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Messages - Will Cooling

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1
Books & Comics / Re: SPACEWARP - New Venture from Pat Mills
« on: Today at 11:04:38 PM »
The thing with comics is not whether a child will read them if they're stuck in their face by an eager dad, but whether they will actually ask for themselves. I got my stepson reading some collections - some 2000AD, some Marvel - and he genuinely loved reading. Gave him a load of my old Marvel comics, and he enjoys reading them to. But it's never something that he actually asks for a present. It just doesn't occur to him.

2
Off Topic / Re: Thought Police: Are we allowed to query 'woke'?
« on: 07 October, 2020, 07:44:48 PM »
Surprised no one's mentioned the interesting journey the phrase "woke" has taken

It began as an African-American term, meaning to be awake to the systematic injustices and dangers that a white dominated society posed to black people. It somehow got picked up by white liberals, and became a broader descriptor of being alert to discrimination and bigotry. In my experience, it feels its now became something that is almost only used to mock or insult people. It's basically "political correctness gone mad" for people who spend too much time on Twitter.

Can you query it? Depends what you mean by that. The impulse to breakdown discrimination and bigtory is good and important, but specific examples may take the principle beyond the point of common sense, especially when you're dealing with white-dominated institutions prone to overreact to what an atypical group of activists are saying. A good example is some Americans adopting the word "latinx" as gender neutral term for latino/latina people, something that has increasingly been proven to be incredibly unpopular within that community because it doesn't map onto Spanish. Likewise there's been a lot of backlash towards "defund the police" from African-Americans.

Likewise  there's often good arguments that politicians (more in the states) have become too quick to frame policies in ways that needlessly irritate poorer white voters, where a more traditional class frame would make the policy more popular (casting economic redistribution as a "reparations for slavery" was a good example of this).

And of course there's the argument that a lot of culture war issues are arguing about symbolism which might be interesting to people online, but doesn't actually do much for minorities. A lot of BAME people have expressed irritation that (as they saw it) white liberals steered the conversation on race equality towards statues, rather than actually dealing with the issues they faced.

And finally there is an issue in the UK with people conflating the issues that we face as a country with those that America, a very different country, face. There is obviously racism in Britain, but its not the same as Americas, and adopting the same frame doesn't work. For example, America is more racially segregated than Britain is, and so sometimes their framework doesn't allow for things like Adele donning a Notting Hill Carnival costume as an example of her celebrating the culture of where she grew up. 

So yeah, it would be silly to go along with every "woke" argument. But you can disagree about particulars without losing sight of the need to address the systematic issues that people face in the UK and other countries.

3
General / Re: Pat Mills moving onto new things it would seem
« on: 19 August, 2020, 11:07:39 AM »
I do wonder whether the recent spate of assigning new creators to legacy characters has undermined Pat's relationship with Rebellion. It's always been something he's been nervous about, back to the old days when he would be anti-fanzine because he thought it was a training ground for his replacement, and seeing how brutally John Smith was treated must have raised hackles.

4
Off Topic / Re: The Political Thread
« on: 23 July, 2020, 10:23:45 AM »
This is not a normal swing to the right. This is straight-up nationalism. The Tories threw Heseltine and Clarke out, for crying out loud. Thatcher would be too much of an EU-loving liberal for this party. The upshot is the Overton window is now so heavily skewed that even the likes of Dominic Grieve are seen as being worryingly left-leaning.

This would be the Thatcher that opposed the social chapter, opposed ERM let alone a Single Currency, opposed the Maastricht Treaty, and was calling for Britain to leave in the early noughties? I think you might be blinded by the early Thatcher's jumper.

5

The collection ends with the end of Book One in the comics.

