Archive for May, 2008

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Freakangels

May 30, 2008

http://www.freakangels.com/

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New Hellboy Poster

May 30, 2008

This is the offical Movie poster for Hellboy 2: The Golden Horde. Looks good to me

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Long Awaited:James Barclay

May 27, 2008

Thanks for taking the time to drop by and have a chat. What first got you started as a writer. It couldn’t have been for fame and fortune as so many try and fail.
I’ve just always loved writing stories. Ever since I can remember. I wrote my first recognisable piece of prose at the age of seven and by age eleven was writing plenty of little bits and pieces in my spare time. I had an English teacher at secondary school who really encouraged me (and one who actively discouraged me like the prat he was) and I wrote a couple of novella length stories as a result. Both awful but great practice.

So I’ve always wanted to be a writer. The fame and fortune were never important so long as I could make a living. I just about do that so I have to consider myself happy.

What was your first published work?
It was a short story called ‘Goldstone’ and it was published in a Sheffield literary magazine called ‘Sheaf’ in 1985. The story was about birds cavorting around the walls and roofs of houses. I was delighted to see my work in print though I was paid not a penny for it. A special moment only bettered in writing terms by seeing Dawnthief on the shelves of Waterstone’s for the first time.

When did you realise that you had something real special with the Raven series. As a father did your literary child come easily, or did you have to drag it screaming into the world.

I always knew it was a good concept and that I’d executed it pretty well but that doesn’t guarantee a publishing deal. I knew it was special when it shot up the amazon bestseller charts shortly after it was published. It reached no18 or something in the Hot 100 at one stage which was amazing for a first time author of a fantasy novel. I was just so pleased that readers were getting out of it what I wanted them to.

But no, it didn’t come easily. Actually, The Raven began life as comedy fantasy years and years before it was actually published. I’m glad I changed tack because it would have been rubbish. I worked on the serious action fantasy version for five years before I got a publishing deal. Rewrite on rewrite, deletion, addition… but I knew I’d get there in the end. As the rejections came in, it occasionally became a tough thing to do but somewhere inside, I knew it would be worth it in the end. I’m glad I listened and kept on going.

I have to admit that I got upset several times in the books, and i judge that the mark of a good storyteller when you are totally immersed within their world and living with the characters, Does it get emotional for you when such and such happens to a character?

Yes, it certainly does. I’ve cried while writing the deaths of some characters and feel physically very low after writing such scenes. I guess when that happens, it means I’ve got them right. I’ve never taken a decision to injure, kill or write-out a character without a huge amount of thought as to the consequences further down the line. I can’t let it become a gratuitous thing to do or the emotional force is lost.

I’m glad you’ve been upset too – for me that’s a huge compliment because it tells me I’ve put across that emotional force correctly and that you loved my characters enough to feel sad when tragedy strikes.


Which of the Raven members are your favourites? Mine are Sol and Denser. Two complete opposites, but I also like the character journey that Denser undergoes to become a better man.

Hirad is my favourite. No surprise as he was my character way back in my role playing days. I love him for his passion, his belief and his unquenchable drive and desire for The Raven to succeed. And Ilkar too, because he’s sharp-witted and his banter with Hirad is something I loved to write. I love what he does for The Raven. He’s their techie, if you like, but impatient with it.

Your second series was a slight departure and while as you know I was critical of the first book, the second book allowed me to gel with the characters, any plans to revisit any of the characters again?
I have no current plans to return to Estorea though there are plenty of stories to tell there. I never say never but I can’t see anything happening for a good long while, if at all.

I understand from our communication that you have a new raven book coming out, what can you tell us about it?
It’s called Ravensoul and it comes out in November this year. It is set a decade after the end of the wars depicted in Demonstorm. It deals with an enemy that has cast the dead from rest and threatens the entire world. An enemy that barely even recognises the Balaians as sentient, let alone a threat. It is a chance for The Raven to ride one more time (metaphorically speaking) and is a story of how belief can turn the tide and how the pursuit of power can poison the minds of men.

Several great books have been picked up to turn into comics, how would you feel if the raven was picked up bringing it to a whole new series of fans.
I’d love it. I think the Raven would translate very well into graphic novel or comic format. And onto the small or big screen come to that.

How are you managing being a new(ish) father and successful author.
Well, it’s a tough balance to strike at times. I look after Oscar two days a week and that leaves just three for writing. It means I have to work a few evenings but that’s OK. What I find difficult at the moment is doing too much beyond my current project. That’s very frustrating as I have a million and one ideas sloshing about and precious little time to flesh them out to see if they have legs. But I can’t complain. I have a wonderful son and I get paid to do the thing I love best. Anytime I feel low, I remind myself of that…I’m a lucky man when all is said and done.

What do you have planned for the future?
Well, I’ve just agreed a trilogy of books based around the elves of Calaius. Can’t say too much at present but suffice to say that they will cover a couple of thousand years of history before The Raven began but will still have familiar names for fans to read about. The idea is that raven fans will love them for their history and new readers will love them just because they’re great books about cool elves J.

