Friday 27 February 2009

Kung-Fu Thursday

Batman: The Movie
Director: Leslie H. Martinson
Starring: Adam West, Burt Ward, Lee Meriwether, Cesar Romero, Burgess Meredith, Frank Gorshin
Fight Choreographer: Leslie H. Martinson
Country: USA
Released: 30th July 1966

Tuesday 24 February 2009

Video Game Reviews


Brad: Did they have to make the girl so Aryan? It makes our job easy, yet strangely awkward.
Rob: I like the fact that this series is called Mind Your Language as if German is somehow a series of curse words..."3D representation of a school that the player is free to explore and discover hidden words and letters". Yeah, that was one of my favourite bits about school: "let me just open my locker, oooh look, I found an adverb"
Brad: 3D is the world's most overrated marketing device. The entire world is 3D, yet video games market it like it's some new gimmick.
Rob: They're doing that with movies as well now.
Brad: Yeah, so I hear. I'm going to watch the hell out of 3-D Star Wars, though.
Rob: Did you know that not all films are in 3-D all the way through?
Brad: I don't follow...
Rob: All right: say for argument's sake it's My Bloody Valentine in 3-D. Not all of the film is in 3-D, only key scenes
Brad: Like Nightmare on Elm Street 6?
Rob: Um...yes?
Brad: Okay. Why is the guy on the right holding a wrench?
Rob: I think he's the Language Mechanic.
Brad: Did they have to make the girl's hat look quite so much like an SS cap? It makes our job easy, yet strangely awkward.
Rob: Isn't that hilarious? The age restriction is in German! Isn't that somewhat redundant if this is for beginners?
Brad: Score?
Rob: I'll say a sechs, or 6, because it sounds a bit like sex.
Brad: I'm giving is a 7/10, based on the d10 I just rolled.
Rob: Ooh, that's a good system!
Brad: Yeah, don't let on, but it's pretty much how I review the CDs every week.


Brad: I think I've discovered the most redundant game of all time. NERF = a way of shooting your friends with a gun, without hurting them. First-Person Shooter = a way of shooting your friends with a gun without hurting them. NERF First-Person Shooter = a way of shooting your friends with a...wait a minute..why don't we just...I made a similar point a while ago over a paintball game released on the PS2. If it's a video game, why does it have to be a paintball gun? Why not just make it an ordinary gun?
Rob: That's a good question. I would have said the peripheral was optional, but if they're packing it in with the game, that's not even an option.
Brad: In a perfect world, that peripheral would be another nail in Nintendo's coffin.
Rob: For all your Wii-bashing, I bet I can find a peripheral that improves your opinion of the system. In fact, I already have...

Brad: It looks exactly like the gun I have for Lethal Enforcers on the Sega Mega-CD. Go Nintendo! Continue to innovate!
Rob: I saw one in a store today, it's enormous.
Brad: "Play with over 25 Nerf blasters including the Maverick REV-6, Vulcan EBF-25, Longshot CS-6, and many never seen before!". Back to my point, I had no idea there was any difference between NERF guns besides the colour.
Rob: I assume it's just superficial differences. I find it hard to believe there are sub-categories, like machine guns and shotguns; although sadly, I know there are.
Brad: I...still can't get my head around the pointlessness of this game. Is this aimed at the First-Person Shooter fan or the NERF fan?
Rob: It's a new group they're trying to create, the FERPENS They will prevail!
Brad: I know it's cheating, but I just watched the trailer, and now I hate computer games.
Rob: Jesus...
Brad: Seriously, what's next? A DS cartridge based around reading classic novels?
Rob: I'm gonna give it a 4.
Brad: 1d10 says 9.
Rob: Saves rationalising it, i guess...


Rob: I'd love to imagine a ballet dancer, but unfortunately a court order says I'm not allowed.
Brad: All I'm saying is that I refuse to believe it's coincidence that all the shit games I choose for us to review are on Nintendo.
Rob: It's a definite quantity over quality scenario over there, but then that's where the money is.
Brad: Does 3+ refer to the age range, or the number of mini-games this game has? Nintedo doesn't really make games anymore. It makes collections of mini-games.
Rob: I have to correct you there, most of the mini-game compilations are by other publishers. Have you noticed that all of the girls on these boxes have mysterious blue swirly crotches?
Brad: I'd love to look at the crotch to verify that, but unfortunately a court order says I'm not allowed. Score?
Rob: I'll give it a 3+.
Brad: 2/10


Brad: I swear I’m not picking on Nintendo games.
Rob: Is his gravity in some way different?
Brad: Why don't people wear bow ties anymore?
Rob: I think the spinning ones have spoiled it for the rest of them
Brad: With a name like "Professor Heinz Wolf", he really missed the boat not getting on the Learn German game. What event was so calamitous at the photoshoot that they had to PhotoShop the apple in afterwards?
Rob: Maybe he's holding something dirty, like a dildo. Dildos are subject to gravity too. that'd be an awesome game for Wii, on a related note: Professor Heinz Wolff's Gravity: After Dark, and he's holding a Fleshlight or something
Brad: The box promises "Amazing minigames for exciting matches with friends". Surely they can only be "dropping shit and seeing what hits the ground first"? There's that "minigames" word again, though.
Rob: I don’t know if there are variations on stuff like that... like dropping Fleshlights.
Brad: Stop saying that. I don't want E14 to be the number one Google result for "fleshlights".
Rob: It'd get us some more Google Ad traffic though, maybe.
Brad: In the worst possible way... "In-game hints to help you on your way"
1: Pick up shit
2: Drop shit
3: Watch shit fall
4: Repeat
Rob: "Gravity makes stuff fall"
Brad: See, I can see how last month's Mr Physics might have had some mileage, but just "Gravity"? That makes it too specific, and I can't help but feel it would suffer as a result. It's like if Theme Hospital was purely based around Triaj.
Rob: What's next? Dr Karl Offenbacker's Centripetal Force?
Brad: Doktor Kurt Krankenschwester Presents: Hooke's Law - The Party Game Edition. Score?
Rob: 9.8m/s squared
Brad: Picking up d10, dropping it, and watching it fall: 7/10


