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There is no questioning 2013 has been a spectacular year for music. And the crazy part? We’re only a little more than halfway done, with releases such as new Nine Inch Nails and Arctic Monkeys albums, for starters, on the horizon. Insane, right?

But before we get ahead of ourselves and start daydreaming of the possibilities of upcoming albums, let’s take a second to stop and reminisce about what’s come thus far. Here are my picks for the 10 best albums of 2013… so far. View full article »


tumblr_m4ayhxkWgA1r6nv4ro1_400Wow. It’s been a loooong time since I last posted here. But today I feel the need to because it’s an important day. It’s one of those “turning point” days for me as I close one chapter of my life to start a new one.

I’m pregnant!

Okay, lies.

The truth is I wrapped up my stint as’s Gaming Editor today after six years of service. I said my goodbyes (both in person and through email) to all my coworkers, let my many, many PR contacts in on the situation, and even put the word out on social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook. The support has been phenomenal and has reaffirmed my decision, even though it was a fuckin’ hard one to make.

It’s not easy to justify leaving a paying gig for raw nothingness, but that’s the move I’ve made. Now I live with it and roll where the tide takes me. It’s worked out just fine for me over the past 28 years. Let’s see if I can tap into that luck just a little bit longer.

But the real point of this post on my all-but-deserted blog is to clear the air and answer one question: why the hell would I give up working from home to write about video games for a living?

The answer is actually pretty simple: the hobby I’ve loved since I was 6 years old when my parents first brought home an original Nintendo from a yard sale was being damaged in the process. I was becoming that jaded asshole I never ever want to be. But that happens when you see the same trends repeat over and over again and your job requires you to find new ways to make them seem exciting for readers. It’s not Crave’s fault at all; it’s just the nature of pop culture writing. At some point you become more hype man than voice of the people.  I feel it’s at that point of self awareness when the juice is no longer worth the squeeze.

It should also be said that being freelance isn’t all it’s cracked up to be either. Sure, I got to sleep till whenever I wanted (sometimes 11am!), make my own hours and work in pajamas, but there are downsides too. Probably the biggest one is the lack of daily human interaction (cats and dogs are lousy at conversation). Also, no salary and benefits kind of sucks, especially as you get older.

I want those safety nets back. I also want to enjoy playing video games again. Hence, I’m moving on to something new.

What that something is I’m not entirely sure. I’m pretty much up for whatever. I just know I want to separate business and pleasure. With that said, I wouldn’t trade the last six years of my life for anything. It was exactly what I wanted at that point in time and I regret nothing. To many it will seem like I’m giving up “the dream,” and I’m grateful I got to live it for as long as I did on my own terms, but life moves in mysterious ways, doesn’t it? One minute you want something, then the next you don’t. I wish there was some sort of CliffNotes for how this shit should work.

Anyway, I’m going to wrap this up as it’s gone on far longer than I expected. I want to thank everyone for reading my thoughts, and even more for supporting me in whatever comes next. I will take that support as an open invitation to sleep on your couch should things go poorly…


My Favorite Films of 2012


It’s been a long time since I last posted here – especially something that’s not a repost from some other site I write for. So with 2012 coming to a close and 2013 right around the corner, I figured I should put something up to stop this ridiculous dry spell. And what better way to do that than with a year-end list, right?

Looking back at 2012, there were a lot of truly great films released. I’ve figured out which are my favorites and have listed them numerically below. If you don’t agree with my picks or my placements, sound off in the comments. I’m also keeping this super brief because I’m trying to take advantage of the holiday break. View full article »

I’m not ashamed to admit this: Madden NFL 13 is the first Madden I’ve thoroughly enjoyed in years. Ever since the release of NFL 2K5, I’ve never been able to get into EA Sports’ NFL experience. There are a number of reasons for why that is, all of which I won’t delve into here, but suffice it to say, Madden just hasn’t been my cup of a tea for a long time.

That changed with this year’s offering, though. Granted, Madden NFL 13 isn’t perfect, but what is available makes this year’s game feel like so much more than a roster refresh. For the first time in a long time, I’m proud to say I play Madden. View full article »

Daredevil: End of Days is a welcome return to the days when Brian Michael Bendis wrote the adventure of Ol’ Hornhead not as a colorful superhero romp but as a dark and gritty procedural. End of Days is essentially Brian Bendis and co-writer David Mack’s last testament for Daredevil, his villains, his supporting cast, and Hell’s Kitchen. You won’t find the same swashbuckling take on the character currently being showered with awards – at IGN and elsewhere – but instead a down and dirty interpretation that puts a fitting bow on the work Bendis did on the character over the course of roughly six years, from 2001 through 2006.

If you’ve read and enjoyed Bendis’ take on Daredevil, then End of Days should be right down your alley. If you’ve never dabbled in Bendis’ Daredevil, firstly what is wrong with you? And secondly, know that you won’t be putting this issue down with a big old smile on your face.

