Monday, 6 January 2014

I'M Back!!!!!

Over the past couple of months I have been a bit busy and unfortunately this blog has been put on the back burner. That will all change now we are into the new year.
Above is a selection of purchases that I have made in the past couple of month or were given to me by Santa.
I will be reviewing these or writing about them in the next couple of weeks/months so watch this space.

Friday, 15 November 2013

Night of the Doctor!!!

Paul Mcgann returns to his short lived roll as the Doctor in this short set up prequel to the Day of The Doctor the 50th anniversary episode check it out a must for all fans.

As a child I was brought up on a weekly diet of The Doctor through the late 70's and in to the 80's right up to when the show stopped with the 7th Doctor Sylvester McCoy.
I remember being as super excited kid when it was announced that the Doctor would be back in a TV movie which was planned to be the start of a new series.
The film saw the end of of Sylvester McCoy with him regeneration into Paul Mcgann.
Sadly there never was a new series starring Ncgann and we had to wait another 9 years for a weekly series this time with Christopher Eccleston as the the Doctor.
Mcgann played the Doctor in many audio versions and this is the first time we have seen him on the TV screens since the 1996 TV and it ties off a loose part of the cannon quite well.     

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Walking Dead Days Gone Bye

With the up and coming new series of the Walking Dead set to appear on our TV screens at the end of this week I have started to re-read some of my older Walking Dead comics and graphic novels starting with Days Gone Bye.

Days Gone Bye collects the first 6 issue of the on going comic book series into one place.
The comic starts at a very fast pace with the opening page shows Rick and Shane pinned down behind there police car being shot at by some I think (book never explains in full) escaped convict.
Rick ends up being shot in the chest and falls into a coma.
The book then cuts to Rick waking from his coma in a deserted hospital. Rick starts to stumble about the hospital looking for help and stumbles upon a canteen full of zombies.
It Transpires that between rick getting shot and waking from his coma the town and possibly the whole USA has been over run by the undead, this is another thing about the series which I find really interesting it is never explained how the undead take over or in fact if they have taken over the whole country or in fact the whole world.

Rick manages to escape the hospital and starts to make his way home on the way finding the town and mess and deserted but for a few Zombies (walkers).
Once Rick arrives home he finds his home empty his Wife and Son nowhere to be seen and then BANG he is back to being unconscious again after getting smacked over the head by the spade wheedling Duane.

Up to this point the comic book and the TV series is more or less a match like for like after this they start to go off in different directions.

The next part of the book Rick comes to and explains to Morgan what has happen to him and how come he knows nothing about the walkers. Morgan tells Rick the government advised via the media everyone to move to the bigger cities but he and Duane had decided to stay where they were.
Rick decides to head to Atlanta where he thinks his wife and son had headed as that's where his in laws lived. After sharing the police stations supply of guns ammo and supplies with Morgan Rick heads out for Atlanta in a Police Car.

At this point again the TV series and the comic differ in the TV series at this point a lot is made about the fact the Morgan's wife had been turned and was haunting them by turning up at there place and trying to get in most nights plus Rick gave Morgan a walkie talkie and said he would turn it on everyday at dawn to tell him whats going on in the comic there is non of this and to be honest it was a bit of a dead end part of the story line in the TV series anyway.

Rick makes his way to Atlanta in the police car but half way there it runs out of gas and in search of more Rick comes across a farm inside he finds a family that had committed mass suicide after finding no gas he force open the barn to find a horse that had been left there when the family killed themselves.
Rick and the horse then make there to Atlanta.

On the way Rick in a lazy conversation to the horse reminisces about the happiest time of his life the day his son Carl was born but he finds that this just makes him sad.

Very soon Rick and his horse are on the outskirts of the city of Atlanta which is a mess. Rick ventures further into the city but it is pretty obvious that the city is lost to the walkers. He is soon surrounded and falls from his horse which is quickly set upon by a large group of walkers.

This bit is pretty much the same in the comic as in the TV series and is the end of the first episode with Rick trapped in a abandoned tank.

In both the Comic book and the TV series Rick is saved by the sudden appearance of Glen who guides him out of the city.
Glen Takes Rick to the camp he and some other survivors have been staying since Atlanta fell to the walkers. On his arrival at he camp he is relived and and surprised to find there his wife Lori and his son Carl both of these had been protected by is best friend and police partner Shane.

This is the first time that we meet a lot of the main characters of this and the next couple of books.
Allen, Dale, Jim,Carol, Sophia, Amy, Andrea, Donna, Billy and Ben along with Glen, Shane,Lori and Carl are by the looks of it the only survivors from Atlanta and have set up camp around dales RV.

The book has no Darrel, Merle,T dog, Jacqui and there are Two more children. 

