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Author Topic: Scream & Misty Special 2018  (Read 10558 times)

Professor Bear

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Re: Scream & Misty Special 2018
« Reply #30 on: 18 October, 2018, 02:16:39 pm »
Been reading through Hallowscream lately, so a Scream! homage that doesn't quite know where to pitch its tent on the Venn of "nostalgia", "accurate evocation of the era" and "I am a grown ass man now and I demand to see graphic disembowelment" holds no fear for me and I enjoyed this plenty overall but HAHAHA I sure hope this isn't a crowded field or anything otherwise those people making their own horror comic anthology for Halloween 2018 that mixes newly-minted talent with old hands might start to feel kinda worried around about now.

13th Floor - entertaining enough, but feels off.  Been reading the original lately (as part of my EAGLE read-through) and am currently at the bit where a policeman is looking into the strange disappearances in and around Maxwell Towers but can't prove anything even though he knows summink is amiss, so Max abducts and tortures him and... yeah well anyway, the moral quandary Max experiences here doesn't ring true.  Of course, I can put on my Big Boy Writing Hat and see that the writer is putting Sam and Max (LOL) at loggerheads for DRAMA purposes, but again, this doesn't ring true because Max is the controlling, abusive, manipulative one in his relationships with people, it's kind of the central narrative concept of the strip and best illustrated by his relationship with the long-suffering Jerry or the doomed Burt Runch.  Well anyway, it feels less like a particularly naughty and subversive comic for kids and more like a later landfill-era 2000ad strip.  Competent, but forgettable, though John Stokes channeling Ortiz is a delight.
Decomposition Jones - a utilisation of the trappings of blaxploitation by transplanting them onto a staple of white exploitation cinema of the late 21st century, to wit: the white cop pursuing a serial killer sub-genre of neo-noir.  The writer replaces traditional narrative captions and explanatory text with a "song" that is actually the soul funk trappings of the Shaft theme deliberately mis-described as "disco" so as to complete a cunning meta-narrative exploration of cultural appropriation by transplanting white culture onto a noted African American cultural artifact, thus arguably making Decomposition Jones the most satirical work in the special, as it serves as a commentary upon the format of the book itself, which appropriates children's literature and imposes upon it the violent excesses expected by older men.  I particularly liked the final scene of the mingling of cultures played out as a fantasy sequence between warring blood types, as zombies (African/Hiatian), vampires (Eastern European) and the paradigm of Caucasian cultural authority and social power, the white police officer, are violently forced together to birth something new, a whimsical metaphor for the urban folklore of the New York melting pot.
Black Beth - very by-the-numbers backdoor pilot for a Xena knock-off.  The establishing shots could have been a little more explicit, as the art style is loose and scratchy across the following pages, making some of the narrative jumps in time and place unclear, though the writing does most of the lifting there.  Not bad or anything, just not very interesting.
Black Max - not impressed by the cliffhanger ending, but a zombie Kraut gets kickflipped in the face and dammit I am not made of stone.  Simon Coleby's art is more old-school than you might expect because of the bright colours, and the tight framing on those first few pages is really great even if the letterer was probably cursing him out.  Likewise the old-school dialogue really channels the originating era while matching it with a modern brevity, but like I said, a shame about the ending.
Best Friends Forever - "never mind your dead wife, look at this white gator" if nothing else Boyle really captures how dreadful the majority of the American South seems to outsiders, which helpfully stops you from asking if a school would really let a carnivorous animal HA HA WHAT AM I SAYING their answer to gun violence in schools is to add more guns to schools of course they let children take alligators to school with them why am I even wasting my time thinking about this America is a fucking circus of a country.  The Americanisms are the biggest problem for me with this one, as the kind of experience that would make this story resonate with anyone would likely come from second hand exposure to US culture, particularly the teen horror genre from which the story derives a lot of beats, so while it's a departure from the thematic ethos of homaging UK comics, there's arguably a case to be made that it's a good representation of the relatively closed creative cycle of US horror.  Hmm that sounds a bit negative but isn't meant to be - I means this is very American oh geez that sounds even more negative - I did like this even if the final page is a little unclear, but I'll stop now.
Mint Condition - the editor has to take the blame for the rough edges on this one as the lettering really needed a more experienced hand and the dialogue could have done with a bit of polishing, but this is quite funny and manages to be cogent despite the seeming importance of the Misty self-reverence.  A good one-off.
Bookworm - a decent story, but the restoration makes some odd choices: the lettering could have done with a more aggressive overhaul, and while the colours are good, the melodramatic, gothy subject matter actually seems like it would lend itself better to a black and white presentation, or at least a more subdued palate.  I'm more just backseat driving in my crits now, but this is a solid tale and I'd quite like to see a collection of this kind of thing ALA The Complete Future Shocks.
« Last Edit: 18 October, 2018, 02:21:07 pm by Professor Bear »

