Wonder Woman by William Dozier!! (1967)

William Dozier, the producer AND narrator of the exemplary 1960s TV show ‘Batman’, seemingly had his sights set on nothing less than the complete DC universe filtered through his unique camp lens. Here is the short test reel for a planned TV adaptation (very much in the style of the ‘Batman’ series) of ‘Wonder Woman’;

Sadly, the plan never got farther than that test reel. For more in depth articles on this abortive TV series, check out these links;

http://www.tvobscurities.com/articles/wonder_woman.php

http://www.popcultureaddict.com/television/wonderwomanpilot.htm

http://uk.comics.ign.com/articles/599/599207p1.html

The Boys #21 – the forces of right make it wrong (2008)

This issue of Garth Ennis’ ‘The Boys’ is up there with the best of the year -(The Walking Dead #48, Kick-Ass #3, Mighty Avengers #13, Judenhaus). It came out around 10 days ago, but I have only just got around to reading it, and I need to express my admiration for it.

This is the 3rd part of the current story arc ‘I Tell You No Lie G.I’, and recounts the involvement of the super-team ‘The Seven’ in that worlds version of 9/11. The President has all the intel on the planned terrorist atrocities and the Military are primed to intercept the threat. On the day, all but one of the hijacked planes are intercepted and shot down, but the last plane is ordered to be left alone. Why? So ‘The Seven’ can use their powers to save the plane and the passengers and kill the bad guys. There is a vested interest in this, in that the Vice-President is heavily involved with the Company who ‘own’ the Superheroes who comprise ‘The Seven’. This sort of superhero involvement would generate lots of good press, and lots of money-making opportunites as a result. Cash from chaos and bloody murder.

Things do not go to plan. The Superheroes are ill-prepared to face the threat and their incompetence soon becomes apparent. Uncompromising and blackly comic in its narration of the hijack rescue as it is lacerating in the anger toward the collusion between Industry, Government and Military, this issue is angry and shocking, and a fantastic read. The art matches the bleak storyline, as it judders towards its Munich massacre/UA Flight 93 conclusion.

The Boys is a brilliant title, dark, comedic, crude, bloody and a smack in the face of the belief that because there are Superheroes, they must be doing the right thing and are beyond reproach in their actions, and these actions (of course) only have consequences for the villains. Recommended (get the first 2 Trades and work your way up to #21)

Underrated – ‘Cry for Help’ by Rick Astley (1991)


I have had a long day. Work has been a pain and its been pretty stressful. Anyway, that is all over for the week. I needed a beer to unwind, so I got one (Dragon Stout from Red Stripe – you can get it at Nisa and its got a great kick and tastes sweet). The ipod gets put on to shuffle – ‘Run’ by Gnarls Barkley, ‘Lights Out’ by Santogold, ‘Look After Me’ by Hot Chip, and then………this;

It stopped me in my tracks a bit. It wasn’t as if I haven’t heard it many times before (I purchased the 7″ single back when it first came out). I have always appreciated it, but tonight it just sounded like a great, even classic, single. It is tasteful, as opposed to gritty, but its soul cannot be doubted. When he sings these lines;

Why must we hide emotions?
Why must we never break down and cry?

All that I need is to cry for help.
Somebody please hear me cry for help.
All I can do is cry for help.

No need to feel ashamed. release the pain. cry for help.

they are plaintive and honest. Men, tears and soul are a common theme* (think of ‘I Wish It Would Rain’ by The Temptations, or ‘Drown In My Own Tears’ by Ray Charles) and this lyric is up there with the best – and then he brings out the big guns. So many pop tracks over the last few years wheel out the soulful backing choir, but as those lyrics finish, in kicks an understated, but powerful, backing choir. It sounds fantastic. A few strings thrown in as well to propel the track along to a finale with a bit of call and response between Rick and the backing singers. There is even a touch of a hammond organ swell in there.

