Saturday 27 August 2016

His wife went into premature labor and blah, blah, blah

Just in case any among the 14 regular weekend visitors who seem to be reading War Cars when I can be bothered to post it are interested, here's some old War Cars line art I found in my travels because yes I am still doing this.
Eagle-eyed readers will spot where the art that appeared in the actual comic was changed from the original linework you see here, presumably because the editors at the time didn't think anyone would really believe an artist from 1983 would have been quite so technically incompetent and it might be an idea to have another pass at it so it appeared more the work of someone from that era.
No, I don't know why I still bother, either, but here we are.

Thursday 25 August 2016

I spent so long looking the other way my neck got tired

Star Command is faintly embarrassing but enjoyable bunkum, which can be viewed on Youtube alongside the similar Warlord: Battle for the Galaxy, a failed tv pilot from Joe Dante of a similar bent,.about spaceship people fighting off a rising menace and the Coming Storm blah de blah de blah - you know the sort of thing, they were like a televisual pox in the late 1990s and somehow of all of them, Star Trek Voyager managed to stick around.
Anyhoo, while there's a ton of this stuff available on Youtube, I wouldn't go so far as to say the people who own the rights to it are "okay" with it being there so much as they've given up trying to track it down and get it deleted, but I suspect there's also an element of their selling their catalogue of old tosh on to streaming content providers like Netflix or Hulu or Chumbawumba or whatever as a big batch and figure they've made what they're like to make out of it and now it's someone else's problem.  Whatever the case may be, I bring it up to both fill a few paragraphs, and because it's interesting to see it alongside fan productions and short movies of often-higher quality, particularly Star Trek Continues and the odd Star Wars effort.
The idea that there's an even playing field between professional and fan-produced content is fascinating to someone like me, seeing as how I am throwing content at the internet like a crazy person and never placing any value on it or even trying to promote it.

Wednesday 24 August 2016

It's Wednesday - don't you have some intercourse to do?

I blame Spartacus for making me think "oh good, John Hannah is in this" when his name pops up in the credits of something or other, but his presence couldn't save the movie Alleycats - at least, I assume he couldn't save it as I could only manage eleven minutes and ten seconds of it before the cast became unbearable to watch.  When they start whooping and driving their bicycles like a bunch of twats around London streets I just thought "no" and turned it off.  To put some perspective on how unlikable they are, I am actually a cyclist myself, but the young actors in this did just too good a job of playing a bunch of cunts.
To be fair, the makers work hard to make you turn the film off, as one of the characters is a smoker, and given the rarity of smoking onscreen these days to reflect the real world, you know this is an aesthetic choice, and that the makers think this will make their character an edgy outlaw from the off rather than simply letting the audience know that the character is smelly and doesn't care much for the concept of personal space.
Basically, Alleycats is a movie for people who hate cyclists and don't want their worldview challenged.

Tuesday 23 August 2016

They're small, they're cheap, and until last week they were safe from bear attacks

I like to think it's my anarchic creative daredevilry that's made me too hot for mainstream comics to touch, but of late I've begun to wonder if perhaps it may have more to do with my lack of talent, bad temper, refusal to take direction or criticism, and my insistence on starting all emails with "greetings, fucker."
Been watching Amazon's season pilots, and while I haven't got around to the one I assumed I'd be in a rush to watch - The Tick, featuring as it does creative input from the property's originator and well-seasoned tv turd-polisher* Ben Edlund - I have managed to watch I Love Dick, which ironically, I did not love in any way, even though it stars Kevin Bacon as Kevin Bacon.  It's one of those shows where horrible people go about their lives being awful and we have to sit and watch it without ever knowing why we're doing so, but presumably in the hope that the hook or the leftfield swerve will be along any minute to turn everything we've seen so far on its head.  No such luck, sadly, this is just a half hour of unlikable people being varying degrees of pretentious.
As with Kevin Bacon, Jean Claude Van Damme plays Jean Claude Van Damme - though in this instance I mean he plays a fictional version of himself rather than simply displays a lack of range - in Jean Claude Van Johnson, and as with his previous foray into playing himself in 2008's JCVD, he plays a pathetic, lonely creature only just managing to live off his dwindling fame and finding no solace in occasionally turning that fame into hollow and meaningless sexual encounters.  Basically, all those years in the US making films where he jumping spin-kicked serial murderers in the head in slow motion never stopped Van Damme being European and he was always going to make something as depressing as this, it was only a matter of when - and that when is now.
Van Damme's yearning for validation forces him to return to making the terrible films which made his name in the hope he can rekindle a relationship with a makeup artist, but there's a catch: his terrible films were only ever an elaborate cover for his true trade as an international murderer-for-hire.  There are lots of references to those terrible films, and one good running gag about how Looper is just a poor copy of Timecop, but the laughs mainly come from seeing JCVD so willing to play himself as a wretched sadsack to the point he doesn't even mug for comic effect, he just lets his hangdog face sink ever lower with each new kick in the balls that life brings.
Admittedly I am its target audience - someone who grew up watching JCVD head-kicking people and now is older but won't have the good grace to die so a young family can take my flat and use it as something other than a repository for dog hair and PS2 games - but I found it highly enjoyable, as much as I can enjoy anything while waiting for death to claim me.