Bad City Blue

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Re: Scream & Misty Special 2018
« Reply #31 on: 18 October, 2018, 03:49:33 pm »
A mixed bag but certainly worth picking up. Best of the bunch for me was "Mint Condition", though the "You're"  typo is pretty shoddy.

I liked the old Misty story "Bookworm" (another typo there), interesting that no one seems to know who wrote the comic backin the day for the most part.

Worst stories were "Best Friends Forever" which was just illogical, and "Black Beth", which I found trite.

The rest were all pretty decent, and I liked the idea of Decomposition Jones. Art standout was Simon Coleby, even if the Black Max story was quite muddles.

M.I.K.

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Re: Scream & Misty Special 2018
« Reply #32 on: 18 October, 2018, 11:51:39 pm »
13th Floor - entertaining enough, but feels off.  Been reading the original lately (as part of my EAGLE read-through) and am currently at the bit where a policeman is looking into the strange disappearances in and around Maxwell Towers but can't prove anything even though he knows summink is amiss, so Max abducts and tortures him and... yeah well anyway, the moral quandary Max experiences here doesn't ring true.  Of course, I can put on my Big Boy Writing Hat and see that the writer is putting Sam and Max (LOL) at loggerheads for DRAMA purposes, but again, this doesn't ring true because Max is the controlling, abusive, manipulative one in his relationships with people, it's kind of the central narrative concept of the strip and best illustrated by his relationship with the long-suffering Jerry or the doomed Burt Runch.

Disagree. I do agree it feels slightly off, but not because of Max's qualms. In fact, I was thinking it seemed the most on-character thing he's done so far. Max may be infinitely manipulative and his moral reasoning all over the place, but generally speaking he'll leave people alone unless they pose an immediate and direct threat to either his tenants or the Thirteenth Floor's existence. He didn't torture Sergeant Ingram so much in the original run just because he was getting too close to the truth, he tortured him because he was directly responsible for the death of an innocent tenant, albeit unknowingly.

However, the way the Thirteenth Floor works in this new story seems a bit weird. It suddenly appears to be drawing upon fears from the victim's own subconscious, whereas in the original stories it was yer standard muddledly nonsensical virtual reality/parallel universe combo, with Max mainly creating the scenario to fit with his warped sense of poetic justice.

MacabreMagpie

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Re: Scream & Misty Special 2018
« Reply #33 on: 19 October, 2018, 01:24:43 pm »
Anyone notice any print quality issues with random pages throughout the special? It's as if a couple of them were printed from lower resolution files and so the artwork is very pixilated, such as the last page of Black Beth, although - bizarrely - the balloons and speech on that page suffer NO drop in quality from the previous so I can only assume something happened with the art file at the lettering stage?

I don't have it to hand to point out all of the instances of this but I noticed it on probably 2 or 3 pages throughout.
« Last Edit: 19 October, 2018, 01:26:54 pm by MacabreMagpie »

Jim_Campbell

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Re: Scream & Misty Special 2018
« Reply #34 on: 19 October, 2018, 01:55:58 pm »
so I can only assume something happened with the art file at the lettering stage?

