Author Archives: jevon

Jevon in Europe

This is Jevon in Europe again, somewhere in the Bay of Biscay or the Atlantic or whatever. They all tend to clash into one another after a while. Last time I was writing about the comic and manga availability over in the Euro neighbourhood, and in trying to get back to that comic shop in Barcelona that was right by the old seat of the Catalan Royal family, I ended up wandering the Gothic Quarter. All around are castle walls that could be mistaken for something out of Castle Greyskull, and up I went to La Ramblas and it reminded me of the Joseph Virek character in William Gibson’s “Count Zero.” In the novel, Virek projects himself to Marly within the Barcelona of her Art School days and there is the wonderful description of the many famous images of the city. Gaudi in particular, who is a genius IMHO. I love Gibson’s use of place and setting in his novels and they are always unbelievably evocative and being within that image was particularly evocative for me as I am a big admirer of Gibson’s work. Nevertheless, from what I learned about Barcelona as a city, and especially in terms of its growth, is a pretty apt choice of a place considering the idea and the setting of the Sprawl, which of course is where the trilogy of novels that “Count Zero” gets its name from is a part. Barcelona was originally Barcino, and was developed by the Romans as a trading port. The Romans put walls around the city as defenses, and it was those walls that were added to, enlarged, shaped and enlarged through out the centuries, which can be seen in the old Gothic Quarter, which is the part of the town that lied behind those city walls. Once the 19th Century began, Barcelona’s city planners began a plan of enlargement that finally knocked down the centuries old city walls. The city expanded outwards in earnest; swallowing up what were once autonomous villages and towns and incorporating them into the fold, much as the Sprawl in Gibson’s novels did. The tour guide I had that day described this process of enlargement as the smacking down of man made barriers and undergoing the process of enlargement into more natural ones. Those natural ones are the mountains and hills that hem in the current day Barcelona. However, with the Olympic games and with some recent building, the process of enlargement outwards onto those mountains is seeing the city even sprawling out onto those natural barriers that the tour guide described. The Olympics for example, saw the building of park space, stadiums, and facilities on top of Montjuic, which had served as a spot of fortifications for the military through much of Barcelona’s history. It had also been the site of an old Jewish settlement, but the Jewish population flocked down into the walled city and into that same man made enclosures and barriers that had previously kept the city contained. The point is that even these so-called natural barriers are now becoming conquered, and the city is able to sprawl outwards even more. Monaco has also done something similar in that they have piled rocks into the sea in order to expand their land outwards as they have been faced with the problem of even less space. Of course with the current problem with gas prices and the environment, movement becomes an issue, as it was speed of movement coupled with an expanding population that facilitated sprawling cities, as it did in Gibson’s novels. The question is now about the sustainability of these sprawling metropolises that is again imposing a barrier upon us. Will we continue sprawling outwards, overcoming the barriers that Barcelona has overcome? Or will we like a stretch elastic, grow outward to a state in which the band can no longer take the stress, and collapses, and breaks apart into fragments? Of course it is what becomes of those fragments and how they join back together again through interstitial communities that is apart of another one of Gibson’s trilogies, but perhaps I will write about that another time. Barcelona as a city though does offer a bit of a solution in that everything is kept useable. For example, even here in the old Gothic Quarter, people still live, work, play, and lounge about amongst what by all rights is an pen air museum. Even as the city has sprawled outwards, swallowing up cities and villages and stretching out as far as the eye can see, there is still a sense of keeping things, but also keeping them for usage. Just as the people in the Bridge Trilogy, another of Gibson’s series, would do with the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. Anyways, I am starting to ramble and I really should get back to work, as that is what I am technically on this floating hunk of pollution to do. In the meantime though, merci beaucoup.

Euro Manga and Anime

So the big J is in Europe for a few months and I finally finished read Roland Kelts wonderful book on the supposed Anime Invasion of the US. However, it is a much more global phenomenom than that. In Barcelona, I slid past the old castle and throne of the old Catalan Royal Family and right next door along the Roman walls in which the castle was built along was a shop with large letters advertising ‘COMICS’ and ‘MANGA’ in bold capital letters. In Cannes, amongst the cafes and bakeries there were anime figurines proudly displayed in the window of a shop selling expensive statues of such shows as Totoro and Magical Lyrical Nanoha. Japan is like way cool over here as well. In the small port town of Citivecchia in Italy, you can even buy the latest Naruto manga volume from newspaper stands on street corners. The more I look the more I see it, and the more I think it is a case of the US, and Canada for that matter, not being invaded, but catching up to the global phenomenom.

