Thursday, July 31, 2008

Brian Bendis is the new Chris Claremont

"Brian Braddock has picked up two plum mounts in the big jumping races at Trentham on Saturday"! What the fu*k is he on about?! Isn't at least one of the toadies who hang around his messageboard a Brit? The only animals racing in Trentham are monkeys! Trentham race course is in fuc*ing Wellington! So who is he now, Captain f*cking New Zealand?! And what the *uck is a "jumping race"?! Something deadbeat dads do on fuck*ng Sports Day at their kids fuckin* primary school?! Does he mean national hunt racing? More like national *unt racing! And "plumb mounts"? Don't get me started!

Hold on...

...there's something not quite right here...


...oh aye! Where's Dr Manhattan's swingin' meat and two veg gone?

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Kill the wabbit!

HULK VERSUS THOR. Utterly unauthentic. Daft as a brush. Kids should love it.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Blistering barnacles!

Russell T Davies and Diamond Dave Ten-inch just popping back to remind you that DOCTOR WHO can still be the perfect kids' show.

But I really can't look at Tennant's big black dots of eyes looming over me without immediately thinking of Herge. Cheers, McDaid.

Be seeing you...

Just got an e-mail from some PR company banging on about their viral marketing campaign for the new version of THE PRISONER. I really dunno what it would take to get me excited about this, though. Paddy McGoohan coming around to reassure me personally with some form of cash bribe?

Comin' up, comin' up, comin' up, IT'S DARE!

Every now and then, that nice Jog guy reviews a comic, and goes and says everything that I think about it, and I link to it and say cheers for doing that, glad I didn't have to. This time it's DAN DARE #7.

I'll add two things: one, Gary Erskine, despite whatever nerves he confessed to having about this job at the start, did it brilliantly, and gave us a new way of drawing Dare that is suitably iconic without being in thrall to the past. Something old hand Dave Gibbons confirms with his faithful version of Erskine's Dare on the cover.



And two, I couldn't get through an issue with getting a lump in my throat or tearing up: for this series, Garth Ennis, the cynical old git, brought the heroic in spades. As I've said elsewhere before, it's surprised me since TROUBLED SOULS in CRISIS that a Northern Irish Catholic of his generation has portrayed the men and women of the British Armed Forces with so much empathy throughout his career. I know it shouldn't, but it does. It's one of the reasons I rate him so highly - he's transcendent of the petty crap so many of our countrymen revel in.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

More San Diego bits and bobs

I fell asleep last night in a sitting position at a party. Neck's sore. Typing=bad.

Anyway, FINAL CRISIS #3 will make you cry, apparently. And Neil Gaiman is going to write BATMAN. Shitting heck. And normally I fear and distrust cosplayers, but I'll allow this 'un.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Pearls before swine.

You might have guessed from previous entries here that I don't really rate David Mack. I'm not one for baiting, starting fights or name-calling, so we'll leave it at that. But I loved this quote from io9's SDCC coverage, because it basically tells you what you could have already guessed: the Marvel zombies attending just might be a bunch of cultureless thickos. Hold the phone, what was I just saying about baiting, starting fights and name calling?

"The announcement that led to confused silence was Electric Ant, a new five-issue adaptation of the Philip K. Dick story of the same name by Kabuki's David Mack and Pascal Alixe that launches in November. After a quick explanation of who Philip K. Dick was to a subdued audience, Marvel's Jim McCann added that Paul Pope would be providing covers... to a surprising lack of reaction from the audience. When your audience has to be told to applaud, I'm sure that that's not a good sign."

Oh for grud's sake. Phil Dick and Paul Pope, people! Come on!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Hell came to Birmingham, and nobody noticed.

A closer look at Brian Braddock's new costume. Still haven't warmed to it: it's just a little bit too much like Union Jack's. And it's a little bit pervy-lookin', what with a big aul' arrow pointed directly at his John Thomas an' shit.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

WATCHMEN go emo.

Just thinking out loud here, but have any comicbook movies ever had a great soundtrack, bar John Williams' for Donner's SUPERMAN? I know Burton's BATMAN had that great Elfman overture, but it also had Prince at his nadir hacking out crap like Batdance. Since then, I remember most as having nondescript orchestral work, lathered with plenty of bad metal over their various end credits. The SPIDER-MAN 3 album was reasonably good, but bearing in mind I gave up on that movie after about forty minutes, I don't even know if any of the better songs on that collection even made it onto the film. Is there a montage in it somewhere of Spidey making goo-goo eyes at Gwen Stacey to the strains of The Flaming Lips?

Anyway, I read this tonight and scratched my beard. Zack Snyder discusses WATCHMEN's soundtrack with MTV. Lordy.

