tilly_stratford: (HB: Steampunk Bush)
I'm not entirely sure what brought it on, but I had this idea I'd watch all the big Robin Hood movies in order. And then, I dunno, compare them I guess.

So I've seen the 1922 Robin Hood starring Douglas Fairbanks, regarded as one of the first big business Hollwyood productions (a cast of thousands, humongous sets, and the first ever movie gala premiere); And a bloated, overlong melodrama it is too. Over two hours long, and Fairbanks spends more than half of it as plain ol' Earl of Huntingdon, knight to King Richard.

The entire first act of the film deals, oddly enough, with Richard thinking Robin (sorry, Huntingdon) spending all his time wrestling with his manfriends and shunning women is all a bit inappropriate, and he lays several plots to force Robin to like ladies. Then of course comes Marion and fixes Robin's homosexuality shyness.

Despite the film's length, the story is very pared down compared to, say, every single other Robin Hood film. Prince John is the primary villain, obviously. Sir Guy spends most of the movie in The Holy Lands, even after Robin leaves for home, and the Sheriff I forgot was even in the movie until he was mentioned in the climactic scene.

Most of the scenes where Robin comes head-to-head with authority reads more like Keystone Cops gags than tense melodrama, except once in a while Robin stops to murder one of his pursuers and immediately throws his head back and laughs like the cold-blooded motherfucker he is.

I'm probably being too hard on the film. It's 1922, that's pretty damn early. In any case it had some absolutely beautiful posters:

tilly_stratford: (HB: Steampunk Bush)
I've been watching all the old Fleischer Superman cartoons from the forties. Partly because they're pop cultural landmarks (they introduced both the "It's a bird! It's a plane!" line and the whole "Faster than a speeding bullet!" introduction) and also because my views on Superman has changed a lot over the years*.

They were pretty great actually! The animation was so well done, with lot of shading and dynamic action -- really high-quality stuff! I was kind of blown away by the first one: I wasn't sure what to expect, and then Superman punched a beam of pure energy and the music and animation and everything was so stellar I really felt the urge to jump in my seat and shout "Go Superman!"

My absolute favourite thing was that for the most part (due to this being such an early, low-powered version of the character) Superman leaps rather than flies -- he pushes off, and then rises and falls in an arch before he lands. I loved it. I guess it's something about familiarity -- I don't know what it's like to fly effortlessly, but anybody who's been on a trampoline can can recognize that rising and falling tingling in your stomach.

I really liked Bud Collyer as the voice of Supes too (I think I might have to check out the radio show). He just generally sounds mild-mannered and jovial, and his Supes voice is just a tiny bit deeper than his Kent voice, which I thought was neat.

And while the cartoons are a product of their time (occasional racism, mostly), I just gotta say that this version of Lois Lane? Has friggin' balls of steel. Placed in front of a firing squad? Trapped on an erupting volcano? Tortured by nazis? Lois Lane does not fear death, okay. She will climb a burning rope over the crevasse if she's free or coolly accept her fate if she's not. Sure Superman has to rescue her in every episode but even he has to respect Lois Lane's nonchalance when it comes to her own mortality.

*My thinking used to be, like, you've got this immortal, invincible god who is 100% good and kind and wonderful: Where's the drama, right? But now I'm more like, "yeah, that's a nice change of pace actually". I still think he works best from other characters' points of view, and as a part of the larger DC universe, but the guy's not as boring as I used to think.
tilly_stratford: (Holmes: Curious collection)
So what did I do this year? I moved. I spent the summer all alone painting the family cabin. Got hooked on gardening. Got hooked on knitting (again). I was best man in a friend's wedding.

To be honest just about everything else about 2013 was pretty dismal. Depression, unemployment, insomnia, more visits to the emergency room than ever. At least 2014 can only get better.

Here are some more good things about this past year:

I watched 175 films through the year (not counting rewatches, documentaries and short films). I think my favourite movie experiences this year was watching Le Petite Monde de Don Camillo, and Cleopatra on the big screen -- which is why there's been a lot of Taylor/Burton films this year. There's also been a lot of George Sanders, and DC animated films.

