100 Days of Being Geek Chic and Healthy: Motivation! 

Today’s post isn’t a handy app review, introduction, or step-by-step guides. Today’s post is essentially a repost of something I saw on Tumblr which always makes me feel a bit more motivated to get up and do stuff. If you replace Thing in the following passage with housework, it still works, which neatly fits into this week’s theme- the home!

Reasons why you should do Thing (*ω)

1. Every hour you spend doing Thing right now is an extra hour you will get to sleep. (◡‿◡✿)

2. Every hour you spend doing Thing right now is an extra hour you will get to read or talk with friends or watch that new episode of your favourite TV show or do something else you really love doing. ヽ(‘ ∇‘ )ノ

3. You will have to do Thing eventually whether you like it or not! Face Thing head-on and get it over with. You will look back and say to yourself, wow, I am so glad I did Thing three hours ago.  ∩( ・ω・)∩

4. You will spend the same amount of time doing Thing whether you do Thing now or at 4am. You might as well get Thing done earlier! ≧(´▽`)≦

5.  Every time you do not do Thing or do Thing really late when you’re tired and cranky and stressed out you feel like crap about yourself. If you do Thing now, you can avoid that stress and crankiness. Future you will be happy! °˖✧◝(⁰▿⁰)◜✧˖°

6. It is midnight in a scary house and all of a sudden you see Thing! It is huge and scary and it has lots of teeth and you want to run away and hide. But then Thing meows and you realize that Thing was just a little kitty cat and you were seeing its shadow reflected on the wall. You should not dread doing Thing because your mind has made it seem a lot bigger and scarier than it actually is. Once you start working on Thing, you will realize how silly it is to make huge scary monsters out of kitty cats!  ヽ(‘ ∇‘ )ノ

7. Do not curl up into a ball and think about how horrible you are for not getting Thing done earlier! You are not alone. We all do it! We all procrastinate and avoid doing Thing. It is alright. For now, try to numb yourself and just focus on doing Thing. It will be okay. (*´・v・)

8. Stop every half hour and remind yourself of all the reasons why you should not procrastinate and do Thing earlier. I promise you that you will be able to gather the courage to do Thing. Good luck! (´ω`★)


(Sadly I couldn’t find a link to the OP!)


If Nic Cage can get work, you can clean your house/do your work/rule the planet!

Check out other posts in this project here:






Advance Review: Blood Blokes #4 by Adam Cadwell

Vampires have more or less fallen out of popular culture. Sure, there’s True Blood, the news that Anne Rice is writing another Vampire Lestat book and Twilight still exists, but it is shunted to the outside. However, the vast majority of vampire media is all about romance and complicated love triangles and that assorted lame-ness, so it seems pretty rare to find a diamond amongst the rough.  I’m as much a fan of vampire media as the next gal or guy, but the love stories bore me to tears. Give me violent, blood sucking vampires. Give me down to earth vampires. Give me vampires chilling in the modern day watching dumb films. Adam Cadwell (known for autobio comic The Everyday and being one of th minds behind publishers Great Beast Comics) has been working on a comic which pretty much fills every criteria in a comic about vampires that I could possibly want.


Vince had quite possibly the worst New Year’s Eve. He loses his job, loses his girlfriend, and due to an errant vampire bat accidentally released by a clumsy goth girl, loses his life and loses his humanity. Issues 1-3 of Blood Blokes have dealt with Vince adapting to the never-ending afterlife with new room-mates Arianna, Mike and Douglas, a trio of vampires who are making the most of being vampires.  Blood Blokes #4 deals with Douglas trying to teach Vince how to hunt and get blood, high among the streets of Manchester. As well as Vince making his first shaky steps into chasing down human blood, it deals with Vince’s unresolved issues with his ex as he makes a narrow escape after going home to retrieve his most prized possessions (some CDs, band tees and a fully completed save of Goldeneye, obvs) and is saved by Ari after he learns an important lesson about vampire physiology. Meanwhile, a strange vampire is going around the local goth clubs trying to find the owner of the vampire bat and piece together Vince’s story together…

Written and drawn by the awesome Adam Cadwell and with back cover art by Paul Duffield and some totally ace pin-ups by Warwick Johnson-Cadwell, Andy Bloor and James Lawrence, Blood Blokes #4 is the latest instalment in Cadwell’s superb vampire-slacker story. Plus, it totally wins plus points for having a character named Ari in it. Jus’ saying.

