Friday 28 December 2007

The Imaginary Review Comics Review of the Year

2007 was probably the best year for comic books since 2005. Loads of exciting things happened, heroes came, heroes died, heroes became villains and some villains turned into dogs. The most talked-about event in the comic book world was Marvel's massive crossover, Civil Union. Readers were stunned when Captain America and Iron Man became the first super-powered same-sex marriage in comics history; all summer long the villains of the Marvel Universe tried to break up the union, including Kang the Conquerer, who ultimately died at the hands of Iron Man's mother. The X-Men got involved, baking some cakes and agreeing to help with the catering of the wedding, and Spiderman and Moon Knight provided the music. The shock of the event was when The Thing and Sleepwalker argued over who would read their speech first, and both killed each other. The comics world was shocked until it was revealed that the whole thing had been a dream all along.

DC had a pretty amazing year too. The most popular new series was Matter-Eater Lad's solo series, still going strong, despite the whole storyline being a dream. Best issue of the series had to be #4, when Matter-Eater Lad is involved in a hotdog-eating contest against that Japanese guy, with the fate of the world at stake!

The best new character in a comic book in 2007 had to be Dog Man. Dog Man is a man, with all the powers of a dog! People said Image Comics were running out of ideas, but Dog Man really does take the biscuit. The dog biscuit, that is! The best moment in Dog Man was the dream episode, in which Dog Man grows breasts (something that has now become company policy for every single new character in Image Comics).

Shock of the year was the return of Ectoboy, Clive Barker's rubbish super hero child thing. He died again after two issues, then the whole thing turned out to be a dream, and it was never spoken of again.

Worst idea for a comic book character? That has to be Window Man, who I just made up.

With more and more comic books being turned into movies - Ghost Rider, Superman Returns, The Fantastic Four, What If?: The Movie, Cry of the Ragman, Superman's Pal Jimmie Olsen Returns, Clive Barker's Hyperkind, Justice League Antarctica, Lois Lane: Superman's Girlfriend Returns and Dolphindroids: The Movie - 2007 was interesting as they were all crap, with the exception of Dolphindroids.

So, what can we look forward to in 2008? Well, Marvel have announced that all of the X-Men will die in March, with many of them returning in June (and then the whole thing being a dream). DC are expected to bring back every single one of their characters who has ever died. This may or may not be a dream (it probably will be a dream). Image are hyping up their latest hero, Boob-Woman; they're being very secretive about her appearance, however. And black and white comics will still be rubbish.

Friday 21 December 2007

The Top Ten Colours of the Year

Now that Pantone have announced their colour of the year for 2008, I feel it is my duty to reveal The Imaginary Review's top ten new colours for the past twelve months. I do these things because I care.

1) Cock-heap Pink

It was impossible to move this year without bumping into something that was Cock-Heap pink. Walls, t-shirts, foodstuffs, even hipsters starting dyeing their hair the colour of a heap of cocks. Developed by paint scientists in conjunction with Vivid Entertainment pornographic movie studios, Cock-Heap Pink is THE colour of 2007.

2) Gribbon

Gribbon is an entirely new colour unlike any other refractive light effect that the brain has interpreted by assigning a mental visual category to, ever. As such, it's completely invisible to the naked eye and can only be seen with a special camera that converts light into music, music into eggs and the eggs back into colours. While somewhat messy, Gribbon is now the national colour of Tanzania.

3) Avocado Suicide

Nobody has ever seen the colour Avocado Suicide, but it's always there, lurking behind sofas and inside volcanoes. Shying away from humans, this colour came to international prominence when it was detected by celebrity psychic Derek Acorah in March.

4) Mental Brown

Another laboratory-created colour, Mental Brown is 40% heavier than other colours and has a definite refraction index of around point 4. This means that it looks particularly nice in kitchens.

5) Wikihue

When the project to create a new colour using the collaborative efforts of internet users was announced, critics scoffed. And then the people acted, and added splashes and dashes of all kinds of different colours together in one giant month-long colour creation exercise. The result? A dirty black mess and some smug grins from the critics.

6) Parodius Purple

'Parodius' was a Japanese Super Nintendo game that was a parody of side-scrolling shoot-em-ups like R-Type. Parodius Purple is a colour somewhere between lilac and eggplant.

