Category Archives: Other stuff…
It is with great sadness that we relay the tragic news that legendary British comic-book writer – Alan Grant passed away on July 20, 2022, at the age of 73.
Alan is one of my absolute favourite comic-book authors of all time, I first discovered his inordinate writing talent through Brit comic anthology – 2000AD, where he regaled the readers with his stunning takes on legendary characters such as Judge Dredd and Strontium Dog. But it was his acclaimed run on DC Comics’ Batman and Detective Comics that sealed him as a personal fave in the wonderful world of comics, alongside mainstay artist, the late Norm Breyfogle, Alan produced some of the my favourite tales of the Caped Crusader, it was during this run that he also co-created the rogues gallery characters – Anarky, Victor Zsasz and The Ventriloquist.
Alan was born in Bristol in 1949, but grew up in Scotland. After fleetingly working in a bank, Alan took a trainee position at a local newspaper. At 18 he joined publisher – DC Thomson, home to another classic Brit anthology comic – The Beano, it was during this tenure that he met lifelong comic-book cohorts – Pat Mills and John Wagner.
He moved to London in 1970, and joined publishing giant – IPC, where he worked as a writer and sub-editor, it was here that he was offered an editorial position on 2000AD. Going forward he became one of 2000AD’s most prolific writers with hard edged, anti-authoritarian tales like – “John Cassavetes Is Dead” and “Letter To A Democrat” his writing was inspired by left wing ideology, anarchism and Eastern philosophy. It was in the late 80s’ and throughout most of the 90s’ that Alan worked for DC Comics on their venerable Bat titles and also wrote the celebrated – Judgement On Gotham, the awesome Judge Dredd/Batman crossover alongside Scottish artist – Simon Bisley.
Our thoughts go out to Alan’s family and friends at this very sad time.
Yep, it appears that The Batman is such a bad-arse that when he isn’t out fighting crime he spends his day punching tigers… PUNCHING TIGERS!
Now, look here Bats, we love ya man but is it absolutely necessary to pick on those poor defenceless tigers?
Oh, after a little digging around it appears that this isn’t a single time incident, the dark and surly one has been whomping wildlife since the beginning, and apparently even found a way to go back in time for some dinosaur dunking!!
Ye Gods Man! Can You Stop Already!!
(Disclaimer – I’m sure there was a very good reason ol’ Batsy had for these ( ever so slightly) out of context actions… oh, and I’m a member of PETA and love their work)
Welcome, fellow agents of Precinct1313, to our ebullient eighth anniversary! That’s right, the majestic mansion of mystery first materialised unto this plane of existence in 2014, it’s mission (which we absolutely chose to accept) was to provide you with some decidedly delectable DC Comics documentation, whilst behind the scenes we continued to map out the convoluted corridors, herculean hallways and colossal comic crypts that compose this recondite residence.
Shortly, as is our tradition, we shall be making our merry way down to the Precinct’s fabled – Great Halls Of Quaffing – to celebrate in style, along the way though, we shall take a short excursion and visit the abstruse anomaly known as the – Scrying Chamber – whence sits, upon a single stone table, a stygian black crystal ball. So why not join me, fellow fans of fantastic fiction, as we stare deep into its sanguine depths and re-live some of our favourite posts from the past eight enthralling years…
World’s Finest – Interview Series
A mainstay of of the Precinct over the years (and my absolute favourite posts to write) was the – Worlds’ Finest: Interview – series, where each episode we would invite our most treasured – Superheroes, SuperVillains, Costumed Crimefighters, Dimension Dwelling Demons, and, of course, Super-Pets to answer a quotient of quintessentialy quirky questions about life, the universe and cake (’cause everyone loves cake!)
Classic characters such as – Circe, Harley Quinn, and Cheetah have darkened the Precinct’s media studio, and have – harassed, bludgeoned, nibbled and vexed our poor hapless interviewer, with his deadly denouement happening at a final, fatal interview with Judge Death, almost two years past. I’m very happy to announce the imminent return of World’s Finest and, also, our original interviewer! thanks to Ra’s al Ghul’s much appreciated offer to plonk him in his Lazarus pit! So keep your eyes peeled for World’s Finest: Series 2, which will include interviews with the likes of Rorschach, Zatanna, and The Scarecrow!
Ace, Krypto and Streaky Too!
