Author Archives: ArcaneHalloween

Precinct1313 Recommends: Wonder Woman – Come Back To Me

By the golden girdle of Gaea, how in Tartarus did this one slip by me, my astounding Amazonian associates. ‘Wonder Woman: Come Back To Me’ has been sitting on my local comic-book emporium’s shelves for the past month and yours truly (quite possibly… the World’s biggest Wondy fan) failed to notice it’s resplendent release! So, I hereby revoke my honorary Amazon status and hang my head in shame… but before I do that, let us visit the golden shores of the paradise island known as Themyscira, and catch up with the wondrous one’s odyssey once more…

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‘Wonder Woman: Come Back To Me’ was originally published in DC Comic’s – Justice League Giants #3 and 4, oversized volumes that were exclusive to the Walmart chain (which means they were never available here in the UK… boo!) These terrific tales of the Themysciran Titan are now available as an ongoing mini-series courtesy of the astonishing Amanda Conner (my fave artist) who co-writes Diana’s chronicles alongside her hubby, jaunty Jimmy Palmiotti… Amanda also takes on duty as cover artist, delivering her always astoundingly accomplished artwork, and as usual each and every cover image is a joy to behold.

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Military pilot and Wonder Woman’s beau – Captain Steve Trevor is called in to test fly an experimental new aircraft, but his mission goes awry and he winds up lost in the infamous Bermuda Triangle. Diana, and best friend Etta Candy manage to track his perilous path to a mysterious and most certainly dangerous island, can they manage to liberate Steve from the clutches of this malefic, mythic Isle before it’s too late…

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As always Conner and Palmiotti deliver an absorbing and amusing tale, they really are  marvellous masters of mystery and mirth. Conner’s covers are beautifully rendered works of art, bright, colourful and full of emotion. Interior art duties are handled by Chad Hardin and Alex Sinclair, two wonderful mainstays of the comic-book universe and as ever their renderings are exquisite. Highly Recommended.

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Comic Cover(s) Of The Week

One Cover To Rule Them All…

Well hey there fellow fans of fantastic fiction, and welcome to another exhilarating episode of Comic Cover Of The Week. And this week we have a cornucopia of cool and collectively creative covers for your decidedly discerning delectation”

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Before we begin, picture this scene… yours truly hasn’t darkened the doorsteps of my local comic book emporium for just over a month due to circumstances beyond my control (look, someone had to stop that rampaging horde of evil ninjas, right!?) So, there I am crossing the treasured threshold of my favourite purveyor of superheroic saga’s, when the proprietor looks me grimly in the eye – “been awhile Bruce” he proffers ” you may want to sit down, the shock of your pull list may take you back a bit” he continued with a wry glint in his eye, as he realises that he may be able to shut early even if I only buy a modicum of my haul. From my back pocket I could hear my, near sentient, wallet groan and sigh when the inevitable mountain of comics slammed down on the shop’s counter with such force, that the planet almost tipped off it’s axis and hurtled into the sun! There were quite a few, that’s for sure…

So let us begin by careening into a chasm containing a cavalcade of cleavage clad comic-covers starring the delightfully delectable and exquisitely enchanting – Elvira: Mistress of the Dark. 

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I buy as many variants of the voluptuous vixen vamp’s monthly adventures as I can possibly seize my hands upon… I am a massive fan of the charming Cassandra Peterson alter ego… I mean, you can never have too much Elvira in your life!

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Next up is this captivating Catwoman variant (actually based upon a golden age original – Batman#42 from 1947) by the  stunning Stanley (Artgerm) Lau. Lau has become one of my absolute favourite cover artists over the years (joining other greats such as Amanda Conner, Jenny Frisson and Adam Hughes) Stanley is one of the best artists working in comics today as you can see for yourself with this rousing rendition of the classically costumed Selina Kyle (an extra bonus, as this is my personal most beloved costume of the calculatingly cool and capricious cat-burglar)

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All these covers and more (oh so many more…) are available at your local comic-book emporium right now! best get there quick before my meddling with the Earth’s axis plummets us into the abyss!!

Tears In Rain – Legendary Actor Rutger Hauer Passes Away At 75

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Rutger Hauer, legendary Dutch actor passed away on 24 July at the age of 75. Upon reading the news on the BBC website, I was genuinely upset, Rutger was one of my favourite actors of all time.

I was an 80’s kid, that phenomenal decade encompassed my formative years, all the greatest cult and horror movies emanated from the eighties, as well as some of the greatest action stars in history – Arnie, Sly, Wesley but most affirmably Rutger, who was very, very much different to his peers as an actor, yet walked along a similar cinematic line… of the names mentioned (all of whom I adore, especially Wesley Snipes) Rutger was, without a doubt, streets ahead in both acting talent and charisma.

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From the seventies, throughout the eighties and beyond, Rutger starred in a plethora of cult and blockbuster movies, with personal favourites including – The Hitcher, Blind Fury, Split Second, Wanted: Dead Or Alive, Ladyhawke and Salute Of The Jugger. Though he was most fondly remembered for his astonishing turn as Roy Batty, the replicant antagonist from Ridley Scott’s Sci-Fi opus ‘Blade Runner’. Though titular star of that seminal movie – Harrison Ford was billed as leading actor, it was Rutger who stole the movie as the tragic antagonist Batty. Rutger brought much needed pathos to the role and ended up not only eclipsing Ford’s performance but also had the best lines, especially his famous “Time to die” monologue (actually written by Rutger himself!) which cemented his status as the celluloid legend he will always be…

R.I.P Rutger Hauer, we shall miss you sir.

 

Modern British Cult Cinema: HOWL

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Director: Paul Hyett.  Writers: Mark Huckerby, Nick Ostler. Cast: Ed Speelers, Holly Weston, Shauna McDonald, Sean Pertwee, Rosie Day.

Werewolves are awesome aren’t they? howling at the moon, voraciously stalking their prey, fighting vampires (but mostly losing, ’cause Kate Beckinsale kicks arse… obviously!) Over the decades there have been a fair few great movies based upon the shape shifting lycanthropes, dating back as far as 1935 with ‘Werewolf of London’ through classic Lon Chaney’s ‘The Wolf Man’ from 1941, and beyond with such deliciously depraved delights as The Howling, An American Werewolf In London (my personal fave), The Company Of Wolves, Ginger Snaps and the aforementioned bad-arse Beckinsale movie series ‘Underworld’ , this particular horror sub-genre has been well served over the years.

