Archive for the ‘Jon’ Category

URGENT: RIP THWIPPING BOYS – THE END OF AN EPIC JOURNEY

June 6, 2012

It is with deep regret that we call an end to this whacked out crazy journey called the Thwipping Boys Podcast. As our regular listeners, and those we talk to on Twitter, are no doubt aware we have had an awful lot of trouble in the past few weeks when it comes to the podcast, and problems have been building for some time now in the increasing lack of time we are able to devote to the podcast, this is especially true for Chris, who puts in more work than any of us by turning our stupid ramblings in to a high quality show week in, week out. To edit one show takes a monumental amount of effort on his part (coupled with reading and recording, one show takes up days of his week) in the face an increasingly busy schedule and it has become unfeasible for us to continue as we are.

We’d like to thank everyone who has taken the time to listen to us, and we would especially like to thank all those people who have taken the time to get to know us on Twitter and made the experience all the more amazing.

It really is a sad day, for us especially, as we really loved doing the podcast, and we know some of you out there will just be completely lost with out us! (Talking about you Paul :P) but do not fret, we will still be around in some form. The website will stay up, and may even get updated every so often with new articles etc, and we’ll continue to be on Twitter so that we can still be a part of your lives in some way.

We’d like to leave you with a hint at what the future may have held had the Thwipping Boys continued and the three of us wish you all the best of luck.

G’nite!

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Digital Disorientation in Batman #5

January 21, 2012

Batman #5There’s been a lot spoken about the way Batman #5 played with the comics form, but before I really get into this I will state that even if the panel layout had been completely conventional, this was the best single issue of a comic I’ve read in my life. If you’re not reading this amazing Batman run from Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo, I don’t have any way to express how sorry I feel for you. Sort it out!

As you will know if you follow our podcast, we’re steadfast converts to digital in terms of single issues – which in my particular case is quite fortuitous since there’s no comic shops around here. So I was quite perturbed when I read the following tweet from iFanboy’s Josh Flanagan:

joshtweet

And he’s not the only one who thought so.

This thread on the DC boards says that the digital comic has “Unacceptable Orientation Problems”.

This one seems to indicate ComiXology has actually been refunding people.

And there are many similar sentiments to be found all over the place.

Well I would like to say: Au contraire, Internet! You are wrong on this one.

When I first read that tweet, I messaged Snyder and Capullo saying that I don’t know what all this was about yet but that I hoped they hadn’t forgotten that for many, visiting a comic shop isn’t actually an option. Capullo immediately replied:

capullo

Cut to my experience reading it, and as you turned the tablet around, the swipe controls for Guided View would become confused and you’d find yourself swiping the wrong way a few times, causing immersion, confusion and disorientation at the moments when Bruce was feeling most lost.

I found myself thinking “Woah, hang on. I’m lost. Have I gone back on myself? What’s going on? Where was I? Where am I? I’m going round in circles, damn you, tormentors!” just like Batman was, with Snyder and Capullo playing the part of the Court of Owls themselves.

Indeed, the stuff the guys did with the way it reads digitially is far more impressive than “turning the comic around while you read it” which has been done before and when you think about it, isn’t really that impressive.

I then had a thought. Pity the poor desktop readers! They can’t turn their monitors around. They’d actually have to read it upside down. Suckers! But while recording our podcast the other night, I tried it and realised that not only are comics just as easy to read sideways or upside down as they are right way round, but that this was another spin on providing the disorientation that was different to tablet but still superior to the paper experience.

If anything, this shows the limitations of the paper form, rather than making a case for it. Contrary to what I have read everywhere else, I believe the guys were actually making a stronger case for digital and that tablet specifically was the superior way to read the book. There’s no way that the tablet experience was just an unexpected side-effect of what they did on paper.

Batman crazy!

What’s really clever is that they accommodated every format. Whether you read on paper, tablet, smartphone or desktop, it disorientated in a different way.

If you think the whole thing was a gimmick that you didn’t need, that’s fair enough. But saying the disorientation added a layer to it only, or more effectively on paper is nonsense. The only possible criticism I have is that the rotation lock business should have been explained somehow at the front of the book itself. As an iPad user for 6 months, I didn’t even know I could do that, and if I wasn’t lucky enough to have one of the creators explain this I probably wouldn’t have been able to get the most out of it, or I would have had to come out of the story halfway through to fiddle with the settings.

I would assume Mr. Flanagan hadn’t read the digital version when he tweeted. Indeed, I haven’t read it on paper, but I’d suggest it’s far easier to imagine the paper experience without having done it, than the other way around.

