Archive for December, 2011

Simon’s Best of 2011 Awards Day 2 – Wrestling

December 30, 2011

In Part 1 of the Thwipping Boys Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Excellence Awards, I gave my thoughts on the best TV of the year, in Part 2, I now intend to look at another of my loves… WRASSLIN. So sit back, enjoy the body slams, and reflect on the past 12 months.

Rising Star Award

Dolph Ziggler

Truth is, I’ve been out of wrestling for a long time, my last regular viewing of the WWE product was 7 or 8 years ago. I kept ‘in the know’ through friends and the Internet, but nothing about the stars or the product interested me. It wasn’t until I began reading about a number of wrestlers called the most exciting of their generation that my interest was piqued again, and so for the past 3 months, I have been on wrestling like a fly on… You know.

So who would I choose as 2011’s rising star award? I could choose current World Heavyweight Champion Daniel Bryan, or maybe WWWYKI Internet and US Champion Zack Ryder, or even ‘Best in the World’ WWE Champion CM Punk, but no, my choice is the #Heel Dolph Ziggler.

It is my prediction that Ziggler (despite a decidedly b-movie porn star name) will become an established main-eventer and WWE Title holder in 2012, in my mind he has everything he needs to be the top heel in the company, especially since WWE seem to have lost faith in The Miz and Alberto Del Rio. He has the look, with an awesome pair of boots, and slick back bleach blond hair. He has an awesome move-set, including the return of the Sleeper Hold and the Fame-Asser. Finally, he has the much needed mic skills to portray his confidence and arrogance. Every match I have seen involving Ziggler since I have been back (including a number I have gone back and looked at from earlier in the year) has been fantastic, the guy can sell like no one else, making every move look epic.

Despite Ziggler technically already being a former Heavyweight Champ (a reign of 11 minutes during his feud with Edge) he now has a REAL chance to prove he belongs on the main event, with a title shot against CM Punk this coming Monday on Raw. Will he win? No, Jericho will return and attack Punk, setting off their feud that would last until Wrestlemania, but following that, expect to see Ziggler as Champ.

Game Changer Award

Retirement of Edge

There were two major turning points for WWE this past year, and it was difficult to choose between the two, my runner-up is CM Punk’s shoot speech and eventual storyline. The winner of the award is Edge and his retirement. While I wasn’t the biggest fan of Edge in singles competition, I cannot deny his popularity with the crowd, week on week he would receive one of the biggest, if not the biggest, crowd reactions upon his music playing. After defeating Alberto Del Rio at Wrestlemania, Edge was told he should never wrestle again, due to neck injuries sustained throughout his career.

The next night on Raw was an impassioned farewell speech in which he announced immediate retirement, but why was this a game changer? For the first time in 16 years of watching wrestling I witnessed a man at the peak of his career, and an incredibly young age, forced to retire, there was no build up, no “I don’t know how much longer I can do this” he was there, and then gone. Not only that but Edge was the World Heavyweight Champion, he was the top guy on the Smackdown brand, whether he was heel or face, his retirement not only vacated the title, but also left a void in the company that WWE have tried to fill over the last 8 months and failed.

You will be missed Edge, more than I realised.

Superstar of the Year

CM Punk

Who else could this be given to but CM Punk? He is the hottest star on the planet right now, Cena may be the biggest, but Punk has the excitement factor. So why don’t we take a look back at Punk’s year?

Punk’s year started inauspiciously enough, he was the heel leader of ‘New Nexus’ a ragtag bunch of crappy rookies who graduated from WWE’s abysmal NXT programming. Using the stable, he proceeded to wage a war against Randy Orton, running through Wrestlemania and culminating at Extreme Rules. It was during the Elimination Chamber match in March that the first awesome Punk moment occurred.

Following the culmination of this feud we got the now infamous shoot promo, where Punk was given pretty much free rein by the WWE to say whatever he wanted about what he hates about WWE (with a hint of storyline exaggeration), and boy did he. This was an important moment in the year for many reasons, one it was the first real time WWE had allowed the blurring of reality and fantasy as a storyline, and the other was that Punk started the shoot as a heel, but ended it as a face, purely based on his charisma, go on, take a look.

