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!
*Warning: Doomsday Clock Spoilers Ahoy me hearties!*
“Rorschach’s Journal: November 15, 2017 – I appear to be back, or am I? after my obvious demise at the hands of Doc Manhattan how is this possible… who am I, where am I, and what has happened to my physicality? I appear to be someone… other, hmmm, a paradox!”
Hey, have you heard? Rorschach’s back! That’s right the viciously vehement vigilante with the ink blot mask, surly temper and loathing for the criminal fraternity has re-materialised on the physical plane after his apparent deadly demise at the hands of Doc Manhattan… or has he!? Well that’s a spoiler that I reverently refuse to reveal! What I am going to share with you though, fellow CrimeBusters, are some of the phenomenally perfect panels from Rorschach’s recent rendezvous with classic characters from the DC Universe… especially Batman, in fact, Batsy and ‘schach make for an almost peerless comic(al) duo…
And this one may not have Rorschach in it (though he is just off panel) but it’s way too fantastic not to include…
DC’s Doomsday Clock series is a semi sequel to Alan Moore’s phenomenal and groundbreaking original 80’s masterpiece, and happily holds it’s head high in comparison to it’s almost unparalleled peer, highly recommended.
Rorschach, Batman, Doctor Manhattan, Joker and Doomsday Clock Are Trademark: DC Comics.
Warning: Contains Minor Spoilers For Both The Original Series And Issue #1 Of Doomsday Clock.
Never was a truer word said Doc… since DC Comics and sensational scribe Geoff Johns are once again returning us to the dystopian landscape of Alan Moore, Dave Gibbons and John Higgins’ original groundbreaking 80’s maxi-series.
I am a self confessed Watchmen fanboy, it is without a shadow of a doubt my favourite comic-book series of all time. When I first read Alan Moore’s trailblazing series in 1986, I was blown away, it was a unique and contemporary take on the Superhero genre, a treatise on social anxiety and a complete deconstruction of traditional Superhero conceptualisation, it was different in every single way possible to everything that came before it, and is almost single-handedly responsible for completely transforming the face of the comic-book medium for future creators and readers… a veritable masterpiece.
Since that time we have been regaled with a scant few other forays into Moore’s apocalyptic vision, from director Zack Snyder’s masterful cinematic adaptation in 2009, a motion comic version of the original series also released in 2009 to coincide with the film, through DC’s prequel series ‘Before Watchmen’ released in 2012. And though some fans revelled in the new material presented to us (myself included) others believed that the original story should have always been left as a standalone project, with whom co-creator Alan Moore has always sided.
I personally believe that any beloved piece of creation, be it film, novel and comic-book should always be given a chance to grow and present itself to a new and modern audience, Snyder’s movie was the first instance of this for Watchmen, opening up the material to new fans, but at the same time being honest and respectful to Moore’s original vision. Watchmen is a world that has so many more tales to tell, and even more lessons to bestow upon its readership, and with Geoff John’s new 12 issue ‘Doomsday Clock’ series DC are doing just that… oh, and it also means a return of irascible masked vigilante – Rorschach, but not in the way any of us were actually expecting!
Doomsday Clock #1 is our first foray back into the pandemonium that is the world of Watchmen, a direct sequel to the iconic 80’s series, and as controversial as that seems to some fans, as I stated earlier, I’m more than happy to once again step into the chaotic and dystopic world of the titular crimebusters. Sequels, movie adaptations etc do not dilute the original works, and if done correctly can only add more layers to the existing whole, plus if the idea of a Watchmen sequel is in any way sacrilegious to you, then you can always ignore it and continue to enjoy Moore’s sterling original tale in all its well deserved glory.
The series is initially set seven years after the end of the original story, it’s 1992 and the world is still in turmoil after the event set into motion by Ozymandias, but, with his scheme now laid bare, the world is once again on the brink of nuclear armageddon. With this premise Geoff Johns and artist Gary Franks effortlessly transport us back to the wonderfully dark and grimy world set up by Moore, stylistically the comic evokes the original material beautifully, from the dialogue set through to the originals nine panel grid layout, visually this feels perfectly at home with its predecessor.
And I haven’t even mentioned the ‘Rebirth’ connection to the DC Universe that started this soon to be iconic pairing of two distinct comic-book worlds, if you have been following along with the unfurling tale of Doctor Manhattan and his apparent meddling with the classic DC heroes, then prepare yourself for a series that will hopefully snake its eventual way to the answers behind the cryptic clues already let loose.
If you’re a fan of Watchmen, and can get past the apparent controversy that a sequel to the seminal original exists, then I say definitely pick this up. Johns has presented to us a well written, dark, but at times, also amusing return to the world of masked vigilantes, chaos and deep rooted fears and anxiety, and I for one am glad to continue my protracted stay in its fatalistic presence. Recommended.
