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Topics - Tjm86

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Books & Comics / Musing About Signed Comics
« on: 28 February, 2019, 12:25:44 pm »
Read this recently over on Multiversity.     It got me thinking about some of the changes I've noticed in the last few years when it comes to Tooth.  Perhaps it is just where my prog / meg collection is complete, there is little on the American front that I find particularly appealing and I'm happy to just pick at GN's depending on what is about.  So Eamonn's charity auctions over the last few years have opened this up as a new avenue which may mean that I'm now paying a bit more attention.

What I'm noticing then is that there seems a bit of a peculiarly evolving market here.  As Eamonn's auctions have become more popular (at least so it seems), so too others have begun moving in.  The difference though seems to be in terms of what is being charged from the off.  One vendor that has been pushing quite a bit of stuff from the Enniskellin marts tends to put quite a premium on their offerings.  It is quite common to see theirs starting at the £50 mark (but not often shifting).  Several signed annuals have been initially listed in excess of £100 before that was slowly whittled down by disinterest.  One vendor who tried to flip a couple of d'Israeli / Edington signed progs from Eamonn seems to have finally given it up as a lost cause.  That said, quite a few FCBD progs have been doing the rounds for a while.  So it seems that there is growing awareness of the financial potential even if it isn't quite fully materialising as yet.

It is probably going to be quite a while before back progs see a significant premium being added due to creator signatures.  Mind you, I'm wondering about my run of Judge Death lives with covers signed by Bolland, Dillon, Gibbons and McMahon.  Gibbons has signed my first Robo Hunter and Halo Jones and a couple of Ezquerra covers have his and Wagner's signatures on them.  Quite a few of these are courtesy of Eamonn but Lawgiver last year provided a welcome opportunity to personally meet with a number of these luminaries.  My wife keeps telling me that I need to leave details of value in case anything happens to me since she wouldn't have the first clue.  Not sure how that might work though.

Suggestions / Art of Past Masters.
« on: 26 January, 2019, 11:45:44 am »
The obituary in this week's prog reminded me of a singular truth about Ron Smith; the sheer diversity of his artwork over his career.  We have volumes for so many of the greats of the early years of Tooth but I was getting to think that a showcase of Smith's work over his career would be something to treasure.  Accompanied by a biography, recollections from colleagues and commentary from past and present professionals would surely be both a fitting tribute to the man. 

The same could be said of Ezquerra, Belardinelli and Dillon.  I was going to suggest Ewins as well but it turns out one already exists.  Perhaps Mr Mackenzie could be persuaded to contribute similar works.  That said, the Twins volume appears to be paperback.  A hardback special edition?  Such a series would surely be something to cherish, no?

Ah, guess I'll have to just dream ...

Prog / Prog 2116 - Freak Out
« on: 26 January, 2019, 11:35:49 am »
Culbard's cover is superb and certainly a contender for cover of the year in my book.  Eminently suitable too considering the length of Brink this week; a full 10 pages of insanity.  As so many have observed in this corner of the inter web, Brink has most assuredly been a highlight as it has evolved (or devolved depending on how you want to view it).

3rillers and Skip Tracer are the lowlights of the prog but even then that is only off the back of the competition.  Marshall's art serves the story well but as has been observed, it is hard to invest in the characters or the events that limp gamely on.  Perhaps it will hold together as a single unified piece?  Maybe it would have stood a better chance had it not been run against some of the strips this week.

3rillers at least tries to move things forward but this one feels a little too compressed.  There are loads of ideas in it, albeit several lifted from a Gaiman novel, but I'm not entirely certain if Jon or Adelphi is supposed to be the central character.  Had Murphy been given a longer run at this it would have been interesting to see what a 10 / 12 parter would have been like.  Austen's art suits it well mind which might go a long way towards explaining why it is appealing so well.

Dredd though ...  A Wagner / Macneil Dredd to boot!  Even though there is a sense in which the outcome is inevitable there is enough here to destabilise expectations.  The contrast between Randy's condescension and Harvey's respect puts Dredd's concerns in an ambiguous place.  Logan's defence of the decision together with his own ambivalence make for an interesting step too, as does his reaction to Dredd's revelation.  Only two episodes in and Wagner once again gives a masterclass in pacing, revelation and characterisation in the world of Dredd.  Considering that this is due to run until March, forthcoming weeks look to be a real delight for us.

