Review: Polybius Dreams #1

Review: Polybius Dreams #1 by Jerry Whitworth

Creepypastas, or horror-based urban legends from the internet, have grown in popularity in recent years with the likes of Slender Man, Candle Cove, and Jeff the Killer entering the mainstream. However, one of the earliest creepypastas is making a resurgence on the printed page. The Polybius legend is of an arcade cabinet video game called Polybius distributed by mysterious men in black to a handful of arcades in the Portland, Oregon area in 1981. These machines acted as part of a psychological experiment, one that made players addicted to it, induced various psychological affects (amnesia, night terrors, sleepwalking, depression, seizures, hallucinations, etc), and led to some committing suicide before the game disappeared a mere month after debuting. As with the other noted creepypastas, there are people out there who believe in the existence of this game (which some attribute to the early version of the 1981 Atari game Tempest which reportedly gave a player a migraine in Portland). The phenomenon surrounding Polybius even led to the development of a documentary from Todd Luoto, Jon Frechette, and Dylan Reiff that, due to lack of funds, culminated into a currently ongoing seven-part podcast series centering around Bobby Feldstein who claims the game was real and played a part in his supposed abduction (as well as the abduction of at least one other child). About six months ago, a crowdfunding effort would begin to produce the first issue of a comic book based on the legend of Polybius. Titled Polybius Dreams, Ben Grisanti, Keith Grachow, and Ester Salguero through Grisanti’s Hypnotic Dog Comics recently published its first issue and are currently crowdfunding for its second chapter of the four part series. Following a trio of lovable losers in Patrick, Paul, and Michael in 1986 Autumn Hill, NY, a mysterious new game called Polybius arrives in the small town’s arcade followed by the deaths of several youths. Friends with the arcade’s co-owner, the trio are given the opportunity to play the new addictive game after hours thus pulling them into the suspenseful mystery.

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Wrestling Time Machine: January of 1995

Grab yourself a bag of Butterfinger BB’s, set your VCR to record TekWar and tune in to the latest Wrestling Time Machine Column, as we flip the switches and travel back to January of 1995!

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Wrestling Time Machine: February of 1997

Hello my precious professional wrestling pals, and welcome to another edition of Wrestling Time Machine! We’ve got the dates keyed in on our time circuits, the Flux Capacitor is a-roaring to go, all to take us to February of 1997*!

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Wrestlemon: Gotta Review ‘Em All

Wrestlemon: Gotta Review ‘Em All by Jerry Whitworth

 

Known primarily for his webcomic HEAT: The Space Age of Pro Wrestling (fusing pro wrestling and science fiction), cartoonist Jeff Martin is combining together elements of pro wrestling with another genre in battle monsters. Wrestlemon (2017) parodies the popular Nintendo property of Pokémon (short for Pocket Monsters) while also parodying pro wrestling with allusions to lucha libre in its featured monsters and homages for the likes of “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes, “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair, Jake “The Snake” Roberts, John Cena, Demolition, Ultimate Warrior, and more. The plot revolves around rookie trainer Jacey and her Wrestlemon Technico (after the lucha libre term “tecnico” meaning technician and referring to a babyface or hero) as they begin their path toward competition in the world of Wrestlemon. In their way is Jacey’s rival Thad and his Wrestlemon Roodo (after the lucha libre term “rudo” meaning rough and referring to a heel or villain) as Thad struggles to escape the shadow of his legendary father and his Wrestlemon Flaireon. All paths lead to a Wrestlemon gym where Jacey and Thad must prove their worth as trainers and their Wrestlemon demonstrate the ability to overcome in such a highly competitive environment.

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Top 10: Favorite Articles at CAC

Top 10: Favorite Articles at CAC by Jerry Whitworth

 

Hey Stranger Rangers, I told you I’d be back and here we are. As I said in my last post, ComicArtCommunity.com and I have parted ways and over my five year career with the site, a few of my 267 articles have stood out. Previously we covered the most popular articles on CAC where now we’ll examine my favorite. The criteria for my favorite articles largely encompass one prevalent component: hard work. While I tend to invest a lot of time and energy into many of the pieces I write, some I have really needed to pore over and research. As such, many of these projects I’ve needed to care a great deal about in order to bring to completion (as I assure you, not every article I begin crosses the finish line). Of course, some of the most popular articles were also my favorite (like “Destroy All Monsters! Tokusatsu in America”) but for the sake of this list, there will be no repeats. Without further ado, my favorite articles I’ve crafted for CAC.

