Thursday, November 18, 2010

When Redeye magazine decided to check out a cowboy...

Portent Comics was a UK Based Indy Comic Publishing Company founded by my friend James Redington in 2005. It was a place for new artists and writers to hone their craft and get published. it's best selling comic was "The Adventures of Rob & Ducky" which told the story of two best friends, one of who happens to be a slightly demented Duck, called Ducky!
Cowboy Jack was a story by myself and was conceived from the love I have for such films as Young Guns and the old Clint Eastwood cowboy movies, along with various old school horror. The first issue was published through Portent Comics with art by Robert Timmins and edited by James.
Unfortunately it was never really finished although a rough version of the complete story still remains as you can see here.

Cowboy Jack Synopsis: Jack Goose is an outsider. Found by an ex bounty hunter in th old west he is raised as a human. But when he starts growing his adopted father (Billy "Quickdraw" Goose) notices that his boy is far from ordinary. Blessed with impossible strength and amazing ability's with a gun the boy Jack becomes aware that he is different. At the age of 21 he starts having dreams, dreams of a monster terrorising a nearby town. Feeling somehow connected to this creature he feels he must go and investigate...and what he finds is beyond his most amazing dreams.

In 2004, Engine Comics launched Redeye Magazine, a news/reviews magazine specifically created to educate and promote small press and self published comics to the wider public. It has been described as a 'vital read' by SFX magazine and "a must have" by Ain't It Cool News and in issue five they reviewed the first issue of Cowboy Jack.

Here for you now is that review in all it's glory.

Underneath an excellent glossy cover lies a comic that shows promise but is ultimately a little disappointing.
Cowboy Jack is an orphan, having been discovered by ex-bounty hunter Billy "Quick Draw" Goose as a baby on the plains of the American Old West, about to be eaten by wolves.No explanation is given as to what the baby is doing there but it seems likely that this will be explained in subsequent chapters. This issue charts Jack's ascendancy to manhood, at which point Jack starts having demonic dreams that haunt him every night. As the dreams get worse, Jack decides to investigate where they are coming from.
The premise is an interesting and compelling one, and further issues could well prove this to be a series worth following, but unfortunately the execution of Warr's and Timmins' saga lets it down considerably. Timmins artwork shows promise for the future, but unfortunately at present it needs more work both in physical representation(ie life drawing and landscape drawing) and in the mechanics of comics narrative. The story doesn't flow well from panel to panel, and although the story is not difficult to follow, it does have difficulty drawing in the reader as a result.
If anything, Jamie Warr has tried to fit too much story into too few panels. This leaves the impression of trying to tell a story as quickly as possible by not going into detail about anything, and as a result ultimately failing to draw the reader in with sufficient depth to get to know the characters and situations before things start to kick off. Although it should of course be remembered that this is the first part of a four-part story, and is clearly mostly back story that Warr is telling in order to reach the point at which he can start telling the story that Cowboy Jack is really all about.
If you are able to look beyond it's technical shortcomings, and you have an interest in where westerns and horror stories meet, this is a book worth picking up. There are three more chapters to go, and it'll be interesting to see where Warr and Timmins go with this.

Some great points made by the reviewer and personally I would love to revisit this story one day as I think with a bit more fleshing out it could be great.

For now though I just look back at this with fond memories.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Wanna see a 3D movie? Erm... No Thanks!

If I can I avoid 3D films like the plague. Since it became popular again I've not seen the point or the appeal of this craze and I do my very best to avoid films involving it as in my experience it's overrated.

It's clearly just a way to get an extra few quid out of me as its almost double the cost of a cinema ticket to experience the novelty. I'm sure I'm not alone when I say I care more about the story and characters in a movie and not if I'm being amazed by bullets or laser beams coming out of the screen because I'm wearing look-a-like NHS glasses. I'm sure at some point in the future we will see even more directors solely concentrate on this bandwagon and thus ignore the story and any message the film itself might have.

For now I'm happy to watch films without 3D although I'd ask you kindly to give me a call when the holodecks arrive.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Star Trek opening voice-overs. What if?

So over on the SFX forum user Paranoid_Roy raised a subject regarding Star Trek that I've never really thought of before.

I'v just started an episode of TNG and it got me thinking. Should all the star trek series have had their own version of the classic opening voice over? One for DS9 would have to be extremely well written to have it match the tone of the show, Voyager's would have to be about getting home rather than going to new places. Enterprise would be very similar to classic ones from TOS and TNG with only minor changes to reference the prequel nature of show. Any one want to have a go writting them?

So I thought I'd give it a go regard Star Trek Voyager and I didn't realize how cheesy I could be...

Janeway: "The Delta Quadrant. The Federation knew little about this region of space. My ship, USS Voyager and it's loyal crew were swept clear across the galaxy into it by an entity known as the caretaker. Now 70,000 light years from home, in unknown surroundings and united in a common purpose with former Maquis rebels we face unknown dangers and meet new friends as we start our journey back to the Alpha Quadrant ... back to our home"

I'm trying to come up with one for Deep Space Nine now with little success

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The UK Web & Mini Comix Thing is no more...

Yesterday I discovered that there will be no more UK Web & Mini Comix Thing event. While checking out the website like I do occasionally I came across this post made by event organizer Patrick Findley:

Boo Hoo!!!!
There will be no more Things as the hall is no longer available for hire and my brain is fried. There are some options for using other venues but I think its probably best to call it a day. If I change my mind I'll let you know.

Wow! The only thing I manage to go to each year and have a bit of personal history with and the organiser is packing it in because he can't be bothered anymore. Well that's a kick in the balls for me as me and my friend James went to this every year. For a couple of years we were even vendors under the PORTENT COMICS banner before he unfortunately passed away back in 2007.
Shame it's finished. Seems like the end of an era for me.

Here is a review I did for this years event back in march for the lovely people at Small Press Big Mouth.

I'll have some fond memories. Farewell Thing.

Tomytronic 3D - 80's childhood nostalgia at it's finest

Anyone else remember these?

I found them yesterday afternoon while looking in a box of old stuff and I'm trying to find some AA's to give them a little blast again. Took a few pics to show people. I seem to remember having the SHARK ATTACK one as well but it wasn't with the others. These kept me amused for hours back in the early/mid 80's and from my research this morning these TT3D's can go for rather a lot of £££££ on ebay.

Turbo Racer.

Sky Attack.

If you still have no idea what these are I've taken this from wiki -
The Tomytronic 3D was a series of portable, handheld gaming devices released in the 1980s by Takara Tomy Co., Ltd. The device featured a strap so the player would be able to wear it our his or her neck in between playing. The Tomytronic simulated 3D by having two LED panels that were lit by external light through a window on top of the device.

Seven games were released:

Skyfighters (AKA Dog Fight/Tandy Sky Duel)
Thundering Turbo (AKA Cosmos Lemans/Turbo Racer/Thundering Turbos)
Sky Attack (AKA Tank Attack)
Shark Attack (AKA Jaws 3D[1])
Planet Zeon (AKA Space Laser War/Space Attack)
Jungle Fighter
Sherman Attack
In some markets, games were released with a different name as above. One game, Skyfighters, was licensed by Tandy and renamed Tandy Sky Duel. The rarest of the seven games are Jungle Fighter and Sherman Attack, both believed to have been released in Japan only

As an added bonus I also found in the same box...

Astro Wars.

Childhood nostalgia at it's finest.