Tag: John Carter

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    Pathfinder with Extra Pulp

    Sword and sorcery is the name of the game in Pathfinder Worldscape. All of the swords. All of the sorcery. Blending Paizo’s classic roleplaying game setting from Pathfinder with Dynamite Entertainment’s huge stable of pulp-fantasy characters that helped inspire games like Dungeons and Dragons in the first place.

    Issue 1 drops us right into the action with a stable of the “iconic characters” from the Pathfinder world of Golarion. Fans of Pathfinder will recognize Valeros the Fighter, Seoni the Sorcerer, Merisiel the Rogue and Kyra the Cleric as those characters depicted on their respective character class pages in the Core Rulebook.

    While doing battle with a psychic shapeshifter in the sewers beneath the City of Secrets (sentences like those are the reason I play RPGs) our heroes are violently pulled into a chaotic realm known only as the Worldscape. It feels like Battleworld from Secret Wars crossover, if it was populated by pulp-adventure and RPG characters.

    Most of the first issue follows Valeros as he tries to figure just what in the Nine Hells is going on. The sardonic Fighter acting as Fighters do when confronting unknown dangers. They fight it. Soon he is being accosted by dimensionally displaced bandits, a White Ape of Barsoom and finally made into a gladiator-slave by the serpent-witch Xanesha (I thought I’d seen the last of her when I played Rise of the Runelords!).

    There is so much fun to be had in this first foray into the Worldscape and before the first issue ends Valeros is crossing paths with the likes of Queen Pha from Frank Frazetta’s Thun’da series and the She-Devil with a Sword herself, Red Sonja. There are also bits and pieces from the John Carter of Mars books, as well as plenty of references for those familiar with the Pathfinder world of Golarion.

    As an added bonus (and like many of the Pathfinder comics to come before this one) each issue of Pathfinder Worldscape comes with the in-game statistics for featured characters and maps to bring the adventures off the page and onto your tabletop! It feels as though this series was hand-crafted for a particular brand of fanboy, with its unique blend of pulp-fantasy and tabletop RPG goodness.

    If you like Pathfinder, you’ll also love Dungeons & Dragons.

    Pathfinder Worldscape #1, Dynamite Entertainment, Released October 19, 2016, Written by Erik Mona, Art by Jonathan Lau, Cover byReilly Brown, $4.99.

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    Pathfinder Worldscape: A Who’s Who of Fantasy Characters

    Exclusive Intervie With Pathfinder Worldscape Writer Erik Mona

    Pathfinder fans, you’re in for a real treat in Dynamite’s upcoming six-issue Pathfinder Worldscape miniseries written by Erik Mona (Pathfinder: Hollow Mountain) and art by Jonathan Lau (Red Sonja and Cub, Miss Fury).

    We had the chance to chat with series writer Erik Mona about his favorite part of writing this series and where he hopes to the story. Read on for insights into the series and see how you can win a copy of Pathfinder Worldscape #1 signed by Mona and series artist Jonathan Lau!

    TFAW: You have plenty of awesome Pathfinder comics under your belt–dozens of adventures. Each one leads us on a new journey. What is different about this one?

    Erik Mona: Pathfinder comics to date have taken us into dark and deadly dungeons, into the winding streets of treacherous cities, and even into the unknown corners of our heroes’ pasts, but things really jump to the next level with Pathfinder Worldscape, which transports our heroes to an entirely different dimension — the Worldscape. The Worldscape is an ancient trap created by a long-dead wizard to gather the greatest warriors from three worlds — Pathfinder’s Golarion, John Carter’s Barsoom, and Earth, including its remote history during Red Sonja’s Hyborian Age.

    In the course of the 6-issue series, the Pathfinder heroes cross swords with the likes of Red Sonja, John Carter of Mars, Tars Tarkas, Tarzan, and the jungle heroes Thun’da and Fantomah, among many others. The character interactions are a huge highlight for me.

    Crossing over Pathfinder characters with heroes created by Edgar Rice Burroughs, Robert E. Howard, and Frank Frazetta — artists who inspired the fantasy roleplaying hobby that ultimately inspired Pathfinder itself — definitely counts as new and different!

