Wednesday 31 March 2010

Watching: Wrestlemania 26, Life Unexpected, 10 Things I hate About You, Trauma, Hardy Boys Mysteries, the Pacific, Give 'Em Hell Malone

Tuesday 30 March 2010

Watching: thanks to the wonders of' officially not as good as it used to be' Youtube, I now know Glen 'Battlestar Galactica' Larson made a Nancy Drew tv series in the 1970s - just before he went on to make Battlestar Galactica, as it happens, and it's... okay. She's more of a smalltown nosey-parker than a full-fledged detective, but there's plenty of mileage in that concept if done right, and here it seems to be a decent mystery show, if undemanding and not a patch on the mighty Diagnosis Murder. Or even Monk, which I quite miss now.

Monday 29 March 2010

Grrr - angry webcomic boy wants to be published on the web. And soon!

Watching: Southland, Kamen Rider W
listening: Awesomed By Comics, Radiohead, Drugstore, Pixies

Sunday 28 March 2010

You win again, composition and layout. You win again...

Watching: The Long Goodbye - aimless, lazy, and devoid of charm. I did not care for it.

This dude: living the dream.

Friday 26 March 2010

Catching up with lettering today, and what a joy it is to work with Microsoft's handiwork. Every day is a blessing of freezes and crashes and rather than upgrade to Windows 7 - probably an inevitability when eventually replacing the PC - I've decided to go without until I can fork out for a Mac. Do you hear that, Vista

You unfuckingbelievable


piece of shit?
I will actually pay hundreds of pound more to be sure of never having to deal with it ever again, and I consider that a bargain.

Watching: TNA, Vampire Diaries, ATHF, Brave and the Bold
Listening: Terranaomi, War Rocket Ajax

Thursday 25 March 2010

Ah, lettering... when hideous errors in composition and choice of line weight become all to glaring - after the page is finished.

Watching: Brave and the Bold, South Park, Cold Case, 90210, Melrose Place
Listening: Simon and Garfunkel live, Staind

Thinking: The Punisher rather famously (in comics circles, so it's a relative fame) punched a bear in order to escape some of the usual cliched mafia hoods in Welcome Back Frank

But that's pretty much as far as Frank's cruelty goes in that particular story (cruelty to animals, anyway), being as he's a practical man and he has other things to do, and he doesn't fancy his chances in a fistfight with a bear. But you know who does fancy their chances in a fistfight with a bear?

Nancy fucking Drew, that's who.
I've lamented that the proto-Nancy of the pre-1970s stories doesn't seem quite that great a feminist icon now I'm actually making an effort to invest some time in reading the books, and after the 1970s she tended to be involved in more overt chases where she was running away from danger, getting chloroformed or otherwise overpowered and tied up in a cupboard or something, but the Stefan Petrucha/Sho Murase 'manga style' (read: little backgrounds, static talking heads, blunt dialogue) graphic novels beginning in 2005 decide to redress the balance by having Nancy straight-up beat the shit out of a bear in the very first chapter of the debut adventure, The Demon of River Heights. And just in case you doubt how badass Comic Book Nancy Drew now is, her internal narrative (because comics after 1984 that's why) helpfully clarifies that not only does she left-hook a grizzly, it's merely a setup for the shoryuken.

"wouldn't hurt a fly" - that's right, not just getting medieval on his furry ass but feels sorry for him. She then tells stalwart companions and probable cockblockers (Nance seems to be a regular visitor to her college boyfriend's dorm) George and Bess to make tracks at the same time as rubbing salt in the grizzly's wounds

because it's only a bear (or only one bear, she doesn't clarify), but there's still stuff to happen in the first chapter - yes, only the first chapter - so Nancy must regrettably take off the gloves

She's all slapping him around like a big furry woodland prostitute that's held back some berries from their squirrel pimp and then goes old school. At this point there's practically a dude in a cowboy hat shouting about how business has picked up, but the bear has learned his lesson and runs away, leaving Nancy, George and Bess to continue walking around the woods looking for their missing friends, because Comic Book Nancy Drew uses bear attacks in the same way normal people use coffee - it's how she starts her day.
So I'm not saying Nancy Drew is tougher than the Punisher - science is saying Nancy Drew is tougher than the Punisher.