In other news, I bought a Telecaster on Ebay tonight. Korean, cheap as chips, but with a damned cool two P-90s array. This purchase was heavily influenced by watching a live set by Carbon/Silicon on satellite TV the other day. A bunch of old geezers enjoying themselves, making a helluva racket, with seemingly no expectations at all. I can relate to that.

See Hewlett's MONKEY in action. Hur-hur-hur.

Saw this on BBC2 tonight, and thought "I bet some enterprising soul's already got this up on YouTube", Und dey diiiid. Who do I have to kill to get an entire movie of this stuff?

Grand Moff Talking.

io9 have a big ol' exclusive interview with Steven Moffat up here. He plays his cards close to his chest, rightly: no great revelations about changes in tone or philosophy from the RTD era. But I want to believe, dammit!

Anyone who uses the term "Nerd Prom" to describe SDCC is a self-loathing c*nt.

It's traditionally the biggest weekend of the year for comics news, and that weekend now seems to start on Wednesday. The first big stories are guaranteed to please Sean Witzke, anyway: Darwyn Cooke to adapt Richard Stark's Parker novels; and the announcement of volume 2 of THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Like a baby's arm holding a Lawgiver.

£3.oo at Asda: Judge Dredd boxers. Uh, just what I always wanted.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Links O' WHOness.

I was reading Saturday's Guardian TV guide today at lunchtime, and came across this: a survey of the nation's Sky+ habits, which tells me in cold statistics exactly what I'd previously just thought was true. Everyone loves DOCTOR WHO now, and that's why nobody involved with the show cares about moaning fans of *ahem* a certain age. There could be twenty thousand bloggers crying into their Tom Baker scarves about the inconsistencies in the scripting these days, but they would be as flies on the windscreen of a juggernaut.

Also: The Daily Mail is stressing the nationalistic angle of Steven Moffat taking the WHO job. Oh aye. Plucky Scottish writer jilts American and New Zealand superstar directors pet (Belgian) project in order to keep British TV institution ticking along. Jings, jolly good show, etc.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

'Couple O' Links.

Matt Badham's latest wheeze: Send Alan Moore A Fiver.

I am a grumpy old man, hence my response to the FPI blog's link to Empire Magazine's "50 Greatest Comic Book Characters" feature. I've got a good point in there, somewhere, hidden behind clumsily-phrased sarcasm ("One: god, but “list journalism” is lazy. Two: why should anyone put any credence in a movie magazine’s list of what they reckon are the 50 top comic book characters? It’s not unlike the NME publishing a list of its fifty favourite architects. You’d think comics and movies are joined at the damned hip, these days, or sumfin’. Sod that.")

*And the links can't stop!* SFX magazine's interview with Alan Martin, Rufus Dayglo and current Tharg Matt Smith about SKIDMARKS kicking off in the Megazine. Matt does mention something which popped into my head the first time I heard about this marriage made in Oxford: the possibility of Tank Girl and Judge Dredd sharing a cover together. Hmm, who could they possibly get to draw it?

Up with this sort of thing.

I'm one of those soft shites who believe comic creators can aspire to more than churning out work for hire. So I liked the sound of this: Standard Attrition, a group blog by a bunch of Vertigo staples including Jason Aaron, Brian Wood, Brian Azzarello, Cliff Chiang, David Lapham, Jock, and G. Willow Wilson.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Nice!

New reader Dave "100 fu*king BULLETS" Johnson sends along his latest cover for THE PUNISHER (#61, if yer counting). Dave's is still the only comic art I've ever given as a wedding present.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Get yer WATCHMEN trailer!

The news just keeps on coming. Doctor Manhattan, Mars, annoying Billy Corgan soundtrack, this has got the lot.

The Cream Of Tank Girl


Team Tank's Rufus Dayglo leaks more info on the big ol' hardback over here.

More Bondage.

Philip Bond will be flogging these limited edition prints at SDCC. Groovy.

Artoons detuned.

Long time, no Brendan McCarthy on Bad Librarianship. Let's fix that, eh?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Banana pudding.

Spent this morning on the picket line. Good craic. Spent this afternoon looking for someone who'll ship this colour of cellulose paint to Northern Ireland to me. I've an old Fender Musicmaster bass, and I intend to replace the dreadful polyurethane paint job some hack gave it god knows when, with something more authentic. Something more like this. That's a good looking example. Mine's a stranger instrument: the serial number on the neck plate dates it to 1971-72, the number on the headstock dates it '78-79. The hardware and electronics are dreadful - this model was an infamous hodge-podge of parts knocking around the Fender factory, and under the cover lies a six-pole piece bloody guitar pickup that steadfastly refuses to report back the frequencies coming from the low E-string. Pointless, dumb, lethargic magnetic metaphor for the guitar industry of its era.

