Saturday, 8 December 2012

Batman Chess Set - Red Robin, Huntress & the Bat-Signal

Big, big box arrived and in it these three beauties. I'm not doing anything to any of them - Red Robin's red is metallic but not very noticible, Huntress' is a tad garish but it works at this scale, and the bonus Batman on Bat-Signal hasn't any metallic to it at all. And a very nice sculpt it is too.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

This week in 1980 - Batman 330

Let's have a look what was going on 32 years ago shall we?
EXCELLENT cover by Lopez, looking like a nod back to the late 60's issues, what with the poses, positioning and speech (chum indeed). Although Talia from the back looks like an awful lit Black Widow from the Avengers here. The cover promises a "special 25-page shocker!" and they're not wrong - shockingly awful. A load of tripe involving a villain putting out a bounty on Batmans head to anyone who can kill him before he's sent to Death Row, its a long drawn out mess, with rubbish bad guys:
and some pretty poor art. Irv Novick could do a decent Bat-tale, but not here - telephoning it in, with a downright odd looking Batmobile amongst the mess:
Talia pops up for all of two panels and then exits again:
Which makes the cover a nonsense as that scene, nor anything like it actually appears here, leaving the suspicion things are being set up for a larger, more important development to come. Not read any of these around this time for 32 years and i sure don't remember it. Poor. Bat-rating - 2/10

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Modern Master Vol 5 J.L. Garcia-Lopez

If you're a fan of the artsist - and why wouldn't you be? - i urge you to track dwon a copy of this brilliant book on the brilliant artist:
Soft cover A4-sized, its a very indepth interview covering the artists long career, lavishily illustrated and, for Bat-fans, some excelltn and real intertesting examples, be them pencil layouts:
Character style sheets:
and, something i didn't know he did, concept art for Batman Returns:
Highly recommended. Bat-Rating - 8/10.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Batman Chess Set - Bane & Hush

Two new arrivals yesterday. Bane's a real nice sculpt and all i'll be doing with him is to wash and highlight the metallic bits. Hush too is a lovely bit of sculpting but... oh dear, the paintjob - bright metallic pink for the straps etc that should be red, and gold instead of the leather coat. Luckily, the face and rest are ok, so will be a quick remedy.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Batman Chess Set - Scarecrow all done

That's him finished then and, apart from Mr Freeze, he's my favourite figure from this range so far.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Two-Face by Marc Lamming

Was at Demoncon4 yesterday and, is my wont right now, i was after a specific villain from a specific artist. I knew Marc would be there and his gritty, moody B&W work just screams Two-Face to me, so that's what i asked him for. Boy, was i glad i did - not only did he come up with this STUNNING piece (love the bald evil side, which makes total sense - if your face is sprayed with acid, you wouldn't have a full head of hair after would you?)but Marc said he really enjoyed doing it as he'd never done the fella before. Happy to help Marc!

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Batman Chess Set - Harley Quinn & Black Canary

These lovely ladies turned up today and, yet again, it looks like they're reigning in the metallic paints as there's hardly any on either. So, no need for a repaint here, which is just as well as i don't fancy trying those tights (if you see what i mean):
And the faces are pretty good too. Yeah, Harley's eyes are a bit wonky, but i couldn't get anywhere near as good as this paintjob here:

Saturday, 1 September 2012

World's Finest 224 - Aug 1974

Bought this for only a quid from my local comic shop just lately. Now, with one very important exception (which i'll get to in due course), i never read this title as a nipper. So i thought i'd have a gander at what was what 38 years ago. We've got five tales here - a Johnny Quick, a Metamorpho, two pretty old Supes & Bats tales and the most up to date - "The Shocking Switch Of The Super-Sons!" A VERY naff tale of Clark JR and Bruce JR failing to get along with their Dad's, so decide to stay at an "Encounter Camp" with them to heal the riff. Along the way we get psuedo-hippy teachings, a mystery involving a missing robot - who turns out to be camping there too, bizarro set-pieces such as Superman and Batman jigging with their boys:
very dated, early 70's dialogue:
And a Scooby Doo resolution and wrapping up to the tale:
As i say, naff. Bat-Rating - 2/10

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Favourite Bat-Films - #3 - Batman

First ever film i saw at the pictures, the film that started this Bat-obssession, a true classic of pop culture and very, very funny. Its hugely impressive - just LOOK at that Batboat and Batcopter - and emminately quotable. The "sometimes you just can't get rid of a bomb" and the anti-shark repellent moments are, of course, fondly remembered, but i think the "every one of 'em has a mother" ad-lib by Burgess Meredith and the Batcopter crash landing at the foam rubber convention are right up there with them. A brilliant, brilliant film, let down slightly by Julie Newmar not being Catwoman - although Lee Merriwhether does a great job.

