Friday, 19 November 2010

Happy Bird Day all you bird lovers out there! :D

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Willows...the Tales you have told me...

Out of all the countless and countless of adaptations made in the past, present and future, my all-time favourite version of "The Wind in the Willows" has to be the Cosgrove Hall successor.

Next to the carefully-chosen cast members and the stunning realism of its stop-motion animation, it's the writing that truly won me over. Obviously starting with the film, Rosemary Anne Sission and Brian Trueman kept the writing of the series directly in the faithful roots of Kenneth Graham's own style and characters - long after they had adapted all the original Willows stories (some that became TV Series episodes which weren't included in the first film) and also not afraid to show some "dark" tales, too - long before PC Nonsense reared its ugly head.

And the fact this spanned two feature-length films and five seasons is no surprise in my books. If you haven't bought the complete DVD Collection or have yet to see any of the episodes - DO SO. Then perhaps we can introduce today's hyped-up generation to decent children's television....

And believe it or not, this is my attempt at realistic drawings ^^;

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Cat Doodles, September 2010

FACT: Basher was one of my Mum's cats in her younger years - call it a tribute of sorts :meow:

Monday, 8 November 2010

Quaq Quao

Recently I have just got into another blast from the past - brought to us by Misseri Studios this very charming little series about a playful ducking who encounters different animals and learns new "languages" about each one.
Based solely in Italy, Misseri Studios are one of many European places that still rely on traditional animation methods for quality children's entertainment; proudly demonstrated with claymation (Mio Mao, Red and Blue), sand (A. E. I. O. U), water (Pozzie) and paper origami models (this series). They are even the masters behind the stop-motion series Bert and Ernie's Great Adventures via Sesame Street, so that says a LOT for this studio's efforts when every other studio and series is suddenly turning CGI on us.

So for your enjoyment, here's a QuaqQuao eppie to sample Misseri's amazing quality =)

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Vehicle Recalls

Just brushing up on my auto-mobile skills - see if you can guess where I got some of the references from....!

Saturday, 6 November 2010

"The Return of El Kabong"

To get rid of the last blog post, here's a more fun comic storyline to enjoy - this, sadly, was a reprint of the comic formally known as "Toonerang" (The home of Boomerang UK, when it used to show regular repeats of Hanna-Barbera, DePatie-Freleng stuff as the US do), so I've no clue when this storyline was first printed in whichever magazine overseas - nor if any original dialogue was altered in this reprint.

Anyhow, it's quite a fun story that keeps the spirit of Mike Maltease's wild style fresh with some peachy-keen artwork. And apparently, Guitar Showmanship (or smashing of the instruments) seemed to have originated as far back as roughly 1964, at least according to this story:

"In 1964, while playing at London's Railway Station nightclub, Pete Townsend was having trouble with his Rickenbacker. The electric guitar was buzzing and humming, so Pete tried shaking it around, but accidentally hit the low ceiling. To his complete amazement, the guitar broke in half. Pete, thinking quickly, acted as though it was part of the act and started stomping on the guitar and completely destroyed it, and so guitar smashing was born."

SOURCE: The History of Guitar Smashing

Seems a little out of the time zone, though, considering that both Quick Draw and El Kabong were "born" sometime before 1959, a few years before Pete's memorable incident. All the same, it still makes for a neat comic to read =)

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Not So Dandy...

Whilst we Brits may not have the glamorous and humorous issues of Boom! Studios Comics (including Darkwing Duck, Donald Duck & Friends and various Pixar titles) nor consistent, laugh-out-out issues of Looney Tunes (with NO puzzle pages whatsoever), we still rely on what appears to be the last remaining and long-running British Comics to keep this century's generation amused, at least for those who lack a TV, Computer, DS and/or Mobile phone for entertainment.