Its fantastic, and underrated, and I just want it out there that I love it. ‘Cry For Help’ is the best thing he did, and as it was his last major hit in the UK, its a fine legacy.

* As much as I love ‘Drown In My Own Tears’ and ‘I Wish It Would Rain’, Stevie Wonder trumps them all with ‘I Don’t Know Why I Love You’, when he actually sounds at one point as if he is crying because the woman he loves makes him so damn miserable. He has his own ‘tear’ track with ‘Joy Inside My Tears’ from the ‘Songs In The Key Of Life’ album.

Welcome to Hoxford #1 – more gristle to the mill (2008)

Ray Delgado has lived a bad and disturbed life. He has been created from pain, abuse and misery, and is now the one who deals out pain, abuse and misery. A lifer with no chance of parole, he and several others who are beyond salvation are sent to a maximum security facility that is privately owned by a Russian security firm. You know that there is some other motive other than rehabilitation about the place, and the pay-off is well worth buying this book for. When a violent, unlikeable psychopath looks like they are going to play hero, you know you are in for something a bit beyond the pale.

This title has the makings of being up there with the best high concept mash-ups in comic form. Who wants odds on someone trying to make this into a movie? Ben Templesmith (writer and artist on this) keeps the language gritty, the story repulsive and creepy and the art is a brilliant blend of photo-realism and celebratory gore and violence. It could play out a bit like an episode from ‘OZ‘ on PCP and Crack. It could be even more extreme than that (was that a foetus I saw being passed around like a bucket of popcorn, or was that my imagination?). This comic looks like ut will pull no punches in being the most challenging comic of the year. I will be following this with anticipation, which means another title to the pull list.

It is isn’t going to be for everyone, but along with the release of Crossed last week, this is proof that comics are Horror fictions best showcase at the moment. Issue 1 is out now from IDW.

Consider me *ahem* ‘hooked’.

http://bentemplesmith.blogspot.com/2008/08/welcome-to-hoxford.html

Review – The Walking Dead #51

First of all, let me say that that cover is great – a POV of a fatal zombie attack with a kind of pink hue makes for one of the more interesting covers of the year so far. I like what Adlard does with his covers, and the way he uses a dominant background colour to denote something or other (like with the reds of the ‘No-one is safe’ arc.

So issue 51 finally comes around, 6 weeks after the ‘standalone’ issue 50, which was all about Carl. This issue is more balanced, with Carl still getting a chance to develop as a character (and Kirkman gets to put an educational message across about the joy of reading). You get the sense more and more now that this is a child who is having to grow up fast, but for all his steely resolve and pragmatism, the child in him still manifests itself on occasional moments that are touching and real.

Rick is troubled, and this is understandable, but the way this is developing gives cause for concern (for the character). I will say no more on that, other than to praise the plot device that enables it, alongside the big full page reveal, and the subsequent aftermath where Rick realises (maybe) what is going on.

Out in the world beyond their current bolt-hole, there is a zombie attack (hence the cover). I’ll say no more on that. It works, it sums up the desperation and lack of hope in a disturbing, horrific way.

This is another issue where you could say that nothing much happens, but I would argue that this issue may prove significant in determining the futures of both Rick and Carl. Is Ricks grief at the death of his wife and infant child going to take its toll? Is the hopelessness of their situation finally weighing him down? I hate to make comparisons but when I am reading through this issue I cannot help but think of ‘The Road’ by Cormac McCarthy – the strong bond between father and son, the massive importance on the basics of life (food, shelter) and the tangible feeling that the burden of responsibility on the father may ultimately prove too much, mentally and physically.

I don’t care what happens next issue – I trust Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard to deliver. It looks as if someone from the recent past may show up, and that may be the beginning of a new chapter in Rick and Carl’s life. If that is the case, then this brief glimpse into the father and son dynamics, played out since the end of the ‘no-one is safe’ arc, has to be cherished as a change of pace and scripting that worked beautifully.