Whither comes Gore Watch?
MOON KNIGHT #9
Y'know, I almost gave Moon Knight an off this week. After all, it's not like the title is trying to appeal to the younger audience.
But then I thought: If you want to have people ripping other people's teeth out, make it a Max title why don't ya?
This week in Robin: Tim uncovers an insidious plot by Gotham cannibals to preserve junkies.
Now strap in kids, it's WORLD WAR 3! Remember how a few weeks ago Black Adam went crazy, FWATting his way across the world as revenge for the havoc wrecked upon his people and his family? (Wait: revenge at a strike against his homeland? A revenge which costs the lives of many innocents along the path to his intended targets? Hmmm...)
Anyway, after a brief stay at Oolong Island, he's back on the warpath! A four-issue-in-one-week exercise in exploiting the power of compulsion over taste! Weirdly, 2 & 4 are pretty much clean. But #1 kicks us off in fine style...
WORLD WAR THREE #1
I'll ease you in with a little Nightwing (or IS he?) action:
Some people would say it was okay for kids to see this, as there is no blood.I say HE BROKE HIS LEG! Yeesh, have you ever had someone break YOUR leg?
Anyway, less talk, more SKLATCH!
Skunch me, that looks painful.
AHAHAHA! Nice one Black Adam! At least he kept his sense of humour.
WORLD WAR 3 #3
Watch out Young Frankenstein, here he comes!
Ouch! (Though interesting to note that the sound of someone getting their arms ripped off is almost identical to someone having their face ripped off. Who knew?)
Yeah, for "enigma", read "someone nobody really gives a damn about". Poor fella. Looks like he's snoring.
By the by, I was quietly sitting here in Gore Watch central, browsing the internet whilst contemplating my Tipitaka, when I came across this!
Not only has he had the same idea as me, but he's managed to fit in unsuitable sexual references to boot! Personally that kind of thing was formative in my youthful development, but I see where he's coming from...
Anyway! More power to him! Together we will smash the insidious corruptions of Big Comics!
Onward, my moral army!
Saturday, April 21, 2007
Whither comes Gore Watch?
So I was checking out my (rather paltry) site stats on Google Analytics.
It makes for interesting reading, in a self-involved, anally retentive sort of fashion. I think what interests me the most is where the traffic comes from, and how geographic attendance ebbs and flows based on content. Unsurprisingly, for example, when I start rattling on about comics, my US readership jumps while my "exotic" readership (Hello, Tehran!) falls.
When I start talking movies, however, I see a global burst, particularly from Japan. My NZ and London levels are pretty constant (thank you my beloved friends!), and there is someone in Quzhou, China (one of the most important chemical industrial bases in China!) who keeps tuning in.
I don't know who you are, my Chinese friend, but I appreciate the support. Sorry I couldn't find a nicer photo!
Anyway, I'm sure there are better ways to spend my Saturday morning. Such as dishes, and general clean-up stuff. Toodle-pip!
Friday, April 20, 2007
I went to the London Book Fair on Tuesday. If you don't know, it's one of the big European book trade fairs. I was there for work, looking to scope out anything that we might find interesting in the way of products, services, fittings and so on. The photos (snapped on my mobile) don't really show it, but this thing was HUGE! Overwhelming to start, a bit more manageable once I had mapped out who I wanted to visit, and exhausting by the end. Quite an experience! But not one I'll be in any hurry to repeat.
The thing that strikes me looking at these pictures now is that they really don't make the place look terribly crowded, but man did it feel like an ant nest.
And lastly, my haul of catalogues. I only took a shop carrier bag with me, thinking I wouldn't need to carry much. The damn thing was just about in shreds by the time I left.
Okay, it may not look like a lot, but there are layers there! Layers!
Sad to say, this classic (and much under-appreciated) 2000AD artist passed away recently. He helped set the artistic tone of the magazine during it's golden period, particularly with his work on Slaine and Ace Trucking Co (a favourite of mine when I was a kid), not to mention things like Meltdown Man, The Dead and Flesh.
Flesh is something I only saw later in reprints. The idea is people travel back in time to hunt dinosaurs as big game. Of course things go a little...wrong.
Meltdown Man is another I only discovered after I got some old issues from the second-hand shop down by the Paraparaumu beach shops (the one that had the arcade in the garage out back - Past Possessions I think). It was a bit of a crazy post-apocalyptic mishmash of science fiction and fantasy. Not one of classic 2000AD stories, but silly fun.
And of course Slaine. Hey, I was a fantasy & horror-obsessed 11 year-old. How could I NOT love this?
Sunday, April 15, 2007
And what, pray tell, is Gore Watch?