Unlike The Beano, however, its "rival" The Dandy - which was first published on the 4th December 1937 - has seen many major and shocking revamps over the course of 2000 and beyond. Here's a basic history of its timeline:
  • 16 October 2004 - the comic changed format and content, reflecting a more television-oriented style, now printed on glossy magazine paper instead of newsprint. 
  • August 2007 - changed its name to Dandy Xtreme, with every issue featuring celebrities and other Non-Dandy cartoon characters on the front cover fortnightly.
  • October 2010 - returned as a weekly comic and ditched the 'Xtreme' from the title.
I remember following the Dandy as long as the Beano the moment I could read. And going by the content and characters provided by the Dandy Staff in later years (not to mention the immense price of nearly £3 per issue), I thought it the kindest option to leave the Dandy well alone. If it can't please me, then at least it'll still amuse today's generation.

Then when news of its latest "revamp" came about, my curiosity peaked up again - mainly because British Comedian Harry Hill (famed for TV Burp) was helping to get its comedy values back up again - next to getting his own comic strip series, which he himself pens the scripts for, and with Nigel Parkinson drawing the comics.

So I decided to pick up a copy to satisfy my curiosity - and call me an old fogie, but sadly, Harry's comic was the ONLY story I laughed loudest at. What shocked me most of all was discovering that all the original Dandy cast had been dropped completely - bar Desperate Dan, Bananaman and Korky the Cat - and replaced with, in the nicest terms possible, "brain farts". Here's a list of the cast present:

  • The Mighty Bork - a stupid Blue Alien who attacks news reporter Rocky O'Flair. 
  • Kid Cops - a pair of kids on a mission to bring boring adults to justice (yeah, REAL original...!)
  •  The Phantom Pharter - "guilty of dropping a bean-bomb in Buckingham palace and ruining the Queen's Speech". Need I say more? 
  • The Bogies - based off of this latest 'net fad ----> LINK!
  •  Count Snotula - a vampire who sucks (surprise, surprise....) bogies.....
  • Pre-Skool Prime Minister - fed up of grown-up politics, the United Kingdom elected a four-year-old as the next Prime Minister...
  •  Shao Lin Punks - Avatar/Anime/Manga fad....thingy...
  • Little Simon - Adventures of "younger" versions of pop celebs. This week is Little Simon in X-factorville - who tries to be bad but can't help being good.
  • Robot on the Run - set in Ipswich in the year 5173, the world's first robot escapes from "the Museum of Ancient Really Awesome Old Things from the Olden Days of the Past". Too much dialogue, not enough funny.
  • Postman Prat - skateboarding looney parody with his unlucky cat Tess.
  • George Vs. Dragon - if I wanted to read a funnier Knight Vs. Dragon story, I'd rather read this chap's far superior work...
  •  Simples! 101 ways to use a meerkat - 'nuff said 
  • Pepperoni Pig - about the only other comic that kept my interest. A red pig working as a delivery guy at "War 'n' Pizza" takeaway place.
  • Noel or No Noel? - Noel Edmonds delivering unfunny variations on his "Deal or no Deal" catchphrase...groan-worthy even for me.

So it seems the likes of Ollie Fliptrick, Sneaker, Beryl the Peril, Cuddles and Dimples and the "new" Dandy mascot, Jak, seems to have fallen victim to the job-cut like the rest of us. There are so many new characters altogether, if you changed the name of The Dandy, it wouldn't matter at all; it'd still be an entirely different comic altogether.

And what really made my heart sink was the radical new designs Desperate Dan, Bananaman and Korky received here. A far cry from the wonderful, original works of Dudley Watkins, John Geering and Robert Nixon many of us still fondly remember from our faded copies of previous Dandy issues.

I'm sure many of us will give it a chance...but if you ask me: the only good entertainment I'll ever find is either from friends with sharper wit or by making my own. Have it whatever you like. But until someone over there wakes up and gives us decent stuff that's on par with Gary Northfield or Mike Pearse's stuff, then I wash my hands with the Dandy altogether.