The Whole Cake And Nothing But The Cake: Trial Of A Timewaster

Bally Bunny Hero In Krazy Kangaroo Court!

trial-of-a-timelord

“What kind of government you guys got here? This is worse than California!” – Miles Monroe. 

Cor!

Brad Fartlighter

and his feckless fearless band of troubadours:

Brad Company,

 subjected to an interrogation by the (usually) despicable 

Zegreatme, Dark Overlord of the Zandokan Empire 

on the normally boring and inhospitable planet of Fridgia, managed to turn the whole silly thing into a very cushty dinner-party -yay! 

Everything is going really peachy-keen until-!

“‘Ere, this tea don’t ‘alf taste funny…”

And in that split second, Brad was caught in a pulsating shaft of light. He gasped in bewilderment as flickers of lightning darted across his fingertips.

“Madre de Dios!” shouted Nacho.  

“Jeez, Brad!” Lexi cried aghast. “What’s goin’ on?!”

“Why ya askin’ me, lov? I dunno what the blazes this is!” 

A sharp crackling sound filled the hall; it made Brad jump.

“Aww, bloomin’ ‘eck! I dropped me cake…”

The light show intensified. 

“Grud!” yelled Harris. “You’re disappearin’, mate!”

The ex-Battleforce Commander stared in horror as his washboard abs began to fade.

“Blimey Charley! I do look a tad faint…”

“Don’tcha worry, Commander. We’ll find out what’s happ’nin’ an’ try an’ getcha back!” 

“Yeah, man!” shouted Nacho. “Ev’rythin’s gonna be alright.”

“Cheers, lads, I feel so much-“

“It’s gettin’ worse!” Lexi yelled incredulously.

True, the searing orb surrounding your hero became almost blinding, and the fit figure of Fartlighter therein slipped swiftly from view. Critical Mass seemed imminent.

“Hey, Lex,” Brad croaked solemnly. “Tell my Mother that I l-“

And with that, Brad had had it.

*

On the other side of the galaxy, within another grand, opulent hall, the same startling light show re-energised. An assembly of Imperial bigwigs awaited a very special arrival with considerable glee.  

In a flash, the human subject of their foul intent abruptly materialised afore them.

“-left the pie in the microwave-HEY! What th-?! Fer cryin’ out loud, what am I doin’ in a Zandokan courtroom?” Brad stormed.

A truly repugnant alien stepped forward to gloat at him.

“Welcome, Urfmairn. Ay em High Councillor Zorn, en’ zees eez your trial! Heh heh heh…”

article-0-0d048fc300000578-507_468x286

“You have to give yourself up! They won’t hurt you. They’ll restructure your brain” – Luna Schlosser.  

“WHOA! Back up the landspeeder for one finger-lickin’ minute, man,” spluttered the disorientated Brad Fartlighter. “I didn’ order any trial!”

“Nur, Urfmairn, but we did!”

The dimly-lit courtroom – the center of your galactic hero’s fate – heaved with a packed congregation of Overlords, Senators and other despicable dignitaries from the most rotten imperial system the galaxy had ever seen…

…all baying for Brad’s blood. 

“Fer too lonk, u hef defied ze Zandokan Empah! Ve hef hed ennuv! And beeemed you here to stend trial fer your crimz against our glurrious Empah,” the Councillor sniffed haughtily.

“As Jurdge and Prozecutor, Ay vill prezide ofer-“

“Hey, wait, Big Ears! Don’t I get a lawyer to defend me, like?”

“Nur! Nur Zandokan eez stewpeed ennuv to deffend ze laikes off you… Urfmairn.”

“Uff, that’s charmin’. Still, I expect no more from the likes of you Zandokan nerks-”

“Zylenz! Ve vill get zeez prozeedeengs undairway. And zhen sentenz you to Deff-“

“Come again?”

“DEFF! Ze Zandokan Zennat hez already decreed your fett!”

“Boba fett, huh? Sounds like bollocks to me-”

“ENNUV! Ve shell prozeed wiv ze fermaliteez immeediatly! 

“You aire Bred “Bricks” Burrito Fertlittair – formair Battlefurce Commandair of ze Galacteec Defenz Militiair?”

“Yes, I am that person. I am him; I am he…”

“Then YOU! Bred Fertlittair, aire charged vit seizink seven cruisairs of ze Zandokan Impeerial Fleet, end 608 crates ov… kek?! Zeez eez outray-jus!”

“I’m afraid your justice system does me an injustice, Yer Righteousness…”

“Oh? Vot do you mean?”

“Your records should say: EIGHT Zandokan cruisers and 617 crates of cake-”  

“Vot eez zeez inpertinenz?! Vhy zo much kek?!”

“Well, why not? It is the most fabulous object in the galaxy. There is nothing more special-“

“Oh? How about zex?” 

“Not just now, lov; I gotta headache…” 

planet-of-the-apes-see-no-evil-hear-no-evil-speak-no-evil

“I knew it. I’m surrounded by assholes!” – Dark Helmet. 

“Raight, zhat’z eet! Tairm to breeng zeez prozeedeengs to a clurz! Ay herebah zentenz you: Bred Fartlittair, formair Battlefurce Commandair to Deff by Teedlyweenkz! Do you hef enytheenk to say?”

“Yeah, baby. Ah’m gonna miss yer rapier wit, Judge Dread-“

“ENNUV! GUARDZ! Tak heem eway!” 

