49 years ago World Champions England played Scotland and this happened…

50 years ago today England won the World Cup. You may have heard it mentioned several million times over the decades.

Now, I’m not one of those bitter Scots who moans about anniversaries like this, I’ve no problem with the 50th anniversary because it’s a genuine landmark. It’s the other 49 years of constantly mentioning it all the time not to mention the seemingly endless bullshit of comparing every England side since to that side which isn’t putting an unrealistic pressure on players at all, honest….

But let people enjoy this 50th anniversary. This is about 1967, when Scotland played England at Wembley and this happened….

Scotland played England off the pitch and from here was launched the utterly ludicrous but fun, Unofficial World Cup Champions, a title currently held by Chile. If there’s one thing we Scots are good at its turning Pyrrhic victories into glorious ones, and turning failure into fabulous pisstaking success.

What I thought of Predator versus Judge Dredd versus Aliens #1

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A rather nice Glenn Fabry cover greets you as you enter Dark Horse’s and IDW’s mega-crossover of Predator, Aliens and Judge Dredd, together in one comic for the first time. Now I’ll be upfront, I’m not a fan at all of what IDW are doing with Judge Dredd as I don’t think they get the humour nor the satirical elements of Dredd. At best it seems forced and I don’t think America quite gets Dredd. Predator and Aliens are different things altogether but I thought I’d give this a try.

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Written by John Layman with art by Chris Mooneyham the story is set in The Cursed Earth and starts with a Predator being hunted by animals who have been mutated into humans or had their DNA used to created humanoid animals.

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The Dredd here is the hardnut tough guy Dredd of the Karl Urban film, and doesn’t feel like the Judge Dredd I grew up with. He’s too cliche.

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There’s also a cliched mad scientist who doesn’t understand what he’s doing and that’s where our Aliens come in.

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There’s nothing wrong with Predator versus Judge Dredd versus Aliens, it’s a perfectly functional action-adventure comic that has Aliens in it, along with lots of Predators and a character who’s sort of like Judge Dredd but there’s a spark missing here. Things are too cliche and the problem with something like this is you have to contrive a situation to make all three fight, and this is most certainly contrived.

This isn’t a bad comic though. Fans of Predator or Aliens will be happy but as an old school Judge Dredd fan I was disappointed with it because it’s just not quite right. Still, that Glenn Fabry cover is nice.

What I thought of Crossed +100 #17

Thoughts about #1#2#3#4#5#6#7#8#9,#10#11#12#13#14#15 and #16.

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Here we all are at the penultimate issue of Crossed +100. Things moved quickly last issue as it felt like Si Spurrier had to compact some storylines up so #16 felt amazingly fast paced and #17 starts with Future leaving her friends and having a daydream..

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Future has some guilt issues to work out.

So, while on her way home she’s intercepted by Bailey, who knows that Future knows the location of Salt’s followers and would quite like it so he and his men can raise it to the ground.

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Future reluctantly gives Bailey the information he needs, but in telling him the details she reveals her own talent for war and that scares her.

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Future spends her remaining time returning home trying to work out exactly what it is that she’s missed, which seeing as we’re coming up the final issue will be something enormous and terrible.

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War is coming but Future has her own drama to live out as the uninfected take on the Crossed for what may be the final battle one way or another. Next issue is the final issue then Avatar are being coy about what’s due next from them in regards Crossed. There’s still a Garth Ennis story due (which I’d presumed would be in Crossed:Badlands #100 but it isn’t) so the idea isn’t going away but it does need some quite serious quality control, Crossed +100 excepted.

Next issue is the final issue. By then we may have a better idea.

I love these quiet moments before the storm: The ongoing story of my stroke/cancer

I haven’t spoken about what’s been going on with my stroke recovery or my cancer since my radio-iodine treatment a few weeks ago because there’s not much to say, things are in a bit of a lull. Which is a nice thing because in the last five months I’ve near died twice, and have lived with the constant threat of death every single day. One of the things they don’t tell you about cancer is the sheer pressure this weighs upon you which results not just in mental stress, but it affects you physically. Imagine Frodo at the end of the Lord of the Rings films. Like that, but without the 17 different endings.