In 2002, British director Neil Marshall (Descent, Centurion, Hellboy) gave us his own vision of the classic genre with the stupendous ‘Dog Soldiers’ an absolute gem of a movie that followed a small group of British soldiers on a training mission against the S.A.S in the Scottish Highlands, but the Special Air Service turns out to be the least of their worries as they are assailed by an even deadlier force (yep, deadlier than the SAS!) a pack of ravenous lycos! The low budget horror/comedy was a huge smash hit not just in the UK but worldwide, and helped propel the career of it’s helm Neil Marshall to international stardom.

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Train guard Joe and colleague Ellen discover there are worse things than British Rail pre-packed sandwiches!

‘Howl’ is the most recent Anglo entry into this lycanthropic category, and feels very much like it’s embedded in the same universe as Dog Soldiers, in fact there’s even a cameo by brilliant British thesp – Sean Pertwee (this time with entrails intact!) though in the popular tradition of English actors named ‘Sean’ he doesn’t last too long! (seriously, English actors bearing that titular name have about the same amount of movie survivability as a red shirted Star Trek security officer!)

Train guard Joe, winding down after a long shift, is pushed into taking on a red eye journey by his new (sneery and unpleasant) supervisor. Tired but unwilling to rock the boat (train?) Joe agrees, and boards the non-stop train from Waterloo, yet his resolve and that of his fellow commuters will be tested to the utmost when the train seemingly breaks down in a dark and ominous stretch of forest miles from anywhere. With communications down and the train driver inexplicably missing, Joe attempts to keep the passengers calm, which ultimately proves futile as the train is assailed by an unknown animal, large of stature and with a blood lust for the occupants of the stricken carriages.

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“He’s, uh, behind me isn’t he?”

Howl is a tense, fun and rollickingly wild Werewolf siege movie, in the style of the aforementioned Dog Soldiers. Some decent acting from a great cast (which includes Ed Speelers of Downtown Abbey, Shauna McDonald of The Descent, and of course the legendary Sean Pertwee ) a superbly creepy setting, but most importantly of all, the gore and werewolves themselves are top notch, though the film isn’t quite up to the standards of Dog Soldiers, the creature effects in HOWL far outstrip those in Marshall’s earlier lyco opus, in fact the practical effects are some of the best I’ve seen in a UK horror for years especially considering the rather low budget nature of the film (a measly £1,000,000) Highly Recommended!

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The Black Rose Gallery

Now, if you were with us last week when we took a tantalising trip through a prescient preternatural portal that lay deep within the bowels of this malefic mansion of mystery known as Precinct1313, then you may recount that I, my colleague Pete and our psychic carrion crow of woe – Eldritch are currently being held within a small padded room in a Sanitarium, watched over by the beguiling yet utterly bewildering Dr Rose Black. Luckily I managed to smuggle in (don’t ask me where I hid it!) my trusty laptop, so in preparation for our upcoming odyssey through the ‘Chronicles Of Cassandra Vala’  a visual novel we shall be presenting right here in the Precinct, we thought we’d share a few more images of the story’s main antagonist – Black Rose.

The Cassandra Vala idea, world and characters are something that I have been living and ruminating for the past decade. The tale has gone through many, many revisions, I have experimented with different styles of writing for the narrative – comic-book, visual novel, even a choose your own adventure setting akin to the classic Fighting Fantasy books of yore.

The finished product (it’s never really finished though…) actually combines all of the above narrative divergence (yep, the choose your own adventure portions will also be present!) the one constant of all the different takes on storyline and characters though was the antagonist Black Rose. I’ve been on/off drawing this character for longer than the actual novel itself, I love the character and enjoy drawing her at every opportunity (consequently the titular star of the novel – Cassandra Vala herself, I have much fewer pieces of!) 

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Just ahead of the upcoming novels debut I thought it would be fun to share some of said images of Rose with you, fellow agents. Some of these pieces I drew over a decade ago, others… just last week! and it’s interesting how little visually the character hasn’t changed… “Shhhhh, I must go now, it sounds like Dr Black is back,  making her rounds, we’ll sneak another post out real soon… enjoy ”

br sketch 2This was one of the first sketches I did of the character from way back when. There were a myriad influences for Rose’s look, but absolutely the two biggest were James O’Barr’s undead vigilante – ‘The Crow’ and the creepy character Sadako from the original Japanese movie ‘Ring’.

br sketch 1.jpgAnother earlier piece, I’ve always enjoyed sitting in a coffee shop reading comics and sketching pics of Rose and her extended family… I have produced some of my best pieces at the local Caffe Nero.

br sk 3As the years passed, technology and easier usage art software became a lot more affordable, which subsequently opened up a whole new world of computer aided inking and colouring, helping my lowly sketches emerge into a explosion of almost artistic professionalism!!

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br sk 7The above piece is one of my most recent and portrays Rose and her sisters, aka – The Trinity of Thorns. At this point I had finally come to grips with the art software to the point that only the barest minimum of physical sketching is needed.

Black Rose pop art 2 - Edited.jpgAnd last, but most certainly not least, this is my most recent piece, through which I set out to pay homage to my favourite Warhol painting – his classic Marilyn Monroe pop art pic. (it also turned out to be my personal fave drawing of the rambunctious Rose!)

Thanks for stopping by fellow fans of fantastic fiction…

 

All images are copyright: Precinct1313. I am more than happy for people to share my art as long as credit is given – to Bruce @ Precinct1313.

5 Years In The Precinct – An Anniversary Special…

Hey there fellow agents of Precinct1313 and a warm welcome to our fifth anniversary celebrations! That’s right the majestic mansion of mystery is celebrating five years of random musings on the world of DC Comics and general geekery!

It’s fantastic that you’ve all been able to join us down here in the Precinct’s celebrated comic crypts, for today we not only share the third annual episode of our ongoing scintillating saga – ‘In Pursuit Of Precinct1313’  but this titular tale has been woven so that it also serves as a prescient prologue to our (loooooooong in gestation) visual novel – ‘The Chronicles Of Cassandra Vala’  That’s right fellow fans of fantastic fiction , our ten year in the writing (ten… TEN!) odyssey begins right here, and from this humble introduction, it will then spill it’s masterfully malefic mystery on a monthly basis, right here, in Precinct1313!

