Welcome fellow Agents of Precinct1313, and thanks so much for joining us in the malefic mansion of mystery’s infamous Halls of Quaffing for our regular yearly round up of geeky goodness from the space year 2018. So why not pull up a chair, grab a flagon of your favourite beverage and re-live some of our favourite nerdy necessities in comic-book form, from the past twelves months…
Precinct1313’s Favourite Comic-Book Series Of 2018…
And hoo boy has it been a stand out year for stunning storylines, in fact there have been so many amazing comic-books released this year that picking just three was almost impossible, yet we have managed to do just that with these particularly cool, compelling and consummate creations…
Scintillating scribe – Tom King was without a doubt the finest choice for taking one of DC Comics’ most beloved Superheroes, expert escapologist Mister Miracle, not only because Tom is one of the very best writers in comics today, but also because his surname ably pairs him with Miracle’s genius and legendary creator – Jack ‘The King’ Kirby!
To honour the 100th anniversary since acclaimed creator (and in our humble opinion – most important figure in comics, ever!) Jack Kirby’s birth, DC Comics alongside writer Tom King and artist Mitch Gerads reunited us with one of Kirby’s most captivating and heralded heroes – super escape artist Mister Miracle, through a 12 issue series that also featured The New Gods from DC’s classic Fourth World Saga.
Miraculous is most definitely the word to describe Tom King and Mitch Gerad’s superlative take on Scott Free’s convoluted life, emotional, poignant and groundbreaking also come to mind when describing the extraordinary genius that this series has been. An unreserved masterpiece, and an emotionally charged, breathtakingly brilliant read every single issue. BUY… IT… NOW!
If you’ve been following Precinct1313 for awhile now, you probably realise that Watchmen is unreservedly our favourite comic book of all time. When I first encountered 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 Superhero conceptualisation. It was different to everything that came before it, and is almost single-handedly responsible for transforming the face of the comic-book medium for both future creators and readers… a veritable masterpiece!
Thirty two years later and writer Geoff Johns and artist Gary Franks effortlessly transport us back to the wonderfully dark and grimy world set up by Moore, through DC’s 12 issue maxi-series Doomsday Clock. Stylistically the comic evokes the original material perfectly from the dialogue set through to the originals nine panel layout, both visually and tone wise this feels perfectly at home with its peerless predecessor.
If you’re a fan of Watchmen and can get past the apparent controversy that a sequel to the seminal original exists, then this is a must buy. Johns and Franks have presented an excessively well written, dark but at times amusing sequel to the originals world of masked vigilantes, chaos and deep rooted fears and anxiety, and I for one have enjoyed every moment of my stay in its fatalistic presence.
Supergirl: Being Super…
(Ok, Ok, this technically came out in 2017 – but I didn’t personally experience it until the beginning of 2018, hence its place on this list)
Origin Tales have been, let’s be honest, spectacularly overused in both the comic-book scene and their spin off movie counterparts, I mean how many times do we really need to witness Batman losing his parents to the gun barrel of Joe Chill or Spiderman being bitten by a radioactive arachnid, these characters are now so iconic that even non comic-book fans are overly familiar with their backstories.
With that said, you may feel slightly bemused by my inclusion of a series that dynamically delves into the past of Superman’s famous cousin, Kara Zor-El, but there is a genuinely good reason for that… because it’s fantastic!! In fact, it’s not only one of the greatest Supergirl comics to have ever released, but, one of the greatest comic-book series ever published… period!
Supergirl: Being Super is the Mariko Tamaki penned opus that transcends Kara’s origins by offering us a fresh take that focuses more upon her relationships, trials and tribulations of everyday life as a teenage girl growing up in a small american town. It’s a slower burn as a comic, with less super heroics but more angst, sass and quirky dialogue, as we follow Kara in an engaging and fantastically well written coming of age tale.
If you approach the series with atypical expectations of copious amounts of explosions, super speed and heat vision, you’re going to leave disappointed, this is a tale that spotlights the person behind the iconic “S” symbol and it’s all the better for it. Supergirl: Being Super is another stunning revelation in Superhero story telling, and my favourite iteration of the classic character thus far.
