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Archive for January 2014 – Page 2

ACTION COMICS #28 Preview on a SUPERMAN News Day

SUPERMAN's sort of in the news today, what better time to check out an ACTION COMICS preview.

ACTION COMICS #28 Preview on a SUPERMAN News Day

SUPERMAN's sort of in the news today, what better time to check out an ACTION COMICS preview.

ACTION COMICS #28 Preview on a SUPERMAN News Day

SUPERMAN's sort of in the news today, what better time to check out an ACTION COMICS preview.

Oh My Lord – That Sinking Feeling Is Coming To Blu-Ray

Years ago, I had a friend record a late, late night screening of Bill Forsyth‘s That Sinking Feeling for me when it aired on some remote satellite channel at an ungodly hour. I treasured the tape.

Then it was issued on DVD… but the soundtrack was screwed. It didn’t feature the characters’ and actors’ original Scots accents but generic Anglo tones, veering closer to cut glass than the suitable brogue. My VHS was still the better option.

This April, though, the BFI are issuing a new dual-format DVD and Blu-ray set of the film. I’m beside myself with glee.

I wish there was a trailer for the film online so I could just show you that. I’ll try to explain but not spoil anything.

Some young lads in Glasgow don’t have much to do or much money to do it with. They try to plug bot of these holes by heisting a shipment of stainless steel sinks. But… what will do with them once they have them?

All sorts, as it happens.

Forsyth’s next film was Gregory’s Girl and then he “discovered” Peter Capaldi for Local Hero. The man is a tremendous filmmaker and The Sinking Feeling might just be his best film, with dozens of scenes, jokes, and lines of dialogue that are unpredictable in their rough, wonky humanity, all captured freshly and without any pretence or undue labor.

I promise you, I’ll be getting my hands on a copy of this Blu-ray as soon as I can.

Oh My Lord – That Sinking Feeling Is Coming To Blu-Ray

Flashback Friday – Batman: The Black Glove

By Alexander Webb

Welcome to the first installment of Flashback Friday with your comic book (and fitness!) consigliere, Alex. Today, we will take a look at a storyline from 2007 that eventually led into one of the most explosive events of the Modern Age of Comics. That event is Final Crisis; the lead-in, and today’s topic, is Batman: The Black Glove.

(Note: As this story was pre-New 52 continuity, there are no spoilers for the current incarnation of Batman. Those of you reading storylines before 2011, however, may want to shield your eyes now.)

The graphic novel opens with a bold statement, awash in award-winning artists Tony Daniels and J.H. Williams III’s impossibly gorgeous handiwork: There is an evil at work with roots planted deeply in Gotham, and it may be the one enemy Batman has not prepared for. This evil is mysterious and operates out of sight, but may or may not have a hand (get it?) in even the tightest crannies of Gotham. More on that later.

The first story sees Batman and Robin traveling to a private island for a reunion of the International Club of Heroes. The Club, created years ago in the infancy of Batman’s crime-fighting career, consists of Batman-inspired heroes from across the world, with names too cool not to mention; El Guacho, the Hispanic Batman; Man-of-Bats, the Native American Batman; and Knight and Squire, England’s Batman, to name only a few. Hooked already? Good, it gets better.

The gathering is interrupted when one of the Heroes is murdered and an Agatha Christie-whodunnit ensues, with clues tipping off our Batman to a certain dark-colored piece of hand apparel. This is where Williams’ illustration shines. His work on Batwoman speaks for itself to this day, but his smooth textures and theatrical display in this story make it easy to forget there are word bubbles to read. Of course, writer Grant Morrison pulls readers back in and reminds us that he’s no slouch, either.

In the early stages of his Batman run here, Morrison takes charge and shows us how witty and daring he can be with a cast of characters that usually don’t show up in today’s more serious tone of Dark Knight fare. Never saying more than what’s necessary, and often using silence as an effective emotional tool, Morrison establishes The Black Glove as a force to be reckoned with, and Batman and Robin have no choice but to play ball.

The second story picks up where Morrison’s initial Batman run from months earlier, Batman and Son, left off. Batman finds himself up against the third of the three enigmatic ‘replacement’ Batmen.  Trained police officers, brainwashed in isolation chambers to be able to take up the mantle of Batman as an experiment by The Black Glove, are coming after our hero. Why? What’s the driving force behind this evil power? The mystery unfolds as we dig deeper, and artist Tony Daniel shows us the way with dark tones and morose displays of these demonic Batmen. The hallucination scenes are especially dark, when Batman is medically deceased for four minutes (did you just read that right?!) and his deepest fears pour out of his subconscious. Worth the read for this story alone, folks.

Our final story of Batman: The Black Glove sees Morrison and artist Ryan Benjamin tackle the relationship between Bruce Wayne and supermodel-turned-African diplomat, Jezebel Jet. After quarreling about Bruce’s evasive and masked persona, the two are attacked at the restaurant by an exiled member of the Ten-Eyed Brotherhood. Needless to say, someone must save the day. Even with son Damian and former lover Talia keeping tabs on him and Nightwing and Robin coming to aid, Bruce shows his true prowess to an unsuspecting Jezebel. All becomes clear to her as she is enlightened with the revelation of Bruce’s alter-ego.

Benjamin’s style comes out swinging with expressive and detailed depictions of Bruce and Jezebel. The look Bruce has in his eyes as he shows his real self to Jezebel is exactly how we would expect; pained, dark and unrelenting. Morrison’s plot thickens as we see more loose ends (Did he really just reveal himself to one of his girlfriends?!) that will lead directly into follow-up Batman RIP.

