Reality is the playground of the unimaginative
Home Of Superheroes, the Supernatural, Swords, Sorcery, and Star Stuff

Friday, 31 July 2009

Garden Watch: The Conclusion (Sort Of...)

Here we have it... HeroPress Towers' Garden, 2009.

Rachel's parents put my shed together today and assembled the garden table (see below, with four comfy chairs).

Barring a few minor tweaks (some soil needed to fill a hole, shelves for my shed, painting the outside of both wooden units and possibly returfing the area of 'dead' grass etc) that's the garden pretty much ready for the "barbeque summer" we were promised.

A massive thank you to Robin, Rita and Gary for their hard work. Now Rachel and I will be able to enjoy the fruits of their labours.

Supernatural: No Rest For The Wicked

Nowhere is the truncated nature of this season of Supernatural (only 16 episodes, due to the Writers' Strike) more evident than in No Rest For The Wicked.

The Winchester brothers have mere hours left before Lilith can take Dean's soul down to Hell and tensions are, understandably, running high.

Bobby has discovered that Lilith (Sierra McCormick) is hanging out in New Harmony, Indiana - a quite, suburban neighbourhood - tormenting and torturing an innocent family, and so the brothers decide to go and face her, in an eleventh hour attempt to slay her and dispel Dean's contract.

Unfortunately, while the episode is high on action and excitement, there's no escaping the fact that some characters are dismissed quite cavalierly: Bobby disappears from the screen towards the end without a satisfying resolution to his involvement and Ruby, also, is written out before we have a chance to learn anything more about her enigmatic character.

And Lilith, while a brilliant creepy character in this episode, is really no more than a "monster-of-the-week" as we've only seen her briefly once before - in Jus In Bello - and she hasn't even been talked about, and foreshadowed, that much in the season. There were clearly other stories to tell (such as elaborating on her penchant for possessing very young girls and why her demon eyes are white rather than the usual black).

Of course, all these character return in Season Four, but right up until the last moment of No Rest For The Wicked, there isn't really the sense that this is a season finale. It feels more like the first half of an epic two-part story.

Sam's physic powers also seem to return in this story, for the first time this season, creating - presumably - yet another plot thread to be explored in the next season.

In some sense it's a shame that of the stories we did get in Season Three, the bulk pitted the Winchesters against demons which resulted, by the time the show reached this stunning conclusion, in a slight demon fatigue (just how many times are we going to see a demon lured into a devil's trap either hidden under a rug or painted on the ceiling?).

Perhaps if there had been more of the old school monster hunts along the way to break things up, this final confrontation would have felt more original.

Of course the sheer genius of this episode, which overwhelms all my petty quibbles, is the fact that - unlike so much production line television drama there is no sudden deux ex machina or 'Get Out Of Jail' free card for Dean.

The final shot of No Rest For The Wicked is pure Hellraiser and spectacularly pessimistic, even by Supernatural's usual grim and dark standards.

* The Complete Fourth Season Of Supernatural comes out, in the UK, on DVD on November 2, so it will be at the top of my birthday present list. Hopefully I'll start reviewing the episodes soon(ish) after that.

Supernatural: Time Is On My Side

Time is ticking away. There's three weeks to run on Dean's deal before he is claimed by the forces of Hell and he's no closer to finding a way out... or even the name of the demon that now holds his contract.

The Winchesters are on the trail of an organ-harvesting ghoul, Doc Benton (Billy Drago) a 19th Century surgeon who discovered the secret of immortality and has survived over 150 years by replacing his own organs with fresh ones when they wear out.

However, the brothers believed that their dad had already defeated Doc Benton by cutting out his heart!

Elsewhere, Bobby Singer has got a lead on Bela and while Sam wants to track down Doc Benton, to see if his formula for immortality can save Dean, Dean is more interested in going after Bela and trying to retrieve the "magic Colt".

Dean heads off for an encounter with an old hunter, who gives Dean an insight into the life of hunters as well as information he has acquired on Bela.

Doc Benton is a wonderful Frankenstein's Monster of a creation; Drago almost unrecognisable under his extensive prosthetics. Even with the brothers' ultimate disposal, there's still a wide window of opportunity for this character to return.

What also makes Benton stand out even further from the crowd was Sam's revelation that his immortality was gained through the use of weird science, with no black magic input at all.

On the other hand, Bela's chances of appearing again this side of the grave seem rather more limited; which is a pity because as she progressed through the season, becoming increasingly amoral, and we slowly found out more about her, she became a far more rounded and interesting character.

Supernatural: Long-Distance Call

At the start of the month, commenting on the Torchwood radio play The Dead Line, I drew attention to the iconic power of the telephone in horror scenarios.

In our modern age, there are few things more intimately unnerving than "the mystery phone call"; add that to the horror gimmick of the call on a disconnected phone and you've got guaranteed shivers.

In Long-Distance Call, people in Milan, Ohio - the birthplace of Thomas Edison - are being plagued by calls from deceased loved ones, coaxing them to take their own lives "so they can be together".

Meanwhile tension is running high between the Winchester brothers as the deadline for Dean's "deal with the devil" draws closer and his chances of worming out of it are looking increasingly bleak.

Then, while investigating the mysterious phone calls, Dean gets one from his late father, offering a possible way out of the demonic contract.

This sets up a reversal of the norm, where Dean takes the calls at face value while Sam is more skeptical.

It takes solid detective work by Sam - and walking into a trap - to unmask the true villain of the piece: a Crocotta, a mythical beast believed to lure people to their doom by mimicking voices; although the clue to its lair was very unsubtly signposted reasonably early on in the episode.

Thursday, 30 July 2009

Garden Watch: Day 18...

With the garden now complete, it's time to start filling it up! Rachel's parents came over today so that her dad could assemble the small (or not so small, as it turned out) tool shed (above).

While that was being done, a delivery truck arrived with my 6ft by 4ft shed; the parts of which were propped up against the garden fence (see below). My in-laws are returning tomorrow - all being well - to put that together.

You can also just see, under the black cover on the left hand side, our new BBQ - which is being fired up for Rachel's birthday celebrations in a couple of weeks (rain permitting).

Top Of The Pile: Doctor Who #1

First things first: how brilliant is it to have an on-going, monthly Doctor Who comic book?

Now I know there are monthly strips in Doctor Who Monthly magazine, but for some reason I just can't get into them (possibly because they are part of a magazine it reminds me of the strips from Look-In and other television magazines I read in my youth), while IDW's comics I accept far more readily.

I have to confess Tony Lee's first story arc - Silver Scream - started slowly, but rapidly picked up steam. Although, from the man who brought us the brilliant Forgotten, it's not a smooth run.

If there's one thing I hate in comics it's characters who look like celebrities but have comedy names that are not quite those of their double, and central character Archie Maplin is a top hat-wearing clone of Charlie Chaplin - which grates on my nerves somewhat.

One of the great things about Doctor Who is when the Doctor interacts with famous people, so why couldn't Archie have just been Charlie Chaplin? Surely that would have added more weight to the story?

But that small gripe aside, Silver Scream tells a story of the 10th Doctor arriving in 1920s Hollywood and stumbling - as he does - onto a scheme by a pair of aliens, using stolen technology, to do something nefarious.

We have yet to discover the full extent of their deviousness, and while there is something metaphorically Buffy-like about the aliens preying on wannabe actor's hopes and dreams (literally), it's also quite a simple entrance to the world of Doctor Who for those who are new to the character.

The story makes good use of vintage Hollywood tropes as well - from "follow that car" to the 'helpless' victim tied on the railway tracks as a steam engine bears down on them.

Al Davison's art took a bit of getting used to, with David Tennant's Doctor looking slightly squat and overly scruffy in some frames, but by the excellent splashpage cliff hanger - and the panels on the preceding page resembling railway tracks - I'd grown to appreciate it.

Editor Denton J Tipton writes in the back of the book that Tony Lee has already plotted out 18 issues and I hope enough copies are sold to ensure that this title has legs, and goes beyond those first 18 issues.

This is Doctor Who, after all, and in the right hands - and I believe Tony Lee is the right hands - there is an infinite scope for storytelling with this character.

Presumably at some stage IDW will switch to Matt Smith's 11th Doctor, but I'm quite content to carry on - for the moment - with Lee's spot-on interpretation of the 10th Doctor and pacy storytelling.

