AiPT! Staff Picks – August 2017



The sun is setting on summer. While we’re sad to see the season come to a close, we’re excited for what fall has in store for comics, film, games and more. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. For now, let’s just take a look back at August to see what a few of our staff members were excited about.

Patrick Hellen: Gaming Editor

What’s your favorite summer 2017 memory?: Stumbling on a Nintendo Switch, with red and blue joycons, three days before my birthday in Target is up there. The entire hunt to find one, and then getting one at that time? Just fantastic.

But, that pales in comparison to my son running a race with a bunch of his friends at a local park in my town. He’s 3, and he ran his legs off to come in second in a 400-yard race. It was AWESOME. He had no idea how long it was, or how to pace himself, so he just ran it, loved it, and then got a Freezepop. Being a Dad is awesome.

Favorite current comic series: Grass Kings – hands down. I feel like the super books are just getting more and more caught up in event after event, and I miss the days of my youth (Old Man Hellen) where there were contained events in books, and there was some semblance of a status quo. Having your favorite protagonists constantly being off-kilter is not an enjoyable read for me. I like having a home base to have that classic hero journey from, and all the super books just seem far too frantic.

Grass Kings is also frantic, but it’s ALL about that home base and protecting what’s yours. Matt Kindt and Tyler Jenkins are putting out a quality book, with a ton of mysterious threads hanging on every seam of story. Also, Jenkins artwork is just breathtaking. He’s making a water color comic, that is killing the photorealistic crap I see most days easily. The collection for the first five or six books is out soon and you absolutely should pick it up.

Favorite current TV series: Samurai Gourmet. It’s just awesome. In short, a Japanese man has retired, and is trying to cope with all the new found freedom, and lack of structure, that his life now has. His wife suggests he take a stroll around the neighborhood, and he stumbles into a restaurant, and has a hallucination about a samurai that shows him how to live a stronger life. It’s absolutely nuts, but as a former restaurant reviewer, it hits a sweet spot for me. I’m not even close to being a “foodie,”  I just appreciate good food, and the way that the food – even basic things like instant ramen – is shot and displayed is gorgeous. The episodes are short, so give it a whirl. It’s unlike anything else on Netflix.Last great movie you saw: With two kiddos under the age of 4, movie nights are few and far between. We recently caught Moana as a family, and that was just excellent. Other than that, it’s been a famine. The last thing I saw that was aimed at adults was Rogue One – and I really liked that. I’m not a crazy Star Wars fan, critiquing every movie, so I really enjoyed a hopeless suicide mission type entry, without any Jedi.

The prequels were shit, though. Let’s be honest.

Current gaming addiction: Currently split three ways, with one clear winner. I picked up a switch after a lonnnnng search, and immediately got hooked as hell on Mario Kart – like constant stolen moments with the Switch – before bed, at the doctors, etc. to just bang out one more level.

My older son is all about superheroes, so we’re grinding our way through the Lego Avengers game. I’m not really all the into the Lego huntfest games, but playing with him is awesome, so I can deal.

Finally – The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. I’ve been playing for months, and I can’t stop. I just restarted from scratch on the Switch, because hey – portability over my WiiU copy. It’s a damn near perfect game, that ranks up there as an all-time great for me.

Coolest recent purchase: I work 100% remote for my company, as they are based in a different state, so I have a great home office setup that also serves as my dork-cave, with video games, novels, comics etc., strewn about.

I am one of those people who always seems to work better, or relax more on the floor, as opposed to the couch – you know those people? You have 20 people over for the Super Bowl, and I’m the guy on the rug watching the game. So I bought a big-ass Yogibo, bright purple, and I relax on that, take long conference calls, and play games with my boys and the wife all from a 5-foot-tall bean-bag.

I’m a 10-year-old, but I’m also middle-aged. It’s awesome.Biggest pet peeve of the moment: I feel like I could give this a funny answer, or about some aspect of day-to-day life that is pretty mundane, like, “OH MAN, on the Switch pro controller the screen-shot button is in the perfect place for the map button, and I take all these inadvertent pictures LOL.”

But let’s be honest. There are Neo-Nazis marching in cities, a hostile foreign country threatening us with nuclear destruction, and the specter of health care for some of my family potentially being cut or disrupted. I have a lot of pet peeves, let’s say, and most are related to one particular orange-hued moron person, don’t @ me.

