July 2012

Star Wars: The Star Wars That I Used to Know Music Video

Everybody loves a bit of Gotye’s ‘Somebody I Used to Know’ but here’s an alternative that George Lucas might not want to pay attention to. This great spoof uses a blend of both films and music video and speaks for a good ol’ section of the adult population that remember the first time a Star Destroyer appeared chasing a Frontier Runner in 1977.

Practitioners 3: Mike Mignola

As a catch up for all new visitors to Beyond the Bunker, we’ll be representing the original Practitioners series 1-55 (Simon BisleyChris Bachalo and featuring the most influential comic creatives in history). Thoroughly incomplete but featuring legends like Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Frank Miller and Alan Moore already more will be hitting the site next year. For now though, sit back every Tuesday for a run-down of the men and women who created the comic industry we know today. (Or check the full list in the menus above). This week: Hellboy creator Mike Mignola.

Alien : Salvation (Darkhorse Comics 2001)

Mignola was born in 1960 in Berkley California and not as some might assume in a Caravan on the side of a grey stone track in an Eastern European forest valley in the rain, presided over by witch fiends and troll-likes. Working his way up from his intro into comic illustration in 1980 he brought to life Red Sonja on one page (despite his assertion to this day that he’s never been any good at drawing women), Daredevil, Powerman and IronFist, Incredible Hulk, Alpha Flight and the Rocket Raccoon Limited series (which I’ll literally snap your arm off to get ahold of). Mignola seemingly only ever touching the fringe, edgy characters of the Marvel universe, where, for any long term reader, the great ideas are formed away from the bright, commercial centre. This undeniably is exactly where he belongs.

Mignola is not a mainstream artist but dragged the mainstream towards him with some indelible, brash and clear artwork, broken by black line and mat colours. Mignola’s work is best viewed from a distance… and really close up. Any image he creates works as well as a poster as a piece of comic design or storytelling tool.

He is an artists artist. His abstract linework imbuing life with effortless light detailing. A carved out eye brought to life with a commaed black circle. His Alien glides in black shadow, his Hellboy looking twice as powerful than any carved superhero with his bent coathanger shoulders, his trench coat hanging off him. His composition allowing mind-blowing Kablammo whack outs with rock hard mitts and tender fear and indefinable nightmares in forms and shapes that are perfectly laid about a panel but form a broader latticework across the page. His viewpoint in art is life, curved and shaped and seen through the bottom of a broken bottle and a late night nightmare.

His ‘household name’ moment came with Hellboy, son of the almighty damned one, broken horned, bright red with FF’s Thing scowl, stone hand and Judge Dredd jaw he imbued him with savagery and a bitterly Human soul in the face of fairytales and horrors. Constantly in conflict with the bumps in the night he should be leading, Hellboy represents any person who refuses to follow a path laid out for him by others. Fascinated by international lore, fairytale, myths and legends; Mignola pushes Hellboy from dark path to broken bell tower where he meets a menagerie of dark gods, witches, gargoyles and pig boys who he inevitably fails to reason with and ends up battering with his great stone hand.

A better philosophy on life for the average guy there may never have been.

Red Dwarf Movie Trailer

Red Dwarf’s been going since 1988. Dave Lister, Arnold Rimmer and Cat found themselves locked on a mining ship 3 million years in the future with a deranged computer navigating. In that time a fair few things have changed but the the basic premise of fish out water or slob out of oxygen has held it together for all of those 24 years.

If it’s time to give up on the Dwarfers nobody’s told them – the tenth series is arriving on Dave very soon – and frankly the inexorable nature of the series kind of fits the idea. Dave is old now, and whether he’s staying an unwashed space bum remains to be seen – you’d think he’d’ve pulled it together a little in the last quarter decade.

But the constant, hopefully, will be the manic non-aliens (Gelphs, Simulants, Psirens, Polymorphs et al), the Bazookoid blasting, explosions and rampant ineptitude so often found by a group of idiots left womanless for three full millenia. With no real focus to cause them to up their game, Rimmer, Lister, Kryten and Cat will continue to wander aimlessly along the space lanes in search of curry and Pete Trance’s sister.

