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Author Topic: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread  (Read 124658 times)

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #885 on: 21 January, 2020, 09:26:51 pm »


The ABCs of teaching and old Dog new tricks

So Prog 1403 sees the end of Strontium Dog 'The Heady Foot Job', ABC Warriors -Shadow Warriors Book 2 ends two Progs later. Something struck me about this two old favourites, certainly at this point.

Both series started at about the same time, certainly in relation to the age of the Prog and while they followed different trajectories they have both dropped in and out from time to time. By the time Prog 1400 rolls around however they have both become semi regulars again and both are respected pillars of the Prog. Thing is they have both aged very differently.

ABC Warriors feels a bit tied by this point. The art by Flint is incredible but Pat Mills is firing out tried and tested ideas and themes that have worn threadbare with over use. He's almost metronomic in the way he rolls out an idea, rolls out a bit of clever word play, rolls out a bit of action,  rolls out a bit of characterisation - over-burdened by trying to make things seem cool and edgy. It doesn't feel natural it feels cold, calculated and stilted because of it. It feels like its trying to act its age, to be all grown up and meaningful. but by doing so has wiped out its original charm and become forced.*

Wagner and Ezquerra do none of this. There is much more confidence in a deceptively simple 4 part Strontium Dog story. An amusing (very amusing that is no slight) tale of Johnny and Wulf seeming to rescue a hard bitten ex-Dog sentenced to death. The story seems slight and relaxed. Its doesn't appear to be trying to do anything too much, its not pumping themes and ideas at any great pace. Its not changed to accommadate its changed audience.

No rather Wagner and Ezquerra are supremely confident that craft is timeless, a good yarn told well is a good yarn told well and if they are having fun doing it, we'll have fun reading it. And I did. It was simple riot of fun, idea, banter and bashing. It was good comics, good storytelling. Unlike Pat Mills it doesn't feel like they are churning it out to keep it going** it feels like they have just thought, when they are good and ready, oh this will be a fun thing to do and they do it.

No Wagner and Ezquerra realise you don't need to teach an old Dog new tricks.

*I will say I'm expecting an uptick in ABC Warriors when Clint Langley comes along, we'll see what happens

** I'm not suggesting that Mills is just churning it out, just that's how it feels to me when I read it.

Funt Solo

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #886 on: 21 January, 2020, 10:30:23 pm »
I don't disagree with any of your points, but I found The Headly Foot Job to be staid. Mind you, I'm a Marmite Strontium Dog fan: some I love (The Killing), some I loathe (or rather, feel that they don't say anything new).

Like you, I loved the art in The Shadow Warriors, but the warriors have been repetitive and sub-standard (story-wise) since Hellbringer (with Khronicles of Khaos being the last time they were really on top form).

(I say this having just been enjoyably surprised by episode #1 of Return to Ro-Busters in prog 1961.)

Bec & Kawl were cute but a bit one-note. I have no recollection of Dredd's Big Deal at Drekk City.

So, leading the pack at the time was Cabs with Creepshow.





Frank would know.

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #887 on: 22 January, 2020, 09:49:18 pm »
Bec & Kawl were cute but a bit one-note.

I've avoided saying too much about Bec and Kawl as it just does nothing for me. Its not even bad in an interesting way like some  of Millicons stuff.

I have no recollection of Dredd's Big Deal at Drekk City.

Its a bit of a weird one. I really like it and enjoy the way Dredd stalled the perps by giving a Justice related meaning to each of the playing cards... it just read a bit weird and forced. Still for some strange reason really worked for me?!? Oh and glorious Cam Kennedy art.

Anyway since I cluttered your thread with my logo I feel its only fair to do this



this time... Sorry about that Funt Solo.

Anyway to matters self-absorbed

Prog 1406 - Reflections on a different YNWA

I was given a copy of Prog 1406 by a friend back in the day. Purely on the basis that it had the scouse zombie story, they knew I loved 2000ad back in the day's back in the day and thought that might amuse me. Very kind gesture. Alas misfired and I looked at this Prog with a sense of ... almost pity... the comic wasn't what I remembered, what I wanted the Prog to be...

...I shudder at the thought of 2004 Colin, he was a silly old guff 'ead. He was getting back, slowly into American comics off the back of selling the bulk of his old collection. He was buying Avengers comics regularly and a few, select other American comics and starting to lap up back issues at an bit of a rate. He'd picked up most of the first 500 issues of the Prog that he didn't already own. But that was a nostaglia trip. He had no interest in the modern Prog that was rubbish...

