convention website text

in case any readers of these articles were wondering why there was a major gap in publication during 2013/14 this is because they were being published on the ‘read more’ tab for alec trench comics at where they would be likely to reach a wider audience

now that site has closed down after the show [may 2014] some of the text is being put up here – apologies if anyone was expecting it to be related more directly to comic books


marvel’s agents of shield

marvel’s agents of shield: TWO eccentric british characters?  a pattern of increasing UK+Ireland talent looks to be emerging in hollywood product.  + there’s that blonde girl in star trek as well.  someone should plot a graph starting with terence stamp in superman II


seven weeks after writing the sentance above I’m warming to the british characters.  this is partly because I’m getting an increasing sense that agent ward looks like he’s trying to sell me aftershave + skye resembles a hair product commercial.  how did I miss this in episode one: it’s a creeping subliminal thing



there is a poll going on (which closes on new year’s day) at the site below

to find out which was the best comic convention in the uk + eire this year

this page is worth a visit just to see how damn many of them there were (nearly 30) + where they took place.  spot the odd one out: some loopy character seems to have put one in melksham.  probably while dressed as an otter + humming ‘everyone’s a fruit and nut case’, although maybe that’s just my imagination


the day of the doctor

it has been long enough after transmission for everyone to have seen it by now so here goes

although if you haven’t seen it stop reading here + start again when you have

on the plus side of the scales:

1    regeneration.  it’s a lottery.

traditionally when alpha males (or just blokes in general – see any episode of minder) team up in a story they weigh each other up before they decide to cooperate, frequently by the means of some sort of sparring.  this goes back at least as far as robin hood + little john bashing each other with staves on a narrow bridge.  the day of the doctor’s version has smith + tennant meeting for the first time + actually comparing tools, thus simultaneously both raising (by subverting the cliche + depicting a competition between two pacifists) and lowering (to a joke about private parts) the tone of this tradition.  over in seconds, total class, the sort of thing that sticks in our minds when we renew our tv licenses

2    plot devices showing up again from the past – the way a cyberman famously hides in plain sight in the moonbase reused with a bunch of zygons under dust sheets.  it was high time someone thought of doing that again

on the minus side

3    the time lords as represented in this appear pretty feeble.  even assuming they were intended to be the inhabitants of one city + not representative of gallifrey as a civilisation they still look wrong to me.  keeping the doctor’s home world a mystery means the audience can imagine it being as ancient, alien, wonderous, etc as it ought to be + the time lords should be seen as little as possible to preserve their sense of wonder as well.  showing the warfare was possibly also a mistake – it resembled world war two when it could have been on some sort of multidimensional battlefield with completely random weapons.  I’m improvising here – my point is: show something glorious or don’t show anything + hint

4    the bbc now can’t make what I was hoping they would which is a season zero featuring the events of the time war.  this would have given whoever the current actor playing the lead was a year off from season x for someone else to fill in until he came back for x+1 (which might also have the function of stopping the doctors burning out so early)

5    ingrid oliver was cast as a nerdy character – she is basically too beautiful to carry this off.  the only time she gets away with it is in the radio series the castle where she can’t be seen

6    tom baker – one of the greatest voice actors britain has ever produced – should perhaps have been used in sound only.  his is apparently the most popular sat nav voice in the UK + for the last few years I have had this script idea which features his doctor transmitting from the seventies to come out as the voice of a vehicle in order to interact with the current one.  casting  mr baker as an alternate universe doctor who settled down in our one as a gallery curator is a great idea, but as it means they can’t now make my one I’m listing this as a minus.  even though his first spoken line stopped the hearts of all the forty somethings in the audience, cleared up the mystery of where the 3d paintings came from, effortlessly p***ed all over all the other actors (in a movie which includes john hurt), + most significantly made me look at matt smith + think: ‘who are you pretending to be, matt?’

dr who can count itself really badly lucky tom baker committed himself to the show that gave him his first proper acting break rather than using it as a springboard to more interesting or prestigous roles (anyone see tennant’s hamlet?), in the same way the film industry in general ought to be considering itself unlucky that it didn’t get to employ him

that’s a lot of minuses but the business about compensating with a larger screwdriver still outweighs them.  I’m impressed by things like that


pattern of increasing UK+Ireland talent
emerging in hollywood product II [jan 2014]

re what I was saying last year –

this seems to have been even more right than I thought it was myself

if you have not yet seen iron man 3 don’t follow the link below

ben kingsley’s character looks to have made more of an impression than the rest of the cast of the iron man movies in that his is the only one set to survive into other marvel adaptations, although I suspect this is not solely because of a perceived fashion for british people

another reason for his survival may relate to the character’s status being similar to that of eg chloe sullivan in smallville or most of watson’s girlfriends in the new bbc sherlock holmes series

none of these were originally in the source material, thus their presence allows the movie in which they appear to articulate something new about the central character(s) by showing the audience how they would react to an issue or relationship we have never seen them deal with in the past.  this casts a fresh light on eg sherlock holmes himself (or tony stark, etc) + renders him less two dimensional than he otherwise would be.  even if the new characters with which they interact only get a minor amount of dialogue compared to the lead it seems to make a major difference

inventing new characters can also be useful for storytelling reasons.  if there is a role in the plot that needs giving to a minor character (or which does not fit any of those from the source material, eg if they have to die or turn out to be gay) one of these new additions seem to be the default for that: they are a blank canvas + could be used for anything from comic relief to romance

it is also fair to assume the writers like to be free of the constraints of adapting another author’s material + once in a while they prefer to make up something themselves to write about

for most of the above I’ve been thinking of the example of sarah from season one of sherlock (2010).  I have no idea why she has stuck in my mind

reading that back, even after having explored a few additional practical reasons for ben kingsley turning up elsewhere in the marvel universe apart from the fact that he’s british + in vogue, it has occurred to me that being famous for only delivering absurdly high quality performances whatever he’s in might explain this on its own



if you are quick you might be able to catch an interview with grant morrison on the iplayer

if this has expired try the chain reaction website

morrison’s ability to position himself as both a grounded practical scot + a 21st century visionary comes over well

he makes his usual interview statements about using magic + communicating with aliens.  when frankie boyle attempts to follow one of these with a (substantially less) nutty idea of his own: ‘a henk you’re talkin sh*te man’

note virtually none of the topics discussed in the whole show would normally appear in broadcast media + neither would the tone used here when discussing them.  my view is that this is extremely odd given the volume of science fiction there is about – any media coverage relating to even major blockbuster superhero movies tends to be either ironic or trivial or both.  frankie boyle hits exactly the right note here: this should be a template for how to conduct s f interviews

the next one in the chain is morrison interviewing neil innes which works less well because the interviewee is nervous

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