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Topics - AlexF

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1
Books & Comics / The Motherless Oven
« on: 20 June, 2017, 10:47:08 am »
Just finished reading this utterly bonkers comic by Rob Davis. Anyone else had a go?

It's the weirdest metaphor for teenage life in 1970s/80s Britain I could hope to imagine, and wouldn't be out of place in 2000AD.

All the children have a deathday - the date they're going to die. Their parents are mechanical contraptions. All devices, from tin openers to teapots are known as gods. The weatherclock is the most important, as it warns you when it's about to start raining knives. The streets are ruled by marauding gangs of teen rock bands. There are a handful of scary OAP humans who seem to be in charge of everything.

I can't form coherent thoughts about it, but I loved it. There seems to be a sequel, too, so i'll have to hunt for that.

2
Books & Comics / New Bookshelf review
« on: 18 June, 2017, 06:58:11 pm »
So it seems to be the done thing on this board to post photos when you get a new bookshelf in your life. Here's mine!



It has that oh so lovely bit of extra space for adding extra volumes. I'm especially pleased to get more room for the Case Files, which had completely maxed out a shelf on my old cheap freestanding job.

3
General / 2000AD in Nature
« on: 03 March, 2017, 09:12:49 am »
No, not 'nature' as in '2000AD has been released back into the wild where it can roam free and assault passing hikers', Nature as in the long-running super-influential science magazine where like proper research scientists publish their articles to be read by other proper scientists. They did a small peice on 2000AD recently.

My dad (he was a neuroscience editor on the mag for a time) sent me a link:
http://www.nature.com/news/sci-fi-comic-still-has-thrill-power-1.21569

4
General / Black History Month
« on: 14 October, 2016, 09:28:55 am »
It's Black History month!
For reasons that I don't entirely understand, I felt compelled to idenitfy a list of black and minority ethnicity characters from 2000AD, and have ended up writing three enormously long blog posts about the topic.

Which I couldn't resist titling 'BAME! POW! Comics get diverse'

Part 1 is here:
http://meanwhileon.blogspot.co.uk/2016/10/bame-pow-comics-get-diverse-part-1.html
(on my old largely defunct blog because it doesn't really fit in with the 'Heroes of' theme)

I think it's fair for 2000AD fans (and creators, obvs) to take some pride in the fact that there's no need to shout about it, Marvel style, every time a prominent black character appears - it's just been part of the Prog since the beginning. Of course, it's not exactly a spotless record of diversity and inclusiveness.

Oh, and because it's not obvious but feels relevant, I should say that I am a white guy. I'm so white I'm actually half-German.

5
General / 2000AD fantasy film season
« on: 26 September, 2016, 03:16:14 pm »
If I was in charge of programming at one of the film-based Freeview Channels, say Film4 or the Horror Channel, I’d try to programme a series based around the films/TV shows that inspired, and were inspired by, 2000AD stories.

I’m sure boring reasons around rights mean this would never actually happen, but wouldn’t it be neat to get even a few of these together somehow, along with, of course, screenings of Future Shock and the two Dredd movies.

Anyway, here are some starter lists, grouping films into various categories of inspiration. I feel that some of these examples are almost boringly well-known; others less so. I also don’t know if anyone’s ever gathered a definitive list anywhere. Please add in examples I’ve missed off!

1. Films that inspired 2000AD

Hell Drivers – gave birth to Bill Savage and Invasion (it’s also really exciting!)
Rollerball – gave birth to Harlem Heroes / Inferno
The Six Million Dollar Man – MACH One (I’ve never actually seen it; presumably there are some choice episodes)
Death Race 2000 – inspired the look of Dredd, (and is laced with the kind of black humour that 2000AD thrives on; also a lark of a film)
Dirty Harry – a more obvious influence on Dredd
Jaws – the archetypal killer monster movie, with a direct link to Hookjaw (from Action comic), and in turn to Flesh and more obviously Shako
Damnation Alley – gave birth to the Cursed Earth storyline

and, from more recent years:

X-Files – without this, there’d be no Vector 13 or Black Light
Pulp Fiction – Sinister Dexter
The anthology films of Hammer and Amicus, e.g. Asylum, The House that Dripped Blood, and a bunch of Doctor Who – Caballistics, Inc + Absalom
Jason & the Agonauts  / The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad / The Golden Voyage of Sinbad – the Harryhausen elements of these films directly link to the Read Seas.


