My conversation with Tommy, Part 2

Check it out -- it's the second half of my interview with Harmony Gold Creative Director Tommy Yune, this time regarding Prelude to the Shadow Chronicles and what you will and won't see coming out of toy licensee Toynami and the trade paperback collections office of DC/WildStorm Comics in the near future, as well as some spitballing about the world of comics and manga in general over the next few years. Bear in mind, unless you've been around the block enough times to get the gag in the lazily rehashed graphic above, you may not totally get the issues brought up in the following conversation. You have been warned.


MP3 File


Your Rubicon Moment of the Day, Episode 3

Looking for my interview with Tommy Yune? It's here. Looking for Part 2 of it? Sorry, but as of this writing I feel like I've been beaten all day with a cricket bat, so haven't the energy to edit the next stretch of the interview. It'll be up sometime either Friday evening or in the wee A.M. hours of Saturday, barring any major schedule disruptions.

In the meantime, enjoy some more dumb panels from Antarctic Press's The Sentinels: Rubicon #1, by Alan Nepomuceno and Vithoon Kamchareon. In today's scene, a mix of Masters, New Gen, and strange new characters -- check out the Star Wars refugee on the far left-hand side -- play poker. The cocky-looking guy with the long hair and headband (apparently a very popular style in the FUTURE!) is one J.C. Schlekta. He deserves to be punched. He's one of those guys who acts like he's all cool, giving everyone nicknames and acting so smart and so slick and treating the established cast like he's so much better than they are -- like some sort of jackass author avatar. Look at him and just tell me he doesn't deserve a sock right in the jaw.

To go on would be to defeat the purpose of posting convenient filler tonight, so I'm just going to add that I hope everybody's enjoyed the interview, and I want to thanks for the link -- it's not every day you pop over to in the afternoon and see your own face staring back at you. I've had a lot of these odd, surreal little moments in my life so far, but this, I think, takes the cake.


My conversation with Tommy, Part 1

Yes, Harmony Gold Creative Director Tommy Yune and I had a nice long chat over the phone this past evening about Prelude to the Shadow Chronicles, the WildStorm comics that led up to it, changes to the modern canon, Southern Cross getting the short end of the stick, and a fistful of other matters relating to the ROBOTECH franchise. This is the first half hour of that conversation, with more to come over the next day or two. Be forewarned, like Prelude to the Shadow Chronicles itself, we hit the ground running, so at least passing familiarity with the modern ROBOTECH comic publishing history is strongly recommended before you start listening.


MP3 File


Another Century's Episode 2

By now you've most likely listened to the interview with Tommy Yune & Kevin McKeever done at regarding all sorts of things in the ROBOTECH and Macross worlds. The interviewer brought up the recently released (in Japan) PlayStation 2 mecha action game Another Century's Episode 2, which I mentioned back in December, in which the universes of a variety of mecha anime are smooshed together and the player can choose from a wide variety of combat mecha to deploy and do battle as -- various Gundams, Mobile Suits, Aura Battlers, Heavy Metals, Metal Armors, Aestivalises, and oh yes, Valkyries. There's also a video of the game's spiff-tastic opening CG sequence up at GATV, and more can be examined at the game's official website.

I've actually had opportunity to play the game, and while it did take me a while to adjust to the Valkyrie control configuration -- having previously slogged through Macross Digital Mission VF-X and its sequel, conqurered Robotech: Battlecry, and spent about twenty minutes with Sega's slick import-only Macross PS2 game, I've got more than your usual number of Valkyrie control configurations rattling around the ol' noggin, so being presented with a wholly different new one presented a slight challenge -- it's a hell of a lot of fun. Practically every mecha in the game comes equipped with a variety of weapons and a melee attack for when you're out of ammo, and the Valkyrie is no exception; after hearing nothing more than a "clik, clik" from the GU-11, I eliminated a number of Battlepods by speeding towards them in Battloid and mashing them with the mecha's mighty fists. Mechanized fisticuffs is joy!

Generally, it plays an awful lot like Konami's Zone of the Enders, with a control scheme that sometimes feels a bit too loose, like the player is just going through the motions and doesn't have true control of the mecha. Lock on to an enemy, turn on the afterburners, beat the crap out of your foe, and repeat. On the other hand, combat is incredibly fast and furious and sometimes sucked me in regardless; I was jamming on the button to deploy the Tallgeese III's beam saber so hard my finger felt raw during a battle with one of the major villains from, I think, Metal Armor Dragonar. After he retreated, I physically felt spent.