As the Battleforce Commander-turned-blogger stood defiantly in the dock, arms folded, he watched as a group of guards scurried forward to escort him out to goodness-knows-where. 

And in that split second, Brad was caught in a pulsating shaft of light. He gasped in bewilderment as flickers of lightning darted across his fingertips.

“By the Lord Harry,” he sighed. “Not this again.”

“VOTZEVUKK EEZ GOEENK URN?!” screamed the Judge.

“Who do ya think I am: Dr. Frickin’ Strange?! Fer the umpteenth time, man, I dunno what the blazes this is. Tell ya what tho: you can go and fff-” 

And with that, Brad had had it.

In his place, in a flash,Zandokan Dark Overlord abruptly materialised afore them.

“Vhere eez Bred now?!” he thundered, manically glancing around the room.

The gobsmacked Judge punched his chest and clicked his heels in salute.

“Zegreatme! You honair uz wiv your ezteemed prezenz! But vot aire you doeenk here?!”

“Durn’t you burr me wiv your vooleesh prettle, Zorn!” Zegreatme hollered. “Vhere eez ze Urfmairn now, eh? You bimmed heem eway frum may clutchez, en’-”

“Bimmed, my Lord?”

“Yayyez! BIMMED!! Bimmed ‘eem eway frum mee! Eet hez tekken MURNTHS to faind ze wretched Fertlittair – en’ you – YOU! You TOOK ‘eem EWAY frum MEE een ZECONDS!! En’ now he hez gorn, Zorn – GORN!!”

His biochemech armour cranked and creaked as he strode furiously up and down. He stopped to gleer right into Zorn’s face.

“Ya kner, een zeez gret cozmeec drama unfulding beffore uz, ‘ee wuz may prizner… ya kner? Main, Ay tell you, main, main, MAIN!”

A Security Officer burst onto the scene.

“Ve hef trecked heez exact co-ords, my Lord!”

“Ah, goot! Vell, zat eez zumtheeng – zo, vhere eez Bred now?” 

“On board ze Caleesta Blockhead, sir! Bred Cumpany managed to beeem heem back!”

“Vell, eezn’dat juzt vukkin’ fain en’ dandy…” 

Suddenly, the Zegreatme screamed, violently shaking his bionic fists and cursing the Ancient Gods using the most foul, untypable words imaginable. 

After a short while, the Security Officer’s hand shot up to his earpiece. The Dark Lord paused from his wrath, panting hoarsely.

“Ennytheenk else?” 

“Oh… er, ve hef juzt rassivd verd that Bred Cumpany hef med ze jurmp to lightspeed. They should be on ze uddair zide of ze galaxy by now-“

“Of course!” Zegreatme fumed. “Vhy ze vukk vouldn’t zhey be? Ahem, tell me… Zorn, deed your agents geddu install ze trackeeng devize on ze Caleesta, hmm…?”

Zorn bowed his head in shame; none of the other Imperial personnel dared utter a word.

“Nur, thot nut… Teepical. Ay knew it. Ay’m zurrounded by vukkweetz- VUKK!!” he exhaled venomously, and fell to his knees.

“VUKK, VUKK, VUKKITY-VUUUUUUUUUUUUUUKKK!!”

to be continued...

The Prescient Visionary: H.G. Wells: A Celebration

Herbert George Wells Was Born This Day 150 Years Ago

960

“Wells occupies an honoured place in science fiction. Without him, indeed, I can’t see how many of it could have happened” – Kingsley Amis. 

As I sit down to write here amidst the shadows of vine-leaves under the blue sky of southern England it comes to me with a certain quality of astonishment that my appreciation of these amazing adventures of Mr. Wells was, after all, the outcome of the purest accident. It might have been anyone. I fell into these things at a time when I thought myself removed from the slightest possibility of disturbing experiences.

Herbert George Wells: prolific and extraordinary science fiction imagineer, visionary, author of histories and polemics, and a noted public figure of his day, is best remembered nowadays for the series of scientific romances published at the beginning of his long and successful career.

Born at Bromley in Kent, young Bertie spent much of his early years in Sussex, on the south coast of England. Following a two-year apprenticeship in a draper’s shop, in 1884 he got accepted at the Normal School of Science, South Kensington, London, where he was taught biology and zoology by T.H. Huxley, one of the foremost scientific thinkers of the Victorian era. He worked as a biology tutor before becoming a professional writer and journalist.

17229165886_e7d036438a_b

js63922347

“Wells’ scientific romances were works of art with unique relevance for our times” – Arthur C. Clarke.  

“It is obviously the work of an inexperienced writer,” wrote Wells in the 1931 Preface to his first published novel: The Time Machine (1895). This work began as a rough, intermittent draft entitled: The Chronic Argonauts during his student days.

This and the subsequent novels: The Island Of Doctor Moreau (1896), The Invisible Man (1897), The War Of The Worlds  (1898), When The Sleeper Wakes (1899) and The First Men In The Moon (1901), stand as a formidable set, not only as pioneering examples of early SF, but as pinnacles of English literature in general.

It seems ironic that as the only one of this set to cover space travel, and be published in the 20th century, The First Men In The Moon is regarded as the most old-fashioned. The discovery of an anti-gravity metal: Cavorite to spark an elevation to our nearest neighbour sounds quintessentially Victorian.

His first four scientific romances, however, have endured largely because they each tap into fantasies and fears that will forever dominate the human psyche.