175 films is admittedly pretty weak. My excuse is that I started knitting, and when I knit I've found I prefer to watch TV shows, because chances are I won't miss as much information if I glance away from the screen for a moment. I went from hardly watching TV at all to bingewatching all of Breaking Bad, Community, and Downton Abbey.

I also stuck to my last New Year's resolution: Finish at least one drawing every month! So here's one of those "my art year in summary" things:

Superheroes mostly )

So that's 2013 for me. Happy new year!
tilly_stratford: (Holmes: Curious collection)
Just as sure as summer will follow spring, I'm pretty sure I will always return to Sherlock Holmes stories. Even if I forget how much I love them years at a time. Usually my infatuation with specific fiction abates after a while, either because I've run out of material or because I've gluttoned myself and had too much at one time -- but Holmes? That's an inexhaustible love of mine, even though I sometimes plain forget just how happy those stories make me.

A few months ago I was in a thrift shop where I spotted a particularly hideous Norwegian edition of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes -- the exact edition I first picked up at the library when I was ten, and which introduced me to the Canon! (It doesn't have a print year listed, oddly enough, but I'm guessing eighties/early nineties from the cover design). So I bought it out of sentiment and put it on my shelf and forgot about it.

And then I was out walking today because I wanted to give Welcome to Night Vale a listen (mostly to fill the temporary Zombies, Run!-shaped hole in my life, my knee is still a wreck), but the file was corrupted and I had to find something else to listen to. I always have one of the BBC Holmes audios stashed away somewhere on my phone, so I thought "Ah, for old time's sake" (the episode happened to Scandal in Bohemia, the first story I ever read). I spent the rest of the walk grinning from ear to ear.

Not just because BBC radio Holmes is by far the best Holmes adaption I've ever come across (I have nothing new to say about Merrison's Holmes, other than that he's wonderful in the role and has the most infectious laugh), but because, goshdarnit, I just love these old stories and characters. Even though I've read them, watched them, and listened to them countless of times, and I always know exactly who did it, and what challenges will be thrown Holmes and Watson's way, I just can't stop loving them.

So now I'm sitting here leafing through that book I bought at the thrift store, feeling like I've slipped on an old comfy sweater. I think this Christmas I'll bring back my tradition of reading that great pastiche story where Holmes is hired to stalk Santa Clause.
tilly_stratford: (Blue & Gold)
So I while I was working on this drawing some startling Blue and Gold news hit the net.

1. Ted Kord and his Charlton buddies are gonna feature in a new DC comic titled Multiversity, which is gonna be Nu52 but with alternate universes. Am very ambivalent. I'm happy about Multiverses and Ted being alive again, but I have so little faith left in DC I'm almost certain they're gonna screw this up.

2. If the rumoured Booster Gold TV series is gonna be made it's going to be DARK AND GRITTY. I did not know it was possible to feel so much hate.

So anyway, just wanted to draw a cute decowled Booster and Beetle pic.

Trouble brewing )

On the other hand, I love when superheroes take off their cowls and are left with that tight little spandex turtleneck. I'll never figure out how either Ted or Booster's cowls are actually attached but -- any excuse to draw spandex turtleneck.
tilly_stratford: (Blue & Gold)
It began when I started reading this series:

(Fun, clever and occasionally heart-rending.)

It was rather continuity heavy (seeing as the plot largely concerned Booster time-traveling through the DC universe setting things right) but nothing I couldn't wing with an occasional peek at Wikipedia. It was a bigger obstacle figuring out its jumping-on-point when I hadn't read 52, which the entire series was a direct continuation of (notice the issue title!).

And so...

I had to go back )

When it comes to cape comics I kinda both love and hate the convoluted continuity -- it's so different from the other comics I read. I like how all the characters are connected in some way, even if they've hardly met.

It's actually the only way I can really appreciate DC's heaviest hitter (pun unintended), Superman. I'm loathe to pick up a comic where he's the main character, but I absolutely love seeing him through other characters' eyes.

