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Topics - SmallBlueThing(Reborn)

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Help! / Rebellion and Rights to Eagle Strips
« on: 11 September, 2020, 12:19:09 PM »
Help needed with a clarification fellas. I'm a huge fan of the strip RAT TRAP, that originally ran in COR!! in the issues dated 29th July 1972 (#113) to 15th June 1974 (#211)* and live in permanent hope that Rebellion will print them- either as Meg floppies, Webshop exclusives like Janus Stark or trades/ hardbacks.

My love of this strip is down to a particularly vivid nightmare I had (presumably during the original run) in which Dr Rat came into my bedroom and blew a raspberry at me. My dad completely failed to subdue his traumatised son, mistaking my no doubt garbled explanation for night time terrified screaming as accusations our house was infested with vermin. I've never forgotten that dream, or the sense of utter terror and have deeply loved the strip ever since.

Rat Trap got a revamp with a new series running in the Eagle from 21st Oct 1989 (#396) to 21st April 1990 (#422) and therein lies the problem.

Does that mean that Rat Trap- in either incarnation- is off limits to Rebellion, and owned by the Dan Dare Corporation? Charley's War was reprinted in Eagle and that has seen various subsequent prints. Do I need to expect Dr Ratty Rat to languish in unpublished obscurity, or can I look forward to a possible volume on my increasingly crowded shelves?



*with teasers in #111 and #112

Other Reviews / TAMMY & JINTY SPECIAL 2020
« on: 07 August, 2020, 11:48:00 AM »
Last year's one of these was among my favourite comics of 2019, so I was understandably keen for this to come through the letterbox- as part of the bundle deal. That it was delayed for a couple of weeks was suddenly more frustrating than I had expected, so when it eventually arrived, my grin was disproportionately huge.

Would it be as good as the last one? And would it slip past the Sci-fi Special this year as my favourite so far?

Well, the answer is a qualified yes and no. Yes, it is as good as last year, but in a wholly different way. The first strip, Boarding School, is magnificent. Beautifully written and drawn and coloured and lettered, and an almost perfect opener to what could be an ongoing series. It owes a lot to the kind of stories kids used to read (The Secret Garden, The Ghosts- filmed as The Amazing Mr Blunden), versions of which girls' comics seem to have done so well back in the day. It's up there with the Dredd/ Zombo and Kingdom/ Shako stories from the earlier spesh.

The second new strip, the Cat Girl one, is less successful, but serves as a decent enough beginning to a series we may yet get to see.

The reprint of Ping Pong Paula is surprising, in that it shows just how emotionally complex girls' comics used to be- theres an awful lot of character in those few pages, and I'd whisper that I'd like to see that style of strip and characterisation a lot more in modern 2000AD.

Two features, and an ad page that reprints a bit of an upcoming Rebellion trade. I will be buying that one based entirely on that one page.

So, all in all, a worthy follow up to last year- and again one of the best specials Rebellion have so far put out.

And more Boarding School please.


Help! / Comic binder help wanted.
« on: 07 August, 2020, 10:56:02 AM »
Right- here's the thing. I have this idea of putting together a binder of the US comics that were released with a cover date of the month my boys were born.

What a lovely idea/ haha, knob! I hear you mutter. Thing is, I'm completely clueless about finding the right kind if binder. US sized, holds between ten and twenty issues, corded so no bags have to be involved, reasonably affordable, etc. Any of yous guys n gals have a handy link? Any recommendations that you have used?


Website and Forum / Spam, pornspam, and morespam
« on: 09 July, 2020, 06:57:00 AM »
For the mods: as we are undergoing a barrage of spam flack at the moment, what are we supposed to do? Do you need us to report this stuff as it appears so you can delete individual messages and users, or are you combing the forum as a matter of course and it's all in hand?

I notice some is disappearing, so thanks for that! Good luck as you go over the top into spam mans land.


Other Reviews / 2000AD SCI-FI SPECIAL 2020
« on: 19 June, 2020, 10:16:22 AM »
Is the forum getting slow to respond to things? The scifi special unexpectedly dropped through the letterbox yesterday, and was devoured last night.

