A Look Back At 2013 And A Look Forward To 2014

As is traditional on this blog, at the end of each year, I talk about what I’ve managed to do the previous year and what I hope to achieve the next year. It’s as much for myself as it is for the select few that visit here. 2013 was another interesting year:

•We managed to get the TRIPWIRE anniversary book out, although it became a 21st rather than a 20th anniversary book. We didn’t make our kickstarter (those things are invariably a popularity contest) but we decided to bring it out anyway. I am proud of it despite the fact that sales haven’t been as brisk as I’d hoped and it is a very nice marker to say where we’ve been up to this point. Our Foyles event and related exhibition didn’t have a massive turn-out but I am rather proud that we can say we have done an exhibition and talk at this bookshop, a London landmark

•We kicked off the TRIPWIRE Digital App despite the fact that it took quite a while to get approved by Apple. It is nice that for the first time since 2003, we have a regular presence and platform to cover comics, books, film and related subjects and that we can build on the momentum we have for it

•On the photography front, I did get to see a few of my shots blown up at the Foyles event and I got one of my Brian Aldiss photos used in the Financial Times magazine, which was rather nice. I continued to submit to Writer Pictures and a new stock place for my landscape photos. I tried to keep improving my shots and took a lot of photos when I travelled over the course of the year. Some of them managed to surprise me

•I continued to write for Comic Heroes, got something into Imagine FX and a few new articles for Big Issue in The North. I also continued with my subbing work, there to pay the bills but it’s still useful

•I didn’t touch my novel much as I was busy with freelance work and the TRIPWIRE anniversary book. I also didn’t do very much on the Dee for Detective comic series, with Andy Grossberg and artist David Morris

But at the end of 2013, hopefully I have planted a lot of seeds for the future. In 2014, I intend to:

•Bring out the TRIPWIRE Digital App bimonthly. So every two months there’ll be a new edition of the app and we’ll continue to ramp up the interactive content in it. I want to make TRIPWIRE the essential digital publication covering the world of comics and genre again

•Keep pushing my photography and keep submitting to stock agencies. I have improved a lot in the last five years but I am still not totally consistent

•Use the digital and ebook formats to put out my own work, whether that’s journalism, writing or photography. I shall go back to the detective novel and also do more on the Dee for Detective comic series, which I neglected

•I shall continue to sub and do the freelance journalism although it would be nice to phase out the subbing and just focus on writing and editing

•I shall also continue to populate this blog and fill Flickr and my Tumblr (www.joelmeadowsphotography.com) with my photos, keeping it updated. Plus, we shall endeavour to update the tripwire website, now www.tripwiremag.net, with new content

Just like 2013, 2014 is looking like a very interesting year…

The Hobbit of a Lifetime?


Last year, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, the first of Peter Jackson’s adaptations of Tolkien’s prequel to Lord of The Rings, was released and it was disappointing to say the least. Pacing was slow, the script felt laboured and childish in places and the 48fps took the audience out of the film. Fast forward a year and we have The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. Martin Freeman has returned as Bilbo Baggins as has Richard Armitage as exiled dwarf king Thorin Oakenshield and obviously Ian McKellen as wizard Gandalf. The group’s quest to reach their former kingdom of Erebor continues but they are stymied by the machinations of the evil Orcs and the necromancer, who gathers his forces at the deserted fortress of Dol Goldur. The trailer looked promising but the question was whether Jackson and co would learn from the flaws of the first film. I am very glad to say that The Desolation of Smaug is a significantly better film than its predecessor. We are introduced to female wood elf Tauriel (Evangeline Lilly) and Legolas (Orlando Bloom) makes a return appearance here from Lord of The Rings. But unlike the scenes in the first film, with Galadriel and Elrond which feel shoehorned, Legolas works in The Desolation of Smaug. This is also a much darker film than its predecessor, with Jackson wasting no time getting into the action. There has been some thought put into creating the spiders of Mirkwood and visually they have taken a different approach to Shelob from the Return of The King, working well in the creepy surroundings of Mirkwood. Benedict Cumberbatch as the voice of dragon Smaug is magnificent: his echoing tones fill the screen as Bilbo tries to outwit him. We are also introduced to the human inhabitants of Laketown including the wheeler dealer Bard (Luke Evans) who initially assists the dwarves but shows that his allegiances may not be as clear-cut as we first assume and the Master of Laketown, played by Stephen Fry. Again, the filmmakers have done a wonderful job of bringing Laketown to life. The Desolation of Smaug feels like it was made by a different director to the first Hobbit film and shows off the deftness of touch that Jackson displayed in the three Lord of The Rings films. Unlike last December, the viewer comes out of The Desolation of Smaug actively excited to see what he does with The Hobbit: There and Back Again. Jackson is back on form and The Desolation of Smaug will dominate the Christmas box office as it deserves to…


After months of preparation and development, the TRIPWIRE bimonthly app will be available for people to buy from iTunes this month. We shall be producing a new edition every two months so issue two will be out in Feb, issue three will be April and issue four will be June. It will give us the opportunity to cover material from the worlds of comics, movies, genre and related fields with the same approach we have always taken: quality, intelligent journalism. The first issue includes a piece looking at how mainstream superhero films are killing quality Hollywood, what’s wrong with ABC’s Agents of SHIELD show and an audio interview with Ian Rankin, talking about his new Rebus book and much more. To tantalise everybody, here’s the cover image to the first issue. We are all excited at the future opportunities digital has to offer and we’ll be taking full advantage of them. I have neglected this blog over the last few weeks but I shall be back with a vengeance over the next couple of weeks. Come back here to see my review of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug this week. But in the meantime, TRIPWIRE digital app is available from iTunes as of now. Please visit the following URL (the app is free but each edition only costs £1.99)