This trailer pretty much nails the outer limits of anarchy and testosterone fuelled hyper violence that Red Dwarf has represented for a good chunk of a century… loadsa fun…

Moon Launch 2: The Build-up

We are very quickly moving towards Moon Launch 2. Final touches to the book still need to be completed, extra material, colours, graphics, bit of lettering and effects but as soon as those are complete Moon Launch 2 is a go. Currently scouts are moving through the underbelly of central London, trying to find the perfect location for just such an event Music license, music equipment, fine bar, good atmosphere, reasonably priced alcohol and a door from which the good Moon fans can pick up their brand new spanking copy of Moon 2.

This is the point at which the pressure is greatest, as the finished product forms right in front of our disbelieving eyes. The strange things is seeing how these things develop as each layer is put on. From the first panel of Moon 1 to the last page of Moon 2, little has changed in terms of story, humour and style, but slight tweaks and improvements to Moon 2 mean that it will most likely be a much more slick affair. No typos for starters – though one was indentified in 1 that neither me nor Dan had ever noticed and that no fan has ever commented upon. First to write the typo in the comments below gets a free copy of Moon 2.

G4S Have an 80s Style Theme Song…and this is it!

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vTvtYV3NXGk&w=853&h=480]

 

I wasn’t going to bother posting anything Olympic themed this weekend (there’s enough of it already) but then I stumbled upon this.

Yep, bungling Olympic security firm G4S have a theme song, it sounds like the theme tune to an 80s cartoon and what’s more, it appears to be genuine. I’m sorry to say that you will probably be humming this all day.

Thanks Internet!

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Moon's Song of the Week: Burning Streets of Rome by The Smittens

 

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fR7ZHWBt93E&w=853&h=480]

Aching for a bit of 90s-esque alt-pop? We’ve got you covered. American indy band, The Smittens, have hit on an ingenious way to make a video about Rome without actually having the fly out to the eternal city itself. Everything about this video – from the clever use of Google Street View to the quintessential ‘dancing in your bedroom’ shots – is wonderfully low-fi and to my mind that just adds to the charm of what is already a lovely song.

Burning Streets of Rome is out now.

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BTB Film – Wild Watch

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ug_yyOsreXI&w=853&h=480]

Jim Eaton and I made this Springwatch parody back in 2011. It’s another 2 Days Laughter Festival entry and as such is a 5 min comedy film that was produced in 48 hours. It stars the wonderfully funny, rubber faced stylings of Paul Teeling and Rosie Owen who were, as ever, a total joy to work with. Camera work and special effects were done by Paul Wade and he deserves a lot of the overall credit for being the one that badgered Jim and I into doing the film when we really had a lot of other work we should have been doing.
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Mission Highlights: Space X's Dragon Makes History (in 2:27 seconds)

A historic moment in space history went almost unnoticed very recently. The first commercial launch of a space shuttle was made by Space X, an independent contractor who are now looking to expand the influence of the ground to outer space. If you doubt the importance of this first successful mission of Space X’s Dragon shuttle launched to the International Space station, to return to earth 2 weeks later safely having orbited the plant hundreds of times, this short video will help to give you a sense of it’s importance.

If you are wondering why this moment is important it is that historically, the pursuit of exploration and expansion for the Human race does not accelerate fully, and never has, until the common man, unallied to any government or political power chooses to take control of the technology and advancements that will allow him (or her) to see new, uncharted frontiers. While you can call it commercialism, commercialism is funded through people’s aspirations and dreams. The founding fathers of the New Land (although already occupied) went because, they, as individuals could see the value in a new frontier.

The passionate and dedicated team at Space X have done this and the pride and joy they have in achieving this, the first of so many goals is obvious in this speedy recreation of what happened just a few short weeks ago. The importance of this movement forward in the history of human culture comes through loud and clear, as one solitary space shuttle broke the blue sphere that houses us and moved us forward quietly into the future.

Sorry if it’s a little over the top but it’s early in the morning, I can’t sleep and this moved me more than perhaps I expected. Just thought I’d let you know that while most of us were sleeping, the universe around us got a little closer without us knowing…

Black Dynamite on the Case!!

