Sir Christopher Lee’s Best 10 Roles

Sir Christopher Lee was a legend, a master of his many crafts, and a true gentlemen. The man was not only an actor, a heavy metal vocalist in which he made an album about Charlemagne (to whom he was related to), and a humanitarian – but he also served in WWII as an intelligence officer and was later promoted to Special Operations Executive.

Sir Christopher Lee is well known for being a guy you wouldn’t want to come across in war, even telling Peter Jackson at one point during the shooting of his death scene as Sarumon that he didn’t need direction to know what a man being stabbed in the back sounded like; he had witnessed it enough to know. Besides the many other brilliant aspects of the man, we take a look back at some of his most iconic works within film and television.


 

  1. Count DookuCount Dooku

Count Dooku may seem like the weakest Sith and didn’t even go by his sith name Darth Tyranus, but this role proved to become much more than we saw from Lee in the main Star Wars films. Lee provided his voice for Dooku in the animated film, The Clone Wars, that spawned the show of the same name, but Corey Burton replaced Lee for the animated series. The show provided much more back story to Dooku and made him a much more formidable villain than what Lee got to portray, sadly. Still, he was by far the scariest human looking being in Star Wars and was a terrifying villain to a whole new generation of Star Wars fans and his face and talent was very welcome in the prequels most people dislike, but he also is one of very few Jedis or Siths to have a genuinely unique looking lightsaber that can easily be identified just by the handle.

 

 

  1. SarumanSaruman

The wise white wizard Sarumon turned powerful ally to the evil Sauron is one of Christopher Lee’s most memorable roles, especially from recent years. We not only got to see him portray the character of Saurmon in all three LOTR movies (albeit his scenes from Return of the King were only in the extended version), but we were even lucky enough to see him play the role a couple more times in the recent Hobbit film trilogy. This role was always one of my favorites; it was spectacular seeing Christopher Lee as part of this world and now it seems as if there never was or will be another Sarumon. Ultimately, this role was monumental in me getting back into reading books, and especially made me fall in love with fantasy novels even more, which just so happened to introduce me to Discworld novels by Terry Prachett, which brings me to his next role of…

 

  1. Death8

Christopher Lee was the only person imaginable with the voice fitting enough to portray Terry Pratchett’s Death, and he did so in a short animated film which led to the production of two animated Discworld films, Wyrd Sisters and Soul Music. Then, he reprised the role in the live action film, The Color of Magic, which covered the first two Discworld books (the one of the same title and The Light Fantastic). This role was probably my favorite of Lee’s as Terry Pratchett’s Death is probably my favorite character in all of literature, One of my favorite things about the character is that he speaks in all capital letters. This makes total sense why they would cast Lee for the role; there are only two beings who can speak in all caps and one of them portrayed the other in Discworld films.

 

  1. Francisco ScaramangaScaramanga

Not only is it cool enough that Christopher Lee was the step-cousin of Ian Fleming, but he once was one Flemings first choices to be Bond. But we all know he never got that role, but he did get the role of one of Bond’s most iconic villains in the film The Man With the Golden Gun, Francisco Scaramanga. This film was not seen as one of the best Bond film’s as it added a bit of comedic twist to it, but no one has ever denied Christopher Lee’s performance is what made this Bond film. His role in this sticks with me a lot as the Golden Gun was always so iconic and I even tried coloring a gun gold with a sharpie as a kid… all that I ended up with was gold hands… But we all remember trying to find the golden gun in Goldeneye 64 to completely destroy the competition right?

 

  1. Tim Burton rolesChristopher Lee Tim Burtons Roles

It is a bit difficult to choose one of the many roles Christopher Lee played within Tim Burton’s catalogue, and he is known to be very proud of them all, so I thought I would count them as one role. Theses roles, and the fact Lee was so proud of them is another big reason I had such respect for this man. I love Tim Burton, but the people and the settings of his movies are what made them have that great Burtonesque feel to them. Christopher Lee had six roles within Tim Burton’s films and, each time, he commanded the scene and showed us he has a permanent place in Burton’s psyche. Burton’s adaptations of two of my favorite books of all time, Alice in Wonderland and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, hold a special place in my heart, so Lee’s involvement marked a memorable time in cinematic history for me. Lee has portrayed: Burgomaster in Sleepy Hollow, Dr. Wilbur Wonka in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Pastor Galswell in Corpse Bride, the Jabberwocky in Alice in Wonderland, Clarney in Dark Shadows, and Burton even added archive footage of him as Dracula into Frankenweenie, which leads me to…

 

 

  1. DraculaDracula

One of Christopher Lee’s most iconic roles to the masses was as Dracula;  he played the role ten different times throughout his run as the classic monster. Christopher Lee is thought to be the man who made Dracula, or at least made him darker and a much more interesting character. The most interesting thing about this role to me is Lee got tired of these stories and scripts as they dwindled creatively over the years, so at one point, Christopher Lee retired the character. The studio convinced him to come back as they guilt-tripped him into thinking tons of people would loose their jobs if he didn’t star in the film and bring in revenue. So Lee abided them and came back to film, Dracula: Prince of Darkness, where it is said Lee thought the lines of Dracula’s were so terribly-written that he decided to play the character silent in that film with just minor groans, hisses and screams. After this film, he continued to play the role for five more strictly Dracula films. Previously, he also has played The Mummy in the 1959 film The Mummy, and Frankenstein’s Monster in the 1957 film, The Curse of Frankenstein, which likely got him the role of Dracula and cemented a horror film relationship between Lee and the famous Frankenstein film actor Peter Cushing.