Monday, 27 August 2012

Batman The Animated Series vs The Batman

Just finished the second box set of "Batman The Animated Series" that i got for my birthday, and its been real interesting.
I hadn't seen it since the 90's and i was surprised at how word perfect i was on a lot of the tales. Even more surprised at how bad it looked. Okay, i'm not watching a remastered Blu Ray edition and i am watching it on a 50" Plasma, but: a lot of the animation looks REALLY crude now. And i don't mean them emulating the Fleischer shorts of the 40's - which is still commendable - rather that a lot of sequences look very clumsily done, a lot are very badly focused, and i gave up on how many times i saw a hair in the gate. But, still a fantastic show, with characters incredibly close to their comic conterparts, an excellent Bruce Wayne and a just as good Batman. Okay, a few of the tales are a bit duff but, apart from the animation flaws, still holds up.
Today i've introduced the Sprogs to the later "The Batman" series which, again, i've not seen in a while. Maybe its unfair to watch it straight after the above, but its striking at just how good the animation is compared to that. Plus, i love the look of Batman, with his blunt, no-nose cowl and can take the bull-necked Bruce. Hard to take though are the villain redesigns, which seem unnecessary except from a merchandising point of view and the hideous, very annoying "Batwave" alarm. Thinking about the two of them together, they both have their good and bad points so, if i had to choose which is my favourit, i'd say, right now, its a draw. Here's the two opening credits to compare and contrast. What do you think?

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Mr Freeze by Jack Lawrence

Jack Lawrence was sketching at my local comic shop today so thought i'd ask him if he'd contibute to my Rogues Gallery project. But who do i ask for? I've decided to ask for someone that i think each artists style would suit and, as Jack has a clean crsip almost Manga-style to him, i thought Mr Freeze is suitably unscary enough to fit the bill. So this is what Jack came up with:
Love what he's done - echos of the animated version, but much beefier. Cheers Jack!

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Batman Chess Set - four more

Getting really good now:
Nightwing and Katana go straight on the shelf, as they look just fine and dandy as is, with the metallics used being in keeping with thier outfits:
The Scarecrow is a fantastic sculpt, but needs a total repaint:
Best of this bunch though, and by far my favourite so far, is Mr Freeze. BRILLIANT figure, off-set by a very well done clear dome, the metallics used here are totally in keeping. Yeah, the eyes are a tad big but i can live with that - and how would i get the dome off to correct them?

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Scarecrow by Conor Boyle

Inspired by Leigh Gallagher's STUNNING commission he did for a guy called Alan of all the Bat-villian together:
I've now got the notion of asking folk at cons etc if they could do me thier version of a particular baddie from the Bat-universe, choosing one to match the artists particular style. First up is Conor Boyle and i went with Scarecrow for him as i've seen his brilliantly creepy Dark Judges from Judge Dredd that's he's done for folk, and so knew he'd come up with the goods. And, boy, did he:

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Batman chess set - board and new figures

Two big boxes were waiting when we got back from our hols. The biggest held the colossal chess board for the figures, along with four new pieces:
The Ra's Al Ghul and Poisen Ivy are pretty good, what with having hardly any of the crappy metallics paint job on them, so i'm leaving then as is. Ridller and Gordon are going to need work though:

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Batman 186 - Staz Johnson

VERY pleased to be posting this up! Back when i initially approached Staz with a view to having a go at this lil' project, he cam back to me with "do you mind if i do it in the style of the 60's ABC bubblegum cards?" Mind? Of course i don't mind - (A) One of the appeals of this undertaking is to see folk go their own way with the basic three elements of the image and what they do is up to them, (B)i was semi-obssesed by those cards back then. So i was very happy to receive this prelim a while back for approval:
Love it just at this stage, but was even more blown away when the finished piece arrived today:
Love. It. Love how Staz has maintained the basic positioning of the figures, while changing the angles, love the teethwork on all three, love the creepiness of the lil' fella, love the grey giving everything weight, especially love the very authentic Bat-caption. Staz - you the (Bat) man!

Friday, 20 July 2012

Dark Knight Rises - tiny spoliers

Saw it today and, as its opening day, really can't say too much. Just some capsule comments then: It was alright i guess. Far too long. Far too clever for its own good. A bit choppy - though that could be trimming to make it a 12A here Quite a surprising amount of non-sensical moments. And, sorry, didn't like Bane at all. Nor the multiple endings. Best thing by a VERY long stretch - Catwoman. Whoops - she's not called that in the film is she? Ann Hathaway was a revalation. Always thought her a bit wet but here she's channelling Michelle P and is just fantastic. And looks great. Oh, and The Bat. Want a kit of it now. Not as good as Dark Knight, bit better than Batman Begins.