Wednesday 24 March 2010

Watching: Parenthood, Home and Away
Reading: The Demon of River Heights - in which Nancy Drew has a fistfight with a grizzly before opting to beat it with a branch. Needless to say, I approve of comic book Nancy's wanton animal cruelty.

Tuesday 23 March 2010

Hmm - suspicious hand placement here. Something to fix at the editing stage.

Listening: Hunt For Red October

Reading: Secret of the Old Clock - I wonder where this mystery will that everyone is seeking could possibly be secreted? If I make a joke about the title of the book and it turns out that's not where it's hidden I'll just look foolish, so I'll just keep my suspicions to myself. Nancy Drew's enduring appeal escapes me going by this debut, because she doesn't seem particularly capable, just excitable and dogged. I had the impression - before her age was revised downward and they removed instances of hillbilly worldview from the narrative in later novels and reprints - that Nancy's original incarnation was along the lines of a Spade or a Marlowe only in a posh frock and slightly distracted by boys - which is absolutely a series of novels that needs to happen if it hasn't already - but here she sort of stumbles onto clues while buying dresses, running away from puppies, or hiding from the rain. I don't think I can characterize her as stupid, but being well-meaning and stubborn is pretty much all she's got going for her, as so far she just seems to be a bit of a nosy cow.
What I did take away from the book is odd references here and there like Nancy's mum dying "in an influenza epidemic" like epidemics are so common they don't even need specifying, and the sneaking feeling that Nancy's enemies seem - even when they're the wealthy Tophams - to be thinly-veiled working class stereotypes of the council estate/trailer trash variety, even though the absence of minorities (thus far) seems to suggest this is a later revision - guess them damn working classes are always the bad guys, depression or not.

Watching: Trauma, Cold Case, The Pacific, Castle

Monday 22 March 2010

Watching: Meteor Storm/Mammoth - considering both begin with this:

I think a review is largely pointless. And now a rant:
There's something to be said for pitching right at your audience and giving them exactly what they want and expect because they are after all consumers - in fact, you might even say if you were a channel dedicated to a specific genre, pitching directly at what your audience want is kind of your entire deal anyway, so it is utterly amazing that SyFy seem to know nothing about their audience. A total lack of genre awareness just cannot work on a channel dedicated almost entirely to reruns, but arguably worse is when they attempt genre awareness and it couldn't be less subtle than if the characters winked at the camera and said "that there was a reference to Body Snatchers", which is pretty much Mammoth's problem, in that it is painfully not witty, while Meteor Storm's problem is that it's too po-faced and at a couple of points it becomes bizarre PG13 snuff porn dedicated to watching slim characters slowly fail to save themselves from death. Both are awfully acted and directed, but this doesn't matter as the scripts are just terrible. Seriously, how many people does a script go past and not one thinks to point out "That. That is shit. Rewrite that - that's your actual job. So do that now."?
I should probably balance a rant about SyFy by pointing out unquestionable successes the channel has had in the past, but there's a slight problem there in that they've only had one, Battlestar Galactica, and they didn't want to make it - the sets were recycled from John Woo's never-seen pilot for a relaunched Lost In Space series, and UK digital channel Sky1 bankrolled the first season. I have my problems with BSG - the charmless characters, leaden dialogue, every female character being some sort of lust object or mum, the humourless fandom who indiscriminately soak it up and then say 'frak' while mocking Trek fans for being nerds - but it's a success and only an idiot would argue otherwise.
So... no - no balanced review of SyFy's uniform terrible programming for this blog. Any channel that makes and airs movies where the viewer has zero expectation of quality and is still somehow disappointed by the product again and again and again doesn't really deserve that courtesy.

I Am Legend - "He was a man and he was alone. These things were not important to him."
Red Storm Rising - I'm nostalgic for the 1980s and the constant fear of death.
Secret of the Old Clock - because why not?

