Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Fanholes Episode # 25: Canucklehead Overdrive


Fanholes Episode # 25: Canucklehead Overdrive

This week the Fanholes talk their favorite games from the Nintendo Entertainment
System, some great TV series that still fell prey to "Jumping The Shark", the wild
and crazy trope of Alternate Universes in popular fiction, and discuss the current
feature film, Captain America: The First Avenger.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Fanholes Side Story #13 Doctor Who VS Jack The Ripper

'Ripper’s Curse' is a three part story that runs through issue #2-4 of IDW’s ongoing Doctor Who series. Our story begins with the Tardis landing in London, 1888. The Doctor ventures out and quickly finds that things are not as they seem. After detecting radiation that should not be present in Victorian era London he leaves Amy and Rory, his current companions, to investigate on their own. Amy finally puts things together and realizes they are in the middle of the Jack The Ripper murders. Furthermore, she figures out that they have arrived on the night of the double murders and takes off in an attempt to save the second victim.

The Doctor tracks the source of the radiation, which is actually a person using a shimmer suit, a kind of camouflage that allows him to look human. Amy arrives too late though, as the second victim has been killed. She finds a lizard like alien standing over the body and is hit with a paralyzing dart. The Doctor arrives and is discovered standing over the body of Amy by the police, who arrest him for being Jack The Ripper.

As issue three begins Rory and Detective Abberline arrive and have the Doctor set free. The Doctor is surprised to see that Abberline is not taken in by the psychic paper. Psychic Paper is something the Doctor frequently uses to go anywhere and investigate. It projects whatever credentials he needs for any situation. The alien is, the Doctor suspects, a Ju’Wes Hunter. Anyone who knows the details of the Ripper case will see this as a clever way to tie directly into the facts of actual history. Which, pays off when we see...

Later, the Tardis crew discuss saving the Ripper’s final victim. The Doctor is very much against saving her, something that Amy and Rory don’t understand. This is a nice discussion of how the Doctor can seemingly alter time, yet on the same hand adhere to not changing fixed moments in time. As we've seen in the series, anytime a fixed moment in time is altered it usually has dire consequences.

Amy disregards everything the Doctor says and tries to warn Mary, the final victim, that she will be killed by the Ripper. Mary simply laughs it off, thinking herself an unlikely victim. The Doctor then travels a few weeks into the future when Mary will be killed, only to find that the wrong Mary has been murdered. Amy did change time and now anything can happen. Issue three ends with Amy being captured by the Ripper.

Issue four opens in the present day as the Doctor and Rory attend a tour of one of the Ripper murder sites. The tour guide tells them that Amelia Marple, the fake name Amy gave to the police, was killed after Mary. They immediately hop back in the Tardis to stop Amy's death. Back in 1888 Amy wakes up in the basement of a house, a captive of the Ripper. The other Mary is there, the one that should have died but didn’t. Eventually Amy and Mary are able to escape from the house and The Ripper faces his hunter. The hunter is also an alien who has been tracking the Ripper. The Ripper is an alien war criminal and is doing these murders in order to blame them on the Ju’Wes. He sees them as monsters who committed atrocities against his people.

Eventually, both aliens are pulled into a rift and blown into space. In the end the Tardis crew travel to present day London. Time has changed, as Amy is no longer listed as a Ripper victim and the Mary that should have died lived on borrowed time, having died a year later. Time, the Doctor tells us, has set things right.

These three issues are fairly simple, yet fun. Having always been fascinated by the Ripper case myself, I can appreciate what the writer was trying to do here. We get references to 'From Hell', not only the film but the graphic novel as well. Amy and Rory identify themselves as Inspector Clouseau and Miss Marple of CSI. I do wish the idea of the Doctor being mistaken for Jack The Ripper had been exploited a bit more.

An interesting side note is that a recent episode of Doctor Who, 'A Good Man Goes To War', actually made a reference to the Ripper murders. This reference actually negates the comic story. Doctor Who cannon is somewhat tricky. You have audio stories and comics and novels that often conflict with one another. Though sometimes the show will reference these stories. Unlike Star Trek, where none of the comics or novels are cannon.

