Ballbuster! – Dastardly & Muttley #4

Dastardly and Muttley 4 coverYou know, I love comics. Comics are the medium in which anything can happen, in which image and word can interact in quite startling ways and in which, apparently, a beloved Hanna-Barbera property can become an insane fusion of commentary on the military-industrial complex, sexism, and politics, and the kind of comedic sensibility generally found in, well, cartoons. Fancy that, eh? If all that sounds like your cup of tea, then step this way. I’ve got a comic to sell you.

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The Divided States of Hysteria #1

Note: This review originally appeared (in truncated form) on the Weird Science DC Comics website. It was written some time ago and I’ve been a little hesitant about posting it here, not least because the (admittedly gruesome and racially insensitive) cover to the series’ fourth issue triggered the kind of moral panic that has been de rigeur in Western societies over the last few years. Those of you who are interested can read The Guardian arguing for censorship here (yes, I know they’re saying that’s not what it is, but they’re being extremely disingenuous) and the man himself talking about the series and the cover here. The collected edition is coming out in February, I think. Here’s my review of issue 1…

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Rage, Rage Against The Dying Of The Light! – Planet of the Apes/Green Lantern #6

Planet of the Apes-Green Lantern 006-000This crossover series has been a lot of fun the last five issues. We’ve had a fair bit of action, a fair bit of humour and, last issue, in particular, some genuine pathos. The creative team has, on the whole, done a good job of taking some of the more memorable or important elements of each franchise, mixing them together and producing a story that manages to hang together pretty well, while at the same time being very entertaining. In some respects, that’s about as much as you can hope for from a crossover event like this. The big question is: Can the team tie up the various plot threads and deliver a satisfying conclusion to all this? There’s only one way to find out…

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Tick-Tick-Boom! – Nextwave Agents of H.A.T.E. #1

NextWave 1 coverQuick question. Which Marvel comic ends with the line “Oh my God. It’s wearing underpants.”? (Hint: You’re about to read a review of it.) Like all the best comedy, NextWave: Agents of H.A.T.E. is a relatively short, but still memorable reading experience. Fawlty Towers, The Day Today, Father Ted – none of these classics of British TV comedy outstayed their welcome; all of them have attained legendary status at least in part because their legacy is unsullied by mercenary attempts to milk the golden cow long after the creamiest parts of its output have been savoured. (That metaphor got away from me a bit there.) NextWave: Agents of H.A.T.E. is a similar beast. Only 12 issues of it exist, but they are among the funniest superhero comics you will ever read. So buckle up, turn off your Etheric Loop Recall Televocometer, and get ready for a rollercoaster ride of… well, profanity-laced madness, mostly. Oh, and underpants. Really big underpants.

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The Ruff And Reddy Show #1

(This review first appeared on the Weird Science DC Comics website.)

 

I volunteered to review this title. I just want you to know that.

 

The Ruff N Reddy Show - coverDC’s idea of updating old Hanna-Barbera properties for 21st-century comic sensibilities is not necessarily a bad one, but I think it’s safe to say that its execution has been decidedly mixed. For every Flintstones, there’s been a Wacky Raceland, and some of the concepts for the re-vamping have been decidedly ill-judged. So, what to make of this – a six-issue mini-series based on a cartoon show that first aired in 1957 and is culturally important more for what it led to than anything else? To be fair, I like Chaykin and I did volunteer. Time to jump in…

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The Wild Storm #7

The Wild Storm 7 coverWell, we had to wait a little longer than usual for this installment of what is shaping up to be one of the year’s best series. It should come as no surprise to anyone that this issue has been worth the wait. Issue 7 marks the start of the series’ second story arc and sees an expansion of the title’s cast of core characters. It also fails to deliver on the dramatic ending of issue 6, but you can’t have everything, can you? Although we may have to wait to see exactly how Henry Bendix’s response to the revelation that IO has been stealing Skywatch tech plays out, let’s see what we do get…

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It’s All Kicking Off! – Planet of the Apes/Green Lantern #5

Planet of the Apes-Green Lantern 005-000DC Comics’ and Boom! Studios’ Planet of the Apes/Green Lantern crossover has been, if not exactly ground-breaking, certainly fun so far. While certain elements (e.g. Hal repeating Taylor’s journey in the first film; Sinestro doing his whole mustache-twirling villain thing) have been predictable, others have been much less so. The introduction of Gorilla Grodd; the presence of the Red Lanterns; the un-named Green Lantern who first brought the Universal Ring to the alternate Earth; the centrality of Cornelius to the action: these have been the elements that, for me at any rate, have been genuinely intriguing. Now that we’re nearing the series’ climax, it’s time for those disparate elements to come together. Will the creative team have more surprises up its sleeve? There’s only one way to find out.

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A Bit of Self-Promotion

I should have mentioned this ages ago, but a conversation on the Weird Science DC Comics Slack chat earlier this evening reminded me – I have some fan fiction up on FanFiction.net. It’s mostly stuff from my Warhammer/Warhammer 40K writing days and generally takes the form of either short 1,000 word pieces or one ludicrously huge magnum opus, Nine-Tenths, which is an Inquisition procedural. Sort of.

Anyway, the link to my stuff can be found here. Enjoy – if you’re so inclined! 🙂

Recommended Reading for Adolescents: Fiction Series

A very detailed list of a range of book series available for young teens and pre-teens. A great resource if you’re looking to give the gift of reading this Christmas! 🙂

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There are 377 books in the 41 series below – something for everyone!

One of the great pleasures of teaching is to connect students with books, and a sound strategy for keeping them reading is to turn them on to a good series. If they like one book by an author, they’ll almost certainly want to read more in the same series. In this way we can hugely increase reading mileage without having to constantly foist books on our students. Not only that, but as their enthusiasm builds, so does their willingness to share. If they are hooked on a series, they will tell others about it. Hooked readers are the best advertising.

With that in mind, we have compiled a list of authors and series – some more recent, some from a few decades back, and others from the mists of the early twentieth century – for students who…

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Crowing About It – Wonder Woman/Conan #3

Wonder Woman Conan 3 coverLast issue saw our two heroes fight each other in an arena, get transferred to a smuggling ship, get threatened by randy sailors, see the ship they’re on get rammed by a Zingaran patrol boat, jump overboard in a desperate attempt to escape and, finally, get menaced by some impressively-rendered sharks. Phew! If all of that sounds action-packed, well, it is. Although much of the action could easily be categorized as padding. Will this issue’s action be any more purposeful? There’s only one way to find out…

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