The Coming of Change for Call of Duty

I strongly dislike the Call of Duty franchise. Not because they’re bad games, because of what they have done to the genre and industry. Yearly releases of FPS games shouldn’t be common place. Look at the longevity of stellar titles from the past like Unreal Tournament, Doom, and the Quake series. All of those franchise had 2-3 releases spread across 5-6 years (sometimes much more).

With the success of CoD4 and it’s direct sequel Modern Warfare 2, Activision did the dirty and made it a yearly release, splitting development duties between two studios working in a two year development cycle. Since this two year cycle began I’ve noticed a common trend among series faithfuls: New game comes out - buy it, trade it in a couple of weeks later complaining about how they fucked it up only to come in 4 months later and buy the newest one again because, “shit’s been fixed”. It’s asinine, yet proving to be a good model for second hand stores (*wink*).

That changed with Ghosts… sorta. By that I mean the first half of the trade-buy-trade-buy cycle; players despise Ghosts. Shortly after its release we saw an influx of Ghosts trade ins. More than usual. In fact, I look over at the shelf they’re sitting on now and there is a fat stack of Ghosts, yet no Black Ops 2 to be found. Ghosts broke the cycle, but not in the way Activision may have wanted.

It’s actually a bit refreshing as someone who can’t stand what the series has become, that the vast majority of fucktards that play only CoD (there’s a whole world of video games that are generally more engaging, just open your minds!) dislike the newest entry in their favorite series. Welcome to video games, where what you love isn’t sacred and is always on the verge of becoming shitty. Deal with it.

I did the same with Assassin’s Creed III. I was really disappointed with the story, and the gameplay had a few too many tweeks for my liking, and because of that I haven’t invested in the series since (I hear AC IV is solid, but I just haven’t found the time to play it). 

This years Call of Duty is subtitled Advanced Warfare and is likely to change the way we view the franchise. I like this. Really, I do. I hope that a new life can be given to a franchise that’s run relatively stale. I hope that it isn’t a lot of pre-release fluff (although I wouldn’t be too surprised if that was the case) and that Activision is can be successful with the title without abusing it.

I look forward to seeing the sales numbers. I suspect it will be slightly smaller than previous years and then stay stable over the course of the next year. I doubt we’ll see too many trade ins, but the CoD crowd is fickle and I could be astronomically wrong.


This was a commission, but I think I might do a quick color job digitally and make it into a small print. #HarleySMASH


This was a commission, but I think I might do a quick color job digitally and make it into a small print. #HarleySMASH

(via brianmichaelbendis)

Jables Thoughts on Mario Kart 8

Finally Nintendo has a system seller! Sure it’s not Smash Bros. (which will undoubtedly double the number of Wii U’s out there) but it’s still worth owning and jamming on with some buds.

This edition of Mario Kart offers vastly improved visuals (dat slo-mo replay, so pretty) an anti-gravity ‘gimmick’ and a large cast of characters. While the basic gameplay remains rather unchanged, the new items and the anti-gravity do add a bit more strategy in how you play. For instance, if you’re in anti-grav you can bump into opponents and gain a slight speed boost (they also benefit from the boost). Taking corners quickly while floating can quickly become a matter of angle of attack versus the best power slide through.

With 32 courses there isn’t a lack of variety present either. The 16 new courses are all gorgeous and a treat to look at, as well as interesting and fun to play. Personal favorites are: Mount Wario, Electrodrome, Cloudtop Cruise, Mario Kart Stadium, and the New Rainbow Road

The kart customization from Mario Kart 7 has been brought back and fleshed out a little more. You have three basic body types: Karts (duh), Bikes, and ATV’s. Each offers a slightly different style of racing and can be modified via tires and gliders. 

There is also a load of unlockables. Characters, Courses, Karts, and other Kart accessories are all obtained through copious amounts of play. Gather coins during your races to unlock various things incrementally. The amount of replay is astonishing. You are also able to unlock all the things while playing multiplayer. Be it online or on da couch, you still gain coins and you still unlock more stuff.

