Archive for the ‘Social’ Category

Arriving at the Natural History Museum’s entrance always ignites the ‘butterflies’ in my stomach. I revert to memories of heading straight to the dinosaurs, before dragging myself away to see the latest exhibition I came for.

The latest excuse for my journey was Gunther von Hagen and his ‘BODY WORKS’ team, who use plastination to dissect various animals to highlight what organs, bones & ligaments allow animals to swim, fly, leap etc.

The exhibition varies from a stunning Indian elephant to a small 10cm frog. Some are in pure skeletal form others like a huge squid receive the ‘Damien Hirst’ treatment, and are cleanly sliced through exposing the organs and mechanisms that allows it draw in excess water through its gills, before expelling it to allow projection at speed to hunt or escape danger. There are too many animals to describe them all, so I have covered a few personal highlights.

We are immediately presented with an 8-10ft shark, its bright red nerves & fibres echoing the crimson of its various victims during its lifetime. It’s huge liver lies underneath, formally representing up to 40% of its living body weight. The cold glare of its eyes seem to follow you, with its jagged teeth still on show. There is still the unnerving feeling of being watched

The section dedicated to mammals is what will gain the greatest attention with an adult giraffe and gorilla on show. A combination of skin and fatty tissue removed to showcase the inner complexities of the animals. The giant Indian elephant in particular is the ‘show stopper’.

(I wasn’t able to sneak a picture of this)

In addition to the elephants dissection, the reconstruction purposefully provides amplified space through the fastenings to allow a greater view deeper into the animal. A brain previously belonging to the animal lies next to it (the same weight as an average baby), with its nerve endings on show. The scale of the mammal itself is something, but revealing its inner ‘mechanisms’ provides a greater appreciation.

The only possible criticism is the lack of narration. Other than a couple of sentences upon entry there is little explanation why the animals have been put on show or further insight into the plastination process. However, anyone with a keen interest in nature should take the time to go and visit (there is always a T-Rex in the next hall if it’s not for you).

20111204-205322.jpg

The rucksack is off and it’s time to look at todays purchases.

I’m not sure how I found out about the London Comic Mart, however it was a lot better than their self promotion merits. If you were to walk past the Royal National Hotel or even through their reception, other than a hand written note you wouldn’t even know it was happening.

Once found, the event consists of 3 rooms full of comics, DVDs collectible cards and all things ‘geek’. The event has none of the flair or sense of theatre  of the main London events, however if you have a checklist of DC, Marvel and Independents required then this is your place. 

Another thing that was clear to see was the ‘collector’ nature of the attendees of the event. At every desk there  was a least one person with a notepad full of different comics and what editions were required. Usually these type of gatherings are fun and have a social nature, however today seemed more business focussed. 

Either way I left with a 4 and 6 part mini series for Steve Niles (30 Days of Night, Return to Barrow & Criminal Macabre Mystery for those who are interested). All in all I got 17 comics for just under £15, and when the next event is hosted in February I will be sure to have my notepad ready.

(Apologies for the poor picture, my iPhone battery died)

20111025-210741.jpg

What a treat to come into the office after a long weekend, and be presented with three unopened hard boarded envelopes. At last, week two of DC’s ‘New 52’ alongside my other pre-subscribed comics.

This might be longer than my previous comic rambles, however I wanted to run through and review my recent arrivals. Due to the number of comics received, I will split these into four more manageable parts (a,b,c,d), with the first two purely a DC focus and the second pair focussing on IDW and independants. Baring any feedback, I think I will change the structure moving forward to include a sole review of my favourite comic from each dispatch.

First up,

Swamp Thing #2 – Where do I start? Scott Synder alongside Yanick Paquettes exquisite art, have created one of the most intriguing comics of the relaunch. I had no connection with the character leading into this series as I had not read any Swamp Thing previous. However I have immediately been drawn into Alec Hollands anguish of fighting his memories of a time he was infact the creature in question, controlled by the Green. The second comic of the series starts more text heavy than the first, however this is essential and seamless as we are informed of Alec’s almost pre-determined destiny alongside the pending danger that awaits. 
Once the double spread is reached, Paquettes art has more room to shine, while the pace of the comic dramatically shifts as Alec’s foreseen danger is seen with the disturbing and zombie like attackers (who’s heads have been twisted to face backwards), before a clinical teaser at the finale leaves you looking at the calendar for the next release. Rating a strong 4/5

