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Author Topic: How old is Johnny Alpha?  (Read 3851 times)

IndigoPrime

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Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
« Reply #60 on: 13 September, 2018, 09:10:08 am »
it all feels kind of rudderless. But what's really missing is Wagner's voice.
Or a rudder.

Robin Low

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Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
« Reply #61 on: 13 September, 2018, 11:19:56 am »
it all feels kind of rudderless. But what's really missing is Wagner's voice.
Or a rudder.

Yeah, but who's that gonna be if not Wagner?

I suppose at this point it's only fair to say that a great deal of classic stuff came from Alan Grant as well as Wagner.

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Robin

sheridan

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Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
« Reply #62 on: 13 September, 2018, 01:14:47 pm »
It's so long ago that I can't remember if I immediately liked it or told myself to be open-minded about it. There's no denying that after years of Ezquerra it was one hell of a shock to the system. The same was true about John Hicklenton's Nemesis after Bryan Talbot, but I loved that.

Some of us didn't initially like Talbot's work - but then we had been waiting half a year for more O'Neill Nem Book III-style artwork, only to have two episodes of pre-Nem-style O'Neill followed by a completely different artist and art style.  Didn't take long for Bryan's work to grow on me though, thankfully!

Magnetica

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Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
« Reply #63 on: 13 September, 2018, 01:40:02 pm »
Yes Talbot’s Nemesis was awesome and I’m glad we got. So very different to O’Neill’s but brilliant in its own way.

As for Strontium Dog, I never got on with any art work on it that wasn’t Carlos. I remember when Ian Gibson did a couple of episodes in Starlord and I really didn’t like it. As for Simon Harrison’s Final Solution, sorry I never liked it. And the MacNeil early black and white stuff looked to me that it was trying to copy Carlos’ style, but wasn’t as good.

The only non Ezquerra SD artwork I come close to liking was Brendan McCarthy’s in a Starlord annual.

JayzusB.Christ

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Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
« Reply #64 on: 13 September, 2018, 02:42:53 pm »
I really liked Colin's fully-painted ending to the Final Solution.  He was good at killing major characters back then, even if they didn't stay dead.

I'll also never forget my double-take after seeing a very thinly hidden 'FUCK OFF NORMS' taking pride of place on a Milton Keynes wall. 
“Men will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest”

broodblik

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Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
« Reply #65 on: 13 September, 2018, 02:51:03 pm »
I really liked Colin's fully-painted ending to the Final Solution.  He was good at killing major characters back then, even if they didn't stay dead.

I just completed re-reading the Final Solution and Colin's painted work is really great. Strange that I could remember Harrison's art and not Colin's on the Final Solution. Maybe it is due to the fact that I could not like his art (it left a bad impression and it sticked).

Funt Solo

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Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
« Reply #66 on: 13 September, 2018, 06:53:45 pm »
I was trying to find that "Welcome to Milton Keynes" black and white Simon Harrison poster from the prog (601) by doing a Google, and failed.

But I did find this (which I hadn't known about):  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i5EZaO1HPF4
fate amenable to change

Colin YNWA

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Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
« Reply #67 on: 13 September, 2018, 09:05:00 pm »
Think I might be the only person who liked Simon Harrison on Strontium Dog.  Very different from Carlos, of course, but it suited the weirdness of the Lyrans, the other dimension, Sagan and Stonehenge well, and the dynamism of Feral's sudden acts of violence.

No, not at all like Greg on my recent re-read the art has really held up to my teenage love affair with it. Its dark, grusome and such great fun. Love it.

 
Agreed.  I didn't even like 'The Ragnarok Job' much (really didn't need Wulf to be an ACTUAL Viking), 

Now you see another thing I learnt on my re-read is that story is apparently called 'Max Bubba'. I know, I know in my head its always been called 'Ragnarok Job' - which is a better story.
 
On all other notes you are spot on. To be honest after 'Rage' (well Incident at Mayger Manor which is also truly great) I think Strontium Dog was treading water a bit and 'No-Go Job' was the sort of kick up the butt it needed...

Final Solution, art aside as mentioned above, doesn't hold up to my memory of it at the time and could very much be said to taking the 'kick-up the arse' the series needed, but heck its interesting that its there if nothing else.

credo

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Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
« Reply #68 on: 14 September, 2018, 11:42:14 am »
The mid-eighties was a great time to be a prog newbie, with the prog itself undergoing some rapid changes and the Monthly allowing you to dig into some great content from the recent past. I think that gave me a different perspective on things. While I found Harrison's SD art jarring, it made sense next to Bisley's ABC Warriors and Slaine, or Hicklenton's Nemesis. Reading both the prog and the monthly meant that these artists defined the strip for me just as much as Carlos, O'Neil, Talbot or McMahon (I think McMahon's Slaine was actually the most jarringly different art for me at the time).

