Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Photo Diary

O frabjous day! The Stuff of Legend 2 finally arrived.

And then this happened. Which I was 90% expecting, having read the Amazon reviews. So it is going back, but I will be ordering another copy now that Th3rd World Studios have announced that the binding issue has been resolved. The good news is that the story was excellent and there will be more volumes.

My friend gave me Invincible volumes 1-7 to read and I'm really glad I haven't bought them myself :) It's okay, but not at all gripping in any way; if I had purchased the first volume there's no way I would have bought the second.

Reading these at the moment. Gardening fixation still present, although I haven't actually got round to doing anything, understand. Amberville is a novel by Tim Davys. It's set in a noirish, surreal world of stuffed toys, where rumours of his name on the Death List- which lists tatty toys to be collected by a mysterious van and taken away- lead the shady Nicholas Dove to put the lean on his old employee Eric Bear to find the list and remove his name from it. Really enjoying this.

Um, random picture of the Justice League poster in my wardrobe

Watched the match between Nadal and Del Potro on Monday which was excellent, lots of great points. Rafa eventually prevailed and will play Mardy Fish later today. I'm working til 7 though, may have to watch at work. . .

Saturday, 25 June 2011

The Link-up: Powers, Pinocchio and a dancing dog

Above comic taken from a brilliant site that outputs a great series of animal comics contributed by various artists and writers on a bi-monthly basis

Richard over at Forbidden Planet further feeds my current obsession with twisted children's tales with an excellent review of Pinocchio by Winshluss:

The mainstream wades into the debate over DC's decision to restore Barbara Gordon as Batgirl-

Powers adds to the glut of comics being transferred to screen- still pissed off about that absolutely abysmal ending. Leads have been cast-

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Disgruntled, from Dreighton

I cannot believe I am STILL waiting to read The Stuff of Legend: The Jungle. Having originally ordered it from Amazon and them taking the piss in delivering time, I cancelled the order and placed one with Forbidden Planet (having never used them before). Boy, was that a mistake. It's been over two weeks and still fuck all. Finally contacted them yesterday and was told they were waiting on stock replenishment and that my order should be dispatched within the next few days. Well, how about you fucking inform me of the fact?! Talk about shit customer service. Very, very annoyed.

I Kill Giants

I promised myself when I started this blog that I would only post when I felt like it and not let it become something which I felt I *had* to do. Bit busy with Wimbledon, work and wedding season at the moment, so it may just be mainly picture posts for a while. I have to share this short review of I Kill Giants though, as it's absolutely brilliant.

Written by Joe Kelly
Illustrated by JM Ken Niimura

I bought this book as it has been rated excellent on Amazon -nine 5* reviews- and after reading through them I was persuaded to buy it. The story centres around Barbara, an 11 year old girl who kills giants. Barbara has a giant-killing hammer called Coveleski and is preparing herself for the upcoming giant invasion. The problem is nobody apart from Barbara can see the giants- are they a fantasy woven from her imagination as her family and schoomates think, or  is there something deeper at play?

This is an excellent example of a book that  successfully strides the adult/child audience. I'm not a prude or anything, but it's a bit of a pet peeve of mine when books which are clealry targeted towards children are just obviously not suitable for them. This comic manages to be  intelligent, interesting and entertaining whilst simultaneously dealing with some grown-up (for want of a better word) themes. I would have no qualms about giving it to a child to read.

The art is in black and white and while I will always prefer colour comics- for me one of the defining characterstics of comics is to have pictures in colour, I  am now able to appreciate some black and white comics also (abhor the woodcut style though). The best compliment I can give this book is that it is quite similar to Pan's Labyrinth in that it straddles the line between fantasy and reality, but is not as dark in tone. Highly recommended.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Spiders don't like bats. Who knew?


Mwhahahahahahahahahha. Because I just can't bring myslef to like the permanently adolescent Spidey. All he does is whinge and moan, whinge and moan, whinge and moan. Life's tough, take a cue from Bats and just get on with it dude. Or you know, internalise. Also there's only room for one wise-cracker in my heart and that's Dick Grayson, bitch.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Lucky Penguin in top hat

When I went up to the staff room at break today, I found this little guy stuck on my locker amongst all the other pictures:

Lucy drew him for me as a little cheer-you-up because apparently I have been a 'grumpy-guts' the past couple of days. Which brings me to the question- how could she not have noticed that I'm like that ALL THE TIME.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Beasts of Burden to be adapted into an animated film

So Beasts of Burden by Ewan Dorkin and Jill Thompson, one of my favourite comic books of last year, is to be made into an animated film. Andrew Adamson, who produced Shrek and The Chronicles of Narnia, will be adapting it. It's a funny one, becuase in my opinion, the book is definitley not for children- amongst other things, it features the drowning of kittens, animal mutiliations, possessions, and the burying alive of a dog (see picture below). It's a fantastic comic- harrowing, moving and humorous, but I don't see how they can adapt stories which have such obviously dark themes into a film which I assume will be aimed at kids. If you haven't read it yet though, you should go buy it now, as well as the excellent Hellboy team-up one-shot.

