Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Loved this story over at the BBC

"Former Doctor Who actor Tom Baker is to be the voice of a talking text message service for three months. He replaces BT's computerised voice which currently translates texts into voice messages on a landline. Baker, 72, who also narrates sketch show Little Britain, was chosen for his instantly recognisable voice. It took him 11 days to record 11,593 phrases and sounds which could then be broken down and reassembled by a computer to make new words. Engineers then spent five months processing the recordings so the computer would be able to recognise it and translate them into words using English pronunciation.

The service also recognises common text abbreviations such as "gr8" and will translate "xx" into "kiss kiss", while "xxxx" is "lots of kisses". BT says there are no barriers to what Baker's voice can say - including rude words. "What appeals to me most is the thought that I will be bringing good news to people whether it is a cheeky message, a birthday greeting, or just a quick hello," said Baker. "Whatever it is, hopefully my voice will bring a smile to people's faces." "

Now, who, after reading that, can't say they're tempted to use this service just to send their mates filthy messages using Tom Baker's sonorous, velvety tones?

Monday, January 30, 2006

While down the pub on Saturday...

...I borrowed some bootleg DVDs of the first nine episodes of series two of LOST (starts back on RTE next week, apparently). Didn't take too long to devour them. Good stuff - it all rattles along nicely at a good ol' pace, introduces new characters, adds another layer of weirdness to the show's over-all mythos, and trims the annoying flashbacks a tad. Groovy. This season's arc looks like it is going to be about the long-term island residents The Others, with the origins of the island, again, relegated to MacGuffin status.


A lot of the American fansites keep moaning about the addition of Michelle Rodriquez to the cast, but I'm liking her PTSD-afflicted cop character. Since a promising debut in GIRLFIGHT, she's suffered the ignominy of being the best thing in a host of really bad movies (THE FAST & THE FURIOUS, RESIDENT EVIL, SWAT, etc), and it's good to see her getting some decent material. She's got chops.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

ULTIMATE AVENGERS trailer

Really wanted to like this. Really didn't. Dammit.

Millar makes the Avengers cool again in the THE ULTIMATES comic book by removing all the corn, and replacing it with post-Bruckheimer cynicism and sadism. It works, it's regularly the best comic Marvel publishes. This was supposed to be a dead-straight adaptation to animation. Is it bollocks. Looks like they've put back all that corn, and then some more for good luck. They've even got rid of Ultimate Thor's beard. Why? Does every kid in America suffer from friggin' pogonophobia?

If we're lucky, Marvel has made some sort of Faustian pact, that goes like this: X-MEN 3 has a great trailer for a crap movie, while ULTIMATE AVENGERS gets a crap trailer for a great movie. Fingers crossed!

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Came back from pub, watched BLADE: TRINITY

It was pretty damned poor. David Goyer, as director, failed as a visual stylist (especially in comparison to Steven Norrington and Guillermo del Toro, his direct predecessors in the chair). His action sequences smack of warmed-up Wachowski-isms (slow-mo, rapid edits cut to techno, etc). The miscasting of the movie must get the hackles up of any old TOMB OF DRACULA fans: the guy cast as Drac has a neck wider than his bleedin' head, the dude playing Hannibal King grates every time he opens his damned trap and spouts another vulgar "witticism". Ugh.
This could be the movie that starts what might be known in the future as "Marvel movie syndrome": promising first movie, superior sequel, franchise-endingly dismal third flick. Watch out for X-MEN 3 and SPIDER-MAN 3, kids.

Friday, January 27, 2006

All-Star Super Podcasts

Podcasting. Not a field I've ever been that interested in, nor have I uncovered any genuine talent languishing in it, but these guys caught my eye: the great Frank Quitely interviewed by another comicbook artist, Brenden Fletcher (knowledgable, capable of asking informed questions about the process & their shared medium, clearly a fan, hilarious Canadian accent).

