Thursday, July 31, 2008















HARBOURING AMBITIONS
So I got into San Diego on Tuesday night before any of the other occupants of the room. So apart from a temporary cash crisis that day, there's nothing to report about this day except for the fact that the Annuals had arrived safely (they look great). So Wednesday July 23rd was the first proper day of the trip because it was when Gary and his mate John got into town. So we met up in the morning and Gary wanted to do some touristy things in San Diego before the madness of the show began. So we walked along Harbor Drive and spent the first half of Wednesday visiting ships The Star of India, HMS Surprize (used in Russell Crowe's Master and Commander), an old Russian submarine permanently moored in the harbor and USS Midway, the huge now deactivated American aircraft carrier. The sub was amazing, although not for the claustrophobic as it had very low ceilings and the Surprize and Star of India were also incredible although how much had been restored is still open to question. I admit that I wasn't as interested in the Midway as Gary and John but I thought, what the hell, we'd only have gone to shopping centre Horton Plaza anyway, and I have to say that some of it was staggering like the scale of the aircraft deck where the planes took off and landed from. The weather was perfect with crisp blue skies too: quite a contrast to the grey early Autumnlike weather I had left at home. So here is a photo of Gary next to the HMS Surprize, me inside the cockpit of one of the planes on the Midway, John inside the sub, a view from the top of the sub, a view of the deck of the Midway, a photo of the bowsprite from the HMS Surprize, Gary inside the Russian sub, sun through the masts of the Surprize, a photo taken through the window on the Coaster train from Carlsbad to San Diego, pigeons in the Harbour, the massive front of the USS Midway, the inside of the Russian submarine and the Star of India with the HMS Surprize…

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Wednesday, July 30, 2008






BACK TO BLIGHTY
Got back today from San Diego and slightly lagged. So I'll have a series of proper posts for you in the next few days but to whet your appetite, here's five photos taken on Wednesday near the aircraft carrier Midway of a Bob Hope statue, a navy memorial, a rather bizarre statue of a sailor kissing his girlfriend and the harbour at San Diego…


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Monday, July 21, 2008




SAN DIEGO BOUND
This is the last post before I get crushed on the plane on my way to San Diego and the madness of Comic-Con. We shall be located on the Image Comics booth, 2729, where we'll be selling hot-off- the-press copies of TRIPWIRE Annual 2008, Studio Space paperbacks and hardcovers. There are also two panels taking place: firstly Thursday 24th July in Room 3 from 10.30 to 11.30 am is the TRIPWIRE Annual panel with me, Andy Grossberg, Pat McGreal, Jamie McKelvie and Kody Chamberlain where we'll be discussing the Annual and the future of genre. Then on Friday 25th July in Room 3 from 11am until 12noon, the Studio Space panel will consist of Howard Chaykin, Tommy Lee Edwards and Bryan Talbot with me asking the questions. Also, Bradstreet, Lee Edwards and Talbot will be signing on the Image signing area from 10am to 11am on Saturday 26th July. So me and Gary will be on the table for the whole show and Jeff Carlisle, who drew our magnificent Doctor Who interior piece, will also be around for some of the show. So please feel free to pop by…

