It must be the sense of anonymity that compels people to share secrets with strangers. I was having a conversation with a woman in a bookshop when she decided to tell me something I could tell was troubling her about her nine-year-old son. "The thing is," she said (she had a twitch in her lower lip), "he's a bright boy, but... he still likes books with pictures in." As a children's bookseller, I hear things like this all the time. Proud parents like to tell me that their children no longer 'need' pictures in their books, as though they had just collected their children from a clinic specialising in the treatment of visual withdrawal. Sometimes it's the children themselves that need reminding: "You don't need books with pictures in- remember?" In either case, the message seems clear: pictures are mere training wheels for text, and the sooner we're done with them, the better. … [Read more...] about Picture books and video games: a backdoor into childhood
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This world feels a little surreal right now. While some countries are gradually easing out of lockdown, many people are still spending the majority of their free time at home. Netflix has been a form of salvation – hours of content ready to keep subscribers entertained. And, thankfully, the streaming service keeps releasing new series, including Space Force, a comedy from the team behind The Office. … [Read more...] about John Malkovich and Ben Schwartz take us on a slight detour
Shadow showdownSome of us are humble. Modest. Well, not really, but we do like to stay out of the limelight (or the sunlight, in Vampyr’s case) and pick off enemies as and when we choose. Say hello to the shadow branch, where you’ll be using the darkness and your vampiric charm to quell threats before they even know you’re there. Using shadows and hiding will allow you to escape detection. Possibly including a chameleon-type skill which allows you to blend into the darkness, Reid can survey his targets from the shadows using these abilities. … [Read more...] about Stop it Vampyr, you’re bloody spoiling us: 4 types of vampire (so far) and 3 ways to rip people apart?!
The problem is, not all threats are characterised by moustache-stroking, suited villains. Sometimes maliciousness just exists, and is closer than you think. District X in the comics shows the grotty underbelly of mutant society and the impact they’ve had on humans. With Logan enjoying its own gritter setting, the mutant ghetto is a good opportunity to show just how grim a superhero movie can be. Drugs and superpowers aren’t incompatible, especially when humans have been buying Mutant Growth Hormone (MGH), a drug harvested from the blood of those with superpowers. Giving them the same powers as the mutant it was taken from, the comics show the markets crashing due to the X-gene disappearing from all the MGH vials and people get desperate. Remaining mutants can sell their blood to dealers for exorbitant prices, but the comics make a point of showing that they’re literally putting a price tag on their morals as MGH ‘burns out’ humans. A perfect crucible for … [Read more...] about The secret to saving the X-Men movie franchise is hidden in the comics – here’s how to do it