Posts Tagged ‘misty’

misty-comic-01

First printed in 1978, Misty was yet another creation from the comic great Pat Mills (who also co-created such pivotal comics such as ‘Action’ and ‘2000ad’), which tried to introduce something new and different to the world of ‘girls’ comics.
At the time the world of girls comics consisted of the rather formulaic adolescent tales of publications like ‘Tammy’, ‘Mandy’ and ‘Bunty’. All told pretty much the same stories that had been told for years previous. Most of which were about romance and adolescence (which apparently were the only things that girls wanted to read).  Then along came Mills with the idea of introducing an anthology comic which would treat girls more like adults and which would give them something different, something  edgier to read. That something was horror. Up until this point horror comics like those pumped out by E.C comics during the 1950’s, were aimed primarily at the male end of the reading spectrum. They provided those who read them with thrills and horrors that were both frightening and witty while generally trying to make some kind of moral point. Mills took this idea and just translated it to a more female audience, introducing more stories with females in the lead and providing situations that girls may relate more to.
Misty was born February 4th 1978 and would mark the first and arguably only time that horror comics were released, aimed directly at a female audience.  Each issue was to provide an anthology of horror from a wide variety of writers and artists with each story being standalone from the last.
Like an awful lot of British publications of the time, artwork was mainly commissioned out to artists in Europe, many of whom would never be truly be credited with their work. It’s kind of sad in a way that the art was just taken for granted. It wasn’t like today where most stories name the artists next to the writer. It was very rare to see an artist’s name in anything other than maybe a signature at the bottom of a front cover. As with lots of anthologies, the art does vary from story to story, issue to issue. This has always been evident in all forms of art and here is no exception. What really stood out for me was some of the covers which really did help create the atmosphere of what you could expect inside the pages of each issue.  This is especially true of the annuals which would generally feature beautiful paintings depicting the character of ‘Misty’. (there have been many rumours over the years of who this character was visually based on but to this day no one knows for certain.)
The stories themselves are a mixture of reasonably straight horror and comedic horror, and again highly varying in quality. Although some of the stories may not be great, a fair few were truly great such as ‘the sentinels’ which one could argue delves more into science fiction then horror.   On the whole though each issue felt fresh and different from all the other publications at the time.
Now, for a comic as different as this, it had a pretty good run with over 100 issues and numerous annuals being released before its inevitable cancellation in 1984.  It’s a great shame as although being quite niche, it provided that brightness in the wall of blandness when it comes to girls comics.
I must stress that I didn’t read them when they came out as I wasn’t even born. I am also a Male which may also tell you these stories aren’t limited to that of who it was aimed at.
The company that owns the rights to Misty, ‘Eggmont’ just don’t know what they are holding onto. For a time they also held the rights to 2000ad, which fortunately was sold and is as strong as ever. Misty on the other hand wasn’t as lucky. Many fans and even its creator Pat Mills has tried to get some of the stories re-released or a compilation released but to no avail.
It looks as though Misty is destined to remain one of the great comics that have faded for sight. It marked a great change in girl’s comics and for that it should be commended. It’s just a shame that we may never see this little gem released again as long as ‘Eggmont’ holds the rights.
So this Halloween, take a moment to think about Misty and if you’re lucky enough to still own any of the comics; turn out the light, burn up a candle and savour some of the horror that made Misty great.

