I’ve been a bit quiet over at Women Write About Comics lately, the main reason being that I’ve been working on a bumper crop of horror-themed articles ready for Halloween. Amongst these is an overview of the 1936 Universal film Dracula’s Daughter, which turned out to be so long that I’ve had to split it into a three-part series. Part 1 is now available for you to read here…
A cold has been disrupting my sleep patterns and making me a tad grumpy, but I was cheered up by the arrival of Wayne Kinsey’s new book: The Hammer Dracula Scrapbook!
For those unfamiliar with his work, Wayne Kinsey is known for his in-depth histories of the Hammer studio. A recent labour of love from his Peveril Publishing outfit is the ongoing Fantastic Films of the Decades series, which mixes detailed information with a sumptuous array of images. The Dracula Scrapbook moves still further along that spectrum: information is sparse, and images take centre stage across the 300-plus pages.
When I was about 15 or 16 years old, I found a book in my local library. It was by David J. Skal and its name was The Monster Show: A Cultural History of Horror. I took it out, planning to simply dip in and out of it for the remainder of the week; I was not a bookish teenager at that time, and Skal’s book was a weightier tome than I was used to.
When I started reading, I was captivated. Not only did I read the whole thing through, I periodically checked it out over the next few years.
While looking around a charity shop on Sunday, I came across a small, blue, lidded tube for sale. Curiosity demanded that I look inside, and I was confronted by the sight of a magenta Bat Signal.
I immediately recognised the purpose of this small colourful plastic disc: it was intended to be thrown at stacks of small colourful cardboard discs. I had found a tube of Pogs!
Taking their name from a brand of Hawaiian passion fruit/orange/guava juice drink, Pogs started out as collectable bottle tops; at the height of their popularity it became feasible for the bottle tops to be – perversity itself – sold without bottles. And so the craze reached my windswept homeland of England, a world away from exotic Hawaii; while children such as myself had never heard of the Pog beverage, we eagerly collected the cardboard circles named in its honour.
This week I went to see Kubo and the Two Strings, the new feature from Laika. It’s a stop-motion film made using physical models.
One of the trailers before it was for DreamWorks’ Trolls, a film made using computer-generated models designed to look like physical models. The characters had a texture resembling the felt that Muppets are made from; the emotion characters in Pixar’s Inside Out sported a similar style.
CGI came to dominate the animation industry years back. Poor old stop-motion – the original form of 3D animation – has tried ever-harder to justify itself in a digital age.
I’ve reviewed the debut issue of Aftershock’s transgender superhero over at Women Write About Comics. Short version: I liked it.