...christ I was like one of those goons on Facebook who doesn't rate the Prog at all anymore having not read it for over 30 years!

I was wrong. This is a decent Prog. Okay the art on scouse zombie Dredd is a bit glowly, the stories just servicable, which is a shame from Alan Grant. Caballistics Inc is superb as 'Creepshow' nears its conclusion (more next time), Robo-hunter continues Samantha's fun introduction, Asylum 2 has a good opening episode, as does Strontium Dog in 'Traitor to his kind'. Christ by chance I had three first parts, a one of Dredd and the only ongoing story was a bit of a classic...

...yet I looked at this and shrugged. I felt a quiet happiness that the Prog was still there, but at the same time almost recented that being so. AS. ITS. NOT. MY. PROG. Not what I remembered and at that time, so turned by my return to simple four colour superheroics just of no interest to me.

This my friends and loyal readers (well you must be loyal if you continue to read my guff!) is a warning to us all. See I think this is very possibly what those very gumbars I mention above think? So set on the fact that the Progs not for them anymore that it doesn't matter how good the content is. They have shut the doors to the possibility and blinkered themselves to the fact it could be good.

I know I had... bloody fool that I was.

Luckly for use all my story has a happy ending as a little over 2 years and 100 Prog after this, so immersed in comics and driven by 30th birthday publicity and a strange sense of loyality, I decide to give the Prog another go. and 13 years and over 14,000 posts (bloody hell I need to stop this don't I!) later here we all are. My love for 2000ad burns as bright, if not brighter than ever.

The lesson... oh who gives a toss I'm off to read more Progs from all ages... with an open mind...

Bolt-01

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #888 on: 23 January, 2020, 08:12:44 am »
Like.


Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #889 on: 23 January, 2020, 09:21:43 pm »


Caballistics Inc - Creepshow

I've not got much to say about this one... so why the thread. Well last time I exposed the stupidity of 2004 Colin as he rejected the Prog out of hand. I didn't want to leave you thinking it was only 2004 Colin who was stupid... mind those reading this know that already I guess... no 2010 Colin was ... well if not stupid a bit gullible and daft. See when I first read this story I was so immersed by the story of Ludgate Pictures, even though I knew it was real... even though I knew it was daft... I did a quick Google search to make sure it wasn't a real thing I'd somehow missed and Grennie had weaved a tale around urban myth about them. I knew it couldn't be the case, but I just had to... kinda... check.

There I've confessed, I've got it off my chest. Now you can read the rest of stupid 2010 Colin's thoughts on this story as 2020 Colin doesn't think everything he said was stupid (2004 Colin was just completely dumb though)

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I know that Caballistics Inc is an incredibly popular strip and while I've always enjoyed it its always frustrated me. While all the stories have been entertaining enough on their own their place within the grand story has been dominated to the point of smothering the individual tales. The stories to date have felt like distractions on the way to understanding the bigger picture. Mere vehicles to slowly reveal the secrets behind the characters, ways to fit the Caballistics Inc world into prog sized chunks.

I felt all that until 'Creepshow' when the balanced clicked. This felt like a story that added to the overall picture rather than one fitted ackwardly around the bigger scene. 'Creepshow' certainly moved the larger picture forward but it was a cracking yarn in itself and that's what counts in 2000ad. Gordon Rennie created a wonderfully realised fantasy and the creation of Ludgate Films was utterly convincing. I was truely engaged with the whole story and thus cared more for the details being added to the 'meta story' to use modern parlance.

Caballistics has looked fantastic through out and its no different here, just for me this was the first story to completely match this.

Complete.

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #890 on: 25 January, 2020, 08:01:05 am »


The more things change the more they stay the same

The self-absorbed self quote, my thoughts on Asylum 2 from 2010 when I first read it:

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Well just finished Asylum 2 and it was better. It felt like it had more focus but I still didn't enjoy it massively. You see, and I know I should whisper this, I'm not a big fan of Boo Cook's art. Don't get me wrong its good art and I know I'm completely in the minority (possibly of one?) but it doesn't work for me. Its a taste thing and I have a horrible feeling this may have distracted me too much in this case...or did it?

Now interestingly I really enjoyed 'Dead Man Walking' and the art didn't detract from that at all so maybe its the atmosphere that was trying to be portrayed didn't sit well with Boo's style?

