Get (Into) What You Paid For – Day 18 – On Classic Spider-Man

I’m back, baybay!

Yesterday I read issues #7 through 38 of Amazing Spider-Man, as well as the series’ first (awesome) and second (less so) annuals in a mammoth done-in-one-and-a-day devourment of that bloody huge Omnibus that’s been on my shelf for nearly a year. Matter a fact, I’m going to check just when I bought that book, actually.

Order placed 7th June ’13, book delivered approx. 13th September ’13. Wow, so just over a year before I actually cracked it open (it was encased in concrete, you see) and re-read that material.

But here’s the thing!

Or rather, not. See, reading that Fantastic Four Omnibus (THE THING IS IN THE FANTASTIC FOUR, THAT WAS MY JOKE SEE?) earlier this week really soured me on Silver Age (read: 1960s) Marvel books, and I wasn’t looking forward to reading this Spider-Man collection at all, even though I’ve read the material before and enjoyed it. Frankly, it was unfair of me to judge the Lee/Ditko collaboration by the same token as the Lee/Kirby efforts, because those first 40 issues of Spider-Man are AWESOME. Completely awesome.

For a start, there’s a major difference in the development of, well, everything. Peter physically changes throughout the issues – he loses his glasses in #8 and never replaces them, and his change in attire can be visually traced to his change in attitude as he gets more and more confident. There are soap-opera sub-plots right from the get-go, with the ongoing drama of Pete’s courtship with Betty Brant getting in the way of Liz Allan’s affections for him while Jonah Jameson barks away in the background. He graduates high school, heads off to college on a scholarship and meets a whole host of new characters each as important to the overall canon as the earliest ones. Mystery plots are introduced, left for a while, and brought back when you’ve forgotten about them. Continuity is air-tight.

More importantly, there’s so much about the way Peter’s written that’s different from everything that came before. He’s crippled with guilt, and his superheroics often wind up spoiling his relationships with people as Peter Parker. He’s flat broke, can’t catch a break, has to repair his own costume…there’s just so much flavour to it, and it’s all there right from the start.

Maybe it’s not fair to use Fantastic Four, which is my second-favourite Marvel property by the way, as a benchmark seeing as it was literally the first of its kind in many ways and that those first 30 issues I read really don’t represent the peak of its creative history, but there’s just something better about Spider-Man. There was no development in the FF issues, and their Rogues Gallery is comprised of a few heavy hitters (Doom, Namor, Mole Man) and a host of forgettable, goofy 50s sci-fi aliens (plus The Impossible Man, who I fucking love despite Stan Lee’s insistence that contemporary audiences hated him). Spidey’s rogues, though, as introduced in that book? All classics. Doctor Octopus, Chameleon, Kraven, Green Goblin… They were knocking it out of the park just about every issue. The closest thing to filler in that book is a pair of issues starring a sort of fucked-up circus troupe as villains, but the rest of it’s all solid. Plus, there’s mobsters! The Big Man, Crime Master, fucking The Enforcers! All that good, down-to-earth stuff. Spidey fights aliens in issue #2, and after that the lesson is learned – keep things normal and New York-based with this one. Hell, once Roger Stern took over writing in the 80s, he even retroactively explained that they weren’t EVEN aliens, so technically this book is all just guys in suits clobbering each other. Fuck, the Vulture is an OLD FUCKING MAN flying around stealing diamonds. He even leaves one of his victims a note reading “I WILL STEAL THE DIAMONDS RIGHT FROM UNDER YOUR NOSES! – The Vulture” like two minutes before doing so.

It’s so, so good. I’ve never read that much Silver Age at once before, because it can be exhausting, but Spider-Man’s fully formed right from the get-go, and is so much more relatable than the FF in their stable and established adult lives (minus The HUMAN JOHNNY of course).

I didn’t take any notes or grabs for this book, except one:

Screen Shot 2014-09-17 at 18.21.59I forgot to mention the book is occasionally out-loud hilarious. I chuckled for about ten minutes at the credits on one issue, which were phrased something like “Gloriously written by Stan Lee, Lavishly illustrated by Steve Ditko, Recently lettered by Artie Simek”. Ha!

So here’s the update – I can now say with total honestly that everything in my bookcases, that is specifically every book that’s in those bookcases, has been physically read since it was bought. That portion of the challenge is done.

Also, I found some other things that deserve to be added to the challenge, because I overlooked them, but I’m not sure how seriously I take them. I bought Evil Dead 2 (possibly my favourite film) on Blu-Ray last June for a new transfer and extras, and forgot about it til I found it a few days ago. I also have Simon Munnery’s latest DVD Fylm-Makker somewhere, and haven’t looked at it. I bought Hot Fuzz for its Quentin Tarantino commentary track and never listened to it. I also have a pretty long list of backlogged games on my PS3 that I never played, including Ratchet And Clank 2, 3 and Gladiator, Devil May Cry (which came bundled with 2 and 3, though I’ve no intention of playing those), the Harley Quinn’s Revenge expansion for Arkham City (which to my shame I’ve only ever played once) and a few others. Because games take a lot more time to get through than comics, films and albums, I’m hereby discounting them from inclusion in the list, with a view to eventually getting round to them. Shouldn’t be so bad though, as the PS4 version of GTA V is the only game I’m planning on buying between now and ChristmAS SHIT I FORGOT ABOUT LEGO BATMAN 3 so yeah whatever I’ll play them some day.

