As Garth Ennis puts to rest The Boys (with the finale a few issues away), it is interesting to see elements of Billy Butcher in other work that Ennis has done. If we go back as far as 1995, maybe we see the proto Billy Butcher, and maybe the kernel of the idea that eventually became The Boys?
In ‘The Punisher Kills The Marvel Universe’, the title is probably the most spoilerific spoiler that I have known in comics. The contents are well described by the title. I will not elaborate much more on the plot, merely to say that the (ahem) ‘trigger’ for Frank Castle’s rampage of revenge, is the loss of his loved ones by the actions of Superheroes.
Sound familiar? That’s probably because, if you read The Boys, that is exactly the same scenario that gives Billy Butcher and Wee Hughie their drive and motivation. The main motivation of Butcher, seemingly, is to kill all the Capes, just like Frank.
|Frank….or Billy? (It’s Frank -aka The Punisher)
They even look alike;
The Punisher Kills the Marvel Universe is one of those ‘What-If?’ scenarios taken to the extreme. It is funny if you get the Garth Ennis black humour, and his love of putting Superheroes through a metaphorical mincer. He may have even put a superhero through a mincer for all I know. Anyway, this Marvel one-shot is well worth your time.
http://www.craveonline.com/comics/reviews/150418-300-words-the-punisher-kills-the-marvel-universe – Someone doesn’t like this Punisher one-shot, and has a bit of a rant. Someone bothered to leave a couple of comments, which are the perfect coda to the review. Funny.
Maybe its because it connects with my childhood, but there is a power to Marvel Bronze Age art that I do not find in any other era. I think these playing cards, with their bold and simple designs, summarise best all that was good about the art of that era. It was, simply, exciting;
You can see the full set of Marvel playing cards here;
The early to mid 1980s, was, on occasion, a fretful, threatening time. What with the tensions of the Cold War, the shadow of the Bomb, and the approach / arrival of ‘1984’ and its cultural significance, courtesy of George Orwell, these times gave rise to a strain of pop culture that only viewed the future through dusty aviator goggles. And looking through those goggles, all that lay ahead was desolation, deserts or neon-light vistas; a dystopia – a post apocalyptic future. Although these themes were expressed memorably at the movies (see Mad Max 2, Brazil), the ascent of music videos, with rising budgets to match their popularity as a medium, meant that these visions of the future could also be expressed in under 5 minutes. And that’s where Earth, Wind & Fire come in. Here is the video to ‘magnetic’, released in 1983, and a condensed look at what dystopia meant to superstars with a large budget making a music promo;
Earth Wind & Fire – Magnetic Video by PeteRock
Links!!! An Earth,Wind & Fire discography
(Star Wars Arcade Flyer, 1983)
(Star Wars Sit-Down Arcade Cabinet, 1983)
After all these years and all the various iterations of the franchise across many platforms, it is this game, from Atari, first released in1983, that remains the best Star Wars game on any system / platform. When you saw it sitting in an arcade, it drew you towards it like no other cabinet. It was quite normal to have a crowd around it, and a queue to play it. One of the all time great Film – Arcade conversions, and one that took many of my 50p coins in the mid eighties.
Why? Simple. It is an incredibly immersive experience, especially when you are sitting in the arcade cabinet / cockpit. This, combined with the sounds of Star Wars (the chirping of R2-D2, the calming voice of Obi Wan, the roar of Chewbacca, the whizzing TIE fighters, the MUSIC!!!). It takes its cues from the original film. It is inspired by one of the most exciting flying/dogfight sequences in Cinema history and puts you in the cockpit of an X-wing fighter attacking the Death Star. The game is in three stages: First you have to shoot the Tie-fighters before they shoot you. Then you fly down to the surface of the Death Star and shoot the towers.At the climax of the game, you get to fly down the trench and shoot the photon torpedoes into the Death Star’s exhaust port (its Achilles Heal) to finish. Once you achieve that, there is a wonderful end screen that shows your handiwork, as the Death Star explodes. Victory to the rebellion!
Then you get to go back to the start and do it again only this time it gets harder.
This game is considered the #4 most popular game of all time according to Killer List of Video Games. (Wikipedia)
The Boys #70 solicitation for September;
Covers: Darick Robertson
Writer: Garth Ennis
Artist: Russ Braun
Page Count: 32 pages
On his own and out of options, Hughie resorts to extreme measures to keep himself in the game. Meanwhile, as vengeful forces close in from all around, Bradley considers a drastic step of her own- but will Stillwell allow her to get away with it? Butcher asks the big questions and Hughie finds out one last secret of his own, as The Bloody Doors Off races towards its fateful conclusion.
2 issues till the end!!!
Courtesy of http://www.bleedingcool.com/2012/06/09/a-sneak-peek-at-the-boys-in-september-and-a-misprint-now/