I hope ComiXology doesn’t reorient the panels like some people are asking them to, or at least that users are given the option to do so without the update being forced on us. This might be the most perfect comic of all time just the way it is thanks very much. The idea that ComiXology might be issuing refunds for selling this masterpiece to people makes me sad.

To hear us talk about Batman #5 in more depth, check out Ep. 19 of our podcast.

Want to add to the debate? Email thwippingboys@gmail.com or find us on Twitter at @thwippingboys

JonnyJon

Jon’s Best of 2011 Awards – Podcasts

January 10, 2012

In my round up of 2011’s Television, I gave the caveat that I hadn’t watched as much TV last year as I normally would, and there’s a reason for that. During 2011, I listened to podcasts almost constantly, getting in around half a dozen a day on average.

Having never been one for the radio (apart from Radio 4 – obviously) I would have called you crazy if you’d told me five years ago I would be sacrificing valuable TV hours in favour of listening to nerds talking to each other.

The ones I mention below are only a few of those I’ve enjoyed during 2011, so honourable mentions must also go to The Nerdist, Comedy Bang Bang, The SideKickCast, 20 Minute Longbox, Mike and Tom Eat Snacks, We Talk Comics and too many more to name.

Best Comics Podcasts (apart from ours, obviously!)

3 – Fuzzy Typrewriter

Fuzzy TypewriterFuzzy Typewriter is a podcast started by iFanboy writer Paul Montgomery, digging into the nitty-gritty of “Story and Storytelling, Art and Artists” in the world of comics, movies and novels with a regular cast of revolving co-hosts.

Soft-spoken Montgomery has a great voice for podcasting and is fiercely intelligent and passionate about the subjects he covers – I particularly enjoyed listening to him review all 52 of the DCnU #1 books, especially since we did the same.

It’s not [meant to be] the funniest or the slickest podcast in the world, but it’s always immensely listenable and once you hit play you can just feel yourself becoming more cultured by the minute.

2 – Word Balloon

Word BalloonI just pointed out that Paul Montgomery has a great podcasting voice, but John Siuntres is how all podcasters want to sound when they grow up. Hell, all MEN wish they sounded like this guy.

This isn’t meant to come across as mean, but  he really does sound like he comes from a different time, conducting ultra-classy, insightful and often hilarious interviews with…well, everybody in comics. Everybody. His Bendis Tapes are a particular gem.

Unlike other podcasts mentioned here, I don’t listen to every episode. It’s not a downside – Siuntres’ range of guests are so diverse, that due to time constraints I pick and choose which interviews to listen to, but that does mean there’s something for everyone and it’s testament to the quality that I’ve been totally gripped when I’ve found myself listening to interviews with people I’ve never heard of, who write things I’m not interested in.

Plus he’s got a great taste in films (crime and noir in particular) and you’ll always come away from a podcast with a couple of new recommendations to check out.

1 –iFanboy

iFanboyI like that iFanboy is such a reliable constant in the comics universe. Every Sunday like clockwork you get a one hour Pick of the Week Podcast which follows a tight format and gives you a strong overview of the week’s comics. The guys that present it are smart and funny, and they have honed this podcasting thing down to a fine art by putting out hundreds of hours of quality comics chat.

I have listened to every episode of the PotW Podcast, and have found myself thinking in 2011 that it’s been lacking something it once had. If I could put my finger on it, I would elucidate. But I’ve found that it’s still the only podcast I download and listen to as soon as it appears on my feed.

iFanboy earns this spot on the strength of the PotW podcast alone, when you take into account the numerous other weekly shows they put out, including an always-entertaining video show, they’re clear winners in this category and if you could only listen to one comics podcast, it would have to be this (apart from ours, obviously!).

But not even they come close to the:

Podcast of The Year – Adam and Joe

Adam and Joe

Adam Buxton and Joe Cornish have been one of the UK’s funniest and most subversive comedy acts since they burst onto the TV scene with their unique brand of ramshackle nonsense in the late ’90s, and their podcasts are even better than the show was, especially since moving from XFM to BBC 6 Music.

Edited down from their Big British Castle radio show with extra content added, the podcast’s mixture of chat, brilliant homemade jingles and audience participation has gone from strength to strength over the years and 2011 bought us such gems as the G6 Lizard, Taffin, Nonsense!, Blah Boobidy Baya 2, Travellin’ Tales and another batch of awesome Song Wars episodes. And yes, I realise that just seems like a list of made up phrases.

The only real downside to their podcast is that stingy (well, strapped) BBC6 Music only offers a small selection of their shows on iTunes, meaning new fans may have to resort to other means to get hold of their back-catalogue.