OTHER THINGS I DID

I got around to watching the classic Power Rangers 5-parter Green With Evil again, which is still one of my favourite ways to spend a hundred minutes, and downloaded a bunch of other old episodes for potential future viewing. I also watched the sixth episode of The Monday Night War, which is increasingly becoming a series about how good WWF was in the 90s without nearly enough discussion about how bad WCW was. That shouldn’t be implied, it should be shown.

Anyway, next time I’ll have more reports on stuff and things. BE THERE! (here)

Get (Into)What You Paid For – Day 17 – Fatigyoo (Plus Bonus Film Criticism!)

1730919One of my favourite cartoons is Transylvania 6-5000, in which Bugs Bunny travels into darkest Europe and encounters a vampire and all sorts of shapeshifting hijinks summarily ensue. Upon his arrival at the castle, Bugs remarks that he is “fatigyooed” – fatigued, to you and me. I’m a big fan of wacky pronunciation as a shortcut to comedy. On one of Chris Jericho’s podcasts last week he pronounced the word ‘page’ as ‘pa-jay’ and it just made me think of Nick “Salem” Bakay in Angry Beavers and how much of that show’s appeal to me was animals saying fings rong.

Relevance? I’ve been suffering a little challenge fatigue. As discussed before, I’m already over the things I’ve to get through this month, despite not having started some of them. Take my second readthrough of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s first 31 issues of (The) Fantastic Four. It near killed me altogether. There’s some pretty good issues in there, but no really good issues and a lot of goofyass shit with aliens and nowhere near enough character development or world building or any of the sort of stuff that even the first FOUR issues of Amazing Spider-Man has. No, frankly, the book was a chore to get through (both times), and if I wasn’t such a sucker for comics history and if there weren’t a few pretty entertaining issues in there, I’d offload that thing. Still, I’ve paid for it, and got (into) it, so off the list it goes. I’d originally planned to bombard you with screengrabs, but I don’t think I can be bothered gong through the digital files and covering the issues again so, just, I dunno, if you ever see me in person I’ll run some good stuff by you.

I’ve also crossed The World’s End off the list, having watched the film twice (with and without commentary) and just about all of its extras. It’s confirmed for me another half-notion I’d had burgeoning recently, which is that I’m not quite as into DVD extras as I used to be. When Shaun Of The Dead and Hot Fuzz came out on home video, I devoured every aspect of those discs, watching both films four times in a day to make sure I’d heard all the commentary tracks. I felt I owed The World’s End the same courtesy – in fact, I feel indebted to the Pegg/ Wright/ Frost team in general, having gotten into Spaced at an age too early to appreciate how important and different it was but not too early to appreciate, simply, the way it was – so it became the first movie Blu-Ray I bought possibly since I sold my collection. Thing is, it felt a little chore-ish working through those, as well, which is a shame. As for the film, there’s no doubt it’s probably the most accomplished thing any of the key figures have ever been involved in. It’s very tightly scripted and the density of its jokes never distracts from the central darkness of its self-destructive premise. It rewards repeat viewings too, beyond the trivialty of minor aesthetic features appearing in the various locations and that – there’s a nuance to the performances of each of its six leads that rewards a focused viewing, and I’ll watch it again, maybe with the other two commentary tracks – but I’ll not be buying another Blu just for extras any time in a hurry.

TANGENT!

Simon Pegg defiantly rejects the appeal of the Apatow school of moviemaking on the extras, without dropping names, saying he doesn’t believe in “pointing a camera at a bunch of funny people and having them improvise, then putting it all together and releasing it as a comedy film”, and I think that’s why this thematic trilogy is destined to be remembered for its achievement while pretty much everything the US crowd has done since Knocked Up and Superbad has just been increasingly obnoxious. Those films reached their natural conclusion with last year’s This Is The End, which released around the same time as The World’s End and covers similar ground, albeit sophomorically, but this year’s (Bad) Neighbo(u)rs has suggested that Seth Rogen and other familiar players seem content to just….keep going. I mean, it ended. It was even the name of the film. They all played themselves, they addressed everything, the legacy, the criticism, and they wrapped it up. It was brave and funny and although the novelty of seeing actors send themselves up is long gone, it was a worthy exercise and statement, spoiled by its contributors’ failure to knowledge it as a perfect excuse to move on. With the success of 21 Jump Street and its sequel, or stuff like the Paul Rudd/ Amy Poehler vehicle They Came Together, or all the other types of comedy films that continue to be made and do well, seeing Seth Rogen continue to play the hairy arrested development jerk with the hot wife is much like watching Pegg as Gary King in The World’s End, unable to progress beyond comparable glory while friends move on, eyebrows raised and heads shaken.

Sorry.

freeway-hedaya
You fucker! You killed my grandma!

I also watched Matthew Bright’s Freeway for the first time since seeing it on late-night TV maybe more than ten years ago. As I remember it, I originally watched it for Kiefer Sutherland, being such a big fan of 24, but I remembered it all these years because of Reese motherfucking Witherspoon, and second viewing confirmed it was a performance worth remembering. As bonafide trailer trash, she is all over dialogue like “what, you’re gonna do sex to me when I’m dead?” and “He had this disease, called, um, Wisenheimers, I think. You know, where your brain cells run out into your pee” with this innocent charm that switches into full-on coal black comedy crazy chick chic halfway through the movie. It’s a pretty typical mid-90s movie – a hipster spin on the Red Riding Hood story with bizarre Danny Elfman music and a little social commentary, but that’s not to its detriment, it’s really very good. It put me in the mood for more half-remembered 90s fare, so I gave SFW (So Fucking What?), another Witherspoon vehicle though I hadn’t remembered it, a second try. Sadly, I wasn’t able to get past five minutes of Joey Lauren Adams once she turned up so this one’s consigned to memory for the forseeable future.

