This blog began in 1997 as a single news page called Nucelus. In 2005, during a long wait to move into a new house, I decided to learn some php and MySQL and write my own blogging system, which became inkyBlog and which now powers this, my own Webbledegook blog.
Thank you to my brother, Murray Ewing, for help with some of the more challenging aspects!
The characters first appeared in Pilote in 1967, eventually seeing their adventures in 24 albums. Some of the designs had an influence on Star Wars, and Mézières also worked as a concept artist on Luc Besson's The Fifth Element, plus, of course, Valerian and Laureline had their own film outing in 2017, again by Besson.
Here's a quick tribute to him and his fantastic creation.
What about the new Julius Chancer strip? That will launch in February, once I've completed my work for Maschinen-Mensch and I can turn my attention more fully to it. In the meantime, have a look around the site, and do let me know if anything is broken. I have not yet fixed blog comments, and there are coding and css improvements to be made, but there's time for that yet.
As a little blog test I thought I'd indulge in a post about my Minecraft world ...
I'm kind of new to this, buying the game for my children during the lockdown months of 2020 and having a go myself in August of that year. In 2021 I didn't play much at all as I got rather absorbed in the incredible Zelda: Breath of the Wild, but I picked up Minecraft again a little over Christmas.
Really, I've not explored very far from my spawn point at all. I'm a bit of a scaredy-cat, especially with caves! I've built a house with a farm and barn and I've done a lot of strip-mining. It took me a number of weeks to realise there was a village just across the river, beyond a few trees, and when I got there it seemed to be deserted.
In fact the few villagers had all got themselves stuck in a cave, so I rescued them and went home. When I returned a little while later there were only two left - so I blocked off the cave and started developing the village. Now it's bustling with master craftsmen, new houses, and a very healthy number of golems, as well as being protected by a wall of thorny sweet berries!
Eventually I decided I should get a bit braver about exploring, so I've built a boathouse and a lighthouse from which to launch my expeditions. There's also a big ravine near the village, and my 10-year old daughter, who's far braver than I, has promised to hold my hand when I go down it, and pass on some of her top adventuring tips. My 8-year old son has about my level of bravery, but is a walking encyclopaedia of Minecraft lore, so he's good to have close at hand as well.
Wish me luck!
On my own for New Year's Eve I watched Riders of Justice, an excellent Danish revenge comedy (if there wasn't such a genre, there is now). The action is the stuff we've all seen before, but the characters and comedy are of that delightful Nordic quality and, in conjunction with the overarching theme, sets the film apart.
The previous evening I got round to watching the new Bond film, No Time to Die. As usual it's a slick production with another superb Bond performance from Daniel Craig. It didn't quite hammer in all the nails for me: a series of impressive and thrilling set-pieces, yet lacking some kind of core. Good overall, especially some of the supporting characters, but even so, I don't think Casino Royale has been beaten in Craig's run.
I also finally got to see the documentary, Mifune: The Last Samurai. If you like Mifune or Kurosawa (they are inseparable) then you'll love it. To get critical, Mifune's early films are glossed over, missing out on a chance to examine his development as an actor, and the majority of the content focuses on his samurai roles (thus also leaving out one of my favourites, High and Low), but these are minor quibbles. It's great for a short section on early silent Chanbara films, and also its interviews with some of the now elderly people who worked with Mifune.
Possibly the best thing I saw this year, watching it with my wife over Christmas, was Peter Jackson's The Beatles: Get Back - quite an astonishing look at the band's development and recording of what would eventually become the Let It Be album. The original director of the footage, Michael Lindsay-Hogg, had initially edited it into a piece that highlighted the difficult moments in The Beatles' relationship, giving birth to the idea that the whole studio experience was strained and negative. Jackson has brought it into its full context and the strength of their bond is re-established, along with the joy they evidently had in creating. McCartney is particularly impressive. Great stuff.
Not so good was a TV adaptation of Stephen King's 11/22/63 - a book I really like and have listened to more than once on audiobook while working at the drawing board. I couldn't finish this as I found the changes to the book too overwhelming and to the detriment of the story as a whole. I know screen adaptations have to change, but this seemed to make all the wrong choices. The cast and production were decent though, and maybe if you don't know the book it'll be fine.
Contrasting nicely with that has been the BBC's terrific Around the World in Eighty Days - not yet completed as I write this, but so far every episode has been excellent (edit: up to the penultimate episode now, and one of my favourite watches of the year).
I can't recall much else of what I've watched this year ... many children's films (some excellent - I hugely enjoyed Cruella with its fantastic soundtrack; many CG animations with the same characters and moral of the story that all blend into one), Jojo Rabbit was a stand-out film, Free Guy was on the entertaining side of 'meh', and Don't Look Up, which I watched just a couple of nights ago, was great, if depressingly close to the bone.