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Tuesday, 17 October 2017

There's A New Kid On The Blog...

"I have come to your world from the planet Zebulon 4 from the far-flung year of 1967! I bring you the gifts of girly pics and geeky links!"
Hot on the heels of this weekend's announcement by Al Bruno III that his venerable blog of "Internet Tomfoolery" would be moving away from cheesecake, comic book covers, humorous pictures, and movie trailers to focus his original fiction material, a new blog has beamed in from the outer reaches to space to quickly fill that void.

Describing itself as "the place where naughtiness and nerdliness come alive", Merwyin's Mystical Blog of Wonders, hosted by Merwyin the Magnificent, is a glorious grab-bag of, well, cheesecake, comic book covers, humorous pictures, and movie trailers...

As long as our extraterrestrial benefactor is keeping up his avalanche of posts he's not contemplating global annihilation, so pop on over, leave a comment, strike up a conversation, and help stave off a full-blown alien invasion!

D&DVD Of The Week: The Vikings (1958)


The Vikings, one of the most iconic movies from my youth, has been given a crisp new Blu-Ray release this week.

And while not laden with extras, it's still a worthwhile investment if you have such fond memories of this as I do.

Based on the 1951 novel by Edison Marshall and echoing the stories being retold in The History Channel's Vikings series, this action-packed 1950's epic primarily focuses on the seething resentment between churlish and vain Einar (the immortal Kirk Douglas) - son of legendary Viking king Ragnar Lodbrok (Ernest Borgnine) - and strong-willed slave Eric (my old chum Tony Curtis).

Einar is already pissed at Eric for disfiguring his face (one of many stand-out moments in this marvellous movie), but then they both find themselves drawn towards the kidnapped English princess Morgana (Psycho's Janet Leigh), who is, in turn, betrothed to the odious King Aella (Frank Thring) of Northumbria.

Treacherous Northumbrian nobleman Lord Egbert (James Donald), a long-time ally of Ragnar, happens to know that Eric is actually the heir to the throne of Northumbria... as well as a son of Ragnar (and therefore half-brother of Einar).

He hopes to use this knowledge to his own advantage, while exacting revenge on Aella through Ragnar's Vikings.

Beautifully filmed in vivid Technicolour by Oscar-winning Sevenoaks cinematographer Jack Cardiff (who I interviewed while I was working for the local paper there), the Blu-Ray makes The Vikings look as fresh and new as possible.

Kirk Douglas has never looked more menacing, Tony Curtis more handsome, and Janet Leigh more gorgeous.

Supported by an incredible cast, with breathtakingly detailed practical sets, and shot at a variety of eye-catching locations around Europe, under the guidance of director Richard Fleischer (Conan The Destroyer; 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea; Fantastic Voyage; Soylent Green; Doctor Dolittle; The Boston Strangler etc), it's no wonder that this movie has stayed with me since I saw it on TV as a young kid.

As was the fashion with many vintage films, the ending is rather abrupt (once its central storyline has concluded) and leaves a lot of points unresolved that would have 21st Century audiences racing to the Internet to moan about or resolve through fan-fiction.

But this doesn't distract from the non-stop adventure that drives the narrative from the opening narration of Orson Welles to the final credits.

To modern sensibilities, raised on the likes of Game of Thrones, the largely bloodless fight sequences and the occasionally theatrical acting may feel a bit dated, but truly this is a wonderful, engrossing, two-hour historical romp.

And any gamer worth his salt, once he's seen Einar's "axe climb", will be wanting to recreate that sequence in his next Dungeons & Dragons adventure...

Exiled and Outcast, X-O Manowar Goes Back To His Roots In January...


The unstoppable X-O Manowar begins the new year with a new story arc, that sees Aric Of Dacia exiled from the empire he conquered and hunted by a band of cold-blooded mercenaries.

Issue 11 of X-O Manowar is published by Valiant on January 24.

Having taken him from "soldier" to "general" to "emperor", the new storyline from Matt Kindt - and artist Ryan Bodenheim - is entitled Visigoth and charts the warrior's fall from grace.
Aric of Dacia’s bone-crushing climb to the throne of an alien world earned him scores of allies… and a legion of scorned enemies. Now, stripped of his crown and cast out of his kingdom, the man known as X-O Manowar must return to his roots as a sword-wielding warrior of Earth if he is to survive the relentless band of intergalactic bounty hunters that have been hired to kill him cold. But with few places left to turn, could the last Visigoth’s best hope be the all-powerful - but insidious - weapon he once swore away: the X-O Manowar armor?

Two Minutes On What It Takes To Be A Knight... At Medieval Times!


Medieval Times is a family dinner attraction inspired by an 11th-century feast and tournament. Customers are served a four-course meal and treated to sword fights and jousting tournaments.
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