Monday, January 31, 2011


Check this out! I was googling the death of that FF character who died last week (because I couldn't find a copy of the issue anywhere), and I found this - drawn back in 2009!
It's like one of those prophecies you hear about!
I got it from here.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Discovering Skins

Do any of you watch Skins?
I had kind of avoided it, because I thought it was just an in-your-face yoof drama, and maybe I’m too old for that kind of thing now. Plus I generally avoid UK drama series, as they can be downbeat, dull, not as sophisticated and slick as US shows, and generally the actors in UK dramas are ugly!
However, I wish someone had told me how good Skins is.
I was intrigued by the trailer for series 5 – it is so cool – and I discovered that BT Vision were showing series 1 to 4, so I thought I’d check it out. I’m so glad I did. I’ve only watched series 3 and 4 so far (as they are going off BT soon) and I get the impression that series 1 and 2 are classics, so I’m looking forward to those too.
Series 3 introduces the ‘second generation’ of characters, a whole new cast, apart from Effy, the sister of Tony (Nicholas Holt) from series 1 and 2. I have to admit, series 3 is a bit of a scene-setter, where we just get to know the characters. There’s utter thug Cook, autistic JJ, young lesbians Naomi and Emily, Emily’s bitchy twin Katy and scatty, alluring Effy. The characters are introduced and we learn what makes them tick. It’s a little lightweight, and only really steps into gear towards the end, particularly in the slightly silly drug-fuelled camping trip episode and the finale, which completely shifts the setting and focuses on the love triangle between good-looking Freddie, and runaway lovers Cook and Effy.
Series 4 is another story, however. I wasn’t prepared for how EPIC it is. It starts off shockingly and gets heavier and heavier. The series opens with a teenage girl stumbling through a club (she bumps into each member of the cast on her way), and she climbs to the top of the club and leaps to her death. It turns out that some of the main cast are involved in supplying the drugs that led to her death, and the truth and consequences unfurl over the series.
Bitchy twin Katy gets her own stunning episode early on, where we learn that she is infertile (she’s had a premature menopause) and then we learn that her family is bankrupt and are evicted. It’s a stunning episode with great guest performances by Ronnie Ancona and John Bishop as Katie’s parents (in the series, actors like Harry Enfield, MacKenzie Crook and Jenny Éclair all have fun grown-up roles), and it delves into the hugely emotional family relationships (the family had disowned daughter Emily for being a lesbian – and they are forced to reunite with her). The moving ending had me in tears!
Things get even heavier from here on in, and we delve headfirst into the relationship between Effy and Freddie – and it soon becomes quite clear that Effy isn’t just an out-of-control teenager, she’s actually suffering from psychotic depression. The storylines all come to a head here, and we get a great character study of Freddie. Freddie’s mother suffered from depression, and the focus quickly turns on his desperate efforts to save his girlfriend from the same fate – and the harrowing realisation that he can’t.
Effy is sectioned and stays in a psychiatric institute for weeks – and when she leaves, the production of the episodes is utterly stunning. You can ‘feel’ her recovery in the episode, you get a true sense of it, you’re right there with the character – it’s extraordinary. You have to see it to believe it. It’s powerful acting and powerful writing. Wow.
A final shout-out to actress Lily Loveless, who plays ‘Naomi Campbell’. With a weaker connection between other characters, the character could have got lost in the storylines, and I think it’s the strength and vulnerability of Lily’s acting that really makes her shine, creating a compelling performance and turning her into my absolute favourite character. She’s in a new lesbian relationship with Emily, and it’s not without it’s huge ups and downs, but the writers make it clear that they love the character and the actress as much as we do. Check out this series – and Naomi’s stunning series finale speech – you won’t regret it.
Oh, and give me Skins over Glee any day.