Precinct1313’s Most Popular Posts Of 2018…
Phew, what a year huh… I have to say that we haven’t output as many posts this year as we did in 2017, but, unfortunately, sometimes life just gets in the way right? That said, 2018 has been the year where the Precinct’s readership and followers have increased exponentially more than any other year thus far. By far the most viewed posts emanating from the majestic mansion of mystery have been the World’s Finest interview series, which, by the way are also my absolute faves to write! We also dipped our creative toes into the oceanic depths of YouTube unboxing videos with the Vlog1313 vids, where we endeavoured to share with you our unparalleled love for the stunningly realised physical forms of our beloved heroes and villains.
The most popular and perused of our World’s Finest posts this year was the Death interview, starring Morpheus’ soul guiding sister – Didi. Which I’m sure you are all dying to relive right here: World’s Finest: An Exclusive Interview With Death
My personal favourite to write was the Circe interview, an amazing and in my opinion underutilised Wonder Woman foe with a marvellous mythologically rich backstory and a power set that easily rivals her titular foe. Delight in her damnation of our hapless interviewer right here: World’s Finest: An Exclusive Interview With Circe
The most viewed of our V-Log1313 videos also has my favourite statue I have yet procured for my collection, the remarkable recreation of Amanda Conner’s stunning Starfire #1 cover from the fantastic 2015 12-issue maxi series. You can view my amateurish first steps to video authoring right here: V-Log1313: Amanda Conner Starfire Statue Unboxing
And with that, all that’s really left to say is Happy New Year to all of the Precinct’s followers, readers and fellow bloggers, as ever it is you that makes this entire endeavour worthwhile! Oh, and as always… Make Mine DC!
Welcome fellow agents of Precinct1313 to yet another exhilarating episode of “World’s Finest” a series of exclusive interviews that aims to introduce you to some of our very favourite convocation of comic-book characters of… all… time!
Each episode we cordially invite one of our most treasured – Superheroes, Supervillains, Costumed Crimefighters, Dimension Dwelling Demons, and of course… Super-Pets…
(In fact talking of Superhero pets, we have introduced you in previous episodes of World’s Finest to Batman’s dog: Ace, Superman’s hound: Krypto, and Supergirl’s cat: Streaky… but did you know the amazing Amazon Wonder Woman also has a Super-Pet associated with her? Ooooh what is it I can see you asking yourselves, something really awesomely cool, I’m sure… it’s probably a Unicorn, or maybe Pegasus… yeah I mean Pegasus makes sense right, Greek mythology and all! Nope, it’s a Kangaroo named Jumpa… a freakin’ Kangaroo, I mean “what the hell!”…)
Every episode our very special guests will answering a quotient of quintessentially quirky questions about life, the universe and cake (’cause everyone loves cake.)
And so, let us welcome to Precinct1313’s sacredly sanguine sofa of shockingly significant satirical secrets, the vexed vigilante of viably voguish vocalics… V!
Precinct1313: Hi there V and thank you so much for joining us on this weeks World’s Finest.
V: Verily, I aim to vivify your venerable verbose…
Precinct1313: Erm… OK then, though I must warn you that it is widely accepted by my legion of fans that I am unequivocally the auteur of admirably awesome alliteration!
V: Your vernacular definitely vies for victory, yet your voguish vocabulary verifies vacuousness!
Precinct1313: I see well… hey! wait a minute, did you just call me vacuous!?
V: Your vacant visage vouches for your vainglorious views.
Precinct1313: So it’s like that is it, well let me just say that your allusion to my allegory is the antithesis of it’s actual astonishingly astounding alliterative absolute!
V: Your vapid verbature verifies verve, yet your vainly venal vacuity is a valid vote for your voluble vanity.
Precinct1313: I… erm… uh… OK I got nothing!
Precinct1313: Moving on… I have been an absolutely massive fan of yours since I first read V for Vendetta in the 1980’s, it is one of the greatest comic-book series of all time, and you Sir… you are the coolest!
V: I am vividly viewed as a viably vehement vigilante, yet my verve and veracity stems via one vouchee.
Precinct1313: Yes indeed, you were created by comicdom’s most prolific and greatest writers the astounding Alan Moore!
V: Vauntingly unerring is Alan Moore’s volume of V for Vendetta, he is veraciously voluble in it’s valued validity.
Precinct1313: It really is a rather poignant and endearing tale of anti-establishmentarianism, that deftly commented upon the state of politics throughout the UK in the 1980’s, drawing greatly upon both Guy Fawkes, and of course, George Orwell’s dystopian novel ‘1984’.