To our followers, readers, and fellow bloggers may I just say many, many thanks for the continuing support of the Precinct over the past half decade with your comments and likes, it’s really, really appreciated, it is YOU that makes this entire blogging endeavour worthwhile… and so, on with the show…

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Welcome fellow agents of Precinct1313 to the latest chilling chapter of  ‘In Pursuit Of Precinct1313‘  if this is your first encounter with the thrilling tale of how we first discovered this Malefic Mansion of Mystery – then why not regale yourselves with the previous chapters right here – “Three Years In The Precinct”

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In Pursuit Of Precinct1313 – Chapter III: The Chronicles Of Cassandra Vala

Darkness engulfed me as I entered the inky black void residing within the mysterious vault door, the nihility was all encompassing – no light, no sound, just vacuum. I wheeled on the spot, looking to return back through the perplexing vault egress, my heart was racing and cold beads of sweat formed on my brow, this interstice was, just, wrong… the doorway had disappeared, eaten up by the stygian dark. I was beginning to panic now, a disquieting anxiety pervaded through my fragile mind… where the hell was Pete? I moved cautiously forward, hands outstretched in front of me, scrabbling for something tangible.

My head started to spin, and nausea began to surge through me, taking to one knee I attempted to halt the gagging queasiness, whilst striving to calm my rising anxiety and slow my thunderous heartbeat. To no avail, I felt light-headed and could feel the cold embrace of the oncoming stupor… I cascaded head first into an unconscious abyss…

“Are you okay?” – a voice greeted me through the murk that had encroached upon my mind. “Can you stand?” the disembodied voice continued. Bright light began to penetrate my latent mind, the nausea had subsided, shaking my head vigorously I glanced up to see a woman standing over me, immaculately dressed, porcelain white skin and fiery red hair were my take from this unexpected, though hopefully serendipitous encounter. “I’m not sure” I replied Where the hell am I?”

The woman took me by the arm and lifted me from my knees, surprisingly strong, her hand curled, rather painfully, in a vice like grip around my forearm  “The more pressing question is where did you come from? I mean, you’re the second person we’ve found semi-conscious in this part of the building this morning, you’re not a patient here and you certainly should not have been able to get past security and into this wing without them noticing”

“I’m sorry but… who are you, what is this place?” I could feel the wave of anxious nausea returning as I eventually stood eye to eye with my apparent liberator. She was, quite literally, a vision to behold, flawless skin, her hair an almost impossibly vermilion red, viridescent green eyes that felt as though they were boring into my inner being, my anima seemingly laid bare for her to scrutinise.

“Oh, do forgive me, my name is Black, Doctor Rose Black, I’m the chief psychologist of this esteemed institute, hmm, you still look rather unsteady, follow me, let’s get you checked over”  she took my arm, this time more gently, leading me slowly down the stark white corridor “It’s not far, how are you feeling now?”

“Confused, but not quite as queasy thankfully, you mentioned that you found someone else here earlier, it wasn’t another male, dark hair, name of Peter by any chance was it?” I glanced across at the Doctor, still hopelessly beguiled by her transcendent beauty.

“Yes, that’s right, Peter… perplexingly, he had a crow with him, it was dutifully perched on his shoulder, like some kind of pet, it really was a rather surreal sight”

Eldritch” I replied “the crow’s name is Eldritch, though to be honest, we’re more likely his pets than vice versa”  the statement felt ridiculous even as I said it, though, it was probably more than likely true. “You mentioned something about patients, an institute?”

“Yes, you have, somehow, found yourself inside Raven’s Reach Sanitarium, an institute dedicated to helping what some have deemed lost causes, mostly deeply disturbed and psychologically unbalanced individuals”  Doctor Black turned her head towards me and smiled “here they find some semblance of peace and tranquillity, as we hopefully work our way towards rehabilitation and, perhaps, reintegration”

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“We’ve arrived, if you’ll just make your way through that door on your right and wait a few moments, I’ll send one of our medical interns along to check you over” the Doctor beamed yet another impossibly radiant smile towards me before promptly guiding me through a robust steel door… then swiftly slamming it shut as I entered. I whirled on the spot, peering through the oval shaped hatch embedded within the steel barrier  “what the hell? wh-what do you think you’re doing?” I stuttered, nausea once again began to bubble up and I pressed my hands against the cold metallic door frame, to steady against the rise of the unsolicited vertigo.

“You honestly didn’t think I’d just believe you when you said you had no idea where you are, or how you got here did you? I mean come on now” Dr Black’s former radiance disappeared in an instant, replaced by a humourless, grave expression  “but not to worry, I’m sure we’ll get to the bottom of things fairly soon, in the meantime, I have done you the courtesy of allowing you to share this room with your companions”

I turned to see Pete sitting on a small bed lodged in the corner of what now appeared to be a padded room, his face bore an expression of morose acceptance… ” got you too huh?” he said, “was kinda hoping you’d not get caught as well and maybe, I dunno, break me out of here?”  Pete’s shoulders slumped as he realised that, unfortunately, we were now both in the same predicament. Just to the left of Pete, perched on the bed’s headboard was Eldritch, his onyx eyes fixed upon me, a mocking look for my own ineptitude at extricating them from this peculiar predicament.

“Hello?”  a voice punctuated through the disquieting malaise  “are you new here?” the disembodied voice appeared to be emanating from the room to the left of our padded cell. “Uuh hey… anyway you can possibly tell us what in the hell is going on?” I furrowed my ear into the soft padding of the cell’s wall “who are you, why has that Doctor detained us in here… in fact where in the hell is here?” my voice rose and fractured in frantic agitation at the situation at hand.  “Here?” the female voice replied softly  “well currently, at least for me, here, is Raven’s Reach Sanitarium, though what ‘here’ will be as the day goes on, well, who can tell… oh, and my name’s Cassandra by the by, and as far as the Doctor is concerned…” the voice paused, as if unsure how to continue “well, uh, at this time I’m not sure who or what she is, it changes you see”

“Changes?” I queried at the disincarnate voice “what does that even mean, look, uh, Cassandra, I could really use some answers right now, I feel like I’m losing my mind” I turned to look wearily back at Pete, who sullenly shrugged and retorted – “sorry Bruce but you expected to get a straight answer from an incorporeal voice in the adjacent padded cell of a sanitarium! I mean, really!?”  I stared at Pete, succumbing to what little rationale still persisted in my mind “You’re right, I know, I just… ” huffing the air from my lungs, shoulders slumped in aquiescence, I walked to the corner of the stark white room, dropped to my knees and burrowed my face into my palms.

