After stumbling on my new favourite comic, Bedlam, a while back, I’ve started sniffing around Image titles in the hopes of picking up something that’s just as good (metaphorically, actually sniffing books is just weird). While I haven’t found anything that has knocked it off the top of my list, I’ve found a title that came damn close: the relatively new epic tale that is Saga.
Written by Brian K. Vaughn (Y: The Last Man, Lost), Saga combines an intricate sci-fi universe (a la Star Wars) with a dramatic love story that has seen comparisons to Romeo and Juliet. It’s certainly not lacking in the art department, either. Artistic duties on Saga are handled by Fiona Staples, a Canadian illustrator who seems to have flown under the radar somewhat, mostly handling miniseries and cover art.
Saga follows Alana and Marko, lovers from opposing sides of a galaxy-wide war – the technologically advanced Landfall Coalition and the magic-wielding Wreath. Pursued by their own people for desertion, they travel from planet to planet, dodging the authorities and mercenaries along the way. If their situation wasn’t harrowing enough already, they’re also trying to raise their newborn child at the same time.
While it might sound strange at first, the setting of Saga is nothing short of spectacular. Vaughn’s writing, combined with Staples’ versatile art, makes for a winning combination, and this is definitely a series I’m going to keep following.
As it is officially Halloween month I decided it was time to crack out a VHS and get into the seasonal spirit. Unfortunately, I picked one of the worst tapes in my collection: the awful piece of thanksgiving horror that is Home Sweet Home.
Let me illustrate how terrible this film was with this simple observation: there is a fountain on the set of the film that looks like it has a face, and it was the most believable character in the entire thing. The rest of the characters spent the first 15 minutes successfully alienating me by running around and shouting at each other ’til I felt no bond with any of them. Also, there is a mime that spends the majority of the film with a guitar in his hands and an amp strapped to his back while he solos endlessly. He also stops the movie for five minutes to do a magic show because … of course he does.
Usually with bottom of the barrel horror like this the kills are at least memorable – often the one saving grace. This is not one of those films. The killer, after brandishing his knife for a solid third of the film, takes down the first of the main victims by jumping on the hood of his car while he leans over the engine. He is crushed to death, I guess – I rolled my eyes so hard I lost track of the action on screen.
I feel that if I’d watched this over a few drinks with some friends while we ran our own MST3K-like commentary I could have forgiven the film its many, many flaws. Unfortunately I watched this sober and alone, and I highly doubt I could give it another chance – even in that sort of setting.
Cameron: Robert Hall’s Laid to Rest is a rather admirable indie slasher. While there are more low budget slashers than one could shake a large bladed instrument at, very few of them understand how to work with what money they have and end up with a very cheap sheen. Hall on the other hand manages to deliver a reasonably well written script with extremely memorable kills and characters.
Cameron: What can I say about Ahn Byeong-ki’s Phone? It’s a South Korean horror from 2003 about an investigative reporter and a haunted phone number. Or it’s about a child with an Elektra complex possessed by a ghost. Or it’s about a serial killer. Or maybe that serial killer is actually a hit man hired by someone the aforementioned reporter has recently exposed. It’s definitely a lot of different things, but is it a good film that ties together all these elements, or a complete train wreck of a story? The answer is this; I can say with complete certainty, I have seen this film.
Cameron: Just over a year ago the long running series The Amazing Spider-Man came to a close with issue #700 and the death of Peter Parker. Sort of. Actually, Peter’s brain was in Doc Ock’s body and Doc Ock’s brain was in Peter Parker’s body so when Doc Ock’s body died of cancer it took Parker’s brain with it. Oh, and now Peter Parker is a ghost and following around Ock in his body and … yeah.
Superior Spider-Man is part of Marvel’s NOW re-launch and when it first came out I thought “My, what a spectacular amount of stupid. This really is an insult to the integrity of comics.” Recently I remember that Spider-Man is the story of a teenager who gets bitten by a radioactive spider, and instead of dying swings around New York in a skin tight suit. That’s not to say I don’t think the current story line is dumb. It is, but in general everything about superheroes is a bit ridiculous.
Alastair: So, as you would’ve picked up by now, I’m still a bit of a noob when it comes to comics – I haven’t been heavily into them for all that long. As a result, I have a tendency to stick to what I know and love (i.e. DC and Batman), and often shy away from trying out some more obscure titles. This time, however, I’ve stumbled onto a real doozy, courtesy of Cameron.