Dancing goths!

Dancing goths!

This issue focusses more on surviving and the necessities of living as a vampire. While the preceding issues have been light-hearted and a bit silly (watching trashy 50s pulp sc-fis with a bunch of vampires? Count me in!) #4 taps into the emotional and dramatical vein of storytelling. Cadwell readily demonstrates how to balance humour and progressive storytelling with #4, and makes the long wait between issues so worth it. The storytelling itself is superb, and #4 balances a variety of subplots in such a way all of them feel necessary and important, as well as continuing in the same vein as the rest of the story. The dialogue and character interactions are absolutely hilarious and well-written. All of the vampires and side-characters resolutely have their own voices and they all stand out in their own way. While Douglas’ speech may be a little outdated, it merely adds to the fact that he’s an old-as-balls vampire, and knows the most out of this little crew. 21st Century Vamp is now in part four of its first storyline, and if the rest of the series continues in this way, I’ll be super excited to see where it goes. I’ll need my fix of lazy slacker vampires! I really like how this issue focusses on the interactions between vamps, humans and other vamps, and I really enjoyed the scene where Douglas taught (or tried to teach) Vince how to attack humans and drink blood. While it may follow the same story of inducting the new vampire into his/her new life, Cadwell makes it new, different and exciting with his unique storytelling and artwork.

I absolutely adore Cadwell’s artwork. Blood Blokes is in simple black and white which Cadwell uses to the maximum effect, and calls to mind the Hernandez brothers work on Love and Rockets, with his simplistic-but-still-complex character design, and use of shading and block colours and backgrounds. All of the panels throughout #4 are hugely detailed and look incredible, even with a lack of colour. No two people in Cadwell’s work look the same, not even when a vital scene takes place in a goth club; Cadwell has clearly taken the time to draw each and every character uniquely. I’ve been a fan of Cadwell’s artwork for quite a while now (having followed The Everyday religiously and checking out his various other pin-ups and artwork) and it’s on absolute top form here. He excels at drawing laidback domestic scenes as well as action-packed scenes and that’s what is so important about the book. The artwork flows from panel to panel, and above all else? It looks absolutely ace.


Blood Blokes is like Spaced meets Lost Boys with a dash of Interview With the Vampire thrown in for good measure. Cadwell’s superb storytelling combines epic action and high-octane drama with strong plot progression and gorgeous artwork. Blood Blokes is one of the greatest, funniest comics I’ve read in a long time and breathes new life into the tired genre.

Blood Blokes #4 debuts this weekend at MCM Manchester (19th-20th July) and the digital copy will be available on the 21st July, with physical copies shipped on the 23rd.

You can preorder it on the Great Beast site for £2.99, or pick up the bundle which collects issue 1-4 for £10.

If you want to see more of Adam Cadwell’s ace work, check out his site: http://www.adamcadwell.com/


100 Days of Geek Chic and Healthy, Day 2: Task Hammer Review

So, I’m kicking off the Geek Chic & Healthy challenge with a review of one of my favourite apps. To explain briefly, I’m super scatterbrained. I have used lists to help me organise everything in my life (there was a time in my life I’d make weekly to-do lists which would often consist of 40+ items) since I was a young teenager. I find that making lists of chores helps to keep me focussed on things and usually helps, and that’s where Task Hammer comes in.

Home screen

Home screen

Task Hammer is a free app for Android phones (sadly it’s not available on iOS) and is an RPG organisation game/application. That sounds like a mouthful, but it’s incredibly simple. You make yourself a character (you can be an Unknown Stranger, Barbarian, Rogue or Sorceress) and get started. You input tasks you need to do (wash the pots, walk the dog, go the gym etc) and designate their importance (this governs how much EXP your character gets to level up, and is low, medium, high, or highest), their attribute (you can choose from strength, vitality, intelligence, perserverence and charisma, which makes me think of Dungeons and Dragons SO much!) when it needs to be done (you can pick any date between now and forever) and finally, you can add any notes, with no character limit.

My task list. When you've done each task, you check it off to gain EXP.

My task list. When you’ve done each task, you check it off to gain EXP.

Aaaand that’s basically it. It’s an organisational app which lets you roleplay as someone from a video game. The EXP you get from completing each task makes your character level up, which while giving you nothing in the material or digital plane, gives you a damn good sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. Sure, there are ways to cheat the app (creating a task to make a cup of tea and designating it highest to get a big burst of EXP) but I found myself barely doing it.

