Saturday, January 31, 2009
Friday, January 30, 2009
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Waaaay back when Dreamworks first announced that their upcoming Monsters vs. Aliens film was in production, articles covering the story often made mention that the movie was an adaptation or based off of an obscure comic called Rex Havoc.
I did some sleuthing and managed to track down some information about said comic, in addition to a collection of the series. Rex Havoc and the Ass-Kickers of the Fantastic was a feature that sporadically appeared in an adult comic magazine called 1984 (later retitled 1994) by Warren Publishing in the late seventies/early eighties. The book was somewhat notorious in that it often featured controversial and offensive content, possibly as a method to compete with the more popular Heavy Metal magazine (Yes- the cover of the collection is titled “Raiders of the Fantastic”, but this was a change to capitalize of the success of Raiders of the Lost Ark).
The story of the comic is a simple one: the world’s monsters have come up with a plan to make themselves more palatable to humanity by means of a proposed amendment that would give them the same rights and privileges as human beings. Opposing this scheme is Rex Havoc, a talented but dim-witted monster killer and his colleagues who have dedicated themselves to ridding the planet of “fantastics” (the socially-delicate term that monsters have created for referring to themselves).
The similarities between Rex Havoc and Monsters vs. Aliens are pretty much non-existent. Dreamworks has recently gone on record as saying that, at an early development stage, they decided to outright forego adapting the comic in favor of an original concept. I still can’t help but wonder if the movie is actually the end result of numerous changes and substitutions that eventually edged the Rex character out completely.
The entire run of Rex Havoc only consists of three tales (*correction as of Jan.28th- there's actually four in total as a visitor to my blog has pointed out.*), one of which was a parody of Japanese giant monster movies. I’ve posted the first five pages of that story below and will post further installments over the next few days.
Sunday, January 11, 2009
Imagi Studios, the company behind 2007’s TMNT as well as the upcoming Gatchaman (a.k.a. Battle of the Planets to us Westerners) and Astroboy films has released a teaser short for a proposed Tetsujin 28 movie. It’s basically a bunch of pretty-looking test shots cobbled together in the form of a fake trailer as way to get the attention of the rights owners and investors.
Tetsujin 28 started out a manga in 1956 by Mitsuteru Yokoyama and has the distinction of being the first Japanese comic book to feature a giant robot. The story involves a Japanese scientist who is developing a secret weapon during the second World War- a gigantic, remote-controlled metal man. The invention never sees actual combat during the conflict, however; the device to command the robot is passed to the scientist’s son, who uses it to fight criminals. The manga has spawned four animated adaptations, three of which aired in North America under the title of “Gigantor”. There was also a Japanese live action film in 2005, although it was not terribly well-received by reviewers.
I’ve always been a big fan of the Tetsujin 28 robot- it’s just such a great, appealing design. The teaser looks nice and really captures the overall aesthetic of the manga... except for one, rather crucial element: the human characters. Given that the overall design style is very cartoonish (particularly the robots), the realistic-looking humans seem totally out of place. I personally think that something much closer to the manga’s style would work waaay better than what they’re doing here. Here’s the opening to the 2004 animated series as an example of what I’m talking about (it’s also interesting to note just how close everything else in the Imagi trailer is to the feel of the Japanese version):
Granted, this teaser is not indicative of what the final human designs may look look like it if the project is given the go-ahead, but it is something that stuck out like a sore thumb for me nonetheless.
You can check out the T28 site (and trailer) here.
Monday, January 5, 2009
A friend of mine pointed out this recent commercial for a corporate job search and recruitment company starring one of Japan's most bizarre giant monsters. It's nice to see him getting some work on the side.
You can watch a decent quality version of the ad here.
Thursday, January 1, 2009
Here's a weird post to kick off 2009... apparently Microsoft and Doritos held a contest not too long ago which challenged ordinary folks to come up with a video game based around whoring out tortilla chips. The winner of said contest had the good taste to base his concept around giant monsters, which lead to the creation of Doritos: Dash of Destruction, a free X-Box LIVE Arcade download.
As any self-respecting paleontologist will tell you, the prehistoric Tyrannosaurus Rex often supplemented its carnivorous diet with spicy tortilla chips when meat was unavailable. Keeping in step with this idea, players control an armored dinosaur in its destructive pursuit of a Doritos delivery truck through a small urbanized area. One can also play as the truck escaping the T-Rex in both single and multi-player mode. From what I saw in a gameplay video, the environmental destruction is admittedly pretty neat-looking and the monster sports an appealing design. There's not much in the way of depth to this thing, but what would one expect from a promotional gimmick for zero dollars?