I continue to be equally impressed and frustrated by the collaborative DOCTOR WHO review blog BEHIND THE SOFA. For every well-written or insightful review, there's a shoddy or fatuous one. But, after I see each episode of the new series, I go back there to check out what the consensus thinking is. And it's always the same: when it comes to the famously fractious WHO fandom, there's never a consensus.
Saturday, April 29, 2006
So, I hope you've all been listening to Neil's new album, available streamed free here. Great to see one of rock's so-called "greatest generation" sticking his head above the parapets, and putting his mouth where his money is, too.
And guess what, trumpets an' all, it's easily his best work since SLEEPS WITH ANGELS at least. My first reaction when I heard the first few bars of "After The Garden"? Joyous laughter, my friends. And those damned trumpets? When you hear them ghosting Neil's big loping riffs, they make perfect sense.
Wednesday, April 26, 2006
Here. And yes, it looks like I'll buy it, then. As an added bonus, check out that killer two page spread by Bolland-alike Ethan Van Sciver of giant monkey Titano swiping out at Superman. Mental.
Okay, if I had a time machine, y'know, a really cool sexy looking one, and went back to when I was a ten year old in the stand at Stangmore Park, watching some crappy B Division match with my da, and told my cute little ten year old self that "In *ahem* twenty-odd years, the Swifts will qualify for European football, and, y'know what? They'll still have the same manager", y'know what the precocious little bugger would do? He'd laugh like a fucking drain.
Comic book royalty (and, by now, old chum of this blog) Duncan Fegredo writes: "I've just put a book out through CafePress - 178 pages of mostly unseen sketchbook material- you can find it here - http://www.cafepress.com/fegredo, and I should also have copies at Bristol".
Groovy! Now all I have to do is wait a couple of weeks, then I can go around boasting to all the girls at work that Duncan Fegredo's STUFF landed on my doormat this morning!
Ummm... maybe not.
Here's Neil Young's MySpace page: everybody should check out the video of his Showbiz Tonight interview there - it'll make you glad to be rockin' in the land of the BBC. And someone at Reprise is intelligent enough to teach Neil the basics of guerilla marketing: there's a workblog for the new album here, and he'll be streaming the entire album at his homepage in two days time. This album really seems to be catching a hell of a lot of publicity (no shit, Sherlock, what with a track called "Let's Impeach The President" an' all): hopefully it'll finish the job Steve Earle's THE REVOLUTION STARTS NOW uh, started. Getting rid of a useless reactionary dope through the power of ROCK.
Thanks to the ever-vigilant Stevie Q for some of the links.
Sunday, April 23, 2006
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
Here's the apotheosis of everything that's wrong with comic books becoming corporate America's ideas lab of choice for the movie industry: becoming infected with all that's most wrong, evil, and corrupt in Hollywood. Ugh. Fight the power, people. Fight the powers that be.
***update: here's that dozy get Joe Quesada goin' on about how product placement in comics is actually a good thing. Ah, thanks Joe: and there was me mistakenly thinking it was actually the most skin-crawlingly awful idea ever.***
Monday, April 17, 2006
Here. And I foresee myself spending a lot of money that month. Stuff I normally wouldn't touch with a bargepole becoming tempting, like Grant Morrison taking over BATMAN. J.H. Williams III drawing DETECTIVE. A Supergroup of beloved old 2000AD hands Garth Ennis, Colin Wilson and Gary Leach on BATTLER BRITTON. Ennis and Carlos Ezquerra on A MAN CALLED KEV. The final issue of ELRIC: THE MAKING OF A SORCEROR by Mike Moorcock and Walt Simonson. And that's just the tip of the iceberg. Oh lordy. Plus the usual stuff I'll get anyway: 100 BULLETS, ALL-STAR SUPERMAN, etc. And there's some great cover art on books I won't be buying, too: that LONE WOLF & CUB pastiche on CATWOMAN #57 raises a laugh - y'see, that's what Adam Hughes is capable of when he's not churning out tacky old cheesecake (see also: his great, recent, STAR WARS art).
Just when I'm starting to think this is a slow news month for the kinda crap I write about, along comes Neil Young, bless his flannel shirts, with news of a new l.p., LIVING WITH WAR. In a line of ticker tape news running along the bottom of his home page "Neil's Garage", he says: "I just finished a new record, ...a power trio with trumpet and 100 voices, ...recorded earlier this month, ...I think it is a metal version of Phil Ochs and Bob Dylan, ...Metal Folk Protest?" Anyway, the ticker goes on to give a list of thank-yous and credits that list the band on this project as two veterans from Neil Young And The Restless, a.k.a "The ELDORADO band", Chad Cromwell and Rick Rosas. If this project is half as vital as that (career-best) Japan-only mini-album, it'll be the best thing he's done since RAGGED GLORY. The ticker ends with the lyrics from the title track, a suitably impassioned piece of Neil's signature naive doggerel. But I don't care, 'cus as I'm reading it, I'm hearing the ridiculously big guitar sound of "Heavy Love" and "Cocaine Eyes" in my head, and ooooh yes, I've got the old Neil Young horn again.
Now don't let me down, you hairy old hippy.
