Saturday, June 30, 2007

Close, but no cigar

Damn! That thing had more endings than RETURN OF THE FRIGGING KING. And that back door exit for The Master was totally copped from Mike Hodges' FLASH GORDON.

SpecWHOlation time is nearly up.

Russell T Davies is probably the most inconsistent writer on the staff of his own damned show, but last week's penultimate episode really smacked those fanboy buttons. John Simm pitching his performance as The Master as the anti-David Tennant. That sequence on Gallifrey: the lush SFX of the establishing shot, the old style Time Lord regalia, the JK Rowlingesque notion of the academy. The CAPTAIN SCARLETT Cloudbase/S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier stylings of The Valiant. And the WHO fansites have been buzzing with speculation about how this will be resolved all week.

After watching yesterday's edition of CBBC's TOTALLY DOCTOR WHO, I've a theory about how things are going to play out in tonight's final episode, so I'd better spill it now rather than wait to be proven wrong, and my speculation becomes redundant. First, we saw a new clip of Martha and Milligan cracking open one of the "Toclafane" and being revolted. So: inside each one of these little robots is something horrifying and familiar, such as: a human brain - ta dah! Now, when the rift was opened, apparently six billion of these "Toclafane" crossed over. Where would The Master get six billion human brains? Well, there's about that many humans on Earth, so... on an alternative Earth, maybe? Such as the Cyberman Earth the Tylers are stuck on?

Well, the "Toclafane" do look a lot like little versions of the Cybermen-creating hardware from season two, complete with little blades buzzing around out of their bottoms, don't they? They fire lasers from a little armature... like Cybermen. And the last shot of Totally pulled out to a shot of... a looming Cyberman. Dun-dun-dun! And what was that The Master said last week about how The Doctor's hearts would break if he knew the truth about his new allies?

So, anyone holding out for a possible return to the series by Billie Piper in the future? Uh-ohs!

yet more Hewlett

When yer on a roll, yer on a roll, and here's some more links. The good folks over at The Drawing Board have a good compendium of all Hewlett's art Monkey project art that's done the rounds (link 1, link 2). And that bastion of good taste in comics retailing, San Fran's The Isotope, have a page full of links to Jamie's designs for a swanky (and rather pervy) club, including a range of vibrators engraved with his work. They cost $275 bucks each. Only.

I'll prove Yentob is a fanboy yet.

And on the same theme, enjoy clips and photo galleries here from next Wednesday night's documentary, IMAGINE: DAMON AND JAMIE'S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE. The video of Yentob interviewing Hewlett about his memories of the TV version of MONKEY rang a few bells. It's 1980ish. Friday, finish school, go 'round to Alfie Donnelly's and watch this mad, martial arts fable. All together now: "Born from an egg on a mountaintop..."

Friday, June 29, 2007

Ah, Pigsy!

Chen Shi-Zheng, Jamie Hewlett (both pictured above) and Damon Albarn's opera for the Manchester Festival, MONKEY: JOURNEY TO THE WEST will be heavily covered on tonight's Newsnight Review on BBC2. It'll probably get an easy ride, 'cus the panel includes rock journos John "Weller's hair" Harris, Paul Morley and Miranda Sawyer. Anyone going? Fancy writing a short review for bad librarianship?

Thursday, June 28, 2007

My name is Vince

I'm really late in linking to this, but hope some of my superstar lurkers get a kick out of this:

the re-ink Kirby's THOR challenge. It's a page of Kirby's pencils from THE MIGHTY THOR #144 in non-photostat blue, just crying out to be rescued from Vince Colletta's neglect.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Guinness is good for you

Yes, I'm a bad boy who's been neglecting his blog for a combination of over-work, binge drinking and hangovers. But here's a few links that have caught my attention of late.

1. Genndy Tartakovsky to make a SAMURAI JACK film? Yesss! I loved that cartoon, and think Tartakovsky is a master stylist who could do something truly magical in a longer format. Plus, the fan in me wants to see Jack's quest end in a definitive fashion (link via Film Ick).

2. Ash Wood relinquishes much of the art duties on IDW's TANK GIRL: THE GIFTING to Rufus Dayglo. They slipped that one out quietly, didn't they?

3. Also via Film Ick, Sam Raimi selects his dream villains for the SPIDER-MAN 4 movie he may never make. Let's face it, he probably needs all the leverage over the producers he can get. The hardcore fans may be hanging out for The Lizard, and the character may be the sort of horror-based creation Raimi would feel very comfortable with, but he's already given Dr Curt Connor's "good mentor gone bad" arc to Dr Octopus in number two.

