Video games | Usagi Yojimbo creator Stan Sakai has revealed a video game will be released later this year for smartphones, tablets and personal computers based on his long-running historical action-fantasy comic. Called Usagi Yojimbo: Way of the Ronin, it’s not the first video game to feature the samurai rabbit: Samurai Warrior: The Battles of Usagi Yojimbo debuted in 1987 for Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum and Amstrad CPC. Expect more details next month at Comic-Con International in San Diego. [Facebook]
Conventions | Organizers of the Denver Comic Con anticipate that this weekend’s show was their second-largest ever. Batgirl writer Gail Simone praised the show, noting it sold out Friday and Saturday: “Sheesh, both Friday and Saturday completely sold out, the place was packed. There are tons of interesting guests, lots of great panels, and a real emphasis on diversity. The attendees have huge percentages of females, there’s more cosplayers here than any con this size I have been to, and very welcome indeed, there are lots and lots of kids.” [Denver Post]
Oh, the delicious irony of it: Sydney Padua, creator of the delightful quasi-historical webcomic Lovelace & Babbage, has launched an iPad app, thus bringing the parents of the computer to its most recent incarnation. The app is free and includes one complete story, with another available for $2.99.
Like a long-form Kate Beaton comic, Lovelace & Babbage casts Charles Babbage (inventor of the first programmable computer) and Ada Lovelace (the first programmer) as steampunk heroes fighting a variety of evildoers under the aegis of Queen Victoria herself. Padua sets up her stories in an alternate universe but brings in plenty of real historical figures, and both the comic and the app are graced with plenty of footnotes. Padua has a talent for picking out the odd but interesting bits of history, so while the footnotes are scholarly, they are not dry.
Here’s some more good news for Lovelace & Babbage fans: Padua recently announced she is taking time off her day job to focus on her comics, an effort that has already borne fruit in the form of Vampire Poets, a prologue in rhyme accompanied by a few actual contemporary poems about her heroes.
Making fun of history has been a good gig for quite a while. I grew up reading Richard Armour’s fractured retellings of history-book standards, such as It All Started with Columbus, and of course Mad Magazine was a reliable source of misinformation. (The Marx/Marx Brothers and Lenin/Lennon confusion lingered for an embarrassingly long time, thanks to them.) And then there is Blackadder, a show whose humor content scales directly with the viewer’s knowledge of British history.
Mock history has proven to be a fertile vein on the web as well. It’s hard to find anyone who doesn’t love Kate Beaton’s Hark, A Vagrant. Reading her irreverent takes on historical topics is sort of like sitting in the back of class drawing moustaches on the Founding Fathers.