If you’re not from the UK you probably haven’t heard of Adam and Joe – and even if you are, they aren’t that well known outside of their fanbase. Do yourself a favour and join Black Squadron (the elite listening force) today. Why be Denny Different? Why?

As an aside, if the name Joe Cornish rings a bell, he wrote and directed Attack The Block, which I named my Movie of 2011. Go Joe!

JonnyJon

Jon’s Best of 2011 Awards – Movies

January 8, 2012

Welcome back to the round-up of my favourite things in 2011. I previously covered Television, and I’ve got Podcasts and Comics coming soon, but for now, these are the Movies I rated most highly last year.

Don’t agree with my picks? Maybe Simon’s Awards will be more to your taste.

Best Comedy – Bridesmaids

BridesmaidsBridesmaids was billed as a female counterpart to The Hangover, which had the opposite of the intended effect with me – although I was eventually talked into seeing it. While The Hangover was not much more than a vaguely amusing retread of the plot from Dude, Where’s My Car?, Bridesmaids is intelligently written and brilliantly directed with a series of standout performances.

As much as Kristen Wiig deserves the plaudits heaped on her for for outstanding portrayal of Annie in the film, both Melissa McCarthy and Rose Byrne also turn in some of the best comedy performances anywhere in 2011.

Throw in a likeable but weirdly out-of-place love interest played by The IT Crowd‘s Chris O’Dowd and you’re left with something unexpectedly special.

Best Comic Book Adaptation – Thor

Coming into 2011’s Summer of Superheroes, Thor looked like it could be the weak link, but for me it far surpassed Captain America, Green Lantern and X-Men: First Class.

There comes a time in adapting a superhero for the screen where the people behind it need to make a call on what aspects of the comic mythology are kept, and which are ditched for being too cheesy, silly or simply unsuitable for the screen.

Well it looks like Kennth Branagh said “screw that, we’re keeping ALL of it, ‘cos it’s ALL awesome” and as a result we get Frost Giants, Jotunheim, The Rainbow Bridge, Yggdrasil – all of it.

Best of all, between Hemsworth’s performance and the spot-on depiction of Mjolnir, Thor comes across like he’s stepped straight out of the pages of the comic.

Best Film – Attack The Block

Attack The Block

Both a loving homage to John Carpenter’s late 70s output and yet fiercely original in its own right, Attack The Block is a massively assured debut from British comedian, podcaster and writer Joe Cornish.

For me this is probably the ultimate movie – dramatic, funny and action-packed with fantastically-realised monsters, but it’s also very thoughtful, with some beautifully understated performances (many from local kids with no prior acting experience), a watertight plot and a hugely impressive script.

Cornish is currently co-writing Edgar Wright’s Ant-Man screenplay, which must bode well for the Avenger’s introduction, but personally I’m much more excited for the day that Joe himself gets back behind the camera.

JonnyJon

Jon’s Best of 2011 Awards – Television

January 6, 2012

I wasn’t going to do one of these myself, but having read and enjoyed Simon’s awards pieces, I felt the jealousy rising in me like a 9 year-old with siblings on Christmas Day. How dare he take all the glory!?

With this in mind I will give my own awards for the categories Simon used, starting with Television. I will admit that I have watched far less TV this year than I usually do, and I’m yet to watch an episode of Breaking Bad (I know, shocking) but I suspect my awards might have turned out pretty similarly to Simon’s if I had. Anyway, let’s do this!

Best TV Actor

Jon Bernthal – Shane Walsh, The Walking Dead

Jon Bernthal - Shane Walsh, The Walking DeadI literally only just started reading The Walking Dead after receiving the Compendium for Christmas (I just finished the chapter where Michonne —- off The Governer’s —- and — with – —– and scoops — — — — – spoon). And much as I am enjoying it, I think every single change the TV show has made has been for the better. Prime among those is Shane living on, and I’ve found that although I was coming for the zombies, I was staying for the Jon Bernthal. I’d never heard of him before, but have since discovered he’s an actor of astounding versatility, though he’s at his best playing wound up, intense and dangerous.

Most Shocking TV moment

Prime Minister Pig F*cker – Black Mirror

Once upon a time when I was a videogames journalist, I especially looked up to a particular peer of mine (though we never met). He wrote for PC Zone magazine, and had such a twisted sense of humour that he once caused the mag to be removed from the shelves of most of the UK’s newsagents.

That was Charlier Brooker, who has gone on to be involved with all sorts of brilliant stuff from Dead Set (Big Brother contestants unaware of a zombie apocalypse raging outside) to his collaboration with Chris Morris on the vastly underrated comedy Nathan Barley.