7) Yello Yellow

Crazed Teutonic dance music pioneers Yello, creators of 1980s hit singles 'Oh Yeah' and 'The Race' have moved into colour invention. Unsurprisingly, their first effort is a take on their own namesake, yellow. Yello Yellow is a fantastic creation with a catchy bassline and which samples 'Doctor Beat' by Gloria Estefan and Miami Sound Machine. Ideal for window frames.

8) The Colour of Love

This year, scientists discovered the colour of love and bottled it. It's a bit like turquoise.

9) Rhymeswith Orange

Rhymeswith Orange is something of a paradox. Apparently nothing rhymes with orange, but here's something that is Rhymeswith Orange. When this paint was released in America, it was immediately removed from the shelves as it caused many shoppers' heads to explode. That's one reason why it made its way on to my list. The other is because it smells nice.

10) Omnigreen

After an explosion in a nanobot factory knocked over a wall in a paint factory, nanobots began inventing their own colour with which they proceeded to cover everything on the planet. For two days in August, everything was omnigreen until the governments arranged for giant sprays to clean everything. Even now the colour can be seen in areas that weren't cleaned, including house foundations and France.

Sunday 16 December 2007

The Imaginary Review's Christmas Toy Special

An Imaginary Review Special: The best new toys for Christmas! (Or Kwanzaa)

Tickle-me Donald Rumsfeld

The kids are going crazy for the Tickle-Me Donald Rumsfeld doll, priced 32.99 from some places. A lovable likeness of the former US Defence Secretary, when you tickle the doll his face goes all cross and he says 'no!' in a stern voice while crossing his arms. The doll also has a string which, when you pull it, makes him say his 'Known Unknowns' speech, or cry.


Board games will never go out of fashion (until the year 2030 when they will go out of fashion), and the best new one on the market is Pat-a-Cow, from Adolph Brothers Games. You play a cow, wandering around the board and trying to avoid catching BSE and foot and mouth, pooing in as many fields as possible. One player has the role of mobile abbatoir, and must capture all the cows before they evolve into butterflies. Fun and educational.

Penguin Hunt

Aimed specifically at younger kids, Penguin Hunt is a shooting gallery-style game. Small penguins slowly waddle across the screen and it's up to the player to throw their tomahawk at them. With realistic blood and gore rewarding the successful player, this is one unforgettable game. The makers, Shatner and Kremlin Games Inc. admitted in a recent press release that they 'totally misunderstood their target audience' and that they expect to file for bankruptcy soon.


For some reason kazoos are becoming really popular. Parents are stockpiling painkillers as we speak.

Barclays Bank Board of Directors Action Figures

Forget Action Man and She-Ra, the biggest action figures this year are faithful representations of the directors and officers of Barclays Bank. Re-enact exciting boardroom meetings and hostile takeover bids with all your favourite bank CEOs! Discuss corporate strategy and market segmentation in your own bedroom! Fans of these toys will be eagerly awaiting the Insider Trading Courtroom Expansion Kit, available next Spring.

Nail-Gun Frenzy Barbie

The Mattel Corporation were recently accused of running out of ideas for their flagship doll. Nail-Gun Frenzy Barbie is the company's answer to their detractors. With a snarl on her face and a working nail-gun in her hands (batteries not included), this doll really means business. The package includes a list of addresses of all the Mattel Corporation\'s detractors. Girl power!

Thursday 13 December 2007

2007: The Year in Films

In the next in my series of year-end lists, I assume you care about which films I enjoyed this year. Care, damn you!

1) James Bond and the Shadow of the Colossus

The best film by far was the new James Bond film, which came out in September. Based on the popular video game, Shadow of the Colossus, Bond is sent to a desert by Q as MI5 believe there is a terrorist cell training there. Instead he uncovers a series of giant monsters whom he must fight using magnetic pens and bomb-laden watches before saving the girl and driving around in an invisible flying car. Willem Dafoe is excellent as the main monster boss baddie.

2) The Quintessence of Despair

Apparently this period drama was conceived, written, filmed and acted with the sole intention of winning every single Oscar available. This goes some way to explaining how good the film is (The 30 minute 'weeping' scene was particularly moving), but it also explains why half of the film is animated and why Maria, the destitute beauty in love with a nobleman, is played by a CGI-generated dinosaur. In the end, the only Oscar that this film didn't win was best supporting actress, which was won by Meryl Streep in another film.