    “I’ve been tinkering with the Pathfinder Worldscape idea for years…”

    Pathfinder Worldscape Preview Page 1TFAW: With this huge cast of characters, did you find this story more difficult to manage or does it just come at ease at this point?

    Mona: The enormous cast of Pathfinder Worldscape presents some challenges, to be sure. You want to give everybody a chance to shine and do their thing while still having pages left over to tell an actual story. When you’re mashing together multiple properties in a dimension informed by the cultures of three different worlds (and at any time during the history of those worlds), there’s a strong temptation to over-indulge in world-building and wheel spinning about how this or that minor detail works into the overall character of the Worldscape dimension itself.

    My background in writing for tabletop RPGs has me thinking about all kinds of details that will never really play into the story. I’ve spent a significant amount of time thinking about the role of bullets in the Worldscape, as an example. While most of the Worldscape’s inhabitants come from eras or lands that fit well with traditional sword & sorcery themes, it’s perfectly likely someone trapped in the Worldscape will encounter a World War II soldier, a pistol-toting hero of America’s high plains, or a musket-wielding, fanatical street-fighter of Revolutionary France. Assuming they appear in the Worldscape with only the ammunition they bring with them, that makes their bullets a very rare and valuable commodity.

    I imagined a whole barter economy based around warriors seeking out the appropriate bullets for their chosen weapons, but after spending a considerable amount of time thinking about this, I snapped back to reality and realized that details like this — while perhaps quite interesting, useful, and even necessary to support a Pathfinder RPG campaign set in the Worldscape, probably weren’t going to enter into the comic book story too much.

    Happily, I’m fairly certain all that world-building will come into play in Worldscape-oriented Pathfinder RPG products down the line, but right now I’m putting my full effort into the comic book.

    TFAW: What exciting lands/places might we see on this adventure?

    Mona: The Worldscape itself is as exciting as you can get, with elements literally ripped out of the worlds in conjunction with it.

    Frank Frazetta’s jungle hero Thun’da, for example, lives in a place called the “Dawn Land,” a sort of time-lost valley filled with cave men, dinosaurs, amazons, and weird monsters. I always thought it strange that the subtitle of Thun’da’s comic was “King of the Congo,” when so many of his adventures took place in a much more interesting (and, from today’s standards, a much less politically fraught) location.

    I’m far more interested in struggles against pterosaurs and shaggy cave men than I am in fights against stereotypically primitive African witch doctors, and during a thorough review of fantasy-oriented stories and characters from the jungle comics of the ’40s and ’50s, Thun’da’s stories stood out as exceptional because of the weird monsters and lost cities.

    Naturally, when I started constructing the Worldscape plan, I drew in not just Thun’da and his savage girlfriend Pha, but also the entirety of his Dawn Land refuge, ruined cities and all. The central location of the Worldscape series, the brutal city of Shareen, is in fact drawn from Thun’da’s early adventures.

    Beyond that we’ve got misty valleys stuffed with Barsoomian white apes and a cadre of trained killers, another ruined city inhabited by the simian scum of three worlds, and the jungle itself, nominally ruled by the Council of Jungle Kings and their enigmatic and elusive First King, Tarzan of the Apes. Whether traveling by foot, by thoat, or by airship, the lands of the Worldscape promise death and danger at nearly every turn.

    “The character I’m enjoying the most and the one who has become weirdly central to the plot of the whole thing is Fantomah.”

    Pathfinder Worldscape Preview Page 2TFAW: Was this an idea that you had brewing for a while? How did this all come together?

    Mona: I’ve been tinkering with the Pathfinder Worldscape idea for years, since shortly after signing on to Dynamite and becoming more familiar with their roster of amazing licensed characters.

    So many of their heroes are based on the same fiction and characters that inspired tabletop gaming back in the early ’70s, and in particular Pathfinder has always been a gaming brand firmly in touch with its “pulp” roots.

    Working with characters created by Burroughs, Howard, and Frazetta…it’s just too tempting to try to put it all together and do something cool. Add to that that each issue of Pathfinder Worldscape contains a Pathfinder RPG rules appendix that provides official RPG statistics for these legendary heroes — in some cases heroes people have wanted game adaptations of literally for decades — and I had to try to put something together.