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Saturday, July 19, 2008


NICE KNIGHT FOR IT
I went to two press screenings last week, one was Hellboy 2, which is embargoed over here until August because that's when it's out in the UK, a date that I shall honour, but the other was The Dark Knight. I admit that I was looking forward to Hellboy 2 more than The Dark Knight but I found that I was more impressed by the latter than the former. Christopher Nolan is an amazing director: just look at The Prestige or Memento if you don't believe me. The Dark Knight is set a little later than Batman Begins and we see a Gotham riven by gangsters fighting with each other. Into this tinderbox enters The Joker played by Heath Ledger, a role that he doesn't just make his own but totally inhabits for the two-and-a-half hours of the film. The Joker represents the chaos of the new kind of villain in Gotham and he upsets the status quo of the city. Enter Harvey Dent, likeably played by Aaron Eckhart, the DA brought in to clean up the city. But things don't go according to plan and The Joker's presence here is a catalyst for all manner of horrendous events. The Dark Knight is so much more accomplished, cohesive and cinematic than its predecessor that you sometimes have to slap yourself to remind you that this is by the same director. Everything is shot and lit in a grown-up and widescreen manner and Nolan turns Chicago, where most of the film was shot, into a beautiful but deadly Gotham City on screen. From the opening bank job, where you see the brutality of Ledger's Joker and which is one of the most arresting starts to any film in the last three decades, to the tense conclusion in which the villain pits two groups of people on two different booby-trapped boats against each other, everything plays out with elegance and sophistication, two words that aren't often used to describe your bog-standard summer tentpole movie. The script here is fantastically consistent too: unlike Batman Begins, which was all over the place, there is a sense of cohesion here that makes it gripping to watch it all play out. Ledger makes The Joker a force of nature and I shall admit that I was skeptical when people who had seen the film were tipping him for an Oscar nod but bloody hell does he deserve it. There are moments here that reminded me of Dirty Harry and I think this is a deliberate nod to classic Seventies movies like that. Batman is a limited character but Nolan has managed to invest so much in the other protagonists and antagonists here that this doesn't detract from the overall film. The Dark Knight is probably the best superhero movie ever made and Nolan is one of the finest directors currently working in mainstream cinema today…

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Friday, July 18, 2008










LONDON CALLING (AGAIN)
Here's some more random photos taken near Euston Road, one taken in Angel, in Little Venice and Paddington taken over the last couple of weeks including when Dave Morris came down to see me. I'm off to San Diego next Tuesday so I'll be posting a review of Dark Knight before I go and details of what we've got planned at the show for TRIPWIRE Annual and Studio Space. The Annual is printed now…

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Friday, July 11, 2008










MORE RANDOM PHOTOS
Here's a selection of random photos from Manchester and St Pancras…


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Sunday, July 06, 2008

SEVEN SONGS THAT ARE SHAPING YOUR SUMMER
Stevyn Colgan tagged me to list seven songs that I have been listening to that are shaping my summer. So never one to turn down a challenge here, here they are, in no particular order (this was actually quite hard because I usually just stick my Ipod on shuffle in the car and my ITunes on shuffle when I'm working at home):
1. Life on Mars - David Bowie (from Live Santa Monica '72). This is a cracking version of a classic song from this live album , which has only just been released. I got into Bowie pretty late (this live album actually dates from the year I was born) but I never tire of listening to him…
2. The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll- Black Rebel Motorcycle Club (from iTunes Festival). Because I'm a bit of a miserable bastard sometimes, this Bob Dylan cover from a great overlooked band has such raw power that it really does make me want to whack up the volume and drive off into the sunset (or rain, which we're currently having at the minute)…
3. Iron Man - Black Sabbath (from Paranoid). Really powerful in the movie, this song still sounds fantastic…
4. Fortunate Son-Creedence Clearwater Revival (from Greatest Hits). From that amazing guitar intro, everything about this song screams 'summer.' (for me anyway)…
5. Bang Bang You're Dead-Dirty Pretty Things (from Waterloo To Anywhere). From Dirty Pretty Things' first album, the sound of London distilled in three minutes…
6. 1404-Manic Street Preachers (B-side from Autumnsong) Great ballad from a band who are still peerless live…
7. Children of The Revolution-T.Rex (from Greatest Hits) A song I never get tired of…

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Friday, July 04, 2008











NORTHWEST PASSAGES
So last Saturday, 28th June, we did the last of our Studio Space signings in the UK, at least for the time being. It took place in Forbidden Planet Manchester on Oldham Street, about a 10 minute walk from Piccadilly station. Gary and Andy didn't come up but Matt Badham, who lives in the city, Leon Hewitt and Barry Renshaw, who was kind enough to let me invade his and his missus's lounge for a Saturday night, all turned up to lend their support. Steve Dillon and Dave Taylor were signing and we had a very good turnout. I was worried that I would be late because I missed my train at St Pancras thanks to some shit on the trains in London but it worked out okay in the end. Dave brought his partner Pauline and his beautiful baby daughter (whose name I keep forgetting: please leave a comment here, Dave). Both Steve and Dave were great: really amenable at the signing, happy to do sketches and sign whatever people brought. So the third signing in June was a success and bodes well for our San Diego madness, which is in less than three weeks' time. Here's some photos from the event…

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