Nathaniel Muir: Contributor

What’s your favorite summer 2017 memory?: Receiving the email from AiPT! giving me the opportunity to write here was pretty cool. Otherwise, my summer has been pretty lackluster. One thing that has stood out this summer has been the meetings I have had with the book club I’m in. The book we read was complete garbage, but I had some great times with friends. I’m a simple man.

Favorite current comic series: I do not have the time I used to, so I don’t keep up with comics as much as I would like to. (I am barely getting around to reading Mister Miracle.) However, I did have a chance to check out some work done by local artists. Lone Universe is a science-fiction love story that runs the gamut of emotions: depression and happiness, belonging and loneliness, it’s all there. Writer and artist Danny Martinez’s comic can be found here. Though it is not a series, The Dastardly Doppel Duo is an activity book written by Blake Heath and illustrated by Pablo Martinez. The book is filled with nods to horror movies and books – from Lovecraft to Voorhees. If you like horror, check it out here.

Favorite current TV series: All my family, friends, and co-workers watch Game of Thrones. Much like Cersei could not escape what that one witch told her, I can’t escape GOT. Thankfully, there is Twin Peaks: The Return. Funny, scary and confusing, this year’s Twin Peaks is David Lynch at his best. Part comedy, part horror, part arthouse, The Return has been something to behold.  Last great movie you saw: Dunkirk is amazing. Rory’s review pretty much says it all. I’ll put it this way: War movies are probably my least favorite genre; Dunkirk may end up being the best movie I see this year.

Current gaming addiction: I was never a big fan of the Just Cause games. This month, Just Cause 3 was one of the free games on PlayStation 4 and I figured I’d give it a shot. While I would not say it’s a good game, it is definitely a fun one. Besides, I need to play something while I wait for Pillars of Eternity.

Biggest pet peeve of the moment: I can’t stand when people speak to you about things they have the most cursory knowledge of as if they are experts. Being opinionated is fine. Where is the fun in life when everyone thinks and believes the same thing? Reciting something you saw online then passing it off as your own idea is not as cool. Even worse, people who try to pass off someone else’s opinion as their own always insist on arguing with you if you don’t agree with them. I really have to get better at tuning people out.

Cam Petti: Contributor

What’s your favorite summer 2017 memory?: It was right at the top of the season, but in June, I went down to HeroesCon in Charlotte, North Carolina, with the comic book that I write, Skeleton Bay Detective Agency (*shameless plug* skeletonbay-comic.com *shameless plug*). It was blast to make new friends and fans, see old friends again, and be completely submersed in nerd culture for an entire weekend.

Favorite current comic series: Head Lopper by Andrew MacLean is SUPER good. It’s a swords and sorcery book that is basically Conan by way of Hellboy. It’s got all the fun tropes of great fantasy, plus awesome creature creation, and a sense of the old-school video games on top. It’s an oversized, quarterly comic, but the wait is SO worth it. Plus, having met Andrew at a couple of events, such as HeroesCon, I can confirm he’s a super nice guy too!

Favorite current TV series: As much as I’ve been keeping up with new stuff like The Defenders, Rick and Morty and Game of Thrones, I’m actually mid-rewatch of Arrested Development, and show is STILL amazing. It’s still hilarious and insane in how densely packed it is with clever jokes that you’ll liable to miss if you’re not careful. I definitely have not made a huge mistake by rewatching it again. For the like, seventh time.

Last great movie you saw: I recently saw The Fifth Element for the first time at a midnight screening, and it was amazing. Holy cow, there is SO MUCH GOING ON IN THAT MOVIE. And seeing it in a (pretty full) movie theatre with people just as excited for it was the best way to have experienced it for the first time.Current gaming addiction: There’s an easy little one called Mini Metro that is a ton a fun. It’s a super minimalist game where you draw and manage train routes in various cities like New York and Moscow. Not only am I a big fan, but I also converted my friend to the game as well, and he’s equally obsessed.

Coolest recent purchase: I just got a compact little shotgun mic to clip into my phone to do some filming with. We’ll see what I’m able to make with it, but I’m excited to see what it can do!

Biggest pet peeve of the moment:  When random people attempt to citizen-direct traffic. It’s like, “yes, thank you, sir, I see you waving me on, but there are 15 cars coming the other way, and if you would just go, it would actually speed this whole process up.”

We know you have picks of your own – share them in the comment space below and we’ll see you next month!