Saturday, April 30, 2005

"YOU-WOULD-MAKE-A-GOOD-DAL-EK"

There you go, quote of the series so far. Cracking stuff. If the spoilers in the papers implied the latest appearance of DOCTOR WHO's definitive nemesis would bring a softening, a humanizing of the Daleks, we shouldn't have been too worried. They're still mass-murdering little bastards.


This episode was in lots of great ways a sequel to the classic Tom Baker story GENESIS OF THE DALEKS. The difference being, instead of wiping them out before they ever come to be, The Doctor chickens out of wiping out the very last one. I always saw the Daleks as holding a similar place in the British psyche as Godzilla holds for the Japanese. If the big green nuisance is a fictional mutated manifestation of the apocalyptic ending of WWII for that island dwelling race, the Daleks are a metaphor for the UK's wartime experience. They were created at a time when British culture was still very much dealing with the havok reaked upon it by the industrial level mayhem and death-dealing of the nazis. And the Daleks are the space nazis. Created, bred to be intolerant of everything, everybody, except their own race. Little individual Panzer tanks of murderous intent. GENESIS was a WHO story pretty much based on that classic question of the pub philosopher, "if you could go back in time and kill Hitler in the cradle, would you?". This episode, to further mangle the metaphor, would then be, if you found some ancient, decrepid Nazi officer being tortured in a cellar somewhere, would you free him? Put him out of his misery? Is it possible to feel sympathy for him, empathy for him?

Again, more top-notch WHO from the new team, and I'm looking forward to seeing how the ambiguous ending gets to play out later in the series. Oh, and my very favourite bit? The Cyberman. Looking forward to those evil fuckers coming back soon, too.

Friday, April 29, 2005

Stan Lee: an apology

In an earlier post, I suggested that it was all well and good that Stan Lee is going to get a massive pay-out from Marvel, but what about the other creators who under work-for-hire contracts gave away the characters they created to massive corporations, who have similarly made massive amounts of money for the men in suits?

However, I now see the error of my ways, in light of some recent events, I've totally changed my opinion.

Oh, and Stan: any chance of lending me a few quid. I've got a great idea for a publishing venture. Promise I'll pay you back.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

so, a STAR WARS TV show...

Just wanted to elucidate upon my earlier post predicting that the threatened STAR WARS TV show would be a Young Han Solo type affair. Though that is my prediction, that wouldn't necessarily be my personal preference. That instead would be a STAR WARS TALES type series, inviting lots of different TV and Film makers to contribute to an anthology were they could tell a story set at any time and using any characters they wished. I can imagine the meeting now. "Quentin Tarantino and Samuel L Jackson teaming up on a Mace Windu story? Cool. Kevin Smith taking the mickey out of the construction of the Death Star? Sure, why not. Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright pitching an episode? Groovy. Jimmy Smitts can come in and do a few days shooting for a story based on Aldaraan? Says he's gonna bring Dennis Franz* with him? Luvverly, got just the part for the guy."






*Years ago, back when Bail Organa was actually being played by an Ulsterman (completely left on the cutting room floor from THE PHANTOM MENACE) rather than a cast member of the great NYPD BLUE, I had a crazy dream about Dennis Franz playing a Jedi Knight. He used his force telekinesis to change channels on his TV, open bottles of beer, etc. I now choose to see that dream as a premonition.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

THE MIGHTY THOR #179, August 1970

If there's a period of Marvel's history I perversely love, and buy as much of as I can on eBay, it's those last couple of months in 1970 before Kirby jumped ship to DC. Stan Lee seemingly oblivious to the catastrophe. Kirby dropping subliminal hints in his plots/art. For example, he draws the last issue of SILVER SURFER with the protagonist turning his back on the people of Earth, and cursing them, vowing to make them pay for not appreciating him.
Just picked up this last Kirby issue of THOR cheap on eBay. Loki pulls a FACE/OFF on Thor, and his friends turn on him and attack him. Wow. Absolutely no meta-commentary there at all, then. It would be really hard to read that and see a man unhappy with his co-creator, who also lorded it over him as his editor. A man who'd characterise him in his editorials as his closest ally, but then undermine him in negotiations with their new bosses in order to secure his own position .

