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Author Topic: Oh no not another re-read thread (progs 336 to 729)  (Read 4218 times)

sheridan

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Re: Oh no not another re-read thread (progs 336 to 729)
« Reply #15 on: 18 June, 2019, 02:11:39 pm »
One character that really sticks out in Book 2 is - what we would call today - a non-binary gendered character who everyone ignores and forgets exists. He/she ends up sacrificing themselves to save Halo, and of course their heroic act is instantly forgotten about. Appropriately enough I can't remember the name of this characters. I could google it I guess but it seems apt to keep things as they are.


When Rachael and I covered the Ballad of Halo Jones for the Mega-City Book Club podcast, we all forgot about Glyph until right at the end as well!

sheridan

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Re: Oh no not another re-read thread (progs 336 to 729)
« Reply #16 on: 18 June, 2019, 02:14:22 pm »
I was first introduced to the world of Nemesis when Bryan Talbot was on art duty thus my reason why I preferred the later books of Nemesis to the early work of O’Neil (his work is still awesome). For me Talbot is the de facto Nemesis artist. I also felt reading the early books afterwards that Book 3 just did not feel as strong.

Lettering is one of those things I never really appreciated until I start reading this blog and start releasing that it is an art on its own. A strip can be nullified by bad lettering. 

Whereas 335 was in orbit about a month after I bought my first ever prog!  Funnily enough I didn't take to Bryan Talbot first time I saw his artwork, largely because I'd been looking forward to more Book III-style O'Neill :-/

Luckily I saw sense by the time Luther Arkwright began its Valkyrie run (the one where it actually got completed).

broodblik

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Re: Oh no not another re-read thread (progs 336 to 729)
« Reply #17 on: 18 June, 2019, 02:46:33 pm »

Whereas 335 was in orbit about a month after I bought my first ever prog!  Funnily enough I didn't take to Bryan Talbot first time I saw his artwork, largely because I'd been looking forward to more Book III-style O'Neill :-/

Luckily I saw sense by the time Luther Arkwright began its Valkyrie run (the one where it actually got completed).

It is always interesting to note that in most cases your first experience with an artist on character is how you will define that character.  Nemesis for me is Talbot whereas Slaine will be Fabry and Rogue will be Cam.

sheridan

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Re: Oh no not another re-read thread (progs 336 to 729)
« Reply #18 on: 18 June, 2019, 05:13:01 pm »
It is always interesting to note that in most cases your first experience with an artist on character is how you will define that character.  Nemesis for me is Talbot whereas Slaine will be Fabry and Rogue will be Cam.

I don't have a particular Slaine artist - it'd be Angie Mills/Kincaid but I guess because she only did the one cover and episode it passed to Massimo, McMahon, Glenn, David et al.  True on Rogue though - that's the one that I'd picture in my mind.

MumboJimbo

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Re: Oh no not another re-read thread (progs 336 to 729)
« Reply #19 on: 18 June, 2019, 05:24:55 pm »
It is always interesting to note that in most cases your first experience with an artist on character is how you will define that character.  Nemesis for me is Talbot whereas Slaine will be Fabry and Rogue will be Cam.


Although that's normally true, I agree with you about Talbot and Fabry even though they weren't my starting artists for those characters. For Dredd though, it's gotta be Ron Smith for me, every time. Ron's art is so all-encompassing to me that even his Judge Anderson is the "proper" Judge Anderson in my head. Rogue...hmm...maybe Brett Ewins? Of course, Johnny Alpha is not up for debate  ;)

broodblik

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Re: Oh no not another re-read thread (progs 336 to 729)
« Reply #20 on: 18 June, 2019, 05:35:00 pm »
Agree on Anderson, Dredd I do not have a specific candidate. I like the fact that multiple people contribute to Dredd.