What’s on the horizon, challenge-wise? Well, Deborah was kind enough to buy me that Deadpool Minibus collection (honest injun’), so with that and my foulup Iron Man purchase from last week I’ve a little bit to tide me over after I finish the Spider-Man Omnibus I just started. Since I’ve been off work this week, I’ve not been driving so much, so I’ve not been listening to much music. As usual, much wrestling is being consumed either consciously or in the background of reading. Nothing else to report, I guess. I’ll fill ya in after a few days if I watch any more movies for the first time in years.

The Postman Cometh – Bandai S.H. Figuarts Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Green Ranger (Whew…)

So this was the first official (of a recorded three) slips in my don’t-buy-anything-this-month challenge, but the one that I justified by having won the auction in August and only left payment ’til September.

Anyway, these Figuarts figures, imported from Japan (by Italians) and Italy (by me), are somethin’ else. You’ve been around this blog, then you know I like action figures, but these cats are putting everyone else to shame. Speaking of shame, it’s one (awkward phrasing) that these aren’t cheaper, but what can you do? I mean, a trip to Japan  just to steal some wouldn’t really save any money in the long run.

Note – this is the version of the figure based on the Japanese progenitor of Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers, Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger, identical to the MMPR version except for its packaging and its inclusion of two extra accessories which appeared in an episode of the show that satirised the American adaptation. Meow. Catty.

Anyway.

20140908_182505
Fresh outta the post
20140908_182509
And sans Mac Thumb Of Approval
20140908_182514
Left side of box
20140908_182521
Excellent nonsensical translation including OPTION PARTS
20140908_182526
Right side of box
20140912_204651
Alongside an old friend for comparison. Note the variation in colour and EVERYTHING ELSE
20140912_204747
And, for no appropriate reason, the classic “Immortal Pose”

Get (Into) What You Paid For – Day Thirteen (…The Witching Hour!) inc. Skyward Sword, Moaning etc.

I have observed a flaw in my elected challenge: so much of my to-do is stuff I’m already partways familiar with. Let’s have a look at that list again, as it first appeared.

COMICS

Daredevil by Bendis, Maleev and Hollingsworth Volumes 2-6

Fantastic Four by Lee and Kirby Omnibus Volume 1

Iron Man by Michelinie, Layton and Romita Jr. Volume 1

The Amazing Spider-Man by Lee and Ditko Omnibus Volume 1

BOOKS

Total Recall – Arnold Schwarzenegger

Supergods – Grant Morrison

BLU-RAY

The World’s End (and extras)

GAMES

Tomb Raider (PS4)

The Legend Of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds (3DS)

The Legend Of Zelda: Skyward Sword (Wii)

New Super Luigi U (Wii U)

OK, by category, 3/4 of the comics I’ve read before, I’ve not read either of the books, I’ve seen The World’s End in the cinema and played Tomb Raider on PS3. That leaves us with the two Zelda games, the Luigi DLC and the books to tide me over ’til the end of the month, discounting things that I’ve already… wait for it… GOT WHAT I PAID FOR OUT OF!

BUTWAITTHERE’SMORE!

Here’s the thing about Skyward Sword. I’ve felt beholden to it since November 2011, when it was first released and I unloaded a serious amount of games to pay for it at a time when I absolutely as literally as you can understand it could not have afforded it otherwise. I tried to play it in the spacious living room of my Crewe apartment, and I couldn’t get past the awkwardness of the controls and, though I’m ashamed to admit it, the quality of its two-gens-ago graphics. I soon sold it (again – poverty!), and later rebought it with some leftover exchange credit, and again it sat for over a year, unplayed because I knew, I knew, that I didn’t want to play it.

Still, I recovered my Wii U today from the paws of my Mario Kart-addicted brar earlier today and as I’m accustomed to doing decided to give the game another chance, as I’m often too decisively critical of things and was prepared to really try at it. I even, hand to God, booked a week off work with playing this game as a major reason for doing so. As I loaded the fresh batteries into the still-snazzy golden Zelda Wiimote, I was hopeful, despite the fact that the room I currently play games in is about a sixth of the size of the one I had in Crewe and the game demanding a modicum more space thanks to its 1:1 control scheme.

Skip from now to then and the game’s on Ebay. I tells ya, this month’s really seen me cut loose from this bizarre sense of obligation I have towards inanimate material objects. Fuck Skyward Sword for two perfectly good reasons – it looks awful on an HD television and the controls feel terrible. I’m so glad the Wii U’s presence on the Nintendo Innovation Scale is closer to the Gamecube (just having small discs) than the Wii’s awful enfucked motion-sensing controls, because I swear being able to relax when playing games on the Wii only ever came to me by a total fluke. Caveat – Resident Evil 4 played the best on Wii, but all that really entailed was pointing. The pair of Mario Galaxy games – my favourite two, by the way – also saw restrained use of the Wiimote’s abilities, and when they did use it, it was ruinous. Remember those tilt-the-ball screamfests, chums? Then, as the console’s last hurrah, they figured ‘let’s go the WHOLE OTHER WAY’ and build the game around a total and absolute gimmick. If it was so important to their remit, where did it go when the Wii U – which has the same name as their previous console – debuted? Simple. They realised just how many people it put off playing what more dedicated fans were apparently able to appreciate as one of the best Zelda titles ever.