“Maybe you’ve always been here Bruce” Cassandra responded cryptically “and maybe, just maybe, I have too, at least, this version of me”  I peered at Pete through my fingers, who quietly mouthed  “uh huh… sanitarium”  Eldritch cocked his head towards me and nodded in conjunction with Pete. Burying my face back into the comforting darkness of my hands I wondered whether what Cassandra was saying bore some semblance of truth, I mean, here I was in a padded room, in a sanitarium no less, after walking through a mysterious portal contained within the crypts of a preternatural mansion known as Precinct1313, where I have apparently resided for the past five years, alongside my closest friend and… get this, a psychic crow, I mused that last thought over again, a psychic crow… yep, there’s a damn fine chance that I am actually, bat-shit crazy!

“She’s here” Cassandra uttered I have to go, please don’t mention that we spoke, she doesn’t like it when patients converse with one another, maybe we can talk again later, if I’m still me of course…”  I gazed anew at Pete, who just shook his head “Sanitarium dude, Sanitarium… “

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Hey there fellow agents, and if you’ve managed to stay the course of this strange tale then, thanks… ’tis much appreciated. This prologue will evolve into the monthly fable we have entitled – The Chronicles Of Cassandra Vala – below I have included a small art gallery of my early concept designs for the lead characters from the visual novel, enjoy, and whilst you’re here, why not make your way down to the Precinct’s hallowed Halls Of Quaffing to help celebrate our fifth year in existence… I would join you, but I appear to be confined within a small padded room somewhere, else! Ah well, means more booze for the rest of you huh? silver linings and all that.

The Chronicles Of Cassandra Vala – Character Concept Art –

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All text and imagery are copyright – Precinct1313.

Comic Cover Of The Week – Batman: Last Knight On Earth

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Batman scribe mainstay – the sensational Scott Snyder has been weaving titanic tales of Gotham’s grim guardian since 2011, when he took over the reigns of  DC’s flagship title – Detective Comics. This marked the beginning of Snyder’s exclusivity deal with DC, that very same year he also penned the sterling – Batman: Gates Of Gotham mini-series, and then in September 2011 fully took control of the Caped Crusader’s vengeance driven chronicles by becoming the backbone of the New 52 reboot of Batman, through which he introduced, the now iconic, Court Of Owls and the character of Talon.

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For the past couple of years, Batfans have been teased by the outlandish image of the Dark Knight crossing endless ocean of red sands, as he treks across an unknown desert, his only companion… the Joker’s severed, but still very much alive, head! And finally, with the release this month of Batman: Last Knight On Earth, we finally get a glimpse of the outlandish premise that initial image teased us with, and fortunately (not that we believed any different, I mean it’s Scott Snyder after all) it’s Bat-tastic, and was well worth the excruciating wait.

Alongside artistic auteur – Greg Capullo, Snyder has created yet another Batman masterwork, which is apparently to be his swan song (Bat-Song?) with the character, whether that means forever or just in the chronology of his own personally scribed Batman timeline, is unknown at this point.

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Bruce Wayne wakes up in Arkham Asylum, young, sane… but, it appears, he was never The Batman! Thus begins this unusual odyssey for the Dark Knight as he embarks on a quest through a devastated DC Universe. As he attempts to piece together his now mysterious past, he must untangle the root of this frightful future and ultimately track down an indescribable force that has seemingly destroyed the world as he once knew it…

Another breathtaking Bat tale from the well established team of Snyder and Capullo, the first issue effortlessly sets up an unfamiliar world, one that appears to be bereft of the heroes from the past, and even the Batman himself seems… different, though all will be (possibly) revealed as the marvellous mini-series continues its anachronistic arc. (Oh, and did we mention it has a talking severed Joker head accompanying the dark and surly one on his travels? we did? well it was definitely worth mentioning again… a bloody, talking, decapitated, joker, head!!)

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V-Log1313: Delightfully Dazzling And Distinctly Decorative Donna Troy Statue Unboxing

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Hey there fellow agents of Precinct1313, and a warm welcome to another episode of – V-Log1313. You may remember a few months back we posted a vid of a stunning Starfire statue based upon glorious George Perez’s dynamic design which ultimately formed part of a multi statue set comprising the Teen Titans from a Perez classic 1980’s cover, well, our Wonder Girl companion piece has finally arrived in the Precinct… so let’s set about unboxing everyone’s second favourite Amazon warrior – Donna Troy!

And here are the two statues together at last, and aren’t they just astonishingly adorable!

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Plus a look at just a part of the Precinct’s superlative shelf of superhero statues…

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Thanks for watching fellow fans of fantastic fiction, our next unboxing video will star the bombastic bombshells variant of Batwoman! same Bat-time, same Bat-channel…

And why not follow the Precinct at it’s official Facebook page right here: Precinct1313

Precinct1313’s Video-Game Vaults Presents: Resident Evil

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Zombies have, in the last decade become rather de-rigueur, in fact you can’t swing a chainsaw without hitting at least another few dozen low budget movies, TV series or video games starring re-animated flesh munching corpses. Much like an undead apocalypse itself, zombie media has hit oversaturation point. I’m sure when influential horror director George Romero first introduced the modern zombie to a horrified audience back in 1968 with the seminal Night Of The Living Dead, he had absolutely no idea that these ghastly ghouls would one day be so over used, that all their dread and terror would give way to a yawn and passive indifference, zombies just aren’t scary anymore… (that said, if I was actually to meet a zombie – I’d be pretty damn terrified! Ooh, ooh, unless it’s a zombified Christina Ricci… I adore Christina Ricci, even if she was a flesh eating, undead, green skinned, puss ridden monster… I’d still adore her! Mmmmm, went a little off topic there… on with the show!)

When Romero’s groundbreaking introduction to the living dead first hit the cinema screen back in the sixties, it was met with revulsion and abhorrence by an audience unfamiliar with such overtly graphic violence.