 

 

  1. Frankenstein’s MonsterFrankenstein

Although Lee only portrayed the monster in one of Peter Cushing’s seven Frankenstein films, he still is as legendary to the role to me as Boris Karloff. Lee’s monster role looked and felt a bit darker than the original, much like his Dracula, and although it seems tame by our standards now, this film was one of the first to show red blood on screen, as well as gore and violence, which made for a huge impact for the screen and advancement of storytelling in film. This role was great to me because he made the monster a monster and even if you had sympathy for him in this role – as you should with every Frankenstein’s monster – you knew you would much rather prefer hanging out with Karloff’s Monster than Lee’s based off looks alone.

 

  1. Diz/Ansem the Wise

Ansem the WiseChristopher Lee also provided his voice to a couple video games through the years but none were as important or as influential to myself than his role of Diz/Ansem in Kingdom Hearts 2 and Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days. This character was extremely important to the story and was a welcome ally in a war we thought we were waging against Ansem in the first place (See Kingdom Hearts 1). These games were what made me a modern gamer, and are arguably my favorite video games since this new millennium started. No one knew Disney and Final Fantasy would meld so well, let alone the added characters like Lee’s Diz/Ansem. Plus, any cartoon/video game that has his voice instantly becomes ten times better when you hear it.

  1. King HaggardKing Haggard

Here is another great villain made by Christopher Lee and one that is insanely iconic to me as a child. I remember watching The Last Unicorn many times as a kid and always being enthralled in that crazy and almost like a drug trip sort of world at times. But King Haggard was the main antagonist of the story and is the reason why our main character, the Unicorn, is the last one of her species since he kidnapped the rest. As a kid, this movie was one of my favorites. My first toy, sadly lost and forgotten a long time ago, was a unicorn puppet, so identified with this movie most my life and despite being iconic, for those who don’t know it I might as well say I love the straight to dvd Barbie movies. The film is very good and very much a legend among my films, whether it be the amazing cast which also included Alan Arkin, Jeff Bridges, and Angela Lansbury, or the classic hand drawn animation. This role was one of my favorites of his, even if I wanted to punch him in the face.

 

  1. Flay

 

Flay

This role from the film Gormenghast is relatively unknown to most and is not one many people would consider his best, but this role meant a lot to me.

As a kid, I grew up around the Gormenghast books since my mother was a huge fan and despite not reading the books yet (for shame me…) I still hold the fact that Lee even participated in this as a huge factor to why I love him so much. But it is not hard to realize why he did; Lee was the only person involved in this production that actually knew Mervyn Peake, the author of the Gormenghast series and actually met with him over coffee many times. Lee not only executed his role spectacularly but knew the world and characters almost as much as he did Middle Earth (he read LOTR once or more every year). Although the live-action series only covered the first two books in a series of five, it still is the best we have ever gotten for a Gormenghast film and it may be that way for a while. But take comfort in knowing Lee did a spectacular job as his character of Mr. Flay and that this mini series happened at all. I only wish all the books could have been adapted so we had yet another epic Christopher Lee series of films.


Well those are my favorite roles of Christopher Lee’s. Many are very personal to me. The man was a master of all crafts.  If these 10 roles were not enough for you, as of 2007, he held the world record for the most credits in films, not to mention the record for tallest leading actor. If you even wanted more Christopher Lee, please go check out his heavy metal albums, a Christmas album, and his Man of La Mancha song done in heavy metal — just like the man himself those albums are one of a kind.

The Fowl Life of Howard the Duck

Howard the Duck

Howard the Duck started out in the pages of the comic titled Adventure into Fear #19, which was released in 1973, as just a small cameo in the larger story about the character Man-Thing. In fact Howard would only be known for being in Man-Thing books for the next couple years because after the Adventure into Fear series ended, Howard got his own back up feature in Giant-Size Man-Thing.

During this short run, Howard usually faced off against horror parody characters who most of the time were even more ridiculous than Howard himself, including another favorite of mine, Man-Frog. You got to try and make an alien duck not feel too weird, so why not throw him in with the weirder guys to make him look … normal? After all, Howard may have had humor but he was not just some throw away character because soon after the Giant-Size Man-Thing ended, Howard got his own series that got rid of the horror parody characters and focused much more on making him a substantial character for Marvel Comics.

Howard the Duck #1

It was 1976 when Howard finally graduated from the ranks of Man-Thing and got his own running series. This self-titled series ran for 33 issues and one king size annual, and most of this series was actually written by Steve Gerber who is one of the original co-creators of Howard, although the artist Val Mayerik did not return and Gene Colon took his place for most of this series.

This initial run saw Howard battle depression and suicide, rescue sexy women, defeat dinosaurs and living statues, and even team-up with Spider–Man and all that is only within the first issue! A lot of small and yet iconic things came from this short series – especially Howard’s adventures into politics and his run for President. Across many Marvel mediums you can see “Howard for President” ads. Marvel even produced “Howard for President” pins for fans. Howard even got on the cover of Foom Magazine during this time in a wrap around cover with people like Nick Fury, The Thing, and J. Jonah Jameson showing their support.

But this series also went through quite a rough time; Steve Gerber had difficulties writing, and there were a couple of huge legal battles over creative control between Marvel and Steve Gerber and Disney complaining Howard looked too much like Donald Duck.

The writing difficulties were apparent in issue #16 a, “Special once in a lifetime album issue” that did not have any plot to it and was just musings about writing from Gerber. This issue did gain a popular following, because it was something never done before, but true Howard fans felt a little ripped off. The lawsuits were what ultimately destroyed Howard, leaving the series in hiatus for 6 years between 1980- and 1986 for it to return for just two more issues but without Steve Gerber and with the addition of pants, thanks to Disney.