And that’s what annoyed me. There was enough in my brief encounter with Skyward Sword to enjoy, particularly as someone who counts The Wind Waker amongst my top, say, three games. The music is there, the local weirdos are there. But better than that, Zelda is really fucking cool in it. I cared about her. I wanted to make sure she was alright, and not because it might mean the end of the world if I didn’t. She wasted no time in diving off that plateau for me, after all. And she played the harp and wasn’t so much this WOW A PRINCESS as just my cool childhood friend.

And I can’t play it because my poor brain is just set to “no” when it comes to everything about how it plays. Mentally, I’m just constantly pushing at it. Apparently, Nintendo considered adapting it for Wii U before settling on Wind Waker, and if it ever does get the HD treatment I’ll give it a third try, but that’s IT, Nintendo! Last shot!

On a related front, I’ve also been dabbling with Tomb Raider on PS4 and I’ve a bone to pick with that title, too – what the fuck happened to Lara? On PS3, she was an unremarkably-pretty teenage girl dropped into this enormous, terrifying adventure, and as someone who’s never been able to ‘get’ Tomb Raider before I was immediately and totally on her side the whole way through. PS4 Lara, though, is fuller of cheek (both counts) and brighter of eye, and she looks less like a person – with thoughts, fears etc. –  than just a character in a videogame. It’s a lot harder digging Tomb Raider on PS4 because its Lara feels a lot more like the Lara that you used to see on posters and in lads’ mags and all that shit. Other than that, the game looks and plays amazing, but every time an FMV rolls around, yechhh. No.

Also, I tried playing the first two levels of Super Luigi U, and I suck at it (even though I 100%-ed New Super Mario U in no time), so I’m discounting it from the list because I simply don’t fancy the challenge. Give me harder levels as Mario and I’d be down for it, but I just have no time for that Luigi control scheme.

So here’s the list as it remains following this cathartic THAT’S-why-not-ening:

COMICS

Fantastic Four by Lee and Kirby Omnibus Volume 1 IN PROGRESS

The Amazing Spider-Man by Lee and Ditko Omnibus Volume 1*

BOOKS

Total Recall – Arnold Schwarzenegger IN PROGRESS

Supergods – Grant Morrison

BLU-RAY

The World’s End (and extras)*

GAMES

Tomb Raider (PS4)* IN PROGRESS

The Legend Of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds (3DS)

I figure it’s also worth mentioning I have some unwatched digital content which I’m working through but didn’t exactly pay for (in the same way that if I still had my Netflix subscription, I wouldn’t feel like I had to watch everything on it because of G(I)WYPF.)

How this is organised – just for sharesies! – is that it is first downloaded via my laptop and immediately renamed. Here, it goes into a transfer-to-the-PS3-folder as well as its respective folder on my 2TB external if it’s the sort of thing I want to have to watch again. Then it’s transferred to the PS3 and deleted from the transfer-to folder. Once it’s been watched from the PS3, it’s deleted from there, but remains on the hard drive, out of sight.

Whew…

Here’s a breakdown of my naming habits -

FILMS – Films are the simplest with just the film and its year, like: Star Wars (1977). Some files are larger than the PS3 can handle and need split in two, in which case they are suffixed with letters from the alphabet post-parentheses, ie: Star Wars (1977) a.

TV – All TV is divided into one of two overall folders – Television and Cartoons. A television episode works like [NAME OF SERIES] – [SEASON NUMBER, single digit].[EPISODE NUMBER, double digits] – [EPISODE NAME] – (YEAR OF BROADCAST), so the first episode of Batman looks like: Batman – 1.01 – On Leather Wings (1992). Each season is in its own folder, and season-specific extra features are in a sub-folder therein.

Wrestling – Wrestling is trickier because of the formats, but the easiest way to organise it is by date, like [NAME OF COMPANY] – [DATE IN YYYY.MM.DD FORMAT] – [NAME OF SHOW], so that an April ’99 Raw will look like: WWE – 1999.04.01 – Raw and that month’s PPV would be: WWE – 1999.04.30 – Backlash. Documentaries work like [TITLE OF PRODUCT] – [DISC NUMBER] (YEAR), so: Ladies And Gentlemen, My Name Is Paul Heyman – Disc 1 (2014). Each year is divided into its own folder within the company folder, and other types of files (wrestler profiles and compilations) are in their own folders.

Standup and music I haven’t quite figured out yet. For music, I’d like to include date of performance and venue but that gets cloudy with those 90s-style compilation tapes. Standup I have so little of I’m not sure why I haven’t done it yet. Documentaries are treated identically to films, but in their own folder.

Man, that felt like researching proper referencing for my dissertation.

The current list includes the last two seasons of 30 Rock and Futurama, the first of Digimon, a number of films (including Mama, which I’m too afraid to watch EVER but still haven’t deleted), all of Justice League (in HD!), the first season of The Twilight Zone (which I’m considering re-buying on Blu just to rip myself) and a handful of Power Rangers episodes (Green With EVIL!) and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles ones.

And that, friends, is what a fuckload of fuckin’ words looks like!

READ SWEET TOOTH!

Get (Into) What You Paid For: Round 4 – Day 44 : The Avarice List

After being reminded of the phrase “The Avarice List” by my good buddy Paul, I’ve decided to compile my current “wishlist.”

