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    • CommentAuthorLloyd
    • CommentTimeJun 1st 2010
     (8338.1)
    Hello all,

    I'm new here (this is my first post) and hopefully I've put this post/question in the right category.

    I've been re-reading and really trying to dig deep into Planetary. I'm really curious as to the references that were intended in the span of some of the stories. I quickly asked Mr. Ellis on Twitter and he directed me to come here and pose this question. Hopefully, he'll see it. If ANYONE has any thoughts on any of this or can point me in the right direction, please feel free to comment.

    I'm about 9 issues into my re-read as I type this and I'll separate my burning questions by issue number.

    Isssue #1:
    -Are there any books that are easily attainable and relatively inexpensive where one could study up on characters referenced in Issue #1 like Doc Savage, Fu Manchu, Tom Swift, Tarzan, The Spider, G-8, and Operator #5?

    Issue #2:
    -What are everyone's opinions on which Godzilla films to see? Are the references kind of pointing us to what I've found to be called "The Showa Series"? The characters say that the creatures died out on the island in the mid-seventies and the last film of this series ("Terror of Mechagodzilla") came out then.

    Issue #3:
    -This is one I'd really like some help on. It's been said that the overall action in this issue pays tribute to Chinese action films. What are some that were intended to be referenced? Or where should I start in this genre? I don't feel that I should just be some neophyte that goes and watches "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" and then says, "Yeah, I get what he was going for there..."

    Issue #8:
    -A lot of movies from the 1950's seem to be referenced here. I've read that "The Amazing Colossal Man" and "The Attack of the Fifty Foot Woman" were intended. Oh, and the title of the story is an obvious reference to "The Day the Earth Stood Still". Any others? Is Allison intended to be viewed as Marilyn Monroe?

    General:
    -When the characters say the phrase "the third man" (although the phrase "the fourth man" is much more plentiful), is that a reference to the film starring Orson Welles?

    So far, I think that's it.

    I want to thank anyone in advance for any time taken to point me in the right direction in studying these things.
  1.  (8338.2)
    This is one I'd really like some help on. It's been said that the overall action in this issue pays tribute to Chinese action films.

    Mostly the John Woo "heroic bloodshed" stuff, as I recall, things like THE KILLER and HARD BOILED. The other referent is DC's The Spectre.

    -A lot of movies from the 1950's seem to be referenced here. I've read that "The Amazing Colossal Man" and "The Attack of the Fifty Foot Woman" were intended. Oh, and the title of the story is an obvious reference to "The Day the Earth Stood Still". Any others? Is Allison intended to be viewed as Marilyn Monroe?

    Ref. Allison Hayes. Note also that some commentators have ascribed some or all of her later symptoms to having shot in areas adjacent to atomic testing sites.
  2.  (8338.3)
    -Are there any books that are easily attainable and relatively inexpensive where one could study up on characters referenced in Issue #1 like Doc Savage, Fu Manchu, Tom Swift, Tarzan, The Spider, G-8, and Operator #5?

    Oh my god. Go to Google, my child. Tons of information on them out there on the web.
  3.  (8338.4)
    I'm currently in the throes of Pulp addiction.

    The Spider is pretty great! Just getting in Doc Savage, The Avenger, and The Shadow with reprints on my shelf.
    • CommentAuthorLloyd
    • CommentTimeJun 1st 2010
     (8338.5)
    Allison Hayes! She's even actually IN "Attack of the Fifty Foot Woman"!!! Fuck... Now I feel dumb...

    I must go to this thing called Google... ;) Actually, I searched Amazon and was able to find some books that I might order that examine the pulp heroes. Pretty reasonable, too!

    Anyway... Thanks for your time! I was really curious about the Chinese films so that was really a big help. I'll start with those couple and work my way to some others. (I need to also get some mammoth book of Spectre stories, too. Hmmm...)