3) Stephen King's Planet of the Stephen Kings

The best horror film of the year had to be this one, in which Madchen (Twin Peaks) Amick and Mark-Paul (Saved by the Bell) Gosselaar wake to find themselves on a parallel Earth which is populated by millions of bespectacled best-selling horror writers. Apparently the story is based on the writer's view of what an ideal, Utopian Earth would look like. Either way, this is a great film, especially with the brilliant twist ending (it's all a practical joke).

4) Dptinh

The best foreign film of the year was Dptinh, a Latvian film about a spring. Starring Nsfvhrn Smivk and Higb-Paul Hoddrlsst, the story follows two people's quest to find a spring that they lost as children. The cinematography of this picture was enough to win several awards, some of them good ones.

5) Dude, I Saw Your Mom Naked

The highest-grossing comedy ever (in more ways than one!), Dude, I Saw Your Mom Naked has everything that a good film should have. Laughs, laughs, laughs and some vomit. Directed by Kenneth Branagh and featuring an all-star cast including Emma Thompson, Sir John Gielgud, James-Earl Jones, Lori Petty and Robert DeNiro, this chuckle-filled gross-fest is sure to be remembered for ever. Or at least until the next Scary Movie film comes out.

6) Dates and Quinces: The Movie

Few films have excited food lovers as much as this one, adapted from the yet-to-be-developed website of the same name. Salma Hayek stars as Alyson, a sassy cook who is determined to explore the food of a different culture at least once every month. However, an evil plan to steal the world's supply of garlic and cumin means that Alyson must battle robots made of butter and big yam monsters. A triumph.

7) Three Men and a Baby Whale

Last May, everyone was talking about the reunion everyone was talking about. Steve Guttenburg, Tom Selleck and Sam from Cheers were brought back together for the high-octane tear-jerker, Three Men and a Baby Whale. Who'd have thought the film would have bested its predecessors in every way possible? But if you thought that the three men struggled with the baby and the little lady, you had an absolute treat watching them struggle to raise a baby whale! Incidentally, check out the DVD (out later this year) which promises to feature special deleted scenes, including the tragic death of Guttenburg, squashed by his aquatic co-star in a stunt gone awry.

8) TVgoHome: The Movie

Charlie Brooker's scathing attack on mainstream television was brought to the big screen this year, with Jude Law playing the vitriolic writer. All your favourite characters from the website are rendered well (with the exception of Nathan Barley who had to be omitted for copyright reasons), and the scenes from Widdleplop Farm are quite disgusting. After the disappointment that was TheOnion: TheMovie, TVgoHome: The Movie was a breath of fresh air.

9) Project Dambusters

Another classic black and white film got the remake treatment this year. The Dambusters was a popular World War 2 film about a scientist who invents a bouncing bomb for destroying German Dams. In this version, set in modern day America, George Clooney plays a scientist who solves global warming by inventing a bouncing chicken. Some parts of the film are fairly indecipherable, but that's okay because George Clooney is DREAMY.

10) The Splendid Contraption

Of all the children's films released this year, only one of them didn't suck. That was The Splendid Contraption, our tenth best film of the year. The film, starring Agnes Moorehead and Jessica Fletcher involves a most wondrous machine. You could say it was a incredibly tremendous creation! Why, it was a zim-zam-zoomous contraption! Huzzah! Fun for all the family! Also starring Jenna Jameson and Masuimi Max.

Monday 10 December 2007

2007: The Best Computer and Video Games

Continuing my end of year list-fest, here is my top ten countdown of the best computer and video games of the year.

1) Despotic Vixen (X-Box 360 and Wii)

Despotic Vixen combines the ultraviolence of Grand Theft Auto with the world-building strategy of Sim City and the nudity of a late-night Channel 5 movie. It's a winning combination; the pace of the game is just right, and eventually the game becomes a spralling metropolis of carnage and sin. Your early decisions of who to bed or behead can determine things much later in the game, while the car-racing sidegames add even more excitement to the mix. Superb.

2) Fights on Skis (PC and PC Engine)

The sequel to the highly lauded Fights on a Train and Fights on a Plane, Fights on Skis is quite possibly the best computerised high-speed downhill fighting simulator since Winter Sports Massacre.

3) Wikipedia (PC)

Wikipedia is a massively multiplayer online strategy game in which players must add as much information as possible to an encyclopaedia without getting caught telling lies by other players. While it has been on the market for several years now, Wikipedia really came into its own in 2007 with the 'Complete list of Farscape Episodes' expansion pack.

