Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Hellboy summer camp with telepathy and potions training. No, really.

Do you or someone you know have a penchant for the supernatural? Do you like spending time in the great outdoors? Are you between the ages of 9 and 17? Will you be in Portland, Oregon, from July 16 to July 20? If so, Trackers Earth has the ultimate summer-camp experience for you!

Dark Horse Comics proudly announced a partnership with Trackers Earth offering officially licensed B.P.R.D. and Hellboy camps, made possible through the generous permission of Mike Mignola, creator of B.P.R.D. and Hellboy.

“Trackers Earth is part of what makes Portland such an interesting place to live, and the most fun place in the country to raise a kid. This year my 6-year-old did Trackers camps focusing on forest ninja skills and stealth archery, and attended a school of magic. I wish he were old enough for B.P.R.D. camp, and I can’t wait to participate myself,” said B.P.R.D. editor Scott Allie.

Trackers Earth is looking for a few good recruits that have got what it takes to join an elite team of paranormal investigators combating the forces of darkness from all across the globe. They immerse you in tactical training of all forms, including survival skills in any environment (both earthly and non), martial arts and self-defense specific to preternatural entities, hand-to-hand weaponry (foam swords, bows, and more) and forensic investigation. All these are key skills that every agent must have; plus, you will be steeped in the history of the Bureau and the legacy of paranormal research.

Recruits get actual field time during the entire camp. Learning is hands-on, with essential survival skills such as shelter building, stealth, and tactical and martial-arts training.

Younger Recruits, ages 9–10: Younger recruits train in survival and field skills in local green spaces. They also spend their day investigating the haunted history of our city, piecing together the larger mystery revolving around the legend of Adolph Aschoff.

Older Recruits, ages 11–13 and 14–17: Older recruits also investigate nearby “haunts,” then finally travel to Camp Trackers near Sandy, Oregon, to investigate reports of dark figures and strange happenings at the remnants of the old, defunct town of Marmot. Here they search for a legendary and lost pioneer cemetery (true story) to ask local specters and spirits about the town’s history and the legend of Adolph Aschoff, the man who is said to have sealed away an ancient evil upon the founding of the town.

Wednesday–Friday Overnight: Older recruits culminate their week with a two-night stay at Camp Trackers’ outdoor wilderness site in Sandy, Oregon. This is the perfect opportunity to focus on many of the skills taught at the camp.

The B.P.R.D. Training Camp includes:

• Tactical training
• Survival in any environment
• Martial arts and self-defense specific to preternatural entities
• Hand-to-hand weaponry (foam swords, bows, and more)
• Investigation and forensics
• Folklore and mythology
• Potions and charms 101
• Telepathy training
• Gadgets of the occult: EMF detectors, polarized lenses, and other paranormal investigative gear
• Comparative analogy and physiology of monsters
• Construction of your own quality foam swords and training weapons
• Meeting with the artists of the comic book that documents the adventures of the B.P.R.D.
• Bureau history and paranormal research

To find out more about B.P.R.D. Camp (AKA Hellboy Camp), head over to the official website.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Review: THE KINGDOM, by John R. Mabry

First, let me say that this book is very gay. Very, very gay. A large percentage of the characters are gay and some scenes take place in a gay bathhouse named “The Jizz Factory.” If you’re uncomfortable with that, read something else. If you don’t mind it, then please read on.

The Kingdom is an odd tale of blasphemous priests, likable demons, self-loathing, death and humor, all taking place in the San Francisco Bay Area. The characters are unique and interesting, as are the events, which had me engrossed from beginning to end. As the story moves forward, the stakes continue to rise, and not everyone makes it out alive or unchanged. In fact, the fate of Richard, one of the main protagonists, angered me, and I hope that future volumes rectifies what I feel was an unfair end, even if I completely understand what Mabry did and why. Maybe it hits too close to home for me personally, but it really bothers me a lot.

But it says something that I would feel this way at the end of this book. If it was bad, or boring, or if I simply didn’t care about Richard or any of the other characters, obviously I wouldn’t be upset. That’s my issue with the book, along with the strong Christian message and difficult-to-read phonetic Southern accent of one of the other characters, but otherwise it’s a well-written and intricate tale involving the hazards of arrogance, abuse, and summoning demons.

It’s difficult to explain why the book is so engaging without giving too much away about the plot, characters, artifacts and situations, but by the end, I found myself wanting to see what would happen next. I believe there are going to be more volumes forthcoming about the Berkeley Blackfriars, the strange group of misfit religionists who find themselves saving the world with the help of strange bedfellows.

Mabry must have some very interesting occult and arcane knowledge to be able to pull off this tale in a realistic manner. And, as long as he fixes what happened with Richard, I’ll be reading future Berkeley Blackfriar novels.

Gearing up for WonderCon

Just a quick update, today we received renewing press pass information for WonderCon, the sister show to Comic-Con San Diego, which is normally held in San Francisco. Due to rennovations to the Moscone Center, however, WonderCon is being held in Anaheim this year, March 16-18.

Some special guests have been announced, including Marv Wolfman, J. Michael Straczynski, Mike Mignola and Wil Wheaton, but Programming, Exhibitors, Autographs, and other scheduling has yet to be confirmed. We expect to start receiving convention-related press releases and press opportunities now that our registration is in, so keep an eye out here for updates regarding potential interviews and events we may be doing (did somebody say League of Extraordinary Ladies?). And, as always, the popular Where's Peter? segment will be a part of our WonderCon coverage too. Keep an eye on the official WonderCon website for current information. This is a great show, don't miss it!