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Updated: 8 hours 16 min ago

Con the Road Again – DORK TOWER 08.06.17

Wed, 06/07/2017 - 23:01

Categories: Comics

Pros and Cons – DORK TOWER 06.06.17

Mon, 06/05/2017 - 23:01

Categories: Comics

Taking the Cake…and Giving -DORK TOWER 30.05.17

Mon, 05/29/2017 - 23:01

DORK ADDEDNDA:  Neil’s blog – https://t.co/xzLdHYfSBw
                                          Donate here tinyurl.com/neilcake

 

Categories: Comics

Of Dice and Men and Me

Fri, 05/26/2017 - 14:15

Tonight (Friday, May  26), I’m going to see “Of Dice and Men” at Madison’s Bartell Theater again.

I’ll also be leading a discussion/talk-back after the performance. Playwright Cameron McNary will be doing likewise, tomorrow.

McNary’s play – currently staged in Madison by the Mercury Players Theater – revolves around a few crucial nights in the lives of a group of role-players. Self-described as a geek tale “without all the self-loathing,” it’s really much more than that.

I caught the Madison opening, last week, along with my wife, and two non-gamer friends. We all had a terrific time, delighted at the depths of the characters, the nuances of the script, the several laugh-out-loud moments, the clever staging, and – honestly – the gut-punch ending. This far from your typical “giggle-at-the-gamers-or-gaming” sort of show.

You don’t need a ticket to attend the Talk-Backs – just show up at the theater at 10 pm, when the play’s over.

But I do recommend you catching the play. It’s hugely enjoyable, and – bonus – you get to support local arts!

(The production does contain adult language and innuendo, so it’s really not for kids. But seriously yes wow I had a great time).


Here’s a trailer for the 2014 “Of Dice and Men” movie that was successfully Kickstarted.

Yup, I enjoyed the play so much, I bought the DVD. It’s also streaming on Amazon Prime.

Possibly confusingly, here’s an “Of Dice and Men” that has nothing to do with the play or the movie (I stumbled across it when researching the play and the movie). It’s a fun and easy read, packed full of info on the history of Dungeons and Dragons and the early roleplaying biz.

The writing, by Forbes and Reuters contributing editor David M. Ewalt, is as assured and solid as you’d expect, and clips along at a lively pace.

I’ll try and delve a bit more in-depth into the book at a later date, but do grab a copy, if you’re looking for an entertaining exploration of the hobby we love.

-John

Categories: Comics

The Shoulder’s Tale – DORK TOWER 24.05.17

Tue, 05/23/2017 - 23:01

Categories: Comics

UK Games Expo 2017 Schedule

Sun, 05/14/2017 - 23:01

Hey, all, I’ll be at UK Games Expo, in Birmingham, England, June 2-4! “Woot” as the kids say. I know it seems like crazy talk, but that’s just two weeks away.

If you want to catch me there – heck, if you want to avoid me, there – here’s my schedule!

The “Live RPG Plus” event Friday night seems particularly fun!

WEEKEND SIGNINGS – I’ll be doing signings in Hall 1 after most of the following panels (probably not the one that ends at 21:30, I’m now thinking). I’m not sure of the location yet, but we’ll find out soon enough.

FRIDAY, JUNE 2
15.00 Q&A with John Kovalic (Toute Suite NEC – 45 mins)
John Kovalic. Millions of copies of his games and books have been sold worldwide, giving his magical, frenetic artwork and unique wit a truly global fan base. Come an ask your questions of the man who created the amazing art work of the Munchkin Games and The Dork Tower.

20.00 Live RPG Plus (Pavilion Hilton Hotel – 90 mins approx)
Live RPG Plus pits Benjamin Loomes (creator of Syrinscape and host of the Dicestormers) against an all-star cast adventure party, transforming the Pavillion Room into a fast and fun gaming experience for players as well as the audience, who will contribute to the action via shout-outs, hold-up cards and social media. Our guest players are Munchkin and Dork Tower Artist, John Kovalic, host of Knightmare Live, Paul Flannery, Paizo’s editor in chief, Wes Schneider and Mike Mason (Line Editor for Call of Cthulhu). With a party like that, what can possibly go wrong?

