Drawn into this Sin City
Updated: Jun 30
I met Anna at Metro Callao and we went to the Telefónica building on Gran Vía which at 90 metres high was Europe's tallest building when it first opened in 1930 and quickly became Spain's most important communications hub.
This iconic building was very important during the Civil War as it was both an air-raid shelter as well as a massive target.
You could see the original floors beneath modern glass sections and I was reminded that this was where Hemingway and other foreign correspondents had to go to file reports during the Civil War.
SIN CITY: My friend Lukasz Gudaniec picturing me in a real Sin City environment.
The Telefónica building is still standing tall and it was nice to get a glimpse inside the building before we headed to Taj for a spicy Indian dinner.
Taj is located near El Congreso on Calle del Marqués de Cubas and the fact that I have been there five times should tell you that I’d happily recommend the place.
Heading home we passed the legendary Lance Tooks sketching in Casa Pueblo and I twisted Anna’s arm into joining Lance for a drink and to have a look at his sketchbook.
Lance is a bit of a renaissance man in the sense that he is a writer and I think an actor but for me, it’s his marvellous artwork that I’m drawn to. Before moving to Spain, Lance worked with amongst others, Stan “Excelsior” Lee when he worked with Marvel as an animator.
Some of Lance’s famous friends include Frank Miller of Sin City fame and also the man who gave us the marvellous monster Thanos, Jim Starlin. Oh, snap.
Anna was feeling the need for a cigarette which is why I brought her for a spicy distraction in Taj but I let her down by borrowing a cigarette for her and in an instant broke her 50-day smoke-free efforts in what must have been some of the longest and hardest days of her life.
I am so proud of Anna and her determination but with the sudden passing of her mother and many sleepless nights in the hospital before that, I am constantly reminded of Llyod Bridges in the film Airport where he admits on numerous occasions that it was the wrong week to give up smoking, drinking and even glue sniffing.
I’m sure passing her that smoke must have felt like all her efforts were gone in an instant in an almost Thanos-esque Snap but in the Latin words, "Excelsior" Ever upward Anna.
While Stan Lee gave us some of the greats such as The Incredible Hulk and Spider-Man, Frank Miller gave us some iconic movie moments with films like Sin City and 300.
He began his career penning characters such as Wolverine and creating the character Electra as well as writing the four-issue Batman comic, The Dark Knight Returns.
Sin City with its beautiful monochrome effects gave us movie magic with a comic book feel.
Jessica Alba burst onto the screen whipping away in a club where she sees the Unbreakable hero, Bruce Willis. Jessica Alba later that same year made it as a Marvel star with the character Sue Storm, the Invisible Woman.
Sue Storm is the Human Torch's sister and marries Mr Fantastic. Along with a rock monster, the Thing, Sue Storm, her husband and her brother make up the Fantastic Four but Jessica Alba has gone on to show she is a fantastic woman by creating her own company, The Honest Company which produces ethical consumer goods for baby and home.
Hanging up the whip and all the bikini costumes Hollywood had to offer her, Alba leads a billion-dollar company which started when she started to notice all the chemicals in her own home and created her own company focused on having less harmful chemicals around children in the home.
While we haven’t seen the Invisible Woman in quite some time, clearly it is possible to leave Sin City as the domesticated goddess Jessica Alba has shown.
I'm not sure how fantastic the Fantastic Four is now and I found the latest film quite boring and was surprised with the casting of a black Human Torch.
The whole film lacked spark and punch and I was disappointed by Michael B Jordan's Johnny Storm character. Jordan has played the son of Apollo but got off to a Rocky start whereas the African American actor took us by storm in Black Panther.
I never liked Chris Evans as the Human Torch in the original Fantastic Four films either but this fiery role seems to lead to better Marvel films as Captain America has shown.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe has been impressive to follow, waiting at the end of films for sneak peeks of other films such as teasing us with glimpses of Thanos and of course watching out for Stan Lee cameos.
Heroes like New Yorker Lance Tooks have been entertaining us for years, whipping up audiences like Jessica Alba, CRACK, punching Hitler like Captain America, POW and reinventing history like Frank Miller's 300, WOW.
HOLY RUSTED IRONMAN, Thank you Stan Lee Et Al for decades of sketching and inking which have created endless quotable characters for us PUNY HUMANS to enjoy and my apologies for offering Anna a cigarette in this fantastic Sin City we call Madrid.
Like Anna, we all need to avoid our very own kryptonite and become better characters.
SKETCHY CHARACTER: Lance Tooks sketches con artist Donal Trump as Bat Hombre.
THE PAPARAZZI: My friend Lukasz Gudaniec created this priceless photo ten years ago.