And while tracking the continuity of these two characters (Beetle and Booster) is hard (Booster debuted in eighties for chrissakes, it's not that long ago), I comfort myself with the knowledge that it's not as complicated as, say, Cyclops or Wolverine.
tilly_stratford: (Blue & Gold)
I've not bailed on physical copies of comics yet, believe me. In fact I recently finished two miniseries(es) I've been looking forward to reading for years - literally YEARS!

I'm talking about Formerly Known as the Justice League and I Can't Believe it's Not the Justice League; Collectively known as Super Buddies! Basically they were mid-noughties sequels to the late-eighties-early-nineties Justice League International, made by the same creative team featuring (most of) the same characters.

You KNOW how much I love Justice League International. It was a superhero title known for being comedic, but still very heartfelt and it tackled many of the same villains and conflicts as the "traditional" Justice League. It had a lot of heart.

And then years later came this reunion, and -- well sure it's frequently hilarious and unpredictable (I yelled "Oh my God!" and giggled a fair number of times), but I had surprisingly many issues with Super Buddies.

Bullet list just because )


So it wasn't all that it could be. I've a solution though: Even back in the JLI days there was this running joke about there being a promotional comic book in-universe about the League's exploits, only dumbed down a lot (Booster in particular used to get quite offended by it). So I'm just going to go ahead and believe Super Buddies is that comic-book-within-the-comic-book. And I'm happier for it.
tilly_stratford: (Blue & Gold)
So I finished reading 52 late last night. And I might have been in such an emotional state it took me quite a while to calm down enough to fall asleep. Good golly what a ride that was.

52 is the first comic I've read all through on my phone, via the Comixology app. I still prefer physical copies, but buying and downloading one issue at a time means that I can pace myself in an entirely different way than when I buy trade paperbacks.

And you can't beat that handiness: I've been able to read comics wherever there's been a wifi setup. I've read 52 in hotel rooms, draped over strange beds and shouting "Oh my God" to myself at random intervals.

So yes, the plot of 52 itself - THIS is what huge events and dire consequences look like in a comic book world! Dear Lord. And so many characters I'd only had a passing knowledge of becoming so dear to me: Black Adam (which I always regarded as an evil, colour-swapped Captain Marvel), Dr. Will Magnus (who lives and copes with bipolar disorder! Who uses psychopharma and isn't demonized for it!), The Question and so many more.

And Booster Gold. Oh God. The only thing I knew going in (and the main reason I started reading it), was that Booster Gold had a massive role to play in the event. And I wasn't disappointed.

I don't think I've ever been as upset at a comic book cover:

What a ride.
tilly_stratford: (Blue & Gold)
I suddenly got curious about the existence of comic-centric songs and the internet proved me right. The only problem with songs in various "Top X songs written about comics" lists was that A) Like Black Sabbath's 'Iron Man', they weren't actually written with comic book characters in mind, or B) Like Wings' 'Magneto and Titanium Man', they weren't particularly good.

So hey, I made my own. With some half-assed graphics thrown in because I felt like it.

She talks like a Daily Planet reporter )


Ookla The Mook: 'Stop Talking about Comic Books or I'll Kill You'

I just couldn't care less if they bring back Kraven
And I don't care if Spider-Man's a clone
Stop spending all our cash on back issues of the Flash
Or I swear to God you're gonna spend your twilight years alone
When all else fails.
tilly_stratford: (Blue & Gold)
I once bought some second-hand action figures of two of my favourite superheroes. I always intended to make it a little collection of superheroes to have on top of a shelf somewhere (shh, it makes me happy). But then I sort of got stuck trying to choose which figure to get next.

Meanwhile, the line that had produced my Beetle and Booster figures (DC Universe Classics) ended due to economical trouble (whether this was due to the company's terrible sales model is up to debate). Whoops. But THEN it returned under a different name (Signature Collection) and I thought, "Hell, why not throw a few bucks their way".

And a little photo story, because I'm a big child.

Hmm )

Collectors have their wish list of characters they want to see made as action figures.