I don't know when I finished the story I tried to work out why I hadn't enjoyed it too much as it certainly worked as a story, the characters by and large worked better than in the first story. It felt as if it had more direction and a clarity of vision I found lacking in the first one. Just couldn't work it out. Then it occured to me.

I'm not a big fan of Boo Cook's art, there's nothing wrong with Boo Cook's art he's clearly a very talented fella and sometimes I look at it and wonder why on Earth I don't go mad for it, but I don't. So I guess that's it sometimes stuff just don't work for you as an individual, nowt wrong with it, nowt to be analysised, nowted to pick apart. Some time you have to just shrug and say well done fella's just not for me.

So first thing to acknowledge if we're going to talk about change and...err... not change is that one consistent in our lives is my inability to write with any clarity or miss out words, letters etc that make my missives not only insights into my muddled leaky mind, but also nice challenging word puzzles for you to enjoy. I work on so many level I does.

Anyway normally when I self quote I do so as I'm a lazy ol' buzzard and can't be bothered to repeat what I've said before. Here I do it for the opposite reason, cos 2020 Colin doesn't agree with 2010 Colin. I really enjoyed Asylum 2. It took the slightly cliched (for 2000ad and sci-fi in general) themes of the first story and soften the edges, exposing a little more complexity.

Here Rob Williams and Boo Cook explore a sense of belonging, what it is to fight for what you believe in and where you belong and the extremes we reach when we do so... or summit I ain't no English Literature graduate....

...anyway I enjoyed it. Well fleshed out characters in tense thrilling circumstances. Heartstrings well and truly pulled on and a few chunky messages to chew on. So where it didn't gell for 2010 Colin, for whatever reason and changes in 2020 Colin it really did. I really liked it and have enjoyed Asylum across the piece all the more on this re-read. One factor is almost certainly that I've warmed (if only a little) to Boo Cook's art over the years and enjoy it here.

So a couple of posts ago I mentioned how having steadfast views on whether something will or won't be good before engaging with it isn't a healthly thing. Here I also suggest that we (I) take a similar approach to the possiblity of change. That my changing world view, age, experience, or even just taste will change how I reflect on a story and just cos I held a view on one thing at one point doesn't mean I need to hold that view at another point.What lovely fluid things we are, we grow and we change ... and that can be for the good... hopefully...

Mind looking at the rest of the Prog at this time there are certainly things I don't see myself ever changing my view on. Like Brexit there are certain things that are just so wrong, or so right, that there's no need to shift, regardless of how I have developed. In thrill terms the absolute chilling delight that is Total War book ending the Prog with Strontium Dog 'Traitor to his kind' makes this a bloody superb period and that is a closed book.

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #891 on: 26 January, 2020, 08:37:26 am »


The frantic choas of the end of the year

There's always so much to do at the end of the year, so many things to fit in and so it is for the Prog in 2004. There seems to be about 4 too many Progs to fill and Tharg has to throw all sorts in to try to fit them all in - some works, some doesn't, but of course the has some of his centre pieces well and truly in place. And so to try to cramp all this in I've a few quick thoughts on the end of 2004.

1. I don't own the Placebo Poster Prog as it didn't come with Prog 1405 when I picked up these issues... I've not urge to track it down either, so much for my open mind!

2. Strontium Dog 'Traitor to his kind' which starts in Prog 1406 is just fantastic. Classic scenario to pull into focus Johnny at his   brooding self sacrificing best as human and mutants clash again and Johnny's family once again shows it really should have gone to some sort of thearpy sessions together.

3. This earlier less 'Rage' Johnny even scarifices his revenge as a source of solice. Does any one do brooding self-saacrifice like Johnny...

4. I have no idea what the scheduling juggernaut force Tharg to do but I do wonder why 'Traitor to this Kind wasn't programmed to run to the end of the year and some of the filler fired into these earlier Prog having both this and 'Total War' to see the year out would have been incredibe.

5. Robo-hunter - Furzt Case is on this reading going to be the weakest of the Samantha stories, either that or my love of this series will not survive this read. Still its an okaaayyyy fun action romp.

6. Tharg does throw some filler thrills in here with some barely adequate Future Imperfects and Past Shocks, which indicate quite the juggling act Tharg has on his hands this time of year.

7. But even when he's juggling Tharg has some delights for us as Lobster Random returns in 'Tooth and Claw' in Prog 1411. We'll face up to that one in a bit.

