part of my identity and fandom. I am not the targeted TV audience nor have I ever been. I am now seeing the comic audience and TV audience, though with some cross-over, are not the same. I’m going to keep going but maybe not the event TV it was for me. Maybe I’ll catch up later when I can marathon (and fast forward) through hours of the series.

The comic book is awesome though so any loss is not a sting. I got the original still. The time jump? Carl being all grown up and getting chicks. Negan a good guy? People saying, “I heard Rick and Andrea beat a gang of cannibals to death with Rick’s chopped off hand!”. Psychological evolution in a zombie – post apocalyptic world and whole sociological orders based off that.