End of the Year Review 2010

End of the Year Review 2010

I heard it explained that January 1 2010 was not in fact the start of the new decade. The new decade starts once we clock past December 31 and the debt of 365 days multiplied by ten (less three days for leap years) is paid.

Ten years sounds a long time but the rate of change we’re experiencing in technology and culture makes its passing seem swift.

People are spitting HD video over the web via the phones even though basic picture messaging didn’t start until around 2002.

The music industry made its peace with digital downloads by offering customers convenience in a way the movie industry still hasn’t – 3D will NOT save you.

Smoking was banned in pubs in a move that was seemingly sponsored by Facebook to get users socialising online.

Twenty-something college drop-outs whose parents told them playing video games was a waste of time had the last laugh as they cashed in their millions via online poker, while bankers who should have known better but clearly didn’t are allowed to re-buy into their main event after going bust.

News is streamed 24 by 7 on multi-channel multi-platform devices to a generation that isn’t broken into the habit of reading a newspaper, while traditional newsrooms have struggled to cope with dwindling resources in the face of being everywhere and not charging a penny.

In short, we’ve gone through a huge amount of change, and every time we think we’re coming to terms with how this “new” world works, we’re caught up in a torrent of change again.

Ingestion at the expense of digestion.

The trend is especially prevalent in comic books and horror films.

Comics are currently trading on an artificial cushion of zeitgeist fuelled by Hollywood interest in licensing properties. Built in audience? Check. Bold colourful concept? Check. Action-figure and lunchbox merchandising? Check.

While moves like digital comics are a change in the delivery mechanism (and a convenient one, too) it matters little if the comics people are reading fail to keep pace with the stories and language of modern living.

The same is true of horror films. There has been very little this year to write home about. A Serbian Film was shocking in a way a news report about something shocking happening is – arresting for the time it’s on until the mass of people switch stations and go back to their dinner.

Horror used to disturb, creep and furrow into unexplored cavities of the psyche. You now get the same experience catching the bus when the hoodie in the back blasts Eminem on the speakerphone. In this way, the horror genre has yet to truly tilt at the joints that keep us awake in the 00s.

Maybe that’s a hint on how I should progress in 2011.

We’ll see.

Have a Happy New Year.

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posted by JP at 11:01 pm  

london horror comic mobile

Horror on the move

Testing mobile posting. Spooky!

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posted by JP at 11:59 am  

X-Mas Mash-Up

X-Mas Mash-Up

Re-reading Alan Moore’s “From Hell” with “A Muppet Christmas Carol” playing on the TV in the background and imagining how awesome a mash-up between the two would be.

Happy X-Mas to all!

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posted by JP at 10:30 am  

Grant Morrison Talking with Gods – Review

Grant Morrison Talking with Gods – Review

Just got back from the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) which was screening the documentary about superstar comic-book writer Grant Morrison.

The documentary by director Patrick Meaney charts Morrison’s childhood through to his early work in the eighties and how his experiments with magic and travelling the world have informed his writing.

Talking with Gods also examines Morrison’s love of superheroes and his use of characters like Batman and Superman as modern myths to inspire us with hope in our daily real-world lives.

Morrison says in the film that the atom bomb started off as an idea that was brought into the real world by people. So why not have an idea like Superman that could beat a bomb and bring that into the world?

It’s this child-like view of optimism that centres the unconventional discussions around concepts like magic and encounters with aliens from other dimensions and makes the film enjoyable.

It also gives the viewer an understanding of how Grant is able to so often reboot characters like Superman and Batman with huge success.

Morrison’s ability to get to the core of why a character was created in the first place and then using that essence to solve problems people are facing today is part of his writing’s appeal and is the complete opposite approach to depicting heroes with feet of clay.

While Talking with Gods features contributions from comic book heavyweights like Warren Ellis and Mark Waid, it does lack a critical appraisal of Morrison’s work or any explanation to the non-comics audience of what has made his work unique.

Notably absent from interviewees is fellow Scottish scribe, Mark Millar, whose career revamping Marvel Comics’ line of characters draws parallels with Morrison’s work at DC and who could have provided some closer insights.

If you’re a fan of Morrison and want to get a bit more into what influences his writing as well as the man himself then do check out Talking with Gods.

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posted by JP at 12:24 am