Fist of the North Star

Top 10 Comic Book Movies… in my own humble opinion

I’ve spent a while deciding which my favourite comic book movie is. Its a hard choice and one which no doubt will change over the years as new movies come out and as time changes the way I feel about the characters. I’ve put my own personal top 10 list together. We may discuss this on the podcast at some point but for now here we go.

Number 10: The Fist of the North Star


This Manga Entertainment film from 1986 was the 2nd Manga film I watched. The first was the classic Akira. I remember reading 2000AD during the early 90’s (1994) and they were releasing Manga movies on VHS and advertising them within the comic. This sparked my interest as the box clearly showed extreme violence and the 18 certificate also excited my young mind. I got my mum to purchase the film for me after saving up with my paper round money and I was not disappointed.

The film follows Kenshiro, a deadly martial artist who has his fiancé kidnapped whilst they are travelling by Shin, a former friend. Kenshiro is left for dead in the deadly wastelands of a post nuclear war landscape. The story follows the fight of Kenshiro to get his fiancé back and stop the growing armies within the wastelands. That of course is a very basic run down of the movie and the story at the time didn’t really matter to a teenage me. The fighting and violence are over the top with blood spraying out in all directions and heads exploding during battles. It was unlike anything I’d seen before and I loved every bit of it.

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The comic was released between 1983 to 1988 as a weekly serialised comic. It was then adapted into a TV series running from 1984 through to 1988 with the film made during this time by the same studio. It was also made into a live action movie but let’s not talk about that. Its well worth watching but as usual make sure its the original version and not the English dub.

Coming at ya…. a little more often.

The past few months have been fun and through the podcast and the Comic Art Festival we have chatted to people who we would never had of done before. Because of this and the amount of interviews we have planned we have decided to release an episode twice a month on the 1st and the 15th of every month starting May 1st.

We hope we can give you listeners more of the content you want and be more on the ball with comic news. Our next episode should also feature an interview with the author of the amazing Fighting Fantasy books, co-creator of Games Workshop & Eidos president Ian Livingstone.

The big news today is the release of the above art work by Michael Cho for the festival. Find out more about the piece plus an interview with Michael on the Down The Tubes website. 

Freeway Fighter

Back in the day when I was just a little northern lad I’d sit in my bedroom reading the masterpieces that were Ian Livingstone & Steve Jacksons choose your own Fighting Fantasy books. I remember Deathtrap Dungeon being my first which took me into a world of dungeons and monsters. Over time I saved up and collected most of the books with Freeway Fighter being one of them.

Titan comics is publishing a comic series based on Freeway Fighter and after reading issue one I now want more. As soon as the comic opens it feels very Mad Max as it’s set in an open world ravaged by a virus. The story follows racing driver Bella De La Rosa and her struggles to survive.

The art is fantastic and really gives a feel for the world she is trying to live in and it feels so rugged and desolate you can understand the terror of the world. I look forward to reading more of this series and hopefully more Fighting Fantasy books turned comics in the future. 

If you enjoy Fighting Fantasy books check out our other podcast House of Geek where we are reading through an adventure each episode. 

Hulk Smash… Thor Ragnarok Trailer

The Hulk is one of my favourite characters. The character has so much depth even though on the front of it he’s nothing more than an angry beast shouting “smash” every few seconds. One of my favourite story lines is the Planet Hulk and World War Hulk story line. Having Hulk create a life for himself on a distant world only then to have it destroyed causing The Hulk to want to wage war on planet Earth is exciting and scary at the same time.


Hearing that the new Thor movie was to include the Hulk and take part of the Planet Hulk story excited me. I would love to see the story played out fully but even part of it is good enough. Now we have the new trailer for the movie and seeing Hulk come out into the arena ready to fight Thor dressed in his Planet Hulk outfit sent excitement and giddiness around my entire body.

And the line… he’s my work colleague…. well.

