Primarily known for his organic artwork and progressive rock album covers, this week’s focus is on the work of Roger Dean, British-based artist, designer, architect, and publisher. Dean has a different view of his work, he says “I don’t really think of myself as a fantasy artist but as a landscape painter.” Certainly his work incorporates organic and natural shapes, making a visual style all his own. He’s been the primary album artist of groups like Yes, Asia and Uriah Heep over the years, as well as a furniture designer, he was responsible for the “retreat pod” chair used in the film version of A Clockwork Orange.
A Place to Share my Geeky Side With the World. Comics, movies, TV, collecting, you name it, I indulge in it.
A long, long time ago, I came across this Japanese movie called Zombie Ass: Toilet of the Dead. It’s another of those bizarre horror films that are pretty much indescribable. I know there’s a certain cultural demographic in Japan that gets off on panties and the like and although I certainly don’t fit into that demographic, I do like weird movies and so, I finally got around to getting and watching this film.
Is it as bad as it looks? Read on and see.
I wrote previously about the complaints in the tokusatsu community about the newest Kamen Rider series, called Kamen Rider Gaim, and how much they hated the theme and pretty much everything about it. Of course, they hadn’t ever seen a single episode, they were just reacting to some of the information that was coming out about the new series and I was pretty clear that I was going to wait and see. Well, I did and here’s my initial reaction to the first seven episodes of Kamen Rider Gaim.
This is likely the last busy week until after the new year, most of these shows go on hiatus until sometime in early 2014, which is good for me because I plan to be busy for the next couple of weeks anyhow. Still, there’s some really amazing television in this week’s list and the return of Psych for a 2-hour musical extravaganza. Read on, won’t you?
Mass Effect Foundation #6
Birds of Prey #26
Wonder Woman #26
All-New X-Men #20
Cataclysm Ultimate X-Men #2 (of 3)
Fantastic Four #15
Secret Avengers #13
Superior Spider-Man #24
Superior Spider-Man Team-Up #8
Thunderbolts Annual #1
Uncanny Avengers #15
The Japanese have always had a thing for locked room mysteries, it’s a staple of their mystery shows, both live action and animated. Detective Conan, for instance, routinely deals with locked room mysteries and it’s over 700 episodes and still going strong.
I came across this series called Kagi no Kaketta Heya quite late, I had missed it when it came on originally but thought it looked like a lot of fun after I discovered it. Lets take a look at The Locked Room Murders.
It’s funny, I wrote a piece about the uproar that this comic produced, with masses of comic fans proclaiming that the comic shops that were not ordering huge number of the first issue must be racist, and accusing me of being a racist because I didn’t see things their way. I got the first issue and the second and… entirely forgot to review it!
Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t hate it and I certainly don’t care what anyone thinks of me if I did, it just slipped through the cracks and it’s time to correct that oversight. Therefore, here is my review of the first three issues of Mighty Avengers!
I know I’ve talked about this to some degree in the past, but I’m really rather confused where people with realistic expectations and regular interests in various fannish subjects go to hang around together and talk. Wherever this mystical place is, I have yet to find it because every single forum, web site and blog I go to, I find nothing but fanatics.
Let me define my terms before I get too far into this. I have fun doing things that are fannish. I like watching sci-fi movies. I like reading comic books. I like collecting stamps. I like playing board games. However, I do not focus my life around those subjects, I think I have a healthy interest in them and I want to be around other people who have a healthy interest in them so we can discuss them casually.
However, everywhere I look online, I don’t find people who are casually interested in these subjects, but fanatically so. Not only are they completely fixated on these hobbies but they are apparently proud of it. You find people on board game forums who proclaim their addiction to buying board games, to the point that they have trouble eating sometimes. You have people on stamp forums who buy so many stamps they haven’t got a clue what they’ve purchased and may never lay hands on them again. You have people who buy so many books that their houses are nothing but haphazard stacks of books that may never be read. I’ve talked in the past about fanatical bird owners who have dedicated their lives to owning an absurd variety of birds that they claim nobody should ever actually own. You’ve got the people who lose their jobs because they can’t stop playing video games and think it’s the greatest thing in the world. Of course, who hasn’t seen the crazed sports fanatic who can give you any stat in the game and incessantly talks about sports and nothing but?