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Where It All Began…

Romero’s low budget, independent movie was the catalyst of a thousand imitators, some were great (Lucio Fulci’s “Zombie”Dan O’Bannon’s “Return Of The Living Dead”) but most were awful Z grade rip offs, literally hordes of terribly made and woefully acted low budget cash ins, riding on the back of the movie going publics sudden reverence of all things undead.

It wouldn’t be long before video-game companies decided to take on this burgeoning horror phenomenon with their own interpretations, with the most prolific and famous of the digital dead games beginning in an imposing mansion in the Arklay Mountains, site of the original outbreak of the T-Virus and our initial introduction to S.T.A.R.S and the sinister Umbrella Corporation.

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A Creepy Mansion, Undead Foe, and a Jill Sandwich (!?) Await The Player In Capcom’s Classic…

Resident Evil (known as Biohazard in Japan) was first unleashed to video gamers worldwide in 1996, developed by Japanese company Capcom (of Street Fighter fame) and helmed by game design auteur Shinji Mikami. It is one of the original progenitors of survival-horror, a sub genre of gaming that takes cues from horror fiction and focuses on the survival of the main character against overwhelming odds, with limited resources at their disposal.

The first game established many of the ongoing conventions and tropes for the survivalist series, such as the limited inventory system, third person perspective, fixed camera angles for dramatic effect and the iconic typewriter save system.

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Creepy Locations, Limited Ammo, and Relentless Enemies Are Hallmarks Of The Resident Evil Franchise

The game opens with the elite members of S.T.A.R.S (Special Tactics And Rescue Service) responding to the disappearance of fellow team members who lost contact in the remote area on the outskirts of Raccoon City, known as the Arklay Mountains.

Players choose to take control of either Jill Valentine or Chris Redfield at the start of the game, and then, with their chosen avatar, proceed into the mysterious mansion embedded deep within the creepy forests of Arklay Mountains in search of their fellow team-mates. 

Graphics are a mix of three dimensional characters set against pre-rendered backdrops, fixed camera angles give the game a rather compelling cinematic feel.

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“Who’s a Good Boy Then… Uuh, Could You Please Stop Chewing On My Leg Now!”

As your chosen avatar explores the mansion they discover documentation in the form of diary entries and audio tapes that provide story beats and exposition, as well as uncovering clues to the various puzzles that need to be undertaken to progress through the mission. The combat takes centre stage through the use of a variety of firearms discovered around the environment, though ammo conservation is important as ammunition is limited.

The inevitable health loss can be counteracted by the use of either first aid sprays or three different types of combinable herbs. The capacity for carrying items on person is also limited, though extraneous items can be kept in an item box for later use. Saving is done through typewriters that are scattered through the mansion, ink ribbons must first be located before saving is possible, and once more these are in limited supply so must be used sparingly.

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Player characters will fight through a succession of undead and mutated creatures as they progress, from the humble zombie through, giant spiders and hulking behemoths. Also of note are the multiple endings the game can deliver depending on the actions taken by the player throughout their adventure, giving the game an impulsive replayability.

Capcom’s Resident Evil is a landmark game, it is almost single handedly responsible for the Survival-Horror genre and is one of the longest running video game franchises of all time, with the most recent game “Resident Evil 7″ released to abundant praise from fan and critic alike. Though there have been a couple of missteps (Resident Evil 6 being rather… awful) the majority of titles in the franchise have been absolute gems and are a blast to play (with personal faves being Resi 4 and Code Veronica) The original has seen a remastered overhaul with an upgraded version released on platforms such as Xbox One Playstation 4, and as of this month – Nintendo’s fabulous Switch… which means Zombie blasting on the go! so there’s never been a better time to immerse yourself in the wonderful world of zombies, elite swat teams and evil corporations.

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Precinct1313’s Retro Revivals…

“Aah, welcome fellow agents of Precinct1313, you’re just in time to follow Eldritch (the precinct’s resident carrion crow of woe) and myself down to the infamous ‘Scrying Chamber’  Within this portentous room stands a single stone tablet upon which sits an ominous black crystal ball that not only has the power to decipher the future, but also, recreate the past through vivid evocation.”

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“As we wend our way down through the ceaseless and interminable depths of this magnificently malefic mansion of mystery why not take in the various sites as we descend… such as the astounding ‘Ancient Amazon Archives’ or the colossal Comic Crypts’  Just coming up on your right you’ll notice the magnificent ‘Movie Mausoleum’  and a couple of floors down you’ll hear the hearty cheers from the hallowed ‘Halls of Quaffing’  “

“And, we have arrived, please approach the sphere of prevenience carefully and gaze deeply into it’s sanguine depths until something from the Precinct’s posting past begins to take shape… “

“So how about we relive the pestiferous pairing of Hellacious Harley Quinn and the Main Man himself – Lobo, from this portentous post from the past, first published 3 years previous… “

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“Feetal’s Gizz” why didn’t anyone think of this pernicious pairing before now (OK, I admit, it didn’t even cross my mind until I saw the previews for this latest issue) but the Main Man and the Mistress of Mayhem teaming up is a match made in heaven (actually, in their particular case, Hell) That’s right my DC Comics’ loving compatriots, Harley Quinn and Lobo are together at last, and it’s as unpredictable, chaotic and crazy as you could imagine… which is great!

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Now I’m sure that by now, even if you aren’t a huge fan of reading comics (tell me that ain’t so) you all know who the hellacious Harley Quinn is, but maybe you have never crossed paths with the invincible, space biking Czarnian psychotic Lobo, well never fear… the Precinct is here, and you can read up on the Main Man’s troubled history right here… phew! are you still with us after that briefly violent respite into Lobo’s malevolently malign backstory, you are!? In that case you will love this delectably dangerous duo’s teaming, and there is also icing on this deliciously depraved cake in the form of artistic auteur Simon Bisley!

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British artist Simon Bisley is the person most people think of when referring to Lobo, thanks to his stellar work on the character throughout the 90’s, alongside Keith Giffen they made Lobo a household name to comic book aficionado’s across the globe. ‘It’s good to be bad’ was pretty much their mantra, and Lobo is so bad, he makes Harley seem (almost) angelic in comparison!

This book contains so much toilet humour, sexual innuendo, extreme ultra violence and offensive material that it probably shouldn’t be read by anyone… well anyone who is offended by such things, the rest of us should just dive on into a fantastically funny comic brought to us by that dynamically delightful writing duo Amanda Conner (who also drew the classic cover) and Jimmy Palmiotti, once more showing us that as far as comedic storytelling in comic books is concerned, they are the unequivocal vituosi of the art.