MumboJimbo

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Re: Oh no not another re-read thread (progs 336 to 729)
« Reply #21 on: 18 June, 2019, 05:35:25 pm »
When Rachael and I covered the Ballad of Halo Jones for the Mega-City Book Club podcast, we all forgot about Glyph until right at the end as well!

Ah - Glyph! - thank you  :)

Colin YNWA

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Re: Oh no not another re-read thread (progs 336 to 729)
« Reply #22 on: 18 June, 2019, 09:17:10 pm »
Yeah completely agree with all this praise of Bryan Talbot. Surely it was an incredibly daunting task to take over from the mightly O'Neill. In my mind there's an almighty stroke of good timing about the whole thing. As MumboJumbo says this story was pushed back and thence when it came to be published Kev O'Neill had moved on buy Bryan Talbot was perfectly placed, coming out of Luther Arkwright to pick up the reins.

Just a glorious bit of serendipity, like the story was waiting for Talbot to be ready for it. He is so perfect for this particular tale. So much so its hard to imagine Kev O'Neill doing the whole thing, even with those first two epsiodes. We'll never know but I do wonder how much Pat Mills would have had a different shape and tone to Book 4 if Kev O'Neill had still been on board.

Funt Solo

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Re: Oh no not another re-read thread (progs 336 to 729)
« Reply #23 on: 19 June, 2019, 05:59:06 am »
...Tom Frame noticeably changed his 2000AD lettering style — to those rough-hewn balloons with the straight-line edges.

I had to go and look to see this from prog 345:

Tom Frame on DreddTom Frame on Slaine
Rumble in the JungleHeroes' Blood
     


So much of the subtlety and artistry behind the lettering just passes me by.  I guess (and this is probably a hoary cliche) that if lettering is done well, it's generally unobtrusive.

AlexF mentioned the biochips, and then the other memorable balloons (bubbles? dialog ellipses?) that spring to mind are the Dark Judges, and (I think) Torquemada in spirit form.

Biochipped balloons from Bill Nuttall:
fate amenable to change

Funt Solo

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Re: Oh no not another re-read thread (progs 336 to 729)
« Reply #24 on: 19 June, 2019, 06:06:55 am »
One character that really sticks out in Book 2 is - what we would call today - a non-binary gendered character who everyone ignores and forgets exists. He/she ends up sacrificing themselves to save Halo, and of course their heroic act is instantly forgotten about. Appropriately enough I can't remember the name of this characters. I could google it I guess but it seems apt to keep things as they are.


When Rachael and I covered the Ballad of Halo Jones for the Mega-City Book Club podcast, we all forgot about Glyph until right at the end as well!

Wait ... who?



fate amenable to change

sheridan

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Re: Oh no not another re-read thread (progs 336 to 729)
« Reply #25 on: 19 June, 2019, 10:11:47 am »
Yeah completely agree with all this praise of Bryan Talbot. Surely it was an incredibly daunting task to take over from the mightly O'Neill. In my mind there's an almighty stroke of good timing about the whole thing. As MumboJumbo says this story was pushed back and thence when it came to be published Kev O'Neill had moved on buy Bryan Talbot was perfectly placed, coming out of Luther Arkwright to pick up the reins.

Well, he was finishing off the last half of Arkwright at about the same time as he was doing his Nem books - making his achievements even more outstanding!

Quote
Just a glorious bit of serendipity, like the story was waiting for Talbot to be ready for it. He is so perfect for this particular tale. So much so its hard to imagine Kev O'Neill doing the whole thing, even with those first two epsiodes. We'll never know but I do wonder how much Pat Mills would have had a different shape and tone to Book 4 if Kev O'Neill had still been on board.

We can guess - compare and contrast Torquemada the God with the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (particularly the earlier volumes) and we've got an idea of where The Gothic Empire could have ended up.

MumboJimbo

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Re: Oh no not another re-read thread (progs 336 to 729)
« Reply #26 on: 19 June, 2019, 02:06:38 pm »
Progs 435 (Sept 85) to 467 (April 86)

New thrills! Robo-Hunter and Nemesis Book 5!!

