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GamelogoBy Australian Ninja

Remnants & Relics. Buttonhole *Special* Feature

Welcome dear reader to Remnants & Relics, the first in an ongoing series of features looking back at various aspects of yesterday's video games. This series is one that I'd hoped to kick off many months ago, but I just haven't had the time to do it justice, until now. So consider this your opportunity to put on your best pair or rose-tinted glasses, open up a luke-warm can of clichés and prepare to hop aboard the way-back-machine.... It came from beyond two dimensions! -A Look Back at Isometric Gaming-

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ToonlogoBy Australian Ninja

ACMI Day Tripper

Welcome Buttonhole readers to another feature that is so choc-full of goodness that I've divided it into several sections. The top half is about the Indy video games showcased at ACMI. The bottom half is about the Pixar exhibit. It's ridiculously long and all terribly interesting to read, so you may as well read it in two halves, or just the parts that interest you. After reading about the ACMI exhibits on their website and getting more than a little excited, I decided to make the perilous trek to inner Melbourne. With time on my side and money stuffed in my pocket I ventured forth to the train station. Once on board I passed the time by staring out the window, reading a volume of Dark Horse's Concrete and snacking on tasty fruit. Arriving at Flinders St, I wandered around until inevitably finding my way out of the rat-maze like station.

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ToonlogoBy Australian Ninja

Classic Comic-book Review. Kraven's Last Hunt

"Here lies Spider-Man - Slain by the Hunter" So reads the grave of one of histories greatest superheros. "But he's not dead, is he? What happened to everyone's favourite web-slinger? Spidey seems to be alive and well now, what with his three movie deal and a string of monthly Marvel comic-book titles to his name, so why was he buried six feet under? The year is 1987. The company is Marvel. The character is Sergei Kravinov also known as 'Kraven the Hunter.' Back in the 60's Stan and Steve (Lee and Ditko, respectively) churned out a heap of cool villains for the title "Amazing Spider-Man." Doctor Octopus, The Cham

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watchmenpic "Must own" comics part 1:Watchmen

You MUST own this. Or else!

Publisher: DC Comics

Mon, 15 November 2004

Sammy by: Hillelman

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“This is the book that changed an industry and challenged a medium. If you’ve never read a graphic novel, then WATCHMEN is the one to start with. And, even if you have, it’s time to read it again.”

The above (uncredited) quote is printed on the back of the Watchmen trade paperback. Usually such a bold proclamation could be dismissed as mere hyperbole. But in this instance, the hype is actually justifiable. In the opinion of many (yours truly included) the comic book medium has never seen a more talented writer than Mr. Alan Moore. Watchmen is perhaps his most highly acclaimed and best known work. It was originally released in twelve volumes in 1986 and has since been collected and published in trade paperback (or graphic novel if you prefer) form. If there is one single book that every comic fan should own, Watchmen would have to be that book. And people who don’t usually read comics really should give this one a try too.

So what is it about? Well the short answer would be that it is about superheros in an alternate version of 1980’s Earth and uncovering the mystery of who has started killing them off one by one. But that description doesn’t come even close to doing the book justice. There is so much to this sucka, so many reasons why I love the book and have read it over and over that I could probably go on about it all day. Summing it up in a couple of pages is quite tricky.

Watchmen explores its characters deeply- like if these costumed men and women really existed what kind of people would they be? Why do they do the things they do and act the way they act? In doing this Moore has constructed some of the most fascinating characters you could ever find in the medium. The mentally tormented and twisted Rorschach (so called because he wears a mask with ever changing black shapes that resemble the ink blot test of the same name) is one of the coolest guys ever in comics and a personal favourite of mine. Likewise, the Comedian is an extremely dark “hero” who you loathe at times yet find yourself pitying at others. On a few occasions you find yourself understanding these two men’s outlook on life and wishing you didn’t. All the rest of the “cast” is equally well fleshed out and getting to know what makes them all tick is a thoroughly engaging and enjoyable experience.

Dave Gibbons’ art in Watchmen is superbly fitting. He gets close to a perfect blend of a slightly film noir kind of realism with a traditional looking comic book style. Every panel is set out wonderfully and packed with detail. There are a multitude of different little visual things that you might not even notice until you go through for a second or third time. Watchmen also features a comic within the comic; a young man in the story is shown throughout reading a pirate comic (which took over as the most popular style instead of superhero books in this alternate earth) which intertwines with the themes and story going on around him. Gibbons renders the pirate comic just differently enough to the rest of the book to make it noticeable, but not overly jarring or distracting.

Another technique Moore has employed to make the narrative more compelling is to incorporate the use of various “documents” between chapters. These include excerpts from Hollis Mason’s (the original Nite Own in the story) autobiography, psychiatric reports on a young Rorschach and newspaper articles. As well as being a great way of helping to add history and layers to the characters, setting and story this also makes it all seem far more realistic.

For years there has been talk and rumours of making a movie version of Watchmen. I don’t know if that will happen or not, but personally I don’t see it being a good idea. The book really is pretty much a movie already- the way it is set out visually, how the panels flow etc. and the way the story is structured gives it a very cinematic feel. It stands on its own and is probably best left as it is. They already made movies from two of Alan Moore’s comics- From Hell and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. I found both those flicks entertaining and good fun, but neither of them ended up having much in common with the books and they didn’t come anywhere close to being as good. So if a Watchmen movie happens it happens, but I don’t much care either way.

If you’ve never read this book go out and get yourself a copy right away. It rules, I love it and I can’t recommend it highly enough. One of the best comics ever made and one of my favourite books of any kind as well.

by: Hillelman

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More articles by Hillelman

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Manifest '07 Report

Which of these animated shows is the funniest?
The Simpsons
South Park
Family Guy
King of the Hill
Looney Tunes (Bugs Bunny etc.)
The Flintstones

ToonlogoBy Borgieman

Manifest '07 Report

Ninja's note: Once again, it's time for another Buttonhole report on the Melbourne Anime Festival, otherwise known as Manifest 2007. If you missed Ichibod's feature on a previous Manifest, check it out here. This Manifest coverage comes to you courtesy of forum regular and newest Buttonhole contributor Borgieman, a cool guy who knows his Anime and has been known to play a video game or two. So read on true believers! A Day at Manifest 2007

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ToonlogoBy Australian Ninja

Only Yesterday. Anime Review

The problem with having favourite films is that every time I watch another Studio Ghibli film it becomes my new favourite. It kind of renders the word 'favourite' meaningless when every Studio Ghibli film takes my breath away. Still, I can't complain about being thoroughly entertained by this whimsical and insightful film, "Only Yesterday". This gem was directed by Isao Takahata, well known for his anime film Grave of the Fireflies. Although Only Yesterday is a light hearted film that ambles along at a leisurely pace, it still manages to explore themes such as love, work, family relationship struggles, following your dreams and country versus city living. In the film, the main character Taeko decides to take a working vacation in the country, getting away from her office bound job and unexpectedly starts t

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ToonlogoBy Jason

Speed Grapher V1. Anime Review

Well, "I don't like it" was my initial feeling when viewing this Anime for the first time. Subsequent viewings haven't changed my views a great deal. Nothing really stands out as being absolute shit but it seems that this series tries too hard. It's almost like they were more interested in creating something 'edgy' and confronting but sadly forgot to include an even remotely palatable story. The hero of this particular piece is a bloke called Tatsumi Saiga. Tatsumi is a photographer and a veteran war journalist for whom taking photos has become somewhat of a fetish. Although he seems to have become jaded - nothing is worth wasting his film on - that is, at least until he stumbles across an exclusive club for the mega rich

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