Kong & The Kid

kong_dvdA couple of great documentaries I’ve seen this week are The King of Kong and The Kid Stays in The Picture. The King of Kong follows two Donkey Kong champions as they try to top one another’s (extremely) high scores. It’s remarkable the passion people can have, and there’s a handful of gamers world wide who have the high levels of focus and manual dexterity to ocnquer these old-school arcade games. The mind games seem exaggerated, but the difficulty of Kong, etc don’t. Games these days seem like a walk in the park. Apart from Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, naturally. Despite what the blurbs say, Kong is not hilarious. It’s funny in a quirky way like The Office (UK version) is due to the differing personalities of the two competitors, but also how stereotypical the gaming geeks really are . If you like King of Kong, you’ll love Trekkies, which is an older doco about Star Trek fans. That film makes me laugh till I cry every time I see it.

The Kid follows Robert Evans’ rise to film producing for Paramount in the 1960s and 70s. Discovered at a pool he became a baby faced actor and then a novice producer. His credits speak for himself though, with The Godfather, Rosemary’s Baby, Marathon Man and many 70s classics which all owe their existence to his firm belief. Cocaine and pride played his downfall though and then he went to helping make stellar films, to producing How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days. Let that be a lesson about the dangers of drugs, kids.

Both films are gripping in a way only true stories can be, filled with head scratching moments. Trailers for both films, plus the classic Trekkies, are below. Good holiday viewing.

Perty Pics

wowcvrHere’s a sneak peek at the penultimate issue of the World of Warcraft: Ashbringer mini-series from Wildstorm/DC. It’s written by Micky Neilson, with art by Ludo Lullabi (how cool a name is that?!) and Tony Washington. You’d hope, or at least DC would, that many gamers would flock to their LCS to get tie-in comics like this that expand the concept beyond the console. Wildstorm is becoming a good imprint and showcase for DC lately, with franchises that appeal to non-fanboys. They also have comics based on the Gears of War game which is awesome, and the Mirror’s Edge game, which unfortunately didn’t live up to the great parkour concept. They also have the first ish of the PS3 game, Resistance launching next month.

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Free Magazine Preview

The last 18 months have been great for me from a hobby perspective  and I began thinking that the only thing I’m reasonably good at was comic-y stuff. So I thought I’d start a magazine. It was like  a bolt from heaven, or perhaps a caffeine induced daydream. Either way it’s exciting. Extra Sequential will be  a bi-monthly mag that will be put on-line as a PDF, totally free. Our first ish is now up, though by the time we launch our official site, some tweaking will take place. Go here to view or save the PDF (57 pages, 9.9mb) or here to see it in a great on-line viewer, and please let me know what you think. A few preview pages are below just to give you a taste. Our aim is to make comic books more accessible. The hardcore insider attraction of Wizard is not our model. We’re more inspired by the art heavy mags of street culture, hip-hop mags, with an emphasis on giving a wider audience to the diversity in comics and hopefully creating new readers along the way. Hope you enjoy it. 

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Zombie Tales #9 Review

zombietales_009aCompilations like this are a rarity on the comics stands these days. Image has done very well with the concept with the Tori Amos collaboration, Comic Book Tattoo as well as their two volumes of PopGun books and their recent Liquid City book which featured work by Asian writers and artists. Of course, there is always the excellent Flight series too. Those anthologies are all superb ways of introducing new fans into our beloved medium of choice, but if you’re into something more frequent (as in every month) that features some great short stories, then BOOM! Studios has the answer for you. Comparing their Zombie Tales series to the books mentioned above is a stretch, but they all offer bite sized (no pun intended) tales to hook readers into the marvels of sequential art.

Zombie Tales is, as the title suggests, a monthly look at tales featuring everyone’s favourite horror creatures of the moment. Yep, zombies.  Having only read a couple of issues of this series, it’s extremely refreshing to be able to jump on board and simply be entertained without having to know why Superhero X is pummelling Superhero Y.

If you’re drawn to films of the undead like flies to the…undead, then this is a series for you. Zombies may not do much, apart from shambling and muttering, but as the slew of films have shown as over the last few years, they can squeeze into any genre. They’re not just bound to horror features anymore. Zombies are no longer being typecast. What an age we live in!

zombietales_009bThe first tale here is written by John R. Fultz, with art by Aritz Eiguren. It centres on two hitmen presumably working for the Mafia, who take their latest victim out to the woods to complete their given task. For one of the men, it is The Last Hit, as is the title. Despite their killing of the snitch, he digs out of his makeshift grave and attacks Satch in their car. Satch of course turns against his partner Bruno. Now Bruno has two “corpses” to his credit, and when he visits the boss to tell him he’s finished his final job, it looks like Bruno himself may be the third. Suitably bloody art makes this a harsh and violent story, as most zombie tales are.