Whatever happened to comics? Part 502

Just caught up on a couple of recent Uncanny X-Men issues. You know, on the surface, they’re okay. I think I’m the only person in the world who doesn’t have a problem with Greg Land’s art – it’s solid and slick. The stories are okay – nice characterisation, stuff happening, nothing ground-breaking…
But…the content is the problem. It’s just not satisfying. Sebastian Shaw goes to hit Emma at the end – you call that a cliffhanger? And in my day, you could fill about 3 pages of an issue with what happens in these two issues…
And pleeease – stop making Emma Frost a slut! She’s not a tart – she’s sexy and sophisticated. She is not a bimbo!!!
Oh, and while I’m at it, I also caught up with Uncanny X-Force 3 and 4. Well they’re not bad – the new Horsemen are a bit weird, but they’re quite inventive and different. I think the problem here is the art – yeah it’s nice and imaginative, but it’s also quite hard to tell what’s happening sometimes. The storytelling is a bit too ‘off’. I mean, I guess I’d rather have this artist than the dreaded Humberto Ramos, but still, it’s really unclear what’s happening sometimes…

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


I was in FP on Saturday and picked up Shonen Jump (a Japanese manga title that I sometimes buy and never read lol). On the back page was an ad - for an live action movie of Gantz!!! Wow!!! I had no idea they were even making one!!! It's like they made it just for me! Cool!
Gantz is about a group of people who suddenly find themselves in a weird room, dressed in weird costumes, and they have to perform a series of missions - it's veeery gory. I hope they don't eff it up like they did 20th Century Boys (well I only saw the first one, but I didn't like the main actor guy), but the trailer looks beyond awesome.

Monday, January 17, 2011

A nice discovery

There's a really lovely bookshop in the little town I live in, Gipsy Hill - it's called the Bookseller Crow, and it's really cosy and they have a very nice range of books. The owner is obviously a comic fan as he sells a lot of graphic novels - mainly indie.
So last year, I popped in there and asked if he wanted to sell some Spandex Comics and he took some off me - and I also gave him a nice Attack of the 50 Foot Lesbian art card. However, I have this weird selective shyness, which makes me feel a bit embarrassed to go back into a shop where they sell Spandex Comic, as I feel bad if they haven't sold any (like I've wasted their time).
However, I popped in there on Saturday and got a lovely surprise - the owner had put my Attack of the 50 Foot Lesbian right by the door, so it's the first thing you see! It had obviously been there for ages as it had caught the sun.
How cool!
Check out the shop here:

Saturday, January 15, 2011

My First 3d movie

As most of my friends know, I can’t see 3d movies. Barely anyone believes me, but it’s true. I can see just like everyone else, but because I have a weak right eye, I can’t see 3d (you need to use both eyes to see 3d). My colleagues made me sit through part of a 3d movie one lunchtime and they still didn’t believe me. I checked with my optician and it’s quite common, but still no one believes me. I can’t see the latest 3d movies with the colourless glasses either, and no one still believes me. I even checked it out in the Sony Building when I went to Tokyo – trying but failing to use the latest in 3d technology. You can't get much more high tech than that.
Today, I went to see Green Hornet at the Apollo Cinema in London. Green Hornet is being shown in 3 and 2d in cinemas, but this showing didn’t mention 3d. I asked if it was definitely in 2d and the ticket guy said yes. I chuckled and said, that’s good because I can’t see 3d (he ignored me).
So me and my mate settled down, and suddenly some signs came up saying ‘now put on your 3d glasses’… Surely not… Surely it’s just the trailers…? But no! After several 3d trailers, the screening turned out to be in 3d, and me and my mate seemed to be the only ones who didn’t know this and were not given glasses!
So we stormed out, ready for a showdown and to give up on seeing it (because there's no point if it's all blurry for me), but I said ‘hang on’, and grabbed a couple of glasses out of the recycled 3d glasses bin, and we went back in to see if I really couldn’t see it (self-doubt often creeps in). Well, I’m happy to report that I could actually see the movie with the glasses on (it’s a shame it wasn’t as colourful as it could have been) but no I couldn’t see the effects. My mate saw the effects and said it was one of those movies where the 3d is just tacked on at the end and it doesn’t really need it.
Incidentally, the film was really shit. (Reviewed below)

