Category Archives: Comics in film
Remember, remember the fifth of November, the gunpowder, treason and plot, I know of no reason why the gunpowder treason shall ever be forgot…”
Hey there fellow conspirators of Precinct1313, today in the UK it’s Guy Fawkes Night, also known as Bonfire Night. This annual commemoration is observed every November the fifth in Britain, the history of which began with the events on fifth November 1605, when a senior member of the Gunpowder Plot – Guy Fawkes – was arrested after being discovered guarding the explosives his Machiavellian associates had placed beneath the House of Lords.
In celebration at the time, that King James had survived the attempt on his life, people lit bonfires around the provinces of London, over the centuries this has become an annual national remembrance day of the plot and it’s failure, to which people burn effigies of Guy Fawkes on a bonfire pyre traditionally accompanied by fireworks.
In commemoration of Mr Fawkes, we present a re-blog of an interview we held a couple of years back with one V of V for Vendetta fame, so you too can join in on this classic chronicle of conspiratorial calamity! (also why not indulge in the fantastic 2005 celluloid adaptation, which encapsulates, quite possibly, the greatest performance of all time by thrilling thespian – Hugo Weaving as the titular V!)
Re-live Our V Interview – Right Here!
Happy Bonfire Night!
Hola and welcome, my absolutely astounding Amazon associates, to the 80th anniversary of the Themysciran Titan known as – Wonder Woman! That’s right, William Moulton Marston and Harry G. Peter’s groundbreaking fictional female first appeared in print exactly eight decades ago to this day, in the October 1941 issue of Sensation Comics #08.
If you’ve been a follower of the Precinct for awhile now, you more than likely know our affinity and adoration for Diana, in fact near forty percent of the post output here has been about the wondrous one’s myriad adventures. We have regaled you, dear reader, with comic and graphic novel reviews, psychological breakdowns of Diana’s mantra and impact, not only in the world of comics but also in real life situations of feminism, emancipation and acceptance, not to mention in-depth looks at her many allies, and foes, biographies of her creators, and the sundry stunning writers and artists who have depicted her over the decades.
Wonder Woman is THE most important fictional female character ever committed to print, a shining beacon of hope and bastion of empowerment and equality, in the popular world of the superhero, she is the anomaly, relying on forgiveness, love and acceptance, rather than just the fist. That said, she is also a three millennium old Amazon warrior, who has been training, alongside her immortal sisters, in martial mastery since her illustrious and divine creation by a pantheon of Greek gods, so, if she needs to kick arse, let’s just say, very few can stand before her might.
So, in celebration of Wondy’s eighty year reign, we would love to share with you a selection of our favourite Precinct1313 Wonder Woman posts from throughout the past eight years of this blog’s existence, that regale our love and admiration of the scintillating scion of the sublime. Enjoy, and… Happy 80th Anniversary Diana, we love ya!
Wonder Woman: The True Amazon
Eisner Award winning writer/artist – Jill Thompson’s perfect parable of Diana’s earlier years is an alluring and sometimes provocative take on the Themysciran Titan, the storytelling contained within this terrific tome has a level of true emotional depth oft unfound in the medium, and you can re-visit our 2016 review – Right Here.
The legendary pairing of the Themysciran Princess and sullen eyed Cimmerian – Conan the Barbarian is equalled in this titanic tale by the mythical mixing of it’s superstar creators – Gail Simone and Aaron Lopresti. Simone’s slow but epic build up in the story allows us to richly immerse ourselves into Conan’s savage and tempestuous reality, of which you too can experience if you visit our glowing review from 2020 – Right Here!
Wonder Woman: Rebirth
Greg Rucka, Liam Sharp and Nicola Scott’s Rebirth series was a phenomenon both visually and in it’s stellar story-telling, and world building, and has ended up with the distinction of being one of my absolute favourite ever takes on Gaea’s glorious gal, and you can find out why when you re-visit our 2016 post – Right Here.
Why We Love Wonder Woman
A more recent post from July 2021, where we spend time reflecting on the core attributes about Zeus’ favoured daughter that initially attracted us to the classic character, and why we still hold her in such reverence. Why not wend your way over to this particularly poignant post – Right Here!
Wonder Woman: Tempest Tossed
Celebrated author – Laurie Halse Anderson and illustrator – Leila Del Luca provided a fresh and funky new take on Diana’s early upbringing on Paradise Island. A superb coming of age drama that’s not afraid to delve into the darker recesses of humankind, but is ultimately a tale of family, friends, love and emancipation. Indulge your senses in our review – Right Here.
Diana – Princess Of The Amazons
Diana: Princess of the Amazons tells the tale of the wondrous one many years before she became the icon known as Wonder Woman. An eleven year old girl growing up on the idyllic paradise island of Themyscira. This fabulous fable is an uplifting tale about dealing with the inevitable growing pains that everyone ultimately experiences on their emotional journey into adulthood. A young adult novel that can be enjoyed by all ages, and you can start your very own voyage into this wildly wonderful world – Right Here!
Happy 80th Anniversary Diana! Just 20 More Years To The Centenary!!
Over eight decades ago, the smoking gun barrel of Joe Chill unleashed unto the unsuspecting denizens of Gotham City a nocturnal nightmare of which they had never seen. The tragic murder of Thomas and Martha Wayne, before the innocent eyes of their young son, Bruce, created a force of vengeance and justice that has been preying on Gotham’s criminal underbelly with furious anger ever since… The Batman!