There is a very charming theory that the spindly, tripod war-machines that march across the Thames in The War Of The Worlds were inspired by the newly opened Daddy-Long-Legs railway at Brighton, East Sussex – the city in which this very Post has been researched, written and published. This latter novel still stands as the definitive alien-invasion-of-Earth thriller – oft-imitated, but never equalled; and it can certainly never be bettered…

His brand of science fiction did “not aim to project a serious possibility; they aim indeed only at the same amount of conviction as one gets in a good dream,” Wells wrote in 1934. “They have to hold the reader to the end by art and illusion and not by proof and argument.”

1442854167366

“There is no need to make allowances for the age of these novels; the science may be proto-steam punk, but Wells’ imagination was lively, vivid and timeless” – Lisa Tuttle.

“Her stews were marvellously honest,” Wells recalled. After years of malnourishment and student poverty, the meals prepared by his landlady in Midhurst, West Sussex, provided his first taste of good and proper grub. “And she was great at junket, custard and whortleberry and blackberry jam.” 

They certainly helped enrich his creative powers. “An important liberator of thought and action,” according to Bertrand Russell, his educational works extended to The Outline Of History (1920) and The Science of Life (1930).

It is difficult to believe now, but at the time, his sci-roms were not deemed “respectable,” so Wells had to develop more literary works; later novels such as Kipps (1905) and Tono-Bungay (1909) are notable, but they do not exude the same power to enthral. 

What is particularly striking about these sci-roms is the flourish of imagination – and a highly original one at that. While contemporaries such as Poe, James and Lovecraft accentuated the fear behind the unknown, Wells not only directly confronted the seemingly unknowable, but gave the impression that it could be scientifically explicable. 

And, by gad, all this ingenuity stemming from the mind of a former mere draper’s assistant…

4083934102_bab4f67684_b

“The Prospero of all the brave new worlds of the mind, and the Shakespeare of science fiction” – Brian W. Aldiss. 

Futurology was “an intellectual game” to Wells. He had an uncanny ability to envisage many aspects of the 20th century. He cycled “all over the southern counties,” along roads where hardly any automobile could be seen, yet he foresaw a time when four-wheeled travel would take such precedence that suburbs would spread and the landscape be transformed at an exponential rate to accommodate its rapid expansion.

Among other things, he anticipated the sexual revolution, and a phenomenon he called the “world brain” – what we would identify as a sort of proto-Wikipedia. As well as tanks, he described The War In The Air (1908), almost a decade before aerial dogfights would break out above the Western Front. In 1913, one year before the outbreak of the Great War, his novel: The World Set Free, imagined an “atomic bomb” that could be dropped from planes…

His 1933 future novel: The Shape Of Things To Come – made into a movie in 1936 – predicted the Second World War. And its catastrophic consequences…

In a letter to a friend, he described “Anticipations,” his 1902 collection of futurological essays, as: “designed to undermine and destroy the monarch, monogamy, faith in God and respectability – and the British Empire, all under the guise of a speculation about motor cars and electric heating.”

As 2016 also marks seven decades since his passing, it is fascinating to conclude that Mr. Wells’ scientific romances continue to be regarded as essential reading, and his prescient visions of the future remain unsurpassed.

Bravo, Bertie!

the-best-h-g-wells-books-u1

Herbert George Wells: “A man ahead of his time”

21 September 1866 – 13 August 1946. 

space.age02

Universal Pictures: An Exploration Of Cosmic Comics!

Because You Demanded It! Brad Goes Cosmic!

960

“I spent some time in your system monitoring your television transmissions. I learned all about Earth’s culture from watching sitcoms” – Sphinxor.

“You have teleported me here to talk,” the being known as the High Evolutionary protested. “To discuss why my planet has been stolen. I await your answer.”

“My Ring-Shippers and I were contracted to move your planet by a race of beings called the Beyonders,” replied Sphinxor, Captain of the Ringship 1, Command Vessel of the Prime Movers of Tarkus. 

“They became aware of your experimental world while you were collecting the extra-dimensional mass to build it… This Warlock fellow looked to be a problem…” 

Yes! That’s Adam Warlock, the golden-skinned cosmic hero, and the primary reason for picking up what has turned out to be a quite scintillating ish of Marvel 2-In-1 (#63, May 1980). The Thing, Moon-Dragon and Starhawk team up to help save Counter-Earth. 

Mark Gruenwald (writer), Jerry Bingham (artist) and Gene day (inker) “join forces to concoct the wildest cosmic adventure ever!”

In this Summer’s voracious surge for Bronze Age delights, the overwhelming theme has been: cosmic. So what is it about cosmic comics that make them so enthralling?

Apart from tapping into that lifelong fascination with outer space (with which most of you would concur, right?), the joys of galactic adventures, bedecked with multitudes of weird and wonderful extraterrestrials, with supercool blasters and gleaming star cruisers is veritably the fuel on which traditional SF runs.

There are numerous reasons for why cosmic comics will forever be the best in my book (or blog).

marveltwo-in-one063-06

^ Page 10 of Marvel 2-In-1 #63 shows plenty of stellar action to satisfy anybody’s cosmic cravings.

image-53

“From what we’ve been told, the Beyonders may be more powerful than any beings yet encountered by man – greater than Galactus, the Watcher, Thanos… any of them. As a scientist, I am curious” –  The High Evolutionary. 