My copy of Doomsday Clock was purchased at my very favourite comic-book emporium – Final Frontier, located in Fore Street, Exeter in the UK.
Watchmen And Images Copyright: DC Comics.
Welcome fellow agents of Precinct1313 to another episode of ‘The Week In Geek’ where we love to share our favourite – Comic Book, Video-Game and Cult Movie news for your perusal and pleasure. And so once more unto the geek dear agents, once more…
Lara Croft Triumphantly Returns To The Silver Screen In First Trailer For Her New Movie…
Quintessentially English archaeologist and raider of tombs, Lara Croft will triumphantly return to the big screen in 2018, with Swedish actress Alicia Vikander portraying the much loved iconic video-game heroine. It has actually been an astonishing fourteen years since the much beloved character was last seen in a live action role, as depicted by Angelina Jolie in Tomb Raider: Cradle Of Life, so let’s be honest, a new movie following our favourite globetrotting, relic hunting bad-ass superheroine is looooong overdue!
We are huge fans of the lovely Lara here in the Precinct and have been ever since we got our hands on her original video-game outing way back in 1996 on our my highly missed Sega Saturn. The original game by British developers Eidos Interactive revolved around the exploits of super archaelogist and adventurer Ms Croft and tasked the player with guiding the titular heroine through various tombs and ruins searching for long lost mythological artifacts whilst avoiding death traps, wild animals and solving puzzles.
The new film is based upon the 2013 reboot and is looking really rather wonderful, one of the things we were worried about was whether or not Alicia would be able to nail Lara’s extremely British accent, but judging by the first trailer for the film, it’s sounding pretty damn good (being English myself, I approve!) Revel in the first trailer for the film (below), and then lament that we have to wait until March 2018 to see it:
Shazam Movie To Start Pre-Production Early 2018…
“SHAZAM!!” *looks at self, realises nothing has happened* “dammit, it doesn’t seem to work for mere mortals such as myself (sigh)…” you see whenever classic DC character Billy Batson utters the magical phrase ‘Shazam’ he turns into the iconic and mystical superhero… uh… Shazam! (formerly known as Captain Marvel)
Shazam’s first appearance was in Whiz Comics #2 in 1940, and revolved around the adventures of 12 year old Billy Batson, who upon speaking the magic word of the six immortal elders: Solomon, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles and Mercury transformed into the adult Superhero with powers that include, flight, super strength, super speed, magical lightning and spell casting. The long awaited movie adaptation has been waiting in the wings for what seems like forever, but news has emerged that principal photography will begin early next year. Apart from that little else is known about the project including casting details… more as we hear it fellow fans of fantastic fiction.
HBO Confirms Watchmen TV Pilot Episode…
Yes, yes, yes… YES! I love Watchmen, it is without a shadow of a doubt my absolute favourite comic book series of all time, the Zack Snyder directed 2009 movie adaptation was a masterpiece, and now it seems we are going to be getting an episodic TV series based upon the masterful 80’s series, and by HBO no less… so quality is mostly assured!
The Cable network company has officially ordered the pilot and also commissioned extra scripts from screenwriter and producer Damon Lindeloff (Lost, Star Trek) for his take on Alan Moore’s iconic series. Lindeloff is a huge fan of both the original source material and Zack Snyder’s own take, and mentioned in a recent interview with Hollywood Reporter that – “The original comic series continues to influence my work, from the flashbacks to the non linear storytelling, to the deeply flawed characters, these are elements I try to put into everything I write” Soooooo exciting, I literally cannot wait for Rorschach’s rambunctious return!
Why not join us again next time friends for more Week In Geek.
Welcome fellow agents of Precinct1313 to another episode of ‘The Week In Geek’ where we love to share our favourite – Comic Book, Video-Game, and Cult Movie news for your perusal and pleasure. And so once more unto the geek dear agents, once more…
Who Watches The Watchmen?
HBO are, once again, hinting that they are attempting to bring Alan Moore’s seminal comic book series ‘Watchmen’ to the small screen. The groundbreaking 80’s series published by DC Comics is one of the greatest pieces of Superhero fiction ever wrought, and was previously brought to life through Zack Snyder’s masterful 2009 cinematic adaptation.
HBO have approached Damon Lindelof, the creator of shows such as ‘Lost’ and ‘The Leftovers’ to take the reins of the series. Lindelof told Comic Book Resources in 2009 that Watchmen had “influenced his writing style more than anything else he had ever read”, so he seems like an excellent choice for reuniting us with it’s iconic cast of misfit Superheroes and masked vigilantes.