Created by the peerless pairing of Bill Finger and Bob Kane, the creepy and curmudgeonly creature of the night’s first ever appearance was in DC Comics’ revered Detective Comics in May of 1939. Since that time, the dark and surly one has gone on to become, quite possibly, the most popular and renowned Superhero ever conceived, with his fame spreading across every single known entertainment medium, from comic-books through video-games, television shows, movies, toys, clothes, novelisations, and so, so much more, firmly cementing his place in heroic history!
But what is it that compels readers to immerse themselves in a vengeance driven man-hunter, 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 that it’s his inherent vulnerability and pathos, you see, unlike the vast swathe of caped crusaders, 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 his own righteousness and decency, it’s his integrity and moral fortitude that has enabled him to rise above the sea of costumed crimefighters 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 myriad martial arts, genius level intellect and a compendium of glorious gadgets also, sort of, helps!)
And So… Happy Batman Day! What will you be doing to celebrate the Dark Knight? Why not sound off in the comments below, fellow Bat-fans.
Never was a truer word said Doc… since DC Comics and comic-book author – Geoff Johns – once again returned us to the dystopian landscape of Alan Moore, Dave Gibbons and John Higgins’ original groundbreaking ’80s maxi-series.
I am a self confessed Watchmen fanboy, it is without a shadow of doubt my favourite comic-book series of all time. When I first consumed Alan Moore’s trailblazing series in 1986, I was blown away, it was a unique and contemporary take on the Superhero genre, a treatise on social anxiety, and a complete deconstruction of traditional Superhero conceptualisation, it was different in every single way possible to everything that came before it, and is almost single-handedly responsible for completely transforming the face of the comic-book medium for future creators, and readers. A veritable masterpiece.
Since that time we have been regaled with scant few other forays into Moore’s apocalyptic vision, from Director – Zack Snyder’s masterful cinematic adaptation in 2009, a motion comic version of the original series released the same year to coincide with the movie’s release, through DC’s prequel series – Before Watchmen, released in 2012, and more recently, the superb HBO television saga by Damon Lindelof. And though some fans revelled in the new material presented to us (myself included) others believed that the original should have always have been left as a standalone project, with whom co-creator Alan Moore has always sided.
I personally believe that any beloved piece of creation, be it film, novel and comic-book should always be given a chance to grow and re-present itself to a new and modern audience, Snyder’s movie was the first instance of this for Watchmen, opening up the material to new fans, but at the same time being honest and respectful of Moore’s original vision. Watchmen is a world that has so many more tales to tell, and even more lessons to bestow upon it’s readership, and with Geoff Johns’ – Doomsday Clock series, DC did just that, oh and it also marked a return for irascible ink-blot masked vigilante – Rorschach, but not in the way anyone was expecting (I mean, Doc Manhattan did, literally, implode Rorschach at the end of the first series!!)
Doomsday Clock actually counts as our first foray back into the pandemonium that is the Watchmen as it’s a direct sequel to the iconic ’80s series, and as controversial as that seems to some fans, as I stated earlier in the post, I personally am more than happy to once again step into the chaotic and dystopian world of the titular Crimebusters. Sequels, movie adaptations, et al, do not dilute the original works, and if done with care and attention to the former work, can add more layers to the existing whole, plus if the idea of a Watchmen sequel is in any way sacrilegious to you, then you can always ignore it and continue to enjoy Moore’s superlative original story in all it’s well deserved glory.
Doomsday Clock is initially set just a few short years after the end of the original storyline, it’s 1992 and the world is still in turmoil after the events set in motion by Ozymandias, but with his scheme now laid bare, the world is once again on the brink of nuclear armageddon. With this premise, writer – Geoff Johns and artist – Gary Franks, effortlessly transport us back to the wonderfully dark and grimy world set up by Moore, stylistically the comic evokes the original material beautifully, from the dialogue set, through to the nine panel grid layout, visually this feels perfectly at home to it’s predecessor.
Of course, I haven’t even touched upon the cross dimension interaction between the Crimebusters and DC’s regular pantheon of Superheroes, but let’s just say that the Batman/Rorschach team-up is as delightful as you can imagine, with some utterly fantastic dialogue between the two maniacal masked manhunters.
If you’re fan of Watchmen and can get past the apparent controversy that a sequel to the seminal original exists, then the recently released Doomsday Clock: Complete Collection is an absolute must buy. Johns and co have presented us with an extremely well written dark, but at times amusing return to the world of masked vigilantes, chaos and deep rooted fear and anxiety, and I for one am more than happy to continue my stay in its fatalistic presence. Highly recommended.
Welcome fellow agents of Precinct1313 to another exhilarating episode of – The Week In Geek – where we love to share our favourite Comic-Book, Videogame, and Cult Movie news for your perusal and pleasure. And so, once more unto the geek, dear agents, once more…
Jurnee Smollet To Reprise Black Canary Role In Solo Movie…
That’s right, fellow fans of fantastic fictional females in film, the canary is most definitely out of the cage as Birds of Prey star, Jurnee Smollet, confirms her return as dynamic Dinah Lance in a Black Canary solo movie entry for DC’s burgeoning cinematic universe.
