Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Raging Bullets hits 300

 Last week Raging Bullets celebrated 6 years of podcasting and in around 1 weeks time the show will will hit its landmark 300th episode, which is quite a remarkable number of shows for a podcaste that’s been running for 6 years. I am a big fan of this show and I cannot recommend it too highly to anyone, so below is my small tribute to one of the best podcasts out there.

So please gather round and I will tell you tales of a show host, a man who's enthusiasm and love for comics shines out like the lantern of Oa. How his friend and co-host who in the face of overwhelming odds, still to this day will sing songs for all who will listen and to those that don’t want to listen as well.
What is this strange world I hear you cry, why it’s the world of Sean & Jim the world of The Raging Bullets Podcaste.

I enjoyed that I have always wanted to write a dramatic intro, so I'm glad I got it off my chest.
However, there is another reason that I introduced the show in this way, and that’s because the show has never taken its self too seriously. By that statement I don’t mean that hosts Sean & Jim aren’t serious about comics and what they talk about, quite the contrary they are two of the most dedicated comic fans you could ever hope to meet. What I mean is that they do the show in such a fun, light-hearted and enthusiastic way that it comes over as exactly what it is, two guys with a love of comics who just want to share that love with as many people as possible. When I listen to the show, I always picture the two of them sat in some Cheers type bar talking comics over a few beers. That’s how the show comes over to me; the truth on how the show is put together is probably far from what I picture in my head. But I don’t need to know that, I just have to listen and enjoy, and I have done that week after week for around 4 years now.

The format of the show when it first aired was for Sean the comic fan, to talk comics with Jim who at the time was a lapsed comic fan. They would discuss comics that they had both read, and give their opinions on what they thought of each book. However the format changed as Jim became lapsed no more, and was drawn back into the world of comics. Like many of us Jim was bitten by the comic bug, and was back buying comics on a regular basis. From that point on the shows format was established, two guys talking about comics and comic related topics. They don’t always agree with each other, but they both respect each others opinion. And just as importantly they both love what they were reading or watching, and get that point over to the listeners of the show.

Beyond the world of comics Sean and Jim also talk about TV shows, films, DVD releases and games as long as they have a comic connection they will be included in the show. 

Guest interviews have also played a big part of the show over the years, with some of the biggest names in the comic business coming on to the show to talk about their work. There have been many memorable interviews over the years, and it would be unfair to single out just one of them as they all have their own unique merits. However, one that sticks out for me due to its own uniqueness is when Gail Simone interviewed Sean & Jim, while they were attending a comic convention, how cool is that.

Going back to my point of not taking its self too seriously, the guys can sometimes go off on a tangent to places even they werent expecting to go. I have listened to the casting of a Muppet Secret Six, talk on what dead superhero or superhero's body part you would want to own, learned of Jims phobia (I wont give it away) and laughed out load as the merits of the Colgate adds slipped into the spine of comics was debated.
Another of the show unique strengths or some may say weakness’, is Jims willingness to sing at the drop of a hat and by that I mean any hat. I would love to say that Jim had the voice of Sinatra or even a Springsteen, but in all honesty I can’t. But you have got to love the guy because he doesn’t let the fact (dare I say), that he cannot sing stop him. If I’m honest the show would be a lot poorer if Jim didn’t throw in the odd tune, every now and then for us to listen to. For me Jims crowing glory will always be his rendition of New York-New York, from the floor of the New York comic con. I had it as a ring tone for around a year, and its something that will stick with me for years to come (in a good way)

The final piece of the jigsaw that makes Raging Bullets stand out, is its interaction with the shows followers.
Not only during the podcast via voice mails, but also through other social media.
However, it is not enough to be out there on social networks you have to interact, which is where Shaun particularly excels. He is always answering comments left on the pages of the show blog, Facebook and Twitter. This is not an easy thing to do considering he holds down a full time job as a teacher, which in its self must be demanding as well as rewarding. Throw in to the mix his home life (wife), friends and family, and I’m amazed that he is able to balance all of this as well as run a podcast. If he ever decided to write a book about how to manage your time, I will be at the front of the queue to buy it and get it signed.

The show also actively promotes and crosses over with other podcasts and blogs, another of the shows strengths. Below is a list of people all whose shows I listen to and blogs I now read, due to hearing about them on Raging Bullets.

