Archive for March, 2011

Support Jay Potts’ World of Hurt web comic

Posted in Comics on March 27, 2011 by thebigsmoke

World of Hurt is an award-winning web comic which has been running since 2009. It’s an awesome blaxploitation-influenced comic strip with tough, hardboiled stories brilliantly rendered in black and white.

Now writer/artist Jay Potts wants to publish a hardcover collection of the first storyline, “The Thrill-Seekers”, about Isiah “Pastor” Hurt’s search for a missing college student. He’s using the Kickstarter website to hopefully make it happen, and says:

This Kickstarter project was started out of my desire to raise the funds to self-publish a graphic novel which collects the The Thrill-Seekers storyline. The graphic novel will also feature bonus material, such as production sketches, layouts and an introduction by author and filmmaker, David Walker of The graphic novel will be an 88-page hardcover book with a landscape format of 13″ X 6.5″ to match the original dimensions of the comic strip. Although the interiors will be black & white, the cover will be in full color. Part of the Kickstarter funds will also be used to pay for an artist to paint over my cover pencils to recreate the classic, pulp feel of a Blaxploitation movie poster.

This is something I can get behind, so I have pledged and am hoping Jay gets the start-up funds he needs. He’s offering rewards, including stickers, copies of the hardcover, original art and lots more, based on the size of individual pledges. If you’re interested, you can find more information about the project and how to pledge here.


Spaghetti Westerns, Part 9

Posted in Film on March 21, 2011 by thebigsmoke

Alright, so it’s been a while since I have posted up one of these. You see, for Christmas I was given Alex Cox’s book 10,000 Ways to Die: A Director’s Take on the Spaghetti Western. It’s essentially just a list of some of the more notable films from the genre, with a synopsis for each and some penned thoughts. However, Cox is much more erudite than I can manage, so stop reading and go buy his book. Seriously, it’s a great introduction to spaghetti westerns and full of insight. Realistically, it’s much better than anything I will ever manage on here.

What? Why are you still reading? Oh, okay, fine. If you’re still reading, I may as well provide some more lazy comments about another of these fine films. Although, honestly, I may as well be writing this in crayon on a toilet wall.

Day of Anger (I Giorni Dell’ira) (1967)

I’ve watched a lot of Lee Van Cleef films and Day of Anger is amongst his finest. In fact, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say it’s not his best film, but it’s his best performance. As aging gunslinger Frank Talby, he provides exactly the right level of cunning and menace from the off. What’s more, he makes the character truly ambiguous in a way that will have you alternately enthralled and appalled by his actions.

Alongside Van Cleef is Giuliano Gemma, who I mentioned briefly in a previous post about Tenebrae. I wasn’t overly impressed by Gemma when I saw him in Day of Anger, but it was the first film I saw him in. I’ve since seen him in a number of other films and he’s become one of my favourite spaghetti western actors; I’ll happily watch anything he’s in. In Day of Anger, Gemma plays an orphan, Scott Mary, mistreated by folk in the town of Clifton and treated like a virtual slave. Talby takes him under his wing, teaches him how to be a real gunslinger and how to stand up to the oppressive townsfolk.

A good portion of the film is like the spaghetti western equivalent of Karate Kid, as Scott eagerly absorbs the lessons of the older man. Later, however, it becomes apparent that mastering the art of killing comes at a high personal cost.

Day of Anger was directed by Tonino Valerii, who was Sergio Leone’s assistant director. As you might expect, this is a high quality spaghetti western. One of the greatest ever made.

What happens in New Vegas stays in New Vegas

Posted in Video Games on March 7, 2011 by thebigsmoke

I want to post up a quick note about the new Fallout: New Vegas game, which I purchased a week ago. It received a lot of criticism on release, but I’m enjoying it quite a lot. I guess I just love walking around post-apocalyptic landscapes collecting useless junk too much for my own good. I spend a lot of game time discarding sensor modules, tin cans and empty “Nuka Cola” bottles just so I can walk at a speed which isn’t cripplingly slow. If you’ve played any of the other games, you will know what I mean.

To me it’s obvious that the publisher, Bethesda, handed over the fabric of Fallout 3 to new developer Obsidian Entertainment, who have simply thrown together a new adventure based on old models. As a consequence the whole thing looks a bit dated and not enough of an improvement on the previous release to warrant more than faint praise from the majority of reviewers. The game is rushed and underdeveloped, which is borne out by a significant number of unfortunate glitches. That said, every Bethesda game I have owned has had massive glitches which have forced me to go back and play major portions, so maybe that’s just their trademark thing.

However, despite the gameplay quirks and the negative press reaction, I am confident you will like this if you liked Fallout 3. You might not love it, you might feel it could have been better, but even an unimaginative Fallout 3 follow up is more interesting than a lot of other games which are on the market. So, Fallout: New Vegas is a solid game for Fallout fans, but don’t bother with it if you weren’t bowled over by Fallout 3.

Cool stuff I want, Part 100,000,005: Reel Art Spider statue

Posted in Books, Film, Stuff on March 5, 2011 by thebigsmoke

Click on the pictures above to see more detail.

There’s a decent chance I’ll actually buy this, but I’m still trying to steel myself to spend the money on something which is essentially useless.

If you have no idea who the Spider is, well, you’re quite normal. He’s an almost forgotten pulp hero, one of the bloodiest, and you can find out more about him on this great site. Personally, I think he’s completely ace.

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