The annoying thing is, they keep referring to drawings, paintings and (most tantalising) sculptures hanging around Vince's studio, which (of course) we can't bloody see. Arrgh! Do the right-clicky thing and save those targets.

Part one.

Part two.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

The year ahead for 2000AD

Those boys at the great 2000AD Review have produced some more sterling work: getting the regulars for the comic to talk up some of their upcoming work. The ever-garrulous Pat Mills' work sounds good - should be fun seeing him team up again with Clint Langley, only this time on A.B.C Warriors (sounds like a marriage made in heaven - Langley's digital art on Mills' digital characters). Also interesting is the return of Pat's old Nemesis The Warlock pard John Hicklenton, who's work has been conspicuously absent from the field for years, as he battles MS.
Of course it's not all good news: Simon Spurrier is being allowed to bring back Bec and Kawl. Sweeet christmas!


And hey, their review of last year was good, too, even when I don't agree with it - always a sign of good journalism.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Minor local celeb covers comics related event, news at eleven

Today's SUNDAY LIFE features, as usual, the dire society column (well, a list of which UTV presenters got pissed, in which trendy Belfast nitespot) by Christine Bleakley, as seen hanging out of a helicopter on BBCNI's  Sky High, who'd clearly turn up at the opening of an envelope. 

Nothing strange or startling there, except this week it features the Will "William" Simpson exhibition at W5, mentioned here a week or two ago. Bonkers. Features a shot of the man himself, plus a couple of local socialites standing beside some of his paintings, with drinks in hand. Who knew local media types were so into comics? Not me. Wonder if Julian Simmonds and Pamela Balentine were there, too? Or Jamie Delargy? Maybe "Cuddly" Ken Reid? I hear Hugo Duncan is a big Richard Corben fan.   
Probably.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

FUTURAMA rumours firming up

Following up on my earlier story about FUTURAMA's possible return, Billy "the voice of Fry, Zoidberg, etc" West has posted this on a forum at his website:

"HERE'S GREAT NEWS! Here's the official word on Futurama!! David X. phoned me
about an hour ago and said that this Futurama project is a done deal! Here's the
word from DX--- There are 4 DVD movies that we'll start recording at the end of
July or August.Full feature length FUTURAMA movies. Everybody is excited to get
back together--as I am! Into the Future, Billy"


So, if you can trust the word of an actor, looks like it's go.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Dublin Comics

Half the links don't work. Bah!

Saturday, January 14, 2006

So, I accidently...

...find out that the Irish Blogs website have been linking to me, something I've been blythely ignorant of. Nice. And then, as I checked out their website, I discovered this over at I Am Chainsaw:

"Marcus at Blackwells wrote to let me know that I thought I'd let you know that
Alan Moore has agreed to host the Moorcock event we have on the 18th January.
Blackwell Charing Cross Road present an evening with Michael Moorcock, in conversation with Alan Moore. Wednesday 18 January at 7pm.Tickets £6, concessions £4, from the shop during opening hours (9.30 - 8.00 Mon-Sat, 12.00 - 6.00 Sun) or 0845 456 9876 (Mon-Fri, 9.30 -6.00)"


Groovy. Wish I could go.

Friday, January 13, 2006

ROGUE TROOPER game website up

Not much up at it yet, but it has three little Quicktime thingumies which allow you to take a 3D peek into some game environments. The CBeebies website had something similar that allowed you to nose about the Teletubbies set a while ago. That was fun, too. If you were a toddler. On drugs.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

I apologize in advance for the following POPBOT related rant


I've been making out my monthly order for my comic book retailer, and I've just noticed that POPBOT #7 is solicited from IDW. Yay! Now, I keep hearing the same two complaints about POPBOT, that it is lovely to look at but barely comprehensible, and that it (along with all other IDW products) is overpriced.