Brad: Who the fuck is she?
Rob: I have no idea, but the name "Fitness Ultimatum" is hilarious to me. It could have been "Ultimate Fitness", that'd have been fine.
Brad: It basically means that a game has gone from conception to publication without anyone thinking to look up the word "ultimatum" in the dictionary. Presumably becuase there's no Professor Adolf Katzenjammer's Looking Shit Up In The Dictionary game yet. I would, however, like to point out that this is also a Nintendo game.
Rob: Maybe this game was preceded by "Fitness Identity" and "Fitness Supremacy".
Brad: I like the girl on the far right. Her body language seems to say "What the fuck am I doing?"
Rob: She looks a bit like Carmen Electra only not overrated, as neither of us have heard of her, let alone had her rammed down our throats as attractive.
Brad: This is a game that could finally use Nintendo's Fleshlight peripheral.
Rob: Is it safe to say you'd hit that then?
Brad: What's your score for this one?
Rob: I'll say 7, cos i'd probably hit that too, but only the one who doesn't know why she's there. I admire her naivety.
Brad: 1d10/10, modified to 1d10+2/10 if it turns out she's some relation to Shawn Michaels.


Rob: ...Imagine My Secret World, By Imagine?
Brad: Going purely on the cover artwork...I have no idea what the fuck this is.
Rob: I'm gonna go out on a limb and say a rip-off.
Brad: Going by the woman in her late twenties pretending to be a teenage girl whilst showing off her bare feet, it just as easily be called It Came From Brad's Internet History!!!. I'd like to give this a score but...
Rob: Go on...
Brad: 1) I'm still not sure I comprehend what it's about and 2) I dropped my d10 under the table.

Sunday 22 February 2009

Crossovers that should never have been

Often I find myself asking "If I could link any franchises together, which ones would it be?" Obviously, the most sensible ones have already happened: Marvel characters make their debuts appearing in already successful volumes, successful game characters get their own breakaway franchises which then cross back over given enough time. What, then, of the franchises that make no sense? Are they destined to live forever in obscurity?

Not if we here at Emotionally Fourteen have our way.

Gotham By Gaslight - Batman meets Jack the Ripper

Now I know what you're thinking. "Batman meets Jack the Ripper? What an awesome idea." All well and good thinking that, but can you imagine the shit the person who invented this concept was smoking? The contents of his travel bag could probably bring down an elk. Or how long they'd been out of ideas at DC?

"Hey Dave...What ideas did you have for the next Batman comic?"
"I thought he could fight somebody smart and mysterious."
"I like it, but haven't we done that to de-"
"Jack the Ripper."
"....We'll have to make it an Elseworlds comic."
"What the fuck is Elseworlds? And where did I put my crack pipe?"

It's weird, as well, on the subject of Elseworlds, that so many of the concepts sound so sensible, and then you get that thrown in. I can certainly see the appeal, and also see where the crossover kind of makes sense. Every comic book label has its "What if" series. Unfortunately, Star Wars continuity does not allow for Jar Jar Binks to be crushed by a falling Star Destroyer, so that's restricted to my fanfic. I can always just imagine that he's on Alderaan in its final moments.

Superman: Speeding Bullets sees Superman's pod crash into Wayne Manor, so the story is imagining what he would be like as Batman instead of Superman (presumably rich and immortal. Not bad, Kal-El, not bad at all...) But then there's Gotham by Gaslight, which tells the story of what would happen:

If Batman had been around in the 1880s AND If all his contacts and friends had existed around that time AND If he lived in London AND If he was real.

All of those things happening together? I don't think any more need be said.

WCW Brings in Robocop

In the annals of professional wrestling's dumbest moves, this had to be one of the highest in the list by a country mile until they gave the title to The Great Khali. In 1990, WCW were keen to attract some of the entertainment-loving fans of the popular WWF (before the pandas kicked off and got the name changed). They did this with a gimmick for a wrestler named The Black Scorpion, as well as the aforementioned Robocop appearance. Unsurprisingly, the gimmicks did little to increase house show attendance, and ultimately WCW only succeeded at the time due to breaking away from the NWA federation in 1993 and becoming its own independent label.

In all seriousness, WCW would probably have been better off using Teddy Ruxpin as their gimmick. The need for promo guys at the time was pretty high, and Ruxpin's mic work, while predictable, was hailed as revolutionary by wrestling's key demographic at the time.

The Punisher meets Archie

What the fuck is this? How devoid of ideas were the people at Marvel?! At least Jack the Ripper had some street cred, take a page from DC's book and stick the Punisher up against Hindley and Brady or something, give him some shred of dignity. At least then he can use some of his weapons - in this comic, he's only required to apprehend the notorious drug dealer "Red", who coincedentally looks exactly like Archie.

Here's the problem with that. Surely Archie goes to school at that point. Surely if the Punisher has to go to a school dance in order to apprehend a drug dealer, alarm bells start going off. I mean, the Punisher's a vigilante, not a retard. Besides, this drug dealer, "Red" lacks the correct Punisher villain credentials in that he doesn't have an over the top stereotype name like Red Frapuccino or Red McDougal.

All in all, I'd have sooner seen Cloak and Dagger meeting Heathcliff. I hold out hopes for the future.

Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe

Ever wondered what would happen if Batman fought Scorpion? Me neither.