7
General / Podcast w/ Pat Mills on Third World War
« on: 13 November, 2019, 08:21:18 PM »
I interviewed Pat Mills for my politics. We talk the upcoming release of his classic late 1980s series Third World War. We cover the importance of politics in pop culture, the launch of Crisis, multinationals and the exploration of food, why Finn could once again capture the zeitgest like he did in the 1990s, the decline of the Brithsh comics industry and much more!

https://www.buzzsprout.com/96109/episodes/2066985

8
General / Re: Do John Wagner & Carlos Ezquerra own Judge Dredd?
« on: 20 May, 2019, 02:03:10 PM »
I think it would also be very difficult for John to prove actual ownership of Judge Dredd. After all Pat as 2000AD Editor overruled his objections to Ezquerra's depiction of the character. Then there was the significant work that Pat and other early writers did to bash it into shape, in terms of fleshing out Dredd and his world. That's before you consider how the IP has grown over the years with the contribution of other writers.

Also IIRC what was written in TPO, Robinson's claim for her characters was actually based on having used some of them in her novels beforehand.

9
Prog / Re: Prog 2116 - Freak Out
« on: 30 January, 2019, 01:50:57 PM »
Not so straight forwards review for me. I have been saying how great Brink is for weeks, and I read this first (which is unusual for me as I tend to read the Prog in order) but I don’t like it when things go all weird like this.

Dredd is great, but I’m not sure how much mileage is left in the Dredd objects to the robot Judges story line. I’m much more interested in the Hershey moving on aspect.

Lack of investment in the characters in a 3hriller seems to be par for the course. It matters less in a one shot Future Shock as the point is to get to the denouement; here we are meant to feel for Jon inadvertently making a deal with a demon, but that’s a plot I am sure we have all seen loads of times before.

Skip Tracer continues to do a job...albeit as a “c” list strip. I read a few comments saying that Nikolai Dante started out similarly underwhelming - not sure I agree with that. Skip Tracer seemingly has all the ingredients for a good strip and maybe that’s the problem - it feels like scripting by numbers but lacks soul. Coincidentally I read an article yesterday about film scripts being written by AI. IMO You can throw all the elements in but that doesn’t mean it will be engaging.

Wagner has been mining Dredd vs Intelligent Robots since he returned to the strip in 1977. I'm sure he'll keep finding ways to keep it going.

10
Prog / Re: PROG 2111 - Welcome to the Thrill-Party!
« on: 10 December, 2018, 05:53:07 PM »
I've re-read it a couple of time but in the interview I found Richard Burton's assessment of Alan Grant bordering on offensive.

"like so many double acts, the talent lay with John, and I'm sure Alan would agree with that."

Really? Well how about a statement from Alan himself to either agree or challenge that opinion.
I think I find it incredibly biased as he has already stated he didn't get on well with Alan.

Just odd given:
a) Alan went on to do incredible runs on Batman, Anderson PSI Division and others
b) Alan is credited with being a great early supporter of everyone from Alan Moore, to Morrison and Millar. Taking the time to give feedback and handwrite replies etc.

Seemed a bit of a sour note to go unchallenged.

To be fair, Alan Grant hasn't held back on his criticism of Burton's professional abilities (while making it clear they like each other as people):





As for underestimating Grant's contribution to the Wagner/Grant partnership, that's something most of us are guilty of, too. While Grant concedes his Dredd is just lacking something (above), Grantless-Wagner eventually proved to be missing the fun, weirdness and invention we loved as kids*

Grant also wrote some incredible Strontium Dog. That tends to get smoothed over in our justification of Wagner bringing the character back at the turn of the century**, but we all know how Wagner and Grant wrote - whoever got his name on the credit box was the one who actually wrote the script.

If Wagner was really the one who wrote Dredd, then Grant was really the one who wrote Stront.


* Wagner's early solo work and latter-day epics more than compensated for that loss by finding different kinds of stories to tell, but there were long stretches during the nineties and early 21st century where Wagner was lost and trying (with varying degrees of success) to recreate TB Grover stories without the magic ingredient that made them work.