That though isn’t there. Sure, I’m not all clear yet, and although I’m out of high risk of having a stroke, and the concept that this cancer could result in a premature death still lingers on but since the treatment I’ve done wee bits here and there in regards to picking up my life again. That means looking into moving to Glasgow where a new phase of my life awaits just out of my reach for now. All I’m waiting on is whether oncology will allow me to leave Bristol at the minute and carry on my treatment/recovery in Glasgow or they’d like me to stay.

Whatever happens the situation is for now that things are quiet round here. Which is nice but I’ve no idea when things will start up again so I take advantage of this for now…

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DC Comics films cheer up, Kong: Skull Island made me wet my pants and The Walking Dead cast laugh at us because of Brexit

San Diego Comic Con hit its Big Day yesterday with the infamous Hall H throwing out big presentations one after another. This is a day where people queue for up to a day beforehand to get in sleeping in each others sweat and filth in order to be within 200 metres of their heroes. If they’re lucky of course.

First up was Warner Brothers who came out like an alcoholic who’s just went clean and who wants to tell you about it. One of the rightful criticisms of Warner’s DC Comics films is they’re too dark and miserable to the point where Batman Versus Superman ended up being a masochistic exercise in misery rather than anything fun. So first up, Wonder Woman.

It looks alright, the WW1 setting is odd because that was a much more complex war to portray on screen than WW2 because you can’t just depict a complex war based upon imperialism as easily as Goodies killing Nazis. Still is does give it a different look though at some point even the most rabid fan has to deal with the fact Gal Gadot can’t act.

Next up; Justice League.

There’s more fun in the nearly three minute trailer than the entire of the aforementioned Batman Versus Superman, plus Man of Steel combined. That doesn’t make a great film though but this has got such a low starting point in terms of expectations a light, fun superhero film would be a masterpiece.

As for Suicide Squad..

I dunno, it looks fun but it also looks as if a committee of accountants have poured over every Marvel film of the last decade and come up with a film.

The main event for a Giant Monster fan like myself is Kong: Skull Island.

Godzilla was alright but far too dull in places. The Peter Jackson King Kong remake was overlong and tedious, but this promises less of a boring time at the cinema which a giant monster film shouldn’t be.

There were other film Warner Brothers presented but J.K Rowling can fuck off.

Marvel also produced loads of stuff but unlike Warners they didn’t release them directly online and that might keep the thousands of smelly, sweaty fans in Hall H happy, but it doesn’t stop piracy. Ah well, here’s the Doctor Strange trailer with Benedict Cumberbatch’s iffy American accent.

One of the things that’s clear is that the big media companies have honed how they use San Diego to their benefit which benefits those us sat on our arses thousands of miles away, but perhaps make the experience of those actually there a bit less special. However sticking most of the big panels online more or less within 24 hours of them happening means we can get to see things like the cast of The Walking Dead (well, a couple of them) taking the piss out of the UK because of Brexit.

Even people whose job is playing someone in a post apocalyptic world where mindless zombies eat people thinks Brexit is a bad idea…

So with that in mind I’m off to watch the Aliens 30th anniversary panel without smelling like a tramps old socks.

How Oliver Stone and Pokemon Go shows up the state of comics journalism

There’s a point in the San Diego Comic Con panel where Joseph Gordon Levitt during a panel on Oliver Stone’s new film Snowden talks about how ideas these days are disseminated in the length of the average Tweet. It is a truth. It diminishes informed debate.

This brings me to this GeekFeed.com article on this panel.

Oliver Stone revealed his thoughts on Pokémon Go today while doing a panel at Comic-Con for his upcoming movie Snowden, which is based the story of the now infamous whistleblower. Let’s just say, they were not good.

“It’s not funny,” Stone said.

Oliver Stone is probably best known for such films as JFK and Wall Street, which give what could be described as a semi-biographical take on history. The director himself also is known for not shying away from controversy. Controversy with a little bit of paranoia added for flavor. Stone had to interject on Pokémon Go after Snowden actor Zachary Quinto was asked to further his thoughts on the mobile game. Quinto had previously made fun of the app on his Instagram account, and was met with laughter from the audience.