V: Moore’s vision was vivid and valuable in its vulpine verbose indeed!
Precinct1313: Plus, I also adore the magnificent 2005 cinematic version of the classic series, especially Hugo Weaving’s scene stealing version of your very self, any thoughts?
V: Ah, he is indeed a vaudevillian veteran cast vicariously as V, his valorous visitation stands vivified by the votive vox-populi as valued and virtuous, his performance therefore shall never be vanquished via remake or variance!
Precinct1313: Wow! I honestly don’t think I can best that, so on that note V, thank you so much for joining us on this weeks World’s Finest!
V: Veni Vidi Vici!!
Precinct1313: OK, OK, there’s no need to rub it in!
‘Warning: Contains spoilers for the original comic series and movie adaptation.’
“Because there is good and there is evil, and evil must be punished, even in the face of Armageddon I shall not compromise in this” – Rorschach, 1985.
Comics changed inextricably in the 1980’s, they matured into a more complex and intricate form of literature. Now this isn’t to say that previous to the eighties the stories and characters contained within the pages of this popular graphic medium were badly written or simplistic, there are many instances of fantastic character depth and sagacity from earlier decades.
Yet, the 1980’s was a significant time of fundamental change in the way people approached not only the entertainment medium, but also politics and their place in the world itself. Here in the UK the revolutionary, anti-establishment Punk Rock movement, which rose out of the peoples’ inherent distrust of their government and the way the country was being run opened a lot of eyes to what the average person could actually do to show their frustration and disappointment of the direction their lives were being taken. I truly believe that the maturation of comic books themselves began here in Britain, thanks to Punk, and the general feeling that the population had with their governance.
It was the weekly anthology comic 2000 AD that initially led the way, thanks to characters like Judge Dredd, who were directly influenced by politics and social movements of the late seventies and early eighties within the United Kingdom. Both writers and artists began to use the medium to more freely explore their attitudes and perspective on the way the real world was unfolding before them. Arguably the most famous and outspoken was Alan Moore, this literary genius has bestowed upon us such luminary and dissenting works as V for Vendetta (which unreservedly drew upon the 70’s Punk rebellion and previous anti establishment works such as George Orwell’s dystopian “1984”), and of course the seminal Watchmen.
Watchmen originated from the mind of comic-book writer extraordinaire, Alan Moore in 1986 with artwork by Dave Gibbons and John Higgins. Published by DC Comics, the project was originally submitted to them using the Charlton comics characters that they had recently acquired the rights to – Captain Atom, Blue Beetle and the Question amongst others were going to be the basis of the Watchmen themselves, but DC were reluctant to use any of it’s current characters outside of their existing timeline. Instead executive editor at DC at the time, Dick Giordano proposed the creation of new characters for the story and so, Captain Atom became Dr Manhattan, Blue Beetle became Nite- Owl, and the Question gave birth to the ‘paranoid, sociopathic’ masked vigilante… Rorschach.
Rorschach is the lead protagonist of the Watchmen, with the audience following along with him throughout the story through the use of both his monologues and regular diary entries. You could say that of all the Watchmen Rorschach is the true hero of the piece, though at only a cursory glance he seems a very one note character, callous and sociopathic.
Rorschach initially comes across as an unapologetic vigilante who perceives the world around him in very black & white terms, there is only right and wrong, no middle ground, though under the surface he is very much a deeper character. Rorschach is the most relatable and empathetic of the group, the downtrodden everyman who has finally reached the point where he’s had enough of the cruelty, unjust and indifference of society at large, deciding to fight back and adopting a persona that would enable him to do just that.
Rorschach was born Walter Kovacs in 1940, his father was unknown to him and he lived solely with his mother Sylvia. His mother was a prostitute who regularly entertained her ‘clients’ in their run-down home, she was abusive to her son both physically and mentally. At the age of eleven Walter got into a fight with two local neighbourhood bullies, unwilling to tolerate their abuse anymore, Walter fought back for the first time in his life, battering the two older bullies, leaving them hospitalised and in one case permanently scarred. Upon looking into Walter’s home life, the authorities saw the conditions that he was forced to live under and removed him from his mother’s care, and he was resettled in a local boys home.