D'you know what? I've absolutely no problem understanding POPBOT. It seems to be all about the deranged inner workings of one lonely nutjob, with all the reprehensible characters within being wacky figments of his splintered mind (which, come to think of it, may or may not be a metaphor for the entire creative process). Though I also get the feeling artist/writer Ashley Wood could reject this current tack, which he only brought in an issue or two back anyway, and head off on any tangent he feels like, at any chosen moment. As such, the series is a throwback to strips like The Airtight Garage, or even Tank Girl, where the creator just makes it up as they go along, without giving a shit about "character arcs" or "story arcs" or any of that bollocks you read about in Robert McKee's crappy book that so many comic creators and editors are now scared shitless to deviate from. Pussies. If you make writing comicbooks an adjunct of screenwriting, just how long before comics are as bland as Hollywood blockbusters?


And hey, whiners, you could probably afford POPBOT if you weren't wasting all your comic spendin' money on half a dozen assorted f#ckin' dismal X-MEN spin-offs every month, you retarded Marvel zombies - now stop yer constant bloody whining about IDW's pricing over at the Newsarama forums!


I F#CKIN' LOVE POPBOT! Rant over. FOR NOW!

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

more comic booky blogging

Turns out some people whose work I like have started blogs. Hurrah!

  • Uno: the mind-bending genius that is ASHLEY WOOD. Fair dinkum ripper, you great gullah,and all that Alf Stewart stuff.
  • Dos: the poke-you-in-the-eye bravura wit that is ROGER LANGRIDGE. It's all gone boohai, you bugalugs, and all that Kiwi crap.
  • Tres: the kick-you-in-the-shins virtuosity of JAMES JEAN. I've no idea what nationality he is, so I'll lay off the lazy racist epithets. FOR NOW!

Great interview

I'm not the world's biggest Warren Ellis fan, but I've still managed to accumulate and enjoy a lot of his work. But the guy sure gives great quotes: check out this interview by Mike Avon Oeming (artist, writer, now interviewer: this cat has it all in his locker). I even dig the spot illustrations Oeming did for the piece.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

TV? Check. Sofa? Check. Fat ass? Check.

Yup, the good times are back for couch potatoes, alright. Tonight it was the new series of BATTLESTAR GALACTICA on Sky One, the new series of THE O.C. on E4, and SHAMELESS on Channel 4.


Despite an initial reluctance to embrace the idea of new BATTLESTAR (due to rose-tinted nostalgia, largely), I warmed to the "reimagining" after finally watching the mini-series a couple of years ago. Whereas the original was always scuppered by the (oxymoronic) fact that it was a light'n'breezy adventure show about the extinction of the bleedin' whole human race, the new versh takes this predicament at face value, and has came up with a diamond hard, bible black show. It reminds me, in its darkness, of all the bleak sci-fi I loved as a kid: PLANET OF THE APES, OMEGA MAN, SOYLENT GREEN, LOGAN'S RUN, even BLADE RUNNER (like Ridley Scott's masterpiece, it's often the supposedly "evil" androids who seem more vital, more alive, more human in fact, than the actual humans. A fact not lost on whoever was responsible for the casting of Edward James Olmos as Adama, I'd bet).


THE O.C., however, seems content in its slide towards losing the invention, hipness and wit that made the first series so likeable, and has now devolved into mere glossy soap. It's hard to hold out hope for a series that ties up all the loose ends of series two in the opener of series three so damn handily: murder? Never happened. The victim got better. Alcoholism? Cured with one handy trip to rehab: it's that slack, lazy, and unimaginitive. Even the pop culture references of the once-great character of Seth Cohen seem forced, out of place, like they've been airdropped in by the U.N. scriptdoctors.