Making her dazzling debut as the superhero – Black Canary in the hit movie: Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of one Harley Quinn, Jurnee was a resounding success with fans as the crusading crimefighter with a killer voice. Writer and showrunner for Lovecraft Country – Misha Green is also attached to the project which will see her re-unite with Jurnee, who also starred in the popular television series. The film is slated to start filming soon, and will be exclusive to HBO Max alongside other DC Comics’ movie projects – Batgirl, Blue Beetle, and Green Lantern Corps.
Ava DuVernay Confirms Season One Of DC Comics’ Character – Naomi Has Begun Filming…
Writer/director – Ava DuVernay has officially confirmed that she has started filming of the CW network’s adaptation of the fantastic DC Comics character. Kaci Walfall is headlining the series as the titular powerhouse – Naomi McDuffie, a character from a parallel universe who was sent to Earth Prime after destructive conqueror – Zumbado laid waste to her own version of the planet. Naomi’s spectacular power set include energy projection, flight, and superhuman strength and durability. Naomi’s surname pays tribute to the late, great comic-book author – Dwayne McDuffie, who is best known for creating the iconic African-American Superhero – Static, and was lead writer on many of DC’s animated shows.
Ava helmed the original pilot episode of Naomi for CW, and co-wrote the story with fellow write/producer – Jill Blankenship. The highly anticipated series is expected to air sometime in 2022.
Why not join us again next time friends, for more Week In Geek!
Over the nearly seven years that Precinct1313 has been a thing, we have posted, discussed and revealed the many fascinating and fantastic facets that make up the legend that is Wonder Woman, from her early beginnings courtesy of her genius architect – William Moulton Marston, through her sundry appearances in television, film, animation and, of course, comic-books.
We have regaled and radiated our adoration for the astonishing Amazon, poured praise upon the reasoning of why she is, and always shall be, the most important fictional female in literary history and shared with you, my astounding Amazonian associates, our very favourite manifold mythologies of the Themysciran Titan, be that through comic covers, reviews, news and just general gushing of our love for the character. So let us continue on that path through the philanthropic perfection that is Diana, with a brand new series of articles thusly titled – Amazon Accoutrements, with our very first episode devoted to the Lariat of Hestia, aka – the Lasso of Truth!
Truth, justice, emancipation, empowerment, and forgiveness are the key traits to Wonder Woman’s psyche, these five character hallmarks form Diana as the benevolent being she is, a gracious goddess whose sole mission is to convey these admirable distinctions to humanity. The truth is integral to Diana’s persona, she is innately incapable of lying, but having to deal on a daily basis with the deceit and nefarious whims of “man’s world” Diana is blessed to have been furnished with the legendary Lariat of Hestia, a glorious golden goddess granted lasso that compels all ensnared within its bonds to tell the truth.
The Hellenic Herald’s titanic tether was originally a part of Aphrodite’s magical girdle, which in itself had the power to inspire passion and desire, with the Queen of the gods herself, Hera, occasionally borrowing it to influence bridal contests for suitors and to rejoin bickering spouses in love. This mystical adornment was gifted to the Amazon race which bequest them their fabled strength and immortality. It was the Amazon, Metala, under mandate by Queen Hippolyta, who was enraptured by the magical artifact, that she forge a golden rope from the graceful girdle, and thus was born the very first form of the righteous rope of veracity.
In the tradition of the burgeoning DC Universe and it’s often shifting narrative and character mythos, the Lasso of Truth has also seen it’s beguiling backstory altered. The groundbreaking comic-book series – Crisis On Infinite Earths, by celebrated comic-book creators – George Perez and Marv Wolfman, posited that the lasso was forged by maestro of metallurgy and god of fire himself – Hephaestus. The bombastic blacksmith of the gods forged the lavish lariat from the Golden Girdle of Gaea, this mythological artifact was actually created by none other than Wonder Woman’s very own architect – William Moulton Marston, originally named by the esteemed doctor of psychology as the Magical Girdle of Aphrodite, an allegory for the power of female allure, and in Greek mythology – the mythic girdle was obtained by Heracles from Hippolyte as a key quest of his twelve labours.
The ability to extract the truth though is but one of the powerful properties contained within the golden links of the lasso, it is also capable of translating spoken languages, the mere act of gripping the lasso will enable Diana and any other beings to universally understand each other and speak foreign tongues, the libertarian lariat is also adept at disseminating illusions and hallucinations, and other mental maladies.
If you’ve had the good fortune of seeing the latest cinematic adaptation of Wonder Woman, you’ll recall seeing Gal Gadot’s Diana learning how to utilise her lasso and the wind currents to enable her ability to fly, this glorious gift wasn’t created for the fantastic film however, but was lifted from the very pages of the comic books themselves. When originally conceived, Diana was incapable of the fantastic feat of flight, but through experimentation of the lasso’s myriad powers, discovered that if she spun the lasso at great speeds, the oscillation would create currents of air she could then use to glide upon, mimicking the power of flight.
The comic-book creation of the Lasso of Truth by William Moulton Marston was in direct correlation to the esteemed psychologists real life creation of the Systolic Blood Pressure Test, which eventually became one of the key components in the John Larson invented Polygraph. It was actually professor Marston’s wife – Elizabeth Holloway that first suggested a distinct connection between emotion and blood pressure differentiation, noting that whenever they got frustrated or emotional, their blood pressure would climb.
