In Which I Absorb Someone Else’s Childhood Through Second-Hand Pogs

2016-09-18-21-10-38While looking around a charity shop on Sunday, I came across a small, blue, lidded tube for sale. Curiosity demanded that I look inside, and I was confronted by the sight of a magenta Bat Signal.

I immediately recognised the purpose of this small colourful plastic disc: it was intended to be thrown at stacks of small colourful cardboard discs. I had found a tube of Pogs!

Taking their name from a brand of Hawaiian passion fruit/orange/guava juice drink, Pogs started out as collectable bottle tops; at the height of their popularity it became feasible for the bottle tops to be – perversity itself – sold without bottles. And so the craze reached my windswept homeland of England, a world away from exotic Hawaii; while children such as myself had never heard of the Pog beverage, we eagerly collected the cardboard circles named in its honour.

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Kubo and the Two Strings

Kubo and the Two Strings

This week I went to see Kubo and the Two Strings, the new feature from Laika. It’s a stop-motion film made using physical models.

One of the trailers before it was for DreamWorks’ Trolls, a film made using computer-generated models designed to look like physical models. The characters had a texture resembling the felt that Muppets are made from; the emotion characters in Pixar’s Inside Out sported a similar style.

CGI came to dominate the animation industry years back. Poor old stop-motion – the original form of 3D animation – has tried ever-harder to justify itself in a digital age.

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The Final Fantasy-Jorge Luis Borges Connection

Final Fantasy meets Borges

When I was a teenager, I tried to play through all of the Final Fantasy games in order – although I have to admit, I never did finish Final Fantasy VIII. Still, I battled my fair share of pixelated beasties, and I often wondered exactly where those imaginary creatures originated.

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Suicide Squad

Suicide Squad

I wanted to like Suicide Squad. And, indeed, I liked parts of it. But it had one glaring, inescapable flaw: the plot was a mess. I’ve gone into a bit more detail over at my Women Write About Comics review.

The film was commercial success and Suicide Squad 2 seems an inevitability. Sequels that improve upon the originals are scarcely unheard of amongst superhero films — Superman 2, Spider-Man 2, Captain America: Winter Soldier, Captain America: Civil War, Iron Man 3, The Dark Knight, X-Men 2, X-Men First Class — so perhaps next time we see them, the Squad will have their act together.

We can hope, at least…