    Thanks, Mr. Ellis. I know you must be busy and appreciate your taking the time. And also thanks to you, Ananzitusq.
  4.  (8338.6)
    Issue 8 is one of my very favourite issues. Of all comics. Ever. As well as being a beautiful story it has loads of 50s references The giants ants come from THEM and The Deadly Mantis, Mutated faces might indicate a reference to The Fly or The Wasp Woman. The general reference to 'Atomics' being typical of the dialogue of the movies of the time (such as This Island Earth). Of course the term was bandied about vaguely with little to no accuracy but plenty of imagination. Which makes me wonder if the 'Half-Life' wasn't a subtle nod toward that...

    3rd and 4th Men- I think that's a nod toward the undercover secrecy and spy shenanigans of Kim Philby and co.? Could be wrong.

    Have you seen this fantastic and comprehensive website: Planetary Appreciation Page?

    @warrenellis: If you're in the mood to answer questions- was John Cumberland named so because, like Kent it's a county in England? Every time I point that out people look at me like I've just said something utterly baroque and that I should be sectioned for.

    Books on Pulp Characters. Hmmm. There's this on Google Books: The Pulp Hero So you could click around that. Also you can get a good number of texts off project Gutenberg and Librivox. I got A Princess of Mars (John/Jack Carter) for my MP3 player that way.
    • CommentAuthorLloyd
    • CommentTimeJun 1st 2010
     (8338.7)
    Thanks, Leigh...

    I agree that Issue #8 is great. I think it actually made me have a very vivid nightmare last night where I was in something similar to Science City Zero. Scary as hell.

    Still... the issue? Nothing but absolutely amazing...

    And I HAVE seen the Planetary Appreciaton Page. I've been going to it quite a bit. Haven't seen the pulp hero thing, though. I'll check it out.

    THANKS AGAIN TO ALL!
  5.  (8338.8)
    was John Cumberland named so because, like Kent it's a county in England?

    Pretty much.
  6.  (8338.9)
    @lloyd. I suggest you watch The Killer first, its a perfect blend, in my opinion, John Woo's Best. Hard boiled, on the other hand, can be considered by some to be excessive, like a double shot of espresso, or drinking 3 red bulls at once. It's John Woo trying to outdo John Woo.

    My advice never start with 3 redbull's.
  7.  (8338.10)
    i drink three red bulls every morning
    • CommentAuthorOddcult
    • CommentTimeJun 2nd 2010
     (8338.11)
    Hard Boiled's great. Face/Off is woo much, Hard Boiled nails it perfectly.

    Anyone who think's it's too implausible should have a read of this link, which shows how Chinese cops deal with hostage-takers and how, even then, they may come back from the dead.

    Oh, a Planetary question. I recall someone on the WEF nailing the maths behind the snowflake. I even have a vague notion that it was Ben Templesmith, or some other fiendish antipodean, at any rate.

    As this seems beyond retrieval, can you elaborate a bit about it, or point to some sources?

    And, incidentally, not to kiss arse, but if anyone wants to learn visual storytelling and specifically, how to pace and structure action in a comic, there's no better example than the Ghost Cop issue of Planetary. It really is how it should be done.
    • CommentAuthorJShilpetski
    • CommentTimeJun 2nd 2010 edited
     (8338.12)
    @Oddcult

    Master Ellis posted this a LONG time ago on his LiveJournal.


    A snowflake hanging in 196,833-dimensional space
    •  
      CommentAuthorCOOP
    • CommentTimeJun 2nd 2010
     (8338.13)
    Wow, it's interesting to think that someone is new to all the stuff referenced in those books - it seems so second-nature to me, but then, I'm old, and a nerd.

    Still, how exciting to discover all that crazy stuff for the first time, especially now that the internet makes it so easy to get up to speed on new obsessions.
    • CommentAuthorIsaacSher
    • CommentTimeJun 2nd 2010
     (8338.14)
    "Issue #2:
    -What are everyone's opinions on which Godzilla films to see? Are the references kind of pointing us to what I've found to be called "The Showa Series"? The characters say that the creatures died out on the island in the mid-seventies and the last film of this series ("Terror of Mechagodzilla") came out then."