Gambit and Howard the Duck

The return of the comic in 1986 was released in anticipation for the one thing that has cursed Howard as being known as plain foul instead of just a waterfowl for years – the Howard the Duck film. This 1986 film, produced by George Lucas, seemed to have all the right ingredients but suffered from the recipe being written wrong in the first place. Even with stars like Lea Thompson, Jeffrey Jones, and Tim Robbins, the film couldn’t find its footing and never made it past anything but cult status. Although, even now, most people don’t admit liking the flop. Marvel loved Howard during this time and really thought he could be huge, so this was the first real Marvel Comics character to be put on the big screen with this capacity.

While the fiasco of a film was going, Steve Gerber was off doing his new thing for Image Comics and had created a character among his legal difficulties for them called Destroyer Duck. This caused even more controversy for Howard because Destroyer Duck was just Howard with guns. But this character would actually become part of a major crossover event with Savage Dragon from Image and Spider-Man and Gambit for Marvel. During this, Gerber was brought on to write because Howard was going to make an appearance and Marvel told him they wanted him to be the only writer for Howard at the time. But it turns out Howard had a couple other appearances in comics at the time that Gerber had not been invited to write, which left Gerber feeling rather betrayed. This decision brought on a whole different side to this series and made it more of a study of the behind-the-scenes drama of comics than a comic itself. In the Image Comics issue for this crossover, it was written that Howard actually stayed in the Image Comics universe and a “soulless” clone was taken back to be Howard in the Marvel universe, which was Gerber’s big “up yours” to Marvel. After this it led to Howard and his partner Beverly changing their names to Leonard the Duck and Rhonda and then dying their feathers/hair and entering the witness protection program in their new universe. This did ultimately give these “new” characters a home, as they were different enough that Marvel let Gerber keep them to appear in Image and Vertigo comics

Howard the Duck

Howard did not appear very much for many years until Marvel decided to launch an adult comic line titled MAX Comics. This series actually saw Gerber return to Marvel to write Howard, but this time there was quite the twist, as he was now turned into a mouse, which was likely a dig at Disney for the previous lawsuit. This series delved into more violent and graphic themes while also staying true to the pop culture clashing Howard we saw before. This was only a six-issue limited series and didn’t gain much popularity. Oddly enough, the next Howard project was the exact opposite of this; Marvel decided to make a very kid-friendly Howard series that ran for four-issues and did not help him recover at all from the travesty of his film and the burning piles of feathers it left behind.

Marvel even gave Howard a cameo in She-Hulk #9 where he tries to sue George Lucas over the film and what Howard was promised from it during this time, showing that even Howard knew he was better than his own movie. After She-Hulk #9 and some sporadic years of cameos and short lived series, Howard had a short adventure with Generation X where he ended up saving them from the villain Black Tom by lighting him on fire with his cigar. Afterwards, he went on to have a much larger adventure with the team The Daydreamers where they traveled together through the dimensional by-ways, where they battled a Doctor Doom look alike who was really Franklin Richards repressed emotions. The latter though saw Howard get to return home to Duckworld for just a small amount of time to see he is a hero among his people and also see his parents, before it is revealed it is an illusion, sadly leaving Howard and the Daydreamers back where they started the adventure and Howard feeling a little bit more like a fish out of water when they get back to Earth.

Howard the Duck

From here, it was shorter adventures for Howard but some with a lot more meaning as he found himself involved in a lot of the major events in recent years including Fear Itself, Civil War, and is involved in multiple ways in Marvel Zombies. For Fear Itself, Howard put together a team of Himself, She-Hulk, Frankenstein’s Monster, and Nighthawk to track down Man-Thing who freaked out and went into a uncontrollable rage because of the immense amount of fear across the world. Howard’s team (The Fearsome Four) got to Man-Thing and subdued him in time to save the whole world, making Howard incredibly important once again.

In Civil War, Howard was attempting to register under the Superhuman Registration Act, but in doing so, learned that he had actually caused lots of trouble for the government with his lowlife style, so the government doesn’t even register him as a person. This overjoys Howard since it means no taxes, jury duty, or other obligations the government brings with having you as its citizen, but then in other places Howard is seen saying he was pro-registration until they said he had to quit smoking cigars, and he obviously went and joined the anti-registration side immediately.

Last but not least for these events is Marvel Zombies and the immense amount of stories spawning from that. Howard appeared in multiple stories for Marvel Zombies including eating the Bruce Campbell’s Ash in Marvel Zombies vs Army of Darkness and most notably becoming an agent of A.R.M.O.R. and teaming up with Machine-Man in Marvel Zombies 5 aka Marvel Zombies Destroy! to travel across the multiverse killing zombies and bringing back samples to Morbius the Living Vampire. Which brings us to modern times and where Howard stands now…

Howard the Duck in Guardians of the Galaxy

This last year saw a huge boost in Howard’s popularity as we finally saw his triumphant return to the big screen, even if it was just of couple seconds, in Guardians of the Galaxy. It was originally just a cool cameo thrown in because the director James Gunn loved the character. Now it has become one of the most iconic post credit sequences the Marvel cinematic universe has given us. The short cameo brought about only the second Howard figure ever to be produced with the Funko! POP figures.

And now Howard is getting a new series starting this week, written by Chip Zdarsky and art done by Joe Quinones. In the first issue, we  see a sequel of sorts to the post credits sequence in Guardians of the Galaxy, as well as establish him as a private investigator here on the good old Earth—616. So now that you know Howard’s past, go to your comic shop, pick up Howard the Duck #1 and hold his future in your hands Wings!

