Monday, February 18, 2019

Somewhere in space and time...

Somewhere in Europe in the 1970s, somebody is listening to a ringing tone down the other end of the telephone line, and probably has no idea that it's being recorded onto the end of Life On Mars, and definitely has no idea that people will be hearing that telephone ring and ring for as long as human beings exist in this universe.

Sunday, February 17, 2019


The bit early in the Aquaman movie where Black Manta finishes brutally murdering a bunch of innocent sailors, and then turns around and has a big and painfully clumsy 'I love you Dad!' moment is the most Geoff Johns thing I've ever seen on a cinema screen.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Come the fuck in or fuck the fuck off

Even though he is one of the worst human beings in all of fiction, I like to watch videos of Malcolm Tucker insulting people – using weapons-grade profanity with extreme prejudice - to relax. I just find it enormously calming.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Drunk History: Get the beers out

My sense of humour has always skewed towards the British sense of witty irony and slapstick pantomime – I could never watch a single episode of Saturday Night Live, but have devoured things like Monty Python, Father Ted, Red Dwarf and The Young Ones over the years.

So I was truly surprised by how bloody awful Drunk History UK is. Just unwatchably awful. The original US version is far funnier, and I could watch it all day long, because it's fucking funny and fucking informative. But the UK spin-off is just painful to sit through.

It’s partly because the British don’t have the American’s secret weapon in Derek Waters, who always gets the best out of people who are completely shit-faced, keeping them at ease and on target with their wild stories. But it’s mainly because the drunk Brits just shout a lot, instead of getting all zen on it. They're just really loud and annoying drunks. Shit, maybe all British comedy has been this loud and shrill all along, and I just haven't really noticed.

I’m a little scared to go back and check now.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Nobody wins when you dance with dragons

One of my favourite things about devouring George RR Martin’s Westeros books is the mad analysing and philosophising that always follows. I finished Fire and Blood in a week and spent a long, long time afterwards watching all the videos and reading all the essays and listening to all the podcasts that were fiercely deconstructing all the new data. It’s bliss.

But one thing I have no time for is anybody trying to convince me who the good guys and bad guys in the Dance of the Dragons were. They’re all bad and awful. That’s the point.

It’s always comforting to have a story where one side is obviously evil, and the other is obviously good. There is plenty of that in the larger Song Of Ice and Fire, with noble families that are all honourable and loyal, and freaking ice zombies who want to murder everyone on the other side.

But that’s not the story of Dance of the Dragons, and there are characters who are noble and honest and true on both sides, just as there are characters who are treacherous, vile and batshit crazy on both sides. If anything, the real villain is the system of monarchy itself, which encourages the convoluted nightmare of succession, and the horror that it unleashes in the hearts of men and women with giant fucking dragons.

I will read anything that is ever written about Patchface’s moist mutterings, but any type of logical gymnastics needed to feel like the good guys won this dance are just a waste of time.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Here comes Captain Apache!

Captain Apache is your standard acid western, full of sweaty psychedelia, as buckets of blood are spilled in the dust, and everybody has to stop at some point and take some drugs to find out what it all really means, man.

But the trippiest thing about the movie has to be Lee Van Cleef's full head of hair.

He was a gorgeous bald man, but giving him a fringe throws off his whole face. It looks squashed and stretched, his weird grin given an even more sinister edge. That was a face and head to be shown off, not hidden beneath thatch.

The second trippiest thing is Apache's baller coat, with its massive woolly lapels and leather tassels. Old Lee looked weird with hair, but he was rocking that jacket.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

I'm getting the Screams out again

For six glorious months in the mid-80s, Scream was the greatest comic that ever existed. The new Halloween specials they put out now might not be quite so mind-meltingly brilliant - even with Frazer Irving doing The 13th Floor - but I'll take what I can get.

At the very least, I'm getting the original 15 issues out again this weekend. These chills and thrills never get old.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Raiders of the Lost Abs

The second Indiana Jones might be the least-loved entry in the original trilogy, but nobody could possibly argue that we reached Peak Harrison Ford in that moment when Indy is on the rope ladder, with death coming in on both sides, and he raises the sword of his head.

Hot damn!

Sunday, February 10, 2019

It's an anti-Miracle

It still grates how much Marvel fucked up their handling of the Miracleman comics.

After finally securing the rights, they pissed away the goodwill with endless reprints of the cheesy 50s strips that nobody really cares about, and inflated reprints of the neat 1980s stuff, clogged down with backmatter and unrealistic expectations.

And then they pulled the plug altogether, just after they solicited a new issue from Gaiman and Buckingham for the first time in decades like a total tease, because nobody cared about the property at all.

We should be lucky that they haven't spliced him into an Avengers comic yet (in the same way DC shows no shame in slotting Promethea into a Justice League book). It's bound to happen sooner or later, even if nobody wants that. We just want the Silver Age.