One of our more recent posts, and one that was without a doubt absolutely massive fun to write was this post dedicated to the awesomely adorable animals that populate the DC Universe. These super-powered pets include such dynamic delights as – flying felines, detective deducing dogs and, yep, even a Bat-Cow!! You can peruse (and pet) this perky post – Right Here.
Wonder Woman: Tempest Tossed
As you’re all probably bored of hearing right now , ’cause we never, ever shut up about it (and never shall!) we love Wondy here in Precinct1313, she is our favourite comic book creation of all time! And just recently the glorious gods of Olympus once more bestowed upon us mere mortals yet another thrilling tale of the Themysciran Titan with the fabulous Laurie Halse Anderson penned opus – Tempest Tossed – a sublime celebration of the wondrous one, and you can read our rapturous review of this titanic tome – Right Here.
The Bat Loves The Cat
The Bat most assuredly does love the cat, in fact they’ve been dancing around each other emotionally for the past eight decades! Yep, that’s eighty years of perfect passion procrastination! No character has had a more emotive impact on the Dark Knight’s melancholic life than sultry Selina Kyle aka -Catwoman! Why not re-live their tender tale of romance – Right Here.
Phew, thanks for sticking with us as we shared some of our personal favourite posts we have submitted to the WordPress world over the past eight years, and as we near the great Halls of Quaffing for mucho merriment, allow me to say a massive THANK YOU to all of the Precinct’s followers, readers and fellow bloggers… it is YOU that makes this joyous journey worthwhile.
Oh, And As Ever – Make Mine DC!
The legendary artist/writer George Perez sadly passed away on May 6 with complications arising from pancreatic cancer. This devastating news actually hit me quite hard as it was George’s Wonder Woman comics run in the eighties that first introduced me to the Themysciran Titan, and ultimately made me fall in love with the character.
George Perez is one of the most popular and acclaimed artists of the past half century, with his extensive run on Wonder Woman in the 1980’s being a defining moment not just in his own artistic career but also for the character herself. His reboot of Diana began with the 1987 issued – Wonder Woman #1, George was the main artist and plotted the series for its first two year run, then went on to write it for a further three, with his take on Wondy and her pantheon of allies and villains hailed as the greatest and most significant version of the characters since the original creation team of William Marston and Harry Peter in the 1940’s.
In 1980, George alongside fellow comic-book legend, Marv Wolfman, launched – The New Teen Titans, rebooting the classic sixties series and creating new characters to add to the roster of the team of teen sidekicks – Starfire, Raven and Cyborg, and also anti-hero mercenary – Deathstroke. It was also during this run that Dick Grayson finally stepped out of The Batman’s shadow and shed his Robin persona to become the peerlessly popular Nightwing.
George was born in New York City in June 1954, and was always destined to be an artist and started drawing from the tender age of five years old. At the age of twenty he took a job as a studio assistant at Marvel Comics, with his first published work appearing in Astonishing Tales #25 in 1974. George continued to work for Marvel until 1980 when he moved over to DC Comics, with his first artistic endeavour drawing the Flash back up tale – Firestorm. In 1985 after close to five years working on The New Teen Titans, he started work on DC’s massive crossover event – Crisis On Infinite Earths, the criss-crossing maxi-series that would end up altering the DC Universe dramatically for years to come, when this came to an end George went on to his career defining run On Wonder Woman and cemented his place in Comic-Book history.
Thank you George for all the joy and wonderment you have brought to me personally throughout your astonishing career, without you I may never have fallen in love with the many characters I hold dear today, most especially Wonder Woman, it was your iconic run that endeared Diana to me more than any character previous to her and for this reason alone, you will always be my most beloved comic creator of all time, rest in peace good sir.
Our Thoughts Go Out To George’s Family And Friends At This Sad Time.
Brian Augustyn, the legendary creator behind the classic Elseworlds story – Batman: Gotham By Gaslight and mainstay on The Flash throughout the nineties, sadly died yesterday – February 1st – at just sixty seven years of age.
Brian passed away after suffering a severe stroke, according to his longtime friend and Flash collaborator – Mark Waid, who posted the sad news to Facebook at the behest of his family.