Fast forward to 3 weeks later, Money in the Bank, John Cena vs. CM Punk for the WWE Title in Punk’s hometown of Chicago. Now, what made this special, was that CM Punk’s WWE contract was expiring at the end of this night, a huge portion of this was not storyline, yes, Punk’s contract was originally ending that night, and had he not been able to strike a deal for serious changes to the company and his character, he would have been gone. But luckily McMahon and Punk came to an agreement, and the contract expiration was written in to a storyline which involved Punk leaving the WWE having just won the championship.

Punk returned to WWE a short time later to reignite his feud with Cena (who had won the WWE Championship back after it was apparently vacated by Punk leaving WWE) in a Champion vs. Champion showdown to determine the undisputed champion at Summerslam. Punk beat Cena, but lost the title to Alberto Del Rio (with some help from Kevin Nash) when Del Rio cashed in his money in the bank title shot. The next few months were a trying time for Punk’s character, he was still gaining in popularity, but it was obvious WWE had dropped the ball on his return, having lost the WWE championship a mere month after winning it. After 2 months of languishing in a stupid feud with HHH, Punk regained the title at Survivor Series, leading us to our two final videos for your pleasure.

And finally, at the TLC pay per view just a few short weeks ago, The Miz, Del Rio and Punk took part in a TLC match for Punk’s title. This was a pretty standard fare until a frankly awesome ending (follow the link to watch, 3 minutes in) that saw Punk retain his title.

TLC Title Match Last 8 Minutes

And there we have it, a recap of the major points of Punk’s year, combined with the moments that helped him win the award for Superstar of the Year, here’s hoping you have enjoyed the read, and will be back later tonight for my next part…. MOVIES!

Simon’s Best of 2011 Awards Day 1 – Television

December 28, 2011

With 2011 coming to a close, I wanted to wrap up my thoughts on my various interests by producing the Inaugural Thwipping Boys Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Excellence Awards. This feature will run for the next 4 days, with a different category each day, so be sure to check back this time tomorrow for part 2!! I must warn you, throughout this series there will be spoilers, so with that over and done with… GET ON WITH THE CEREMONY!!

Best TV Actor

Bryan Cranston – Walter White, Breaking Bad

Bryan CranstonIt would be very easy to attribute this win to the ole bandwagon, Cranston wins these awards left, right and center, he has to be a shoe in for all of them right? Well… No, to be honest, in Breaking Bad alone this year Aaron Paul was breathing right down Cranston’s neck for his blistering portrayal of Jesse Pinkman, Bob Odenkirk was suitably slimy as Saul Goodman and Giancarlo Esposito gave us the best TV villain in years in Gustavo ‘Gus’ Fring. Despite a tour de force of supporting cast, or perhaps because of it, Cranston was able to stay one step ahead, delivering mind-blowing moments capable of elevating him above the pack, making us love and hate dear old Walter White in equal parts.

Most Shocking TV moment

The Demise of Ned Stark – Game of Thrones

Fans of George R. R. Martin’s ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ saga would have been well aware of the events that transpired throughout the first Season of the books television adaptation, those new to the series were a different story entirely. Leading up to the Series Premiere, advertising had leaned in one direction in particular, pushing Ned Stark (portrayed by Sean Bean) as the main character, of which the series would revolve around. With all of this, expectations that had been previously established were shattered in one fell swoop when the dastardly little bitch King Joffrey executed Ned just because he could… Not that I am still bitter. This moment had viewers baying for the heads of everyone involved, vowing never to watch the show again, until the next week.

The following scene is so well shot, so beautiful, that even after the deed is done, there is a moment spent questioning whether it really happened. With the director of this episode  (Alan Taylor) recently confirmed as the director of Thor 2, Mjolnir looks to be in sturdy hands.