Kirby, uh, Thor getting stabbed in the back by his friends

Kirby may have phoned the art-job in, or perhaps it was just mangled by a particularly lazy inking by Vince Colletta. I tend to belive the latter, as this issue was delayed a month already (#178 was a fill-in, this issue obviously follows #177 in tone and continuity - as such Kirby would have basically had an extended period to work on this issue's pencils). The guy was known for erasing large sections of detail from Kirby's work, so it's disheartening to see the splash page which is a crowd scene of a jubilant war-party returning to Asgard. It looks like only two men and a dog actually turned out to welcome them back. Even the Neal Adams cover looks rushed. In the months before, Kirby had finally been getting some decend inking on this title, usually by the great Bill Everett. Maybe assigning Vince back onto the title reflected how late Kirby handed (well, mailed) in his pages, or maybe a more petulant act by Stan. Ironically, Jack seemed fairly oblivious about the wildly varying standards of his inkers, and would later seem content with Colletta inking nearly all of his first year of output at DC.

Of course, he did half-heartedly try to poach Joe Sinnott, John Romita and Wally Wood to go with him to form a West Coast division of DC under his editorship: imagine that line up on NEW GODS, MISTER MIRACLE and THE FOREVER PEOPLE. Sweet cow of Moscow!

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

STAR WARS:ROTS review of note

Well, if you're following the "Kevin Smith for Star Wars" rumours, you'll be interested to see just how much of his blog of late has been concerned with REVENGE OF THE SITH. His review of the film ran a day or two ago, and was followed up by a report of a phone conversation with Rick McCallum (Lucas's producer of longstanding), who was wondering what Silent Bob thought of George's latest (the short version: he reckons it delivers). The link is here, dudes and dudettes.

Monday, April 25, 2005

obvious STAR WARS TV show prediction

So, there was the big STAR WARS fan expo the other day, STAR WARS: CELEBRATION, and some geek sites are going to town on the news that the television series announced in George Lucas's keynote speech is to be set "between episodes 3 & 4" and "features previous adventures of established characters". So far, I've heard predictions of a "Young Boba Fett" series (and yes, done right, that could be cool), a live-action version of the old "Droids" cartoon (highly unlikely) and a series about the relentless march of the empire (too grim).

Is it just me, or isn't it obvious that the one character who would actually have a character arc worth telling between III and IV is Han Solo? Young buccaneer, drafted into the service of the imperial forces, goes A.W.O.L.; meets young Lando, nicks his ship; meets young Chewie, frees him; meets young Boba Fett, pisses him off; meets young Jabba, works for him; has many interesting japes, loves 'em and leaves 'em ( hasn't met the woman who's his equal yet, y'see), etc. Learns the valuable lessons that'll bring him to the verge of signing up with the rebellion, despite his insincere protestations of self-interest.

I can even think of the perfect actor for the part: SIX FEET UNDER's Peter Krause. Not that he looks that much like Harrison Ford, he just shares a similar demeanour and delivery. As long as they didn't repeat the mistake of YOUNG INDIANA JONES and cast some kid with a charisma bypass, it might turn out okay. And, if they did get Kevin Smith as the show runner, it'd probably end up pretty funny, too (though that still sounds a fairly unlikely rumour - the guy is a terminally lazy dodger of deadlines, so working on such a big project might scare the baggy pants offa him).

******UPDATE******1st MAY, 2005******
Just saw Josh Hartnett in HOLLYWOOD HOMICIDE with Hank Ford. Not a great film, but realised the guy could probably pull of a decent young Han, too. The long face, the drawl. The sarcasm.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

I ♥ Kev Walker

Kev is one of my favourite "current day" 2000AD artists. He started off as a fine but unexciting painter during the Galaxy's Greatest Comic's least enchanting period - the post-Bisley Egmont years, when every Tom, Dick and Harry with a box of acrylics could get a gig there. But over time, he developed a style uniquely his own, more in keeping with the tradition of great 2000AD artists, based on a strong black and white line. Here's a sample from his painted period, compared to this sample of his later style. In the last couple of years, he's scored a few gigs in America, often softening his style for the big two (on DC's THE LEGION, and Marvel's EXILES and their foray into Heavy Metal style softcore THE ETERNAL), though he's also produced a great HELLBOY short story for Dark Horse, and I'd love to see him produce more work set in the Mignola-verse. He seems a natural fit for it.