HeroPress Discovers The Classics...



In celebration of the fact that I've finally got round to reading Pride And Prejudice And Zombies from Quirk Classics, I present the trailer for their forthcoming, more alliterative, Sense And Sensibility And Sea Monsters.

Sea Monsters is due out on September 15, followed by a Pride And Prejudice And Zombies graphic novel in March, 2010, and then - supposedly - a Zombies movie sometime.

Other classic mash-ups in the works include Mr Darcy, Vampyre (due out next month) and Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter (from the pen of Seth Grahame-Smith, who 'adapted' Jane Austen's original text in Pride And Prejudice And Zombies and kick-started this whole craze of hijacking classic stories).

UPDATE (July 30, 2pm): Additional horror mash-ups also discovered: The War Of The Worlds, Plus Blood, Guts And Zombies, and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Zombie Jim.

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Garden Watch: Day 17...

Gary's work in the garden is done, with the addition of boards down the side of the path and at the end of the (small) grass area (to stop the soil collapsing onto the patio).

Rachel has suggested we stain this new wood, which I think is a good idea as it will help make it blend in with the rest of the garden that much quicker.

The tool shed also arrived today and is currently residing in our entrance hall (see below), and blocking any hope of getting to the dining room at present!

Supernatural: Ghostfacers

For the third episode in a row, Supernatural is visited by returning characters - with Ghostfacers' special guests being the two 'professional ghost hunters' from Season One's Hell House.

In this episode former Hell Hounds Harry Spangler (Travis Wester) and Ed Zeddmore (A.J. Buckley) are joined by several friends, as they are filming a pilot episode for their television series 'Ghostfacers' at a supposedly haunted mansion that the Winchesters also turn up to investigate.

The bulk of the episode is shown as the handy-cam footage from the TV show, with Supernatural only resuming control of the airwaves for the final scenes.

Ghostfacers is a spot-on parody of actual supposed ghost hunting "reality" television, jumping at shadows and psyching themselves up with their own imaginations, then giving an idea of what the film crews and alleged experts would do if they ever met a real ghost (which, of course, they won't...)

It's not a perfect episode: there are some shots in the TV show that clearly the amateur film makers wouldn't have been able to get and the actual ghosts that appear, rather unfortunately given Supernatural's usually high-level of effects, just look like actors in make-up for the most part.

Nevertheless, Ghostfacers manages to be very creepy - and funny - with some genuine shocks as the horror movie homages pour in from The Blair Witch Project to Texas Chain Saw Massacre.

Like Hell House this is a standalone episode, away from the main hunt for Bela and the war with Lilith, however it isn't simply a rerun of Hell House as both sides learn to respect the others and end up co-operating a lot more this time round.

Once again, like the Hell Hounds, the Ghostfacers have their own website, for your education and entertainment, complete with character bios, a blog, videos, pictures etc.

I'm still missing the real monsters and the truly terrifying ghosts that we were treated to in Seasons One and Two, but this recent run of five or six episodes proves there's still the potential for greatness in the franchise.

Supernatural: Jus In Bello

Back on the trail of Bela, the Winchester boys walk straight into a trap she has set and find themselves prisoners of FBI Agent Victor Henricken and the local sheriff's department - awaiting the arrival of a helicopter to transport them to a maximum security prison.

From Mystery Spot's Groundhog Day homage, we have moved swiftly to Assault on Precinct 13... but with demons.

Chained together in a cell, Sam and Dean find themselves surrounded when 30 demons - in the service of the new, up-and-coming demon called Lilith (Rachel Pattee) - besiege the police station.

Lilith, the boys learn later, is after Sam - everyone else in the police station are just obstacles between her demons and the younger Winchester.

Henrickson was always a great character to have in the show as it added a certain amount of realism to the inescapable fact that Sam and Dean do tend to leave a trail of bodies behind them and they know full well that the authorities will never be convinced that they are killing "demons and monsters".

On the other hand, it probably wouldn't do the show's storylines much good if the Winchesters were forever having to dodge Federal agents... as well as face down the forces of Hell.

So the resolution of this particular point is very well handled, as we would have expected in a Sera Gamble script.

Even the demons were more of a visual treat than usual, with a lot of screen time being given to their smoke form.

It was also good to see Ruby again. She forced her way through the surrounding demons to help Sam and Dean figure a way out - and let them know who they were facing.

She was understandably angry that they didn't have the "magic Colt" to hand, but then offered them an alternative in the form of a demon-blasting spell... that came at a cost.

Dean automatically said the cost was too high, but the increasingly dark and violent Sam appeared to be considering it until Dean came up with another plan.

A simply superb story, Jus In Bello ( meaning "a law concerning acceptable conduct in war") ratchets up the season's main story line to new levels of excitement and tests the moral fibre of the Winchester brothers - as well as asking questions of the audience: what would you have done in that situation?

The answer isn't so obvious when you see the denouement and realise that maybe Ruby, the demon, had a point.

But Jus In Bello isn't all doom and gloom, there are some great one-liners along the way - including one particular, laugh-out-loud moment from Dean.

Supernatural: Mystery Spot

Supernatural does Groundhog Day - but with the show's typical dark spin.

Sam and Dean come to small town to investigate the disappearance of a scientist who was visiting the local tourist trap: The Mystery Spot.

But suddenly their detective work becomes complicated when Sam finds himself stuck in a time loop, with every day ending with Dean being killed in a different manner - no matter what Sam does to try and prevent it.

As a big comic book fan I always enjoy returning villains and while the perpetrator of Sam's increasing discomfort wasn't one of my favourite antagonists from the early years of the show it still makes for great storytelling.

If you are a die-hard fan of Supernatural who religiously reads, and memorizes, the opening credits of every episode, the twist in this story is possibly given away with the name of one of the actors. Luckily, I'm too lazy to be that observant!

Kudos must go to Jared Padalecki (Sam), in particular, in this episode as he carries all the serious emotional scenes with great conviction, while the death-prone Dean (Jensen Ackles) is more comic relief.

Given its light-hearted inspiration, Mystery Spot is a surprisingly dark story with Sam learning (maybe) a very harsh lesson about his relationship with his brother.

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Garden Watch: Day 16...

Heavy rain yesterday morning meant any planned work was scrubbed, but today Gary finished off the pointing of the last bricks on the lower patio and put in two steps (one down to the lower patio and one off of the kitchen door to allow easier access to the garden).

His plan for tomorrow is to finish off round the edges of the brickwork, so everything 'blends in' a bit better and then his work here is done.

The small tool shed is due to be delivered tomorrow and the large shed the following day, when Rachel's parents are coming over to erect both structures, and set up the barbeque.

The end really is in sight now...

The Week In Geek...

A round-up of geeky news you might have otherwise missed...

(1) Burton In Wonderland: A trailer for Tim Burton's Alice In Wonderland has been released and it looks as incredible as you could hope for.

(2) Hex Appeal: The first poster for the forthcoming Jonah Hex comic book movie, with Megan Fox and Josh Brolin, was revealed at San Diego Comic Con last week.

(3) Nearly Midnight: The Midnight Chronicles movie, from Fantasy Flight Games and based on their role-playing game setting, will be in US stores and available for download from August 13.

(4) Buffy On The Block: A horde of props from Buffy The Vampire Slayer are among the many items going up for auction, following the closure of 20th Century Props this month. The auction starts today and runs through to Saturday.

(5) Getting Medieval On Your Timesheet: Service records of soldiers from the Hundred Years War have been posted online at a free website.

(6) What's This? A literary website is challenging authors to pen a piece of 'Hint Fiction' in 25 words or less; there's cash and publication for the best stories (only two per author, maximum). The contest begins on Saturday and closes at the end of August.

(7) Joss In The Woods: Joss Whedon's eagerly-awaited horror flick, Cabin In The Woods has now got an official website. The movie opens on February 5, 2010. The first teaser posters are here.

(8) Hammer Out Of The Woods: Legendary film studio Hammer Films is returning, but not with The Wake Wood, which it part-financed. Hammer's first movie release in almost 30 years will be The Resident, starring Hilary Swank.

(9) SHADO Boxing: Iron Man visual effects guru Matthew Gratzner is to helm the big screen adaptation of Gerry Anderson's cult 70s live-action TV show, UFO, about the alien-battling group SHADO (Supreme Headquarters Alien Defence Organisation).

