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Messages - Will Cooling

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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. 

Film & TV / Re: Doctor Who - Series 10 (Spoilers)
« on: 04 July, 2017, 01:28:40 PM »
Sexual. 👏🏻 Equality. 👏🏻 Isn't. 👏🏻 Political.👏🏻

Yes it is.

I think its great that programs like Doctor Who teach young people to be more understanding/accepting of LGBT people and other minorities. But lets not pretend that LGBT Equality isn't a political debate between two sides. Just because you're right, doesn't mean you're not arguing.

I would say one thing that is overlooked is how sensitive the handling of Missy has been. I really noticed how the Doctor never misgenders her i.e. by calling her The Master or a He. It's really well done.

Film & TV / Re: Doctor Who - Series 10 (Spoilers)
« on: 02 July, 2017, 07:13:14 PM »


My stepson watches but whenever regeneration comes up his eyes light up and quickly he asks whether this means the Doctor will be young again. Kris Marshall wouldn't be my pick but it seems like it would fit the mould of what works as the Doctor in the current climate.

And I think the women Doctor is at the same point as what RTD said - technically possible but a bad idea because it would confuse the kids. To take that a step further confusing the kids means bothered parents, which makes them less inclined to buy merchandise or even let them watch. Again my stepson came in with the Matt Smith-era because of when he met me. Trying to explain Missy/Master to a nine-year old was very painful...and that's something who likes the show. I know my wife has often shouted at him for bothering her with questions about Cyberman or Weeping Angels lol.

Maybe the War Doctor should have been a Women to test the waters? That would have been interesting inversion of traditional gender roles. And imagine Maggie Smith reading all John Hurt's lines in Day of the Doctor and try to deny it becomes an even better episode.

Off Topic / Re: The Political Thread
« on: 22 June, 2017, 04:16:05 PM »
Here's another - a friend and his two children have had to go to Germany, as his wife (and mother of his children) is, apparently, the wrong nationality now, even though she'd lived in the UK for the past ten years.
My Twitter feed is full of EU professionals leaving, many of which are taking tax-paying Brits with them, whose taxes will now feed into some other country. Meanwhile, immigration from the EU is plummeting, which the Tories are cheering about, despite it already having a massive knock-on effect on a number of key industries. And now those business folks who were pro-Brexit are suddenly waking up to what's happening, arguing that – for some UNKNOWN reason, THEIR particular industry should get a free-movement exception. What a colossal fuck up this all is.

It's also interesting to look back at the UK's history regarding free movement. In short, when it was ended from the Commonwealth, our economy went to shit pretty quickly. Free movement from the EEC/EEA rapidly and dramatically turned things around. How long before we realise the mistake that's being made this time, if ever? (It'd probably help if the UK actually admitted that regarding free movement, it never enforced any of the limitation laws available to it in the first place.)

This is a red herring.

The problem with the ways we could mitigate freedom of movement is that they are contray to have we've traditionally organised things in Britain. So we have a universal welfare state rather than the social insurance systems that exist on the continent. The state has far less ability to demand you prove your existence by presenting valid ID. The ability to police immigration in the context of Freedom of Movement would mean we'd have to adopt several unpopular measures that nobody within Britain supports.

Off Topic / Re: The Political Thread
« on: 22 June, 2017, 04:13:32 PM »
Having seen Link Primes's soon to be home how many Britains will apply to live in Ireland since it is still in the EU? Could a big influx of foreign immigrants upset the Irish and the Northern Ireland Peace process?

They're not applying to live in Ireland. They're applying for Irish passports. Rather than seek to travel across Europe with a British passport they could travel with their Irish one.

Off Topic / Re: The Political Thread
« on: 22 June, 2017, 04:11:24 PM »
Amusingly, the constituency boundary review that was all about 'fairness' is now apparently dead in the water since the new electoral calculus suggests it wouldn't hand the Tories a 30-seat majority and might imperil the likes of Boris Johnson and IDS. Oh, and hand Sinn Fein a majority at Stormont.

So let's stop pretending that was ever about fairness, shall we?

It would hand Sinn Feinn a majority of Westminster seats. It wouldn't change anything in Stormonth because its a different parliament.

And sure it wasn't about fairness. But let's not pretend the opposition was about fairness either. Both sides looking at what they thought was best for them.

Off Topic / Re: The Political Thread
« on: 20 June, 2017, 06:59:50 PM »

DUP complain about the Conservative "lack of negotiating experience".  That bodes well for Europe.  Right Wing Unionists failing to sell right wing unionism to Right Wing Unionists, but don't worry about sorting out all those trade deals folks, that'll be fine.

What exactly could the DUP be asking for that the Tories, who happily out Ukipped Ukip, aren't willing to hand them to remain in power?

End to austerity.

General / Re: Rare Interview With Legend Ian Gibson
« on: 09 February, 2017, 12:16:12 PM »
I don't get the big fuss about that picture and I think its a shame that there is a 'disconnect' between him and Rebellion.

I'm not a big Halo Jones fan though and think its over-rated (and a bit dull at times). If someone else had drawn it I don't think it would have worked half as well as it did. 