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Simon Bisley’s Awesome Variant Cover Is Fraggin’ Fantastic!!

“Lobo’s back, the main man and Harley Quinn have a lot in common – motorcycles and mayhem for starters, so it’s long past time they found each other! This could be the start of a fraggin’ beautiful friendship… or they could destroy the planet. Or both! it can be two things!”

Harley’s Little Black Book #6 is available at your local comic book emporium right now. Brought to you by – Amanda Conner, Jimmy Palmiotti and Simon Bisley… go and fraggin’ buy it, you don’t want Lobo to find out you didn’t!!

Precinct1313’s Top Ten Favourite Feisty Female Fighting Furies…

Mmmmm, we haven’t dared to tread the perilous path of the infamous Top 10 list so far here in the darkest depths of Precinct1313, never really gave the idea of doing one much thought to be honest. That is until recently, when blogging buddy ‘The Vintage Toy Advertiser’ rendered his very own (and really rather amusing) Top 10 masterclass (which you can indulge your senses in right here) that we thought, suffering sappho, let’s do one of them there list things then, and thus…

Precinct1313’s Ten Favourite Furiously Fierce Femme’s Fatale

NB: This list will contain both fictional and non-fictional wildly wondrous warrior women for your delectation…

No.10 – Big Barda

No list of vivacious virago vixens should ever be without the formidable presence of fighting fury and thorn in Granny Goodness’ side – Big Barda, for she truly encompasses everything to love about powerful, vibrant female characters who are easily able to match and (in most cases for Barda especially) surpass their male counterparts. How tough is Barda? we’ll let the picture below answer that query…

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No.09 – Lara Croft

Quintessentially British acrobatic archaeologist Lara Croft has been raiding tombs, securing ancient artefacts and performing perilous platforming since she was first unleashed unto the gaming world by Core Design in 1996. Since that time she has become one of the most recognisable video-game characters of all time and sits proudly in the upper echelons alongside Master Chief, Mario and Sonic the Hedgehog.

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No.08 – Moon Lee

I’m an 80’s kid, I grew up during that phenomenal decade alongside many classic onscreen action stars and martial artists, even as a youngster my preference was always female characters/fighters and one of the biggest influences for me then was the magnificent Moon Lee. Hong Kong action star supreme, Moon Lee Choi-Fung starred in close to a formidable fifty films during her heyday of the 1980’s!

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No. 07 – Batwoman

Kate Kane’s Batwoman alter ego first debuted in the 1956 issue of Detective Comics #233 created by Bob Kane and Sheldon Moldoff. Initially created as a female counterpart and love interest to the Batman, Kate has over the past sixty years (thankfully) shed that unfortunate creation calamity and has now become one of the biggest and most beloved of female comic book characters, with a much needed revamp and resurgence through the hand of artist/writer JH Williams III. Reversing the inauspicious and unenlightened conception and delivering a new standard for empowerment in the burgeoning female Superhero market.

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No. 06 – Catwoman

Though most Bat-fans see The Joker as Batsy’s biggest foe, for me personally the character that inhabited that perch was always anti-hero cat burglar Selina Kyle. Though Mr J is without a doubt the bigger threat to the dark and surly one’s psyche, Selina holds something over Bats that the jester of genocide never, ever could… his heart. She has been Batman’s most enduring love interest since her inception in Batman #1 in June of 1940… puuuurfect!

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No. 05 – Cynthia Rothrock

As previously mentioned some of the biggest influences on me growing up were the plethora of fantastic fighting females that occupied the realms of martial arts cinema, and my most beloved and admired is none other than scintillating Cynthia Rothrock. American born Cynthia is quite possibly the most successful female martial arts master in history – she is five times world champion in weapons and forms and currently holds an astonishing seven black belts in varying martial disciplines! She has also starred in over fifty movies throughout her career, and has acted alongside greats such as Sammo Hung and Michelle Yeoh.

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No. 04 – Batgirl

Though the Batgirl name and costume have been inhabited by several different women over the years, the most beloved and well known is assuredly the second holder of the bombastic bat mantle – Barbara (Babs) Gordon. Replacing original holder of the title – Bette Kane (who was created in 1961) Babs debut was in 1967, daughter of Gotham Police Commissioner James Gordon and head of Gotham City Library. Her auspicious crime fighting career began with a triumphant save of Bruce Wayne from a kidnapping plot wrought by SuperVillain Killer Moth, and cemented her place in Bat history!

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No. 03 – Elvira – Mistress Of The Dark

Elvira may not be a martial arts action star or female fighting force but what she definitely is, is a sensation of female empowerment and positive attitude. A strong, outspoken comedienne who used her innate sexual prowess to turn the tables on mysogynynistic and prejudice laden media from her first appearance courtesy of actress Cassandra Peterson in 1981. Self deprecating and dripping in risque double-entendres, her campy humour has propelled the voluptuous vixen vamp to celebrated cult status, and beyond!

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No. 02 – Starfire

Fiery alien princess – Starfire has been a favourite of the Precinct since she was first unleashed in the pages of DC Comics Presents #26 in 1980. Created by the legendary pairing of comic book royalty – George Perez and Marv Wolfman, Koriand’r instantly became a much beloved character and mainstay of The Teen Titans. Hailing from the planet Tamaran, Kory escaped the ravaging of her home by Tamaran enemies The Citadel and her own feuding sister Komand’r (aka – Blackfire) and made a new life for herself on Earth. She is currently the leader of the Teen Titans and founding member of Justice League Odyssey alongside Jessica Cruz, Azrael and Cyborg.

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No. 01 – Wonder Woman

Well, if you’ve been following the Precinct for any length of time then you probably knew that the Themysciran Titan would, of course, occupy the titular top spot, and hey, guess what… you were right! I’ve been a WW fan since I was around nine years old she is truly the greatest fictional female character ever, and has had the most significant and profound effect upon female empowerment of any fictitious persona ever created. Her genius creator William Moulton Marston first envisioned the Amazonian warrior princess in 1941, when she took the covetous cover appearance on All Star Comics #8. Marston was a supporter of the Suffragette movement of the 1940’s, of whom his own wife Elizabeth was a founding member.

All hail the wondrous one!

