Superman: The High-Flying History of America’s Most Enduring Hero by Larry Tye

In early 1938 Action Comics no. 1 was published and a new genre of entertainment was born – the comic book had arrived. Although comics, in one shape or another, had been around for over three years it took this comic to cement the industry and create the first superhero and an American icon: Superman. Written and drawn by two Cleveland youngsters, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, the comic was published by National Allied Publications (later DC Comics). Action Comics was an instant success: the first issue sold 130,000 copies and within three years Superman comics would be selling over 1.5 million copies a month.  Continue reading Superman: The High-Flying History of America’s Most Enduring Hero by Larry Tye

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Tucker and Dale vs Evil (2010)

 Tucker and Dale vs Evil poster

“He looks like he’s gonna walk it off.”

The horror-comedy Tucker and Dale vs Evil takes one of the quintessential tropes of horror cinema – a group of pretty college students chased and terrorised by blood thirsty hillbillies – and neatly turns it on its head. Tucker and Dale, charmingly played by Alan Tudyk (Firefly) and Tyler Labine (Reaper), are kind-hearted and innocent red-neck friends who travel to the Appalachian Mountains to work on Tuckers new holiday residence, a proverbial cabin in the woods. Along the way they encounter a group of college students who, thanks to the influence of countless horror films, believe the two friends to be pitiless, blood-thirsty killers. The misunderstandings mount as several of the students, through their own stupidity, accidentally kill themselves and the rest of the group blame the hapless friends who are then forced to defend themselves when the students attack. Throw in a rather dim sheriff and a neat twist on the ‘dumb blond’ character and you have a film that pays homage to the horror genre while gently poking fun at it. Continue reading Tucker and Dale vs Evil (2010)

Power Comics

Power Comics logo

The history of Marvel UK in the 1970s

Foreword: Power Comics

In 1972 Marvel Comics created a UK division to oversee the publication of reprints of its highly successful American titles. As there was no reliable distribution network in place in the UK copies of original Marvel comics were notoriously difficult to find, so the company believed that setting their own UK based subsidiary to oversee distribution was the best way to go.  Continue reading Power Comics

Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker (2000)

Batman Beyond Return of the Joker“It’s funny. I know about all your other major enemies,
but you never mentioned him. He was the worst, wasn’t he?”

After the runaway success of Tim Burton’s Batman (1989) and Batman Returns (1992) Warner Bros. made the not-too-surprising decision to commission a weekly animated version of the Dark Knight, entitled Batman: The Animated Series (TAS). Several ideas for the tone of the show were kicked around until the powers that be settled on animator Bruce Timm’s suggestion that the show should feature a more Noir feel than previous animated incarnations of the character. This series would incorporate some aspects of the Burton rendition – the darker tone for example – but would thankfully jettison the more gothic (and let’s face it, stripey, over the top, Burton-esque) excesses of the live-action version. The new shows’ style, labelled Dark Deco, would prove an instant hit with the fans and the series ran for almost 8 years and delivered over 100 episodes. Continue reading Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker (2000)

The movie poster art of Robert McGinnis

Live and Let Die (1973)

During his long and celebrated career Robert McGinnis has painted over 1000 paperback covers for authors such as Elmore Leonard, Donald Westlake and Erle Stanley Gardner, covering subjects as diverse as crime, thrillers, gothic horror and romance. Over the last few decades a healthy collectors market has sprung up and books featuring his artwork are now quite valuable (click here for more on McGinnis’ book covers). Continue reading The movie poster art of Robert McGinnis

Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1960)

Saturday Night, Sunday Morning (1960)

“What I’m out for is a good time –
all the rest is propaganda!”

A change of pace tonight. It’s the turn of Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1960), director Karel Reisz’s adaption of the semi-autobiographical novel by Alan Sillitoe. This film not only heralded the birth of a new wave of realistic and gritty British films – popularly known as “kitchin sink” dramas – it also helped launch the career of Albert Finney.

Continue reading Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1960)

Rampage

 Rampage Monthly issue 2

The history of Marvel UK in the 1970s

Rampage

In the early ’70s Marvel launched a series of black and white weekly comics that featured reprints of comics previously published in the States. Most of those reprints featured Marvels biggest selling characters – Spider-ManThe Fantastic FourThe AvengersIron ManThor, etc. – and were printed on cheap newspaper stock and sold for pennies. Many of those weekly reprint editions would feature one of the original US comics printed in its entirety with two or more support strips 6-8 pages in length. They were hugely successful and I’ve no doubt they helped create an entire generation of British comic book fans. Continue reading Rampage