Friday, October 23, 2020

The first Mad Max is the scariest

The second Mad Max film is absolute the greatest Australian film ever made - The Castle is a close second - because it's balls to the wall action, full of leather raiders and speed injections and good mad Aussie bastards who break their legs for a stunt and come back for the reshoots in a cast.

But the first film is still the most unsettling, because it's the only one that's not post-apocalyptic, it's straight-up apocalyptic. The world is still recognisable, with places where you can get a beer or a milkshake or a fried breakfast. It's a white line nightmare out of the streets, but there is still an economy, there aren't any nuked-out cities.

In this year of plague on the streets and turkeys in power, that recognisability is disconcerting as fuck. We're not in the age of the Humongous or Immortan Joe not yet, but Toecutter could be out there right now, ready to swoop in like a vulture and feed on the decaying society.

See you on the roads, skags.

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Last Box of Marvels: This is the time and place

I spent 27 days cataloguing my Marvel comic books and wondering in public why I held on to so many of them, but that was 26 days too long, because there wasn't really much to wonder about. A very few of them are kept for the writing, a lot of them were still there for the art, but most of them were because I'm a sentimental old shit who can't bear to throw out things I've had and loved for years. They spark joy, all right.

It's a matter of raw nostalgia, but also a memory aid. My brain is full, and years of pot use hardly helped, and now I hold onto these things as an outsourcing of memories. Comics books were always so expensive in this part of the world, that I can remember exactly where I was when I bought so many issues of these issues. I know exactly where I got that Avengers, or where I was living when I got the last issue of the Nth Man I needed. I can remember jobs I've had and places I've been friends and friends I've know when I look at these comics. They're a time and a place.

Some of the dumbest comics can spark the most precious of memories, remind me of feelings long dormant, take me back a place we all ache to return to. If I get some decent Captain America Kicks The Shit Out Of Nazi Scum comics out of it, that's a bonus.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

A time of explosions

There was a glorious time in cinema, just before CGI came in and ruined everything, where everybody in Hollywood was trying to do bigger and bigger real-life explosions than everybody else.


They would set off a behemoth of a blast in the office building in Terminator 2, and then one of the Lethal Weapons film would blow the shit out of something downtown, and then Demolition Man would be: fuck you, we're blowing up a warehouse in the first six minutes.


If computer effects hadn't come along, this pyrotechnical war could only have ended with somebody eventually setting off a real-life nuclear bomb for entirely cinematic effect, and we're all the poorer for the fact that this did not happen. 

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

There are no good video game movies

It's almost become charming, because endlessly hopeless optimism is always a bit charming. I've seen it in multiple Empire Magazine articles over the years, preview articles of movies based on video games, angled about whether it will break the golden rule of game adaptions and actually be good. 

It would be annoying, but they've been doing it constantly for the 25 years I've been reading the magazine now, and the desperation that one of these things might be worth the phenomenal time and effort that go into creating them has come all the way around to being funny again.

(Spoiler: none of them are ever worth the time or effort.)

At least Empire is usually brutally honest about the things when they're coming out, and give them the two-star treatment (the classic not-even-bad-enough-to-be-entertaining rating). While there have been a lot of great video games that are better than most movies ,they never make good films, no matter how much Empire is hoping.

Monday, October 19, 2020

Primal Who: Figuring out the different Doctors

I always thought my absolute primal memory of Doctor Who must be a lie, because it never made any sense. The earliest thing I can remember about watching the greatest television show in the history of everything, it's thinking the Third Doctor was the Doctor on one channel, and the Fourth Doctor was on the other. There were only two channels in New Zealand in those days, so it made sense.

But it didn't. This didn't make any sense at all. I can clearly remember watching Destiny of the Daleks, which would have played in this country in the very late 70s, but the Third Doctor had mostly come and gone before I was born in 1975.

Fortunately, there are people more obsessive about this than me, and I can take massive advantage of their hard work and research. So all I had to do was go on to the NZ Doctor Who Fan Club webpage, where they have listed the local transmission times of every Doctor Who story and I can figure what it was. And I can see that the Green Death suddenly played in a run of Fourth Doctor stories in very early 1979, when I was four years old and allowed to watch Doctor Who at 6.30 on a Friday night.

Then it went back to Tom Baker, and the rest of the 1970s were full of his greatest adventures, including eventually Destiny of the Daleks. And if my Doctor Who obsession started anywhere, it started there.

Because New Zealand is a strange and backwards place, there were only two channels for years, and one of them changed its name from SPTV to TV2 between those two Dr Who stories, so I can see where the confusion came from. There were two channels, and there were two Doctors.

The internet can be a fearful place, but it's also a place where you can go and find out facts, and check whether your earliest memories actually have a basis in fact, and haven't been too distorted. There were two Doctor Whos on New Zealand's TV channels, and I saw both of them. The primal Doctor Who memory is present and correct. 

Saturday, October 17, 2020

The Last Box Of Marvel: The ones that don't fit

Up there on the bookshelves, there's all the Ennis Punisher; and all of the Claremont and Bendis and Morrison X-men; and things like The Ultimates and Marvels and three Elektra books and the first Marshall Law and the first Avengers comics, but that's just about everything in the last box of Marvel.

There's a few things that don't fit into any other category, like the issue of 411 with the Millar/Quiteley gem, or the bonkers Avengers 100th Anniversary comic by James Stokoe, or the lovely Captain America/Thor comic from some FCBD years ago, or a few issues of the ultra-weird 'What would Marvel Comic looks like in the Marvel Universe?' things that they put out in 2000, including the X-Men one which is the most Mark Millar comic Mark Millar ever created.

And there's a few more reprints, including a couple of issues of the Marvel's Greatest Comics title, which offered the best value for money with a-grade FF, Iron Man, Captain America and Doctor Strange.

But that's it, that's the last box of Marvel. I'll add to it slowly, and take some away just as slowly, and it's stablised as one banana box's worth of comic Marvels. 

Now I just have to get the Two Last Boxes of DC down to one... 

Friday, October 16, 2020

The Last Box Of Marvel: Kicking in high heels

 #26 in a 27-issue limited series

Ms Marvel #22 is, as far as I can recall, the earliest comic issue I ever remember reading, and a lot of my love for all things comic book can be traced back to reading this exact comic while sitting in the spare bedroom on a hot Sunday afternoon at my Aunty Val's place when I was five. 

(Well, it was either this, or motherfuckin' Captain Sunshine. They both date from the exact same time.)

A lot of my love for comics can also be explained by the fact that Ms Marvel #22 - the penultimate comic in the series - has two beautiful and strong women in high heels kicking the crap out of each other. This made an impression.

I forgot all about this for years and years until I found a copy in a grotty second hand bookstore a hundred miles away, and realised every single panel had been imprinted on my brain, even though I'd forgotten it even existed. This is primal comics.

There's other random issues of Power Man and Iron Fist (#75) and Marvel Two In One (#96) that I still held on to since I first started really collecting comics, and they've held up pretty well over the years. They're not going anywhere. And Ms Marvel is forever.

Thursday, October 15, 2020

The Last Box Of Marvel: Still warrioring

#25 in a 27-issue limited series

I really wish they would stop trying to reboot the New Warriors, because nothing will ever come close to beating the absolute shine of its first 25 issues in my heart.