(10) No One Gets Out Alive: George Romero's latest zombie shocker will be called Survival Of The Dead and premiers in September at the Toronto International Film Festival.

(11) Apocalypse Eye-Candy: A trailer for the visually stunning post-apocalyptic Book OF Eli, due out early next year and starring Denzel Washington.

(12) Torchwood Triumph: The final viewing figures for Torchwood: Children Of Earth have been published and it looks as though this should guarantee another series.

(13) Vampires Versus Dinosaurs: ITV may have axed Primeval and Demons from its schedules, but it's bought Vampire Diaries as a replacement piece of geek TV for next year. I don't think we've done particularly well out of that deal!

(14) Guild In Print: The online geek sensation The Guild, written by and starring Dr Horrible's Penny, Felicia Day, is being transformed into a comic by Dark Horse, also to be written by Felicia. It was also announced at San Diego Comic Con that Wil Wheaton will be joining the show in its next season.

(15) Marvel's Marvelman Miracle: Possibly the biggest comics news from San Diego Comic Con was the announcement that Marvel has acquired the rights to the much-disputed Marvelman character - made famous by Alan Moore in the '80s.

(16) Dark Horse's Whedonverse: Dark Horse has a number of Joss Whedon-related comic books in the works, including a a Dr Horrible one-shot and a tie-in to Cabin In The Woods.

(17) DiDio On Blackest Night: Interesting, short video interview with Dan DiDio on Blackest Night, horror, death in the DC Universe and the fate of The Green Lantern Corps.

(18) Warner's Strategy Hunt: Variety reports on Warner Brothers' attempts to develop a strategic approach to its DC Comics movies.

(19) Ready For Freddy: The official website for the remake of Nightmare on Elm Street has gone live.

(20) A Cannon Blast At Dr Who Canon: An overly long, slightly smug and self-indulgent, but ultimately brilliant and well-argued explanation as to why there is no such thing as "canon" in Doctor Who.

(21) Dial P For Parsec: The Dial P For Pulp podcast, a favourite at HeroPress, has been nominated for a Parsec Award in the Best Speculative Fiction News Podcast category.

(22) Master Stroke: Official confirmation from the BBC that John Simm returns as The Master in the two-part finale of David Tennant's reign as the current Doctor in the Doctor Who specials at Christmas.

(23) Get Voting: The annual ENnies voting booth is now open... cast your vote to decide the great and good in the world of RPGs.

Monday, 27 July 2009

100,000!

HeroPress just hit the 100,000 visitors mark this afternoon; a lot sooner than I'd expected - thanks, almost entirely, to the mad influx of readers when Torchwood: Children Of Earth was being shown.

This means I'll be paying for the celebratory meal I promised Rachel, as she correctly predicted that HeroPress would reach this milestone before August.

Given that it took my little "magazine blog" two years to reach 50,000 hits, back in February, we've now doubled that in just five months.

Perhaps if I could actually focus on one particular area of geekdom for more than a few moments, then HeroPress might go stellar, but on the whole I'm very pleased to just trundle along in my own sweet way, skipping from 'hot topic' to 'hot topic' as the whim takes me.

Hopefully I'm doing something right as HeroPress is now up to 52 "Followers" on Blogger, 49 "Readers" on Facebook and 84 "Google Subscribers".

I'm also pleased to report that there are 11,960 links to HeroPress out there in the big wide world Interwebs - which is basically another meaningless statistic, but sounds quite cool.

All I can say, as before, is a big thank you to everyone who Follows, Reads, Subscribes or just drops in on an occasional basis. You guys and gals give this moody, middle-aged, stay-at-home Brit a sense of purpose, so HeroPress is here to stay and I hope you'll all come along for the ride.

Feedback, questions, comments, and criticism (constructive) is always welcome - along with financial donations, food parcels and technical assistance.

If The Show Is As Good As The Trailer...



Sam Raimi's forthcoming television series Spartacus: Blood And Sand premiers in the US in January 2010... and I hope we get it pretty soon after that!

Featuring Xena's very own Lucy Lawless and The Mummy's John Hannah, this plants itself firmly in the 300 school of history with slow-motion blood splatters and heaps of sex and violence, making it look likely to be one of the big new shows of 2010.

If it's half as good as 300 was on the big screen, but on the small screen, Spartacus: Blood And Sand will be incredible television.

For more on the show, read this excellent article over on Quiet Earth.

Sunday, 26 July 2009

DVD Of The Week: Green Lantern - First Flight (2009)

The latest original animated movie from DC Comics is Green Lantern: First Flight, a reimagining of Hal Jordan's origin story and first clash with the rogue Lantern Sinestro.

With its release timed to cash in on Green Lantern fever in the wake of the recently published first issue of Blackest Night (there's even a nine-minute featurette included on the disc about this comic book event, with comments from Geoff Johns, Dan DiDio and Peter Tomasi), First Flight is a very truncated reworking of Jordan's classic origin with a few strange modifications.

Wounded alien Green Lantern Abin Sur crash lands on Earth and selects test pilot Hal Jordan to be his replacement - 'kidnapping' Jordan(Christopher Meloni) from his flight simulator at the airfield where he works.

This very public process seems to run counter to the idea of Jordan having a 'secret identity' and the introduction of the various workers at the airfield, including Carol Ferris, seems a bit pointless as the rest of the story takes place in deep space - away from Earth.

There is no explanation really of how the rings work or if there are any limits to their abilities and before you know it Jordan has been whisked off to Oa to face the Guardians of The Universe.

Once he meets the little blue gnomes, he is put in the care of senior Green Lantern Sinestro (Victor Garber) for his training. Jordan is rather shocked by Sinestro's brutal approach to galactic policing, which is probably better suited to the world of The Wire rather than comic books.

Eventually Sinestro reveals his hand as a traitor to the Green Lantern Corps (the name should have been a clue) and, having obtained the powerful "yellow element", the evil Lantern overthrows the Guardians and their corps and only Hal stands between him and total domination.

As with the rings, there is no reason given for why Jordan is the only one who can reawaken the Green Lantern Corps damaged power battery or what makes him special. The introduction to the character, and the story as a whole, was so fast-paced that the audience gets no insight into Hal Jordan's character and what makes him different from any other human and worthy of the mantle of Green Lantern.

The animation, as you would expect, is first rate, but not more functional than memorable. While there's a distinct Ben 10 vibe to many of the aliens the universe still looks a slick and exciting place to explore.

Despite the thin, two-dimensional plot, First Flight is a decent 75-minute animation; I just wish ther was more explanation about how this generally lesser known character's powers worked - for viewers who aren't au fait with the comic books.

Saturday, 25 July 2009

Bottom Of The Pile: Captain America #601

At such a crucial time in Captain America's run (his return from the dead and coming on the heels of the symbolic 600th issue), it seems very odd to throw in such a bland filler issue as 601.

Not only that but it is shockingly badly written by the usually faultless Ed Brubaker (a long-time favourite in the Marvel stable); almost suffocating under the weight of so many clichés and obvious mystery villains.

The main story is Cap and Bucky fighting vampires in World War II, which, while it sounds a bit old hat is at least a hat I'm always happy to try on.

It should have been, at the very least, an enjoyable romp, but there's an inescapable feeling that the main Captain America title is suddenly spinning its wheels while the main concentration is on the Captain America: Reborn mini-series.

The story is bookended by a sequence set during Marvel's superhero Civil War, with Nick Fury chatting with Bucky, but by the way Fury is talking the Civil War is in the past and like the rest of the issue the dialogue is quite forced and laboured; certainly not what we've come to expect from Brubaker.

The change of art style as well for this issue doesn't do it any favours. There is no disputing the greatness of Gene Colan's work over his six-decade career, but the painted style he adopts in Captain America issue 601 just isn't that eye-catching - especially compared to the normally incredible artwork we've seen, month-in, month-out on Captain America of late.

Let's hope this is just a speed hump in the road and not a sign of things to come, but with Marvel's gradual push towards a standard $3.99 cover price (approximately £2.70 in the UK), even if this was a double-issue, I still expect more bang for my buck and not simply a rehash of an old horror comic storyline from the '60s.

Friday, 24 July 2009

Up Above The Streets And Houses...

One of the glorious side effects of a rain shower - this short-lived rainbow over our road this evening.