I’m really looking forward to this movie which is the first time I’ve said that of a Thor film. Look out for a future episode where Nikki and myself will discuss our favourite movies based off comics. Let us know yours via Twitter or Facebook.

Episode 2- Emma Vieceli & Sean Phillips

Welcome to episode 2 of the Lakes International Comic Art Festival Podcast.

In this episode we feature two interviews. First with festival patron Emma Vieceli who also provides us with a fabulous piece of music entitled Night and Day. Following on from that is a great interview with fellow patron Sean Phillips who has created some amazing comics with Ed Brubaker.

We have segments from Mike and Pete and we review Kill or Be Killed, MPH and Snot Girl as well as the new Netflix show based on a manga Samurai Gourmet.

Close music entitled Tame the Beast from local Kendal band Solomon. If you fancy seeing them play you can on April 29th 2017 at the Union in Kendal and Rock the Fells Festival in Millom in July.

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In the show we review and discuss

Kill or be Killed by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips

MPH by Mark Millar and Duncan Frgredo

Snotgirl by Bryan Lee O’Malley and Leslie Hung

Thank you for listening.
Twitter: @comicartfestpod
Facebook: ComicArtPodcast

Also on YouTube

Find all about the festival at
Logo designed by Pete Taylor at

Lakes Festival to Celebrate Will Eisner Centennial

The Lakes International Comic Art Festival recently announced that this years festival will mark the centennial of Will Eisner’s birth with three exciting projects to celebrate the work and impact he had on the comic industry.

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Eisner started supplying strips to comic publishers in 1936, encouraged by his school friend and future Batman creator Bob Kane. He set up a studio with former editor Jerry Iger, employing a staff of comic artists to draw strips for a range of early comic book publishers. The Spirit, Eisner’s most famous and lasting creation premiered in a weekly syndicated Sunday newspaper supplement in June, 1940. Eisner was able to deliver stories to his more mature audience using innovative storytelling techniques, drawing inspiration from cinema and film noir in particular.

After, a stint in the Army during World War II, Eisner continued The Spirit and set up a company producing educational comics, particularly used for training purposes. He produced a number of autobiographical long form comics, helping to popularise the term ‘graphic novel’. He created one of the first major works on comics theory with the publication of ‘Comics & Sequential Art’ in 1985. He continued to produce comics right up to his death in 2005.

The Lakes International Comic Art Festival is commemorating 100 years since Will Eisner’s birth in the following ways:

A broad sheet sized centennial comic, with contributions from contemporary comic greats such as Sean Philips, Ed Brubaker, Jason Latour and many more.

An exhibition at the Brewery Arts Centre of Eisner’s comic artwork from throughout his long career with rare pages and several complete Spirit stories.

A competition for students to illustrate ‘The Spirit of the Lake District’

Full details of these great events are on

Keep listening to the Podcast, where we will be examining Will Eisner’s life and  his astounding contribution to comic art in future episodes.

Midlife Tattoos

As we discussed in episode one Nikki and I decided to go and get tattoos. Now this could be seen as a midlife crises and to be honest it probably is but we did it and are now proud tattooed nerds. We went into the Voodoo Lounge here in sunny Kendal with Nikki having hers done first. Her choice was Totoro from the Ghibli films which she has had a life long love of. As the tattoo began upon her leg she looked at me wincing and pulling faces. You see I’m a bit of a wimp and fear needles so the thought of multiple needles cutting into me for multiple hours could of sent me running. It didn’t however. After an hour Nikki’s was done and it looked awesome.

I opted to have a Dredd tattoo. Originally I wanted Mean Machine however the image I wanted would of taken too long for my mind to accept the pain…. yes I’m soft. I decided to choose the new picture of Dredd designed by David Aja for the 40th anniversary edition of 2000AD. I didn’t consider the amount of black in the picture and when the template was placed on my arm it looked like a horrific experiment gone wrong. After 2 hours however it came out perfect and even got a yay and a retweet off David Aja himself.