Martin Gray – Too Dangerous for a Girl – blog
Ian Levenstein – Comic Timing – podcast & blog
Myron Rumsey – Blog of Oa & The Podcast of Oa
Bill Giancoli - The Podcast of Oa
Darrell Taylor – The Taylor Network – more podcasts than you can shake a stick at.
Bobby NashEarth Station One Podcast, also a very good writer.
Mike Faber - Earth Station One – Podcast.

These are all people I have never met but in one way or another, they have all interacted, advised or helped me in a variety of ways.
These are all people I may not have even heard of, if I hadn’t listened to Raging Bullets.

So I raise my glass of JD & Coke (it is after 6pm) and I salute both Sean & Jim, on reaching the milestone of not just 300 shows but 300 quality shows.
Thank you guys for the last 6 years, may there be many more years and shows to come.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

News and Rumour 21/03/2012

Doctor Who meets Emmerdale

Jenna-Louise Colman has been announced as the new companion for the Doctor, the former Emmerdale actress will join the show during the Christmas special. Jenna is 25 years old and comes from Blackpool, she played Jasmine Thomas in Emmerdale and also stared in the BBC school drama Waterloo Road. She can also be seen in the upcoming drama Titanic playing a character called Annie Desmond, and had a small role in the resent Captain America film. Other news on the series has also been released
  • This years we will get six episodes which will include the Christmas special.
  • Eight more will be aired in 2013, making a total of 14 episodes filmed this year.
  • Amy & Rory will leave after episode 5, which will feature the Weeping Angels.
  • After the 8 episodes  in 2013 there will be more later in the year, how many Moffat is not saying.
  • Matt Smith is contracted for all the episodes in 2013, no news after that.
  • Jenna will begin filming in May.
Next year will be the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who so you can bet something big is been planned, as the I don't believe the BBC will not let this anniversary pass without producing something.
One rumour that seems to be hanging around is that Benedict Cumberbatch could be playing the latest incarnation of The Master, given his ties to Moffet via Sherlock its not too much of a stretch. But give the fact he would be most Who fans first choice if Matt Smith were to leave , I don't think it will happen but I have been wrong before (but don't tell the wife that).

Dark Shadows Trailer Released
A few posts ago I reported on photos released from the Tim Burton Dark Shadows film, this week the first trailer was released. There has been some surprise shown as the trailer seems to indicate that the film may be a comedy, now I am glad I I have seen the trailer as I went to see Sweeney Todd and without knowing it was a musical. I vowed never to be caught out again, click the link and make up your own mind on what type of film you think
Dark Shadows will be.

Once Upon a TimeThe cult TV show Once Upon a Time is set to hit the UK on the 1st April on Chanel 5, the synopsis of the show is that the town of Storybrooke, Maine is populated by characters from fairy story's. They have all been exiled there to live in the real world by the Wicked Queen, none of the inhabitant's know their true identity's and happily go about their daily life's. However, this all changes when a girl called Emma who is the daughter of Snow White and Price Charming, returns to Storybrooke.
I know it doesn't sound too good but the reviews have been excellent, so its must be worth giving it a go I know that I will.

Leeds Comic Convention (Thought Bubble)News for the Leeds comic convention is begin to filter out, the comic convention will run for two days on November 17th & 18th. The whole comic art festival known as Thought Bubble will run from November 11th culminating in the two day comic con, details on what is happening throughout the week can be found on the Thought Bubble web site along with guests confirmed for the convention.

Earth Station Who is Launched
And finally I reported on the Earth Station One podcaste turning 100 a few blogs ago, well they have now branched out and launched Earth Station Who. Which you can guess by the name will report, review and generally talk about all things Doctor Who. You can access it via the ESO website episode one is the very first episode An Unearthly Child, I haven't listened to it myself yet but if its half as good as the ESO podcast we are in for a treat.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Blue Beetle #6

As first story arc of this book draws to a close we get a showdown to the death between Blue Beetle and Blue Beetle, to be honest its more of a playground scuffle between Blue Beetle and Red and Blue Beetle.

In a previous issue Jamie had infected his friend Paco with his scarabs Transbiotic Antitrauma (me neither), but what ever it is it healed him from certain death. Now as it was Jamie while in costume but under the control of the scarab, that stabbed Paco through the heart it was only fair that he tried to save him.

However, the problem this sets up is that Paco doesn't have the same control of his suite that Jamie does, something that Paco's suite recognises. And it decided that the he must deactivate Jamie's scarab, as it believes it is damaged and must be replaced. As the scarab is always in control of the host, and not the other way round.

