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Messages - Tjm86

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TBH I'm with you on Rowling.  Personally I don't like the Harry Potter books largely because I find them fairly derivative, full of tropes lifted from other writers and somewhat bloated.  That's me though.  I would rather read the likes of LeGuin, King, Pratchett or Stross.

What is annoying is that this whole debate is obscuring some of the issues around equality that still massively affect women.  Harping on about trans women assaulting 'real' women (sorry for phrasing it that way, if someone would like to suggest a better phraseology I'm all ears) ignores the far greater threat of Violence Against Women and Girls posed by men. 

The statistics on that issue are truly terrifying.  The infamous Sarah Everard incident is just a tiny part of the problem.  The number of incidents that makes it to trial is small enough and dwarfed by cases that are abandoned as victims give up on the authorities.

Again though as IP points out, trans individuals are just as likely to face the same sort of treatment and attitudes from the police, if not worse.  So the debate and rhetoric do a fantastic job of dividing two groups that share much in common with regards to discrimination and inequality. 

Off Topic / Re: One Quick Question....
« on: Today at 06:37:42 AM »
Jim makes some valid points but I would also add in that there is the psychological dimension of font choice to consider.  There is actually quite a bit of research out there into this issue. 

So 'attractive' is also related to issues around purpose, audience and context.

Off Topic / Re: TV Adverts that make you wish for death.
« on: Today at 06:33:15 AM »
Alcohol ads?  Hmmm.  Well, smoking ads have been banned pretty much everywhere due to the health risks involved.  A quick google search turns up these little gems though:

[all figures per annum]

Smoking deaths: 100 000        Drink related deaths:  6 600

So it looks like the smoking advertising ban is thoroughly justified.

Then a bit of a further dig into some of these figures:

Cost to NHS -            Smoking £2bn            Drinking   £3.5bn
Hospital admissions - Smoking 450 000       Drinking   1 100 000

There is also the matter of how drink is involved in domestic violence, child neglect and abuse, sexual assault and violence, criminal damage and general assault.  Issues that naturally are not relevant to smoking.

So is there a case for advertising bans for alcohol?

Film & TV / Re: The Lazarus Project
« on: 28 June, 2022, 07:22:19 PM »
Started watching it this week.  To be honest it kind of loses steam every once in a while but overall moves along nicely.  The one thing that it does have going for it is a very dry, sardonic wit.  There are so many cracking lines ...

"How does it [the time machine] work then?"
"You got a degree in quantum physics?"
"Er, no ..."
"Not a lot of point in me trying to explain it then, is there?"

Never seen Ultraviolet and couldn't get on with Slow Horses.  This however, works well.

Prog / Re: Prog 2288: Law versus Claw
« on: 27 June, 2022, 05:39:10 PM »
I'm going to agree with the general consensus on this one.  Some good bits ... Dredd was, for my money, one of the better ones they've managed.  More 'old-school' Mega City weirdness and chaos than trying to be hip and 'down with the kids' ...  Pandora perfect was as bonkers as always.  Definitely the highlight.  The FS worked well with some nice ideas to spin out given time perhaps?  A 3-riller possibly? 

Lowborn High really does feel like it's trying too hard.  Would be interested to know how it got a second outing given that its first wasn't amazing.  This one was such a blatant Potter rip-off its amazing Rowling fans didn't take 5 minutes off from panning Emma Watson to complain.  When you consider how lacking in originality the Potter books are ...

Scooter and Jinx is one I definitely don't get either.  It's hard to put my finger on it but there just doesn't seem to be anything to it.

Bit of a mediocre offering this time then.  Sorry. 8-(

Prog / Re: Prog 2287: Grinders Keepers!
« on: 21 June, 2022, 10:59:29 PM »
My thing is this.  I started reading Tooth at the age of 7.  Back then I was about the target age.  45 years later things have moved on.  I would however like something of Tooth to survive.

In the roughly 40 years since I started reading Tooth the changes have been phenomenal.  We've had the halcyon days of the early 80's with Apocaplypse War, Rogue Trooper, Nemesis and Strontium Dog.  We've also had the dire days of Mark Millar's Robo-Hunter, Big Dave and the Summer "offensive" (yes, it was). 

Since Rebellion has taken control we've had so much quality it is unreal.  Yet an awful lot of it has been aimed more at the same market that Crisis once targeted.

Re-gened might be hit or miss but what I love about it is the effort the creators go to to find a voice for the generation that I was decades ago.  The fact that they're trying to mine the creative seam we all love whilst finding a whole new lode is laudable. 

The success rate might be variable but then again the same can be said for the prog.  Look back at recent issues, it hasn't been an ecstatic response.  That said, it still beats most American publishers hands down.