“The Augustyn family has asked me to let Brian’s friends and fans know that Brian left us today after a sudden, severe stroke over the weekend. I have spent a lot of time these past few hours writing a great deal about Brian, and I’ll share these thoughts soon, but for now I simply wanted to let everyone know. Comics has lost a very kind and talented man who has been my big brother, and one of my best friends for the past thirty five years”
Brian first began working in the comic-book industry in the mid eighties, and joined DC Comics in 1988 as co-editor on Action Comics Weekly. He went on to be the singular editor of The Flash, which is where he originally brought on board the talented Mark Waid, and the two would become firm friends and comic collaborators over the passing years. Brian’s most beloved work was on the previously mentioned – Gotham By Gaslight, which featured art by Hellboy creator – Mike Mignola, the story was so popular that it spawned a sequel – Batman: Master Of The Future and a fantastic animated movie based upon the tale in 2018.
Our condolences and thoughts go out to his family and friends at this sad time.
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!
It is 1941, and eminent psychology professor and inventor, William Moulton Marston, radically shakes up the male dominated market of Superhero comics with his charismatic and compelling creation – Wonder Woman, unleashed in the progressive pages of All Star Comics #8, Diana was an instant hit, and less than a year later the seminal character received her very own ongoing comic-book series, which is still being published monthly to this day, almost eight decades on from her groundbreaking inception.
It is 1982, and a nine year old Batman fanatic opens his eyes to a whole new and enlightening world outside of the grimy, corrupt streets of Gotham City, transcending the grim, driven, dark angel of justice known as The Batman, and accepting into his other (comic book) reality a much more virtuous and progressive character. A simple gift from his mum would ultimately turn into a lifelong (but wholesome) obsession, with Wonder Woman helping to not only sate a young imagination with fantastic tales of heroism, mythological monsters and warrior women, but ultimately also help guide his future precepts, and tenets.
I, of course, am that nine year old Batfan, and though the above statement of receiving guidance from a fictional character on moral precepts may sound corny, it’s also true! You see, even though much of our growth mentally and morally is instigated through parentage, friendships and schooling, we are also heavily influenced by (especially now) the fictional worlds we reside in, be that video-games, novels, movies and, of course comic-books.
My comic-book upbringing, strangely, mirrors that of my actual upbringing, and, no, that does not mean my dad ran around in tights, a pointy eared mask and fought crime, but he did share similarities to the caped crusader. He was a driven, but kind man, a member of the British parachute regiment who received the military cross for his act of heroism in rescuing injured members of his squad from a minefield, like the Batman, he was a hero that I looked up to. My mum, again has always been a kind and gentle soul with a love of animals and people, whom has never a bad word to say about anyone, she is also a feminist and rights activist, she also is my hero. Batsy and Wondy have always felt like perfect fictional counterparts to my parents, and that connection between real world and fiction has what’s really led to comic-books holding a special place in my essence.
My adoration of the Themysciran Titan not only derives from my affection for comic-books and a long-standing fascination of Greek mythology, but also my love of strong women in all forms of narrative fiction, and reality, in fact I have always preferred kick-arse female fighters in my video-games and movies and most certainly comics. I have over the years here in the Precinct written about the female influences in my life, my love of martial arts films stems mostly from my youth and watching fantastic fighting female furies like Moon Lee and Cynthia Rothrock reverse the tropes and kick everyone’s arses in film, and don’t get me started on the myriad female superheroes outside of Diana that I adore.
Ultimately though, I look up to Wonder Woman because she stands for everything I personally believe in, social justice, diversity and equity. Fairness, equality and emancipation are tenets that we should all aspire to, and Wonder Woman was, is, and always shall be a golden beacon of hope held up to shine her light on the philosophical theory of a fair and equal society. Long may she reign!
Hey there fellow fans of fantastic fighting female furies, and welcome back to our ongoing/occasional series where we strive to acquaint you with some our favourite formidable females from throughout cinematic history. Last instalment we caught up with the magnificent Moon Lee, our absolute fave ever Asian action star, this time around we’ll be introducing you to none other than the bombastic blonde fury herself, scintillating Cynthia Rothrock! of all the action/martial arts stars throughout film, Cynthia has always been our most revered and is, arguably, the most accomplished female martial expert of all time!