I’ve been using the app since about March and I’ve had absolutely zero problems with it. Every morning, I open it up, input the tasks I want to get done, and it helps me keep track. It’s never crashed on me, and it has minimal settings, so there’s practically no hassle. The only niggle I have with it is the character editing. All the other roles are guys looking badass and the sorceress is a busty gal giving come-hither eyes- it’s not really a fair selection. It took me a while to completely understand the task designations, but there’s an FAQ included within the app to help explain things a bit, but it’s still fairly vague.

While there are other apps like this on the market, this is definitely one of the easiest to use, and is super helpful.

For more posts in the 100 Days of Geek Chic and Healthy, check out this site: http://nerdy-birdieblog.blogspot.co.uk/

Blogging Project: 100 Days of Being Geek Chic and Healthy With Nerdy Birdie!

Time for an exciting announcement! As well as my usual blogs that will be going live, I’m also participating in the Nerdy Birdie’s 100 Days of Being Geek Chic and Healthy Project. This means that as well as my comic reviews, geek fashion fixes and Kickstarter Awesomeness, I’ll also be posting various bits and bobs for this project.

Ariel, the kick-ass lady behind the Nerdy Birdie blog envisioned this project as a way to brighten her life a little. Things have been a little tough recently, so she wanted to start a project that combined both a love of nerdy stuff and a journey of feeling better. I’m doing this project for a similar reason, namely it’s summer, I’m poor and it’s gonna be an excellent way to keep me on my toes and posting things regularly, not just lounging on my sofa and marathoning films… Like I did all day Sunday. Ariel is looking for more bloggers to sign up and get involved in this project, so if it sounds like something you’d be interested in, or you have any tips on being geek chic and healthy, drop her a line: nerdybirdie.blog@gmail.com The project officially starts today (the 14th of July) so why not get stuck in?

Among other things, she plans on covering the following ideas throughout the 100 days:

  • Bedroom/life organisation
  • Inspirational words
  • Stress relief and breathing techniques
  • Exercise inspiration
  • Inspiring guest posts
  • Beauty DIYS

So, it’s the first day of the project! This week’s theme is the home, and I have some pretty cool stuff lined up, including cleaning tips, organisation tips and a step-by-step process as I tackle my nerdy study. I’ve just moved house, so this is as good a time as any to finally finish the unpacking/clearing up process. In Ariel’s post for today, she talked about why she started the project and what she wants to get out of this amazing project. As for me, I’m looking forward to meeting new bloggers and hopefully getting a bit healthier. I’ve been wanting to start an at-home fitness regime, so this might finally be the kick up the arse I needed. As for any actual progress on home organisation… I’ve done very little, outside of my usual daily chores. Tomorrow will be more productive!

Read Ariel’s post here explaining the project: http://nerdy-birdieblog.blogspot.co.uk/2014/07/coming-up-project-100-days-of-being.html

Here’s Ariel’s first post: http://nerdy-birdieblog.blogspot.co.uk/2014/07/an-adventure-begins-introduction-to-100.html


Geek Fashion Fix: Black Candy Alternative Fashion

Welcome to Geek Fashion Fix, my weekly spotlight on cool nerdy clothes and accessories from around the web, the high street and more!


Black Candy Alternative Fashion is an online store that specialises in jewellery, wigs, corsets and other accessories. I first came across Black Candy at one of Sheffield’s Alternative-Burlesque Fairs, which are held every three months. As a fan of alternative fashion and burlesque shows, it was right up my alley! So, my friend Gina and I went, and the Black Candy store was one of the stand out stalls for me. There, I picked up my Arwen Evenstar necklace (You’ve probably noticed me wearing it in a few photos- it’s my go-to for formal wear/interviews!) and some super cute bat earrings, while Gina bought a gorgeous corset. The necklace is absolutely stunning, and in all the time I’ve had it, I’ve only had one problem- one of the gems came off the other day when I was taking my jumper off. Admittedly, it’s my fault, but it’s lasted a lot longer than I thought it would have. I have quite a few items from Black Candy (A Game of Thrones Stark necklace, a cute dragon locket, and a pair of kitty earrings) and I’d strongly recommend the shop. The seller herself is lovely and such a pleasure to deal with!