Full Dark No Stars Review

I’ve often admitted on this blog that Stephen King is the only modern author I really enjoy, and to be honest, the only one I can read these days! It surprises even me, to be honest. I mean, I read and enjoy James Patterson too, but most other modern authors’ books are left half-unread. I struggled through the Girl with Dragon Tattoo books (I tried so hard) for instance, and I actually find most modern books to be fairly plotless and unexciting and style over substance. (I know it's just me.)
Yes, I do think Stephen King has gone off the boil a bit. I think he’s still trying (needlessly) to be accepted, and he’s trying to be more ‘serious’, so some of his books have become a bit too abstract.
I’ve just finished ‘Full Dark, No Stars’, and he’s done it again. I devoured it in less than a week. Now that’s the sign of a good book. Absolutely stunning.
It’s a series of 4 short-ish stories, and it starts with ‘1922’. I couldn’t stop reading this story - just couldn't put the book down. (Please note, I won’t spoil things, but I will mention things that might sound like spoilers, but they happen really early on in each story, and I won’t spoil the really juicy stuff). 1922 is about a farmer who lives with his awful wife and his young son, and the farmer and the son commit a murder and try to live with that and get away with it. It’s absolutely delicious. It’s great to watch the farmer get into all sorts of scrapes and get questioned and see how he copes with it etc. And you just don’t know which direction the story is gonna go in. I was wrong in my guesses, but the events were no less nasty and horrific – in fact, there really is a lot of nastiness in this story and a lot of disturbing things going on. The best thing though, is that the main narrator, the farmer, is actually pretty stupid, and he doesn’t realise it. He does some very silly things, and makes some very wrong judgements, and he has some very wrong opinions – and he has no idea. It’s a fascinating character study.
Next up is ‘Big Driver’, possibly my favourite of the stories. It starts up about a middle-aged female, a gentle soul, who writes tame murder mysteries. You immediately get a sense that something nasty is going to happen, and you think ‘gosh, how can it happen to this woman?’. But happen it does, and wow, again, utterly impossible to put down. And I definitely don’t agree with some of the decisions the protagonist makes, and it’s actually a bit frustrating for that reason, too, but it’s another very juicy, shocking, meaty, satisfying story.
‘Fair Extension’ is the shortest of the stories, but doesn’t feel like it, as so much is packed in. It’s about a terminally ill guy who makes a deal to save himself – and it looks at the ramifications of that. It’s very nasty indeed, but it’s so much fun!!
Finally, there’s ‘A Good Marriage’, which, again, showcases a ‘nice’ middle-aged woman, who makes some shocking discoveries about her husband. Again, it’s another story where you just keep guessing where the hell it’s gonna go – and even when it doesn’t take the turns you expect it to, you still love King for the whole thing. And what I like about this one (and the others) is the humour – the silliness, the fun, the attention to detail which shouldn’t be funny but it is.
I love Stephen King. I actually think I want to marry him. He has a God-given gift. He’s a pure storyteller, and that is very rare in this day and age. To be able to get inside people’s heads, to create a psychology, to make you interested in the story, to be utterly gripped – that is so powerful. And the other amazing thing – these stories are so simple. They’re almost obvious. They make you think ‘why didn’t I come up with that?’.
Good old King.