Ok, I get that Marvel did a crossover with Capcom which is hailed as a cult classic game series. Yes, I realise that Mortal Kombat needed a real re-design after the problems it had with overcrowding the story. However, did it REALLY need to have a DC crossover game?

Probably the biggest flaw with this game (apart from the fact that having played it, it's fucking tedious) is the fact that it's a Mortal Kombat game with a 16+ PEGI rating. Mortal Kombat without extreme violence and fatalities is essentially Soul Calibur, and they lost their way to me when they chose Yoda over Ben Kenobi for the secret character.

That said, the Joker does look awesome in this game. However, there will never be a more recognised Joker than Heath Ledger from now on, and kudos to him for his time of accidental death making the Academy award a certainty.

The Mule

The mule is a hybrid of a male donkey and a female horse. The obvious question that springs to mind is "why not call it a honky?" The simple answer, my friends, is that the term 'honky' is an adjective that describes how a goose acts. As far as I know, that's the only use the term has.

What the hell is the point of a mule anyway? If you want something that can carry a lot, get a donkey. If you want something that can run, get a horse. Surely nobody was sat on a farm one day and said to themselves "this horse and this donkey are all well and good, but what if there was an animal that had a moderate speed and carriage capacity?"

While researching mules, I ventured to Wikipedia, the bastion of all reliable and unflappable knowledge, in order to find out more about the characteristics of a mule. The article makes for very interesting reading. It may or may not interest you (and I suspect I know which) to know that the mule possesses the sobriety of a donkey. That's a relief isn't it? It's good to know that in the event of a massive farmyard drinking party, a mule will keep a cool head if it's got work the next day.

Mules are also curious by nature, and less tolerant towards dogs than horses. They also have a tendency to kick out their hooves in any direction, including sideways. Next time I hear someone say "Those damn honkys piss me off. They're totally intolerant, always violent and often stick their noses where they don't belong", I can turn around to them and say "I think you're wrong, I think you'll find they're called Mules."

Thursday 19 February 2009

Kung-Fu Thursday

Enter The Dragon (Long zheng hu dou)
Director: Robert Clouse
Starring: Bruce Lee, John Saxon, Kim Kelly
Fight Choreographer: Bruce Lee
Country: Hong Kong/USA
Released: 26th July 1973

Monday 16 February 2009

I hate social networking sites

Over the course of my tenure as a writer for E14, I have found myself trying hard to explain how sporadic my posts have been since the site's inception. This is not simply an article about procrastination, there'll be time for that later. Instead, I am going to use this avenue to vent for a short while.

Today, my day consisted of waking up at 12:00pm, thanks to a recurring sleep problem I have recently re-discovered. I then proceeded to play Viva Pinata on Xbox 360 for 2 hours, before heading over to Bluewater for a bit of window shopping and caught the movie Underworld: Rise of the Lycans. I have to say, I concur immensely with Brad's review. After that, I returned home. Since that time, I have been on Facebook. Which do you think is the genuine waste of time? A deeply involving micro-management game that happens to involve pinatas? Or a social networking site that has actually convinced me to become less sociable?

It started innocently enough, I went on and took my turn on all the Scrabble games I'm currently playing with people from work and friends from school. It then went to the point where I have now been at the PC for a good three hours, and have only this article ultimately to show for it (and that's assuming I can get to finishing this!)

Why is it we lend so much credence to these websites? I have, at last count, 315 friends on Facebook and 113 on Myspace. Most of those are interchangeable, as most of my Myspace friends are also on Facebook, but that's a total of around 350 people I should supposedly revere as if they were gods among men. Instead, how many of them do I actually speak to? Probably less than 50. How many of them do I like? Probably about the same.

Now I'm reading all about these things called Twitter. Some sort of live blog so people can keep up with your life minute to minute? Let me tell you something. It's not going to be a popular point of view, but it's the truth. Unless you fall into a very minor percentage of celebrities or people doing exciting and important things with their lives, nobody cares.

Nobody cares about your job worries. Either you hate your job, or you don't have one. If you don't have one, don't blame social networking sites for your lack of productivity. It's your own stupid fault for being so lazy and unwilling to work for what you want. That's a whole different kettle of fish which I may touch on another day, but my point is that Bruce Campbell didn't become a cult icon by spending all day blogging on Twitter about his dinner or jobseeking habits. He did it by working hard and being awesome.

And another thing, stop sending me fucking applications. I am a fan of many things: movies, TV shows, games, characters etc. I don't need to join your stupid group in order to express that. And as far as the chat function goes, an integrated browser chat that works sporadically and pops up when I'm typing something important ranks on the list of things I want somewhere between a punch to the kidneys and M.E.

Also, if I'm unwilling to enter into a substantial financial investment using a major bank or recognised financial institution, I certainly will not enter into one from a link on a Facebook application, so that I can earn fake money for the application to tell me which of my friends thinks I could be a gangster.

I've decided that for every minute I waste on Facebook, I plan to spend two minutes on my Xbox 360 playing Fallout 3. For every bullshit application I get offered to join up to, I will expose my character to radiation for 5 seconds. I anticipate that eventually, the radiation present in the game Fallout 3 will actually begin to seep THROUGH the disc into my console, where it will travel to my controller in order to increase my radiation level sufficiently that this is how I will look after one week of social networking sites:

Thanks a fucking bunch, Facebook.