Best Show

Breaking Bad

Breaking Bad

 

What can I say about Breaking Bad that hasn’t already been said; in 4 short seasons this show has garnered unanimous praise and constant plaudits. It has truly been the most uncomfortable joy watching Walter White’s family life unravel as he is consumed more and more by the greed and power of the Crystal Meth industry. Season 4 ended with the confirmation that Walter’s actions have not been motivated by protection of his family or through uncertainty, but that, of all of the villains showcased on Breaking Bad, Walter is one of the most devious. With one season left it will be interesting to see just how the cards fall, what will be the fate of Walter, Jesse, Skylar and Hank? In my opinion, Jesse will get out alive, while Walter will be buried in a grave of his own making.

 

And there we are, part 1 is over and done with, I hope you have enjoyed the show, and check back tomorrow for part 2… WRESTLING!


Ep. 15 – Thwipping Boys Christmas Special

December 25, 2011

The Thwipping Boys Christmas Podcast is here!

What happens when a once powerful force for good turns evil and tries to spoil Christmas for everyone? We also catch up with The Shade, review a Christmas-flavoured Finnish horror adventure and Chris provides his own spin on some classic tunes.

Plus we open our presents, recorded live on Christmas Day 2011 (today!).

Listen Now!

 

 

 

 

Show Notes: Thwipping Boys Christmas Special
00:00 – A MARVELOUS CHRISTMAS, PART 1
01:49  – Join us for a very special occasion as WE OPEN OUR PRESENTS, PART 1, as recorded live on Christmas Day 2011. At the time of writing, about two hours ago!
09.00  – A MARVELOUS CHRISTMAS, PART 2
11.29  – Join us around the Christmas Tree in Thwipping Boys Towers as WE OPEN OUR PRESENTS, PART 2
15.04 – A MARVELOUS CHRISTMAS, PART 3
17.28 – After missing it at the time we take the opportunity to catch up with THE SHADE #2 and #3.
25.28  – A MARVELOUS CHRISTMAS, PART 4
27.03  – Bored of the same old Christmas movies? We talk about RARE EXPORTS: A CHRISTMAS TALE, and our usual spoiler warning rules apply!
35.52  – A MARVELOUS CHRISTMAS, PART 5

Ep. 14 – The Sacrifice of Steve Guttenberg

December 18, 2011

A mercifully shorter episode this week, as we continue to look at the DCnU books, as well as the second episode of Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror, while Chris tells us about an awesome-sounding dream he had involving Spider-Woman, an alien invasion and one of the biggest movie stars of the 80s.

Also – shock of shocks! We drop a book!

Listen Now!

 

 

 

 

Episode 14 Reviews

Show Notes for Episode 14: The Sacrifice of Steve Guttenberg
01:00 – We don’t agree whether Episode 2 of BLACK MIRROR (“15 Million Merits”) was better than Episode 1, but we do agree that you must be watching this series.
09:10 – After reading BATMAN AND ROBIN #4 we have our theories on where the awesome series is heading.
18:00 – DEMON KNIGHTS #4 has us desperate to see just how badass Sir Ystin The Shining Knight is capable of being.
27:45 – FRANKENTEIN: AGENT OF S.H.A.D.E. #4 sees the end of the Monster Planet arc where they travel to the Monster Planet and fight a big gorram bunch of Monsters.
35:15 – We learn in GREEN LANTERN #4 that Geoff Johns doesn’t have balls of steel. And the book also reiterates that as good as he can be, he’s a damned inconsistent writer.
43:50 – RESURRECTION MAN #4 sees this series pretty much developing as we’ve predicted since the first issue, but we still kinda like it.
53:30 – Quite a few comics in the DC relaunch surprised us with the #1 issues, but SUICIDE SQUAD #4 shows that this series is the only one to have kept it up ever since.
60:00 – We were so psyched up for the Superboy / Teen Titans crossover when this whole shebang started, but how do we feel about it after SUPERBOY #4?

Ep. 13 – Hiccups!

December 13, 2011

Episode 13 sees The Thwipping Boys noticeably tired despite their week off, while Jon is drunk and slurring his words from the get-go. OK so that doesn’t sound like a thrilling call to action but whatever. Also sorry about the weird noise that pops up throughout this, we haven’t isolated it yet. Let’s say it’s a “feature”.

Listen Now!