    Just an FYI -- "Showa" is an era in Japan's history that ran from 1926 to 1989, representing the lifetime of the then-Emperor Hirohito. After he died and the new Emperor took the throne, the current "Heisei" era began. Many long-running entertainment franchises, such as Godzilla and Kamen Rider, make distinctions between shows produced during the Showa period and the Heisei period, as they are often very different thematically and in terms of production quality. According to Wikipedia, some fans also further divide up the "Heisei" era movies with the "Heisei" running from 1984-1995, and then the "Millenium" era running 1999-2004. The reason for this is that the Heisei movies formed a unified continuity, and then a new continuity was started with the Millenium series.

    But to answer your question about what to see, it really depends on what you're looking for. Some of the Showa Godzilla films were rather corny, such as "Godzilla Vs. Megalon", where he teamed up with a robot named "Jet Jaguar" (who seemed to be an Ultraman homage) to fight against two other monsters, culminating in Godzilla performing a flying two-footed jump kick while Jaguar held the target monster in place to get hit -- crazy awesome fun or mind-blastingly stupid, depending on who you ask. It really depends on how seriously you want to take your entertainment.

    For the Showa films, you really can't miss the original "Gojira". "Ghidorah, The Three Headed Monster" is a good one, but then again, I'm biased -- King Ghidorah is my personal favorite kaiju monster, and he's generally designated as Godzilla's #1 arch-rival antagonist. "Destroy All Monsters" is a fun mishmash of everything from that era. "Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla" and "Terror of Mechagodzilla" are also good, and the latter is the final film of the Showa era.

    I rather enjoyed some of the Heisei films, such as "Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah", which has an odd time-travel plot and borrows a couple tidbits from the Terminator films. I'd avoid "Godzilla vs. Space Godzilla", though -- the plot revolves around the spiritual energy of petulant children creating a psychic/telekinetic evil Godzilla clone that has giant quartz crystals for shoulders. Or something.

    For the millenium films, I rather enjoyed "Godzilla, Mothra, King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack", "Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla", "Godzilla Tokyo SOS", and especially "Godzilla FINAL WARS." The latter is just a lot of fun, and has all sorts of people in it -- like Kane Kosugi, the son of Ninja Movie legend Sho Kosugi, and Don Frye, best known for his UFC fighting career but appearring here as a military commander who looks like Josef Stalin on anti-Godzilla steroids and a damn cool hat and jacket. Final Wars is the most over-the-top of any kaiju movie to date, both in terms of the monster action, and the humans struggling alongside or against the monsters.

    And this brings me to the American Godzilla, that starred Matt Broderick. Don't bother with this one, really. Kaiju fans refer to it dismissively as GINO -- "Godzilla In Name Only", and apparently Toho Studios felt the same way. They included the GINO monster in Final Wars, naming him "Zilla", and had the real Godzilla curbstomp Zilla into the dirt with extreme prejudice, much to fandom's rejoicing.


    "Issue #3:
    -This is one I'd really like some help on. It's been said that the overall action in this issue pays tribute to Chinese action films. What are some that were intended to be referenced? Or where should I start in this genre? I don't feel that I should just be some neophyte that goes and watches "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" and then says, "Yeah, I get what he was going for there...""

    As Warren Ellis noted, "The Killer" and "Hard Boiled" are the essential pieces here. There's also "A Better Tomorrow" and "A Better Tomorrow II", also by John Woo and starring Chow Yun Fat, but those aren't as good, IMHO. I've heard some people say that the "Young & Dangerous" series, starring Ekin Cheng, is pretty good, but I haven't seen those. You could make the arguement that Jackie Chan's "Police Story" fits here, but that's stretching it, as Police Story is more of a straight action movie (albeit a VERY good one) than the Gun-Fu Melodrama that The Killer represents.

    If you want to get into larger genres of Hong Kong action... hooboy. Where to start? Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, Jet Li, Stephen Chow, Tsui Hark, Sammo Hung... just to name a few notables. There's classic kung fu films that Bruce Lee elevated, modern action sans wires, wuxia "wire-fu" action, more recent wuxia that heavily incorporates CGI, and that's not even touching upon all the subgenres and periods commonly represented.


    "Issue #8:
    -A lot of movies from the 1950's seem to be referenced here. I've read that "The Amazing Colossal Man" and "The Attack of the Fifty Foot Woman" were intended. Oh, and the title of the story is an obvious reference to "The Day the Earth Stood Still". Any others? Is Allison intended to be viewed as Marilyn Monroe?"

