What I thought of Marvel Team-Up

Comixology had a ridiculous sale recently where Marvel trades and masterworks were a fantastic 69p per book so I filled my boots and got all the Marvel Team-Up masterworks. For the uninitiated, Marvel Team-Up was an extra Spider-Man book which featured a ‘special guest star’ each issue, so the issue would normally start with Spidey swinging around New York bumping into a fellow hero and then both team up to fight a baddie.

Essentially most of Marvel Team -Up was fight scenes.

Early issues featured the Human Torch as the guest, but the series moved away from the idea of a fixed guest hero from issue 4 when the X Men appeared as guests at a time when their own book was in effectual limbo reprinting older adventures, however MTU acted within a parallel continuity linked to the the other Spider-Man book.

Those early issues featured some nice art from Ross Andru, but for me it’s the Gil Kane issues that stand out. His Spidey is sadly underrated and MTU allowed his to have fun with the then growing Marvel Universe.

These are superhero comics from a simpler time when the worst thing that would happen to Peter Parker was forgetting a date with Gwen Stacy, or he was on a crap job for The Daily Bugle.

The most stress yoj’d get as a reader is hoping the next issue would feature someone good, or even better, one of your favourites. Marvel Team-Up has returned several times over the years but nothing cries nostalgia as much as that first run of 150 issues. If you are a fan of 70’s superheroics then get yourself these books because they’re an utter joy.


Watching meteors hit the Earth is strangely relaxing

The website LiveMeteors.com is one of those things that is curiously addictive, especially if you’re still off work poorly as I am and don’t have the concentration to do anything more stressful but make a cup of tea. Essentially the site monitors objects entering the Earth’s atmosphere, be it meteor, space debris or anything else so when watching the live feed, you’ll get a near constant stream of small pings as objects enter the atmosphere with the occasional larger tone as something bigger than a teaspoon hits the Earth.

Of course such a site is open season for UFO hunters and even though on the front page of the site gives a scientific reason for the ridiculously long and heavy results you sometimes get, that isn’t stopping people from believing the truth is out there.

But this is fun to watch what is essentially something burning to a cinder. It’s somewhat relaxing…

The joys of a sick day film

Ever since Friday my back has been getting worse. On Saturday I had to send some things off at the post office and it was utter agony walking, so to help I’ve taken loads of painkillers which has left me a touch of a wreck and I’ve not slept properly since Thursday. Basically unfit for travel. This is the problem with having a number of chronic conditions in that sometimes your body can’t cope with everything it’s trying to deal with and it just throws its hands in the air while you let it recover and at least become functional.

So since crawling out of bed around midday, I’ve settled on my sick day film for today. That is Terminator 2 because it doesn’t let me think too much and passes the time while letting me ignore the spasms in my spine.

As an aside it also has one of the best teaser trailers ever made.

So, what is your favourite sick day film?

What has Doctor Who in common with conspiracy theories, Russia and hats?

Ever since 2001 and 911, the conspiracy theory has entered political debate so with Russia strongly suspected of poisoning the Skripal’s in Sailisbury, tinfoil hats are being passed out left, right and centre.

On the subject of hats, we have #hatgate in which some of the more rabid supporters of Jeremy Corbyn are saying the BBC are making Corbyn seem ‘more Russian‘ by digitally altering the Lenin cap he wears which is so called thanks to Lenin adopting it as I assume he hung around with a load of Greek fishermen. Meanwhile, various Tory figures are avoiding discussing the rather large sums of money many of them have been given by various Russian oligarchs. Then there’s the frantic cry and rush to war from much of the UK media who seem to forget that a war between the UK and Russia wouldn’t even last as long as the career of an X Factor winner. We also have people on the left leaping instinctively to defend Russia even though Russia is now a hyper-capitalist tyranny, while some on the right leap to the defence of some on the left. All the time Putin and the Russians are simply taking the piss and watch this further destabilise the UK, while Putin gets to send a message to his dissidents that you can’t ever escape.

So it would be hilarious if it weren’t so serious but then wading into this quagmire of insanity comes former Doctor Who actor John Levene who played Sergeant Benton of UNIT during mainly the Jon Pertwee era who is on the case in Salisbury in this, well, quite unique video that touches international crime and feeding the ducks.

In this era of fake news and hats, who best to get to the root of the problem but a retired actor? It sort of sums up how we appear to be living in a world where nothing at all makes any sense and we’re so desperate for simple answers that we’ll throw our hat on anything that fits our own personal bias’s.