No… the EPS file of the lettering is married up with the art in InDesign during the production process. It's possible a lower-res positional version of the art was left in place in error. My comps haven't arrived yet (HINT, HINT) so I couldn't say for certain without seeing the pages. Unless it's happened on Black Max, in which case it's definitely my fault.
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broodblik

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Re: Scream & Misty Special 2018
« Reply #35 on: 19 October, 2018, 02:30:15 pm »
so I can only assume something happened with the art file at the lettering stage?

No… the EPS file of the lettering is married up with the art in InDesign during the production process. It's possible a lower-res positional version of the art was left in place in error. My comps haven't arrived yet (HINT, HINT) so I couldn't say for certain without seeing the pages. Unless it's happened on Black Max, in which case it's definitely my fault.

The digital version  looks fine. Jim I liked everything about Black Max and the lettering complemented the strip wonderfully.

Mattofthespurs

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Re: Scream & Misty Special 2018
« Reply #36 on: 19 October, 2018, 04:35:46 pm »
My print copy (newsstand edition) looks fine too.

MacabreMagpie

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Re: Scream & Misty Special 2018
« Reply #37 on: 19 October, 2018, 04:54:34 pm »
I was wondering if it was perhaps an error that was caught at some point into the print run, since I hadn't seen anyone mention it. No idea if that's logistically likely, though.

I'll snap some pics when I get the chance (regret to say I don't own it yet - this was whilst flicking through in Smiths yesterday!)

Professor Bear

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Re: Scream & Misty Special 2018
« Reply #38 on: 19 October, 2018, 06:04:01 pm »
I do agree it feels slightly off, but not because of Max's qualms. In fact, I was thinking it seemed the most on-character thing he's done so far. Max may be infinitely manipulative and his moral reasoning all over the place

I made my case poorly by pointing out Ingram's abduction and torture, as my intent wasn't to illustrate that Max would definitely do one thing or the other, because he exists in a state of moral absolutism* - it was to illustrate that he wouldn't equivocate in the way he does, and that lack of certainty is why the whole "this seems wrong" stuff didn't ring true to me because it makes Max seem like the wrong partner in an abusive relationship, along with - as you point out - Max's new ability to read minds and discover someone's deepest traumas.  Wasn't there a story with a local gangster where Max more or less has to go through the motions of throwing him into a sewer full of rats or a graveyard full of skeletons trying to find out what makes the guy afraid?  He just seems to know right away what would frighten the copper.  I dunno, maybe he read her life story on the internet or something, but that still doesn't explain why he immediately defaults to absolute sadism and psychological terror against someone he supposedly views as blameless instead of something quick and clean like hypnotizing her into jumping in front of traffic or falling off something tall.



*WARNING: subjective opinions to follow - although Wagner and Grant's most famous partnership was on a character who was a noted moral relativist, Max, being a computer, consistently operated in a binary state of moral absolutism, and if your action was to hound someone to suicide over a debt you were trying to collect or turning off a killer computer in an effort to stop it murdering people, if both of those actions resulted in someone's death, then to Max they are equally "bad" acts, because Max doesn't practice any kind of moral reasoning, because he can't.
I would go even further and say that whether it be calling Burt an oaf for being seen disposing of a body or making a frowny/smiley face at an appropriate juncture of a conversation, all of Max's emotional displays are affectations for the benefit of others, as Max doesn't actually care about anyone or anything, he's simply following his core programme to look after his tenants and fake civility or a forceful tone where he deems it necessary - with even his blackly comic narration being an affectation because that's what the reader of a kids' horror comic wants.  He's controlling and frightening, but it's all a facade, all a means to an entirely logical and justifiable end.
And yet somehow Max is still unquestionably a bad 'un.

Greg M.

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Re: Scream & Misty Special 2018
« Reply #39 on: 19 October, 2018, 06:17:41 pm »
Max, being a computer, consistently operated in a binary state of moral absolutism, and if your action was to hound someone to suicide over a debt you were trying to collect or turning off a killer computer in an effort to stop it murdering people, if both of those actions resulted in someone's death, then to Max they are equally "bad" acts, because Max doesn't practice any kind of moral reasoning, because he can't.