SATURDAY, JUNE 3
11.00 Artists Panel  (Toute Suite, NEC – 45 mins)
Details TBC With John Kovalic, Ralph Horsley, Gill Pearce, Linda Jones, Andree Schneider, James Hayball and others.

17.00 Live Pandemic Pavilion Hilton Hotel (90 mins approx.)
In a follow up to last year’s successful event Live Pandemic Returns, The Expo is in lock-down as award-winning comedian (and 2015 UK Carcassonne champion) James Cook asks you to join us in a game of Pandemic unlike any you’ve ever played before! Featuring a panel of our guests including The Dice Tower’s Sam Healey, Munchkin and Dork Tower Artist John Kovalic and Paul Flannery, host of Knightmare Live. Oh – and don’t forget the 4th player is you – the audience. The World need not fear. “Looks like fun” – Matt Leacock

SUNDAY, JUNE 4
13.00 Q&A with John Kovalic Toute Suite NEC (45 mins) 
John Kovalic. Millions of copies of his games and books have been sold worldwide, giving his magical, frenetic artwork and unique wit a truly global fan base. Come an ask your questions of the man who created the amazing art work of the Munchkin Games and The Dork Tower.

Now – who knows where a lonely traveler might stumble across the best Balti in Birmingham?

John

 

Categories: Comics

Poland: “Is this Heaven?” “No – it’s a plate of Pierogis.”

Thu, 05/11/2017 - 10:00

Screen Shot 2016-05-30 at 11.06.33 AM

Hard to believe (I keep double-checking my calendar), but just last week, I was in Poland, guest of the wonderful Pyrkon gaming and media convention.

Pyrkon is big – really big. 40,000 attendees big. It’s the largest such convention in Poland, by far, and this was my second trip there, thanks to my wonderful friends at Black Monk Games, the Polish translators of Munchkin (and soon, Dork Tower!)

The three-day convention was a whirlwind, for me, full of demonstrations, talks, and one-hour signings that turned into three hours.

It took five flights to get to Poznan, the city where the convention is held, every year: Madison – Detroit; Detroit – Amsterdam; Amsterdam – Kraków; Kraków – Warsaw; Warsaw – Poznan. (If this seems insane, it sort of was: Delta doesn’t fly into Poznan, but I get upgrades with them so frequently, it’s the only way to cross the Atlantic – what with me being 6’4″ tall, anyway: I value my spine).

Apparently it was King’s Day in Holland, and there were many orange treats at the Amsterdam KLM lounge: fun, tasty and colorful.

A five-hour layover in Kraków gave me a chance to pop into the city, which everyone says is beautiful. I didn’t see it, because I wandered in all the wrong areas. A few days later I’d pay for my foolishness! But for now, a student diner satisfied me my pierogi and borscht fix. (This would become a leitmotif of the trip: a delicious, carb-heavy leitmotif).

My Dad’s side of the family comes from Slovakia (back in the day, I could brag of Czechoslovakia, and lay some small claim to Prague, Bohemia and Charter ’77 – now, not so much). So coming face-to-face with my Buba’s cooking every day I was in Poland was a calorie-laden delight.

The long Krakow layover was so I could change from Delta/KLM to LOT, the Polish national airline (I had booked this leg as a separate ticket). I grew to love traveling on LOT a lot. They didn’t hand out tepid pretzels, oh no: they had a basket of candy you could grab from. It was Easter every flight! (Someone from Poland want to bring or mail me FRUGO candies? I may be addicted to them).

But back to Pyrkon: yes, it’s flipping’ huge. Held in Poznan’s World Trade Center – Poland’s largest convention center – it spans many massive halls. The dealer area seems to have doubled in size from my last trip, two years ago.

The signings at the Black Monk booth were decidedly intimidating, though having a massive queue is probably the best possible problem a cartoonist could have.

