Do The Wampa Stomp!: Dancing To Another Liebster Award

Was Ist Das? Ein Weiterer Liebster?! Ausgezeichnet!

“The world is never the same once a good blog has been added to it” – Dylan Thomas.  

A BIG THANK YOU to Danica @ Living A Beautiful Life for nominating me for another Liebster Award!

This honour is particularly special to me as Danica is truly one of the blogosphere’s exceptional treasures; her collection of “Short Stories, Flights of Fancy and Everyday Anecdotes” are a delight. 

What is the Liebster Award?

The word “liebster” (originating in German) has several definitions — dearest, sweetest, kindest, nicest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued. 

This award recognizes bloggers who offer amazing content and can connect with their readers in ways that are truly awesome. For me, it is an opportunity to show my appreciation for the finest blogs to illuminate my Reader (and let you know that my visits would be far more frequent if poss!)

Acknowledge the blog that nominated you and display the award.
Answer the 11 questions the blogger gives you.
Give 11 random facts about yourself.
Nominate 11 blogs.
Notify those blogs of the nomination.
Give them 11 questions to answer.

 

11 QUESTIONS Answered

Coffee or tea or mocha/hot chocolate?

Tea all day every day while writing. Mocha whenever in town.

Why do you blog?

To show editors/employers what Brad can do; without anything published (yet) my blogs are the only proof that BRAD LIVES. And has created. 

How would you describe your sense of humor?

Good to flimsy!

What would you do in your ideal day?

Anything with Mrs. B!

Summer or winter?

Summer boy, definitely! English Winters always got the better of me…

Beach or mountains?

Love both! Nothing like walking along a beach. Or biking in the mountains.

Could you live without your smartphone? 

Interesting question!

A more pertinent query would be to ask most people why they feel the need to live WITH one! It has become such a monotonous, time-wasting addiction. Nobody calls/texts me; my laptop offers any data/news updates anyway – would much rather prefer a sardine sandwich than a smartphone, thanks. 

Do you like sardines?

Aha! Now you’re talkin’…

How do you like your eggs?

Preferably on me table, not in me face, cheers!

Does the weather affect the way you see the day?

The best time to write is when a storm is howling outside – gratifying to know you’re not stuck out there in it! 

Can you dance well?

Blimey Charley, CAN Brad dance! Woo-hoo!! Gets on the good foot whenever he can… 

“The true alchemists do not change lead into gold; they change the world into words” – William H. Gass.

 

11 Random Facts About Brad:

1 THERE’S BEEN NO BLOGGING this past weekend, because my artwork is taking up all my creative time/effort @ th mo! It is another therapeutic way for me to unwind.

2 NEVER EATEN in McDonalds – as an “active” member of the Friends Of The Earth group at college, we voted to boycott all branches (then suffering from a reputation of unhygienic practices) – a principle this freedom fighter has faithfully adhered to ever since…

3 CAN’T STOP playing this:

4 NEVER MET any of my current group of friends. Seeing as you are all bloggers – based predominantly Stateside, (presumably reading this right NOW!) – have wondered how great it would be to have a mocha and a chat with you!

5 MOST OF THE BEST IDEAS for my fiction come to me when out walking.  

6 THE ONLY STAR WARS ACTOR that Brad met was Dave Prowse.

The Green Cross Code was a national campaign during the 1970s to educate UK children road safety issues. Dave Prowse magically appeared in a number of TV commercials as the Green Cross Code Man to instruct kids to: Stop! Look! Listen!  before they dared to venture out into the road. Went to a local funfair to meet him; he took one look @ pint-size Brad and slapped a Green Cross Code badge on me. Will never forget it – was like being punched in the chest! Top bloke.  

7 BELIEVE that Lawrence of Arabia (1962) is the GREATEST Movie Ever Made. It excels in every department: direction, cinematography, the acting, etc. It has the best entrance of any character in cinema history; that score by Maurice Jarre! And the screenplay by Robert Bolt remains truly inspirational and unmatched. There are enough fantastic quotes to fill at least THREE of my Posts! Choosing just ONE clip for this Post is gruelling enough, but Anthony Quinn’s first scene is both dynamic and amusing.

(see Question #7)

Auda Abu Tayi: “Who told you that?”

T.E. Lawrence: “I have long ears.”

Auda Abu Tayi: “And a long tongue between them…”

8 THE NAME of my record shop would have been “Al Gore Rythms.” (Would he have approved? Probably not – can’t spell rythms).

9 STILL TYPE ‘s’ instead of ‘a’, and ‘r’ instead of ‘e’!

10 HAD COMPLETELY FORGOTTEN that Bradscribe has its own Facebook page! (Doesn’t matter – NOBODY looks @ it anyway – ha!) 

11 THIS IS THE ONLY BLOG to have LOST Followers in the last six months!  

 

So, now we come to the exciting part!:

My 11 Nominees:

boxofficebuzz

byhookorbybook

cinemaparrotdisco

mycomicrelief

mysideofthelaundryroom

onthescreenreviews

recoverytowellness

sci-fijubilee

stephenliddell

thetelltalemind

wordsforeverything

 

My Questions:

1 What is the best aspect about blogging? 

2 Thor: Ragnarok or Justice League?  

3 Who is your favourite fictional character?  

4 What music have you enjoyed listening to this week?

5 What was the last line of movie dialogue that made you ROFL?

6 Should one writer be allowed to change the background story or ethnicity of another writer’s character?

7 What do YOU consider to be the GREATEST Movie Ever Made?

8 Can you dance well?

9 What should be done to improve Bradscribe?

10 Could you live without chocolate? 

11 We’ve analyzed their attack and there is a danger. Should I have your ship standing by?

 

And finally, here – by popular demand – is the key to how the Official Bradscribe Ratings System works:

 

DJANGO MEETS SARTANA!

DJANGO FANDANGO

DJANGO BELLS

JINGO DJANGO BANJO

STOP! OR DJANGO’S MOM WILL SHOOT 

 

Of course, all my Nominees – hey! and Danica, of course! – excel in a Django Meets Sartana stylee!

Please Don’t Change A Thing…

 

“We gotta go. Come on, move with me. We got a plan, and we’re going to stick to it” – Tony Stark.

 

“Valhalla Be Mine!”: Could Hela Be The MCU’s Greatest Villain?

It’s Main Event Time…

“‘Tis Hela who is the power here – Hela whose word is Law! I be Death incarnate, Whitebeard, and Death dares all” – Hela.

“I know what you’re thinking…”

How wicked is this?!

Ever since all of us were treated to the suitably awesome Teaser Trailer for Thor: Ragnarok at the start of this week, Brad has been mesmerized by Cate Blanchett’s devilish grin.

Odin’s blood, methinks – this movie be not upon us for another seven months yet, but already anticipation for one of my all-time fave Marvel characters grows.