Thanks so much for dropping by the Precinct as we explored the history and profundity of Wonder Woman’s laudable and lavish lariat of the gods, next episode we shall be traversing the fictional (and mythological) Amazon annals to search out the history of Diana’s Bracelets of Submission, until that time I shall just say “apochairetismos” my absolutely awesome Amazonian affiliates!
Superheroes are awesome aren’t they… leaping tall buildings in a single bound, scowling atop shadowy gargoyles, extracting the truth with their golden lariats, ka-powing criminals, crushing crime and fighting hatred and oppression, yes indeedy, Superheroes are awesome! That said, for many, without their extensive network of sidekicks and allies would they really be as effective? Batman has Robin and his extended Bat-Family, Superman has Supergirl and Superboy, Wonder Woman and Wonder Girl, Green Arrow and Speedy, et al. Though it could be said (probably only by me) that the real power behind their thrones comes from the less heralded, yet equally as important… Super-Pets!
Now then, if you’re not a comic-book fanatic, you may feel I’m barking mad, or that this post could end up being a cat-astrophe (sorry, I had to!) and yet, Batman, Superman, Supergirl and yes even Wonder Woman have an extensive history with their fearless furry friends that dates back decades, plus, believe it or not, said pets also don colourful costumes (y’know, just in case SuperVillain pets recognise them!), exhibit powers and, yep, fight crime! So why not join us as we peruse (and pet) our all time favourite super powered animals, from Krazy Kangaroos, through Soaring Cats and even a Bat-Cow!
The origin of the Super-Pet dates way back to the 1940’s, specifically the 1942 release of Sensation Comics #6, which introduced us to Wonder Woman’s very own faithful furry friend. Now, you’d think with Diana’s extensive history and standing in Greek Mythology, that Pegasus would be the perfect equine entity to accompany her on her ongoing odyssey, failing that how about the mighty Minotaur, maybe three headed demonic dog Cerberus, or Zeus’ nurturing goat – Amalthea? Ha, well you’d be wrong oh fellow fans of fantastic fluffy fearless friends, for it was none other than… Jumpa, the Kangaroo!! (Uh, well, of course it was!)
I mean, you really have to wonder why Wondy’s incredibly talented creator, William Moulton Marston went with a Kangaroo over the suggestions I threw out there, but, that said, have you ever seen a Kangaroo up close before? those things are terrifying! One of these mammoth marsupials chasing you down with Wonder Woman on it’s back no less, would be the epitome of the good cop/bad cop trope!!
Now, I know that this might put me in the dog house with the other Super-Pets, but Ace the Bat-hound has always been my personal favourite of this formidable furry force, I mean look at him, he wears a mask, and sometimes a cape and utility belt style collar (how on earth does he get the bat gadgets out of there without fingers? questions like this keep me up at night!) and his master is The Batman! so case closed.
Ace’s doggy debut was in the 1955 issue of Batman #92, and this canine crime-fighting conundrum has been a stalwart admission to the Bat mythos ever since. Originally a German Shepherd, Ace has been through many different Bat-breeds since his initial inception including an English Mastiff and Great Dane, though you’d think, with Batman being heralded as The World’s Greatest Detective that a Bloodhound would make the perfect canine companion for the Caped Crusader… Suffering Sappho, maybe DC should hire me to write their comics! (only joking, uuh, unless DC want to, then I’m not!) But, if you thought caped and cowled crime-fighting canines was the quintessence of strange, you ain’t seen nothing yet…
Yep, it’s a cow! though not just any old cow of course, but a bodacious and bombastic Bat-bovine!
The legen-dairy ( the puns, they’re gonna get worse!) Bat-Cow made her first astonishing appearance in Batman Inc (vol 2) #1, whilst another version of the headstrong heifer appeared for a short while in Tiny Titans, after stealing Batman’s cape and cowl to fight crime and form the the League Of Just Us Cows, this variant was eventually put out to pasture after DC Comics rebooted her with a brand new origin story. During a raid on a slaughterhouse (which was a front for Talia Al Ghul’s Leviathan) Batman and Robin saved their bovine buddy and adopted her into their burgeoning Bat-Family, this also led to Robin embracing a vegetarian lifestyle. Of course, the idea of a crime-fighting cow is udderly ridiculous, but it has also made for some rather amoo-sing tales, still, as to not milk this segment any longer we shall be moo-ving on to…
The canine crime-fighting capers continue with the Man of Steel’s very own good boy – Krypto the Superdog! Krypto has been lending a paw to Supes since his cuspid creation in Adventure Comics #210 in March 1955.
Superman’s best friend also hails from Kal-El’s home planet of Krypton and as such shares a very similar power set to that of his master including flight, super strength and super-breath (gross, I mean dogs and super-breath should never, ever go together!) this four legged wonder’s power set marks him out as the ulti-mutt crime-fighting canine in the Legion of Superpets, which finds him constantly harassed by the pup-arazzi! (ok, ok, that one was fairly bad, just please don’t hound me over it!)
Just when you are feline that the you’ve had enough of the bad animal puns along comes Supergirl’s favourite furry friend, the paw-some Streaky the Supercat! I’m not kitten around you know, Kara’s fur-midable feline made his debut in Action Comics #261 in February 1960.