Black Candy has a pretty big selection of jewellery and wigs, and they ship all over the world. There’s a fair amount of alternative-style stuff, but also quite a lot of fandom necklaces, including a Hunger Games one and another LOTR necklace. Everything is a super-reasonable price, and shipping is extremely prompt, and comes well packaged. The Facebook page often has giveaways and teasers for new items, as well as some gorgeous photo shoots and is always active. If you’re looking to treat yourself to a reasonably priced, high-quality necklace or item of jewellery, I’d strongly recommend Black Candy items.

Here’s a selection of some of my favourite items:

Black bow earrings


Purple corset


Purple wig


Yeah, I have a bit of a thing for purple. Sue me.

Black Candy Alternative Fashion online:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BlackCandyAlternativeFashion/timeline

Website: http://blackcandyalternativefashion.bigcartel.com/

You can also find her at cons in the North of the UK.

Indie Review: Obscura Volume One from Fifth Dimension Comics

All good anthology comics have one theme running through them. Whether it’s a common character, style or approach, having a finalgood theme is key to any and all comics’ success comes from this easy, but occasionally over-looked concept. Fifth Dimension Comics, home to my own little slice of horror Beasts of Baxley, have always done this within their work. Whether it’s through their Christmas collection, or the selection of webcomics on their site, the crew behind Fifth Dimension Comics work extremely hard to create some damn amazing stories. While I might be somewhat biased due to the fact that they provided me with a jumping board for my dark little comics musings, I still insist that Fifth Dimension do some epic independent work. However, it must be said that their work is most certainly not for all ages!


In the first volume of this awesome anthology, Obscura is a collection of short comics, deemed too fucked up by writer David M Brown who decided to bring them to life with help from Fifth Dimension regular artist DNS and letterer Sean Fagan.  The stories included are as follows: Everything Ends, where a man has an interesting interaction with Death; Seed, a twist on the story of Immaculate Conception which doesn’t end how you expect; Family A.D. the story of a family trapped in a zombie apocalypse; Lies Told in Silence, a mostly silent strip following the confessions of a broken man. The stories are then backed up with some gorgeous pin-ups from DNS (if you’re familiar with his work, then you know that pin-ups are his specialty) to create the epic first volume.

David M Brown is certainly no stranger to writing dark comics. His entire back catalogue with 5D shows this, and Obscura is certainly no different. Brown can show his readiness to adapt to different stories in this regard and take on different subgenres and themes in his work, and Obscura is an example of this. I couldn’t possibly pick a favourite out of all the stories as I think they work so incredibly well; Everything Ends works as an excellent example of open endings; Seed is dark, pulpy and fucking macabre and it works on every level, subverting our expectations left right and centre; Family A.D. is a bittersweet tale of family and dedication and certainly stands alongside Charlie Adlard’s epic tale of zombie survival; and Lies Told in Silence wraps the whole thing up with the opportunity for DNS to shine and show off his art. Everything Ends is perhaps the weakest mini-story here, but that’s only because every story following it is of a higher and higher calibre. Brown has once again showed his aptitude at writing excellent shortform stories. The characterisation is superb throughout, and no two characters feel the same, and they feel well-rounded and real. The best example of this is Karen In Seed, where all of her reactions and dialogue feels completely natural and realistic. It’s because of this strong storytelling and interesting style that I find it so hard to pick a favourite from the selection.

The artwork from Fifth Dimension pro DNS is exactly what you’d expect from him: gorgeous, with subtle colours capturing the minutia of the story in unexpected ways. There’s very little white or background colours, with DNS instead favouring dark shading and an effective use of shadows and shading, which given the theme of Obscura and of Fifth Dimension on a whole, provide a snug fit. DNS favours a style which combines vacuous backgrounds and heavily detailed foregrounds which is especially effective in looking damn good! DNS’ artwork is extremely well suited to this genre, and I’m more than excited to see what else DNS produces for Fifth Dimension comics.

Obscura is that dark, grisly comic you can’t help but love, as David M Brown once again demonstrates how to effectively write short comics under an umbrella theme, and DNS lovingly illustrates them in his dark, gruesome little way. You’ll never be the same again after reading it…

You can buy Obscura from the Fifth Dimension site here for a measly five bucks: http://5dcomics.bigcartel.com/product/obscura-volume-one

Kickstarter Awesomeness #5: Here We Go by Jesse Young

Welcome once again to Kickstarter Awesomeness, where I provide cool Kickstarter projects with extra coverage!