Monday, 13 June 2011

Good Dog, Bad Dog

Now that I've managed to get my scanner working (sort of), I thought I'd share my favourite page from a fantastic kid's comic called Good Dog, Bad Dog by Dave Shelton. It's great to have a kid's comic without dark subtones or adult themes and issues, just really decent fun and writing. Published by the DFC library.

DC's re-boot and the Bat-family

Dick is going back to being Nightwing.
WTF?  This is, what, the second time that Dick has been Batman only to be told to piss off back to being Nightwing because his services are no longer required. It's such a low move. I understand Bruce is the original Batman and you don't really want to deviate  from that (unless you want to cash in by having Grant Morrison 'kill' him in the crappest way possible), but I fail to see why they couldn't keep him as a Batman and just give him a separate book. One of the best things to come out of R.I.P and it's aftermath was the pairing of Dick and Damian. The dynamic of Damian having Dick as a substitue father-figure gave the realtionship a new dimension and something that actually worked. Dick Grayson is an amazing character-  do something amazing with him, God knows he and his fans deserve it.

Damian will be Robin.
As much as I love Damian and his bratty ways, I'm not sure that Bruce having his actual biological son as Robin is going to work for long. I mean even Bruce didn't think so, which is why he told Dick that he and Damian would operate as Batman and Robin because they manage to work together in way that Bruce and Damian can't.

 But that aint gonna happen now. So very pants.

Barbara is back as Batgirl.
Theres been a bit of uproar about this. The announcement that Barbara Gordon will return as a fully mobile Batgirl, presumably recovered of her disability has not gone down well with lots of people. The main argument seems to be that  the character is one of the most visible representations of disability in comics (poor Professor X). Whilst I agree that the portayal of Barbara has been suprisingly consistent for comics, I  can't really see the problem with her returning as Batgirl. Comics are notorious for alternate realities and worlds, people coming back from the dead and wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey.
My argument against Barbara making a comeback a Batgirl would be that she is great as Oracle. She's really become ingratiated in that role. When she got shot by the Joker, it wasn't 'lets just put her behind a computer desk', it was a genuinely good character progression. I would have loved to see Cassandra Cain back as Batgirl.

Clearly expecting anything was too much. As far as the Bat-family is concerned, we're just back to pre-R.I.P days. Becuase obviously if you're going to re-set the tableu you don't want to view it as an opportunity to do anything that might be deemed as fresh. Or new. Or original. No?

Bats will be. . . Bats.

Well, at least it looks like Bats will still be kicking ass.

Friday, 10 June 2011

& Cola

I need me a Coke bar!
Have a good weekend :)

A week in crazy floating comics thoughts

Have just discovered Tinitn comes in some lovely just larger than A5 size hardback editions with each of them collecting 3 adventures so I am now possessed of the urge to buy. them. ALL.

Always rather annoys me when you go on to these fashion blogs by foetus's and see these inspiration pics/mood board which reference obscure weird stuff which makes you wonder what the hell they've been exposed to, but must confess to being quite obssessed with kids, animals, toys and weird worlds (preferably amalgamated) at the moment. Was looking for more comics which reference Alice In Wonderland and have found a couple I shall have to buy come payday:

Two rather contrasting takes on Alice In Wonderland

Also, it has come to my attention that back in the day (1966), a Japanese anthology called Shonen King licensed the rights to produce their own Batman comics, manga-stylee. They are all collected together in this limited hardcover edition of Batmanga! The Secret History of Batman in Japan. Now, you know I'm no fan of manga, but I am rather tempted to buy it for the sole purpose of seeing what the Japense prelidiction for the sexulisation of little boys has turned Robin into.

I ordered the second volume of the Stuff of Legend: The Jungle almost a month ago now from Amazon and I still haven't got it. Instead I received an email giving me a new estimated delivery date in July. Did a bit of scouting and found it on Forbidden Planet for £9.69 including postage. So quite a bit cheaper and hopefully it should be here soon.

Read Singularity 7 by Ben Templesmith. Was shit.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

He's the goddamn Batman

Still loving these from the excellent Shortpacked, purveyor of the best Bats jokes ever. Fact.


I ordered the first volume of this series called Elephantmen and it came through the post a couple of weeks back. It's so nice and fat. I've been meaning to share some pictures because it's just amazing value for money. It cost £10.57 and it has over 300 pages. The paper's glossy and of high quality and there's an awesome extensive sketchbook and sci-fi section at the back with stuff from old magazines etc. When you think about DC charging an arm and a leg for absolute editions, this is just a no-brainer.

The story is set in a future about  200 years from now where a crazy scientist is cross-breeding humans and animals for an organisation called MAPPO. These hybrids are raised as soldiers and called Elephantmen. I haven't read it yet (I have a tendency to try and save good stuff to read later and then feel annoyed because I won't allow myself to read it),  but I am now of firm belief that all the best comics involve animals and I'm also really into creature/monster things so it should be spectacular.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Return to Oz

I'm craving dark, weird, twisted kiddy stuff at the moment. I remember watching this when I was a kid and being really scared of both Mombi and the Wheelers. Hugely underrated and just brilliant. Produced by Disney! More faithful to Frank Baum's books than the MGM adaptaion. Just finished Fables 15 and a bit obsessed with Alice in Wonderland and its various adaptaions now.