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Top 10: Most Popular Articles at CAC

Top 10: Most Popular Articles at CAC by Jerry Whitworth

 

Hello Nerdfect Nation, this is your intrepid co-host Jerry Whitworth back with a new article. Its been a while, I know, but there’s been an important development in my life. As many of our listeners know, I’ve worked for ComicArtCommunity.com for five years but, sadly, we’ve recently parted company. No hard feelings, they’re still a great site and resource but it was time to move on. At this time, I don’t know where I’ll end up, but for now, I thought it would be fun for a small retrospective. I’ve produced 267 articles for CAC (not including the biography I wrote for the Al Rio Tribute Art Book Volume One), which is roughly on average an article a week for my time there, and certain pieces of work stand out from the rest. Thus, I will produce two Top 10 lists: first, my most popular articles and second, my favorite. Based on the number of views and unique visits, the following are the ten most popular articles I have written for CAC. Enjoy.

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Wrestling Time Machine: January of 1997

Good day my Wrestling Time Travel Compatriots, it is I, your humble docent through this exhibit on the History of Professional Wrestling, and today we will be continuing our journey through January of 1997!

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Wrestling Time Machine: December of 1996

Hello fans!!! I’m your host, Bobby Fisher, and THIS is Wrestling…Time…Machine!!! This is your go-to guide through the low-definition war zone that is the Attitude Era of Professional Wrestling.

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Wrestling Time Machine: November of 1996

We Don’t Need Roads Where We’re Going…

Hello fans! I’m your guide, Bobby Fisher and this…is…THE Wrestling Time Machine! So on today’s post, we’ll be talking about November of 1996. I AM going to try to be more active on our eponymous website. So…November of 1996 was an interesting time for both of the Big Two.

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What to Watch and Not Watch in Superhero Television

For those not in the know, Nerdfect Strangers is not just a cool name for a blog/website, it’s our podcast, and the podcast came before the website. Here’s what’s on the podcast now…

The latest episode, our forty-first, just dropped the other day. Hosted by Bobby Fisher, Jerry Whitworth, and some guy named Glenn Walker, Nerdfect Strangers #41: “Gators ‘N’ Glaives” is a journey into comics, wrestling, role-playing games, and the latest batch of superheroes on television.

You can download the episode here, and don’t forget to Follow us on Twitter here and Like us on Facebook here. Enjoy!

An Afternoon with Laverne & Shirley

For visitors to this website who might wonder what the title is all about, let me tell you, Nerdfect Strangers is not just a cool name for a blog/website, it’s our podcast, and the podcast came before the website. We’re going to start to be more diligent about making folks aware of the podcast, starting now.

The latest episode, our fortieth, just dropped the other day. Hosted by Bobby Fisher, Jerry Whitworth, and some guy named Glenn Walker, Nerdfect Strangers #40: “Tales from the Pizza Bowl” is a journey into comics, wrestling, and the sitcom zaniness of “Laverne & Shirley.”

You can download the episode here, and don’t forget to Follow us on Twitter here and Like us on Facebook here. Enjoy!

Young Justice S01 E12: Homefront

ayj1When Mount Justice comes under attack by the Red Tornado’s malevolent ‘siblings,’ Artemis and Robin are on their own to save the day without super powers. We learn a bit more about Artemis as she faces her final baptism by fire. A lot happens in this episode – all this and more in “Homefront.”

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Wrestling Time Machine: ECW Flux Capacitor Volume 1

Just call me “Bobby Styles” and this…is…THE Wrestling Time Machine!

WWE has ALWAYS been PG.

This is NOT a wrestling smorgasbord.

Allow me to preface by saying this is the first volume of my Wrestling Time Machine blog, something I talk at length about on our podcast that we do here. Today we’re going to be tackling ECW, what I would consider the first year. This first year starts with “The Franchise” Shane Douglas defeating 2 Cold Scorpio with a Pinfall decision, in the NWA World Title Tournament on August 27th 1994 and ends with a real BARN BURNER of a match in what was the final confrontation (in Extreme Championship Wrestling, anyways) between a young Eddie Guerrero and Dean Malenko. The WWE Network is a smorgasbord of classic wrestling of all kinds, albeit missing some of wrestling’s essential main courses. The WWE Network, while it boasts “Every WWE/WCW Pay-Per-View”, The WWE Network misses out on just about most of the ECW Pay-Per-Views and Specials. This is unfortunate, because Pay-Per-Views provide of course a sense of closure for much of a given month’s events, and where even new stories can be born.

So litigious. Much metal.

