Friday, December 28, 2012

2012 Round-Up + Gerry Anderson

Which brings us to the end of another Year of the Dragon, which is actually my year of birth — and what a year it's been here in Tokyo, as well as elsewhere I'm sure.

Over at Forces Of Geek, head-honcho Stefan asked us to submit our Best of 2012 lists, which I did and I'm going the put an excerpt of that list here:

Best Movies of 2012
The Avengers, The Dark Knight Rises, Rust and Bone, The Master, Django Unchained, A Letter to Momo, Evangelion 3.0, Helter Skelter and Dead Sushi.

Best TV Shows
Smile PreCure!, Sekai no Hate Made ItteQ and Kamen Rider Wizard.

Best Song
Si Begg — UFO Original Soundtrack

Best Blu-ray/DVD Release
Captain America and The Dark Knight Rises.

You can check out a whole wad of other cool contributors' ideas for the greatest bits and pieces of 2012 over at Forces Of Geek, so take the time to investigate.

It's been a great twelve months for me personally, with the publication of my second novel One Hundred Years of Vicissitude (a surreal/slipstream/noir account of Japan from 1929 into the near-future), finishing a third novel (the comicbook/noir Who is Killing the Great Capes of Heropa?), and having a few short-stories published via Shotgun Honey, Pulp Ink 2, Crime Factory, Weird Noir, Solarcide and Off the Record 2.

Next month there's another anthology I get to be involved in, and it's called All Due Respect, from the rather respected noir short story website run by Chris Rhatigan.

In the American and Japanese summer (winter in Australia) in 2013 we should also have out the anthology I'm doing with Another Sky Press, called The Tobacco-Stained Sky — which focuses on the noir/dystopic, near-future Melbourne explored in Tobacco-Stained Mountain Goat.

More news as soon as I know.

Closer to home — ie. here in Japan, this month I also got to be a gaijin extra (think refugee running amidst fire and rubble) in the new live-action Gatchaman movie, aka Battle of the Planets.

It was filmed at an amazing, abandoned paper mill in Takahagi-shi, Ibaraki, the temperature was about 1°C, and there were aliens galore (getting coffee, as in this picture). The movie should be released next year.

Music-wise I just released (yesterday) my latest Little Nobody EP through IF? Records ('Behind the Meme Claw'), with remixes from Detroit legend Alan Oldham (DJ T-1000) and Sydney's Biz and Sebastian Bayne, and I remixed David Christoph's track 'Sandman' for We Call It Hard Records earlier this month. I've additionally had the chance to remix Chicago's Lester Fitzpatrick, and that'll be out on vinyl in 2013.

The melancholy thing was winding it up with news yesterday of the death of the great Gerry Anderson, the man behind such landmark series as Thunderbirds, UFO and Space: 1999, along with one of my favourite sci-fi movies, Journey to the Far Side of the Sun (1969). Thunderbirds is equally huge in Japan — I picked up my ready-made Eagle Transporter at a very cool toy emporium in Akihabara — so I know a lot of people here will be sad as well.

I just wrote a piece on the man for Slit Your Wrists! magazine, but check out the incredible visual set-shots from Space: 1999 and UFO over at Gavin Rothery's site.

Reading-wise, it's been a superb year.

While I tend to gravitate towards old loves like Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett and the '60s Marvel comics scripted by Stan Lee and Roy Thomas, writers that've made an impression over the past 12 months include Josh Stallings, Shuichi Yoshida, McDroll, Nigel Bird, Paul D. Brazill, Guy Salvidge, Yukito Ayatsuji, Tony Pacitti, Julie Morrigan, Chad Eagleton, Gordon Highland, Chris Rhatigan, Jay Slayton-Joslin, Gerard Brennan, Liam Jose, Chad Rohrbacher, Heath Lowrance, Dan O'Shea, Ed Kurtz, Kristopher Young, Patti Abbott, Matthew C. Funk, Julia Madeleine, Caleb J. Ross, Phil Jourdan, Michael Gonzalez, Craig Wallwork, A.B. Riddle, Andrew Nette, Haruki Murakami, Tony Black, Richard Godwin, Mike Miner, Erik Arneson, Joe Clifford, Court Merrigan, K. A. Laity, Carol Borden, W. P. Johnson, Benoit Lelievre, Luca Veste, Renee Asher Pickup, Dakota Taylor, Jessica Taylor, Laramore Black, Richard Thomas, Jonny Gibbings, Mckay Williams, and Martin Garrity.

I've probably missed someone vital, so apologies in advance!

Art and comics-wise you can do no better than check out Drezz Rodriguez (who does El Cuervo), Michael Grills (Runnin’ With a Gun), Nathan St. John (Baja), Marcos Vergara (La Mesa Habitual), Andrew Chiu, Harvey Finch (Logar the Barbarian), Denver Brubaker (The Tales of a Checkered Man), fellow Aussie Paul Mason (The Soldier Legacy), Giovanni Ballati, Saint Yak and Dave Acosta.

Anyway, enough rambling. Have a great new year, all the best for 2013 whatever you're doing and wherever you are, and as they say here in Japan: よいお年を (yoi otoshi o!). 

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Flash in Japan: CAPE CAPERS

I have a wee confession to make.

Even though I live left-of-centre in the heart of Tokyo (actually Setagaya, about 25 minutes by train from Shibuya), lately I haven’t been thinking about Japan at all.

My brain has shelved lingua franca, ignored the neon signage, sushi train restaurants, the manga and anime - heck, even the saké.

Instead, I’ve had my head stuck in comicbooks.

And, yes, I do put the two words together (“comic” + “book” = “comicbook”) since I recently saw Stan Lee’s rant on Twitter about doing so.

No that I’m having a go at Lee regarding said rant.

What he said rang true, and the truth is I’ve been pretty much a life-long fan of The Man.

My next novel, which I actually just finished writing this week (I’m still editing and tweaking it into better shape) is called Who is Killing the Great Capes of Heropa?...and it’s an homage to what Stan Lee established at Marvel in the 1960s - the so-called Silver Age of comicbooks - aided and abetted by creative types like Roy Thomas, Jack Kirby, Jim Steranko, Syd Shores, John and Sal Buscema, Barry Windsor-Smith, Artie Simek, George Roussos and Sammy Rosen. 

If vaguely interested, you can read more about the whole caboodle @ FORCES OF GEEK.