Sunday, 24 June 2012

1 Year Old Today - Happy Birthday Too Old for Comics

Today is exactly one year since I published my first blog, I had intended to try to publish at least one blog per month it was I thought a daunting task that I had set myself. 12 months and 57 (58 with this one) postings later I look back and wonder how on earth I could have such an unambitious target, to be fair I did think that writing one blog a month would be a mammoth task and that I would struggle to do it.

The other worries I had was would I become board and end up writing just out of habit or abandon the blog altogether, and who if anyone would read the musings of a then 49 year old comic fan. In the end I just decided to go for it and along with encouragement from my lovely wife (Helen), and some sound advice from a now fellow blogger Martin Gray who runs the brilliant blog Too Dangourous for a Girl, it was time to ''Publish and be dammed''.

Well so far I haven't been dammed and writing the blog has opened up a whole new world to me, as it's enabled me to interacted with people I may never have if I had not taken the plunge and published that first blog.

A blog I may add that I love writing and I am very proud of it's not perfect but then niether am I, my blog wont change the world or make me pots of cash. But it is my way of sharing what I think is good about the comic and Si-Fi world, and I will continue to do so for a lot longer yet. 

So to any one who has left comments, read or just clicked on the blog out of curiosity I would like to say a big THANK YOU, as I move into my second year of musings.

Saturday, 23 June 2012

News & Rumor 23/06/2012

Doctor Who:
Sad news to start with as the BBC Doctor Who website reported on the death of Caroline John, Caroline played the companion Liz Shaw to Jon Pertwee's doctor. Caroline played the role in 1970 in Pertwee's first year as the doctor, our thoughts go out to Carolines family and friends at this sad time.

More Doctor Who
Rumour has it that Madame Vastra the Silurian assassin could be returning to Doctor Who, story's in the UK press (22/06/12) say she will be in the second part of this seasons split run. She appeared in the episode A Good Man Goes to War and proved an instant hit, it was implied although never actually said that Vastra and her assistant were in a relationship. They currently have their own facebook page, and there are rumours that they could be given their own spin-off show, stranger things have happened.

Bobby Nash:
Writer Bobby Nash has a new novel out titled Earth Strike Agenda, the book is published by Ben Books and is currently available as an ebook for Kindle, Apple iPad/iBooks, Nook, Sony Reader, Kobo, and most e-reading apps including Stanza, Aldiko, and Adobe Digital Editions, as well as in PDF, RTF, and Plain Text formats for easy reading on any PC.
I believe a print edition will also be available soon.

Bobby kindly agreed to an interview (The Random 10) that was posted on my blog in April of this year, he has several works in print and his website is well worth a visit to see the vast scope of genre that his work covers. A particular favourite of mine is the crime thriller Deadly Games, but in all honesty I have enjoyed all the books he has written. 

You can purchase the Earthstrike Agenda ebook at the following:

Barnes & Noble (Nook):

DriveThru Fiction:

Bobby's Webpage:

Sinbad comes to Sky1

The satellite channel Sky 1 will begin airing their new fantasy drama Sinbad from the 8th July, with a newcomer Elliot Knight in the role as Sinbad. The show also has a large supporting cast that includes Naveen Andrews (Lost), Sophie Okonedo (Hotel Rwanda) and Timothy Spall (Harry Potter films).

The clips that have been shown do look interesting and as a fan of the old films I will be giving this one a go as well.

William Shatner:
Good old Bill Shatner has had to apologise to the Devon town of Ilfracombe, for a remark he made about the town while hosting the BBC satirical news quiz Have I Got News For You. When a contestant remarked how Bills mispronunciation of the towns name made it sound sexual, Bill remarked that the town was lacedfull with prostitution. You have to love old captain Kirk, still daring to boldly go where no one has gone before.

Dredd is back:
 The trailer for the new Judge Dredd film has been released and look very cool, try to forget the awful Stallone film and watch the clip you may be surprised I know I was.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

The New Deadwardians #3

 If you have zombies or vampires in a book then you are guaranteed a certain amount of interest, if you put them together in a book from Vertigo then you have a winner.
The New Deadwardians from Vertigo not only gives you both but also throws in a murder mystery, an alternative take on the Edwardian era and a comment on the social classes here in the UK.
In this 3rd issue we find Inspector George Shuttle still on the trail of the killer of a fellow vampire who was found murdered issue 1, the investigation has taken him into the East End of London across into what is know as Zone B.
Zone B is the area where humans known as the Bright live, and the inspector is made very aware that its an area where vampires know as the Young are not welcome.
It’s during this journey into zone B that we get to learn a bit more information about Shuttle, through a flashback to his time in the Zombie war it doesn’t reveal too much but does give you a tantalising glimpse into his past.

