Saturday, 18 April 2015

What Marvel's Daredevil should have done with Ben Urich (Spoilers are here!!)

So, it's taken me a bit of time (probably longer than most other people), but I've reached the finale of the Daredevil series on Netflix. And with that a big mind-blowing revelation has occurred. The truth is I don't like what happened and think it was a major misstep by an otherwise stellar series.

But rather than rant, I want to say real quick what should have happened instead:

(Spoilers ahead so if you haven't watched it, stop reading)

(You non-watchers gone? No? Well, get out of here!!!)

Ok, here goes.....

So, in the penultimate episode, Ben Urich was fired from his job at the newspaper for getting too close and subsequently got killed off by the kingpin. It's a shame because Urich is a great character and I worry his comic book version will now be following (such is Marvel's way).

However, what I think should have happened would have been a little different, and closer to the comics.

Ben Urich got fired, yeah fine, whatever. That's ok with me because what should have then happened was that Ben went home to write what he'd learned on a blog he would create and would have been successful.

And that site would have been call Frontline!!!

Now that would have been cool.

Of course it isn't going to happen now and what did transpire makes sense, from a storytelling point of view.

But it's nice to dream right?

Thursday, 9 April 2015

How I came to love Daredevil.

The new netflix series of Daredevil is released tomorrow, and I couldn't be any more excited if I tried. This confused my wife somewhat when she asked me if I'd seen the new Avengers trailer and I said 'maybe, but I'm more excited for Daredevil'.

In truth, Daredevil is awesome and I'm proud to admit I think he is a better Batman than Batman actually is (I will expect hate mail now).

So, in preparation for this new series, I (like everyone else) is reading a load of the back issues to get into the groove. But, as I was reading the Bendis run, it reminded me of how I got into the character.

I don't remember the year to be fair, it must have been 2004 (though it could have been later), but at the time comics weren't in big supply to me as all I could find was whatever Panini stuff WHSmiths' was selling (I think that was Avengers, Spidey and X-Men). Around this time most of my friends were off at uni and, one weekend, I decided to visit one of them.

Upon arrival we hung out for a bit before heading back to theirs for a quick pit stop. On the way, they mentioned a local comic book store (which I don't recall what it was called) which intrigued me greatly enough to (I think) literally beg to go and see it, to which my friend relented and agreed.

And so after the pit stop, we checked out this LCS and, though it looked a bit sparse compared to many I've seen as I've gotten older, the guy behind the counter really knew his stuff. For after a look around, unsure what to get, I asked for suggestions and he pointed toward the Bendis run of Daredevil, specifically the Underboss, Out, Lowlife and Hardcore arcs. This was where my love of the character came from.

I recall devouring those books on the train home and beyond and can safely say that the rest of my collection, DD and otherwise, owes its existence to these books. The dark, grainy panels along with grim, brutal story were just gold and, while Waid's current run is awesome, these four book were, and still are, the quintessential portrayal of the man without fear.

If this new series is even a little bit like Bendis' run which I initially read then I can say with certainty that they'd have a guaranteed fan in me. Either way though I'm sure I'll love it because it's Daredevil and, if you haven't guessed by now, Daredevil is Awesome!!!

Thursday, 2 April 2015

Review: Chunks #1 - The comics that never was

I read a lot of comics and more and more of them are coming from Indie creators, most of whom I meet at conventions.  I always take it as a given that they exist and until very recently I never really focus on where this comics come from and how they make their way into my hands.

Of course, most of these books are made from Kickstarters and the pledges of funds by people like me, fans who think they deserve making. I myself have pledged to a fair few and they have all been successes.

Of course, there are those which don't get that far, even if they deserve it more than any other comic book.
Dejected, it looks like the Chunks gang are heading home
after this Kickstarter,. I hope they'll be back.
Art by Cris Canfailla

Ladies and gents, Chunks is quite possibly one of those.

Despite, the kickstarter ending only recently, writer Matt Garvey has gifted me (along with everyone who pledged) a pdf of the first issue, of which I've read and I'll tell you this. It is a hilarious book.

Following the exploits of the Pineapple Chunks, a punk rock band fronted by Brit Johnny and starring Rik, Bo, Milo and their roadie/driver/fan Dave, this book follows them as they try to make it as a band and the hi jinks and problems they land themselves in.

