Sunday, 27 March 2016

Daredevil Season 2

Just wanted to do a quick rave for the 2nd season of the DD TV show ( Still have to pinch myself there's actually a DD TV show by the way??!! )
Season 1 was a bit of a mixed bag for me, with a great cast giving it their all, but really it was 7 or 8 episodes stretched out to 13, it was more The Kingpin's origin than Matt's, and I hated the costume ( when it finally appeared ). Plus Netflix relied way too heavily on the fact that we'd watch one episode straight after the other, without any kind of cliffhanger to keep us interested.
Well, I've only watched the first three episodes of season 2 today, and I'm still not that keen on the costume, but what an improvement!
The cast are still great, plus Jon Bernthal off The Walking Dead is a perfect Frank Castle, and the third episode has THE best fight scene Daredevil's ever had. Make that the best fight scene anyone's ever had.
And I haven't even got to Elektra yet...
Here's the trailer.

Friday, 25 March 2016

The Cruise Of Lost Souls

The Cruise Of Lost Souls was the first of Enki Bilal / Pierre Christin's so-called 'Townscape' trilogy, a series of environmental fables, that all follow much the same basic idea. As a group of unscrupulous politicians and businessmen set out to ruin the lives of the average working man, something magical happens to block the path of 'progress'. Always involved is the mysterious white-haired man ( who looks kind of like a gallic Elric ) who turns up at opportune moments, and always knows more than he lets on.
Titled The Voyage Of Those Forgotten when it originally ran in Heavy Metal, ( a better title I think ) this tale is about a tiny Italian ( or possibly French ) village that takes it upon itself to one day float off into the sunset.
The message is sometimes forced, but Christin's script manages to hit just the right side of whimsy, ably lightening Bilal's usual gloom encrusted worldview ( although he really lets himself go in later episodes, where army officals start mutating into hideous monsters ). But it's the comedic, secondary characters I like, such as the bedridden old man who refuses to believe any of it is happening, the kids who realise they won't have to go to school, and the fact that, confronted with such a bizarre set of happenings, the villagers take the only sensible option, and break out the wine, bread and pate.
Here's the first few episodes.

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

The Day I Saved The Life Of The Flash

Here's a bit of fun, as regular Flash scripter Cary Bates shoehorns himself into that month's story for no other reason than that he feels like it.
This really is an issue of The Adventures Of Cary Bates with special guest-star The Flash, as The Monarch Of Motion really has very little to do when The Trickster shows up for the millionth time, while Cary is literally in nearly every panel.
But these kinds of issues are always fun, even if it does seem slightly wrong that artist Irv Novick doesn't get to tag along as well. Unless that's him playing the cop maybe?

Friday, 18 March 2016

Tom Sutton's Lovecraftia

More H.P. Lovecraft now, with a stunning Tom Sutton piece, one of the few artists convincingly able to channel Lovecraft into the comic form. Not that this is an actual adaptation, more of a homage.
Tom insisted that this piece be printed in black & white, presumably because it would've been too much for the human mind to endure in colour, and Charlton went for it because, y'know, it's Tom Sutton. He's from the same dimension as Alex Nino.

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Siegried & The Dragon

Here's a beautiful Craig Russell piece from the 2nd issue of Epic Illustrated, more a fragment than a story, adapted from Wagner's Ring Cycle, and came out I think, just after Russell's first Opera comic, the Parsifal one-off book for Mike Friedrich's Star*Reach.
You can see Russell stretching his muscles here, revelling in the chance to do his own thing, and starting to subtly move away from the Marvel style of Killraven.
It's not often noted what a great colourist Russell is, as well as everything else. His later works The Magic Flute and Fairy Tales Of Oscar Wilde have some of the best colouring you've ever seen anywhere, and it all starts here.
Interestingly, this is a piece with two slightly different endings: Siegried was originally due to run in the 5th issue of Imagine, the companion title to Star*Reach, before Friedrich's money troubles brought his publishing empire to a close, and he realised he couldn't afford to print it.
Epic picked the story up, but editor Archie Goodwin didn't like Russell's last page, where the bird speaks in modern day New Yoik, and asked him to redo it.
Mike, not seeing what the problem was, went ahead and printed the original ending as the back page of Imagine's final issue. So here's the version Archie preferred:

And here's the original:

Monday, 14 March 2016

Teen Titans: The Supernatural Era

Before Marv Wolfman & George Perez made The New Teen Titans DC's best selling title, by the simple expedient of giving DC a Marvel book, there was the original Titans series, and my favorite period of it came right at the end, the so-called 'Supernatural issues'.
There's a lot to recommend in this run, not least art from George Tuska, Art Saaf and of course, the wonderful Nick Cardy, as well as typically barking mad scripts courtesy of Bob Haney, the man who invented his own genre of comics: The Haneyverse.
At this point, the Titans resembled nothing less than the Scooby-Doo gang, tooling around the world in their very own Mystery Machine and getting involved in spooky situations like this one.
They also expanded their membership by three, bringing in amnesiac telepath Lilith ( who got her own back-up strip ), educated caveman Gnark, and pointless token black character Mal Duncan, who spent all his time moaning about his tokenism.
For a kid, this was an endlessly exciting and colourful series, and in this issue, there's a couple of bits that are creepy even now. ( The giant bug menacing Wonder Doll? Yecch! ) There's even a typically Scooby villian reveal in this story, and he totally would've got away with it if not for those pesky Titans.
By the way, I assume Speedy and Mal are dancing in the first panel of P.6 but there's sure no other evidence there of any music going on. Maybe hep cat Mal's teaching his buddy some street level Kung-Fu moves?