Alastair: It really looks like its Image Comics’ time to shine this year. The nominees for this year’s Eisner awards were announced a little while ago, and Image is absolutely dominating the list. All up, Image has 20 nominations, with four out of the five nominees in the ‘Best Continuing Series’ category belonging to the rising-star publishing house. The comic I’m talking about this time around is actually one of the Image titles up for an Eisner award (‘Best New Series’) – Lazarus.
Written by Greg Rucka (Punisher, Detective Comics), Lazarus is a fantastic dystopian sci-fi – the best kind of sci-fi – that could well be taking place ten or twenty years from now. The world of Lazarus is a grim one – Earth is no longer divided by geographical boundaries, but by financial ones. The rich have all the power, and each Family controls large swathes of territory. Those that serve the Families are looked after, but the rest are Waste and must fend for themselves. In each Family, there is always one person that is given the best training, technology and abilities that the Family can provide: the one named as the Family’s sword and shield, the titular Lazarus.
The series follows the Lazarus of the Family Carlyle, a young woman named Forever, as she navigates the political intrigue and inter-Family rivalries that could see her snuffed out in an instant.
Lazarus is like a sci-fi version of Game of Thrones – secrets and lies abound, the Families act much like the noble Houses and there’s even a bit of incest to liven things up. Michael Lark (Gotham Central, Terminal City) churns out some excellent art, too; his landscapes are fantastic, particularly the scenes of a ruined Los Angeles. Rucka has built an excellent world, and Lazarus is well worth reading.
Cameron: Five psychics are summoned by their friend (who is also a psychic) to a hotel in California. In this hotel, before his death, doll maker Andre Toulon had hidden away the secrets to bringing puppets to life thanks to the magic of the ancient Egyptians. Unfortunately, the living puppets are conspiring against the psychics to stop them from learning these archaic methods. This is the plot of Puppet Master, a film which somehow has nine sequels and a spin off film.
Usually I find a reason to recommend these films, but I can’t even explain why I like this movie so much, let alone a reason someone else should watch it. Puppet Master is a pretty bottom of the barrel horror movie, but it’s not unwatchable. In fact, I’ve watched it a few times, and have been a fan since the first. Perhaps because I was banned from watching horror in my childhood and this was one of the few films I managed to watch during that blackout period. Somehow in my mind it’s been elevated to some special status. It shouldn’t have been.
It really is an odd little film. The premise itself is so silly, yet it is played with such deadpan seriousness, though the few moments of intentional comedy fall rather flat. And that plot I mentioned is taken care of in the first 20 or so minutes. After that it’s all about puppets killing people and some decent special effects.
If you like odd films or you’ve run out of horror I guess you could give this a watch. But don’t expect it to be scary. Or funny. Or overly exciting. But at least you’ll have a conversation piece afterwards.
Written by Cameron Urqhuart and Alastair McGibbon