Category: Comics


bop_searchSo far the new writing regime (as detailed in This Blog is Somewhat the Victim of Fear) is going at a level I will call “well”. I have revised five complete chapters since I wrote down my intentions and started back into my novel Bifrost (4 weeks now) and I am VERY eager to get into the next few chapters which are some of my favourites in the novel (and yet still need some serious revising).

The only exception to my new regime’s success is 5am Writers Club which former or present member can attest is a very challenge club in which to stay a member!! Continue to either sleep through or turn off my alarm. But tomorrow’s another day!

This renewed desire to get things done on my novel is a welcome change to the rut I was in leading up to and whilst I was on our awesome holiday to LEGOLand and some other place I forget*. It made me wonder to myself as I was sweeping the kitchen floor the other night: what the hell has changed recently? Why do I suddenly have the drive to write?

I went over the weeks leading up to the holiday: nothing special, was getting a bit stale at work (needed a holiday), was reading books, was thinking about football a lot. Maybe that was it – maybe it was football. But then it was still football season back in March when I was KILLING it on Bifrost and actually finished the damn thing. So what is it?

Then I realised – back in mid-late 2014, after consuming all the Guardians of the Galaxy I could handle I’d decided to go and read a bunch of comic backissues which covered some of the seminal story arcs in comic history that I’d (for whatever reason) never read: The Infinity Gauntlet, The Mark Waid run on The Flash, Spider-Man: Maximum Carnage – that sort of thing. I was reading comics every night (and on public transport)…(and whenever I got time) and I was super-vibed about geting work done on my book.

Many weeks ago, when I saw the leaked footage of the Suicide Squad movie, I decided to go and check out the Suicide Squad backissues (yes, even the first run from the 80s & 90s). I also felt this was a good time to start reading Gail Simone’s work on the Secret Six because Gail is completely awesome.

Then all of a sudden I’m wicked vibed to get onto my revisions. It was comics all along! It wasn’t books or movies or TV or the web (as if) – it was comics!

So here’s to comics. Bring on the backissues and bring on the revisions!!

— IEK

marvel_universeSo there I was, trying to install and configure some awesome stuff on my Linux virtual machine (never mind) and then Matt King (@kingmatte) posts his top 5 Marvel Cinematic Universe films on Twitter.

So I start thinking about superhero films…

I configured a couple of servers.

I kept thinking about superhero films…

I installed a few things on the Linux server.

I kept thinking about superhero films…

I ran into trouble with the firewalls on the Linux AND the Windows 2012 servers.

I give up.

Now I’m not going to go with Matt’s concept of only Marvel Cinematic Universe because only us epic comic geeks actually get it or care and I desperately hope somebody reading this is not an epic comic geek….you’re out there, right? Right?

So here it is – my top 10 Marvel Superhero films (all Marvel, not just MCU) since I can remember (yes, sorry, this excludes Batman movies which would be DC Comics and I really don’t like Superman).

avengers 1. Avengers (2012) – The first superhero film which allowed us to believe that superheroes could come together and be completely awesome in the same film. Also: Joss Whedon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

spider-man 2. Spider-man(2002) – My (once) favourite superhero brought to life in the most incredible fashion. I loved this film. Only Avengers has managed to make me feel better than when I saw this film.

 

 

 

 

 

 

gotg 3. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) – Perhaps it was my anticipation, perhaps it was the incredible soundtrack, perhaps it was the way 7yo engaged with these characters and this film (even without seeing most of it because it’s a bit serious for him just yet) or perhaps it was just the fun-loving manner of the film itself, but I couldn’t get enough of this film, nor its characters. 7yo and I even went to the last OzComicCon as Gamora & Rocket Racoon (and rocked it I might add).

 

 

 

 

iron_man 4. Iron Man (2008) – Welcome to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. They could not have picked a better actor to play Tony Stark, Robert Downey Jnr could not have played him better, the film could not have been better. I didn’t mind Iron Man before this film, after it – Iron Man was one of my favourites.

 

 

 

 

 

age_of_ulton 5. Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) – I did love this film, truly it was the action equivalent of its predecessor. The character interplay, dialogue and fighting team-up moves were incredible and yet I couldn’t help but think what could have been made of the Ultron character. Almost nothing was actually made of him and he was frankly more menacing and awesome in the original trailer (which is really quite sad). This could have been #1, Joss. Seriously. All of this said, if I’d seen the Hulk vs Hulk-Buster Iron Man armour scene and that’s all, it would almost have made the list anyway.

 

 

 

the_winter_soldier 6. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2013) – I really enjoyed the first Captain America film. It was classic, a little hokey and had Nazis: perfect Cap origin story. So where to from here? WOW did they know where to go to from here!?! Incredible fight scenes, superb working of the characters mostly working in civilian clothing and settings and loved setting S.H.I.E.L.D. essentially as a corrupted character. Loved the development of Falcon too.

