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|Thursday, July 24th, 2014|
|Memories of the West Coast
No this isn't a blog about Huey Lewis and the News style 80s music. I was at my comic shop today - for the final issue of Transformers: Windblade limited series - and I got to talking about - initially about the new Transformers/GI Joe cross over. After the #0
on free comic book day I found the retro 80s, very retro 80s art off-putting. If anything it looked like doing 80s style art in digital made it look worse than if it was authentic for the period hand-drawn. Additionally the language style the Transformers use was borderline un-intelligible. Yes I get they are aliens, digital aliens even, but a mixture of 60s style Dalek comic language cross-bred with 80s cyberpunk was just too laborious to read comfortably. Style shouldn't get in the way of telling a story.
The conversation segued into personal likes. Avengers came up and it reminded of my comic tastes from the 80s. I remember strongly the Avengers amongst the many titles I read, specifically the West Coast Avengers. WCA, later Avengers West Coast (I guess so they were closer to the main title in book listings), were doing things a little differently at the time. This was in a part of mainstream comics history where the only high profile marriage in comics were Reed and Sue Richards of the Fantastic Four. Clark Kent hadn't outed himself to Lois Lane yet and Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson were within a year or so of becoming engaged but Black Cat was still in the picture.
Over on the West Coast there were two marriages involved. Clint Barton (Hawkeye - Jeremy Renner of the modern movie franchise) and Bobbi Morse (Mockingbird) were the heart and soul of the team. Frequent guest stars were the robotic Vision and his mutant wife the Scarlet Witch who were raising their twin boys happily with Agatha Harkness a constant figure. Simon Williams the ionic Wonder Man was on the WCA team. Williams is sort-of the Vision's half-brother (half-twin or clone even - it's very complicated), along with Iron Man and the half-woman half-big cat bikini-loving Hellcat spin-off Tigra (Greer Nelson). The Mexican mutant Firebird and Benjamin Grimm, the ever-lovin' clobbering time Thing of the Fantastic Four were reserve members. At the time Avengers team were only allowed six members due to government funding. Firebird was very keen for the spot but Hawkeye wanted The Thing on board and who wouldn't? His experience was legend, greater than both Hawkeye and Iron Man. Ben though was vacillating. He was enjoying being an unlimited strength class wrestler in the superhero version of WWE and didn't want to commit. Tony Stark had only just reclaimed the Iron Man armour full-time from a time when he had been plunged into the worst of his alcoholism and James Rhodes was pretending to be Tony inside the armour. Stark had just built the silver centurion armour and concluded his long vendetta with Obadiah Stane which was captured in the original Iron Man movie. The issue #200
special of Iron Man is a classic. While Stark was rebuilding and rebranding Stane International back into Stark International in Los Angeles he was content to work underneath Hawkeye. Earlier when WCA was founded James Rhodes as Iron Man had not felt confident enough to rival Hawkeye's leadership of the team even though he was pretending to be Tony.
But back to the marriage element. A major plot line at the time was WCA's rivalry with a super-villian team lead by the Grim Reaper, Simon Williams' actual brother Eric, so therefore - by extension the Vision's sort of brother. On the Grim Reaper's team was Erik Josten, another ionic powered superhuman, another strong connection to Williams. Josten was also using Pym Particles - and the name Goliath - to supercharge his existing ionically powered superstrength. Pym Particles allow to to change size, up and down, a creation of Hank Pym, the scientist hero known originally as Ant-Man, then Giant Man, then Goliath and yellowjacket.