Howard the Duck (2015)

Howard the Duck #1 is available now at your local comic shop!

All images belong to Marvel Comics.

Doctor Who Recap and Review – “Time Heist”

Spoiler City Ahead!

Doctor Who - "Time Heist"

Who doesn’t love a good heist story? This Doctor Who episode, “Time Heist,” is stylistically a lot like the Ocean’s film franchise.  In a behind-the-scenes clip during the episode, Jenna-Louise Coleman said it was Oceans Eleven in space. This episode pretty much jumps right into the adventure without much time to realize it started. Clara is about to go on a date, so she refuses to go with The Doctor.  It sure seems like Danny Pink is getting set up to be a tragic loss or the reason Clara leaves. She is heading out the door until the Tardis phone rings. Both Clara and the Doctor stop dead in their tracks and ponder who it could be, since very few people in the universe have the Tardis phone number. As the Doctor goes to answer the phone, we are immediately transferred to a dark room where we have Clara, The Doctor, and two unknown people all screaming and holding memory worms.

Doctor Who - "Time Heist"

We then jump right into things as they are given the plans to rob the bank and, alerted, the bank has already sent security to bring them to the incinerator. Quickly, we learn who the other two people are: Sabina and Psi. Saibra, who can change shape, as her face changes right as they let go of the worms. We learn she thinks it is a curse because she changes shape whenever she touches another living being preventing her from having any kind of romantic relationship. Then we have Psi, who is a Cyborg and is also an expert bank robber. We learn he has wiped his mind completely in the past to save his loved ones when he was incarcerated in the past. After the short intros, Psi downloads the heist plans and they run! They make it into the main bank with Saibra help posing as a bank customer and as they are making their way in and whole force of men run out, surrounding a man while a huge alien is escorted in in chains and a straitjacket. Ms. Delphox tells the man his guilt has been detected and as he yells at her that he is innocent she just bats and eye and has the alien, whom she calls The Teller, scan his brain for guilt and since he finds it Ms. Delphox orders his mind wiped, which makes the mans head cave in which for a show that is meant to be able to be watched by children was a bit gruesome.

Doctor Who - "Time Heist"

The team make it past the main room undetected and get into an elevator; it is here where they are detected and find a case filled with a helpful tool put there by the man who orchestrated the whole heist, “The Architect”. They open the case and find an odd tool. The Doctor finally figures out how to use the device and it ends up cutting a hole in the bottom of the elevator then immediately replaces it for an awfully easy escape plan. They continue their way through the bank until they have to pass by a room that has The Teller locked up in a cage. While security is searching the whole bank for them and literally running right by them the team struggle to maintain composure in trying to keep their minds blank so The Teller can’t scan them. As they finally are able to make a run for it Saibra gets caught by The Tellers psychic powers and can’t move. As they discuss how they have no idea how to have her escape the doctor remember these six devices given to the team that seemed small at the time but he figures they are suicide pills basically and throws one to Saibra as she does not want to become like the man who’s head got caved in. Saibra uses it and is immediately disintegrated. As the team makes it to the next room we find it is the hallway leading straight to the vault and in the mean time, Ms. Delphox is tracking the team and decides to let The Teller loose and roam the halls trying to scan and find the last three members of our team.

The conflict between the team starts to really fly here as Clara and Psi cannot believe the Doctor just let Saibra die, helped and now doesn’t seem to care. Psi has a great line against The Doctor saying, “Is that why you call yourself The Doctor huh? Occupational hazards?” Although things get a bit heated, they still have a job to do; since the vault is right there and so are the three of them, the Doctor figures The Teller would be able to detect three minds in one place better than three separate minds. So he and Clara run off leaving Psi to hack into the vault and open it. Psi says he would be happy to be one of The Doctors Occupational hazards and then the Doctor hands him another one of the fancy little suicide pens he gave to Saibra. The Teller ends up finding Clara and trying hard to scan her mind, but she holds on long enough to have Psi finish hacking the vault and have him hatch his own plan to upload the memories of every thief and robber in history which entices The Teller and makes him leave Clara to chase down Psi. Once they meet Psi tells Clara that he must do it because when her life flashes before her eyes she sees family and friends, but he sees nothing and then he injects himself/stabs himself or whatever those suicide things do… (Damn Doctor Who… We just meet these two people and you kill them off right after to make me love them!) The Doctor and Clara hurry to the vault only to find out Psi’s hack didn’t work and that there is one more lock in place. All of a sudden, a solar flare hits the bank, we figure out a whole solar storm is coming, that is when the Doctor realizes they were not sent there to rob a bank but actually sent back in time to fix something at the bank and the only way they could do is during the solar storm because it would lower security to the bank. Then right as this realization comes to fruition the bank vault opens.

Doctor Who - "Time Heist"

