Weekend Top Ten #128

Top Ten Films & Shows I Want on Amazon Instant Video

Hopefully @AmazonVideoUK will see this! As a subscriber to Prime Instant Video, I’ve found it brilliant for watching classic series (especially Batman: The Animated Series) and catching up on recent movies. Also, it’s great to get stuff like Shaun the Sheep or a good collection of Disney movies for my daughter.

But obviously there are gaps in their archive. And so here are ten films or TV shows that I’d like them to include. Fingers crossed!

  1. Transformers Rescue Bots season 2 
  2. Transformers: Prime
  3. Frozen (2013)
  4. Sports Night
  5. The Simpsons
  6. Broadchurch
  7. Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005)
  8. Star Wars: The Clone Wars (series)
  9. Batman (1960s series)
  10. Ben & Holly’s Little Kingdom series 6 & 7

Stan Lee, 1968:
” … And we talk it out. Lately, I’ve had Roy Thomas come in, and he sits and makes notes while we discuss it. Then he types them up which gives us a written synopsis. Originally-I have a little tape recorder-I had tried taping it, but then I found no one on staff has time to listen to the tape again later. But this way he makes notes, types it quickly, I get a carbon, the artist gets a carbon…so we don’t have to worry that we’ll forget what we’ve said. Then the artist goes home…or wherever he goes…and he draws the thing out, brings it back, and I put the copy in after he’s drawn the story based on the plot I’ve given him. Now this varies with the different artists. Some artists, of course, need a more detailed plot than others. Some artists, such as Jack Kirby, need no plot at all. I mean I’ll just say to Jack, ‘Let’s make the next villain be Dr. Doom’… or I may not even say that. He may tell me. And then he goes home and does it. He’s good at plots. I’m sure he’s a thousand times better than I. He just about makes up the plots for these stories. All I do is a little editing… I may tell him he’s gone too far in one direction or another. Of course, occasionally I’ll give him a plot, but we’re practically both the writers on the things. “

(via comicbookartwork)


(via neil-gaiman)

One of the things I love about Jack Kirby, is how unique his art was. I’m certainly no comics expert, but when you look at, say, Fantastic Four and compare it to other books published in the early 60s, it’s incredible. What a talent.


The last few weeks in videogame culture have seen a level of combativeness more marked and bitter than any beforehand.

First, a developer—a woman who makes games who has had so much piled on to her that I don’t want to perpetuate things by naming her—was the target of a harassment campaign that…

This is a fascinating and, I think (hope?), correct analysis.

The level of vitriol poured on the likes of Anita Sarkeesian (and really, vitriol is too light a word - seething hate is more accurate) surely reflect deep and wide insecurities among the perpetrators. I shan’t link to any of it, but if you want to stare into the abyss for a while, follow Sarkeesian on Twitter and watch her retweet some of the abuse.

At the same time, I must confess that I look at games like Candy Crush and think they’re not “real” games. I don’t think less of them - unless they’re married to some kind of gold-digging freemium IAP mechanic, in which case, yes, yes I do think less of them - but they’re not what I would normally consider “proper” games; that is, games that require you to sit down, invest time, craft a narrative and hone skills. This is, of course, utterly rubbish and reductive thinking. In my defence, I definitely don’t think less of the people who play such games - and, indeed, I play similar “time wasting” games myself: my particular poison is the sublime Drop7 or, more recently, its Windows Phone clone NumberUp. Geared as I have been over twenty-odd years of gaming - witnessing the form’s evolution and having been there, at Ground Zero, when significant milestones were passed - I expect games to behave a certain way, look a certain way, make certain demands on the player.

Like I say: rubbish and reductive thinking.

All of us who enjoy gaming need to accept that the old ways are behind us, and thank god. We longed for mainstream acceptance, and now that we have it, a vocal and violent minority are determined to ruin it for the rest of us. Personally speaking, as much as I might not enjoy Candy Crush, and as much as I prefer to sit on my sofa with a controller in my hand and enjoy the journey a protagonist makes, I am overjoyed that gaming is mainstream. I am genuinely ecstatic that people from all walks of life can enjoy my hobby. 

So yeah: let’s get rid of gamers and all be players. I like that sentiment.

Doodles for my Daughter: Batgirl of Burnside

Every now and again, I draw pictures for my little girl - either just because we’re both doodling, or maybe it’s something for her to colour in. So I thought I’d document them in this, my new occasional feature.

I was always good at drawing when I was a kid, and whilst I still think I’ve got a decent amount of raw skill, I don’t have the craft, and so don’t consider myself a great artist. With that in mind, these doodles aren’t going to show off what I can do - especially as they’ll probably be drawn with crayon half the time and scanned at the ultra-high resolution of “taken a picture on my phone” - but they’ll be more of a record of the fun times I have with the little Wriggle Monster.

Here’s Batgirl, in her new togs, because Batgirl, that’s why.

Do the Birds of Prey allow male members or is it strictly a female only team? I'm not a big comic reader and wasn't sure so i thought i'd ask.


I always thought it would be okay to add a guy, we were planning on adding Nightwing when I left the book!

No offence to current or past creative teams, but I’ve always thought you’d write a terrific Nightwing book, Gail. I just think you’d really “get” Dick (Grayson!) the way you got Babs. It would be funny, action-packed, and probably (hopefully?) have a little bit of innuendo every now and again.

This is still something I’d like to see happen one day!

Weekend Top Ten #127

Top Ten Voice Performances in Movies

With the tragic and untimely passing of the great Robin Williams, I’ve been thinking - as so many have - of the incredible performances he gave in many, many films; and the one that stands out the most - for me, his best and most iconic role - is as the Genie in Aladdin. Some would disagree, no doubt, but they’re not writing a weekly Top Ten list. And even if they are, it’s not this one.