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Both of us are so happy with the work weve had done and are considering more. I say considering Nikki has decided 100% to follow on with more Ghibli artwork on her leg. The pain wasn’t so bad, essentially just bearable.

So now…. what shall I have next? – Ian



Episode 1- Charlie Adlard and Pete Taylor

Roll up roll up episode one of the Lakes International Comic Art Festival Podcast is here. In the show we interview Monster Kids creator Pete Taylor and Walking Dead artist Charlie Adlard. We feature music from Charlie’s band The Cosmic Rays and local music duet The Wyld.

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Be in with a chance of winning two amazing prints. A signed Dave McKean print from Black Dog: Dreams of Paul Nash and The Lake District – For Comics and Quiet Imaginings by Charlie Adlard. Listen to the show for details on how to win.

In the show we review and discuss:

Black Dog: The Dreams of Paul Nash by Dave McKean

Dragon Heir Reborn by Emma Vieceli

Paris by Maarten Vande Wiele

Tokyo Is My Garden by Boilet and Peeters

Thank you for listening.
Twitter: @comicartfestpod
Facebook: ComicArtPodcast

Find all about the festival at
Logo designed by Pete Taylor at




Comic Art Festival Podcast Episodes Zero 1 & 2

Well here it is the Lakes International Comic Art Festival Podcast. We launch today March 1st with three episodes. The first two are introduction episodes and can be found below:

Episode Zero 1: About Us

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We introduce ourselves, our two contributors Chris and Mike and our plans for the future of the show.

Episode Zero 2: About the Festival and Kendal

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We interview the director of the Lakes International Comic Art Festival Julie Tate. Mike and ourselves also talk about why we love Kendal.
Twitter: @comicartfestpod
Facebook: ComicArtPodcast

Find all about the festival at
Logo designed by Pete Taylor at

Batman: Knightfall

Continuing my recollection of favourite comics from my past leads me to another comic from when I was a teen. Batman had been a favourite for so long so when the fact that Bruce Wayne was to have his back broken came out I knew I had to read it. Having no knowledge of where to find this story due to having no availability that I knew of as a teen in the UK in the early 90’s I had to wait for the BBC to produce an audio drama which came out 2007 to read the full story. I did however discuss the story to my father who somehow managed to get me a copy of Batman 500 which I still own now.


The story set over multiple volumes brings in two new major characters into the Batman world. The violent vigilante Azrael and the scheming super intelligent super strong Bane. Bane who wants to be the strongest and defeat anyone he sees as a threat puts his sights on Batman. He releases Gotham’s in mates who Batman has to go and try and catch. Eventually Bane confronts a tired and run down Batman and defeats him breaking his back in the process. Wayne has his new apprentice Jean-Paul Valley take over the role of Batman, Jean-Paul had previously been an assassin for a religious order and as he takes on the role of the Bat he moves it into a more violent style happy to kill his opponents. He defeats Bane using his new armoured suit and then continues in the role in his own violent way.

Bruce sees he isn’t right for the role and heals himself over time eventually taking on Jean-Paul using strategy and cunning rather than a direct fist fight. He is then left to take back the cowl and repair the Batman name.


When I eventually read the comic it didn’t disappoint. The art drawn by numerous artists over the three volumes is superb. Bane comes across as this monster and is huge compared to Batman. His cunning and the use of venom made him my favourite villain within the Batman universe. He has appeared in numerous comics since as well as a brilliant re-appearance in the cartoon Batman of the Future where he is a wreck drug obsessed old man.

The film The Dark Knight Rises takes the basic story line of Knightfall with Bane breaking the Bat. I personally would love the whole arc filmed as it deserves it. The comic followed the Death of Superman arc which we have kind of seen in the new Batman v Superman film so who knows what the future holds. – Ian

Knightfall Wiki Page for all the writers and artist information.