Tag Archives: comic

That Martin Show

Recently I’ve delved back into That 70’s Show. For all the years I watched it as it aired, then the numerous times I’ve dived back into it and caught random repeats on various channels, it just never gets old.

I often watch television series’ or films and compare myself and my friends to characters, who they act like, what habits they share, the types of things they say and their methods of dealing with certain scenarios.

With that 70’s show I find myself in the unique position of being able to identify myself with most of the main characters. Obviously I’m better looking than Kelso so that’s one comparison we can all skip.

I’m a nerd or a geek or a weird little man (not so little) with a fascination with Star Wars, I always make situations worse when I think I’m going to make them better and strangely it’s almost always in a comical fashion. In that respect I’m Eric.

I’m rude, harsh, honest and have no fear in saying what I think no matter how it offends or insults. I almost always try and lead my friends down the path of some sort of path that I would never go down myself but I know it will give me amusement watching them do it. In that respect I’m Hyde.

I say the most inappropriate things at the most inappropriate times. Sometimes I say them for comical effect, sometimes I say them without thinking not realising how inappropriate it actually is. In that respect I’m Fez.

I am incredibly impatient, with no tact and will almost always complain about anything and everything. Sometimes I just want a quiet life, a life of no annoying kids running around the streets, people leaving my beer alone and not having to help people out because it’s just an inconvenience. In that respect I’m Red.

That 70’s Show is an outstanding piece of comedy TV in which it relates to almost everyone at some point in their life. 8 seasons of this show and I guarantee I will never get tired of watching it over and over again.

For those who haven’t yet seen it, I won’t spoil anything but as I currently watch it again I’m nearing the end of Season Seven, an ending which changes the show for its last season. I can’t lie, Season Eight isn’t the same as the rest of the seasons but it still rounds the show off nicely.

It’s also amazing to see how far those actors came since being on a show that nobody knew would get past the first season. Ashton Kutcher, Mila Kunis and Topher Grace just to name a few.

It might have been a modern show set in the past but it was way ahead of its time. 506b9f116e6340e7e5eeaa916

 

There are no strings……on me

The title of this blog is there for no other reason than that one line in the Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer still has me excited. Although this entry into the blogsphere will no doubt have some Marvel information in it. As I write that, it sort of gives away my way of writing blogs. I come in to them with no clear idea of what I’m going to write. Some of them are outlined before I sit down while most of the are just whatever tangent my mind decides to take me on….

I purchased a new book last week, well there were a few books, but the one that I’ve started reading is called “The Girl With All The Gifts” by M.R Carey. I recommend it to anyone reading this and while it’s hard to actually say what it’s about without giving away spoilers, I will say that it has me hooked with the twist near the start.

I also reread “The Dark Knight Returns” comic by Frank Miller a few days ago. While most people know it as the best Batman comic that there is, I often fear that it hinges on becoming idolised too much. However every single time that I read it, I realise that it really is the best one and the only one (in my opinion) that comes close is ‘The Killing Joke’ One Shot by Alan Moore.

DC are trying hard to make an impact on the live action scene. ‘The Flash’ is fantastic, I’ve been watching it for the past few weeks and it’s so different from ‘Arrow’ but it still has the same gravitas. ‘Arrow’ has really hit the ground running in season 3. The end of episode one really set the course for this season and episode two was a bit of an emotional roller-coaster. ‘Gotham’ needs some work in my opinion. I like it but it just doesn’t yet seem to be consistent from week to week with its quality. The portrayal of James Gordon is fine but it feels like it could have a bit more to it. The James Gordon that I’ve always been familiar with was a layered individual but this version just doesn’t seem to have anything other than what you see on the outside.

Of course there is also DC’s line up of movies to come. ‘Dawn of Justice’ is still a year and a half away from release, something which still baffles me. I really thought that DC would want to capitalise on the boom in comic book movies sooner rather than later. It looks to me like Dawn of Justice will be in preproduction for almost two years which I just don’t understand.