Hoagy, PI Sam Slade's froglike robot assistant, is (and I hope you forgive my vulgarity) a c***. In the final Robo-Hunter story for 2000 AD (forgetting the 1991 reboot by Kick-Ass creator Mark Millar) he mercilessly harangues and psychologically tortures his elderly owner: initially by locking him up for two years in a health farm, and then by stealing Sam's boat, gambling all his money away, and even going so far as creating clones of himself that try to shoot Sam. He even creates a fake psychiatric hospital for Sam where all the patients and staff are clones of him and Stoagie (an e-cigarette who is both as much of an arsehole as Hoagy, but manages to also be an offensive Mexican stereotype) to convince Sam he's gone insane. He was also a c*** in the 1984 annual where he helps a burglar ransack somebody's house. He makes out, of course, that he only has the best of intentions, but his plans backfire on him because of his stupidity. But that doesn't really wash - he's clearly just a c***. The last ever page of (the proper) Robo-Hunter has Hoagy and Stoagie waiting to be bought by new owners in a second-hand shop, as the now penniless Sam Slade has finally sold them to raise some much needed cash.

Robo-Hunter, like Ace Trucking Co., was huge in the 79-82 period of 2000 AD, and like that other series had been apparently brought to a natural conclusion before I started reading the prog. It was the comic's take on the hard-boiled detective genre. I get the feeling this final outing was not author's John Wagner's idea but imposed on him by the editor, as it kind of reads as a story you might write if you hated the lead character. I think also Sam was meant to lose all his wealth so he could become a jobbing Private Eye once more, and have new adventures. But those adventures never came.

Well, onto Nemesis, who has finally realised his wife and son have been killed by the terminators. Clearly not much of a family man is Nemesis, as this happened all the way back in book 3. In fact, his son Thoth managed to survive and now hates his dad's guts. And Torquemada's too - who is actually dead at this point, but Thoth simply plucks him out of the past and sentences him to an endlessly repeated death by being burnt at the stake. Thoth also takes from the past the dinosaur Satanus, a character from 2000AD's very early days, but this feels a lot more gratuitous and unnecessary than the revivals of the ABC Warrior/Robusters characters in Books 3 and 4. More interesting is Book 5's examination of Nemesis' darker side. He even kills a bus-load of school children, including Torquemada's kids and is completely unrepentant about it! Torquemada on the other hand, is shown to be devoted husband and dutiful father. It's all set to become a fascinating new chapter in the tale, but then it just...ends. There's no crescendo or conclusion to the story it just comes to a halt after 10 or so episodes, which is a great shame.

In prog 437, 2000 AD finally gets a new thrill which isn't either a Judge Dredd spin-off or written by Alan Moore! Mean Team is a story in that most niche of genres - Future Sports - but a genre that the comic had actually dabbled in a few times before with strips such as Mean Arena and Harlem Heroes. It's announced with great fanfare and there's even a one-off Tharg story to introduce its new scriptwriter - The Beast! It should come as no surprise when I reveal this to be actually be a pseudonym for Wagner and Grant. It's kinda dumb, Mean Team, and I think it's intentional. It's very violent and there's no good guys, just a bunch of feral men on the rampage. It gets going and then, like Nemesis, just stops after 11 episodes, with the promise it will be back in the spring. It does come back eventually, but with a new writer and over a year later. Rebellion have even published the complete Mean Arena as a graphic novel, which is a lot more than this deserves in my opinion; it should've remained a curio for those intrepid readers of old progs to rediscover.