Formidably known in her cinematic heyday as The Queen Of Martial Arts, Cynthia has undeniably lived up to that daunting moniker – starred in over sixty films since her dynamic debut alongside Michelle Yeoh in Yes Madam, attained an astonishing seven black belts with a rank of 8th Dan in varying Chinese, Japanese and Korean martial disciplines, is five times undefeated world Karate champion in weapons and forms, was the first ever female cover star on both Inside Kung Fu and Black Belt Magazine, is the inspiration for two of video-games most popular female fighters – Sonya Blade from Mortal Kombat and King from SNK’s popular Art of Fighting and King of the Fighters series, and, is an inductee in the distinguished Black Belt Hall Of Fame alongside such legends as Bruce Lee… Phew!
Cynthia Ann Christine Rothrock was born in 1957 in Wilmington Delaware, though her formative years were spent in Scranton Pennsylvania, it was at the age of thirteen that she first developed an interest in martial arts. In 1981 Cynthia won her first world tournament in the forms and weapons classification, this particular martial category deals with fluidity of movement and form and is mostly non combat oriented, and saw both female and male participation, with Cynthia managing to easily outclass both sexes, she would go on to win this title for an astonishing four more years.
In her first thirty eight tournaments she took first place in forms discipline an astonishing thirty two times (again competing against both female and male martial artists) and twelve times in weapons, she was also pronounced Grand-Master (an honorary title given to individuals who excel at their chosen art and are revered by their peers) at five separate championships… it’s safe to say that Cynthia was a martial arts savante from a very young age.
It was at the height of her tournament dominance that the esteemed martial magazine Black Belt took notice and inducted her into the Black Belt Hall Of Fame as the “Female Competitor Of The Year” she also took the coveted front cover status on the very same issue, the first ever female in martial arts history to receive that distinguished honour.
1983 was the year that Cynthia would first be propelled onto the cinematic stage after being talent scouted by venerable Hong Kong based fighting film studio – Golden Harvest. It was in 1985 that Cynthia co-starred in her very first movie – Police Assassins alongside the magnificent Michelle Yeoh. The film was a massive box office success and launched Cynthia’s long running movie career, with the rapidly rising star going on to make another sensational seven movies for the studio giant, including my personal favourite – Blonde Fury.
Cynthia also holds the prominent achievement as the first ever westerner to be billed as the leading actor in Asian fighting movies. Upon returning home to the United States, Cynthia continued her movie calling with titles such as – China O’Brien and its sequel, Guardian Angel, No Retreat-No Surrender, Prince Of The Sun and many, many more.
She eventually retired from acting after the movie Sci-Fighter in 2004, when she returned to teaching martial arts and expanding on her own, already formidable skills, though she still occasionally cameos and guest stars in various television productions including her own YouTube channel where she continues to showcase her incredible agility, and at sixty three years old is still able to out-surpass the majority of her younger martial peers!
Cynthia Rothrock Movie Recommendations – Blonde Fury, Police Assassins, Righting Wrongs, Prince Of The Sun, The Millionaire’s Express.
Aah the 1980’s, it was a gloriously golden time for action and horror movies, in fact that decidedly delectable decade was most definitely THE trend setter for these two particularly popular filmic categories. Iconic is undeniably an over used term, but it’s a phrase that encapsulates 80’s genre films perfectly. Movie stars such as Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, and Jean Claude Van-Damme (and countless, countless more) are paramount as archetypes of their day, exemplars that have been copied and trended throughout the decades since their first paradigmatic entries onto the silver screen and into fervent fandom.
That said, and as much as I am a fan of these burly, brawly action paladins, I have, from as far back as I can remember always, always preferred kick-arse female fighters, not just in movies but also in my other cherished media of comic-books and video-games. As a young lad growing up in the eighties I was inducted into the formidable fold of fantastic fearsome fighting female furies (phew!) by the meritorious, marvellous and magnificent Moon Lee, though I had encountered other female martial arts stars in various films previous to my encounter with Moon, they were usually cast as second tier characters in film, back up to the male lead… Moon Lee for me was a revelation, a gifted actress with phenomenal martial skill, and, the most predominantly prominent point… the lead in virtually every movie she ever starred in!
Moon Lee Choi-Fung was born in Hong Kong in 1965, though from an early age she spent many years living in Taiwan with her father who ran a business out of the southern port city of Kaohsiung. During her six year stay in Taiwan, Moon attended Youchang grammar school, where she discovered an inherent aptitude for piano and dance proficiency. After moving back to her homeland of Hong Kong to attend middle school, Moon was approached by television director Hsiao Hsianhui after he saw her in a school dance performance.