Unlike his doggy buddy Krypto, Streaky hailed from Earth and gained his claw-some gifts after exposure to X-Kryptonite, which enabled him with purr-fect powers such as – flight, super-speed and enhanced visual abilities. Though DC contains a plethora of cats in its canon, including Power Girl’s Stinky the cat, and of course Catwoman’s clowder, Streaky though will go down in hiss-tory as a personal favourite of mine, as he has such a meow-tain of purr-sonality!
All Hail The Legion Of Super-Pets Fur-ever!
Welcome fellow agents of Precinct1313 to another exciting 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…
HBO Max Green Lantern TV Series To Start Filming April 2021
I have to admit, I’m one of the very few people that actually really liked the 2011 Ryan Reynolds starring live action Green Lantern movie (especially Mark Strong’s perfect performance as Sinestro) that said, I can acknowledge its faults, and because of its relative box office failure, Green Lantern fans have since been starved of Brightest Days and Blackest Nights… until now. HBO have announced that an initial ten episode series will start filming in April this year, and will include emerald avengers such as – Alan Scott, Jessica Cruz, Guy Gardener (yay!) Simon Baz, and Hal Jordan’s eternal enemy, Sinestro.
No news as of yet whether Hal Jordan himself will be featured, but it’s fantastic to see the original GL – Alan Scott being included in the line up alongside my personal fave Lantern, Guy Gardener.
Sasha Calle Is Our New DCU Supergirl…
Emmy nominee actress – Sasha Calle has been cast as the DC Cinematic Universe’s Girl of Steel, for Andy Muschietti’s highly anticipated Flash movie. The more I hear of Scarlet Speedster – The Flash’s new cinematic endeavour the more excited I’m becoming. Not only will Ezra Miller return to the role of the world’s fastest man, but the film has also cast the dynamic duo of Ben Affleck and Michael Keaton as the Batman (time travelling shenanigans and dimension meddling allow for various versions of characters to be displayed!) and now director Muschietti has confirmed that Superman’s cousin Kara Zor-El will also be joining the burgeoning cast portrayed by The Young and the Restless actor – Sasha.
Muschietti apparently had over 400 actresses audition for the Supergirl role, but was “blown away by Sasha’s strength but also vulnerability” which eventually secured her the part. Up, up and away! we look forward to seeing Sasha jump tall buildings in a single bound when the movie releases in November 2022.
Zack Snyder’s Justice League Releases Final Trailer, And It’s Amazing!
Zack Snyder’s long awaited epic four hour long Justice League movie is tantalisingly close to release, there’s now less than a month before we can revel in the superior version of the world’s greatest superheroes, with the entire four hour variant arriving in homes across the planet on March 18. With over three and a half hours of new footage (none of Joss Whedon’s original footage is to be included… thankfully) and a return of Jared Leto’s Joker (who will finally meet up with his caped crusading nemesis) and more screen time for Joe Manganiello’s Deathstroke, Zack’s upcoming opus has us DC fanatics chomping at the proverbial bit! Indulge in the newest trailer below fellow JLA fans.
Why not join us again next time, for more Week In Geek.
“I swear to devote my life to the destruction of all forms of piracy, greed, cruelty, and injustice, and my sons and their sons shall follow me”
Wonder Woman and Batman have been the cornerstones of Precinct1313 since this website sprang into existence over six years ago. They are as vital to this blog as oxygen is to a drowning man… though, there is another masked man who didn’t originate from the same wellspring as Bruce and Diana, and yet is almost as popular as the titanic two. In fact, it was the ‘Guardian of the Eastern Dark’ that held the starring role in our very first ever blog post here in the hallowed halls of Precinct1313.
February 17, 2021 marks the astonishing 85th anniversary of Lee Falk’s ground-breaking character – The Phantom. Phantom was the first of what later became a barrage of Superheroes, preceding DC’s Superman by a full two years, and the character was also crucial in the development of The Batman, with the Dark Knight’s co-creator – Bill Finger, citing The Phantom as a major influence on the Caped Crusader’s creation.
It was ‘The Ghost Who Walks’ who originally donned a colourful costume and domino mask and fought an eternal and ceaseless war on crime, injustice, and evil men with just his quick wits, martial skills and a courageous wolf companion named Devil. The Phantom truly is ‘He Who Came First’ in the mega popular world of the Superhero, the template for all the costume clad heroes who arose in his stead.
The Phantom was created by Lee Falk in 1936, and made his auspicious debut almost to this very day (I meant to get this posted yesterday, Phantom’s actual birthday, unfortunately the internet gods shouted “Nay!”) in a newspaper serial strip. Falk was an american writer and artist who had previously created the majestic mage – Mandrake the Magician, in 1934 before going on to usher into existence The Phantom a mere two years later. Lee Falk was born in Missouri in 1911, and spent the majority of his youth there, he was a gifted writer and pitched his idea for Mandrake to King Features Syndicate, Falk was a huge fan of stage magicians and illusionists, and actually based the look of Mandrake on his very own visage. The Phantom sprang from Falk’s love of myths and legends such as King Arthur, and popular fictional creations Tarzan and Robin Hood.