The Doctor and Clara look through the vault to find the three different items Psi, Saibra and The Doctor were sent to retrieve. They get to Psi’s first, which is an item to reboot a system and restore all files which would give Psi all his memory’s back. Then they get to Saibra’s item, which is a formula to stabilize her genetics. Then right as they start to head to the private vaults to find the Doctors Item they turn a corner and there stands The Teller. We then flash to Clara and The Doctor, captured by Ms. Delphox, in which she reveals The Teller is the last of his kind. The Doctor argues with Ms. Delphox’s actions and she send them both to the incinerator. But right when we feel all hope is lost one of the guards assures us it isn’t and changes form to reveal it as Saibra and the other guard takes off his helmet and it is Psi! The Atom disintegrators or so the Doctor thought were actually just teleporters which sent them to the ships hull where they find the Tardis and figured a way into the private vault. The team heads out to the final destination and as they enter the vault they find unlimited amounts of treasure from across the galaxy and one woman at a desk – Madame Karabraxos, the owner of the bank. The Doctor threatens her until she turns around to reveal it to be Ms. Delphox. Or rather, Ms. Delphox is just a clone of Madame Karabraxos whom she has killed for letting The Doctor get into the private vault. We then get to the point that the solar storm is going to destroy the bank which makes Karabraxos panic and grab all the treasure she can, The Doctor starts acting a bit silly, telling everyone he hates “The Architect” who orchestrated this and then he figures out he actually is the Architect himself and he sent himself back to rob the bank. While he is going on this tirade, he writes down the Tardis Phone Number and writes, “I am a Time Traveller” on it and give it to Karabraxos, whom then leaves. Everyone now is really confused and asks the Doctor is he remembered why he was there and he says well, there is only one way to remember and the doors open to reveal The Teller. The Doctor want him to scan his thoughts and as The Teller does the Doctor over powers him as he remembers why they are there, which is for The Teller himself because he is not the last of his kind, as Madame Karabraxos had a female of his species locked up.

Doctor Who - "Heist"

The team then heads to the Tardis where The Doctor sets both of the alien species free on their homeworld to continue their species. After this we are treated to a happy ending with everyone eating chinese food talking about how awesome the heist was and confirming relationships which are left open for either Psi, or Saibra to return at a later date. We then of course have the Doctor drop off Clara for her date with Danny and as she runs out of the Tardis, the doctor says, “Rob a bank…Rob an entire bank…Some date…” Which leads to some interesting questions of why he cares…

Doctor Who - "Time Heist"

This episode was definitely one that I feel may not count a lot toward the major plot going on this season, despite the Doctor basically thinking he was killing these two people and despite him giving himself the teleporters to begin with. As Clara stated at one point, “He isn’t really like that all the time” and as much as this season had made us question that, this episode showed he still is the hero we know and would more so save a life than spare one for convenience. While this episode was very high quality and a bit more of a smaller stylistic type of episode very much wanting to have The Doctor be the new Frank Sinatra or George Clooney in this sci-fi take on a heist story. I liked The Teller the whole time, but I really liked the idea of having the menacing terrifying creature whom all we see is him destroy actually be the victim and the whole reason they were there. I felt this was a great point because it was more than a heist and more than even a time-travel heist; it was a rescue mission first and foremost.

Overall this episode was somewhere in the middle for me for this season, as it seemed more that Stephen Moffat just wanted to do a heist story more than progress the overall story of Doctor Who, much like last year’s episode a Town Called Mercy where it was just a reason to do a spaghetti western and not much to offer as a good Doctor Who. I would give this episode a good B- mostly because it was a very fun and enjoyable episode, and Doctor Who always makes me fall in love with characters even if they are in only one episode. Only if the story had as much heart as the style I feel this episode would have received a higher score, but at least The Teller is free!

All pictures of Doctor Who are owned by the BBC.

Doctor Who Recap and Review – “Into the Dalek”

(SPOILERS AHEAD!!! DO NOT READ UNLESS YOU HAVE SEEN THE EPISODE!)

 

Last week, we got to meet the new Doctor, and this week we get to know him a little bit more; ultimately, we get to see a side of the Doctor we never have, at least in the new series. We were promised a darker Doctor with Capaldi at the helm and he does not disappoint, as this episode had some of the darkest moments and decisions the Doctor has ever made, especially for anyone not familiar with the other darker Doctors from the original series.

Picture Shows: Zawe Ashton as Journey Blue

The episode starts with the Doctor saving a soldier from an exploding ship. After an initial conversation, she has the Doctor take her back to her ship where we learn it is a secret ship, and due to the Doctor finding it, they must kill him until they realize he can help as he is a doctor but they don’t know he is THE Doctor. They say they have a patient that the Doctor could help and proceed to take him to the patient which ends up being a Dalek. If that is not surprising enough, The Doctor has the normal conversation with the initial Dalek which reveals that it is “Sick” by yelling “ALL DALEKS MUST BE DESTROYED!”

2

After the credits we are immediately introduced to the new Character of Danny Pink (Samuel Anderson) who is a teacher at Coal Hill School, which is of course the same school Clara teaches at. We get a bit of an odd glance between the two as Clara is walking into school and after we are told Danny is a Lady Killer by people who don’t know him and any idea that may be so is shot down immediately when he meets and starts talking to Clara. However, before that happens, a kid in Danny’s class asks if he has ever killed anyone, and especially outside of the military where he starts crying. This is definitely going to be an important part of this character as there was too much focus on it to be forgotten. Clara being the wonderfully cute companion she is, forgives Danny’s initial awkwardness and invites him to take her out for drinks and she is walking away she runs into the Doctor and the Coffee he promised her.

3

Of course, this meeting is short and they both head straight to the ship to help the crew with this Dalek. It doesn’t take long for them with some of the crew to shrink down in a special craft made for Doctors to shrink down and combat illness on a molecular level. After just about the trippiest sequence ever in Doctor Who where they exit their craft into the Dalek, it all seems made for molecular-sized beings and a lot safer than the inside of a Dalek should feel. That is, until one of the officers decides to shoot a cable line to get down to a lower level. As the cable stabs into the side, it alerts the Dalek and antibodies show up to remedy the problem. The antibodies surround the officer that shot the cable line and the Doctor, already mad at him for shooting and hurting the Dalek, throws him a pill and just assure the man to trust him. Immediately, the Dalek antibodies kill the man and the Doctor had only given him the pill to track where the antibodies sent his remains inside the Dalek. As the antibodies now start chasing the group and they jump down a shaft and end up landing into a huge puddle of what we learn is protein from people the Dalek has killed; this quickly ends and they end up finding out what the “problem” is.