The Most Psychotic Wrestling Matches Of All Time

Wifebeater Vs. Nick Mondo
August 31st 2002 - Dover, Delware
CZW: Tournament of Death
Barbed Wire Ropes 200 Light Tube Deathmatch

When people think of hardcore wrestling, often their first thoughts are of ECW (Extreme Championship Wrestling) - the promotion company that brought hardcore wrestling to the US, and thereby the mainstream. The thing is that whilst ECW was an amazing promotion, and its place in history is doubly assured, Philadelphia's Combat Zone Wrestling makes the average ECW pay-per-view look Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

The Tournament of Death is an annual tournament organised by CZW since 2002, during which a number of wrestlers compete in various deathmatches in a knock-out formula similar to WWE's King of the Ring tournament. Unlike McMahon's boys, however, these tournaments include barbed wire, nails, thumbtacks, fire, and fluorescent light bulbs, and staggering amounts of blood loss.

John Zandig, Lobo, Ian Knoxx, Wifebeater, Nick Gage & New Jack VS The Messiah, Nate Hatred, The Backseat Boyz, Adam Flash and B-Boy
13th December 2003 - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Cage of Death V: Suspended
Cage of Death Match

John Zandig, the owner of Combat Zone Wrestling, is insane. Not just your every day "common or garden Terry Funk" insane...but your genuine not-happy-unless-he's-thrown-through-at-least-two-sheets-of-glass insane. You've seen hardcore matches, you've seen Hell In A Cell matches...but you've never seen the two combined so awesomely before.

For those of you who don't have time to watch the complete fifty-five minute dose of carnage, here's a highlight reel:

Terry Funk vs Sabu
8th September 1997 - ECW Arena, South Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
ECW: Born To Be Wired
No-Rope Barbed Wire Match

Terry Funk is known for being old and insane. Sabu is known for being so insane that he was teamed with Rob Van Dam, and was known as the insane one. ECW are known for their psychotic matches.

The most psychotic moment of this match? When Sabu tears an 11 inch gash in his forearm, and (rather than calling for an end to the match), tapes his arm closed again, and carries on wrestling. God Rest You, Sabu.

He's not dead yet, but there's a every chance he's going to be by the time I've clicked "Publish Post". It's what we comedic Internet writers refer to as "The Winehouse Factor".

Sabu vs The Sandman
17th September 2005 - ECW Arena, South Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
ECW Hardcore Homecoming
Stairway To Hell Match

"Ladder matches are cool, aren't they?"
"You know what sucks about them, though?"
"When the winner gets the belt down, the match is over."
"Wouldn't it be more awesome, if instead of a belt, they picked up a massive spool of barbed wire, and then used it to beat on each other."
"I'll get Sandman and Sabu. They'd be up for it."
"Isn't Sabu dead?"
"No, but he might be by the time we book the match. We'll have to move fast."

Note the point where Sabu breaks his jaw, duct-tapes it up, and keeps wrestling. This should highlight how overused the word "Hardcore" is in professional wrestling.

Atsushi Onita, Mr Gannosuke and Katsutoshi Niiyama vs Mr. Pogo, Mike Awesome and Hideki Hosaka
FMW's Exploding Swimming Pool Deathmatch


If we lived in a sane world "Exploding Swimming Pool Deathmatch" would be a Googlewhack. In this world we live in, it throws up 15,400.

Atsushi Onita is known in the field of extreme wrestling for being a cross between Abdullah The Butcher, Terry Funk, Mick Foley, Sabu and John Zandig. He is quite literally insane, and for his retirement match chose a Barbed Wire Steel Cage Exploding Ring Deathmatch. If all retirements were that cool, I'd pay more attention at office celebrations.

He also once took part in a "No Rope, Barbed Wire, Barricade Electric Land Mine, Double Hell Death match". I understand all of that apart from the "Barricade Electric Land Mine Double Hell" bit. Fuckery knows what that means.

Here's the Exploding Pool Death Match. If at any point you find yourself going "What the fuck?", the answer is "Yes, that's a sickle.".

Megumi Kudo vs Combat Toyoda
FMW's Explosive Barbed Wire Match

It's very, very easy to be critical of hardcore or "garbage" wrestling. I'd be the first to admit that a few of the matches in this article push the gimmick over the actual match quality. You've got a table, hey, you're going to use it, right? Hell, if you're the WWE you might plant someone through it at the twenty minute mark - if you're CZW you'll probably go for a 100 Tables Match, and if you're Atsuhi Onita you've probably invented the Exploding Table Landmine Bungee Cord Submersible Death Match.

This match, however, is a true classic for the exact opposite reason. Much as the greatest zombie movies aren't about the zombies, the greatest gimmick matches aren't about the gimmick. Don't believe me? Watch this and stand amazed.

This article is dedicated to the memory of Terry "Sabu" Brunk

Friday 13 February 2009

E14 Interviews: Robert Kirkman

Earlier on this week we talked about awesome The Walking Dead is, and why you should be reading it. Back then we promised you that later in the week we'd be having an interview with its creator, Robert Kirkman. We've never let you down before, so here it is, the first ever E14 interview, with Mr Robert Kirkman:

Was the idea of an on-going zombie comic something that you had wanted to do for some time, or was it more of a spur-of-the-moment thing?

I had seen Night of the Living Dead when I was younger but I never actually got around to watching Dawn of the Dead or Day of the Dead until after I'd started my first comic, Battle Pope. I was really into zombie flicks at that time. I branched out into some Italian gems and some not-so-gems and somewhere along the way, it occured to me that a long-form, continuing zombie epic would be a fun comic to do. It was more or less a spur of the moment kind of thing.

Were you in any way surprised by the reception "The Walking Dead" received?

Absolutely. I never expected it to be the success it's become. It was really the first book I did that caught on and did well. Everything else I'd done to that point was a failure. I figured it'd just be another one of those--but really, it's the book that turned my career in comics around. It was all very shocking.

One of the things that I like the most about the comic is the monochrome colour scheme. Was that always how the comic was going to be presented, or was that a decision you made once you began creating it?

