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Messages - Greg M.

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I've reflected on the fact that I've recently seen Dabnett's work describe as 'Ultra, ultra, ultra competent' (I might misquote slightly)

I only used two ultras, not three. That'd be pushing it.

As I've said repeatedly, I think Abnett's very good at what he does. I go into any new Abnett strip with an open mind, ready to enjoy. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don't. I deny none of the man's technical ability - which to me would suggest a very high degree of competence. His ideas are perfectly decent.

I think that approach ends up a bit unintentionally patronising to Abnett. "We know you can't beat John Wagner, but if we tie his arm behind his back, you might last a bit longer." It heads off down a reductive rabbit hole: "How much can be taken away from Wagner till he's level with Abnett? Is Dan Abnett better than Balls Brothers?"

I’m perfectly happy Mills has come in second, and wouldn’t have been annoyed had he won; but there’s something nice in the win being more about the future of the comic than its past.

Abnett has been writing for 2000AD off and on for about 30 years, around 25 as a regular. He does a good job and if you want to call him the 'present' of 2000AD, that's fair enough. His work certainly epitomises the current incarnation of the comic - take that any way you want - but with such a long tenure, I'm not sure I'd call him the future.

As for the idea of Mills recycling - you hit a certain age, and your creative processes become more about refinement of your existing ideas than generating brand new ones. I don't think it's realistic to expect a man in his (very) early seventies to start a process of radical innovation now. He's innovated plenty in the past, far more than most! The fact that he has just created a whole swathe of brand-new properties for his creator-owned Space Warp title, many of which sound like they're full of potential, is impressive enough in its own right.

Kingdom is one I want to like more than I do - it does an awful lot right, and is the most traditionally 2000AD thing Abnett has ever written. Iconic, catchphrase-spouting, tough-guy lead with a great visual design, clear motivations and interesting origin - on paper, I should love it. But there's something a little bit decompressed about it - the average episode doesn't feel complete in its own right, in the way that, say, the episodes of a Gordon Rennie story invariably do.

The idea of Abnett having a greater variety of ideas than Mills - well, I'm not going to pretend I agree. I think Mills packs far more exciting ideas into each individual story. Maybe Abnett could be said to spread his out and explore them in a more measured way over separate strips?

I'd say Nemesis as a series presents a third way between the Scylla of destructive Khaos and the Charybdis of ultimate Order - that path is Purity's, and she rejects both as ultimately having nothing to offer humanity.

Looking at the reasons people gave for their votes, Abnett seemed to edge it primarily because he’s very, very consistent, and very, very prolific. Many voters seemed to count Pat’s less successful outings against him, as if writing Dinosty somehow made Nemesis less brilliant. Abnett, on the other hand, seldom writes anything that’s actively bad: the somniferous Brink, so beloved around these parts, is undoubtedly the polar opposite of what I want from comics, but it’s obviously not hackwork. Pat, on the other hand, is the human equivalent of a big, mad firework display, exploding across the sky but occasionally misfiring, letting off a damp squib, or setting your neighbours alight. If the price you pay for genius is the occasional Hellbringer or Demon Killer, then for me it’s worth it for the genuine Gods sired by The Godfather, be they Horned or Torquemada.

Thanks to Colin for managing the complexities of the tournament. I found the opening rounds the toughest, as they involved people whose work I had no strong opinions about - after that, I've got a pretty defined internal hierarchy of 2000AD writers, so whilst some of the rounds were frustrating - Smith vs Mills, Milligan vs Mills - I always knew which way I'd vote. The main thing I discovered from this tournament is just how highly I rate Summer Magic! If it'd been Alan McKenzie versus Abnett in the final, I'd definitely still have voted McKenzie.

General / Re: FINAL - Dan Abnett or Pat Mills - For the Godpleton Cup
« on: 02 July, 2020, 08:09:06 AM »
I'll talk more about what would have happened with a tie in a bit.

What would the world's biggest Sinister Dexter fan have done in the event of a tie? That's a tough one...

General / Re: The Megazine Rebellion Years Top 10 Series - Tournament
« on: 01 July, 2020, 01:40:35 PM »
Cursed Earth Kobain

Now, that would have been an interesting series. Grim last episode though...

General / Re: FINAL - Dan Abnett or Pat Mills - For the Godpleton Cup
« on: 01 July, 2020, 11:07:50 AM »
Nemesis is great

I agree. And for me, it wouldn't matter a jot if Pat had never written anything else good - his current form is irrelevant from my voting perspective. Book 1 of Nemesis alone is simply better than most other 2000AD stories.

General / Re: FINAL - Dan Abnett or Pat Mills - For the Godpleton Cup
« on: 01 July, 2020, 08:09:09 AM »
I wouldn't call it nostalgia. It's simply who's written stories you enjoy the most. Shakespeare doesn't knock out that many decent plays these days, but when you've written Hamlet, you've written Hamlet.

Off Topic / Re: Threadjacking!
« on: 29 June, 2020, 06:58:01 PM »
"Of course, forum members all have lovely nobs."

How do you spell 'nob' anyway? It's not come up as often in my job as English teacher as you'd imagine.

Off Topic / Re: Threadjacking!
« on: 29 June, 2020, 03:30:32 PM »
It was a really big nob. As you'd expect.

Your Frank fix is available on Facebook.

Prog / Re: Prog 2175 - Semi Detached
« on: 29 June, 2020, 12:14:11 PM »
First episode left such a metallic tang on my palate I don't think I can continue reading the story.

If that didn't work you (and it definitely didn't for me) you're really not going to enjoy where the story goes next.

Prog / Re: Prog 2187: Worlds of wonder
« on: 29 June, 2020, 08:32:00 AM »
...each as barmy as a wool piano.

Now that's what I call imagery.

Help! / Re: Help me Hive Mind, you're my only hope...
« on: 27 June, 2020, 03:29:46 PM »
Death-Man was in the Free Comic Book Day issue in 2016.

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