The potential for high offence is always a surprising distance away in the world of Black Dynamite by Adultswim. Would never’ve thought something so obvious’d be so funny. I’ll be looking up Black Dynamite – and none of your Reverse Honky Psychology’ll change my mind. Ha ha! White people are lame!!

Deliberately tongue in cheek, Black Dynamite manages to match the crude joy of Seth McFarlane’s Family Guy and American Dad with cool references to blaxploitation movies from the 60s and 70s.Not one for the kids but not everything can be…

A team up with Moon seems very, very unlikely….

Practitioners 2: Katsuhiro Otomo

As a catch up for all new visitors to Beyond the Bunker, we’ll be representing the original Practitioners series 1-55 (Simon BisleyChris Bachalo and featuring the most influential comic creatives in history). Thoroughly incomplete but featuring legends like Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Frank Miller and Alan Moore already more will be hitting the site next year. For now though, sit back every Tuesday for a run-down of the men and women who created the comic industry we know today. (Or check the full list in the menus above). This week: Akira creator Katsuhiro Otomo.

At the top of each book sold of Akira there rests a very impressive name in bold lettering. Katsuhiro Otomo. The 2000 page epic would not exist without his genius. Personifying his countries often distant ideals of constant devotion to practice, work and perfection towards a focussed life goal, Otomo marched onwards to completing his masterwork even as he was unaware that he was developing it.

Born in Miyagi prefecture, Japan in 1954, Otomo left school in 1971 to become a Manga artist and succeeded quickly – unsurprising given his unswerving diligence in perfectly measured linework coupled with highly detailed yet crystal clear characterisations. He worked for ‘Action’ magazine until 1979 diligently putting out work on behalf of others.

With the release of solo projects (most notably Fireball (1979) and Domu: A Child’s Dream (1980)) he revealed himself to be a true auteur, a position that can only be occupied when you have mastered all aspects of a medium and his body of work illustrates this perfectly. Katsuhiro is the epitomy of the short gap between an artist’s hand and mind when fully utilised. Fireball was uncompleted but is considered a milestone as it carries themes that were carried forward into his later work. Domu: A Child’s Dream saw a battle between a senile psychic bent on secretly murdering residents of his apartment building for pleasure with his powers and a young girl, Etsoku who stands defiantly against him with her own battery of powers.

Its difficult to imagine Katushiro Otomo as anything other than a genius. Writer, artist, draftsman, director, and unself-conciously and perhaps unexpectedly global cultural avatar. His work, one most specifically, speaks for him more than many other creative practitioner in the field as there is little that can be gleaned as to his character from it because his understanding of so many elements is so diffuse and wide reaching.

Domu: A Child’s Dream (1980)

His writing blends perfectly the spiritual, the cultural, the subtle and the brutal.

Any flaw visible in any work he has done before or since is overshadowed by Akira. Around bikers Kaneda and Tetsuo the world spins, never leaving the confines of the Neo Tokyo city limits in 2000 pages, as bikes blaze through neon streets, psychic children fight over broken buildings, people burst up walls and a general with a mohawk struggles to get an orbiting defence platform with a massive laser to explode a giant bug baby.

Tower blocks rise through panels with thousands of windows each as perfectly proportional as the last, even when they are upside down and falling into the sky. Broad themes of creationism rest perfectly next to action sequences involving tanks driven by amateurs through cluttered streets in Tokyo’s districts. Never has an artist been so adept at slapstick octane and subtle broad ideas, occasionally in the same panel.

Using his love of film as a benchmark for his artwork and his stripped down storytelling style, Anime was always a natural advance for Katsuhiro and he was working as a character designer for Anime Harmageddon one year before the beginning of his epic; Akira began. Helming Akira as an Anime in 1988, begun while the book was still incomplete, and creating one of the most (if not the most) far reaching Anime ever created and forever altering the standard to which western comic books are now held to.

A master who took a boyhood dream and worked diligently to see it happen, standing head and shoulders above an already advanced and crowded medium in the country that had long since mastered the form.

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