Alex, enough with the paragraphs! Does this graphic novel stand the test of time, even in an outdated continuity? Yes, dear reader, it does; very much so. Even though the DC timeline has changed, many story strands leak over. No spoilers, but reading Batman: The Black Glove sheds some light on the age-old question of who controls who, Batman or Bruce Wayne. Not to mention top-notch artwork and the kind of writing we’ve come to expect from Grant Morrison.

Verdict: 5/5

Alex Webb is a fitness trainer by day, Batman-enthusiast by night. Ask him about fitness, comics, RPGs, and answering life’s mysteries via Twitter and Instagram @officiallywebb

Flashback Friday – Batman: The Black Glove

TV’s Constantine Is A Londoner And He’s Going To Keep His Accent

While we don’t know, just yet, who will play the TV Constantine, I can tell you that, unlike the last screen version, which saw Keanu Reeves take the role, he’s going to be a Brit.

Indeed, he’s going to be a Londoner,* and he’s going to talk with his accent.

This means, you would hope, that they’re going to cast somebody from the right side of the Atlantic. Well… I’ll keep you posted on that.

Oh, and yes. Expect a blond too. That’s cool, right?

Of course, these elements are relatively superficial. Let’s see if they can nail the essence of the character. I’m hearing good things, but this is TV – even if they get it bang-on in the pilot, things might slip and slide as the weeks go on.

*Will he originate outside of London, maybe in Liverpool like the comic book JC? I don’t think so…

TV’s Constantine Is A Londoner And He’s Going To Keep His Accent

Mike Marts Leaves Batman Comics To Be Marvel’s All-New Executive Editor

We said that it would be unlikely that Mike Marts, Group Editor of the Batman titles at DC Comics would be making the move with the company from New York to Burbank, California.

And now the other webbed boot has dropped.

As the PR says,

Mike Marts was Senior Editor for New X-Men, Astonishing X-Men working closely with Grant Morrison, Frank Quitely, Joss Whedon and John Cassaday and numerous other X-related hit titles at Marvel Comics from 1996 until 2006 when Marts made the leap to DC Comics. While at DC Comics, Marts was Group Editor managing the Batman books, but beginning this February, Marvel is excited to welcome him back to the “House of Ideas” as one of our newest Executive Editors.

Mike Marts previously worked at Marvel as an editor before making the jump to DC Comics, and has been one of the more loved editors at DC, and responsible for the rather successful relaunch of Batman in the New 52. With a number of comic book creators expressing fealty to him, it may be interesting to see how many follow…

 

Mike Marts Leaves Batman Comics To Be Marvel’s All-New Executive Editor

DC’s Batman Editor Returns to Marvel

Comics Editor Mike Marts has returned to Marvel Comics. From 1996 to 2006, Marts worked at Marvel on notable books such as New X-Men and Astonishing X-Men and with creators Grant Morrison, Frank Quitely, Joss Whedon and John Cassaday, among many others. After spending the next eight years working for DC Comics, most notably as the Batman Group Editor, he has returned to Marvel as an Executive Editor.

"Mike Marts is a seasoned veteran who's edited some of the most critically acclaimed and highest-selling series of the last decade," said Marvel Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso in a Marvel press relese. "I'm overjoyed to see him return home, and I can't wait to see what he brings to Marvel!"

Continue reading…

Back To The Future: The Musical Is Coming To London In 2015

Back to the Future is getting a remake… sort of. A musical stage adaptation is headed for the London West End stage, reports Telegraph, with Robert Zemeckis and the original film’s screenwriters, Bob Gale and Jamie Lloyd writing a new book. Jamie Lloyd will direct, and the show will even have a “skateboard consultant.” It’s being developed for a 2015 bow, to celebrate the film’s 30th anniversary.

New music will be composed by Alan Silvestri, who’s written such classic film scores like Forrest Gump and has worked extensively with Zemeckis on films including both Back to the Future sequels. Songwriter and music producer Glen Ballard will also be part of the music team. Let’s hope this one turns out better than the Ghost musical did, though.

They have to get a Delorean on stage every night somehow, right? Seems like a must. That’s what I’m most excited to see them pull off.

Back To The Future: The Musical Is Coming To London In 2015

Studio Ghibli Co-Producing Bandit Adventure Series, Ronia The Robber’s Daughter‏

If we can trust the picture above, as despatched by Polygon Pictures with their press release, then Ronia the Robber’s Daughter is going to have an authentically Ghibli-esque look.

Perhaps that won’t seem like a surprise if you see that Goro Miyazaki, son of Hayao, is directing the series, but according to the details given, it won’t actually be Studio Ghibli doing the animation. That responsibility instead falls upon the folks working in-house at Polygon.

They’ll certainly have their work cut out for them trying to meet the Ghibli standards, I think. I’m not saying that Polygon are slouches – not by any means, with some good work already done on Tron: Uprising and The Clone Wars – but there’s no comparison to the best of Ghibli’s work. Not at all.

Ronia is to be an adaptation of a book by Astrid Lindgren, creator of Pipi Longstocking. It has fantasy elements – fateful lightning strikes and faery clans – but also feels like a good piece of meaty, Robin Hood-ish, earthed-in folklore. I saw a live-action film version as a kid and, in retrospect, it does seem like something Miyazaki senior would have made an absolutely wonderful film of.

But that’s not to be. Anyway, Miyazaki junior’s first film, Tales of Earthsea, was quite the disappointment, and is likely my least favourite film in Ghibli’s entire catalogue. He did much better with From Up On Poppy Hill. Here’s hoping the needle keeps swinging to the right.

Studio Ghibli Co-Producing Bandit Adventure Series, Ronia The Robber’s Daughter‏