Anyway, imagine my delight at work when I open up the pages of the Daily Mirror to see an illustration he's done for the first of Charlie Higson's new "Young James Bond" novels, SILVERFIN. Higson praises Walker for getting the character and the attitude spot-on, and he's right. In his own words: "Kev's done a fantastic job of making the Thirties look cool and exciting. The hardest thing when writing SilverFin was picturing the young Bond in my mind. We have so many different images of Bond as a man, what would he have looked like as a boy? Now I know." It's happening more and more, but it still gives me a goofy thrill when a comic book creator who's work I like finally gets some credit in the regular mainstream media. It's hard to see a movie previews show or magazine these days that isn't giving mad props (as the kids never said) to Frank Miller, for a start (it doesn't hurt that the mad old geezer gives great quotes, either).

Kev Walker's Young Bond

Saturday, April 23, 2005

and now, Der WHO-BLOGGING

Fine. Keep it up, Auntie Beeb - the trailer for the first Dalek episode looked great.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Goddammit, but that didn't take long...

My SUPERMAN theory is gaining momentum. First, word of an aerial battle between Lex Luthor and Richard Branson, now this. Look at this picture, for god's sake.

World's Gayest Superhero

That really was a lot faster than I thought it would take. Oh, and the colours look all wrong.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

sloth versus procrastination - you decide!

If I wasn't so lazy, I'd review some of the sheer tonnage of comics and graphic novels I've gotten recently. Half a dozen Grant Morrison projects. Kyle Baker's PLASTIC MAN (genius!). Miller's SIN CITY: A DAME TO KILL FOR (if you've seen/read THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE, BODY HEAT or THE LAST SEDUCTION, you probably could skip that one). The anthology PROJECT SUPERIOR (highly recommended, if only for a fantastic four page short by the always superb Paul Pope, but there's plenty more where that came from, by an amazing array of talent). Geoff Darrow's SHAOLIN COWBOY #2, which is the best damn individual comic I've read all year and should win every Eisner Award going. How issue four of Bendis's NEW AVENGERS was a hoot, and kicked the ass of issue four of Millar's ULTIMATES 2. The A/B test I ran in my head to decide which was more noir: 100 BULLETS #59 or SLEEPER SEASON TWO #10. How POPBOT READER was the best one-handed comic of the year. How SPIDER-MAN/HUMAN TORCH #3 was another slice of groovy guilty pleasure from Dan The Man Slott. That, yes, I've completely given up on getting any joy from Mark Waid's mediocre LEGION OF SUPERHEROES and Joss Whedon's over-rated ASTONISHING X-MEN, and I'm only going through the motions of buying them so I can sell the complete sets on eBay. That Bendis's SECRET WARS #4 sucked ass big time. That DC's hype generating machine COUNTDOWN TO INFINITE CRISIS sucked bigger ass even harder, with a straw?



Nah, I couldn't be bothered. I'll do it later.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

STAR WARS/ASH/NORTHERN IRELAND - We rock, you don't

Here's that link: proof of that special relationship between the good folk of Northern Ireland, and well known lover of rock, George Lucas.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Staking my claim

Continuing my leitmotif of denouncing comic book movies, let me be the first to say... the new SUPERMAN film is going to suck. A bold prediction, but give it a few months and I'll be proven so right.

Monday, April 18, 2005

I can't believe it's not butter!

