A short review of the comic and an interview with the author.
Words: Ion O’Clast
Art: Rachel Dukes
Cover: Andy Warner
This comic had me from the cover. First of course the imagery of a cop car crushed by a d20. Well, hell yes, I’m going to read this. Happily I can say there is a lot to like in this short little comic.
I really don’t want to give away too much of the content, but I’ll share a little. For me this is such a nice summary of why I think projects like AGR are important in our radical space. The comic follows the narrator’s journey through subcultures talking about how each group has informed them. (I just realized I’m using narrator here. I assume it’s Ion, but I forgot to ask.) The idea of fantasy as an escape from anarchism was one that hit close to home for me, but also the idea that fantasy provides us with tools to inform our anarchism.
Continue reading No Gods, No Dungeon Masters
Designed by: Don Eskridge
Number of Players: 5-10
Game Time: 30 Mins.
It’s my intention to review as many role-playing, board, and card games of interest to anarchists for AGR as possible. With each review I’ll provide an overview of the game, recommend it or not based on actual play, or in the case of many RPGs, how I “think” the game will play at the table. And of course, I’ll include how the game might be useful for radicals. This won’t always be applicable, because sometimes games are just fun, but I believe games can help us build the communities we envision, improve our abilities to resolve conflict, and strengthen our strategies for change.
Continue reading The Resistance
Wolf in White Van
by John Darnielle
2014, Farrar, Straus and Giroux
After reading a pre-release review of this novel, I had to preorder it. When it arrived, I read the whole thing that same day and then sat down to write this review. That alone should suggest how highly I recommend this book. If you’d like to skip the rest of the review, then: just read this book. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. This is a book that will stick with the reader, and it’s deep enough that everyone will take away something a little different. I know it will be in my mind for a long time.
Wolf in White Van, written by The Mountain Goats songwriter John Darnielle, has already been favorably reviewed online, featured on NPR, and been nominated for the National Book Award. All the praise is well deserved. On the surface this is a story about Sean–the survivor of a terrible teenage tragedy, currently the game master of a play-by-mail role-playing game–and his reflections on life and the game. At its heart, it is a story about the power of imagination, about coming of age in a time when being a geek was far from cool, and about dealing with life-changing and traumatic experiences.
Continue reading Wolf in White Van, by John Darnielle
The Massive Volume 1: Black Pacific
Written by Brian Wood
Art by Kristian Donaldson, Garry Brown, Dave Stewart, and Brian Wood
2013, Dark Horse Comics
What do you do when you’re a member of a radical direct action environmental organization and the world really does collapse? This is the question at the heart of the story in The Massive as members of Ninth Wave face the world during a massive eco-social-environmental cataclysm. Ninth Wave, easily a stand in for Sea Shepherd, is comprised of an international crew aboard the Kapital and its missing sister ship the Massive. Volume 3 of the trade paperback was released in early July 2014—this review will look at Volume 1 and contain a few possible SPOILERS to that collection. This volume mostly serves as an introduction to the world and characters, so I don’t think I’ll be giving too much of the overall story arch away.
Set in the current era, the cataclysm depicted in The Massive is one of global climate change. Taken as individual occurrences these events could be ripped from the headlines of today: massive storms across the worlds oceans, unusual seismic activity, mass suicides and die offs of marine life, changes to wind patterns, unusual snowfall and changes to wind patterns. The results are worldwide coastal flooding, loss of power to hugely populated areas, and the destabilization of almost all world governments. This happens in less than a year, and perhaps most amazingly, the world actually takes notice.
Continue reading The Massive Volume 1: Black Pacific