Hsianhui was so mesmerised by Moon’s remarkable athleticism and dancing talent that he cast her in a small role in his television series Fatherland. From this humble introduction into acting, and thanks to her incredible physical abilities, Moon went on to become Hong Kong’s action movie queen. At a mere eighteen years old, Moon signed contracts with Asia television, and most importantly martial arts movie production giant – Golden Harvest. It was whilst filming a commercial for Mitsubishi that she adopted the first name of Moon, when the directors of the advert asked her to pick a western sounding name for foreign audiences.
After cutting her acting teeth in television with an appearance in an astonishing four hundred episodes over many different series, Moon went on to become the most sought after female action movie star in Hong Kong history thanks to her first major role in the classic period Kung Fu movie Zu Warriors From The Magic Mountain, where she starred alongside such martial legends as Sammo Hung, Yuen Biao, and Corey Yuen.
Moon throughout the eighties and early nineties starred in close to an incredible fifty action movies, with co-stars that included the aforementioned Sammo Hung, Yuen Biao and the great Jackie Chan. But it was in Japanese martial arts actress Yukari Oshima (also known as Cynthia Luster – soon to be another inductee into this ongoing series) that Moon finally found her forever co-star with whom she starred in many, many movies over the years as both antagonists and protagonists. The dynamic duelling duo had an onscreen cohesion and physical synergy that was unsurpassed in the field, and held female fighting film fans worldwide spellbound, in fact Moon and Yukari were almost single-handedly responsible for the burgeoning Girls with Guns sub genre, which became an action movie staple throughout almost their entire acting careers.
In the latter part of the nineties Moon gradually left the movie business and moved back to her first love of dance and the arts, and eventually opened a school dedicated to nurturing talented dancers, with many of her students winning excellence awards for their abilities in the field.
Moon Lee Movie Recommendations: Kickboxer’s Tears, Fighting Madam 1 and 2, Angel Enforcers, Angel Force and Zu Warriors.
Well hi there fellow agents of Precinct1313, and welcome to the majestic mansion of mystery’s infamous Comic Crypts. I hope you didn’t have too much trouble finding your way down through the Precinct’s convoluted and ever changing hallways and chambers, that’s the problem with running a comic blog from a supernatural entity posing as a resplendent residence, oh and the fact that we are located at the edge of existence also doesn’t help with navigation, as most Sat-Navs don’t appear to cover that… surprisingly!
And yet here you all are, so welcome, to Precinct1313’s End Of The Decade Geekstravaganza! That’s right, the decade draws itself to a close and we’re here to steer you through some of our favourite geeky moments from the past ten years, so pull up a tombstone (these are the comic crypts after all) and let’s all relive our favourite things of the past decennium…
Our Favourite Comic-Book Series: Mister Miracle
Masters of the miraculous – Tom King and Mitch Gerads deserve every bit of praise thrown their way by their peers, critics and fans for this superlative series, a groundbreaking, emotional and touching 12 issue maxi-series that took one of DC and Jack Kirby’s most beloved second tier characters, and thrust him headlong into the deserving limelight. We wrote a review on this tenacious tome recently, so we shall leave you a handy dandy link right here .
Though we feel that Miracle was without a shadow of a doubt, the greatest Superhero story released since Watchmen (really!) we couldn’t leave this particular post without mentioning our other comic-book love from the past ten years – Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti’s tantalising and terrific take on our absolute favourite orange hued alien princess, sizzling Superheroine – Starfire! Conner and Palmiotti are a dynamic duo of some renown in the wonderful world of comic books, a husband and wife team with a wild and wacky sense of humour that light up any character they get their talented hands upon, from Power Girl to their award winning run on Harley Quinn, everything these terrific twosome touch is utter comic-book gold, especially their 2015 maxi-series -Starfire.
Endlessly endearing and wonderfully witty, Starfire’s 2015 series is a gift that keeps on giving, Conner and Palmiotti (along with the series’ fantastic artist – Emanuela Lupacchino) have bestowed upon us humble comic fans, the greatest take on Tamaran’s lost Princess since she was first unleashed in 1980 by her superstar creators, George Perez and Marv Wolfman. An origin tale, a laugh out loud stranger in a strange place fable, Starfire is a beguiling and winsome take on a beloved DC character. Quite possibly the funniest and most captivating series from DC in many a year, the Precinct unequivocally recommends this touching and hilarious series.