And I can't believe I just got stick in person from one of my regular readers demanding I update more regularly. A whole week had gone by with fuck all posting. I must admit, it was because of my secret plan - I put a link to my eBay sales in my signature on a couple of news message boards, and hung around them all week posting on them instead, in an effort to try and drum up business. Pathetic, eh? I can't believe I wasted my creativity on other people's websites. Fuckers. The good news is, as of this week, the overtime ban at work seems to have crashed and burned, meaning I don't have to become such a horrific old shill. So, my selling will continue, but at a much more relaxed pace.

And on to business. That self-same reader glad-handed me with an amazing quality bootleg of SIN CITY. Just one problem: despite updating nearly all of my media playing programs, damned if I can get it to work with sound. Welcome to the wonderful, mysterious world of codecs. So I've just seen the most amazing silent film of my life. The quality is so high, 'cus it was lifted from a screener: an early DVD sent out by the movie makers to various big-wigs. As opposed to the bootlegs shot in an empty cinema by an enterprising projectionist with questionable ethics.

The long and short of it is, christ it rocked hard, and now I hope I can figure out how to hear it sometime soon, too. Cheers, Stevie.




********update April 24th, 2005********
Thanks for that link, dude, now I can hear it, too.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Who Blogging V.4

The thing about the new WHO, and the reason I know it's good, is that I've watched it with other people, non-long-time WHO nuts, and they love it too. So I'm not just kidding myself or riding along on a crest of hype.


This week, more stupid flatulence gags, balanced with a deep respect for the traditions of the show, more great acting and writing (even if I'm unconvinced about Russ's ability to write action, the guy still writes cracking dialogue). And I'm totally convinced now by Billie Piper. She is Rose, she inhabits her completely. Even when I sometimes find myself thinking of SHALLOW GRAVE, or THE SECOND COMING, when I'm watching Eccleston (or specifically this week, his turn as a deranged military man in Danny Boyle's 28 DAYS LATER), I can now watch Piper and not think of her dire pop career, or her past as tabloid fodder. More worryingly, I'm starting to find her simian features quite attractive.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

still blogging WHO

Quite enjoyed tonight's new DOCTOR WHO. If the previous episodes have been elevated somewhat above their humble origins by natty writing and some acting with real conviction by Eccleston, tonight's saw a fantastic turn by the fine old ham Simon Callow as Charles Dickens. Written by THE LEAGUE OF GENTLEMEN's Mark Gatiss, it has the expected mix of wit and outlandish humour from within a horrific situation you'd expect from the LEAGUE. But also, the guy realises (maybe more than Davies) that action can illustrate character as clearly as any dialogue.

To paraphrase the immortal words of Ben Grimm (okay, Joss Whedon), Dickens is Callow's signature piece. Callow has an amazing empathy with Dickens, having previously co-created the biographical play THE MYSTERY OF CHARLES DICKENS with the great Peter Ackroyd. So this synergy positively jumped off the screen, Callow getting the opportunity to play a Dickens re-energised just before his twilight.

Plus, Victorian sci-fi horror is just so right for WHO, some of my earliest Tom Baker memories seem to mix watching The Talons Of Weng-Chiang, with The Phantom Raspberry Blower Of Old London Town on THE TWO RONNIES straight after on Saturday nights in 1977. Hmm, Proustian.

Friday, April 08, 2005

like the new MARS VOLTA single

There, I've said it. The Widow, by The Mars Volta. Lovin' it.


Actually, I haven't heard anything by this much-praised band before, dunno why, just managed to avoid them, so I don't even know if this track is particularly representative of their ouevre. Doesn't sound remotely like At The Drive-In, anyway. And maybe I only like it 'cus it's got a Led Zep, Since I've Been Loving You kinda vibe to it.


Shucks, I dunno.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

some old eBay news...

Okay, so I've got some new auctions up over HERE! on eBay. But here's some old news from my last round of sales: sold some old Mike Grell GREEN ARROWs to a high profile rock star. An ex-member of SPACEMAN 3, current member of SPIRITUALIZED, if you get my drift.

No names, no pack drill.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

I am honour-bound to bring this to your attention.