 

 

 

 

 

x-men 7. X-Men (2000) – This was the film which kicked off Hollywood’s meteoric rise to making as many comic-inspired films as possible and it was totally sweet. Except they gave Rogue a name. What the hell was that about?

 

 

 

 

 

 

x-men_2 8. X-Men 2 (2002) – If all I saw of this film was the Nightcrawler scene in the White House it would probably still have been in 8th place.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

electra 9. Electra (2005) – I really bloody liked this film. Jennifer Garner worked fantastically, the central character was a strong (yet troubled) female, the plot was intimate and tight and Electra kicked the shit out of a whole bunch of ninjas – what’s not to like!?!

 

 

 

 

 

 

days_of_future_past 10. X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014) – Really enjoyable film – especially the Quicksilver scene – but I hate time travel, it’s shit*.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

–IEK

 

* When I write a book about time travel, forget I ever said this, OK?

**Yes, Avengers: Age of Ultron spoiler alert**

So this week 7yo received his Lego Club magazine along with the 2015 Lego catalogue. For massive Lego nerds like myself & 7yo, this is called good times.

Two awesome things were in the 2015 catalogue:

1) Integration with Lego’s 3D catalogue app which, when you point your device at the pages, provides 3D, augmented reality animation of many of the sets! It’s hard to describe how amazing you cool it was to see an AT-AT walking on our kitchen table for the first time. Yes – that is an animated AT-AT walking across the pages of the catalogue with snowtroopers abseiling from it. Find the app here: (Play Store & iTunes).
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2) The following sets:

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The first thing I noticed was Hulkbuster armour (of course) and from a quick look through the other sets, it’s obvious that Avengers: Age of Ultron is the major inspiration for all of the Lego Marvel Superheroes sets for 2015. Sweet. So…we already know from the trailer that the Avengers teamsheet from the first movie will appear as well as Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch, but let’s see what else we can learn from these sets…

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First off – it looks like the Avengers have Avengers Tower at some stage in the film, so clearly the whole idea of the Avengers only coming together to combat global (or galactic) emergencies is at some stage left behind. Also, we can see the stars-&-stripes-clad Iron Legion combating Ultron Mark 1 around Avengers Tower, which essentially confirms the theory that Tony Stark is responsible for implementing a robotic security force which is what eventually spawns Ultron.

But have a look at one of those Iron Legion minifigs:
image

 

Loki’s sceptre?? VERY interesting. One wonders whether or not the Tesseract is again the source of the Avengers’ woes. Those damn Infinity Gems are just a menace. I mean imagine if someone really nasty got hold of them!

ScreenHunter_24 Dec. 21 09.26

*Daydreams*…Anyway…now let’s see who Lego has in their list of characters for Age of Ultron…

 

imageOK…Ultron Prime…Ultron sentry (look like the Ultrons which swarm all over the Bard Fortress in the trailer)…interesting, but we already knew from the trailer that there would be a bunch of Ultron models in the film. Now at least we can put a few names to chassis. Oh there’s Scarlet Witch – groovy.

image Iron Legion…as mentioned, we can assume this is Tony Stark’s early attempt at a robotic security force. In case you can’t see the resemblance in the pics here – it’s the head of an Iron Legion robot which Ultron crushes with his “Strings” line in the trailer.
image Cap…Black Widow…Iron Man appears to be in every set…

…wait. VISION!!

If you’ve been keeping an eye on spoilers around the place, you will have seen Vision show up in a few places, but nothing official or detailed. So there had been a lot of conjecture about what role the Vision would play in the film. From the set he shows up in (Quinjet City Chase), it’s pretty clear that Ultron has captured Vision and he is freed by the Avengers.image

OK, so there might be a bit more stuff in this than I’ve derived from first glance, but whichever way, these sets are fantastic and this movie is going to completely rule!

Happy building!

— IEK

I made this! Well...not the movie, but the screenshot and...well...the text.

So many of you will have seen the Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer by now. If you haven’t and you want to FOR GOODNESS SAKE – GO! NOW!

If you DON’T want to see the trailer and you live in some sort of pre-Internet spoiler-free world…um…OK, good luck and:

**SPOILER ALERT**

I was fortunate enough to be drinking coffee and checking my Twitter feed when the trailer first leaked on DailyMotion. I immediately retweeted @DailySuperhero‘s tweet because I trust those guys to have the real deal, then I watched it.

I actually need to have a double-carriage-return after even SAYING that I watched it because it was THAT exciting. There are numerous videos on YouTube now of the reaction to the trailer and I’d really quite like to see a video of my bouncing on my chair like a giddy child when the HULK-BUSTER ARMOUR came on. I genuinely lost my shit, as did a number of other fine people I know when they first saw it (thanks for the memories, dudes).

