Sunday, November 25, 2007
Saturday, November 17, 2007
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
Apologies to Americans and Torrenters, but I'm watching Heroes on BBC Three, so I'm a bit behind you lot. So this is unlikely to be a ground-breaking bit of analysis to you, but I have to tell someone, as it meant nothing to Meg, as she's never read Watchmen.
But my word, the Heroes people have. We found out tonight that Linderman, the shadowy yet successful businessman, and former member of a previous generation's superhero group, wants to save the world by uniting it in a time of crisis, a crisis he's not planned exactly, but certainly knows about, a crisis that will kill half of New York City.
When the most powerful character so far turned out to be an obsessive son of a watchmaker, I thought "ooh, a nod to Watchmen" but this is full blown homage. The creator of the show says he doesn't know much about comics, and any similarities are just coincidence. I call shenanigans on that.
Monday, October 22, 2007
Yeah, so they are going to be remaking The Thing.
Now, on one hand, there have been two very different, and very good, versions already, so there's nothing to say that they can't go back to the source material and produce a third worthwhile film. But they're not going back to the source material; it's a "companion piece" to John Carpenter's version.
Saturday, September 22, 2007
Yes, still alive, just not interesting enough to blog.
How about Halloween? I've decided I probably won't bother seeing the completely unnecessary remake. I'm a huge fan of the original, but it's not sour grapes that compels me to shun the new pretender, more that I really don't see the point. The umpteen sequels have essentially been remakes, bringing nothing new to the formula set out in the first film, and taking away plenty, and I don't see Rob Zombie managing to change that. I'll probably catch it on DVD, but I'm still hoping they'll find some way to clean up the dreadful film quality in the original.
(Halloween did get me thinking about my still-in-development God of Power Metal idea, but I shouldn't talk any more about that right now. Anticipation, and all that.)
Resident Evil 4 Wii Edition (I feel there should be a colon in there somewhere) is a remake done properly, however. The controls are a clever evolution of the series' traditional scheme, as well as being a good use of the Wiimote/Nunchuk combo, and the gameplay itself is very well designed, although it took me a while to get back into the essential mindset of how to play a Resi game (the last time for me was Resi2, which sucked up much A Level revision time). I'm not very far into it, but there's one great siege sequence which is a fine twist on the usual boss battle. Resi2 is my favourite of the series so far, but 4 is a fine entry, and could supplant its predecessor. It's also very important to see games like this done well on Wii, as it can only help to solidify the machine's credentials as a serious contender (rather than a niche alternative) in the current "console wars".
The job is also going very well, but I'm having the next week off in order to get some bits and pieces done that I've allowed myself to neglect. With luck, and if I don't spend all that time fobbing off my plans, I should have some things to show off over the next few days.
Wednesday, August 08, 2007
They let me in again. I've just had another article published at the Wii Virtual Console Archive; this one's about finding alternatives to the big role-playing game franchises like Final Fantasy.
Am I a video game journalist now?
Friday, August 03, 2007
Thursday, August 02, 2007
Right, so Transformers then. I saw it last Saturday, and half of it is great fun. The robots (or at least the Autobots; more on that later) are really well animated, and the action scenes are stunning.
But the rest of it is a bit of a mess. One doesn't expect a Transformers film to have a great plot, but at least the original wasn't full of holes like this one. Characters go missing, plot threads go forgotten, and the less said about Optimus Prime's great plan to defeat Megatron, the better. And it was quite clear that the producers didn't know what to do with the Autobots; the general impression is that Michael Bay wanted to make Earth Versus the Space Robots, but had this extra faction of good robots hanging around for which he struggled to find a role. When the big villain is defeated by the Brave US Military™ and a snotty teenager with a magical doohickey, while Optimus Prime lounges about on the ground, something's not right. One shall stand, one shall have a lie down, apparently.
