Tuesday, 9 January 2018

On the 10th day of Christmas…

… this blogger gave to thee… 
… ten dystopian outlooks…
… nine resin paintings…
… eight endings too soon…
… seven shoes to choose from…
… six party dresses…
… five gold rings…
… four living hinges…
… three books for reading…
… two felted tooties…
… and a day Binging with Babish.

In a week where the President of the United States of America tweets out, I’m “a very stable genius” it doesn’t feel like we’re far off some sort of dystopian nightmare, if not already in one. You can only hope that the last year was actually an extended recording for an upcoming and completely insane episode of Charlie Brookers, Black Mirror. Otherwise, stock up on canned goods.

So far Mr. Brooker has predicted a Prime Minister interfering with a pig, computers in contact lenses, the all mighty power of social networks, likes and a sense of accomplishment, the link between death and social media as Facebook address life after death and that an erratic, sociopathic, morally bankrupt cartoon character becoming President.

Mr. Brooker, I’m pretty sure you’re a witch, but I like witches and Screen Wipe, and your books and Black Mirror, so carry on!

Black Mirror has managed to capture the not to distant future which for the most part seems not only plausible but probable, which is only marginally scarier than three more years of a “very stable genius”. Fortunately, illustrator and graphic designer is keeping things a little more old school with his nineteen seventies inspired comic book covers for each of the Black Mirror episodes – an ongoing project, which will continue alongside the dystopian dramas new releases.

And, as an added bonus, I’m going to try and describe each episode the covers refer to, in under 280 characters as an ode to social media, technology and idiotic tweets.

“The National Anthem”
(Season 1 | Episode 1 | Charlie Brooker | 2011)

Princess Susannah, has been kidnapped, and there is one demand of her kidnapper. Prime Minister Michael Callow, must have sexual intercourse with a pig. Live on television. Whilst the British public take to social media, judging the PM through plummeting approval ratings.

“The Entire History of You”
(Season 1 | Episode 3 | Jesse Armstrong | 2011)

There’s gossip in the ‘grain’ implanted behind your ear, recording everything you see and hear and easily accessible for playback after playback in your head. So, when Liam’s suspicions are peaked about his wife potential infidelity, what do you do? Rewind, replay and obsess.

“Be Right Back”
(Season 2 | Episode 1 | Charlie Brooker | 2013)

Ash died at the wrong moment. In a new house, just before Martha, his girlfriend, finds out she’s pregnant, but it’s lucky he was a social media addict. It started with a phone call, a program scouring social media to simulate his voice, then a replicate. But it’s not the same.

“White Bear”
(Season 2 | Episode 2 | Charlie Brooker | 2013)

Waking up not knowing who or where she is, then Victoria notices everyone is recording her on their phones, but not willing to talk to or help her. Then masked gun men are pursuing you, everywhere. But it’s Groundhog Day, with no sleep, just punishment and pain for your crimes.

“The Waldo Movement”
(Season 2 | Episode 3 | Charlie Brooker | 2013)

Comedian Jamie controls an erratic, vulgar, morally bankrupt CGI bear named Waldo. The character becomes so popular on late-night TV, he enters a local by-election to piss off the Conservatives. Jamie has morals, Waldo & his producer don’t, so where does that leave his career?

“White Christmas”
(Special | Charlie Brooker | 2014)

Matt and Joe are reluctantly together for Christmas, recalling being blocked by the women they love. Being blocked means you can’t see, hear or talk to that person, you’re just a blur to one another, which doesn’t always sit well, and Matt wants to get the full story from Joe.

(Season 3 | Episode 1| Charlie Brooker, Rashida Jones & Mike Schur | 2016)

Ever wonder what people think of you? No need when every interaction is rated. Lacie, is obsessed with improving her rating & goes out of her way to be nice, cheerful & rate others highly. But trying to improve her rating, via the coattails of an old friend doesn’t go as planned.

(Season 3 | Episode 2| Charlie Brooker | 2016)

Stranded in London after a bank error leaves him without money, Cooper, accepts a job testing implanted augmented reality technology, specifically a horror game. Things start to go wrong as the tech malfunctions, leaving him in trouble in his own head. All for a quick buck.

“San Junipero”
(Season 3 | Episode 4| Charlie Brooker | 2016)

Yorkie & Kelly meet one night in 1987, at a beach resort bar. Yorkie is shy, Kelly outgoing, but they connect immediately & fall in love. But there’s a decision to make, permanently download into the San Junipero community, or switch off permanently. Reality or simulated reality?

“Hated in the Nations”
(Season 3 | Episode 6 | Charlie Brooker | 2016)

DCI Parke & trainee DC Coulson investigate a series of murders linked to social media & an ADI (Autonomous Drone Insect) used to offset colony collapse disorder in bees, found in their latest victim. Now they must protect hacked ADI’s next potential target voted on by hashtag.

The last series of Black Mirror launched on Netflix on the twenty ninth of December, Butcher Billy’s been busy since and brought out the comic covers for six of the most recent episodes in the last few days. So, since I haven’t watched them yet and they wouldn’t have existed online when I was meant to finish writing this post, I’m excluding them. Because let’s face it, had I not still been writing this today, I wouldn’t have known about them yet. So go check them out for yourselves and we’ll pretend I’m not rubbish.

As for those which do exist, if these Butcher Billy covers were ever turned into fully fledged comic book versions of the Black Mirror stories, I would snap them up. The only comics/graphic novels I own are The Walking Dead: Volume 1 – Days Gone Bye. I do plan on getting more from that series, but generally I’m not going to become a collector unless a particular series or imagery really appeals. So, again, if these appear I’m buying them, but for now I’ll probably have to look forward to Brooker’s novelisation coming out in February.

Now if only Brooker had put out a 2017 Screen Wipe, last year would have been complete, but alas, it was not to be. Hopefully next year!

Happy New Year! Part eleven tomorrow… maybe… possibly… definitely before 2019…

Link || Butcher Billy | Behance | Redbubble | Society6 | Tumblr | Twitter
Link || Black Mirror | IMDb | Wikipedia | Netflix

Listening: Gossip in the Grain - Ray Lamontagne

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