Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The 13 Faces of The Doctor: The Ninth Doctor

Week Ten! : 'The 13 Faces of the Doctor'

In 2005, we got the Doctor Back. 

He was dark, edgy, and in a leather jacket. Gone were the question marks (thank god) and the faux - Edwardian kitsch for a more 'stripped down' modern version. This Doctor had survived the Time War and come out scarred. He was angry, impatient, did not suffer fools, manic, and always seemed to be turned up to eleven.

... and we only had him for one series. 

'Your wish is my command... but be careful what you wish for.' - Father's Day (2005)
'The Ninth Doctor', Ink/Digital Color, March '14

Friday, April 25, 2014

30 MILES OF CRAZY! 45: Casa Bonita

It's Friday! Time for another 'tru-ish' tale about Colfax and the Mile High City. A new 30 MILES OF CRAZY! (#45)! This week: Casa Bonita... or NO, SOUTH PARK DID NOT MAKE IT UP. IT ACTUALLY EXISTS!

A few thoughts on Casa Bonita.

- It actually exists, down in Lakewood CO, along West Colfax. 

- It is a Denver institution, where most of the population has been there at least once. 

- While there were once several Casa Bonita restaurants in different states, the one in Denver is the last one (opening in 1974.)

- I have been there and can say that I'm not a fan. One of the reasons being....

- It's kind of like a large Mexican Chuck E. Cheese on acid. Prepare your brain.
- While there are many attractions to the place and hidden nooks and corners to be found, as a restaurant you have to purchase a meal (they are a business after all.) Some people do enjoy the food there, while I always felt that the daily fare their makes Taco Bell look like haute cuisine. 

- Everyone that I know that adores Casa Bonita (getting that cultist wide eyed glaze in their eyes at the mere mention of the establishment) falls into two camps (or more than likely, a mixture of the two): happy rose colored memories of a place they have been going there since they were children or because of the massively high camp factor (which it has in spades.) 

- If I remember correct, it does serve booze. You will need it. Your brain will be overloaded, your liver will hate you, but you will survive. 

- I'll let the comic say the rest. This is all just scratching the surface of the Lynchian weirdness that permeates the walls of this place. Don't believe me? Here's a small video about Casa Bonita that I found. 

- ... and yes, my buddy does wear a fez. 

So... Musical Accompaniment! Ready! Set! Go!


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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The 13 Faces of The Doctor: The War Doctor

Week Nine! : 'The 13 Faces of the Doctor'

Yes, I'm putting the War Doctor here because he is the (new) true ninth incarnation of the Doctor, though through a bit of semantics is not actually the 'Ninth Doctor' (so the BBC merchandizing department doesn't have to deal with the Sisyphean task of fixing all of the millions of Doctor Who product to reflect a new numbering system. Nice job, Moffat! A+ thinking!)

So, I'll try to be brief. The Ninth Incarnation of the Doctor is the Gordian Knot (look at that! Two antiquated references in a little over a paragraph. My college Classical Literature professor must be proud... Now, where was I...) .... The Gordian Knot of Doctor Who continuity... and this was even before the return of the new series. 

Of course, all the confusion was made by the BBC during the period between the Eighth Doctor/Fox Pilot and the return of the series. The later 'Eighth Doctor' novels even made fun of this fact (in 'Gallifrey Chronicles') and how muddled his timeline was. Most of fandom, as a way of explaining all the nonsense, just waved their hands claiming that it was all from the conflicts and rewriting of time from the Last Great Time War (the deus ex machina of explanations.... and that makes it a hat trick of classical references!) 

Anyway, here's what the BBC did...

The Curse of the Fatal Death (1999), written by Steven Moffat (remember him?) Now, yes... this was a comedy skit broadcast on the BBC, but people were really drawn towards the idea of a Rowan Atkinson Ninth Doctor (even if he was on the screen for like 10 minutes.) Is he part of continuity..? Very unlikely, but it does muddy the waters. Then there was also that Richard E. Grant guy, which brings us to..

The Scream of Shalka (2003), written by Paul Cornell. This was an animated webcast produced by the BBC with a new OFFICIAL (at the time) Ninth Doctor, voiced by Richard E. Grant, and kind of based upon Sherlock Holmes funneled through Grant's Withnail character (from 'Withnail and I' [1986]... a brilliant brilliant film... kinda like 'Fear and Loathing in the Lake District' with Paul McGann [Doctor #8] as 'I') As I said, this was announced by the BBC as the new Doctor, the official continuation of the series... which only lasted one story. Plus, the Doctor's companion was... The Master (who's consciousness [after the Fox pilot] was uploaded to an android body and couldn't leave the TARDIS... how weird is that? He was also voiced by Sir Derek Jacobi, who played the 'human' Master in 'Utopia'.)  Oh... and there was also that David Tennant guy playing a minor role in the story. Wonder what ever became of him? He has such potential...

