Apparently, Dr. Blink #3 and Dork Tower #34 are in stores now.

The first comment came from the LJ Dork Tower Feed:

Dork Tower #34 was absolutely brilliant! It had a great Larry Gonick vibe. I’m encouraging all my gamer friends to go out and buy a copy….and I can’t wait for part two! :-)

That made me smile. I’m quite proud of this issue – some just turn out more like you intended than others – but as always, I get a bit nervous waitring for people’s reactions. Especially when I’m trying something a little bit different.

A really kind review of Dr. Blink #3 was just posted at Comicextreme:

Review by: Blake M. Petit Blake@comixtreme.com
Quick Rating: Very Good
Title: The Hunger of Ginormous and other stories

When Earth’s greatest superheroes can’t stave off a planet-eating cosmic being, can their psychiatrist save the world?

Writer: John Kovalic
Art: Christopher Jones
Ultra-Gal Strip By: Alex Robinson
Colors: Melissa Kaercher
Cover Art: Christopher Jones
Publisher: Dork Storm

Review: After a far-too-long hiatus, Dr. Blink, Superhero Shrink has returned to the comic shops with a new collection of strips featuring the psychiatrist to the superheroes. Kovalic and Jones give us a smattering of short stories this issue rather than any issue-length tales, but it’s still a very funny, very satisfying package.

The front cover Spawn parody ties in to the first story, in which the latest incarnation of an ancient hell-borne warrior finds out that a name that sounded good in ancient times may not translate very well today. The second story, “The Hunger of Ginormous,” is the star of the issue, though. The cosmic planet-eater called Ginormous has already defeated the Teen Force Extreme, the Remainders and the world’s premiere superheroes, the Avenging Legion of Titan Justice Defenders Society of America League. Now the only thing between him and Earth is Dr. Blink. Again, this is a short story, but the punchline is (like Kovalic’s best work) a pointed jab at popular trends as well as superhero conventions.

Alex Robinson also gives us another installment of his Ultra-Gal series, and this issue she crosses over with Dr. Blink. During a routine therapy session, she realizes something is very wrong – and the good doctor may not be the only one in jeopardy. Ultra-Gal is less of a pure parody than most of the Dr. Blink stories – it’s more like a straight superhero story with comedy elements thrown in, not unlike the Giffen/DeMatteis Justice League, and in fact, this entire book would be a great read for anyone bemoaning those days.

The rest of the book is filled with very short strips – one or two pages – parodying various superheroes and archetypes. Kovalic also throws in a few Dork Tower back-up strips about superhero RPGs and, for the gamers reading the comic, profile pages outlining the character stats for some of Dr. Blink’s patients for use in the Mutants and Masterminds roleplaying game.

Kovalic’s wit, as always, is sharp and perfectly-suited for the subject matter. Jones’s artwork is great too, the sort of thing you’d see on a cartoon-based comic (and, in fact, he’s the regular artist on Batman Strikes), but still maintaining his own style. This is a great return for the good doctor, and I just hope we don’t have to wait so long for his next session.

And more very kind words on Dork Tower #34, from the same site.

Review by: Blake M. Petit Blake@comixtreme.com
Quick Rating: Great
Title: A Brief History of Gaming

On the eve of Mud-Con – Ken breaks into a history lesson!

Writer: John Kovalic
Art: John Kovalic
Cover Art: John Kovalic
Publisher: Dork Storm

Review: Last issue, Igor was trying to pull together a gaming convention, Matt was trying to get his comic book ready for the convention and Ken asked his girlfriend to marry him – after which she promptly walked out. What else could there be this time but an issue-length installment on the history of games?

With most comic books, I have to admit, I’d be kind of miffed if the story was broken at such a major cliffhanger for an installment that really has nothing to do with the ongoing plot, but Kovalic has done this sort of thing before (notably the “Understanding Gamers” issue), and he’s so darn good at it, it’s hard to get mad. In classic Dork Tower style, Ken and Carson take the reader back to the earliest days of prehistory, when mankind struggled to do nothing more than surprise and reproduce. When civilization evolved to the point where they were protected from predators and had homes of their own, they found they had time to themselves for the first time ever… and thus the game was born.

This issue – which Kovalic promises to be the first in a semi-regular series – does for games what Scott McCloud did for comic books. He goes through the history and development of games in such a way that the reader walks away with a wealth of knowledge on the subject, but he presents that information in such a thoroughly funny and entertaining manner you barely feel like you’re learning anything at all.

Fans of the series may be slightly disappointed that the story is left by the wayside this issue, but it’s still a really fun read, and the perfect stand-alone issue for someone who hasn’t read this title before.

****

On shelves now! Buy all you want: I’ll make more!

No. Seriously. BUY SOME! :-)

****

So the USA is out of the world cup, and I get to spend the next few days listening to sports columnists and talk-show hosts gloating about how much “soccer” sucks.

In all honesty, despite a gutsy second-half performance against Italy, and some great goalkeeping, the American side looked as if they were just waiting to be knocked out, without much sense of urgency during most of their three games. And let’s be honest – you can’t hope to advance when you score one goal on your own in the group round. I found Bruce Arena’s game plans to be conservative and tentative, especially as this was supposed to have been the best US team to ever make it to the World Cup.

Despite two wins and a draw, I fear much the same for England. Very little spark from a team that seems to play down to its opponents, with flashes of brilliance to assuage the fans.

Fingers crossed for the next round. England CAN go further…But I’m not placing any bets…

John

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