Foolishly, ’twas thot that a Preview of Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2 could be battered out this weekend – ha!

And nay! 

Not e’en the giddy delights of a Star Wars teaser trailer wert enow to dissuade me from the fiendish allure of the Queen of Niffleheim – the Goddess of Death.

This teaser sets up what appears to be a very promising outing for Odinson.

As a huge fan of The Mighty Thor comic – thus sparking a lifelong fascination with Norse mythology – and reasonably satisfied with both solo movie ventures for the God of Thunder, a main drawback however (especially in Dark World) was the preponderance of scenes on Midgard (Earth). It appears that Grandmaster Feige and his merrie MCU band realised this and upped the ante accordingly to devise the gobsmacking cosmic adventure we deserve.

Look ye here: the triumphant spectacle of the HULK in battle armour(!); Jeff Goldblum as the Grandmaster(!) AND Chris Hemsworth’s haircut(!) are all irresistible ingredients in their own right, but Galadriel in her elaborate headgear surely tops them all… 

So, be on your Asgard, as ’twere:

“You who now come claiming my father’s spirit as though the soul of Odin were some bauble that you had won!” – Thor.

“Asgard is dead…”

My introduction to Hela could not have come in a finer form; the main story in The Mighty Thor #314 (which takes pride of place on my desk this evening as these words are frantically typed) stands as a personal uplifting favourite, but it is the additional Tales Of Asgard bonus story: Judgement – And Lament! in which Hela has usurped radiant Valhalla, and – with her icy touch – remade it in the imge of her own cold, cruel and foreboding kingdom of Niffleheim.

And all because – deeply moved by Sif’s love for Thor – she could ne’er, as a woman, consummate longings for compassion – desire – love…

Tending to his fallen Valkyries, Odin – ruler of the gods – comes to set things a’right.

And part soothing words to the Bringer of Death, enow to quell the anger and hurt within her.

Whene’er she made a cameo in the Thor comic book, she stole every panel with her menace and vile intent. In my quest for Bronze Age comics, those back ishs of Mighty Thor featuring her have proved elusivemayhap ’tis not a surprise to learn that those ishs are among the most valuable…

“Can you believe we’re having this conversation? It’s 2017 and we’re talking about the first female villain? It’s ridiculous. There’s so much untapped potential villainy in women. It’s really exciting. I think finally it’s beginning to be acknowledged that women and men want to see a diverse array of characters, and that’s race, gender across the sexual spectrum” – Cate Blanchett.

“Hi there!”

What is it – for me – that sets the Queen of Niffleheim apart from other female characters in the Marvel canon?

Her steely looks and the devious design of her outlandish garb are startling enow, but it is her macabre headgear that strikes thee the most. Naturally, most – if not all – her appearances have been brilliantly written…

“She’s been locked away for millennia getting more and more cross,” as Blanchett explained in a recent interview, and she is bent on exacting her vengeance against Thor. And Odin.

By not only holding Mjolnir, but destroying it(!), Hela makes quite an impact; her intentions of unleashing Ragnarok – the fabled destruction of the gods – are machinations not to be taken lightly!

Verily, from what we’ve learnt this week, she is shaping up to be quite a formidable antagonist indeed. And to think that, up until this year, Loki has stood as the MCU’s most dangerous evil presence. With barely any competition. Ant-Man’s Yellowjacket was underwhelming, and Guardians of the Galaxy’s Ronan The Accuser merely spent his screen-time sulking rather than exuding adequate menace.

And – although promising to “bathe the star-ways with your blood” – we have yet to realise the full extent of Thanos’ power. But surely, without terrifying headgear, can he muster the right modicum of imposing threat…?

“Hela’s able to manifest weapons,” Blanchett added. “Her headdress can be weapons. She can manifest weapons out of different parts of her body. I won’t tell you which — I’ll leave that hanging…”

“Hope doth blossom in the presence of life… and thou art the Queen of Death. But I may grant thee enlightenment. Open thy mind… Let my wisdom flow into thee…

“And thou wilt understand the way of the world” – Odin All-Father.

 

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_

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“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.

Homecoming Scream!: Is Comic Book Movie Fatigue Setting In?!

Tell me, do you despair? You will… 

SPIDER-MAN AGAIN: Why?! How about Spider-Woman? After sex, the female spider EATS the male - who wouldn't pay good money to go watch THAT?!
SPIDER-MAN AGAIN: Why?! How about Spider-Woman? After sex, the female spider EATS the male – who wouldn’t pay good money to go watch THAT?!

“I’m not overly fond of what follows…” – Loki. 

Of all that’s sacred! Another one?! 

Still reeling with dismay from the announcement that the umpteenth Spider-Man movie is forging (or should that be spinning?) ahead, it’s even been given the title: Spider-Man: Homecoming. Now this is quite possibly the lamest tag EVER concocted; what a pun – alluding to Peter Parker’s high-school frolics as well as “coming home” to Marvel after enjoying box office success in the hands of Sony.  

Ahem, is there anyone celebrating this news?

Sure, the original Spider-Man movie with Tobey McGuire was an enjoyable outing. Good to see Sam Raimi on top of his game, but Willem Defoe as the Green Goblin stole the show and rightly so. When the inevitable Spider-Man II came out, it looked okay, but made me realise that there is more to life than sitting through sequels. By the time No. 3 came along, there was no incentive to go watch; many agreed – in fact, a universal arachnophobia had set in. And then for some ludicrous reason – which STILL  thwarts my investigative journalistic powers – with the dust barely settled on this non-starter, we were subjected to: the reboot. This time it was The Amazing Spider-Man. The obligatory Stan Lee cameo happened to be the only amazing aspect of this forgettable movie.

Sorry, Spidey, but Ant-Man was always more intriguing. Even when only seven years old – and in the prime of his comic-collecting duties – yours truly could never accept the Webslinger’s red and blue costume. Nah, Ant-Man had a cool helmet, and the ability to shrink to ant-size really appealed, especially as a viewing of Jack Arnold’s classic: The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957) at around that time had thrilled my infant mind beyond measure. 

But press me on the issue (hypothetically of course) of an Ant-Man franchise and yours truly would have to respectfully decline. Don’t get me wrong, last year’s Ant-Man movie was like a dream come true, but, bearing in mind the wonders that can be achieved now with modern sfx, the exploits of the tiniest Avenger really don’t suit the big screen.

PANDA-BOY BEGINS!: What?! Neither DC nor Marvel publish a book called Panda-Boy?! Honestly, if you wanna job done properly...
PANDA-BOY BEGINS!: What?! Neither DC nor Marvel publish a book called Panda-Boy?! Honestly, if you wanna job done well…

“Never rub another man’s rhubarb” – The Joker.  