The cosmic brand of story-line holds greater appeal,  primarily as the imagination is allowed the freedom to run a tad wilder. Moreover, this scintillating subgenre features some of the coolest and most powerful characters in the known Marvel Universe.

Not to mention the biggest – take (on) Galactus (if you dare!).

Asked who the most powerful character in the Marvel Universe could be, Stan Lee did not hesitate to answer: “Galactus, without a doubt.”

Undoubtedly, the cream of the cosmos has to be “The Coming of Galactus” which appeared in Fantastic Four # 48-50. 

But what are the chances of acquiring this series and NOT breaking the bank…?

Our old friend John Byrne contributed exceptionally to the cause of cosmic awesomeness by creating “The Trial of Galactus” which sprawls across Fantastic Four # 242-44; 252-55; and 257-62. Have already set my sights on them, regardless of my indifference to Reed Richards…

As a huge fan of Rom The Spaceknight – keen to pick up some of his classic cosmic escapades – Galactus actually appears in ish no. 26(!)

By Jove, the Bradmonitor lit up spectacularly when that news filtered through!

Minions! To the Bradmobile!

You’ll be pleased to know that they have already been dispatched forthwith across the quadrant to track THAT ONE down.

796153

“Fascinating. I’m in outer space, yet my costume automatically creates an energy field that not only protects me from the deadly cold and radiation… but provides me with a breatheable atmosphere as well” – Ms. Marvel. 

One of the classic cosmic stories – essential to anyone’s collection – would have to be The Magus Saga.

Featured in Strange Tales #s 178-81 and Warlock – yes! him again – # 9-11, it’s the reason why Adam Warlock is one of Marvel’s most intriguing protagonists. (If you don’t believe me, check the heaving prices of individual ishs charged by some of yer leading local Awemongers…)

Have already picked up some back ishs of Future Tense, a weekly comic produced by Marvel UK back in 1980; they include some reprints of early Adam Warlock stories. Fabulous stuff, but they only make me crave more of the Warlock

My mission to find more Ms. Marvel continues apace, and has turned up some surprisingly cosmic results.

#3: “The Lady’s Not For Killing” featured the Kree-powered superwoman flying into space on an intercept vector to prevent a missile from diving into the Kennedy Space Center. Upon finding an access hatch, what should spring out but the Doomsday Man!

Bingo – the same robot supposedly destroyed by the Silver Surfer way back when. Cue a bout of feisty female fisticuffs (in orbit). 

Written faultlessly as always by Chris Claremont, and amazingly imagineered by the invincible John Buscema it’s another great addition to the collection.

Groovy.

And there’s been no opp here to squeal about the Mighty Thor’s cosmic scrapes. Particularly that epic in which Galactus must call for Thor’s help in tackling a galactic foe which even he cannot smite…(!)

More mouthwatering delights yet to materialise here on Bradscribe!

Stay tuned: same Brad time! Same Brad channel!  

Meanwhile, back on that orbiting planetoid… 

“…We simply set up our stasis-rings and took off with Counter-Earth in tow…” Sphinxor droned on bureaucratically. “We kindly refer you to the Beyonders for any questions pertaining to what they intend to do with your world, okay?” 

“Then…” frowned the High Evolutionary. “You do not even know why they want my world?”

“That’s not my job, man.”

05-ff-galactus

“It just gives me the willies, bein’ taken apart atom by atom and bein’ put back together somewhere else” – The Thing. 

From All-Star To Dawnstar: Recent Vintage Acquisitions Read And Reviewed

The Quest For Classic Comics Continues…

all-star-squadron-ass2

“Silence, please, everyone! I’ve been a little worried about how to tell you this … but, in my identity as Carter Hall, I’m going to enlist in the US Army!” – Hawkman.

And with this bombshell, so begins “Never Step On A Feathered Serpent!” the fifth issue of All-Star Squadron, a title whose debut ish (in September 1981) – with its mix of of superheroes and World War II history developed into an unputdownable phenomenon in the Bradhouse. 

My only regret is that (apart from #10, ten years later), no further ishs could be found.

Staying in the UK on extended leave, belaboured over the bonce by the Mace of Nostalgia, yours truly set aside this Summer to finally track down those comic classics from the so-called “Bronze Age” that eluded me all those moons ago, as well as checking out previously unseen titles. 

Three months ago, perusing the back ish departments of some handy awemongers’ emporiums in London, the ball started rolling with the purchases of All-Star Squadron, #s 5 & 7.

Was it a good start?

  • Squadron scrambled, or brain scrambled?

Amazingly imagineered by the invincible creative team of Roy Thomas and Rich Buckler, its reserved status in my collection is well-assured! But equally astounded at how this ish could have slipped past my Radar of Ninth Metal back in the day…

#7 is equally compelling, with the introduction of the Nazi costumed super-villain: Baron Blitzkrieg! 

Already looking forward to snapping up further ishs of this great title!

0baa341106f4322e11a7353fc99044f1__SX640_QL80_TTD_

727913

“I’ll have to hit-and-run – use my speed and Kree-training to counter his brute strength – and try to wear him down!” –  Ms. Marvel.

Ms. Marvel #15 (March 1978)

“Carol Danvers a woman who had it made – until the day radiation from an exploding alien machine gave her the skills and powers of a Kree Warrior, plus an uncanny Seventh Sense – transforming a human woman into… a heroine!”

With a proposed Ms. Marvel movie in the works, now would be a good time to catch up and get to know her – if anything, isn’t everyone curious to find out what radiation from an exploding alien machine does to you? Moreover, this Seventh Sense – it sounds groovy! – could we have some?