This isn’t something that exists only in fandom but it is no less disturbing elsewhere. There are the idiots who are so utterly fixated on a particular sports team that they tattoo it all over their body, who ruin their relationships with their sports focus and who are unable to talk about anything else. Those are the people I want to avoid. Although I have no interest in sports, to keep with the analogy, I’m more like the buy who sits on the couch on the weekend and watches a game every now and then and can stand around the water cooler and talk to other casual fans about the game. That’s the kind of people I want to hang around with, the ones who are conversant in a subject, but not fervently dedicated to it to the exclusion of all else. I want to be able to talk about Star Wars and not end up in a heated debate with someone dressed up as a Stormtrooper, arguing the minutia of Han shooting first.
So where are the normal people? Where are the people who have real lives, who go to work, go home, have a family and only do these things casually on the weekends? The people who might go to a convention or two a year, not who spend more time in a hotel room than their own house? Where are these people? Do they not want to talk to others who share their interests? I can’t be the only one, but I also know I can’t be the only one who hates the fanatics and wants to be around the healthy-minded and well-rounded either. Maybe the fanatics have chased all of the casual fans away? I don’t know.
If you know of any online forums, blogs or meeting places for people who like the kind of things I talk about on my blog, but are not crowded with the crazies, please let me know. I’d really love to be able to talk to people not dressed up like Gandalf once in a while.
There are plenty of famous movie series out there but one of the best known is the Back to the Future trilogy, produced by Steven Spielberg and directed by Robert Zemeckis. Made between 1985 and 1989, they told the story of Doc Emmett Brown’s time machine that he built into a Delorean and Marty McFly, the boy who got caught up in all of his troubles.
This series was put out in 1989 and covers the middle film of the trilogy, Back to the Future Part II.
“Roads? Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.”
Last night at Thanksgiving, I was talking to my brother-in-law, who kept talking about how bad he thought Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is and I asked him why because I’m really enjoying it. His only complaint, his sole complaint, is that Marvel’s superheroes don’t show up every single episode.
That’s not what the show is about! It’s never been what the show is about! Nobody ever promised a show like that! I think most people with that mindset are going into this with completely unrealistic and absurd expectations, wanting a show that they’re simply not going to get.
The whole point of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is to focus on the humans in the Marvel Universe. It is not to have a different Avenger show up every week and if you think that’s what’s supposed to happen, you’re an idiot. They’ve made no bones about the fact that superheroes will rarely, if ever, show up in this show. It’s a vehicle for Coulson and his 100% human team, nothing more, nothing less. If you don’t like that, don’t watch it. Just don’t complain that it’s not something that it was never intended or promised to be.
In fact, I’d be happier if they did away with any super-powered people showing up at all and focused on the high-tech, super-science criminals like AIM and Hydra. That’s where the show would shine and do something that none of the other Marvel media properties are doing. I suppose there is some of that, the secret group who is developing the Centipede technology is great, as far as they’ve gone with it but they need to do more. No mutants. No aliens. All human-based, high-tech adventures as Coulson and his team try to solve very human problems with super-science.
I’m cool if they want to mention superheroes and keep a connection with the larger Marvel Universe, in fact, I want them to do that. I love the references, I want them to throw in all kinds of clues and hints and easter eggs into the show. I want people who are familiar with the Marvel Universe to get a rush every time they recognize a hidden reference and to try and guess how that reference affects the show. That’s what I love about Arrow, I want to love it just as much about Agents. Of course, when you do those things, you have to do them intelligently. I don’t want Agents to just randomly name a scientist Hank Pym unless that’s really who it is.
I really don’t know where Marvel wanted this show to go but I know where they didn’t want it to go and that seems to be the direction everyone expected, even though they were very clear that’s not where it was headed. I’m just hoping that they can plug along in the ratings and get a second season and really get the kind of focus they need to be successful. They’ve been averaging about 2.5 in the 18-49 demographic, which isn’t great but it’s not that far off stronger shows like Sleepy Hollow, but it’s quite far below some of my best rated favorite shows like Person of Interest. In fact, this past week, Sleepy Hollow, Agents and Almost Human all cracked the Top 25 and that’s in a holiday week (which shows you how far ahead I write some of these things).
My advice to people is to accept reality as it is. If Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. isn’t the show you want it to be, don’t watch it. Otherwise, accept the show as it actually is and enjoy it on that basis. Don’t act like they owe you a different show. They owe you nothing. Take it or leave it but at least be realistic about your expectations. Otherwise, it’s no wonder you’re not happy.