As you all know, I’m a sucker for independent comics. I’ve read good ones, I’ve read bad ones, strange ones, incredible ones… and Jesse Young’s collection of short comics definitely sounds like an incredible one. Young has had quite an impressive writing resume to date (having worked on independent titles such as MinuteMen, Indego Blue, and Youth Is Sweet, all under his publishing company Saint James) and Here We Go will be the next feather in his cap.


So just what is Here We Go? It’s a collection of Young’s newest stories, varying in genre, style and artist. Young is spreading his writing wings in Here We Go, and taking on some tricky stories and genres. The stories included in Here We Go are as follows:

Forbidden Love (with art by Artyom Trakhanov (Undertow)) a five page Western inspired by folk classic Long Black Veil. In Forbidden Love, a man’s silence gets him much more than he bargained for. Trakhanov utilises some excellent choices in colour, jumping from red and blue to show characters in their world, and this story looks to be very dark.

Here We Go (with art by Anwar Madrigal (Tek Support) is a heart-warming tale about a mother taking her son to school on his very first day and the incredible adventure they take that is beyond imagination. Madrigal has an extremely noticeable, almost Norman-Rockwell approach to this suburban story which looks wonderful and rich.


The Daring Adventures of Android Jones, Part One (Art by Ryan Cody (Doc Unknown) An epic space adventure wherein Android Jones and his ever-loyal robot sidekick PIP get themselves into a jam when they have a misunderstanding with the local alien race on the planet they’re surveying. The first in the double bill of Android Jones stories in the Here We Go collection, The Daring Adventures of Android Jones looks like a super fun space story!

Ex Occultus- The Sword of Peleus (art by Joanna Estep (Fraggle Rock) and colours by Paulina Ganucheau) Set in the 19th century, explorers Wakefield and Hollander are sent to a temple in Greece  to retrieve the fabled Sword of Peleus, a sword rumoured to make its wielder victorious in battle. Ex Occultus is Indiana Jones meets X-Files in the 19th century, which is enough to make me sign up straight away! Estep’s art is crisp and beautiful, which only makes me want this book more.


The Daring Adventures of Android Jones, Part Two (Art by Ryan Cody)

Returning to daring adventurers Android Jones and PIP, Jones has found himself being held captive by an alien race who plan on sacrificing him to their planet’s most fearsome  creature, With PIP inconvencienced, it looks like it’ll be up to Jones to get himself out of this pickle… Following on from the previous Android Jones story, part two picks up right where part one ends, and follows our intrepid explorers as they travel the universe.

He’s Heating Up (art by Michael Odom (Holiday Wars) and colours by Paulina Ganucheau) is a short story about Young’s love for basketball. Odom’s artwork is reminiscent of Rob Guillory (Chew) and his long lines and vivid facial expressions match excellently with Ganucheau’s colouring.

The Devil You Know (art by Jason Copland (Daredevil) is an awesome heist story that rounds off Young’s collection! After a heist goes south, the crew goes on the run from their employer. However, they discover that he is the one man you absolutely do not want to cross. With Copland’s noir-esque artwork and dark artwork, The Devil You Know is an exciting tale of crime and revenge.


Young’s Kickstarter has some pretty ace incentive rewards, including digital copies of the book, digital copies of Young’s out-of-print comics, sketches, prints and original artwork, all for highly reasonable prices.


The project has been running for a week now, and has reached just over half of the funds required to print and ship the book, with just shy of three weeks left to go. I have confidence that this project will get fully funded ‘cuz it’s just cool not to be!


The Kickstarter is here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/jesseyoungmusic/here-we-go-a-collection-of-short-comics


You can find Young online in this places:




@writejessewrite on Twitter



Geek Fashion Fix: Cakes With Faces

Welcome to Geek Fashion Fix, my weekly spotlight on cool nerdy clothes and accessories from around the web, the high street and more!

Cakes With Faces is an online boutique ran by Amy Crabtree, who utilises her super-cute food and kawaii themed illustrations by putting them on super cute tees, accessories, posters and more. Everything is heavily influenced by Japanese manga and anime, and looks super cute!

