Monday, June 28, 2010

Doctor in the House

Orbital close out the Glastonbury festival with an ecstatic version of the Doctor Who theme with the Doctor himself Matt Smith rocking the synthesizer!


Thursday, June 24, 2010

Public Policy, Games Theory and the Inevitable Zombie Apocalypse

Oh sure our leaders and administrators are worrying about trivialities like global warming, simmering warfare, global food shortages and economic uncertainty...but who's planning for the ravening hordes of the hungry dead?

The prestigious journal Foreign Policy fills the dangerous zombie gap in large scale public policy planning and puts some serious wonk time into exploring different strategies for dealing with the hungry dead. they explore differing approaches based on ideology, resources and military strategy.

There are many sources of fear in world politics -- terrorist attacks, natural disasters, climate change, financial panic, nuclear proliferation, ethnic conflict, and so forth. Surveying the cultural zeitgeist, however, it is striking how an unnatural problem has become one of the fastest-growing concerns in international relations. I speak, of course, of zombies.
For our purposes, a zombie is defined as a reanimated being occupying a human corpse,
with a strong desire to eat human flesh -- the kind of ghoul that first appeared in George Romero's 1968 classic,
Night of the LivingDead, and which has been rapidly proliferating in popular culture in recent
years (far upstaging its more passive cousins, the reanimated corpses of traditional West African and Haitian voodoo rituals). Because they can spread across borders and threaten states and civilizations, these zombies should command the attention of scholars and policymakers.

Followers of cold blooded Realpolitik would call for closing the borders and leaving the rest of the world to be over-run by the shambling hordes. Selfish but effective if you don't mind watching the rest of the world get eaten alive. Liberals would band together and cooperate against the zombie threat, a little hippie-dippy perhaps, but ultimately probably the best long term strategy for cooperating against the undead on a global level - see the book World War Z, an Oral History of the Zombie War for the best description of the UN VS the Zombies model. Finally neo-conservatives would probably go out in the world proactively bombing, shooting and presumably torturing the walking dead in the fight against the undead evil-doers. Effective in the short term but the 'You're either with us or you're with the Axis of the Evil Dead' approach would turn off potential allies.
In the end, what I am suggesting is that with careful planning and a consistent approach, the zombie threat can be managed. The purpose of this essay is not to make a policy recommendation or suggest that one approach is superior to another. It is up to the reader to exercise his or her own judgment in determining what to do with this information. Indeed, interested and intelligent students of world politics should use their own brains -- before the zombies do.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Quote of the Day

If the absence of sensation means a living death, then perhaps zombies are merely creatures thrown up by evolution to live in the urban environment.
-Roger Ebert, from his review of Little Murders, 1971

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Mark Hamill's Last Laugh

After being associated with the character since the early 90's on the beloved animated version, Mark Hamill announces the upcoming Arkham Asylum 2 will be his final bow as The Joker.

Nothing but respect for Heath Ledger's lacerating, terrifying interpretation of the Joker as a nihilistic urban terrorist, but Hamill owns the role. Both in the Timmverse animated version and the atmospheric Arkham Asylum portrayal his voice IS the Joker for me and a whole generation of fans.

God, I want this game NOW!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Bad Blood

Beck contributes a swampy, sexy blues rock swagger-stomp to the new season of True Blood and it is the shit:

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Comics Review - Effects and Atmosphere edition

The Hunter
Adapted by Darwyn Cooke from the Novel by
Donald Westlake writing as Richard Stark

The term 'Labour of Love' is an overused one, but there's no doubt of it's applicability to this handsome graphic volume by Darwyn Cooke.

Long time fans will remember Cooke from the rocket age Elseworlds Justice League series The New Frontier. He also led DC's recent rebirth of The Spirit (And left it in a mysterious break with DC.) and is the artist responsible for Catwoman's current popular costume model sheet with its Modesty Blaise lines and mod cats-eyes goggles.

His snappy rat pack cool style is perfect for the 60's hard-boiled tough guy motifs of the classic Parker series, this is one to get in the slickly beautiful hardcover edition and I await the next book in Cooke's planned series of Parker adaptions with keen anticipation.

izombie#2
by Chris Roberson and Michael Allred

Stylized and fun, Roberson and Allred continue to document the afterlife of Gwen, just your average punky pretty grave digger, who seems perfectly normal...as long as she chows down on the occasional human brain, otherwise she goes all drippy and shambling like the classic zombie.

Unfortunately eating brains means eating memories and Gwen finds herself compelled to right wrongs and complete the unfinished business of the dead people she devours.

Along with her ghostly plucky friend Ellie who has been rocking the go go boots since she died and a growing cast of monsters and monster hunters, izombie should be a big hit with the black eyeshadow and Nightmare Before Christmas backpacks crowd once they outgrow Emily the Strange and start looking for something with more bite than Twilight.

And you can almost feel the set up for a cable channel original series. Enthusiasm and ambition pour out of every pore of izombie.




Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #2
by Grant Morrison and Frazer Irving

At the end of Final Crisis Batman appears to have been killed by the searing eye beams of Darkseid after administering the fatal blow to the evil New God. In fact Darkseid's 'Omega Effect' beams blast Batman into the past and he's been hopping forward ever since, touching down in history at various points over centuries. Issue one was all about cavemen and the origin of Vandal savage. In issue two Bruce Wayne leaps forward thousands of years to 17th century Puritan Gotham.

Its perfect for artist Frazer Irving who's dimly luminescent Klarion the Witchboy was one of the high-points of Morrison's 7 Soldiers of Victory experiment. Irving's art is produced one hundred percent digitally, even the initial sketches directly drawn on tablet by a stylus. The result is a lushly evocative painterly style that is a pleasure to look at.

And the writing is Morrison. So uniformly excellent.

Recommended.





Justice League: The Rise of Arsenal #3
by J.T. Krul and Geraldo Borges...

...on the other hand is one big reeking pile of poo.

Ugly, crude, mean-spirited and with the understanding of the subtleties of human nature, grief, loss and addiction of ham-fisted drooling sadists.

All the worst, most stale and limited approaches to adult drama and characterization of post 80's grim and gritty comics are on display - as demonstrated by torturing, maiming and dragging a character as low as possible as a sign of how 'sophisticated' the creators are.

DC seems to be trying to have their cake and eat it too by proclaiming a new brightest day of lighter more sunny superhero fare but still getting to portray their heroes as grieving amputees whipping the mother of their dead child with an electrical cord while remembering how great the sex with her was.

Piece. Of. Shit.

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