Tuesday, May 27, 2008

"27 Jennifers"

I married a Jennifer, and love the music of Mike Doughty. The two appear to be a great match:


Friday, May 23, 2008

George Said It Was Supposed To Be A Serial...

I just loved this too much to not post it...


I've Had Worse Days

Just a short little post for a change. I just wanted to come on and point out that, today, I finished reading Dr. No, and saw Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull for the first time.

Not a bad day, really.

More on Indy tomorrow.


Friday, May 16, 2008

Favourite X-Files Moments

From the episode "Quagmire", Mulder and Scully have an honest moment while stranded in the middle of a lake:

The rest of the episode is pretty pedestrian, but this bit of dialogue between the two characters is some of the most interesting, funny and truthful in the whole series. Amazing that it came from a writer who only did two episodes total, this one and another called "Revalations". It's possible that, like any other show, this section was written by one of the producers or Carter himself, but until I hear otherwise, kudos to Kim Newton for hitting these two guys perfectly.

The episode was directed by Kim Manners.

Believe again!


Thursday, May 15, 2008

I Want To Believe

Not to take anything away from the Indy Joygasm, but I think I have to throw some love Mulder and Scully's way since my other bestest franchise of all time is returning this summer, as well. I'm going to be posting embedded videos that I run across and some comments as the film release date draws nearer. I'd love to hear any thoughts from other X-Philes out there, too. I haven't had a good X-Files convo in at least 6 years.

The first video is a brief but tantalizing bit off of Entertainment Tonight (that auto-start on the video is gonna drive me crazy as time goes on):

Update - I couldn't stand the "I'm standing on the Top Secret set..." thing anymore so I took the embedded video down. I'm sure anyone who wanted to see it already has.

These next two videos are part of a viral advertising campaign featuring David and Gillian in what appears to be a psychiatrists office:



Last, but not least, the official trailer. Similar to the one used at Emerald Comicon (I think it was Emerald) but with a bit more dialogue and not seen through the POV of a shaky fan cam:

I realize that I've posted, like, a weeks worth of X-Files videos just now. Kind of blown my wad, you might say. Whatever. I'm excited. You should be excited, too.

Believe Again.


The Indiana Jones Comic Book Revue

I mentioned a little while ago that I had wanted to do this, and I figured now was as good a time as any to get the ball rolling, so...

All books will be rated on a 0 to 5 Fedoras system.

The Further Adventures of Indiana Jones #1 & 2
(Marvel Comics Group)

Written by: John Byrne & Denny O'Neil
Pencilled by: John Byrne
Inked by: Terry Austin
Covers by: John Byrne & Terry Austin

"...Risky. Risky is the word, Marcus."

Following the success of the first Indy film, Marvel Comics went into the archaeology business with their newest licensed title, The Further Adventures of Indiana Jones. To launch the title, Marvel recruited fan-favourite artist John Byrne to bring Dr. Jones' continuing adventures to life, and brought in writer Denny O'Neil to finish the tale when Byrne and Lucasfilm began having problems.

Dateline 1936

The story, titled "The Ikons of Ikammanen", begins when an old student of Indy's, Charlie Dunne, arrives at Barnett College to inform him of a great discovery he made with his sister, Edith. They believed that they had located the temple of the mythical Ikons of Ikammanen, gold statues that were capable of becoming living avengers. In the process of relating his tale to Indy, he is killed by an unknown assassin sending our hero to Liberia in order to assist Edith in uncovering the Ikons location in her brother's absence.

In true Indiana Jones fashion, our hero gets in a few scrapes with the locals (vaguely remiscient of Raiders) and then comes face to face with the local gangster, Solomon Black. Black, who has captured Edith and is enthralled by the idea of finding a number of solid gold statues, tells Indy that if he doesn't find the Ikons for him, he will kill her. Indy, of course, obliges, and bides his time, waiting for his chance to work his way out of yet another complicated situation.

They travel to a mysterious fog-encrusted island (think Skull Island) where they are knocked unconscious by the locals while examinging their discovery, the Ikon's temple itself. The issue ends with Indy and Edith, tied to a large winch and chain and being lowered into a vat of boiling gold. Will our hero finally meet his end?

The second issue, called "22-Karat Doom!", picks up where the last one left off, with Indy and Edith in peril trying to find a way out of their predicament. A combination of Indy's wits, and the convenient intervention of Solomon Black's men, saves the pair from becoming golden statues themselves but they immediately find themselves having to fight with Black's men against the natives in order to make their way back to the beach and the ship they arrived on.

After getting on Black's last nerve, Indy and Edith are unexpectedly saved by a patrolling German U-Boat that launches a torpedo and ends the threat posed by Solomon Black and his gang. Our heroes, who tossed themselves over the side before the ship exploded (along with one Ikon which survived the blast), hitch a ride with the Germans and make their way back to the States. The only catch is that Edith had been planning a double-cross the whole time and was, in actual fact, the assassin responsible for her brother Charlie's death. She wanted some of the fame and fortune and didn't want to play second fiddle to her brother just because she was a woman. Indy gets the last laugh, though, when he uses an inscription he found in the Ikon's temple to bring the one Ikon they saved from their adventure to life. The Ikon attacks Edith and her pilot boyfriend while Indy grabs a chute and leaps out of the plane, into the great unknown.

