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Author Topic: Nikolai Dante - some reflections and going forward.  (Read 1172 times)

Colin YNWA

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Nikolai Dante - some reflections and going forward.
« on: 10 July, 2012, 01:19:37 PM »
Well since we have reached the end and it'll be in the shops tomorrow, I've been thinking a lot about Nikolai Dante and the impact its had on The Galaxies Greatest.

I've just finished a re-read, which I've done over the last few months in three chunks and while you have to be a little careful saying stuff like this, it might well be my favourite ever 2000ad strip. Okay so when the dust has settled a little more I'll have a much clearer view on that, but its certainly in the mix. It now stands as a complete story with a beginning, middle and end (what a wonderful end), something Dredd will never have. Every action and event in the series has had a consequence and things have reverberated throughout its history, again something Dredd struggles with at times. Its been the work of just one writer, telling one tale and is so strong for that, in a way Dredd by its nature will never quite manage.

On top of that it had the epic scale, just look at Monarch's 'Too Cool to Kill' series over at ECBT to get the idea of quite what a saga its been. Its vast and yet intimate and focused. That scale probably puts it ahead of the best of John Smith's various works of genius for me (well probably, just wait 'til I read one again to see me flip flop over that one!). So in writing this I'm almost convincing myself that its the best strip the comic has ever had... time will tell.

As I've said before, here and elsewhere, I think it, alongside Sinister Dexter and Wagner's return to Dredd may well have saved the comic in the late 90s. They formed a foundation that David Bishop as Tharg's little helper was able to rebuild the comic from, after the creative nadir of the mid 90s. Its going to be hard to replace, but then the beauty of 2000ad is it variety and versatility and there are so many strong strips fighting for a place in the comic at the moment that hopefully its absence won't be felt too keenly overall. Well assuming the Kingdoms, Sinister Dexters, Zombos, Indigo Primes (and numerous others) of this world don't have too prolonged a rest.

Looking forward I really hope that the marketing and trade folk find a market for this series to stay in the spotlight. Under other publishers you'd think the past trade collections wouldn't have floundered so long out of print (though of course I have no knowledge of the economics of this) and there'd be a big push to keep them in print and accessible for all to get hold of. I've no idea how the first American trade did, but the lack of a pre-listed 2nd in series, a year after the first was released worries me a bit. Mind that might be paranoia on my part, or a focus of Dredd for the time being for obvious reasons, who knows (Well Keith Richardson I imagine if he'd like to chip in!).

Personally I'd absolutely love to see a shiny set of posh oversized hardcover cover collections, maybe fitting the series into say 5 volumes (the logistics of story breaks I've not even approached there). That would be fantastic. Something like the DC absolute editions, just perfect, but possibly the stuff of fantasy, I don't know. Think about how many times a series like Sandman can be repackaged! I just think Dante deserves this kind of treatment and hopefully if the world ever starts to take real notice of what seems to be our best kept secret, it'd certainly find the market.

To that end its a shame that the world at large doesn't seem to be aware of Dante. Where are all the articles on the big news sites discussing the fact that this classic series is ending. Where is CBRs interviews with Robbie Morrison and Simon Fraser discussing what the strip has achieved. Why hasn't Newsarama run one of its endless top 10s on the greatest moments in the series, I can't find a panel at San Diego spotlighting the work etc etc. How have we managed to keep Dante hidden and too ourselves for so long?

Maybe it'll take the much dreamed of TV series, or movie to get that sort of thing started... but I've gone on quite enough and that's the inevitable whitterings of another time for now.

I'd personally just like to thank Robbie Morrison, Simon Fraser, John Burns, Annie Parkhouse and all the various other talents that have created this wonderful series for making what I think (see above) is probably the best single series ever in the Galaxies Greatest Comic!

(Which I assume makes it the Galaxies Greatest series... coh who knew!)

IndigoPrime

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Re: Nikolai Dante - some reflections and going forward.
« Reply #1 on: 10 July, 2012, 01:33:26 PM »
Not much to add to that beyond agreement that this is one of the finest things 2000 AD has run. As a finite tale, it compares favourably to the best I've read, and I too hope Rebellion has some means to make out-of-print volumes available.

The Monarch

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Re: Nikolai Dante - some reflections and going forward.
« Reply #2 on: 10 July, 2012, 01:45:16 PM »
I have been doing my darnest to spread the word of dante elsewhere. The problem with getting americans to read it is of course the difficulty of getting hold of the trades. This is a spoiler to part 14 of too cool to kill but I do adress the difficulty of getting the courtship of jena markarov as part of it.

I can't really say more of the series though at this point due to doing  that perticular series of blogs. Though again pimping episode 14 there is a line in courtship which is tragic in hindsight as far as the series goes.

radiator

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Re: Nikolai Dante - some reflections and going forward.
« Reply #3 on: 10 July, 2012, 02:39:56 PM »
Quote
Personally I'd absolutely love to see a shiny set of posh oversized hardcover cover collections, maybe fitting the series into say 5 volumes (the logistics of story breaks I've not even approached there).