From the New Gods to the Avengers

If you’re a superhero comics fan of any description then today is an amazing day because the New Gods; Jack Kirby’s masterpiece of fantastic imagination, is being made into a film by Ava DuVernay. A lot of people, including people who read comics and are part of the ‘Geek’ boom don’t realise that the New Gods are the well in which much of what is here now comes from. No New Gods and Star Wars is very, very different. No Darkseid and comic book villainy is very different. There’d be no Thanos for a start.

A New Gods film done right could be astonishing as Jack KIrby’s imagination has barely been represented to its full potential on the big screen, however with the Avengers: Infinity War trailer you can see little bits of Kirby there, not to mention Jim Starlin who created Thanos.

If I was 14, I think I’d be unable to walk after watching that trailer as it really is more or less everything I’d want to see in a superhero film.  I mean, Capitan America taking on a cosmic baddie like Thanos is a Jim Starlin classic moment.

Which will be something we’ll see on the cinema screen.

So, strap on a new pair of underpants and get set for a 14 year old fanboy inhabiting a middle aged man’s dream…

The ”neo-Nazi” who organises comic conventions

The Scottish politics website A Thousand Flowers revealed information in regards Andy Kleek, the organiser of ”Comic Con Scotland’‘ to be held this November in Edinburgh. Essentially, Kleek is a supporter of the EDL, Stephen Yaxley-Lennon AKA  ‘Tommy Robinson’ (who is such a wussie he blocked me on Twitter for this) and all they stand for.

To quote the site;

In August 2017, the anti-racist campaign group Hope Not Hate exposed Kleek as having attended a rally organised by Robinson last June to stir up division in the wake of the Manchester attacks. The event saw hundreds of far-right thugs descend on Manchester city centre, clashing with police and forcing a Sikh group running their regular stall providing food to homeless people to flee in the face of racist abuse.

The full story, along with screenshots is here and I advise you to go there and read it if you plan to attend, or exhibit at the show in November, or if you plan to attend the Harry Potter themed event he’s organising in Edinburgh. I should also make it clear that this event is not the Edinburgh Comic Con held in April. I’ve got nothing but praise and support for that show, and I’m disappointed that people have vandalised posters advertising one of the better shows of this type in the UK.

There are several issues here. First one up is whether you as a consumer want to give money to an event that may fund the activities of an alleged neo-Nazi. I tend to trust what the guys at Hope Not Hate do, and if they’ve provide proof then the word of Nick Lowles and his team (and in the spirit of full disclosure I should say I’ve fed them information in regards a case in the past) then that’s enough for me. Your money, your choice. I’ll keep mine in my bank account.

It is your moral decision what to do here.

Next issue is this, again quoted from A Thousand Flowers;

Comic cons have emerged as a cash cow for events organisers over the last few years with huge public interest in sci-fi, fantasy and comic books, fuelled by recent on-screen hits. Unlicensed Harry Potter themed merchandise and events have also – as anyone who has visited Edinburgh’s Old Town over the last year can testify – become a magnet for those looking to cash in.

Over the year in the UK there’s literally hundreds of comic conventions. I can remember when there was only one big one, and a handful of smaller marts. At one point 20 years ago it looked for a while that the unbroken run of large comic conventions that started in the UK in Birmingham in 1968 was to end. Then Iron Man came out in 2008, and the rest as they say is history.

We’re in a bubble right now. I don’t think it’ll ever return to the days where a handful of us sat in a hotel bar in Manchester considering how to keep the British convention going, but at some point things will go ‘pop’ and a lot of the dodgy show organisers will head off back to whence they came as will some of those selling stuff to cash in on the ‘geek’ boom. Again, it is your choice to do with your money as you will but if I was Kleek I’d perhaps make my logo less reminiscent of this one.

So to sum up. It seems the organiser of a comic con in Edinburgh has a less than pleasant set of political beliefs, which I disagree with but it is his right to hold. However I can choose not to support his events, and I can also make it so folk who read this blog make the same choice.

Again, you are the consumer. Choose wisely.

Every day is napping day

In America, today is napping day. Thanks to a mixture of everything, I’m a bit of a napper.

This isn’t because I enjoy a daytime kip. I actually don’t, but it’s because the after effects of my stroke, mixed in with all the various head goblins fighting for control in my head, means that I simply just shut down for short periods of time. I’ve also been warned that I may have narcolepsy which would make a nice full house of conditions.

So on America’s national nap day I fall in line with solidarity with my American cousins, except I’d rather not be. I’d rather my brain worked normally and didn’t close down when I didn’t want it to.