Initially, the prospect of a Suicide Sguad movie did not instill too much confidence in me. So we’ve never heard of them before, but such was the case with Guardians of the Galaxy, and look what an awesome bundle of fun that turned out to be…

The astonishing success of Deadpool in February showed that cinema-goers want something different… something fresh. Hell yeah, Sguad is so fresh, it’s got the Fresh Prince playing Deadshot who, admittedly, is the only member of this mental mob of misfits one can identify from the comics. It is difficult to tell whether this will be a smash or a mere cult hit – talk so far has centred mainly, (worryingly), on the music used in the trailers, rather than the sort of action on offer.

The big news is that this pic will feature an exhilarating new version of the Dark Knight’s archnemesis: the Joker, played -with tattooes?! – by Jared Leto. Personally, Heath Ledger’s performance as the Clown Prince of Crime seemed so fantastic and fearsome, that any subsequent portrayal would seem misguided.

If, however, that is Leto in the Panda-Boy disguise in the above pic, then sure – what the hell! – let’s have a butchers… 

In Squad We Trust? 

We can find out if these bad’uns do good from 5 August. 

SEARCH & DISTRAUGHT: Argo-Man scours the blogosphere in vain for any favourable reviews...
SEARCH & DISTRAUGHT: Argo-Man scours the blogosphere in vain for any favourable reviews…

“Next time they shine your light in the sky, don’t go to it. The Bat is dead, buried. Consider this mercy…” – Superman.

So, most critics and bloggers unanimously agree that DC’s initial entry of their own Cinematic Universe is just a Dawn of Just Ass. Honestly, how can a movie featuring the two most iconic superheroes EVER turn out to be SUCH a phenomenal FAIL?!

Believe me, as someone who collected both Superman and Batman comics as a kid, the thought of seeing them finally spar against each other in one epic blockbuster was overwhelming to say the least! (Given the choice who to root for, it would be very difficult for me to pick a side). Unfortunately, we read the somewhat underwhelming reactions from reviewers and bloggers alike…

One of the few warmly-received aspects of Batman v Superman (or BS for short) was Ben Affleck’s seemingly definitive portrayal of the Dark Knight. Fans are rejoicing at the prospect of another solo Batflick written/directed by Benaffleck – the very same fans who, incidentally, were cursing the casting director when news of Dawn of Justice broke…

If this is the Dawn we’ve all been waiting for, a lie-in has never seemed a sweeter option. And if this “dark and gritty” approach is what we should expect when the DC Cinematic Universe expands, then all does not bode well for a Justice League movie. As a Brit, Brad finds himself rooting instead for the imminent Captain America movie (a character he’ll never tire of watching!) – where’s the Justice in that?

Civil War (released on 6 May!) is shaping up to be another cracker, but personally, the build-up has been marred with a tad too much speculation as to whether – uh-huh, him again – Spidey would make an appearance… in the latest trailer…  

Couldn’t care less? You bet…

Ooh, but Brad! Did ya see that cool thing Spidey did with his eyes?

Yeah… so what?

My attention falls instead on Black Panther. His appearance in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is about time and would be most welcome. And a standalone Black Panther movie? Sure: a previously unseen character, and an exploration of diversity – why not? 

But PLEASE – for the love of cake – DON’T give us ANOTHER Spider-Man cameo!!

avengers1-are-we-done-here

“Are we done here?” – Steve Rogers. 

Be sure to join me next time for more cynical banter an’ japes! Same Brad time, same Brad channel. 

Batshit Crazy: What A Week In The DC Extended Universe!

The Good, The Bad And The Ugly In The DC Pipeline. 

THE UNUSUAL SUSPECTS?: "We want Justice, an' we wan' it now!"
THE UNUSUAL SUSPECTS?: “We want Justice, an’ we wan’ it now!”

“That’s how it starts. The fever, the rage, the feeling of powerlessness that turns good men… cruel” -Alfred Pennyworth.  

Most of you who frequent this site will have noticed that Brad has been a huge comics fan, and continues to be an avid follower of comic book movies. Overjoyed at the recent thrilling developments from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it almost seemed like sheer folly for DC Comics to weigh in with their own equally immense big screen projects.

While Marvel reigns supreme at the box office, DC would seem to be quite content to have their Arrow and Flash (and the imminent Legends of Tomorrow) shows dominate TV ratings. Yet as Chris Nolan’s outstanding Dark Knight trilogy showed, DC Films are prepared to put up one helluva fight. 

Yes, there is a part of me yearning to find out how DC will show off their Extended Universe. After all, despite my “Make Mine Marvel” chants, rummage through my comic collection atop my wardrobe/TARDIS and you will discover that a decent 65% of them are DC titles (dating between 1980-1993 for those of you taking notes).

This week, we finally got tasters as to what DC/Warner endeavour to unleash. Last Tuesday night, a TV special: DC Films Presents: Dawn of the Justice League on The CW showcased some of DC’s current movie developments, including an exclusive trailer for August’s Suicide Squad, plus new footage of next summer’s Wonder Woman movie.

Tell me: do you geek? You will… 

FISH AN' QUIPS: "Oh water day! Water lovely day! (Now you're just being silly...)
FISH AN’ QUIPS: “Oh water day! Water lovely day! (Now you’re just being silly…)

“The greatest gladiator match in the history of the world: Son of Krypton versus Bat of Gotham!” – Lex Luthor.  

Ta-da! First up is Batffleck vs. Superhenry: Clash Of The Capes. Sorry, but seriously, Dawn of Justice just looks like such a perilous venture. Placing DC’s two most box-office-friendly heroes in the same blockbuster has all the hallmarks of safe bet – even desperation – written all over it. 

Show some guts, DC!

If Marvel Studios can gamble with such risky, obscure material as Guardians Of The Galaxy, then surely you can give Matter-Eater Lad his own big screen adventure at last! Can’t you…? 

From what we can gather so far, Dawn of Justice looks too dark and too bleak… please, the last time this “style” was done we were lumbered with Fantastic frickin’ Four – and see how badly that pap turned out!

The news that Ben Affleck had been chosen to play the Caped Crusader didn’t trouble me at all, although plenty of diehard fans predictably vented their spleen over the matter. What is really disconcerting is the casting of Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor. An evil mastermind?! Ha, our cat looks more menacing than him. Unable to work out what the casting director saw in such an inexplicable choice…

Rather than paste the same old Bat-pics, here (above) is Jason Momoa, simply stunning as The Dothraki Waterboy Aquaman, who hopefully – for me – will help make Dawn of Justice a more intriguing spectacle – he’s easily its second-best aspect. 

The top attraction, of course, being the – long-awaited! Let’s not let that lie!! – big screen debut of Wonder Woman, which should make this outing more worth our while.