...I saw DOCTOR WHO on Saturday. It was alright. It's becoming true that the ones Davies writes himself are usually the weakest - it was too repetitive, too smugly referential to the first series, a sure sign of believing your own hype. It lurched wildly in tone and structure, leaving gaping holes in character consistency and plot. I find myself pretty much in agreement with the review here. Anyway, it was saved (...just) by some decent acting, nice design work, Davies' fidelity to his recurring themes, the odd line of killer dialogue ("I'm a chav!" "That's textbook enigmatic", etc), and the fact that the trailer for the next episode looked absolutely kick-ass (a slo-mo shaolin wirework display that takes the piss out of the BBC1 idents, and some werewolf visuals as good as any seen on TV before - they certainly make BUFFTY THE DRAGON SLAYER's attempts look particularly crap). Plus, the ever-trustworthy Charlie Brooker's already seen it and he says it's great.
And in the style of the previous post, here's the cover of a very expensive book from DC - THE ABSOLUTE DARK KNIGHT: "Hailed as a comics masterpiece, Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns -- and its equally provocative sequel The Dark Knight Strikes Again -- get the oversized Absolute treatment in a giant one-volume, slipcased edition!" "This Absolute edition features an extended sketch section from The Dark Knight Strikes Again with commentary by Miller, a look at the plot and pencils from the legendary finale to The Dark Knight Returns, a new introduction by Miller, striking new cover and slipcase art by Miller, and more." (quotes from Amazon.com)
Shame the extras will probably tend to skew towards the sequel, a lesser, sloppier (but still damned funny) work. And that's a great cover: Batman knocking big, bloody, lumps off somebody with his fists. If that absurdly macho image doesn't define Miller's work on the character, I don't know what does.
Oh, and here's a cover we could claim as something of a companion piece: Wonder Woman's boombastic arse from the delightfully mentalist ALL-STAR BATMAN & ROBIN THE BOY WONDER #5. And look where he's signed it. Pervy aul sod.
Wednesday, April 12, 2006
Here's a fun image from the upcoming (twenty five cents) anniversary comic coming up from Dark Horse. The solicitation text: "By Arthur Adams, Sergio Aragonés, Bob Burden, Paul Chadwick, Adam Hughes, Frank Miller, Tony Millionaire, Cary Nord, Eric Powell, Stan Sakai, Matt Wagner, Chris Warner, Joss Whedon and others, cover by Mike Mignola. Eric Powell draws Star Wars, Adam Hughes draws Hellboy, and Joss Whedon makes his artistic debut -- that's just a smidge of what's included in this 25-cent gift to all the fans who've supported Dark Horse Comics through our first twenty years!
Dark Horse Comics is proud to present Dark Horse Twenty Years, a collection of original art by a distinguished list of Dark Horse creators, past and present. Every page holds a different piece, each showcasing a character from the company's history of great original and licensed properties. Instead of drawing their own creations, these jaw-dropping talents have traded characters, each offering an unexpected take on one of the icons of Dark Horse.
Legends of comics drawing the characters you'd never expect. You won't see this much talent in the same place for another 20 years!"
Sounds like it's well worth twenty five cents of anyone's money. Fingers crossed for Frank Miller drawing Drinky Crow!
Friday, April 07, 2006
Apparently, both legendary cartoonist Alex Toth and the great Chris Claremont are unwell: Toth has been in hospital for several weeks, and Claremont, after being overcome by exhaustion recently at a conference in Italy, was diagnosed with cardiac stress. Here's wishing both men back to health as soon as possible: Toth (for all his legendary cussedness) is one of the greatest ever, and Claremont is simply the man who turned Marvel comics into the mutant-powered juggernaut it has been since the mid-seventies.
Wednesday, April 05, 2006
HOT FUZZ videoblog #3 is up here, and it's the best one yet 'cus it focusses on role-model-for-a-generation Nick Frost. Plus, Simon Pegg actually is funny in this one, doing a SEAN OF THE DEAD-style stumble out of his trailer.
And in freakier-deakier news, Film Ick has ran this revoltin' image of Pegg cameoing in Mission Impossible 3, seen here with a deranged member of a ridiculous cult, and that guy out of PULP FICTION.
Monday, April 03, 2006
...apparently being shown before the abominable ICE AGE 2. Hope it's a damn sight better than that new episode Sky ran on Sunday, 'cus that was shit! Bring back Conan O'Brien!
Update! According to a rumour posted by "Krusty's nephew" over at AICN, the movie features "the return of all the original cast and writers", and has a plot revolving around "a goof by Homer at the power plant results in the government putting a dome over the city limits of Springfield". And thar ya go.
Oh, and a second, internet only (ie coarse as fuck) trailer for CLERKS II can be found here.
Saturday, April 01, 2006
The BBC held a glittering showbiz launch for series two of the new DOCTOR WHO last week, and I've been wondering when the reviews would start leaking out. Here's the first one I've seen so far. But I dug a little deeper and found out the broadcast date of the first episode here, and this BBC report of the press launch (biohazard warning! May try and encourage you to link to REAL Audio content - we don't want no steenkin' Real Player!). And this interview. Not that I'm getting all over-excited or nuthin'. Not me, I'm way cool.
I've been away from the internet for a couple of days, thanks to working late, watching tv, and hard drinking (camera phones were involved: see image, left). Anyway, when I checked in at the chief press release and bum-washing centre for comics, aka Newsarama, I was highly amused to see this: Paul Levitz discussing the recent massive bump in sales for the V FOR VENDETTA trade paperback. I was most amazed at how both the interviewer/bum-washer and Levitz failed to reach the most obvious conclusion: every review of the movie has basically stated the superiority of the source material as a thoughtful, original piece of storytelling. Given this, who wouldn't decide to skip going to the cinema, and instead log in to Amazon and shell out a tenner for the book? Note also how the journo fails to press Levitz for anything like a decent answer to author Alan Moore's recent criticisms of the film and the publisher. Poor.