Friday, 26 April 2013

LoEB: Sleepover

Totally said I'd do better. This week's assignment from the League sees me choosing somewhere culturally pop to take a break for a day or two...


You have the opportunity to spend the night at any residence in pop culture. Where do you go?

Well, I thought long and hard about this. Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends was my first impulsive idea, but I've not seen the show in too long a time, and even then not enough to blog about it. The Addam's Family Mansion would be cool, but summer's finally showing its head; I didn't fancy writing about something so Autumnal (read: Halloween). Then it struck me like a crossbow bolt upside the head: Ladies and Gentlemen, put your blindfolds on - we're going to Sherwood Forest!

The Merriest of Men!
I'm going to maximise my one night stay by not travelling too far; in fact only journeying one hour up the M1. And several centuries back, but that's not important... In '91 I was fully swept up in Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves mania (I was 7 at the time); proudly owning the cassette single, the novelization, the Kenner figures, and the first traces of a love of archery. For me the coolest scenes in the film were those of the secret village in the forest, with the tree houses and the huts and the rope swings... With a large woodland on my doorstep, you can imagine how inspirational that was. My homemade attempts were never the same, although a pulley lift made out of an old plastic barrel and a judo belt was remarkably effective. Still, for my trip away, I'd see how the pros did it...

The Coolest of Cucumbers!
And what activity break would be complete without a little sport? It's one thing to get away in the fresh woodland air, but I'd take full advantage of what the village has to offer. Archery contest with history's number one bowman? Yes! Would I have to use my compound bow to even out the odds a little? Most likely!

All in Good Fun...
Then there's the fight training, under Azeem's watchful eye. This vacation is proving to be fun and educational! Funcational, if you will!

...

Some portmanteau words are nice. Most are horrible, and that one just made me a little bit sick in my mouth. Anyway, on with the tour!

SWAG.
After a hard days shooting and fighting, I'd be off to see the more refined sights, like Robin's MASSIVE HAUL OF STOLEN TREASURE. I'm poor. Maybe I could take a spare crown, yeah? Then I guess I'd just kick back around the campfire and swill some mead, as Little John regales us all with drunken tales, before falling asleep under the woodland canopy. 

Next morning I'd get up, be led away, and probably pop in to see my sister in Derby for a cuppa on the way home. After waiting a few hundred years for her to be born, I guess. Man, time travel is confusing...

One last thing: DO NOT drop that cigarette!

"...And now we have to start ALL OVER AGAIN!"
That's pretty much the only rule they've got, so, y'know. It's only polite.

Where would other Leaguers go? Well here's where!

Vikki Verka's hanging out with Darla Dimple...
Rediscover the 80's is digging the perks of the 'Burbs... (and with a smokin' Carrie Fisher living across the road, who can blame 'em?)
Achievements in Gaming is up for a night of snooping around in Government secrets...
NERD RAGE is all about the movable swimming pools...
The 30ish Year Old Boy is up for chillin' with Chuck...
And Retro Toy Safari did the Addams Family house some justice!

There are plenty more too; check out this week's assignment for more posts, and thanks for reading!

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

The Batman

And on the subject of the Dark Knight, here's a recent bargain...  


Batman from Mattel's Dark Knight Rises line, bought for a paltry £2.50 from Tesco. The paint on the face is a bit sloppy, but in general it's better than I thought it would be, with a well done soft-goods cape and surprise knee joints making a whopping seven points of articulation! There's better Batmen out there, but this one is mine, and for the price I paid I'm not complaining at all. Now there's someone to watch silently over the toy shelf at night...

Friday, 19 April 2013

The League of Extraordinary Bloggers: First Impressions

I've been a bad leaguer. In fact, I've been such a bad leaguer that I've barely leagued at all! I submitted a LoEB post way back in January, and I've been completely lapse since then; although in fairness my blogging in general has taken a hit as I'm on business end on my Uni course. Whatever the reasons though, it's time to fix things. Time to get back on track. Two birds: meet one stone...

This week's topic is First Impressions: that moment in pop culture that had you saying “Now, that’s how you make an introduction!” -  for me, there was one clear choice...

Here's my Card...
Hands up who doesn't remember the first time they saw The Dark Knight? I would bet that the only people with their arms raised high right now haven't actually seen it - it's impossible for me to think that the scale, the depth and the intensity of this film wouldn't leave an impact on anyone. And everyone who has seen it remembers one humorous, committed, terrifying and intense performance more than any other... Heath Ledger's penultimate and Oscar-winning turn as the Joker.

Now, I'm going to court controversy with this first impressions topic by not picking the very first scene in which we see the Joker at work, the Prologue -

I kill the bus driver.
- But instead, the scene where he announces himself to the Gotham underworld. Why here, exactly? Well, I'm glad you asked! In-story, the bank job is all part of the plan - the Joker setting the wheels in motion, and getting away with it. As a film it's a dramatic and action-filled set-piece that claws the audience in straight away. But the Joker's in disguise for most of it, barely saying a word. It's not until he bursts into the mob meeting, having just stolen all their money, that he puts himself well and truly in the game. And what a way to make an arrival!

A pencil, yesterday.
I'm not a prude but the pencil trick, as much as I guffawed, did make me amazed that TDK got away with a 12A rating. Whatever the certificate though, this scene establishes the difference between the mob bosses, cowering away in the daylight, and the Joker's new brand of anarchic genius. Whether his arrival was truly caused by the Batman or not doesn't matter; with this one ballsy move the Joker firmly establishes himself at the top table.

And, how to make an exit.

As a piece of film-making and as a grand entrance, this scene perfectly pitched the Joker's character and role in the film, and leaves one hell of a mark. It's not the first time we see him, no - but it's the first time we glimpse the moral abyss and wreckless insanity that makes TDK such, dark, horrific fun.

Now, I didn't read any other blog posts before writing this, because I was pretty sure a fellow Leaguer would pick the same film. Was I right? Well, no - but there's more DC out there!

Both Jathniel at Space for Rent and John at The Batcave Toy Room remember the 1978 Superman film fondly. I love the score, and I watched it as a kid, but it's one I'm going to have revisit... 

Chris at Stunt Zombie remembers the first appearance of Doomsday; the creature that came from nowhere to kill Supes back in the 90's. I loved that story as a kid, and seeing those page scans bought back some fond memories!

Han Solo gets his (pre-SE) due over at Retro Toy Safari...

And rounding out the DC, an older Bat-sequel gets the nod (amongst a few other classics) at Pop Rewind.

Thanks for reading!

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