Weekend Top Ten #132

Top Ten Favourite Racing Games of All Time

This past week, I’ve been fortunate enough to play a promo version of Microsoft’s new Xbox One racing game Forza Horizon 2. Now, I’ve never been a petrol head, or someone who thinks of himself as a “car person” at all. But when I think back over the past twenty-odd years of gaming that I have under my belt, there are loads of racing games that I’ve just absolutely adored. 

So, to celebrate the frankly excellent Horizon 2, here are my ten favourite racing games. I found it very hard to pick my favourite Mario Kart game, so I’ve decided to lump the whole series under one banner. Deal with it - it’s my list.

  1. Mario Kart series (Nintendo platforms, 1992 onwards)
  2. Project Gotham Racing (Microsoft, Xbox, 2001)
  3. Forza Horizon 2 (Microsoft, Xbox One, 2014)
  4. Super Skidmarks (Acid Software, Amiga, 1995)
  5. Midtown Madness (Microsoft, PC, 1999) 
  6. Lotus Turbo Challenge 2 (Gremlin, Amiga, 1991)
  7. Jaguar XJ220 (Core Design, Amiga, 1992)
  8. Carmageddon (SCi, PC, 1997)
  9. Monster Truck Madness (Microsoft, PC, 1996) 
  10. Burnout 2: Point of Impact (Acclaim, GameCube, 2003)

I’ve picked the platforms that I played the games on, in case you’re wondering. Also, as should be apparent, I favour silly arcade-type racers over proper, serious ones. Gran Turismo can do one.

Also, Motorcross Madness nearly made the list, but I think of that more as a stunt game than a racer. Road Rash, too, was just edged out by Burnout. Sorry, fellas!

Share a Story Nominated for RTS North West Awards

I attended the RTS NW launch party tonight, where they announced the nominees for this year’s awards. Excitingly, Share a Story has been nominated twice - in the same category!

Jardine Sage’s A Dinosaur Ate My Homework and The Character Shop’s A Marvellous Collection of Underpants and the Queen’s Knickers. Both, of course, are based on stories written by children, in this case 12-year-old Molly McKeown and six-year-old Malachi Forsyth, respectively.

Congrats to everyone involved in the animations, the kids themselves, and everyone else who works on Share a Story. And let’s just hope they don’t cancel each other out come the awards do in November!

The Three Shows I Want to Make for CITV…

I get lots of ideas for TV shows. Ensemble comedies. Epics. Doctor Who-style family adventure. An adaptation of Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye. But I don’t think I could make any of them, not now, not at this stage of my career. At the very least, I’m not sure I have the free time to write them (I’m writing something else, yersee).

But there are three shows that I’d love to make, and would be quite simple to make, and are really an extension of things I’ve done in the past for CITV. Shows that build on my experiences and on features that we either run right now, or have made in the last few years.

I’m not sure if I’ll get to do them - it’s hard jumping through the commissioning hoops, and again, I’m not sure I’ve got the time when there are other things I want to do, too - but if the opportunity arose, I’d jump at the chance.

I don’t think any of the ideas, in their basic form, are wholly original, so I don’t mind mentioning them in vague terms. But I won’t go into detail, not yet.

One is a weekly magazine-style review show, hosted entirely by kids.

One is a show all about comic books, featuring industry experts and - of course - kids.

And the last one is a small-scale scripted comedy piece starring three kids who are basically idiots. 

I’m just mentioning this now because these ideas have been bouncing around my head, and wanting to get out, and just writing even as tentatively as this helps release the pressure a little bit.

Anyway. Back to the book…


Morning sketch: Spider-Gwen. I love this costume design!

Reblogging coz it’s just a bloody good drawing.


Morning sketch: Spider-Gwen. I love this costume design!

Reblogging coz it’s just a bloody good drawing.

30th anniversary of the first issue of Transformers UK today. I got it brought home as a pick-me-up after I broke my ankle playing Tig (or "Rottychookopofpof" if you're American, prob.). So here's the question: you can't have Impactor, I can't have Jazz. Who's your second favourite Transy? Mine was Brawn - but toy-Brawn more than toon-Brawn. That story where he loses his mince? Frightener!


Oh man.

I had an enormous love for Sunstreaker as a kid. I never had the toy. He was never in the comic that often. I just liked him conceptually. He was a good guy but a total dick. That’s something I like to see in the mix.

Or maybe Sludge, who was my favourite Dinobot.

Or Shockwave.

Actually, maybe Frenzy.

Let me get back to you.

Anyone who’s read my blog for more than a few weeks - or, indeed, has spoken to me in the flesh for more than a few minutes - will realise how much I love Transformers. Bit of a shame I missed the anniversary of the UK Transformers comic, as that was really the title that cemented my love for all things disguised and robotic. 

But never mind. I’ve talked about all this before! Jumping into someone else’s conversation, however: who is my favourite Transformer? It’s a very hard decision, and it’s a role that has shifted throughout my life and times as a Trans-fan (interesting, the evolution of the word “trans” in mainstream culture - my mum, in the eighties, would refer to Transformers as “trannies” without a second thought). But I’ll try to have a think.

At the start, it was probably Optimus or Bumblebee. I was definitely one of those kids who liked the yellow kid-appeal character: if I was born a decade later, my favourite Transformer might well have been Cheetor or Hot Shot. Anyway, I also remember having a great deal of affection for Starscream and Soundwave on the Decepticon side, and for Jazz, because he was always my mum’s favourite.

When the movie came out, though, there was no question: I was team Rodimus all the way. Not for me, the wailing and whining over poor, dead Optimus Prime. That dude was old and busted. The winnebago with flames on his chest?

