November 14th, 2011
Darkseid Is… Honestly, pretty fucking dull in this incarnation.
October 1st, 2011
I don’t usually deal in the sort of criticism that tries to find the spirit of our time in this or that piece of pop culture detritus, but for the past few years I’ve felt smothered by four little words – THERE IS NO ALTERNATIVE! – and every time I see or hear a variation on that theme, there’s only one face I see.
No point in trying to keep the bastard stuck in a corner anymore. You can only fight him off for so long, you know?
It’s time to let Darkseid out of the box:
September 23rd, 2011
Awright troops, Illogical Volume here, with a bit of fine
imported basterdry for ye!
I’m not sure that aka the Original Eyeball intended to start a fight here, but he should’ve known no tae challenge a proper weegie baistart like my pal Scott McAllister, aka Mr Attack, aka The Boy Fae the Heed, because a man like Scott disnae back down fae fuck aww.
Well, at least not when there are Transformers involved. Anyway, that’s enough of my pish. Here’s what the lad Scott had to say about Thunderwing:
It’s another day at the office in Marvel UK in the late 1980′s. Creative license tells me that at this point in history, it would be dark all the time, and it would be raining. A package has been couriered over from Hasbro, and contains the latest information on new products that must be featured in future issues of Transformers. By this point, the engineering has gotten less interesting, and the toys can be changed in about two or three moves. Quite often these days, they are accompanied by a humanoid shell to contain them in, like a a sarcophagus with arms that can only rotate at the shoulders. A quick glance of the villains line-up reveals it looking more and more like the cover to an Iron Maiden single.
On top of that, with Budiansky departing the American book, it seems the personalities of the toys have fallen into the doldrums, with each character little amounting to endless variations of “he is so bad, so very, very bad”, “he is soooooo good it hurts”, “he is evil because he is mental and robots don’t do meds” or “he’s sort of a good guy, but if we’re honest he’s a bit of a wank”.
Now, if you’re one of the cartoon writers, you stare into the mirror, remind yourself you’re too good for this shit and that you’re only in it for the money, so you recycle the plot of some other show you wrote, and have the new villain you’ve been requested to début elect to secretly build some giant weather-controlling device, or hypnosis booth or some shite, and have him turn up at the end as the mastermind of it all, to get his ass kicked.
But, you’re not one of those guys. You are Simon Furman. Simon Furman only has one question in his head EVER. “How can I make this guy interesting so that he’ll be remembered long after I kill him to bits?”.
January 29th, 2010
An interesting aspect in the reading and long-term appreciation of superhero-comics, one of few nearly unique to the genre-medium, is the impact that a single image of a single character can have. Few sights are more potent and electric than the basic dramatis-persona mugshot of the steroidal spandexophile (popular in the early Image-era which took the dynamic far beyond the realms of mere absurdity), poised four square to the camera, and his name. Plot, narrative, dialogue even, can all to a greater or lesser degree be shed, and the key meaning of the superhero, the immortal appeal, remains undiminished. All that is required is a strong image and a strong name.
The enduring popularity of the A-Z Handbook of the X?X Universe books are a testament to this – the costume, the name, the paraphernalia, the ‘vital statistics’ (so porno), and the stripped-back plot recaps that the Handbook-style entries offer are the pure flavour, the total hot- drug effect, of the strongman funnybook. The superhero, a figure without a background, exists perfectly well, separate to the superfluous storytelling and other dimensions the comicbook medium affords. After all, if it’s all about wish fulfilment and fantasy-projection, the other stuff just gets in the way – just show me, in crazy colours and moody lighting, the bare (oo-er) image of the proud superthing, standing erect, and let me do the rest of the work myself (stop!) All that you need is a cool, tight image and a few terse syllables of context (of which the name, both descriptive and directive in its ideal form, is the concentrate). and you can have that uncanny charge the trueborn superhero fanman is always chasing.
August 11th, 2008
Yes, that’s not the poster – I’m not sure British television in the 80s did posters. Especially not for a series as outright miserable and cheap as Day of the Triffids. Instead what we got were real suburban streets, sets hungover from the seventies, and parochial British accents. The show was so bloody scary because the world it inhabited looked and sounded so depressingly like our own. The triffids were like some vile full stop on the end of contemporary British life – we were defined by the moment of our extinction and we turned out to be parochial, small, insignificant and suffering. The fact that mankind was to meet its fate blind (after a freak meteorological event) just served to underline the point that the universe is merciless, uncaring, uncompromising, and alien to all human feeling. What better monster to take on the role of apocalyptic deathbringer than one which has no anthropomorphic qualities: that skitters along on it’s roots, and feeds on blood, that, as a consequence of its inhuman nature, negates the value of culture, thought and emotion?
Fuck yeah, triffids are nasty.
July 15th, 2008
What did Grant Morrison have to say about our Rogue’s Reviews?
“…brilliant articles and essays on characters I never thought I cared about until the Ones MADE me care. The pieces on Batman villains Bane and the Penguin are remarkable and I can‘t wait to see more along the same lines.”
The idea here is to find alternative, novel or better ways of making characters work, so even if you’re not interested in, say, Bane, I urge you to check out Poodle’s thoughts. Without wishing to blow our own trumpet, I think he’s done a truly amazing, often hilarious, job.
Who would have thought the Penguin could be my new favourite bat-villain? Weird.
More to come.
Addendum: I note that in the Newsarama link (thanks!) Tim states that I have detailed what I think would make a good Riddler story. While that’s true to an extent, I hope I have done a little more than that. Obviously these articles reflect our preferences, but more often than not they also serve to highlight the narrative and conceptual cul-de-sacs that so many characters are trapped within, so even if you don’t like or agree with the results of our considerations, I hope you take away with you a broader view of our reviewed rogues.
July 5th, 2008
Riddle me this: why are so many writers completely at a loss when it comes to E. Nigma?
Poodle has noted that the Batman TV show of the 60s has been something of a touchstone in his rogue’s review considerations, and you know what? I completely agree that it should be. Many of you will worry that the camp fun therein is at odds with the skein of grim ‘n’ gritty darkness that runs through Batman at his best, but I put it to you that your inner child experienced that show as deadly serious, and that’s what we’re trying to tap into here: the way it felt to you as a kid, which as far as I’m concerned is completely at odds with flooding the Batverse with all out silliness.