Prog / Prog 2112 - Assault and Battery
« on: 28 December, 2018, 03:44:23 pm »
IIRC mods are a bit coy about the New Year's prog being spoken about too much so I'm going to exercise caution here.  That said, 'twas a nice surprise on the door mat this morning.  Granted it does mean another extended wait for 2113 but glass half full and all that.

Trevallion's cover is sublime, I have to say.  Lots to enjoy inside although Dredd does seem like a lot of work for the punchline.  Some nice ideas in the 3riller but these seem to be quite hit and miss.  Wait and see.  In ascending order for the remainder of the prog then; Skip Trace, Fiends, Brink.  The latter could do with being embargoed in terms of discussion until it lands on stands but lots going on.

So if 2019 is going to be the year British 'civilisation' finally crumbles, at least Tooth will be seeing it out in style if this is anything to go by.

News / Dredd - Final Judgement 'Special' Edition
« on: 07 November, 2018, 05:11:02 pm »
The news of this dropping in my in box sent me scurrying for the shop.  Limited edition 200 print run, Signed Jock Prints.  I was within a hairs breadth of banging in an order.  Then it hit me ....


I can appreciate the standard edition being paperback but come on, special edition?  So the colorised Charley's War, the Mazeworld 'special edition', ... paperback.  El Mestizo, 13th Floor .... hardback.

I've no objection to paperback editions but would like the option.  I can appreciate that demand might not make it viable but there doesn't seem to be much in the way of rhyme or reason.   :(

Other Reviews / Musings on The Small House.
« on: 03 November, 2018, 06:55:13 pm »
“When the archetypes, tropes, stage settings, stages, and other props of fiction grow boring and you lose enthusiasm for using them, your writing inevitably reveals this loss. The tropes and archetypes lose their mythic power and become mere clichés.”  Geoff Hart http://www.writing-world.com/fiction/house.shtml

   Rob Williams’ latest Dredd tale is slowly evolving into an interesting beast, living up to the promise that “There is a very big moment in Dredd’s world coming.” [Rob Williams prog 2100].  For some the thought of conspiracies within Justice Dept smell of cliché and such ideas have been done to death in popular media in recent years.  The team that Dredd has pulled around him; an architect, an insane Wally Squad Judge, an Accountant and a street judge certainly fail to fit most models of a crack team.  Up against the mysterious Smiley and his team of Enceladus Energy Empowered Ninja Judges and without the sanction of Hershey the team certainly seem in a challenging place.  Perhaps what is more of interest is whether this tale will prove Hart’s argument that “re-examining the roles of flagging props can reinvigorate them. [which] happens whenever an author looks deep into a literary device, discovers why it still holds meaning for them, and refreshes interest in that literary device by evoking its essence in an entirely new way.”  Is Justice Dept and Mega City One, is Dredd himself, that literary device that is being reinvigorated?

   History features large in this tale.  The history between Dredd and Hershey.  Dredd’s pivotal role in the history of Mega City One.  Smiley’s hidden role in the same history, his invisible hand that we were first introduced to in Trifecta.  Chief Judges of history; Cal and McGruder.  Frank’s pre-Wally squad history with Smiley.  Dredd’s old foe Kazan’s aging, decaying clone.  Political challengers to the judicial system in Blondel Dupre.  Against all this ultimately looming large, locked away behind cryptography, the file for 2103; the year after Dredd and Hershey returned from the Krysler Expedition.  A year of seemingly inconsequential cases and a looming threat that ultimately evolved into all-out war with East Meg One.  It seems that the weight of those years is evolving a physical reality for Dredd, pressing down hard on him.  The question of his role in the actions that has outraged him, that sent him once before into the Cursed Earth in response to how he saw Justice Dept developing.