4

The “problem“ ends up being a slight radiation leak which seems to both please the doctor and really upset him as it ends up he is right in arguing that there is no good Dalek, and yet in fixing the Dalek it goes back to normal and of course starts to “EXTERMINATE!” After this, the Doctor is being kind of an ass to everyone in telling them he was right up until Clara slaps him in the face, making him realize it isn’t that the Dalek is pure evil and had a malfunction, but the moral of everything that happened is that the malfunction made a Dalek good. So they then set off to try and bring the Dalek’s memories back to remind him of why he believed humans should live in the first place.

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They head up into the memory banks to access the old memories and try and turn the Dalek good again. As they start that journey, the Doctor realizes in order to get to the memory banks one of the officers must sacrifice herself by shooting cables while the antibodies continue to chase them. We see this officer die and immediately be transferred to “Heaven” with the strange Missy character we saw last episode. The moment with her doesn’t offer much but exactly what we saw last episode with the clockwork robots. After this, we see Clara and Journey, the woman the Doctor saved at the beginning of the episode, go up to the memory banks to access its memories and set it up for the Doctor to invade the mind of the Dalek. Once he does this, the Dalek sees everything he did before to change his mind and then he looks into the Doctor’s mind and sees his hate for the Daleks, which in turn makes the Dalek, now know as Rusty, take out all the other Daleks whom have been attacking the ship saving the crew. The next thing we see, somehow the Doctor, Clara and Journey are outside the Dalek as the ship Aristotle’s soldier come into the room with all the destroyed Daleks.

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As everything is resolved now and the Daleks are gone, Rusty rides away to Davros knows where; but before he leaves he notices the Doctor is sad and asks why he is since they won the battle. The Doctor tells him it is because he saw so much hate in him. The Doctor tells him that he is a good Dalek to which the Dalek replies, “No, you are a GOOD Dalek.” The doctor then abruptly walks out leaving Clara to run after him. As they are getting into the Tardis, Journey runs up asking to travel with the Doctor, but the Doctor turns her away because she is a Soldier, which will obviously cause some sort of conflict with Danny Pink when he joins in on the adventures.

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Ultimately, this episode did not offer a good Dalek story but it did make you realize that, just like Clara says, you don’t know if the Doctor is a good man but since he tries to be, that is what matters. It is an episode that sets Capaldi apart from all of the young energetic and bouncy Doctors we have seen in the new series, and although they all are fantastic, there has not been a certain Doctor that I have even really disliked of all 13 so far. Just like he should, Capaldi is offering us something completely new and although people grew to love Smith I am fairly confident Capaldi’s run will end up being one of the best, if not the best of the modern series. For next week, we get a Robin Hood story in the episode, “Robot of Sherwood,” where somehow the Doctor and Clara travel to a place where fictional characters exist.

 

Overall I would give this episode a B as I enjoyed it and it offered a lot, but I still was left a little confused at a lot of parts and there were slight plot holes. Overall, though, this episode shows what this season has to offer and if all the episodes offer this amount of insight into the new Doctor we al have a lot to look forward to.

 

All Property owned by BBC

Thirteen Things You Didn’t Know (or just forgot) about the Mirage Comics Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Series

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Although everyone is used to The Turtles having different colored headbands, in the comics they were originally black and white, and once color was added, they only had red bandanas and their weapons were the only things to differentiate them from one another as far as appearance.

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The first idea was actually just a sketch and both Peter Laird and Kevin Eastman drew one. The original drawings are what would become Michelangelo (my personal favorite). After the initial sketches, they decided to use this idea for a one issue parody. These initial sketches and first comic has now inspired 30 years of comics, television shows, movies, toys and almost anything else you could slap a Ninja Turtle face on. Eastman’s Turtle is on the left and Laird’s Turtle is on the right.

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The run of the four volume series was mostly published by Eastman and Laird’s own Mirage Studios, but Volume 3 was published by Image Comics and is widely considered as one of the worst versions of the Turtles (I enjoy them all, although this one is rather odd). In this version, Splinter became a Bat, Leonardo lost a hand, Donatello became a cyborg, and Raphael has his face burned and actually became the Shredder. Thankfully Mikey at least is able to get out of this series still intact and fairly normal.

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Once Volume 4 started, the series went back to Mirage Studios and completely omitted the Image Comics run. This series actually picked up fifteen years after Volume 2 and was simply titled TMNT although “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” was still written under that title. This series has never officially had an ending. There was an issue released this year, four years after the last issue, which was an official #32. It is  still not official whether that story is over.

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Up until the Volume 4, Michelangelo’s name was spelled Michealangelo and was corrected in the last volume of this original run to match his artist inspiration’s name Michelangelo Buonarroti. Even the comical cartoon version of Michelangelo decided to start reading the books when this changed happened.

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With the Turtles outstanding success, especially among independent comics, they had many crossovers with other independent characters. A couple of these included Flaming Carrot (who also had the introduction of the Mystery Men who would later be included in the film of the same name) Usagi Yojimbo (who also has been in all but the most recent animated series) and Savage Dragon during their Image Comics run.

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The comic has very close details connecting it to Daredevil from Marvel Comics and it even has been stated this was the intention as it was a parody issue at first. The ooze that created The Turtles and the toxic waste that blinded Matt Murdock are supposed to be the same thing along with the foot clan mimicking The Hand, and Splinter being a parody of Daredevil’s mentor The Stick.