4) Super Mario Dipthong (Wii)

Nintendo once again hit gold with their Mario franchise, this time with a game based around the Italian Plumber's quest to find words ending in '-ing'. While the controls were fiddly at first (pausing the game is only possible by doing a moonwalk), Mario Dipthong is a rewarding platform puzzler.

5) Cake Baron (PSP and PS3)

Ever wanted a pastry empire? Probably, right? Well, Cake Baron from Sony allowed millions of people to live out their dessert fantasies this year. From opening your first tart shop to crushing the neighbourhood meringue emporium and firebombing Dunkin' Donuts, this game had it all. British gamers were disappointed with the lack of jam tarts, however.

6) Extreme Chariot Racer (X-Box 360 and PS3)

Chariot racing games have been coming and going ever since the 8-bit revolution, but none have ever come close to Ben Hur Challenge on the Playstation, until now. With literally hundreds of courses (all of which are round), customisable horses and great AI for the other racers, this is certainly one of the best racing games set in ancient Rome ever. Plus there's excellent replay value too, with unlockable special playable characters including David Beckham, Ben (of Ben and Jerry fame) and BBC Royal Affairs correspondent Nicholas Whitchall.

7) Two-and-a-Half Men Fighter (Turbografix, Atari Lynx, Nintendo Dolphin and Mega-CD)

Two-and-a-Half Men Fighter allows you to beat up Charlie Sheen or any of the other cast members from the popular US sitcom. And while beating up the fat kid is fun, nothing compares to the visceral thrill that comes from punching Charlie Sheen repeatedly in the face.

8) Fraudulent Canoeist Fake Death House Hide Frenzy (PC)

A very late contender for game of the year, this topical adventure game allows you to play the role of John Darwin, the canoeist who faked his death five years ago. You are confined to your wife's house and you must find places to hide when friends, family members and police drop by. The game is played in real time, which means that it has literally years of gameplay value. If you play the game all the way through and make it to five years' worth of hiding, in 2012 you'll get to enjoy the final level, when you have to make your way to Panama, where you'll be reunited with your wife.

9) Maracas Hero (X-Box 360)

With the success of Guitar Hero and all those drumming games ringing in their ears, game manufacturers rushed to bring out more musical instrument-emulating games. While Tambourine-Shaker and Tuba-Warrior 3 were both excellent, nothing came close to this one. With music from Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass, this game brought people together in ways no other game has; indeed, this game is credited with bringing peace to the Middle East after the PLO challenged the Israeli government to a Maracas-off.

10) Owl Killer 3 (PS3, Sega Master System 2, Playstation 5)

The Owl Killer franchise has produced some good games, but this is the best of the bunch. Based on the bestselling novels by Penelope Lively, you play the role of Domenic Chevalier, the celebrated owl killer. Armed with your trust golden hammer and a whistle, you make your way through eighty-six owl-packed levels, beating the nocturnal birds to death. With music by Jarvis Cocker and graphics inspired by the paintings of Edward Gorey, this was one hot potato. Of a game.

Saturday 8 December 2007

Special Imaginary Review: Albums of the Year

It's the end of the year, and I'm a geeky male. Put those two facts together and what do you get? Lists! Here's my top 10 albums of 2007!

1) Broken Pelvis: Songs About Matthew Perry

If you'd have come to me a year ago and said that best album of 2007 would be 12 tracks of devotion to a former Friends cast member sung by an Australian band who were brought together in a snowboarding accident, I'd have punched you in the spleen and called you a bloody liar. But I'd be apologising to you now and conceding that you were right all along, possibly allowing you to give me a dead arm as compensation. This album was an emotional roller coaster, including such highlights as 'I Know You Didn't Really Love Courteney Cox' , 'I'll be Your Joey' and 'Could You Be Any More Lovely?' The first time I listened to this album, I cried. Now I only need to think about this album and I cry. I'm crying now, dammit.

2) Shatterstar: Got You in my Fridge

Shatterstar were the break-through band of the year, and Got You in my Fridge has to be the strongest debut of 2007. The album is a rip-roaring cacophony of noisy guitars and songs about homework and decapitation. Their live shows lived up to the recording, too, with the entire band playing on pogo sticks. Gimmick or not, this was music at its most exciting.

