Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Collected Visions

The Horus Heresy: Collected Visions by Alan Merrett is a fabulous book that tells the story of the Horus Heresy as well as showing off heaps of amazing artwork. This book is a collection of the art used in the Sabertooth Games collectible card game called Horus Heresy. Merrett was one of the key figures in developing the original timeline for the Heresy for Games Workshop, and here gets to flesh out these events which are now being fleshed out by the Black Library series of novels.
The real star of this book though is the artwork, amazing pictures from artists like Adrian Smith, Wayne England, David Gallagher and many more fill this book. Pictures of space Marines fighting, the Primarchs, and massive tanks are a joy to look at, especially for fans of Warhammer 40k. The book also contains concept art from the very talented John Blanche.
Fans of Warhammer 40k will find masses of background material here, with enough inspiration for hundreds of models, as well as finding out more about the Horus Heresy. Fans of good science-fiction art will also finds lots to enjoy in this book. Now if only I had the time and skill to paint and convert some models for my Warhammer 40k games ...
Below is an example page and some John Blanche concept art:

Monday, June 22, 2009

Scott Pilgrim

I discovered Scott Pilgrim only recently, but I'm very glad I did. Dripping with pop culture references this graphic novel is influenced by any number of things. visually it owes a lot to manga, it is structured like the video games Scott is always playing, and there is also an undercurrent of music running through the series.
Bryan Lee O'Malley's series tells the story of Scott Pilgrim. Scott is dating Ramona Flowers, but before he can become her boyfriend he has to defeat in combat Ramona's 7 evil ex-boyfriends. This leads to lots of hilarity as Scott battles for his life through fight after fight. Like a computer game each of the evil ex-boyfriends is a level boss and each has a special power and when defeated confer a bonus on to Scott. For example, Todd Ingram has vegan psychic powers, but when Scott beats him Scott gets an extra life. Added to all this Scott's old girlfriends start turning up to complicate things further.

I had a lot of fun reading this series and am looking forward to reading more. Look for the first volume called Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Warrior Monks

The Grey Knights are the Chamber Militant of the Ordo Malleus. Unknown to most members of the Imperium, the Grey Knights are the front line when it comes to fighting daemonic incursions. shielded in their armour and protected by wards and a hard core of faith in the Emperor, the Grey Knights use their storm-bolters and Nemesis weapons to send the forces of Chaos back into the warp.
Grey Knights by Ben Counter shows the effort these warriors will go to while trying to foil the plans of the demon Ghargatuloth. Following a trail that leads to the planets in the Trail of St Evisser they find a myriad of forces arrayed against them. The Grey Knights soon find themselves fighting for the very survival of the universe.

Counter's fast paced writing style pushes the story along, without pausing to catch its breath. This is a great read that provides a lot of information about these elite warriors of the Warhammer 40K universe.

Monday, June 15, 2009


The NBA draft of 1984 was probably one of the most talented ever. Four players from this draft would be named in the NBA's fifty greatest players of all time. In his book Tip-Off: How the 1984 Draft changed Basketball Forever Filip Bondy looks at the events that led to the draft, and how it unfolded. Bondy looks at various players taken in the draft, how they performed in college, before and during the draft, and their careers after being drafted.
The book starts with the number one pick Hakeem Olajuwon, the most talented big man in the draft who also had unlimited potential. Discovered in Nigeria, he would be drafted by Houston and would win two championships with them. Next was Sam Bowie who went to Portland at number two. Bowie was the second best big man in the draft, but unfortunately he spent most of his career injured and was never able to show off his talent. Bowie of course become more famous as a trivia question because he was drafted before Michael Jordan. Jordan went at number three to Chicago and the rest is history. little needs to be said about arguably the greatest player of all time. Pick number five was Philadelphia's and they choose Charles Barkley one of the greatest rebounders and scorers to ever play in the NBA. He only stood 6' 4" but regularly outplayed opponents who were up to a foot taller than him. A reporter described his game in college as "Porky Pig going berserk on a trampoline." Finally at pick sixteen the Jazz selected John Stockton who became one of the best pure point guards in the NBA. When he retired he had more assists and steals than any other player.
Bondy has written an interesting and readable book that explores the reasons behind the picks and the individuals that made the decisions, and the players they were deciding on. A great read for any basketball fan, I feel lucky that I was able to watch these players do what they did best.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Blood Angels

The Blood Angels are just one of the many Space Marine chapters that defend humanity. They also carry a dark secret that they hide from the Imperium. When their Primarch Sanguinius died defending the Emperor from Horus this event leaves a psychic scar on the Blood Angels gene-seed, which is used to create the Space Marines. This psychic scar leaves the Blood Angels prone to reliving this traumatic event, which in turn makes them go mad with rage.
James Swallow in Deus Encarmine and Deus Sanguinius has told the story of these tragic fighters. On the remote cemetery planet of Cybele a group of Blood Angels clash with traitor marines from the Word Bearers. But things are not as straight forward as it first seems, as there are plots within plots as the Chaos forces have their own agenda for engaging the Blood Angels.
Within the Blood Angels events are also happening that threaten to split the whole Chapter. Battle-Brother Arkio performs heroic acts in battle that have his comrades talking about him being blessed by Sanguinius. Arkio's older sibling Rafen believes that something is amiss. This feeling is shared by experienced Battle-Sergeant Koris. Amongst this turmoil the trusted friend of the Blood Angels Inquisitor Stele of the Ordo Hereticus is playing his own game which may or may not relate to what is happening to Arkio.
this series has a slow build up but once it got going it was hard to put down.

Monday, June 1, 2009

The Story Continues ...

Graham McNeill's False Gods continues the story of the Horus Heresy, and what a story it is turning into. Picking up shortly after Horus Rising finished, we are once again shown events through the eyes of Garviel Loken as Horus's crusade begins to change direction and evolve into something else all together.
We are also introduced to Angron, Primarch of the World Eaters, and Fulgrim, Primarch of the Emperor's Children, and we get to see how different to Horus they are. Angron, barbaric and bloodthirsty and Fulgrim, proud and patrician. And of course we see Horus as he begins to question the Emperor's plans for the Imperium, and how Horus is now beginning to think that he should play a larger role in the Imperium's future. Loken, meanwhile, is caught between his duty as a Space Marine, and his feelings that something very wrong is going on.
In the final part Horus begins to make his move against the Emperor and enlists the help of some fellow Primarchs and the Mechanicum and so the die is cast. As Horus states, 'I will set the Emperor's Imperium ablaze and from the ashes will arise a new Master of Mankind.'
I'm very much looking forward to reading the next part of the story. Great read.