Garden Watch: Day 12...

With the end of work in sight, the good old British weather stuck its oar in and today's rain meant that Gary was unable to finish the brick work - as he needs a couple of days of dry weather.

He did manage to tidy the garden up slightly (the grass doesn't look well, but that was to be expected) and finish the small bit of plumbing pipework that needed doing.

Top Of The Pile: Blackest Night #1

Forget the latest continuity-bamboozling "event" at Marvel or whatever confusing crisis is unfolding the in the rest of the DC Universe, the long-prophesied Blackest Night is the only "event" title you should be worried about this year.

Writer supreme Geoff Johns has been building to this moment for years and the opening salvo in Blackest Night issue one does not disappoint.

This is brilliant, "comic book of the year" material with everything you could want from a superhero comic book; it's both exciting and moving, like a soap opera crossed with a mega-budget action movie.

It was the build-up to this event that drew me to dip my toe in the waters of the Green Lantern's corner of the DC Universe, and in the space of a few comics (recent issues of the main Green Lantern title and Green Lantern Corps), it has promoted Hal Jordan and all his colleagues up to the heights of Marvel's cosmic heroes (such as The Guardians Of The Galaxy) in my previously Marvel-centric opinion.

As with all first issues, Blackest Night issue one is mainly about introducing the protagonists and antagonists and maneuvering the playing pieces on all sides into their opening positions.

Nevertheless there's a lot going on here, from Alfred discovering that Bruce Wayne's unmarked grave has been violated to Hawkman and Hawkgirl being ambushed by zombie superheroes via Barry Allen being shown an account of just how many heroes have fallen since he was lost in the Speed Force... and a lot more in between.

The tale is full of mystery, mysticism, cosmic insights and plenty of suprises, however nothing feels rushed and Geoff Johns' masterful turn of phrase is accentuated by Ivan Reis perfect pencils, breaking up the flow of the panels with several spectacular double-page spreads.

Matt C, over at the Paradox Comics Group blog says: "...this is a hugely promising start and another sign (along with the Bat-books and Wednesday Comics) that DC are starting to reclaim ground lost to their main rivals over the last couple of years. "

While Matt T adds: "The busiest man at DC can craft a superb epic without forgetting the personalities within, making me extremely optimistic that this will be a far more rousing crossover than the last couple of years - regardless of the publisher - have provided."

This Is The Clare Grant You Were Looking For...

For several years people have been arriving on HeroPress - particularly my Six Of The Best interview with my old friend and fellow gamer, Clare - through a variety of search engines.

Now I always knew she had an Internet following from her world-famous Three Beautiful Things website, but that's already very easy to find - so why were people Googling her name?

Then I discovered there was another Clare Grant - an actress - who happens to be starring as Megan Graves in the upcoming horror flick The Graves about a couple of road-tripping sisters who stumble into Hills Have Eyes/Texas Chain Saw Massacre country.



For more information on The Graves, which is due out on January 13, 2010, visit the excellent, quirky film site Monster Island News.

Turns out that Clare Grant was also one of the young ladies in the famous saucy Star Wars parodying Saber viral video!

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Garden Watch: Day 11...

The end is in sight!

Gary very quickly overcame our concerns of yesterday by digging up the section of the path he had already put down where it ran adjacent to the lower patio.

The lower patio was then extended across the width of the path, creating a natural step from the main path down onto the enlarged lower patio.

Gary also 'filled in' our spanking new "hidden" drain cover (see above), which will now blend more naturally with the rest of the paving - rather than having the ugly old slab of metal we used to have.

Depending on how long the cement and bricks take to firm up, Gary will either point all the remaining brickwork tomorrow or Monday. Then there are just a couple of small jobs for him to wrap up (including some more exterior plumbing and replacing the back step, out of the kitchen) and the building work will be complete.

Then Rachel and I need to start seriously thinking about a small tool store and my shed (and getting the gas barbeque over from her parents), so we can actually enjoy the garden while there's some chance of a bit of summer sun.

Sun, Soldiers And Submarines...

You don't normally expect to find a submarine base in the middle of Kentish field, but then the War & Peace Show at Beltring Hop Farm is a singularly unique experience. Pictured above is part of the display by a U-boat preservation society.

Rachel and I rolled up quite early for our annual visit yesterday and didn't really expect to stay that long - and ended up spending around seven hours touring around the site, which embraces a massive dealers area, akin to a military boot fair (or yard sale), as well as an incredible display of military hardware and living history groups.

Every year there seem to be more groups of re-enactors, and Rachel noted that there was more 'trench digging' this year as the groups were really getting into their roles. It probably helped that the weather was kind, for once, no rain and a decent temperature (not too hot, although I still managed to get sunburned).

Swag-wise, I didn't really have a shopping list this year, so Rachel was quite stunned by my prolonged restraint (a Soviet stratospheric pilot's helmet - basically one step removed from a space helmet - caught my eye, but the £170 price tag prevented me from investing, even though the stall holder said we could haggle over the price).

Eventually I broke the seal and picked up an Action Man cowboy and a Dragon Models figure of Olaf The Viking. Both are great 12" figures for £15 each; Olaf coming with loads of bits of highly detailed kit and the Action Man being a reproduction of the original toy packaged with replica advertising leaflets etc

My other main purchase was an old gas mask, complete with its satchel... which will allow me to scare Rachel in the middle of the night* by leaning over her and going: "Are you my mummy?" in a high-pitched child's voice (obviously if you haven't seen that particular Doctor Who story that probably won't mean much to you!) .

The gas mask will also come in handy should the whole swine flu plague get as bad as some of the doom merchants are predicting.

In fact the show is pretty much a survivalist's dream as you can stock up on anything from rocket launchers (presumably decommissioned!) to authentic samurai swords (as well as cheap replicas), rations, uniforms, helmets, tanks, troop transporters, anti-aircraft guns etc - as long as you have deep enough pockets.

One of the highlights for us - and nothing to do with the military - was a long conversation with a gentleman from Ightham whose hobby was making dolls house to go outdoors. He had several on display at his stand, and a lot of photographs. Rachel and I are now talking about getting one to sit outside the shed! They were fantastic - sturdy, with working gutters and fully illuminated; very nice.

The rest of my pictures from the day can be found here.

* For those of you interested in such things, Rachel's actual response (to me appearing behind her with the gas mask on and squeaking "are you my mummy?") was: "Get away from me, you freak!"

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Garden Watch: Day 10

Rachel and I were out for most of the day and came back to find Gary had put most of the bricks down for the lower patio.

However, we need to talk to him tomorrow about the big differences between the level of the patio and the path as one of the main reasons for getting the garden done was because Rachel wanted bigger patio areas.

Supernatural: Dream A Little Dream Of Me

Called to a hospital where Bobby Singer is in an unexplained coma, Sam and Dean discover their old friend was investigating the death of a college professor who had been conducting secret experiments with 'African dream root'.

The root allows access to another person's dreams and so the Winchester brothers call up Bela Talbot (Lauren Cohan) to see if she can lay her hands on some of this rare herb - so they can go into Bobby's dream and 'rescue' him.

The ultimate villain of Dream A Little Dream Of Me was rather a throwaway scumbag and this episode was more about exposing the Winchesters' inner dreams - Dean has a fantasy of a perfect life with Lisa Braeden (Cindy Sampson) and Sam secretly harbours some lust for Bela - and nightmares - Bobby is pursued by his dead wife and Dean has to face himself over his true feelings about his impending trip to Hell.

Plotwise, the whole episode is really just a set-up for Bela's (not really unexpected) double-crossing of the brothers at the end.

All the dream sequences were a suitable blend of the surreal and the creepy, but it was nothing that new. The interesting stuff was the character development in this story, particularly in Dean's final acknowledgment of the fact that he isn't okay about heading off to the pits of Hell and would actually like to fight back after all.

Supernatural: Malleus Maleficarum

In the season's strongest episode to date, the Winchester brothers run across the Book Club from Hell: a quartet of white, middle-class women from the suburbs who have turned to "old world, Black magic" to get ahead in life.

Maleus Maleficarum has Sam and Dean investigating the bizarre - and gruesome - death of a young woman whose teeth fell out. Sam discovers a witches pouch hidden in her bathroom, used as a focus for directing curses. Then her husband is targeted but before the Winchesters can get to the witch responsible for the voodoo, she gets killed as well; although it's made to look like a suicide.