It was always supposed to be black and white, for a number of reasons. Originally, the book was going to be called Night of the Living Dead... which looking back, makes no sense, but the movie is in public domain and I thought we could use the title and create something new with it. The movie is black and white... so I thought it'd be cool if the book was black and white, too. Original artist Tony Moore does an outstanding job gray-toning his work... it added a level of realism to the art and I thought it would make for a stunning book (and it did).

Jim Valentino, then publisher at Image said "If you're creating somthing 100% original that has nothing to do with Night of the Living Dead... why not just come up with a new title and own it all?" Probably the best advice I ever got. Another reason for black and white was that it makes the gore and violence a little easier to stomach, you'd never see all that red in a black and white comic. Also... it's cheaper to print in black and white, but that was more a bonus than the reason we did it.

How much of the story did you have mapped out at the outset, and how far in advance have you generally planned ahead when writing the story?

When I started I knew they'd eventually live in a prison, I knew about Michonne and her intro that would appear in issue 19, I knew a couple more things that haven't happened yet in the book... and I knew roughly how the first arc, the first six issues or the volume one trade-paperback, were going to go.

By the time I finished that first arc... I knew roughly everything that was going happen up through issue 25... and by the time I finished the second arc... I think I had a rough plan all the way up through 50. Now, some of that included Rick and Lori getting a divorce... and Hershel was supposed to lose a leg and not Allen... and I had planned to keep Allen alive until the end... but y'know... things change. I try to keep as much track laid ahead of this train as possible, but I never hesitate to veer off course if a cool idea comes up.

Do you (or did you) have a favourite character to write?

Absolutely. Jim was a favorite early on... but his arc was set from the beginning... he was destined to die. Tyreese, Allen, Axel and Carol were all my favorites right up until their deaths. I don't think pointing out how much I like the living characters will make them seem safe... so right now I'm enjoying Abraham and Andrea... as well as Rick and Carl (of course)... but I totally play favorites... although that never keeps me from killing them. Still wish I had Axel kicking around.

A very strong note resounding throughout The Walking Dead is this feeling that "No-One Is Safe". I honestly believe that even Rick Grimes could die, and at any moment, too! Do you feel that mainstream comics (and other media too) have lost that feeling?

In most places, yes. But a lot of times it's not neccessary. You don't expect anyone to die in ER, so when it doesn't happen... you don't say "well of course they lived!" there aren't a lot of "red shirts" on TV these days... and honestly the characters in Lost could go at any time, just like the faceless masses that die left and right along with the main guys. I'd dare to say there's almost too much death in mainstream comics. Captain America... awesome death, really resonating, leads to Bucky becoming a viable character for the future, sales are up on the book... good show, great job. It doesn't matter that we know he'll come back. The Wasp dying? Who cares? And Batman dying? Well... that just seems like a waste. Too much comic book death makes it seem lame.

The Walking Dead obviously wears its zombie movie influences on its sleeve; are there influences from other genres that you think show through?

I've watched a lot of holocaust/WWII movies to get a sense of human dispair on a massive scale... and Europe during World War II is about as close as we've ever gotten (so far) to modern civilization just collapsing. So those movies are a good example of how people deal with horrendous things being done to them. The visuals really help me picture a world in ruins when I'm writing. The Pianist especially has some good scenes where you see empty streets and industrial ruin on a grand scale. It's very haunting, so I've tried to use that where I can.
What, in your opinion, is the secret to writing a good zombie story?

Largely ignoring the zombies. I'm mean, they're going to be there when you need them... you have to make sure everything else around them is interesting first.

Is The Walking Dead the work you are the most proud of?

Maybe so far, although I think Invincible is on par and sometimes they flip flop in my head depending on my mood. I do hope it won't always be the thing I'm most known for, though. I've got a lot of life left in me (I hope) and so I pray my crowning achievment wasn't created when I was 23.

Can you tell us about any projects of yours that we'll be seeing in the near future?

I've got a new series starting up this summer that I've co-created with Todd McFarlane that is an action-adventure spy drama wrapped in a ghostly horror type shell, called Haunt. I'm very excited to roll this book out. It's going to be very cool, I'm having a blast working on it. High on drama and character interaction... and high on action. It'll be a super-hero book for people who read The Walking Dead and hate superhero books. Look for it.

Check out more of Robert Kirkman's work via his website

Buy The Walking Dead in the E14 Amazon Store

Thursday 12 February 2009

Kung-Fu Thursday

Rumble In The Bronx (Hung fan au)
Director: Stanley Tong
Starring: Jackie Chan, Anita Mui, Fran├žoise Yip
Fight Choreographer: Stanley Tong
Country: Hong Kong/Canada
Released: 21st January 1995

Tuesday 10 February 2009

Music Reviews

More music reviews for you now, with the quality of the entire package judged solely on the cover artwork. It's the only fair way.

Empire of the Sun - Walking On A Dream

Wow, I'm really torn on this one. There are so many elements that just scream "emo shite". The dubious eye make-up...the My Chemical Romance jacket on the dude at the back...

But then, this album has a) an army of elephants riding up the right flank, b) a tiger charging across an ocean, c) a futuristic city and d) holy shit, is that Death Star?

Or you could just put this down and buy some Coheed and Cambria. They're certainly less faggy than Empire of the Sun. And when Coheed and Cambria are less faggy than something, that's a hell of a statement. - 6/10

Nashville Pussy - From Hell To Texas

You know what happened when I saw this album cover? I came. And not your usual "oh-my-god-its-so-awesome-I-came-gag". No, I literally got in my car, drove over to Rob's mum's house, and wanked into her tea. Then poured it in her ear. That's how awesome this album cover is.