Ooooh yes. Rebellion did great with the trades, but the running order of stories could have been better. If I won the lottery tomorrow I'd finance a print run of seven oversize, hardback books, each one comprising around 40 episodes - running as follows:

Book One - The Great Game:
The Adventures of Nikolai Dante
The Romanov Dynasty
Russia's Greatest Love Machine
The Gentleman Thief
The Full Dante
Moscow Duellists
The Gulag Apocalyptic
The Trouble with Arbatovs
Cruel Britannia
The Great Game


Book Two - The Courtship of Jena Makarov
The Octobriana Seduction
Masque of Dante
The Moveable Feast
Tour of Duty
The Cadre Infernale
The Hunting Party
Last Dance on the Trans-Siberian Express
Cruel Seas
Requiem for Lost Love
The Courtship of Jena Makarov
Love and War


Book Three - Tsar Wars:
The Rudinshtein Irregulars
Love and War
The Battleship Potemkin
One Last Night in the House of Sin
The Beguiling
Fiends
The Romanov Empire


Book Four - Hell and High Water:
The Return of the Gentleman Thief
The Romanov Job
Hell and High Water
The Sea Falcon
Agent of Destruction
How could you believe me when I said I loved you when you know I've been a liar all my life?
Primal Screams
Devil's Deal
Usurper
The Depths
Dragon's Island


Book Five - Sword of the Tsar:
Sword of the Tsar
The Road of Bones
Deadlier than the Male
Hellfire
The Beast of Rudinshtein
The Dissenter
Thieves' World
The Chaperone
Destiny's Child
The Tsar's Daughter
Amerika


Book Six - Hero of the Revolution:
Prisoner of the Tsar
Bring Me the Head of Nikolai Dante
An Army of Thieves and Whores
Lulu's War
Hero of the Revolution
Heroes Be Damned
A Farewell to Arms


Book Seven - The Memoirs of Nikolai Dante:
City of the Damned
The Master of Kronstadt
The Memoirs of Nikolai Dante
Bad Blood
The Wedding Of Jena Makarov
The Dante Gambit
Sympathy For The Devil


That way, the saga is broken up into seven very distinct arcs, and every volume ends satisfyingly - usually with a great big cliffhanger!

Colin YNWA

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Re: Nikolai Dante - some reflections and going forward.
« Reply #4 on: 10 July, 2012, 03:31:15 PM »
Wow yeah seven volumes it is. That's a bloody great 'line-up'. Not sure about page counts but as you say the seven volumes each tells a very distinct part of the story.

The Monarch

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Re: Nikolai Dante - some reflections and going forward.
« Reply #5 on: 10 July, 2012, 04:38:53 PM »
I like radiators idea!

If you wanted to have three mega sized ones (like those huge trades dc does I would suggest...

Book 1

everything from the adventures of Nikolai Dante to The romanov empire

book 2

return of the gentleman thief to Amerika

book 3

prisoner of the tsar to sympathy for the devil

Dandontdare

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Re: Nikolai Dante - some reflections and going forward.
« Reply #6 on: 10 July, 2012, 06:04:56 PM »
I think we may be flogging a dead horse to get superhero obsessed americans into Dante, but I've always felt that it would be hugely poular in european translations, as it's a sweeping dynastic saga with no spandex in sight.

The ending left me a little non-plussed - seems like he's leaving the door open for more (if so, my guess would be that Dante runs out on the wedding as he knows Vlad was right in his predictions; Jena takes the throne and inevitably becomes more and more ruthless, meaning Dante has to take down the empire again - but this time he'd be fighting the love of his life.). If it's definitely the end, I'd have liked a more definitive conclusion myself.

IndigoPrime

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Re: Nikolai Dante - some reflections and going forward.
« Reply #7 on: 14 July, 2012, 04:53:19 PM »
I don't think it's leaving the door open for more, but instead leaving the door open for your own interpretation. My reading of it is Dante's said a bunch of times he's too old for adventuring and could also simply be better than past rulers. I see him returning to Jena, getting a bollocking, and subsequently fashioning an era of peace (as per the caption), but that within someone like him can rise to prominence.

SmallBlueThing

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Re: Nikolai Dante - some reflections and going forward.
« Reply #8 on: 14 July, 2012, 05:34:23 PM »
Because it was such an open ending (i need to read it again, as the last prog has gone mostly unread here, due to pain and medication), with any 'further' adventures left firmly in the imagination of we readers, i would suggest one thing:

Please, no 'whatever happened to nikolai dante?' one-off in an end of year prog five or ten years down the line. No miniseries sequel, either. Carve that in stone and have it above the door of the nerve centre.

Also, while others may disagree, i feel fan-writers and artists should leave well alone. I dont want to read a follow-up in zarjaz. But as i say, that may be just me.

If Robbie and Simon approach tharg in ten years, or next year, and want to give it another bash, then great. Otherwise- like Halo Jones, leave it alone.

But oversized hardback collections- oh snekking drokking funting crucking wonking fulching munging YES!

SBT
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Mark Taylor

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Re: Nikolai Dante - some reflections and going forward.
« Reply #9 on: 14 July, 2012, 05:45:42 PM »
I deliberately didn't read the final series because I wanted to wait until the final trade is released in October, then read the entire run of trades from start to finish without knowing the ending in advance. Does that make me sad? :o

Pete Wells

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Re: Nikolai Dante - some reflections and going forward.
« Reply #10 on: 14 July, 2012, 05:58:05 PM »
But oversized hardback collections- oh snekking drokking funting crucking wonking fulching munging YES!

What SBT said!