These are the things that I would buy if I had infinite money and no responsibilities:

7 Seconds – All ‘80s albums

Accept – Accept, I’m a rebel, Breaker, Russian Roulete

AC/DC – All the Bon Scott albums

Acid Bath - All albums

Aerosmith – First five albums

Alice Cooper – Some of the famous albums like ‘Nightmare and ‘Babies

Amon Amarth – Vs The World, Fate Of Norns, Deceiver of the Gods

Amplifier - All the albums I don’t own already

Angra - All albums

Autopsy - First two albums

Armoured Saint - All albums

Bad Brains - First two albums

Anathema - All the albums I don’t own already, especially the new one.

Annihilator – First four albums and new one, and all Padden-era ones I don’t own already.

Anthrax - Live The Island Years, Vol. 8,

Anvil - First five albums

Architects – Lost Together Lost Forever

At The Drive In – All the albums I don’t own already

A.W.B.H - Debut album

Bad Company - That boxset

Baroness - All the albums I don’t own already

Biohazard All the albums I don’t own already

Blackfoot All the albums I don’t own already

Black Sabbath All the albums I don’t own already

Black Label Society - All the albums I don’t own already

Black Tusk - All the albums I don’t own already

Blind Guardian - All albums

Blitzkrieg - First two albums

Blue Oyster Cult - That big boxset

Boston Their 2nd album

Budgie - All albums

California Breed Their album

Cannibal Corpse All the albums I don’t own already

Carpathian Forest All the albums I don’t own already

Carcass – All their albums

Children Of Bodom - Blooddrunk, Halo Of Blood

Chimaira - Crown Of Phantoms

Circles – Debut album

Crimson Glory - First two albums

Clutch - All the albums I don’t own already

Cog - All the albums I don’t own already

Crowbar - All albums

Cynic - Focus

C.O.C - All the albums I don’t own already

Danzig - First four albums

Darkane – All their albums

Dark Angel - First three albums

Dark Tranquility - The Gallery

The Darkness - All the albums I don’t own already

Devildriver – Winter Kills

Dead Kennedys - – All albums

Dead Letter Circus - All albums

Death - All albums

Deicide – First four albums

Destruction - First three albums & EP

Dew Scented - All the albums I don’t own already

Diamond Head - 2nd & 3rd album

Dimmu Borgir - All their albums

Dio - All the albums I don’t own already

Discharge - Hear Nothing See Nothing Say Nothing

Disturbed - All the albums I don’t own already

Dissection - A Storm Of Lights Bane

Dismember - Their first four albums

Distorted Harmony - Chain Reaction

The Dear Hunter - All albums & EPs

D.O.A – First five albums and crossover album with Jello Biafra

Downset - All the albums I don’t own already

Dozer - That demo collection

Dragon Force - 2nd album

Dream Theater - All the albums I don’t own already

D.R.I. - Thrash Zone & Crossover

ELP - All the albums I don’t own already

Edge Of Sanity – Crimson

Edguy - All albums

Emperor - All albums

Entombed - All the albums I don’t own already

Exodus - All the albums I don’t own already

Extreme - All the albums I don’t own already

Exciter - First two albums

Eye Hate God - All albums

Faith No More - All the albums I don’t own already, Also B-Sides

Fates Warning - All albums

Fear Factory - All the albums I don’t own already

Fight - All albums

Five Horse Johnson - All the albums I don’t own already

Fleshgod Apocalypse - All albums

Flotsam & Jetsom - First two albums

Foghat - All the early albums I don’t own already

Free - All the early albums

Freedom Call - All albums

Fun Manchu - All the albums I don’t own already

Gallows - All the albums & EPs I don’t own already

Gama Bomb - All the albums I don’t own already

Gamma Ray - All the albums I don’t own already

G.B.H - First two albums

Genesis - All the albums I don’t own already

Gentle Giant - All the albums I don’t own already

Ghost Of A Thousand - New Hopes New Demonstrations

Girlschool - That boxset

Gojira - All albums

Gorguts - First two albums

The Grand Astoria - All the albums & EPs I don’t own already

Grave Digger – All albums

Green Day - All the albums I don’t own already

Grim Reaper - First three albums

Gryphon - Red Queen To Gryphon Three

Hakken - All albums

The Haunted - The Haunted Made Me Do It

Hawkwind - Space Ritual

Hammerfall - All the albums I don’t own already

Hatebreed - All the albums & EPs I don’t own already

Helloween - All the albums I don’t own already, also B-Sides

Helstar – First three albums

Holocaust - The Nightcomers

Holy Terror - First two albums

Iced Earth - All the albums I don’t own already

In Flames - All the early albums

Iron Butterfly - Inna Gadda Da Vida

Iron Moneky - All albums

Iron Saviour - All albums

IQ - First two albums

Jag Panzer - Ample Destruction

Jethro Tull - All the albums I don’t own already

Judas Priest - All the albums I don’t own already

Kansas - That big boxset

Killswitch Engage - That self-titled debut demo album

King Diamond - That big boxset

Kings X - That boxset

Kiss - All the albums I don’t own already

Korn - All the albums I don’t own already

Kreator - All the albums I don’t own already

Life Of Agony - All the albums I don’t own already

Linkin Park - Meteora

Leprous - All albums

Lunatic Soul - All albums

Lynyrd Skynrd - All the albums I don’t own already

Machine Head - New album

Madball - All the albums I don’t own already

Yngwie Malmsteen - All the Rising Force albums