8. Prog 1412 brings is Freaks - Faces as well, and we'll face up to that one later as well.

9. A cute Sinister Dexter is thrown in to add to the filler in Prog 1415 and given the quality of this thrill of late this story can' be seen as anything more.

10. As Asylum 2 cycles out and has been discussed below, two more thrills pad out the end of year with Synnamon and Red Sea drop in.

11. I forget how often Synnamon pops up and the fact that I forget says it all.

12.Where as I remember clearly this Red Seas short as Erebus really find his feet in the series. Just great fun stuff in the classic high spirited, simple high seas adventures of this series.

13. By the end of 1419 and the conclusion of Faces I'm a little at a lose of what that was all about. It has so much going on, alien romance, government cloning, alien invasions that its 8 episodes are left dizzy and confusing. Nothing breathes and it reads like a confusing series of ill connected events.

14. By the end of 1419 and the conclusion of Tooth and Claw I'm a little at a lose at how that managed that. It has so much going on, robotic romance, rock stars moaning, crustean demi God interventions and a lot more. But with its 9 episodes we are left dizzy and delighted. Everything is given full life and somehow the confusing series of events is connected into a chaotic, original cavalcade.

15. Sometime the talent and craft works, John Higgins and Mindy Newell who bring us Faces have that in spades its just that here it doesn't work as the craft and talent displayed by Spurrioso and Critchlow on Tooth and Claw.

16. And talent and craft bring us back to the true star of the end of the year 'Total War', one of my all time favourite Dredds.

17. It too have sooo much going on but all wonderfully paced and position to create a truly mesmerizing whole. The gripping tense procedural of the first half, completely compelling and engrossing and genuinely edge of the seat stuff.

18. The stakes are so high and you utterly buy into it as the procedural starts to fall away and with glorious awareness of its pacing Dredd tells Roffman to get on and get to just the important details and so Wagner does and the stort accelerates into action thriller.

19. By the end its a family meladrama with quite the most astonishing meladramatic back drops as a man, having lost an arm to a final nuker blast threatens Vienna only for her to be rescued by her super-powered, deformed and brutal clone relative Wagner shows that he like no one else understands the balance between the sublime and the ridiculous.

20. Though ultimately for all that, all the terror, all the explosions, and the meladrama in Wagner masterful hands comes down to Dredd once again showing anything Johnny can do he can do to. If its brooding (or repressed) self-scarifice look no further than Dredd as well as Johnny.

21. Its these counter points that wish for whatever scheduling nightmares Tharg and Matt Smith was coping with he's somehow managed to put the end with Traitor to his kind alongside the end of Total War. I'm not sure we would have survivied the thrill-power overload but we'd of had in a single place all the evidence we needed that John Wagner is truly the greatest comics writer.

And so there we have it 2004 comes to an end and that can mean only one thing... and I don't do the spinnys - see you next time.

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #892 on: 27 January, 2020, 08:54:40 pm »


2004

So I'm settling further down, still going to Glastonbury, finding my all time favourite festival in ATP and through that one of my all time favourite bands Deerhoof... oh and I meet my wife, though I don't know that yet.

So yeah 2004 Colin is in a much better place* and far more...

...hold on didn't I say this last time...

...yep...

...okay I said this would get dull. The trouble is being settled, even if its in a much more positive place can be pretty dull to discuss.

So yeah like the Prog I'm kinda there. Oh its not perfect, and stuff can still be rubbish on occasion but I'm so much more settled that I can roll with the bad and the hedantistic highs are motivated by positives, not simply covering up the negatives. The Prog is the same. The lows - well almost all of them there's some exceptions I've mentioned down thread... are by and large not that low and by contrast the highs are all the more magnificent and in Prog terms we get so many of those.

Sorry I'm getting ahead of myself. What did I predict last year?

Quote
And so we head to 2004 and what can I say I'm looking forward to pulling the Progs from my nerdcave and seeing what will be there I strongly suspect it will be much the same. The misfires will still be there, but slowly getting fewer as we continue to realise what works and are able to find that more often. The balance will slowly shift and only in good ways as we continue to settle and become comfortable with who we are and like it.

Onwards and upwards...

Yep nailed it and frankly there's not too much more to say other than that which I've said throughout this thread. I could list what was good and what wasn't but what's the point. We'll not learn anything from it. The Prog is in a very good place. Its not quite 1999 good yet, that's still my favourite year, but its not far off and some of the highs really are as good as the Prog has ever been.