* He's worked on the likes of the dreadful Revolution, as well as the seemingly endless televisual purgatory that is the CW's Supernatural.

Saturday 20 August 2016

I blame the internet and that yoghurt in a tube

Here's one fresh out of my digital binbags - an old comics idea knocking about in my noggin, which I got the idea for donkeys ago when I used to live in South Wembley, as near the sprawling estate where I lived was a huge but rarely-used jumble of criss-crossing train tracks that led underground via several huge brick tunnel arches, and the subject of lost tunnels and abandoned stations on the underground eventually came up in conversation with someone or other and the two clicked together years later while I was playing Metro 2033 on the PS3.

Media seems choked with "secret civilization under London" stories, though, and I don't think I'd have offered much to the genre with Underground beyond what I thought was an amusing inversion of the trope: instead of London having a hidden secret world of terror and wonder beneath its streets, the world of terror and wonder was London itself and the boringly normal world was the one that existed deep beneath the Thames Valley in the subterranean towns and villages built by descendants of the population of a government bunker who had survived the nuclear war that took place in the 1980s (clearly I was subconsciously influenced by War Cars) and eventually expanded from their fallout shelter to settle in caves and caverns far beneath the ruins of the city.  Best not think too hard about The Science on this one, I am thinking.

The characters would travel a mundane-looking underworld of brick walls, collapsed tunnels and flooded sewers in a quest for knowledge, so when I say I wasn't offering anything new I really mean it, with even the mutants - when they eventually appeared - just being humans in bandages and hazmat suits, and the main antagonists being The Vicars - yep, just dudes dressed in black.

Unhelpfully, I have lost all but these few sketches and the original proof of concept pages below, so don't judge the abilities of contemporary me by the on-the-nose dialogue, rough art, and pages occasionally crammed with text.  I shelved it when I had to do something for someone else, then never came back to it as I had other projects on the go by then, but I'm pretty sure the only reason I drew the art pages originally was to try and use Manga Studio's crosshatching brushes, but it wasn't a terribly successful attempt, as I just couldn't figure out a way to get them to do what I wanted.

Thursday 18 August 2016

If I didn't have my kickboxing class as an outlet, the watercolours I do in my painting class would be REALLY dark

ZOMFG!  New Power Pack story in Marvel's Choosing Sides #4 is good news on its own, but it's also written by Bad Machinery's John Allison, who's one of those rare modern writers who combines invention with distinctive character voices, the former being easy to come by in these days of an industry on an endless quest for shocks and/or the next big hook, but the latter being a lost art to the point I have - as you can see above and for the last month and change here on the blog - given up entirely on the idea of the spoken word in any comics what I does.  Let the reader's imagination do some of the lifting, that's my philosophy - they'll thank you for it.
HAHA no they won't what am I saying?
Anyway, the Power Pack strip is slight by its nature, being the characters are supposed to comment on the whole Civil War 2 thing without making an impact on it in any way seeing as they're starring in an anthology title full of inessential filler, but the in-universe rationale is that they have chosen to sit the whole thing out like most sensible people and leave it all to the hopeless hardcore comics nerds - erm, I mean, to the superheroes who have been in successful movies lately.  I don't even know what Civil War 2 is actually about and I am oddly proud of this, but I'm probably being unfair on it considering DC's crossovers are now basically fanfiction rehashing decades-old Alan Moore stories and characters, so it's off to Wikipedia I go for a quick catch-up...

Okay, in a "you couldn't make it up" twist, it seems Civil War 2 is a rehash of Alan Moore's Judgment Day crossover he wrote for Image in the mid-90s.  Em... only it's not a complete copy, as Civil War 2 has a mutant who sees the future instead of the metatextual magic book McGuffin used by Moore.  I have now learned to keep my snark to myself and shall continue with my thoughts on Choosing Sides #4 - or rather the Power Pack bits of it.  Did I mention I like Power Pack?
The story is a bit slight, but it has three things I like very much going for it:
1 - the characters have kept their noses out of Civil War 2 and only stick their noses in enough to speak briefly about events among themselves out of a lingering sense of obligation to the superhero world they once knew and immersed themselves within - there's your metatext right there, buddy.
2 - a character opines "why choose sides at all?  I change my mind all the time." and is commended for their sensible thinking and then everyone goes about their day.  This common sense and civility is where Allison's metatextual journey clearly ends, because this is not how people discuss superhero crossovers.  Where are the death threats?
3 - it doesn't star Alex Power, who is my least favorite member of Power Pack.  Not because he is a terrible character - although don't get me wrong, he is pretty dreadful - but because he is the one I find least interesting.  There was a moment in Matt Fraction's Fantastic Four/FF runs where Doctor Doom drags Alex around by his hair and makes him cry like a baby and it's the closest the character has come to being entertaining since 1988, but apart from that he is utterly dull.

Anyway, do check it out if you can, as Allison is worth watching in the same way Al Ewing was: an overnight sensation from nowhere who's actually been toiling in obscurity for more than a decade.