Marvel however are still knocking it out of the park with movies. Yesterday saw the press event and the announcement of ‘Phase Three’ in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The line up is a fantastic one and is as follows;

2015:
May 1: The Avengers: Age of Ultron
July 17: Ant-Man

2016:
May 6: Captain America 3: Civil War
November 4: Doctor Strange

2017:
May 5: Guardians of the Galaxy 2
July 28: Thor: Ragnarok
November 3: Black Panther

2018:
May 4: The Avengers: Infinity War, Part One
July 6: Captain Marvel
November 2: Inhumans

2019:
May 3: The Avengers: Infinity War, Part Two

I’m not going to lie, I lost my shit when the ‘InHumans’ announcement came. I was sat in front of my computer, watching the live newsfeed on Marvels website and when that announcement came I jumped with a cheer.

Chadwick Boseman being announced as the Black Panther is also a very interesting choice. I look forward to seeing him in the role.

Something else that caught my eye this week was Ewan McGregor and his comments about Star Wars fans…

“The people I meet are the f**kers who want me to sign Star Wars photos so they can sell them on the Internet or the people at premieres who are crushing children against barriers to get me to sign their f**king picture of Obi-Wan Kenobi.

“They’re not fans—they’re parasitical lowlifes and f**king w*nkers

I’m not entirely sure if I see his point or not, of course I’ve never been a celebrity so I can’t see things from their point of view. I do however agree that there are some fans, no matter what they’re a fan of, who take things too far and have no respect for anything or anyone.

One final thing, which I shall leave here for you to watch is the exclusive scene released last night for ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’, it is attached to the start of the trailer in this clip and it just feels so big and epic.

The Age of Ultron Trailer

The trailer for ‘Avengers 2′ leaked online this week and it features footage of James Spader as Ultron. Forgetting everything else that the trailer shows, James Spader is enough to get you excited for next year. Marvel being the good sports that they are, reacted humorously to the leak and the proceeded to release the official version a week earlier than planned.

The Avengers 2: Age of Ultron starts as Tony Stark’s attempt to kickstart a dormant peacekeeping program of his opens results in the emergence of Ultron. An artificial intelligence who has terrible plans for humanity. While many fans of the comics were miffed as to why Ultron is a result of Stark instead of Hank Pym, the new trailer makes it appear as if everything is going to be OK.

If you haven’t yet seen the trailer then I won’t spoil it for you. It’s better just to watch it and feel the electrons pulse through your body as the excitement kicks in. I always say to people that I don’t get that excited for the movies because I’m more of a comic book guy but this trailer really has me excited. With over 5 million views in less than 12 hours, I’m guessing a hell of a lot of people feel the same.

Back to Normal

It’s time to take this blog back to some normality. The referendum for Scottish Independence is now over and I realise that my last few posts were all about that. For Scotland and myself, the fight continues but for this blog, it’s time to move on.

This is the time of year that every television fan gets excited about, it’s the new TV season. Old shows return and new ones make their presence felt in an attempt to make an impact. For me, having a subscription to USTVnow is such a relief, it means that even though I start having really late nights, I also get to stream the shows as they air across the pond.

Every year I have my calendar set up, each show is anticipated greatly and I love sitting down with a cup of tea to watch them. This year there’s a notable absence of ‘How I Met Your Mother’ ‘The Tomorrow People’  and ‘Dexter’ which makes me sad. It feels like over the past few years I’ve lost so many great shows from my planner and so far not many new shows have lived up to them. While there are other shows which gradually over time I’ve just lost interest in i.e. ‘Two and a Half Men’ and ‘The Big Bang Theory’

I will get around to start posting on the shows which I’m enjoying. As time goes on I’m sure opinions will change and shows will get dropped from the planner.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D deserves a quick mention here, mainly because something has perplexed and shocked me. (SPOILERS BELOW)

Why kill off Lucy Lawless in her first episode? Was this supposed to set the stage for the rest of season and make the audience realise that nobody is safe? Or was it simply a bit of stunt casting?

I have to say that I was so happy to see The Absorbing Man added to AoS. It’s about time that the show had a real villain, hopefully they make the most out of him and this years season is a great ride to be on.

Also a quick mention to ‘Gotham’, I surely can’t be the only person who felt that there was no need to rehash the Waynes death yet again? I will get around to writing up a full review but I need to watch it again because after seeing that alleyway scene played out for the 100th time, all I could think about was how fed up I was of seeing it.