    At the time Dynamite had already teamed up many of their modern-day pulp heroes in their Masks comic, and Bill Willingham had just mashed a bunch of them together in a steampunk-inspired series called Legenderry. It seemed obvious to me that crossing over their awesome fantasy characters was the next logical step. In the meantime, Dynamite also launched the Swords of Sorrow series, which teamed up nearly all of their female characters, and Worldscape is the next logical progression.

    At a certain point I’d put so much work and thought into how to make it all happen that Dynamite offered me the chance to write the series myself, which is a huge, humbling opportunity!

    “Jonathan [Lau] has a fantastic attention to detail and an inventive spirit…”

    Pathfinder Worldscape Preview Page 4TFAW: How did the artist, Jonathan Lau, become involved with this epic adventure?

    Mona: Jonathan was my favorite of several artists Dynamite suggested for the project. I was familiar with his work on former Pathfinder writer Jim Zub’s Red Sonja and Cub from a few years back, so I was already familiar with his visual sensibility and his strong action compositions.

    What I didn’t know at the time was that Jonathan has a fantastic attention to detail and an inventive spirit that fills every nook and cranny of the book with interesting things to look at.

    His Tars Tarkas is probably my favorite version of the character I’ve seen in comics to date, and it’s fascinating to see him adapt characters like Thun’da, Fantomah, and the immortal empress Camilla, who haven’t really been in active production since the ’40s or ’50s (barring a limited series or guest appearance here and there).

    I’m thrilled to be working with him on the series, and each page I get from him on the earlier issues inspires me to put even crazier characters and scenes into the later issues I’m writing now.

    TFAW: With such a large roster of characters, have you found that you favor one more than others?

    Mona: I’m honored to work on all of them, especially Red Sonja and John Carter, two titans of fantasy publishing.

    Oddly, the character I’m enjoying the most and the one who has become weirdly central to the plot of the whole thing is Fantomah, the beautiful, nigh-omnipotent skull-faced woman introduced by literal madman Fletcher Hanks way back in ’40’s Jungle Comics #2. I’ve been mystified by this character (and by Fletcher Hanks) ever since reading about her in the incomparable “I Shall Destroy All the Civilized Planets” collection/biography by Paul Karasik from a few years back.

    When Dynamite challenged me to add some public domain fantasy heroes to their already impressive roster, I immediately leapt to Fantomah, and I’ve never really looked back. Hanks portrayed Fantomah as this unstoppable force of nature capable of just about anything. Unlike staid jungle heroes of the era, it was never really clear whether Fantomah was a hero or a villain, just that you never wanted to cross her, lest she rip the skin from your flesh, turn you into some crazy plant creature, or dispatch you in whatever weird way Fletcher Hanks could concoct between bottles of whiskey. In Pathfinder RPG terms, she’s basically a god, which opened up another interesting element of philosophy for the series.

    Each of the three worlds involved — Earth, Barsoom, and Golarion — have very different relationships with religion, and what it means to be a god. For most of the people of Earth — certainly the more or less modern ones like Thun’da and John Carter, “God” is something to be inferred as a matter of faith.

    Pathfinder Worldscape Preview Page 3On Barsoom, religion is a fraud designed to deliver the dying to a valley where they are drained of blood by bizarre plant creatures so that their bloodless corpses can be eaten by a cannibal priesthood of Holy Therns (also, by the way, in Worldscape). Burroughs’ “The Gods of Mars,” the second of his John Carter books, is largely about that religion.

    Then you’ve got the Pathfinder world of Golarion, where gods are literally, indisputably present and real and divine. It’s not so much a matter of belief as it is acknowledgement of existing supernatural forces, and that gives me a lot to play with in terms of how my characters interact with the world and their predicament as captives of the Worldscape.

    John Carter and the cleric Kyra get a nice juicy conversation about this, but Fantomah plays an important role in this aspect of the story as well, and I’m thrilled to be able to use her!

    “I’m still hard at work crafting cool Pathfinder RPG rules appendices for each issue…”

    TFAW: Do you have any other projects coming up that we should know about?