Anthology show Black Mirror’s first episode “National Anthem” was pure Brooker, and was the weirdest, funniest (yet simultaneously most upsetting) hour of TV I saw in 2011. I almost didn’t include it as a “shock”, because you’ve resigned yourself to the fact that it’s going to happen at least ten minutes before it does, but it doesn’t take away from the impact at all.

There was quite a lot of criticism that the scenario in this episode was unrealistic. I don’t see how this is justified – as unlikely as it may be, there’s nothing in the episode that is unfeasible.

For more on Black Mirror, we discussed the first two episodes in eps 13 and 14 of our podcast.

Best Show

The Walking Dead

The Walking Dead

The Walking Dead came in for a LOT of criticism this year, and I suspect a lot of that has more to do with the behind the scenes kerfuffle than what actually happened on the show. Hell, we’re certainly not innocent, we laid into AMC execs in our Halloween Special for the same reasons. I think I said they were “twats”…

But where others saw “too slow” I saw almost unbearable tension building and where others saw “too much talking and not enough shooting zombies” I saw fascinating character development and relationship dynamics between interesting characters played by brilliant actors.

The last five minutes of the season retroactively improved everything that had come before it, as everything the writers had set up dropped into place for a gut-wrenching finale in which Rick stepped forward and proved that despite Shane’s protests, he’s definitely THE man in this group. Amazing stuff.

JonnyJon

Astonishing X-Men Coffee Table Decoupage!

November 29, 2011

It might not come as a surprise to learn that I like the other Thwipping Boys am a bit of a Joss Whedon nut, so when it came to his and John Cassaday’s spectacular run on Astonishing X-Men, I not only broke my cardinal rule and bought single issues, I even bought some twice due to variant covers.

A few years later, realising that this probably was a little excessive and having since bought it in trade and Omnibus, I put all of my second copies on Ebay and was soon disappointed to learn what other comics collectors know all too well – that single issues of popular modern comics aren’t even worth pennies, even with variant covers.

I was having a clear out to free up space, couldn’t justify keeping them, couldn’t sell them and didn’t want to bin them. The upshot is, I had just about decided to find a random child to present the comics to (without getting arrested) as it seemed like the only choice left to me, when I spied my rubbish £12 Argos coffee table in the corner and had a crazy idea.

One pot of PVA, one pair of scissors, one pot of varnish and many, many painstaking hours later:

 

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

JonnyJon

JonnyJon’s Graphic Novel & Trades Collection

November 29, 2011

As anyone who has been listening to the show should know, I don’t have any love for single issue comics. I don’t have the cash, the space…or most importantly a comic shop anywhere within my quadrant.

However, despite my proclamation that for me, digital single issues trump paper copies, don’t let it be said I don’t like a book or two.

Recently, Simon was pondering what to get me for Christmas, and realised he didn’t know what I already had, so I offered to put a list together to help him avoid buying me a present I already own – an act for which I would never forgive him. While doing this I thought sod it, I might as well shove it on the blog, it’s always possible some nutter will be interested.

So before I break it down, here’s what the collection looks like in full.

And unfortunately this next book needs a section to itself.

DC:
Wednesday Comics
There really is nowhere else to store this big bastard.

DC:
Absolute All-Star Superman
Absolute New Frontier
Absolute Planetary Volumes 1 and 2
Absolute Kingdom Come
Absolute Watchmen
JLA Omnibus Volumes 1-4
Batman and Robin Volume 1

MORE DC:
Starman Omnibus Volumes 1-6
Swamp Thing Omnibus Volumes 1-4
The Spirit Book 1 & Book 2
Green Arrow: Year One
All-Star Superman Volumes 1 & 2
Because it’s good enough to own twice.
JLA Year One
Identity Crisis

EVEN MORE DC, PLUS SOME VERTIGO:
Akham Asylum
Justice Society of America: The Next Age
Justice Society of America: Thy Kingdom Come Volumes 1-3
The Mighty Volumes 1 & 2
Green Lantern: Rebirth
Green Lantern: The Sinestro Corps War Volumes 1 & 2
Green Lantern: Secret Origin
Green Lantern: Agent Orange
Green Lantern: Revenge of the Green Lanterns
JSA Vs. Kobra
JLA: Justice for All
JLA: Strength in Numbers
JLA: World War III
I kept these JLA trades when I upgraded to the Omnibus editions, as they all feature stories by writers other than Morrison which are not collected in those.
The Death of the New Gods
Superman: Red Son
JLA / Avengers
Justice League International Volumes 1 & 2
Sleeper Seasons 1 & 2
Planetary: Crossing Worlds
Checkmate: A King’s Game
Checkmate: Pawn Breaks
Checkmate: Fall of the Wall
Outsiders / Checkmate: Checkout
The Losers Books 1 & 2
Animal Man Volumes 1-3

VERTIGO
How to Kill Your Boyfriend
The Sandman Volumes 1-6
Preacher Volumes 1-9
Transmetropolitan Volumes 1-9
Fables Volumes 1 & 2
We3
Pride of Baghdad
Doom Patrol Volume 5
Haven’t read any Doom Patrol as yet, but the library was selling off this one for a quid so how could I refuse?