Monday, 6 June 2011

DC's reboot: a wishlist

So the big news the in the past week has been DC's annonucement that it will effectively reboot all 52(!) of its titles from September. Basically this means that all the superheroes/teams will start afresh from issue #1. They're also going digital, something I'm not going to really address here because I just do not see the point of reading books or comics on a screen. Robot 6 have put together a really good article with industry experts and fans' thoughts and opinions all gathered in one place:

Being fairly new to the comics world, I'll be honest and say this doesn't mean much to me. The only way by which I can measure it is by my reading of Batman. It's the only DC title I read and even then I wait until the trades are released. I don't buy issues because they're expensive, flimsy and you get the story in bits, which isn't something that appeals to me. The obvious question is whether they can get together 52 good creative teams; it seems inevitable that a number of the titles produced will suffer from, um, crapness. I suppose it may be a good starting point for people like me who have never read certain characters for example, the Flash, because you're starting anew- there's no knowledge of mythology or background needed.

In relation to Batman, some kind of reset button would have been needed sooner or later considering you now have both Bruce and Dick as Batmen and Tim and Damian as Robins. There's been some ruminating on the net over who will inhabit the bat-suit but I think it has to be Bruce Wayne. Bats' origin story is just too iconic to mess with (parents shot, pearls strewn, becames bat, strikes terror) and generally doesn't need to be messed with, but here are some things I'd like to see in the new comics:

  • more focus on Bruce Wayne: Batman is really cool and all, but I'd love to see somebody do something interesting with Bruce. Bruce is much more than just a playboy persona and while Bats is a distinct side of his personality, ultimately they are the same person. I'd love a story which inco-operates both his identities in a satisfying manner, but nothing like Bruce Wayne: Murderer, thanks. And make him younger.
  •  more Alfred please. And Dick has to be Robin. He HAS to be.
  • introduce a couple of new and interesting foes: Batman has a great rogue's gallery, but I think the Joker (as fantastic as he is) should be used sparingly due to overexposure, and effectiveness for when he does appear. Re-do soem of the neglected villans to former glory- the Riddler, Bane.  It would be nice to have some fresh and well writen adversaries.
  • show some of Bruce's journey and training: We've had glimpses here and there (mainly in flashback) of when Bruce travelled the world to seek knowledge and become the baddest bad-ass ever but  there's never really been a book to show the lost years so to speak. It's a difficult one to do, because he isn't Batman yet, so I don't know how kindly people would take to it, but it has the potential to be interesting if done well and the opportunity to use characters such as Cain and Shiva is already there.
  • No other sidekicks and no Catwoman: It should just be Batman and Robin, with the latter introduced a little later perhaps. No Batgirl or anyone else cluttering up the stories and having Catwoman isn't in line with the book I'm envsiaging, haha, Man, I should totally write this thing.

Of course the book will be nothing like that, but I'm really looking forward to it, I think it's about time. Bleeding Cool have the cover for the first Batman (above) drawn by Greg Capullo. Cape looks weird. Jus' sayin'.

What would you like to see done with your favourite characters?

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Ways to start your week

Rafael Nadal

He struggled throughout the tournament, but he still won. Total respect.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

I'm angry and I'm hurt and I just wanna ballet!

I find this hilarious- he's angry and hurt and ridiculous and funny all at the same time.

Batman: Nine Lives

Ah, gimmicks! I got Batman: Nine Lives through the post a few days back and there's a few things that I loved about it. Firstly the cover: 

And it's in a landscape format rather than portrait. Admittedly this doesn't really work- it's too wide when you open it to read and the comics panel format doesn't sit well on a landscape page,  but it's nice to have different things being tried. It's an Elseworlds story in the detective noir genre, so you've got Dick as an ex-police officer turned wise-arse private dick, with Barbara as his secretary, the Joker as a gambling fiend (hence the name) and everyone else pretty much the same but shadier and seedier. The basis of the story is Selina Kyle's murder and Penguin, Croc, Joker, Riddler, Dick, Bruce, Harvey, Great White Shark and Freeze are all in the frame.

The story isn't that bad, but the characterisation is really weak, probably because there's just too many players involved. You get the sense that they attempted to cram in as many Batman villians as possible, but really it would have benefitted from the absence of Freeze, Shark, Riddler, Penguin and Harvey, especially as they bring little to the story. I prefer to read 'linear' Batman stories, but the whole point of Elseworld is that you get to do something different with the characters and that doesn't really happen here. If you're going to have the Joker as something other than a manic psychopath, you owe it to the character to do something interesting with him, but he's just rendered bland and insignificant. I'm not a feminist by any stretch of the imagination, but I also didn't really like the way Selina is basically portayed as a manipulative whore who plays men off against each other. On the plus side, the relationship between Croc and Dick was a nice touch. And Bats is Bats.

In conclusion, I'm glad I bought it because it's pretty- very important- and despite it's flaws it was an interesting look at the Bat-verse from a sideways angle (you see what I did there? Man, I kill myself).