Any plans for a signing tour of Wales as so many of the big names tend to ignore us guys when the tours are announced. I know it’s down to agents but Welsh fans do deserve to meet their hero’s and people who take so much of their lives with their books.

I’ve no plans for a tour of anywhere at the moment. Whether there’ll be one around the launch of Ravensoul, I don’t know yet. Best to check my website for details nearer the time. But I do make as many appearances at conventions as I can. I’m at Fantasycon in Nottingham this September and also at Gamesfest in Tring this October. Neither is Wales, I admit but I’m happy to travel anywhere where I’ll get a warm welcome, can meet fans and have a good pint of ale!

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Rangers Cup Double

May 24, 2008

Finally as a Rangers Fan something to smile about…Just.

Brave Queen of the South fought bravelly but the Gers looking Jaded carried through.

The SPL really needs to do more to protect teams, that fixture congestion is so reminiscent of when it happened to Celtic and it wasn’t funny then

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Celtic win SPL

May 22, 2008

I do this through gritted teeth but Celtic have won the SPL, Congratulations

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Lone Survivor- Marcus Luttrell

May 22, 2008

Ok first and foremost, I love my true stories, but I always shudder when I hear the jingoism greatest special forces in the world. Every Country thinks we have the greatest special forces. America it’s the Seals, Great Britain it’s the SAS, France the Foreign Legion, Russia the Spetsnaz. I respect all these guys as it takes a special person to be a soldier, to be that object of hatred and ridicule that liberal society seems to want us to believe our military men are. And when you consider that the special forces are perhaps the top 1/2 a percent of a nations best soldiers, then you’ll understand why every country claims they are the best.

Marcus takes us through a series of seemless flashbacks from afghanistan to his early life and training, right to the point and title of the book. I don’t know if they are the worlds toughest special forces, but the three men who died from marcus’s group certainly win my award for toughest SOB’s and if they are a general yardstick for the US Seal Teams then I hope if ever I am in trouble it’s these guys come to save me.

All in all a moving, sometimes disturbing but also a tribute to the human spirit

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Brian K Vaughan to write for Runaways the Movie

May 22, 2008

Runaways from Marvel may soon be heading to a silver screen near you. Hugely succesful writer Brian K Vaughan has been tipped to write. more as and when this develops

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Exclusive

May 21, 2008

Following on from a email conversation Dan Didio has promised that he will be at Bristol comic Expo next year as part of DC’s Panel

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Christian Bale to appear in three terminator movies

May 21, 2008

Victor Kubicek of Halcyon Films announced through the BBC that Christian Bale will appear in the three films starring as John Connor

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Fan Films

May 18, 2008

Now first up we have a fan film of the incredible ironman- all i can say is looks wise he gives Robert Downey Junior a run for his money

http://www.bamkapow.com/incredible-iron-man-fan-film–1118-p.html

and Marvel Zombies

http://www.bamkapow.com/marvel-zombies-ate-my-neighbors–1113-p.html

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Bristol International Comic Expo 2008

May 11, 2008

Interviews will follow later.

First I owe an apology to the ever excellent Barry Kitson. Barry I know I said I’d interview you but the mix of a broken coxix, aching feet and jetlag meant I was dying. I am so sorry especially after all the hard work you put into my sketch.

Well Bristol just keeps getting better and better, Touched down from my vacation in China thursday night, had 6 hours sleep and then back on the road for the convention. Courtesy of Cardiff Science Fiction and Fantasy Store(thanks Dave) got to go to the retailer day, where some excellent panels were held. Diamond Introduced themselves, then we moved through the different panels. Some great information from Bob Wayne and Eddie Berganza about future releases and the floor seemed to like the idea that depending on feedback a re-release of the excellent hitman series in trade format may be coming soon. Wildstorm was as ever excellent with some news that really excited me, Deathblow is joining one of the new teams. Vertigo also have a number of new and exciting products coming out and key one that seems really hype is Air. (thanks for getting us excited with this Karen Berger) We then had a quick slot with Dave Gibbons about the new book coming out later this year, Watching the Watchmen filled with never seen imagery a absolute must from titan books for anyone who is a Watchman fan.

We then gathered and had a few drinks and I got to meet YANICK PAQUETTE,The Butcher and Yannick Parquette who even after we destroyed him throughout the rest of the night is a thouroughly nice bloke and his artwork is second to none, so crisp and clear. For those not mentioned during the rest of friday, I am sorry a mix of both alcohol and jetlag is to blame, yep thats my excuse and I’m sticking to it. Nice to see many old friends and made a few new ones.

On the Saturday thanks to the people who organise this sleeping giant I got my press pass. It really is something to see the greats and people you admire gathering before the public get in there (and no thanks were needed for those that I got food and drink for over the weekend). Got to purchase some more work off Barry Kitson-sketching

Barry Kitson and had another great sketch, Had further sketches off Joe Jusko, John Burns and did a short interview with the ever excellent Bryan Talbot. Saturday also saw two shut outs as we were completely full. Wow that was a surprise and for those people stuck outside I feel for you as it was absolutely boiling.