I've come to realize I'd love some sort of Executive Line - all the DC characters that don't run around in spandex, but are big personalities in the superhero comics even so. There's Sue Dibny, for one, who was an official member of the Justice League at one point. Also Maxwell Lord (though they'd probably give us the blah villain version), and oh, Amanda Waller (who was actually made as a Justice League Unlimited figure back in the day).

But now I'm back to where I was: Whichever figure would it be appropriate to get next?
tilly_stratford: (Fops with canes are teh sex)
I went to the movies and saw Les Misérables with my mum.

I've mentioned it before, I'm a recovering Les Mis obsessive (both book and musical). So when friends who've never cared one jot about musicals suddenly got obsessive about this one movie I was puzzled. Was it because the performances in it were so mind blowing, or just because the musical is so darn good?

This gon' get wordy )

So when the DVD comes, yeah I guess I'll have to splurge on it, even if there were elements that annoyed me to hell and back. In the meantime, mum has said we need to watch "the real one" (the tenth anniversary concert, you can't beat that Dream Cast) soon, and trying to remember the names of the ABC students made me realize it's high-time I reread the book (How many times have it been now? I stopped counting after the fourth read-through).
tilly_stratford: (Blue & Gold)
I have to return my lovely new smartphone because there's something wrong with the battery, buhh. Just when I was getting good and dependent on it.

And my digital comics! In Norway, comic book shops (the one chain we do have) mostly sell TPBs, so if you want to get into a new comic you usually have to splurge on one of those and pray to the Allfather you'll like it. The Android Comics app has revolutionized all of that for me, with first issues of a series often being completely free to download, and subsequent issues costing as little as 5 or 11 kroner.

So I read the first (free!) issue of Grant Morrison's Animal Man, and immediately saw something I took as a good sign - references to Justice League International (I know they were the active Justice League at the time but still I'm all "Ooh! Aknowledgement!"), with Booster, Beetle and the rest participating in some kind of cheesy Live Aid parallel. Beetle posing with Stevie Wonder, God I love eighties' comics.

What can Blue Beetle do? (Pushes glasses with finger, wipes Cheeto dust off lap) Uhh, actually Ted Kord (Blue Beetle) besides being a fine acrobat, was one of the greatest inventors of the DC universe, and headed K.O.R.D. Industries (Kord Omniversal Research and Development), which rivaled even Wayne Enterprises (BATMAN'S company!) at one point (before becoming on of its subsidiaries). So there.

(/Kidding, I've never eaten Cheetos in my life).
tilly_stratford: (Deadpool day)
This is a continuation of my previous list of Five Comic Book Characters That Intrigue Me For Silly Reasons (and its recap), but I decided I had to rephrase it this time. "These are characters I'd like to check out" doesn't necessarily work when I've already encountered them in big comic book events or crossovers. Still, some of these titles are listed only because some character intrigues me for silly reasons, but not all. Some just seem like genuinely good reads.

Anyway, enough with the explenations, here we go.

Ranging from least to most interesting )

For the record I hear good things about the ongoing Hawekeye series, but I haven't really put in enough research to see if it'll suit me. Also I was thinking about listing the old Elongated Man comics, but he has become so familiar to me through Justice League Europe he didn't seem to fit the list somehow.
tilly_stratford: (Fops with canes are teh sex)
Son of Fury is a silly little 1942 movie that is not the sequel to a movie named "Fury". It's got the gorgeous Tyrone Power wearing nothing but an immodest pair of shorts and still every iota of my attention was spent on George Sanders playing the villain. No one can eat grapes like George Sanders. Or purr at Tyrone Power, "Take off your coat, and your education will begin." (I almost died.)

It's not even a good, multi-layered villain or anything. Straight-up cardboard villain. And again, I don't find George Sanders physically attractive. Tyrone Power, on the other hand, was one tasty dish.

I am finding an unattractive man sexy. This confuses me. (Finding a dead actor sexy, of course, happens several days a week).

I'm looking forward to watching Sanders on the big screen at the Hitchcock festival. Rebecca I believe. Something about jumping out a window.
tilly_stratford: (Astaire: Wry smile)
This came out of a desire to try to colour something shiny (like a shiny hiney). And because I've always felt vaguely guilty about that Blue Beetle drawing not having a companion Booster Gold piece.