Just for you, here’s the trailer:

IN SQUAD WE TRUST?: A bunch of cool cats. And Will Smith. Hey! Who's that reptilian dude on the right? Possibly my fave Squad member already...
IN SQUAD WE TRUST?: A bunch of cool cats. And Will Smith. Hey! Who’s that reptilian dude on the right? Possibly my fave Squad member already…
DADDY'S LIL MONSTER?: My Daddy warned me about lil monsters like you, lov...
DADDY’S LIL MONSTER?: My Daddy warned me about lil monsters like you, lov…

“Seriously, what the hell is wrong with you people?” – Rick Flagg.  

If DC’s behemoth in March does regrettably turn out to be the “Yawn of Justice,” then how about Suicide Squad?

When news of a Suicide Squad movie broke, my inner geek – whatever that is – shouted yippee!… until realising yours truly had been thinking of Doom Patrol, a totally different – and a whole lot weirder – ensemble brought to us once upon a time by the exceptionally talented Grant Morrison. 

The general consensus is that this trailer is outstanding, but being subjected to this concept, and these characters, for the first time, awash with grungy style and zero substance, it fails to amaze me… yet. Nice use of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody though. 

Jared Leto’s Joker – notice how Joker-free the pics department is here – seems to be just as misguided a casting choice as Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor. Trying to follow in the (purple) wake of Heath Ledger’s arguably definitive portrayal of the Clown Prince of Crime is either brave or foolish. 

Suicide Squad appears clearly aimed at the teenage boys Sucker Punch market, apparently, blatantly, disregarding the ever-growing number of female comic readers out there.

Worst? Heroes. Ever? Yep, can’t argue with that… 

All in all, a Doom Patrol movie – would have been preferable… 

AMAZON STORIES: The Wonder of you...
AMAZON STORIES: The Wonder of you…

“The greatest thing about Wonder Woman is how good and kind and loving she is, yet none of that negates any of her power” – Patty Jenkins. 

So, if Dawn of Justice feels bad, and Suicide Squad looks, well, ugly, was there anything good to come from DC this week?

Well, yes, just the most iconic superheroine of all time! 

Arguably the most intriguing news from the DC Extended Universe’s trawl of exclusive thrill-power was the first footage from the star n’ striped Amazon in her own solo movie, set for release in June 2017.

When the first image of Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman in her patriotic… chocolate-brown(?!) combo first adorned the worldwide web, my heart sank. Honestly, she looked like a Xena: Warrior Pincess cosplayer. And a third-rate Xena: Warrior Princess cosplayer at that.

My initial hopes for the movie were not high, but when this pic (below) was released a few months ago, the project starting to look quite intriguing. Then this actual footage was shown last Tuesday, and the movie now looks far more encouraging. It revealed Wonder Woman’s dexterity with a sword in typical 300-style slo-mo action; the Amazon riding on horseback; and – most interestingly – in her guise as Diana Prince, but during the First World War, and not the Second as traditionally told in the original comics.

Of course it’s still too early, but with this project at least, it looks as though DC/Warner finally know what they’re doing. 

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Superman: “Is she with you?”

Batman: “I thought she was with you.”

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Journey To The Centre Of The Multiplex

Your Mission, Should You Choose To Accept It, Is To Find A Screening of The Martian.

In English. In Bangkok.  

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“The usual hero adventure begins with someone who feels there is something lacking in the normal experience available or permitted to the members of society. The person then takes off on a series of adventures beyond the ordinary…” – Joseph Campbell.  

The objective seemed simple enough; last week anyway. Wait until my beloved Mrs. B had returned from her revitalising week-long meditation retreat; then take her to watch her fave movie star: Matt Damon. The Martian had been released – quite fortuitouslyon her birthday! Seriously, how difficult could it possibly be? 

Quite difficult as it turned out…

There is a tendency – especially in regional cinemas – to dub some of the biggest blockbusters into Thai, and our local multiplex is no exception. We didn’t have this problem with Guardians Of The Galaxy, or only last month with The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Although The Martian arrived here only last Thursday with FOUR showings in its original English soundtrack, it has been reduced – just days later – to ONE showing in Thai only. 

Bugger… 

So be. Looks like a day trip to the Big Mango is in order. Travelling so far just to catch one movie – no matter how brilliant and unmissable The Martian may be – does seem a tad too extreme; still, this writer requires other things up north simply not available in our hometown. Brad will proceed. And with Mrs. B?

“What’s the matter, lov?” 

“Sorry, hon. I’m not going…” 

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“Cities, like dreams, are made of desires and fears, even if the thread of their discourse is secret, their rules are absurd, their perspectives deceitful, and everything conceals something else” – Marco Polo.

The Mother Of All Malls in the Thai capital is the Siam Paragon; it’s hard to miss, nestling right next to the interchange MRT station slap bang in the city centre. Its plush, state-of-the-art multiplex theatre has provided us with some of cinema’s finest most recent gems ALWAYS in English. Even if a movie turns out to be utter crud, at least you can marvel at the exquisite finery of the drapes…  

And the- hang on, just remembered! At the Major Cineplex, Central World, they have Special Cheezy Dip with their nachos. Yeah, will go there instead – just the next stop on the MRT. However, recent events – especially a tragic bomb attack in August at one of our favourite shrines – have made some tourists (Mrs. B included) extremely wary of Bangkok’s level of security. 

“But this is what you wanted, lov. Your birthday treat! Hey, it’s about Matt Damon stranded on Mars. Just him, vlogging for two hours. Come on, hon! He’ll be staring right at you as you watch him! Couldn’t be better!”

The thought of going back to the intolerable noise, stress and pollution of the capital city – even for just one day – fills my lady with dread. Plus, a long and reckless mini-bus ride (which she simply cannot stand) must be endured before you can seize the chance to inhale that city air…

Then there are other reservations to consider: “What if this movie turns out to be just as terrible as that other space movie, hon?” 

“Oh, you mean Jupiter Ascending? Good Lord, nothing else could be as dire as that, lov! The Martian has had some really encouraging reviews. Look…” 

At this point, frantic scrolling at rottentomatoes.com on my smartphone ensued, but she didn’t look.

“No, someone’s got to stay and look after Sooty [our cat].”

“You know what the cinema’s like: by this Friday they will have reverted back to showing the usual rubbish.”

“I can wait until this comes out on disc. Besides, I can have my Bourne trilogy any time I want.”

“So, there’s… no way I can persuade you to come with me?”

“‘Fraid not, Ford. Anyway, I don’t have a movie-blog to maintain…”  

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“It is far. But there is no journey that a man may not make if he sets his heart to it. There is nothing that he cannot do…” – H. Rider Haggard.

The mini-bus from Hua Hin to Bangkok takes three hours (or two and a half if the driver thinks he’s Jason Bourne). Early morning, my bag packed with papers and two bottles of chilled water, we walked up to the main road together so she could wave me off.