I suspect this may be true, though it’s interesting how Max only deliberately kills one person in the original Maxwell Tower era of the series, namely Mr. Kemp, the debt collector. Kemp is an unpleasant man, but not even close to the worst person Max ensnares. Everyone else – and there’s only four other fatalities caused indirectly by Max*, including Wally Skegg, who proves almost immune to the Thirteenth Floor until Max stumbles upon his crippling fear of snakes – is an accident. That said, he is about to kill Mr. Campbell and Trev until he receives news that the tenant who suffered as a result of their shoddy handiwork has pulled through. So dodgy plastering is worse than running a protection racket.

*Not counting Bert and Sgt. Ingram here.

Professor Bear

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Re: Scream & Misty Special 2018
« Reply #40 on: 19 October, 2018, 08:19:18 pm »
Alan Grant has some detailed opinions on morality and anarchy that don't come up much in interviews, it's a shame he never got the kind of in-depth evaluation of his work that - for example - Colin Smith did with Grant's fellow Scot Mark Millar.

Greg M.

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Re: Scream & Misty Special 2018
« Reply #41 on: 19 October, 2018, 09:03:05 pm »
I've certainly never had the impression that sympathy for the police was particularly high on Grant's agenda (thinking of their portrayal in Thirteenth Floor here, as well as his general much-less-ambiguous-than-Wagner approach to Dredd) - though I've read little of his Batman run, so maybe he had time for Jim Gordon.
« Last Edit: 19 October, 2018, 09:06:20 pm by Greg M. »

M.I.K.

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Re: Scream & Misty Special 2018
« Reply #42 on: 19 October, 2018, 09:06:08 pm »
I would go even further and say that whether it be calling Burt an oaf for being seen disposing of a body or making a frowny/smiley face at an appropriate juncture of a conversation, all of Max's emotional displays are affectations for the benefit of others, as Max doesn't actually care about anyone or anything, he's simply following his core programme to look after his tenants and fake civility or a forceful tone where he deems it necessary - with even his blackly comic narration being an affectation because that's what the reader of a kids' horror comic wants.  He's controlling and frightening, but it's all a facade, all a means to an entirely logical and justifiable end.

There's definitely a case to be made for that, (and he does have repeated stock phrases that would suggest as much, like "the welfare of my tenants is my prime concern"), but there are also hints that something else might be going on. At one point he calls Bert Runch his favourite tenant*. That shouldn't happen. His programming shouldn't allow for favourites, just as it shouldn't allow for virtual reality parallel universes that people can physically disappear into.

Then there's that bit quite a long way into the Eagle run where department-store-running Max gets dangerously moody and starts taking things way too far because he's 'homesick', but you won't have got to that in your read-through yet.



*Seems an odd thing to say, given everything he's done to poor Mr. Runch, until you realise he's been treating him exactly like a pet. Training him to do things, keeping him safely locked away, making sure he's fed and entertained, etc;

Greg M.

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Re: Scream & Misty Special 2018
« Reply #43 on: 19 October, 2018, 09:21:32 pm »
Once he's installed on the Thirteenth Floor, Bert is de facto favourite because he then becomes the ultimate tenant - Max literally has to do everything for him, and Max is programmed to gain satisfaction from this. Of course Bert's his favourite - he's utterly dependent on Max.

(What does Bert think is going on while he's on the Thirteenth Floor? Is he still effectively hypnotised the whole time? He seems to have some free will and ability to make choices, but he also seems to understand that Max can effectively give him anything there.)
« Last Edit: 19 October, 2018, 09:23:21 pm by Greg M. »

M.I.K.

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Re: Scream & Misty Special 2018
« Reply #44 on: 19 October, 2018, 09:59:03 pm »
That certainly explains why he's Max's favourite, but it doesn't explain why Max is able to consciously decide he's his favourite and express it to someone in those terms, (if that makes sense).

...and yeah, I can remember wondering all that about Bert when I first read it when I was nine. It all seems to be about how much is free will and how much is 'programming'.