Without the gut rejection of Harrison's art, and helpfully minus the knowledge that Johnny was to be offed, I loved Final Solution, and thought that it stood up really well on reread when the trade came out. In particular, I never got the hatred for Feral. Again, I think this is because I took him as another new SD character, rather than an Alpha replacement.

For me, the problems came post-Final Solution, when the nature of the strip was totally turned on its head, and Feral was this new central character, without anything interesting actually happening. It always seemed to me that Grant was setting things up for a post-Final Solution situation where SD could work as an ensemble piece, with Feral as one of many central characters (maybe integrating characters from the Tales of the Doghouse strips). Shame we never got that.

Link Prime

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Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
« Reply #69 on: 14 September, 2018, 11:58:58 am »
It always seemed to me that Grant was setting things up for a post-Final Solution situation where SD could work as an ensemble piece, with Feral as one of many central characters (maybe integrating characters from the Tales of the Doghouse strips). Shame we never got that.

It could've gone that way if the course laid out by Peter Hogan was continued.
'Monsters' and 'Dead Mans Hand' (wonderfully illustrated by Simon Harrison) were the only Feral-centric stories (the others being shared with The Gronk, Durham Red and Bullmoose).

I really liked Joe 'Bullmoose' Saxon in those latter Strontium Dogs tales.

Colin YNWA

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Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
« Reply #70 on: 14 September, 2018, 01:08:19 pm »
Yeah I think the ensemble cast of the post Final Solution stories is one of its great strenghts.

Magnetica

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Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
« Reply #71 on: 14 September, 2018, 02:34:14 pm »
I don’t know. It should ever worked, in theory (and there are lots of ensemble TV shows these days) but I never warmed to Strontium Dogs. It’s not as if you couldn’t do the standard caper type story with an SD agent who wasn’t Alpha.

So I guess it was the writing (i.e. not Wagner or Grant) and the art (i.e. not Carlos) that put me off. The only ones I have reread were the ones in a floppy a good few years ago and frankly I still didn’t like them.

broodblik

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Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
« Reply #72 on: 14 September, 2018, 02:52:44 pm »
I struggled to get into any SD after The Final Solution. If they had any characters that I could relate to or at least find a little bit interesting then I am sure I would be more incline to care but I lost interest.

Frank

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Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
« Reply #73 on: 14 September, 2018, 05:55:58 pm »
It always seemed to me that Grant was setting things up for a post-Final Solution situation where SD could work as an ensemble piece, with Feral as one of many central characters (maybe integrating characters from the Tales of the Doghouse strips). Shame we never got that.

It could've gone that way if the course laid out by Peter Hogan was continued.

Firefall, mate. Those stories would have featured a character called Firefall.*

The first thing Hogan did was get rid of Feral by zipping him into a cocoon for a couple of years. That act of hubris was an early indication things wouldn't work out** - like Al Ewing says, remaking a long-running serial in your image is a mug's game.

And as Link observes above, the cast functioned fine as an ensemble; if Hogan didn't think Feral worked, all he had to do was write him as one of the IMF-team members who isn't Tom Cruise. I'm not Stanning for Feral, but we didn't need another change of direction:




* Even the name's awful. Sounds like someone saying the character's original name with a mouth full of crisps. And all the mystic old lady bollocks was a pointless diversion; from the (scant) evidence above, Firefall's just Feral without the instability and internal conflict that were the only (semi)interesting things about him.

** Last time we went round this mulberry bush, the opinion was expressed that Hogan had been playing a careful chess game, and the typewriter was cruelly snatched from him just as he was about to reveal why nothing had happened at all. Maybe, but 2 years and 100 pages of strip just to spin-off Red into a solo strip and leave everyone else exactly where they were at the beginning doesn't suggest Hogan's instincts were suited to Action-adventure.

JayzusB.Christ

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Re: How old is Johnny Alpha?
« Reply #74 on: 14 September, 2018, 09:15:00 pm »
I liked Feral.  He was young, cool and anarchic - I was one of those three when he was introduced, and i wanted to be the other two. 

Things did go downhill when he became the main character, but as a supporting character (who looked up to Johnny and loved Middenface's company in the same way we did) he was, in my honest opinion, a very nice addition to the cast.
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