Manowar – First four albums

Masterplan - All albums

Mastodon - Once More Round The Sun

Marduk - Panzer Division Marduk

MD.45 - The Craving

Melechesh - All the albums I don’t own already

Mercyful Fate - Melisa

Metallica - Beyond Magnetic, Lulu, Live Shit Binge & Purge

Metal Church - All the early albums

Metsatol - All albums

Misfits - All albums

Molly Hatchet - That boxset

Mondo Generator - Cocaine Rodeo

Montrose - That boxset

Monuments All albums

Morbid Angel – First four albums

Mother Love Bone - All albums

Motorhead - All the albums I don’t own already

Motley Crue - Girls Girls Girls

Mudhoney - Debut EP & album

Mushroom Head - New album

My Sleeping Karma - All albums

Nasum - Inhale Exhale

Nevermore - All albums

Nightwish - All the early albums

Nuclear Assault - All the albums I don’t own already

Obiturary – That boxset

Onslaught - All the albums I don’t own already

Overkill - All the albums I don’t own already

Ozzy Osbourne - Speak Of The Devil & Tribute

Pain Of Salvation - All the albums I don’t own already

Papa Roach - Their 2nd album

Parkway Drive - Debut album

Pearl Jam - Binaural

Pestilence – All the albums I don’t own already

Porcupine Tree - All the albums I don’t own already

Possessed - First two albums

Powerman 5000 - All the albums I don’t own already

Powerwolf - All albums

Primal Fear - All albums

Psychotic Waltz - All the albums I don’t own already

Queen - All the albums I don’t own already

Quartz - All albums

Radiohead - All the albums I don’t own already

Rage - First four albums

RATM - Renegades

Raven - All albums

Rammstein - All the albums I don’t own already

The Ramones - That big boxset

Ram Jam - Best Of

Ratt - That boxset

Red Fang - Debut album

Rhapsody - Symphony Of Enchanted Lands

Riot - All albums

Riverside - Debut album

Rise To Remain - New album

Rob Zombie - That big boxset

Rossington Collins Band - First two albums

Running Wild - All albums

Rush - All albums I don’t already own

Sabaton - All the albums I don’t own already

Sacred Reich - All the albums I don’t own already

Samson - All the albums with Bruce

Savatage - All the albums I don’t own already

Saxon - All the albums I don’t own already

Scorpions - All 70s & 80s albums

Sex Pistols - Deluxe Never Mind The Bollox with loads of B Sides

Shadows Fall - All the albums I don’t own already

Sheavy - All the albums I don’t own already

Sick Of It All - All the albums I don’t own already

Sixty Watt Shaman - Debut album

Skid Row - All albums

Sweet- Desolation Boulevard

Skyharbour - All albums

Slipknot - New album

Sleep - All the albums I don’t own already

S.O.D - Bigger Than The Devil

Sodom - All the albums I don’t own already

Soen - Debut album

Soulfly - All the albums I don’t own already

Soundgarden - All the albums I don’t own already

Sonata Arctica - First two albums

Suicideal Tendencies - First four albums

Suffocation - First two albums

Stone Sour - All the albums I don’t own already

Stone Temple Piolts - All the albums I don’t own already

Stormwitch - Beauty And The Beast

Stratovarius - All the albums I don’t own already

Symphony X- All albums

Temple Of The Dog - All albums

Testament - All the albums I don’t own already

Thank You Scientist - All albums

Thin Lizzy - All the albums I don’t own already

Trapeeze - All the albums with Glen Hughes

Trivium - All the albums I don’t own already

Twisted Sister - Debut album

Tygers Of Pan Tang - All the albums I don’t own already

Type O Negative - That big boxset

UFO - That big boxset

UK - All albums

Uriah Heap - That big boxset

Van Der Graff Generator - All the albums I don’t own already

Venom - First three albums

Vista Chino - Peace

Voivod - War & Pain, Nothingface

Warrant - That boxset

Whitesnake - That big boxset

Yes - All the albums I don’t own already

Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Fever To Tell

Frank Zappa - Some of the famous albums eg Hot Rats

Also the solo albums by Jon Fratelli and Carl Barat

I would add that every superhero movie made
Every Batman, Spawn, Dredd & Spiderman TPB ever released
Every documentary about Hard Rock and Metal music
Every autobiography of a musician I like
Every other installment of a videogame series in which I have another game already.

Wow, that took way too long to type!

Get (Into) What You Paid For – The Fall

I bought something. (Else). Fuck you Internet, I love buying things and you never stop giving me reasons to do that!

Short version – I have an Ebay account I never use, and Ebay always sends me £10-off vouchers to entice me into spending the minimum amount (also £10) on the site, and I always miss the vouchers because I never check my spam for them. The vouchers have a limited lifespan and usually come about two months apart, and I figured instead of waiting I’d just fucking buy something and ‘fess up here on the blog.

So I bought that Iron Man book. Still, I’m pretty chuffed I was able to get a 540-page Marvel book printed in 2013 for £10.40, and I regret nothing. Je ne regret RIEN, mon/ma fuckerz!

I might consider leaving it ’til October to read as a sort of punishment, and I might not. You’ll just have to keep reading to find out. Anyway, here’s Scooter licking me right in my guilty face. Byes.

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Get (Into) What You Paid For – Day 12 and Avarice List!