Walter excelled from a young age at sports and was also a very gifted boxer. He left the boys home at the age of sixteen, and found a job in a dress shop where he would cut and fashion fabric for the clothing, it was here that he came across the unique fabric that would eventually become his famous ink blot mask.
Throughout the 1960’s Walter would fight crime as the masked vigilante Rorschach, and though his methodology was ruthless, he never killed any of the criminals, they would end up most of the time brutally beaten and hospitalised, but very much alive. The incident that changed Rorschach and ultimately sent him down the path of his own destruction was the kidnapping case of Blair Roche. Tracking the killer to an abandoned shop, Rorschach found the the young girl’s charred clothing in a stove and observed the killer’s two dogs chewing on a human bone. This was a turning point for Walter’s fragile psyche, unable to hold in his rage and having no belief in the justice system at large, he killed the girl’s murderer and would from that point on continue to do so to all of the most violent of criminals he encountered.
Rorschach occasionally teamed up with another costumed crime-fighter, Dan Dreiberg, aka Nite-Owl to take down more prolific and dangerous criminals and organisations, and then eventually alongside Nite-Owl he joined the newly formed superhero team- the Crimebusters. This group reintroduced the idea of a team of crime-fighters, the first mass team up since the original Minute-men team from the 1940’s, the Crimebusters consisted of Dr Manhattan, Ozymandias, Captain Metropolis, Silk Spectre, the Comedian, Nite-Owl and of course Rorschach
After a public outcry against masked vigilantes, the government eventually passed the Keene act which outlawed unsanctioned crime-fighters, the Crimebusters disbanded, except, of course, Rorschach himself who refused to give up the mask and retire from crime-fighting, both Dr Manhattan and the Comedian would continue to work covertly as government agents in various conflicts and war zones around the world.
Whilst investigating the murder of Edward Blake, Rorschach discovers that Blake was actually the civilian persona of the Comedian, concluding that he was probably killed in revenge for his role as a member of the Crimebusters. Convinced there is a ‘mask killer’ on the loose, Rorschach decides to warn his ex team-mates and investigate the case further. During this investigation, Rorschach is framed by the killer of the Comedian after an unknown tip places him at the home of murdered reformed Super-Villain, Moloch. Rorschach is captured by the police and incarcerated.
A dangerous place for any crime-fighter, especially Rorschach, considering half of the current inmates were interned here through his direct actions, this sequence of events is what elicits Rorschach’s famous and much loved quote – “None of you seem to understand, I’m not locked in here with you, you are locked in here, with me!” When the prison erupts into a violent uprising, Rorschach uses the resulting confusion and chaos to escape, with the help of recently out of retirement Crimebusters, Nite-Owl and Silk Spectre.
Rorschach, reunited with his crime busting partner Nite-Owl, continued his investigation into Blake’s death, which would lead him not only to the shocking truth of who was actually behind the murder, but eventually his own demise. Rorschach left the world as he entered, uncompromising and implacable. A violent, pitiable man, shaped by his unfortunate past who fought for what he perceived was right and just. He is the epitome of the anti-hero archetype, a self righteous persona residing in a morally grey area of vehemence and rage, though through his often inexcusable actions he did manage to offer some hope and aspiration to a world seething in corruption and deceit, and ultimately ended his life… A Hero.
V’s vision of vicarious valour by vanquishing villainy through vengeful violence against any whose views violate the virtuous vox-populi, is the voyage that vocalises the voracious venture and vanguard of valiant victory.
“V – bringing masked vigilantism to the UK masses since 1987!”
With our usual quotee Rorschach on an extended leave (due mainly to Dr Manhattan literally obliterating him on the spot!?) he has handed over the reins to fellow masked avenger and valorous victor of the valiant vox-populi – “V“, and V believes this quote to be rather judicious at this juncture.
“V – bringing masked vigilantism to the UK masses since 1987!”
Borag Thungg fellow Squaxx Dek Thargo, and welcome back to another instalment of ‘Great British Comic Book Characters’ Precinct1313’s episodic delve into the UK’s biggest selling and highly influential weekly anthology comic: 2000AD. And today’s episode marks a massive milestone for the ‘Galaxy’s Greatest Comic’ with the release of it’s 2000th issue!
