Thursday, 31 March 2016

Graphic novels for Grown ups: Part two

Continuing on from my blog post about my great love for Terry Moore, here are some more of my must read graphic novels for grown ups. There is a little something for everyone here, and it is really interesting to note that one of these series are currently in production as a new upcoming TV series, and another is about to launch season two through the Playstation network - so get in first and read the books so you can be all 'I totally know what's happening next' like all those Walking Dead comic fans ;)

First up on my list is the fabulous Fables by Bill Willingham. This is a series that I WISH was going to be a TV show, but I'll settle for the fact that I can play the spin off game The Wolf Among Us (anything to get my Bigby fix). In this series, all the fairytale and folklore characters we know and love have been forced from their homelands by the big bad 'The Adversary', and they are living in a secret community called Fabletown within our world New York. They call themselves Fables (we're the mundys), and anyone who can't pass themselves off as a mundy ends up at the Farm in upstate New York. The best thing about this series is seeing beloved characters in a whole new light. For example, I'm never going to look at Jack (as in Jack and the beanstalk, Jack be nimble, and Jack Horner....he's pretty much any Jack you can think of) the same way again, he is hilariously a bad bad boy. And that Bigby I mentioned before? That's the big bad wolf in human form, and I adore him like you wouldn't believe. He and Snow White may be my most favourite Ship ever. I've read this series over a long 10 years, patiently waiting for each new volume, and yes, I may have shed tears when the final volume was released not so long ago. You are super lucky though, because now you (lucky reader) can binge the entire series like there is no tomorrow!

And then you can also read the two spin off series Fairest and Jack of fables.

Next up on my must reads list is Ex Machina by Brian K Vaughan. Pretty much anything written by Mr Vaughan is very good squishy indeed, but this series is my ultimate favourite of his. First up, please note this has nothing to do with the movie by the same name (I got a little excited when I read about the movie, but nope, something else). This series focusses on Mitchell Hundred, also known as the superhero The Great Machine. While on the surface this looks like a superhero / sci-fi comic, in reality it is such an interesting statement piece on politics, as in light of Mitchell's superhero actions during the 9/11 tragedy, he is elected the mayor of New York City. The story flips between his current role in office, and flashbacks to his time as The Great Machine (and the mystery surrounding how that came to be). With a rich cast of (often plenty flawed) characters, this is seriously good must read stuff.

Preacher by Garth Ennis is the series that is about to hit our screens (it starts screening in the US in May) and this is the potential next Walking Dead. It has such a dream cast, and I CAN'T WAIT to see what they do with the source material. This series was always a bit of a guilty pleasure of mine. I collected every issue, but always felt slightly guilty reading it, because OMG they went there, and with all the bad language imaginable (and I was such a good girl in those days, which was about 15-20 years ago). But it was such compulsive and compelling reading and I always had to know what came next. Jessie Custer is a slightly conflicted small town preacher who ends up with a bit of an unusual ability. As a result of that, he heads out with his ex-girlfriend Tulip (she is soooo kick butt, I love her) and an Irish vampire named Cassidy on a mission to find God. Yep, you read that right, a preacher and a vamp on a quest to find God. They have the craziest adventures on the way, and meet some highly disturbed and disturbing characters, some of whom I have tried my best to forget since finishing this series a long time ago, bahahaha. I think it says something about this series, that when my husband and I first moved in together, we were both collecting and reading this individually, and neither of us was willing to be the one to stop buying it, so we both brought it until the very end, lol.

Last up on my list is Powers by Brian Michael Bendis. Now, Mr Bendis is another writer who you totally can't miss with, I love anything of his that I have read. I started reading his comics way back when with Alias, which was one of the first 'adult' Marvel comics written under the Max imprint. That series featured the now rather well known Jessica Jones, ex super heroine and current private eye (thanks Netflix for bringing her to life). I loved Jessica, but for me Powers was where it was at. It is another superhero comic with a difference - this one focusses on Christian Walker and Deena Pilgrim, two homicide detectives who work on cases that involve those with 'powers'. The cases are gritty, and the dynamic between the two lead characters is unmissable. This was made into a TV series that played through the Playstation network last year, and season two is due to start in May this year.....bring it baby!

