Friday, 5 December 2014

After seriously considering what I can offer the world to make it a better place, I've decided to start a really expensive line of shoes

Why yes, I am watching all the Star Trek films this week in chronological order For Like The Umpteenth Time, how perceptive of you!
I'm only begrudgingly and incidentally enjoying them, though, as the rewatch has been prompted by needing to check out the quality of a blu-ray box set edition of all 10 original movies (to make sure the discs aren't borked) to evaluate its fitness as a Chrimbo prezzie, but I have to say that I liked The Motion Picture a lot more this time out, even if it still drags a bit.  The close proximity of the viewings this time around made me notice how some of Final Frontier was directed to call back to the style of The Motion Picture, and that Undiscovered Country's final line from Kirk is actually a clever allusion to the line he delivers at the end of Wrath of Khan.  The actual final shot of the Enterprise from UC is, in my humble opinion, absolutely perfect even if the actual film is well-made and played nonsense, but I never noticed before how great Yosemite National Park looks in FF, even when that final, brilliant panning matte shot is ruined by the obtrusive insertion of credits about fifteen seconds too early and what was - by then - the theme of The Next Generation, a show the producers clearly wanted to start making movies about so they could finally ditch these old geezers.
And then Generations.   Blech.  The deleted scenes include the original ending, in which Kirk goes out like a trooper fighting a physically superior opponent in hand-to-hand combat, finally getting the upper hand with the deployment of the patented Kirk Double Axe Handle Blow before buying the farm on a wisecrack when he's treacherously gunned down from behind, which is a bit of a contrast with the actual re-shot ending they went with, in which Kirk and Malcolm McDowell play tag for a few minutes before Kirk trips on a stair and breaks his neck because he is a hundred.  The official ending basically makes him look like a chump to put the new crew over with audiences, though possibly if that is the desired effect, it's ruined by the new crew losing their ship on their first adventure and constantly being taken to the cleaners by panto Klingon villains and stock footage from previous Trek movies - the stock footage thing is particularly at odds with the notion of the franchise moving forward, I would also think.  I am going to do a Fanboy Thing from this point onward and just ignore all of Generations in much the same way that the rest of Trek itself has chosen to do.  It is for the best.
Of the others, Voyage Home is very much of its time, particularly the scene where Kirk tries to hide his futuristic communication device (a mobile phone) but made relevant by the chemistry between the leads, and Search For Spock remains a functional but not very interesting addition to the series.

I briefly considered watching the two reboot flicks after the original movies, but discounted this for two reasons:
1 - the intended recipient of aforementioned Chrimbo prezzie already has the first one on blu-ray, and
2 - despite being capable of watching absolutely anything if it's sci-fi - to the extent that at one point it was lamented that Tank Girl was not yet available on blu-ray - when I took them to the cinema to watch the second one, they leaned over to me during the bit where Kirk is trying to kick a giant sparkplug to make a space engine work again and said "this is going on forever, isn't it?" and it remains the single Trek film I've seen only once.  Which was too many times.

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

I like my booze two ways only: straight up, and by myself


Whoring time again!
As well as a strip in Something Wicked #10 which can be found here, I have a strip in Zarjaz #22, which can also be found here, containing work by PJ Holden and Al Ewing, who are "comics famous" - which basically means that people who are into comics like what they do or hate and resent their success, but normal folk will likely pass them in the street and toss loose change in their direction - and yet their contributions are not the most surprising thing of this issue, nor that I've got to draw Shako for the second time in print without anyone chasing me off with a pointed stick (or the third time if you count the free Christmas comic hosted by Zarjaz back in 2012 that can be seen here on the Quaequam Blog in a post that also advertises my first graphic novel Babble, which BOOM! Studios' lawyers assure me is legally distinct from James Tynion's Memetic), no, what is surprising is that Dave "Bolt 01" Evans - health service worker, father to what I am assured is a number of children to rival Screaming Jay Hawkins and editor/publisher of FutureQuake, Something Wicked, Zarjaz, and Dogbreath - somehow found the time to draw a comic strip.
Anyway, my contribution - which one reviewer has called "almost convincing" - naturally contains a bear.  It's an encounter between Bionic Man homage MACH 1 and ursine killing machine Shako set before either of their strips began proper, and has been described as "the strip you didn't know you wanted" by one podcast whose name sadly escapes me, rubbish as I am.  By all means check out this fine publication before the new Tory-approved tax rules for digital exchanges utterly destroys the British small press in the same way they've fucked everything else the fat greedy sack of cunts have got their reptilian fingers on.  Funny how they almost seem in a rush to get this stuff done like they don't expect to be around this time next year, isn't it?  They are very much robbed of even the honesty of a mugger or a ram raider, as those are just coping with the failure they already experience rather than planning for the failure they know is coming.  Say what you like about the American government, at least it actually kills its own citizens without shame, not like the Tories, starving people of money and dignity until they take their own lives - at least Darren Wilson got his own hands dirty when he went out and killed a poor person, IDS just smirks behind a tower of paper forms as his string of failures force others to do it by their own hands, the weasel.  You'd think someone who lives in his wife's house would understand about dependence on others, but that would require a capacity to give a single fuck.
Anyway, buy my comics while you can.  That would be lovely.