2. Films inspired by 2000AD stories

Hardware – wittingly or not, it’s a direct adaptation of Shok! (and it’s pretty decent, too)
RoboCop – would not exist without Judge Dredd
Universal Soldier had loose (but not that loose) connections to Rogue Trooper,
as did Soldier
BloodRayne – based on a computer game very directly inspired by Harrison era Durham Red
E.T. / Boys from the Blackstuff – Skizz is a mash-up of these two
O.C. & Stiggs – the very direct antecedent of DR & Quinch, which I’ve never seen

3. Films inspired by 2000AD generally, or films that just have that 2000AD feel about them (this list could probably go on forever)
Accion Mutante + Day of the Beast (seriously, check ‘em out!)
Avatar – I doubt it was even slightly deliberate, but the film is mash-up of Maniac 5 and Firekind (with both the fun and intelligence sucked out)
Underworld – a not-as-good similar story to A Love Like Blood
Moon

4. Films made by people with an explicit 2000AD connection
Shaun of the Dead (although, for me, The World’s End is the Wright/Pegg film that feels most as if it could have run in 2000AD as a strip)
Ex Machina
Mad Max: Fury Road (and I suppose highlander II: the Quickening. But who wants to see that again?)
The Book of Eli

6
General / The Great Unreprinted list
« on: 10 August, 2016, 08:41:36 am »
There are various threads on here asking for stuff to get reprinted in collected editions, or Megazine floppies at the very list, but I don't know if there's a definitive list of all the strips that haven't been given this treatment. Anyway, I couldn't resist having a go. Hope this is the right place to post it!
It's a long list, but really not as long as you might think.

7
Other Reviews / Monster
« on: 18 July, 2016, 05:37:55 pm »
I had never even heard of Monster until the new collection was advertised. The mixture of Alan Moore, John Wagner and Jesus Redondo made it a must buy book, and now I've read it.

It's a damn-near perfect iteration of the sort of strip that doesn't exist any more, and I suppose may never exist again. It's also a slightly odd thing to come to with no context. I can imagine people who read the odd issue of Scream or the 80s Eagle would have fond memories, and may be curious to know how it started, or what happened across the series as a whole, but reading through the whole thing from beginning to end with no nostalgia factor is odd.

Nonetheless, the book holds up well, I think. The opening episode by Alan Moore and artist Heinzl is moody and spooky. It doesn't actually get as far as introducing the Monster himself, and I gather that no one knows what Moore himself intended to do with the story. Under the pens of Wagner, Grant and Redondo, what we get is a road trip in which a boy and his monstrous uncle are on the run from the police, and end up getting into scrapes which involve an average of two murders per epsiode.

As you'd expect from Wagner & Grant, it's both dark and hilarious in equal measure. Best of all, they somehow sell each episode as making perfect sense. There's an element of conicidence along the way (the unfortunate pair run afoul of crooks far more often than friendly folk), but within that young hero Kenny makes sensible decisions, and the Monster is consistent in his emotions and reactions, and it's all so sad that he just keeps having to murder his way out of trouble!

There's a great bit where Kenny tries to explain to a police officer that it's really not Uncle Terry's fault he keeps killing, and you sympathise, but at the same time the cop has no time for it and you sympathise with his point of view, too.

As times the story can feel a bit samey from episode to episode - which was sort of the point with throwaway comics of the era - but there's always a ongoing situation to play out. And when that sameness involves a lumbering beast of a man slurring words and murdering people who sort of deserve it, it's classic 2000ADish fun.

It's all very League of Gentlemen / Psychoville, and if that's your thing I'd definitely recommend the book.

Somehow it manages to have a coherent and sort of happy ending, too - although I've yet to read the text stories at the back which may upend things...

8
Books & Comics / Luther Arkwright
« on: 18 July, 2016, 05:13:16 pm »
So I’ve just recently finished reading Bryan Talbot’s ‘Adventures of Luther Arkwright’ (the Dark Horse collected edition). It’s the sort of comic that you just have to talk about afterwards, and I’m hoping to find a receptive audience here!

In short, it’s blinding. So many ideas, such marvellous art, weirdly compelling characters (some of whom are only in it fleetingly), and I suspect massively influential on a lot of British comics creators who read it as it first came out.

It’s also super dense and difficult to follow, to the point that I tried to let it wash over me rather than trying to stay on top of the overarching plot. I wouldn’t recommend trying to read it in one go, but I’d definitely recommend it.

Did anyone here read it in small doses wherever it was printed first time around? That must have been something both astounding and frustrating, as I gather it had a tricky publication history, to say the least.

