Sunday, April 26, 2009

Sunday Spotlight: Dale Keown

Another Image artist, this time Dale Keown and his wonderfully muscled and powerful Hulk - and Pitt. See more of Dale's art at Full Bleed, the Comic Art Community and the Comic Vine.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Friday Night Fights: Bam

It's Friday yet again so it's time for Friday Night Fights: One Panel of Pain over on

And this week, it's time for Booster Gold to lay down the law - and throw supervillains into the ground... hard.

(From DC's 52 issue #1 by Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, Greg Rucka, and Mark Waid with breakdowns by Keith Giffen, pencils by Joe Bennett and inks by Ruy Jose).

Stone Me!

I’m still busy – but, lo! The final thrilling part of the Chronicles of Solomon Stone, by Chris Sims, Matthew Allen Smith and Benjamin Birdie, is now out and available to read over on Action Age comics. The whole comic, including letters page and pin-up, is available if you haven’t already read parts one and two (or even if you have!).

As I stated on Chris’ blog (and I quote):

Best comicbook I’ve read on the web today!”

It’s the truth.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

More TV

Sorry but it's been a busy week this week. Still is! So here’s some quick TV notes:

Ashes To Ashes: Season 2 Episode 1

A better start to this than series one. One of the things missing from AtA that Life of Mars had was a sense of mystery and madness. Sam Tyler (and the viewers) didn't know whether he had gone back in time, whether he was hallucinating, whether his memories of the future were hallucinations, whether he was in the afterlife, or something else. That, together with his love of Annie and the growing companionship with Gene, was slowly causing Sam to doubt himself and head a little towards madness.

Conversely, Alex Drake is just a little too sure of herself. She's pretty certain she's just dreaming all this; it's a death's-door fantasy based on her work on the Sam Tyler case.

With the introduction of the strange man who knows about things in the 90s and Diana's death, a whiff of mystery has been added. And Alex now doubts what's going on. Much, much better!

It's still not as weirdly wonderful and surreal as Life On Mars was, and will never obtain that sense of mystery, but it is definitely getting better.

Smallville: Infamous (s8 ep15)

Still reasonably good. This week's episode was - on the one hand - a bit of a cheat with the whole travelling back in time to the start and undoing the whole episode. I didn't know the Legion flight ring could do that. Still we saw a bit more of Doomsday again. And it was interesting to see how Lois would react to Clark's revelation.

Heroes:  Turn And Face The Strange (v4 ep9)

Okay and perhaps getting better. The Petrelli family are all back together and digging up graves. But that means we get a flashback to the early days of the Heroes universe next week, which I always like. The whole shapeshifting power could get somewhat complicated, as we'll never be certain who's who. And big Matt Parkman has now met little Matt Parkman. Little Matt was good fun but I think I'm getting bored of him now. Again, things are just plodding along. Hopefully, it'll improve.

Primeval: Episode 16

They killed Nick Cutter! The main character! Wow. Sure, I suppose he could come back via some time-travel shenanigans but still. That's one heck of a change. This programme keeps improving and is a decent sci-fi/fantasy show for ITV - certainly better than Demons!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Sunday Spotlight: Erik Larsen

I love Erik's crazy detailed work on the Savage Dragon and his fiddly web strands on Spiderman. A fantastic 90s-style artist with an energetic cartoony style.
See more of Erik's work at the Savage Dragon web site, the Comic Art Community site and at the Comic Vine.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Friday Night Fights: Gut Shot

It's the end of the week so it's time for One Panel of Pain as part of Spacebooger's Friday Night Fight. This time - keeping with the Geoff Johns theme of last week - it's time for Dr Light to get his own back on the Teen Titans by blasting Cyborg's gut to smithereens. I'm not sure what all that white gloop is though!

Don't worry Cyborg fans - he gets better and Dr Light is defeated. Phew!
(this panel is from Teen Titans vol 3 #23 written by Geoff Johns with pencils by Mike McKone, inks by Marlo Alquiza and colours by Jeromy Cox)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Monsters vs Aliens

I love CG animated movies. Ever since Toy Story I've been a big fan of these types of films and, as far as I remember, I've never seen a bad one. Sure, some are better than others, but all of them have been generally amusing. Monsters vs Aliens, by the people that brought you Shrek and Kung Fu Panda, is another hit though perhaps not quite as successful as their previous animated offerings.