Camp life is okay with Rick and Shane more or less in charge of things. Glen and Rick make a near disastrous run in to Atlanta to find some more guns using walker parts to mask there smell.
The group settle in quite well with Rick and Shane teaching the others how to shot to defend themselves from the walker threat.

All this time at the camp Shane has becomes more and more agitated with Rick. Shane saved Lori and Carl and protected them on there journey to Atlanta he started to see Lori as his lover now that he though Rick was out of the way. What we find out later about Shane and Lori on the road to Atlanta may not have helped this situation. Rick thinks it is not safe at the camp any more and he puts forward the idea to Shane to move the camp some place away from the city. Shane thinks this idea is crazy and wants the camp to stay put he thinks that when the government start clearing up they will be found quicker nearer the city.
Shane's jealousy of Rick is now reaching boiling point.

One night around the camp fire they are all attacked by a group of walkers Amy and Jim are both bittern with Amy is the shot in the head by Andrea before she can turn this cause Andrea to go into a deep depression bring her closer to Dale. 

Jim take longer to turn and he decides he wants to be left on the outskirts of Atlanta so if he turns he can wander off in to the city to find his turned family.

After leaving Jim Shane and Rick start of to go hunting Rick has the intention of talking to Shane to find out what his problem is but Shane Snaps and punch's Rick which then in turn makes Lori punch Shane.
Shane then runs off into the woods and Rick follows.
In the woods Shane has completely lost it yelling at Rick about he would have made Lori love him and its not his fault then Shane points a gun at rick and is going to shoot him but before he can Carl who had followed Rick into the woods shoot Shane in the neck.

The last page of the book see Shane choking on his own blood and Carl saying to Rick" it's not the same as killing the dead ones daddy" and Rick's reply is it never "should be son it never should be"

This book or the first 6 issue of the comic are a great start to the series and got me hooked straight the way the fast pace and the stunning conclusion makes for a good story.

When I heard that there was going to be a TV series and it was going to be made by the same people I was over the moon. Having watched now all of the episodes up till the 1st episode of  season 4 I am now getting feed up with how much they have messed with the story and the season 3 finally was just a bust for me.

Shane who was killed in the book before the end of the first graphic novel lives on till the end of season 2 of the TV series and to be honest there is just no need not even his decent in to madness was worth the full extra series his character gets. Then there is the bumping off of both Sophia and Dale well before there time season 2 is just a waste. Now I know that actors want out or get offered bigger and better things but it is now just getting stupid. 
Killing Sophia was so lame for about 4 episodes the whole watching audience were shouting at there TV's she is in the @$%*ing barn. By turning her into a walker we then lose some of the humor of the book with the interaction of herself and Carl. 
With the killing off of Dale we lose all the rest of his book story the leg loose the love story between him and Andrea and even the small part about him and the cannibals. 
Otis and Patrcia don't even become established characters in the TV Series which again is a shame as Patrcia has some good parts in the prison.
**Spoiler Alert**
Now if you have not seen the last episode of the TV series season 3 don't read any further.
The last character to get it is poor Andrea. 
I can't help but think that the TV series is now going to move completely away from the comic book.
I get the feeling that she was bump off because they had got rid of Dale how was a big part of her story in the book going to take place now? So she had to go.
This now leads me on to the fact that she has a massive part to play in Rick rehabilitation after Lori is killed and now another big chunk has been take out of the comic book story.

Season 4 of the TV Series starts in the UK on Friday 18/10/13 on Fox but to be honest I am only going to be watching it now to see how they recover the car crash that the story has now become or if they move it even further away from the comic book original. 

The comic book by image comics is still on going and it is up to issue number 115 and is available in most good comic book shops or you could get the collected issues from most large WH Smiths for Just over a tenner a book they are up to about number 16 or 17 at the minute I think.

The first issue in a very fine upwards condition can demand a high price on the back issue market  but here it is for free you will need to register to get it but that is free as well.

In most cases people say that the book is better the the film or TV series and to be honest in my opinion with the Walking Dead they were right.




Thursday, 19 September 2013

Black and White

As a child of the 1980's being born in 1977 and living in the UK most of the comics from my youth were mainly in black and white with only a few pages per issue in colour.
It was not till the mid 1980's that I got hold of my first full colour Marvel comic but to be honest it wasn't a massive improvement to my comic book reading experience.
Don't get me wrong I don't hate all colour comic books I have read and collected thousands over the years but the ones I return to over and over again all seam to be mainly black and white?

The first comics I can remember is a big mixed stack of Warlord,Victor,Battle,Eagle and the odd Marvel UK complete Fantastic Four and Rampage.