Sunday 21 March 2010


It's probably no great surprise that I subject Beware the Blob to a slightly different standard of criticism than the race-hate rape pantomime shenanigans of A Time To Kill, though it's largely redundant to lower my standards at all given that as abominably terrible as BTB is, it's still a more coherent and artistically valid example of cinema than Matt McConaghy's cold, dead eyes trying to express anything but the void. BTB is what it is, much as Friday the 13th and its sequels are - pitched at an audience that knows exactly what it's getting and doesn't expect anything beyond that, while A Time To Kill is also what it is, but what it is is a load of shit.
The basic plot is: Blob defrosts, nom nom fly, nom nom kitteh, nom nom wife, husband watches first Blob movie on the tv (?), nom nom husband - you get the gist. It's a B-movie, obviously, but even allowing that, it's entertaining, and that's really all I demand of my entertainment. If it wants to preach at me, fine, but it better be informative, just as it needs to be emotionally resonant if it wants to make me cry for a bit. Beware the Blob does neither of these, but it does have a drunken Burgess Merideth in a poncho falling over onto the camera.
Why? I don't know. But this is pretty much the entire film:

Saturday 20 March 2010

Watching: A Time To Kill - there's a great story in this movie somewhere, about how a guy can be straight-up guilty as sin of gunning down two men in cold blood and yet a jury still won't convict him because the men raped, tortured and tried to murder his 10 year-old daughter. There's definately a story there, a story that encompasses a great deal of pondering on who the law should serve and protect given that no-one in this day and age is stupid enough to believe that the law applies equally to one and all, but it's a story stuck in a film that has a juror grinning as he guarantees a man will die while outside thunder booms as punctuation, and where Matthew McConaughy loses the case on all legal grounds but wins the racist jury over with a three hour closing argument that's basically a country and western song "and after they raped her, they beat her, pissed on her, and then tried to hang her but the branch broke so they threw her off a bridge and she was all nearly dead and stinky with piss and semen" - this is actually how he saves the day, no lie. While making this face:

That's actually his emoting face. It's like aliens came along thousands of years after the human race died out and attempted to make a man using only pictures from a jeans catalogue, and then - I assume after this insult to all that's holy under heaven has killed the aliens in an inevitable rampage - it takes an acting lesson in an attempt to make itself look like it has a sad face. But it doesn't, it has Matthew McConaghy's face - the passive, emotionless face of a jew hunter watching a Rob Schneider marathon.
This movie sucks.

Friday 19 March 2010

Nards, but getting up before 9 (AM) is killing me. Doesn't help that I still can't sleep until at least 3 in the morning.

Watching: Mercy, Melrose Place, 90210, Justified, Community, Home and Away

Thursday 18 March 2010


Sketching today. It was supposed to be Saucy Monday, but I think we can go ahead and assume that didn't pan out. On the non-saucy front there's some Nancy Drew sketching

but it only occurred to me later that I really should have gone for MK1 protofeminist Nancy instead of the later domesticated Mary Sue that reared her head in the 50s - if nothing else, it'd be an excuse to do some 1930s period trappings. A pin shall be stuck in that one, I think.

Ugly Betty - I watch a lot of teen soap operas don't you judge me, and offhand I'd say you can pretty much tell when your show is in the shitter and headed for cancellation with these two words: lesbian kiss. Can't say I've seen the male version that often - actually, I can't say I've seen it at all, so it was a surprise to see it in this, but even if it does nowt for me personally, it's long overdue on telly. Just hope it doesn't spell the end of Betty, as it has it's moments.
Jay Leno - inoffensive chat with the big-chinned one and the always-affable The Rock in Duane Johnson mode "Damnable sell-out, how dare someone I like become successful" etcetera. Some MOR styling from Switchfoot, who are off my radar, and some cute kids who are politely applauded even though their humiliation and tears would be far more entertaining.
NCIS Los Angeles - the trailer for this is just a black guy walking along and then getting riddled with bullets. No deadpan delivery or misanthropic quips, in fact no appearance by the main cast at all - it's like someone saw this kind of tv show and thought "I can do that" and then made a straight A to B plot with no surprises or invention along the way, just assembled stuff that looks a bit like random elements from other procedural shows. That's not what's disappointing, mind - what's disappointing is that Chris O'Donnell isn't apocalyptically terrible so you can't even watch on the basis of it being a car crash. He's just sort of there, as is LL Cool J and Linda Hunt, who is one of those actors - like Lance Henrickson in that bullshit with the spiders - who's such a reliable quantity to the point that even though they're only actors and they aren't owed anything by the world in general, they really can do so much better than this and you're baffled how or why they're there at all. I have a theory that they shot it in her living room knowing she'd wander through the set at some point, though this doesn't explain her presence in The Practice. Possibly her house is very big.