Speaking of the villains, they are hugely disappointing. After making such a big fuss of dropping Frank Welker in favour of Elrond From The Matrix, Megatron barely appears in the film, although given the horrible character design (is he supposed to be some kind of evil robotic pine cone?), it's not much of a downside. The rest of the bad guys get absolutely no characterisation, and barely any lines, with the exception of Frenzy, who's apparently on loan from Jabba the Hutt's palace.
Instead of developing the, you know, title characters, Bay and chums instead populate the film with a bunch of one-dimensional humanoids who do very little of interest throughout; I'm still wondering why the Pentagon has a teenage Australian girl in their computer security division. And then there's the excessive military-porn. If you've seen a Michael Bay film before, then you know what I'm talking about. Slow motion shots of helicopters flying in front of a setting sun, slow motion shots of tough military guys getting on and off military vehicles, etc. One wonders if Bay has a Corman-esque archive of stock footage that he uses again and again for this stuff. It obviously turns him on, but does nothing for me.
Also, Bernie Mac. No.
In short, it feels like Bay was forced, rather against his will, to include the Transformers in his film, and it's difficult not to conclude that another director wouldn't have been a better choice. That said, the bits with the Transformers in (aside from the Optimus and Friends Comedy Hour™ which is truly horrifying) were really quite good, and if there were more of the Giant Robots Smashing Stuff, and less of the puny fleshlings, I would have liked the film a lot more.
Friday, July 20, 2007
I'm five years old again. I picked up Titan's new Transformers comic, just out of casual interest, only to discover a comic story written by Simon Furman and drawn by the mighty Geoff Senior. £2.99 is a long way from 24p, so I won't be getting it on anywhere near a regular basis, but my gosh it's great to see Senior drawing comics again. It was the original Marvel UK Transformers comic that got me interested in the medium in the first place, and Senior almost immediately became my favourite artist (which says a lot, as that comic had a great stable of artistic talent). His dynamic storytelling is still a huge influence on my own fumbling attempts at art even today, and I'm so pleased that a whole new generation is being exposed to his work.
Woo, and indeed, hoo.
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
I've written an article! One about something other than about comics! But I haven't strayed too far from my usual path, as games we hope never get released on the Virtual Console is typically mean-spirited and grumpy, even if the subject matter is a bit different.
Wednesday, July 04, 2007
I'm currently working through the Grauniad's 1000 Films You Must See Before You Die, and it's going to take a while, but I just wanted to note that, apparently, it is now trendy to like One Of Our Dinosaurs Is Missing.
Saturday, June 30, 2007
Monday, June 18, 2007
In the Marvel Universe of today, as a result of a lengthy and boring story that claimed to be a civil rights metaphor but was actually about Iron Man and Captain America punching each other, super-powered people in the US have to register with the government or face prosecution. Those who register get the chance to join The Initiative, an organisation that
Here are the members of The Initiative:
But wait. Who's that towards the back?
Why, it's Captain Britain, a British superhero, from Britain.
Which of the fifty US states is he representing then?
Saturday, June 16, 2007
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
Thursday, May 24, 2007
To be honest, I wasn't very impressed when I heard about this, but Meg was, so she had us go on a hunt for the book in question.
Is that Neil Gaiman and John Romita's new Eternals hardback graphic novel? Yes it is. Is that a quote from me on the back cover? Indeed it is. Is it the only quote on the outside of the book? Why, I believe it is.
It's a queer kind of second-hand fame, but I'm considerably more impressed now.
Even if they did spell "bullet" wrong. Stupid Marvel.
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
From the New York Times:
...more viewers are watching shows delayed rather than live, using TiVo and other DVRs. Research indicates those viewers are more likely to fast-forward through spots than those who watch live TV.
"More likely"? I should think so. How many people have the Matrix-esque ability to fast forward through live TV anyway?
Someone got paid, probably vast amounts of money, to "research" that...
Monday, May 14, 2007
Saturday, May 05, 2007
They drew very obvious parallels between the Time Lord regeneration process and the experiment Mr Saxon was funding. Which is no surprise, as we saw Saxon looking very ill indeed in the trailer immediately following the episode. He's obviously dying, and he apparently knows exactly who the Doctor is.