I am not sure what it is about the artwork in these old comics but it seems to be more detailed somehow then the colour Marvel and DC's of the time. some stories are made darker by the fact it is done as a black and white strip.
Check out the images bellow.

This is a panel from Charley's War it portrays Charley's platoon in the middle of the battle of the Somme you get a real sense of how terrifying it would have been how chaotic but you still get a great amount of detail in the images.

The picture above is of another panel from the same story it shows Charley and an unnamed officer talking over the freshly dug grave of Charley's best friend it is a grim image with the rain pouring down and the solemn faces it strikes a very grim tone.

Some of the later reprints where done in colour but to me they lack the impact that the original black and white ones have.

If you look at the above image the panels are still great but for some reason it loses its girt and drama when they are in colour.

I know that British comics were mainly printed in black and white to cut down on cost but for me it made them far more interesting then other comics printed mainly in colour.

Don't get me wrong there are some comics that were printed in black and white that were terrible.
These were mainly the British re-prints of Marvel comics for some reason they just did not transfer well to being printed in black and white The Invaders is a good case but sadly I can not find any images of these re-prints on the web and my copies are long gone but trust me they were a mess.

Sadly one by one British comics folded and the ones that lasted became more and more colour printed and the black and white comic all but died of in the mid 1990's apart from the Commando

These comics started in the mid 1960's and contain one full war story within it 64 pages always printed in black and white.
The commando comes in a smaller format then the standard comic book size and usually has only two panels per page. These comics mainly contain war stories from the first or second world war.

The art in some of them is very good full of detail for the small size they come in.

Up until a few years ago there were not many very good  back and white comics about until the release of the now legend Walking Dead.

This comic brings back so many memories of  my early 80's British comics. The Art is great if not a bit gory the story got me gripped straight the way and think this was down to the fact that the black and white art complimented the story line really well and  it reminds me of many of the great stories from the Eagle and 2000AD of the early 1980's. 

I would love to see more comic books try and do stories in black and white for a change and try and let the story line and detailed art work sell the comic rather then some glossy ad filled comic that we find in the shops today.   



Monday, 29 July 2013

Classic Air Force at Newquay airohub

Any one who knows me will know that my second love after all things comic book is my passion for military history.

On my recent summer holiday to the sunny shores of Newquay in Cornwall my girlfriend found a leaflet in a pub advertising The Classic Air Force at somewhere called the Areohub.

Off we went myself ,girlfriend and my little boy to have a look. After a sudden stop to avoid driving on to the runway at RAF St. Morgan and then stopping again to get directions at the gate house by a guard who obviously had been ask where it was on many occasions we arrived at a massive hanger.

The Classic Air Force has only been based at the Airohub in Newquay since march of this year and it is a good start to a nice little museum. Sadly there are non of the instantly recognisable world war 2 fighters that I love eg) Spitfires and Hurricane's etc. It was a nice change to see and find out about some late second world war and early jet engine planes.

The collection based here is home to many war time and post war planes and most of them are airworthy and fly on a regular basis.

The Jewel in the crown of the collection on display the day we Visited would have to be the 2 Gloster Meteors they Have there.

The one in the picture above is a Gloster Meteor T.7 WA591/G-BWMF.
This Meteor took 20 years to restore to an airworthy condition and it then became the worlds oldest flyable British Jet Aircraft.
This Aircraft had a chequered history involving many air accidents. It was retired in 1965 and found its way to being a on display at the gate of RAF Woodvale in Cheshire till it was rescued  by the Meteor Flight in 1995 and then painstakingly restored to an airworthy aircraft by 2008.

Gloster Meteor T7 being taken out on to the runway.


Not the best of pictures but this is the Meteor T7 on runway running up its engines very loud.
The other Gloster Meteor is a Gloster Meteor NF.11 WM167 /G-LOSM.
This is a later model then the T7 being build in 1952. This is Meteor is the only surviving night fighter version of the plane that is still airworthy.

Gloster Meteor NF.11 WM167/G-LOSM sat out on the runway small child in the picture is my son.
This Meteor had a quite service life and spent a large amount of its time as a target towing plane.
In 1975 the plane was classed a surplus to requirements and was purchased by a private collector.
From then on it was passed for private collector to private collector and was used in many documentaries and has taken part in several important flights non more so then the flight that carried the ashes of Sir Frank Whittle the jet engine designer who designed the very first Gloster Meteor.

To find out more about the Gloster Meteor NF11 WM167/G-LOSM click here for the Classic Air Force web site.

As we were looking around I asked one of the staff  you must be pretty happy to have the Meteors here and he said that they were pleased as punch to have 2 of the only 3 Airworthy Meteors in the UK at the Airohub and part of the Classic Air Force.