Ruby the rogue demon tries to warn Sam away from town, explaining that the witches are actually in league with a powerful demon (it transpires that they are unaware of this rather important fact, but soon learn to their cost).

However, Sam being Sam decides the women need stopping - with bullets from the Colt if needs be - and ends up in a face-to-face with the demon, while Ruby has to rescue Dean from the demon's power.

Quite a simple and straight forward episode, Malleus Maleficarum uses its straight-forward Witches Of Eastwick/Charmed-premise as a way of letting us find out more about Ruby's background and the nature of demons in general.

It turns out that in the Supernatural universe demons are hellbound humans who have sold their souls and over the centuries in The Pit forget their human nature and transform into demons.

However, Ruby - a witch from the times of the Black Death - claims to still remember what it was like to be human and she tells Dean that's why she needs him to make sure Sam is ready to continue "the war" after he is gone.

Although the majority of this episode revolved around two set-pieces - facing the main demon at the 'book club' meeting and Ruby talking with Dean outside the motel - it was powerfully charged, with great performances from all concerned; clearly marking this as a pivotal episode in this season.

Supernatural: A Very Supernatural Christmas

The height of summer probably isn't the best time to watch a Christmas special, but this being Supernatural festive spirit was really just a cover for the usual bloodshed and mayhem.

Intercut with flashbacks to a particularly miserable Christmas for the young Winchester boys stuck in a motel - while their dad was out on a hunt - A Very Supernatural Christmas wasn't the laugh-riot that the title might suggest.

The story concerned an investigation into a series of brutal abductions where the victims were dragged up their chimneys.

At first Sam believes they are on the trail of the "Anti Claus", Santa's evil brother who punishes the wicked, but as their legwork continues, and the true origins of many Christmas traditions are traced back to a pre-Christian era, the brothers begin to realise they are actually hunting a Pagan god (as they did way back in Scarecrow).

The episode does a very good job of casually undermining pretty much all Christian claims to Christmas (besides the name), by pointing out that it was simply a Pagan festival hijacked by the early Church. And to balance things out, it also doesn't shy away from the human sacrifice aspects of some Pagan rituals. Who said TV wasn't educational?

There's definitely a heavy-undercurrent of The Mayor from Buffy The Vampire Slayer in the personalities of the Pagan Gods, portraying them as though they'd just walked off the set of a 1950's sitcom.

Mixing very dark humour with quite graphic violence (the nail-pulling torture scene was particularly wince-inducing), I'm not really sure if A Very Supernatural Christmas is going to go on anyone's list for traditional Christmas viewing (up there with A Charlie Brown Christmas), but it's a continuing return to form for Supernatural's third season.

And just when it looks like its bordering of schmaltz, when Grinch-like Sam throws a surprise Christmas for Dean, the brothers then unwrap their typical Supernatural gifts and you know that the show is still a very long way from jumping the shark.

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Garden Watch: Day Nine...

Another productive day in the garden saw most of the pointing get done, for the brick paving that's been set down already. The base for my shed (aka The Games Centre) was put in as well, which leaves only the final piece of path down to the back gate and the bottom patio to do.

Things are really starting to take shape out there and, weather willing, it looks as though it will be finished by the weekend.

The Week In Geek...

A round-up of geeky news you might have otherwise missed...

(1) Tom Baker Returns As The Doctor: The legendary Tom Baker, the 4th Doctor, is back in five official, original BBC audio dramas, starting in September.

(2) Horrible Chance of Big Win: Joss Whedon's brilliant Dr Horrible's Sing-Along Blog has been nominated for an Emmy. Winners will be announced on September 20.

(3) Barbarians Of Steel: The creators of Legends Of Steel and Barbarians Of Lemuria roleplaying games have joined forced to create a new edition of Legends of Steel using the BoL rules.

(4) New Home For TV Awards: The National Television Awards will be held at the 02 Arena, London, on January 20, 2010, hosted - for the first time - by Dermot O'Leary.

(5) Ronin Rabbit: Stan Sakai's Usagi Yojimbo celebrates 25 years of comic book adventures in October with the publication of its first stand-alone graphic novel, Yōkai, which will be fully painted in water colours.

(6) Blackbeard Ahoy! The life story of Blackbeard, the most infamous pirate captain, comes to Dynamite Comics in October in Blackbeard: The Legend Of The Pyrate King.

(7) Me Thor, You Jane: Natalie Portman is to play Jane Foster, Thor's mortal girlfriend in Kenneth Branagh's Thor movie. The film is scheduled for release in the US on May 20, 2011.

(8) Mystery Goo Slick: A 12-mile long mass of strange goo is floating along Alaska's northern coast.

(9) Welcome The Black Widow: The first, exclusive, pictures of Scarlett Johansson as The Black Widow in Iron Man 2 have been published in Entertainment Weekly - and have subsequently roared round the Interwebs.

(10) Amy In The TARDIS: Filming was due to begin on the new season of Doctor Who yesterday (Monday) with the new Doctor, Matt Smith, and assistant Karen Gillan - whose character's name has been revealed as Amy Pond. And the Doctor's "friend from the future" River Song appears to be back as well.

(11) Sharp Dresser: The first picture of the 11th Doctor's costume has been revealed by the BBC to mark the commencement of filming on the next series of Doctor Who.

(12) Tennant Is Hobbit Forming: David Tennant is tipped to play Bilbo Baggins in the forthcoming big screen adaptation of The Hobbit, the prequel to Lord Of The Rings.

(13) Full Clone Wars DVD: The complete first season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars will be released in an extras-packed bundle in November.

(14) Brick Work Delays Knights: This evening's meeting of The Tuesday Knights has been postponed as the work in our garden has meant everything that used to be stored out there is currently residing in our dining room (see below) where we play our monthly game of Labyrinth Lord.

Monday, 20 July 2009

Garden Watch: Day Eight...

Working solo again, as his assistant was still injured, Gary made great progress in the garden today, extending the path by a considerable amount and setting down the top patio area - where the gas BBQ will (eventually) be located.

Now we're really starting to get a picture of what the finished project will look like (hopefully we'll be able to save some of the grass!).

(Second) Book Of The Month: Fray

I can't believe how many years I had this trade paperback collection sitting on my shelves unread.

It was only my recent resurgent interest in all things Buffy-related that prompted me to actually crack it open.

That and meeting the fascinating character of Fray in the Buffy The Vampire Slayer: Season Eight collections.

Set hundreds of years in the future, at a time when a Slayer hasn't been called for generations and magic has gone from the world, the story of Melaka Fray is about as far removed as possible from Buffy and Sunnydale.

There are flying cars to start with!

Mel is a thief, stealing trinkets to order for her mutant fishman boss, who suddenly finds her life turned upside down when a demon turns up claiming she is "the Chosen One" and trying to explain the whole Slayer gig to her.

On top of that, she has a sister who is a law enforcement officer and a dead twin brother she feels responsible for... who just won't stay dead.

Fray is Joss Whedon writing at the top of his game, as fresh and original as the best moments of Buffy or Firefly, with enough twists and turns to satisfy old and new fans and the spectacular depth of characterisation that personifies all of his work.

Add that to the incredible art work of Karl Moline (which, again, I hadn't really taken to until now, having preferred George Jeanty's work in the Buffy Season Eight books), and you've got a simply stunning package.

Fray has everything that fans of the Buffyverse could ask for: a story that hangs together, adds to the universe's mythology (without resorting to the dreaded WTF? moments that have plagued Season Eight) and blends snappy dialogue with cool characters, interesting locations, mystery, conflict and sibling sparring.

While I enjoyed the Time Of Your Life storyline (Buffy traveling forward in time and meeting Mel) in volume four of the Season Eight collections, this original Fray story has it beat hands down.

The only thing I felt this was missing that I really liked in the Season Eight story was the prevalence of "futurespeak", that is Fray-era slang. While it appears in the original tale, it's not so overwhelming as it was, in that wonderfully Clockwork Orange way of Time Of Your Life.

I realise it was there in the excellent Season Eight segment to emphasis Buffy's disorientation in her new locale, but I guess it was the geek in me hoping that Fray would read the same.

Not, at the end of the day, that it mattered, because Fray is the textbook example of how good the whole of Season Eight could have been - rather than the patchy affair it has turned out to be so far.