Cakes With Faces is a UK based seller, and has extremely reasonable shipping prices. All of the products are high quality and long-lasting. As well as this, Cakes With Faces has a pretty expansive online shop, selling tees for men and women, kitchenwares, babygros, accessories and art prints. She also  hits a lot of UK conventions with her wares, so it’s extremely easy to get hold of her products.

Here’s a selection of some of my favourites from the online shop!

Neko Watch


I’ll Give You Pain au Chocolat tee


Hot Chocolate Phone charm


Cakes With Faces details:

Twitter: @cakeswithfaces

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cakeswithfaces?fref=ts

Online store: http://www.cakeswithfaces.co.uk/


Ariellalphabet’s Week: Festivals and Anime

It’s official. I’m finally free. I’ve finished working my last festival of the summer, and just have the long, hot summer days to relax in. Okay, maybe I’m overreaching with the hot summer days thing, but it’s nice to not have to work anymore festivals. While I do enjoy it and find it fun, doing three with very little break between has been a bit exhausting.

This week, I’ve been working at the Children’s Media Conference, a big conference for people who work in media aimed at children. There was representatives from Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon, CBBC, CBeebies and so on, and apparently there was a sighting of children’s author Jacqueline Wilson! My work consisted mostly of telling delegates where various events were, handing out codes for the wi-fi and organising lunch. However, on my first day, I sat in on a five hour talk about educational video games- or more specifically, the commercial side and intellectual property. It was fairly interesting, but if I’d had the choice I wouldn’t have stayed in for the whole session. One of the best things about working the CMC is definitely the amazing people I worked with. Most of them were either from my university or just graduated and we had a lot in common! I had a two-hour conversation with one of my coworkers just about Adventure Time and animation in general which was super interesting, as he was an animation graduate. Another of the great things about the conference was the super cool goodie bag I got! Initially the bags were for delegates only, but I preservered and managed to snag one for myself. I got the Adventure Time laptop case, some Fireman Sam stickers, a Spongebob Squarepants mystery grab bag, a CITV pen and some assorted paperwork. Not bad for a few days work!

2014-07-04 16.57.30-1

The laptop case! I love it so much.

When I haven’t been working my buns off, I’ve been watching a surprising amount of anime. With news that the Sailor Moon Crystal was being released this week, I’ve been watching the original series. I was never hugely big on it when I was younger (Cardcaptors, the lame American dub of Cardcaptor Sakura was my favourite!) but I’ve got into it more as I’ve got older and I totally love it! All the crazy outfit changes, the amazing characters… Everything is just perfect to me! I watched the first episode of Sailor Moon Crystal earlier today and totally loved it. It matches up to the manga loads and I love the new cutesy animation style. I’ve been watching the original Sailor Moon at a  pretty slow speed (putting an episode on when I do chores or such like) but I plan on watching it a lot more over the next month or so! I’ll be writing a piece about Sailor Moon and Sailor Moon Crystal for Geeky Femmes later today, so keep an eye out for it! As well as Sailor Moon, I’ve been watching Dragon Ball with my housemate Daryl and Boyfriend-Wonder Iain. Again, I was never that big on Dragon Ball when I was younger (I was, and still am, all about the magical girl/ mahou shoujo animes!) but it’s such a fun show to watch, and it’s so easy to sit down and play video games or something and watch it at the same time. I’ve taken a slight break from the documentaries this week, and I’ve only watched two: The Raid, and Race to World First, both about World of Warcraft. As someone with a pretty loose understanding and minimal knowledge about WoW, I really enjoyed them. I watched them with Iain, who obsessively plays the game, and he says they were pretty on-point. They did a good job of speaking to new players and old players alike, as well as dealing with the specific issues, which were both variations on raiding.

"In the name of the moon, I will punish you!"

“In the name of the moon, I will punish you!”

I’ve also been playing a lot of video games! Iain and I have started playing Gears Of War and Resident Evil 5 on co-op. I’ve played Resident Evil 5 to death and back again whereas Iain’s barely touched it, and it’s vice versa for Gears of War, so it’s been fun playing together. I’m enjoying Gears of War hugely, and definitely plan on marathoning it some more. I also spent a ridiculous amount of time yesterday enduring the glitchiness and bugginess of Fallout: New Vegas. I’ve finally cracked 50/75 achievements, and I’m partway through The Lonesome Road DLC, which has been A LOT tougher than I was expecting. Whether it’s because I’m out of practice, I’ve been having some serious problems with it (including but not limited to getting stuck in a wall when trying to kill deathclaws) but it’s only made me more motivated to finish it, as the story is really gripping me!