Welcome back, my friends of moral standing. I'm afraid to see the industry backsliding a little this week. Indeed, two of our offenders have been adapted over to the medium of film, attracting a significant young audience eager for life lessons and harmless entertainment. And that's why they're getting featured, even though they may be classed as "T+" or "Parental Advisory" under Marvel's wonderfully obscure age rating system. Take for example:
GHOST RIDER #10
Ol' GR whips out the Zombie Cheat this week. After all, performing acts of grotesque violence on an animated dead person doesn't really count, does it?
Well, colour me jaded, but one shotgunned head looks much like another to me. Ahh...takes me back. Anyway, to add dead-insult to dead-injury, our local sheriff decides to have a little fun. Hey, why kill 'em outright when you can get the wacky bastards crawlin'?
"T+" everybody! Burst heads and dismembered feet, but no "shit" allowed.
WOLVERINE ORIGINS #13
Sooo, I haven't really been reading this lately, but apparently in an incredibly shit twist of fate, Wolverine has a son! A son named...
Who makes the previous gore-applicant X-23 seem like a thoroughly good idea . Daken appears to have a chip on his shoulder, and like all disgruntled youths of 10 years ago he starts listening to nu-metal, gets an hilarious haircut, goes for some tribal tattoos, and slits his old man's throat.
Half the issue is Daken facing off against daddy, effectively torturing him: a claw through the leg, a claw through the arm, and so on. It's like an explosion in a ketchup factory. Okay, "Parental Advisory", sure. Tell that to Mary Joe Collins who just picked up a copy for her son. She won't be so happy when her husband's lifeblood is gushing on the floor in a few years, will she? WILL SHE?? Okay, that might not happen, and good parenting might, just might avert that terrible day. But then again, it might not. And Wolverine Origins #13 would be to blame.
GREEN LANTERN CORPS #11
Green Lantern stories, when not written by Geoff Johns, are generally pretty innocuous. Either the violence happens on a huge, explosive scale, or it takes the form of a giant green hand punching somone's lights out. A bit of the ol' "blood from the mouth" is what you tend to get. So I was a bit surprised to be flicking through and come across...
Bad enough that a Green Lantern is getting pin-cushioned by little munchkin men, but what've they done to his eyes? Jesus, that would give me nightmares for weeks!
TEEN TITANS #45
Ahh, Geoff Johns. You just can't help yourself, can you? Just when, lately, you seemed to be toning down a little, along comes the Teen Titans, and a little thing I like to call "Raven Has Just Made Me Re-live Having My Arm Ripped Off In Technicolour Glory". It goes something like this:
EEEYAAAAA indeed! I guess Johns couldn't resist the bait laid down by Brad Meltzer in JLA #6, but held off enough to use the It's All In Your Head Cheat. That doesn't really count, does it?
Well, paint me in tones of jaundice, but one arm violently torn from the shoulder looks much like another to me. Oh yes, yes it does.
IRON MAN #16
Okay, I'm on safe ground here! This issue of Iron Man was labelled "A", for all ages. So, a few pages in, what should I see?
I've got news for you Jack: the exposed brains of a corpse are still exposed brains. But, okay. Okay, I can get with it. It's like a medical thing. Not really out of line of something they might see in the science lab. Okay...
WHOA! That guy just totally blew someone away from point blank range in the back of the head! But wait. Okay, so it's all silhouette, nothing really explicit. It might be a bit strong for a 6 year-old, but at least his brains aren't showing, right?
Hang on, what's this? Two Arab terrorists break into a place holding Chinese criminal mastermind the Mandarin prisoner? But things don't go as smoothly as they like? And the Mandarin uses one of the chains holding him as a lethal weapon?
Note to self: KRRENCH-POP! is the greatest beheading sound effect I have ever seen. Though I'm not sure why his skin was bursting off as well, but I guess that could qualify as artistic license. And in case it's not clear what happened to him:
All Ages, people!
But I gotta hand it to whoever had the idea for the sound effects. I also have to hand it to Iron Man's editorial balance. All Ages label aside, they've taken a mature, adult approach. After all, none of these other comics this week actually tackle the wonderful beauty of naked human sexuality.
I was talking about the nipple slip, but actually that panel is all kinds of wrong...
Hey-a! I's-a gonna go now, okay? Capiche? Ciao ciao!
Okay, okay, so I knew what was coming. I knew that here was another film I had developed unreasonably high expectations of that I was sure to be disappointed in. So in that respect, I guess, Danny Boyle's Sunshine certainly didn't disappoint. Ooh...how paradoxical.
Don't get me wrong here: I did actually enjoy Sunshine for a good deal of it's running time. The performances were generally fine, the story was interesting, the effects were flawless, and the cinematography is nice and crisp. I'm a sucker for science fiction which emphasizes the loneliness and isolation of space and the insignificance and vulnerability of humanity, and Sunshine does those things very well.