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If you’ve managed to stay the course of this list, then thanks fellow Agents. Who are some of your personal favourite female furies of all time? let battle commence in the comments below…

The Week In Geek… With Precinct1313

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Welcome fellow agents of Precinct1313 to another enthralling episode of  The Week In Geek  where we love to share our favourite Comic Book, Video-Game, and Cult Movie news for your perusal and pleasure. And so once more unto the geek, dear agents, once more…

DC Universe Release It’s First Pic Of Brec Bassinger As Geoff Johns’ Beloved Hero – Stargirl!

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DC Universe is DC’s new live action/animated streaming service that recently regaled the comic giant’s loyal fans with such iconic delights as live action series’ of Titans and Doom Patrol, with Swamp Thing and a brand new animated series of Harley Quinn also on the heroic horizon.

But for this particular DC fanatic the upcoming Stargirl series is everything, and from this recently released photo of actress Brec Bassinger as Courtney Whitmore, better known as the Cosmic Staff wielding Superhero – Stargirl, everything is looking really rather respectful and resplendent! High school student Courtney, step-daughter of the the Star Spangled Kid, has been portrayed in live action form twice before in Smallville and Legends of Tomorrow respectfully, but costume wise this is without a doubt the closest version yet brought to screen.

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Stargirl made her debut in Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E #0 in July 1999, created by comic book legend Geoff  Johns who styled the character’s appearance and name after his late sister Courtney, who tragically died in a plane crash in 1996. The series will premiere in early 2020.

First Trailer For Joaquin Phoenix  Joker Origin Movie Released By Warner Bros…

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No Smilex Gas needed for this one, as Warner Brothers release a tantalising and intriguing look at Joaquin Phoenix’s take on the DC’s infamous clown prince of crime – The Joker.

Not to be confused with Jared Leto’s recent and entertaining variant of the jester of genocide, this is a standalone story that will delve into the trials and tribulations that ultimately turn what appears a seemingly ordinary individual into comic books most feared and revered sociopathic SuperVillain, in an origin story that is produced by celebrated film auteur Martin Scorsese and also stars Robert DeNiro and Zazie Beets… and it’s looking particularly phenomenal! Revel in the trailer below:

 

Happy Birthday, Oh Dark And Scary One – 80 Years Of The Batman!

batsy80 p1313Eight decades ago, the gun barrel of Joe Chill violently unleashed unto the unsuspecting denizens of Gotham City, a nocturnal nightmare of which it had never seen. The tragic murder of Bruce Wayne’s parents right before his innocent eyes created a force of vengeance and justice that has been preying on Gotham’s criminal underbelly with furious anger ever since… The Batman!

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Created by the genius pairing of artist Bob Kane and writer Bill Finger, the creepy and curmudgeonly creature of the night’s first ever appearance was in DC Comics’ much revered Detective Comics, in May of 1939. Since that time, the Dark Knight has gone on to become, quite possibly, the most popular and recognised Superhero ever conceived, with his fame spreading across every single entertainment medium from comic books through video-games, TV shows, movies, toys, clothes, novelisations and much, much more, firmly cementing his place in heroic history.

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Bob Kane and Bill Finger – Creators Of A Legend!

But what is it that compels readers to immerse themselves in a vengeance driven Manhunter, a being that has devoted his life to bringing his own brand of Bat-justice to a corrupt and dystopian city seething with criminal detritus? I absolutely believe it’s his inherent vulnerability and pathos, you see unlike most Superheroes, Bruce is ultimately just a man in a costume… he can’t leap tall buildings in a single bound, or deflect bullets with bracelets, he’s not capable of reaching the speed force, or even talking to fish! but what he does possess is the inherent belief in own righteousness and decency, it’s his integrity and morality that has enabled him to rise above a sea of costumed crime-fighters and be the best he can be, no matter the adversity or lack of powers thereof… the mark of a true hero (of course, billions of dollars, an unsurpassed mastery of several martial arts, genius level intellect, and a compendium of glorious gadgets also, sort of help!)

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Batman and Robin Courtesy Of The Late, Great Norm Breyfogle – My Personal Fave Bat-artist of all time!

My first encounter with the Caped Crusader was when my Mum purchased me an issue of Detective Comics when I was a mere six years of age, this was not only the first time I had ever read a Batman comic, but was in fact the first comic book I had ever read. I remember re-reading the issue at least a dozen times over in one sitting and was eager to divert more of my attention to this amazing hitherto unseen world that contained fantastical costumed characters who really captured my young imagination in a way nothing else previously had. I have been fanatical of the Dark Knight since that time, and my Mum, still to this day, will buy me the odd Batman comic or gift, and has, over the years, become a huge Bat-fan herself (she especially loves Michael Keaton’s portrayal, but also really enjoyed the more recent Nolan films)

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Detective Comics #466 marked my initial encounter with the Masked Manhunter, and told the tale of Batman’s clash with villain, Signalman… not exactly an iconic member of Batman’s rogues gallery it has to be said, but it was my very first brush with a SuperVillain. This amazingly nostalgic comic issue also introduced me to the fact that Batman shared a universe with other Superheroes, thanks to a very enjoyable back up story, that regaled the young me with the daring adventures of the Emerald Archer – Green Arrow, and so it was through the caped and surly one that I discovered my other infatuation in comic book form – Wonder Woman! Batman has brought many fantastic gifts to my life… Happy 80th anniversary to THE greatest comic book character of, all, time! 

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Then and Now… Same Cover, Eight Decades Apart!

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(Batman is trademark – DC Comics)

 

Precinct1313’s Retro Revivals…

Merciful Minerva! 700 posts!! that’s right, the mystical mansion of mystery known as The Precinct has output a ridiculously huge 700 individual musings on Comics, Movies, Toys, Video-Games, and general geekery… where in Tartarus did I find the time you ask!? damned if I know fellow Agents, but it’s been an awesome time sharing my glorious geekdom with all of you, that’s for sure.