Hank Pym was also part of the West Coast team. One of the five original pre-Captain America Avengers (along with Hulk, Thor, Iron Man and Pym's then girlfriend, later wife the Wasp) Pym looked after the Avengers Compound facility, a sprawling above and below ground villa with a house for Hawkeye and Mockingbird who lived there full-time and bungalows for Hank Pym, Tigra, Wonder Man and Iron Man, although Williams and Stark didn't use theirs much. Williams was at the height of his movie star career (his career focus also helped supress his crush on the Scarlet Witch - the Vision's brain had been created by the robot Ultron using Williams as a pattern - see? comlplicated) and Stark was of course busy being a technology tycoon. So Pym had a particular interest in shutting down Eric Josten's villianry, as did Williams. Another of the Grim Reaper's allies was Ultron-11, Pym's creation (son?) and the Vision's creator/father. Mixed in with this was Ultron-12, the Ultron who turned "good" and was trying to bond with Pym in a father/son manner and wanted to be called Mark (from Ultron Mk.12). Hawkeye had in the past been a user of the Pym particles too as the second Giant-Man during a phase where felt inadequate only contributing trick-shots with multi-purpose arrows and as he, Iron Man and Wonder Man were veteran Avengers they too had had plenty of confrontations with Ultron in the past. The Grim Reaper's lover Nekra also had a bit of a rivalry with Tigra. Did I mention that the Vision and Scarlet Witch's nanny, Agatha Harkness was the Scarlet Witch's personal mentor in the witchcraft arts and was a long-time associate of the Fantastic Four so she and Ben Grimm had known each other for a very long time.
So the relationships between heroes and villians wasn't just combatively intense, they were deeply layered in concepts of love, lust and family and the rivalries were very personal, even between team mates. Subsequent story arcs also included Master Pandemonium who was hunting and attacking both Firebird and the Thing in the belief they were parts of his own fragmented soul. They weren't but they did turn out to be the Vision and Scarlet Witches twin sons, William and Thomas. There are also clashes with Graviton and Immortus during a time travel arc which sorely tests Hawkeye and Mockingbirds marriage and puts to the sword one of Marvel Comics' old west heroes when he turns bad in a rapist kind of way. Toss in Moon Knight when he was only slightly nutty, semi-regular crossovers with the New York based Avengers and Tony Stark turning ruthless to the point of possible murder as he went on the Armour Wars vendetta in his own title, and Mockingbird actually killing someone causing a membership walkout and the end of her marriage to Hawkeye. Plus the deaths of a few characters, good and bad, along the way, some of them actually managing to stay dead too.
Super hero teams weren't being written with this level of emotional complexity at the time. There weren't many children of superheroes anywhere (that were not fully grown - DC had plenty of those) apart from Franklin Richards. Plus Hawkeye and Mockingbird's battle with fertility that ended with a stillbirth and the deaths of William and Thomas Maximoff. It was powerful stuff, plus for its primary audience of teens boys it gave an insight into adulthood, even if it was clothed in spandex and how life isn't often happily ever after even if you've found your partner in life. And it was filled with strongly written female characters. Hardly new, but not guaranteed even in the 80s. Although the Manhatten based Avengers had a pair of female leaders at this time, the Wasp then Captain Marvel. No not Carol Danvers, or her once upon a time lover the Kree soldier Mar-Vell but Monica Rambeau (she was also the first African-American Avengers Chairperson) who later changed her hero identity to Photon. Yes all of this had been done before, but not at the same time with the same group of characters.
Makes me want to get into some Trade Paperbacks. Current Mood: contemplative
|Saturday, March 30th, 2013|
|Who wants some new Transformers fic?
semi-recently challenged me to write some Transformers fic. It had come out of not being able to see each other this last year. I wanted to send her something of me she recognised. So fic it became. The theme was based on what happenned to all those holes in the transformers left by the deaths in Transformers: The Movie. So here is the beginning!
Transformers Genertion One: Aftermath
1. Reluctance and Regret.
"No man is entitled to the blessings of freedom unless he be vigilant in its preservation."
General Douglas Macarthur
A sky full of stars. It was something he had never understood for most of his life. But now for the first time he stood upon the alloy of home and looked at the stars and was unafraid.