Shuttle's investigations take him to a house of ill repute know as a Thirsty house, a place where vampires go to try to connect to a part of the life they once had.
While he's there we get to learn a little bit more about the Inspectors condition (been a vampire) and how it affects him, thanks to the girls he encounters who as they say ''have the skills to raise the dead (no Viagra in those days). And once alone with one of the girls who goes by the name of Sapphire (not here real name I suspect), the Inspector confesses that he misses the days when he had desire and passion something that goes when you become a vampire. In this world there are no True Blood style lusting from the vampires, most feelings, urges and even dreams seem to disappear once you change or take the cure as they call it. In truth it is refreshing to see this take on becoming a vampire, that despite its advantages there is still a down side (pun intended) to been one of the living dead.
Its during his time with Sapphire (they talk) that you also learn that Shuttle wears a cross, a symbol that he admits burns the flesh of some of his fellow Young. He however seems to be immune from this, maybe its because he believes he became a vampire as a sacrament for God and the Queen.
After getting the information he requires from Sapphire Shuttle heads of to the market area, where his driver warns him that gangs of Quenchman operate in that area. Quenchman are gangs that don't tolerate the young and see them as Godless creatures, and as you can guess the Inspector comes face to face with a gang as the book ends..
The artwork on the book is excellent and depicts this dark grim world superbly, the story line while not rushing to a conclusion is moving along at a nice steady pace. Its a credit to writer Dan Abnett that the character interaction is so good, that you don't notice that there is little to no action in the book.  
The other aspect of the book I find interesting is that only the affluent are seemingly given the cure to stop them from becoming zombies, and once cured they all live in relative safety in Zone A which for the main part is zombie and crime free. Where as the lower class are left to fend for themselves in zone B, and are left in danger of becoming zombies or killed for no other reason than been born on the wrong side of the class divide.
 I drew parallels with this and the ongoing NHS (National Health Service) post code lottery debate here in the UK, where different health trusts seemingly have different rules on what they spend and who is entitled to various types of treatment. So based on where you live in the country, your age and some believe social class, it can literally be the difference between life and death dependent on which post code (zip code) you live in. Swap zones for post codes and it’s an interesting comparison intended or not, but then maybe I‘m looking too deep into the book and seeing things that are not there.
Either way a comic that makes you think, can’t be a bad thing now can it.
The New Deadwardians is only 3 issues in so getting back issues should not be a problem and well worth the effort of seeking them out, and based on what I have read so far I would be more than happy to see this book move to a monthly at the end of its 8 issue run.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

The Random 10 No 2 - The Lee Houston, Junior Interview

My guest for this edition of The Random 10 is writer Lee Houston, Junior.
Lee has kindly agreed to answer the Random 10 questions but before he does that, here is a little bit of information about Lee.
His new book Project Alpha, a superhero novel, has just been released by Pro Se Press. Lee is also the writer/creator of Hugh Monn, Private Detective, with the second book in that series due out this fall. He serves as the story editor of the monthly Pro Se Presents magazine and is the Editor-In-Chief of The Free Choice E-zine at
And for the record, Lee Houston, Junior IS his natural/real name, with family ancestry dating back to Sam Houston in Texas history.

How did you first get into writing?
I am a very big reader. Growing up, I progressed from being told bedtime stories to reading comic books and eventually straight prose novels for myself. By the time I comprehended what the words “written by” meant, no other career path would have been viable, although life did have other ideas for awhile.

Who or what are your early influences?
Considering that I started reading on my own in earnest during the 1970s, from comic books: Cary Bates, Eliot S! Maggin, and Gardner Fox (via reprints and back issues) immediately come to mind. Prose influences include Walter B. Gibson (aka Maxwell Grant), Ellery Queen, Robert B. Parker, and Edgar Rice Burroughs, for the first true book (all text, no pictures) that I ever read completely on my own was A Princess of Mars.

Where do you draw your ideas for stories from?
From practically anything and everything, for you never truly know what might inspire an idea unless you leave your mind open to new possibilities. There have been sources from which I learned what not to do, and a lot of my personal life experiences tend to crop up disguised within my writing also.

How do you approach your writing? Do you have a set regime say 09:00 until 17:00?
Unless I wake up in the middle of the night from a dream with a good story idea or segment, I usually tend not to start until after breakfast in the morning. But then I’m in my desk chair and at my keyboard throughout the day, with intervals to get up and stretch or tackle the more mundane chores of life, like laundry.