I wonder why flying superheroes even bother with walking )

I aknowledge that the drawings I do still differ a lot from how I want them to be, but I think I can spot some improvement compared to, say, the Beetle drawing I made last year.
tilly_stratford: (Holmes: Curious collection)
Yes here I am again. There've been some troubles with unstable internet access, but things are getting better all the time, and I'm switching companies tomorrow.

So what do you do in the evenings without internet when there's nothing but boring Olympic Games on the telly?

Games. You do games. Gaming.

Personally, I just finished Dragon Age II!

Also I played and completed L.A. Noire!

Right now I've gone on to the first Mass Effect game. I'm really intrigued by the "your choices carry weight in the sequels too" thing (which was very neatly done in Dragon Age 2), but eh, I really don't like those kind of dour grey sci-fi settings. I'm nine hours in and so far I just feel like I've done nothing but gotten lost in a lot of grey corridors, and done a lot of cover-based shooting at Geths.

Sometimes when I'm not gaming I'm reading. Right now it's The Tiger's Wife by Téa Obreht, and a massive one that I bought for my bachelor research but never read, about the plight of the common woman throughout Norwegian history.

Oh, and I'm still reading Justice League comics. Still early nineties issues, oh dear.

Oh wow, it's been so long since I wrote a long, random post just because I'm bored. And I'm not used to sitting on this hard sofa like this, ow ow ow.
tilly_stratford: (Lupin III: Go getter)
Oh gosh, watching the finale of the new Lupin series was one of the last things I did before I moved out of my rooms in Bergen and I've been busy so I've sort of had a week and a half to overthink it (and partially forgetting I was going to do another entry about it, oops) and wow my grammar is shot to hell right now.

But yes, the first Lupin TV series to run since the eighties has just finished and now I'm back to having watched every. single. bit of Lupin anime (apart from a recent OVA titled Lupin Family All-Stars, plus some silent sketches from the Mankatsu TV show), boo.

But yes, finale. And thoughts about the overall series. Mostly the latter.

Ep. 13: 'The Woman Called Fujiko Mine, part 2' )

Woo, finished! You survived! Here's your "I lived through Tilly's volatile reactions to the new Lupin TV series" medal!
tilly_stratford: (Astaire: Wry smile)
Agh, finally managed to fall asleep sometime around five in the morning (in part because I couldn't stop myself from finishing the second season of Game of Thrones, fair enough), and at seven the construction workers across the street started with their pneumatic drills and angle grinders. I could just cry. There must be something about things like that in the Geneva Convention.

But Game of Thrones, oh my God. Quality television. 2013 can't come fast enough. I know there are quality books too, of course, but for once I'm reveling in the fact that I haven't a single clue how the story is going to unfold. Every death (I understand there are going to be a lot of those) comes as a complete surprise to me. I love stories where no one is safe, no matter how loveable.

And ooh that nigh-perfect marriage of actors (Peter Dinklage! Charles Dance! Michelle Fairley!) and editing, and sets, and ooooh costumes! Every episode I pray for more Littlefinger, because I'm a sucker for all his outfits. Seems like I'm not the only one. Daenarys has also been sporting some badass clothes lately, mmmm.

And obviously my desire to rear baby dragons is at an all-time high.

I want one.
tilly_stratford: (Deadpool day)
Ah, that's Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney FINALLY finished! The franchise never made it to Norway (and so the hunt for the next game begins), which means it was the internet that brought it to my attention - for better or for worse. I remember my preconceptions (ca. 2005) about the setup pretty much went "There's an attorney with spiky hair who yells "Objection!" a lot, and then there's a fop who's some kind of villain, and they're gay for each other? Also there's a detective named Gumshoe who's a complete and utter moron."

And that was pretty much it.

Reaction post and stuff )

In summary: Gosh this game was fun, I need to find a job so I can get money and order the sequel.

tilly_stratford: (Lupin III: Go getter)

Ep. 5: 'Bloody Triangle' )


tilly_stratford: (Default)

March 2015



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