The iconic British comic book has been administering thrill power to the masses since it was first introduced in 1977. It has been responsible for unleashing such seminal characters as Nemesis the Warlock, Zenith, Rogue Trooper, Slaine, Strontium Dog, and of course, it’s most important and popular persona, the grim lawman of the future, Judge Dredd.
The weekly anthology not only became the biggest selling British comic in the UK’s history (and still is today) but also helped thrust into the limelight some of the greatest British writers and artists in comic book lore, such luminary delights as Pat Mills, Alan Moore, Simon Bisley, Alan Grant, Brian Bolland and Grant Morrison. These outstanding talents have gone on to be responsible for some of the most legendary works in comics with titles including, Batman: The Killing Joke, Watchmen, V for Vendetta, Swamp Thing and many, many more.
Celebrating a monumental 2000 issues, today is the most important day in British comic-book history as the illustrious issue hits the UK newsstands. Prog #2000 begins with an illustrated introduction from some of 2000AD’s most famed creators, and Quaxxan native – Tharg the Mighty, 2000AD’s alien editor, acts as our virtual tour guide across the stunning strips. As we dive into the grandiose comic, we are delighted to see the return of some of the original Scrotnig stalwarts, especially two of Dredd’s creators John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra who present us with an extra special anniversary story depicting Mega City’s most feared Judge, who teams up up with renowned Strontium Dog himself Johnny Alpha.
Other delights include, the return of Pat Mills and Kevin O’ Neill to Nemesis the Warlock, and an especially Zarjaz tale featuring PSI Judge Anderson (my personal favourite 2000AD character) brought to you by legendary scribe Alan Grant, with exceptional visuals by the extremely talented David Roach. The Prog (2000AD and British’ism for issue, fact fans) ships with three different covers, and is a complete and utter steal at a mere £3.99.
The irreverent satirical humour, anti-establishment rhetoric, and dystopian outlook are all present and correct, as they always have been since this momentous comic’s first appearance. Mixed in with stunning art and classic creators, this is a fitting tribute to one of the world’s most iconic and groundbreaking works of fiction, ‘Florix Grabundae’ to Tharg the Mighty, founder Pat Mills, and the cadre of creators that have given us, humble British comic book fans, such delightfully satirical entertainment over the years. Splundig Vur Thrigg’ fellow Squaxx Dek Thargo’
Tharg’s Catchphrase Dictionary…
Tharg the Mighty has not only brought fantastic characters and thrill-power to the comic-book masses over the years, but also his own dialect. So to induct those Terrans who have never spoken Quaxxiann, we proffer a list of his most widely utilised phrases and their Terran translations.
“Borag Thungg Earthlet” – Greetings Human.
“Zarjaz” – Excellent.
“Krill Tro Thargo” – Honoured By Tharg.
“Florix Grabundae” – Many Thanks.
“Nonscrot” – Someone Who Doesn’t Read 2000AD.
“Scrotnig” – Exciting/Amazing.
“Squaxx Dek Thargo” – Friend Of Tharg.
“Splundig Vur Thrigg” – Goodbye.
Alan Moore, he of the gruff, fearsome and just downright scary appearance, who nonetheless possesses a singular talent when it comes to the literary persuasion, is really just a big softy it seems…
Now if you find yourself scratching your heads right now wondering, who is this foreboding looking individual named Alan Moore? all I can say is, where have you been for the past thirty years… Alan Moore is quite possibly the greatest writer in British history, yes indeed I am including all the greats that came before and after, be they Neil Gaiman, Grant Morrison, James Herbert or even the big ‘S’ himself… Will Shakespeare!
Alan Moore has bestowed upon us, humble comic-book reading mortals, such luminary masterpieces as, Watchmen, V For Vendetta, Batman: The Killing Joke, Swamp Thing and The League Of Extraordinary Gentleman. His tales are often set in a dystopian alternate reality, he is keen on subverting existing tropes in the world of the Superhero, presenting us with morally ambiguous characters, and satirical anti-governmental narrative (V For Vendetta being a prime example of this.)
Alan is often portrayed as a gruff, stern and austere personality by the press at large, but it seems he’s really just a great big softy at heart after a correspondence from a young fan to the legendary writer found its way online recently.