I've come to the conclusion that Rogue Trooper post Traitor-General showdown, is very similar to Twin Peaks post reveal of Laura Palmer's murderer: in has no clue where it's now going. The Horst episodes I talked about it my last update, were similar (if I can stretch the analogy to breaking point) to the episodes in Twin Peaks just after the reveal where Coops loses his FBI Badge. Just a bit of stalling until the new antagonist is revealed, Rogue Trooper's Wyndham Earl if you will. Well, the Norts and Southers make peace with each other, only for a third side to come in and kidnap Millcom's re-gening scientists - the cheeky scamps! So Rogue's new focus is finding out who these aliens are, and, er, killing them, obviously. Only that happens later on. And sadly that's the end of Gerry Finlay-Day's contributions to 2000 AD as I believe he had some kind of disagreement and left under a cloud, a rather sad ending for someone who'd been a big factor in 2000 AD's early success and other IPC comics to boot. Rogue Trooper would continue for a bit longer being written by the editorial staff, and would end with a memorable story called Cinnabar by new-boy John Smith, before being rebooted as the harshly remembered 'Friday'. But that's of course all in the future.

Slaine's Tomb of Terror kicks of in prog 447 and acts as calling card for 2000 AD's first ever spin-off (discounting reprint material) Dice Man. It seems possible that Nemesis Book 5 was curtailed to put Pat Mills to work on this. Both Dungeon and Dragons and the "choose your own adventure" books like Fighting Fantasy were huge at this point. Dice Man was IPC's short-lived attempt to get in on this market, and Tomb of Terror was a way to whet readers' appetites for this kind of thing. Slaine was the obvious choice, as it was the closest 2000 AD had to the standard fantasy setting of D&D. Tomb of Terror unfortunately, wants to have its cake and eat it, as it consists of a completely non-interactive comic strip followed by a couple of pages of some dice rolling stuff related to the story you just read. I guess they didn't want to alienate the readers who couldn't be bothered faffing about with pencils, dice and whatnot, as you can just read the story and ignore the stuff at the end (which I did) but it doesn't feel very much like you're controlling a story. And the story is a bit flat as it tries to ape a D&D adventure by having a party of warriors enter rooms and find treasure etc. I think in retrospect a proper-length Nemesis Book 5 would have been much more preferable! Oh well.

Around the same time Tomb of Terror starts we also see the start of the huge Max Bubba-era of Strontium Dog, which starts with a flashback that includes how Johnny Alpha meets Wulf. This is great, but is maybe spun out a little too long - there's a subplot where they have to escape some ogres that it definitely could have done without.

1986 kicks off with the return of Halo Jones and the clumsy resurrection of Ace Garp. I think these two stories represent both the best and the worst of this era! Let's dispense with Ace Trucking Co first. The new story, Doppelgarp is 22 episodes long, and with hardly any plot to it at all. It's actually borderline tedious, with only some great Belardinelli art to bring some relief. Halo Jones Book 3, on the other hand, is superb and for me the best of the 3 Halo books by far. We join Ms Jones a few years later, in her late 20s but looking older than her years and becoming an alcoholic stuck in a dead-end planet. She eventually escapes by joining the military. I could talk for hours about this, as it's a wonderful story, but if you're reading this you've already read it, or are going to read it, so I'll let you enjoy it for yourself.

Sadly, that's Alan Moore's last contribution to the comic, as I gather he wanted to keep copyright on his creations, and have more rights over reprints etc. I would say about 90% of 2000 AD was done by just 5 script writers at the time, so to lose two of them quite quickly (Moore and Finley-Day) must've been quite a setback. That only left Alan Grant, John Wager and Pat Mills, although 3 or 4 other writers were doing Future Shocks, including Peter Milligan who would become one of the "second wave" of creators to shape the comic in the late 80s.

Apart from the Halo Jones stand-out, I have to say these progs were slightly below-par compared to what had come before. Many stories felt either stretched out (Ace Trucking, Slaine, Strontium Dog) or rather curtailed and set-aside (Mean Arena, Rogue Trooper, Nemesis Book 5). I think maybe the strain of producing Dice Man and losing some key creators was the issue. It's still great though, and you can't complain too much when there's Halo Jones Book 3! Anyway, until next time.

