Thursday, October 14, 2010

Knock on Torchwood

You´ll have to wait a bit longer for the JACK STAFF post. As usual I was doing a bit of research Today and ended up with TORCHWOOD - of all things.

I was looking on the internet for interviews, articles and other stuff about Paul Grist and his first series KANE because that´s where the story really starts. Not Paul Grist´s story, as he´s much longer in the comics medium, but my story. There are those comics you hear a lot about but you never have the chance to actually get a copy.....which back at the time I started collecting american comics was rather the rule than the exception. Especially when it came to independent black and white comics, and twice so if they came from the UK. KANE was scheduled to be published in Germany and this week I even saw three of the books ( I think that is the entire part that was published here ) at my comicshop in the " comics by the kilo " section.

But when the announcement was made I wasn´t so keen on reading the german version as I had heard that there are some parts that are difficult to read in the original. And it´s difficult enough to read that kind of stuff in the original version let alone some mutilated german translation.

So, the first issues I got of KANE was a pack I ordered through the catalogue with the first issues and a signed print. I liked the issues but like it was in those days - too much comics not enough money. Well, it´s still that way. Later on I got some issues at a shop were we went to a signing with the WILDSTORM guys from IMAGE : Jim Lee, J. Scott Campbell and Adam Hughes. And I tell you I´ll never go to a signing where they don´t do sketches again.

The last few years I have tried to complete my KANE collection with single issues and trades and because I wasn´t very thourough the last time I ordered comics ( never do that without your daily 8 hours of sleep ) I now have some doubles.

But I wanted to talk about Torchwood. Which naturally means to talk about Dr. Who.

As someone outside of England the only exposure I had to the Dr. Who universe were the occasional merchandise items that appeared in the comic catalogue. Only recently - when the newest Dr. Who series was aired in Germany - I finally entered the weird and wonderful world of the Tardis. I especially liked the first season with Christopher Eccleston as the Doctor.

I found him much cooler than Neil Tennent even if he got Martha Jones as assitant. Who DID save the world - one of the things that´s mentioned in Torchwood. That´s another thing I liked about the series. Even though it´s connected to Dr. Who it is only mentioned here and there and the ones in the know get the hints. It´s not so much in your face. A good example of this is the episode where Martha Jones guest stars. Or should I say Freema Agyeman, that´s the name of the actress.

That´s a mouthful. Now I know why actors change their names. Try googeling that. I didn´t find many good pics but I think we won´t have that problem with the new season since I´ve heard that they already have a new Dr. Who with a little schoolgirl for a sidekick. How the times are changing.

In any case, I can only recommend the first season of this new Dr. Who series especially the Dalek episode. For me I had only known that the Daleks were kind of Dr. Who´s archenemies and that whenever the Daleks appear it´s End - of - the World - Time. But they were much scarier than those pictures on the CIVIL WAR banners I still keep posting. My, isn´t it strange that we still are dealing with the fallout from CIVIL WAR ? And here you thought that would be done and forgotten after two years, tops.

edit : It has been brought to my attention that the new assistant is not a little schoolgirl

As I said, I never had much exposure to the whole Dr. Who universe and all I knew thanks to some ads in the comics I read was that they already had a new Doctor. And there was this picture.

I mean, she´s in the background and she looks very small and tiny so...sue me. I´m not an expert in those things and if I know my german television we should be getting the episodes with the Eleventh Doctor in about five or ten years. Which means that they are probably already airing them in Spain. Probably in the catalan network which is always something special. You haven´t watched Dr. Who if you haven´t seen the Dalek cry foul murder in catalan.

In any case, the new assistant is NOT a little schoolgirl, her name is Amy Pond and she´s played by Karen Gillan if my research was correct.

If you are a Dr. Who noobie like me you can get all the right information about the series and everything connected from the Dr. Who wiki

Back to our main topic I don´t want to explain too much about Dr. Who or Torchwood, because half the fun is in finding out how the two are connected ( yes, it has to do with an episode that involves Daleks ) and the less that is said about the mystery behind BAD WOLF the better. I´ll say this much : I´m sure the Doctor in THE AUTHORITY has Dr. Who to thank for a great part of his origin story.

Now what I want to know is how a company like BBC manages to produce such high quality series like DR. WHO, TORCHWOOD, JEKYLL, LIVE ON MARS etc. while here in Germany we have to pay almost four times what the BBC gets and only get crap in return.

Torchwood is a spin - off series of Dr. Who but this is one of the cases where the spin - off is better than the source material. If Dr. Who is the scalpel ( if I may use this analogy ) Torchwood is the blunt instrument. Or speaking in comic terms : Torchwood is the Grat Lakes Avengers - if Marvel had the cojones to write them cool. I mean, with Captain Jack Harkness they even got their own Mr. Immortal.

Great Lakes Avenger´s Mr. Immortal : unable to die, mostly uses guns on himself

Torchwood´s Captain Jack Harkness : also unkillable but mostly uses guns on other people

And whereas in Dr. Who the protagonists mostly know how to handle their gadgets and alien death rays in Torchwood it´s mostly plugging some weird thing into a socket and blazing guns action.

Speaking of action : there´s also another kind of action in the series. And I´m not talking about what you might think but rather about the constant guy on guy action on the series. Captain Jack is even hornier than Gambit ( and that´s saying a lot ) and this guy is like a car - you don´t pay attention you end up under it. This guy bangs everything no matter if it´s guy, girl, alien...whatever. He´s like the intellectual version of this sick guy in PREACHER - if it has an orifice...well, he´s there.

So not only do you need a strong stomach because of the action scenes it´s also because of Captain Jack´s raging libido, preferably with boytoy Janto.

Now, what this all has to do with Paul Grist ( we still haven´t talked a bit about KANE ) is that as a british illustrator of some reknown it´s not strange that he´s involved with the Dr. Who comic adaption. Even if he´s only doing covers. Which is the main reason I can´t say much about the quality of the issues.

What I didn´t know is that he also contributed some interior artwork to a Torchwood comic anthology titled RIFT WAR. That´s something I only just found out through my research.

I have found the book on amazon but because of past experiences I´m not so sold on the idea of ordering it from the " used " section. I´ve had to learn that what we as comic readers mean with " mint condition " and what others define as that are two seperate realities. Maybe I´ll find it at some comic convention or it even might be translated to german.

Once again time has run out for Today and like always we ended up somewhere completely different - like Monty Python would say. In our next ( or at least the one after that ) installment we´ll finally get to talk about KANE. Promise.

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  • 1 comment:

    Terry Hooper said...

    Oh,Gods. You need to check this out!

    I saw the VERY FIRST Dr Who the early 1960s!

    Eccleston was signed for one series but the BBC stopped him from revealing that so when his contract was not renewed fans said he deserted them!

    The new assistant is NOT a schoolgirl. The new,younger Dr is excellent and is a throw back to the real eccentric looking actors/characters.