MARVEL
Marvels
The Mighty Thor Omnibus
New X-Men Omnibus
Astonishing X-Men Omnibus
Captain America Omnibus
The Death of Captain America Omnibus
Avengers Forever
S.H.I.E.L.D. Book 1
Marvel Boy
The Death of Captain Marvel
Squadron Supreme

MORE MARVEL
The Silver Surfer Origins
Fantastic Four: Doomsday
The Uncanny X-Men: Dark Phoenix
The Uncanny X-Men: Days of Future Past
Nextwave: Agents of H.A.T.E.
Infinity Gauntlet
New Avengers Illuminati
Death’s Head Volume 2
I was a big fan of Death’s Head as a kid, and Volume 2 features the stories I remember so fondly. Didn’t care much for Volume 1 so it went on Ebay.
Young Avengers Volumes 1 & 2
Supreme Power Volumes 1-3
New X-Men Volumes 1-7
See earlier comment about owning All-Star Superman twice!
Bullet Points
Fantastic Four: Authoritative Action
Fantastic Four 1-2-3-4
Fantastic Four Volumes 1-3 of the Hickman run
Civil War Young Avengers
X-Men First Class Volume 1
Captain Britain and MI:13 Volumes 1-3
Fantastic Four: True Story
Avengers: Galactic Storm
Another one I got from the library for a quid. I haven’t read it yet. Have heard it’s not good.
Inhumans
Astonishing X-Men Volumes 1-4
I own the omnibus, the trades, the single issues and the motion comic! Plus something else I will be posting about after this!

ULTIMATE MARVEL AND A BIT MORE 616 MARVEL
Ultimate Comics Doomsday
Ultimate Marvel Team-Up
Ultimate Origins
Ultimate Spider-Man Volumes 3-22
I gave 1 and 2 to Chris to get him into Ultimate Spidey…just remembered I still need to re-buy them!
Ultimate Requiem
Ultimate Comics Spider-Man Volume 1
And this is where my Ultimate Spidey Collection starts to look stupid.
Ultimate Spider-Man Chameleons
“Ultimate Comics” didn’t last very long did it?
Ultimate Spider-Man Prelude to Death of Spider-Man
Runaways Volumes 1-8
Because it stopped being good after that.

THE JOSS WHEDON SHELF
Spike: After the Fall
Angel Season 6 Volumes 1-9
I know it’s not officially Season 6 but that’s what I call it. Most of this series is very underrated and was better than Buffy Season 8.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Tales of the Slayers
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Tales of the Vampires
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Origin
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 Volumes 1-8
Serenity: Those Left Behind
Serenity: Better Days
Serenity: The Shepherd’s Tale

MISCELLANEOUS
Charley’s War Volume 1
If the memories of my youth are correct, this is the greatest war comic ever. Need to get hold of the rest of this.
Godland Celestial Edition Volume 2
American Flagg Volume 1
Asterios Polyp

The Incal
Kick-Ass
Incognito
Afrodisiac
Star Wars: Dark Empire Trilogy
Queen and Country Definitive Editions Volumes 1-4
Barry Ween: Boy Genius
Incognegro
I attended a comic storytelling art course hosted by the underrated Warren Pleece, and he signed this excellent Vertigo book.


MORE MISCELLANEOUS
Scarlet Volume 1
SMAX
Promethea Book 1
Crecy
Godland Volumes 1 and 2
Fear Agent Volumes 1-3
The Pro
Chew Volume 1
Myspace Dark Horse Presents Volume 1
Think I bought this due to it having a Whedon story.
Scurvy Dogs
Milk and Cheese
Seaguy Volume 1
Simpsons Comics Unchained
Incorruptible Volume 1
Bone
Fortune and Glory
Penny Arcade Volumes 1-6
Pedro and Me
Project X Challengers: Nissin Cup Noodle
Project X Challengers: Seven Eleven

So there you go! I’m sure you found that hugely interesting, and hopefully Simon will be able to figure out a suitable present now.

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

JonnyJon