Well, here we are again, & I don’t know if this is San Futuro Volume three or four, as Jim won’t let on if the TC6 Manga piece was really a volume of SFC or not.. For this venture into the world of comics. the Ed (capital “E’ insisted upon !!) desires a theme. Apart from the obvious reply of “well, don’t comics count as a theme” the most obvious options were… Sex; Horror, Kinski and Films. Sex comics aren’t really a great forte of mine – the nearest I get are Faust (Sex’n’Violence), Heavy Metal (Arty European Sex); and Omaha The Cat Dancer (Cute animal sex – Jim won’t let me write about it as he considers it a slur on Bambi’s good name).
Well, if not sex, waddabout horror ??? It’s close to all the team’s hearts (not as close as sex, but still pretty close!!), we’ve got a good few examples of various types… the gory ones such as Faust, Blade, Chaingang etc; the psychological ones – Hellblazer, Sandman, Cry For Dawn (okay, so that one also has a load of gore – so what ??); and various others – Vampire Lestat is obvious horror, but are things like Give Me Liberty horror ?? I reckon so, meaning that I either look at all the things I consider horror or wimp out & only do the blatantly genre comics.
This entails a decision, and, as it’s now one week to deadline, I guess I don’t really have time to figure out what to do for the horror article (mebbe it’ll still appear in the future at some stage!) Next up, Kinski. The perfect topic for a TC article. She who embodies 90% of emotions generated by a certain TC editor (the other 10% being based around the phrase “Waddaya mean the comics article/layout [Delete as appropriate] isn’t ready yet 9????”). She who has yet to be celebrated (as far as I know) in any sort of comic at all. Sony Jim, looks like a Kinski-comics article is no go, for the mo’.
That only seems to leave us with film tie-ins. So, the theme is set, the bottle of tequila awaits, and it’s time to start on some filmy-comicy sort of waffle… Filmwise, there’ve been a load of tie-ins (both to & from films/comics). Firstly, there’s film to comics… this has given us: Terminator: Predator: Alien(s); Hellraiser; Darkman; and loadsa manga (the Japanese stuff from TC6). Then there’s comics to film… no shortage here eitherwith: Batman; Superman; Dick Tracy; Predator (again); loadsa manga (again); T*nge Mmtnt Nnja T*rds etc.. etc.. etc.. Like I said, there’ve been plenty of tie-ins, the Tequila is now gone, the editor is panting for an article, so on with the reviews…
There have been three volumes of Aliens produced by Dark Horse. The first volume featured some stunning black & white artwork; the second had stunning painted artwork; and the third had fairly standard colour art. The three volumes follow on from the end of the film (Aliens that is, rather than Alien) and feature Newt, Ripley, Hicks and a selection of minor characters. The first volume has been reprinted in a single paperback, and I suspect that the subsequent series will follow hot on it’s heels. Anyway, here come some plot details, so skip them if you think it’ll spoil it for you.
Volume 1: Newt has been dreaming about the aliens and is talking it through with her psychiatrist… Cut to Hicks, Hicks is dreaming about the mission to Acheron, the aliens and the rescue of Newt. Cut to space, Coast Guards are blasting a derelict ship out of orbit. Problems. Meet the aliens. Cut to office, voice-over tells us how TV has evolved… see video being recorded. Subject matter ? Religous. Denomination ? The Church of the Immaculate Incubation. Content of video ? The True Messiah. Identity of Messiah ? Yup, it’s an alien.
So it begins – Hicks, Newt and the aliens are together again. By the end of issue one, we’ve found out what’s going on… the U.S. government have spotted the alien homeworld and would like a few specimens to train as the ultimate weapon (train aliens – would you like to try). Well, there’re six parts to this and it was so good that the costs have gone through the roof – get the trade paperback if you can. As a hint, by the end of the sixth issue, we’ve met up with the other type of alien (you know, like the dead one in the mystery ship in the movie), aliens are on Earth, and lots of marines have been killed!!
Volume 2: Newt & Hicks are back in space… eventually they reach an outer colony . One problem here – the military are running the place and still want to try & train aliens (some people never learn). The major difference is that these aliens are to be trained to kill their own kind. Cue crackpot colonel, lots of confusion, near death-by-aliens for our heroes and yet more massacred marines. Eventually (i.e. in issue four – of four!!) Hicks & Newt are safely back on Gateway station (where Aliens the movie began) and our old pal Ripley comes out of the woodwork ready to kick alien ass.
Volume 3: This volume has a sub-title… Earth War. In this volume we find out the truth about the aliens, the other alien, what happened to Ripley between the film & her reappearance in Volume Two, what happened between Ripley and the other in the movie… etc. etc. Ripley’s plan is the same one she had all along – get the aliens in one place & nuke them. How she intends to do this ??? I’ll leave it for you to find out, but I promise you this – there’s plenty of action.
Aliens vs Predator
Clash of the titans ???? Well maybe, but the title skips one vital fact – there’re still puny ol’ humans involved as well. A four issue limited series, it’s now on issue three. We have… Predators & Aliens fighting… Humans caught in the middle… Cute art… Okay story-line… Plenty of action… Nice covers as well!!