Now the trailer as a means of advertising upcoming films has been around for a long time, but I feel that its place as a genuine art form and even phenomenon has only really come about since the advent of high-speed internet and social media. The EXPLOSION of tweets, Facebook posts, blog posts* and forum threadviruses has allowed movie producers and executives to gauge the quality of their trailers immediately. I think the global reaction to the leaked trailer either forced Marvel *cough*Disney*cough*’s hand or did it’s job in convincing them that this teaser was EXACTLY on the money.

I tweeted earlier in the week that I hadn’t been this excited about a trailer since the first glimpse we all had of a dozen or so Jedis kicking some arse in the Episode II teaser back in 2001 (after the sad “love story” crap from the third teaser trailer). In fact, let’s all re-live that Jedi moment (bless the Internet)…

Ah…I know I feel better.

Anyway…what was I saying? Ah yes: arse kicking. How much did James Spader’s narration MAKE the Age of Ultron trailer? I was so looking forward to nightmares narrated by him on Thursday night. Alas, I slept well. But for the period of about the last two days, I’ve been riding a wave of excitement about how completely awesome this movie is going to be and how the fulfillment of many childhood dreams feels.

Like many magnificently energising action movie trailers, the Age of Ultron trailer had enough glimpses of devastation to hint that whatever threat the Earth was under, the Avenger would truly be needed again, showed enough of the unhinged menace of Ultron to make you realise that this big-bad would be more than worthy and gave you THE BLOODY HULK-BUSTER ARMOUR!!!! So fans of drama excited, fans of apocalyptic storylines excited and fangirls & fanboys VERY excited. It was almost the perfect trailer.

The only thing I found as a mark against it was that the scenes of devastation, the ruined, dusty cars and Cap walking between them, the scenes of crowd fleeing and screaming in terror could easily have been lifted from the first Avengers film – the scenes were just so similar (stock footage?). But I can forgive all of that VERY easily for the HULK BUS–

…Oh OK, I’ll shut up now (briefly).

— IEK

 

* Self reference – I WIN!

 

Having seen an article on the SMH which raised the obvious question about Marvel movies vs DC movies, I wrote the comment below in response.

Of all the other comments made on the article, I found the one regarding Marvel’s tactical decision to release films with individual superheros for Iron Man, Captain America and Thor prior to the release of Avengers most pertinent. It has to be said that hearing about a film which will feature multiple characters you have been watching and enjoying over several years generates a fair bit of excitement all by itself. It didn’t hurt in the end that Joss Whedon’s handling of Avengers was utterly superb.

It does concern me that even I, as an avid comic reader had never heard of Martian Manhunter until Grant Morrison took over the reigns on JLA in 1997. I can only imagine what the viewing public will make of “all these second-string characters” like Wonder Woman and Aquaman. Especially if Aquaman is all nice and has two hands.

I will make a couple of apologies – first of all The Flash is one of my favourite characters of all time. I am most enamoured with the Mark Waid interpretation (as you can see in the article), but I have always found the basic “runs really fast” concept of the Barry Allen (and every other random speedster) to be a bit blah.

I will also apologise on behalf of the universe to anyone who reads the “Flash Gordon” posts. I have no idea what they’re about, when I read it the article did not mention Flash Gordon at all. I can only imagine some poor, confused baby boomer sitting at their computer trying to make sense of “all of this comics nonsense”, then posting something about the only comic they’ve actually read.

 


 

Short answer: No.

Long answer: DC comics have always been targeted at younger audiences – pre-teens. Marvel comics have always been targeted at teenage and young adult audiences (ie. the single largest movie-going demographic) and their characters have, respectively, been designed to appeal to those different demographics.

Think about Spider-man: a geeky orphan, raised by his aunt & uncle who is given amazing super powers, then confronted with the death of his uncle which he COULD have helped prevent! Angst factor: 10.

The X-Men: Mutants who do not fit in to society and are shunned, hated, hunted, but team up to prove themselves, do completely awesome stunts and save the world a lot.

Iron Man: “Genius, billionaire, playboy philanthropist” with a weakness for women and booze.

Captain America: Honourable hero in a dishonourable time.

Superman: Stronger, faster & tougher than anything else in the world. Feels threatened by smart, bald men.

The Flash: Runs really fast (Dear Mark Waid, please write a goddamn film).

Hawk Man: Has wings. And a funny hat.

Actually regularly used DC Villains: Angle Man; Captain Boomerang; The Blue Snowman.

The only exception is Batman who has a backstory not a great deal different from Spider-man. It’s not a co-incidence that Batman movies have been the most popular DC movies.

Now…if DC could just find it in their apparently caged imaginations to come up with a solid story for Wonder Woman (not the best name either, but she is a BLOODY FANTASTIC character), then they would have a mega-hit on their hands to rival Twilight.

But of course Wonder Woman apparently “too hard”. Lose the cage, DC. Grow a pair of hips.

— IEK

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