Kit Walker is The Phantom, 21st in a lineage of costumed crime-fighters that first began in 1536, when the father of British sailor Christopher Walker was killed by the treacherous pirate clan – The Singh Brotherhood. Swearing an oath on the skull of his father’s now slain murderer, he became the first Phantom, beginning a legacy that would pass on from father to son for generations. The outside world though, believed it to be the same man, an immortal, a Ghost Who Walks, fighting injustice from his secret Skull Cave deep in the heart of the Bangalla jungle. Fighting alongside his wolf Devil, and white steed Ghost, the Man Who Cannot Die instils fear into the corrupt and hope amongst the innocent, in his never ending pursuit against the evil that men do.
The Ghost Still Walks… Happy 85th Kit Walker!
The Phantom is copyright – King Features Syndicate.
After a lifetime of murder and mayhem, remorseless mercenary, Solomon Kane (James Purefoy) renounces violence after discovering that his immoral crusade has condemned his soul to hell. Yet when he returns back to his home in Devonshire, England he discovers that an even worse evil has taken reign in his lands, but will fighting back against this malefic threat ultimately result in his redemption or infernal suffering.
Cast: James Purefoy, Max Von Sydow, Pete Postlethwaite, Alice Krige, Rachel Hurd-Wood, Jason Flemyng, Mackenzie Crook. Director: Michael J. Basset. Writers: Robert E. Howard (creator) Michael J. Basset (screenplay)
Solomon Kane was ushered into existence by early 1900’s novelist Robert E. Howard, who is probably most noted for his creation of sword swinging, kingdom usurping – Conan The Barbarian. Kane’s inaugural introduction was in a 1928 issue of Weird Tales, Howard described his character as a – “sombre, gloomy man with a pale complexion and cold eyes” dressed head to toe in black, carrying two pistols and a rapier, Kane wandered the world fighting witchcraft, black magic and evil men.
The films opening takes place during Kane’s murderous past as he and his cut-throat army of brigands invade and pillage a large fortress in Africa in 1600 AD. Whilst fighting their way to the riches and glory contained within the fortress throne room, Kane becomes separated from his heinous henchmen and confronted by the Devil’s Reaper, who discloses that Kane’s nefarious lifestyle has forfeit his soul, and the Reaper is there to deliver it unto his master, Kane refusing to yield to the demand leaps from the throne room balcony into the tempestuous seas below.
A year passes, and we catch up with Solomon in an Abbey in England where he has taken refuge to recant his former murderous ways and live a life of peace in a desperate attempt to save his soul from damnation. However, a prophetic vision of Solomon’s future by the lead Abbot, leads to Solomon being told to immediately leave the sanctity of the Abbey, as his ensuing fate does not reside within it’s sacred grounds. Deciding to return to his land of noble birth in Devonshire, Solomon is set upon by a trio of vicious mercenaries, who leave him for dead after he refuses to break his vow of peace and fight back. Found and nursed back to health by Meredith Crowthorn (Rachel Hurd-Wood) daughter of a travelling puritan family, he ends up temporarily joining them on their pilgrimage.
But when an encounter with a strange masked warrior and his band of zombie like minions ends with the death of the Crowthorns and kidnapping of Meredith for their necromancer master – Malachi (Jason Flemyng) Solomon breaks his vow of peace and sets out to rescue Meredith and end Malachi’s demonic reign. Thus ensues a bloody path of vengeance and retribution that will either condemn Solomon’s soul to hell or redeem it for all eternity.
British director, Michael J. Basset’s cinematic interpretation of Howard’s classic evil smiting, puritanical warrior is as close to its original source material as any fan could hope to get, it really is as if Solomon had leapt onto the silver screen from the very pages of the novels and comic-books themselves. Basset’s reverence for Howard’s original books is tangible, and the casting of native Devonshire actor James Purefoy is the icing on the proverbial cake. Purefoy is an amazing and rather underrated Brit actor, and gives his all in this superb adaptation, going from an evil, detestable character to one you actively feel pity towards, and eventually end up rooting for as the film unfolds, plus being a native of Devon, of course, his accent is spot on (trust me, I live in Devon!) Backed up by a supporting stable of excellent actors including the late Max Von Sydow, Pete Postlethwaite, and the ever entertaining Mackenzie Crook.
The films myriad fight scenes choreographed by sword master – Richard Ryan are superbly put together, savage and brutal, akin to the era, with limbs hacked off at an alarming rate and Kane’s notoriety as a peerless warrior shine through in these stunning sequence,with Purefoy himself doing the majority of his own sword and stunt work.
Beautifully shot by Dan Lausten in England and Prague, the film is a dark and foreboding cinematic delight, and like it’s filmic counterpart, the fantastic – Black Death, retains a classic Hammer movie feel. The English landscape is littered with broken down churches, soulless graveyards and eerie hanging corpses, replete with carrion crows and a constant deluge of rain and mud (much like the UK still is!) The film’s original soundtrack by Klaus Badelt is also outstanding, rousing and haunting in equal measure and has become one of my very favourite movie compositions.
Though mostly receiving positive reviews when released, amongst both fans and critics, it unfortunately, initially only recouped about a third of its original budget (such is the case with a large swathe of films emanating from the UK) though thankfully it has gone on since its initial launch in 2009 to surpass its £33,000,000 budget through Blu-Ray and DVD sales, deservedly so as Solomon Kane is one of the greatest sword and sorcery movies ever made, and comes highly recommended.