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The first couple of years of the Precinct’s existence were sparse as far as views and followers were concerned, but that definitely did not stop the output of posts, in fact I believe that I definitely posted more often back then, nowadays I find myself taking a considerable larger amount of time to triple check what I’ve written and even colour co-ordinate the post both visually and text wise to the subject matter at hand (yep, for real, I’m that geeky!) Seeing that 700 posts thing actually made me go back to some of my earlier articles written as long as four to five years ago, re-reading them is rather interesting indeed, oh how my writing style has changed, and yet, the seed for my current writing techniques are still there…

Now that the Precinct has a larger following and substantially more views on a weekly basis, it might be the time to relive some of those older obscurities, so each week we shall present a past post from the Precinct’s vicarious vaults (y’know, it’s going to be a bit like when your favourite TV show runs out of ideas, so you get one of those lazy compilation episodes that’s book-ended by a small amount of new footage!!) Uuh, not that we’ve run out of ideas for cool posts, of course, but it’s always interesting to go back over previous work and share it with our newer followers, hence – some of our favourite older posts shall be forthcoming, beginning with this one from December 2015:

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Borag Thungg fellow Squaxx Dek Thargo, and welcome back to another instalment of “Great British Comic Book Characters,” Precinct1313‘s episodic look at the UK’s biggest selling and highly influential weekly anthology comic; 2000AD.

Over the previous five instalments of this ongoing series, I have gradually introduced you to the characters and creators of the “Galaxy’s Greatest Comic,” what first motivated me to begin a series on 2000AD was initially the fact that, apart from Judge Dredd, the majority of classic characters from this mighty tome are rather unknown to the world outside of the British isles. Fantastic creations such as Nemesis the WarlockRogue Trooper, Zenith and Strontium Dog have rich backstories, superstar creators and close to 40 years of history, yet still remain in relative obscurity. Having grown up alongside these characters, I decided to utilise my blog to promote, as best as I could, these groundbreaking comic characters and hopefully draw more appreciation and proclivity towards characters I believe are deserving of a far larger audience than they currently receive.

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“Read 2000AD, Or It’s Five Years In An Iso-Cube… Mandatory!”

Released in the UK on December 7, “Future Shock! The Story Of 2000AD” is an 106 minute documentary that charts the rise of Britain’s favourite comic-book, offering up a dynamic and comprehensive overview of the comic that includes a look at the various highs and lows of the comics history, and extensive coverage of the creative process behind the scenes of the long running megazine. Documenting how a band of Britain’s most talented and eclectic comic talent came together to create the visionary publication, and guest starring a swathe of said talent including; Neil Gaiman, Pat MillsJohn Wagner, Grant Morrison and Dave Gibbons, plus recent “Dredd” actor Karl Urban is also on hand to profess his adoration for 2000AD‘s world famous grim protector of the law.

Future Shock! is directed by Paul Goodwin, who has, as previously mentioned, assembled an iconic group of talent for interviews and nostalgic musings on their past glories. Especially entertaining, as always, is the fantastic Pat Mills, who rages and rants humorously on the ups and downs of the comic’s (at times) tempestuous past, Mills alone is worth the asking price, one of the greatest talents in the UK industry, he never pulls his punches and always tells things as they are, his part in this documentary is legendary!

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Legendary British Comics Guru And 2000AD Co-Creator – Pat Mills Is As Fantastic And Outspoken As Ever In Future Shock… He Alone Is Worth The Paltry Admission Price!

The documentary itself mostly consists of the aforementioned interviews alongside various illustrations, also included though are some impressive animations courtesy of Zebra Post, with the opening sequence being a particular stand-out piece. The docu mainly covers the 70’s and 80’s of 2000AD‘s long history, but does touch on the 90’s, especially on sister publication Judge Dredd: The Megazine.

At over 100 minutes long, this fantastic look at 2000AD is a must have for fans of the comic, but also offers up an intriguing study of British comics in a time when the UK was going through a considerable transition in politics, music and outlook, 2000AD embraced and used these changes to produce an intelligent and sometimes hilariously subversive comic that almost predominantly helped evolve not just the comic book scene in Britain, but ultimately across the planet itself!

Precinct1313 Rating: Zarjaz!!

The Week In Geek… With Precinct1313

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Welcome fellow agents of Precinct1313 to another exhilarating episode of  ‘The Week In Geek’  where we love to share our favourite Comic Book, Video-Game and Cult Movie news for your perusal and pleasure. And so once more unto the geek, dear agents, once more…

DC Comics Channel Stephen King With – #DCEASED Cover Image…

Comic book writer Tom Taylor has been teasing #DECEASED over the past few weeks with some rather cryptic hints towards some devastating destruction headed towards our beloved DC heroes and their universe. Not only that, but a major death of a classic DC villain also seems to be on the cards as a catalyst for the coming storm… Darkseid, DC’s big bad is largely thought to be in the firing line for this with Taylor’s phrase “Darkseid Was” dominating headlines, an idiom of Grant Morrison’s “Darkseid Is” from his incredible run in the nineties Justice League (with this original phrase also appearing heavily in Tom King’s recent groundbreaking series Mister Miracle)

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Taylor recently posted to Twitter Yasmine Putri’s variant cover for DC’s upcoming event series, with the cover an obvious homage to Stephen King’s frightening horror/thriller – IT. Transposing King’s creepy clown killer for DC’s very own clown prince of crime – The Joker, handing the titular red balloon to what is obviously the Jason Todd version of Robin (who Joker previously killed, rather bloodily, utilising a crowbar) Creepy! #DCEASED is due for release in May.

Detective Comics #1000 Reveals Dozens Of Variant Bat Covers…

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Eight Decades ago what is now known as DC Comics unleashed Detective Comics unto the comic book loving world, this was THE comic book that defined that beloved purveyor of costume clad crimefighters, eventually becoming their famed appellation. Of course Detective’s most distinguished and prominent addition to Superhero lore is the first appearance of comicdom’s, arguably, biggest creation of all time – Masked Manhunter, Caped Crusader and Darkest of Knights – Batman, who made his dynamic debut in Detective Comics #27 in May of 1939!

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Eighty years later the SuperVillain punching, long eared, curmudgeonly creature of the night is still stalking the crime ridden streets of Gotham City, and with the 1,000th issue almost upon us, DC are releasing a cadre of compellingly collectable comic covers to celebrate this enormous event. Astonishing artists such as – Neal Adams, Jim Lee, Kelley Jones, Greg Capullo, Joelle Jones, Frank Miller, Dustin Nguyen and many, many more will be rendering our favourite spandex clad avenger of the night when the title hits your local comic book emporium on March 27th 2019. 

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Why not join us again next time friends, for more Week In Geek!