Though all is not lost, if Paul Heyman and the ECW Brass was good at anything, it was knowing that their target demographic may not always be in the market to pay to view, and so many episodes of ECW Hardcore TV were simply highlight episodes, devoted to the most recent Pay-Per-View, devoted to keeping fans not only enlightened of the match highlights, but also of any major story beats and new developments. By far the biggest omission that deserves mentioning is the lack of actually licensed music throughout the whole show. Now…I get it, WWE’s a big company, and ECW was known for using music without necessarily worrying about frivolous things like getting the rights from the artists, etc. You know, the little things, and so it came to pass that WWE is forced to use very generic tunes for the entrances of the ECW performers. Something is lost in the incredibly generic tunes, some of the attitude-the balls of ECW is muted, it feels almost too sanitized. Now granted, I don’t think we can necessarily fault the WWE for this, or even Heyman and whomsoever was in charge of designating entrance music. ECW was, for all intents and purposes, small show, a small organization. They barely (and often times didn’t even) made end’s meat, let alone had the extra cash to shell out for licensed music. This didn’t stop them from trying though…

"Delightful fun for the whole family!"

“Delightful fun for the whole family and a treat for children of all ages!”

Let’s get down to thumbtacks, though. The first year

of ECW is…pretty intense. The very first episode I mentioned at the top of the article also featured another pinnacle in ECW history, Tommy Dreamer being caned by The Sandman. This, along with Douglas’ epic speech about what ECW really is, how important new blood was to wrestling , this set the tone for the entire promotion. This wasn’t your father’s wrestling, and that’s what made it unique. ECW had a finger on the pulse of what wrestling could be, and what many fans at the time and even still to this day, think it should be. While ECW dabbled in extremely violent performances, that was simply the icing on the cake, the real substance of the promotion would be found in performers like Shane Douglas, Eddie Guerrero and Dean Malenko-to name a few-who could put on spectacular matches without the need for barbed wire, or cattle brands. Tazz is another highlight in ECW’s fledgling year, and his first experience on commentary can be heard through the WWE Network’s archive, as he was a guest commentator with Joey Styles for a special match.

TerrFunk

Pictured: A man who still hasn’t retired yet…Probably.

While ECW had
few veterans in the form of wrestlers like Terry Funk, the fuel that kept it’s engines running was the

*Generic Surfer Lingo*

Totally Gnarly.

influx of young talent given a stage to shine on that didn’t involve being a jobber to the stars, or relying on silly gimmicks. If I’ve learned anything though, it’s that ECW was no stranger to silly gimmicks. Just ask Surfer Ray Odyssey.

StevieRichards

Pictured: Someone hopped up on goofballs.

There are many other things to talk about when it comes to ECW’s fledgling first year. The brilliant promo work of Shane Douglas, and The Franchise’s one-sided feud with “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair, the formation of The Triple Threat to serve as combating force against The Four Horsemen. The introduction of the mysterious, brooding Raven and his obsessive groupie goofball Stevie Richards. Towards the beginning of July 1995 we see the introduction of The Dudley Boys, and before too long, their ever-expanding family. For Big Daddy Dudley, THE THIRST was oh-so-real. I’d say one of the biggest highlights though, in watching ECW was the surprisingly decent promo work of The Public Enemy. For those not familiar, this Tag-Team consisting of “Flyboy” Rocco Rock and Johnny Grunge were essentially WWE’s Cryme Tyme, before Cryme Tyme, and they saw much more success than the WWE duo. Though The Public Enemy had some great matches with The Pitbulls and a feud that could only be described as “Actual War crimes of the 1990s” with

Where the old boys play...

“Welcome to the WARROOM, Boys!”

The Gangstas, The Public Enemy would soon depart, like many others, for greener pastures in WCW. Sure, Billionaire Ted’s money may have seemed appetizing, but I would argue that The Public Enemy didn’t get a fair shake (again, like countless others) in WCW, at least on the company’s flagship program WCW Monday Nitro. Rocco and Johnny could deliver decent enough promos to carry a story, and yet, WCW’s Tag Team Division was very much an afterthought, even prior to the N.W.O.’s emergence.

CheeseCW

Just Say, ‘When’…

By far, one thing that does bear mentioning when discussing ECW, is the strange weapons opponents sometimes used to inflict pain on one another, even during this first year. Often when reading about ECW, or even watching it, you’ll see the Hardcore standbys-chairs (wooden and steel!), tables, Singapore canes, trashcans, etc. but eagle-eyed viewers will see such strange weapon fodder as plastic dinosaurs and cheese graters.