But (holy moley!), look at the prices even this awful relic of Fender's lowest point are going for these days! When I was a kid, the 1950s guitars of Fender and Gibson were seen as the holy grail; the early '60s ones were just about still obtainable if you had plenty of eff-oldin' money; the late '60s were seen as past the peak, the start of the long slide, but you could probably afford them; and the '70s stuff was regarded as shit to be avoided, until the point in the early-to-mid '80s when Japanese manufacturers like Tokai scared the U.S. giants from their slumber. My first electric was a Tokai Love Rock. Great guitar, still have it. Paid for it with money from my first job as a 16-year old student. When I came into a few grand (insurance compo, after a traffic accident) when I was at college, I bought a 1967 Fender Jazzmaster in Candy Apple Red. It was, uh, heavily worn: but these days people pay thousands to have a new guitar beat-into-crap by the custom shop and then call it a "relic finish". I sold it a few years ago and doubled my money. Nice. But even then, it was a post-CBS guitar. When I bought it, collectors would have regarded it as unworthy of their attention. I loved it, and only sold it to clear some debt. *Sniff* I bought the Musicmaster for fuck all squared. It's a piece of crap, but I wanted a short-scale bass at the time, and didn't really care what it was, as long as it was easier to play than the Precision copy I was then using. It weighed a friggin' ton.

So now, when it just might be worth my while to sell the Musicmaster and make a few squid, I find myself torn between doing a tasteful restoration job and flogging it on to some poor sucker; or just making it playable as a working instrument, sod any notion of authenticity (because in its "authentic" state, it's bloody awful) and keep it - stick a new pickup in it, maybe a new bridge too. In other words, redeem its ass and put it to work.

After all, three guys in a shed can't all play guitar - someone has to pull a Macca, fall on their sword, and play the damned bass. And I'm the only one who knows the major pentatonic scale.




Here's the Flaming Lips goofing around in their shed (via Sean). A much more Sci-Fi shed than ours. They're playing Belfast next month, but it's still touch-and-go whether I see them: they play the day after I return from Stevie's stag weekend, and I fully intend to be hung over/jet lagged/at death's door that day.


The Flaming Lips Rehearsing from Irreversibility on Vimeo.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Even Eva Mendes' knockers won't save you now, Mr Miller.

Trailers. Must be San Diego or somethin' soon.

Seen this? Looks bloody awful.

Seen these? The HULK VERSUS WOLVERINE looks alright, given Marvel's track record with animation, and using something resembling the original John Romita/Herb Trimpe Wolverine design is a fun piece of fan-bait, but "Teen Iron Man" looks like something of a abomination. Typical of the animation industry - gut a license of anything resembling personality in order to water it down for as young an audience as possible, in the hope of flogging more toys.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Jazz is my life.

I'm currently on holiday, except for Wednesday and Thursday when I shall be on STRIKE!

Today was spent in a shed in the middle of an orchard, playing guitar far too loudly for a man of my advancing years, with some old friends. Hence the blisters and metallic-grey callouses on the fingertips of my left hand, and the hangnails on my right, and the welt on my forearm where it rested along the body for far too much Johnny Ramone-style strumming. And the side-stitch I took from laughing so hard. Naturally, we've vowed to do it again soon. Maybe next time I'll even remember to take my camera.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Dark Horse Solicitations are out: or, Mark's monthly excuse to run some Mike Mignola art

BPRD: THE WARNING #4, and there's Johan, doing what comes naturally to the Germans, playing it for laughs. Also - looks like The Lobster is going to turn up again.


And hey, here's a turnip for the boots - as Scott Allie hinted at not too long ago, a hastily scheduled Mignola-drawn Hellboy one-shot, IN THE CHAPEL OF MOLOCH. Groovy.

Monday, July 07, 2008

No, really...

There's a wacky DOCTOR WHO rumour over at the latest LYING IN THE GUTTERS: Tom Baker to make an appearance in the 2010, first Moffat-produced, series. I'd feel inclined to laugh this off, if it wasn't for the fact that Rich has a tendency to be proven correct on this kind of stuff. Anyway, the idea fills me with equal proportions of glee and outright dread.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Jimmy Bong.

Spent a goodly portion of today avoiding real work (and Wimbledon) by watching ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE on ITV1, again, this afternoon. As I've said elsewhere, best ever Bond music, best ever Bond female lead, best use of locations, and as Sean noted, no Bond kicked the crap out of people like Lazenby until Craig. Beautifully shot, too.