The letter was written to Alan in 2013 by nine year old fan named Joshua, he was taking part in a class exercise in his school in Northamptonshire (also Alan Moore’s home city) where he was tasked with writing a letter to his favourite author. Joshua’s letter began: “I am writing because I want to know more about your comics, including V for Vendetta, Watchmen and Swamp Thing” Joshua mentioned that his favourite characters were Rorschach, Dr Manhattan and The Comedian, and that the first Moore story he had read was V For Vendetta. The letter ended with Joshua proclaiming Moore “the greatest author in human history!”
Alan Moore replied personally to Joshua, saying that he was “really pleased that you’ve enjoyed so much of my stuff, and especially because most of my readers these days are people almost as old as I am” (Alan is now 60 years old.) Alan sent his young fan a copy of his new League of Extraordinary Gentlemen graphic novel (Heart Of Ice), as well as some exclusive artwork by his League co-creator Kevin O’Neil.
And coolest of all, he used Joshua’s line “all in all you are the best author in human history” as a quote on the back of his new novel ‘Jerusalem’ which publishes this September. But it is Moore’s sign off on his original letter to Joshua that is the greatest part, which reads… “Alan Moore, best author in human history, in your face Shakespeare, Joyce and Cervantes!”
“Rorschach’s journal – April 6, 2016. Seven years ago I starred in one of the greatest cinematic triumphs of all time. In it the streets were extended gutters, and the gutters were full of critics, and when the drains finally scabbed over, the fans looked up and shouted save us, and Zack Snyder whispered “Yes”.
Seven years ago today, the greatest piece of comic book fiction ever wrought was finally released on film by visual auteur Zack Snyder. His triumphant cinematic reworking of the supposedly unfilmable comic series from the eighties was hailed by the fans as a masterpiece of modern dystopian Superhero cinema, but received tepid reviews from critics (Mmmm, now this seems familiar).
(Warning: Spoilers ahoy)
The Watchmen limited comic series was released by DC Comics in 1986, it was a collaborative effort of three superstar British comic book creators, Writer Alan Moore, Artist Dave Gibbons and Artist/Colourist John Higgins. Moore originally posited to DC that he wanted to use their acquired Charlton Comics characters as the basis for the story, but DC’s managing editor of the time Dick Giordano, persuaded Moore to create new characters instead, as the usage of DC’s now integrated (into the DC universe) Charlton heroes would have rendered them almost unusable in future timelines because of the direction they would have taken as a result of Moore’s suggested storyline.
Alan Moore is widely regarded as the greatest comic book author of all time, apart from Watchmen, Moore also introduced us to V for Vendetta, Batman: The Killing Joke and The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen, but it is Watchmen that propelled Moore to the rank of numero uno in the highly competitive comic book market.
Alan Moore’s writing usually takes a dark and dystopian route through pre-existing tropes, subverting and twisting characters to fit into his alternate timelines. Watchmen is a satirical look at superheroes, that reflects the era it was written, be it through the politics of the time (80’s Britain was a particularly political hot-bed) or emerging trends and people’s apprehension of the future.
Watchmen is set in an alternate 1985, and follows masked vigilante Rorschach as he and other retired members of the Superteam – Crimebusters, investigate the murder of one of their former colleagues – The Comedian. In Moore’s universe, costumed heroes first appeared in the 1940’s, and were a collection of former Police officers and disgruntled citizens who ‘masked up’ to take down an increasing number of criminals who had taken to wearing costumes to disguise themselves from recognition.
In the early eighties with the world on the brink of a nuclear holocaust, and with an outcry by the general populace against masked vigilantes, costumed heroes were outlawed, and most faded into retirement or (in the case of the Comedian and Dr Manhattan) went to work covertly for the Government. Rorschach though continued to fight crime unsanctioned, wanted by the Police he refused to abandon his principles and castigated his former team-mates for their cowardice in the face of the costumed vigilante ban.
After the murder of The Comedian, Rorschach manages to convince former team-mates, Nite-Owl II and Silk Spectre II to come out of retirement and help investigate what he believes is a conspiracy to kill members of the Crimebusters. Moore’s take on Superheroes is not for the faint of heart, it is a mature and sometimes shocking take on a popular medium, set in a totalitarian, regressive society consumed with fear and anxiety.
