The interview is on the Serious Editorial website here: https://siriuseditorial.wordpress.com/2018/09/05/q-a-with-fantasy-author-aj-dalton/
So, Channel 4 (UK) launched the new superhero series Agents of SHIELD this week. Was it any good? Bubble gum stuff really… which in Dalton’s world simply isn’t good enough. Missed opportunity. Look, I’m an oldschool Marvel fanboy, I even used to work in a comicbook store. The stuff that is being peddled on C4 at the mo just lacks the grit of the comics I used to read. There was no menace whatsoever. The ‘baddie’ was simply a misunderstood guy who fell in with evil scientists cos he needed the money to look after his family.
The episode had the required wise cracks that are a hallmark of Marvel, and enough babes and dudes to satisfy the eye, but the plot was just too thin – made even thinner by the fact that there was a commercial break every five minutes, meaning that actual screen time for the entire episode can’t have been more than 40 mins of the entire scheduled hour. To be generous, then, it was hard for the writers to fit in character introduction on top of a compelling plot. Something had to give, and sadly it was the plot. Maybe the jury’s still out, though, since there were plenty of nods towards larger themes that still need to play out, and hints about a clandestine movement working against SHIELD. So, I’m gonna give it a second episode, but it better start delivering overtime! … Especially when there are series like Game of Thrones being produced that are of a much higher standard.
Groovy little interview with yours truly on the rather splendid Strange Alliances site: http://strangealliances.wordpress.com/2013/01/05/a-j-dalton-on-metaphysical-fantasy/
It may be the UK’s biggest ever grossing film, but all that proves is that marketing can sell things. It doesn’t prove the film’s any good. Indeed, it isn’t too good in the following ways:
1. From a feminist perspective. Look what happens to the three female characters in the movie. The ‘girlfriend’ is shot in the head. The character of M is killed and replaced by a man. Moneypenny is pulled out of the field and reduced to the position of a glamorous secretary behind a desk. After all, as the refrain of the film goes, and as Moneypenny is told time and again, the action and lead roles ‘aren’t for everybody’. The refrain may as well be, the action and lead roles ‘aren’t for women’. Are there any more female characters? If you look closely, there’s a Turkish bird that James Bond shags on the beech. She isn’t allowed a single spoken line and she simply ‘disappears’. Shame.
2. The last third of the film isn’t about plot coherence, it’s about having an action sequence for a computer game. The old helicopter gunship appears yet again. How many Playstation Bond games have I completed with precisely this ‘final stage’ in it? Too many. I wouldn’t mind, but it really doesn’t make a lot of sense in Skyfall. The plot is thrown completely out of the window. One happened to the entire premise of the names of agents being revealed on Youtube week by week? We are never told. The plot is not central to this film in any way, shape or form. Shame.
And yet it made loads of money and the franchise is healthy once more. Hmm. I must learn from this. Maybe Empire of the Saviours should be rewritten so it has a helicopter gunship at the end. Maybe Hella and Freda need a bullet to the head.
The Knight of Ages is now at large and bringing terror to the land. He is believed to be armed and highly dangerous. Evil-doers are strongly advised not to approach. A nice (if minimalist) cover by Oli the artist. What more could you want?
The Stone Roses will be playing a gig with me at Waterstones Bradford this Saturday (26 May) from 11am. Never done a book signing in Bradford before, so interested to see what it’s like. There’s a nice park in the centre or something, but the mate who told me that might have had his tongue planted firmly in cheek. Then I’ll wanna get home quickly afterwards, for the Eurovision 2012! (Alright, I admit, the bit about the Stone Roses wasn’t exactly true.)