... and now we have The War Doctor as the new official Ninth Incarnation of the Doctor. While I really enjoyed 'The Day of the Doctor', I wanted more from this incarnation. He obviously had been fighting in the Time War for a long time... what other stories are there? What did he do (other then the obvious thing... that he didn't even do that in the end) that was so shaming? Will we hear anything else about this? And was he much too dour for jelly babies? (Yes... he was.)

Anyway, here we go....

'Great mean are forged in fire. It's the privilege of lesser men to light the flame.' - The Day of the Doctor (2013)

'The War Doctor', Ink/Digital Color, March '14

Friday, April 18, 2014

30 MILES OF CRAZY! 44: Meeting the New Neighbors

It's Friday again! Time for another 'tru-ish' tale about Colfax and the Mile High City. A new 30 MILES OF CRAZY! (#44)! This week: Meeting the New Neighbors... or I MAXED OUT MY 100 GB STORAGE IN MY SKULL!!!

No time to lose!!  Musical Accompaniment! Ready! Set! Go!


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The 13 Faces of The Doctor: The Eighth Doctor

Week Eight! : 'The 13 Faces of the Doctor'

The Eighth Doctor... The last of the Classic Doctors, and he pretty much got one night only. 

After 7 years, The Doctor was back... and on American TV (which was... odd.) ... And to be utterly kind, the Fox back door pilot of 'Doctor Who' was a bit of mess. The call backs, the bad acting, the weird attempts at humor, Eric Roberts as The Master (choke!), the idea of a half human Doctor (gah!), the wig... were all fandom with gun to head eye popping nerd-rage bad. The only good thing at the center of it all was Paul McGann playing a more curious Byronic Doctor (plus the new design for the TARDIS interior... which was pretty fantastic.) ... and then there was the whole romance thing (which became all too common of late) that left many scratching their heads and looking like a dog shown a card trick. 

But the pilot went nowhere (which may have been a good thing)... so Doctor Who sunk back under the waves to sleep again (for another 9 years.) 

... and in-between that, (along with the Big Finish audios) we had the BBC novels. Yes, I followed them as well. On first reflection, I would say that I did not enjoy them as much as the Seventh Doctor Virgin novels... but then looking back there was the ideas of Dark Sam, Living TARDISs, The Faction Paradox, The Time War (yes, it was first referenced in the novels, years before the TV show and much more interesting), a ruthless Lord President Romana (in her 3rd incarnation), Compassion, Sabbath, The Remote, all of the Matrix being downloaded into the Doctor's brain... all brilliant. 

And then, with the advent of the new BBC show and a new Doctor, the Eighth Doctor went away... The new show started fresh, so there wasn't even much of a passing reference to the Eighth or any of the Classic Doctors. 

(and yes, I based this illustration on that version of the Eighth Doctor. I did not want to have to draw that original wig... shudder...)

... and here we go...

"I love humans. Always seeing patterns in things that aren't there." - Doctor Who (the Film), 1996

'The Eighth Doctor' Ink/Digital Color, March '14

Friday, April 11, 2014

30 MILES OF CRAZY! 43: A Question of Priorities

It's Friday! Time for another 'tru-ish' tale about Colfax and the Mile High City. A new 30 MILES OF CRAZY! (#43)! This week: A Question of Priorities... or YES, I DID ANOTHER COMIC STRIP THAT TAKES PLACE AT THE LION'S LAIR.

The World Famous Lion's Lair... No frills space for a beer and a shot. The bar has been there for years (I hear various stories, but can be traced back to the 50's or 20s [as a dancehall] depending who you ask) and to me, best represents what Colfax Avenue is: barebones, down low, dirty place full of stories and awesome characters. 

This was also one of the first bars I found myself in when I finally moved to Denver (living only a couple blocks away also helps). Not only had I been hearing about that place for years (even before I started visiting the city), but at that first night there was able to see one of the best, most welcoming (at least to me) events after I'd only been living in the Mile High City for less than a month. If Denver was some sort of communicable disease, I got it that night from the sheer press of the crowd around me. Yes, it was Slim Cessna's Auto Club show in such an intimate setting. 

Yes, I used the word 'intimate' which in all ways seems wrong. It kind of brings to mind singer/songwriters strumming on acoustic guitars, singing about their lost cat by candlelight... which is totally not the case if you've ever set foot in the place. The size of the Lair is so small that you can be punched on one side of the bar and still hit the wall of the other, likely hitting a half a dozen band stickers that have been placed there over the years (I can still find the sticker of a local Philly band that I saw many times in the 90's among the collection of band debris scattered over the Lair's walls). That first night, and most other nights I've been there for shows are cramped, beer soaked, rowdy, near riots. People yelling for drinks or at each other; booze being tossed onto the floor, over the patrons, and down their gullets; shoving matches that could be called dancing or drunken stumbles; and music blaring over everything, demanding some attention. Events that have to be experienced to be believed. 