I'm a bit critical of Alan Moore's work on 2000AD though. I didn't enjoy Skizz either. I think his best works in the prog were either D.R. and Quinch or the Future Shocks.

This is the right answer.

D.R. and Quinch is truly inspired.

Film & TV / Re: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016)
« on: 15 December, 2016, 01:41:12 PM »
My main issue with the film is we know the outcome, which negates a lot of the drama-it was the same issue that plagued the prequels, but at least in Rogue One the characters appear more human and convincing in their motivations!

Kill crazy Vader at the end was a delight though!

Worth a tenner though and the 3D was fairly good after the appalling job on Star Trek Beyond-which rendered everything a murky indistinguishable mess.

Can't say I was convinced by the CGI cameos though.

Everything with Vader was a joy. They did a really good job of pitching him just right so as not to contradict New Hope. I really hope we get a Vader solo movie at some point

General / Re: Some questions about the Judge Dredd universe
« on: 02 December, 2016, 04:35:46 PM »
The problem with Dredd is that it needed to do well in the US, despite being a blunt-instrument satire, broadly anti-US in outlook, extremely violent, following a terrible prior movie, and with some iffy marketing. It's notable that Deadpool did well, despite being violent in a less moral manner (he's a vigilante, slicing up anyone who gets in his way and almost certainly causing considerable collateral damage; Dredd's a cop doing his job). Still, when you're a juggernaut, you can barge your way in. Dredd was a minnow at the cinema.

While they're very different films, the key difference for me is that Deadpool was actually marketed, and marketed well, whereas the distributors of Dredd, for whatever reason, seemed to actively suppress any and all news and material related to the movie getting out to public. As a result, there was simply zero awareness of the film in the run up to release, even among genre movie and comic book fans.

The flaws in the marketing are the same issue as the overall flaws in the film - the lack of money.

How many mid-budget movies are successful in today's film industry? It's became a game of naturalistic indie movies made for next to nothing or mega-budget epics. The former doesn't need to make back much to be successful, the latter are usually (although not always) too big to fail.

It's not intrinsic about Dredd that caused the film to fail except the future city setting mean it can't be done the cheap and the strip has no cheerleaders in Hollywood. A bigger budget would have allowed for the wilder sci-fi ideas to be reintroduced that would have made it more distinctive. A bigger budget would have allowed the cast to include some actual stars who would have impressed the punters. And yes it would have allowed for extensive marketing efforts.

Does anyone know who the editor says during the period that introduced Jura Edgar and the Robin Hood-style Slaine by Staples and Langley?  I actually really enjoyed that and thought the prog was starting to get back on track. Possibly because of the (as far as I recall)  recent reintroduction of John Wagner on Dredd.

Those ran around July-Sept 1995, which means they went out under the Tomlinson/MacManus interim period*. They would have been commissioned several months in advance, obviously.

I tend to think of Mills and Wagner shaping the direction of their own strips, but it was MacManus's idea for The Pit to take the soap opera angle, so who knows what other influence he may have had (even on the Mills Bomb).

* McKenzie was let go in November 1994, according to TPO p168

I do think the key to making 2000AD successful has been keeping Wagner and Mills happy and productive. If you look at the key strength of Tomlinson/Bishop/Diggle compared to the first half of the nineties it was all the great Wagner Dredds. Likewise the immediate upswing in the quality of Mills' stories after Smith took over greatly improved the Prog.

20,000 of those sales were lost due to a change of distributor

At least 20,000 of those were due to the change of distributor. McKenzie said that they lost 20,000 within a very few weeks of the change being imposed on them.

I've long argued that the catastrophic crash in 2000AD sales at this time was (forgive me) something of a double-whammy: reduced availability due to the distributor change, coupled with the comic just not being very good.

I think either of those things would have been bad for the comic, but in combination were disastrous. Almost overnight, 2000AD disappeared completely from the four or five newsagents on the route between my house at the time and university. The comic hadn't been much cop for some time, but as long as I could pick up a copy on a Saturday morning when I nipped out for a pint of milk and 20 B&H, it remained a habit.

Once I was looking at a trip into London to get one from FP or a big WH Smith branch…? Well, the comic just wasn't good enough for me to contemplate doing that. Obviously, I could have picked up multiple issues whenever I did go to FP, but once you break that weekly buying habit…

I think you have to add a third fact which is that first British comics and then American comics were all engulfed by a massive recession caused by both diminished youth interest due to competition from video games* and a worldwide paper shortage forcing rapid price increases. Whenever people talk about 2000AD's declining circulation issues they always miss out the fact that it was far from the only Anglophone comic to have a terrible 90s.

*I always thought the issue was less video games themselves (which after all were so expensive in the 90s that they were more centrepiece presents for birthdays or Christmas) but the boom in video game magazines which took shelf-space and pocket money away from comics.   

General / Re: Guardian Graphic Novel of the Month
« on: 22 November, 2016, 10:32:20 PM »
In over six years they've never recommended a 2000AD or related collection. You'd think some of the more political releases might have interested them

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