Off Topic / Re: The Black Dog Thread
« on: 17 June, 2022, 07:11:26 PM »
Given that I quite often suffer from "Foot-in-mouth" disease, I tend to exercise extreme caution when someone discloses a bereavement.  A simple "Oh, I'm sorry.  How are you doing?" tends to be quite a safe way to handle the flow of such conversations and point in the direction of any appropriate follow up. 

Sorry to hear that you're not having the best time of things right now either, Funt.  Know what you mean about crap birthdays.  TBH I find them hard / annoying.  Then again I think that is the legacy of boarding school when a birthday was the perfect opportunity to really f*** you over (well, a bit of a special reason ... not like some of the bar-stewards ever really needed a reason ...)  Has caused disagreements in the past.

Can also relate to catastrophising and isolating.  Particularly when the cascade kicks in.  Hope you are able to ride it out and we catch you on the flip side.

The 'big boys' have certainly settled into a very safe routine when it comes to output but DC did go through quite an interesting experimental phase back in the day.  Their alternative output does contain some fascinating hidden gems.  They also benefit from being incredibly cheap if you track them down.

Wasteland is one for the horror / surrealist aficionados.  Short run of short story collections with David Lloyd featuring as a regular artist.  Very much in the 'disturbing and thought provoking' mold and well worth a butchers.

Spanner's Galaxy is a fairly formulaic chase 'mystery' but good fun all the same and with plenty to keep it going.

Another enjoyable little series is Tempus Fugitive.  As the title suggests, time travel features quite heavily along with plenty of aerial action.

Marvel's short-lived Open Space is another short story anthology with some reasonable little tales, including one illustrated by Steve Yeowell.

I'm a great fan of Alien Legion.  Stroman's artwork is superb and the core concept is a cracking one. Very much in the VC's mold. There are some interesting characters to keep things going, especially Jugger Grimrod who merited his own one-shot illustrated by our very own Mick McMahon.

If you are a fan of Colin Wilson's Rogue Trooper artwork then I would recommend tracking down a copy of his Rael: Into the Shadow of the Sun graphic novel.  Its the first of a trilogy originally published in French but only the first volume was ever translated.  If you're French speaking then there is an obvious solution there but it works fairly well as a standalone.

... and obviously related is Martha Washington by Millar and Gibbons.  Dark Horse's Life and Times of Martha Washington contains the full run of stories and the slipcase version is up there with DC's Absolute Editions.  Both creators on fine form so its well worth it.

Presumably we don't need to mention Luthor Arkwright, Marshal Law, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Akira, Y the Last Man or Transmetropolitan?

Off Topic / Re: Thought Police: Are we allowed to query 'woke'?
« on: 13 June, 2022, 06:11:20 PM »
The way I see it, adopting the form of address someone requests costs nothing and is nothing more than common courtesy.  Doesn't really matter if it's gender, rank or qualification.  I'm also disinclined to judge anyone's views of themselves since my own is so f***ed up anyway so who the hell am I to judge.

It feels a little bit right now like there is an intersection of confected and real issues.  Women are concerned that efforts to address inequalities affecting them still have a long way to go and that transitioning individuals are creating new challenges.  Given the scale of misogyny, sexual assault and violence against women there is a significant proportion of women that are struggling with the presence of individuals who are only part way through transitioning in their 'spaces.'

Some of what makes it to the press though appears more inflammatory, stoking divisions further with lurid tales.  That is not to say that they are always untrue but certainly there is a lot of sensationalisation.  The issue of changing spaces, saunas and so on is probably top of the charts here.  The extent to which sexual predators claim to be transitioning to gain access to women only spaces for their own purposes is hard to guauge.  Arguably there have been incidents but whether it is as widespread as is inferred ...

Then again I wouldn't be surprised if the trans 'community' (yes I know, it's about a coherent a whole as we are here ...) was more than a little annoyed with some of the more extreme views being espoused.  Same as with any group really.  There's a lot of work to go in terms of acceptance in these cases and feeding the rabid elements of the British press is not really helping matters.  Then again, how much do such rags reflect reality?

Other Reviews / Re: Battle Action Special 2022
« on: 11 June, 2022, 06:57:10 PM »
They're in Gosh! Comics on a high shelf where customers can see but not reach them, because they're not actually going to start selling them until Saturday for some event (a signing I suppose).

They are.  You can preorder them from Gosh! Comics.  That's the option I've gone for.  Same with the new Luthor Arkwright.  It was a bit of a close call as I'd rather have the Dark Horse edition than the Jonathan Cape one that we seem to be having now.  Having a signed Bookplate edition sealed it though.

Mind you, given how the pound is tanking at the moment, I'm not completely surprised that the US edition is less likely over here.

