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.




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.





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.

Black Lightning Interview

Over at Broken Frontier, I interviewed Black Lightning. Not really, but I did fire some questions at Jen Van Meter, the writer of Black Lightning’s Year one mini-series due out from DC on January 7. I’ve always had a place in my heart for the bro with the ‘fro and it’s great to see Jefferson Pierce is now sporting a cool new costume while hanging out with his Justice League buddies. Now you can see how he went from Olympian to teacher to electric superhero.

While I’m on the topic, I heard about a skit that Saturday Night Live did back in 1993 when the Death of Superman came out, starring Sinbad as Black Lightning. I haven’t been able to find it on YouTube, but I finally saw it at this blog. The cast star as various Marvel and DC characters (including Rob Schneider as Jimmy Olsen and Adam Sandler as The Flash) at Superman’s funeral. It’s pretty amusing, I gotta say. 


The End Of Quality

QC 1I’m a sentimental guy, so it was with much sadness that a few weeks ago I was informed that my comic shop was closing down! NOOOOOO! Um, yes actually. Quality Comics in the middle of Perth, the capital city of Western Australia will be no more. Christmas Eve is its last day, and they are having a 50% off everything sale to get rid of the stock. Most of its gone, but I managed to pick up a few Trades, such as Nextwave Vol. 2, Losers Vol. 1 and  more. I wanted a cool bust, but all the good ones went quick, not surprisingly. 

QC 2I’ve been going there since it opened 18 years ago. I saw an ad on TV (a DC Comics one they ordered from Previews and just gave to the TV station) but it worked. It’s had a few owners since then and I’ve  been friendly with them all, as well as the staff. I’m disappointed its closing as all the previous owners have managed to make $ from it. But in the comics biz, your heart has to be in it and you have to know the industry somewhat. It’s not like any other retail shop. For many years, QC was virtually a monopoly, but now Empire Toys, Comic Zone and Borders all sell comics – and they’re all on the same street! (I wouldn’t recommend shopping at Borders though, as their prices are much higher) So I took some photos to honour the passing of a great influence on my life. QC formed my comics passion in its early stages, for myself and my brother, and has been a great introduction to a few friends who have since picked up the habit. It never had the best shop frontage, with its set of stairs leading in to the unknown, but the basement shop was cavernous. Plus it was nestled between an Oxfam shop and a modeling agency, so it smelled like incense and you’d occasionally get a glimpse of a perty gal. Unfortunately, its prime real estate. Its rent has just gone up by 30%, making their weekly rent more than my monthly salary. There has been some interest from prospective buyers, but nothing concrete. If I had the money, I’d definitely snap it up. It’s a sad day, but in this climate of buying Trades from book shops, or on-line, I guess it’s not the end of the world. So here’s my pictorial ode to Quality anyway. I shall miss you.

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Flash Fanatic

flashgordon alexrossSo apparently Frank Miller’s next film project after The Spirit, which opens on Christmas Day, will be Buck Rogers. That’s not very exciting really. The Sin City and 300 creator has a deft visual hand to be sure, but that doesn’t necessarily translate to box office mojo. I wouldn’t be surprised if The Spirit doesn’t set cinema screens ablaze, and if it doesn’t maybe he won’t get Buck Rogers after all.

A better choice would be Flash Gordon. He’s not as old as the Buckster, but is much more recognisable. (Even if non-geeks do confuse him with DC’s The Flash). The 1980 film starring Sam Jones and Timothy Dalton was glorious, especially with the unforgettable Queen soundtrack. Plus the classic character is on a high at the moment. Superstar painter Alex Ross is a fan and even helped BifBangPow! with their Series 2 figures based on the film, which you can pre-order now.


There’s also the excellent new series by Ardden Entertainment. The next issue, #4 is out next month and features Flash, Prince Thun, and the blonde Arborian ranger Eldun invading the Hawk Men’s floating prison city  to rescue Dr. Zarkov. It also features Prince Barin in the icy land of Frigia and Dale and Ming getting a little too cosy.