Well hey there fellow agents of Precinct1313, and welcome once again to our annual Geekstravaganza! Our celebratory destination is, as ever, the Precincts famous ‘Halls of Quaffing’ where we shall ultimately gather to rid ourselves of what, lets be honest, was an interminably intense and excruciating year. But, let’s forget about that for now and make our way down through this majestic mansion of mystery’s convoluted and ever changing corridors and chambers and stop by the colossal Comic Crypts to celebrate the year of glorious geekdom!
Our Favourite Comic-Book Series: Wonder Woman – Dead Earth
DC Comics’ Black Label series has been a fantastic phenomenon, a line of limited series aimed at the more mature market that began with the bombastic Batman: Damned, and then continued to build upon that success by regaling us with even more classic characters in this distinctly adult line, with this particular stunning series focusing on our absolutely favourite hallowed Hellenic herald, Wonder Woman.
Wonder Woman: Dead Earth is a four issue mini-series written and illustrated by Daniel Warren Johnson, and is my first ever encounter with the writer/artist, and I must say after this seminal series, I am now a huge fan. This comic is the perfect parable for the world we reside in today, encompassing climate change, oppression, racism and tribe like mentality, with even Wondy herself struggling to stifle the causes of these worrisome traits. Grim, dark and gritty, but ultimately a tale of optimism and mutual respect for the planet that nurtures us and our fellow species. Highly recommended!
(Fave comic-book runners up – Wonder Woman: Tempest Tossed, Zatanna and the House of Secrets)
Favourite Comic-Book Movie: Birds Of Prey
That’s right fellow fans of fantastic fiction, the hellacious Harley Quinn teamed up with the bad-ass Birds of Prey for Cathy Yan’s glorious take on one of DC’s most beloved franchises. Margot Robbie was born to play the role of the clown princess of crime and once again gives a remarkable and laugh out loud turn as the long suffering sociopath, ably supported by Mary Elizabeth Winstead as The Huntress, and a perfect performance by Jurnee Smollet-Bell as Black Canary, plus, if that wasn’t enough of a geek overload, narcissistic psychopathic crime-lord Black Mask was expertly brought to vivid life by brilliant British thesp, Ewan McGregor. A deliriously fun and fourth wall breaking delight, Birds of Prey is an absolute must watch! (May I just say, at time of writing this, I haven’t yet seen Wonder Woman 84, due to pandemics and closed cinemas, but will hopefully reverse this in early 2021)
Favourite Statue/Toy I Personally Purchased: Bombshells Death Statue
You know what, I have way too many statues, action figures and toys, so many in fact that some are still retained in their boxes through lack of space. It’s a shame I know to keep such gloriously geeky works of art in their packaging, but I have literally zero willpower, and whenever I encounter another cool collectable, all reasoning and monetary value goes out the window as my inner child takes over, and I buy yet another awesome addition to add to my overwhelming pile of geek. That said, the Death statue was whipped out of her protective polystyrene tout suite, because it is quite possibly one of the most beautiful pieces I have yet laid eyes upon. Based upon the Endless version of the Grim Reaper, Death is a favoured character of mine, so she now resides upon the fabled Superlative Shelf of Superhero Statues alongside the other spectacularly sublime sculpts. And just how much geeky toy goodness have I managed to stuff the Precinct with, see below for just a small glimpse into my fevered collecting brain…
And there you have it fellow agents of Precinct1313, a few of the things that have helped me personally cope with this torrid year. What has brought you personal joy throughout 2020? why not sound off in the comments below. May I just say a huge thank you to everyone who has visited, commented and followed the Precinct over the past twelve months, it’s really, really appreciated. And so… Happy New Year!
Oh, And As Ever… Make Mine DC!
Suffering Sappho! the torturous wait for the sequel to Gal Gadot and Patty Jenkins’ dynamic 2017 Wondy debut is finally (finally!) coming to an end. Its original release date was set for December 2019, then later moved to June 2020, but during this time, the world went rather topsy-turvy with the Covid pandemic shutting down the planet as we knew it, including cinemas… so no Wonder Woman for you then (sob!) But, in less than eight days (in the UK at least) Diana will once again don her golden lariat of Hestia, and bullet deflecting bracelets formed from the sacred shield of Aegis… and kick major Cheetah butt!You probably realise by now that we are huuuuge Wonder Woman fans here in the Precinct, she is our absolute favourite comic-book character of all time, so the delay has been almost unbearable, but, as previously mentioned, in eight short days that interminable intermission shall be over and we shall once again bask in the golden light that is Diana of Themyscira. So, to help pass the time and ramp up our excitement even more for Wondy’s return (not sure if possible!), we thought we’d share with you, our astonishing Amazonian associates, some of the latest screenshots, posters and trailers of the Themysciran Titan’s newest odyssey… by the mighty horns of Amalthea, it’s going to be legendary!