So all that's left is predictions for 2005 and frankly things will slowly and steady get better as will life. We'll have some of the best Sinister Dexter and Sweden, we have our last Glastonbury and Caballistics Inc (I think), we'll be in full ATP swing and we'll have Red Seas and Leatherjacks. It will be a good year and I'm looking forward to reliving it.

*Don't worry before you think this will turn into a smug self satisfied (as well as self absorbed) fest please  don't forget 2004 Colin might have been settled, but he was also a dunderhead nonscrot and we need to wait almost a couple of years before I'm repreived!

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #893 on: 03 February, 2020, 09:53:12 pm »


Some quick thoughts on early 2005

1. Prog 2005  introduces the as yet unnamed Damage Report. The Prog as we know it is complete

2. It also continues the trend that the bumper end of year Prog is really just a launch Prog... which is not to say its not great as it pretty much is as a bumper prog during this time is indeed a bumper treat.

3. In a minor classic Dredd finally catches up with Oola. Caballistics Inc sets up its own ending. Sinister Dexter foreshadows a turn of events. Leviathan horribly fullfils the role of filler with a grusome glory all of its own. Nikolai Dante swings back into high seas action and there's more besides. Its a fantastic issue.

4. LIke all good launch Progs it also has a great new story as Second City Blues balls its way into the Prog by Kek-W and the oft under-rated Warren Pleece.

5. And so the first line-up of 2005 is pretty strong. Dredd is backed up by that new thrill, Caballistics and Caballistics Inc. Slaine finishes up the line-up

6. Prog 1420 gives Damage Report its name. I'm not sure if that's based its original remit of listing the damage Droids have been inflicited or the damage it does to your eyes as you try to read that tiny grey text on a black background. Oh the strain.

7. Dredd leds the line with a series of post 'Total Wars' stories that have earned great praise for carrying on the impact of that epic. The first of them is superb, all be it with a weird art choice. 'After the bombs' a story of an injuried woman a lump of shrapnel in her skull releasing strange pre-cog powers to back up surprising gun skills and dark secrets. Its a grim masterpiece by John Wagner joined by odd choice of bubbly art by Jason Brashill not carrying the tone regardless of his technical skill.

8. But its not just Wagner, Grennie, ably supported by Anthony Williams provides a great story in Prog 1423 as we see the impacts on Vienna and again set up for more to come.

9. Caballistics Inc is the first of the line-up to finish after a tense terse tale of angels and stone golems. Its replaced by a story on the other extreme of the 2000ad spectrum as Dirty Frank finally steps into the spotlight and literally takes centre stage in a rocking and genuinely funny Low Life story 'Rock and a hard place.' Its quite superb and perfectly showcases why Frank has become one of Tharg's true superstars.

10. Something that makes my eyes sore gives way to a sight for sore eyes as Slaine goes next and in Prog 1426 Steve Parkhouse writes and draws Tiger Sun. I'm not sure why this is shoehorned into a Dredd world story and I'm not too far into it at the time of typing. What I can say unequivocally is that Parkhouse's art is stunning and like Warren Pleece he's a under-rated slice of brilliance.

11. So as Prog 1427 brings a real turn in events in the always entertaining Second City Blue, which I think I'll talk about more next time Nikolai Dante ends one of his superb stories. In Agent of Destruction we get an example of what this series at its best does so well. It balances high seas hi-jinx and thrilling action with a dark emotional under-current of tension and power. The larger story arc playing here adds perfecting to the sci-fi action. The easy cheap charm of Dante adds perfectly to deep tones and meladrama of those that surround him and the events that consume him. The pirate days of Dante come in for a hard time and I can never understand why. It gets its balance perfectly and I can only assume its irregular scheduling is what affected it most not its quality.

So 2005 gets off to a strong start with a headly mix of old and new showing Tharg's organ at its very best.

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #894 on: 07 February, 2020, 09:18:10 pm »


Second City Blues

Now this is interesting. Ten, count um, Ten Years ago I said this about this sporting Alien invasion thrill

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I'm not saying anything new I don't think when I comment on the fact that this thrill summarises whats so very hard about getting future sports strips right. Namely getting the sport right. Its so hard to create a convincing, viseral future sport that can be shown and understood in short compacted episodes yet still come across as convincing. At one point its said the sport in this story is the most dangerous and violent sport out there... really didn't come across as such.

