October 5th, 2003

Nikita

Comic Roundup

We went to town yesterday to watch League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, but didn't end up doing so. Thanks to last a minute effort by benpeek and various other reviewers, we held off. I'll watch it one day, but probably when it's less expensive (or provides more bang for the buck).

Instead I ended up buying Volume 1 of the comic. Haven't read it yet, though Kyla seems quite some way in.

I also bought Matchsticks, an interesting comic with ties to Eden (Alex actually sent me a copy when it first came out, but that was in the Buffy package that never arrived, so I hope some customs official likes it, grumble, grumble). It's a look at mobsters and martial artists on the streets of Hong Kong, with vampires thrown in for good measure. It all seemed to hold together well with some decent writing and plotting, not to mention lots of sex and violence (usually at the same time), and it would have been interesting to see it continue. As far as I can tell, though, it's yet another comic with a lifespan of 1 issue (the domain name has gone away, for a start, which isn't a good sign). Eden's involvement was that the various characters had Unisystem write-ups at the end (and possibly some sort of distribution deal -- I don't know the particulars). It's interesting to see them involved in some reasonably hard core material, since my main involvement with them thus far has been with Buffy-type stuff (and even Buffy, the TV show, seems too hard core for the Fox approval process sometimes).

I recently read The Crumpleton Experiments #2. I'm not sure it had the verve (or novelty) that made the first issue the most interesting Aussie comic in ages (and there have been some good ones), but it followed through with its tales of freudian adventures and emotions ripped out into physical form, which is a good sign for its existance as a title rather than a couple of issues. Also Worlds Away #1, which is a more measured look at supernatural incursion, spending its time establishing the setting and characters before getting to the aliens. Whodda thunk it? Haven't said that, I was still a little underwhelmed.

Read the latest Dork Tower last week as well. Once again... interesting but short. Apparently next time round we get a bumper issue, so we'll see how that goes (after my previous rant, I thought I'd send a note to John Kovalic to explain my POV. I suspect it all came across as rather petulant, even if more politely phrased, though he sent a nice reply back).
Dark Tower

It

Finished watching It at some point, and got through the commentary after sending my manuscript off. It really is a very good mini-series, mostly because of the actors. Tim Curry is probably the stand-out, but the central seven -- both as kids and adults -- are all great. I'll make special mention of the late John Ritter, since I haven't really seen him in anything other than as Buffy's potential step-dad. He not only handled the role well, but provided some of the funniest parts of the commentary. Seeing a young Seth Green was fun (especially the whole werewolf thing), and young Bev went on to be in Ginger Snaps, which is a very interesting flick (there was also a small role by William B. Davis, aka Cancerman, since this was when US shows were starting to use Vancouver as a cheap shooting location. He's apparently in The Dead Zone as well).

A commentary for 3 hours is not easy, but this one was good value. A lot of it was the director, Tommy Lee Wallace, musing on varying things, including the structure of the first half, which he liked a great deal, and several of the bits he didn't like much at all (which he did tend to attribute back to the novel, some of which was fair -- or at least debatable -- some of which I thought was less so. The inclusion of Bill's wife, for example, I felt gave a necessary incursion of 'real life' adult responsibility into proceedings).

Then there's the spider. I know people who complain about the spider in the novel, thinking it a bit of a cop-out. I don't really agree, though in part that's due to things outside the novel, such as the 12 animal guardians at the vertices of the beams -- not an irrelevant link, given the inclusion of the Turtle in It. In the novel it also remains on the metaphysical level, which helps. In the movie it doesn't, and Tommy Lee talks about how he knew it was a problem and tried to get through it nonetheless. I think he did pretty well -- the spider is a bit silly, and certainly nowhere near as effective as the scene where the alien lights pass over the kids down the sewers, for example. And though it does reduce the stakes of the movie somewhat, it allows a reasonable visceral ending which is satisfying enough. Could it have been a bit more mataphysical on screen? I suspect so, but I also think the show was already breaking enough ground with a reasonably faithful adaptation of Stephen King for television.