The film starts on the wedding day of Susan - a normal, ordinary woman – who is about to be married to a smarmy ambitious TV weatherman. Unfortunately, just before the ceremony, she's hit by a quantonium-imbued meteorite that turns her into Ginormica, a (nearly) 50 foot tall, incredibly strong woman.

Susan is quickly captured by the government and taken to a top secret, Area-51 like, base where monsters, collected over the years by General W. R. Monger, are kept. There Susan meets a host of creatures seemingly taken straight out of old 50s B-movies. There's a character who's a mix of the "Creature of the Black Lagoon" and "Sasquatch" called the Missing Link, an indestructible Blob type monster called B.O.B, a half-man/half-insect mad-scientist called Dr Cockroach and Insectosaurus, who's an insect version of Godzilla.

When a huge alien robot is sent to Earth to retrieve the quantonium energy that turned Susan into Ginormica, General Monger decides to send in the monsters to take on the alien threat. Hence, the title of the film! From there the film follows Susan as she learns to accept her monstrous attributes whilst rejecting her fiance, who's more interested in his career than her.

It's a good film - very witty and action-packed - though it helps if you're a fan of old B-movies. B.O.B, the gelatinous blob, was my favourite of the bunch due to his bubbling, brainless antics. Plus I love the way he looks. The humour is subtler than that of Shrek and Kung Fu Panda and I don't think I laughed as much at MvA as I did at those other movies. I also preferred the martial arts action sequences of Kung Fu Panda than the fighting here but then that may just be me.

Overall an enjoyable, retro-feeling film but not one of the best of this type. I think I may have been expecting more from this. Still, my seven-year-old daughter really liked it and I think it was the first film seen at the cinema where she didn't cry or get overly frightened. So, I'm going to give Monsters vs Aliens a Fine grading.

More Solomon Stone

Part two of the Chronicles of Solomon Stone, by Chris Sims, Matthew Allen Smith and Benjamin Birdie, is now out and available to read over on Action Age comics. If you like awesome web-based comics then, erm, you probably won’t mind reading this because it only takes a few minutes. You might also want to read part one as well, if you missed that.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Easter TV

Here’s a little run-down of what I watched over Easter. Overall it was slightly disappointing considering the big build-up.

Doctor Who: Planet of the Dead

I thought this was pretty good, though perhaps not "Doctor Who Special" good. It felt more like an exciting 45-minute episode stretched out to last an hour. So, it didn't really feel like a special but entertaining nonetheless.

I thought Michelle Ryan was quite good, and not as annoying as I thought she'd be, as Christina. And Lee Evans - as a bumbling, nerdy scientist - was brilliant. "I love you!" Indeed we do. The others on the bus were just glorified extras, there to humanise the situation and give the Doctor even more of a reason to get back to Earth.

I was expecting a more shocking revelation about what had happened to the desert planet and how the spatial rift had appeared, perhaps something more mysterious than a bunch of planet-stripping creatures that flew around the planet creating a doorway to the next world on their menu. And the flying bus at the end was just a little too much, in my opinion.

Otherwise, very good (just not brilliant).

Red Dwarf: Back To Earth

Whereas the new three-part Red Dwarf special, shown on backwater digital channel Dave, was merely average.

Yes, it was good to see Lister, Rimmer, Cat and Kryten back together. Considering it's been 9 years since Red Dwarf was last on, they hardly looked like they'd changed. And I thought the effects were definitely a step up. So it certainly looked good.

But, for some reason, the whole thing seemed flat. The lack of a laughter track - whilst still appearing to leave quiet gaps after each joke - didn't help. The ending was a bit of a rip off as well - although there was a clue in the title ("Back To Earth" being very close to "Back To Reality"). I also didn't care much for the Blade Runner homage. It seemed to be going through the motions.

Still, new Red Dwarf is better than most stuff on TV. So, still worth watching.

Heroes: Into Asylum (vol 4 ep 8)

Heroes is also somewhat average at the moment. Sylar hooked up with that Hunter guy whilst Claire was off drinking with her dad in Central America. Meanwhile Peter helped out his mum. Hmmm...

