Monday, 21 March 2011

Libya, Bahrain & Yeman, lets pick and choose who we help

50 people shot by snipers in Yeman, Saudi Troops move into Bahrain to quell protesters and shots are heard ! So we're doing a good job at keeping Gaddafi's air force on the ground, not that there was much actually happening in the first place! What makes what happening in Libya different? Maybe it was Gaddafi's threat to go door to door and kill people who showed any defiance towards him! With Sarajevo still a reminder to everyone about what could happen when international opinion waivers it is probably the right response. But what about Yeman, where American has piled in money to help the government to fight  Al Queada and the rich oil deals we have with Bahrain, should we be doing a little more to stop whats going on here!

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Libya. Action Speaks louder than words

Gadaffi on a crusie missle, one wonders how long it will take before he turns this to his advantage?

Friday, 18 March 2011

Libya, Gadaffi out manouvers the UN

Better late than never!

Just heard the news about the No Fly Zone being set up by the United Nation and Gadaffi revealing the ceasefire! If there is ever one master of politics and diplomacy it is Gadaffi. He's made these new whipper snappers look like novices!

Image started at 6pm posted at 6.56

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Libya what next! hopefully political satire!

Political statement

While doing some research into characters for the Tempus Noble story, I began to feel a bit frustrated with what is happening in Libya. Now I'm not a political animal but I do find it absolutely amazing how suddenly no one has an opinion and is unwilling to do anything except talk. I'm sure I saw all this once in a Monty Python film! The other thing was the Con-Dem saying they wanted a No Fly Zone over Libya and in the same breathe saying they were axing 2 squadrons of Tornado fighters and cancelling and sacking all the new pilots being trained up at the moment. Am I the only who think we have been Con-Dem-med by this government with short sightedness in their attempt to help out all their banker mates, still collecting big bonuses in the City of London?

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

New Artwork

Pop over to my tumblr account to view my latest artwork. This month I've stated a spy/detective series called Tempus Noble and the first page is available to view. Post a comment or just enjoy.


Friday, 4 March 2011

"Turf" Jonathan Ross & Tommy Lee Edwards


Jonathan Ross the television and radio personality recently made his debut into comic writing with “TURF” from Image Comics. The actual publishing and acquiring copies of the comic have been very hard work because they aren’t regular, but I’m happy to say that Mark Millars Comic Anthology has managed to by pass this stage by serializing the comic in “CLiNT” The artwork has been illustrated by Tommy Lee Edwards who has adopted a distinct style to try and recapture the feeling of New York 1920’s where the action is set. It is at this point I must ask you to get a pen and paper ready to do a check list of the range of characters you will face in this miniseries.

“TURF” It is a mob/gangster story that weaves its way through the prohibition of the 1920 America. A gang war breaks out between the booze smuggling mobsters and the blood smuggling operation of the Dragonmir! (Yep tick off Vampires on that list!) There is unrest in the Dragonmir Empire and soon family rivalries break out and the realization that New York is up for grabs and vampires take on mobsters to gain over all control. The only glimmer of hope for New York and mankind is the unlikely alliance between Eddie Falco a mobster boss and general tough man, and a stranger on the run from another planet. (Yes tick off Aliens as well!) stick this altogether with a mix of booze bullets and broads and you know you’ve got a story that will appeal to every comic book fan!

Having just acquired a signed copy of number 4 in the series, the tension is starting to pile up as alliances are forged and broken and the prophecy of the Vampires is starting to be realised. Issue one was mainly dialogue based which made the pace rather pedestrian at times, but you quickly realised that this was to give you time to learn the characters and absorb the environment where the action was to happen. One clear thing that stands out from this series is, Jonathan Ross knows his Vampires and has a distinct feel for pace and drama. Maybe this comes from years of watching films, but this is definitely building up to a crescendo!.

Thursday, 3 March 2011

From King Kong to Clash of the Titans. Ray Harryhausen talk at Stoke Your Fires

From King Kong to Clash of the Titans

Thursday 3rd March I attended an excellent talk by Tony Dalton the Curator and friend of Ray Harryhausen. During his 1 1/2 hour talk he kept us all amused with stories and antidotes of the legendary animator, as well as giving a comprehensive lecture on the masters work. Now at the age of almost 91 and suffering with poor hearing, Tony now does the circuits on Ray behalf and I would say that he has nailed it down superbly!