HiSciFi – May.9.08- Akiba Blog, Spectacular Spiderman, Anime, and the Platypus Genome

Today Irma and Jevon are joined by Jesse Betteridge, the blogger and newsman behind Zannen Canada and we discus anime, the new and fantastic Saturday Morning animated Spectacular Spiderman as well as a host of news, and we finally air a wonderful interview with the good folks at the Akiba Blog, who are now offering their goodness in English!
HiSciFi – May.9.08- Akiba Blog, Spectacular Spiderman, Anime, and the Platypus Genome

Robot Dancing Competition

From 1983, so it is one year off being an Arctic Monkeys reference, but nevertheless, so cool. ROBOT DANCERS!!!

HiSciFi – May 2-08 – Skrulls Attack! Iron Man and Tokyopop

Today’s show is a bit of a comics spectacular as Free Comic Day was this weekend, so to celebrate we interviewed some comic people. First, was an interview with Lillian Diaz-Przybyl from the North American manga and comic company Tokyopop, and then we have Adam, our comic guy who runs Grey Haven Hobbies in White Rock, BC, Canada. We talk manga, gender and comics, the Iron Man movie, The Skrulls, Yaoi, and bunch of other stuff, so enjoy!
HiSciFi – May 2-08 – Skrulls Attack! Iron Man and Tokyopop

A Song For An IRC BOT!

That is right. Basshunter, who I think is German, lays down this slammin Eurobeat song dedicated to none other than an IRC BOT. Check out the video over on Youtube and get funky! He also does one about dotA which is also totally awesome.

HiSciFi – Timothy Denton, The Hobbit

Today we talk about some interesting news in Science, react to the juggernaut that is “The Hobbit,” and talk net neutrality with Timothy Denton, a renowned thinker and writer on the topic.
HiSciFi – Timothy Denton, The Hobbit

Free Comic Book Day

This is shaping up to be a big week for comic book nerds everywhere. Iron Man is hitting the theaters this Friday, and on Saturday May 3 as you crawl out of your sleepy post Iron Man night dreams, it will be FREE COMIC BOOK DAY! Every year comic shops all over the place will be giving visitors their choice of free comics which are a great way to tr out new series, check out some interesting new companies, artists, and writers. If you are interested in learning more, like what is available, etc., head over to the Free Comic Day Website to learn more.

American Kamen Rider

OH BOY MORE TRAILERS!!! I apologize, but I can’t help it. Really…. Anyways, as some of you might know, the 12th Kamen Rider series, Kamen Rider Riyuki, is set to have an American adaption done by Steve Wang, the guy behind those awesome Guyver movies. It is going to be called Kamen Rider Dragon, and is supposed to be airing sometime in the next month or two on Cartoon Network in the US. of course this has been met with some terpidation and cries of NOOOOO and WHYYYYYYY by many fans of the genre known as tokusatsu, of which Power Rangers is probably the best known example of here in North Americaland. However, with the release of the trailer, which can be seen HERE , reaction to the original announcement is turning into a HOLY CRAP YES! Instead of going with the traditional inane overly moralist kiddy fair that Power Rangers is, this is looking like a far more darker series with cool bikes, cool fights, cool cgi, cool ladies, and cool evil generals in super cool government conspiracies. Sure, there is a touch of cliche to it, and yes, they are totally going to be shilling out the toys and gadgets at your local mega toystore, but damn does this look like a lot of fun and I am pretty sure that once you see the trailer you will agree.

20th Century Boys Movie Teaser

It really has been a week of teasing. Venture Bros and now this. On the Official site for the upcoming movie trilogy, 20th Century Boys which is based on the brilliant manga by Naoki Kurusawa, a teaser trailer is up showing the Book of Prophecy and other things that really wets the appetite for part 1. The first part is due out in Japan on August 30th, and hopefully in North America ASAP! The manga is unlicensed, unlike the brilliant Monster, which Kurusawa also penned and drew, but can be found online in handy scanlations. Just check out Manga News to find yourself some copies of the manga as well as the sequel, 21st Century Boys. Both are everything you would want in complex suspense/thrillers that Kurusawa has really become a true master of. The official site also has a list of the actors involved as well as it pounds with the classic T. Rex song that many will recognize from the title.