(Favourite Comic-book series runners up – Doomsday Clock, Supergirl: Being Super, Wonder Woman: Rebirth)
Our Favourite Comic-Book Movie: Wonder Woman
Can you believe it took seventy five years to finally get one of the most popular, significant and important fictional characters of all time onto the big screen, a primary reason for this according to some producers, directors, movie studios and overall decision makers (all of whom were talking nonsense, of course) was that a female led Superhero movie stood little chance of success… well, I’m pleased to say that those negative naysayers were completely wrong in their assertions, because Patty Jenkins and Gal Gadot’s 2017 Wonder Woman movie most assuredly was an exquisite example of, not just a top tier translation of character to silver screen, but a film that also carried a compelling message of love, hope and empowerment.
Gal Gadot and Patty Jenkins more than made up for Diana’s seventy five year cinema snub by giving us, not just a superlative and accurate representation of the Themysciran Titan, but also THE greatest Superhero movie of… all… time!
(Favourite Superhero movie runners up – Batman v Superman, Aquaman, Shazam)
Our Favourite Comic-Book Artist: Amanda Conner
I have been reading, collecting and immersing myself in comic-book worlds since the mere age of six, my first dalliance with a Superhero was the Batman, from there I went on to discover the thrilling tales of the Themysciran titan Wonder Woman and have, over the decades become a devoted stalwart of DC Comics. Not being content to just absorb these wonderful stories of heroism and emancipation, I was also always interested in the compelling creational process behind the formation of these thrilling and titanic tales, from the literary scripting and especially the wonderful artistic endeavours.
From an early age some of my very favourite artists included such luminary delights as – Neal Adams, Brian Bolland, Nicola Scott, Emanuela Lupacchino, Norm Breyfogle and Adam Hughes. Picking a favourite from these amounted to an impossibly herculean task… that is until I discovered the astonishing art of one Amanda Conner. From that point on anyone enquiring as to who my all time fave artist was would not be able to shut me up as I enthused and rhapsodised over her astounding artwork. Quirky, zany, fun and instantly recognisable, Amanda’s incredible artistic style (for me) stands head and shoulders above her peers.
(Favourite Comic-Book artist runners up – Emanuela Lupacchino, Stanley Lau, Nicola Scott)
Our Favourite Non DC Comics Movie:
Mmmmm, now this is a difficult one, I mean sooooo many great movies have been released over the past ten years, how in the name of Zeus’ beard are we able to pick just one? We can’t, so here (in no particular order) are a few of our fave non DC Comics based films of the past decade…
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets:
A tremendous movie conversion of the classic French comic-book ‘Valerian and Laureline’ that was first published in 1967, created by the talented duo of Pierre Christin and Jean-Claude Mezieres. Stunning effects, decent acting (though Clive Owen, who is usually great, was rather uninspiring in this one) and an engaging, wild and zany plot make this definitely one of our top fave films from the past ten years.
Alita: Battle Angel:
Another comic-book classic given the silver screen treatment, Alita is originally a manga series created by the great Yukito Koshiro in 1990. A post apocalyptic, cyber-punk stylised story that was brought to vivid life at the talented hands of Robert Rodriguez.
Groundbreaking visual effects bring android Alita to the big screen through some jaw-dropping motion capture of the movie’s phenomenal lead actress – Rosa Salazar, who puts in an outstandingly impassioned performance, and with a back up cast that includes such thrilling thespians as Christoph Waltz, Jennifer Connelly, Maershala Ali, and Jackie Earle Haley, Alita is more than deserving of your free time.
British cult movie ‘Franklyn’ is a genre defying delight, part superhero saga, noir thriller, romance, and horror, it takes great pleasure in flouting any kind of atypical filmic categorisation.
Franklyn is a visually rich movie, set across the dual dystopian parallel dimensions of Meanwhile City and contemporary London. It is within these dark, ethereal realities that we encounter four protagonists, each a lost soul, and on an intertwined and fated path to ultimately affect each others lives, be that for good or ill.