Online play gets a massive boost with this release as well. Matchmaking is simple, just get into the game and choose to race online. You are then paired with other players relatively close to you in terms of score (actual skill isn’t a true indicator of score) then you race. Each race nets you more coins which let you unlock more stuff. In the few races I have done online I didn’t experience any lag or issues. Although during a few matches at peak times I did have a few connection issues. Nothing I’m worried about yet. If it persists in the coming months, there may be a problem Nintendo has to address.

Playing online with friends can be cumbersome, but works well. You are able to set up a group for just your friends and play from there. The catch is that you have to coordinate this play before it happens through real life means. Sending texts or messages over Facebook is a good way to get it going, then once everyone’s in you can customise the matches. Would you like to run the courses in reverse? You can. Want all of the most powerful items to show up more frequently? You can do that as well. Your options are vast, so get online and abuse your friends with shells.

The only real downside to the whole package is the battle mode. Forgoing the traditional battle arena maps you now race with three balloons and can go any which way you like to take down your opponents. Something that was greatly played from my days on the N64 has been simplified to a point of forgetability.

All that being said if you own a Wii U and haven’t purchased this yet you most certainly should. I haven’t had as much fun playing a game with a room full of friends as I have this past weekend in a long, long time. I felt like I was 13 again and that’s something special. Nintendo may not ‘win’ this console war, but if they continue to release solid first party titles like this they will maintain their hold on the die-hard and the faithful.

It’s the fourth episode of my podcast. Give a listen and feel free to hit me with some feedback. Any and all is good, just interested to know who, if anyone, is listening to me and my friends jibber-jabber.


Sample page process

Script by Ryan North
Illustrated by Jim Rugg
Colors by Chris O’Neill
Letters by Steve Wands

Adventure Time #26 is the first of 4 issues that I illustrate (I was halfway through issue 28 when I wrote this). Here is the process that I used for #26. Each morning, I woke up, made coffee, petted the cats while coffee brewed. I drank a cup of coffee and sketched panels, figures, action, and page layouts directly on a print out of Ryan North’s scripts (which are delightful!). Then I taped a piece of paper on my drawing board (Strathmore Bristol 300 Series, 11 x 14, smooth surface). Ruled out borders based on the layout sketches using a Rapidograph (size: 1.20). Lightly drew the page with a non photo blue pencil (2 mm). I drew the original art at 125% of the print size. Then inked the page using Microns (sizes 01, 03, 05, 08). Finally scanned it, cleaned it up if necessary, and saved it as a 1200 dpi bitmap (uncompressed TIFF). 

(via mattfractionblog)

Joker’s Reckoning by Alex Ross.This was also the cover for Wizard Magazine #99.

Joker’s Reckoning by Alex Ross.

This was also the cover for Wizard Magazine #99.

(Source: alexhchung, via brianmichaelbendis)

So we did an episode two! Check us out at our Facebook page (you can search for The Snack or head to

Thanks for listening, and enjoy your weekend.


#DailySketch Princess Mononoke 
Original available in my store.


#DailySketch Princess Mononoke 

Original available in my store.

Some friends and I made a podcast, and this is the first.

There’s more to come. Criticize the shit out of it, I have thick skin and we have too much fun to really care.


Psylocke by Chester Ocampo


Psylocke by Chester Ocampo

(Source: astonishingx)

(Source: ruinsentinel, via gamequest)


THIS is why you take the medical illustration class

(Source: azertip)


Secrets of the Batcave 1968

(via mattfractionblog)

Chaos Wrym vs Dark Knight by Sandara / Store

Chaos Wrym vs Dark Knight by Sandara / Store

(Source: xombiedirge, via aggressivecomix)


Mega Drive Megatron ⊟

He’s Megatron, and he’s a Mega Drive.

Mega Drive Megatron.

Thanks to @feitclub (and other awed toy/game fans) for pointing this out! We don’t have release details yet, so now we all have to go on with our lives knowing that this exists and we can’t have it. Do you feel that new Mega Drive Megatron-shaped void opening up in your heart?

[Update: Game Watch mentions that the figure will release in Japan this summer. Thanks for the link, Eduardo!]