A sky full of stars. A human phrase. Not one of Daniels it was one of Spikes. But Daniel had picked up on it and used it when he described where his father was to other humans. Daniel did not understand it and neither did he, until now. All his life Hot Rod had lived underground familiar with the knowledge if he ever stepped above ground on Cybertron his life was forfeit. He never saw stars until he had been smuggled into ConIntel during a raid and plunged across the Decepticon spacebridge and arrived on Earth, where he had seen stars for the first time. But the stars of Earth were not the same. The fragile gaseous envelope filtered and altered the light. Background radiation of all kinds reduced their visibility. The stars were white and flickery. Even enhanced digital optics did not make a lot of difference. But here on Cybertron the view was different. Into his vision sprang the names of any star he focussed on. Only a few stars had labels on Earth. There were more stars visible through Cybertron's thin atmosphere. And they were coloured. Reds and yellows and blue-whites and whites.( The fighting had ended. The chaos god Unicron had been reduced to a hollowed out satellite. The Decepticon threat had been dispersed, or at least reduced.Collapse )
|Saturday, March 16th, 2013|
|Saturday, February 23rd, 2013|
|Engaging Massive Nerd Time Travel debate (or what a nerd couple comes up with on a Friday night)
I found myself on a quiet Friday night watching old episodes of Star Trek: Voyager. So naturally, I talked to newsy891
Me: Voyager has acquired a pet, but it wants to commit suicide. It's a pet bomb. It wants to be a bomb, but it's little. Two people could carry the little ship-bomb pet thing.
Newsy891: A pet bomb?
Me: Warp capable sentient anti-matter bomb, but when they found it, it had forgotten what it was and it was frightened and alone and asking where its arms and legs had gone. Maybe it was a Cybus Bomb - "Why can't I feel? It's so cold."
Newsy891: Why don't I remember this one? Is this where Voyager jumped the shark?
Me: heh. The previous episdoe was a bit that way. A time travel episode where the 29th century time-travel agent Braxton, who had been left behind in the 20th century, was rehabilitated and reinstated to a Federation Timeship. He later went mental and stuffed his career because USS Voyager kept mucking him up as the producers didn't have enough ideas with what to do in Season 4 so they kept writing time travel stories. In story it was the job of this Braxton guy to fix up their lack of imagination... Voyager's time paradoxes.
So an older version of himself went back in time to install a time-bomb in Voyager during the Season 1 pilot episode but gets caught by time-travelling Seven of Nine. So of course Braxton then does a Dalek-style emergency temporal shift and goes further back in time to install the bomb before Voyager is commissioned while it's still in the shipyards. Seven catches him again.
Newsy891: and then River Song writes it all down in a book and the Angels come get Rory and Amy.
Me: Braxton jumps forward to try again, gets caught again only Seven passes out in front of herself (of course) because she's time jumped too many times. Braxton is arrested, twice, at different ages. Captain Janeway then is sent back in time to stop him again as Seven is too sick from... plot abuse I think. So now three Braxtons have been arrested. They are merged and put on trial, where the Judge, who is a shark, jumps out of the water and eats Fonzie mid-flight. Thus erasing the phrase "Jumping the Shark" from history. Thus this Voyager episode never took place as it was never written.
But Henry Winkler, unemployed earlier in life when written out of Happy Days as a shark victim, starts MacGuyver ten years earlier with a different lead actor. So Richard Dean Anderson never rises to prominence and the Stargate TV series is never made.
Newsy891: **throws many things at you**
Newsy891: I hope you're saving all this somewhere.
Me: Thus erasing for all time of those damn stupid Stargate fans who created a hundred different excuses as to why Stargate was the longest ever science-fiction TV series instead of Doctor Who. Doctor Who ran 19 years longer than Stargate (not even including new Doctor Who episodes) and really the claim only existed in the first place because the folks at Guiness Book of Records, after drinking too much of their own primary product presumably, couldn't be bothered to do the simplest bit of research to validate Stargate producers claim! Why not accept you were just wrong! Current Mood: justified
|Friday, November 23rd, 2012|
|Monday, November 19th, 2012|
|Sunday, September 9th, 2012|
|Monday, September 3rd, 2012|
|Sunday, June 17th, 2012|
|Monday, June 11th, 2012|
|Friday, June 1st, 2012|
|Who is in the ship of fools now?