Stone said at that point it was not something to laugh about, which probably did not help alleviate the audience’s laughter. “I’m hearing about it too, it’s a new level of invasion. Once the government had been hounded by Snowden, of course the corporations went into encryption, because they had to for survival, right? But the search for profits is enormous.”

At this point we’d like to say Stone rambled off about getting those “damn punk kids off my lawn.” However, he continued by describing Pokémon Go‘s phenomena as “what some people call surveillance capitalism,” being part of “a robot society,” and finishing his thoughts with “It’s what they call totalitarianism.”

You can read the bulk of Oliver’s comments here. Why is there not YouTube video of this panel on the internet right now so we can share the director’s old man rant with you that way? Oh yeah, that’s right. Because it’s 2016 and not many people consider him or his movies relevant anymore. Which might be why he is commenting on one of the hottest trends currently and linking it to the theme of his upcoming movie.

Well, there’s YouTube video of the panel up now and it’s actually worth around 50 minutes of your time as it puts everything in context.

Taking aside Stone’s obvious discomfort through the entire panel, his comments (at around the 40 minute mark) are thoughtful, and the idea of surveillance capitalism is a new idea we’re only just starting to define let alone be able to identify.These are big, new concepts and GeekFeed think they’re the ramblings of an ‘old man’ and that Stone’s trying to use Pokemon Go to publicise his film when as you can see in the video, he’s answering a question.

Now I’m not 100% in agreement with Stone. I do think there’s things about Pokemon Go that is concerning regarding mainly data mining, and I’m aware you can turn these settings off but how many people are even aware of the fact that games like this mine your data or how to turn them off? How is surveillance capitalism going to affect us? How will it change culture and society? There’s loads of questions coming out of this, but no GeekFeed boils it down to lazy, crap cliches and in doing so proves Levitt’s point about boiling things down to Tweet levels of debates.

This is what annoys me for what passes as ”journalism” in the comics/”Geek” world. The GeekFeed article is at best, a Tweet or a half arsed blog post. There’s no journalism here, no attempts to delve into Stone’s words, no attempt to even research the ideas. Just a lazy shite line about ‘crazy old men” ageist nonsense. It isn’t even an opinion piece because it isn’t an opinion worth listening to because at best this is clickbait.

But if sites like GeekFeed don’t inspire to do better and even fail to report basic facts they do the subjects they speak about an injustice. By speaking down to their readership they do them an injustice, unless of course they’re pitching to their readers confirmation bias in that anyone who says anything critical of something they like must be attacked because a few critical comments on Pokemon Go is a direct attack on them personally. That’s showing the emotional and intellectual maturity of a small child or a Labour MP.

If comic/”Geek” journalism is to improve into something better it needs to have people not just willing to question their own ideas, but it needs to work out what’s the purpose of what they want to do? If it’s editorialising then fine, but it isn’t journalism and if you are editorialising make it at the very least informed because if your level is ‘old man on lawn’ lines then you’re a waste of space and giving an industry with a poor reputation an even worse one.

Brexit Breakdown-The land of new opportunities

Four weeks ago today the UK woke up to the fact it’d had voted to leave the EU. Many of us are still struggling with this decision and even though your hardcore Brexiter thinks everything is fine, it really, really isn’t as the UK economy plunges to the worst it’s been since 2009 and we should all remember what happened then.

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A look around the internet sees Brexiters talk of ‘great new opportunities’ which will be bigger than Jesus but that isn’t the case for those of us operating in the fact-based world. There’s a broken road panning out ahead of us and with Scotland looking likely to hold a second referendum soon, Northern Ireland discussing what might be done and Spain threatening to veto the UK’s Brexit totally if we take Gibraltar with them.

Sure, the UK (or whatever’s left of it) will achieve a Brexit of some description maybe in some point in the future, but it isn’t going to be for years and it won’t keep all the Brexiters, especially the racists, happy.

And when Brexiters start tearing themselves apart it’ll be a glorious thing.