Friday, 11 March 2016

Literary Houses - nostalgia, fantasy and magical places

I’ve been feeling nostalgic for the fiction of my childhood for a number of reasons over the past couple of months. I found out about the death of Jonathon Crombie, who played undeniable heartthrob Gilbert Blythe in the Anne of Green Gables. I mean yes, he left us nearly a year ago, but I only found out a few weeks ago. Silo cinema screened The Secret Garden, and then The Princess Bride. Plus, taking two postgraduate papers at Summer school alongside work left me exceedingly keen to ignore adult life and delve into something cosier and more magical. Valentine’s Day has probably also had something to do with it – I’ll never again find a love like Tom Sawyer or Samwise Gamgee, after all.

In typical me fashion, I’ve wanted to revisit the literature but I can’t decide. I can’t choose, and what if I find it’s just too junior now and it ruins it for me? I huffed and puffed and requested and returned. Until I found the perfect book. I could not have imagined a better one. I stumbled upon it on a goodreads wander, swooned, and located a copy in the central basement. It’s one of the best basement treasures I have found yet.

Children's Literary Houses is an illustrated guide to famous dwelling’s in children’s fiction. The dwellings’ are taken from such literary delights as The Secret Garden, Little Women, David Copperfield and Alice in Wonderland. The art is gorgeous, and the excerpts are superbly well-chosen. And as if it weren’t already perfect for my current dilemma, it just happens to be written by Lisa Tuttle – one of my favourite science fiction/fantasy/horror writers, prolific from the 1980’s onward – and Rosalind Ashe, who appears to be of the same oeuvre. I infuriatingly cannot credit the beautiful illustrations, which are simply credited as “Copyright Dragon’s World Ltd, 1984”.

Dragon’s World Ltd, though, appear to be an absolute goldmine of fantasy, science fiction and esoteric art publishing out of Surrey during the late 70’s and early 80’s. For fans of Chris Achilleos and Heavy Metal etc, it should be worth investigating. And an added Bonus: Rosalind Ashe, I discovered, published Literary Houses two years prior, and it is just as brilliant.

So if you're looking for a smorgasbord of nostalgia with some beautiful - have a look! 

Thursday, 10 March 2016

Excitement Level Over 9,000! Children's tales coming to the screen in 2016

I am a big fan of all things Disney. (Does it hurt my feminist credentials to admit that?!)

That's why I was so excited to find out that two Disney tales are returning to the silver screen this year; The Jungle Book, and Beauty and the Beast. Whilst browsing Youtube, I was side-tracked by two other movie announcements; The BFG, and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. I got really excited, thinking about these upcoming movies, then I realised; ALL THE MOVIES I WAS LOOKING FORWARD TO WERE KID'S MOVIES.  

However, with actors such as Eddie Redmayne, Scarlett Johansson, Idris Elba and Emma Watson, studios are breaking out the big guns. These are the kinds of films that bring up nostalgia for generations of movie-goers, and looks set to make them the major blockbusters of the year. I am definitely excited for Bill Murray as the bumbling bear Baloo. And Christopher Walken as the giant 'orangutan' King Louie? Genius. What am I saying? Go ahead, indulge your inner child.

The Jungle Book, with stars including the aforementioned Scarlett Johansson, Idris Elba, Bill Murray and child actor Neel Sethi, will be the first to arrive on NZ's screens, premiering in April this year. The trailer promises a sweet hearted, but action-packed story. Prepare to be dazzled by the beautiful Indian wildlife, and to have your heart stolen by the plucky new Mowgli.

The second to open in New Zealand this year is The BFG, premiering in July, with a cast of actors including Bill Hader, Rebecca Hall and our very own Jermaine Clement. There is only a teaser trailer out at the moment, but as Roald Dahl and director Steven Spielberg fans know, there's only so far you can (hopefully) go wrong.

*hyperventilates* Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them. A Harry Potter prequel; what more can I say?! With an upcoming 'Harry Potter and the Cursed Child' play premiering in London this year, prepare for further Rowling mania. The announcement trailer doesn't give much away, but the plot basically is actor Eddie Redmayne playing 'Magizoologist' Newt Scamander, author of a future Hogwarts textbook on the subject, who chases down magical creatures in 1926 New York.

The second Disney story adapted for the screen, Beauty & the Beast, is technically not appearing to cinemas until 2017, but there is a lot of buzz around it already. Fans are freaking out about the casting of Miss Hermione Granger herself, Emma Watson, as book-loving Belle. With her large fan base and Brown University credentials, she is the perfect casting. Other actors in this astonishingly talented ensemble include Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, Emma Thompson, Ian McKellen, and Stanley Tucci.

What movies are you excited to see this year? Any other kids movies coming out this year that I've missed? Let me know in the comments below!