If you could write a story using any character, who would you choose?
Tough question. There are so many options, but first and foremost, I would love the opportunity to write in/for the comic book industry. Beyond that…

How do you like to relax when you’re not writing?
Reading and television are the usual suspects, but I also like to do crosswords and other puzzles to keep the mind active.

You use social media to connect to fans and get your work out to people. Do you consider this to be an important part of your work or is it just fun?
A bit of both. There are a few sites I go to just for fun and I have yet to tweet (use Twitter), but the Internet allows for much greater and faster communication across the world than we ever had before. There are a lot of companies in business now that wouldn’t be able to exist without the Internet.

Your latest book is
Project Alpha. Can you tell us a bit about it?
It is the story of an innocent being on one planet suddenly given super powers and expected to save another world in less than a day, for the peaceful planet of Shambala is on the verge of extinction and the scientist responsible for the danger is desperate to correct his mistake.
The Alpha character himself has been with me in one form or another since high school. His uniform colour scheme is even based upon the school colours, as you can see by the wonderful cover Marc Guerrero did for the book. I’m very excited about the character and have the series plotted through at least Book Five.

Do you have any other upcoming books or projects you wish to talk about?
I have contributed several short stories to Pulp Obscura, which is a joint project between Pro Se and Altus Press to create new adventures of golden age pulp characters for today’s audience. The first, “A Black Friday in Australia” will be appearing within the upcoming New Adventures of the Eagle volume. It has some historical content and even a couple of ‘Easter Eggs’ if you know what to look for. I’ll be able to talk about the others as we grow closer to their release dates.
Meanwhile, I’m preparing the second Hugh Monn, Private Detective novel for publication this fall, and plan to alternate between writing Hugh and Alpha books around other projects and short story commitments in the months and years to come.

Where can you be found for anyone who wants to check either you, or your past and present work out?
Everything is available from or directly from the publisher at
I also maintain a professional page on Facebook under the heading “Lee Houston, Junior: Writer/Editor”. People are more than welcomed to post comments there.

I would personally like to thank Lee for his time and for agreeing to do this interview, I also encourage anyone who reads this to take a look at his work.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

All Star Western #9

For the first time since the launch of this book I find myself slightly disappointed, the story line of Hex aided by Arkham, Nighthawk and Cinnamon as they take on the group know as the August 7 was rushed through in 6 pages.  This is a story that has had a 2 issue build up to it and then  was finished far too quickly for my liking, and all for what felt like a bolted on Night of the Owls story tie-in of sorts.

At the start of the story Hex stops the sinking of a boat full of immigrants by killing the man who is delivering the explosives to the ship, Nighthawk and Cinnamon take out the rest of the 7 which includes ZC Branke rather quickly. Now given that we have seen ZC on separate occasions go toe to toe with both Hex and a man mountain of a man, both of whom she got the better of it seemed unlikely that Nighthawk would be able to dispatch her quite so quickly. However, I don’t think this is the last we have heard of the 7 and personally I hope not, as the characters provided an interesting storyline that could be easily expanded upon in future issues.

We are then quickly into the Night of Owls story line where Hex and Arkham encounter a Talon who kills Thurston Moody the man Hex originally came to New Orleans looking for.

Three weeks later and we switch back to Gotham where a group of card players in a gentleman club come face to face with Tallulah Black, Miss Black is unhappy with one of the card players who she is claiming stole her families land. Amongst the group of card players is a certain Mr Wayne, who previous to Tallulah’s entrance had been advocating the good they could all do for the people of Gotham.

Now I’m becoming a little jaded reading about the various Wayne’s throughout Gotham’s history, not that I’m not interested in them its just that they all cant be on the side of good. For once I would like to read about the Wayne that the rest of the family don’t talk about, we all have someone like that in our history so come on DC lets see some of the Wayne’s shady past.

Back to the story and Tallulah ends up tangling with a costumed body guard, and ends up been thrown out of a window into the street right where Hex and Arkham are standing. Hex’s comments to Tallulah as she’s laid in the street show that there is a history between them, which I am happy about as I was unsure of their history after the re-boot.

The artwork is as good as its always been and the Owls story isn’t bad, I just think its a bit of a sales gimmick to tie this book into the current Owls story line. I know that some will argue it adds a sense of depth and history to the owls showing that they have always been in Gotham, but this has been established in the Bat books so do we need to do it in this book also.

