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A TRIP INTO THE DOCTOR WHO ARCHIVE
Doctor Who and The Daleks and Daleks: Invasion Earth 2150AD were two Doctor Who spin-off films made respectively in 1965 and 1966. When they were released, they were disowned by the BBC but they have just been released by StudioCanal on Blu-ray. Peter Cushing plays the Doctor, who is called Doctor Who here, and both scripts deal with the Daleks. The first one sees the Doctor  accompanied by his companions travel to Skaro, the planet of the Daleks, and become embroiled in a war between the dustbin-shaped aliens and the human inhabitants. Doctor Who and The Daleks is let down by a poor script and the fact that the costume design for the humans consists of some very sixties-looking eyeshadow and some cheap tunics and Roy Castle as the gormless Ian is very poor indeed. Cushing does look a little embarrassed on screen but it has a certain sort of period charm…
Daleks: Invasion Earth 2150AD, where the Doctor and his companions, which includes policeman Tom (Bernard Cribbins), find themselves on a future Earth ruled by the Daleks, is a little better. The Daleks have taken over a number of the human population to enslave the planet, with the eventual aim of transporting Earth through space to be closer to Skaro. The special effects look like they got change out of a fiver but for some reason, the second film feels a little closer to the TV series. Cushing seems a little more comfortable here and Cribbins is better than Roy Castle, who was in the first film, as a foil for the action.
Neither film is a work of genius but as a period curio, and for fans of Doctor Who who haven’t seen them, they are worth checking out on Blu-ray, with reservations.

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CRIMINAL BEHAVIOUR

This week sees the release of one of my favourite British films of all time on DVD and Blu-Ray. It’s no exaggeration that Brighton Rock (1947) is a movie that’s up there for me with other classics like Get Carter, The Long Good Friday and Mona Lisa as the best of what Britain can produce in this genre. Based on the seminal Graham Greene book, Brighton Rock, directed by John Boulting and known as Young Scarface in the US, is the story of Pinkie Brown, a violent sadistic young gangster and his gang of cronies in the archetypal British seaside town of Brighton. Pinkie has a rival in the shape of Italian Colleoni and so he is battling to maintain his piece of the action. The problem is that Pinkie’s gang kills newspaper man Fred Kite, bringing down all manner of aggrevation on themselves. This is Richard Attenborough’s first major role and as the lapsed Catholic Pinkie, he is magnetic on screen, with his character’s youth forcing his adversaries to underestimate his power. The future Doctor Who, William Hartnell, as Pinkie’s heavy Dallow, brings a rare menace to the screen and Hermione Baddeley as the blowsy Ida, who is drawn into the web as the last person to see journalist Fred alive, more than holds her own. Boulting is a wonderful director and Brighton really does become a character in its own right here. The script is faithful to Greene’s book with the best lines lending it almost a literary feel on screen. Hans Mays’s music only serves to increase the tension and drama here intercut with some of the best editing on any film before or since. It is a true slice of British cinema history and, with the release of Rowan Joffe’s film of the same name (set in the 1960s), this should attract attention when it comes to Blu-ray and DVD. The extras are not much to write home about, although the interview with Joffe, who seems to know a lot about the Boulting precursor, makes for intriguing viewing. Brighton Rock is a British film masterwork and anyone who is a serious cineaste should have it in their collection. This restored edition is worth the price, if only for the film itself…
www.optimumreleasing.com


SAN DIEGO BOUND
With about three days to go until I get on the plane to go to San Diego for another week of madness (my 11th show there), this will be the last post I write in London until I get back. I always look forward to San Diego because sometimes it’s the only place I see certain people all year. Although in past years, I have done a lot of reporting and writing on film stuff for magazines and newspapers but this year, it seems that the press are being frozen out by the film companies. I know of several high-profile roundtables that I am not invited to and so it means that I’ll mainly be behind the TRIPWIRE table. Speaking of which, if anybody is at San Diego, please feel free to come by to our table, Small Press S07, where we’ll have the Annual 2009 hot off the presses. Since Diamond US won’t carry us, it may be the only chance you have to grab one. We are also selling copies of 2008’s Annual, what with a sizeable Doctor Who presence at the show in the shape of Russell T Davies and David Tennant. We also have a panel on Thursday 23rd July in Room 3 from 10.30am. We’ll have BleedingCool’s Rich Johnston on that as well as myself, Editor-US Andy Grossberg and possibly artist Kody Chamberlain. So I am excited to see the magazine, since I won’t see it until I get to the hotel in San Diego on Monday evening West Coast time, and looking forward to catching up with people like Jim Johnson and loads of others. I’ll be posting entries here while I’m away, so expect to see lots of activity at Walls and Bridges…

ANNUAL ALMOST FINISHED
I couldn’t think of a pun for this blog post. We are a few pages away from putting the TRIPWIRE Annual 2009 on the presses and less than two weeks until I see the final product. Putting a magazine today with such a small staff is very difficult and subbing the thing has taken weeks, with us constantly spotting errors. But it will be very satisfying to see the magazine at last. It is hopefully the best one we’ve ever published. People visiting San Diego Comic Con can come and find us on Small Press Table S07, where we’ll have copies of the Annual for sale as well as for anyone looking for stuff for David Tennant to sign will be able to pick up copies of TRIPWIRE Annual 2008 at a knockdown rate. So I am getting excited about San Diego…