New hotness.

I’d say after the movie is when the comic superseded the cartoon in my heart, and then the wicked words of Simon Furman shaped my destiny. I definitely remember, as the original G1 saga trundled to its merry end, my favourite Autobot was Nightbeat and my favourite Decepticon was Thunderwing.

And now? Well, if we’re talking about the characters as presented in IDW’s continuity, I’d say my favourites were (in no particular order) Megatron, Brainstorm, Swerve, and Optimus.

But all of this prevaricating leaves out one character: one Transformer that I’ve always loved, and who - after Optimus, natch - I’ve probably bought the most often (G1, Action Master, Animated and Masterpiece).

So I’m here to tell you that my favourite Transformer is, probably, Grimlock.

Or Rodimus. Grimlock or Rodimus. What can I say? New hotness.

PS. I would love to see Kieron Gillen write a Transformers book for IDW.

Weekend Top Ten #131

Top Ten Things You Never See Transformers Turn Into

I mean, why the heck not?

  1. A milk float
  2. A tractor
  3. A Segway
  4. A hearse
  5. An amoeba
  6. A horse box
  7. A Sinclair C5
  8. An alicorn 
  9. A trebuchet
  10. A microwave

I will confess I’ve not fact-checked this post on TFwiki.

Have you spent significant time with Grant Morrison? I feel like every major comic book writer has at least one unique/odd/eccentric Grant Morrison story. Apologies if this has been asked before!


I have spent time with Grant often, mostly short visits at events and such.

You really won’t get anything bad about him from me, I have never experienced anything bad from him, and in fact, I think the world of him as a writer and a person.

Grant and Mark Millar were two of the earliest pros championing me to work in comics. I was a huge fan of them both at the time I was doing a parody column, and these two guys used to call each other up (they were friends back then) and read the column to each other doing all the voices. They went out of their way, both of them, to be helpful to me and to tell people to read my work, and I was an absolute NOBODY to them.

Grant specifically asked for me to write the All New Atom, I am told.

One of the nicest moments recently was at SDCC just last year, we were behind the curtain waiting to go on for a DC panel, and Grant gets this big smile when he saw me, and gave me a huge happy hug, which I wasn’t expecting, and he said that he had JUST read my ACTION COMICS stuff from years before and that he loved it, and he said I wrote Lois and Clark’s marriage together the best that he had read.

He said, “Why can’t we have that, why can’t they be married like in your stories, that was absolutely lovely!”

So, I almost cried, I mean, I didn’t expect it at all, he’s one of my heroes, he wrote my favorite Superman ever, and I just was almost unable to speak, and then we had to go right onstage for the panel and I was still trying not to cry!


I have nothing bad to say about Grant. 

Oh, wait, I have one thing. He said that he felt Atom didn’t quite work because I was trying to be him. I understand why he thought that, but I wasn’t at all.

I was trying to be Steve Gerber. :)

But that’s the closest thing I’ve got to a bad thing to say about Grant Morrison. Comics would be vastly less interesting without him and he’s encouraged endless numbers of creators and done amazing stories. I love him!

EDITED TO ADD: A poster below asked why I insisted I ‘have nothing bad to say about Grant,’ when the OP actually didn’t seem to be fishing for bad stories. That’s a fair point, I guess I read the OP’s statement incorrectly. 

Truth is, I don’t have any weird stories about Grant, either. Except he made me laugh until I almost peed at a DC dinner by imitating Sean Connery’s voice. It was spot on!

I love Grant Morrison’s work, and hearing that he’s a nice guy in real life makes me very happy.

I know Gail’s nice, too, of course :-)

Happy Birthday to The Transformers!

According to sources, today is the thirtieth anniversary of the first broadcast of the original Transformers animated series.

I’ve blogged before about how influential Transformers has been to my life, and whilst I’ve focused more on its history as a comic, it was almost certainly the cartoon that got me interested in the franchise. In the UK, it was broadcast as part of ITV’s children’s programme The Wide Awake Club (later to be known as WAC-a-Day) on a weekday morning. As a result, I was frequently late for school as my mum would let me finish watching an episode before we left.

As a little kid, I definitely loved the show more than the comic. I read the comics with the cartoon characters’ voices in my head - easy enough when it’s the stoic and noble Optimus Prime, but trying to match the monotone cartoon-Soundwave with the verbose comics-Soundwave was much trickier (to say nothing of the disconnect between the frankly stupid cartoon-Dinobots and their much more eloquent and intelligent comic versions). As much as I adore the comic books now, and even as an older child, I can’t deny it was the ‘toon that got me hooked.

So let’s raise an energon goodie to the show that started it all (er, if you don’t include the toys, I guess). Happy birthday, Transformers. And many more.

Me Grimlock offer birthday beverages.


Neil Gaiman’s 8 Rules of Writing, a remake of this post. Source.

Want more writerly content? Make sure to follow maxkirin.tumblr.com for your daily dose of writer positivity, advice, and prompts!

I really need to get better at the first rule. And the second, for that matter.

Weekend Top Ten #130

Top Ten Batmobiles

Inspired by the reveal of Ben Affleck’s Batmobile from Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, this week I’m celebrating my favourite examples of Batman’s many sweet rides.

  1. The Animated Batmobile
  2. Dick Grayson’s Flying Batmobile
  3. Batmobile ‘66
  4. Sweet 1970 sports car Batmobile
  5. 1940s bat-head Batmobile
  6. "A Better Batmobile"
  7. 1950s bubble-cockpit Batmobile
  8. Burton-era Batmobile
  9. The Tumbler
  10. Fisher Price Imaginext Batmobile

That Fisher Price one really flies. It’s a very cool toy.