Animal Man #2 – If Snyder is the ‘man of the moment’, the AM’s Jeff Lemire can’t be far behind. Lemire wastes no time in throwing the reader into Buddy Bakers conflict of being a super hero with animal powers, and being a loving husband and father of two. We are immediately shown that his daughter Maxine not only has a stronger power than his, but she is still to understand or control them. Meanwhile, Buddy has also started his own frightening transformation, which he and Maxine use as a guide to find and emerge themselves in ‘The Red’. Our final pages serve as an introduction to ‘The Hunters Three’ who after transforming back into human form are gruesomely  ready ‘to hunt’. 
Animal Man wouldn’t be the same without Travel Foreman’s art. As you might be able to see in the picture at the top, Foreman’s style is a lot more raw and challenging to view compared to some of the other comics reviewed, however demanding the readers full attention suits Lemire’s writing style. Personally, I can wait to see what direction this story moves towards. Rating 5/5

Wow… is the only word I can use to describe the recent 2.8hours London event. A zombie apocalypse has hit London and our group of six have to scour the streets looking for fellow survivors who provide co-ordinates for the next location and a step closer to safety.
Sounds simple I know, however I forgot to mention that meanwhile we are being hunted down by zombies (and fast ones at that!!). Final co-ordinates sent us sent us to the bar where the infected are made up and taunted by the living. The evening is a complete adrenaline rush, hiding in car parks, abandoned pubs to dodging zombies under railway arches. Most definitely a date in next years diary.

From a speed rush, to a quieter alternative.

It’s not the norm that I feel under dressed, however, queuing to get into Comic Con isn’t the norm. The range of costumes is really something you need to see to believe.There is a mix of classic characters (Batman’s & Star Wars to the more modern anime and Dr Who’s.)
I Was a little late and didn’t make it until Sunday morning, however I still managed to pick up a few little bargains including some backdated editions of Chew. The Con is more than just comic books, they have the latest computer games, memorabilia and artists ready for questions and to provide sketches if you are willing to pay. 
Although I didn’t have as much time as I had hoped, I recommend going for the atmosphere and the variety of costumes. As with above, I will be back next year and giving it the time it deserves.

I had the pleasure of seeing the finishing touches added to this piece.

I loved it so much I had to take three pics.

There is one more pic blog to go. However I have a few things planned over the next few days, so I will post in a few weeks.

I know I posted some similar pics a few months ago, however I believe the following blow them ‘out of the water’.

I apologise in advance at the picture quality, I used a BlackBerry at 06.45 to get most of the shops shut.

A bright start to the list

About time there was something new from Sweet Toof

Old Street’s very own Pure Evil, at the excellent Print Club

Wish I knew this artist.. Let me know if you do

Keep an eye out as the next post focusses on one piece that is the best I have seen for years.

This weeks post is different to the usual updates.

I started a social experiment although I am not sure what, if any response I may get. I recently read ‘The True Dynamics of Life’ by Mike Richards, and it actually made a positive impact on how I act, think and treat people. I’ve never been into spiritual books and I haven’t read one with such impact since , however it ‘inspired’ the following event.

I am keen to see if I can gain any responses, and to see if I can start some dialogue via Twitter. For this to work, I am totally reliant on outside participation so there is a chance that I will not mention this again due to lack of involvement.

I will leave a copy of the book in an environment where I believe it will be found by someone who will at least open the cover and read the proposal to take part, rather than just throw it away. Within the front cover will be my Twitter account and #ECRBook that I hope people will interact with. I also hope people will leave their details inside the cover for others to follow if they wish.

More important will be a request for the finder to read a chapter of the book and to write any commentary they may have on the pages. Once completed I would like them to forward the book to someone they know to continue the process, or to leave somewhere they think will be suitable for a new owner to find. My last request will be to ask that they email through their thoughts on what they have read, and with their permission I will publish it on the blog.

My perfect scenario would be for the person who completes the last chapter to let me know and forward the book back to me (I will of course cover p&p). If I gain any type of interaction, then I will purchase another copy of the book and leave in a different part of London to see if that affects the responses.

I want to highlight that this is not a promotion for the book, and genuine negative comments are equally welcome alongside anything positive.

Watch this space, and I will keep you updated on any developments.