The Green Hor-not

Saw Green Hornet today. I had wanted to see the King’s Speech but my friend didn't want to see it. My expectations were low – and I should have set them lower…
It’s Hollywood at its very worst. It’s awful – I mean, not awful in a ‘Spirit’ way – I have to admit that I wasn’t bored or anything – but it’s just illogical and it’s stupid and pointless.
Who financed this movie? Where the hell did they get all that money from? It allowed them to pay for Cameron Diaz to get involved, even though it’s a role far, far beneath her. Any up and coming dollybird could have done her role. There is pointless, expensive-looking destruction all the way through. Green Hornet takes a memory flash drive all the way to his big expensive office so he can download it (and so we can see the entire place being destroyed), but wouldn’t any old internet café have done the job?
And what are the Green Hornet’s motivations? He seems happy – very happy! – to murder people left right and centre, often in the goriest way possible! So he’s not a superhero then? He's happy to be branded a vicious killer? And where do the ‘powers’ come from? Yes, we can just about accept Kato’s ‘powers’, but when Green Hornet starts to do weird things….there is no explanation, no logic. It's shocking that so many people can be involved in making a movie and no one sat down and said 'this doesn't make sense' or 'this is rubbish'.
And poor Jay Chou as Kato… Now I have a bit of a soft spot for Asian guys, and yes, Jay is easy on the eye, but ….my god he’s bad!!! I mean, he is sweet and everything, and it’s a fun, unusual role in places, but you can barely hear a word he’s saying… His speaking role really should have been reduced…
The saddest thing about this movie, though, is that it could so easily have worked. If only they’d decided to make it more of a kids’ movie (one of those movies that throws a knowing wink to the parents from time to time). It could have been huge and I probably would have liked it. Kato would have been loveable, the kids would have loved Green Hornet… It could have been a heap of fun.
Instead it’s just yet another brainless Hollywood failure. Such a shame.
(And one more thing - you have an amazing theme song which you can use, but you don't use it??? Well except for a brief 10-second spurt. Gah.)

Friday, January 7, 2011

My Fantagraphic Books experience in full! (For Kelvin lol)

This is such a 'fascinating' story, that I thought i'd tell it all in one go, rather than it be in bits and pieces all over my blog - for my tale is now over.
I ordered 6 Love and Rockets comics off Fantagraphic Books back on 3rd October, to complete my collection. All good. Nice prices. Customer Services were a bit odd and stand-offish with a query I had, but never mind...
Then I got a round-robin email off them saying any comics ordered between the 8th and 20th of October would be delayed by a couple of weeks because of warehouse restructuring.
I thought well I'm fine then... But nothing came by the end of Oct so I contacted them and of course, they said my package was affected but it went out last week, so I should just keep an eye on the post.
Mid-November, nothing, emailed them again, response: we sent it last week, please keep an eye on the post. I emailed them to say 'so when did it go out then?' they said keep an eye on the post.
Mid-December comes and still nothing. My mates say I should give up on the package. I'm a bit upset, as it's pretty much ruined my reading experience.
Then i happen to be in a London comic shop, and they've got a load of Love and Rockets back issues just in - including several of the ones I ordered from FB. After a bit of oohing and ahing (during which a couple of issues got bought already) I decided to buy the issues I had ordered - a bird in the hand... Which just left me with 3 missing issues, so if the package did turn up, it wouldn't be a complete waste of time.
Three days later, a package turns up from Fantagraphics. Get this. It contains the three issues I bought at the comic shop but nothing else. They had sold out of the others. You'd think they could effing tell me by email or soemthing? So I was still missing three issues.
Plus I had to chase FB for a refund on the missing comics.
So anyway, I looked online for my missing issues, but could only see them in America. Trying to figure out what is in each L&R trade is very difficult, but i did it in the end, and bought the trades which had my missing issues (they contained new material too, so it wasn't a complete waste of money).
All in all, I kind of regretted my initial impulse online purchase buy (I didn't even consider shopping in town for them!) but I'm glad I got to read them, as it is a beyond-excellent series... But jeez, Fantagraphics, sort yourselves out.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


I was pretty stunned to see this review of Spandex 3 on the Forbidden Planet International website today:
I love the FPI Blog, it really fills a hole that Comics International and other UK comics mags left. Check it out!

Website Success...?

I had an email from the 'wordpress' people who host my Spandex website, and they had some interesting and somewhat strange stats for me.
First up, they said that the Spandex Comic website had 42,000 visitors in 2010! But then they said the maximum number of visitors I had in one day was 2. So how does that work out??
And then they said that the most frequent searches done which led to my site were 'Pussy', 'Spandex Pussy' and 'Pussy in Spandex'