    Mona: In addition to running Paizo’s day-to-day publishing operations, managing the creative staff, and making diabolical plans for the future of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, most of my focus these days is soundly on Pathfinder Worldscape.

    Most of the scripting is out of the way at this point, but I’m still hard at work crafting cool Pathfinder RPG rules appendices for each issue. I just finished official game statistics for Red Sonja, for example, and now I’m noodling around with Tars Tarkas, who will appear in the second issue. After that we’ve got Tarzan, Thun’da, and a whole host of others. How much damage does a radium pistol do? What’s the Strength bonus for a green Martian? I dunno, but I will know soon, and it’s really exciting to map the game designer part of my brain over the story I’ve been composing using my comics writing circuits.

    You can keep up with my projects and get some insight into the Pathfinder RPG adaptation process behind Worldscape by checking out my blog at erikmona.com or following me on Twitter @erikmona.

    TFAW: What comics are you enjoying right now?

    Mona: Oh, man, there are so many! I went in way deep on DC’s New 52 a few years back and am working my way through a longbox of backissues of Snyder’s Batman, which has been fantastic, of course. I’m always keen to follow former Pathfinder comics writer Jim Zub on whatever he’s doing, and I really like what he’s been rolling out with Wayward, as well as his new title Glitterbomb, from Image. I’m highly intrigued by DC’s Young Animal imprint. The first issue of the new Doom Patrol was fantastic, and I can’t wait to break out a copy of Cave Carson Has a Cybernetic Eye. As far as comic titles go, that’s probably the best I’ve heard in a long time!

    We want to thank Erik for taking the time out of his busy schedule to chat with us! Make sure to order your copies of Pathfinder Worldscape.

    ORDER PATHFINDER WORLDSCAPE ISSUES

    Are you looking forward to Pathfinder Worldscape? Tell us which character you’re looking forward to seeing in the Worldscape in the comments below and you’ll be in the running to get a copy of Pathfinder Worldscape #1 signed by Erik Mona and Jonathan Lau!

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    Comic Book Reviews: John Carter Gods of Mars, Green Lantern Corps & More

    Watch Video Reviews of This Week’s Comics!

    It’s time for another edition of our weekly comic book reviews. This week we review John Carter: The Gods of Mars #1, Green Lantern Corps #7, the Star Wars Omnibus: The Other Sons of Tatooine TPB, and the 30 Days of Night Plush.

    Check out the video, below. SPOILER ALERT! We try not to go into too much detail in our reviews, but occasionally a spoiler slips through!

    Star Wars Omnibus: The Other Sons of Tatooine

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    Please share this video on Facebook and any other social media outlet of your choosing. What should we review next week? Post your comments below!

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    Sam Humphries Takes on Marvel’s The Ultimates, and More. MUCH More.

    Ultimate Comics: The Ultimates #10Regular readers of The Blog From Another World know that we’ve had a long and interesting relationship with the mega-talented Sam Humphries, one of the folks behind MySpace Dark Horse Presents and writer of indy comics like Our Love Is Real and Sacrifice.

    Well, his extreme work ethic and knack for promotion has paid off in a big way: not only is he writing the John Carter: Gods of Mars comic book series for Marvel and two more series, Higher Earth and Fanboys vs. Zombies, for BOOM! Studios, but he was announced as Jonathan Hickman’s new co-writer on Ultimate Comics: The Ultimates, starting with issue #10.

    Whew! Did we mention we’re entering convention season, with WonderCon and Emerald City Comicon right around the corner? With all that on his plate, we feel very lucky that Sam had the chance to chat with us about his plans for The Ultimates, what intrigues him about the alternate-Earths premise of Higher Earth, and what comes next (sleep?). Read on!

    TFAW.com: First off, congratulations! With all of the comic-book series on your plate, I guess my first question has to be, have you made a clone of yourself? When will you share your knowledge with the world?

    Sam Humphries: I haven’t made a clone of myself, I just started moving twice as fast as normal. The side effects have been Cosby-releated hallucinations, rapid hair growth, and reverse aging; I am on some Benjamin Button shit right now.