** 'Wagner's written Strontium Dog for 40 years, so the character's his to do with as he pleases'


100% Agree that people overlook how different Wagner's Dredd is to Wagner/Grant's take on the character.  But this is part of my broader complaint that people take a character which had many different people contribute to its creation (Ezquerra's design was rejected by Wagner, Mills did a lot of work developing the character whilst Wagner stepped away), and try to give one person sole ownership of it.

11
Prog / Re: Prog 2109 - Shark-Infested Waters
« on: 29 November, 2018, 03:58:42 PM »
Surprised at the lack o love here for this excellent Dredd, yes a wee 'Good to go Maitland' comms between Maitland and Gerhart would have plug that wee plot hole,  Dredd is a blunt instrument, but an experienced one. hence the planning.
layers, like an onion, donkey.

I'm toying  the idea that Smiley allowed Cal to prosper (Smiley won't have been in the sleep machines) so Cal would reduce the population and build the West Wall, to keep all that out there...
layers, like an onion, donkey.

As for the Hershey/Dredd thing, again loving how the job is driving them apart, you can feel Hershey anger at old Stoney Pus and his binary view.
layers, like an onion, donkey.

Great stuff, more Tharg baby more!

My gut is that Rob Williams is doing Breaking Bad style scripting where those obvious scenes are skipped because a) you want to maintain a fast pace b) those scenes are boring in of themselves and c) you trust your audience to fill in the blanks.

12
Prog / Re: Prog 2109 - Shark-Infested Waters
« on: 28 November, 2018, 01:28:45 PM »

You say there was a nonsensical pun in a Judge Dredd story?

https://getyarn.io/yarn-clip/f4b760cf-7f29-4e5b-a5d4-3b674a705c7c

13
Film & TV / Podcast on Politics of Marvel
« on: 18 May, 2018, 11:11:30 PM »
https://www.buzzsprout.com/96109/706152-it-could-be-said-6-1-6-the-politics-of-marvel.mp3?download=true

I've done a fun podcast about the politics of Marvel movies. Hope you enjoy it.

14
News / Re: Netflix buys Millarworld
« on: 10 August, 2017, 04:51:15 PM »
I hope that Millar enjoys the fortune he's managed to obtain, and that Netflix learns quickly from this terrible mistake.

I dunno man, Millar may not be my cup of scripting, but aside from his direct Hollywood successes, there's a good argument don't that the whole MCU stems from his Ultimates work. Might not be such a crazy idea for Netflix to give him a spin.

Did it hell. Not a single character in the MCU is like how he scripted in Ultimates. Look at his most radical updates. Is Captain America a hard-right Republican? No. Is HULK sex-crazed. No. Is Thor a new age hippy. No. Where Ultimates has influence is Bryan Hitch's art i.e. changes to Cap's costume and having Nick Fury be Sam Jackson. But Millar's influence is grossly overstated.

15
News / Re: 2000AD & Judge Dredd: The Secret History by Pat Mills.
« on: 10 August, 2017, 12:18:02 PM »
Pat spends the first half of the book saying how you have to be a monster to be an editor, and at times trample all over creators feelings to get results. He then complains about David's "hobnail boots" and Andy's script doctoring.... I can see how he might perceive a difference, but it would be nice if he addressed the possible hypocrisy in this.

Exactly. This is the guy who brags about rewriting the first twelve issues of the comic.

I love Mills, and wouldn't want to see him get the John Smith treatment,  but he doesn't seem to realise that he's now the equivalent of the old IPC staffers who wanted everything done the same way because that's what worked in the past.

Or Tom Tully, stretching out stories for as long as possible, keeping the same old characters going long past their sell by date.*


* To be fair, if Mills wasn't writing Sláine and ABC Warriors, someone else would. And Pat wouldn't get a penny..

Indeed - I think Pat has finally convinced me that his 90s output was adversely affected by the powers that be "constraining" or at least befuddling and de-energizing him. I'd love to see more of his European work, such as Torturer - sounds like he was having more fun there, and that showed in the work he did for the progs at the time

He mentioned Torturer to me years and years ago, and I've hoped it'd see an English-language reprint ever since. Sounds absolutely mental.

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