If you love the work of Moebius, Alex Ross, Frank Miller, Adam Kubert, Bill Sienkiewicz, Walt Simonsen, Brian Bendis, Mark Millar, Mark Waid, Jim Lee, John Romita Jr, Richard Corben, Steve Dillon, Alan Davis, Art Adams, Barry Windsor Smith, Darwyn Cooke, Grant Morrison, Chris Bachalo, or Joe Quesada, you really owe it to yourself to visit this website.

Honestly, you won't forgive yourself if you miss out.

Monday, April 04, 2005

and, in more PEOPLE WHO PLAY GUITAR LIKE NEIL YOUNG news...

...I hear the originator of that genre, Neil Young, has had a brain aneurysm. Everyone on staff here at Bad Librarianship wishes him a speedy recovery.

What, you thought it was just one guy? Yeah, right.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

I heart DINOSAUR JR!

I knew they had some remastered/expanded reissues out (hey, some are currently sitting patiently in my shopping basket over at Amazon). But I didn't realise that the original line-up was playing some gigs together over the summer. Groovy!

I saw the Mk.II line-up play the art college in Belfast circa 1988, but here's hoping these guys play Ireland at some point soon. Hope they still despise each other, too, cus that would liven things up nicely. Otherwise, J Mascis is just some sleepy fucker who can play guitar a bit.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Saturday night: stayed in and watched TV...

...how sad is that. DOCTOR WHO on BBC1, then the live re-staging of THE QUATERMASS EXPERIMENT on BBC4. WHO was excellent again, better than last week's episode, broadened the scope of the show, dropped a few hints at a larger arc for the series, and was as glossy a bit of sci-fi as there's ever been on British telly. QUATERMASS was, for me anyway, fun. Not often that that adjective is used in connection with a typically Lovecraftian Nigel Kneale script, but seeing a bunch of young(ish) British thesps sweating it was entertaining in its own right.


As I watched it, I thought I could see a way forward for cheap, quality television: resurrect great old teleplays long thought lost by re-staging them live for modern sensibilities. I hope the Beeb follow this up by re-staging Kneale's lost adaptation of 1984, and his SF-cum-ghost story THE ROAD. There might be a few others by the man, too: depressingly, the BBC wiped most of his fifties and sixties output (not that he's the only writer who suffered this way). And I only noticed one actor fluffing his lines and looking panic-stricken: it was Brian the P.E. teacher out of TEACHERS (from back when it wuz good). Oh, and a couple of sound cues were missed, and some dialogue was muffled by dodgy mixing.


I thought going in to the play that Jason Flemyng was too young to play Quatermass, but gave him a chance - his Jekyll/Hyde was the best thing about the piss-weak (and I blame Sean Connery more than the writer or the director - his star power was horribly abused by a vain old man who obviously didn't "get" the source material, to reshape a potentially better movie that sometimes manages to rise to the surface anyway) LXG. Flemyng did as well as any actor could. Anyone in this day and age is going to sound strangely out-of-time quoting Kneale's frankly patrician, very much of the fifties, script.


So. All the fun of the theatre, without the need to deodorize or wear trousers. Sweet!

Friday, April 01, 2005

oh, how the mighty are fallen

I'm enjoying this: Rich Johnston posts a decent April Fools gag on the Millarworld boards. Mark Millar engages him in some increasingly non-lighthearted duelling. Millar's cronies gang up behind him.
 

Poor old Rich. If Millar's turned on him, it's no wonder his column is "on hiatus". He now must be persona non grata in the whole funny book creator's club. I've seen some first grade arse-licking on the Millarboards, but this is taking the biscuit. Normally these guys love Johnston, he's the hotline to the secret inner world of the comic book pro world that these dolts covet. But 'cus Millar turns on him, they must, too. It's like something out of A CLOCKWORK ORANGE.

this would make a cat laugh...

My favourite bit of comics-related news in ages: the U.S. Army wants to produce comic books to brainwash, er, I mean influence kids in the middle east into accepting George W Bush's iron rule, er, I mean help.

And now we know how the neo-cons have taken over the U.S! Arise and revolt, comic geeks of America! Allah Ackbar! Alackalackalackalacka! Durka durka.