I'm still enjoying, and enjoying quite a bit, the new More Than Meets The Eye comic. Now up to Issue 5, the first two story arcs have been paid off, with the seeds sown for a few more.
Since the beginning of the story split betweem More Than Meets The Eye, and it's Cybertron bound stablemate Robots In Disguise, I've wondered who was going to be in each title and if the writing teams at IDW had blazing rows over who get which character.
As far as I can determine, this is the crew of the Lost Light. The command crew, the members of the original 208 who have been revealed thus far, and the strays the ship has picked up along the way.
Lost Light Crew
Unnamed moaning thing
Backstreet and 19 other wounded who wouldn't be left behind on Delphi without a medic since Ambulon and First Aid leave with Ratchet & co and Pharma is presumably dead.
* means they have been killed as the story has gone on. Current Mood: amused
|Sunday, May 13th, 2012|
|More Douglas Adams?
Douglas Adams, genius writer, altered thinker, documentarian, humanist and collector of left-handed guitars left this world over a decade ago. But like Asimov and others (not so much Frank Herbert, curse you Kevin Anderson!) death has not proven a hindrance to publication.
Adams great unfinished work, at least twice over depending what you consider the mish-mash of mediums he procuded as appropriate, has now found its way to publication. Shada
, as a novel, has been published written by regular Doctor Who writer for page and screen Gareth Roberts. Recent Doctor Who fans would have seen his byline as the writer of:The Shakespeare CodeThe Unicorn and the WaspInvasion of the BanePlanet of the DeadThe LodgerClosing Time
And its good. As much as Douglas Adams would have liked to have finish it himself, Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency
should be proof enough of that, I think he would have liked Roberts' efforts.
Shada, for those who don't know was Douglas Adams' third Doctor Who script after The Pirate Planet
and the sublime The City of Death
. Shada was the climactic final story of Season 17, a season for which Adams had already written The City of Death
as well as script editing the season's other four stories, writing The Resteraunt at the End of the Universe
as well as sheppharding Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy
into a TV series. As Roberts' notes Adams presumably ran out of time to finish the script to Adams regret and its abandonment halfway through filming due to a strike left Adams relieved although everyone else saddened as even half-finished script it was still a fascinating story.
Roberts fell into his own development hell writing the novel whichhe though could be done very quickly being essentially a novelisation, but being an Adams fan Roberts worked himself into his own nightmare attempting to do justice to his literary hero.
I'm finding the story immensely enjoyable. It is still a Doctor Who story first rather than a Douglas Adams story first, his trademark humour is toned down, but far from absent. It is an enhancement to the stories first role as a Doctor Who story.
I'm really enjoying it. I'm finally understanding the plot of Shada which in its previous iterations I'd found inaccessable. Current Mood: cheerful
|Tuesday, May 8th, 2012|
|A Child From Another Time
I'm currently watching Doctor Who. That should stun precisely no-one. Currently though I've gone back to the beginning and I've started watching the episodes from 1963. To give you an idea with what was happening with cult media at the time, the British TV series the Avengers was 20 months old but had yet to achieve its definitive look, John Steed was still the sidekick. The American comic book the Avengers had just launched its first issue only weeks earlier. Spider-Man was just over a year old, the Fantastic Four just under two years old. Gerry Anderson was working on Fireball XL5. Stingray was still a year away, Thunderbirds another year beyond that. Doctor Who's long-time fan rival Star Trek was still three years in the future.( The story of the shows gestation is well-known now. The concept cooked up by BBC bigwigs...Collapse ) Current Mood: amused
|Saturday, May 5th, 2012|
|Monday, March 19th, 2012|
|On the Trail of the Unexpected
So Trailbreaker got himself a cover? Would never ever have suspected that. Five issues in to new split Transformers continuity and the enthusiasm hasn't faded.
Might have to write something longer, but I'm pressed right now. Current Mood: smiley
|Monday, March 12th, 2012|
|Monday, March 5th, 2012|
|Wednesday, February 15th, 2012|