I know this sound confusing but if you have read the book from the beginning it makes sense, which is one of the problems I have with the issue as it is no way new reader friendly.

But back to the plot and Jamie has to find a way of stopping his friends suit from killing him, without harming his best friend in any way.
The final solution on how he does this is a bit of a cop out and a slightly disappointing end to the fist story arc, I also find the way that Brenda (Jamie's one-sided love interest) doesn't connect the dots when he disappears and Blue Beetle turns up a little annoying.
It's very reminiscent of the old Superman and Lois story's, which may have worked 20 years ago but doesn't work in today comic world.

That aside writer Tony Bedard has continued to keep Blue Beetle interesting, although I am still not sure we needed a reboot of the character when the book relaunched. I would have much preferred to have carried on with the Blue Beetle I read in Justice League Lost, in that book he was more self assured of himself and his ability's.
However, having said that I would be very disappointed if the comic was cancelled as I have enjoyed it overall, the art by Ig Guara (pencils), J.P Mayer / Mark Irwin (Inkers) and Pete Pantaziz (colourist) are top draw and help make up for the annoyances I may have with the issue.

The book finished with the Blue Beetle heading off to New York, which will hopefully see Jamie evolve more into the Beetle we used to have.
I will be sticking around to find out

Monday, 12 March 2012

News & Rumors 12th March

Johhny Depp as Tonto:
Photos of Johny Depp as Tonto from the new Lone Ranger film have been released, along with Arnie Hammer who plays the Lone Ranger. The Lone Ranger was always the main focus of the TV series (only fair its his name in the title), however I suspect that Tonto will be given a bigger roll in this film due to the fact that Johhny Depp is playing him. We will have to wait until 2013 to see, and to get the chance to shout ''who is that masked man''.

The Lone Ranger ran on TV from 1949 to 1957 and stared Layton Moore as the Lone Ranger, Jay Silverheels as Tonto and lets not forget Silver the horse.

Dark Shadows:

Continuing with Mr Depp more Dark Shadow photos have been released showing him as the vampire Barnabus Collins, Dark Shadows was originally a TV series that ran from 1966 to 1971. As well as Mr Depp the cast includes Michelle Pfeiffer, Helena Bonham Carter, Jonny Lee Miller, Jackie Earle Haley, Eva Green, ChloĆ« Grace Moretz, Bella Heathcote, Gulliver McGrath and Ray Shirley. The film is directed by Tim Burton, which is a bit of a surprise for a film staring Johhny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter.

Earth Station One is 100:
The Earth Station One podcast recently reached 100 episodes, the ESO podcast covers just about everything that's Si-fi and fantasy along with other topics as well. UK shows are regularly featured on the podcast with shows such as Doctor Who, Torchwood, Red Dwarf and Sherlock all been discussed. The show has a revolving line up but regulars include Mike Faber, Mike Gordon and Bobby Nash, with other contributors regularly appearing on the show. If you haven't listened to the show I urge you to give it a go, you wont be disappointed.

DC has released artwork showing the Watchmen all together as the comics near their release dates, the artwork is by Lee Bermejo who will be on the Rorchach book. Expect more information in the coming weeks, you can also visit the Watchman page to get up to date info.

RORSCHACH (4 issues) Writer: Brian Azzarello. Artist: Lee Bermejo
MINUTEMEN (6 issues) Writer/Artist: Darwyn Cooke
COMEDIAN (6 issues)Writer: Brian Azzarello. Artist: J.G. Jones
DR. MANHATTAN (4 issues) Writer: J. Michael Straczynski. Artist: Adam Hughes
NITE OWL (4 issues) Writer: J. Michael Straczynski. Artists: Andy and Joe Kubert
OZYMANDIAS (6 issues) Writer: Len Wein. Artist: Jae Lee
SILK SPECTRE (4 issues) Writer: Darwyn Cooke. Artist: Amanda Conner

Doctor Who:
Filming of the new series of Doctor Who has moved to Spain, for what is rumoured to be the 3rd episode of the 7th series. The Spanish setting is been used as the back drop for the old west, as the Doctor gets involved with gunslingers and cyborg type creature who is terrorising a local town. The sets been used to film in were originally used for such films as A Fistful of Dollars & The Magnificent Seven, the episode will also star Adrian Scarborough, who is current appearing in the new Upstairs Downstairs, along with Ben Browder who played Colonel Cameron Mitchell in Stargate SG-1.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Batman Beyond Unlimited #1

