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MORTAL ENGINES (December 8, 2018)

Thursday, 31 May 2018

Let's End The Month In A Blaze Of Glory!


After stealing a truckload of gold bars, a gang of thieves absconds to the ruins of a remote village perched on the cliffs of the Mediterranean. Home to a reclusive yet hypersexual artist and her motley crew of family and admirers, it seems like a perfect hideout.

But when two cops roll up on motorcycles to investigate, the hamlet erupts into a hallucinatory battlefield as both sides engage in an all-day, all-night firefight rife with double-crosses and dripping with blood.
I owe this one entirely to Cal, over at The Cave Of Cool (who's celebrating his birthday tomorrow), who describes the French crime thriller as reminiscent of a "neo-western noir from Italy in the '60s".

Reading the plot synopsis rang very, very distant bells for me, but it was Cal's sudden inclusion of the trailer and poster on his blog that has really brought it to the fore.

Based on an early '70s pulp novel by Jean Patrick Manchette (Laissez bronzer les Cadavres), I get the impression that Let The Corpses Tan is the kind of ultraviolent homage to grindhouse cinema that Quentin Tarantino loves.

It opens in select cinemas in the US on August 31.

WEEKLY WORLD NEWS: Severed Limbs Are Making The News This Week...


Another classic collection of headlines from the Weekly World News, running the full spectrum from religious finds, rescuing loved ones from Hell, and dubious scientific claims, right through to bizarre crimes and general weirdness.

As ever, these are a goldmine of inspiration for gamesmasters looking for adventure hooks or odd NPCs for the player-characters to engage with, particularly in campaigns with a contemporary setting (such as Supernatural-style monster hunters, X-Files-style investigators, or just your everyday costumed crimefighter).

My Top 10 Classic British Comedy Sketches...




The news that Ronnie Barker's hand-written first draft of the legendary Four Candles sketch, from The Two Ronnies, is up for auction tomorrow (June 1) got me thinking about other definitive examples of British comedy sketches.

Off the top of my head I came up with these, in no particular order, as the ones that have stuck with me since I first saw them aired and, I believe, encapsulate the character of our nation's peculiar brand of humour.

While I don't remember much else from Fry & Laurie or Goodness Gracious Me (beyond them being very funny shows), I could have posted many, many more sketches from Mitchell & Webb, Not The Nine O'Clock News, and, of course, Monty Python's Flying Circus.

But I decided to stick with the classics. These are the sketches I find playing in my head at appropriate moments when something - an action or a phrase - stirs memories of these particular nostalgic comedic routines.



The Hedge Sketch - Fry & Laurie



Going Out For An English - Goodness Gracious Me



Are We The Baddies? - Mitchell & Webb



Football Commentator - Mitchell & Webb



Swedish Chemist Shop - Not The Nine O'Clock News



Gerald The Gorilla - Not The Nine O'Clock News



The Cheese Shop - Monty Python



Argument Clinic - Monty Python



Dead Parrot - Monty Python

Words To Live By...


Let's not forget the sixth (and supposedly final) Sharknado movie is set to premier on August 19 (on SyFy in the States, at least).

The Last Sharknado: It’s About Time centres around the time-travelling exploits of shark-slaying protagonist Fin (Ian Ziering) as he fights Nazis, dinosaurs, and knights, and squeezes in a ride on Noah's Ark, on his mission to save his family and the world from the sharkpocalypse that claimed everything at the end of Sharknado 5: Global Swarming.

Today Is Buddy's First Birthday...

Buddy with the rest of his family

Bringing to an end a month of fur-baby birthdays and celebrations, today is the first birthday of our adopted trainee Guide Dog For The Blind, Buddy.

Rachel and I have been supporting him financially since we adopted him at last year's Paws In The Park event

The other day, we received an email reminding us of his upcoming big day and letting us know "that tiny ball of fluff is transforming into an amazing guide dog, learning how to socialize, behave, and ride public transport like a pro".

Buddy is currently living with his "puppy walker", Gulcem, and hopefully he'll find the time soon to write to us with a more thorough update on his progress towards to being a fully-fledged Guide Dog.

Wednesday, 30 May 2018

A Whirlwind Tour Of 1940s New York...



Travel back in time to New York of the 1940s, courtesy of the History Channel.

Hopefully, this two-and-a-half-minute tour will pique the interest of some gamers or writers looking for period setting ideas.

The Spider-Man Of Paris...