 

 

 

 

Episode 13 Reviews

Show Notes for Episode 13: Hiccups!
01:35 – We meant to simply mention Charlie Brooker’s BLACK MIRROR and tell you to watch it, but we ended up reviewing it in depth and [almost] spoiling it.
09:40 – We review THE SHADE #1 to appease one of our listeners, and are glad we did!
21:22 – ACTION COMICS #4 sees us starting to sour on this series. Grant Morrison’s name alone has kept us on this so far, so we’re hoping it pays off at some point…soon.
39:45 – ANIMAL MAN #4 is so good it’s just ridiculous.
57:57 – We dropped the book after issue 3 but a veto from Chris bought OMAC #4 back into contention. Plus! We get sidetracked by the difference between US and UK sewer systems.
67:10 – STORMWATCH #4 still sees us confused by this series, and despite the team’s continuing insistence that they’re not just superheroes we’re not quite sure what separates them from the Justice League.
84:20 – While we review SWAMP THING #4 we discover a horrifying truth – Chris is not of the opinion that anything can be improved by simply adding dinosaurs.
102:10 – We desperately need a title for this feature about whether Chris thinks we should bring back classic characters to the DCnU or leave them buried forever. This week we discuss GLORIOUS GODFREY.
116:50 – Not even the hurricane raging outside can distract us from Chris’ take of the final chapter of the wonderful MARVELS.

How do YOU read digital comics?

December 6, 2011

As a long-time comics fanboy who very quickly fell in love with the digital format (in my case, reading in Comixology’s Guided View on the iPad) I keep encountering a sentiment on comics websites and podcasts that is confusing the heck out of me.

People are talking about there being a problem with double page spreads and with constantly having to turn their iPad around in order to appreciate them, and something in the back of my mind can’t help but scream “YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG!”.

When I first tried to read a digital comic, I hated it. I too was constantly turning it around. And then a moment of absolute clarity hit me, an epiphany – like a bullet between the eyes. OK I’m exaggerating, it was actually pretty obvious: Try it in landscape! I did, it was odd for a few minutes, but I was soon convinced and I’ve been reading like that ever since.

The thing is, there appears to be zero downside to reading them in landscape. Vertical panels work perfectly well that way! In three months of reading just about everything DC has put out I haven’t once felt the need to turn the iPad around to see a vertical panel.

My theory is that after years of reading comics, readers are simply assuming that the correct way to view them is the aspect ratio that most resembles what they are used to. Unless all you’ve ever read is Frank Miller’s 300. But reading on Guided View is a whole new (and quite brilliant) ball-game, which may require some changes to what you’re used to, if you want the best experience out of it.

So let us know. Are we the crazy ones? How do you read your digital comics?

To finish, let me say – if you read them in portrait, just try it in landscape. For me. It’ll feel weird at first, but I am sure you’ll come to be surprised at how much better it is.

If you’ve got any comments, email thwippingboys@gmail.com

JonnyJon

Special Edition – Kingdom Come

December 3, 2011

After an early disagreement with Chris about whether super heroes should take lives (Jon and Simon said NO they shouldn’t!), we decided to throw the DC newbie right in at the deep end and introduce him to Kingdom Come, which we reviewed in depth, chapter by chapter, over four episodes of the weekly Thwipping Boys Comics Podcast. Now, for your listening pleasure, we present the whole review in one podcast.

What did he make of this incredible work from Alex Ross and Mark Waid?

Listen Now!

 

 

 

 

Or get it on iTunes!

Kingdom Come

Postscript: Chris has admitted that he has grown to like the idea of super heroes not being killers, since the discussion we had about this book. Bravo!

Special Edition – The Horror in Pripyat by Thwipping Boys

December 3, 2011

A few months ago, we discovered some horrifying tapes that seem to feature Alternate Earth versions of ourselves broadcasting from Ukraine. At the time, we spliced these episodes into our Halloween Special, but now for the first time you can listen to The Horror in Pripyat as a single piece.

Headphones are recommended if possible, and we dare you to listen in the dark!

Listen Now!

 

 

 

 

Or get it on iTunes!

The Horror in Pripyat