In case you don't know, Sunshine is set in a future never explicitly time-lined, but probably not too far off, where the ship Icarus 2 is headed for our dying sun carrying an immense nuclear payload designed to reignite it. The first Icarus disappeared in an attempt to carry out the same mission seven years previous (EVENT HORIZON! EVENT HORIZON!). As they slingshot past Mercury, the crew of Icarus 2 receive a distress signal from what seems to be the Icarus 1...
(and by the way, if you want to go into this film as a total virgin to it, then you may want to stop reading now)
Which is a nice enough set up. The dilemma faced by the crew as they try and decide what to do (head for Icarus 1 and potentially threaten the mission? Or carry on and miss out on perhaps rescuing any surviving crew as well as the possibility of picking up a second payload?) is played out well, creating tensions and rifts among the shipmates. And the various space-faring perils they encounter all create a healthy level of tension. The fact of the matter is, I was enjoying the hell out of this film. And then the last half hour happened.
Y'see, without spoiling too much, the film weirdly morphs from fairly gripping science fiction film to not all that exciting slasher flick. It's not too bad, and I imagine on seeing this again I'll be a lot more forgiving of it as I know what's coming, but it was quite the letdown at the time. Not just for how this final part of the film plays out, but also for the fact that the film seems to touch on a number of ideas that it never explores more fully.
In short (as I have to go outside now and get in some actual sunshine - the weather here has gone golden!), I did enjoy it, but there is plenty of disappointment in wait around that 3/4 bend.
Sunday, April 08, 2007
Saturday, April 07, 2007
So what am I up to?
I swear, my campaign continues to gain steam. Every week, the blood-splashed pages of your favourite superhero titles get fewer and further between. More and more we see the likes of Batman rescuing cats from trees, while Spider-Man and Superman shake hands and deliver lectures on fire safety to the Boy Scouts of America. It's a good time to be alive, and I'm proud to have delivered it to you.
Now I can read my adult material, secure in the knowledge that children no longer have the luxury of being exposed to material that I had to wait to adulthood for! Oh, and are growing up to be of good moral fibre of course.
Anyway, this week's slim pickings...
Previous bastion of blood 52 nears it's end with, once again, a surprisingly violence-lite issue. All I can come up with is this:
Which, when compared against some of the shit that's gone on in this title before, seems positively restrained. Of course, I'm not sure what could be read into the fact that Batgirl and the new female Question, who were previously (and will be again by the look) LESBIAN LOVERS, have STABBED IN THE BACK the leader of a MAJOR ORGANISED RELIGION. Or maybe people can read anything from anything.
Nightwing beats a lot of people with sticks, knees and fists. Hence Nightwing is often full of that most innocuous of bloody panels, the "Blood Flying From The Mouth" shot. It's a nice way to get a visceral effect, kinda disregarding just what that might imply. Oh, and this issue he also bloodlessly knocks someone's tooth out. But the king hit this issue has to be KNEE TO KNIFE!
Nice one Dick! Not sure where he's going with that internal monologue though.
AVENGERS: THE INITIATIVE #1
I can actually recommend this as a pretty good read. Dan Slott, generally plying his trade on lighter titles, does a slightly darker teen team book here, and it works so far. And even the gore below (well, one of them) actually serves an important purpose. But first...the old "healer" cheat:
That, y'see, is Komodo: a woman who stole Curt Conners' Lizard formula. So she can (and next panel does) grow that arm back. However, as explained before, a severed arm is a severed arm. She wouldn't be saying "OWWW" if it wasn't.
(Personally, I'd have a little more to say than that if some fucker blew my arm off in a training exercise...)
And then, in the same disastrous exercise, Michael - who throughout the issue is set up to be the all-around good guy, and friend to the slightly shy and awkward Abby - gets some of this:
(That's the shy and awkward Abby, by the by).
Now, all gore aside, this death actually serves a purpose. One of my big problems with the gore and grue on show these days is that it really is for no reason other than a money shot. Pure violence porn. But, beyond actually being a genuine surprise to the reader when it happens, this death has impact: it gives our remaining protagonists a shock to their jaded teen know-it-all core, will doubtless have major implications for Abby, and also brings to light, through their callous treatment of the ZLACK attack, that this new Initiative organisation is not all sweetness and righteousness. And that, my friends, is good writing. A good first issue, and well worth your money.
ALL NEW ATOM #10
Another good comic, and a desperate attempt by me to find something worth mentioning this week!
Okay, okay, so they're zombies. Does violence against zombies really count? It's a bit more ambiguous than violence against healers. They're already dead! But then, in my defence, LOOK AT ALL THE BLOOD!
I must admit though...if I were going to pick a comic up for my kid, this cover would probably tell me all I needed to know.
That's gotta suck.