Of course he's the blinkin' Master isn't he?
Apparently showrunner Russell T Davies gives his writers a list of elements to include in their episodes. This episode's writer, Stephen Greenhorn, was given "Marvel Comics", "mad scientist", "experiment gone wrong", "supervillain", and it definitely showed in the episode. The climax was supposedly a nod to Quatermass, but seeing the Doctor defeat an enemy in a church belltower using sound as a weapon certainly evoked Spider-Man's battle with his alien costume, and not entirely because I'd seen Spider-Man 3 earlier in the day.
Which was excellent, by the by. It's got some mixed reviews, and it's not without some minor problems (Lucy Gordon's turn as an English news reporter (in New York?) was so horrible, I was sure that she had to be some Hollyoaks/girl group offshoot given a cameo rather than an actual actor), but if you don't like this film, you don't have a soul. Not as good as the peerless second film, but quite good nonetheless.
I had to laugh when a character literally blunders into a particle accelerator experiment at one point (are they still using bits of James Cameron's Spidey script?), further exemplifying that "experiment gone wrong" aspect of the Marvel Universe. One scientist unsportingly pointed out that there was someone in the machine, but his colleague was thankfully on hand with a shrug and a suitably irresponsible "it's just a bird". Wouldn't Civil War have been more sensible if the government had registered the scientists, given how 90% of Marvel Universe experiments go so badly wrong and produce all these dangerous freaks in the first place?
Friday, April 27, 2007
Sunday, April 22, 2007
They've got David Lloyd and Kate Evans (among others) in to do a talk/workshop thing on the 18th of May. David Lloyd drew V for Vendetta. Kate Evans does political activism comics, like Copse. The Festival organisers have decided that this is part of their "four-day mini festival of writing for children". Because comics are for children, of course, and the speakers they've assembled don't disprove that at all. Cretins.
Thursday, April 19, 2007
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
I really like the Wii's Virtual Console feature, where you can download old games and play them on your new shiny bit of kit. There are a lot of features I'd like to see added, however, and one of those is board game support. I quite like the idea of firing up an online game of Scrabble, Settlers of Catan, or Risk, or, as has just been announced, Talisman. Stuff like this is available on X-Box and the Playstation Network, and the technology is already in place on the Wii, so let's have it, Nintendo!
Thursday, April 12, 2007
It's one of my favourite films, but One of Our Dinosaurs is Missing has its problems, most notably the dreadful portrayal of the Chinese characters (ie, they're British actors with dodgy make-up and comedy accents), and a finale which is trying to be a kung fu sequence, but is foiled by producers that don't know how to film martial arts. So let's remake it, tone down the ethnic stereotyping, and up the kung fu action. Get Maggie Smith in to play Hettie, the lead nanny, Pierce Brosnan to play Lord Southmere (if you've seen the original, you'll know why it works to cast a Bond in the role), Chow Yun Fat as Hnup Wan (I think he's got vast reserves of untapped comedy potential), and Tom Baker in a cameo as the blustery Colonel (again, if you've seen the original, you'll know why). Off the top of my head, I reckon Robert Rodriguez or Edgar Wright would be good choices to direct.
Right, who do I write to to get this done?
Saturday, April 07, 2007
Friday, April 06, 2007
A while ago, I contributed to an anthology based on Martin Eden's superhero comic The O Men. Sadly, it never came to pass, but Martin's having another go, and the plan at the moment is for me to contribute a page to issue 2.5 of the main series. I'll be sharing space with a lot of other talented types, and you can find out more here.
I should also be working on something with Rol. I've got the script, and it's full of challenges for me, so I'm looking forward to having a pop at it. More on that later.
All of which means that I'm going to have to put some more personal projects on hold for a bit, but that's no problem.
Comics, then. It's just occurred to me that when Aunt May comes out of her coma, she's going to have forgotten that she knows Peter is Spider-Man, isn't she?
Post-Civil War you might say it's a moot point as Spidey's identity is common knowledge, but they'll either:
1) Keep her in the coma until the identity stuff is retconned, as it inevitably will be.