 A few weeks back I was bemoaning the loss of a fun titles in the new line of DC books, well I can moan no more after reading Batman Beyond Unlimited.The book is broken in to two stories 10,000 Clowns concerns the influx of Jokerz into Gotham, for those who are unfamiliar with this version of Batman Jokerz are gangs of followers of the original Joker. Bruce (grumpy as ever) is concerned there is more at work than just random gangs turning up, a concern shared by Barbara Gordon now Commissioner Gordon of Gotham.

In between fighting Jokerz and trying to figure out what’s going, on new Batman Terry McGinnis is also trying to sort out his failing love life. In a continuation from the last series Terry is still single due to his unreliability, apparently he keeps disappearing or not turning up for dates for no apparent reason. He should take tips from Superman he was doing the same thing to Louis for years, and getting away with it.

There is a nice tip to continuity during a conversation between Bruce and Barbara, where Bruce asks Barbara if her legs are bothering her when she stands up rather shakily as if she is in pain. Where this actually sits in continuity is anyone’s guess, but it is one of those little references that keep the geek in us happy.

As the story progresses its clear that the Jokerz are a distraction to test Batman, and the shadowy villain is revelled at the end of the story a reveal that's quite a nice twist.

The second story Konstruction involves the Justice League still lead by Superman along with War Hawk, Kai-Ro Green Lantern of sector 2814 , Barda exiled god from New Genesis, and Aqua Girl.

Batman is joined by 3 of his JLA team mates who help him clear up a fight between a gang of Splicers and a Jokerz gang, once that is cleared up they are about to head off to fight Golems at Hamilton High. Unfortunately for Bats he is called back to JLA headquarters on more urgent matters, and as Bruce reminds him the league supersedes everything.

The League have big problems Kobra are are preparing for something big and the leagues man on the inside Micron is missing, again there is a nice twist towards the end as the team watch a network recording of a robbery.
We leave the team as they prepare to head off to Camus, the last know place Micron was seen.

At 48 pages the book is excellent value for money, with two good solid stories’s that set up their respective arch’s nicely.
There is however distinctive artwork differences in each story Norm Breyfogle on 10,000 Clowns is of a standard comic artwork for want of a better description, where as Dustin Nguyen had more of a cartoon feel to it that fits in with the animated show.
Personally I have no problem with either style as both fit the tone of the story been told, the writers Adam Beechen 10,000 Clowns and Derek Fridolfs / Dustin Nguyen Konstruction both did excellent jobs in capturing what made the animated series so good.

The nods to the animated show in the second story were particularly pleasing, as references were made to the Splicer’s, the drug know as Slappers and the appearance of Harely Quinn's twin Granddaughters last seen (by me anyhow) in The Return of the Joker story.

The book actually made me want to revisit my DVD’s (I haven’t moved to Blu-ray yet) of the animated series, so as I said at the start a good and fun book that’s well worth a try.

Friday, 2 March 2012

News & a major spoiler (if you want it)

Batman & Robin Earth 2

Over the last few days DC have been reviling images of the heroes of the upcoming Earth 2 comic book by writer James Robinson, the images have been revieled on the DC Source Blog and clearly show that Earth 2 is a vastly different universe to the one we have been reading for the last 6 months. I am a big fan of James Robinson's work and thought his Justice League run was vastly underrated, and was cut short just as it was starting to pick up momentum.

Images shown are Batman and his daughter a female Robin, more images of other heroes and detail for each character is on the DC Source blog just click on the link.


Avengers Assemble

Cannot wait for the Avengers film in April, need an Avengers fix well wait no more there is a new trailer on line called Avengers Assemble. Now most of the clips you will have already seen but there are a few new ones the one with the Hulk catching Iron Man been a particular favourite of mine.

Major Walking Dead Spoiler
Do not go further if you don't want to know:
but you know you do.

It is been reported all over the Internet that there has been a major spoiler in the advertisement for the AMC blu-ray limited edition of The Walking Dead, which has a bonus feature which says Shane's last episode. Fans of the comic will be very aware that Shane died very early on in the books run, however he has proved to be a popular character in the TV series. Now speculation is now rife on how he will leave the show as the spoiler doesn't say he dies, only that it's his last episode.