Undocumented migrant Mamoudou Gassama, 22, is rightfully being hailed a hero for scaling four-storeys up the side of a Parisian apartment block to rescue a dangling infant.

The child had, apparently, already fallen two stories from his father's apartment on the sixth floor, and a neighbour was doing the best he could to stop the kid falling further - but didn't have the leverage to pull him to safety.

Gaining himself the nickname of The Spider-Man Of Paris, Mamoudou has been granted citizenship of France and offered an apprenticeship with the fire brigade by President Macron.

You can read a full report on the incident at the BBC News website, where it reveals that the young boy's father was late coming home because he had been playing Pokemon Go!

Through the sheer heroism of Mamoudou's selfless - and athletic - act, everything turned out for the best.

But, flippantly, I now feel comfortable in pointing out - and this has happened locally when people have taken it upon themselves to dress up in a (non-fancy dress) superhero costume for whatever campaigning reason - that this is exactly why classic comic book superhero naming conventions would never work in the real world.

From television's The Flash to the 80-year-old icon that is Superman, many heroes have been given their names by the media of the day.

But, in reality, time and time again, anyone does anything vaguely "superheroic", they are always labelled with a spin on an existing, fictional, name.

For example, Tunbridge Wells had its own 'controversial' superhero for a while - who wanted to be called Ring Pull Man (because he was actually on a campaign to collect ring pulls from drinks cans for charities) - but before his name was known, the local newspaper very unimaginatively called him The Batman Of Tunbridge Wells!

Real world media just aren't playing the game!

Weird Wednesday...

The Gadgets Of Japan's 1970's Spider-Man...


Toei created a truly amazing 1970’s TV show featuring our favorite wall-crawling super hero, Spider-Man. Here are the best weird, wild and wonderful gadgets.

Wonder Woman Wednesday...

Hump Day Dreams...

Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Bloodshot Salvation Draws To A Close...


Bloodshot Salvation, Valiant Comics' 12-issue maxi-series by Jeff Lemire (of The Terrifics, Black Hammer etc) and artist Doug Braithwaite (X-O Manowar, Justice), comes to an end in August with The Book Of Revelations.
Ray Garrison grapples with the core of his being - and the being his legacy will one day birth in millennia to come!

Bloodshot has travelled from the depths of the Deadside to the far-flung future of 4002 A.D. to save his daughter’s life… and spare her the murderous inheritance of the nanites that flow through both their veins. Now, stranded at the crossroads of the 41st century with one last mission between them and freedom, the question will finally be answered: Was it all for naught?
I wasn't really a fan of Bloodshot until I started reading this series, and am now gutted that with Jeff Lemire's departure from the title Valiant is wrapping it up, rather than handing it off to a new author.

Big gun-toting characters are not usually my idea of "superheroes", but I've found myself genuinely drawn into the life of Ray Garrison, thanks in large part of Jeff Lemire's writing.

Bloodshot always manages to subvert my preconceptions about "this type of character", either in this main storyline or in the emotionally-powerful Bloodshot's Day Off one-shot, about other members of the government's Bloodshot programme.

Issue seven of Bloodshot Salvation, when Ray is struck blind while in the mystical Deadside, is probably the best single issue of a comic I've read this year, and one of the strongest I've ever read.

So, I'll miss this series once it finished, but can recommend it highly.

 

Top Of The List For UK Fans Is To Sign The Petition To See Ant-Man & The Wasp In July!


Marvel and Disney have decided to push Ant-Man and The Wasp back a month because of The World Cup. This means fans in the UK will get the movie a month after the rest of the world. True Marvel fans, like myself, are upset and disappointed by this, as after seeing the beauty that is Avengers: Infinity War, we want questions answered and more importantly, to enjoy the movie. How can we go a month without spoilers? You can watch the World Cup and watch a movie as well.
- Adam Khan

Sign Adam's petition here.

I'm not sure whether Marvel has moved the release date of Ant-Man & The Wasp around because of the World Cup or - more likely, in my opinion - because it would clash with Disney's Incredibles 2 (due out July 13 in the UK, almost a month after it's debut in the States).

Whoever is doing the release schedule for Disney has dropped the ball here either way.

Bumping the Incredibles sequel back has created this issue, especially as I reckon there's more chance of an overlap between Incredibles fans and Marvel fans than there is with hardcore football fans who must see every single match of the World Cup.

If you're a Marvel fan in the UK - whether you see the films in the cinema or not - please consider signing this petition and/or sharing it.