2) Wiggle out of it some other way (it was an imposter, etc)
3) Ignore it and hope no one notices.
I'm betting (3), because Marvel's editorial department have been a bit, shall we say, lax of late.
In other news, we finally saw Children of Men today and while it's not an excellent film, it is very good indeed. It would have been better if they hadn't been quite so broad and heavy-handed with the satire (although I accept that they may have needed to do that to get the message(s) across to everyone), and if the writers had kept their nerve and not allowed a stinking great cliché to blunder in near the end. And it's the storytelling cliché I hate the most too. Bastards.
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
Since no one has taken up my excellent suggestion of a Daredevil TV series (think about it, you can do superheroics and case of the week courtroom stuff and soap opera love triangle plotline-type things), I suppose there's no reason at all for me to point out that should someone want to do another Nick Fury movie, then Bruce Campbell would be a perfect choice for the lead role.
Thursday, March 15, 2007
There's another drawing meme going around, this time celebrating the life of Captain America, who was killed this week by a bunch of management types who never really understood him. You can see the contributions here, and mine is below.
(Click on the image for a larger version!)
So the Americans are now going to pin both the World Trade Centre attacks and the murder of Daniel Pearl on this fellow, apparently based on "confessions". I fully expect to learn by the end of the week that he was also behind the killing of JFK, the Roswell crash, and the War of 1812.
Monday, March 05, 2007
The original Transformers movie has become quite famous as my geeky brethren have taken over the pop culture agenda of the world, but there was also a considerably less popular movie outing for the Transformers' friends GI Joe. Here's the typically bombastic opening to the movie:
Of course, when I saw (and owned) it, it was under the British title of Action Force, complete with a new theme tune, less gruff and "manly" and a bit more... well, Pet Shop Boys:
Friday, March 02, 2007
Well, I've read the first issue of Bendis' Mighty Avengers, and... it's not bad. Some of Bendis' regular annoying flaws pop up, as expected, and he even develops a new one in his manic overuse of thought balloons, but on the whole it's solid exuberant fun, and it's how he should have been writing the Avengers from the start. He even does something halfway interesting with the Sentry!
Full review at Silver Bullets this coming Sunday.
Thursday, March 01, 2007
Tuesday, February 27, 2007
Oh my gosh.
Geek heaven. Of course, the image is annoyingly similar to a new version of my New Avengers picture that I've been working on, so now everyone will think I've copied it, but I can't be too angry. It's Rocket Raccoon!
Sunday, February 25, 2007
And just like that, all my spare time disappears.
Twilight Princess is fantastic. Have a look at this sequence, which almost made me wet myself with geeky delight:
Our Wii's Friend Code, should any of you want it, is: 7714 7295 2393 7107
Monday, February 19, 2007
Wednesday, February 07, 2007
Just before Christmas, Channel 4 ran through the Lord of the Rings film trilogy, and while watching the third film, something about the scene where Aragorn and his army march to the gates of Mordor struck me as very familiar. There was something about the way it was shot that reminded me of something I'd seen before.
Lacking both the skills and software to properly illustrate what I saw, I mentioned it to James, who has plenty of both. And he produced this, which is absolutely spot on:
So spot on, in fact, that it's almost as if Peter Jackson filmed the scene in this way deliberately.
Tuesday, February 06, 2007
Friday, February 02, 2007
Saturday, January 27, 2007
Monday, January 22, 2007
Friday, January 19, 2007
I hope you all had a good Chrimble or appropriate cultural variant; we had a quiet one, staying in and watching telly for the most part. And then our internet went down, but as you can see, we're back online now. Just in time for some shameless self-promotion, in fact.
If you head over to my website, you can read a short comic I did over the Chrimble holidays called More Than You Can Chew; have a look, tell me what you think. Normally, I'd now not go near a pencil for six months, but I'm going to take the plunge and do a webcomic (not only because all the cool kids are doing it). More on that later.
I also (finally!) retired my old profile picture, in favour of something more indicative of my current shambolic appearance.