Cameron: Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead trilogy is one of my all time favourite franchises. As a huge fan of franchise horror this is a pretty big call for me, rating it above other beloved horror series such as Nightmare on Elm Street, Child’s Play and Scream.
Now, whenever reboots are mentioned the fans of a particular film tend to work themselves into a bit of a tizzy. The Elm Street fans were worried about Platinum Dunes rebooting their franchise, and rightly so as that film was an incredible pile of ass. Ft13th fans were worried when Platinum Dunes (again) took to their franchise, though in that case they weren’t treated too badly. Having been one of the worked up fans it took some serious introspection before I realised it was a pretty kick ass movie.
I was busy getting married the week this column was due, so good friend Blair Hall stepped in to cover me.
This week’s Pulp is going to be a bit different. Because my usual partner-in-crime/comics has just gotten married, he’s taken the week off. So, instead of Cameron’s usual half, you lovely folks will be subjected to the whims of the ever-fabulous Mr Blair Hall, who joins Pulp as a guest columnist. Look out for his ramblings a little bit further down the page. Anyway, on to the comics!
by Corrinna Waycott
In my last review, I took a look at Italian Director Dario Argento’s 2009 work, Giallo. Unfortunately, the film is remembered more for the lawsuit between Adrien-cry-baby-I want-more-money-greedy-guts-Brody and the filmmakers; distracting away from the fact that it’s just a bad movie. Such is the case with many things, sometimes one needs to indulge and revel in nostalgia to remember what it was that made us love this particular actress/actor/songwriter/director/film franchise in the first place.
by Cameron Urquhart
When I finished playing the Shadowrun Returns main campaign I remember thinking, “That was a very noir ending… I mean, apart from fighting insects from another plane of existence, of course.”
This Pulp only ever came out in the print edition, so enjoy this hidden gem from the early days.
Alastair: I have a confession to make: I’m something of a DC fanboy. I realised that this may lead to bias in certain situations whilst writing Pulp (FYI – there is no way in hell that Hawkeye could beat Green Arrow in a fight), so I recently decided to pick up a few Marvel titles to remedy this deficiency. I had a look at a few older series, and somehow ended up with 50+ digital issues of Ultimate Spider-Man. So, as it turns out, I really, really like the webhead.
Anyway, Cameron recommended I pick up the latest run of Deadpool, so I bought the first few issues, along with the first few issues of Mark Waid’s new Daredevil series. I’d seen a few Deadpool comics previously, and got a good chuckle out of them. The new series, however, had me laughing hysterically. Long story short: some schmuck thinks that America is screwed due to a lack of good leadership. So, being the thoughtful necromancer that he is, he resurrects all of America’s dead presidents. Yup, even Lincoln. SHIELD then has to hire the Merc With A Mouth to put them all down again. If you’re looking for a comic that’ll give you a chuckle as well as some gory action, the new Deadpool run comes highly recommended. I’ve really taken to Daredevil as well – 2003 movie notwithstanding, Daredevil is an awesome character, and writer Mark Waid has done a fantastic job. Needless to say, I can’t wait for more.
Cameron: Firstly I have to take issue with some things Al said above, 1) The Daredevil film with Ben Affleck is awesome, 2) Hawkeye would and has kicked Green Arrows ass, especially if we’re talking about being an actual quality read. Now onto things I was going to say.
Joe R. Lansdale once wrote a story about an old age Elvis and a black JFK fighting off a Southern mummy in a retirement home, and that wasn’t even the best thing he wrote. The Drive-In is the first book in a trilogy of bloody and hilarious apocalyptic mayhem. While attending a screening of some of history’s greatest films (The Evil Dead, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, etc.) Jack and his friends have their lives changed forever when a comet with a smile eats the rest of the world, leaving only the drive in and its occupants alive. It’s not long before people start going crazy, killing each other, eating raw babies or fusing together due to a lightning strike and becoming a monster king who vomits popcorn and… well… that last bit sort of sums up how crazy it gets. Some of Lansdale’s short stories are hilarious, like the previously mentioned Elvis caper Bubba Ho-Tep (be sure to check the film of the same name by Don Coscarelli) while others like Incident On and Off a Mountain Road are super creepy and full of monsters, this book proves he can do both at the same time.
Seriously though, Hawkeye would kick Green Arrow’s ass so hard.