The rest of my already lazy Sunday will be spent writing blogs and planning next week’s posts, as well as watching more Dragon Ball… and maybe watching Sailor Moon Crystal again.

You can find me on Twitter (@ariellalphabet) and Instagram.

Indie Comics Review: House Party by Rachael Smith

Rachael Smith, epic comics writer, artist and general all-round cutie is going up and up in the comics world. As well her awesomely35a174adbd263851946e41848fcab3ce_large funny Ask Flimsy strip on Tumblr, Smith infrequently updates her autobio comic One Good Thing, she wrote and successfully funded a kickstarter for her project I Am Fire last year  does art for David Lloyd’s comic imprint Aces Weekly and generally does a whole load of stuff in the comics world. Smith’s cutesy illustrations with blocky, vivid colours are instantly recognisable, as is her quirky use of dialogue and storytelling. Her newest book, House Party, is all of these things and more. As well as featuring the silly humour that she is well known for, Smith tackles a variety of bigger topics and themes, resulting in a particularly poignant book.

Siobhan, Michelle and Neil are post-graduates from university, and are dealing with the *shudder* real world. Wannabe writer Michelle has dumbed down and gone into marketing; quirky, blue-haired Siobhan works in a coffee shop dealing with businessbro douchebags; and Neil helps out local band Helveticas by being their runner/whipping boy. After one night too many of staying in and watching reruns of Come Dine With Me and looking through old pictures on Facebook, the three have an epiphany. One last night, to remind them that they’re cool again. One last, big blow-out. So, after many hours (and a set square) planning, Neil plans the most epic party, including holier-than-thou rockers Helveticas. The three rock up to their gig, and after lasting through their set, Siobhan, Michelle and Neil announce their party. Once everyone turns up back at Siobhan, Michelle and Neil’s place, things take a turn for the worse, and the three realise that being cool is really not what it’s cracked up to be…

Written and illustrated by the hilarious and inimitable Rachael Smith, House Party is an excellent, well-rounded story with a fantastic use of thematic devices. Topped off with Smith’s adorable art style, House Party is one to watch out for.

I’m just about to start my third year at university, so Smith’s House Party cuts close- closer than I’d like to admit. But, because it’s so focussed on one specific age group, at one specific time, it captures the mentality and mind-set of people that age, and the worry that things aren’t as good as they used to be. In House Party, Smith captures an all-too-familiar ennui with twenty somethings, framed within her amusing narrative and cracking dialogue. She combines humour, a naturalistic setting and an emotional story in an excellent way, never dwelling too much in one area, she gives all characters a chance to shine in their own way. Smith’s writing skills have excelled with each new piece she’s written, and while I’ve been privileged enough to read most of her other work, House Party has stayed with me, leaving an emotional resonance. The storytelling itself is superb, with a bittersweet but expertly crafted ending which leaves you feeling hugely satisfied. It doesn’t feel overly long, and it doesn’t feel overly short; it’s the perfect debut graphic novel offering. House Party is part Scott Pilgrim vs The World, part autobio comic, and captures the very best from both of these areas. Plus, any comic that starts “For Mum (soz about the swearing)” in the opening pages says all that needs to be said about Smith’s writing.

Smith’s unmistakable art works great in this piece, and she showcases her superb skills at drawing people and their facial expressions. Sure, her art style is a little juvenile at times, but y’know what? I don’t care. I think it looks amazing. The amount of detail that she puts into each panel is incredible, be it bottles of nail polish and a nail file on a window sill, or the amusing parody Caffé Zero, Smith’s artwork captures living in a university city (those people handing leaflets out drive me crazy sometimes) perfectly, along with the inherent loneliness that comes with it. Smith is adventurous with her colour scheme in House Party, which captures the frenetic energy of the book excellently. As for the party itself… Well. I’ve been at some pretty crazy house parties in my time, and her depiction of one is absolutely spot on! The madness, the crazy couples, bathroom queues… Smith captures all of it with her dry wit and ever watchful eye. House Party also comes with an artist’s gallery and concept sketches tucked away at the back of the book, and they’re a real treat! Featuring artwork from Emi Lenox, Adam Cadwell, Paul Shinn and more, the super-cool art gallery wraps this awesome book up.