I mean, this literally checks all of the right boxes. Cowboys, a noose, hot chicks with big guns and bigger knockers, and a young Lars Ulrich holding three sticks of dynamite. I proclaim this the greatest album of all time. - 9/10

Chris Squire's Swiss Choir - Chris Squire's Swiss Choir

With tracks like: "O Tannenbaum", "Silent Night" and "In The Bleak Midwinter"...who the fuck scheduled the release date for February?

"Hey, Chris has finally turned in that Christmas project of his!"
"Great! We can still make the deadline, right?"
"Kinda." - 6/10

Morrissey - Years Of Refusal

Here's the problem. I honestly don't know how to review this album:

So, I brought in Rob Wade to help me out with some expert advice!

Brad: I'm doing my album reviews, and I need your help on this one.
Rob: Okay.
Brad: Now, what do you make of this?

Rob: Good lord, to think i used to respect that man...Is it me, or does he seem unusually bulky to you? I mean, this is a guy who told us meat is he seriously saying he's not been having the odd burger?
Brad: Maybe he's weight-training, that's the obvious answer. He couldn't use dumbells, due to religious beliefs, so he's doing isometrics with toddlers.
Rob: That would make a lot more sense. At least, as far as anything thought of by Morrissey makes sense, I guess. "Everyday is like Sunday", according to Morrissey. And that's only really true since shops started opening on Sundays.
Brad: The only Morrisey lyric I can remember is: "And if a ten ton truck, kills the both of us, to die by your side, under the wheels of Optimus Prime..."
Rob: It's a nice idea in theory, but then it does depend on a number of conditions: a) they have to be hit by a ten ton truck and b)it has to kill them both. Only then is it "a heavenly way to die". If one of them dies and one's a cripple, I imagine it's a wasted day out.
Brad: I get the feeling this cover started as a joke by the photographer. He must have been chuckling when Morrissey posed for it, and now that it's being printed up for general release he's laughing like the inventor of Monty Python's Deadliest Joke.
"I can't believe they're agreeing to this!!!"
Rob: Is it me or does Morrissey seem to be sporting a Tattoo made of hemp?
Brad: What are the odds of this being the same baby from the cover of Nevermind?
Rob: Considering the albums are 16 years apart, i'd say it's not impossible, but highly unlikely.
Brad: It's actually very easy to abduct a child, you know.

Rob: Is that right?
Brad: Think about it. How often do you see a kid screaming it's head off in a shopping mall or whatever, only to have the parent come over, and physically pick it up and carry it away? You must see that at least once a week, right?
Rob: Yeah, I can see where this is going...
Brad: No one intervenes, no one questions...You only assume that that's the parent. You don't know. POW! - kidnapping. How many kidnappings have you seen in your life? Speaking purely in terms of probability, you must have seen at least one genuine kidnapping.
Rob: That makes a scary amount of sense. This, of course that begs the question - has Morrissey abducted that child?
Brad: I'd go one further than that. I think he's kidnapped that child...and that is actually the child of the photographer.
Rob: So in your mind, the conversation goes thusly:
"Morrissey, how are you? Are you ready for the shoot? do you have any ideas?"
"I was thinking I could cradle a child over a bad-ass hemp tattoo"
"That's possibly the worst idea I've ever heard, I won't do it."
"Interesting. Hey, is this little Davey? Come here, little man..."
"I hate you, Morrissey..."
Brad: We haven't commented on the fact that the toddler has a rather knowing grin. Unless that's the kind of grin anyone would have whilst being cradled by one of The Smiths.
Rob: That nappy's not tied all the way round...

Brad: Wow! You're right, it isn't! Well spotted.
Rob: It caught my eye while i was admiring the hemp tattoo.
Brad: I can only assume that the baby's ass is going into some kind of duct and into Morrisey's pants, due to some kind of baby poo fetish on his part.
Rob: It wouldn't be the weirdest thing i'd heard about him
Brad: You've got weirder than rigging a baby's bum up to his pants, whilst the baby tries to let us all know via the age-old medium of looking smug?
Rob: The rumours go round about Morrissey all the time: he's gay, he's straight, he's a woman, he has no penis, he is made of Nutella...
Brad: In conclusion?
Rob: 7/10, because i never thought i'd hear a day when tattoo enthusiasts are saying "I need some new weave work done".
Brad: Yeah, I'm going 7/10 here too, for the toupee that has obviously slipped under our comedic radar.

Monday 9 February 2009

Movie review - Punisher: War Zone

Ask any Marvel fan about the Punisher's movie history, and you'll be told that the 2004 effort starring Thomas Jane, while enjoyable, failed to deliver the blend of over the top violence that the Punisher name evokes (unless you ask them about Dolph Lundgren as the Punisher, in which case they'll usually drop to the ground dribbling or start trying to attack you with a spoon).

Apparently Frank Castle became a homosexual for a period of three weeks in the 1980s.

Anybody familiar with the comic series, particularly the Punisher Max series, will tell you that it's not quite the Punisher unless Frank Castle is punching somebody's face to pieces or shooting explosives with reckless abandon for man or beast in his way. If this is the Frank Castle you wish to see, then rest assured that Punisher: War Zone will deliver this for you. However, it comes at a price.

Let's get the basics out of the way first. In Punisher: War Zone, we find Frank Castle (portrayed this time by
Rome's Ray Stephenson) taking care of a mafia family at a dinner party held for Cesare, a Mafia boss in charge of a significant crime syndicate. When first we join the film, Cesare is in the midst of an argument with Billy Russoti (played by Dominic West) over taking on a shipment of biological weapons.

Enter Frank Castle, with plenty of weaponry and a desire to punish the corrupt and evil. After a pretty violent and brutal series of executions on the members of the Cesare faction (including a fairly swift dispatch of Cesare himself), Castle tracks Billy to his hideout and attacks, leaving Russoti for dead in a glass bottle grinder. Russoti, however, survives and after extensive reconstructive surgery is reborn as Jigsaw.