Batman: Mask Of The Phantasm Returns In All New HD Remaster…
Well finally… the stunning 1993 animated movie ‘Batman: Mask Of The Phantasm’ will release on Blu-Ray next month in an all new 1080p high definition remaster. Warner Bros 90’s classic is a favourite amongst Bat-fans, and for good reason, it’s one of the best interpretations of Gotham’s guardian outside of the comic books themselves. The film successfully drives home the pain and sacrifice that Bruce Wayne has had to endure to become the justice seeking creature of the night that haunts the dreams of Gotham’s many miscreants and malefactors.
‘When the city’s most feared gangsters are systematically eliminated, the Caped Crusader is initially blamed. But prowling the Gotham night is a shadowy new villain – The Phantasm, a sinister figure with links to Batman’s past. Can the Dark Knight elude the Police, capture the Phantasm, and clear his own name?’
Wonderful Art For A Wonderful Woman…
With the excellent Patty Jenkins and Gal Gadot ‘Wonder Woman’ movie still breaking records at the box office and finally showing the world that a female led Superhero movie is not only viable, but essential, let’s celebrate the Themysciran Titan’s triumph with some fantastic poster art images that have been released in the wake of the stunning movie by Poster Posse.
Why not join us again next time friends for more ‘Week In Geek’
‘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.
Welcome fellow agents of Precinct1313 to another episode of ‘The Week In Geek’ where we love to share our favourite Comic Book, Video-Game and Cult Movie news for your perusal and pleasure… and so once more unto the breach dear readers, once more…
Nintendo Switch Release Date And Launch Games Announced…
You know, I have always been more of an Xbox than a Nintendo (and previous to Microsoft’s beast of a console, I was a SEGA… in fact I still am.) But the one thing I have always loved (and bought) were Nintendo’s handhelds. I have owned virtually every portable device they have launched since the classic Gameboy in 1989, which is why I am genuinely excited for the Switch, Nintendo’s first hybrid console.
The Nintendo Switch is the incoming flagship console from the legendary Japanese gaming giant, which effortlessly combines home and portable play into one very cool package, and I want one… right now! Set to be released worldwide on March 3, 2017 at a very reasonable £279.99 ($299.99) with a strong launch line up that includes – Zelda: Breath Of The Wild, Dragon Quest XI, and Skyrim (that’s right folks, a portable version of Bethesda’s classic RPG… there goes my life.)
Geoff Johns And Dr Manhattan – Dream Team…
DC Entertainment’s President and comic book author extraordinaire Geoff Johns is returning to writing comics again this year, and has (heavily) hinted that he may be exploring the intriguing connection between Watchmen and the DC Universe. In a series of tweets Johns has confirmed his return to his oeuvre, with an accompanying image of Watchmen’s Dr Manhattan. Johns’ last comic authorship was last May’s “DC Universe Rebirth #1” in which he eluded that the electric blue super-human may have had a hand in creating the rebooted Rebirth timeline.
The highly enjoyable one-shot also portrayed Batman discovering the iconic blood spattered smiley badge from Alan Moore’s groundbreaking 80’s mini-series, in the Bat Cave! Hold on tight dear readers, for this promises to be one hell of a wild ride!
Constantine Set To Return, In Animated Form…
Everyone’s favourite chain smoking, mystical, demon fighting anti-hero – John Constantine is set to return to the small screen in a new CW animated series. Following on from his fantastic (yet criminally short lived) NBC live action show, the new animation will find Constantine actor Matt Ryan reprising his role in voice over form and is being produced by Greg Berlanti. We were honestly hoping for another live action depiction of the magical man of mystery, but I guess an animated rendering is better than no return at all, plus CW’s animated Vixen series has been rather wonderful, so all the signs point to this being equally as great.
Why not join us next time friends for more Week In Geek!
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!”
Who said Rorschach doesn’t understand subtlety… Whoever it was, is probably in intensive care right now!!
‘Rorschach – bringing unstable masked vigilantism to the masses since 1986!’
Rorschach is copyright: DC Comics. Rorschach Quotes are copyright: Precinct1313’s Ninja Squad (and you really, really do not want to upset them!)
Warning: Spoilers ahoy me hearties!
Legends aren’t just made, they are born from tradition, myths and a rather large measure of hero worship, and they come in many forms and from many generations. King Arthur and his loyal Knights, Jason and the Argonauts and our own modern day equivalents – Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and more, comic book heroes are the 21st century equivalent of the Greek Gods of Olympus, or the Norse Gods of Asgard, they are modern day myths, allegorical tales of strength and justice, but also reflect mankind’s inherent weaknesses and immorality.
There is though a significant difference between the legends and myths of yore and our very own Superheroes of modern day, the time-honoured legends of yesteryear, like say, the aforementioned King Arthur, are very much set in stone, changing very little throughout the centuries. Yet in this modern age of technological wizardry, which is advancing at incredible speeds (in fact, we have advanced more technologically in the past fifty years than in our entire history!) our own legendary comic book heroes, such as the Batman have been forced to advance along with us, changing constantly (though importantly keeping what makes them unique at the core) not remaining stagnant like their belles-lettres forebears.