One Less Gruff Billy Goat

The idea of fairy tales is one full of intrigue and mystique, almost all of us will have read a fairy tale at some point in our lives and without question every one of us knows of a fairy tale character. With the smallest amount of legerdemain the entire premise of a story can change, heroes can be either unlikely children or charming princes, villains can be witches or trolls. The possibilities within fairy tales are endless and the message is always one of hope.

The very first fairy tale that I can remember from my childhood was ‘Three Billy Goats Gruff’. The premise is that three goats, discovering that where they live no longer has any grass for them to eat, set out to find new pastures so that they can become fat. However, their journey must take them across the river, where dwells a troll under a bridge. The first goat passes over the bridge but gets stopped by the troll who threatens to “gobble him up” (gobble him up is one of those lines that makes me laugh for no apparent reason) however the goat persuades the troll to wait for the second goat because he’s bigger and more of a meal so the troll lets him pass. The second goat comes along and the same thing happens as before and so then the third goat enters. I’ll stop it there, because I think that most people know how ‘Three Billy Goats Gruff’ ends, if you don’t then go and Google it.

Of course all fairy tales end with the standard “happily ever after” although recently I read “Arabian Nights” which is a collection of Asian fairy tales and they end with “they all lived happily until there came to them the One Who Destroys All Happiness” which I found odd yet poetic. ‘The One Who Destroys All Happiness’ meaning Death, the Grim Reaper as he’s also known. I was slightly taken aback at first, here were some fairy tales full of hope and suddenly they were cementing the fact that nobody lives “happily ever after” because death catches up to everyone.

The very first fairy tales are attributed to Aesop who lived in Ancient Greece around 620–564 BCE (slightly before our time I imagine). The power of fairy tales is so strong and so resilient that over two thousand years later some of Aesop’s’ tales are still being told to this day. I’m sure you will have heard of at least one of them, the main one that I can think of right now is ‘The Tortoise and the Hare’. That story became so popular that two hundred years after it was written it became one of Zeno’s paradoxes (Google them, extremely interesting and thought provoking, the Arrow paradox is my personal favourite)

The Brothers Grimm famously wrote some of the most celebrated fairy tales in our history. Two German brothers, who were academics and even lexicographers, crafted some of the worlds greatest imaginary and magical characters. Although The Brothers Grimm did centralise their fairy tales on more darker hues they still resonated through the years with so many different people, even psychologist who felt the need to analyse them.

The fairy tale is an escape from reality, like most forms of entertainment. I do believe however that fairy tales give more power to the reader and open the imagination slightly more than any other form of literature and I’m saying that as an avid science-fiction fanatic. Whether it’s something written by Alexander Afanasyev or Hans Christian Andersen, fairy tales have the power to take you to a place where good almost always wins. The fairy tale is a door to the unknown world of endless possibilities where life feels good, Walt Disney realised that and that’s why he cashed in on so many popular fairy tales.

Nowadays people don’t write fairy tales, it’s somewhat a thing of the past which saddens me. My Dad used to make up fairy tales for me each night and they always made me so happy. They were tales of a young boy called Billy who lived in a house with a green roof. Billy went swimming with sharks and had magic powers, he loved ice cream and was my hero. My Dad doesn’t remember how any of those stories went and I was too young to retain the proper memories of them which is a crying shame because I would love to remember them in full.

The power of fairy tales will live on because they should live on. Albert Einstein once famously said “If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.” Can anyone really disprove that? Fairy tales are more than just true and not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten. Every fairy tale has meaning and every single one is based on the same idea, the idea that peace and happiness can exist no matter what stands in your way.

“In a utilitarian age, of all other times, it is a matter of grave importance that fairy tales should be respected.”Charles Dickens

Back to business…

For just over a month this blog has sat in silence, not a peep, not a hint of anything new. There are a number of reasons for this, the main one being that in my mind I am either in one of two moods. The first one is where I have too much to say and so could write for days on end, compiling novels from my thoughts. The seconds is where I have nothing that I deem interesting to say, no matter how hard I try to string words together they just aren’t interesting enough to write. For the first two weeks of this blog being quiet, I was in the latter mood. I could not think of anything worth writing, and as much as that is one of my two moods, it’s a very rare occurrence. I never find myself struggling to write or indeed come up with ideas for something to write. I have however returned to write down the inner workings of my mind, for you to read, whether you find it enjoyable or not is a different matter.