However, during the course of his attack, Castle inadvertently kills an undercover FBI agent, and goes into a spiral of doubt over his role as The Punisher. With the help of his friend Microchip (Wayne Knight - not to be confused with Wayne Manor, where Batman lives), as well as the agent's widow and daughter, Castle has to rediscover what drives the Punisher and stop Jigsaw's new criminal syndicate before it's too late.

First, I'll start with what I didn't like. Frankly, it may be that I've been spoiled by movies like
Iron Man and The Dark Knight, but the dialogue in this film can be downright terrible at times. You've already doubtlessly seen the line "Sometimes I'd like to get my hands on God" from the trailer above, but believe it or not, there are lines which will make you physically wince in this film. Some lines, also, are just confusing. Jigsaw's brother, introduced in a largely effective tease, represents a convincing psychopath in that often you cannot fathom what he could possibly mean.

On the positive side, Frank Castle kills a LOT of people in this movie using a lot of cool-looking weaponry. With arms ranging from basic crossbows all the way to rocket launchers and a rather tasty looking revolver, Castle definitely has the arsenal of a vigilante. Stephenson, in this regard, plays the role of Castle well, even in the little touches of reloading all his guns when between firefights. Stuff like that sells me on a character, and in this regard the movie does particularly well.

The Emotionally 14 Rating:
Violence: Maybe I haven't made this clear, but Frank Castle kills a fuckton of people in this film, offing about ten to twelve people in the film's first action sequence. The kills are gruesome, some are ludicrously over the top on a par with an 80s Arnie movie (sadly the dialogue is also comparable). 10/10

Swearing: There's plenty here to keep the swearing fan happy, plenty of uses of the words 'fuck' and 'shit'. 8/10

Sex/Nudity: Absolutely none. Unless you get off on brief flashes of Castle's dead wife and young daughter, in which case you can make this number a 10. Personally, I'll say a 4. 4/10

Other points in favour:
This movie stars Colin Salmon as an FBI agent who tries to take Castle down in a fistfight. That alone is awesome.
At one point, the Punisher looks like becoming a self-pitying emo pansy, but then snaps out of it like all emos should.

There are three parcour acrobats. The scene involving them and The Punisher is awesome. 8/10

Total: I'm going to give this movie an 8 out of 10 purely due to the fact that the death count in this film is about ten times more than the 2004 Punisher movie starring the also-awesome Thomas Jane. Add to that the fact that the movie finally includes Microchip and Jigsaw, and despite its flaws I will happily say that I enjoyed this movie and would recommend it to anyone. Just don't expect an Oscar winning movie. Unless the category is "best Punisher adaptation", which should be an Oscar category. 8/10

You Really Should Be Into: The Walking Dead

I've seen a lot of zombie movies over the years. I wrote my University dissertation on the subject. I've read a lot of zombie books. I've played a lot of zombie games. I've read a lot of zombie comics...
..and I can tell you that the greatest narrative in the zombie genre since Night of the Living Dead is The Walking Dead, an Image comic created by Robert Kirkman and Tony Moore (now replaced by Charlie Adlard).

Whilst the setting may be familiar - bands of survivors huddling together and trying to survive in the wake of a zombie apocalypse - it is in the execution that the comic succeeds where many, many others have failed. To start with, The Walking Dead isn't actually about zombies. It's about the people trying to survive against the zombies, and a point that many zombie stories fail at.

The Walking Dead begins with police officer Rick Grimes and his partner Shane in a gunfight with an escaped convict. During the incident, Rick gets shot and blacks out. When he awakes one month later, he finds himself in a hospital bed, completely alone.

Finding the hospital abandoned, Rick explores his surroundings. He finds the hospital's cafeteria crowded with the living dead, and barely escapes with his life. Returning home, only to discover two strangers, Morgan and his son Duane, have taken up in Rick's neighbor's house, hoping to ride out the Epidemic of the Dead.

Rick allows Morgan access to the police armory and a squad car, hoping it will help them survive. Then, splitting from them, Rick makes for Atlanta, Georgia, believing his wife Lori and son Carl went there. When he reaches Atlanta, he finds total desolation: bodies, ruined military equipment...he is soon surrounded by zombies, and escapes alive thanks only to the aid of a young man named Glenn. Glenn leads Rick to an encampment outside the city, where he meets his family; Shane, his partner; and several other survivors: Allen, his wife Donna and twin children Billy and Ben; Dale, a traveling salesman (an older man whose RV is used by the group for a base); mechanic Jim; Carol, a single mother, and her daughter Sophia; and finally, college junior Amy with her sister, ex-clerk Andrea.

What follows on is a story of this small groups survival in an uncertain world. What makes The Walking Dead so memorable, however, is that as readers, we also become embroiled in that uncertainty.

The one thing you must know about The Walking Dead is this: no-one is safe.

For those cushioned in a Marvel-type world where Spider-Man will always survive...or currently fully aware that whilst they're not in it at the moment, Aunt May and Captain America are going to come back at some point. Or for those of us still reeling from the death of Chewbacca ten years ago - The Walking Dead is just as callous, cruel and cold towards its characters as real life can be.

I would like to be able to say that if you like zombie movies, run out and buy this now...but my girlfriend hates zombie movies, and loves The Walking Dead, so I guess that whether you like zombie movis or not, you should go out and buy it anyway.

Keep checking back in to Emotionally Fourteen this week as coming up shortly we've got a special interview with The Walking Dead creator/writer Robert Kirkman!

Thursday 5 February 2009

Kung-Fu Thursday

Since I'm in charge this week, I thought I'd do something a bit different. If anything, I think it's more E14 than any Kung-Fu Thursday we've ever done. Enjoy.