The talk started with a brief history of Ray, from his earliest influences, such as King Kong. Apologies for the above video and the shaky hand cam, but this is Tony explaining that Ray didn't create Monsters, but instead he created creatures!

Rays earliest influence was when he saw King Kong and was struck in awe at how the special effects were done. He did a lot of research and brought some magazines to see if they knew, but they revealed that it was all really a man in a suit! Ray knew better and started a search to find Willis O'Brien.

It was obvious that there was never a man in the suit, regardless of what the magazines said and soon Ray met with Obie (Ray's name for his mentor) and took with him his Stegosaurus. Obie gave Ray some advice when seeing his prize winning model and told him to go and study anatomy, and understand about how the body works! Does that sound familiar to anyone?

Above is a picture of Obie working on some conceptual art work for one of his films (Evolution?)  It wasn't long before Ray was recruited by Obie to help on the movie Might Joe Young. Here Ray learnt from Obie that he needed to be in with the picture from the beginning and not to let producers push him around and dictate shots etc.

Above is some concept art, drawn by Obie for The Might Joe Young. This was Rays first taste of working in the film industry and in fact he didn't get paid for it! He just got his petrol money paid!

The fact was that most of the animation done on Might Joe Young was done by Ray.

Ray fell for the big time when a small production company asked him to do the Special effects for the Beast from 20,000 Fathoms. This was made on a shoe string budget, but it made it's money back and more. The Japanese saw Rays film started to produce their own monster film, called Godzilla! only they did put a man in a suit to play the monster. So impressed were other companies that Ray was approached to work on other "Creature Films" Ray hesitated at first but when the suggestion of having a giant Octopus attack the Golden gate bridge this was too much. The film was made on a tighter budget than "The Beast" but Ray managed to save the company money by producing an Octopus with only 6 tentacles!

 I suppose the greatest of Rays films was Jason & the Argonauts. Tony brought with him one of the stars of the film, one the skeletons brought back to life by the hydras teeth

Overall it was a great experience hearing about the master a seeing a few of his props. Tomorrow I'm hoping to go and view some of his conceptual drawings for his films that are on show in the Potteries Museum in Hanley Stoke-on-Trent.

One of Tony's excellent books on Ray Harryhausen. Other books are available.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Danger Diabolik

Recently in "Total Film" they had an article that selects the mightiest comic-book movies. I've used their list and wrote my comments alongside and added a few extra things myself. Initially I wanted to do a long page with 20 of the films highlighted, but this was proving a formidable challenge, so I decided to break the series down into bite size chunks.

  • Danger Diabolik (1968) Mario Bava's 60's comic strip curio about a leather clad super criminal. Dynamic, Camp, Stylish.
I'll be honest I've never heard of this so had to look it up, why they couldn't put something like The Incredible Hulk in here I'll never know! They probably liked the Ang Lee one, though the 2nd one was better with Ed Norton, but to me and everyone else it looked like 2 films glued together. One with a moody action packed chase in the darkest depths of South America and the other a great big monster film with 2 creatures beating one another up! Anyway I digress... 

"IMDb" Quotes "Fey super-thief Diabolik runs around stealing jewels, gold, murdering innocent people, and being a nuisance to the government of a generic European country. "

From what I found out about the Diabolik, it is based on the Fantômas (France, 1913) and retells the exploits of a sadistic masked criminal. Originally written by Marcell Allain and Pierre Souvestre in 1892, these tales became a series of novels that have been adapted as films, a television series, and comic books.
In 1962, the Fantômas character was recreated in Italy as Diabolik, in a digest-sized comic book that’s still allegedly reprinted and sold at Italian news stands today. The comic is famed for it's adult themes and lurid depiction of violence and sex.  The main character is a the Lycra-masked Diabolik, abetted by his lover Eva Kant, as the ultimate master criminal, ripping off the law and other lawbreakers with equal aplomb.

One can't help to think that these characters were to become the start of the anti hero which is now gripping hold of the nation. If you think of "Dexter" a TV series that makes you feel for a serial killer, or "True Blood" based on a more romantic version of Vampires, we have seen this pour into our comic stands with the likes of Mark Millers "Nemesis" or Garth Ennis "The Pro" or "The Boys!"