Which is a real shame as the story running behind it was really good fun. I loved some of the characters, even if they were a bit cliched, I'm looking at you coach. The aliens sealing themselves off from their senses just plain brillant. At times it read like an 80s kids tv show a little like 'Press Gang' or the like and I mean that in a good way. Right down to the last panel gag 'to camera'. I was a fun strip right from the old school... just didn't need the the surf boards and goal hoops.

Warren Pleece's art is always worth a mention... so I will its great.

Just offside

Now I stand by my comment that the sport is an issue here. While the sport need not be central to the plot its does provide the back drop to the story, the environment in which the tale is told. Its the Mega City to Dredd, the Downlobe to Sinister Dexter and if you don't buy into it as plausible it takes something away from the tale.

What this story ably demostrates on re-read is how much this is the case. The once Professor Byah said it wasn't a big deal and its just background and lets face it Rok of the Reds sure shows evidence of that, enjoyed by fans and haters of footie alike. I do however think that background is not to be dismissed BUT its impact was far from significent this time. Despite the issues with making the sport feel real and visceral the story is blinding, the characters engaging and the twists, turns and quirks this very Kek-W of sports stories takes really make this a fantastic read.

There may well have been a wink to camera to mark the end of this story, but by George I think its one that could safely come back with the team heading of to the interplanetary competition with the gangster Dad as owner I think there was rich ground to be played in. So come on Kek-W get the wonderful Warren Pleece back on the board and lets do this again. Its grand.

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #895 on: 18 February, 2020, 09:50:46 pm »


Long tails, sagging middles and nice shorts - Spring 2005

Arh a nice long travel journey and not caring for a couple of stories mean that I've breezed through spring and of course have a few things to say.

1. Its been said before and I suspect in 10 years when I do my next re-read (don't hold me to that) the fall out from 'Total War' just works. Its feels appropriate and fitting for such a great story. Its long and really pulls out the key elements that needed or justified further exploration.

2. Its been said before that other 'Mega-Epics' would deserve such treatment.

3. Its been said before and no doubt I'll say it again 'Life's a Beach' is one of my favourite short form Sinister Dexter stories. Don't know why, its not especially smart, or brilliant - as they often can be, it just resonates with me. Sometimes its okay to just love something cos you do without having to over analyse.

4. Also see Nikolai Dante - Primal Screams.

5. I can barely bring myself to read Slaine anymore. I'm just no enjoying it on any level. I know this is seen as a return to form, but sometimes just as you can like something you can not get on with it as well.

6. Also see Bec and Kawl

7. In Prog 1437 Keith Richardson joins team.

8. Grennie is really building a strong storyline with Kazan clone and trying to undermine Dredd, but he's in danger of dragging things out too long and to far... and as I recall the story won't pay off, which will be a real shame if my addled memory isn't letting me down.

9. I really like American Gothic, its sharp fun and done. Its the third such self contained tale already so far this year - though I suspect Tiger Sun, Dragon Moon had planned to come back for me and I really think such stories work in the Prog and we don't get too often anymore. I don't think it'll be the last either.

10. In the specific American Gothic is just that. Its takes the greatest America trope the western, adds another american trope the pilgramage across the country and adds another American trope of the immigrants tale and adds some good old European folk monsters into that. Its really blends the elements well, doesn't over stay its welcome (in fact I'd have like it to of had a little longer to explore things) and has suitable baddies and daring do damned goodies. Its just brisk fun.

11. Mike Collins art work on the series fascinates me too. At times its just dark brooding and delightful. At times its slightly awkward and unclear with the blacks being jagged strangely not making things solid. When its great it reminds me of Klaus Janson (which I've said before I believe) but it can do that one panel but on the next it just does work for me. Looking at it I wonder if its been computer drawn and Mike Collins is experimenting with a new toy and that exploration lands on the page with both its sucesses and failures. I have no ideas at all if this is the case just a hunch.

12. I love NuVCs but do think Book 4 'Fight or Flight' is the weakest of the stories. Its good (so my saggy middle in the title is unfair... unless it was self referential as my middle is pretty saggy these days) it just lacks the grit and tone of the others. Still Anthony Williams on art is great and I think it more than recovers next time (again rubbish memory to be tested)

13. SHAKARA

14. SHAKARA

15. We get double Shakara TWICE (at least not read 1443 yet) and that's a joy on the eye and a thrill for the soul.

16. Prog 1443 is a sort of mini relaunch Prog pre 1450 (which I assume will be an actual relaunch Prog) which is annoying* as I don't know whether to go to a mini break now or wait...

*Well if that's what annoys me I've not many problems in my life have I!