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Thursday, 25 May 2017

It Was Ten Years Ago Today That Rachel & I Tied The Knot...

My Favourite Family Portrait...

Ten years ago today, Rachel and I were married in a Star Wars-flavoured wedding at Salomons - a Victorian mansion in Southborough, between Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells.

There hasn't been a day since then that I haven't counted myself incredibly lucky to have found such an amazingly caring, loving, and patient person as Rachel, who continues to put up with (and even, occasionally, encourage) my various eccentricities.

We will be celebrating this landmark this week (as well as Alice's third birthday), so posting might be a bit light. for a few days.

Don't forget today is also, appropriately, Geek Pride Day - being the anniversary of the original release of Star Wars (as mentioned earlier) as well as international Towel Day (celebrating the life and works of Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy author Douglas Adams).

Today Is The 40th Anniversary Of The Opening Of Star Wars...


Like many younglings of my generation, Star Wars spoke to me in ways other movies never did.

People often talk about being "blown away" the first time they saw the Imperial Star Destroyer rumble into shot during the opening sequence of Star Wars.

It didn't have that effect on me - for me it was totally normal; in my 10-year-old mind's eye that's what spaceships had always looked like. This was space stuff as it always should have been!

My dad took me to see Star Wars when it first came out and it was one of those rare films that really bridged the age gap.

From seeing Star Wars on the big screen, with my dad, in 1977 a fanboy was born.

I started a scrap book (cover pictured below) of Star Wars newspaper and magazine articles, along with the "Who's Who"s from the black-and-white British Star Wars comics, and a strange diagram of the Death Star trench.

As well as hordes of bubblegum cards and a handful of action figures (I mainly remember Han Solo and Darth Vader); my collecting mania had begun.


More importantly, I wrote voraciously.

Since primary school I'd filled spare exercise books with rambling Earth-centric science-fiction and action stories, but now they took on epic, space opera qualities, filled with alien planets and strange creatures, inspired by George Lucas and his masterpiece.

Somehow I knew, albeit subconsciously, that this was a film unlike any other. A phenomenon. And the world would never be the same again.

Almost four decades later and George Lucas' creation is still impacting my life.

Even though Rachel isn't a fan and it was actually a total co-incidence that we were married on May 25, 2007 (the 30th anniversary of the opening of Star Wars), we still had The Imperial March as Rachel's bridal music and she had secretly arranged for 'Darth Vader' to act as ring bearer.

At the time, Paul (my best man) was working as Assistant Editor of New Consumer magazine and so our wedding earned a mention in their promotional material for 'alternative' weddings (as a faux new report video).

The table names for the wedding breakfast were all planets from the Saga (the head table was Cosuscant) and our cake topper was this delightful tiny replica of myself as Han Solo and Rachel as Princess Leia. They still have pride-of-place in the dinning room cabinet display, along with a number of Star Wars-themed Mr Potato Heads (Darth Tater, Spudtrooper etc)!

In my world, Star Wars surrounds us and penetrates us. It binds the Galaxy together; it is such a part of my life, of who I am, it connects me to my late father, it is woven into the fabric of my wedding and continues to be a major factor in fandom/collecting/gaming etc

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Superhero DVD Of The Week: Teen Titans - The Judas Contract (2017)


I've said it before, and I'm sure I'll say it again, while my beloved Fantastic Four introduced young me to the concept of superheroes and comics, it was the legendary Wolfman/Perez run on The New Teen Titans that turned me into a serious collector.

And The Judas Contract arc from that run was the first comic book tale to have a deeper emotional impact on me - beyond sheer, breathless, excitement. It was a genuinely upsetting read for teenage me.

So, I came to the latest DC Comics' animated movie, released this week over here and based on that powerful story, with a lot of baggage and a degree of trepidation as to whether it would live up to my high expectations.

But I needn't have fretted. Teen Titans: The Judas Contract is not only the finest of this range of animated films to date, but an incredible tribute to the Wolfman/Perez original classic.

Its backstory updated to fit into the animated movie continuity (e.g. the addition of Damien Wayne and the new Blue Beetle), the film is a marvellous character-driven examination of the interpersonal relationships of this group of young superheroes, the dynamics of family, and the importance of trust, as well as a cracking superhero yarn in its own right.

The Teen Titans are investigating a sinister cult, led by the immortal and deranged Brother Blood (voiced by Gregg Henry) and its links to the villainous H.I.V.E. organisation, little realising they - in turn - are being surveilled by Blood's agent, the mercenary Deathstroke (voiced by the late, great, Miguel Ferrer), for his own ends.

Even though his motivation isn't quite as layered as it was in the comics. Deathstroke stands out as a most amoral, manipulative, asshole, a disturbing and arrogant supervillain for the ages, thanks to Ferrer's performance; the super-assassin's relationship with his young protégé being particularly unnerving and despicable.

The film also boasts an incredible - and perfect - voice cast as the Titans themselves, including Wednesday Addams aka Christina Ricci as Tara Markov; Firefly's Sean Maher as Nightwing; From Dusk Til Dawn's Brandon Soo Hoo as Beast Boy; American Horror Story's Taissa Farmiga as Raven; and Kari Wahlgren as Starfire.

And yes, its climax - even though I knew it was coming - was almost as big an emotional gut punch as in the source material.

Teen Titans: The Judas Contract is a spectacular addition to DC Comics' growing animated canon (after a couple of less than impressive outings) that has, hopefully, set a new standard for their output.

Ahmanet Is A Mummy I'd Like To Find...

Weird Wednesday...

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