Music Reviews

More music reviews for you now, with the quality of the entire package judged solely on the cover artwork. It's the only fair way.

The Fray - The Fray

Is this techno? I'm guessing it's techno. There's something about the combination of lighting tubes, blurry photos and denim that suggests techno. Do people even still make techno anymore? It seems kind of pointless to me. Back in 1997 I bought a PC program called Techno Maker that basically showed how any retard able to operate Windows could make a techno sound in three minutes. That's less time than the song actually takes to play.

I think techno needs to stay dead and buried. Don't buy this album - 2/10

Hot Leg - Red Light Fever

What the fuck is this?

Seriously, Hot Leg. There's making gestures towards being gay because you're comfortable in your own heterosexuality - and then there's this double-bluff. Can you picture the conversation between Hot Leg and the artist, Bimon Sisley?

"I want the cover to have kind of an eighties androgyny, to it. A feeling of homoeroticism and Mad Max style cyberpunk."
"Uh, we could do that. How about an androgynous guy on a motorbike, riding towards a futuristic city?"
"That works. Can he be wearing leather trousers?"
"And big, backcombed hair?"
"No problem."
"Ooh...ooh...wait! How about if instead of leather trousers...arse-less chaps?"
"Uh...could we do a bare arse on the album?"
"No problem. Just make him wear a thong."
"Can you leave my office, please?"
"And most of the buildings should look like penises!"
"I'm not gay."
- 7/10

The Carter Family - Roots of Country

There's a family who look like they know how to have a good time. Whether it's putting up a barn, thanking the Lord for a fruitful harvest, or just perform an act of self-flaggelation for impure thought - it's always party time at the Carter's place!

Black Metallers could learn a lot from these guys. They scare me more with their fundamentalist Christian eyes far more than an army of spotty teens in spikes and KISS make up ever could.

Jesus, it's like they can see every act of masturbation I ever indulged in. Fuck these guys. - 6/10

Monday 2 February 2009

Movie Review: Underworld: Rise of the Lycans

I have a love-hate relationship with the Underworld franchise. I think that the whole Vampires vs Werewolves thing is an excellent idea, I think that any movie featuring lots of monsters fighting each other whilst incorporating gratuitous gunplay is awesome, and I think that Kate Beckinsale is lovely. On the other hand, I think that the first movie was stylistically a rip-off of The Matrix and Blade, that there isn't really any explicable reason why vampires and werewolves would ever use guns on each other, and that all post-Anne-Rice vampires tend to be a little on the foppish side.

Before and After Anne Rice

Underworld: Rise of the Lycans, however, is very different from the original. It eschews special effects and it's cyber-punk trappings in favour of *gasp* a real narrative, with characters you actually care about, and moves its setting to 1100AD. Oh, yeah. And it also features several battles on horseback involving vampires fighting werewolves with swords.

This installment deals with the story of origin of Lucian (Michael Sheen), the first Lycan (werewolf) the first able to transform into a human form without dying. Viktor (Bill Nighy), King of the vampires, slays Lucian's mother shortly after his birth and raises him as his slave. As Lucian grows up at Viktor's home, he and Viktor's daughter Sonja (Rhona Mitra) fall in love with each other.

Underworld: Rise of the Lycans is an excellent example of how "pulp" stories should be carried off. The thing is, "pulp" is a very difficult genre to do right. Take yourself too seriously, make the story too heavy and the action too realistic, and you end up with High Fantasy. Don't take yourself seriously enough, make the story to light and the action too cartoony, and you end up with, at best a parody, and at worst a very bad story. Robert E. Howard could do it right. George Lucas can do it right. Mike Mignola can do it right.

Underworld: Rise of the Lycans achieves it admirably.

Whilst performances are solid from the cast, extra special mention has to go to Nighy, who perfects the role he had already played well in the earlier films. His convincing portrayal of a man who has grown cold to all feelings except negative ones, is made all the more brilliant at a point at which he almost shows tenderness.

However, one thing I want to know is why, twenty-eight years after it was released, An American Werewolf in London is still the most convincing on-screen depiction of a werewolf transformation. The CG in Underworld: Rise of the Lycans is okay, but it's the actual process of the transformation that looks dumb and unrealistic.

That said, it's a very minor sticking point, and something I'm more that willing to overlook given the film as a whole. This is the best film in the Underworld franchise so far.

The Emotionally 14 Rating:
Strong violence throughout. Werewolves rip human faces off. Maulings, slashing, stabbings, burnings...Brutal torture sequences. Throat slashings, with blood spurts and sound effects. Several battles ON HORSEBACK involving VAMPIRES fighting WEREWOLVES with SWORDS!- 10/10

Swearing: None. But it does have several fucking battles on fucking horseback involving dicking vampires fighting cunting werewolves with fucking swords. - 2/10

Sex/Nudity: One sex scene involving some nudity, but no rude bits on show. Made all the better by the fact it's Rhona Mitra. In fact, this gets an extra point because Rhona Mitra looks hot on horseback whilst fighting werewolves with a sword. – 6/10

Other points in favour:
If you want to describe the weapons in this movie, you will be able to accurately use the term "Bolt Thrower", and that doesn't come up very often.

Rhona Mitra is lovely.

There are loads of movies about vampires, but I just always get the feeling that there aren't enough that feature werewolves.

There are scenes that feature vampires on horseback, using swords to fight werewolves. - 8/10

Total: Statistically this should score 7/10, but I’m awarding an 8/10, because I don't feel the score accurately reflected how awesome it is watching vampires fight werewolves with swords. The horses are an added bonus.

In summary, a great film...the highest scoring so far...but the quest for The Ultimate Movie For The Emotionally Fourteen continues.