Friday, July 31, 2009















COASTING PART ONE
So I'm just back from my exhausting trip to San Diego Comic-Con and just beginning to get my brain back together again. I'll be breaking it up into bite sized chunks for people to read so here is the first post. Unlike previous years, we decided to make it a little bit of an extended trip. It's a pretty knackering trip from the UK (11 plus hours on the plane) so we thought that it might make more sense to do it as a nine day affair. So myself and Andy (Colman, who hadn't been since 2005) booked the Embassy Suites from Monday 20th to July 29th. Now for anyone who's ever been, getting the hotel is like planning a military operation: rooms sell out in seconds of them being opened up by those geniuses at Travel Planners and you want to be as close as you can to the show geographically. The Embassy Suites is alright: about four blocks from the Convention Center, rooms have their own fridge, microwave and a pull-out bed as well as a regular bed. So we got in on Monday evening West Coast time after a whole day of travelling and reached the Embassy Suites, exhausted but happy we had got there safely. The TRIPWIRE Annual 2009 had turned up in one piece and they looked great. This is the third year running that the first time I'd seen them in print was in San Diego. We had a quick dinner with our friend Jim Johnson at Sammy's Woodfired Pizza and then fell into bed. Tuesday was pretty uneventful: once I'd picked up our exhibitor badges, dropped a couple of boxes of TRIPWIRE at our table, Andy C went into the hall to talk to the golden and silver age dealers while I went off to Horton Plaza to try and see Up. The hall is so odd without its hordes of people. So here are some photos in San Diego before the madness of Comic-Con 2009 began taken with my D60, which I had to buy when my D40x packed up two days before I left for the States…

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Thursday, July 16, 2009


SAN DIEGO BOUND
With about three days to go until I get on the plane to go to San Diego for another week of madness (my 11th show there), this will be the last post I write in London until I get back. I always look forward to San Diego because sometimes it's the only place I see certain people all year. Although in past years, I have done a lot of reporting and writing on film stuff for magazines and newspapers but this year, it seems that the press are being frozen out by the film companies. I know of several high-profile roundtables that I am not invited to and so it means that I'll mainly be behind the TRIPWIRE table. Speaking of which, if anybody is at San Diego, please feel free to come by to our table, Small Press S07, where we'll have the Annual 2009 hot off the presses. Since Diamond US won't carry us, it may be the only chance you have to grab one. We are also selling copies of 2008's Annual, what with a sizeable Doctor Who presence at the show in the shape of Russell T Davies and David Tennant. We also have a panel on Thursday 23rd July in Room 3 from 10.30am. We'll have BleedingCool's Rich Johnston on that as well as myself, Editor-US Andy Grossberg and possibly artist Kody Chamberlain. So I am excited to see the magazine, since I won't see it until I get to the hotel in San Diego on Monday evening West Coast time, and looking forward to catching up with people like Jim Johnson and loads of others. I'll be posting entries here while I'm away, so expect to see lots of activity at Walls and Bridges…

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Monday, July 13, 2009


POTTERING AROUND
There are a few films that are critic-proof, that have such a huge, loyal following that it doesn't matter what anyone says about it, its fans will see it regardless. Harry Potter is just such a film series. So when I went to see Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince, I expected something that would while away a couple of hours pleasantly enough and would then leave no impact on my brain after I watched it, just like the other Potter big-screen adaptations. But Half-Blood Prince was actually even less memorable than its predecessors. Clocking in at two and a half hours, the main problem with it is that tries to adapt a very long book and nothing really happens until the last twenty minutes when Potter and Dumbledore set off on a quest with a tragic conclusion in an attempt to thwart Voldemort for once and for all. It looks pretty as ever, it is competently directed by David Yates and the acting is decent enough, but it just doesn't engage the viewer. But as I said, the fanbase for Rowling's books is so huge that it doesn't matter what I or anybody else say. So if you're a huge Harry Potter fan, you'll see this anyway and if you're not, I'm sure you can find a better way to spend 150 minutes anyway…

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Wednesday, July 08, 2009

ANNUAL ALMOST FINISHED
I couldn't think of a pun for this blog post. We are a few pages away from putting the TRIPWIRE Annual 2009 on the presses and less than two weeks until I see the final product. Putting a magazine today with such a small staff is very difficult and subbing the thing has taken weeks, with us constantly spotting errors. But it will be very satisfying to see the magazine at last. It is hopefully the best one we've ever published. People visiting San Diego Comic Con can come and find us on Small Press Table S07, where we'll have copies of the Annual for sale as well as for anyone looking for stuff for David Tennant to sign will be able to pick up copies of TRIPWIRE Annual 2008 at a knockdown rate. So I am getting excited about San Diego…

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Thursday, July 02, 2009


DAYLIGHT ROBBERY?
Michael Mann is a director, like Michael Bay, who is all about the surface. Since he got his start on slick Eighties TV series Miami Vice, that's not terribly surprising. Public Enemies, his biopic of bank robber John Dillinger with Johnny Depp in the title role and Christian Bale as his adversary Melvin Purvis, looked impressive when the trailer started doing the rounds at the beginning of the year. Now I've had the chance to see it, at a press screening last week, I'm afraid that it suffers from the flaws that nearly all of Mann's films possess. We are treated to a rather meat-and-potatoes account of how Dillinger, after spending years on the FBI's most wanted list and pursued by agent Purvis, played with nuance by Bale, is tracked down and brought to justice in quite a brutal way. Mann's film looks elegant and he manages to recreate the Thirties with style and pizazz but structurally Public Enemies is very much by the numbers. The law enforcement who try to apprehend him come across as incompetent and almost Keystone Cop-like in their lack of savvy and there is even a scene where Depp as Dillinger walks into the police station, wandering unimpeded amongst the police. Depp is quite charismatic on screen and you are left cheering for him but Bale, while his performance is understated and probably his best in years, doesn't have much to work with. There also isn't any chemistry between Bale and Depp and Public Enemies just isn't very thrilling as a cinematic experience. If you were to compare it to something like Arthur Penn's classic Bonnie and Clyde, it isn't even in the same league. Visually it is impressive but it is a hollow and unemotional experience and it makes you question just how versatile Johnny Depp actually is as an actor. In the hands of another director, Public Enemies could have been a modern movie classic but it falls so short that it is nothing more than an interesting curio with a solid but unengaging cast…

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