It sounds a little cheeseball when I break it down like that, but these are actually pretty entertaining Indy comics. When you consider the existing Indy lore (which was almost non-existent) I think Byrne and O'Neil did a bang up job of capturing the whole pulp '30s feel that George Lucas always said he was going for in the movies. Sure Indy was a bit out of character in a few scenes, but it fit the tone and style of the story so I can go out of my way to cut the guys some slack.

I really liked the way Byrne breaks the story into chapters, evoking that Republic serial feel, and the pacing was brisk and almost of another time. Back in the '80s, we didn't have the deconstructionists taking 12 issues to tell a story that Eisner or his peers would have told in 8 pages, but the speed with which Byrne moves through this story is still something else. It was probably a good thing, too, since he wasn't able to really do anything else with the character other than run him through his paces and showcase a few set-pieces.

It's a shame that Byrne didn't stay on beyond issue two since I don't believe that any artist that followed him had the same universal appeal and pulp approach, but the guy was unhappy and that was almost 30 years ago, so what can you do?

Both Byrne and O'Neil have said that they really didn't enjoy working on the book because of editorial interference from Lucasfilm but, despite their working experiences, they managed to produce two of the most entertaining and visually pleasing Indy books I've seen over the past 27 years. I still go back and reread these issues every now and then when I have a craving for some good Indy comics.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Indy High Then Burn

I have been a fan of the Indy novels since I first discovered them lo those many years ago. Part of what I enjoyed about them was the fact that they weren't like the Star Wars books. It wasn't this literary machine just churning out Indy books from all periods, it was the work of, primarily, one guy, Rob MacGregor. He was followed up by Martin Caidin (the guy who wrote Cyborg) and then the last writer to work on the book series, Max McCoy. Although I didn't totally agree with everything MacGergor did in his stories (Indy purists beware, there is a wedding and a tragic end, a la James Bond, which may, or may not, fit in with your vision of the man with the hat) I thoroughly enjoyed the 5 or 6 stories he wrote and always kept an eye out for the subsequent books in the series.

Now, with the new movie coming out, the books have been brought back into print and are available at one of my local booksellers. Armed with this information, I headed down to the McNally Robinson and grabbed myself a copy of Caidin's first offering, Indiana Jones and the Sky Pirates. I've been enjoying reading it for the last couple of days and decided, tonight, that I would peel off the annoying little price label that they stick on every one of their books. I don't usually have problems with them but this time it peeled the finish right off the back cover.

Now, for anyone who knows me, I'm pretty picky with my stuff. And even though I've had this problem before with books I've purchased there (I was pretty ruffled when my Abadazad peeled - grrrr) this one really irks me. Perhaps it's because of how long I've been trying to finish the series, maybe because it's Indy, and maybe because I just need one thing in my life right now that is the way it's supposed to be, I don't know. What I do know is that I'm pretty perturbed about it and I hate to be an idiot and spend another $9 on a book that I already own, but it also burns my butt everytime I see the damn thing now.

You can't see it in the picture. It's just over the explosion, though.

Of course, when I brought this up to Jen expecting a little sympathy, it degraded into a fight with her saying some pretty awful things (yeah, I know how ridiculous this problem is, but come on, give a frazzled mind the proverbial shoulder to lean on) and now I'm down here posting about it and checking out how much it would cost to order the last 5 books that I'm missing from Amazon (5 includes the Sky Pirates).

I need to go chill out.

Until next time...


Thursday, May 01, 2008

Iron Man Stuff

It's a little funny because I wasn't consciously winding up for the Iron Man premiere, but in the last few weeks I've read the "Extremis" storyline written by Warren Ellis and illustrated by Adi Granov that launched the new monthly a while back. This week, I've been reading Iron Man: The Inevitable, by Joe Casey and Frazer Irving, and tonight, I showed the animated The Invincible Iron Man movie to my kids.

Then I find out that the live-action movie was sneak previewing tonight and I'm thinking synchronicity city, here. That, or I've been at this kind of thing for so long that I can't even tell any more when I'm ramping up for something. I just go into automatic pilot, or something.

Personally, I think it was because I started picking up and reading the "Enter the Mandarin" mini-series for Eric Canete's art, but I'm not going to argue the point.

Anyway, I just wanted to pop on and say that I enjoyed theanimated version a lot more this time than when I first watched it. There are still a lot of things that irk me about these Marvel D2DVD movies (voice casting is a BIIIIIIG one) but, overall, TIIM was entertaining, did a decent job of giving an updated take on the ol' origin story, showed a couple of versions of the armour, and managed to add a little depth by doing the east vs. west/technology vs. mysticism bit.

Looks like we'll be trying to hit a matinee with the kids for the live-action on Sunday so I may have more to say regarding Tony Stark in the very near future. The movie is getting rave reviews (yay, Jon Favreau) so expectations are high, now. Let's hope it's not a stinker.