   Dredd has been here before, questioning his place, the role of Justice Dept, of the reign of the Judges.  Kraken puzzled over his annotated note on “the Big Lie”.  Dredd shared his misgivings with his mentor.  He commented previously on the tactics the Judges use to maintain their rule.  Yet this was before the encounter with the Father of Justice, Fargo, once more.  How much do Fargo’s words haunt him?  How much does his lie to Hershey bother him?  For Fargo to judge what had grown out of his works so harshly could hardly have washed off him so cleanly.  Now though Dredd does not have a mentor with whom to share his thoughts.  Moreover the circle of trust has drawn ever smaller and even that has been infiltrated.  Kazan may well have served as a foil but at the same time he also lay out small nuggets of wisdom for Dredd to mull over in his barbs.  Now even that has been taken away.

   So what is the ‘Small House’ of the title?  Is it Dredd’s world, Mega City One?  The once sprawling metropolis that dominated the whole Eastern Seaboard now reduced by war, terror and plague?  Is it Justice Dept?  The previously indomitable judicial force now reeling from the events of the past forty years?  Is it Smiley’s humble abode?  The hidden dining room that he inhabits, hidden behind the walls of the Grand Hall?  Or is it all of the above?

   Returning again to Hart, it is worth considering his observation that “what kind of living space the house is, and what it says about the inhabitants” is pertinent here.  Once more history figures here.  Smiley’s house is redolent with historical iconography.  The flight of ducks on the wall would likely be a familiar figure to more aged readers.  The dining room arrangement of Smiley’s house, so mundane and familiar.  The old fireplace, the gas lamps and sideboard.  All of a similar historical era.  Just like Smiley himself, both a name and character from literary history.  The quintessential spymaster always slightly removed from officialdom in his duties and actions and yet intricately linked.  Everything about him points to the past.

   In respect of Dredd, the question of house or home becomes a compelling one.  Everything seems to be pointing to a perturbation.  Everything Dredd has come to know and believe is being increasingly challenged.  His own ‘father’ has questioned the home Dredd has come to know and love.  It is the source of his identity, of his very being.  His commitment to justice has always been unwavering but his commitment to Justice Dept has been measured against this standard.  It is hard to imagine the conflict that such tension must provoke.  Doubtless it is only his training, upbringing and experience that has enabled him to weather it.  What then when the instability that has been introduced slowly grows into something greater?

   Is this what is at the heart of Williams’ latest exploration of Dredd and his world?  In disturbing the very centre of Dredd’s being, upending his world and his relationship with the other inhabitants an opportunity exists to redefine Justice Dept, its relationship with its citizens and the way in which the city is run.  Is this at the back of the reference to Blondel Dupre and the fact that the Judges are Fascists?  Are the seeds Fargo planted in Dredd’s mind about to bear fruit? It would certainly be interesting to see how a world in which Dredd and his fellow Judges find themselves in a completely different relationship with the citizens they rule over would develop.

Prog / Prog 2106 - End Times
« on: 03 November, 2018, 11:40:12 am »
Just finished reading Dredd and simply had to stop dead.  Even after last week's WTF moment, this week takes it up a step.  I reckon Flint's perfectly captured the majority of readers'  response to Dredd's words to Hershey.

This Dredd looks like it might be shaping up to be a serious game changer.  I can't see a way to discuss this without spoiling it for folks but I reckon it needs it.

Film & TV / New Dr Who Trailer
« on: 20 September, 2018, 09:12:29 pm »
Maybe it's the fact that I've just finished binge watching Capaldi's last season and been pleasantly surprised but I find myself incredibly ambivalent about the trailer BBC have just released.  I know it's just a teaser and it's hard to take it too seriously with Whittaker constantly waving the sonic screwdriver at the camera but there's something 'off' about it for me that I can't quite put my finger on ....

The worst thing about this is that with all of the fan boy rage over the casting, it's going to be hard to be appropriately critical about the finished product.  Even in the short segments we see in the trailer Whittaker's Dr appears nowhere near as commanding as Capaldi's.  Is that a conscious decision to go with a differently gendered approach to 'crisis management' that ignores standard cliches about women in authority?  Is it a mistake on the part of writers who have fallen into cultural stereotypes? 

I know that early days with a new regeneration are always 'peculiar'.  Colin Baker's first few episodes had him as a complete twonk.  Capaldi was a dithering idiot to start with.  Could it be the 'regeneration reset'?

I do hope that I'm over reading / interpreting what they've released.  Certainly will give it a shot and see what it is like.  Let's face it, whoever the actor in the hot seat there have always been quality episodes and ropey ones.  Even Tom Baker had his share of clunkers.