4. Rich Johnston says he's got a mate who's read a script from the middle of season four of DOCTOR WHO and Martha Jones is still in it. So yah-boo-sucks to the minions of Murdoch, who reported that Freema Agyeman was getting the bum's rush after one series.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Oi, cheapskates!

This is currently sitting in my shopping basket at Amazon.
I'm tempted to just go and buy it, despite having read most of the original articles already. But, c'mon - that cover. Yet another retread of a classic Bolland image. No wonder the guy occasionally gets on his high horse about this constant exploitation of his work. And for a couple of grand, he'd probably have done a new 'un for the book, which as a rather important historical artifact, kinda deserves one.


You may have already heard of For Cod And Ulster. It's the chip shop of choice for Irish ironists. But thanks to the latest Popbitch, here's news of a new special on their menu, and it's an abiding image:

"New Belfast chip shop, For Cod and Ulster, has introduced a memorial George Best burger - "bird on top, beef down below" chicken/meat combination."


Wednesday, June 20, 2007

belated linking... TO THE FUTURE!

One of this blog's more controversial pet subjects is the digital distribution of comics; how to legitimise it; and how we, the readers, shouldn't think of current distribution systems with rose tinted spectacles, but with the steely cynicism of modern consumers. Phew, long sentence. As such, here's a link to a story that in time may prove revolutionary for anglophone comics (and one I should have linked to a couple of days ago, dang this laziness): DC partner up with Flex Comix.

Monday, June 18, 2007


I've got The White Stripes' ICKY THUMP on my digital turntable right now. It's easily their best since John Peel died, for sure. And, at times, their weirdest. Not that that's necessarily a bad thing.

Sounds like Jack White's taste in all things Jimmy Page has finally reached PRESENCE, too. And that's reminded me of what might have been the greatest piece of rock criticism I ever came up with and never wrote down - asked about Meg White's drumming, I replied "it's like a metronome set to John Bonham". Plus, she's like the Sphinx, only with a really great rack.

Oh, and sorry for blogging so erratically recently: blame an unlucky confluence of an annoyingly slow computer at home, real life and overtime at work.

Sunday, June 10, 2007


I've noticed that all three of the new DOCTOR WHO series tend to gain momentum as they go along, and the summer evenings get longer and longer. My reactions tend to change from "is that it?" to "ah, I see where they're going with this". And all it takes is three good episodes in a row, and all seems right with the world. BLINK was a script that had it all - dialogue to die for, proper scares, humour, intelligence beaming out of its chuff.

And last night's epilogue? Great work trying to make an entire generation of kids afraid of statues, Mr Moffat. You rotter.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

suspect device

Newsarama have an interview with Rian Hughes about his new comics retrospective up at their site. Hughes is one of the more prodigious talents to have developed from the UK comics scene: his design and typography work will be familiar to anyone with an eye for these things (I spotted his work on a limited edition Ribena carton last Halloween for starters, and every other kids book I see in the library displays one of his company's fonts).

Monday, June 04, 2007

Mark Millar has seen Jonathan Ross's STEVE DITKO documentary

Looking forward to it.

So mote be it.

Back when I was in my mid-teens, record companies were plotting to kill off vinyl albums, yet strangely, one of their policies towards that end was to sell more vinyl. They started the policy of "nice price", selling classic albums on lighter, recycled (and therefore offensive to audiophiles) vinyl. For a kid with a curiosity about the names dropped by my favourite musicians in interviews, the policy proved a revelation. I could gamble a couple of quid, and chances are I'd have my expectations exceeded. It was the foundation of my auto-didactic education in rock. I still have many records from this era, 'cus nothing beats the magic of Richard Drew's packaging design for LED ZEPPELIN III, or Mike Doud's for PHYSICAL GRAFFITI - these are just impossible to replicate at CD size. But one record I took a flutter on and didn't like was The Who's THE WHO BY NUMBERS, so I gave it to my cousin Geoff. I loved WHO'S NEXT, but this 'un just seemed too... introverted, songwriterly. Not bombastic enough for my teenage self. Plus, it contained Squeezebox, the nadir of the band's playful side (which is really saying something of the band that gave us Happy fucking Jack, Boris The fucking Spider and bleedin' Dogs). Now, thanks to Pandora playing me Dreaming From The Waist at regular intervals recently, I've given it another go. And this time I loved it. Funny old world, innit Saint? It's maybe the bitterest, most self-flagellating work in rock's entire canon (and hey, I've loved SISTER LOVERS and TONIGHT'S THE NIGHT in my time), and I can't believe I've neglected it so long.

Sunday, June 03, 2007