Diana dons her legendary Golden Eagle Armour to fight arch-enemy, Cheetah! (P1313 Fun Fact: The Golden eagle Armour made it’s first ever appearance in Mark Waid and Alex Ross’ fantastic 1996 series – Kingdom Come)
Kristen Wiig as Dr Barbara Ann Minerva and in full feral form as Wondy’s nemesis, The Cheetah! (P1313 Fun Fact: There have been four variants of Cheetah since her first ever appearance in Wonder Woman #6 in 1943, With Babs Minerva resolutely being the all time favourite amongst fans)
Merciful Minerva! Are you as excited for WW84 as we are here in the Precinct? Then why not sound off in the comments below, my absolutely astounding Amazonian affiliates!
(Warning: Alliteration Avalanche Ahoy!)
Felicitations fellow fans of fantastic fiction, and welcome once more to a cornucopia of cool comic cover collectables!
Now, imagine the scene, it’s been at least five weeks since yours truly has darkened the doorstep of my local comic-book emporium due to a month long country wide lockdown in the UK, and so, upon setting foot in my dream laden store of choice (dream for me, absolute nightmare for my wallet and bank account!) I am confronted with a legendary landslide of a pull list, this peerless pile was so large I assumed we’d entered into an eclipse, as the sun itself was blocked by this mammoth mountain of marvellous manuscripts!! Of course, me being me, and not satisfied with this crushing cavalcade of comic coolness,I dangerously (again, for my weeping wallet and bawling bank account) and passionately peruse the shelves to add yet more terrific tomes to this overtly overwhelming onslaught of comics, already large enough to cause the world to spin off its axis, when I spot the impeccable illustration residing on this months DCEASED: Dead Planet #6.
Instantly falling in love with the astonishing artwork, I couldn’t help but add this to the already precarious pull list. Based upon the peerless posters for DC’s live action version of Shazam, but replacing Billy Batson with Mary Marvel (okay, okay, she’s technically known as Mary Shazam now!), a character I love, this vaunted variant by the bombastic Ben Oliver was fervently fitted into a frame and placed promptly into the Precinct’s colossally cavernous Comic Crypts.
“The remaining heroes of the DC Universe are stuck between hell and a hard place! With the Justice League racing against the clock to create a cure, the cruel masters of the southern garden are determined to wipe all anti-life from the planet. And, just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse… the war to save the Earth takes a devilishly new direction, Trigon is coming to end the world, as hell is long overdue its payment in souls!”
DCEASED: Dead Planet #6 is available at your local comic-book emporium right now!
On this day on October 21 1941 an inspiration was born, Diana, Princess of the Amazons made her dynamic debut courtesy of her celebrated creator William Moulton Marston. And so in celebration of Wonder Woman Day, I present to you, my astonishing Amazonian Affiliates, an extra special instalment of ‘Comic Cover Of The Week’ a hearken back to my first ever encounter with the Themysciran Titan, way back in that glorious decade known as the 1980s!
Ah the eighties, it was an interesting and rather revolutionary time in the UK. It had just gotten over the phenomenon that was Punk Rock, a rebellious anti-establishment movement that, really, was more about freedom of speech and giving voice to the people than it was about the music itself. I was actually way too young to appreciate the campaign for acceptance and diversity that Punk represented, but looking back on that era now, have come to realise how much Superheroes fit into the same mould as the punk rockers of the day, working outside of Government control, for the benefit of the people themselves.
I grew up in the greatest decade in the history of human kind (at least it was to me) the 1980’s. Icons from my era included such luminaries as Siouxsie and the Banshees (my all time favourite band… yes I was a Goth!) ridiculously over the top action heroes like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, and Wesley Snipes, Cynthia Rothrock and Moon Lee (my favourite female action stars.) Video Games began to really evolve from their previous very simplistic and basic look and premise in the seventies, adding more complexity and depth in both the graphics and gameplay. But even with all these wonderful new distractions available to me, Comic-Books were still my first love, my go to for escapism and ultimate reverie.
It was the shadowy Masked Manhunter, The Batman, who initially introduced me into wonderful world of Superheroes. My first encounter with this iconic character was when I was six years of age, I was captivated by his world, so very different from my own (yet at times eerily similar.) Gotham was a terrible, seething place of corruption and murder, yet it had a redeemer, someone who swathed himself in darkness, and was scarier than even the worst denizens of this malevolent city… and yet, fought for good!
The character beguiled me, and it was through him that my love of not just comics, but also literature itself began. It wasn’t until I was nine that I experienced my first foray into the legendary world of the Amazons, I knew who Wonder Woman was of course, through the occasional crossover story in ‘Batman’ and ‘Detective Comics’ but had yet to branch out fully into other realms, feeling contented in my protracted residence in Gotham City.
Wonder Woman #271 was the first time I invested heavily in a character who didn’t have a cape, a cowl and a fatalistic outlook to the world around him. In fact the two characters are literally night and day, which is why I believe that I began to love the Themysciran Titan with the same amount of reverence as I did the Dark Knight, because they were so different. She offered hope, and an optimism that The Bat just didn’t have, a figure who inspired goodness in those around her, with the strength and fortitude to fight the evils of man, yet show compassion and kindness to those deserving (and those who also were not, thus is her leniency and benevolence.)
I have always seen the two characters as my diametrically opposed halves, Batman represents my love of the darkness, gothicism (technically not a word, I know, but I like it) horror movies, the supernatural et al, and Wonder Woman has always constituted my hopes for the future, my work to forward animal rights, vegetarianism, and a general aspiration for betterment of myself and the world about me, and so…