The only negative thing I have to say about these comics is the art. It is simple and does suit a Ripper tale...but I’m not sure it suits a Doctor Who comic. It reminds me of artwork from the Topps X-Files comics. Those comics were somewhat notorious for bad artwork. Though here, the Doctor, Amy and Rory at least like they should.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Fanholes Episode # 24: Goku And Chumps


Fanholes Episode # 24: Goku And Chumps

This episode, the gang discusses Dragon Ball in all its myriad forms. The Fanholes reveal their favorite version of DBZ, favorite movies, favorite video games, and journey to Somewhere Cold to discuss Dragon Ball GT.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Fanholes Side Story #12 Hither came Conan...

We open to a snow covered battlefield strewn with bodies. There are but two warriors left. A giant, red haired warrior who demands to know the name of his foe. He learns that he faces Conan, who quickly manages to send the challenger to Valhalla. Weary from battle, Conan wanders through the snowy wasteland until he sees...a naked woman.

Conan is astonished by her beauty, but she can only taunt him and poke fun at his boasts of glory and battles won. Angered, Conan gives chase shouting that he will follow her even into the depths of hell. She leads him on and on through the frozen wasteland until they pass through a valley where two of her brothers meet Conan. Two Frost Giants.

The girl tells her brothers to kill Conan so they might burn his heart as a sacrifice. Being smaller, Conan is able to dodge the lumbering attacks of the Frost Giants. After a short battle he stands triumphant over the two giants. The girl is astonished and no longer laughs at Conan. She can scarcely believe that a mortal has dispatched her brothers. Conan seizes her, but she manages to slip out of the thin wisp of clothing that covered her nether regions and escape. This further enrages Conan. Only an outside force stops him, as the girl beseeches Ymir to save her.

Much later Conan wakes up in the company of friends. He tells them his story yet they do not believe him. They say they found only his footprints and nothing else. One of Conan’s companions tells the story of Atalia, daughter to Ymir. She walks battlefields, greeting fallen souls. Conan swears that he met her but they simply dismiss his tale. Then, Conan looks to his hand...he is holding her clothing.

This is such a simple tale, but it has always been one of my favorites. It has battle, a mysterious naked girl and an element of the supernatural. It has that aspect of something seen, yet not believed by ones friends. Much like a modern day ghost story. It's not overly violent or even overly sexual, though we can imagine what Conan would do with Atalia. A simple tale, and Busiek adapts it so well. The artwork by Cary Nord not only suits Conan, but is almost a feast for the eyes.

If the title of the story, The Frost Giant’s Daughter, seems familiar that is because it is based on the original story by Robert E. Howard. It was also the name of a painting by Frank Frazetta, which is based on Howard’s tale. Frazetta is so entwined with Conan I think his artwork can be attributed to much of the barbarian's popularity. To many, Frazetta's Conan is the definitive version of the character. Which, seems more valid as there has been some concern about Jason Momoa's portrayal in the new movie.

If you are new to the world of Conan and are looking for a good place to start, I suggest the Dark Horse series. Its always been a favorite of mine and Busiek adapts several other tales by Robert E. Howard. Or, if you are curious about Robert E. Howard I suggest you check out the movie, The Whole Wide World, which is basesd on the later half of his life.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Fanholes Episode # 23: In Darkest Moon...


This episode, the gang discusses their favorite and least favorite television spin-offs, then their favorite Disney animated movie, followed by a discussion on Transformers: Dark of the Moon, and finally ending with a For The Fute-Cha! segment on the upcoming Green Lantern cartoon.

Fanholes Episode # 23: In Darkest Moon...

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Fanholes Episode # 21: SDCC 2011, The Rise Of The Rocket Raccoon


This episode, the gang talks about the news and offerings coming from this year's San Diego Comic-Con.