The woman with the Kree powers must battle Tiger Shark. This villain looks supercool on that dynamic cover (see above) and makes for a mighty antagonist inside.

The script is provided by Chris Claremont – always a big plus in my book! 

But when you consider the premise: woman in leotard is punched and has cars hurled at her by lunatic dressed as a shark… 

  • Marvelous, or Ms. Fire? 

Despite this dodgy premise, this ish is fab; the art by Mooney & DeZuniga is great, and there is a craving for more of this title.

Please note: his captive (who turns out to be the cousin of Namor – y’know: The Sub-Mariner!) is actually fully-clothed during the few panels in which she appears, so no fish-scale bikinis or strategically-placed hubcaps herein…

339599-3033-21083-2-legion-of-super-hero

“The thing is: that’s my Mom up there! What’s come over her since she won the Earth election?” – Colossal Boy. 

Legion of Super-Heroes was a title hugely enjoyed as a nipper. Now, an irresistible curiosity to find out what other ishs looked like spurred me on. #273 was the ish selected. 

Such characters as Wildfire and Tyroc were as cool as fudge, while others such as Bouncing Boy and Matter-Eater Lad(!) made the title unintentionally hilarious. 

One member of the Legion of Super-Heroes stood apart from the others: a graceful figure with a stunning pair of wings, her name was Dawnstar – or as her co-Legionnaire: the blond, green-skinned Brainiac 5 called her “Dawny.”

Hey, just be thankful this Post was not entitled Finding Dawny jeez, that sounds as corny as heck…!

  • So, Legend, or just leggo…?

What a swiz – she’s not in it! 

Undoubtedly, this is a compelling epic, bristling with drama!; intrigue!; the craziest super-cozzies you will ever see! And the story-line involving a revered Legionnaire framed for murder, wasn’t bad, but considering the immensity of the issue, and a high turn-out, where was the yellow, tassled one?

By the Black Nebula! It feels like your correspondent has been stood up…  

That other strong fave, Wildfire, barely got a look-in either.

Its been great to look at art not seen for 35 years – one or two other ishs will certainly be tracked down…

Even if it is just to see her again…

ff241_15-16

“I am Gaius Tiberius Augustus Agrippa! I am power! – What kind of beings are you? Is all the world now the domain of monsters?” – 

During online research for comic art a few years back, my trail led to pages for an ish of Fantastic Four. Although not a fan of this so-called “World’s Greatest Comic,” both pen an’ pencilling duties for #241 (April 1982) belonged to the legendary John Byrne.

In “Render Unto Caesar,” S.H.I.E.L.D. has detected a mysterious power source emanating from the interior of Africa. With the aid of the Black Panther, the Fantastic Four go to investigate and discover – “Jupiter!” – a being, once a soldier in a distant outpost of Emperor Caligula. Almost two millennia ago, he stumbled upon alien technology to create a fabulous city, more splendid than the Roman Empire at its height.

He even neutralises the Fantastic Four’s superpowers. Irate at being selected to be his “Empress,” Sue Storm removes his golden helmet, only to find that- ha! Well, don’t let me spoil it for you! 

indianathing

  • Really Fantastic, or just a 4-letter word?

When this Summer of nostalgic comic-collecting set forth, a mental note was taken to look out especially for this one.

That priority was well-rewarded. 

Yes! Fantastic by name – undeniably fantastic by nature. With terrific guest-star appearances by Nick Fury and the Black Panther – two characters high on my Wanted list, this story: “Render Unto Caesar” is an absolute classic.  

Particularly enjoyed the amusing nod to Raiders (above), a light moment that presents its creator perfectly at the height of his enchanting powers.  

Feel the Byrne!

fantastic_four_vol_1_241_001

1898175-x_men131_09b

“The X-Men would have trained me to use my mutant abilities more efficiently… If only I had joined them when I had the chance!” –  Dazzler.

Dr. Doom happened to be one of those characters sought after 30+ years ego, but never got him – could not find the relevant ish of the Fantastic Four that featured him.

Dazzler was a cult figure – “gifted” with the ability to convert sound into dazzling light – who got her own solo series.

The Monarch of Latveria guest-stars in #s 3 & 4. Ended up picking up the latter (it has a slightly more thrilling cover).

  • So, truly dazzling, or just dazzled off? 

Nah, this is not one of my better purchases.

The art by Frank Springer is good enough, but the prospect of a cutie mutie (…on frickin’ roller skates, fer cryin’ aht lowd!) never excited me even way back when yours truly was cute an’ supple enough to arse about with frickin’ roller skates. 

White flares are no match for a yellow, tassled cozzie. Any day… 

Good Grud, this is precisely the sort of infantile mag a chap of my age should not be bothering with – so will sell this on asap!

Hang on… 

If a character as lame as this could get her own series… and a popular fave such as Dr. Doom – or Dawnstar, for that matter! -couldn’t, well… 

Undeterred, my quest – delving further into the dense jungle of back issues – continues… 

dawnstar-larocque-stars

“This is one time… all the words in the Universe aren’t enough…” – Dazzler.

“Pure Imagination”: A Lament For The Music Makers And The Dreamers

There is no life to compare with Pure Imagination. Living there, you’ll be free if you truly wish to be…

large

“We are the music makers. And we are the dreamers of dreams” – Willy Wonka.