“What are you doing, farang?” Mrs. B joked.

“Going to the big city to find Matt Damon, lov,” 

As the bus came into view, on time, she chortled: “Send him my love!” 

“Ha, will do! I’ll even Bring Him Home if I can find a pirate copy, heh heh!” 

The bus screeched to a halt. My wife pinched my arm.

“Don’t go meeting any girls up there!” she whispered sternly.

“Perish the thought, lov.”

Time to hold her tight and reassure her. 

“I’ll be back by nightfall. Don’t want to leave you for too long, hon; can’t. You’re the light of my life – the fuel on which I run. If I could reach up and hold a star for every time you’ve made me happy, my darling, the evening sky would be in the palm of my hand.”

“Ooh, get you,” she purred. “Did Matt teach you to talk like that?” 

“Uff, gizzus a hug, me sugar…” 

We shared a quick embrace. The driver started up the engine; I began to clamber in.

“Hey, what are you going to do about lunch?!”

“No worries, lov,” he was heard to exclaim, looking back over his shoulder. “There’s plenty of cake in the big city; I can pick some up there on my way back.”

“Oh for goodness sake, ya daft ham noi! I mean real food!” 

“The cinema will have nachos – Brad will survive…” 

The driver came round to slide the mini-bus door shut.

“I love you,” Mrs. B yelled out.

“I know…” 

"HANG ON IN THERE, BUDDY! You stay alive, no matter what occurs! Brad will find you! No matter how long it takes, no matter how far! I will find you"
“HANG ON IN THERE, BUDDY! You stay alive, no matter what occurs! Brad will find you! No matter how long it takes, no matter how far! I will find you”

to be continued...

“You’re Quite A Prize!”: How To Create Memorable SF Characters

A Character Is As A Character Does. 

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“We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be” – Kurt Vonnegut.  

Working on some crucial drafts of my own science fiction these past few months, pages of cool and witty dialogue came naturally to me, but certain character traits need to be developed further.

Revising various aspects of “Characterization” has unearthed some useful points which will be shared here. Besides, we have already complained about the lack of good character development in several recent movies during this past year, so it appears that some screenwriters would benefit from these tips too.

Before moving on, it would help if we had a working idea of how to define “character.” To be more than just a person in a movie or a book, a character must have “mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual.” It signifies: “strength and originality in a person’s nature,” while to be “full of character” denotes the “quality of being individual in an interesting or unusual way.”

hardware wars

Science fiction writers put characters into a world with arbitrary rules and work out what happens” – Rudy Rucker.  

Take a look at the pic above. That’s fearless pilot: Ham Salad and his trusty sidekick: the Wookie Monster. The boys at the back look pretty familiar as well. Instantly, you recognised who they were parodies of. The characters of the galaxy’s greatest saga are so ingrained on popular culture because they were so well-defined.   

Not only must you know where a character is going, it is imperative that we learn where they are coming from. A history or – if time and space is limited – a simple back-story becomes essential. It helps to flesh out what should become special characters.

Take a look, for instance, at Darth Maul: one of the factors that made Star Wars Episode I slightly less painful than Episode II. Groovy painted face and cool moves, sure, but sorely lacking any detectable character. How and why did he turn to the Dark Side? We are not given any knowledge, so – not surprisingly – when he is sabred in half, we just don’t care.

Incidentally, his opponent in the lightsabre duel midway through this flashy yet flat misfire was a Jedi played by Liam Neeson named… umm… (Can’t be bothered to Google it that’s how useless Neeson’s “contribution” was). Here was somebody with even less “character” than Darth Maul, and he had much more onscreen time! Unbelievable!

At least Groovy-Painted-Face was a figure of action. This is a useful reminder that characters have a better – more immediate – chance of fascinating us by what they do. And not just the process of the action itself, but the anticipation of how a certain character will act, or – more crucially – react.

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“What is character but the determination of incident? What is incident but the illustration of character?” – Henry James. 

In other words, plot and character are one and the same, but don’t value plot over character. It is said that a good science fiction story centres on a single idea, yet that idea cannot drive the plot alone. Characters are required to deal with that idea – they make it relevant; they make the material matter.  

A physical description of a character is NOT characterization.

Plenty of writers list physical attributes as if it is imperative that the reader should have an accurate image of them in their mind’s eye. Rather than simply apply labels, provide more details. In science fiction, is it relevant that she has green skin and he’s got tentacles? Probably not, unless it drives the plot somehow. 

Apart from the fact that Gamora (from last year’s smash hit: Guardians of The Galaxy) has green skin, how can you describe her? She is a nimble fighter in the movie – yes, but that makes her merely an action figure, not a character. To compound the problem, she has to confront her half-sister: Nebula who is… well, someone who shouts and struts around a lot. Their fight turns out to be just as bland and superficial as they are. We are too easily reminded of the two nonentities we had trouble describing in the previous paragraph.

Let’s end this paragraph on a more positive note: one particular trait of characterization exclusive to the science fiction genre concentrates on the responses of specific characters to a change in environment, caused by nature or the universe, or technology. What will draw readers to these characters is how they cope with that change. 

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“Characters, if they are strong enough, can evolve into pseudo-autonomous beings who are resilient enough to lead the author through the twists and turns of plot. It can be fun to travel this way, because we never know what’s around the next turning” – Teach Yourself: Write A Novel. 

Characters – especially in this genre – need to be aspirational – the kinds of heroes readers/viewers would want to be themselves. Even anti-heroes should have redeeming features. Whether it be charisma, wit, style and/or intelligence. Ideally, they have to be the character you love to hate. 

“Character” is internal and shows up in the good – and bad! – choices made under pressure. Before making your characters leap from the page, they have to affect you first. If you care about how they develop, the reader will care about them too. By all means necessary, they must engage with readers on an emotional level.

You should sympathise with them as well as empathize. Who has not shed a tear for the homesickness of ET or the last desperate hour in the short but very bright life of Roy Batty?

In this case, it is amusing to add one of the most important tips for creating any kind of fiction: characters need authentic underlying humanity. It’ll be a really nifty trick if you can apply that to any of your alien characters!

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Anty Matter: Can Marvel’s Latest Blockbuster Succeed?

Little Big Man. Heroes Don’t Get Any Bigger? 

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“The thing about Ant-Man: it’s different. There’s never been a superhero like that. These days, if you can come up with something that’s different and unique, and then do it well, which is the only way Marvel would do anything, you’ve got a great shot at getting a hit” – Stan Lee.  

Will the latest offering from the mighty Marvel Studios: Ant-Man – which opens internationally this Friday – be worth the ticket price? It seems that the last entry in Phase 2 of Marvel Studios’ grand cinematic strategy will star their smallest character in possibly their biggest gamble. 