KCP, whose idea this was in the first place, occasionally compiled lists of things he wanted on his blog under the heading “Avarice List”, which is an amusingly harsh way of attacking his own materialistic impulses.

4 AM…

Seeing as I’m having similar struggles at the minute, I thought I’d share what I’m likely to be splashing out on in October once I get this month’s challenge over me (and because I ate so much shit in two days that I literally cannot fucking sleep like normal people). Also, note that I’m a stickler for making sure parentheses outside of italicized text are not themselves italicized. Standards, man. Standards.

First off, I dislike owning physical copies of games even though that’s sometimes the best way to get them, like how Infamous: Second Son came free with my PS4. I’ve since sold the game but’ve had an urge to replace it, despite the ludicrous pricing on Sony’s Playstation Network store. It’s on sale this week for an entirely reasonable price, but I’m going to have to content myself with knowing that I don’t want (or, importantly, need) to play it again so soon and it’ll eventually be on sale again. I just have this weird thing where if I’ve owned something I’ve liked, I don’t like not owning it seemingly for any amount of time. It’s kind of like why I’m in this situation reading Silver Age Marvel at the minute – I had the constituent parts of these Fantastic Four and Spider-Man books, sold them when the Omnibus reprints were announced, then bought those books on release day because…well, because I’d had them before! Not because I wanted to read them! Which I do, you know, generally speaking, because I love those stories and everything, but that’s not the reason to buy things, and it explains why they’ve sat on my shelf for over a year before me taking aciton this month. And naturally, I’m loving re-reading Fantastic Four #1-30 (and making plenty of illustrative grabs of that killer Kirby art), but…I’m not doing that anymore.

In fact, about two days into this challenge, I went through my overcrowded Amazon Wishlists (all 20 of them!) and really thought about what was in them and why it was there. I downloaded sample issues of a lot of the comics collections I had on there, and decided whether I really wanted to even spend the money on them when I was back spending money, and concluded in more cases than not that I didn’t. Take Hellblazer, for example – I’m just not interested in John Constantine. I think he looks stupid, I can’t get an accent for him in my mind’s ear when reading, and that Vertigo art was often absolutely horrible, in a stupid “we’re not the mainstream” way. Fuck that. “Mainstream” is not a bad thing – bad is a bad thing. So no. I tried the first three volumes and hated them, and much as I love Preacher (which I wrote my dissertation on), that’s not reason enough to give Ennis and Dillon’s work on Hellblazer the shot. I also deleted the Powers hardcovers (in hopes of a once-mentioned Omnibus on Bendis’ Tumblr), a bunch of scattershot Marvel books (like Spider-Man collection gap-fillers, since I’ve slugged through far too many filler issues this lifetime to buy books just to have them, and discontinued She-Hulk reprint programs) and a whole heap of other stuff. It was pretty cathartic just admitting in a lot of cases that I didn’t want to read a lot of stuff just because it had a good reputation, and those lists are now comprised of books I know I want and am happy to risk spending money on, simply because there’s less…risk.

So there. Infamous!

Also, I made the mistake of buying a Japanese Power Rangers figure (mentioned last blog – pictures to come) from a series designed for adults (read: cost-prohibitive to youngsters). Why mistake? Because I like toys man, and this one’s a beaut. Problem is, he’s one of, what, seven I guess, and they aren’t cheap because no fucker seems to be importing them any further than America. And I need the rest. I’m hopelessly nostalgic and besides, my shelves look all the better for him. Also, SH Figuarts toys are super-poseable (like the literally-named Super-Poseable Spider-Man toy I cherished and broke as a child) and pretty light, so I’m going to need to buy stands for them, and while those aren’t expensive, it’s more money.

Sick of writing about money. Here is that video I mentioned yesterday of me drinking a thing.

So anyway – the Avarice List:

So that’s what that looks like. I’ll be back tomorrow with the overdue The Postman Cometh on that Green Ranger toy, as well as maybe some thoughts on other stuff, including the futility of trying, in certain instances, to get your damn money’s worth.

Peac Eout, as that guy on the Opeth forums used to always write.

The (Not Quite) Daily List 154 – Ten Awful Band Names (And Ten Excellent Band Names)

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AWFUL BAND NAMES!

1. Driver

2. Backhand

3. Erode

4. Eternal Sciatica Forever

5. Ranger

6. Steed

7. Miasma

8. My Big Bell-End: The Luis Guzman Opera Trio

9. Butt Tart

10. Tracer

EXCELLENT BAND NAMES!

1. Ashamed Father

2. DVD (& Flesh) Ripper

3. Ghost Loan

4. Fuck Champion 3000

5. Ranger

6. Steed

7. Infinite Living Nightmare

8. Hulk’s Leg Day

9. Shit Piss And More Shit And Piss

10. You Get The Shift Eff ‘Er?

Get Into (What) You Paid For – Day X

So here’s the thing.

I sorta bought some stuff.

No, that’s skirting the issue…

I literally actually paid money for new things despite the premise of my elected challenge directly prohibiting me from doing as such. I have wave-aside these don’t count reasons, but they don’t excuse how it’s going to read “in September 2014 Paul got new things when he wasn’t supposed to” when my hagiography’s written sometime way off in Da Futur.

In one case, I’d committed to buy the item in August but couldn’t afford to pay for it until September and I’m fairly sure that discounts me from criticism (because as far as Ebay’s concerned I’d made a promise…SOUND FAMILIAR?) and in the other, agh, I dunno, me ‘n’ Deborah just really wanted to read it and it’s not often Deborah and me’re reading the same comics and I didn’t want her to have to wait ’til October to find out what happens in Sweet Tooth…so I bought books 4,5 and 6 of that. AGAIN IN FAIRNESS I’d tried to buy these in August but they’d sold out in my nearest comics shop, so get off my back you nasty little judgment devils!