Wednesday 17 March 2010

Not celebrating St Pat's much today, though I am drawing a man/woman pagga, which is always a big part of many people's St Pat's experience. But for the occasion:

Watching: Smackdown, Greek, Secret Life of the American Teenagerahahahaha bless her little cotton socks she's trying to act, The Big Sleep

Tuesday 16 March 2010

Possibly not the thing to be realising nearly a year into a daily sketchblog of my attempts to 'do comics', but I've suddenly cottoned onto the fact that I haven't a fucking clue how to draw.
Don't get me wrong - stuff looks like stuff, but it's not the same thing as drawing.

Watching: The Road - dropping the humanist charm of the "let's just walk until we die" novel in the transition from prose to screenplay because cinema that's why, it feels like there's a big gaping hole in the middle of this movie and I'm not quite sure what to make of it. It's improved from the book by removing the bit about the baby, which I can live without seeing in live-action, thank you, though the wife is arguably more interesting as an unseen presence than the generic post-natal/post-apocalyptic depressive seen here. Mortensen is fine, but doesn't have much to do apart from be beardy as usual, with the odd bit of added shakiness for drama or whatnot. The kid's a bit annoying, and him off Lost - you know the one I'm on about - shows up for a bit, but otherwise it's hard to say anything about the film apart from the fact that it's a competently made bit of nothing that goes nowhere and achieves little, and while harrowing if your last cinema stop was to see another Wayans racism showcase masquerading as a scatalogical comedy, compared to the measured pace at which the book doles out horrors, the two or so hours of movie is a breeze, and there's not much to take away from it, as even the hopeful denouement of the book is diluted a bit in moving picture form. I did come back from the pub after seeing it and start playing Fallout 3 again - make of that what you will.
Cold Case - oh dear. Police procedural show does a murder in an amateur wrestling promotion. Blech.

Monday 15 March 2010

Time to go watch The Road - if it's half as jolly as the book, it'll be a treat!

Sunday 14 March 2010

Watching: Archer, WWE RAW, Hurt Locker

Saturday 13 March 2010

The great thing about typing your feelings out on the internet is that even through clenched teeth they're perfectly legible. I love Vista. I love it so much that it may compel me to stab someone in the face like that dude who loved Jodie Foster so much he stabbed Ronald Reagan. Or something.

Friday 12 March 2010

Stuff like THIS justifies the continuance of the internet, long after the creative industries have finished bawling their eyes out because - gasp! - there's a means for consumers to voice their opinions that isn't filtered through lawyers and editors and they're saying mean things about the Catwoman movie! How is that fair?
Watching: CSI, Ugly Betty, Mercy, Trauma, Community

Thursday 11 March 2010

Watching: A big ol' plate of bacon, as Southland returns - which is a surprise to me, as I was pretty sure it was shitcanned - and The Bridge debuts.
The Bridge features him off Battlestar Galactica moving out of the sci-fi slum into legitimate telly acting with a tale of politico cops alienating a uniform officer one time too many, prompting him to go on a reluctant crusade to expose their backroom shenanigans while also cleaning up the union. It's blue-collar fantasy no different or more likely to come to pass than killer space robots being our ancestors, really, but it's entertaining enough fluff whose only sticking points are a main character who's a bit too vanilla in the opening episode (prompting me to think we'll see some glaring character flaws shoehorned in for their own sake in episodes to come), and a logical failure that pretty much breaks the air of pseudo-realism the show was aiming for when corrupt cops stand around a backlot taking huge sums of money out of plain brown bags to show it to their co-conspirators who then count it in plain sight while a man photographs them from afar - this, to me, does not seem like the actions of people who know how to run a vast conspiracy and not get caught. There's also another bizarre bit of logic where a guy tapes a conversation where another guy says "support me or I'll fire you later" when their previous conversation was the guy saying "I give you my permission to kill my fellow police officer", which I suspect would be ofslightly more use in a smear campaign. But, y'know, I just watched an entire season of Starsky and Hutch so clearly my bar for cop television is quite low, so I'll stick with The Bridge for the time being, even if it isn't The Wire.