Prog / Prog 2096 - Warriors On The Edge
« on: 25 August, 2018, 01:26:22 pm »
Well, postie was insanely early again today, perhaps a little too early.  Finally got a chance to enjoy the prog.

Since the majority of the prog continues ongoing tales, a lot of what has been said still holds true.  On the art front it really is hard to find fault.  Johnson, Burns, Richardson and Harrison continue to provide a visual feast.  Googe's addition with the return of Survival Geeks fits in nicely as well.  A good contrast of work that fit together nicely.

Storywise?  Well, one new strip and four continuing without any major revelations gives the prog a serviceable feel.  Geeks goes with the standard "Welcome to a new alternate reality with lost of nice new threats" intro.  A smattering of cultural references thrown in to keep the attention and a fairly standard cliff hanger ending.  Dredd, The Order, Mechastopheles and Grey Area move the plot along but no earth shattering revelations.  Grey Area rather disappointing telegraphs potential plot developments and it now seems to be straying into cliche territory.  Possibly Abnett is setting us up for another twist, we'll have to see.

All round then it's a fairly decent prog.  Artwork definitely lifts what might be otherwise disappointing stories and arguably the artists are doing a lot of the heavy lifting this week.  All hint at the promise of revelations in the run up to prog 2100 so perhaps more of a teaser prog?

News / Scream Collection from Rebellion
« on: 22 August, 2018, 07:07:31 pm »
Awesome news in this week's Thrill Mail!  Scream getting a reprint outing from Rebellion, including a hardback edition.  Just in time for Halloween.

News / The Panel Is Political
« on: 20 August, 2018, 11:57:50 am »
Well, someone picked the right writer for this.  Image Comics in November putting out "24 Panels" in aid of Greenfell. 
Including a contribution from Alan Moore taking a swipe at Boris.

Prog / Prog 2094 - The Order Meet The Edge - Walker
« on: 11 August, 2018, 03:13:27 pm »
I'm not a massive fan of Armoured Gideon but the cover does do the character justice.  I think though that some of the comments about the prog being a bit of a mixed bag might be applicable again.  Dredd finishes off nicely and McConville has produced a serviceable script for Manco's artwork.

I'm in the 'not really feeling the current series of the Order' camp.  Burns' artwork is as sumptuous as ever but I'm not really sure what the hell is going on here.  Perhaps I need to go back and give it a re-read.  The 3rillers is another tale that has left me cold.  A cliched turn hasn't helped matters.  Maybe the final denouement will help change my mind.

Mechastopheles is another strip I'm hoping will shape up into something more than it is at the moment.  Richardson's artwork continues to serve well and there are some interesting ideas.  It's a bit exposition heavy but not OTT.

Grey Area shows Harrison's strengths and there's an interesting colour pallet in play.  The episode is a bit jarring as the story takes a dramatic turn to develop the plot.  Other than commenting that there are one or two elements that could be construed as cliched, it is probably best to say very, very little about events until the prog hits the shops.  All I will say is that for me, this is the other highlight of the prog.

Off Topic / Seriously Misread Solicitations
« on: 26 June, 2018, 06:13:54 pm »
So, glancing at Multiversity today, they had an article about Dark Horse's upcoming solicitations.  Not being completely with it, I misread it as "Disney Frozen and Predator" as a single title.  Now part of me was thinking, WTF, and another was thinking, that would be a mashup to enjoy!  Considering how staid and boring comics seem to be becoming, more of that sort of thing would make for fun times, no?

News / Leah Moore and John Reppion
« on: 20 June, 2018, 08:33:23 am »
I know that this is on Tooth's twitter feed but for the non-Twitterati amongst us, I don't know how many are aware of what the Simone Tweet on the homepage is all about.  Reading the JustGiving page , looks like they're not having the best of times at present (.... and the award for understatement of the year goes to ...).  I'm sure folks will respond accordingly and that everyone's thoughts, prayers and whatever practical support as is possible will be with them.

Events / GeekedFest Pontypridd 16th June 2018
« on: 02 June, 2018, 06:26:43 pm »
Ponty has it's own con at last!  Tidy!

Limited information at present, mind

My daughter is stoked to see what this is like.  Reasonably priced too.

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