Otherwise, I’ve been resisting, with a suggested emphasis you read that as literally as possible, the urge to buy things. The Challenge, as it is, is somewhat flawed: I read Daredevil, I wanna read more Daredevil. Take this evening for an instance. I’ve just finished my second (complete) readthrough of the Bendis/ Maleev portion of Daredevil in hardback (which I’d upgraded to from paperback earlier this year). Thing is, the damn story ends with [SPOILER REDACTED] which leads right the fuck into the next volume, which is unhelpfully out of print (at least in the format I plan on buying it in) and not just a little expensive.

This basically covers all of what I’ve to read this month. My Fantastic Four Omnibus ends with issue #30, and naturally I’m going to want to pick up the second Omnibus to get to those good Galactus stories and so on. Same thing happened with the Iron Man book I read at the weekend – now I want all the fucking Iron Man books I didn’t buy before, …nyaaaa. It’s…I want money to spend but I also want to, you know, get into what I paid for.

Opeth!

That’s something I have been doing. I’ve listened to Pale Communion about seven, eight times now maybe, and I like it a lot. What curious about it is how deliberately Opeth is inviting comparisons to their playing on older records, mostly because the Akerfeldt/Mendez/Lopez/Lindgren/Wiberg lineup of yesteryear is so completely tonally different to the current Akerfeldt/Mendez/Axenrot/Akesson/Salberg one. Like, there are riffs that are lifted almost unaltered from tracks on Ghost Reveries and bass/drum patterns from Blackwater Park and beyond. It’s not unlike how Dream Theater took stock and ended up influencing themselves on A Dramatic Turn Of Events before moving on to purer pastures with last year’s self-titled. I kinda get the impression Opeth is done with this sort of material now, and that there’s an urge to try something either completely different or less vaguely tied to their earlier efforts. The point’s been proven: prog rock’s in their wheelhouse. Two great albums down, and it’s time to conquer elsewheres.

What else?…

I haven’t been super-productive because I don’t have an awful lot to do this month, I guess. Also, my job sucks (it fucking sucks) and I’m tired the days I do work and cautious-tired the nights before, so I’m spending entirely too much time sleeping and not enough time appreciating the creativity of other, less-Spar-employed denizens of the planet we share.

I did try a coffee-flavoured energy drink spinoff thing and filmed it so’s it seemed worthwhile, but the video won’t upload so I’ll show ya next time.

I wasn’t as diligent in my notetaking when reading Daredevil as when I tore through that Iron Man collection, but I did prepare a few scans to support my imminent declaration that Bendis-Daredevil is “the best main-universe Marvel of the 00s” – (Paul, just right now, not even seconds ago).

Bendis writes really good ‘jock dickhead':

Screen Shot 2014-09-10 at 20.05.22“Good job, God.”

Maleev’s Angry Daredevil is the most ferocious-looking a superhero can get:

Screen Shot 2014-09-10 at 20.07.55You know what, the rest are too spoiler-related to deal with without ruining things for you. Like comics? Seriously consider buying any of the Bendis/Maleev Daredevil books – Hardcore, King Of Hell’s Kitchen, Decalogue, Out, Underboss – anything. Any one of them will give you the feel for it, and will also mean that you’ll end up buying the rest yourself.

Just don’t blog about how you’re not going to buy anything for a while after you’ve started reading it.

 

The Postman Cometh – Opeth: Pale Communion (Deluxe Box Set)

DISCLAIMER!

I’m not reviewing this album. Not yet, leastways. Fuck, I don’t even feel like I could adequately review Opeth’s last record and it came out in 2011. No, I came to the conclusion round about this time last year (for what that’s worth) that I don’t think it’s possible (for me) to pass credible judgment on an album within the first few weeks of its release, so I’ve elected not to bother. I’m confident saying I like the way the album’s produced, it’s definitely at least a good album and will likely emerge as a great one, despite an over-reliance on a particular style of vocal harmony and one track that’s just too straight to satisfy what the Opeth fan in me is used to.

Anyway, the deluxe edition of their latest arrived a few days ago. Limited to 2500 worldwide apparently, here’s some photography so’s you can see what it’s like a) before going and buying it right now from http://www.theomegaorder.com/OPETH-Pale-Communion-Deluxe-Box-Set or b) sitting, chin on the backs of your hands many years from now and wondering what that thing you never owned looked like.

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Front and spine
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With the recently-acquired Mario soundtrack for scale
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Front again, with front of interior (doubleboxed!)
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Rear and rear of interior
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The curious thing about this box set is the contents. It includes the album on CD and Blu-Ray (!), a download card, and the lead single and two bonus tracks on vinyl. Weird, quirky, pretty cool
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Close up of vinyl 1
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Close up of vinyl 2
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Close up of vinyl 3
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All three have the same design on the back
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The case for the album proper, which also appears on the front of the booklet
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And the rear thereof
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Interior
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One spread from the booklet. No interior art beyond this style for each of the lyrics pages, sadly
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Download code, for ME ONLY, FOOLS!
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And the lot.

All in all, very… Catholic-looking. Next time, a Japanese import of a Bandai Figuarts Power Rangers figure. Be theretherethere…