Shying away from discussing spoilers is a tough thing to do when talking about End of Days #1. But let’s just say that a major event happens in the book’s opening pages that sets a somber tone for things to come. Bendis and Mack then return to writing Ben Urich, who acts as the book’s emotional through-line. Unsurprisingly, the writing duo manage to find a creative way for Urich to carry the story while also catching up new readers with the history he and Matt Murdock share together through a clever use of exposition featuring some beautifully painted artwork by Bill Sienkiewicz.

Furthermore, Bendis and Mack set up a great multi-layered mystery with this first issue. I’ll leave you to find out what I mean by reading the book yourself, but know that you’ll get to the issue’s final page and be intrigued enough to keep going with issue #2.

View full article »

15 Favorite Creator-Owned Comics

It wasn’t long ago that I outlined my 15 favorite super hero comic runs. Now I’m back to detail by 15 favorite creator-owned comics. However, there’s going to be one important difference between that first list and this new one: I’m not limiting the selections to series that lasted over 15 issues. So this is basically a favorite stories list as opposed to a favorite runs list.

I have to admit; this list was much harder to peg down than the super hero one. And that’s saying a lot considering I agonized over the ordering of that first list for probably over an hour. And looking back now, I feel some things could/should still be shifted around. But oh well, them’s the breaks. A truth of life is that you have to live with your decisions. Likewise, once it’s on the Internet, it’s set in stone. View full article »

Transformers: War for Cybertron was to Transformers what Batman: Arkham Asylum was to Batman. Basically, it showed that it was possible to create a great video game based around the Transformers property. High Moon Studios clearly loves the Transformers franchise, as they were able to take that love and appreciation and distill the best aspects of it into a high-octane, third-person shooter game.

With War for Cybertron being such a success – especially for long-time Transformers fans like myself – it’s easy to see why there is a lot of hype behind the follow-up, Transformers: Fall of Cybertron. Fall of Cybertron picks up essentially where War for Cybertron left off – the Autobots are desperately searching for large sums of Energon to power their Ark to leave behind their decaying homeworld once and for all. But as things typically go, Megatron wants none of that, and plans to crush Optimus and the rest of the Autobots before they have a chance to make a break for it and find a new home planet. View full article »

15 Favorite Super Hero Comic Runs

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what my favorite long-form super hero comic runs are. I place the blame on my friend/collaborator/boss Joey Esposito, who recently published IGN’s 25 Favorite Comic Runs of the Last Decade. There’s no denying that list is a solid one, but it definitely differs from my personal tastes at a few key points. That’s why I figured it time to share what my personal favorite super hero runs are up to this point in time.

View full article »

jim2011646dc11newjpgGood news, folks: today we learned that Journey Into Mystery will be sticking around in a post-Marvel NOW! world. Whew.

In fact, today’s Next Big Thing Marvel press call was all about the future of Journey Into Mystery. Jumping on the press call was writer Kathryn Immonen and editor Lauren Sankovitch. Immonen will be taking over writing duties on the series starting with issue #646 in November, joined by artist Valerio Schiti, who unfortunately wasn’t available to participate in the call.

With the passing of the torch from writer Kieron Gillen to Kathryn Immonen, Journey Into Mystery will see a focal shift as well, with Lady Sif replacing Loki as the series’ lead character. According to Immonen, this brilliant idea rests on the shoulders of editor Lauren Sankovitch.

“We had it Loki-centric, so going forward with #646 we wanted to mix it up a little bit,” explained Sankovitch. “Sif’s been in the thick of it, she’s a warrior born, she’s got a lot of fight and verve and fire to her.”

Immonen then jumped into the conversation to detail what it is that Sif is trying to accomplish in this story.

“We talked at length about what this story could be and what her story could be, and it all came down to one single question: what does she want? I think Sif, above all, wants to be a better warrior.” So, obviously, she sets out to find that special ingredient that makes her a better warrior. However, things never go smoothly for any superhero. And over the course of Immonen’s run, Sif will find herself mixed up with the wrong Asgardians — many of whom will be familiar faces — and plenty of monsters. View full article »

Please put down your torches and pitchforks. The intention of this article is not to get a rise out of you (see what I did there?). It’s just that, like many of you, I’ve had The Dark Knight Rises on my brain nonstop since seeing it at a midnight showing opening night. It also doesn’t help that I’ve been writing nearly every article I’ve done over the past week to the movie’s official soundtrack. I have Bat-fever, to say the least, and that fever has given birth to a simple question that’s been gnawing at my brain for the last few days: is Christopher Nolan’s THE DARK KNIGHT TRILOGY the definitive Batman story?

If you have not seen The Dark Knight Rises, read no further. Spoilers ahead! View full article »