To say any more would spoil too much, but I have got to admit that loved this book from cover to cover, laughing constantly to many of the stupid situations the band find themselves. If you follow Matt Garvey on Twitter, you notice quickly that he has a wicked sense of humour (I'd accurately describe him as the comeback king because when you tweet he provides really awesome...well...comebacks) and that obviously translates to these pages, which are riddled with a very British humour. Also, each of the characters are well written and each supply their own brand of the funny.

Meanwhile the art by Cris Canfailla suits this comic's sensibility to a T. The lines and colours give further credibility to this deserving to be a great English comic as they are very reminiscent of things like the Beano and Dandy, only at a far higher quality.

In the end, this kickstarter failing is a blow to fans of comics that are heavy on humour, which I think is in short supply when I look on shelves these days. Hopefully, if my opinion does anything (assuming people actually read this) it helps the next time this book sets up a kickstarter to the point that it succeeds.

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Review: Big Punch Magazine #1

This week has been a bit of a tough week thus far. As my new job starts to kick into high gear and I wait anxiously for my first monthly pay cheque since last summer, I'm busy trying to my ducks in a row before I venture on my travels up north over Easter to make an appearance at Sheffield Cosplay Con 7 (which I may discuss later).

This means comic book reading has dropped to a minimum, with single issues in short supply and many of the indie press books I'm still to read being graphic novel size and, thus, too big too read in the limited free time. It's meant having to wait and risk the shakes from my inevitable withdrawal.

Thankfully though, help has been at hand thanks to the team at Big Punch Studios as Jon Lock, Lucy Brown, Nich Angell and Alice White, along with artists Jack Tempest and James Stayte, recently released the first issue of the Big Punch Magazine, a new quarterly released magazine which shows off four original series, along Nich's fan favourite Cat and Meringue, to the fans (and multiverse consisting) of Afterlife inc. and 7String.

These four series consist of Cuckoos, which follows a group of adventurers as they travel in their ship, the Reflektor, through the cracks between dimensions to visit strange new worlds and, in this case, discover unusual relics. Meanwhile Orb is an alternate world story based on an Earth still recovering appearance of new gods, and their subsequent disappearance which tells the tale of an expedition to a destroyed settlement, where they discover an unusual Orb very reminiscent of those who came before. This is followed by 99 Swords, a tale which begins an epic adventure for a young girl in a world where legend of a man creating 99 swords in order to forge the 'perfect' 100th sword has lead to many collecting his 99 'failures. Finally, after the return of comedy team Cat and Meringue, comes the finally story entitled the Wall, which is set in a city contained within an inescapable wall and sees three friends endeavour to make that daring escape.

This is certainly quite a change of pace for the team previously responsible for full story arcs, both in terms of content and distribution, but I think with first issue they have, overall, managed to successfully transfer their unique style of storytelling to a more episodic format.
The whole gang are in on this one, even if they are just
illustrated. It's a cool sketch though. Art by Nich Angell.

The biggest draw to this book is the art, with which Messrs Angell and Stayte looking beautiful as always, giving their respective tales a good fun vibe, in turn making those stories more my favourites; Angell by making them look fantastical and Stayte with a real horrible histories look which truly suits 99 swords. Meanwhile Jack Tempest has totally changed his style from Afterlife Inc, providing a more noirish, end of the world tone which really matches the mood of Orb's premise.

As for the stories themselves, I really enjoyed the large majority of them, with Orb being a bit of a struggle and Cat and Meringue being my favourite. That said, this is more likely down to preference than anything else as Orb is a very dark, somber tale in comparison to 99 Swords, Cuckoos and the Wall as all three come across as brighter and more fun. Also, Cat and Meringue possibly wins out due to it having little change in format compared to it's prior life. That said, all of these stories are written really well, roping me in enough to make me wonder what happens next.

So, have the stars of every convention I've been to managed to shake more money out of me with this? Most definitely!! The Big Punch Magazine's strengths far outweigh any flaws (even those relating to personal taste) and while I'm unsure whether to pick it up in print, digitally or as a collection, I'm pretty sure it's another thing to join my book of life and Cat & Meringue collection. Damn it guys, stop giving me reasons to spend my money!!!

If you are reading this and I've whetted your appetite (to which I apologize to your wallet), Jon has asked me to mention that Big Punch Magazine #1 is available now and the the series is available either as a physical or digital subscription, with each new issue released every three months. If this is something which takes your fancy, check out to subscribe or just to get more information. Or you could get it at a con they are at, that's good too!!!