REFLYING THE FLAG
On Thursday, I went to the Paul Cornell signing at Forbidden Planet in London. Armed with the camera, I took a few shots of the writer to get a shot to accompany the feature in the Superhero Special. His Doctor Who episodes were the highlights of the series that they were in, his Captain Britain title is a very enjoyable read and apparently he’s about to announce that he’s taking on another book for Marvel. He’s also a very easygoing bloke…











SAN DIEGO ROUNDUP 2008 PART THREE
I know it’s taken over two weeks but here is the last post about this year’s San Diego. Saturday went pretty well: Tim Bradstreet and Bryan Talbot signed copies of Studio Space at the Image signing area in the morning and sales of the book and the Annual were pretty brisk all day. The funny thing is that, because ticket sales were capped, the comic area of the hall on Saturday wasn’t as hard to get around as in previous years. Also on Saturday the Doctor Who cosplayers came by the table so we got a couple of photos of them with the magazine. I continued to try and find Mark Chiarello but to no avail. Sunday went by very fast but by that point, I was exhausted and so once we had packed away the Annuals and dropped off some Studio Space stock for sale at Bud Plant, it was over. So in retrospect, San Diego 2008 was a great show for us: it had wiped away the bad memories of 2003, where we had the worst table position imaginable and the courier had damaged our stock. It was a fantastic networking show: we would probably not have met Joss Whedon if we weren’t set up on the floor. I got to see my friends Jim Johnson and Pete Bickford as well as spend lots of time with Andy Grossberg, Susie Lee and Jeff Carlisle. Also we are slightly higher up the food chain than we were last year since the second Annual has shipped. I also met with an agent who seemed interested in the London bridges book and another book project I have started to work up and it was great to be at the show with a book like Studio Space, that everyone seems to like. There is still such a buzz about San Diego that you don’t get at any other show and this one, my 10th, was no different. I think it may have been my best San Diego to date…


















RANDOM PHOTO POST SAN DIEGO
Before I post about Saturday and Sunday properly, here’s a selection of other photos including the Embassy Suites (where we stayed), people playing giant chess, Doctor Who cosplayers with a copy of the TRIPWIRE Annual, Watchmen director Zach Snyder, the Hyatt at twilight, Malin Ackerman and Patrick Wilson from Watchmen, my friends Murphy and Steve Colgan who made it out to the show…


A FINAL TRIP THROUGH THE WIRES
Amazingly I have finished the TRIPWIRE Annual and the pages go to Andy Grossberg for subbing over the weekend. I’m really chuffed with the way they look and so I thought I’d give everyone a sneek peek. I’ll put up another post with some designs in the next couple of days…
I also wanted to say that I’ve been thinking a lot about Andy Grossberg because he lost his dad this week.



A HELL OF A MORNING
It’s been a very good week for me. I found out that we have had some more reorders for Studio Space (the second batch in fact) and on Wednesday morning, I went to a Hellboy 2 junket
with Guillermo Del Toro, accompanied by Steve, who I thought might enjoy it. Some rough footage was show and we had a roundtable with GDT. I even got my hardback of Studio Space signed, which made my day. Then, on Eat on Oxford Street, we were in the queue and we saw ex-Doctor Who Tom Baker. I got a photo with him as did Steve. So here are photos from the roundtable and the Baker photo…





TRIPWIRE ANNUAL LATEST
I haven’t posted anything from the Annual in a while so I thought I’d rectify that. It goes to the printers in about three weeks but you’re still able to put your orders in in Previews Vol. XVIII, #5, on page 397 , item number MAY08 4264. It’s such a fantastic lineup this time around:

•With the British sci-fi renaissance in full swing on TV, we look at the history of Doctor Who, providing an invaluable primer for those viewers who have come in late, and cover his history in comics as well as examining series like Life on Mars and Primeval. The Annual will have a brand new painted Tommy Lee Edwards Doctor Who image;
•Michael Moorcock talks about Elric, with a film in the imminent future, and Walt Simonson, Michael Whelan and P. Craig Russell discuss translating Moorcock’s vision to the comics page;
•Matt Groening, David Cohen and Bill Morrison discuss the return of the fan favourite animated series Futurama;
•A look at Pinewood Studios’ new plans, ILM’s company structure and a feature about the career of James Bond storyboard artist Martin Asbury;
•Bryan Fuller spills the beans on Emmy award-nominated hit TV show Pushing Daisies;
•Tim Kring and Jeph Loeb reveals the future of Heroes after the conclusion of the writer’s strike;
•Graphic novelist Posy Simmonds, a regular fixture in The Guardian and always on the bestseller list thanks to books like Tamara Drewe and Gemma Bovary, talks about illustration and her career;
•Marjane Satrapi discusses translating Persepolis from graphic novel to animated film;
•We celebrate two significant anniversaries for 2008: the 70th birthday of the comic industry’s most famous superhero Superman and it’s been 40 years since Marvel’s 1968 revolution;
•A look at Manga Entertainment’s successful UK division

Here are a few pages of design, including the cover again, the first two spreads of the Futurama feature, which is brilliant because Groening and Cohen have fantastic chemistry, the first two pages of our Superman feature and Jeff Carlisle’s pencils for his Doctor Who illo, which also looks amazing. It’s going to top last year’s edition, no question…