3) The London Philharmonic Orchestra with Einstruzende Neubaten: Unlistenable Tripe

Take a full orchestra, steal their instruments and give them a load of power tools. Now shoot their regular conductor and have them play the power tools while conducted at gunpoint by the German noise band Einsturzende Neubaten. What do you have? The third best album of the year, that's what. Somewhere amongst the wailing, the feedback, the unstoppable cacophony of drilling, breaking and weeping, you can literally hear the beauty.

4) Bleep: Bleep

The sound of the summer had to be Bleepcore, and the sound was epitomised by Bleep, whose album remains high on the charts despite being outlawed by the government. The critics called it 'dance music that you can listen to', and nobody is more right about everything than critics. I should know. I am one. Altogether now, 'Bleeeeeeep!'

5) Runny Egg Slippage: The Mauve Album

The Mauve Album saw Runny Egg Slippage reform after fifteen years. Nobody was holding their breath, however, as nobody heard of the band the first time around. The quality of songs like 'Tamboureeeeeeen' and 'Gruntflap' sent people flocking to second hand shops to find copies of their first album which was, unfortunately, shite.

6) Death by Dry Hump: Off Biscuits

From the other side of the pond, Death by Dry Hump made it okay to fall in love again, after it was banned by Puff Daddy in 2005. This is the sound of five men who know what they're doing with their instruments, doing their instruments. And doing it well. Fans of the band will be pleased to know that they are going to appear in the next Hostel movie next autumn.

7) Iggy Pop and Friends: Duets

While some of this album was teeth-grindingly awful, some of it was orgasmic. When Iggy and Tony Bennett sing 'Strawberry Fields Forever' together, you know that these are two men who have lived every word of this song. The uptempo cover of Aerosmith's 'Janey's Got a Gun' with rapper Snow always puts a smile on my face.

8) Bum Gravy: Self-Taught

Bum Gravy are a three-piece band who live down my road and who promised to brick my windows if I didn't give them a plug on my website. I fear them.

9) The Number Four: The Number Two

With all the hype surrounding The Number Four's follow up to their debut album, The Number One, it was easy to forget about the music. That was a shame, though, as the music was quite nice. Lead track 'Caisse Populaire DesJardins' was a stomping rocker that echoed Slade at their best, while 'Is it Wrong to eat Dolphin?' was raucous and fresh, if somewhat politically incorrect. Top.

10) There is no number 10. Sorry, I only listened to nine albums this year.

Sunday 2 December 2007

New Religion Round-Up

With the success of relatively recent religions like Scientology and Mormonism, quite a few other belief systems have sprung up from the metaphysical void. Who will be the new Jesus and who will go the way of Zeus? The Imaginary Review can reveal all in our fashionably fresh faith menagerie!

First off, Bastardisationism. This religion will definitely go far. Bastardisationism takes the best bits from all the popular existing religions and gets them horribly wrong. For example, Bastardisationists believe in the Holy Trinity of Father Dowling, Sonny Bono and the Friendly Ghost (Casper be his name). They believe that the world was created in seven minutes and that man was created from discarded barbecue ribs (which explains why communion usually takes the form of a cook-off). Bastardisationists are forbidden to get out of bed on Sundays and believe that all homosexuals must get married. This religion is getting more and more popular; celebrity adherents include Gwen Stefani and Vince McMahon.

Formbicism was started by a man in 1980. For many years the number of followers was eight, but then numbers grew and the religion hopes to have double figures by 2015. Proponents of Formbicism believe that early 20th Century singer/actor George Formby was God, and they sing ukulele hymns on the dunes of Formby, the town from where George got his name. Using a complex letter-substitution decoding method, Formbicists have revealed a series of hidden messages in popular George Formby songs, which they’ve compiled into the Gospels of George. According to these Gospels, the world was created on a Wednesday and eternal life may be gained by the judicious application of lip balm.

Another new religion that’s got everyone in a lather is Blendificationism. Blendificationism is based on the teachings of a goat in Hungary called Mister Giggles. Quite frankly, this religion is rubbish, as the main tenets are all based around eating inanimate objects, such as tin cans and carrier bags. Famous Blendificationists include Colin Powell and Daniel Radcliffe.

And finally, Shintoism is relaunching itself under the new name, ‘Happy Smile-ism’. While most of the central themes and teachings will remain the same, all of the rituals must be performed with an inane grin. Shinto deities will remain the Earth and all that is contained within, but now whenever considering a tree, large stone or mound of earth, these things must be mentally pictured with cute dotty-eyes.