Universal Pictures: An Exploration Of Cosmic Comics!

Because You Demanded It! Brad Goes Cosmic!

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“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).

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

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“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.

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“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.”

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

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To Remake The Remake

Posted: 31 January 2014

Do we REALLY need another version of this?
Do we REALLY need another version of this?

“Man cannot remake himself without suffering, for he is both the marble and the sculptor” – Alexis Carrel.  

The new movie is Coming Soon… but we’ve seen it before, countless times if you regard it as a classic of sci-fi action movies.

Robocop, originally released in 1987, was a fine piece of work, a futuristic action (perhaps overly ultraviolent) thriller, deftly melding sci-fi with black humour and cultural satire, elevated above tawdry run-of-the-mill video-rental status by deep drama laden with themes of identity, memories and loss.

But why, oh why, do we need a new version of it?

Those fans who were awe-struck by it enough to go out and buy the VHS, VCD, DVD (tick appropriate box) would certainly not want to have it rehashed; the negative reaction to the two inferior sequels provided ample warning to leave this vehicle alone.

Accepting the ideology that a remake should exist primarily to improve or enhance the qualities (or lack thereof) of a misfiring original, the case for a rebooted Robocop is decidedly flimsy.

Critics can get really animated about this contentious issue
Critics can get really animated about this contentious issue

“Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past” – George Orwell.

The most recent waste-of-space that was Total Recall, and a pointless retread of Evil Dead, has turned the phenomenon of the remake into an all-too-familiar blight on our already sullied “modern” culture. With a steady torrent of new movies comfortably  sourcing from Marvel or DC superhero comics, it would appear that the scope for fresh and original movies has been diminished. Of course, it has got to the point where the likes of Spider-Man are being rehashed again and again. The word: ‘tiresome’ springs to mind.

Does this mean that all the good ideas have run out?

On the contrary, frustratingly, there is an abundance of talent, but it is stymied by an industry with a certain agenda and umpteen millions of dollars at stake; in addition, where ticket sales exceed every aspect of the (so-called) creative process, the big studios simply cannot gamble with an untried concept, no matter how intriguing the premise might be. Thus, alas, there is no chance of seeing any of my fresh material produced (especially by those big studios), and the prospect of rewriting one of my favourite movies just to showcase the next level of insipid CGI is, quite frankly, not relished… in the slightest, thank you.

Ho hum, this writer ponders whether there have been any decent remakes. Hmmmm…

Thinking…

Erm, still thinkingOh for the love of…! It’s difficult to think of just one… isn’t it?

…!

One of the finest shots from arguably the best remake
One of the finest shots from arguably the best remake

“There are a lot of movies that I don’t care about, especially not remakes” – John Carpenter.

Aah, yes! Cast your mind back to 1982, and a certain sci-fi horror, which did not fare well because it repulsed most of the unsuspecting cinema-goers. The Thing was not so much a remake of the (rather tame) 1951 RKO picture: The Thing From Another World, but a tougher and more engrossing reworking, directed by cult movie-maker John Carpenter – who (guess what!) has had to endure at least three of his pictures remade recently.

With the almost unbearable isolation invoked by its remote setting and the fears which it induces – not to mention the inability to deal with something beyond the ensemble’s wildest imaginations – a truly horrific situation, there is some of the most irresistible dialogue on offer; many a time Bradscribe has sought to replicate that style of hard-hitting and memorable banter, but ended up with inferior results!

The film’s major – certainly most enduring – element is the wildly original visual effects created by Rob Bottin. Besides the gruesome spectacle, there are some memorable shots and scenes; even selecting just one pic to illustrate the film’s strengths was a challenge – there are so many to choose from. To round off, The Thing is a true classic, perhaps the greatest remake ever done, worthy of a blog all to itself…

Perhaps the (ill-advised) maker of the new Robocop should have watched The Thing to see how remakes ought to be done; if he has already… then why hasn’t he learnt anything?