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Mortal Engines (December 22, 2018)

Thursday, 18 January 2018

X-O Manowar Returns To Earth In April...


After a year on the war-torn alien world of Gorin, on the other side of the galaxy, Aric of Dacia returns to Earth in April's X-O Manowar #14... just in time for Harbinger Wars II.

From publisher Valiant's website:
After a brutal year spent waging war on the far side of the galaxy, Aric of Dacia must now face the one thing he yearned to leave behind: planet Earth.

But as the man called X-O Manowar prepares for a world-shaking homecoming, he must come to terms with a savage awakening inside himself…and the obligations that still await him on our world.

Just as the forces of HARBINGER WARS 2 – Valiant’s seismic 2018 crossover event – begin to vie for Aric’s loyalties, a long-awaited reunion might just shatter everything we’ve come to believe about the fallen warrior-king in control of the universe’s most powerful weapon…
This standalone issue, which also serves as a jumping-on point for the title, is due to hit comic stores on April 25.

Well, That Wasn't What I Was Hoping For...


The reviews when IT came out at the cinema had me totally stoked for the home video release, and the carefully crafted trailers made it look like the epitome of the "'80s kids on bikes investigate weirdness" sub-genre.

So, I had high hopes for this DVD, when it was released this week.

Unfortunately, IT fails to deliver on so many levels, with the horror aspect being the most disappointing.

Replete with trite jump-scares and a ridiculously omnipotent antagonist, the film lacks anything resembling subtly, intelligence, or heart.

Derry is an archetypal Stephen King New England town, that just happens to have the highest death and disappearance rate in the country.

Beyond that, under the surface, it's a pretty grim place to live - demonic monster aside - with a pack of brutal thugs running amok and a generation of adults, numb to reality, that range from disinterested and disconnected to the downright creepy and vile.

A group of stereotypical tweens, known as The Losers Club (the one with a stutter, the fat one, the black one, the one who talks too much, the hypochondriac, the girl with a reputation etc), begin to suspect that there's something evil living in the sewers, when they decide to spend their summer break trying to find the vanished younger brother of one of their own.

What they find is a shapechanging, illusion-weaving, monster that masquerades as Pennywise The Dancing Clown (Bill Skarsgård), who wakes from its slumber every 27 years to feast on the flesh and fear of the community.

This demonic being demonstrates such a breadth of power that its ultimate defeat (albeit temporary - there's another chapter of the film coming down the pipe in 2019), at the hands of our youthful protagonists, borders on the preposterous.

And let's not forget that the kids are responsible for the deaths of, at least, two people (people, admittedly, who probably deserved it), but escape without any consequences - psychologically or physically.

For all its shortcomings (and they are plentiful), IT is paced well and shot beautifully, buoyed by an atmospheric score, but lacks originality and a true sense of horror at its core.

You feel like there should be an escalating sense of dread and tension as The Losers Club plunge deeper into the mystery under the town, but it's a video game monster hunt in execution that simply fails to engage - except on the most superficial of levels.

I suspect part of the problem is that many of the elements which made Stephen King's infamous book so successful have been recycled and refined in subsequent horror movies and thrillers, so that now seeing them attached to an adaptation of the source material they feel like old hat.

Perhaps, IT will improve upon a second viewing, with my expectations lowered to a more reasonable level, but it certainly isn't the classic that the door-stopper book is said to be or that I was expecting from the gushing praise the film garnered upon its cinematic release.

Marvel Wants To Crush Their Enemies And Hear The Lamentations Of Their Women...


A new deal between Marvel Entertainment and Conan Properties International sees Robert E Howard's famous barbarian returning to the Marvel stable next year.

It was in the pages of Marvel comics that I first encountered Conan The Barbarian, in small, reprint digests, that ignited the fires of inspiration in my tiny Dungeons & Dragons-saturated mind with their wild locations, fearsome monsters, and unstoppable protagonist.

It looks like Dark Horse - which has published Conan titles since 2003 - has lost out again to Marvel: first its Star Wars license and now Conan.

From Marvel's blog:
With over 650 issues from 1970 to 2000, Marvel brought fans the adventures of Conan The Barbarian, Conan the Adventurer, Conan the Savage, and Savage Sword of Conan, among other popular titles.

“From Barry Windsor-Smith to John Buscema to Neal Adams, a legendary lineup of amazing artists brought Conan to life in the pages of Marvel comics,” said C.B. Cebulski, Editor-in-Chief of Marvel. “It’s a legacy we’re now going to live up to with the talent we have lined up for the Cimmerian barbarian’s homecoming in early 2019. We’re excited!”

With this deal, Marvel will again bring new and thrilling stories for Conan fans around the world. Details on upcoming comic book titles, collections, reprints, and creative teams will be shared at a later date.

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

New Mortal Engines Material From Philip Reeve This Year...

The hard-to-find Traction Codex is getting a complete makeover, and expansion, to be released
 as An Illustrated Guide To The World Of Mortal Engines

With the film adaptation of Mortal Engines on the horizon, it is unsurprising to learn that my favourite author, Philip Reeve, is returning to the universe that first drew him to my attention.

Announcing his forthcoming publishing plans, Mr Reeve revealed that he has a pair of Mortal Engines books lined up for 2018:
  • Night Flights - a collection of three short stories about the great Anna Fang, filling out details of her life that were only hinted at in the original Mortal Engines Quartet. This is due out in June.
  • An Illustrated Guide To The World Of Mortal Engines - a revised and expanded edition of the old Traction Codex. This is due out in November, ahead of the film's arrival on December 22.
Obviously, both of these are already on my 'wish list' for this year, and I'm also keeping an eye out for announcements of art books, 'making of' tomes etc from the cinematic end of the publicity machine.

2018 is going to be a great year for Mortal Engines fans! 

Weird Wednesday...

Wonder Woman Wednesday...

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Artistic Appreciation Of Anniversaries Past...

by Jeremy Hawkins

I don't always celebrate the anniversary of HeroPress in quite the same way as I have this year, but when I do I like to commission a unique piece of art to mark the occasion.

Here's a selection from previous years for you to feast your eyes upon.

by Jeremy Hawkins
by Jeremy Hawkins
by Reis O'Brien

Fine Dining To Mark My Bloggaversary...

Mmmmmm, carvery!

To celebrate the 11th anniversary of HeroPress, Rachel, Alice, and I went to The Clock House, in Tonbridge, at the weekend for a slap-up carvery meal.

The former tapas restaurant has recently rebranded itself as a family (and small dog) friendly establishment, offering a magnificent Sunday carvery.

I went for the turkey option, while Rachel had beef, and Alice had to settle for a bowl of water and the occasional treat.

Loving the fact that I'm gradually becoming more aware of an increasing number of shops and restaurants that are welcoming to our canine companion.

Afterwards, we went for an energising walk through the park, around the the castle, and then headed back home.

Please, sir, can I have some more?
My two favourite ladies...
A delightful picture of me stuffing my face...
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