As a keen follower of this hero back in the day, his sheer outlandishness was an intriguing plus, yet it is the one off-putting factor that has consigned Ant-Man to the lower confines of the Marvel canon, and has taken this long to get his own motion picture at all. 

This is a pity for the character of Ant-Man/Dr. Hank Pym, created in 1962 by writer Stan Lee and artist Jack Kirby, holds a special place in the Marvel lexicon. The scientist originally responsible for inventing – and first wearing -the amazing ant-suit, was one of the co-founders of the Avengers – extraordinary to think that he did not feature in either Avengers movie; he was also responsible for creating Ultron, not Tony Stark as Marvel’s last blockbuster erroneously portrayed.

Only now do the powers-that-be at Marvel believe that the level of special visual effects has reached a standard sufficient enough to create the story of a man who can shrink to ant-size and command armies of soldier ants through special receivers in a specially designed helmet.

How, on Earth, do you pitch something like that?!

Screen-Shot-Ant-Man 

“I think our first move should be calling the Avengers” – Scott Lang.  

After both powerhouses of Jurassic World and Terminator Genisys  failed to give me much satisfaction, Ant-Man looks far from revitalising my rapidly diminishing faith in the current spate of blockbuster movie-making. Just look at the pile of minus factors going against it. Apart from the aforementioned obscurity of the character, how significant will the late departure of original writer and director: Edgar Wright have on the fortunes of this film?

And as for the casting, well…! Michael Douglas?! As Hank?! How is that possible? What about Paul Rudd as Scott Lang? He is ideal for making entertaining lunacy like Anchorman, but judging from those (bland) trailers, he looks to be mismatched with this material. But then again: ask me who would make a better Ant-Man, and that would be a toughie. 

Both trailers seen so far hardly worked up any enthusiasm for the subject-matter. Rather than instill any sense of ant-icipation, this lacklustre fare is generating nothing but ant-ipathy…  

Perhaps more than any other Marvel character, this peculiar material has a particularly tough task in trying to translate to the big screen. Can it be done?  

Alan Mooreliving legend among comic book writers – stipulated that none of his work should be developed into movies. In one interview, when asked how he would adapt his own outstanding classic: Watchmen – voted as one of the greatest novels of all time – into a movie, he just replied without hesitation: “I wouldn’t.”

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“This is not some cute tech like the Iron Man suit!” – Dr. Hank Pym. 

So what compelled me towards Ant-Man as a comic character worth reading? This is some question, considering that the similar, yet vastly more popular, Spider-Man never appealed to me. There was something really cool about Ant-Man’s helmet, whereas nothing amazing was to be had from Spidey’s curiously red and blue costume.

Ant-Man did not have his own series during my comic-collecting days, but would guest star in other titles. Unfortunately, none of those strips were kept for long, so it is difficult to recall which issues did grace my stash of comics, yet there was a single page which – after three decades – still remains crystal clear in my mind’s eye.

Lo and behold, an online search (for other comic art, incidentally) suddenly brought it up, and all the fond memories associated with this masterpiece (by the incomparable John Byrne; who else?) came flooding back.

For those of you taking notes, this is page 15 of Marvel Premiere #47 from 1979.

197904 Marvel Premiere 47 p15 John Byrne

“You think you can stop the future? You’re just a thief!” – Yellowjacket. 

Considering how we were subjected to an Amazing Spider-Man reboot even before the dust had been allowed to settle on Spider-Man 3, it is reassuring to learn that Marvel Studios is ready to tap into Marvel Comics’ rich and diverse pool of several thousand characters

Ant-Man  may not reach the same heights of last Summer’s deliriously fun smash: Guardians of the Galaxy, but at least it continues Marvel’s bold and warmly welcomed ploy of unleashing lesser-known characters upon a cinema-going public suffering from remake and sequel fatigue.

Some comics were never meant to be filmed, and should have stayed on the printed page – some may argue that Ant-Man is one of them – but let’s hope that the time and effort put into this movie will pay off.

Anyway, it can’t be as awful as Punisher: War Zone… can it? 

Ant-Man-Marvel-Comics-Lineup

“This ‘dorky looking helmet’ is the only thing that’s going to protect me from the real bad guys!” – Magneto.

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Cheers!

Jurassic Lark: Curse Of The Raptor Whisperer

They just went and made a new dinosaur? Probably not a good idea…

HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DINOSAUR: Get yer Raptor repellent at the ready!
HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DINOSAUR: Get yer Raptors at the ready!

“The last time Spielberg waited this long to revive a franchise, he blew Harrison Ford across the sky in a fridge” – Stuart Heritage.

Just when you thought it was safe to go back to a Central American island…

In this long-awaited fourth instalment in the second-biggest franchise of all time, Jurassic World is the upgraded Park. Tourists are coming (in droves!) to see the beasts who have been thrust back into the evolutionary mix, supervised by the White Queen i.e. Claire Dearing, whose spirit is as unbreakable as her stilletos, but couldn’t care less about the two nephews who’ve come to visit her.

The star asset: the awkwardly-monickered Indominus Rex – part T Rex, part… something else – doesn’t want to be fed, she wants to break free and hunt. Obviously, if it wasn’t for her motivation, we wouldn’t have a potentially record-breaking blockbuster on our hands.

Fortunately, the only thing these Nublar nutters got right is to invest in the services of hero-for-hire raptor whisperer Owen Grady. Can he outwit the sibling-gobbling feral femme fatale? When that image of Starlord wrangling the raptors (above) first appeared on the net, fanboy here shivered something rotten. That has to be the most ridiculous idea ever! Has to be. (Either that or Claire outrunning T Rex… in her high heels.) For one moment there, the dreaded thought occurred to me: he was going to challenge his raptor-buddies to a dance-off. Mercifully we were spared that… 

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“Don’t you see the danger, John, inherent in what you’re doing here? Genetic power is the most awesome force the planet’s ever seen, but you wield it like a kid that’s found his dad’s gun” – Dr. Ian Malcolm.

Quite simply, this picture lacks that sorely-missed Spielberg touch. One of the greatest strengths of Jurassic Park lay in its faithful adherence to the most reliable palaeontological data then available. What now? Sadly, the absence of some of the dino-research gained in the previous 22 years here leaves such a noticeable gap. Pity, ‘cos it prevents any engagement with this flaccid an’ flawed package on any sensory or emotional level.

What about that “single most transformative development in palaeontology”: the intriguing, yet still-contentious, notion that dinosaurs – especially Velociraptor and Gallimimus – were covered in feathers? Don’t tell me the CGI-guys can’t animate intricate dino-fuzz!  