Really, Flash Gordon is begging for a film re-make. Just not by Frank Miller.

Best and Worst of 2008

Now, there are so many of these list around already, and because I’m easily bored, I’m not going to go trawling through my memory archives to remember what the last 12 months offered. So, here’s a brief rundown of the best and worst in the comic related world of 2008.

The Best

Geoff Johns giving Superman maximum respect on Action Comics, and making the Green Lantern titles rock like the space opera they should be.

Great films, such as The Dark Knight, Iron Man, Hulk and Persepolis.

Amazing games like Spider-Man: Web of Shadows and…actually, that’s it, really.

Growing newish companies such as BOOM!, Red 5 and Radical offering refreshingly varied entertainment.

c109884The Worst

DC’s continual editorial problems, with Chuck Dixon leaving Robin (again), spelling and grammatical errors and a general lack of excitement in their ‘events’ such as Final Crisis.

Batman’s ‘death.’ Somebody control Grant Morrison please!

Spider-Man’s divorce last year and the bad retconning of Brand New Day afterwards. Has there been a queue of people just waiting to read Spidey, but waiting until he’d become single?!

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed. Both the tie-in comic and the game were disappointments. Players of the latter will know why. Apart from an insanely difficult level, the rest of the game was OK.

Closing/restructuring of indie publishers such as Archaia and Virgin.

What I’m Looking Forward To in 2009

The Watchmen film.

The Batman: Arkham Asylum next-gen game, which looks amazing.

The Blackest Night Green Lantern event, which looks set to deliver much awesomeness.

Where DC will take Batman (whoever it may be) post R.I.P.

I’m sure there’s more, but that about covers the basics.

Christmas Cheer

This was just too funny not to share. My mate Shayne grabbed a few faces of us hunks from church and threw them onto dancing elf bodies. Sounds weird, and slightly creepy, but it’s oh so funny, as evidenced by the laughs on Sunday morning. You can do the same thing yourself, right here.

Just in case you’re wondering, I’m the hairless one with the raised eyebrow. Merry Christmas!

Perty Pics

As is Marvel’s marketing effective strategy as of late, below is a teaser image which raises more discussion. Written by Reginald Hudlin, with art by Ken Lashley, the new Black Panther’s identity is anyone’s guess. We know she’s female, and T’Challa’s wife, Storm from the X-Men would be the obvious choice. However, maybe it’s Daredevil’s female friend, Echo. Who knows? We all will when the first issue of this new series premieres on February 4.

Savage Dragon and the President Elect are getting to know each other well these days, as evidenced by Erik Larsen’s clever cover for Savage Dragon #145, which is out on February 25. This will be Obama’s first comic book appearance as official President, and what better way to celebrate than slammin’ fists with his finned homie.

Lastly, Bluewater’s arms are reaching into classic sci-fi film territory again, after Missile to the Moon, with Ed Wood’s 1959 ‘masterpiece.’ Plan 9 From Outer Space…Strike Again lands in March and is a sequel to the film that defined the term, “it’s so bad, it’s good.” The over-sized one-shot is written by Chad Helder and Darren G. Davis, with art by Giovanni P. Timpano.




DC Direct

Marvel may have the best films at the moment. And video games too. But DC certainly fares better in the toys and collectibles department and have for years. If you need proof, see below. There are figures of the 1980s era Justice League International, where humour was the order of the day. Fire, Blue Beetle, Martian Manhunter and Booster Gold are done in the classic cheeky style of artist Kevin Maguire. None of these characters are the heavy hitters they were decades ago, mostly because they’re almost all dead, but they represent a unique era in the history of the Justice League. These Series 2 figures won’t be released until August 26, so be patient. The new Supergirl (teen cousin of Superman) bust is out August 5, and shows Kara Zor-El bending steel, a hobby that runs in the family.It’s based on the gorgeous art of Terry Dodson and is the latest in the line of Women of the DC Universe busts.