Successfully completing my mission to watch all of the Terminator movies, I can finally bring you my reviews of the most recent two installments in the series. A combination of explosions, psychopathic futuristic machines, and time travel science fiction, I can see why a lot of people love these movies. And the pounding drums of the main (albeit simple) theme song instill both a feeling of fear, anticipation, and determination. Here’s my take on these last two films, from a Lilith perspective.
We know over the last 10 years or so Hollywood has really amped up their production of reboots and other older famous franchises that hadn’t yet been made into movies. I thought we’d take take a look at 4 different properties that have been announced but are currently languishing in production hell.
Rights Acquired: 2007
I’m a big Robotech fan, specifically the Macross Saga (the first 36 episodes of the American series). To briefly sum it up America took 3 different Japanese TV shows and cut them up and reedited them to make 3 distinct stories across different generations of an Earth conflict. The Macross Saga involves an alien craft that lands on Earth and lies dormant for decades until a different alien race finally tracks it down and wages war on our planet. It’s a surprisingly touching cartoon for the 80’s (which clearly means its Japanese) that shows the horrors and real life effects of war and love during a time of conflict. Plus really, really cool human piloted planes that transform into robots.
I got my first real computer in 1995 and it was a big day in my life. No longer would I have to use a shitty second hand one that only operated through DOS, this new one had Microsoft Windows. I was 11 years old and couldn’t wait to explore the wonders of dial up internet. One of the first things I remember doing was saving a 3 1/2 inch floppy disk full of original Transformers G1 box art. Retrospectively, it was a pretty odd thing to do. You might say it was that day that the Biff you’re reading today was born.
I’ve always loved this particular art from a young age, perhaps because it was almost a more “realistic” version of the Transformers cartoon counterparts. In my mind this is the version of what these robots in disguise actually looked like. Legacy: The Art Of Transformers Packaging is a labor of love made by fans Bill Forester and Jim Sorenson who scoured the world for the most comprehensive box art they could scan. It seems that somewhere along the way IDW (who currently publishes Transformers and other Hasbro licensed properties) saw the merit behind this book and decided to publish it. The book itself is huge true hardcover coffee table book. The text is minimal, but that’s ok. It leaves more room for the main attraction, the art.
The Mobile Suit Gundam world is a fascinating one to be a part of, particularly the original iteration (often branded as 079). If you don’t know much about it, yes it does involve giant robots but that’s only half the appeal. It’s a deeply rooted war story carefully showing each side of the conflict with equal distinction. No allegiance is taken, it just presents the facts and goes deep into what it means to start a war, its atrocities and how it affects both sides and civilians as well as its aftermath. It’s a grand scale Space Opera second only to Star Wars. The original cartoon does a decent job showing all this but it’s creator Yoshikazu Yasuhiko’s manga reinterpretation, Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin that is the definitive telling.
Origin is being put out quarterly by Vertical Publishing in beautiful hardbounds in 12 volumes ending in December of 2015 (as of the writing of this article volume 8 has just been released). With original art by Yashukio in black and white it also features many painted pages as well as other supplemental paintings like the ones found below. The retelling takes the early 1980’s cartoon and fleshes the world out. Most of the events and high points are the same, but they are laid out in a more coherent and consistent way. The tone is more mature, although the cartoon was pretty uncompressing in its bleak tone and frank portrayal of death. Most interestingly though, it digs deep into the past which really opens the story up. What is treated as about an 8 minute flashback in the cartoon is spread out over 3 volumes of the manga, that’s about 1,300+ pages of backstory. Backstory that is 100% necessary to understanding the political climate prior to the lead up of the war and presenting so much character motivation particularly for one of the main antagonists, Char Aznable. The manga transformers what was a “cool” character from the cartoon into a deeply flawed but driven sympathetic menace.
I’ve often started Gundam articles only to delete them in frustration, finally deciding to let Yoshikazu Yasuhiko’s art work speaks for itself. If this art doesn’t get you interested in Gundam then I have failed and I’m afraid nothing else will.
Voltron is one of those childhood cartoons that I hold sacred to me (arm in arm with Transformers and Thundercats). Premiering the same year that I was born in 1984, I’m not even sure how I was able to watch it. Chalk it up to having an older brother and re-runs I guess, but I adored it. The 80’s was a glorious time for cartoons with a weird influx of Japanese culture that introduced us to transforming robots. You know what’s even cooler than transforming robots? Robots that could transform together into a bigger robot. Transfomers did it occasionally, but it was the entire premise which Voltron was founded on.
When Dynamite Entertainment first announced a 5 issue Robotech/Voltron crossover I was thrilled. I have a love in my heart for Voltron like few other cartoons from my youth; the concept alone had always been endlessly fascinating to me. Robotech on the other hand is something that I found in my adulthood and it was refreshing that it could fit neatly alongside the cartoons of my youth but also be much more sophisticated. I was hoping this miniseries would be a fun 80’s style crossover, which is not exactly what we got.