For 2000 AD fans, there’s obviously a fair bit of overlap with some of the tone of Nemesis: the Gothic Empire (which Talbot drew, presumably hired on the strength of his Arkwright work). But I reckon there’s more than a passing love for Luther Arkwright in the work of Grant Morrison and definitely John Smith, to pick just two names (Invisibles, The Filth and Indigo Prime, I’m looking at you). There’s a staggering mix of politics, history and sex along with widescreen hyper-cool action.

Why isn’t it more widely known / read?

9
General / Rebellion in the Bookseller
« on: 10 November, 2015, 04:22:08 pm »
I don't suppose many people on this board read the Bookseller - the weekly trade magaizne for publihser and bookshops in the UK.
Anyway, Rebellion publishing droid Ben Smith had an interview in it last week; I hope it's OK for me to link to a scan of that in case forumites are interested.
http://meanwhileon.blogspot.co.uk/2015/11/behind-scenes-at-rebellion.html

It's mildly indicative of the fact that the Bookseller is spilling more and more ink on the fact that 'graphic novels' (as Neilsen BookScan defines them) are continuing to sell pretty well in Bookshops, where lots of other types of books aren't.

(I posted the scan on my old essentially defunct 2000 AD blog so as not to interrupt the flow on the creator-themed Blog. Which I will be getting back to!)

10
General / Bad Guys
« on: 30 September, 2015, 03:28:54 pm »
After working through yet another endless poll of superhero comics characters over on 'Comics Should Be Good', I noticed how a lot of the villains in that world can be more fun than the heroes. 2000AD, of course, doesn't always and so obviously have heroes and villains, favouring more complex and morally ambiguous characters on both sides. Also, with regular killing, not too many bad guys last all that long.

But I'm curious to see which villains from the comic have stuck in people's minds - especially from the last 10 years or so of the Prog. Has there been anyone recently to rival the likes of Judge Death, Torquemada or even Artie Gruber?

11
Off Topic / Search engine craziness
« on: 23 September, 2015, 12:26:13 pm »
I've just tried searching for Bec and Kawl on Amazon (UK version) and the results were... disturbing. Not the actual search results, minimal as they are, it's the 'were you really searching for this?' results below that.

Anyway, had to share.

12
General / Question for any comics historians out there
« on: 27 August, 2015, 02:14:25 pm »
Barney credits a writer named 'A. Ridgeway' with the last 30-odd episodes of the Mean Arena from way back in the 200s. Does anyone know anything about him/her? Was it a pseudonym for Tom Tully, or Steve Macmanus or someone else?

13
Other Reviews / Hondo City
« on: 03 August, 2015, 04:25:46 pm »
What's the best way to read the collected tales of Hondo City, Shimura, Inspector Inaba and all that?

Should I try to get hold of the two recent Mega Collection volumes, or should I plump for the Rebellion Hondo City Law / Hondo City Justice volumes - or, sacrilege, even the old DC Shimura trade paperback? Is there an accepted reading order?

Or am I in fact better off just looking in the original Megs and not worrying about reading it all in one go? I've a feeling I like the art and the ideas significantly better than the actual stories...

14
News / New 2000 AD creators blog
« on: 23 March, 2015, 11:19:36 am »
http://heroesof2000ad.blogspot.co.uk/ is now available for your reading pleasure.

I've mentioned it a few times before on the forums - in a nutshell, it's my attempt to do for 2000 AD's creator droids what Grant Goggans did for 2000 AD's thrills with his excellent 'Touched by the Hand of Tharg' site. http://www.2000ad.org/thrillpower/.

To make it more exciting, I'll be drip-feeding the entries twice a week in sequence, but hopefully it'll remain as a resource. I aim to update entries with images as it's pretty bland currently.

Read, share, enjoy, let me know what you think!

15
Other Reviews / Banzai Battalion
« on: 08 May, 2014, 11:57:42 am »
No love for the recent reprint of this modern classic from John Wagner?

Got my copy a few weeks ago from the Book Depository, and it's excellent quality all round. Unlike the old oversize Banzai collection, it's at the US trade size and shape, but on the plus side it has all the stories. I was a big fan of the final tale with Steve Roberts on art, good to see the tale of Capt Bug Stomper brought to its rightfuk ending (makes you think there's a chance for a Toy Story 4 to do a similar Psycho riff, which would be ace).

Also included: three Judge Dredd tales (all written by Wagner) about robots gone rogue. None are quite as good as the Banzai stuff, but frankly no one can hold a candle to Wagner when it comes to wringing comedy out of robot personalities. (Anyone remember when ABC Warriors used to be funny? Anyone?)

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