Covert Nerd Podcast

Shake up break up

January 29, 2019

Today we discuss working together to make work easier, then we talk about the beginning of Image comics, lastly text adventures get new life.

Links mentioned in the episode:

Play the original Zork online

Play Zork on your Alexa

Art of Lee Bokma

It’s good to finally be back and getting back to the old schedule before the holidays hit.  Don’t get me wrong I like Christmas and new years, but it does tend to interrupt the “normal” schedule a bit. I’m glad to be back and glad you’re here too.

Many hands make light work, I’m sure you may have hear this saying. Working together makes a task much easier, especially if you are working with people you like and have a common interest.

As a teaser I am fortunate enough to be friends with some local creators and we are working together  on a fun project I think you will love, so listen later to find out what it is.

Working together

So many things in our lives can be done better and easier if we get more people involved. Another recent example is we had a snowstorm and our driveway needed to be cleaned.  It’s not a small driveway I would say about 150 ft long. I fired up the snow blower to start and it wouldn’t work. I know your saying why didn’t you test it before the storm, and I did and it worked fine. I fiddle with it for about 20 minutes and no luck. So I grabbed the shovel and got to work.  Since I have kids I 3 of them help me. We took turns and when one person got tired they handed the shovel to the next person and so on until the entire driveway was cleared. In less than an hour the job was done. I could have kept trying to work with the snow blower and maybe got it done, but I’m not mechanically inclined so most likely not. Asking for help and working together makes the job easier.

Another place to ask is Google, Author Jerry Pornelle once said everything that has answer has been answered. And Google can point you to those people that have the same questions and concerns you have.

If you’re working on something and maybe you’re struggling to start or got started and you don’t know what to do next. Try asking for help, most people are willing to give you a tip or two to help. Regardless of what people may think most people want to help. People are more likely to help than to do you a favor, so when you ask, ask for help not a favor. Most likely someone has been where you are and can offer you wisdom.

Whether you love him or hate him Gary Vaynerchuck is a speaker and author who speaks his mind sometimes with colorful language. One thing He specifically talks alot about working alongside people who are doing what you want to do just to get the experience. Again it reinforces this concept that other people have been where you have been.  They can help you avoid the pitfalls you may encounter.

I could go on and on with examples like this, but I would guess you get the idea and you have you own stories.  I would like to hear them, you can email them to me or you can find me on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.


Marvel early 90s bullpen

I was reading an old Uncanny X-men comic from 1990 and noticed the credits for the book Chris Claremont, Whilice Portacio, John Byrne, Marc Silvestri, Jim Lee. It reminded me again of how much talent Marvel had at the time.  If you read comics during that time period I took it for granted how great those creators were and how much Marvel had. I assumed that’s the way it would be for Marvel going forward. However

Marvel suffered a blow in early 1992, when seven of its most prized artists —
Todd McFarlane (known for his work on Spider-Man), Jim Lee (X-Men), Rob Liefeld (X-Force), Marc Silvestri (Wolverine), Erik Larsen (The Amazing Spider-Man), Jim Valentino (Guardians of the Galaxy), and Whilce Portacio (Uncanny X-Men) — left to form Image Comics also d Sam Kieth (The Maxx), Dale Keown (Pitt), Jae Lee (Hellshock),
left marvel immediately to join their friends at Image.  Chris Claremont was considered one of the founders too. Look at that list? And these are the ones who left right away, not to mention other talent who left shortly like John Byrne and John Romita Jr. It was a change in how comics were done and the industry would never be the same again.

You can read more are the details of what exactly went down, but the basic jist was the aforementioned creators wanted more control of a characters look and story.  They didn’t want an editor to scrap what they had spent hours to create. They wanted more control. They took a chance for the passion they had and left a stable career with a big publisher.  Because let’s face it if you say you work for one of the big two especially back then you had made it. However they didn’t want stability they wanted the freedom to create what they wanted to  create. They are and amazing collection of talent but their endeavor could have failed, Image could have collapsed, but it didn’t. Image paved the way for many other independent publishing companies. They proved as a creator you don’t have to be part of the big two to succeed. We see that all over the place these days, whether it’s writing a book, creating a podcast or a comic the creator has the control.  You don’t need a middle man anymore. You have the option of both, there's room in the marketplace for both the traditional and the new direct to consumer format.

Whether you love them or hate them those pioneers of the early 90's who started Image helped pave the way for new up and coming creators like Ed piskor is one young artist who comes to mind who said Rob Liefield is one of the artists who impressed him in the early 90’s. When I say young that is somewhat relative since I am 44 someone in their 20’s is young to me.  But what I mean is younger than those guys who left Marvel, those guys now are in their 50’s and early 60’s. Other young up and comers are Skottie Young, Becky Cloonan and Donny Cates, Erica Henderson.

I have said this before I want this podcast to be positive as I can make it, when I think about those first guys at Image and the risk they took. I admire them, they would rather die on their own sword than die on someone else’s. What that means is they would rather fail by their own decisions than  someone else’s. Some of these new artists in their own way are taking risks too, even with new opportunities in today’s market it still can have it’s own challenges. However I am confident creators have it better today than 20 years ago.

I would love to hear about any of the projects you are working on.  What are you doing that you decided to start? It’s a new year and new resolutions and plans typically take place this time of year. Let me know I would like to hear about them and if I can help I will do what I can. Go to to see all the ways to contact me.


Text based adventures

Let’s talk texted based games, If you’re not familiar what a text based game is I will try to explain. Back in the 70’s and early 80’s when computer power was minimal most applications we run by typing on the keyboard. For example if you wanted to start a program you would have to type “run msword.” Games were played in a similar way. You would start the game and the game would describe your surroundings, for example “This is an open field west of a white house, with a boarded front door. There is a small mailbox here. A rubber mat saying 'Welcome to Zork!' lies by the door.” If you wanted to walk a certain direction you would type “walk south” if you wanted to perform and action you would type “open door.”

On the podcast TWIT (This Week in Tech) The were talking about the Amazon Echo.  One of the things they mentioned was converting these text based adventures or Interactive fiction to run on your Echo and how easy it would be to convert. I did a little research and there’s a unofficial fan version of Zork which is an early 80’s text adventure. I would have to agree this would be a great way to take and old medium and adapted it into a new technology. Now instead of typing “walk east” you would simple speak “walk east”. I hope people convert these old text adventures and maybe make some of their own. Which they have done a few that are well produce like Wayne investigations. Wayne investigations includes sound effects and voice actors for each part as you try to solve the mystery. I plan to explore some of the other things you can do with an Echo and I hope to share some of them with you.


No major reviews this episode the holidays slowed my reading down a lot, and I am just now getting back into my normal pattern. Finishing up Saga of Swamp Thing and a few others. Also I am re reading LOTR. Lee Bokma gave me a couple of Tolkien books not written by him but a commentary on various topics in LOTR, sparked my interest again to read them again. I read the Silmarillion about this time last year so I haven’t been out of middle earth very long. I may talk about it more in another episode

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