Where there is insufficient biology, there is certainly no chemistry. Owen and Claire were crying out for some but it was woefully lacking. With a movie like this, expect nothing more than two-dimensional characterization, but here it was just as blandly predictable as the uncontrollable asset itself. Sure, this is fiction – of the most ludicrously contrived kind, regrettably – but where is the science? 

When the two Lost Boys – that blubbing moppet and his chick-crazy bro – stumble onto the overgrown set of the first film, John Williams’ legendary theme tune comes flooding back after all these years, offering a rare and necessary charming touch. However, this reliance on nostalgia merely emphasises the sheer paucity of originality on display here. You could count at least half a dozen of your fave movies amidst this mish-mash – a job as botched as the asset itself. 

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“I was in the Navy, not the Navajos!” – Owen Grady. 

After a record 511 million dollar haul in its opening weekend, the lure of those Mesozoic monsters remains as strong as ever. Basically, have a blast on Nublar… but leave your common sense in Costa Rica. My niggles with this blockbuster are as immense as that mosasaur. Apparently that GLARINGLY OBVIOUS “containment breach” was NEVER speculated?! Hey, life finds a way, an’ all that… 

Speaking of obvious: the squad of gung-ho go-getters armed with heavy-duty cattle-prods venturing into the jungle are no different than those huge hunks of meat lowered in at feeding time… couldn’t anyone realise that in the (laughably-named) control center? Yep, all the chaos Dr. Malcolm can eat…    

It really is good – not to mention reassuring – to see Chris Pratt carry a more demanding role, but for me, the real star of the show is Blue, who – apart from his keeper – is the only distinctive and engaging personality on the island… and is a Raptor. So, whaddya know? A blockbuster that’s NOT awesome – that makes a change…

Upon emerging back into the glaring early evening sun after this rather underwhelming viewing, a quick glance at the cafe opposite and the clientele sitting out on the the street were being dive-bombed by a flock of seagulls.

Is that a case of life imitating art, or vice versa…?

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WH-WHAT?! No rough-ridin’ Raptors? AOW, COME ON!! We want our money back!

Fall In With Brad’s Badass Brigade!

Everybody online… looking good!

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“Get on the ready line, Marines, get some today! Move it out, goddammit! Get hot! Move it out, move it out, move it out! Move it out, move it out, move it out! Aaarrrr, absolutely badasses!” – Sgt. Apone. 

Alright sweethearts, what are you waiting for? Breakfast in bed?! When the going gets tough, the tough go badassing. By definition, a badass is someone tough, uncompromising or intimidating. 

Not like me ta be sittin’ reading a book in coffee shops trying to look remotely intellectual… well, some of the time, but whenever that dreaded bug-hunt should arise, this is the Dirty SF Dozen that this natural-born-leader would want fightin’ by his side…

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“GEDDU DA CHOPPAH!” – Major “Dutch” Schaefer.  

1. Dutch

Can’t think of a stronger or indefatigable officer than Dutch as the first to get selected.

Many times spent smeared with mud lying in the shadows glowering at my extraterrestrial enemies, it’s so reassuring to learn that this Special Forces team-leader has been there, done that, got the T-shirt, ripped it up and set it ablaze to light up the jungle night.

Dropped into a Central American nightmare – for all the wrong reasons – they have to contend with Adrien Brody the Predator (1987). The Major is tough, dependable and guaranteed always… always to stick around…

The One That Got Away: Blain

A carbon copy of Dutch, plus ‘tache, a Little Richard tape and wisecracks! But despite wielding a six-barreled M134 Minigun, four years before the Terminator got to let rip with one – and sharing my irritation of Alabama ticksBlain got zapped, alas, by the Predator too darned early. 

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“She’ll fight my battles for me…” – Roy O’Bannon. 

2. Imperator Furiosa

This one-armed bandit has literally taken the blogosphere by a storm as big as the one that engulfed the War-Rig and Immortan Joe’s feral band of pursuers. Feisty and determined, the only thing Furiosa lacks is a Y chromosome. It is absolutely fantastic for our favourite genre to be imbued with a new female action hero in the Ripley-mould. So this tough-as-nails, grease-smearing driver automatically earns her place here. Certainly a more honourable path than modelling for perfume bottles. 

And you know she’s been put next-in-line; if me an’ Dutch get completely rat-arsed in a bar in Mogadishu, then she – unreservedly – takes command. THAT’S how highly her performance in Fury Road (2015) is rated at this blog.

Equal opportunities: Brad is all for ’em. Look, most of my Followers are female. (Stop that sniggerin’, there! Knock that shit off, Hudson!) They don’t call me an Officer and a Gentleman fer nothin’ y’know…

The One(s) That Got Away: 

Up until last week, ol’ Max Rockatansky himself would’ve made this List quite easily, but circumstances change, especially when a blistering movie comes out of nowhere to completely obliterate the Action Movie Book o’ Rules.

If you thought you might find Ellen Ripley: Scourge of the Xenomorphs in this Post, then hard luck she’s on leave shooting the fifth Alien movie. See here: 

And if you were expecting Sarah Connor here, soz, but Brad doesn’t do obvious. If he did, none of those impressive promotions (cluttering my desk), nor these medals (glistening in the binary sunset across my ample pecs) would’ve come my way…

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“I like to keep this handy for close encounters” – Cpl. Dwayne Hicks

3. Corporal Dwayne Hicks

The only one of the Space Marines to make it out of the nightmare of LV426 alive – a splendid qualification in my – or any –book. In the gung-ho shenanigans of Aliens (1986), Hicks was the one with coolness and steady nerve to keep what was left of the cast going – it’ll be a pleasure to see him again when Alien 5 finally comes in…

The One That Got Away: Vasquez. 

Another strong brigade-contender sadly obliterated from existence. 

Under NO circumstances, NO badass should EVER have to be trapped with an asshole at the moment they meet their maker…

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…AND THOR!

Son of Odin! Scion of vaunted Asgard! Wielder of the Mystic Mallet: Mjolnir! Protector of- OI! POINT BREAK!! Stop arsing about in that duck pond and get on the ready line!

Fine… as you Asgardian fops are wont to bark: “Hast thou not ‘eard?! Get thee out of yon brackish water! And get thine swanky clobber on…!! Dost ye know what thou art?! Thou art a [EXPLETIVE DELETED].” 

Move it out! Move it out! Move it oww… nuts… Shoulda selected frickin’ Heimdall instead… bah….!

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“You’re in my way, Piglet… I like to get everyone’s attention. That way, I don’t have to repeat myself” – Ham Tyler.

4. Ham Tyler

The original V miniseries became the must-see TV event during that giddy Summer of ’84. It began splendidly, but when bad-piece-o’-work Ham Tyler gate-crashed the scene, spraying Teflon rounds at those lizard stormtroopers with his trusty mini-Ingram machine-pistol, me and me mates just went bananaz! 

