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Friday, November 08, 2013

Comic Cuts - 8 November 2013

I'm pleased to announce that the latest title from Bear Alley Books, Worlds of Adventure, should be released within the next couple of weeks. I'm very pleased with the way it has turned out and I'm just waiting on a proof before confirming the release date. However, as I'm not anticipating any problems, I'll be setting up a page for orders shortly.

This is a collection of four strips illustrated in full colour by Gino D'Antonio from the pages of Tell Me Why. In the late 1960s, while he was writing the epic Storia del West in his native Italy, D'Antonio was collaborating with Mike Butterworth to adapt some of literature's classic adventure stories: 'The Wanderings of Ulysses', 'Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea', 'Quo Vadis' and 'A Tale of Two Cities'. These tales span history from Greek myth and the gladiatorial circus's of Rome to the French Revolution and a French tale that describes the adventures of Nemo, a 19th century Ulysses wandering the oceans in the wake of the Industrial Revolution.

And that's about all the news I have unless you want to hear how the strap on the peddle of my exercise bike broke while I was cycling on Tuesday. (It just broke, that's how.) Or that I'm developing an obsession for watching really bad sci-fi films while I'm on the bike. It all started with a film called Ring of Fire. I only caught the end but from what I could gather a ring of volcanoes had developed in the earth's crust somewhere in America and the only solution was to drop a bomb into an underground fissure. So a bathysphere-type vehicle is being lowered into the ground and someone is kindly reading off a measurement: "Hull integrity 75% . . . hull integrity 60% . . . hull integrity 40% . . ." They reached 4% before the bomb is dropped.

So, 96% of the hull has gone, according to the girl reading off her screen. What we're watching on our screen is a perfectly undamaged hull from which a tile of something has fallen away. It isn't leaking. What you've got there is 100% hull integrity, maybe 99.9% if that tile was part of the hull.

Thankfully there was an equally disastrous movie soon after entitled Eve of Destruction, which was as dumb as the flock of a Southern Baptist minister. It scores a massive 3.7 on IMDb, even less than the 4.2 scored by Ring of Fire. The next one concerned a spaceship equipped with a (scalar?) drive that will take passengers on a jaunt to the moon in a matter of hours. The trip goes wrong and the spaceship plunges into the sun causing it to flare up. It was called Exploding Sun and it scores 3.2 on IMDb.

I'm watching these in 15 minute bursts because the science is so bad that I might burst a blood vessel if I watch more in any one sitting. The latest, Delete, was actually pretty good and certainly a bit more stylish than the others that have been on in the same slot. This one had an AI developing on the internet which starts to protect itself with deadly force, blowing up missiles and oil ships and threatening the world with nuclear holocaust. It was directed by the guy who directed Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Steve Barron.

This week's disaster is Impact which has started off well, with a meteor striking the Moon and carving off a piece. Meteorites have showered the planet making massive craters but not disturbing a leaf on trees only a yard or two away. The usual set of characters are being lined up to do their thing: a scientist whose wife has died is about to team up with an old flame; another scientist's wife is trying to tell him she's pregnant but he's too caught up with his work; James Cromwell – yes, that James Cromwell – is suffering from some sort of agoraphobia but will no doubt be required to take a trip away from home with his son's children; you know this because he's just refused to attend his grandson's baseball game and nothing happens in these films/TV mini-series that isn't a set-up for something that will happen later. I haven't read the IMDb synopsis, but if I'm honest there aren't likely to be any surprises at all.

Update: They've just explained that the Moon was hit by a remnant of a brown dwarf star which is so dense that it has a mass twice that of Earth. Yet the Moon, which now contains this fragment, is still orbiting Earth. If that's not enough, they're not worried about the tides but by the fact that the brown dwarf remnants seem to be very magnetic and somehow causing enough static electricity to explode gas stations.

Talk about disaster movies! These really are . . . I've really got to wean myself off them! If only they weren't so hysterically funny!

One rather sad bit of local news is that on Saturday I bought my last couple of books at Castle Books, which I've visited regularly for the past twenty years. One of Colchester's finest secondhand bookshops, I remember when it was located down North Hill and was in a tiny little shop and you had to walk out of the shop and cross a driveway to get to the rooms where they had their fiction. That's the second secondhand bookshop – not counting charity shops – we've lost over the years . . . there's only Greyfriars left.

No books today. I need to get on with a couple of reviews which you'll be able to read over the weekend.

1 comment:

Phil Rushton said...

I'm afraid dodgy science isn't limited to films made in the 1950s and 1960s Steve. Having just seen the new Clooney-Bullock blockbuster 'Gravity' I have to say that I was appalled by its apparent ignorance of the basic principles of Newtonian physics.

That said the film more than makes up for it with superb special effects, nail-biting suspense and two Oscar-worthy performances - so much so that by the time I staggered out I felt as though I'd just undergone a particularly gruelling session of primal scream therapy!

Hmmm...I wonder if you could smuggle your exercise bike into into the cinema? :-)