Dawning Of The Age Of Aquarius...

Forty years ago today Neil Armstrong, and then Buzz Aldrin, became the first men to set foot on the Moon.

It still saddens me that for a while we were this close, this close, to becoming a spacefaring planet, but instead fell back to our old, petty ways, squabbling over money, pointless wars and meaningless religious or political feuds.

The single truth is that we are outgrowing this planet and throughout history when man has outgrown his home region he has gone off exploring to find somewhere to expand to. There is no more room on Earth, the answer lies out there, amongst the stars.

It won't happen in my lifetime or my children's lifetime or even, maybe, my grandchildren's lifetime, but the longer we drag our feet the further away that ultimate goal gets and the nearer we come to a global meltdown that will put an end to all of mankind's hopes and dreams.

Don't let the pioneering first steps of Armstrong, Aldrin and those who followed them be in vain.

* Here endth the only (vaguely political) rant on HeroPress.

PS. If any conspiracy theorists dare raise their heads on this day - of all days - claiming the whole thing was faked, I'd direct them here or here.

Sunday, 19 July 2009

The Haunting In Connecticut (2009)

Oh dear, where to begin? "Based on true events" is always a warning sign on ghost films because immediately that tells you it's actually based on a pack of delusions or deliberate lies.

Even with the supporting documentaries, with commentary from some of the people involved in the "real events", it's hard to judge which is the basis of The Haunting In Connecticut.

It doesn't help that the film version differs so dramatically from the documentary accounts, which are full of enough wild claims and eccentric characters (e.g. supposed ghosthunters and psychics), that - except for the setting (a former funeral home), some of the character names and the fact that the central character was ungoing treatment for cancer - the film bears little relation to the alleged "true story" from the off.

The movie version of the story concerns a family whose eldest son, Matt (Kyle Gallner), is undergoing experimental cancer treatment and so his parents decide to rent a house closer to the hospital in Connecticut so they don't have to make the long drive to and from the house they own.

Mother Sara (Virginia Madsen) finds a nice looking - and affordable - Colonial house to rent, which she is informed used to be a funeral parlour.

They move in and Matt claims the basement for his bedroom.

Meanwhile husband Peter (Martin Donovan - how the mighty have fallen since his days in the sublime films of Hal Hartley) brings over the younger children (a boy and a girl), but he can only stay at weekends as he has to work back near their original home.

Peter is an annoying character, adding little to the story even with his one drunken tantrum of smashing all the lightbulbs to keep the electricity bills down (or something), and Donovan phones in his performance.

Anyway, Matt very quickly starts seeing things and instead of confiding in the medical establishment (as it is obviously a side effect of his treatment), he instead talks to a priest, Popescu (Elias Koteas), undergoing the same treatment and clearly just as deluded, who just encourages Matt's hallucinations with wild talk about the "dead being all around" and sundry other hackneyed clichés.

Sara is shown to be highly religious as well, which manifests itself in strange ways such as when the electrical items in the house start behaving funny, instead of calling an electrician, she calls the Rev Popescu.

That's just one of the major problems with The Haunting In Connecticut: no one behaves in a rational way. Matt is dosed up with powerful drugs and being subjected to chemotherapy, so obviously everything he sees must be real - it can't be his mind playing tricks on him.

When I was in hospital, just after I'd had my aneurysm and emergency surgery I had very vivid and terrifying hallucinations, which for weeks afterwards I was convinced were real until, eventually, I calmed down and let rationality back into my brain.

Saying that The Haunting In Connecticut is based "on true events" doesn't make it more frightening, just more aggravating. I'd be more willing to believe The Grudge was real because it wasn't set in a house so obviously "spooky" and likely to scare the crap out of any small children living there.

The Haunting In Connecticut presents us with an elder sibling prone to hallucinations, two impressionable younger children, a mother who is resorting to prayer to try and save her sick son and a drunk father; a pair of parents both desperately in need of money to finance expensive medical treatment and the upkeep of two homes. And we're expected to believe what they tell us?

At least the recent remake of The Amityville Horror (which covers the same haunted house territory) had the good sense to throw caution to the wind and just go totally over the top, whereas this film takes itself too seriously.

It wants to be The Exorcist or, maybe, The Omen, but can't decide how 'real' to try and make its story and just ends up a confusing mess.

I might have been more sympathetic to it had it either stuck closer to the story we were told in the two-part documentary, The Fear Is Real, or just abandoned that set-up entirely and presented us with a straight forward horror story about a normal family moving into an old funeral parlour.

There is very little originality in the film - except, possibly, in the grotesque necromancy sub-plot tied into the operations of the undertaker (this is entirely a fabrication of the film makers and is only fleetingly touched on in the documentary with a vague, unsubstantiated, claim from a paranormal investigator about a spirit that told him of 'violations' or some such guff).

But even that has roots that can be traced back to the writings of HP Lovecraft (The Dreams In The Witch House and others).

Although the documentary is clearly biased towards those claiming the story is true (it makes better business sense that way; why do you think so many pubs are supposedly haunted?), some kudos at least for allowing the sceptics - neighbours, schoolfriends and the local police - to point out that no one ever experienced, or saw, anything except for the one family.

The veracity of the claims is further underlined by the total lack of physical evidence (even a blurry photo would have been nice!) or corroborating testimonies from independent witnesses, anyone who didn't have a vested interest in trying to make out this was all real.

I was hoping to find a film as good as The Grudge on this disc, but instead found a typical Hollywood mess suffering a severe identity crisis and eventually suffocating under its own mass of bullshit ectoplasm.

Saturday, 18 July 2009

At The Fleapit: Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince (2009)

I stalled reading the Harry Potter cycle after Order Of The Phoenix, when it became obvious that JK Rowling's editors were too terrified of her (or losing the wealth she brings their company) to suggest trimming the fat.

Which was a shame because I really enjoyed the first four books and found the magical world Rowling had created for her characters to be very absorbing.

I'm sure one day I will summon up the internal fortitude to plough through the last two books, but in the meantime it meant that - for the first time with The Half-Blood Prince - I was going into a Harry Potter film not actually knowing what was going to happen.

Unfortunately that put me at a disadvantage because clearly there was a lot going on that doesn't pay off; almost the whole film is foreshadowing of some form or another, but there is very little resolution.

In fact the film, at two-and-half hours, managed to be simultaneously over long and yet feel incomplete; as though the entire movie was simply a prologue for the two-part finale, Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows.

Like Rowling's later books themselves, Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince could have done with some editing down of its own.

It's a great looking movie, heaving with atmosphere and grim portents of "things to come", but it just doesn't stand up as a self-contained film as the earlier ones have.

I suspect, as when I first saw The Fellowship Of The Ring I will only come to appreciate The Half-Blood Prince when I've seen it in the context of the saga's epic conclusion. But in the meantime I found it very underwhelming.

Take, for example, the identity of the mysterious "Half-Blood Prince" (given that it's the name of the film I thought it might be quite important). Harry acquires a magical book that previously belonged to this character, but no-one knows who he is and after a while it isn't mentioned again.

Then, in virtually the last sequence of the movie, an established character declares: "I am the Half-Blood Prince" and walks off screen. And that's it... begging the question: why was the character of such importance that he makes it into the title of the film and what does the phrase "half-blood prince" actually mean?

A visually stunning film, with a number of incredible set-pieces (that could have been arranged in almost any order for all the seeming impact each one had on the next) and confident performances from most of the cast (young and old), the main weakness of Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince was clearly its script.

Or the part of a script that actually made it to the screen.

There was barely a three-act structure to hold the film together and what passed as the climax - the death of a well-loved character - had been so clearly telegraphed earlier as a work of sleight-of-hand deception (remember I haven't read the book and so am judging this just from the film) that it carried almost no dramatic weight.

That's not to say Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince is boring or drags, far from it, it is constantly building up to something that is "going to happen"... only not in the film I'd just paid £8.50 to see.

What does happen though is a sudden explosion of hormones and teen angst that made me wonder if I'd actually wandered into a screening of Twilight or Hollyoaks: The Movie. This was all good character development (even though Harry's attraction to Ron's sister came out of nowhere), but didn't really lead anywhere.

A major disappointment, Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince lets itself down by adopting the structure of a serial television drama rather than a movie and making a solid knowledge of the books necessary to full enjoyment.