There's even a couple contests where we give some free junk away, so listen in!

To get said free junk join or follow us on the blog, twitter, or facebook!

Fanholes Episode # 21: SDCC 2011, The Rise Of The Rocket Raccoon

Fanholes Side Story #11 You Say You Want A Revolution...

The Revolution has begun...and it will be televised. Revolution On The Planet Of The Apes picks up just one day after Caesar and his army of apes have taken control of San Diego. In this version of events the internet has been shoehorned in, as well as Homeland Security. The Government denies anything is wrong, telling us that apes have not risen up and shuts down any web site carrying footage of Caesar’s revolution.

We see Caesar establish the first ape law: Ape shall never kill ape. Though I have to say, I don’t agree with the way it is portrayed here. Caesar seems to act bipolar through this mini series. Sometimes acting quite logical, sometimes given to fits of rage.

Later on we see Aldo, who is a janitor at Area 51. The guards have grown tired of him and send him off to be experimented on...only Aldo starts his own revolution. He rises up, says ‘No!’ and kills his oppressors. He manages to free the other apes, they take over the base and, as a result of experimentation, are able to fly fighter jets.

Meanwhile the President is surrounded by advisers who bicker about what should be done. One argues they should strike at Caesar, while another believes they are safe from the apes. I guess I should talk about our cast of characters. One is someone who takes it upon himself to march into Ape City with a video camera and record everything. Expose the truth, so to speak. Caesar approves of this and has the mock trial of Governor Breck broadcast for the world to see. Through the first few issues we are teased with something known only as Churchdoor. Caesar cites this as evidence that Breck, along with the government, will lead to the destruction of the world.

Before the trial concludes Caesar is shot. A strike team lead by some familiar characters, namely Kolp from Battle For The Planet of the Apes, prevents the apes from passing sentence on Breck. A battle breaks out between Kolp’s forces and Caesar’s army. They manage to rescue Governor Breck and escape, trying to make it to Churchdoor before Caesar can stop them. Meanwhile, the world begins to fall as nuclear weapons are used and ape armies attack cities world wide. Aldo’s forces attack Washington DC and issue four ends with this…

We continue in issue five with Caesar trying to break into the Churchdoor facility. Breck and Kolp marvel at the Alpha Omega Bomb. The President manages to escape DC and makes his way to New York, only to see that the city is in ruins and, naturally, the Statue of Liberty is destroyed. Breck announces that if Caesar does not surrender he will detonate the bomb. He’d rather destroy the world than see it fall into the hands of the apes.

General Aldo’s forces arrive to aid Caesar. His jets blast a hole in Churchdoor and the ape army attacks. In the end, the governments of the world launch their nuclear missiles. They intend to cut their losses, seeing the ape controlled cities as ‘infected’. The bombs begin to rain down, but Caesar survives. He and his followers inherit a world laid waste.

I have to say that when they first spoke about Churchdoor, I already figured out what it would be. It could only be the bomb from Beneath the Planet of the Apes. This mini series has been full of call backs, nods and references to all the movies. Even the same catchphrases are used. These moments feel very forced. As though the creators are saying, hey remember when Taylor said this? It's one thing for George Lucas to reuse several phrases in the Star Wars franchise...but Planet of the Apes is not Star Wars. I prefer Apes to stand on its own.

Ever since I watched the original film series I was curious as to exactly what happened between Conquest of the Planet of the Apes and Battle For the Planet of the Apes. These comics were not satisfying. Maybe I just had my own preconceived notions of what would happen. The story of Revolution On The Planet of The Apes simply connects the dots between the films...nothing more. The art is also a mishmash of different styles in each issue. One issue may have an animated style while the next one is grim and gritty.

Throwing in elements such as the internet, Homeland Security and the notion of a video blogger just feel forced and out of place. The only character that is fleshed out any is Caesar, and as I said earlier, he seems out of character here. In the end, Revolution on the Planet of the Apes is not satisfying and it only reminds us of better Apes stories.