Games + Leisure

Games + Leisure

'Caped Crusade' Peeks Under Batman's Iconic Cowl

Mar 23, 2016

Batman has two identities: his costumed, crime-fighting persona and his everyday identity as billionaire Bruce Wayne. Right? Or maybe it's not quite that simple — as Glen Weldon compellingly puts forth in The Caped Crusade: Batman and the Rise of Nerd Culture. The follow-up to his 2013 book Superman: The Unauthorized Biography, this new superhero overview peeks under the iconic cowl to unveil the many faces of Batman — as well as the many faces of his millions of fans — since the character's creation 77 years ago.

Stop me if you've heard this one: A young man from a noble family suffers hardship that robs him of his place in the family. When the men in charge of government refuse to help him, he takes matters into his own hands, gathering a ragtag group of bandits and whipping them into shape to steal from the rich and give to the poor. Also, he has magic powers. You're in, right? (If not, we can talk about the part where he builds doppelgangers out of straw and lets them get arrested in his stead, just to teach the king a lesson. Your move, Robin Hood.)

When most people want to play a game, the first thing they reach for is likely a smartphone or tablet. Actual pinball machines have become quaint curiosities, but a father-son duo in California is keeping these old-school games alive in a museum.

The Museum of Pinball is hidden away in an old industrial building, just off Interstate 10 and about 90 miles east of Los Angeles in Banning, Calif. It's pretty quiet when the rows upon rows of pinball machines are not turned on. But once the switch is flipped, it gets loud.

Wild Energy Flows Free In A Feminist Comics Anthology

Mar 10, 2016

Hot blue lightning seems to crackle, Star-Wars-Emperor-style, across the surface of The Complete Wimmen's Comix. Its title is a cheeky riff on the renaming passion that consumed feminism in the early '70s, and its two volumes come in a (actually rather ugly) salmon-colored box decorated with examples of the series' highly inconsistent artwork. The whole bulky thing feels like a suitcase bomb packed with jagged hunks of social revolution. And that energy keeps sparking throughout the 704 pages of this frenetic, anarchic, occasionally kamikaze production.

The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye feels like Singapore between two covers. The pressure-cooker country — tiny and polyglot, globally competitive and politically repressive — seems to have been poured into this dense book. As if to make it an even more authentic representation of its homeland, Charlie Chan Hock Chye has met with governmental opposition: Singapore's National Arts Council withdrew a grant from author Sonny Liew because of the book's "sensitive content."

In the weeks since the world was introduced to Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the full power of its diverse casting has been revealed. It has engaged millions who might have ignored the film after the prequels disappeared into the sarlacc pit of critical disdain. It's brought a shine to the eyes of children who'd never seen their reflections in a story so grand and sweeping.

Some siblings find it hard just to be under the same roof, but Mark and Jay Duplass have teamed up to make more than a dozen films. They've recently branched out into television with their HBO show Togetherness.

Since these brothers get along so well, we've asked them to take a break from writing, directing, acting and producing to play a game called "Hating you is like hating myself." Three questions about brothers who didn't see eye to eye.

Game of Thrones may have killed off many major characters, but the manipulative, scheming Queen Cersei is still standing. She's played by Lena Headey, who we've invited to play a game called "You win and you die."

Since The Game of Thrones doesn't sound particularly fun to play, we'll ask three questions about even worse games.

Not many musicians become huge, genre-creating successes. Even fewer become successful movie actors, writers and producers. And as far as we know, Ice Cube is the only one who has produced a hit movie about his own first band with his own son playing himself.

One of Ice Cube's biggest hits was a song called "It Was a Good Day," so we've invited him to answer three questions about people having very bad days.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens revolves around the story of staff-wielding scavenger Rey.

(That's hardly a spoiler; she's front-and-center in the movie poster, after all.)

But in the world of Star Wars toys, Rey's been hard to find — and fans took to social media, under the hashtags #WheresRey and #WhereisRey, to complain about all the movie merchandise that left her out.

The battle goes on. In a galaxy far, far away, forces of good clash with forces of evil.

Lee Child is the author behind Jack Reacher, America's favorite tough guy. And after 20 novels and one Tom Cruise movie, Child knows a thing or two about best-sellers. But what about worst sellers? We've invited him to play a game called "I know I sold at least one copy ... unless Mom lied?" Three questions about books that sold really, really badly.

Unless you've spent the past year or so in an ice cave on Hoth — or have the misfortune of living on a planet farthest from the bright center of the universe — you're probably aware there's a new Star Wars movie, The Force Awakens, coming out on Friday.

Who doesn't want to play God — to have the feeling of creating new worlds with the push of a button? (Although gods presumably don't need buttons to create worlds.)

For young Saudis, life is conducted online, on phones and on gaming platforms. Saudi Arabia is a young country. The fastest-growing segment of the population is under 30 years old. In this deeply conservative society, with its strict moral codes of behavior and gender segregation, many young Saudis turn to social media and technology to entertain and express themselves.

For women, especially, it's a social revolution.

Classic Sci-Fi Comic 'Eternaut' Fights The Power

Dec 3, 2015

What's science fiction supposed to look like? It's a question that absorbed Argentine writer Héctor Germán Oesterheld, author of the epic comic strip The Eternaut. In the late 1950s, when The Eternaut was serialized in a Buenos Aires newspaper, science fiction was dominated by images of spaceships and faraway planets — and by authors living thousands of miles away. Oesterheld challenged all that. "My stories ... try to express something ... in a way that is ours, that is Argentine," he wrote at one point. "Neither that of [Ray] Bradbury, nor of Arthur C.

Still several weeks out, the hype is already hitting enormous heights for the new Star Wars installment. The Force Awakens has sold more than $50 million in tickets — and the movie doesn't even open until Dec. 18.

We recorded the show in Des Moines this week, and on the way to the theater we we passed about 16 presidential candidates, and 40 journalists chasing them. To help us make sense of this madhouse we invited our friend Jake Tapper — host of CNN's The Lead, and one of the moderators of the second GOP debate — to the show.

We'll ask him to play a game called "You know, we still exist in nonelection years, too." Three questions about the state of Iowa, where every four years the political press descends like a plague of locusts in sport coats.

Neil deGrasse Tyson — once named the Sexiest Astrophysicist Alive by People magazine — is about to begin the second season of his National Geographic show Star Talk.

Since he's a famed expert on cosmology, we've decided to see what he knows about cosmetology — three questions about hair stylists and spa experts from around the world.

When comic book writer Kelly Sue DeConnick got the opportunity to reimagine Captain Marvel as a blond, blue-eyed fighter pilot named Carol, she made changes to the character that some fans didn't like.

Carol now wears a flight suit — not the sexy dominatrix outfit she used to wear back when she was Ms. Marvel. For that, DeConnick was accused of having a feminist agenda.

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