Summer 2061 is the second tale and is a continuation of a story from the first issue of this series. However, if you didn’t read that tale, you won’t be out of your depth here. Basically, zombies now appear to be the dominant lifeform, taking over a city, with humans as their playthings. A more serious and epic tale, written by Kim Krizan, it is complimented greatly by Jon Reed’s ruggedly realistic art. A motley group of human survivors has had enough and storm the city to free a few more to join their ranks. They are met by the world the way zombies want it – humans in pet stores, human rugs and the huge Summer Games, consisting of humans fighting each other like the Roman days of centuries ago.

The third and final tale, Zombie Come Home is written by Tom Peyer, who is the only familiar name in this issue, due to his stint on many DC titles, including Legion of Super Heroes. Drew Rausch’s pencils combined with Drew Berry’s colours give this tale a look straight from a children’s book. The story is a simple one, with very little dialogue. Basically a boy is keeping a zombie tied to a tree in his backyard as a restrained and mute life size action figure. His parents console him as a government chopper comes to take him away. A fiery crash means the zombie is free and after some wandering, he falls into a river and lands at his keeper’s house again, which gives the child much joy. The naïve child runs to his undead friend and gives him a big hug, but instead of receiving a similar response, he is welcomed with a munch to his noggin. What a glorious ending. If you can’t laugh at this picture, then there’s something wrong with you. It’s a deliciously amusing finale, and if BOOM! doesn’t turn this page into  a poster, they’re mad.

There’s something here for every taste. The first two tales are more serious in nature and the final one is anything but. Each of the three differs enough in its approach to story and art and is well worth a look if you’re new to comics, love zombies or just want a few entertaining pages to distract you from your post-Christmas weight gain.

 

Perty Pics

Here’s a gander at some titles going on sale on Christmas Eve. If you live in the States and your LCS is open, that is. From Marvel, there’s loads. Here’s just a few. There’s Ultimatum #2, by Jeph Loeb, with art and a cover by David Finch, Dardevil #114 by Ed Bribaker and Michael Lark, with a great cover by Marko Djurdjevic, Hulk #9 by Loeb again, with Art Adams and Frank Cho, with covers by both. Finally, there’s also Thor #12 by J. Michael Straczynski and Oliver Coipel, who also provides the cover.

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Merry Christmas

646896-dcuholliday001_superAnd a massively happy New Year! I just want to say a huge thank you to all the people that have been reading my humble little blog over the last six months. I just started it as a way to document my first magical trip to San Diego Comic-Con back in late July, and it morphed into something very fun and fulfilling. Climbing towards 11 000 hits is an excellent way to cap off the year so thank you to everyone who’s peeked in at CBJ to see what’s up in the world of comics and pop culture in general, and to the publishers that have quoted my reviews and linked here. Much appreciated. It’s been great for me to have this since the on-line mag Infuze closed down, of which I was the comics department head. It allows me to get my geek on. 2009 will be an even greater year, hopefully, with something that’s been in the works for about 4 months with a mate from work. You can get a peek here, but we’ll be officially launching soon. Writing for Broken Frontier and Sight has been a great opportunity for me too. I’m truly thankful for this year. I’ve already said that, haven’t I? Well, have a great holiday and hope you come to reflect on the real Reason for the season. (That’d be Jesus, the real superhero!) Yep.

Purge + Audit Free CD

Purge + AuditI have a friend (yes, it’s true) named Mladen who’s quite the talented young man. The kind of guy that women want to be with and men want to be. No, wait. That’s James Bond. Anyway, Mladen has just released his debut CD, Purge + Audit for download on-line. I’ve shared it with a few people and they all seem impressed. It’s kind of a chill out vibe, with smooth beats, sonic rhythms and hooks to die for. Actually I just threw all those words in because I’m not a music reviewer. It is good though. You can listen to it here, or download it here. (Just enter the 3 letter code at the top of the screen) It takes a lot of work to make something like this, so I admire his determination, so become his friend and tell him what you think. He’s also a huge indie comics fan and Track No. 6 entitled Ampersand is surely a Y: The Last Man reference. Battlescar Spectacular’s a cool name too. Most of these trip-hop songs are vocal free and are good for just chillaxin’, especially Sky Marshall, which I used on my 24 Hour Comic Day video. So, give the young fella a chance, and when he becomes rich and famous I can live in one of his Malibu apartments. Thank you.