Oddly enough we continue to get plenty of orders in during the world cup and I guess that goes to show that there are plenty of people who don’t get totally obsessed with the football when the world cup is on. It warms my heart since, although I know it won’t make me many friends at Footballaholics Anonymous, I absolutely loathe football. And this year I made the grand mistake of visiting my parents during the world cup where my father, brother and his girlfriend are fully paid up members of footballaholics. Although they were often happy to watch football with the sound turned off the craving football addiction meant that it MUST be seen. And what was seen exactly? Well, the sight of two blokes cracking heads just before the final whistle put me in mind of the old film Rollerball and hearing later that a truly nasty tackle had broken a player’s spine put me in mind of a Roman amphitheatre. When you add in the way it has all become a massive moneyspinner and corruption abounds how much of the original game actually remains in this barbaric bloody quaestuary? We English of course have the added ignominy of having created a game that we never win … but then, no surprise there as we’ve managed that with almost every game we’ve ever invented … apart from Polo apparently … the countries that could beat us probably can’t afford the high bills needed to run a Polo team. Maybe you need to be totally insensitive to watch the stuff that regularly happens in football and still think it is a game. Anyway, I doubt that any footballaholics would actually bother reading anything I write on this Blog so I’m probably safe from all those nasty trollish comments that a diatribe like this usually evokes. So; yes, I will be celebrating the Football World Cup Final tomorrow … celebrating that it is over and won’t happen for another four years … why not make it forty? Then I’d really have cause to celebrate. :-)
If you haven’t seen the amazing artwork of Francois Schuiten then just click on the image above and see a whole range of the most stunning artwork you could imagine. These small images cannot really do justice to Francois Schuiten art though. The large fine art prints of Francois Schuiten’s drawings are unbelievably impressive and are often used as a centrepiece for a large room. Artists like Francois Schuiten show quite clearly how artists who made their name in drawing comic books are often as talented and at least as creative as other artists despite the long-term prejudices in many art colleges against comic art as a worthwhile profession for a “real” artist. Perhaps it will be the work of people like Francois Schuiten that will one be hanging in the world’s national art galleries. Francois Schuiten gives you an amazing perspective, tones and colours that hint at some kind of film noire plot that is not explicit but only hinted at. There is almost a sense of vertigo in some of the art and books play a prominent role. To have a look at more of the incredible art of Francois Schuiten all you need to do is click on the image or if that is a bit too far away then how about right here.
Over the years most of our suppliers have been professional and reliable but every now and again we get one like TNT. Years ago we stopped using Business Post because of the really bad service and now TNT are out. Why? They just don’t get round to collecting like every other courier does. Our inland courier APC is often here within 20 minutes of a request for a collection. Before Christmas a TNT driver phoned at 4pm saying “I’m so busy, please can I pick up first thing tomorrow morning?” We said okay but next morning came and went and nobody came from TNT. Late in the day another TNT driver came and informed us that the first one had been sacked! Now we thought okay it can happen, just a one-off … but yesterday again, no show, no phone call, no nothing. The reply from TNT as to why the collection had failed was … and you won’t believe this in this day and age of satnavs etc … “the TNT driver had trouble finding the address” ! Now if that was one of our artists living way out in the middle of the moors I could understand it maybe but even then not really. Now, if you can’t rely on TNT to collect how can you rely on them to deliver? No, you can’t, so we’ll use someone else in future thanks, not TNT.
On some of our internal documentation Artists UK has sometimes abbreviated Artists UK to AUK but we are having some second thoughts about this since learning that the Great Auk was a large, flightless alcid that became extinct in the mid-19th century!
It lived in the North Atlantic, and bred on rocky, isolated islands with easy access to both the ocean and a plentiful food supply, a rarity in nature that provided only a few breeding sites for it. The Great Auk was 75 to 85 centimetres (30 to 33 in) tall and weighed around 5 kilograms (11 lb), making it the largest alcid. It had a black back and a white belly. The black beak was heavy and hooked with grooves on its surface. During summer, the Great Auk had a white patch over each eye. During winter, the auk lost this patch, instead developing a white band stretching between the eyes. The auk was a powerful swimmer, a trait that it used in hunting. Humans had hunted the Great Auk for more than 100,000 years, and by the 19th century, its growing rarity increased interest from European museums and private collectors in obtaining skins and eggs of the bird. The last two confirmed specimens were killed off the coast of Iceland on July 3, 1844. Hopefully, the Great Artists UK will survive rather longer than the poor Great Auk. More about the Great Auk here.
Have you seen the Marvel Avengers Assemble film yet? We went yesterday and it was mind-blowingly awesome. Marvel have pulled off the biggest stunner so far with the Avengers film. Given how good the films of Marvel’s individual super-heroes The Hulk, Thor, Iron Man and Captain America were it isn’t that surprising I suppose. Apart from still trying to come to terms with a black and too young Nick Fury the Avengers and the villains are all very well-played and at least fairly well cast. The Black Widow getting ready to face down the alien menace with a handgun did seem a bit daft though. Couldn’t SHIELD have kitted her out with a better weapon than that? I don’t want to give any Avengers film spoilers but the film is worth watching just for when the Hulk gets up close and personal with Loki. That is a real laugh. In fact in some respects The Hulk steals the show.
The Avengers forming as a team is well done and the Avengers infighting and misunderstandings that were always a trademark of Marvel’s all-too-human superheroes are there and well done. Each Avenger has such a clear personality and the Avengers film makers have clearly set out to provide the definitive version of each Avenger.
I wasn’t sure about Loki but he won me over in the end. There is a real slimy nasty menace about Loki and a kind of suave and arrogant way too. Sadly, he reminded me of too many politicians. As in the Avengers Marvel comics, it becomes clear who is the boss of the Avengers and Captain America is really impressive. At first glance he is the weakest of the four Avengers but, as in the Marvel comics of the Avengers, ultimately he is the strongest in what counts – skill and intelligence.
The special effects are with all the stops pulled out in Avengers Assemble. The jaw-dropping global effects from 2012 are there and plenty of others. If you haven’t seen the Avengers Assemble film yet then don’t miss Marvel supremo Stan Lee’s cameo at the end where he says that the idea of super-heroes in New York is ridiculous. Of course it is Stan Lee’s 90th birthday this year, which only goes to prove that Marvel comics keep you young and you live longer.
There are a question or two of course on the Avengers film that you might want to comment on. Whatever happened to the Avengers Giant Man / Ant Man and The Wasp who were members of the original Avengers line-up? In a way it seems odd to have Hawkeye and the Black Widow around and leave them out. I always thought Giant Man was a great Avenger. That would also have paved the way for Hawkeye to have done his Goliath bit and the Avengers comics of that period had an interesting take on what happened when Hawkeye became Goliath. We also miss out on Giant Man as Yellowjacket of course who was a real character in the Marvel Avengers comics. If they felt the need to turn Nick Fury black to introduce a little balance into the predominantly whitey world of Marvel superheroes then why didn’t they bring in The Black Panther? He’s a rich African tribal chief for goodness sake! Last but not least there’s The Vision and his unlikely romance with another Avenger The Scarlet Witch (also not included in the Avengers here and nor is her brother Quicksilver). There are still many poignant, exciting, meaningful and world-shattering moments from the history of Marvel’s Avengers comics that could be put into a film. Let’s hope some of them make it into the next Avengers Assemble film and if I’ve missed a few ideas I’m sure you’ll put me right in the comments.