Hold your breath. Make a wish. Count to 3.

My breath could not be held.

It has been taken far too many times already this year by the heartbreaking and unbelievable number of top talent we have lost. Who does not wish that we could have held on to them a little while longer?

Sadly, they are too many to count…

When the news of Gene Wilder broke on Monday evening, it did not immediately affect me. Can’t let it: it’s become an almost-disturbing commonality this year. However, work on a completely different Post was suspended yesterday in order to make way for these thoughts.

Naturally, yesterday, a number of you uploaded “Pure Imagination” from Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory (1971).

Actually, the first track that came to my mind was this dreamy slice of ambience from Aphex Twin – it contains a suitably magic sample from Wilder as Wonka: 

The year began with a shock that crushed just about all of us.

The top legend – the ultimate pop singer: David Bowie departed, just ten days into 2016 – and only two days after his 69th birthday, and after the release of his swansong album: Blackstar. 

The outpouring of grief they say was “unprecedented.” No, such a mass turnout was to be expected in London, Berlin and New York for the beloved boy from Bromley. 

They say the music will endure – Bowie was sufficiently talented to ensure that, but when you know there will be no more from that unique stock… 

And to think Wilder passed away on Monday listening to Ella Fitzgerald’s version of Somewhere Over The Rainbow. 

To weep, perchance to dream…

StarWars_4

“There is no Star Wars without R2-D2 – and Kenny Baker defined who R2-D2 was and is” – Kathleen Kennedy.

A fortnight ago, the news concerning the passing of Kenny Baker came so abruptly. But the real shock came from not seeing enough Obituaries dedicated to him. 

This is a shame.

Just because he was of diminutive size – 3ft 8in to be exact – does not mean he has less entitlement to a celebration of his achievements.

Originally, Baker appeared in a variety troupe known as the Mini Tones. In 1976, his fellow diminutive co-performer: Jack Purvis convinced him to go and audition for a fantasy film. In the original record-shattering phenomenon that turned out to be Star Wars, Purvis “played Chief Jawa,” but Baker landed the way better more enduring – role of R2-D2, the endearing droid who came to the rescue in every episode. He sat inside the metal shell, even in the middle of the Tunisian desert, just to make the dream of a seemingly-impossible space opera come alive.

And what of Baker’s “audition”? Talk about a dream come true!

He showed up on set. George Lucas pointed at him and said: “You’ll do.”

(…!)

He and his wife – who was also of diminutive stature – played Ewoks in Return Of The Jedi. The actor went on to appear in other genre faves such as Flash Gordon and The Elephant Man (both 1980) but his fave role was as Fidgit in Time Bandits (1981). He did not have to be concealed in an “upturned bucket” or under several coats of alien make-up to work some very special magic. 

Arguably Terry Gilliam’s best film, it followed the adventures of a band of dwarves who exploit holes in the fabric of space and time with the aid of a stolen map and set out to become “stinking rich.” 

It endures as one of the most ingenious and delightful fantasy films you are ever likely to see. 

Quite simply, it is a classic of pure imagination. 

He died on August 13, aged 81.

starman_picked_on_you_300k

“I re-invented my image so many times that I’m in denial that I was originally an overweight Korean woman” – David Bowie.

With each sad, significant loss mentioned in the Obituary columns this year, the grief is accompanied by a gnawing and reluctant realization that there is barely anyone – in either the music or movie industry – worthy enough to take their place.  

“The stars look very different today…”

Is it a telling lack of talent?

Or a moribund cultural landscape where ingenuity and originality are not allowed to thrive?

Or both?

Contemplating the former calamity: tried to think of half a dozen current stars of the big screen.

Nuts…

Honestly cannot remember the names of four of ’em. And the two names that are seared into my memory have done so only cos their output is notoriously dire and unwatchable… 

On this Summer’s day, as warm as the memories that Wilder’s – or Baker’s – or Bowie’s most magic moments rekindle, writing this lament has gone on long enough for one to see l-o-n-g shadows stretching across the ground outside.

Uh-oh – allegorical mode. 

Coming to the end of a productive – and reflective – day, it is all too easy to consider that, with the passing of each true great, we indeed reach a regrettable “end of an era.” 

Nearly all the classic music makers and dreamers of dreams have left us. This is, ultimately, an unnerving, as well as a sorrowful, thought. For they leave a stunning legacy in which: only music that is (at leastthirty years old can be heard through my earphones, and only SF/fantasy films filled with genuine wonder and charm (and NOT artificial CGI!) make my gleeful grade.

They really don’t make ’em like they used to… 

If only all the guff that passes for popular “entertainment” these days was just a figment of our imagination.

But then again, we could dream up far more entertaining packages… 

Couldn’t we…? 

comments

The Hunt For The Man-Beast: The Bradscribe Expedition To Find Lost Comics!

In The Mighty Jungle, A Fearless Bunny Will Not Rest Until The Awe Of Yore Has Been Found… 

brad-easter-egg-hunt

“Permit me to sneer, Warlock! — Has one who has purity like unto a god — Yes, and innocence, too — Has he found a lasting good upon this planet? Speak truth now! Have you?” – Man-Beast. 

The galactic hero patrolled an alien world in a landspeeder. An evil, slit-eyed droid pursued him.

His hair was definitely black; his outfit? Maybe black. His adventures certainly did not appear in colour, but unmistakably graced a UK comic. Probably Marvel UK?

Who the blazes was he?!