    Ultimate Comics The Ultimates #11TFAW.com: It was announced that you’ll be co-writing Ultimate Comics: The Ultimates with Jonathan Hickman. How exactly will that work?

    SH: We will be co-writing the book starting with issue #10, shipping in May. Hickman always has a long plan for the book, but he’s given us license to step back and take a new path. You’ll see elements of both Hickman and Humphries in our issues.

    TFAW.com: Did you have a relationship with Hickman prior to this? Have you worked together before?

    SH: We have never worked together before, unless the kids these days consider a lost summer in Prague “work.”

    TFAW.com: What’s your theme, or your main idea, for the book?

    SH: My theme is “Watch the Throne.” This is the Marvel Universe equivalent of Kanye, Jay-Z, Lil Wayne, and Drake together at Coachella. These are the biggest characters set loose on a wide screen stage where anything can happen. Who gon’ stop them??

    TFAW.com: From the cover art, the book is clearly meant to appeal to fans of the movies, but the characters themselves can be pretty different than the “standard” versions. How do you reconcile that?

    SH: I just try to get away with as much as I can that you can’t do in the movies or the regular Marvel Universe books. I’m trying to do things with these characters you won’t see anywhere else. Shake them up in ways you’ve never seen before, and through that, get to know them in ways you never have before.

    Higher Earth ComicsTFAW.com: I’m personally fascinated by Jamie Braddock as Captain Britain. Do you have any plans for him?

    SH: Jamie is definitely in the mix, we have a six-issue origin story about his misspent youth as a Britpop fan. (Dear everyone, I’m kidding. Love, Sam.)

    TFAW.com: Are there any other characters you’re especially eager to play with?

    SH: Aside from the big names, I’m really looking forward to writing Monica Chang, the Black Widow.

    TFAW.com: Can you introduce Higher Earth to us?

    SH: Higher Earth is a sci-fi revenge story set in an empire that has conquered over a hundred earths across alternate timelines. We follow Rex, a ronin of sorts, and Heidi, a girl born in garbage, as they slash a bloody path through the empire.

    TFAW.com: In some respects, it’s akin to the Ultimates because it deals with alternate Earths. What fascinates you about that concept?

    SH: Well, the Ultimates don’t know they’re an alternate earth. In Higher Earth, going from one timeline to the next is as natural as taking a flight from New York to London. It’s a massive cognitive leap that is now a day-to-day reality for a civilization of a thousand billion citizens.

    TFAW.com: What does the tagline, “You Are Illegal on This Earth,” refer to?

    SH: Higher Earth is an empire that rules a network of connected earths. They heavily regulate passage between timelines, and who is or is or not “legal” on any earth can shift rapidly.

    John Carter Gods of Mars ComicsTFAW.com: You’ve been really strategic about your career and promoting your books. Is that a happy accident, or did you sit down and write out a business plan?

    SH: I have certainly been strategic in my career–I’ve planned things out in a considered way, managed my resources, and tried to make the most out of every single opportunity presented to me. But you can’t plan everything. Sometimes the most you can do is be bold, be prepared to take advantage of the unexpected, and work your ass off.

    TFAW.com: What books are you enjoying right now, as a reader?

    SH: My favorite book right now is Is That All There Is? by Joost Swarte. I’ve been waiting almost 20 years for a book of his work in English, ever since I saw him for the first time in RAW Magazine in the ’90s. This book does not disappoint!

    TFAW.com: What’s next for you? Do you have time for anything else?

    SH: NO ELISABETH! Nothing else! No new books, no new announcements, NOTHING! Ya can’t make me Elisabeth!! I guess the next things will be WonderCon, Emerald City, a thousand scripts, and then death.

    Our thanks again to Sam for taking a break from writing his many scripts and giving us the inside scoop. You can pre-order Ultimate Comics: The Ultimates #10 and #11, Higher Earth #1, and Fanboys vs. Zombies #1 and #2 now and save 20% off the cover price!

    BROWSE ALL SAM HUMPHRIES COMICS

    SEE PREVIOUS INTERVIEWS WITH SAM HUMPHRIES

    What do you think about Sam Humphries writing The Ultimates? Are you looking forward to Fanboys vs. Zombies? Post your comments below!

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