I look forward to watching it again just before Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows (part one) comes out in November, 2010, to refresh my addled brain as to what was foreshadowed. Of course, I might actually have these last books by then.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Tags

10th Doctor (190) 11th Doctor (212) 12 monkeys (3) 12th Doctor (76) 13th doctor (4) 1st Doctor (77) 2000AD (58) 2nd Doctor (61) 3rd Doctor (65) 4e (44) 4th Doctor (99) 50th birthday (10) 5e (26) 5th Doctor (60) 6th Doctor (53) 7th Doctor (64) 7th Voyage (5) 7TV (21) 8th Doctor (41) 9th Doctor (50) A41 (15) Aaron Allston (11) abney park (18) academy of heroes (10) Acrobatic Flea (46) action figure archive (10) action figures (130) Adam Buxton (9) Adam West (21) addams family (21) adventure time (13) agent 47 (4) Agent Carter (65) AHS (12) airship 27 (1) alcatraz (4) alec (48) alice (102) all out war (1) almost human (5) alphas (18) amazon streaming (28) American Gods (3) Amy Dallen (22) Ancient Aliens (27) anime (56) anniversary hop (35) ant (1) ant-man (46) Anya Taylor-Joy (4) Apama (4) aquaman (39) arduin (45) arrival (2) arrow (156) arrowstorm (38) artist appreciation (69) ask heropress (1) assassin's creed (1) AT-43 (21) atlantis (22) atticus institute (1) audio (227) auton (9) Avengers (259) Aviator (12) Axanar (8) Babylon 5 (21) babymetal (16) baking (8) band maid (4) banshee (14) Barack Obama (16) barney (39) bates motel (14) batgirl (13) bathroom watch (8) batman (439) Battlefield Evolution (8) Battlestar Galactica (82) Beacon Point (5) bedlam (7) beowulf (6) bettany (11) big hero 6 (6) biggles (1) Bill Willingham (11) birthday (56) black guardian (3) black hood (3) black lightning (5) black panther (21) black sails (33) blackest night (28) Blackmoor (17) blade runner (23) Blair Witch (25) Blake's 7 (21) blood drive (7) Bloodshot (5) BMG (9) boardgame (66) BoL (5) book (842) book of the month (61) borgias (7) boston legal (5) bottom of the pile (24) bournemouth (29) brave (8) breaking bad (9) bright (1) brothers barbarian (1) BtM (25) BTTF (5) BtW (13) Buck Rogers (17) buffy (213) buffy campaign notes (4) Bukowski (9) Bushido RPG (4) C and C (78) c and t (93) Caity Lotz (4) Call Of Cthulhu (113) calvin and hobbes (11) Caper (10) Captain America (284) captain britain (20) captain marvel (5) cara (2) carcosa (9) card game (20) carnacki (1) carnevale (1) Carnivàle (1) Caroline Munro (12) castle (15) cataracts (5) cathryn (4) cats (5) charity (2) Charlie's Angels (9) charmed (28) chin scratcher (27) China (87) chitty (1) Chris Hadfield (9) christmas (282) christmas village (2) Cidri (130) clangers (1) clare (224) Class (1) cloak and dagger (2) clone wars (48) clovenstone (16) cloverfield (9) clown (22) cody deal (3) CoE (12) Coggershall (15) colin (3) colliders (3) colour out of space (9) comics (2013) community table (13) competition (48) computer (81) Conan (125) constantine (49) cool website (3492) copper (4) Cortex (10) cosplay (454) cosplay goddess (9) creepypasta (8) Crime Nation (1) crimson peak (6) critical role (3) crossbones (1) Cyberman (57) D and D (778) da vinci (24) dad's army (3) dalek (157) damage control (1) damien (4) Dan Abnett (10) dan dare (5) daredevil (117) dark matter (2) dark tower (11) Darkseid (17) darna (1) David Bowie (19) DC Fancast (4) DCC (3) de strange (1) deadlands (14) deadpool (25) Deathstalker (17) Deathstalker Week (6) decorating (83) defenders (28) defiance (20) dejah thoris (8) demons (12) desolation (2) devo (2) Dexter (19) Dick Garrison (7) Dickensian (15) dilbert (3) dining room watch (5) dinosaur (79) disney (147) doc savage (27) doctor steel (1) Doctor Who Skirmish (3) dollhouse (17) dolls house (29) dominion (3) doom patrol (13) Dorian Gray (14) Dr Horrible (19) Dr Strange (78) Dr Who (1116) DR WHO RPG (145) draconians (8) Dracula (55) dragon age (8) dragon warriors (2) dragonlance (14) Dresden Files (58) dune (2) dungeon bastard (67) dvd (1167) dvd of the week (384) e-space (4) EAP (5) eBay (141) Egypt (38) Elementals (6) elm street (40) Elric (38) Elvis (8) enormous (2) episode VII (58) episode VIII (5) equipment (2) ercia (3) erica (43) Erik Menard (9) eureka (7) eurovision (13) Evil Dead (45) EWDG (2) exorcist (28) Facebook (315) faction paradox (13) faith (7) FAL (1) falling skies (1) Fantastic Four (193) Fantazia (6) farscape (5) FCBD (28) FDTD (11) felicia day (21) FEMM (9) FFL (1) fiction (4) film (3444) film night (33) Firefly (74) firestorm (34) flash (287) Flash Gordon (39) flashback (854) fleamarket friday (594) fleapit (77) Flintloque (6) fmj (10) FoG (14) Formula De (26) foxy friday (5) France (33) Frankenstein (35) fringe (47) fu manchu (1) funky dice (18) funny (1189) GAFDOZ (37) GAH (1) gal gadot (21) galavant (1) game of thrones (320) gamesroom (124) garden watch (33) geek god (5) geek pin-up (140) Gen Con (47) generator (12) GFT (16) ghost (192) ghost in the shell (8) Ghost Rider (8) ghostbusters (67) Gillian Hills (3) glee (36) godzilla (20) googleplus (51) Gor (8) Gotham (58) Grant Morrison (45) green hornet (4) Green Inferno (17) green lantern (148) greywulf (9) grimm (19) grindhouse (10) growler (1) Guardians (156) Guardians RPG (9) gublin (18) guest post (13) gunther (2) hack slash (23) Hackmaster (31) halloween (161) hammer glamour week (8) hangman (1) Hannah Spearritt (7) hannibal (42) Harley Quinn (47) Harry Potter (53) harryhausen (48) Hattie Watson (7) Haunted Mansion (2) Hawk The Slayer (67) Hawkeye (47) Hawkgirl (15) hawkman (23) health (218) helix (8) hellboy (1) Hercules (28) hero kids (17) HeroClix (20) Heroes (62) HeroPress (680) Hertsmonceux Castle (9) Hever (13) HEX (115) HEX campaign notes (6) hey kids (4) HHGTTG (37) HIMYM (20) HMP (5) hobomancer (1) holiday (30) Hollyoaks (15) hollywood me (3) hook (3) hornets' nest (5) horror (1289) houdini & doyle (1) houserules (57) HOW (177) HOW spell (6) HOW treasure (4) howard the duck (12) hrumph (2) hulk (115) hunger games (12) Hunter S Thompson (6) ice warriors (12) ICONS (77) ID4 (15) IHMN (2) illuminati (4) ilyat (2) Immortal Iron Fist (41) immortals (1) indiana jones (68) infographic (21) ingrid pitt week (7) inhumans (56) InspiroBot (3) interview (41) into the odd (5) IRBKM (74) iron man (209) Ironclad (7) irrepressible (1) iTunes (40) izombie (9) Jack Herman (58) james bond (80) James Purefoy (8) Jane Seymour (5) Japan (163) Jason Statham (4) Jason Voorhees (23) jason xmas (11) Jeff Dee (79) jekyll and hyde (12) jeni (10) jericho (1) Jessica Alba (4) jessica jones (55) JLC (25) jody mills (8) joe gilgun (5) John Carrigan (5) john carter (56) john carter RPG (5) John Wick (3) Josh Trank (10) Josie and The Pussycats (4) Joss Whedon (67) JSA (9) Judge Dredd (57) Judges Guild (9) judoon (21) jumanji (3) jungle book (2) Jupiter Ascending (6) jupiter's moon (1) justice league (118) K9 (73) Kai (8) Karen Gillan (48) keira knightley (22) Ken Hulsey (9) kevin (112) Kevin Bacon (15) key to time (7) KFC (5) Kickstarter (367) killjoys (2) king kong (14) kitchen watch (17) Klingon (16) Knight City (112) knightfall (1) Knightmare (7) knights of badassdom (6) kom (11) KOTDT (56) Krampus (6) Kree (12) krod mandoon (6) krypton (3) labyrinth lord (51) Lady GaGa (7) larp (34) Lauren Cohan (4) Legends of Tomorrow (40) legion (2) LEGO (21) leverage (17) Life on Mars (13) light city (8) limitless (6) LoA (37) lodoss (9) Lois Lane (30) Lost (103) LotFP (31) LOTR (168) LoTS (23) lou (5) lounge watch (11) love and rockets (2) Lovecraft (300) LSH (57) lucy (5) luke cage (62) Lulu (41) mack bolan (6) mad max (26) Maelstrom (3) magazine (250) Maleficent (13) man in the high castle (1) mapamonday (103) Marama Corlett (8) Mars (116) Mars Attacks (15) Mars McCoy (1) marvel rpg (5) mary poppins (1) Matrix (25) matt (19) max neptune (12) megan fox (24) melin (1) meredith (95) merlin (193) Merlins Miscellany (15) MG (3) midale (12) mike the knight (1) Military Odyssey (8) mindprobe (9) miracleman (3) Misfits (26) miss peregrine (2) misty (1) MLP (1) mob city (1) Moby Dick (6) MoC (11) model train (28) model village (1) mojo (2) monkey (123) monster (618) monster mash (40) monty python (43) moorcock (38) morgan (1) Most Wanted (2) mr robot (3) ms marvel (6) MSP (13) MtG (2) mummy (31) muppets (43) murdoch (8) murmurs (1) music (534) musical monday (247) musketeers (4) mutant future (6) Mutants and Masterminds (41) MV (7) My Chemical Romance (7) my first (8) my life and roleplaying (34) Mythica (38) narnia (11) nashville (12) natalie dormer (11) natalie portman (18) Necronomicon (21) nemesis (1) nemo (5) nerf (1) netflix (158) new spell (12) nick g (22) nick l (244) Night Blogger (7) nightwing (9) Ninjak (5) NOF (7) nosferatu (3) NPH (10) Oats Studio (5) Oculus (6) odd thomas (2) officer downe (1) Olivia Cooke (10) Olympics (21) olympus (3) Once Upon A Time (20) one ring rpg (10) opinion poll (47) orange is the new black (9) Orin Rakatha (4) orphans (1) orville (2) ouija (9) outcast (2) outcasts (16) OVC (19) oz (22) ozombie (7) pacific rim (21) paranoia rpg (1) parks and recreation (14) Pathfinder (23) Patreon (19) paul (109) pembury (17) Pendragon RPG (11) penny dreadful (28) peri (21) period slang (6) pete (279) Philip Reeve (110) philosophy (42) pick of the pods (27) picture parade (90) pirates (109) Playboy (32) PMF (4) podcast (179) poldark (6) polly (5) Poltergeist (7) PotA (68) power rangers (3) powerless (4) preacher (13) Pride and Prejudice (23) Primeval (45) primeval RPG (20) Prince Valiant (14) Prisoner (4) prometheus (9) Pulp (224) Punisher (55) pushing daisies (2) PVF (10) QB (9) quantum and woody (1) quatermass (23) Quentin Tarantino (28) rachel (733) railhead (7) reading list (15) real life (2330) rebels (46) Red Dwarf (11) red sonja (18) rendel (6) Resident Evil (9) retro comic (101) Richard Sharpe (10) riddick (4) riese (4) rip hunter (13) Ripper Street (11) riverdale (120) roan (1) Robin Hood (30) robocop (14) robotech (3) rochester (4) rocket age (11) rocket raccoon (63) roger corman (14) rogue one (14) roleplaying review (38) rom (6) round-up (57) RPG (2528) rpgaday (33) runaways (1) Runequest (11) Russia (78) s and s (1) s w (80) sabrina (21) salem (1) Salute To The 40s (8) sara jean underwood (6) satine phoenix (2) saturday morning matinee (387) savage worlds (100) SB (6) scooby-doo (25) scorpion king (5) Season 10 (5) Season 16 (6) Season 18 (6) Season 19 (6) Season 22 (5) Season 26 (4) serial thrillers (26) sevenoaks (13) seventh son (2) shadowrun (5) shakespeare (43) Shannara (3) shark (47) sharknado (36) shazam (34) Shedward (14) sheep (5) sherlock (41) shield (216) Shyamalan (8) sick (12) sick week (9) sidcup (1) silurians (15) simon (100) sinbad (56) sinbad week (7) SixoftheBest (61) SJA (106) slaine (20) sleepy hollow (10) sls (11) smallville (78) smurf (6) snake plissken (2) snoopy (12) snow (42) snow white (16) sns (2) soap box (62) sontaran (29) space 1889 (109) space 1889 library (3) space 1999 (3) spam tasting (5) spartacus (82) Spawn (3) spellfury (34) spelljammer (5) Spider-Man (272) sponsored post (2) sport (76) Squadron UK (3) st trinians (2) stacks (1) stacktastic (6) staghind (5) staircase watch (1) Stan Lee (83) Star Trek (334) star wars (723) Stargate (53) statistics (90) steampunk (118) steve (135) Steve Costigan (1) STO (1) STP (3) stranger things (14) stroke survivor (27) strontium dog (2) sucker punch (7) suicide squad (49) Sunday Funny (379) sunday specials (13) sunflower (5) Supergirl (135) Supergirl Sunday (29) superhero 2044 (3) superman (451) Supernatural (362) superteam (159) survivors (15) swing (11) t and t (11) t-shirts (32) tales from the loop (3) tales from the vault (4) tales of the gold monkey (9) tarzan (26) TBBT (60) TCM (29) Teen Titans (57) tekralh (201) tekralh reborn (17) tekumel (29) Terminator (40) terra nova (3) TFT (43) Thanos (13) the 100 (4) The 4400 (14) The Asylum (64) The Atom (37) the cape (8) the following (32) the gifted (9) The Guild (11) the hobbit (76) the hoff (8) the librarians (9) The Lurking Fear (3) The Mist (6) the quest (3) the ray (1) the river (2) The Shadow (7) this defiant earth (1) this is england (3) Thomas Jane (5) Thor (206) thrilling locations (11) throwback thursday (66) Thunderbirds (7) thundercats (2) Tick (5) Tim Peake (2) timeless (1) tina guo (3) tintin (12) TMNT (16) tomorrow people (4) tomorrowland (2) Tonbridge (138) Toni Darling (4) top of the pile (184) Top Secret RPG (84) top shelf (11) Torchwood (137) torn from the headlines (188) trailer (2335) transformers (14) Traveller (43) treasure trove (38) Trial Of A Time Lord (5) trigan empire (1) trope tuesday (1) True Blood (42) True Detective (11) tuesday knights (436) tumblr (57) Tunbridge Wells (144) tv (2988) Twin Peaks (46) ubiquity (73) unisystem (46) Urban Exploring (8) urban knights (3) V (25) V and V (334) Valerian (14) valhalla (2) valiant (23) Valorie Curry (4) vampire (253) vampirella (20) van allen plexico (5) vandal savage (8) vault (1) venture bros (4) Venus (31) video (25) vikings (30) vixen (16) voltron (3) wales (6) warcraft (36) warehouse 13 (49) wargame (408) Watchmen (85) wayward pines (3) wedding (69) week in geek (111) week in TV (47) Weekly World News (25) weird wednesday (36) wentworth (6) werewolf (89) western (189) westworld (8) WGA (12) white canary (21) wii (6) wil wheaton (39) wild cards (10) wild dog (5) Wildthyme (14) william shatner (15) Winnie The Pooh (8) WoH (6) Wolverine (77) wonder girl (13) wonder woman (534) wonderland (33) World of Darkness (6) WRC (18) wrinkle in time (1) wuxia (47) www (360) wynonna earp (1) X-Files (55) x-men (178) x-o manowar (7) xena (40) yggdrasill (3) ZD (9) zelda (4) zenescope (19) zombie (431) zorcerer of zo (4) zorro (1) zot (1) zygon (17)