For a well-rounded mecha-head, the true fun of the game is that you've got such a wide variety of units from such shows as Aura Battler Dunbine, Brain Powered, Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz, Macross, and Martian Successor Nadesico, and they're all more or less to scale. Deploying a squad containing the big ol' Wing Zero Custom, the middle-sized VF-1S Skull One, and Akito Tenkawa's tiny little pink Aestivalis and then having them fly around the SDF-1 Macross as it executes a transformation -- and being able to actually get in close and zoom around the carrier arms as they move is such a bizarre geek-out moment; my friend Levi actually picked the God Gundam from Mobile Fighter G Gundam to play during that mission, and seeing it do its crazy over-the-top mecha-fu in space against Battlepods and Zentraedi Powered Armors was just surreal. An awful lot of the stages are ripped right from episodes of the shows involved, so you can recast battles from Dragonar with the Gundam Wing boys, send Aura Battlers to deal with the Zentraedi invasion, and have Valkyries streaking over the skies of the Federation military installations from Gundam 0083. And with everything looking so shiny and polished, it only heightens the sense of mecha-geek awe in a way that none of the super deformed Super Robot Wars tactical RPGs have managed.

While I haven't seen it in operation, I assume that there's also a split-screen versus mode like that of its predecessor, where you and a friend assemble teams of mecha and pit them against each other. I assume the reason I didn't get a chance to see that was because last time I played the game's predecessor, I was thrown into the deep end of the versus pool against a friend of Levi's who spends a lot more time playing video games than I do and got repeatedly creamed and, consequently, extremely ticked off ...

The one problem with Another Century's Episode 2, at least for all you folks out there? Gotta have an import-ready PS2 to play it. Me, I'll be snatching up a copy when the price comes down a little. Fun stuff, fun stuff ...

Your Rubicon Moment of the Day, Episode 2

Shame I couldn't find another moment as perfect as the first, which reads almost like a strange unfunny webcomic, but I don't think there is a moment in the series that encapsulates all that's wrong with it as much as Ariel spazzing out over a saucer floating in zero-g. She's written as a total flake all through the first issue of Rubicon, which is just totally off base when compared to her portrayal throughout the end of the New Generation episodes of the TV series. In fact, there's a lot of bad characterization going on in general, but there's also some odd presentations of series history as well, which brings us to today's panels, again, from the first issue:

Observation 1: No Sentinels designs in the flashback photos in the first panel -- Rick and Max look like Macross Rick and Max with some subtle age lines and vaguely drawn non-Macross but non-Sentinels uniforms. And see that person with the cyborg eye right to the left of the speaker's word balloon? What the hell is that? Was Sentinels reference art that hard to come by?

Observation 2: In a panel talking about the aliens that are here, look, no aliens! In fact, not a single identifiable Sentinels alien appears in the two published issues of The Sentinels: Rubicon. (See question above.)

Observation 3: Notice the mention of the starship Marcus Antonius 2 in panel three -- correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't that an artifact of the work of Pieter Thomassen, Peter Walker, and the rest at the Unofficial Robotech Reference Guide? In their files, that ship's namesake was a Tokugawa-class vessel that ferried Jonathan Wolfe back to Earth, as you can read here; I believe that originated with them, because I don't recall seeing the name in the novels, comics, RPG, or anything else officially published.

Also, the two girls' dialogue in the last panel reads so strangely; if you think about it, it does make sense, but at first glance it almost seems like a non sequitur. Also, I don't know about you, but when skimming over the panel it almost looked like Meg was saying both lines, which would be even stranger. Any way you slice it, those are some badly laid out word balloons, and the words inside them aren't much better.

Obviously writer Alan Nepomuceno sort of gets Sentinels, or at least the broad strokes of it; the notion of the Sentinels Alliance outlasting the campaign against the Invid is one I've always favored, and has apparently been maintained in the current official ROBOTECH universe according to Prelude to the Shadow Chronicles (one of a small handful of obvious beats appearing in Rubicon that are echoed in Prelude, which despite their being obvious still reads as odd). But the artist is totally lost when it comes to dealing with Sentinels stuff, as becomes increasingly clear as the soap operatic, multi-threaded storyline wears on -- there's only one Sentinels design that winds up looking right, and it's an odd one, which we might get to later this week.