It's been quite a Bond-themed few weeks for me, as I've both been reading my way through Charlie Higson's Young Bond novels, and read Sebastian Faulks' DEVIL MAY CARE. Faulks does a spot-on Fleming impersonation, hence the unwieldy billing of "Sebastian Faulks, writing as Ian Fleming" on the cover. Faulks only really has one extra trick up his sleeve, loading scenes in Persia, Afghanistan and Russia full of dramatic irony for a post-Cold War, post-Operation Iraqi Freedom, audience. To be honest, I'm enjoying Higson's books more. I thought it'd be impossible to do Bond justice in a kid's book, but the author formerly known as Swiss Tony does a great job of setting up likely psychological reasons for all Bond's adult attitudes and vices, alongside rattling yarns that provide lots of Flemingesque characters, locations and set-pieces, without being mere pastiches, for a post-Rowling audience. Any Bond fans who've so far avoided these through a similar prejudice could do worse than pick up BLOOD FEVER and give it a go.

And to sum up...

Okay, we all knew there wasn't to be a regeneration. The whole point of the year of hiatus was to facilitate Tennant staying, after all. That said, I have definitely had enough of DOCTOR WHO seasons that end with shots of Dave Ten-inch standing at the TARDIS console, looking dis-console-ate. Oooh, I've saved the Future Earth from Daleks/Present Earth from Daleks and Cybermen/A hastily botched alternative Earth from The Master/All flamin' reality from Daleks (delete as neccessary), but I'm still all alone. Let's find some new tropes, before we all get bored. Even the kids who are still eating this stuff up, oblivious to us oldies, rolling our eyes behind them.

Other than that, fair enough. When the second-last episode of the series was so everything bar the kitchen sink, it's only fitting that the last episode is everything plus the kitchen sink. With the role of the kitchen sink being played by K-9. Good dog.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

THE MEG: now with added hefty wallop.

As a general rule, I try to avoid comics messageboards because I'm a full-on misanthrope who abhors the braying of fools who just aren't me. Poor sods.

I did, however, check this out because it directly affected me in the pocket area: the issue of the JUDGE DREDD MEGAZINE that features the start of the mucho-anticipated TANK GIRL: SKIDMARKS, #275, also comes with a hefty wallop of a format change. The hit-and-miss reprint series, EXTREME EDITIONS, is being folded into the Meg, which will now come bundled with a 64 page "mini-trade", at a price of £4.99. Being a top civil servant living high on the hog, I can live with the price hike, but can also see how this'll put off other long-time readers, who will probably already own the material being reprinted in some form or another.

But I can also see how that's a lot of comics for the price, and that the proposed reprint material could appeal greatly to non-regular 2000AD buyers: the first "mini-trade" (I'm quite curious to see how those'll be packaged) is a collection of Jock's Dredd work, which I can highly recommend, and later editions include SNOW/TIGER, a military/espionage thriller by Andy Diggle and (the still-criminally-under-rated) Andy Clarke, which should go down well with an audience familiar with the work those three have produced for DC.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

WHOspeculation.

I don't think anybody really expects a proper, full-on, bye-bye-David Tennant, regeneration next Saturday, do they? But the fact that there's a little element of doubt sneaking into your mind tells us that ol' RTD has played a blinder, this time.
Discussing this elsewhere with the usual suspects, I made the point that casting a new lead for DOCTOR WHO now requires the actor to come from a rather select group: British actors who are borderline movie stars (like Eccleston and Tennant), who still seem comfortable taking jobs in TV. So, in no particular order, we've got:

Bill Nighy (nearly got the job over Eccleston, apparently); Robert Carlyle (has been asked about it in the press before, and refused to rule himself out); Idris Elba (recently did that Alexander McCall Smith thingy with the BBC); Chiwetel Ejiofor (hasn't done much TV for a few years, though, but does seem to do a lot of SF); James Nesbitt (ruled himself out after rabid reaction from fans when his name came up after JECKYLL, around the time Steven Moffat was first rumoured to be taking over as show runner); Jack Davenport (again, an actor with lots of previous with Moffat, looked great swashbucking through rainforest at the climax of the otherwise-atrocious PIRATES OF THE CARRIBEAN 2, and was in one of the last great UK SF TV shows, ULTRAVIOLET with WHO alumnus Joe Aherne and... Idris Elba); John Simm (who's rather shot his bolt, there); and David Morrissey (who's currently filming the next WHO Christmas special, working out of a trailer marked "the other Doctor", curiously).

I'm sure there are a few more I've forgotten about. Any suggestions?

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Sketchbook Shenanigans pt IV.

I cornered the great Warwick Johnson Cadwell for a contribution to the I LIKE BOTH KINDS OF COMICS, KIRBY AND DITKO sketchbook right here, in the comments after I posted Dan McDaid's pair of entries. It didn't take too much cajoling, and here it is.

WJC offered up an example of what is becoming a real trademark of his, the highly unlikely multimedia mash-up (see also: his Hellboy/Bedknobs And Broomsticks crossovers, or this insane escalation of evil - what's worse than Davros? Davros and Hitler!): so get ready for... Steve Ditko's The Creeper versus Rondo Hatton's The Creeper! Embiggen for maximum coolness!