I suppose I’ll close out this first edition of The Wrestling Time Machine by giving just some final thoughts on the first year of ECW…ECW was a welcome alternative to the then-WWF, and WCW, both promotions which suffered from their own problems. The WWF was struggling to push and build younger talent into main event stars, while still relying on hackneyed cartoon gimmicks based on garbagemen, french pirates and Portuguese Man-o-Wars, while WCW was ramping up it’s cartoon gimmicks to eleven with the Dungeon of Doom all whilst relying on older stars in Hulk Hogan, “Nature Boy” Ric Flair and Randy “Macho Man” Savage. ECW focused on just being unique, and what made wrestling good. Stories didn’t need to be larger than life, and opponents that could go out and wrestle with the skilled technician of a brain surgeon didn’t necessarily need to have a built-in story for the match beyond, “These two guys are fighting”. ECW wasn’t afraid of it’s fans, and didn’t push matches, agendas, or stories it knew the fans didn’t want, something any person in the creative field should take away as an important lesson.

Young Justice S01 E11: Terrors

ayj1This episode features the first animated appearance of the Terror Twins, who had previously appeared in the comic Young Justice #0, which took place between “Fireworks” and “Welcome to Happy Harbor.” Southern super-strong badasses Tommy and Tuppence Terror can leap long distances and are highly durable, if not invulnerable. In our opener, once more narrated breaking news style by Cat Grant, the Terror Twins are in New Orleans, holding their own against Superman and the Martian Manhunter. Yeah, that’s how tough they are, but as usual with “Young Justice,” there’s more here than meets the eye. Looks like orange could be the new black for two members of our team…

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Wrestling Wrap Up by Mike E. Dangerously

Well let’s see here open Wrestling Sites see if there is anything to report………

Adam Rose? Don’t be a lemon, be employed! Oh wow Sandow! Well at least Cody is still he-THE HELL!? Whatcha doin’ wit your life WWE!? Yes, it seems like it’s that time of the year where the talent feels lost in the shuffle of the organization, or simply put you’re not on tv therefore you’re gone. Getting rid of talent doesn’t mean you won’t see them again, what with other Wrestling programs out there, I’m sure they’re bound to show up somewhere or just take time off refresh and return like nothing happened. What else, we just came off an Extreme Rules PPV, which is weird but common for just three weeks between not popular PPVs. That being said, that Fatal Four Way AMAZING!! The main event, good grief! Is there any match that AJ Styles can’t make look good? I mean wow, just wow, this guy is still amazing! Also we got the RETURN OF SETH FREAKING ROLLINS!! Yes, the heel we all love is back and what’s sad is he’ll have to kick a puppy or perhaps dump his father manager to get real heat on him this time, because the crowds just hate Roman. Still, even after putting on a show in two matches with AJ Styles, the crowd just doesn’t like him as champ. Again you know my stance on him-he needs to turn heel or just speak softly and not surfer….So yeah the PPV was fine, the Raw the next day, well it had me scratching my head and saying what!?

So Raw gave us all wrestling fans a star to shine for the next PPV Money in the bank simply by putting in our internet darlings Zayn, Caesaro, Owens, Ambrose and Jericho, which for him coming off of a lost to Ambrose in the first ever Asylum Match which was on for far too long during the PPV, but with two spots remaining, who’s it going to be?…..Also Girly Flair rid herself of Old Man Flair which is aboot time, but also gave her a ton of heat, like a TON. That crowd straight up hated her for yelling at that old man. We also saw the return of the Social Outcast, 3 Man Band baaabay!!! I keed, I keed. Enzo came back with Big Cass and continued their feud with those Damn Dudleys!!!

THIS JUST CAME IN TO THE NEWS ROOM! So starting July 11th on Raw they’re having a WWE draft!! The WWE is also moving Smackdown to Tuesday live!! So two different shows with two different stories? Well, I wonder if they’ll bring back the old Eagle belt? Or the Attitude title? What’s this mean for the current roster? In a way it could be good, it could give a chance for men and women that aren’t in current story lines to shine a little more on a different show. Will they split up the PPVs? Please for the love of GAWD! No, please no! Bragging Rights PPV…OK! This is just my thoughts on it, really I was just about done with this blog, so let’s hope with this change it’ll spotlight wrestlers or NXT talent getting the call up!

Speaking of NXT, Takeover is coming up and I can’t WAIT!!! Joe VS Balor in a steel cage!!! And Aries VS Nakamura!!! Take all of my money, NOW!!!! PLEASE I BEG YOU!!!! Also I hope we see Bobby Rooooooode come to NXT. Well this one is a short one, and I feel that unless something big happens before Money In the Bank, I know Cena is returning this coming Monday, so let’s see what storyline he ends up with…please just let him feud with Rusev, don’t put him in the MITB ladder match!! But it’ll happen unless AJ Styles comes out with The Club…that he said he didn’t need, goes full heel and attacks Cena. Yes, PLEASE!!!! Later down the road Cena can take the title from Hulk Roman brother!! I mean Uce? Uso? How do you spell that?

Well the Ref is calling this one a DQ….until next time, This is Mike E Dangerously saying, “Back To You Gorilla!”