Whoops… The one that got away. Yes, there are plenty of Terminator comics out there. Yes, they should have been reviewed. No there isn’t room here for a full review (personally I prefer Aliens!!). The first Terminator volume wasn’t appealing to me, those since have been mini-series and I’ve gone out, bought them and enjoyed them. The latest series is from Dark Horse, the previous ones were from Now Comics (Who also did Rust (Buy! Buy!!)).
More violent fun!!! The first four issues comprise a “mini-series” adaptation of the movie… and then things start to twist. The movie adaptations good (similar standard to the film I suppose), and the series is sort of like just keeping the film going. It follows Boone (Cabal if you prefer) and the Nightbreed as they try to find a new homeland/sanctuary. Some of the Nightbreed forget the ways of Midian and return to eating human flesh, and Boone has the doubts due of all reluctant heroes. Basically: if you liked the film (even just as entertainment) you’ll like the comic; if you didn’t like the film, but liked the book… give the comic a try – you may be pleasantly surprised; if you liked neither, don’t bother unless you hope you were wrong with the movie & the book.
Well, both movies have been adapted to comic-book form, but Robocop also has his own series these days. Outside of the content of the films, but with OCP up to there old tricks. Sort of fun, but nowhere near as dark as the original movie…
The film that spawned a comic that spawned a film… Yup, Predator 2 (the movie) is supposed to be the film of the comic-book sequel to Predator (the movie). It’s set after Predator (not surprisingly), and features Schaefer (Dutch’s big brother (Arnie was “Dutch” in case you’ve forgotten)), a New York cop with a less than delicate (and less than orthodox) manner when dealing with the bad guys. Anyway, it’s heatwave time in New York, and the city’s going crazy. Enter a Predator. Havoc hits NYC. So, Schaefer vs the predators… Schaefer finding out what happened to Dutch… The army getting involved… Loads of predators in NYC (bit like Xmas shopping on Oxford St. (Yeuch)). It looks like this should be one helluva movie if it lives up to the comic… then again, it could turn out to be another Batman!
The Hellraiser comics are not adaptations of the films. They are something much better. Set in the same mythos (for want of a better word) as the films, they tell of Lament configurations, LeMarchand (who invented the Lament configuration(s)), other ways to call the Cenobites, the creation of Cenobites and a whole host of other goodies that will appeal to horror fans, comics fans, and anyone else out there with a taste for the macabre. Each issue features five tales using different authors and artists, a few of the tales use the same characters, but the majority are unique creations not to be found anywhere in the films. A mixed bag in general, but even so, generally a good mix.
I know this is going to appear unfair… I haven’t read the comic adaptation of the film, but I’m going to say that the only reason I haven’t is that the movie was great, but the comic looks like a heap of shit. As such, I didn’t buy it on principle. Other people who did mistakenly buy it hoping for something as good as the film agree. Waste your money if you like.
The Winding Up Part
Well, that’s it on the review front. Yes, there’s a lot of ground I haven’t covered, but it is possible to have too much of a good thing (give or take the odd immoral exception!!). Brief mentions here of two comics related items:
Comics Scene – a bi-monthly American magazine. It is a sister-magazine to Starlog, and devotes itself to comicsd & films. The films involved are either comics-based or animation, and it includes listings of all comics for which film rights are known to have been purchased, along with the current state of such projects. Often an interesting read, with plenty of inside info type interviews & reviews. Available from comic shops etc. etc.
Comics the Ninth Art – a Spanish TV series all about the history of comics. It’s been showing late Sunday evening (earliest showing 23:30, latest 00:10) on London Weekend Television for the past three months, but whether other ITV regions have had it, I don’t know. It’s given a good history of comics with nicely “animated” sections from some of the classics (including Watchmen, Dark Knight, Incal, Area 88 & various manga). Episode one was basically a summary of what the series contains; two to eleven covered a Western history of comics (European & American); twelve was manga; and thirteen covered the future (showing snippets from various “up & coming” artists). The series has just finished, but if you get a chance to see it, it’s definitely worth a look.
A few lists here… Firstly, of films that are (apparently) in the process of being made; secondly of comics for which film rights are out there and are still supposed to be produced some day; and finally a list I snuck in that contains a few title’s I’d like you to peek at that I had no better excuse available for…
- The Airtight Garage – Animated movie based around Moebius’s tales
- Captain America – Very soon – like it’s made
- Judge Dredd – Script by Howard Chaykin
- Sgt. Rock – Bruce Willis… John McTiernan… Joel Silver
Maybe Some Day…
American Flagg; Blackhawk; Deathlok; Dr. Strange; Evangeline; The Far Side (!!); Green Hornet; Green Lantern; Grimjack; Iron Man; Lone Wolf & Cub; Mai The Psychic Girl; Mandrake; Mr. X; Nick Fury, Agent Of SHIELD; Phantom; Prowler; Reid Fleming; Rocketteer (Disney!); Shadow; Spiderman; Tom & Jerry (Film now on hold…); Vampirella; V For Vendetta; Watchmen (Sam Hamm… Joel Silver… Terry Gilliam… needs a studio); Wolverine.
Give Me Liberty; The Nazz Chronicles; Hard Boiled; Shade – The Changing Man; The Last American; Marshall Law – Kingdom Of The Blind; Sandman (okay, so it’s not new, but I don’t think I’ve said “Buy It” yet, and I should have!!)
That’s all for now – ’til next time… Happy reading.