It’s Friday! The third Friday of 2017! A Friday that has some significance, but I just can’t seem to bring to mind what it is. Something orange? Something with tiny hands? I think I just described that t-rex from the movie Meet the Robinsons… Well, anyways, this and every Friday means something for us here at Rogues Portal: Staff Picks! David is MIA this week, so I’m you’re special guest compiler Amelia! You know the drill right? Here are some things that have kept some of our contributors entertained this week. Interested in more from the site? Be sure to check out reviews for A Series of Unfortunate Events, WWE #1, 2064: Read Only Memories, Reggie and Me #2, Slayer: Repentless #1, and The Mighty Captain Marvel #1, just to list off a few! There’s also the newest episodes for our podcasts Comicsbound, The Comics Agenda, and Scooby Dos or Scooby Don’ts and our exclusive comic Sunny and Owl Girl. Interested in gaming? We’ve got some interesting one-off articles on videogames that you should definitely be checking out, including What Could Breath of the Wild Learn From Zelda II?, Great Online Games to Avoid Cabin Fever, and a loving retrospective (written by yours truly!) about Saints Row IV!
One last thing to mention before heading into Staff Picks! Do you want to see classic movies like Fight Club, The Princess Bride, Pulp Fiction on the big screen? Enter our Cineplex Flashback Film Fest contest for a chance to see these and more in theatres!
Christoph’s Staff Pick of the Week – My pick of the week is a book by Nathan Hill, simply titled The Nix. I am picking the German audio book version, which is brought to life by Uve Teschner. I also listened partially to the English audio book and it is equally good (as far as I can tell from a five minute sample) – the speaker for this version is Ari Fliakos. But what is the book about? Samuel, our protagonist, is a lonely person, who doesn’t really know what he wants or even what he can except from his life. He is a teacher by day and a MMORPG addict by night. His mother left the family when he was a child and ever since he felt a certain void inside of him. Twenty years after her leaving/vanishment, he gets a call from a lawyer. His mother has been arrested and now they want him as a character witness, because he is the last living family member she has. What should he do? Should he face his mother and finally learn the truth about what happened so many years ago? The book is a thrilling experience and an ongoing family and childhood drama. Nathan Hill brilliantly gives each scene a unique atmosphere. Be it Samuel’s online gaming adventures or a confrontation with a neurotic student of his. The main story is interrupted by extensive flashbacks to his childhood. It is somewhat concerning to disturbing to see how his mother acted around him. But the book is not just a family drama, it is also critical on society. The media is a good example, especially at the beginning of the story. A crucial part is the attack of a governor. I won’t spoil it for you, but the difference between the initial description and the actual “weapon” is simply hilarious. If you want a story that is honest but also funny, strange, and dives deep into the meanings of friendship and how you should fight your fear, I can’t recommend The Nix enough!
Heather’s Staff Pick of the Week – For my inaugural staff pick, I am selecting something in line with keeping those New Year’s resolutions alive and well. Sometime ago, I decided I wanted to be healthy but also do something cool. After a simple Google search, I stumbled across NerdFitness.com. At the time, it was a fledgling website and corresponding YouTube videos with daily workouts centered around nerd culture. With routines named after some of my favorites like the Konami Code and Angry Birds workouts, I was immediately pulled in. Move forward to 2017 and Nerd Fitness’ creator Steve Kamb has leveled up his passion project into a fully developed health and wellness portal for those of us that want to be a little more active while clinging to our nerd roots with our Vulcan death grips. Nerd Fitness offers paid courses and classes, and something called Rising Heroes which is their attempt at a “real life” RPG. Level up your character by strength building and see how far into the adventure you can get! Thankfully, there are free resources galore to be had under the archives and range from topics like workouts, nutrition, and general motivation. I’ve been getting back into routine, spending hours reading through the posted articles, and trolling the forums. Nerd Fitness has come a long way since its launch in 2008, and earns my recommendation this week. Get moving and join the rebellion!
John’s Staff Pick of the Week – Not a lot of people seem to be talking about it but I’m digging NBC’s new show Emerald City. Just about everyone on Earth (and maybe even other planets) knows the story of The Wizard of Oz and I’m not going to say something like, “Yeah but you’ve never seen it like this!” but the show does do some interesting things with the lore. It’s also beautifully shot and the costumes are wildly outrageous, which is to be expected when every episode is directed by Tarsem Singh (who did The Cell and The Fall). Oh, and Vincent D’Onofrio plays the Wizard pretty much the same way he played Kingpin on Daredevil. It’s still too early to know if this show is going to get better or totally take a nosedive, but if you’re able to catch an episode or two, give it a shot. Most other shows are on hiatus now and this season of Emerald City is only 10 episodes, so it’s not a huge commitment if you’re looking for something a little out there.
Stephanie P’s Staff Pick of the Week – I’ve been vibing non-stop to the chill sounds and smooth beats of Little Simz’ Stillness in Wonderland for the past two weeks. This young UK artist is on the verge of breaking out and she certainly has my ear, encouraging you to follow her down the rabbit hole in a start-to-finish concept album that takes inspiration from Alice in Wonderland. Simz channels the soulful, yet raw vocals of Lauryn Hill (a powerful influence from my childhood) and the unique flow of Kendrick Lamar, who said she “might be the illest doing it now.” He’s not wrong. The album is pretty amazing, featuring brassy tones and unpolished tracks that speak to Simz personal self-awareness and to real issues facing POC and the community. Though I personally think she’s on her way to greatness, Simz also seems pretty down to earth and claims she isn’t looking for fame or celebrity, just for people to really dig her sound. She still plans to put out records under her own indie label AGE: 101 Music, despite praise and endorsements from big names like Lamar who said he may even get in a studio with her. You gotta respect that.
Josh’s Staff Pick of the Week – My pick of the week is a blast from the past: Grant Morrison’s Doom Patrol. With Gerard Way’s Doom Patrol being a few issues in and having caught my attention, I decided I should go back and read the classic runs in order to get the most out of it. Morrison’s Doom Patrol is so strange and out of control, but there is a method to the madness that makes it all work. The intense art combined with the weird plot makes for a book that’s nearly impossible to put down. The characters are interesting and easy to feel a connection to because they’re such real people, well, as real as a robot man and some sort of existential being can be. Grant Morrison’s Doom Patrol is fantastic and I really can’t recommend it more!