I haven't expected much of the new series of SHAMELESS: I never do when so many key members of cast and crew defect upwards and onwards. But it's been damn entertaining so far. Something of a self-parody, but consistently funny none the less. So there you go: that's my Tuesday nights mapped out the for next few months at least.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Just watched LIFE ON MARS

Great stuff. Though I laughed out loud at Mark Lawson's preview of the show in last Friday's GUARDIAN: he threw in every lame-o pseud's apology for daring to like a genre programme, including the old classic "it's like Kafka, man!" No it's not. It's just PEGGY SUE GOT MARRIED meets THE SWEENEY. It's not that dark. It's quite funny. Now get over it, and move on. Though one wonders how far they can extend the central conceit of the show without becoming as repetitive as QUANTUM LEAP.

The BBC is certainly cracking on with the genre programming after the success of DOCTOR WHO, aren't they? This, SEA OF SOULS, then Nick Frost's new sitcom
HYPERDRIVE starting on Wednesday night. Are the Ruperts at Broadcasting House jumping headlong onto a bandwagon?

new CLERKS 2 trailer

Try it: mine's downloading VERRRY slowly.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Holy shit... that's me!

So there I was scrolling down P J Holden's blog CREATIVE STRUGGLING when I saw myself frowning back at me. Or, to be precise, a little cartoon me. Oh how I laughed - without even meeting, with only the photos of me up here at the blog for reference, he's pretty much captured my inner Captain Haddock. Brilliant.


I've been meaning to give PJ another plug since he started running his (dang impressive) webstrip-a-day experiment, so I suppose now's my excuse. Which reminds me: must clear the pile of DVDs off my scanner and show everyone the Joe Dredd sketch he sent me for Christmas.

As promised...


That was fast!

Friday, January 06, 2006

Great night for sitting in watching TV

Ah, two hours of Ronnie Lane greatness on BBC4, with My Name Is Earl Sky Plussed on Channel 4. Despite my man-crush on Jason Lee cooling after finding out the guy's turned scientologist (great for the career an' all but... fer fuck's sake, man!), I loved this show, with its Coen Brothers kinda vibe. Plus it's a gosh-durned MALLRATS reunion, 'cus Ethan Suplee's in it, too, playing his brother. Groovy - MALLRATS is my all-time favourite bad film.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

How not to plug your comic shop

Oh, for fucks ache. These idiots are running this moronic guerilla advertising campaign for their comic shop. Way to make all comic book fans look like drooling halfwits, dude! "Hur hurr... she's covering her boobs with a copy of INFINITE CRISIS... hur hurr..."

That's one way to alienate fifty per cent of your potential customer base. Little wonder there seems to be the distinct tang of revolution in the air from the distaff side of comic books.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Will Simpson exhibition

Could have done with pointing this out earlier, but better late than never: there's an ongoing exhibition of Will Simpson's work over at the W5 Gallery at the Odyssey (2 Quay's Way, Belshaft). It ends January the 15th, so time is tight.

And if you can grab a schoolkid from one of the in-laws and pretend it's yours, you could go to see him there on Saturday the 14th of January at "Will Simpson: drawing up a storm", when he'll "give you hints and tips on how to combine your creative energies with the forces of nature to design your own superhero!" What ever the fuck that means. However, places may be limited, so you'd probably need to ring 028 9046 7700 and check if you can book a place.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Woo-hoo!

So, being a "between jobs" actor an' all, I regularly scan the online version of trade mag VARIETY looking for career opportunities. Imagine my delight when I see this story: those moronic Murdoch-cronies at Fox may have just seen the light, recanted and are bringing back FUTURAMA. Brilliant.

As we speak, I've currently got Bender's metallic head mounted on my wall, staring down at me. If Groening wants it back, he's gonna have to offer me the big bucks.

Bender's head on my wall, five minutes ago.

Monday, January 02, 2006

apologia

Haven't been posting much of late, sorry. My skanky New Year's Day hangover ran on into Bank Holiday Monday, which was largely taken up by sitting in the kitchen watching football and darts with Bob. Which turned into watching football, darts and drinking with Bob. And now: back to work. Buggeration.