With Doctor Who off of our television screens, I often find myself at a loss of what to watch. I have my usual light viewing shows such as Arrow, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D (which is a new addition) and The Walking Dead. I do find myself lacking that “addictive” viewing that I get during the series’ of Doctor Who, that is until January comes around and the road to Wrestlemania begins. I suppose that my childhood obsession with wrestling will always be with me, I figured that if I reached 25 and was still interested in it then it would be a lifelong thing. I’m well past 25 now and it still excites me, especially between January and April when Wrestlemania rolls around.

Last night I watched “Insane Fight Club” which followed the Glasgow wrestling promotion “Insane Championship Wrestling”. I’ve not been to an ICW show in just over a year and it pains me that I haven’t been but something always comes up and I can’t make it. However last nights show proved what I’ve been saying for years ICW are on their way to the top.

I read yesterday that Kevin Smith is to return to writing comics, this time for a Batman meets Green Hornet 12 issue run. For me, two of my favourite comic book story arcs have been written by Kevin Smith – the Daredevil arc “Guardian Devil” and the Batman limited arc “Cacophony” so hearing that he’s returning to write another arc is exciting.

Speaking of Kevin Smith, today the Jay and Silent Bob UK Tour was announced. I have to say that I’m extremely disappointed that Scotland isn’t on the tour. It’s something that happens regularly with touring acts, they announce a UK tour but leave Scotland out. It gets frustrating after a while and eventually it will get to the point where I stop caring.

This years seems to be passing by far too fast, something that isn’t new. Every year passes fast but as year arrives they seem to disappear quicker than the one previous. It reached a point the other day where I started looking back at previous years and thinking to myself “that was 16 years ago” or “that was 20 years ago, it only feels like 2 years”. It’s scary how quickly time passes, soon it will be gone and I’ll be a decrepit old man roaming around the streets talking to myself about the days when Ipods and Ipads were popular.

On a final note, as most people will know I’m not the mst patient when it comes to waiting for American shows to air over here (I can’t even wait 19 hours for the Walking Dead) so it should come as no surprise that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D is always on my Wednesday morning “to do” list. This weeks S.H.I.E.L.D was an excellent episode. I love anything with Asgardians, the trouble these days is that with the success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe I was worrying that Thor would be the only one to get any sort of exposure and so it was great to see Lady Sif and Lorelei this week. Lorelei has always fascinated me as a character and seeing her brought to life was brilliant.

Grab a damn dictionary.

So we have now reached 2014 and 2013 is now over. I have to say that I’m rather indifferent to the whole “year change”

At the end of every year I witness people proclaiming that “next year will be better” and “next year will be different” and while that may be true for many, I don’t buy into it. The only thing I look forward to each year is new Doctor Who, Falling Skies and Comics.

This year I did make one resolution, a first for me in a good number of years. I gave up making resolutions years ago because I always break them within a matter of days. I used to make all the usual ones i.e “I’ll stop smoking” or “I’ll go to the gym more” and that kind of nonsense. This year I decided it was time to make a resolution again, more so for the people around me. I have a reputation of being slightly grumpy at times, and I’m not afraid to tell people when they annoy me. So this year I thought I would make the resolution to refrain from being as grumpy and more so I would refrain from telling people just how much they irritate me.

I am proud to say that two days in to the year 2014 my resolution attempt has so far lasted……..not very long at all. In fact, it lasted all of thirty minutes from the time I woke up yesterday morning.

Why?

Illiteracy, that’s why. Now don’t get me wrong I in no way proclaim to be the most grammatically correct or literate person in the world. There have been a few aberrations on my behalf over the years when I have written something.

What I do proclaim is that I have a basic grasp of the English language. Something which I was under the illusion that most people had a grasp on.

I’m pretty certain that most of you will have come across some of the illiterate people in your lifetime. It seems that now, with the rise of social media and texting, they are increasing in numbers.