Maybe we can get the attention of Disney/Marvel and make them reconsider the delayed release of Ant-Man & The Wasp.

I, for one, don't want to have to spend a month dodging spoilers before I get to see it on the big screen.

Current Release Dates:
  • Incredibles 2: June 15 (July 13 - UK)
  • Ant-Man & The Wasp: July 6 (August 3 - UK)

Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na, Baseball Bat Man & Hammer Girl!


With Pete taking inspiration from the high-octane thriller The Raid for our current Top Secret SI campaign, it's a glorious slice of serendipity that the world of that Indonesian actioner is now coming to comic books.

The Raid comic book will be a four-issue mini-series, with the first two issues penned by Ollie Masters, with the last two written by Alex Paknadel, telling the backstories of fan-favourite characters Basebal Bat Man and Hammer Girl, who made their debuts in 2014's The Raid 2.

The first issue hits comic stores on August 1.
An all-new story from the world of the martial arts masterpiece! As the events of the second movie rage, hero Rama is trapped in prison. Can he protect an undercover cop? Can he even protect himself?

Bone-crunching cinematic martial arts action brought to the bloodied page! The perfect companion to the upcoming Hollywood remake! Go beyond the movie to discover the sinister truth behind Hammer Girl and Baseball Bat Man!

Roy Of The Rovers Gets A Reboot!


Given, generally, how apathetic I am to the idea of team sports, it's surprising how much I used to enjoy the comic book adventures of Roy Race in Roy Of The Rovers when I was growing up.

A large part of this comes from the fact that although I've never really had much interest in league football, I grew up with the Subbuteo table football game.

Subbuteo footballer
Mum worked in the original production house where the game was manufactured, and brought home a lot of early material for the game (as well as for lines that never took off, such as Subbuteo speedway).

Before the game used the miniatures it is known for today, the players were represented by plastic card standees (but still on the requisite wobbly base, of course).

At some point during this period I acquired a blank set of card figures, of the right scale and in dramatic footballing poses, which I managed to colour in, with felt pens, in the team colours of Melchester Rovers... Roy Race's team.

These were then glued into spare Subbuteo bases and, bingo, these then, became one of my 'go to' teams whenever I played table football with visiting friends.

Not long after I discovered roleplaying games - and wargames - Subbuteo kinda got pushed to back of the toy cupboard, the green pitch seeing more action as wargames terrain (lain upside down over books etc to simulate hills) than as a sporting venue.

With a waning interest in Subbuteo came a similar loss of enthusiasm to follow the soap operatic life of Roy Race, both on and off the pitch.

Which is a shame, because the British comics blog BLIMEY! has this to say about his life:
"As the years progressed, Roy married, and had children, and later suffered a terrible accident, losing his foot. Retiring from the game, his grown up son, Roy Jr, took on the mantle."
And this is exactly the kind of serialised storytelling and character development that I've grown to love (through the combination of my passion for superheroes and roleplaying game campaigns).

Now, Roy's coming back, but - as we see frequently with returning superheroes who have developed a rich and storied past over the years - rebooted, reimagined, and rejuvenated for the 21st Century.

Roy began his adventures in Tiger #1, in 1954, had his own weekly comic from 1976 (which is when I read his adventures), and then appeared in Match Of The Day magazine from 1997 to 2001.

After a spell on the subs bench, Roy's now coming back to Match Of The Day magazine, as a weekly strip beginning on June 5 and running through to August 21.

This relaunch strip will be a self-contained story following Melchester Rovers as they partake in the Caridad Cup, a charity tournament taking place in Spain that pits them against local rivals Tynecaster, and Spanish teams Varagosa and Real Santana.

The artist for the Match of the Day magazine strips is newcomer Lisa Henke, with Rebellion’s Rob Power and Keith Richardson on writing duties.

Character design of the new Roy Race was by comics artist Ben Wilsher (2000 AD, Doctor Who Magazine).
  • Publisher Rebellion is also planning a series of three 56-page hardback graphic novels per football season, launching in Autumn 2018, January 2019 and April 2019, written by Rob Williams (Suicide Squad, Action Comics) and illustrated by Ben Willsher; and middle grade illustrated children’s fiction, written by children's author Tom Palmer. These are due to hit shelves in October, then February and May, 2019.

21st Century Roy Race, 16-years-old and starting his career at Melchester Rovers
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MORTAL ENGINES (December 8)

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