100 pages, four new strips and features, a double page spread, and an interview- in total roughly a 50/50 new/reprint, £7.99. And while that may seem more expensive than usual in comparison to the similarly 100 page end of year progs, I have to say I enjoyed this one more than perhaps any similar 2000AD publication in memory. Going back to the original prog 2000, at least.

The reason? Two of the new strips- Dredd and Kingdom- are among the best of their kind I've ever read. The Dredd one will just make everyone smile, and Kingdom brought a lump to my throat, and made me briefly consider dripping writer Dan Abnett a line thanking him. How often does that happen? Fans of The Red Seas and Storm Warning, two strips I'm not usually enamored with, will be pleased to hear both are back in here, with new stories- and both are very, very good.

The reprints include my favourite Sinister Dexter episode, what is probably the best single episode of Dante, Al Ewing's first work for Tharg- a particularly effective Terror Tale- and 'Leaving Rowdy Yates', a Dredd that deserves to be read again and again.

The feature article on "the best strips of the Rebellion years" is considered and serves as a delicate pointer to readers that there is a hall of a lot more where this came from. And the interview with Jason Kingsley is candid and should placate a few worries when it comes to things such as sales and circulation, as well as the future- which is spoken of in terms far more specific than we are perhaps used to.

Theres a double page art spread, that in past years would have been a Star Scan, but these days does seem somewhat of a man odd relic of the days when we would have eagerly stuck these things on our walls. Lovely though.

I couldnt be happier. As a stand alone sample of everything the modern prog is, they couldnt have put together a better package. I hope it sells by the bucket load.


« on: 09 June, 2020, 01:45:51 PM »
This arrived today, as part of the offer that apparently results in me getting a lot more concs than I bargained for. I may have squealed a bit with delight when I saw it on the mat.

Now, i don't like football and I never have. Even as a kid it never interested me in any way at all. As a result of this, I've never bought an issue of Roy of the Rovers in my life. Actually, that may be a slight lie, as I seem to remember a special (which may have been Tiger now I come to think about it) concentrating on a Red Indian Wrestler, or something- and that may have had some Roy Race in it
 Can't remember, but the point is I've not knowingly bought the comic, ever, and even my usual desire to "support the industry" hasn't made me pick up any of Rebellion's rebooted graphic novels. Because, you know, football.

I dont want to make this a long post- but let me say this very clearly: this Special is magnificent. Not only does it contain two frankly rather excellent new comic strips, which I will talk about in a sec, but also two very funny Ken Reid one-pagers, a text story that I didnt think I'd read but then did and enjoyed immensely, three brief Q&A interviews (with writer Rob William's, novelist Tom Palmer and classic RotR artist David Sque) and an overview of the character's career playing for the national team, which gloriously never comments on his absurdly long life as a professional footballer). Throughout, its richly illustrated with covers and panels from classic issues- and the upshot of all that was I very much want to read those stories now. Good job there's an ad for the collected 'Best of the 50s/ 60s/ 70s' volumes so I know where to find them. And I think I will.

But the real standout aspect, for me, was the way in which the current coronavirus is referenced throughout. It drives the stories (and makes the text piece unexpectedly poignant). Is this the first time the current situation has been used in a piece of contemporary fiction, excluding last night's first Emmerdale lockdown episode?

And it immediately altered my expectation of the strips. The first page of the main strip especially- with its cranes on the skyline, low angles and destroyed building in the background (the club ground?) As the characters talk about "lockdown" and "travel restrictions" is more like some dystopian Action strip from the seventies than what I had assumed this Summer Special would be.

The scripts, for both stories, is clever and at times melancholic, and had no trouble maintaining my interest despite, as I may have mentioned, my disinterest in the sport. The art, by Elkys Nova, John Charles & Lindemburgh Mendes (on Euro Adventure) and David Sque (on Old School) is fun and clean and at times quite beautiful. Our own Jim Campbell provides letters throughout, and as is usual, they are unobtrusive and give that extra flow to the story.