Sunday came around so quick and picked up further work from Rodney Ramos and thanks for a great Black Adam, John Macrea. Also did a Interview with Harry Markos, Harry is one of the Industry’s nice guys and he likes keeping the Indie scene vibrant and exciting.Spoke at length with Tommy Castillo and I will get you and Rod beer next year.

Below are original pieces that I picked up last year through to this yearoriginal artwork from Empireoriginal artwork from supergirl and legion of superheroesoriginal artwork from supergirl and legion of superheroesoriginal artwork from empire purchased 2008original artwork from jla year one purchased 2008original artwork from countdown purchased from rodney ramos 2008original artwork purchased from john macrea jla-hitman

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Iron Man! Guest Review by MWM!

May 7, 2008

Iron Man

Okay! So the Butcher’s away and he’s asked me to put a review of Iron Man up, so here it is, a review from the Monkeys with Machineguns, Stu.Art and Chris Lynch.


Now I didn’t actually see this movie with Chris (sorry to destroy the illusion that me and Chris are some sort of ‘Bert & Ernie’ style duo!) so I haven’t really had a chance to talk with him about what he thought. So I’ve asked him to type his review and I’ll do mine and the two can run in tandem.


Firstly, let’s talk casting. Robert Downey Jnr. Is perfect. Perfect as Stark and perfect as Iron man, the two don’t always go hand in hand. Michael Keaton was a brilliantly dark and disturbed Bruce Wayne, but his Batman sucked! But Downey Jnr. Manages to bring an intelligence, charm, wit and genuine sincerity to his portrayal of Stark and lets not overlook his actual appearance, he looks like Tony Stark should.

The supporting cast too do a great job, the normally amiable Jeff Bridges pulls off quite a villainous turn and Gwynedd Paltrow successfully manages not to annoy me too much every time she’s on screen (something she normally does!).

Moving on next to the SFX. They’re brilliant! We’re spoilt these days in movies because unless something is mind blowingly brilliant, we as an audience are so used to CGI and SFX, we almost let it wash over us and don’t even notice it. The SFX in Iron Man are fantastic. The suit, the action, the environments all excellent without distracting you from the action or the movie.

The story of the movie is of course an origin story. This is fine as it’s what we expect and the story surrounding this origin holds up in this new movie adaptation. It’s what they’re going to do after this movie story-wise that is perhaps more interesting. There are rumours that Downey Jnr. Is tied into a trilogy, but further rumours also say that it may not be a direct sequel, but in fact Iron Man Vs. The Incredible Hulk and finally an Avengers Movie! I know, I know; imagine that!

I really enjoyed Iron Man, the only thing it suffered from a little was too much of the good stuff had been used in the trailers, something a lot of films are guilty of recently I would say. Overall though? 5 trotters up!

I offer 2 pieces of advice to you oh readers of the Crafty One. Firstly, run! Don’t walk to your nearest multiplex to see Iron Man! Secondly, don’t leave until the credits have finished.


Stu.Art

Master Butcher & Purveyor of all things…Meaty?

OK, so by now you’ve read Stu’s half of the review and he’s told you how great Iron Man is. The good thing is, he’s a man of taste (look at who his writing partner is!) and he isn’t giving you a bum steer. Iron Man was quite possibly the first American comic I ever read, and I have still have my copy of that issue, and as a bit of an uber-nerd myself, I like the idea that science can be cool.

So, it has everything you expect. But, for the congniscenti, here are what I consider to be the hidden gems.

1: Jeff Bridges potrail of Obidia Stane.
Pitch perfect and oh-so-reminiscent, at least to me, of some of the antics of everyone’s favourite CEO … Steve Ballmer. You might think your boss is crazy, but he’s got nothing on this guy …

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=wvsboPUjrGc
http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=kvbWLfr-Z4s
http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=8To-6VIJZRE

Who can’t imagine that guy turning up in a thirty ton battle suit to tell your report was late.

Seriously, Bridges is great and deserves recognition for capturing on screen how truly scary corporate America is.

2: Robert Downey Junior is so good an actor he can act with a fire extinguisher.

If you thought the lamp in the Pixar demo movie had charm, or Bob Hoskins did a good job acting to thin air in Roger Rabbit, you have to see Downey have a conversation with a fire extinguisher. He gives it … life. Amazing stuff, and an almost throwaway scene as well.

3: The suit doesn’t work first time.

For anyone who has worked in developer hell. We’ve all had our own “boots at 10% power moment”. This should touch the heart of every engineer and scientist out there. How we pain for our works my brothers!

This list could run on and on, and its a testament to the painstaking attention to detail that oozes out of this movie. So, go and see it, compile your own top three, and send it on to a friend. Everyone deserves to see this movie.