Unto this premise comes visual mastermind director Zack Snyder, riding high on his successful conversion of Frank Miller’s “300” graphic novel, he set his sights on DC’s Watchmen, and in 2009 presented us with perfection in comic book to film form. His film mirrored its source material beautifully, condensing the story somewhat, but still supplying every nuance and important depth of plot that the original comic series conveyed. His choice of actors were astonishingly close to their fictional selves, especially the casting of Jackie Earle-Haley as titular protagonist Rorschach. This film has ultimately become the cornerstone of Zack Snyder’s career, only recently equalled (in our humble opinion) by his take on DC’s Trinity in Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice, which shares many similarities to Watchmen in both tone and visual style.
Seven years on and Watchmen is now more highly regarded amongst its former critics, still loved by the fans and is one of the first ‘R’ rated (18 rated here in the UK) Superhero movies, long before characters like Deadpool were ever conceived for the big screen. Snyder’s film is visually enthralling, deep and concise in its portrayal of the original classic series, as much a must watch now as it ever was, not only one of the greatest comic book movies of all time… but literally one of the greatest movies of all time!
Who Watches The Watchmen?… You Should!
DC Comics have released a teaser trailer for their upcoming animated version of Alan Moore’s classic one shot graphic novel masterpiece.
The Killing Joke was written by Moore and illustrated by Brian Bolland and John Higgins in 1988, providing an origin story and psychological motivation for the creation of the Clown Prince Of Crime. It is defined by fans and critics alike as probably the greatest Joker story ever penned and was the recipient of many awards for its conceptual depth and spectacular artwork. The plot revolves around the Joker’s attempt to drive Gotham City’s Police Commissioner Jim Gordon insane, with frequent flashbacks to Joker’s former life before his psychotic break at the hands of the Batman. The tale Explores Jokers assertion that deep down inside all of us there is a psychotic, insidiously waiting to break free from the shackles of sanity.
The animated film will once again bring together the Dynamic Duo of Kevin Conroy (as Batman) and Mark Hamill (as the Joker) Watch the exclusive teaser below Batfans…
Legendary comic book writer Len Wein has once more taken up the reins of a character he first introduced to the world (alongside Bernie Wrightson) in 1971, the plant elemental known as Swamp Thing. ‘Swampy’ made his first appearance in House Of Secrets #92 (July ’71) in a single issue story that took place in the early part of the 20th century. The character next appeared in his own solo series in 1972, set in the contemporary world and was integrated into mainstream DC universe continuity.
Swampy was originally introduced as Alex Holland, a scientist caught in a deliberate explosion set by his co-worker Damian Ridge. Olsen, physically transformed by the various chemicals strewn across his lab, turned into the humanoid vegetative mass known as Swamp Thing.
After the success of the standalone issue, the creators were approached to write the ongoing series, Swampy’s backstory was altered slightly and the series itself brought forward to a modern setting.
British comic writing luminary Alan Moore took control of the character from Volume 2 (August ’85) and altered Swampy to an elemental entity that was created upon the untimely death of Alec Holland, absorbing the personality and memories of the scientist into itself, Moore described it as “A plant that thought it was Alec Holland, a plant that at its level best was trying to be Alec Holland.” Alan Moore pushed the character into even greater popularity, and his run has ultimately stood the test of time, and like all his previous works (Watchmen, V For Vendetta) has cemented itself into legendary status amongst fans.
This month, Len Wein returns to his beloved character with the first part of a six issue mini-series, that is taking, very much, an old style approach to Swampy, with horror overtones comparable with titles such as DC’s House Of Mystery, and EC’s Tales From The Crypt.
This fantastic first issue is a definitive return to Wein’s original version of the character, very different to the New 52 run by Scott Snyder, whilst still retaining all the elements that make Swamp Thing the character we know and love. Artistic talent falls to Kelley Jones, whose distinctive style is perfect for this character, lending a tense and claustrophobic feel to the proceedings with a heavily shaded ‘chunky’ approach.
Swamp Thing #1 is a perfect read for both old and new fans alike, with no prior knowledge of the character’s background needed, making this the ideal starting point for newcomers wishing to get to know one of the most unusual and well written comic book characters ever created. Highly recommended and available for purchase at your local comic-book emporium right now.
To an interminably die-hard Watchmen fan like myself, there can be no greater news than the live action return of Alan Moore’s fabled comic characters, and you know what, it’s looking like we are one step closer to seeing just that. Zack Snyder, director of the fantastic 2009 film adaptation of Moore’s groundbreaking graphic novel, has approached studio HBO with the (really rather marvellous) idea of a weekly Watchmen television series.