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This series technically ran from 1984 to 2010 making the whole series last 26 years in length.  Only if you count the issue that was released this year makes the series run “30 years.”  After Image Comic’s 1996-1999 run, Volume 4 at Mirage started back up in 2001, and ran for 9 years.

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The first issues of the series had such small print runs, at about 3000 copies an issue, that they became instant collector items among all comic collectors. Within a couple months the comics escalated in price so much they were selling upwards of 50 times the original price. They continue to be some of the biggest collectors items among a lot of comic fans reaching prices over $5,000.  The picture above shows an issue displayed at Denver Comic Con in a case with a ton of $100 bills.

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Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird both worked on the series only up to  issue #11 together. They worked again multiple times in the future, but their complete creative control did not last long when looking at the complete 30-year history of the franchise.

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The Turtles may have had color on their covers for a while, but the whole comic did not get color until Volume 2 started in 1993. This volume did not last long, as it only went 13 issues with a two year run, but it finally gave us a better idea of the setting and characters by adding color.

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Kevin Eastman sold his rights to the project to Peter Laird in 2000 and then Peter Laird sold the franchise to Nickelodeon in 2009. The Mirage Comics run would end the next year and Nickelodeon would start work on rebooting the franchise in TV, comics, and film. Both Peter Laird and Kevin Eastman continue to work with The Turtles to this day. Eastman is a main contributor to the IDW published comics running now.

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A classic way of publishing TMNT is to have one main series and one off shoot series. The original series started with a one off issue of each Turtle, as well as Fugitoid, a Casey Jones mini series, a crossover with Flaming Carrot, and many others. This tradition carries on today with the IDW series. With this we have gotten some great background to the main stories any fan would enjoy.  It also makes the universe much larger!

Images belong to Mirage Comics and all other owner entities.  

Thirteen Things You Didn’t Know (or just forgot) About Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Animated Series

Get ready to explore every type of turtle (of the ninja variety) that you can handle as we look back at thirty years of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles history. What a better way to start than the 80’s and 90’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Animated Series? Ultimately, I feel the Animated Series Turtles in particular are the ones who will always be the distinct Pop Culture reference for the masses. Whether or not the new Michael Bay Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film (out last weekend) or any other incarnation of the four brothers suits you, there are so many Turtle universes out there to enjoy, it is nearly impossible to say that you don’t like the Ninja Turtles. If you don’t like the franchise, it’s like saying you don’t like pizza, which is a personal insult to my four Ninja friends and to me. Without further ado, here are 13 things you didn’t know about the animated series.

 

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The Animated Series started in December of 1987 as a five episode mini series, which is now thought of as Season 1 for the show. These episodes earned the entire first volume of the DVD’s with a couple episodes from season 10 tacked on.

 

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The original miniseries was made due to a plan to produce toys for the franchise by the company Playmates Toys, because the company thought the toys would not sell based just on the comic alone. They asked Murakami Wolf Swenson (initially and after the first two seasons it changed to Fred Wolf Films.) to produce something for TV to base the toys off of. From this venture we gained two of the most popular parts of Ninja Turtles history with the expansive set of figures and the 10 season long television show.

 

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In the Turtles Animated Series, the writers changed each Turtles look. They gave each turtle a different color headband, which were originally all red in the comics, so kids could differentiate between the four of them. Now they are known so well by their respective colors, it is hard to imagine them all having the red headband. In addition, the creators of the Animated Series added the first letter of their names on their belt buckles. The artists added lots of bright popping colors to the screen making for a richer environment, but one that was impossible to take seriously.

 

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A larger change was modifying Splinter’s backstory. In the comics, Splinter was Hamato Yoshi’s pet rat, who mutated the same way the turtles did. He learned how to be a ninja by observing Hamato Yoshi. In the television cartoon, Splinter was Hamato Yoshi.

 

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The dark nature of the comics was gone and this was not the kind of universe any turtle comic fan of the time, or even the creators wanted to see but they were marketing it towards children so of course they had to edit it down.

 

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In the U.K. and other parts of the world the show was actually called Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles and Michelangelo’s screen time was cut down due to his use of nun chucks, which are illegal in a large amount of the world.

 

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Casey Jones who was actually not too far off from his comic version, he still was not exactly what you were expecting, but he had the same type of “I don’t give a crap” attitude and other than his Clint Eastwood like voice for the series.

 

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The Ninja Turtles made P.S.A’s. I can tell you what got me this far with not drug problems was the Turtles telling me, say no to drugs and say yes to pizza. This may have caused a rise in type 2 diabetes in my generation, but many of us got through it drug free, which has always been the way to be.

 

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Rocksteady and Bebop were created just for the Animated Series in order to produce more toys. The fan favorites are Shredder’s main thugs and bodyguards. These guys were pretty dumb but also pretty tough because Shredder used mutagen on them and the men they used to be mutated into a Rhino and a Warthog. Initially it seemed the bumbling idiots were not well liked. They may not have even been in the show if the creators had full control. However, over time they have became canon to the universe we all know.

 

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April O’Neil was made into a reporter for the Animated Series. She was originally introduced in the comics as a computer programmer and assistant to Baxter Stockman. Knowing that her origin was not as a reporter proves how much the Animated Series changed what is considered to canon to most people.

 

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Shredder wasn’t in the series for almost two seasons. The Technodrome (Shredder and Krang’s base of operation) was stuck at the earth’s core, Dimension X, and frozen in the Arctic. The Turtles finally banished Shredder and Krang forever by sending them to Dimension X and through a portal, destroying the engines and their portal technology. We don’t see them again until late in season 10.