Again, nothing much is really happening. It's okay but I'm not desperate to see next week's episode.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

My Brute

I saw this little web-based fighting game over on Heropress and thought I'd have a look. The animation and artwork is definitely very cute!

You create a little fighter, decide on his name and look, and then challenge others (usually of the same level as yourself) to a fight in the arena. And that's pretty much it. Your character gets experience for each fight (more if you win) and as you advance you get different skills, weapons and objects.

My Brute is yet another way to waste time on the internet!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Sunday Spotlight: Cliff Chiang

I've only really seen Cliff Chiang's artwork on the Dr Thirteen series but I think his art is gorgeous. And his women are wonderfully cheeky.
See more of Cliff's art at his website or here.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Friday Night Fights: Eye-Popping

It's Friday again and time for Spacebooger's wince-inducing Friday Night Fight's One Panel of Pain.

Last week, in spite of a bloody entry, I didn't manage to hold on to the title. Still, let's try some blood and brains again this week and see how well that goes down a second time (hopefully with a better scan this week). And let's try an old faithful - yes, that, erm, infamous scene from Infinite Crisis where Black Adam pushes his fingers through Psycho-Pirate's head. Gruesome! I love the little touch with the eye...

(this shunkkch-ing panel is taken from Infinite Crisis #6 written by the current master of mainstream bloodsplatter Geoff Johns, pencils by Phil Jiminez and inks by Andy Lanning)

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Stone Rocks!

Head over right now to Action Age comics to read the first 8 page installment of the Chronicles of Solomon Stone! This latest story of the World’s Greatest Half-Vampire Private Detective (really!) is brought to you by Chris Sims, Matthew Allen Smith and Benjamin Birdie and features a Dalek, ghost dinosaurs, viking werewolves, the She-Queen of the Vampazons, and much more.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Nation (by Terry Pratchett)

A new (well, six months old) Terry Pratchett novel is always something to cheer and be happy about. Unusually, Nation is one of Pterry's few non-Discworld books and also touted as a Young Adults novel - I picked it up from the "Teen" section of my local library. However, I don't know why this is for younger readers; it's written in the same style as Pterry's recent Discworld books and, if anything, deals with darker and more serious material than many of his other works. Perhaps it's just because the two main characters are young teens?

The story - based on a very familiar, alternate 1870s Earth - concerns Mau, a young lad who lives on one of the many small islands in the Southern Pelagic Ocean (i.e. an alternate Pacific Ocean), who has just completed his one month ritual to become a man. Returning back to his home, a tsunami hits killing all of his family and fellow island folk. The tsunami also causes a ship carrying Ermintrude (who decides to call herself Daphne because it sounds more adventurous than her real name), a 'proper' young English girl and daughter of a Governor, to crash into Mau's island. Only she survives, and together with Mau they have to deal with the dead and somehow rebuild Mau's nation, even though they don't understand a thing about one another.

There's a sad and melancholic vibe running through this book. Mau has to deal with the dead bodies of his friends and family whilst coming to terms with being the only one left of his "nation". Daphne comes to realise that Polite Society doesn't really work when you're marooned on a faraway island and is slowly forced toward adulthood with the acceptance of the death of her mother. All the while, questions about belief, religion and science are raised and considered. It's sort of gloomy stuff but written with Pratchett's familiar wit and wordplay. And the ending isn't so much "happy ever after" as acceptable and realistic. Sort of depressing but also uplifting.

It's a strange book, not as brightly amusing as Terry Pratchett's Discworld books but still interesting and engaging. A very, very good read and highly recommended to fans of Pterry's other stories or, because this is a standalone story, anyone wanting to get into his books. It's also recommended to anyone of any age - not just teens!

Grade: Very Fine.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Primeval - Episode 2 (season 3)

They certainly know how to do spooky scary suspense, don't they? This episode of Primeval was full of it. Most of this episode was set in a spooky abandoned house containing a scary sprite-like monster which was always creeping up on people.

It all started with Cutter discovering, via a weird, wire-frame 3-D model (best line in the episode - "Couldn't you have done all this on a computer?"), that he could predict where anomalies would appear. But not when - which is kind of limiting considering they could appear at any point in time within millions of years. Of course, Helen Cutter must already have some way of predicting when/where anomalies appear or go to because she's able to use them so well.