The two pictures below are of  the two Jet Provost's that are part of the collection these were mainly used as training aircraft for the RAF in fact they were the first British jet training aircraft.
Hunting Percival Jet Provost T.3 G-BWDS /XM424
The Jet Provost had a long career of 35 years of service and and was produced and exported to many other countries.

          BAC Jet Provost T.5A XW433 /G-JPRO

Harrier static display


 Hawker Hunter Static display

                                                            Hawker Hunter static display being repaired. 

The two hawker hunters they have in the collection are both static displays one is in much better shape then the other. 
The Hawker Hunter was designed by the same man who designed the legendary Hawker Hurricane.
His main brief was to designed a replacement for the now ageing Gloster Meteor the new plane also had to have a max speed of 629 mph.
The prototype flew in 1951 and impressed straight the way with the RAF putting in an order straight the way. 

 Pictures above are top: Auster Autocrat G-JAYI middle: De Havilland Chipmunk G-APLO bottom: DE Havilland Dove/Dover G-DHDV

Above is the Avro Anson G-VROE. This aircraft was built in 1950 but the original Anson was first on the drawing board in 1934 and production was started 1936 the Anson was the first aircraft in service with the RAF to have retractable undercarriage.
The Anson is another case of being out dated before it was even produced much is the same as many of the RAF planes of the 1930's this meant is was redundant as a coastal patrol aircraft and was instead taken on as a training aircraft which turn out to be a massive success. In 1952 production of the Anson ended with a massive 11,000 being produced second only to the Vickers Wellington.
G-VROE's RAF history is with both bomber and fighter command before private ownership in 1977.

These last two pictures are of my stars of the whole museum. The top photo is of a De Havilland Venom and the bottom is of a De Havilland Vampire.

The De Havilland Vampire G-HELV this is a T55 variant which is an export of the Vampire trainer used by the RAF. This Vampire was part built in the UK and Part under licence in Switzerland where it served most of its operational life.
This Vampire was retried from service in 1990 with 1,955 flying hours under its belt.
The Vampire was commissioned by the RAF during the second world war as a combat jet fighter but it arrived to late for combat. The Vampires first public appearance was at the 8th June 1946 as it led the victory fly past over London. It was also the first RAF Aircraft to both go past the 500mph mark and be the first jet aircraft to land on an aircraft carrier. The Vampire was also the first Jet to fly over the Atlantic Ocean.
The Vampires fuselage pod was made from plywood which is why this is such a rare aircraft today there is only ten left today that are airworthy this being one of them.

The top photo is of a De Havilland Venom of which there were two G-DHVM and G-VENM both were built under licence in Switzerland in 1954 and 1955 and both were used by the Swiss air force as high level reconnaissance aircraft. They were both retired from service in 1984 and auction off in to private collections.
The Venom is a direct descended of the Vampire with both sharing the twin boom design. The Venom was designed in 1948 to replace the Vampire and the First Venom flew on 2nd September 1949 and enter service in 1952.
The Venom saw combat in the Malayan Emergency in the 1950's and Venom's from RAF Akrotiri Cyprus also saw service in the Suez Crisis.
At the end of production there were 1,500 Venom's built and was still in service for the Swiss air force up till 1983 sadly there are no RAF versions of the plane that survived into preservation but there are substantial spares about.

The Venom is now my new favourite plane it just looks beautiful with its old but futuristic looks it reminds me of a creation perhaps form Gerry Anderson. I could see it flying over Marineville or being in Thunderbirds.

The Classic Air Force museum offers site seeing trips in a De Havilland Dragon Rapide and Percival Prentice but sadly they were both out at the time of my visit.

The Museum also has a great little cafe and gift shop and if you take a little one with you they get a top secret mission sheet to fill in on there way round the hanger. The sheet has pictures of parts of the planes on display and the little one has to wright the name of the plane in the box below the picture.

All in all it is a great little museum to spend the day or part of the day at.



Friday, 5 July 2013

Charley's War Introducing Oliy!!!

Caring on form my past posts here is another episode of one of my favourites Charley’s War.
Charley’s War by Pat Mills and Joe Colquhoun featured in the Battle Picture Weekly later to be re-printed in the Eagle till it’s closed in the mid 1990’s.
This episode takes place during the battle of the Somme 1916 not long after Charley watches his best friend (Ginger) get blown to bits by a stray German shell.
In this episode Charley meets his brother in law Oliver or Oily as he is later to be known by.
Oily had married his sister while he was away in flounders now Oily has been conscriped and is one of the new replacments to arrive on the some during the "Great Battle"
During the battle The British used there new secrest weapon The Tank. This was the first time the Tank had been used in a mass attack on the German line.