Monday, 16 July 2012

Double Bill

With Dark Knight Rises out on Friday and my cinema showing a double bill of Batman Begins and Dark Knight tomorrow night, this morning saw me putting on both to check the quality of the prints, flitting from one to the other, having both screens totally to myself. Sometimes a Projectionists job is the best in the world.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Batman Double Double Comics 3

Popped into my local comic shop yesterday and he had a box full of late 60's/early 70's comics he'd taken as a job lot off someone. Had a trawl and got a few, including an issue of this title, which i've read about, but never got back then. Its clearly British, with its 2/6 then 12p price tags, but its packed full of sixties thrills from the Bat-universe:
Well, i say that, but its all pretty duff: Bruce reminded of a high school wimps humiliation before, wouldn't you know it, he pops up up still bearing a grudge from that time:
Clearly its 1966, with the strip emulating the TV show, or the TV show emulating the strip with its action and sound effects:
But we've got a reproducion of Batman Issue 186, which as i've said, is THE issue for me from my childhood. Apart from the amazing cover, these two images have stayed with me all these years - the blow up Robin and the house being lifted up. Dunno why, but i'm trying to think back to to the mind of a 7 year-old, and that ain't easy:

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

My favourite Dark Knight Rises image so far.

So, the cinema i work in has started to fill up with variant quads, one-sheets, rather lame standee's and lovely 8 foot banners. Best image so far is one fo those banners and is thsi - don't she look great? Love the pose, the outfit material, the fact the mask has no eyes, and the barely discernable cat ears. Terrific stuff.

Monday, 2 July 2012

Batman 186 - Dave Taylor

Batman was my world when i was little (well, him, dinosaurs and Romans), the spin-off from the Adam West TV show was the first film i ever saw at the cinema, my collecting of the bubblegum cards was borderline obssesive and, according to my big sisters, i could read before i started school, mainly from reading the imported Batman titles. I loved them - reading and re-reading them endlessly and cutting out the characters from the lovely glossy cover paper to use as puppets (ouch). I loved them all dearly, but its issue 186 that's left the biggest mark. This image i was fascinated by, mainly the lil' guy and his pointy nose, i used to study it and study it and study it. Of course, my original copy has long gone and i got my replacement i guess about 20 years agao. Just as well, 60's editions have really rocketed in price these last few years. Just looking at this JPEG now, it still dredges up those feelings that i can't quite explain - a mixture of nostalgia and something a bit unsettling. Read the story and its complete tosh - the Joker decides if Batman can have a junior partner, why not him? But, that cover. I love it dearly. And i got to thinking, last year when i was asking artists if they could depict certain favourite comic characters of mine from my childhood, that it might be an idea to ask for recreations of this cover - send the image to the artist and ask them for their take on it. I'm hoping to collect quite a few of these and it'll be interesting to see folks' takes on it. First to deliver the goods has been Dave Taylor. Dave has been a top bloke to me, what with producing a piece for my old characters project and a lovely robot design for an ad i was producing. I follow his Blog anyway but, since he started on his Batman, Death By Design project, i pop in to see what he's up to even more. It was seeing the fantastic teasers he was putting up, along with his clear love of the character, that made me ask if he'd be up for it. He sure was, although i'd have to wait till his decks were cleared. Well, they've been cleared and here's what he's come up with! Dave done an interesting thing with Bats, a sort of halfway point between the Infantino 60's original and his Death By Design version. His Joker also seems to a hybrid between the original and his take on the fella seen in that Arkham special a while back. He's really gone to town on the lil' guy though, which is great as he was the focal character for me as a nipper. But this one is far more menacing and downright strange than the original. Love it!

Monday, 23 April 2012

Batman by Conor Boyle

Was at the Maidstone Demoncon convention and already had a good natter with top bloke and upcoming star artist Conor Boyle. I'd already had a sketch off him too so left him alone. But then i was having another wander before leaving and he was by himself so stopped to ask the day had been. He was doing this Batman sketch while talking and aksed him who it was for, thinking the guy should really be there to see it coming to life. Bit surprised to learn it was actually a "doodle" as Conor didn't have any sketching to do. More surprised when he said i could have it. Cheers Conor!

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Batman Chess Set - Catwoman & Penguin

Here's the next two then - and i'm leaving well alone.
Catwoman is pretty much perfect and an excellent sculpt, with her really only needing some lipstick. The lenses of her goggles are the only bit that's the crappy metallic, but it works on them.
Penguin has more of the metallics about him - trousers, umbrella, hat - but he's such an outlandish and garish character that they're kinda in keeping so are staying. Lovely work on the face here too.

Friday, 16 March 2012

This Month In... 1971

What a terrific cover by Neal Adams.
A brilliantly nasty baddie in the foreground, very House Of Mystery, and a superb classic Batman beyond that.
Shame he's not so good on the inside:

Art's by Bob Brown and its just not very good.
Neither is the tale - a very silly one featuring a disfigured Jock out for revenge because the artist who painted his portrait made him wait another 5 mins to finish the painting, making him late for a hot date, making him drive badly, making him crash, making his face face so horrible.
Well, it certainly looks horrible on the cover.
But not on the inside and, whew, that's quite a mouthful to spout when you're taking a rubber mask off:

We've got a back-up Batgirl strip here too, which again is kinda daft, with a very non girl-like Barbara:

So, a pretty duff issue, only of note really to me for this ad:

Which i used to pour over and long for back then.
2/10 (and that's mainly for the ad)