Frank

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Re: Oh no not another re-read thread (progs 336 to 729)
« Reply #27 on: 19 June, 2019, 04:53:20 pm »
Sadly, that's Alan Moore's last contribution to the comic, as I gather he wanted to keep copyright on his creations, and have more rights over reprints etc. I would say about 90% of 2000 AD was done by just 5 script writers at the time, so to lose two of them quite quickly (Moore and Finley-Day) must've been quite a setback.

You'd think Tharg would learn some kind of lesson from that. 

Although Alan Moore's a wizard who can predict the future, he left 2000ad to work under more or less the same conditions at DC* and was ripped-off even more egregiously over Watchmen.

Tharg would argue he can't compete with the page rates US publishers offer hot creators and is still giving the Grant Morrisons and Peter Milligans of tomorrow their break in comics, but Image seem to do okay. **


* As far as I can tell, the only real difference between rights and remuneration at DC and IPC was that Jenette Kahn offered creators a cut of profits once a title hit a certain sales target and paid royalties on trade collections and merchandise. The creator contracts Steve MacManus introduced for Crisis (and which were subsequently offered to creators on all 2000ad Group titles) look like they were CTRL+C'd from DC's terms and conditions.

** 'Image Comics only publishes creator-owned material. We do not contract creators; we’re only interested in publishing original content for which you would retain all rights. WE DON’T PAY PAGE RATES. Image takes a small flat fee off the books published and it will be the responsibility of the creators to determine the division of the remaining pay between their creative team members'

Jim_Campbell

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Re: Oh no not another re-read thread (progs 336 to 729)
« Reply #28 on: 19 June, 2019, 05:06:59 pm »

Tharg would argue he can't compete with the page rates US publishers offer hot creators and is still giving the Grant Morrisons and Peter Milligans of tomorrow their break in comics, but Image seem to do okay.

This is a nonsensical argument. Almost no one walks into an Image contract without significant previous work under their belt, or an ‘in’ via a recommendation from someone who knows Eric Stephenson or one of the other main Image bods.

Even if you can get in the door at Image, without the sort of serious brand recognition attached to your name that comes (mainly) from high profile Big Two work, there is no guarantee that your Image book will make you any money at all. I say this off the back of multiple conversations with creators along the lines of “When will see Book Two of [X]?” only for them to ruefully shake their heads and say that they’d have spent a more productive 6/12/whatever months on a WFH contract because at least they’d have got paid that way.

As I’ve said before: all that hypothetical movie/TV money when your book does a Walking Dead doesn’t put food on the table if your book underperforms (or even sells modestly well, in some cases). WFH does.

(And, again, before someone leaps in: I’m not saying that WFH contracts shouldn’t be better — it absolutely shouldn’t be beyond the wit of man to devise one that gives a corporate publisher ownership of the IP but guarantees the creators an equitable share of exploitation of that IP. But this WFH Bad/Creator Owned Good thing is simplistic nonsense that fundamentally misunderstands the nature of the business.)

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sheridan

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Re: Oh no not another re-read thread (progs 336 to 729)
« Reply #29 on: 19 June, 2019, 05:07:50 pm »
Stoagie (an e-cigarette who is both as much of an arsehole as Hoagy, but manages to also be an offensive Mexican stereotype) to convince Sam he's gone insane.


I always saw Stogie as an affectionate swipe to (cigar-smoking) Carlos Ezquerra...


Quote
Well, onto Nemesis, who has finally realised his wife and son have been killed by the terminators. Clearly not much of a family man is Nemesis, as this happened all the way back in book 3. In fact, his son Thoth managed to survive and now hates his dad's guts.


He found out his family were killed by Terminators during Book IV (The Gothic Empire) - he found out that there psychic signals emanating from his son's assassin in Book V, clueing him in that his son was still alive.