Anyway, this model showed that an anomaly should appear in an old abandoned house so (some of) the team went off ghost hunting. I mean, dinosaur hunting. Except this week's creature was certainly not dinosaur-like. Must be a future monster (any ol' excuse to have a sneaky, chameleon, imp-like creature). There was also stuff about some kids going missing in the house years ago - obviously they went through an anomaly. So - y'know - the usual stuff.

This episode was creepy and scary but it did drag at times. The story could have been told in a half hour episode not 45 minutes. Lots of atmospheric shots and suspenseful score as folk crept around used as padding but not too much story. Still, the scariness was done well for an early evening TV show.

The main interesting bits were the introduction of Danny Quinn - hopefully, he'll be back (he left the police force in the end so he could join up) - and Helen Cutter getting her henchmen to steal her husband's DNA, setting up next week's clone episode. In fact, the preview of next week's episode looked pretty exciting. Again, another surprisingly good episode. Grade: Fine.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Sunday Spotlight: Alan Davis

What can I say say about Alan Davis. He has to be my favourite comic book artist ever. Who's also worked on some of my favourite comics of all time - Captain Britain, Excalibur, Avengers, Clandestine and more. His clear, smooth, rounded style is simply... perfect.

I could post images all day. But instead, if you want more, head over to Alan Davis' official web site or to this comic art site.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Friday Night Fights: Invincible

Wahay! I actually won last week's Friday Night Fight, with a poorly scanned-in Avengers image. I'm guessing the George Perez art helped. Must keep that in mind in the future.

Anyway, enough of the celebrations. It's that time again for another Friday Night Fights: One Panel of Pain, hosted by Spacebooger.

And this time, it's Invincible who's taking a beating. To be honest I could pretty much post any panel of issue #12 of Invincible because there's so much pain in there. But here's Invincible himself getting smacked around by his father, Omni-Man.

(this panel is taken from Invincible #12 written by Robert Kirkman with art by Ryan Ottley and colour by Bill Crabtree)

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Random TV Stuff

Sorry there have been no posts recently, but I've been busy with real life stuff and it's near the Easter holidays. Still, here's a brief run down of some of the TV stuff I've seen this week.


Primeval (s3 ep1)

Season 3 of this started with a “Walking with Dinosaurs meets Night In the Museum together with a little touch of Stargate” episode, where the team found an anomaly trapped in an Ancient Egyptian "Sun Cage" whilst fighting off a giant crocodile. And it was actually pretty good.

When Primeval started a few years ago, I remember watching about half the first series and then getting bored (it was all CG monster-of-the-week stuff). Then I caught the final episode of that first series and was fascinated by the whole time-travel paradox thing, where the team discovered that the camp and dead body they'd found in the first episode were due to their own actions in season one’s final episode. Also, due to their time-travelling hi-jinks, one team member now no longer existed. For some reason, I then missed the second series - I never even knew it was on! Although, since realising that season 3 was about to start, I have since managed to catch a couple of episodes repeated on one of the digital channels (ITV2?).

It's quite an interesting little show. Sure, there's still a monster-of-the-week element to it, but there's also an intriguing time-manipulating season-wide story running through the episodes. And the group dynamic between the characters is well played. Plus – bonus extra - we even got to see Hannah Spearritt in her pants again. Hurrah!


Smallville - Bulletproof (s8 ep12)

This week's episode wasn't as good as last week's (Legion) but it was still pretty entertaining. Other than that, I don't have much to say about it. Not knowing the Superman books that well, I wasn’t really aware of who Dan Turpin was. But the stuff with Lana actually seems to be getting more interesting.


Heroes - Shades of Gray (v4 ep6)

I was so busy that I didn't get to see Heroes this week. Perhaps I'll catch it on BBC's iPlayer or a repeat.


Doctor Who - Planet of the Dead

I have now seen the first trailer to the Easter Special episode of New Doctor Who (which will be shown on Saturday April 11th - my daughter's birthday). Looks marvellous! I wonder what the "planet of the dead" is all about? Can’t wait.