Sunday, 6 July 2008


8 Out of 10 Cats
6x03 (27/6/08 edition)

Babylon 5
1x18 A Voice in the Wilderness Part I
1x19 A Voice in the Wilderness Part II

1x06 Epiphanies

5x02 Gas and Oil Part 2
While a lot of this story pushes believability to the limit, the 'emergency measures' plot strand scenes of police attacking protestors are all too believable.

Wimbledon 2008
The longest -- and surely most tense -- men's singles final in Wimbledon history, Federer vs Nadal (for the third time) ended with the Spaniard winning. In the process he's put a stop to both Federer's near-record-breaking run of consecutive Wimbledon wins, and halted his near-five-year run of unbeaten matches on grass. Who'd've thought Federer would end up looking like the underdog too?!


Batman: Year One by Frank Miller & David Mazzucchelli
Chapters One - Four [the end]
See here for some of my thoughts on this book.

Batman: The Man Who Laughs by Ed Brubaker & Doug Mahnke
Like the film it inspired, Batman: Year One ends with newly-promoted Captain Jim Gordon informing Batman about a rising threat: the Joker. As The Dark Knight will do on film, The Man Who Laughs follows directly from this moment... Written very recently (2005), The Man Who Laughs mixes elements of Year One, the Joker's origin from The Killing Joke, and Batman's original first battle with him (in 1940's Batman #1), to retell the story of the Batman's first encounter with his nemesis. It's part of a new wave of creators retelling early Batman stories: 2005/6's Batman and the Monster Men is set during Year One and tells of Batman's first encounter with Dr Hugo Strange, while 2006/7's Batman and the Mad Monk retells another tale from Batman's first few appearances in Detective Comics, and leads directly into The Man Who Laughs (all three of these stories are collected in The Batman Chronicles Volume 1).

Batman: Made of Wood by Ed Brubaker & Patrick Zircher
(from the Batman: The Man Who Laughs hardcover)
Only tenuously linked with The Man Who Laughs: same writer and major involvement for (a retired) Gordon. In some ways it mirrors the construction of Man Who Laughs (which in turn mirrors Year One), with Gordon and Batman pursuing different lines of inquiry, narrated in journal-style text boxes. The story itself concerns a series of murders from the '40s, when Green Lantern patrolled Gotham. Consequently it's a bit of a team-up tale, a genre I don't care for on the whole, especially when it's someone with silly superpowers intruding on Batman's superpower-free world. On the plus side, the last page gives some nice extra meaning / modified perspective on what went before.

Not that this really matters to anyone, but... normally I keep what I've read/watched to alphabetical order, but have here stuck to the order I read them because my comments flow that way.

"Batman: Year One" by Frank Miller & David Mazzucchelli

Batman: Year One is one of the key late '80s tales (like Watchmen and The Dark Knight Returns) that are credited with re-defining the comics medium. It's as much Jim Gordon's story as Batman's, succinctly showing how Batman's emergence began to change things in a corrupt, ruined Gotham. It's clear that a lot of this formed the basis to Batman Begins, though I'd argue the film's embellishments improve on this version.

The most recent edition also includes a page from an L.A. Confidential-style gossip rag, 'The Crime Blotter'; an introduction by Denny O'Neill (written in 1988); an interesting illustrated afterword by David Mazzucchelli ; a selection of script pages and corresponding layouts; a gallery of sketches and covers (including more roughs); to-scale reproductions of original art and newspaper-print pages; and, finally, another afterword, by Frank Miller.

These extras represent 40 pages, much of it very interesting. Especially intriguing were Mazzucchelli's early '80s submission pencils, which show a detailed realistic style, which was largely abandoned for a scratchy, sketchier style through Year One.

Days til New York...


For a full explanation, please see the start of the countdown.