DC Comics, that fine purveyor of modern day myths and legends, have become synonymous with the reboot, it is something they have done on many occasion throughout their eighty plus years of publishing. Rebirth, though resembling a classic DC ‘Crisis’ style reboot is less of a revamp but more of a restructuring of its archetypal characters and universe. Coming just five years after the ‘New 52’ reset, which relaunched the entire line of DC’s comics with 52 new #1’s, Rebirth retains the New 52 universe, everything that happened to the characters during the past five years since the reboot stand true, though radical changes loom on the horizon.
The story of Rebirth itself harkens back and weaves its way into to the 2011 ‘Flashpoint’ crossover series. Flashpoint showed an altered DC Universe, with Barry Allen (The Flash) seemingly the only hero to realise that somehow history had been changed. In this universe Barry has no powers, Batman is actually Bruce Wayne’s father Thomas Wayne and countless other paradoxes, with no explanation as to how or why this had happened.
Rebirth reunites us with a character who was wiped from the timeline during such a paradox, the original Wally West – Kid Flash. Trapped in the speed force, all memory of him lost to friends, family and foe alike, but after the events detailed in the recent Justice League #50 (a must read if you intend to follow the Rebirth story) the door in the timeline that he was trapped behind opens for the briefest of times, allowing Wally the chance to return to the world and warn everyone of a mysterious entity who altered the very fabric of time during the Flashpoint, ultimately relieving every being of ten years of history, gone… in a flash.
It is of course the reveal of the entity itself that is without a shadow of a doubt,the coolest thing about Rebirth. This enigmatic character is probably comic’s most powerful being, one who existed in a completely parallel universe to the heroes and villains of the DCU.
The above image will probably bring a huge smile to your face if you’re in anyway a big fan of DC Comics, it is an earth shattering and iconic moment for comic books, Geoff Johns, the real architect behind Rebirth has confirmed that the characters and events of Alan Moore’s seminal Watchmen series will be merged into ongoing DC continuity. Imagine it, Rorschach and Batman, coexisting, in the same time and space!
The Rebirth has begun my comic collecting cohorts, and will, absolutely, be a major event in comics’ history. Follow along with the expanding storyline that begins with ‘DC Universe Rebirth #1’ (available right now) and continues on throughout all the major monthlies and beyond into continuous DC Universe continuity.
“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!
Not to be outdone by his fellow Crimebuster team member – Rorschach, Edward Blake aka The Comedian recently stormed Precinct1313’s comic crypt and demanded that he also is honoured with a series of ‘profound’ quotes. And how could we refuse the psychopathic masked vigilante his just due (it may also have had something to do with the twin .45 pistols he was waving menacingly in our direction, of course!)
The Comedian, bringing unhinged, sociopathic masked vigilantism to the masses since 1986!
Ah The Comedian, love him or hate him (probably the latter would suit, he’s not exactly a shining bastion of morality) you have to admit he was a larger than life and rather mesmerising personality. And almost exactly thirty years ago he was murdered, some may say his end was justified through his amoral actions, others would argue that he was just a product of his age who did everything he could to keep society from imploding inwards, I personally believe he couldn’t give a damn what anyone thought of him, he did what he wanted and woe betide anyone who disagreed with his actions.
The Comedian was born Edward Blake in 1918, very little is known of his earlier years, more than likely covered up by one of the many covert Government sponsored black-ops teams he worked with over the decades. What is known though is that he began his costumed crime fighting career in 1939 with the moniker The Comedian, though the rather jolly sounding name and frequent smile masked a violent and unpredictable personality, with a love of brutality and mayhem, in fact Hollis Mason, the first Nite-Owl described him as “A particularly vicious and brutal young man.”
For all his negative qualities though, he was a particularly effective crime fighter, feared and respected by his enemies… though mainly feared. He is also one of only two masked adventurers who was a member of both the original Minutemen and The Crimebusters (the other being Captain Metropolis.)
Blake’s actions were often unethical, and at times downright evil, he was in reality no better than the criminals he fought. His violent end is something he foresaw way in advance, in fact some of his last words to his mysterious assailant (read the comics or watch the movie for the answer to that one my friends) were, “Just a matter of time I suppose,” he understood that violent men ultimately succumb to a violent death.
Edward Blake, The Comedian: Born 1918 – Died October 11, 1985.
“Justice is coming to all of us no matter what we do. You know, Mankind’s been trying to kill each other off since the beginning of time. Now we finally have the power to finish the job, ain’t nothing gonna matter once those nukes start flying, we’ll all be dust. And Ozymandias here will be the smartest man on the cinder” – The Comedian.
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