As to what form the series may take, it’s rather early to predict at this time, but considering we have already been treated to the original 80’s tale, the series would more than likely take inspiration from the 2012 comic prequel series “Before Watchmen.” These consisted of eight separate mini-series each following one of the main characters from the Watchmen and served as a forerunner to the original Moore series. Of course it could go the other way and create a wholly original story involving our volatile team of heroes, whatever form the show may take however, it is still exciting news. More Rorschach?… oh hell yes!
Watchmen Copyright: DC Comics
Alan Moore’s 1988 one-shot masterpiece “The Killing Joke” is to become an animated movie, it was announced at the San Diego Comic-con by animator and producer Bruce Timm during the “Justice League: Gods and Monsters” panel, with the movies release date set for 2016.
The Killing Joke was penned by British writer Alan Moore to provide an origin story and psychological motivation for the creation of the Joker. Defined as the greatest Joker story ever told by many critics, the graphic novel won many awards for its deep conceptual story-line and spectacular artwork by Brian Bolland and John Higgins.
The plot centres on the Joker’s attempt to drive Gotham City’s Police Commissioner James Gordon insane, and is frequently interposed by flashbacks to the titular villain’s past life before his disfigurement and insane criminal exploits. The book explores the Jokers assertion that deep down in everyone there is a lunatic waiting to break forth, and that a tragic past can create both a hero or a villain, with the ‘one bad day’ scenario that turned Bruce Wayne into a protector of the innocent forging meaning from tragedy, but the Joker into a maniacal villain who reflects on the absurdity of being.
Well this is pretty damn profound for a character that everyone believes is just a psychotic, sociopathic masked vigilante, just goes to prove that you should never judge a book by its cover… oh and if you disagree with him, he will literally break every bone in your body!!!
Rorschach; bringing unstable masked vigilantism to the masses since 1986!
Rorschach; Copyright DC Comics.
We spend most of our time in the Precinct writing about the heroes and villains that inhabit the pages of DC’s comic-book universe, in fact about 90% of the posts originating from us are about this classic company’s plethora of characters.
I first discovered Superheroes through DC after being bought a copy of Detective Comics by my Mum at the tender age of six, it was here that I came across the character that has had the biggest influence on me as I have grown up… Batman. I continued to read nothing but Batman stories up until the age of 9, when I decided to branch out and leave my comfort zone of Gotham City, and travel to a place that was as far removed from that festering crime-ridden city as could be… Themyscira, home of the fabled Amazons and of course the world’s first ever female Superhero… Wonder Woman.
With all that said, being English, I also grew up reading and collecting the characters that came out of a popular British comic-book called 2000 AD, these home grown dramatis-personae were very different to the spandex clad heroes who populated the books I avidly collected from DC. I always found that these characters originating from the land of my birth were (though this is only true of the late 70’s and very early 80’s) darker, edgier and definitely more derived from what was happening in the UK on a weekly basis, be that through political or trendsetting issues.
Characters like Judge Dredd, (even though the stories were based in a fictional dystopian USA) were directly influenced by the politics and social movements of late seventies and early eighties Britain. Dredd himself was a correlation of what the people of the UK in the eighties believed the country was becoming; a police state, plus the rise of the anti-establishment punk rock movement that originated from Britain in direct defiance of how the government were running the country at the time, George Orwell’s classic dystopian novel “1984″ seemed to be coming true (in fact, the UK has the largest amount of street surveillance cameras in the world.)
Now then, this isn’t a politically motivated piece (politics bores the hell out of me, to be honest) just a small background on why, I believe, that the heroes and villains that leapt out of the pages of British comics were so different from their US counterparts. Alan Moore’s masterpiece “V for Vendetta” captured this sentiment perfectly, an amazing amalgam of everything that was believed to be taking place, and how at the time (and maybe still today, to some extent) the people of this sceptred Isle felt about the direction the country was taking.
Now that the lengthy preamble is done, we can concentrate on the interesting things this hopefully weekly series will bring you, my loyal and avid readers and blogging friends… cool comic characters from this tiny island we call the United Kingdom. So stay tuned, in our next instalment we shall examine the popular rise of the British comic-book industry and its first foray into the realm of the Superhero. Until next time, or as Tharg The Mighty would say “Splundig Vur Thrigg.”