    Look through the catalog of Mystery Science Theatre 3000, and you'll find plenty of gems from this era. Like kaiju and Hong Kong films above, there's hundreds or more of examples to look through.
  8.  (8338.15)
    @Mr Ellis I drink three red bulls every morning

    Well, I meant if you've never had a Red Bull before, you don't start with 3. You have to build an immunity to it. You know, like crack:)


    Great, got the thread off topic again.
  9.  (8338.16)
    Issue #2:
    -What are everyone's opinions on which Godzilla films to see? Are the references kind of pointing us to what I've found to be called "The Showa Series"? The characters say that the creatures died out on the island in the mid-seventies and the last film of this series ("Terror of Mechagodzilla") came out then.


    Of the Showa Era Kaiju-eiga, it is best to watch the films "Gojira/Godzilla" and "Godzilla Raids Again," "Mothra," "Rodan," "Ghidora, the Three-Headed Monster" (which features all three of the previously-mentioned monsters as well as the titular villain), "Godzilla vs. The Smog Monster,""Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla" and "Destroy All Monsters." These have a rough sort of continuity, and are the most iconic monsters in the series. The only great Kaiju from these movies you might miss is the oft-maligned Gigan, who famously has a bird bead, hook hands and a buzz-saw on his belly. Godzilla is a villain in the first few movies, but eventually becomes a hero and protector of Japan/Earth.
    • CommentAuthorLloyd
    • CommentTimeJun 2nd 2010
     (8338.17)
    Hey all,

    Thanks for all those tips.

    And yeah, I know I'm a little late to the party on these references and really reading this series. Truth is, I've actually read most of it before. It's just that this time I'm really trying to immerse myself in it. I do that with things. I'll read/watch/listen to them the first time, go away for a while, and then come back and just dissect them. It's a weird thing I do. When I come back to whatever the thing is, though, I really like to just get into it full bore and obsess over it and find out every little bit I can.

    But anyway, everyone's comments have been really very helpful. I thank you all for taking the time.

    Oh... And if anyone has anything else, BRING IT ON!
    •  
      CommentAuthorstsparky
    • CommentTimeJun 3rd 2010
     (8338.18)
    Nothing has the heart or the cheesiness of Godzilla Final Wars.

    Elijah always evoked a weird mix of Tintin (self described early on as a boy "Sherlock Holmes") and Don Rosa's (not Carl Barks) Uncle Scrooge as the Planetary Guides remind me of this tale "Guardians of the Lost Library" which reveal the true nature of the Junior Woodchucks Guidebook.

    I used to think only Clark Savage Jr. was "born" 1/1/1900 but so was this girl - Paris Mackenzie
    the Deadly Diamond

    I have an early day tomorrow - so night ... I'm positive I'm wrong on the Scrooge McDuck angle. Only I saw it.
  10.  (8338.19)
    Doing annotations of Planetary helps me appreciate the series more every time, but compiling the notes (or correcting things after I've put them online and realized I was wrong) make me realize I'm a little too quick to connect the littlest thing to something entirely unintentional, while sometimes missing the bigger picture completely.

    Is there a clear major theme slash area of examination for issues twenty-five and twenty-six that anyone can see? Twenty-five has a lot going on about the desperate lengths people will go to for power and safety, and twenty-six, of course, is shutting down the villains on a personal, global and multiversal scale, but there are lots of (seemingly?) disparate genre/sub-genre references and material going on, as well, and I'm wondering if I'm not simply missing the major chord, as it were, that draws each of those issue's elements together. It seems odd, with twenty-seven's time machine/beating death and seeing the future focus so clearly shaped, that the two issues before the epilogue seem more vague in their deconstructive/reconstructive focus.

    I may be overthinking this (or, need the last trade to come faster in the mail so I can reread), but any help is appreciated.
    •  
      CommentAuthorDarthmoga
    • CommentTimeDec 11th 2010
     (8338.20)
    I never got who Jim Wilder's story is a parallel to.