Despite providing a thrilling read, over 35 years ago(!) his name, and – more crucially – the name of the comic in which he starred have – to my complete dismay – completely escaped me.

This Summer, reminiscing about the earliest comics to bring me inestimable pleasure so many moons ago has motivated me more than ever to track some of ’em down.

It’s now or never.

Shut out all 21st century distractions. Cast my mind back to the “Golden Age” of 1979-82 and try and work out the identity of that, and other, lost classics.

Marvel UK produced so much fantastic stuff during that period. Most notably, the bulk of their material happened to be b/w reprints of good ol’ American colour originals. Yay, ’tis through this cheap yet cheerful, and undeniably invaluable modest medium that much of my exploration of the Marvel Comics Universe gained momentum.

Perhaps the most entrancing (re)discovery from my trawl through the comics of yesteryear was Star Wars Weekly – a title reprinting the ongoing adventures of Luke Skywalker, superbly illustrated by comics legend: Carmine Infantino – enjoyed so much back in’79. However – inexplicably, and despicably! – not a single ish survived the cull that swept through the Bradhouse one fateful Winter’s day long ago. 

Now, in 2016, a dozen ishs were laid out high along one shelf of one specialist shop in London. You had to ask the ass(istant) just to TOUCH them.

One cover in particular leapt out at me – it looked SO familiar! The cover blurb stated that it also featured: Starlord, Guardians Of The Galaxy and Tales Of The Watcher. When the Guardians Of The Galaxy movie came out two Summers ago, this team didn’t ring any bells, and yet! They had been a part of my infancy… and yours truly hadn’t even realised! 

Back then, you see, those Guardians did not consist of a gun-toting raccoon, nor a talking tree. Peter Quill spacefared all by his lonesome, in his own strip, not as the leader of the Guardians. Heck, he wasn’t even associated with them neither!

As for Tales Of The Watcher, well…! Get all choked up whenever catching that title – this character had such a captivating effect on me, cos when producing my own first comic book (at the tender age of 6, no less!) it was named: “The Watcher.”

Was this the ish in my possession 37 years ago?! Was that galactic hero set to reintroduce himself to me there and then? Was it, perhaps, Starlord himself?!

Just had to open the polythene bag and find out.

Took a deep breath.

Turning over the front cover, a tingling burst of happy memories might flood my senses…

But no… 

This Starlord looked completely different. And that mysterious cosmic figure was nowhere to be seen…

Curses…!

My quest must resume… elsewhere. 

Never fear, thrill-seekers! A most unlikely target HAS been acquired!

3489374-thor_vol_1_317_010

“The reptilian speaks more truly than you, Man-Beast! My eyes see not the humble robes of my guide, who called himself The Prophet — but the gaudy royal cloth of one who would subjugate this Second Earth!” – Adam Warlock.

Future Tense (a sci-fi Weekly launched in November 1980never – strangely enough – found its way into the Bradhouse.

…Until now.

At long last, a whole crate of original editions were located at my local comics emporium! Bought two editions: opened up the one dated: January 28 1980, and turned to the final story: And Men Shall Call Him Warlock.

The golden-skinned protagonist known as Adam Warlock is another of those numerous warmly-received, yet dimly-remembered comic characters to have danced giddily across my retinas over three decades ago.  

And what – in a gloriously dramatic splash page – is gloating imposingly on the steps of his subterranean stronghold on Counter Earth (“Like our planet, but exists on the other side of the Sun!”) with a captured Adam at his mercy?

Why, ’tis Man-Beast isself!

This humanoid creature with the head of a wolf may have been one of the more obscure oddities to emerge from the mighty Marvel Comics Universe, but – blimey Charley! – made a HUGE impression on me way back when, even though he has lain dormant in the dark recesses of the Brad mind for far too long.

If he regularly appeared in Warlock, then here – lol and behold – is where he first came to my gobsmacked attention.

Photo 31 May 2013 18-59

Garth The Hunter: “Nurse your wounds, stout one — and leave the fighting to me. Perhaps that bite’s taught you the error of your brash and vociferous ways! — Though I doubt it –”

Gorjoon: “Suck an egg, blondie!” 

Funny how something you had never even considered looking for turns up out of the blue when you are busy browsin’ for something else…

A more concentrated scope around my local comics emporium again last week brought to light some very interesting titles, including one title that almost made me jump!

Good Grud! Could not Adam-an’Eve that it was just lying there in wait for me!

As Man-Beast played a profound role in the first of my comic-collecting, so, apparently, did Man-Wolf, aka John Jameson (the son of Peter Parker’s Editor: J. Jonah Jameson).

And so ’twas: Man-Wolf #36.

The cover: a shirt-ripped lycanthrope-hero trapped in space set my arm hairs on end – a startling image not seen for 35 years! 

THIS is a major blast from my past, rediscovered: 

a496495038ed8a8cc29fa5e7a7823cd2

“I’ll folla ya in the Sky Sled — It wuz the first thing we secured in the attack! Once we git there, though — yer on yer own” – Nick Fury.

And yes – deep joy!

This particular ish just happens to feature Nick Fury, Director and Top Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., albeit in a minor supporting role. The writing by David Kraft is top-notch, and the art – supplied by George Perez and Frank McLaughlin – is so small and meticulous that up to ten panels per page is per usual. 

John Jameson’s curse materialised in the form of the Moonstone. 