I’m guessing I drew over 100 cards, over the course of the weekend. One upside to this is that it improves my flash-caricature skills somewhat…

Another delight was when an eight-year-old girl left room in her comic book (about a cat and a dog who save the world) for me to add in Spyke, from Munchkin. I hope I did the tale justice!

Other requests seemed more…random:


 

And, look: not gonna lie: seeing Munchkin cosplayers in full regalia is always a thrill (to say nothing of humbling).

It was an exhausting but exciting show, but I did get a chance Saturday morning to pop down to Poznan’s city square – an achingly beautiful place, spiffed-up by Italian architect Giovanni Battista di Quadro, during the Renaissance.

Sadly, I didn’t get much of a chance to hang out with artists such as Wayne Reynolds, Ralph Horsely and Milivoj Ćeran, who were also guests. My loss, as they’re all great guys, and ridiculously talented, to boot. I’m hoping I at least get to see a couple of them again at UK Games Expo next moth. But I had to leave for my flight Sunday afternoon, and didn’t get a chance to say goodbye.

My Poznan hotel was about a block from the con site, but more importantly next door to a restaurant that literally translates to “Pierogi Hut.” I thought these were some of the best I’d ever had, until my return-layover, in Kraków again. This time, I had two full days (and three evenings) to explore. Yelp had recommended a small cafe next to my Kraków hotel, and the mushroom pierogi were without question incredible (“pierogincredible”?)

The next morning, I wandered through some more dreary sections of Kraków, wondering what all the fuss was about (I am a dum-dum), when I finally stumbled across the Old City – an absolutely crazy-beautiful area that left me slack-jawed.

Staring up at this indescribably lovely architecture, I did indeed stumble, missing a paving stone, twisting my left ankle and falling smack onto the cobblestones with my right knee. I’m not sure what sound it made, but I wouldn’t be surprised it if was, indeed, “krakow!”

By the end of the day, my knee had swollen to the size and color of a really large golabki, and walking had become almost literally impossible: I could only return to the hotel leaning heavily on my mum (my parents had popped over from London to visit, fortunately). Thus my last day in this magnificent place was spent staring at the walls of my hotel room, my leg up, my body aching, and me feeling more than just a little bit stupid.

The plus side, though, was I did get to see Kraków for a day, and it’s definitely a place I’d enjoy returning to, one day.

What say, Pyrkon – let’s do this again soon, eh?

-John

 

 

 

 

Categories: Comics

Tower of Power – DORK TOWER 11.05.17

Wed, 05/10/2017 - 23:01

Categories: Comics

Adventures in Eating – SPORK TOWER 09.05.17

Mon, 05/08/2017 - 23:01

Screen Shot 2016-05-30 at 11.06.33 AM

SKY CLUB CUSINE
or
When Life Hands you a Club, Make a Mess

Flying home from Poland last weekend, I was hit with a two-hour delay in Detroit.

No big deal, as a couple of years ago, I went all-in on Delta, and purchased a membership to their “Sky Club” lounges.

Yes, this is very 1st World One-Percenters territory. But also, yes, (a) I fly enough that it’s totally worth it, and (b) it’s a business expense.

Most importantly, as Sara Benincasa notes in her essay ‘Join the Fancy Club at the Airport,’ “I deserve a break, just like any of those fancy people. And so, dear reader, do you.” So who are we to argue with Sara?

Anyway, when I’m not quoting Sara Benincasa’s wonderfully enabling essays (available HERE), I’m figuring out ways to get into trouble things to do at the Delta Sky Lounge.

Two hour layover in Detroit means it’s time to get crazy with @DeltaSkyClub offerings, right, @Delta?

— Maybe John Kovalic (@muskrat_john) May 3, 2017

US airline lounges have been pretty spartan things, compared to their European counterparts.

But the Americans upped their game, slightly, these last few years.

Though still not on par with the rest of the civilized world, Delta’s Sky Clubs‘  hard-boiled-eggs-and-chicken-salad-only nadir is long-gone. Soups, meatballs, hot chicken, and mac and cheese are available, more often than not. O BRAVE NEW WORLD!*

So with time on my hands, and a literal buffet of possibilities at my disposal, I experimented.