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Original Cinema Quad Poster - Movie Film Posters

Who am I? What am I? Where am I? Was everything before just a dream? Why?
These questions uttered by the legendary Pokemon Mewtwo in a semi psychic monologue within the opening moments of the film set a tone unlike that of most children’s films of the time. A tone that is pretty adult in thought and in questioning. A Pokemon questioning it’s own mortality is something not seen within the show as Mewtwo is the first to speak or at least express itself in the same language as humans. It’s quite a deep subject which is only emphasised when we see him floating in a laboratory like some test subject. He was created to be the strongest, but the big word here is ‘Created’, can he still have a normal mortality if he is genetically engineered and created in a test tube? With todays technology we can see how far it has come in genetics and how it is possible to birth life in a lab, but it wasn’t as known back when the film came out in 1998. We had had successes in the field with plants and the first cloned animal ‘Dolly the sheep’ but an entirely lab created organism that grows and questions its own being is something that was still quite new and worrying to many. Many authors over the years had tackled the subject of artificial life and the possibility of machines gaining sentient awareness but these ideas were not often put into the forefront of a kids film. Children may not notice the intricacies of such philosophical ideas but viewing the film as an adult I am impressed with the depth in which the writers go to with the subject. Questions such as who we are and why we are here have been some of the biggest mysteries of the universe and ones that philosophers and the like have searched for since mankind began, so presenting it in this fantastically conceived way at the younger audience is a remarkable feat and one that almost succeeds flawlessly.
Looking past the philosophical ideologies of the film, we are presented with a tale of power and the will to find ones place in this world. Pokemon trainers from around the world are summoned (including our heroes Ash, Misty and Brock) to a special tournament unknown to them, run by the power crazed and mentally complex Mewtwo as he tries to find out why he was created and if he is truly the strongest Pokemon in existence. Along the way our intrepid trio (quarto if we include fan favourite Pikachu) struggle to understand what they are to do and how they are to ultimately stop such a powerful being. The tournament style story is reminiscent of the seventies martial arts masterpiece ‘Enter the Dragon’ in which martial artists are summoned to an island to prove who is the strongest. Although different in style, the deep underlying tone is very similar which is impressive.
With such deep and powerful ideas its only natural for the makers of the movie to put in some comic relief in the form of the bumbling Team Rocket who in my opinion are one of the only flaws of the film. Seeing them failing in their task of stealing Pokemon detracts from the rich story and characters that are presented to us and especially from Mewtwo’s innermost ideals. I understand why team Rocket are here and I understand at it’s heart the film is aimed at children, but with such an adult premise I find them hard to like.
As the film progresses some of the ideas become much deeper and the way it handles death is remarkably powerful. Rarely in a children’s film have I found myself so emotionally involved with the characters where I truly worry about their wellbeing. It again could be the fact it is a children’s film and that I didn’t expect such deepness in such subject matters but it really did blow me away. The last children / family  film I remember that made me feel this way was 1991’s ‘My Girl’ which truly aimed to show children that death is as natural as life no matter how sad it may make us feel. The addition or the questioning of mortality is so well handled and so rich in content that the film raises itself above what one may imagine when going into it.
There is one big flaw within the final act which takes the film down a level for me and that is one which I entirely understand why it was done. For me it detracts slightly from the ideas pushed upon to audience up to that point and it becomes hard to warrant it from a story point of view. It is during this moment that the tone shifts to a slightly lighter tone. It’s not that this moment (which is obvious when you’ve seen the film) wrecks what we have seen before as it does initially feature one of the films most powerful moments, its just that if the creators had truly had the guts to go with it and stick with their decision it would have been near perfect.

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As a kid I remember seeing the film on the opening weekend (and collecting the limited edition Pokemon cards you were given with your ticket). I loved it then as a much grander representation of the characters that I had grown to love through the TV show and the games. As an adult I see the film in a different way. I still get that sense of joy of seeing the characters I enjoyed back then but I also see the depth and complexities hidden within the script. Its a remarkable film in how it handles some of the deepest questions in life and death while staying fun for children and fans of the franchise.
Pokemon the first movie is an absolute must see and it really holds up as well today as it did back then. The richness of the film is something that has been lost in all of the movies that have followed but this really stands heads and tails above its followers. It is a masterpiece of animation and is probably the best thing the Pokemon franchise has pumped out since the original games.
I have little more to say other than to give the film a chance and to open your mind to some of the films questions. You never know, you may walk away knowing a little more about yourself and your own mortality