... so there it is. (I'm sure I was at that show as well.) 

... Ready... Set...  Musical Accompaniment... and GO!


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The 13 Faces of The Doctor: The Seventh Doctor

Week Seven! : 'The 13 Faces of the Doctor'

... and then we got Time's Champion.

The Seventh Doctor was always one of my favorites. Sure, he started out a bit silly (Time and the Rani,Paradise Towers, etc) and looked like a bad vaudevillian comic (his umbrella, paisley scarf, porkpie hat...), but those were also the same reasons I came to love this Doctor. Underneath the clown was darkness, mystery, and a manipulator pulling all the strings and even using his companions like pawns. He was a throwback to an earlier enigmatic Doctor you may have seen in the 60's. You could easily believe he was not 'just another Time Lord.' This was the Dark Doctor. Plus, there was also Ace

Sure, his first series was pretty dreadful, but then...  we got Remembrance of the DaleksHappiness Patrol (yeah, I liked that one, but won't defend the Candy Man. That was just.... off.) Ghost LightCurse of Fenric....

... and that's it. Three seasons in and Doctor Who was cancelled after 26 years. The show had been hanging from a thread for years and the BBC finally just ended it. Of course, for Doctor Who to continue, it kind of went sideways. Sure there were always the comics, but Virgin Publishing took up the New Adventures line which push the story of the Doctor and Ace forward and lasted for six years (and 61 novels.) The novels were broad, deep, and definitely more adult in tone (drugs, cursing, sex, death, etc.) The Doctor got darker and darker and new companions were added (hello, Ms. Summerfield.) Yes... the novels were pretty brilliant, adding ideas and concepts that would have been glossed over in a slick fast paced TV show, and were also the only thing we had for a long time. 

Then the BBC stepped in (in 1996), regenerated the Doctor, and took up their own novel series. But that's another story. 

So, here we go...

"Anyone remotely interesting is mad in some way" - The Greatest Show in the Galaxy (1988)

The Seventh Doctor, Ink/Digital Color, March '14

Friday, April 4, 2014

30 MILES OF CRAZY! 42: Convention Season

What? It's Friday again? That means that it's time for another 'tru-ish' tale about Colfax and the Mile High City. A new 30 MILES OF CRAZY! (#42)! This week: Convention Season... or SAY WHO'S WHAT'S WHERE???

No need to hesitate. Musical Accompaniment... and GO!


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The 13 Faces of The Doctor: The Sixth Doctor

Week Six! : 'The 13 Faces of the Doctor'
The Sixth Doctor never got a fair shot... 

This was the low point of the Classic Doctor Who run. Colin Baker literally burst from the remains of Peter Davison. He was loud, egotistical, arrogant, and dressed like a psychotic jester... and the writing was pretty god awful as well. 

This was the point in my life where I was going through my adolescent angst, discovering punk rock and girls; so I was drifting away somewhat, but I still gave it a shot. I tried... god, I tried. I remember watching'Vengence on Varos' (Peri turning into some sort of bird... that was weird),  'The Two Doctors' (Patrick Troughton's last on screen Doctor Who appearance with Jacqueline Pearce from 'Blake 7' as one of the villains) and Revelation of the Daleks (with the disembodied head of Davros and... what the hell is Alexei Sayle doing there?), but I could never really get into the Sixth Doctor. There was the bad writing, the violence (The Doctor with a gun? Whhaaa...?), and the whole Trial of the Time Lord/Valeyard, which I'm just not going to get into.) 

Then there was the Sixth Doctor himself. He was deliberately unlikeable. Now, of course, there have been countless interviews where Colin Baker has commented that he never got to choose his costume (he wanted to wear black) as well as he never got to play out the arc that he wanted with the development of his Doctor. Playing up and calling back to the techiness of the First Doctor and then mellowing out over several seasons. Well... that chance was just never there. Changes to the format (episodes moved from about 23 to 45 minutes long) along with the bad writing and abrasiveness of the Doctor scattered fans; viewership dropped and it certainly didn't help that the head of the BBC hated the show and put it on hiatus for 18 months between Seasons 22-23... the end result was the Sixth Doctor being forcibly let go and replaced after 8 stories a little over two seasons.

The Sixth Doctor has gotten a sort of a second chance though in the Big Finish Audio series where he gets to play the Doctor as he would have liked it. The upshot of this is that his audios are some of the best written that Big Finish has produced ( I remember really liking 'The One Doctor.')

So, anyway... here we go...

'Planets come and go. Stars perish. Matter disperses, coalesces, forms into other patterns, other worlds. Nothing can be eternal' - The Mysterious Planet (1986)

The Sixth Doctor, Ink/Digital Color, March '14