This master of covert operations, communications and bad relations aka “the Fixer,” was morally despicable, yes, but thank the stars he joined us in fighting off the Visitors. 

The One That Got Away: Mike Donovan

God love us: since when did TV news cameraman Mike Donovan become a contender for my brigade?! An exceptional heroic character, certainly, a bit of an ass perhaps – some girls at the time remarked that he had a great ass – but he was far too good to be bad…

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“Well, hello Mr. Fancypants! I’ve got news for you pal, you ain’t leadin’ but two things right now: Jack and shit… and Jack left town” – Ash.

5. Ash

Quite frankly, ‘Badass’ is Bruce Campbell’s middle name. How could he not be on this list?!

Transported to John Ford-country in circa. 1300, the Badassery of Ash – in Army of Darkness (1992) – was way too strong for an invading legion of the dead as he led a bunch of primitive screwheads to victory. Perfect material for any brigade then, not just mine – and besides, his boomstick is way bigger than mine… Groovy.

The One That Got Away: Groot

The main reason why Guardians of the Galaxy became the top grosser last year was the overabundance of badassery on display (see No.7). Love that swishing-attack-trick “he” does with his “branches.” At the time of writing, will wait to reconsider his status once he has – ahem – grown up. 

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“How you doin’, Chewbacca? Still hanging around with this loser?” – Lando Calrissian. 

6. Chewbacca

This beloved walking carpet has stood in the shadow of that smuggler for far too long. It’s about time he got the recognition he deserves. Besides, in the spirit of “Let the Wookie win” and all that, if we rejected his entry to the brigade, he’d just go bat-shit bonkers and probably rip No. 2’s arm out. 

More importantly, this crossbow-wielding pensioner from Kazhyyyk has aged surprisingly well, unlike…

The One That Got Away: 

…who looks even more like a scruffy-looking nerfherder than ever before.

Of course, by rights, Han Solo should get an automatic call-up – for ol’ times sake – as demanded especially by thousands of fans – I KNOW, OKAY? I SAW THE PETITION… but suppose we had to march into a detention area. What do you think would happen if this Corellian upstart flagrantly disobeyed MY orders in front of the brigade, eh…?   

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“Quit smiling, you’re supposed to be professional” –  Rocket Raccoon.  

7. Rocket Raccoon 

A considerable faction of the blogosphere know very well my unwavering respect and admiration for this charming, but deadly, character, as you may see here. Judge him by his size, do you?! Ain’t nothing like him, (but he’s in on condition that he does NOT put in a request for No.2’s arm).

Hey, at least he’s not asleep for the danger, awake for the money, like some grunts we could mention…

The One That Got Away: Starlord

Not convinced this Terran thief would be good for morale. Handy in a close-quarters skirmish, expert pilot of the Milano, yes, but he exhibits too much preoccupation with that accursed Walkman.

Plus: we fight as one impenetrable unit, so his measly 12% just wouldn’t cut it…  

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“I saw your dogchips glowing in the dark…” – Rogue. 

8. Rogue Trooper

During the ’80s, from the hallowed pages of 2000AD, came the adventures of Rogue Trooper, the genetically-modified, blue-skinned grunt – the most feared man on Nu-Earth – created by Gerry Finley-Day and Dave Gibbons; the zarjaz art on Cam Kennedy’s tour-of-duty was particularly impressive. 

At the very least, Rogue shoulda had his own movie by now – esteemed comics writer Grant Morrison was working on a script as recently as 2011, but that seems to have gotten lost in the notorious development-hell…  

The One That Got Away: Strontium Dog. 

Already submitted a Post featuring this much-venerated Muto bounty-hunter. See here:

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“If I still had legs, I’d kick your ass!” – Ivan Klimatovich. 

9. Hellboy

If this war becomes a living hell, we got one helluva guide to see us through…

Mike Mignola’s unique hellspawned hero: Hellboy was raised from infancy among mortals to fight the assorted minions of darkness, which he did onscreen twice: in 2004 and 2008. Yet another of those whose involvement was deemed unconditional, ‘cos you know, whatever happens, he can promise us two things: 

1), he will always look this good; and

2). he will never give up on us. EVER. 

And just look. At the size. Of that whammer…

The One That Got Away: Abe Sapien

A good swimmer, but – by no means – a badass. 

Anyway, that penchant for bad eggs will NOT be tolerated. The last thing me and the crew need is to be pinned down in a fire-fight… and be stuck with a vomiting raccoon… 

Snake

“I guess I go in one way or the other… doesn’t mean shit to me. Alright… I’ll do it. Give me the pardon paper” – Snake Plissken. 

10. Snake Plissken

Escape from New York (1981) was a bonkers movie, but at least it was one of John Carpenter’s more distinctive efforts. Again, this uncompromising dude has got his own ultra-cool shooter; he rides his own glider; he’s got an eye-patch; his name is “Snake” – what more badassery could you ask for…?  

Luckily, the film also features one of Carpenter’s favourite actors: Lee Van Cleef, who brought his own indomitable range of badassery to countless westerns… 

The One That Got Away: R J McCready. 

Sans eye-patch, but R J McCready was endowed with a more considerable crumb-catcher – in John Carpenter’s The Thing (1982) – as befits a true Arctic warrior…

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“Ooh, gurns, gurns, gurns! C’mon, Sal. The Tigers are playing… tonight. I never miss a game” – Clarence J. Boddicker. 

11. Robocop (1987)

If you have to fight and survive on the mean(est) streets of dystopian and crime-ridden Detroit, you’ll receive automatic acceptance from us, fella. We would have put you higher up the chart, but those submerged memories sound disconcerting…   

Never mind, go get ’em, boy!

The One That Got Away: Robocop (2014)

Totally did NOT want to be subjected to this lame and pointless exercise.

Remake the duds, NOT the classics, please… NEXT!

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“Welcome to the 2oth century, Jack Deth!” – Santa Claus. 

12. Jack Deth

“Jack Deth is back, and he’s never been here before” ran the classic tagline for this mental Blade Runner rip-off. Deth is the 21st century L.A. cop/bounty hunter charged with travelling back to 1984 to hunt down Whistler – the maniac-criminal who can turn people into zombiefied crazies called “Trancers.”   

1984, hell yeah… back then, you see, anyone could make this kinda shit… and make it entertaining. Of course, Deth was “played” by Tim Thomerson, who undoubtedly had printed – and no doubt patented – the T-shirt exclaiming: “Badass For Hire” for his entire career…  

The One That Got Away:

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“Argh… mediocre!” – Immortan Joe. 

For once, we will have to concur with that late, bloated pus-ball…

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And that rounds off my Mother of all Lists. Badass here! Badass there! Everywhere a-oh, okey-dokey then, you know the drill. Lock an’ load… then kick some.  

Let’s rock!!

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