A complete surprise,then, all told. At £4.99 I'd say it was worth a punt of anyone's money. Even if you dont like football. Oddly perhaps most of all, it stands as a commemoration of this global pandemic and its affect on us all.

And yes, I will now buy the back issues of this reboot. Damn you Rebellion.


Other Reviews / SMASH! Special May 2020
« on: 27 May, 2020, 10:11:59 AM »
I'm surprised we dont appear to have a thread for this- which arrived yesterday as part of Rebellion's very nice "all the specials direct to your door" offer.

This was the one I was most looking forward to this year- and while I was initially somewhat disappointed that it turned out to be US comic sized, and not massive like the Cor/ Buster one, a careful read last night put all those niggles to bed.

This is, in short, one hell of a comic. You may argue that it does at times feel very much like #1 of an ongoing series (much like the 2000AD Action Special did all those years ago, and yes I'm still sore that we never got any more of that), but I have a bit more confidence we may this time see some of the potential realised.

I'm not going to go through all the strips, as most of the readership probably wont even have had the opportunity to buy it yet. But my *favourite* strips were The Spider (which, if it transferred to the prog next week, would make me very happy indeed), Steel Claw, which is utterly hilarious and which I will be rereading just as soon as I get a moment, and Mytek The Mighty- the art job alone is strongly reminiscent of the heyday of Crisis, and I bloody loved it. That the strip is so deeply concerned with politics, and specifically African politics, just enhances what is a silly concept of a giant robot gorilla, turning it into something with the potential to be very special indeed.

Everything in the special was glorious, I thought. But those three were my favourites (the art and final line of Dollmann gets a mention too) and I would absolutely appreciate the chance to buy Smash! on a regular basis, thanks very much.

Though for the size, perhaps it should be called Vulcan?


Other Reviews / Janus Stark from Rebellion/ Treasury of British Comics
« on: 23 November, 2019, 10:29:50 AM »
My copy of this arrived today, a whole week before I was expecting it. And by crikey, it's a lovely thing. Yes, its "magazine format", not a "proper paperback", but yes it does have a spine. Sadly though the spine is just solid black with no identifying text. But at least it's there. And that is literally the only thing even a grumpy old tossed like me can moan about because everything else is beautiful. Even the heavy paper stock is gorgeous.

Obviously I've not read it yet, because i want to savour it and currently my wife is wobbling about giving up Gregg's sausage rolls and going to Argos.

When I've read it, i will comment. At the moment suffice to say it features the strips from Smash! 15th March to 7th June 1969. And its lovely.


Off Topic / Forum Etymology Thread.
« on: 29 June, 2019, 01:27:37 PM »
So, insects then...

No, I joke.

I was fortunate enough to recently be asked to have a read of a friend's debut novel. It's a Sci-Fi story, and by lucky hap I've really enjoyed it. And yes, it references 2000AD at one point, so I'll be mentioning its name when I'm done with it. He asked me to basically proofread, point out errors and watch for any anachronisms, it being set in the early eighties, and featuring teenage boys- as I lived then and I was one. 

Along the way this has brought up a conversation about the etymology of the phrase "fuck-off" as used as an adjective. As in "that is one big fuck-off spaceship". I want to know when that particular adjective became commonplace, as I don't recall hearing it in my youth. Google is not my friend in this instance, and I had hoped I would be able to track down its first usage in either literature or film/tv, but to no avail
Anyone with a better education/ filthy mouthed older brother know the answer to this?


Bear with me on this. How much of a single issue of an American comic would you get away with reproducing in a printed magazine *for review/ critical purposes*?

I really love comics, as many of you know. As a "thought experiment" I was wondering about all the different editions of the same 20+ page comic strip I have in my collection. Multiple versions of The Night Gwen Stacy Died from ASM #131/122 for example. I was wondering what would be my "ultimate edition" as it were, and realised that if Marvel were ever to release every issue of ASM/ FF etc, individually (hardback or perfect bound) but with an equal amount of pages given over to critiques/ interviews etc, I'd probably buy each and every edition.