 

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The new bad guy during that time was an alien named Lord Dregg. This is a part of the series I admittedly do not remember from my childhood. After watching the series again, it is kind of cool to see the Turtles battle more than “normal: villains, just as they did in the controversial TMNT CGI film. Most people saw this change as negative because most people see Shredder as the most formidable villain. Even so, the show lasted longer than just about every single Saturday morning cartoon by this point. With this change they also incorporated more of the darkness from the films and even had footage from the first film in the beginning credits. With the villain and style change it was difficult to handle. Ultimately, the show was canceled after seasons 8-10 only had 8 episodes each.

 

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Despite the huge success of this series, it took three times airing the first five-episode special for it to gain any kind of viewing audience. But thank Splinter it did because we got to have 10 seasons, which for a Saturday morning cartoon is insanely good. I mean Ninja Turtles had two more seasons than Dexter, four more seasons than Lost, and five more than Breaking Bad. The series came out to be just short of 200 episodes with a final count of 193.

None of the media in this article belongs to Hush Comics; it all belongs to their respective properties.

Denver Comic Con 2014 – Star Trek TNG Reunion

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Panel NameStar Trek: The Next Generation Reunion

Topic: Most of the cast from Star Trek TNG discuss their time on the show and their experience working with one another

Featured GuestsJonathan Frakes, LeVar Burton, Michael Dorn, Marina Sirtis, Gate McFadden with William Shatner as moderator

Have you ever had a time where you got together with family for a holiday or a reunion, and sat around a table and had one of the craziest and uncontrollable conversations you could imagine, since you are so very close but never see one another? Well then you most likely know exactly how this panel went. A lot of attendees seemed to think it was out of control, but honestly it did just seem like a bunch of family members getting together with an audience. Shatner tried to control the whole panel and ask questions but with The Next Generation cast feeling so comfortable with one another, he just melded into that and was acting like the crazy uncle to the TNG family.

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Once questions began, we sometimes got full answers and other times they moved on before the entire answer was finished, for example Michael Dorn was asked how he liked working with his fellow cast members as directors. He went into almost each one but ultimately described them using one word, sometimes followed by a story. Dorn said that Jonathan Frakes was loud, Gates McFadden was like a dancer because she had everything organized perfectly and seemed to glide from place to place, and for LeVar Burton he said “No” because of a time Dorn had done a take wrong and the way LeVar told him to change his action seemed like a person rolling up a newspaper and tapping a dog on the head saying “NO.”

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The next question was about how influential Star Trek has been to the world and how it has changed the way we live from our technology to our entire culture and because of this, what are the best inspiring stories they have heard from fans. Gates McFadden told a story about a man who thanked her for helping him in his childhood because he was in foster homes that continually changed so everything in his life changed a lot but the only constant was that he got to watch Star Trek and felt like these characters were his family since they were always there for him. Definitely an awesome story which really gives a different look at how film, television and the entire entertainment industry makes people violent. Another good story that they all commented on was that of an amputee they met who had a wonderful spirit and during his recovery Star Trek and how they portrayed everyone in Starfleet even those with disabilities. The young man credited Star Trek as the reason he had the courage to continue. Now is when Marina Sirtis interrupts and says, “Man… Things just got real, how about a joke?”

If you saw the Gargoyles panel, you may have known what was probably coming and of course it was a joke about the French (hey, she is British, so of course it was about the French) This led to a more lighthearted discussion about what was the worst thing about their experiences on set. Michael Dorn wished his make-up was just for a movie and not a television show, and he mentioned another time his make up ended up with no eyebrows, which if you know Worf you will know how weird that may look. An obvious answer was that LeVar Burton hated his visor, not only could he hardly see a thing, but the actual vizor was screwed into his head to fit and the pad would press right against his temple and it gave him headaches all the time. At this point Shatner leaned over to Michael Dorn and asked if anyone had sex on the set, after a long and awkward pause, LeVar Burton raised his hand and said, “Yes, there was sex, but not between us.”

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Going back to fan questions, everyone was asked their favorite villain and all at once they respinded, “Q”, but quickly Gates McFadden added in that she thought the Borg were excellent and that she would say those were her favorite, then Jonathan Frakes also mention the Romulan leader as a favorite for him. After this we got question like “Why are you so awesome?” to William Shatner, and acting advise, where LeVar Burton had a great answer saying, “Don’t. I say this because I try to talk everyone out of being an actor, because if I do, you were never meant to be.” Definitely deep and 100% true as this exact experience (just replace LeVar Burton with Futurama) is why I stopped acting.

Possibly one of the funniest moments was when they asked the person who asked William Shatner why he was awesome to ask a real question and he asked how old they were. All of them reacted the way just about the way everyone does to that question, children aside, but Marina Sirtis got up and walked up to him and make him correct himself to ask the women how young they were. We then get an announcement Shatner has to leave early to catch a filght, which left me kind of wondering, then why did you schedule him to be here? But the panel continued and the only real interesting things that happened were an anti-bullying conversation where a lot of personal stories were told by a bunch of the cast members where Marina Sirtis said that you should let it bother you, where Michael Dorn quickly added that sometimes it is more than just words, so always make sure you can take care of yourself and try as hard as you can to be peaceful but always make sure to be able and defend yourself.

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The conversation moved to Michael Dorn’s run on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine as Worf. Marina Sirtis lets out a huge grunt and says ,”Deep Sleep Nine, or as Jon calls it,  Deep Throat Nine.” It basically just covers the, “what is your favorite?” and “what is your least favorite questions we already have and always have at any panel. The panel ended on a sour note as we hear one question is left and some rude woman asked what all the women thought of playing such stereotypical girly girl roles for Star Trek. I don’t really want to go into much more because if you know what Star Trek even is you should know how absolutely ridiculous that claim and question is.