STEP ONE: Take one Nissen-brand Cup Noodles ‘cup’ that some Delta Sky Clubs have been offering since (I’m spitballing, here) the upturn in Asian business.

STEP TWO: Add hot water from the Starbucks-brand coffee machine.

STEP THREE: Re-cover the cup, and wait for three minutes.

STEP FOUR: Dump the Cup Noodles of the wretched salt-laden death-slurry it calls “soup,” saving the softened noodles.

STEP FIVE: Go to the salad area. Tope the noodles with some warm chicken chunks.

 

(Actual Chicken location and availability may vary according to Sky Club).

STEP SIX: Wander over to the soups. There are usually two available. Fill cup of noodles and chicken with either Wicked Thai or Butternut Squash Curry soups, if on-hand (others may work in a pinch).

STEP SEVEN: Finish with a generous squeeze of Sriracha ( always has it on hand, BLESS THEM) three wedges of lime from the bar, and add some crispy noodles for crunch.

STEP EIGHT: And VOILA! Enjoy a tasty raman-esque snack, as other patrons look in horror! Bon appetite!

 

@muskrat_john Hey John, looks delicious. Glad you’re enjoying. *JY

— Delta (@Delta) May 3, 2017

  -John

*Super-deluxe props to Delta’s main Detroit Sky Club, for serving bona-fide National Coney Island hot dogs on Thursdays and Fridays!

Categories: Comics

You Keep Using That Word… – DORK TOWER 09.05.17

Mon, 05/08/2017 - 23:01

Categories: Comics

One Rogue – DORK TOWER 02.05.17

Mon, 05/01/2017 - 23:01

Categories: Comics

Cap That – DORK TOWER 27.04.17

Wed, 04/26/2017 - 23:01

DORK ADDENDA: HEY, KIDS! Marvel has turned Cap into a Nazi, these days!

Categories: Comics

Not All Burritos – DORK TOWER 25.04.17

Mon, 04/24/2017 - 23:01

Categories: Comics

Insane Charity Bike Ride 2016 – Backer Fulfillment Update!

Sun, 04/23/2017 - 23:01

Screen Shot 2016-05-30 at 11.06.33 AM

Yesterday, I signed around 40 pieces of original Munchkin card art for backers of Insane Charity Bike Ride 2016.

The drawings are from Munchkin Fu: Guest Artist Edition I drew last year. If I do say so myself, I think they’re lovely.

If you supported the charity ride at the $200 level or above (Or if you’re one of the folks randomly chosen from there backers), these will be on their way to you soon.

With luck, you may get “Drunken Master” or “Hong Kong Thong” – my two personal favorites.

Anyway, coupled with the many hundreds of Munchkin Charity Postcards and Pat Rothfuss limerick mini-prints I recently signed, all Insane Charity Bike Ride 2016 fulfillment items are finished.

Business Manager Alex is now sending everything to Fulfillment Guru David. My guess is, between two and four weeks from now, these will begin arriving to backers. (I’d have loved it if they could have gone out earlier, but Munchkin Shakespeare kind of ate my brain for a couple of months there).

Thank you all SO MUCH for supporting 2016’s ride, and making it the most successful yet!

Now onto 2017’s ride…which Im told will be 70 miles long (weep).

Where did I put that durned duck again..?

John

Categories: Comics

Free as a Kickstarted Bird – DORK TOWER CLASSIC 04.20.17

Wed, 04/19/2017 - 23:01

DORK ADDENDA: This Dork Tower Classic was first published June 2013 – and damn if I don’t still do this…

Categories: Comics

Breathe. Just…Breathe. – DORK TOWER 04.18.17

Mon, 04/17/2017 - 23:01

Categories: Comics

Under Pressure – DORK TOWER 13.04.17

Wed, 04/12/2017 - 23:01

Categories: Comics

Social Just Us – DORK TOWER 11.04.17

Mon, 04/10/2017 - 23:01

Categories: Comics

Precious and Mew

Wed, 04/05/2017 - 23:01

Categories: Comics

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