So, in tribute to Williams, here are my Top Ten favourite voice performances in movies.

Oh, and some caveats before we get too far in: these are strictly feature films I’m talking about. I’ve discounted characters from TV shows and even short features - so no Homer Simpson, or even Daffy Duck. Where a TV/short film character made the jump to features, I’ve based it entirely on their role in that film - so there’s one obvious entry here, and just bubbling under would have been Chris Latta as Starscream in Transformers: The Movie. Furthermore, these are also voice performances, which means performance/motion capture roles are out too - sorry, Andy Serkis. Anyway, let’s get on with it.

  1. The Genie (Robin Williams, Aladdin, 1992)
  2. The Joker (Mark Hamill, Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, 1993)
  3. Yoda (Frank Oz, The Empire Strikes Back, 1980)
  4. Groot (Vin Diesel, Guardians of the Galaxy, 2014)
  5. Kermit the Frog (Jim Henson, The Muppet Movie, 1979)
  6. Baloo (Phil Harris, The Jungle Book, 1967)
  7. WALL-E (Ben Burtt, WALL-E, 2008)
  8. Scar (Jeremy Irons, The Lion King, 1994)
  9. Ariel (Jodi Benson, The Little Mermaid, 1989)
  10. Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen, Toy Story, 1995)
Weekend Top Ten #126

Top Ten Alternative Costumes I’d Like to See in Batman: Arkham Knight

Dressing up Batman in a variety of outfits isn’t just a fun past time in the Arkham games, it’s pretty much a cornerstone of the entire Batman franchise. To that end, here are ten costumes that I’d like to see available either as an unlockable achievement or downloadable content in next year’s Arkham Knight.

  1. The Batman of Zur-En-Arrh
  2. Batman Reborn suit (Dick Grayson)
  3. Zero Year suit
  4. The Dark Knight Returns armoured suit
  5. Batman 1989 suit (Michael Keaton)
  6. Batman 666 suit (Damian Wayne)
  7. Caveman Batman from The Return of Bruce Wayne #1
  8. Thomas Wayne’s masquerade ball bat costume (AKA Dr Hurt)
  9. Batman’s Zebra suit
  10. Superman (it could be Batman in disguise as Superman!)


This may seem a little bit irreverent in light of what is going on in Ferguson, I mention it because it seems to be a little bit indicative of a toxic mindset.

A while back, after seeing peaceful protests all over the world ignored by the supposedly leftist media, I wrote a comic book called the…

After 9/11, I thought of writing a story about a very young boy whose dreams are crushed because he realises Spider-Man isn’t real, because if Spider-Man was real, he’d have stopped this from happening.

Superheroes are escapism. But they’re also mythologies, and myths reflect the times in which they’re created.

Superman can’t stand up for Ferguson, for several reasons. But we can all make our own heroes, every one of us, and those heroes can fight villains far more real and dangerous than any Luthor or Doom.

Robin Williams, RIP

I feel like my childhood rests in a room lit by many candles, and the brightest of these are being snuffed out one by one, so that the contents of this room are now indistinct and shrouded in darkness.

Which is a very elaborate way of saying Robin Williams was my hero.

I came to him either through Mork or Popeye, and instantly fell in love. I don’t know anyone who didn’t love him: every kid I met, every grown-up who watched with me. He was adored. He was funny in a way I’d never seen before: silly but smart, child-like but grown-up, adorable but edgy. He was just good to be around, even though I’d never met him.

As I grew older, I discovered not only his films – dramatic roles such as Good Morning Vietnam and, later, Good Will Hunting – and also his stand-up, such as the superlative Live at the Met, which pretty much remains the finest piece of comedy performance I’ve ever seen. His speed and invention, his wit and delivery, were almost beyond endurance. The man was a force of nature that we were bearing witness to.

He made me laugh.

For me, everything coalesced with his role as the Genie in Aladdin. A tour-de-force vocal performance and a perfect marriage of form and technique: animation allowing his anarchic words to become awesome visuals. It happened at the beginning of the nineties, when his star was probably at its height: it was a decade that saw him achieve immense comedic success with Mrs Doubtfire, and also win an Oscar for his warm, touching performance in Good Will Hunting. He was a nuanced, subtle actor, if he had to be, often playing kind characters nursing a secret darkness or masked pain.

He made me cry.

That his demons lived below the surface was never in doubt; I knew he’d struggled with substance abuse, and in interviews I often wondered if the desire to entertain everybody – even his interviewer – maksed some secret lonliness. But it’s wrong – dangerous, damaging even – to speculate. All I know is, the man had his troubles, and his death is a tragedy.

But he won’t be remembered for that. He’ll be remembered as an acerbic radio host, an inspiring teacher, a cross-dressing father. A genie, an alien, and Peter frickin’ Pan.

Of all the icons and heroes whose time has sadly come in the past few months, it’s Williams whose loss has hit hardest, and whose end has felt least timely. But despite this, the urge to seek out his roles I’ve not yet experienced, and above all to relive his greatest hits – the big, riotous belly laughs, the tender emotional chords – has never been greater.

Na-nu na-nu.


I’ve been meaning to write this all up for a while. Our contribution to the world of children’s comics, www.moosekidcomics.com, launched on 20th June this year. A 36 page, full colour, all-ages comic, featuring original characters by nearly 40 artists, all online to read or download, and all…

I’ve been a fan of Jamie Smart for a while now, and Moose Kid Comics is just a brilliant venture. It’s incredible how much they’ve managed to accomplish for free, and it’s well worth checking out whether you’ve got kids or not.