At some point in your casual exploration I have little doubt that you will come across the people who do not understand the difference between the word “of” and the word “have” this in particular is a pet hate.

For example what should be a simple sentence such as:
“We should have taken the motorway”

suddenly becomes:
“We should of taken the motorway”

Now, can anyone explain to me exactly how that second sentence makes sense?

There are numerous other examples. Recently I have noticed a substantial rise in the amount of people who seem unable to spell the words “sense” or “angel” instead these words become “sence” and “angle”

Now I don’t know about you, but if I had an angle atop my Christmas tree, I don’t think it would have the same feel to it as an angel.

To sum up what I’m getting at……..I suck at New Years resolutions.

Who’s better?

There’s an age old question amongst comic book fans. Who’s better? Marvel or DC? For decades fans have debated over which of the big two was better and I have no doubt they will continue to debate it for much longer. Both sides have a plethora of characters and have developed some spectacular stories over the years so it can be hard to really decide who would come up trumps in a battle.

For me my favourite comic of all time is Watchmen without a doubt. What Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons accomplished was a timeless and fantastic piece of fiction which really stands out for me as the greatest ever put in comic format. It is deep and it shows the vulnerability and frailty of humanity in a way which I had never seen before. Alan Moore tells a story which I feel a lot of comic writers now look back on and take inspiration from. It’s an emotionally charge, high octane piece of literature which was brought to life by Dave Gibbons in the most fantastical way.

For me when trying to decide who I think is better out of Marvel and DC I always go to Watchmen and it sways me towards DC. However, I really think that overall Marvel could be the greater of the two. Spiderman, and the Secret Invasion and Civil war series’ are genius. Marvel has always tried to maintain its continuity within universe whereas DC only started worrying about their continuity in the mid 80’s.

Here’s another point and one which I will probably get a lot of flack for but…………..I don’t like Superman. I think that when he died he should have stayed dead. Superman at no point earned his powers, he’s too strong. He basically has every power that you could want and it just makes for awful story telling. For me Superman stories are at their best when he isn’t invincible. I also don’t think you can call Superman a hero, in my mind heroes are people who sacrifice themselves selflessly, Superman can’t sacrifice himself because he’s not sacrificial 99% of the time and when he is it’s because of kryptonite which he isn’t even aware that it’s there at first.

Watchmen puts DC up in the ranks for me but Superman brings it straight back down.

I spoke to one of my friends Chris about this because I didn’t want to put up a blog without getting other opinions on this but strangely enough he’s also a Marvel fan so it made it pointless.

I’m in no way saying that DC isn’t good because of course it is, they have Batman and they published Watchmen. They just don’t impress me on a regular enough basis.

Sorting out my collection…

Over the last couple of days I’ve decided to sort out my DVD collection. It was on the shelves and it was just a mess, nothing was in order and I didn’t know what I had and what I didn’t have.  I’ve been building my collection for quite some time so I felt that I should give it some sort of love and devotion. 

My original plan was to go through it all and try and clear it out, get rid of some awful DVDs and make it look much neater……….that however, did not turn out to be the case.

As I sat in the middle of my living room floor I found myself surrounded by endless DVDs and try as I might I just couldn’t deal with the idea of parting with any of them. After the first few hours I had finally categorised and alphabetised the television side of the collection. It was at this point I noticed that I didn’t have certain box sets that I thought I did have. So naturally, as this was a DVD clear out, I took myself to Amazon and purchased the missing box sets. Instead of whittling down my collection, here I was adding to it.

The exact same thing happened when I got around to the film side of the collection. I didn’t have full trilogies or origin stories and so I just had to take myself to Amazon and add these as well.

My DVD spring clean turned into an expansion of the collection and a shrinkage of my bank balance. As I sit here now, typing this, I am awaiting the postman to come and hand me the boxes of DVD’s that I’ve ordered whilst he gives me that “do you have order so much from one place and make me carry it” look that he so often sends my way.

At least I know that tonight I will be able to sit down with a chilled can of lager and watch “Watchmen –Tales of the Black Freighter” content in the knowledge that the Watchmen section of my collection is now complete. Then tomorrow when I wake up I will go to the shelf and realise that I’m missing something important and no doubt end up back on Amazon. 

 

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