The appearance of Tallulah was a pleasant surprise and I am hoping that she teams up with Hex for a while, as the partnership between him and Arkham has just about ran its course.
The Nighthawk & Cinnamon back up story finishes up nicely, and over the last 3 issues I have seen enough of these two characters to hook me in. I hope we will see more of them either

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Si-Fi News and Spoilers

Iron Man 3
The Avengers is still putting bums on seats but there is no rest for one of its stars as Iron Man 3 has already started filming, a still from the film set has been released showing an array of Iron Man suits behind Tony Stark. The film is been shot in North Carolina and has a plot that will see Tony Stark fighting of Techno villains, intent on stealing his technology.  Ben Kingsley and Guy Pearce have already been confirmed as having roles in the film, but no word on what roles they will be playing.

Star Trek - Doctor Who
The recently released Star Trek / Doctor Who Assimilation 2 comic is selling out fast in comic shops, it has also held the number 1 spot on the iTunes Comics & Graphic Novel chart.

 Doctor Who
Jenna-Louise Colman the new companion for the Doctor is apparently called Clara, this has been leaked by a fan who was at the first day filming, we shall see.

Walking DeadThe first photos of Danai Gurria who is playing Michonne in season 3 of the Walking Dead has been released, filming has started but as of yet no official release date has been set.

Not The Munsters
Jerry O'Connell has landed the role of Herman Munster in the remake of that classic TV show, though strangely the new show will be called Mockingbird Lane which is the street on which the Munster family live.

UK actor Eddie Izzard has been cast as Grandpa along with UK actress Charity Wakefield who will play Marilyn, the only normal member of the Munster clan.

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Why all the fuss about Alan Scott

Ever since DC announced that an existing character would be revealed to be gay, the Internet has been rife on who it could be.  Batman was the front runner as blogs seemed to go into meltdown with speculation, well it has been revealed that it will be Green Lantern, however its not the Green Lantern of the main DC Universe but Alan Scott the Green Lantern of Earth 2.
Now I have no problem with any of the characters in the DCU been gay, but I have to ask the question why does it mater if he is gay or not?
As a comic reader I want to read great stories I personally don't care if a character is gay, straight, black, white or as can be the case multi-coloured. 

Why did DC have to make such a big fuss and create a stir by announcing that one of their characters would be gay, we are now in the 21st Century and attitudes surly have changed enough that teasers about a characters sexuality are not necessary.

I wonder if DC would have made such an announcement if they decided to make a character deeply religious, or a religious fanatic, I think we all know that answer to that one.

Now DC will argue that there can be different types story lines that will spin out of the fact the a character is gay, but surely that is no different to story lines that come out of someone been married, living with his Mom or trying to hide a secret identity. Each situation create something unique for that particular character which effect the  way they are written, but none should be the main focus on who the character is and that is what DC have done with Alan Scott. In making the announcement's the way they did, it now takes away the focus that Earth 2 (based on the first issue) is a really good book written by a very good writer in James Robinson.

I want people to buy Earth 2 because its a fantastic book to read and not just because it has a gay character in it, and that's where I feel DC have gotten it so wrong by making announcement's the way they have.

I will be buying the book in fact I already have it on pre-order, not because Green Lantern is gay but because its a book I am interested in and its written by a writer I like.
Finally for the record I don't base my friendship's or the way I interact with people based on their belief's or lifestyles, I base it on the way they treat me and my family. 

There is already enough hurt and pain in this world without adding to it, for no logical reason.

Friday, 1 June 2012

Pop City Comics Orlando well worth a visit

While we were on holiday I came across a comic shop near to where we were staying, the shop is called Pop City comics and is on International Drive just down from Wet & Wild Water Park.
 The shop looks quite small from the outside but is deceptively large once you get in sort of a mini Tardis, and as you would expect there is a good selection of new comics along with some very reasonably priced back issues. There is also a wide selection of trade paperbacks along with other bits of comic related merchandise such as belt buckles, Heroclix figures and t-shirts. The man running the shop was very helpful and basically said if there was anything I was interested in then just to ask as most things had a price, I settled on a Batman black & white statue, Harley Quinn DC Universe statue, Green Lantern figure and some Green Lantern Book ends.
Which had been used for display purposes and as they were the only ones they had I was given a more than generous discount on them. I am not the quickest of browsers when it comes to comic shops and if its a new one I'm practically a snail, but at no time did I feel hurried or under pressure to buy something. Which is the vibe you can somtimes get in other shops, so if your a comic fan or want something to keep the kid quite and your staying in the I-drive area do yourself a favour and give this shop a go.
I will certainly be going back the next time we visit Florida.

If you want to check them out, the shop has its own website and has a face book page both links are below.