Now, Marvel aren't likely to do that. But imagine an enterprising fan publisher were to do something similar (much like in the world of Dr Who IN VISION released A4 magazines for each and every story back in the 80s, eventually covering the whole 1963-1989 period of the series. 

Obviously the imaginary publisher couldn't reprint the whole issue, but how much could they? Is it a percentage of pages? Panels? Could they reprint consecutive panels, or even a page if critiquing that sequence? Could they print an entire scene, maybe running 2-3 pages? At what point they receive a Cease & Desist?

Any ideas? 


General / Steve Moore in Fortean Times
« on: 24 June, 2019, 11:21:54 PM »
I was sure we had a thread somewhere about mentions of 2000AD in other publications and other media, but I can't find it. If it exists and a mod would like to merge this into there,  I'd be grateful.

Anyway, Steve Moore- known to us predominantly as writer of Tales of Telguuth and various one-offs in the prog, as well as many other seminal British strips going back (for me) as far as Warrior magazine, receives a two page article in the current Fortean Times. Written by his lifelong friend Bob Rickard, FT'S founding editor, it goes into some detail about his life and beliefs, his work and obsessions, as well as revealing what happened to his frankly astonishing library after his death, and the contents of said library.
Absolutely worth the £4.50 cover price alone, but when taken with the major feature on the resurgence of Folk Horror, it makes for a package that no squaxx of this parish will wish to miss.


General / Query: Why isn't there a monthly Dredd reprint title?
« on: 30 May, 2019, 06:36:24 PM »
Apologies if this has been addressed elsewhere by those in the know. Seeing as how the "Eagle Comics" Dredd reprint title was so seminal in bringing Dredd to a US audience back in the 80s, it seems odd to me that we don't have a modern equivalent. Rebellion don't seem inexperienced or catastrophic in putting out US format titles (most reprint, some not) and IDW have a license of some sort, with an inferior Dredd strip that seems to continually miss the mark, despite a host of seriously good creators and all the best will in the world. 

So why isn't the 2000AD/ Meg strip itself reprinted on a monthly basis for the American market? Has the strip finally succumbed to 42 years of continuity and become "too reliant on backstory" for there to be an easy start point?

Is it just financially not worth the outlay?

Personally I'd love to see it, reformatted for the US dimensions, printed on cheap paper to undercut the cost of regular comics, and starting from "some point a couple of years ago".

Anyone have any idea why it's not happened?


Film & TV / British TV horror help wanted...
« on: 10 September, 2018, 04:38:30 PM »
Hive Mind:
Does anyone have a link to any site that details showings of horror films on UK terrestrial TV?

Basically, I've just watched classic Cushing/Lee/Savalas film 'Horror Express'- which I remember being on TV in my youth (between 1978 and 1982 I guess), but which I've always had (I now find) confused with 'The Creeping Flesh'. So now I need to know a) when both those films were shown on TV, and b) were they ever shown in a double-bill. See, I remember my dad watching it downstairs, and the sound of the TV being enough to scare me witless... but from the bits I saw through the crack in the door, it was set on a train (Horror Express) and when my dad explained the plot to me the next day, he told me the story of The Creeping Flesh.
So, did he just get it arse about face? Were they both on that night? Or was he just making shiz up? I need to check listings!

Any links or help gratefully received.


Help! / Name that Stront!
« on: 12 December, 2017, 07:32:17 PM »
Hivemind, I have just received the following message from an old friend, and my memory is failing me. Can any of yous guys help him out?

"hello mate, my Strontium Dog collection is buried in the garage and you're the only person I can think of that might know the answer to this. There is a SD prog where Jonny and Wulf enter a competition which is essentially last man standing in an enclosed environment to win a prize and they enter because they'll get bounties on many of the people in the competition. It's driving me nuts and it doesn't Google. IF this even vaguely makes sense let me know. Cheers."

Many thanks in advance

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