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Messages - Will Cooling

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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.

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.


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

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!


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.

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.

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.

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.

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?


Film & TV / Podcast on Politics of Marvel
« on: 18 May, 2018, 11:11:30 PM »

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

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.

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.

Film & TV / Re: Doctor Who - Series 10 (Spoilers)
« on: 04 July, 2017, 04:27:11 PM »
Speaking as a comic creator who tends, whenever it's possible to diversify up my cast (I have limited powers in this regard being often just the artist) I can explain my thinking:

I have an agenda. That agenda though isn't "Let's make readers gay! bisexual! transgender! black! white!" it's this:

my kids grew up in a more diverse environment than me - they have more POC friends that I've ever known in my life, they have openly gay relatives (one of whom is due to get married soon) where if there were members of my family that were gay when I grew up, they were probably petrified to reveal themselves.

If I don't make an effort to include different people from different backgrounds then my cast will be ENTIRELY made up with the sort of easy to reach faces that I usually draw - ie, white blokes with broken noses.

While the vast majority of comic creators are white middle aged men, there will be a need to reach beyond their own experience growing up in order to create a cast more representative of the real world as it exists now.

When I see a show without a diverse cast I think "this must look really odd to my kids" (and, being a human with a certain amount of empathy "this must be really despairing to not see anything on tv that represents you just because of your sexuality/race/gender")

To sum up: my agenda. Make something that won't look like a weird bit of fossilised culture and that can feel inclusive and positive for as many people as possible, because the one thing we should all share is empathy.

This is a great point, brilliantly made.

And the thing is, the kids really do care.

I remember loads of crappy shows that I clung to as a kid because it featured LGB characters who I could reflect with. I see my Black stepson gravitate to shows that feature Black characters because they look like him.

It's easy to adopt a "great characters are greater characters" if you don't belong to a minority and don't have to deal with invisibility.

Film & TV / Re: Doctor Who - Series 10 (Spoilers)
« on: 04 July, 2017, 04:24:54 PM »
Honestly, as a flaming Bi AF dude it really isn't a political matter, its no more so than heterosexual relations. What it is is something that transendes politics and media and culture as just pure love between folk. Politics as far as the movement is concerned is more constructed notions like marriage, addoption and the right NOT to be fucking harrased in the street daily. THAT is political.

So yes, back to it. Bill was great theoughout, more gay characters please.

Your second and third sentences contradict the first. It would be nice if LGBT relations weren't political but historic oppression and enduring discrimination means they are. Matthew Yglesias of Vox had a nice line when he said that for the liberal left to pretend that it wasn't waging a (successful) culture war against social conservatism is gaslighting those that disagree with it. 

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