More awfulness tomorrow! Woo-hoo!


Your Rubicon Moment of the Day, Episode 1

From Robotech The Sentinels: Rubicon #1, by Alan Nepomuceno & Vithoon Kamchareon. Published by Antarctic Press.

Someone e-mailed me about this series today. I think this moment right here says all you need to know. Not the worst-drawn ROBOTECH comics ever, but certainly the worst written, and I think even the random panels that made up "Introduction," the backup strip in the final months of Antarctic's color series, were better plotted.

More of this brilliant garbage tomorrow.



It's time for more Emissaries business; if you're not interested, don't worry, I've got some more proper content for you coming up by the end of the weekend. But first ...

Today, according to the first page behind the front cover of the latest issue of Emissaries (Vol. 2 #2 | Winter '05/'06), is the deadline for sending me all material to be published in the upcoming Spring issue -- any articles, editorials, artwork, fanfics, interviews, etc. should be in to me today.

So I shake the Emissaries mailbag, and I get, um, a letter. Whoopie -- all I've gotta do is print that letter on the back of a copy of this issue's cover and I'm done, I guess. Oh, wait, I'd better write up a "Captain's Log" and that promised installment of "Conqueror" -- so, what, eight pages or so. Yeah, that'll be giving the faithful their money's worth.

Now I've been pretty lax in sending the missives to the Emissaries faithful lately, but I really don't think that's the problem -- I ran into the same problem when I was sending e-mails to the Emissaries subscriber list every four weeks or so. Everyone associated with this publication has had a problem with deadlines in the past -- myself included, just ask Evan -- and I get that; that's why I'm writing this post, as a kick in the pants to all Emissaries subscribers who also read the blog. I'm instituting a deadline extension to the end of April, which would be Sunday, April 30. Look at the back cover -- it promises the next issue in May. One way or another, that's happening, and I'd stronglly prefer it if that way involved contributions from a larger cross-section of the 'zine's subscribers.

If you've got any ideas for content for the coming issue of Emissaries -- any at all -- please, drop me a line at emissaries AT hotmail DOT com, captainjls AT animejanai DOT com, or via AOL Instant Messenger (screen name SentinelVeidt) -- I should be on AIM for a few hours both evenings this weekend, barring any unforeseen circumstances, so that'd be a great way to throw ideas my way.

So ends this issue's content pledge drive until late April. Thanks for indulging me, and hope to hear from you all soon.

I'll be sending much the same message out in an e-mail later on in the weekend, so if you get one and you've already read all this, feel free to ignore it -- not the content, of course, but unless you find it helpful to have a reminder sitting in your inbox, it'll probably be safe to trash it ...


A moment of personal business ...

My personal blog has moved from to All those interested, please change your bookmarks accordingly.

I realize I've been light on real updates the past week or so, but I've been busy. I'll try and get something kinda-sorta interesting up o'er the weekend, 'kay?


Yikes, I'm OLD!

Well, not really, I'm sure (I HOPE) most of you are older than that, but you know, the number twenty-five still sounds scary and impressive to my ears. I mean, that's a quarter of a freakin' century, for crying out loud, one of those nice simple fractions you can do without a calculator or a piece of scratch paper to scribble on.

You know, I still remember a time when I was watching ROBOTECH and I was younger than most of the cast. I guess that's the happy side effect of something like Prelude to the Shadow Chronicles -- I can look at that and go, "Look, I'm younger than Rick Hunter again!"

In case you can't read between the lines, it's my birthday today and it kind of scares me.


In case you missed it ...

This was this year's April Fool's gag at -- something blatantly ridiculous (at least to me -- your mileage may vary), accessorized with gags of bygone years.

I'm of two minds about this. On the one hand, I'm glad they didn't do something that at first glance seemed possible/shocking and carried an air of authenticity about it (see the box design for the Robotech 3000 collection, for instance). On the other hand, y'know, anything worth doing is worth doing well. This feels like something done just for the sake of carrying on tradition.

Though honestly, I did laugh every time I read the phrase "beloved Robotech character Lynn Kyle" ...

Update: Darkwater gives a complete roundup of the April Fool's "merriment," complete with screengrabs of all store items (though he neglected to catch a pic of the RT3K box set glowing in the dark), here.