Unfortunately, as is the case with a large number of movies emanating from the UK, Franklyn never achieved the audience or status that it truly deserved. With a standout cast that includes Eva Green, Bernard Hill, Sam Riley and Ryan Phillippe, Franklyn is a film the Precinct heartily recommends. We reviewed the movie at the time, so if you find your interest piqued, then a link to our review is right here
And there you have it, fellow fans of fantastic fiction, I mean we could go on, but then this post would end up novel length, and I only have so much time to get it published before the end of 2019! With that, may I just say a big thank you to all of the Precinct’s followers and readers for the likes, comments and visits to the site over the past five years, it really is so, so appreciated. Happy New Year to you all!!
Oh, and as ever… Make Mine DC!
Grim, gritty, surly, sullen, stern, morose, brusque… all these terms define the infamous vengeance driven creature of the night known as The Batman, and why wouldn’t they? I mean, he’s not exactly had a great time of it overall, let’s be honest. He lives in the cesspool of a city known as Gotham, watched his parents gunned down before his innocent eyes at the tender age of 12, and has spent the past eight decades abusing both his mind, spirit and body as he seeks redemption for his parents death by dressing as a giant bat and pulping bad guys to within an inch of their miserable lives… where’s his silver bat- lining, huh? Well, that’s embodied by an equally traumatised, but resolutely more positive minded costumed creation who goes by the name of Selina Kyle, better known as Catwoman.
The Bat and The Cat have been dancing around (probably to the Batusi!) each other emotionally since their first ever encounter in Batman #1 in March of 1940. That’s close to eighty exquisite years of puurfect passion procrastination, though the Dark Knight Detective has had other fleeting love interests over the decades (the most significant obviously being that of Talia Al Ghul, R’as Al Ghul’s daughter) none have had the emotive impact on his melancholic life more than one Selina Kyle.
Their lives have been irrevocably romantically intertwined since that first meeting in 1940 and their devotion has continued throughout their many dalliances to this very day, even culminating with a recent wedding proposal from The Bat himself, though in typical Batman fashion, it definitely did not go as planned as Batman’s notorious rogues gallery stepped in to ruin the one shining light that could of led Bruce into new and unfamiliar territory… happiness!
I love Batman and Catwoman, have done since I first discovered the characters from the tender age of six, and have always rooted for their eventual sanguine intimacy. But have always understood that any kind of inherent contentment would ultimately end the crime fighting career of Batman… it’s the pain and loss that life has served him that ultimately makes him the Batman, yet, even the sullen stern alter ego of the masked manhunter deserves some relief from his disconsolate existence and fortunately there is Selina Kyle. So, why not join us as we embark on a visual tour through their long and (mostly) loving courtship that has had Batfans the world over holding their Bat-breaths for almost eighty years. The Bat (most definitely) loves The Cat…
Long Live The Bat And The Cat, And May They One Day Finally Find The Time To Truly Be Together… Forever.
Batman and Catwoman are copyright: DC Comics.
“Otanjoubi Omedetou” to the big ‘N’ themselves – Nintendo! Initially founded in September of 1889 as ‘Nintendo Koppai’ by Fusajiro Yamauchi, they began their long and successful run as a playing card company making ‘Hanafuda’ cards (translation: flower cards) which are used to play a number of different card games in Japan.
In 1947, Fusajiro stepped down to be replaced by his grandson Hiroshi Yamauchi who successfully moved the company’s (now many) products into the international market. In 1963, they changed their name to Nintendo Co. ltd and began to diversify from their playing card heritage with such unusual and somewhat outlandish things as – taxi services, television networks, and (yep, really) love hotels!!
It wasn’t until the 1970’s that Ninty became the company we now know and love – the family friendly video game giant that has given us such wonderful gaming delights as the Legend of Zelda series, Metroid, and of course the Super Mario Bros games. They have successfully held their head up over the decades through stiff competition from major console manufacturing companies – Sega, Microsoft and Sony, and their current hybrid console – the Nintendo Switch is resolutely outselling the competition on a month to month basis. Happy Birthday Nintendo.
Mario, Zelda and Metroid are copyright: Nintendo.
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.
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.
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…
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”
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”
“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… “
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 –
All text and imagery are copyright – Precinct1313.
“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.”
“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… “
“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!
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!
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.
“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!!