Monday, 1 December 2014

Just as an exercise, let's take stabbing off the table

Note to self: delete texture brushes from Manga Studio.
No witty banter to impart today - regular readers of the blog will call days such as these "weekdays" - so I'll give a shout out for this tri-month's issue of Something Wicked, in which I illustrate a story by my writing donkey Lee Robson.  Something Wicked can be purchased here in physical form, with a more Borg-friendly digital edition to follow sometime later.

Friday, 28 November 2014

Professional assassination is the highest form of public service

I must give Hibernia's Best of The Library of Death collection a quick rec for anyone looking for reading-related presents for kids.
I know that the primary audience for much of Hibernia's output is very likely adult blokes who approach this stuff through a haze of nostalgia or because they're hobbyists with a taste for vintage UK comics - I think I have established by now that I can most certainly relate there - and that kids supposedly hate black and white comics compared to stuff that's been coloured in with felt tip markers by an editorial assistant and a has a free plastic toy on the cover, but from my own experience kids actually seem to go crazy for black and white UK supernatural stuff from that whole 1970-1990 period.

Thursday, 27 November 2014

I love her, but she plays that cancer card a lot


My old GN Babble has been uploaded to the Borg mega node for macro neural redistribution... okay I don't bloody know what the hell's going on and I refuse to pretend otherwise - Lee seems to know what it means that Babble is "available on Madefire now", so I'll let him explain it to you better than I could.
Basically the book is a spin-off James Tynion's Memetic miniseries, at least that's the easiest way to explain it now the lawyers are sniffing around - so buy Babble on Madefire.  Yes, totally do that.  It's a sophomore work and thus full of the thrill of invention more than my later stuff when I just concentrated on storytelling clarity and consistency and fucked fancy layouts and playful use of colour on the head.  I'm a journeyman these days, but back then I was enjoying it more and it really shows, I reckon.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

I really want to slap you right now but I wouldn't know how to stop


Well, that escalated quickly.
I rather expected tracking down comics printed on thirty year-old toilet paper would take a little longer than it has and that I would get bored after a week or two, but beginning with a couple of non-sequential copies I found tucked between old Warrior issues, an eBay trawl and selling off a small mountain of manga digests has yielded me an unbroken run of The Eagle from 27th March 1982 to 29th April 1989, so I expect I shall now read them while I track down the last hundred or so and then inevitably move onto collecting Tiger and - blimey - Roy of the Rovers because I am totes for real about being all over Johnny Cougar.
The pile I have trails off around the time the book was melded with some sort of Star Trek knock-off called Wildcat that took up a third of the pages, and there also seems to be an effort underway to remove creator credits from the strips - possibly because a talent drain to America was underway at the time and they didn't want to go advertising the names of Vanyo, Jose Ortiz, Eric Bradbury and Mike Dorey when they were more or less keeping the book afloat (NOTE TO SELF: insert contextually-relevant Robert Maxwell joke here).  I suppose it survived the MASK merger a few months beforehand, so it'll survive this one (for a year or two).
I am actually looking forward to reading it all, mainly as I once - to fill a blog post - reviewed a random single issue I found in a shoebox in what I felt to be an appropriate manner, but if anything, that issue was pretty tame.
Flicking through even the earliest po-faced photostrip issues reveals hilariously deadpan stuff like an episode of Doomlord where you don't even notice it's got to the very end of the story and there hasn't been a cliffhanger set up, so Doomlord is chilling out at dinner in his alien form - having hypnotically blocked everyone in the room from seeing him as he truly is - and a new person just walks into the room and sees him and goes "JESUS CHRIST!" and then the Next Week banner reads "Guess who's not coming back to dinner?" and I am sorry, but it is quite clear to me that I am not imagining it and they were clearly taking the piss, a conclusion I am helped towards by Alan Grant on many occasions admitting that he and John Wagner can't remember who wrote what in a period between the late 1970s and mid-80s because they did their writing in the pub and the official credit/paycheque was given to whoever of the two typed up the notes from their trying to trump each other's daft ideas for scenarios and cruelties to inflict on their characters.  Realistically that scenario should be a recipe for disaster, yet they more or less pissed out classics at this stage and I'm looking forward to reading them.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

I've been doing, like, an assload of soul-searching

I really should make fun of the American mid-term election results, but... well, it's not like anyone living in the UK can really make fun of other countries that vote for rich white men who never did a day's work in their life who keep telling people living in poverty to pull their boots up, is it?  I do find some of the commentary amusing, though, especially those expressing surprise that in an election where most of the population was too busy working to vote, the winners were predominantly guys who appeal to the upper middle classes.
I am surprised that there's talk of Obama being unpopular, all the same, as the sheen faded ages ago and I'm confused why it's only a problem now when US debt has been slashed, the stock market has doubled, US troops are dying in significantly smaller numbers, and Bin Laden is burning in Hell alongside Jimmy Saville.  I've seen it suggested that Obama trying to take credit for a recovering economy has backfired because a lot of people are still struggling to make ends meet, but let's face it - that scenario would entail believing that America's poor matter.