“It affixed itself to my throat,” the soldier-turned-astronaut recalled bitterly. And, since then, whenever a full moon appears, it transforms him into “a nocturnal grotesquerie, a lurking brute unleashed by lunar radiation.”

It may not cause a colossal ripple across the the fabric of spacetime, but within the perpetually awesome and award-winning Bradmosphere, this find is positively stupendous!

Huzzah!

This stage of the expedition, my fellow thrill-seekers, has revealed not one, but two, faves once trapped on the distant shores of hazy recollection. Ah, so glad… 

But what of that dark-haired cosmic hero mentioned at the beginning of this Post?

Alas, nobody can tell… yet.

Perhaps he has resurfaced on another side of the Marvel Comics Universe – rebooted and rebranded – in a completely unidentified guise. Such is the trend in comics these days, he is now likely to be a woman…

No doubt The Watcher has noticed – to considerable bemusement – my plight. Nothing gets past him…

Nevertheless, undaunted and undeterred, this bunny ventures even further into the macrocosm that is this jumbled and overloaded mind.

To unleash other long-forgotten thrills from yesteryear.

To delight you, dear reader.

mw end

Keep It Awesome!😉

The Bradscribe Beach Party!

If Life Is A Journey, Then The Beach Should Be Our Destination… 

princess-leia-beach

“She would be half a planet away, floating in a turquoise sea, dancing to flamenco guitar” ― Janet Fitch: “White Oleander.”

It may be bucketing down with rain outside, but in this sector of the blogosphere, the suns – yes, both of them – are blazing; the sand is as smooth as fudge and the sea is a snazzy shade of turquoise. 

Yay, and its hot, and pleasantly so – the way we dig it round here. 

Besides, after one helluva hectic week, sitting on a secluded beach somewhere is all one is capable of doing this weekend… 

Whoa, what a week!

On Monday, revived a post that has been lying dormant on my Dashboard for far too long – still couldn’t get anywhere with it!

Another two ideas will (hopefully) be developed for a couple of news/enterainment websites – so nothing here until something proceeds over there, you see.

Was working on a Post about SF villains and how to create really superbad ones, but…

You know what? 

Deluged with SO MANY hate crimes and despicable acts across international news, it seems that society at large is all-too-capable of producing its own repugnant brand of villainy and in bewildering copious amounts as well…

Perhaps having no time to relax or having no access to any beach is a factor in all this…?

Rather than waste my precious MB Space by droning on philosophically regarding how far we have lost our way, etc., it’s best to just:

CHILL OUT

And blog only about the good stuff.

After all, life is too short to get distraught… 

So, why not party? Grab a bikini (you’re welcome to borrow one of mine if ya like), fill a plate with some tasty gubbins from the beautiful, bulging buffet bar, head on down to the water’s edge and flop out on one of the official Bradscribe Sunbeds. 

Earlier this week, Nancy over @ Graphic Novelty nominated me for a Versatile Blogger Award – aha! Another reason to party!

How very kind, but you needn’t have worried – your invitation to this Beach Party was already assured well in advance!

beach-boogie-gif

princess-leia-bill-murray-snl

“People see me and they squeal like tropical birds or seals stranded on the beach” – Carrie Fisher. 

So, apart from soaking up the rays, what is Brad getting up to these days?

Following the success of last week’s Post (many thanks for helping to QUADRUPLE my Stats! V much appreciated!) there has been research into the origins of both classic and cult comic book characters.

Hunting for vintage comics has been a thing-to-do at the back of my mind for some time, and on this extended stay in the UK, the opportunity to get on and do that very thing has come up!

So far, have managed to discover some classic titles that escaped my attention the first time around; not just from (my) Golden Age of 1979-1982, but some amazing titles from the ’70s have been tracked down.

You will get to see how my comics collection has expanded this Summer in write-ups here in due course!

thunderball_point

“How inappropriate to call this planet Earth, when it is quite clearly Ocean” – Arthur C. Clarke. 

Hey, there needs to be more beach parties in the blogosphere! 

But really…

There really needs to be more science fiction set on the beach –any beach. 

Is it just me or have we had too many dystopian SF flicks set in inner cities? Sure, 75% of us are going to be living (and working, if we’re lucky!) in cities by 2050; pretty sure the percentage of citizens craving escape to the beach will be much higher…

And we need to unwind after a somewhat underwhelming Summer at the box office.

Don’t forget the BEACH is the Best Escape Anyone Could Have…

Never fear, for something intriguing is always near!

l8qsj7tomtjy7q8ruyi2

This has just come to my attention today – with a striking poster campaign a forthcoming SF movie: Arrival reportedly offers a “unique spin” on the alien invasion movie.

Based on the Ted Chiang short: “Story Of Your Life,” Amy Adams plays an expert linguist recruited to find out what a newly-arrived alien fleet want from us. Also starring Jeremy Renner, and Forest Whitaker, it comes out in early November, and – along with Chris Pratt’s Passengers (released in December) – will hopefully revive this year’s weak choice of big movies to get excited about.

Until then…

Where else, in this bloomin’ marvelous pulsating blogosphere, can you just sit back with a good drink in your hand?

And R E L A X…

Yay, you don’t have to worry about ANYTHING on this site.

Oh, and don’t you worry about me, sitting at the back, trying frantically to prise niggling grains of  sand out from between me toes…

battlefield-nature-sunset-evening-beach-ship-lighthouse-planet-landscape

return-of-th-jedi-beach-party

Don’t forget your sun cream…