Prog / Re: Prog 2285: Royal Blood
« on: 11 June, 2022, 06:39:37 AM »
'An Honest Man' [...] at the final part of the Kyle Asher trilogy?

OOOH!!!!!  Now I need to take back much of what I've said about this arc.  Didn't realise it was part of a series of stories.  Although Niemand is a bit cagey on the denouement of this arc in an interview.   (with news of a return of Chimpsky BTW).
Now intrigued to see how he's going to land this one.  Given that so far it has followed a seemingly predictable narrative it would be fair to say that this has been pulled off with panache.  An interesting use of narrative expectations.  Certainly has made me reappraise my thinking about the story.  8-0

Prog / Prog 2285: Royal Blood
« on: 07 June, 2022, 06:06:24 PM »
Dredd – pretty predictable so far.  Nothing that stands out as a surprise.  Question then is how the finale pans out.  Is Asher going to be written off as a character or will Niemand pull out some last minute twist?  Well, enjoyable as it has been …

Terror Tales: Wunza – lot of effort for the final pun but not the worst we’ve seen in a while and certainly better than last week’s FS. 

Hope: In the Shadows – another episode that doesn’t really go too far.  Where is this tale going?  If that’s a question that needs asking then that is not a good sign.  Sorry.

Brink – another talking heads episode but starting to tie together with previous threads.  A lot of this run has linked back to the very first run, few more than this though.  There is a sense though of foreboding.  Revelations of the sort trotted out here pretty much always end up with a body count.

Fiends of the Eastern Front: 1963 – should really be retitled “Fiends of the Eastern Front – hope you haven’t read Stross’ Laundry Novels.”  Trevallion on art has definitely been the redeeming aspect of this run.  Previous runs that have dug into the back-story of Constanta worked far better.  Setting up a future scrap between Constanta and Dee …  Maybe we’ll be surprised?

The last few progs have seen a bit of a dip in quality, haven’t they?  More mediocre than hideous, certainly.  That said, there are strips and writers here that have delivered far better in the past.  There is a sense of predictability, recycling of old tropes or a general lack of coherence. 

Then again this is not completely surprising.  Not to mention that the highs of the prog set incredibly exacting standards.  Artistically the prog is faultless right now.  In terms of writing though it is not exactly the top of these writers’ games …

On the positive side, it's about 2 days earlier than I expected given the jubilee boll**s ...

Other Reviews / Re: Heartland Garth Ennis & Steve Dillon
« on: 06 June, 2022, 04:50:22 PM »
That sounds about right.  I always felt like Ennis was one of the better Hellblazer writers and got the character more than many who followed.  Constantine was a complete and utter manipulative bar-steward at the best of times but some of the Ennis tales took it to a whole new level.

I was surprised that I missed it at the time.  Then again, IIRC this was about the time I'd stepped down a bit from reading many comics so I probably wasn't paying as much attention.

Other Reviews / Heartland Garth Ennis & Steve Dillon
« on: 04 June, 2022, 04:16:37 PM »
TBH this is a little piece that I'd never even noticed back in the day.  Whether I'd have fully appreciated it or not, I don't know but it is a powerful piece.  Billed as from the creators of Preacher, it is definitely Dillon on fine form and arguably also Ennis.  At his best when he tackles something close to his heart.

What is most surprising about it is how melodramatic it is.  I mean, it almost reads like 'Play for Today' on one level.  All the standard tropes about the alky father, long-suffering mother, divided kids ... against a backdrop of one of the more challenging periods in British history.

That is the most fascinating aspect of the piece.  I mean, a lot of us have different perspectives on the troubles.  There are those who lived it directly in the provinces and would most likely relate to some of the details of the piece ... British squaddies with SA-80's (and how that dates the piece) chatting up the lass in the chippie as they buy their supper ... talking about the Snatch-Landrover patrols as a part of everyday traffic ... knee-capping a potential drug-dealer ... 

On the other hand there are those of us who would relate to some of the comments about the emotions and responses generated by the troubles.  Being a 'legitimate target' and spending time checking for IED's ... leaving space at traffic lights (even to this day) to avoid a 9mm trepanning ... becoming so inured to these experiences that it is only when someone else comments that it becomes apparent ...

This is probably the most interesting aspect of the one-shot.  I mean, all of this is simply backdrop to a family drama.  The story could have just as easily have been set on the streets of London, Manchester or Liverpool.  The sectarianism could have been replaced by any number of prejudices.  The sheer mundanity of the core story is juxtaposed against an environment totally immersed in violence, fear and threat.

Maybe that is the point Ennis is driving at.  The tragedy of the troubles being that the sort of human drama and tragedy that wreaks such havoc on families is lost in the brutality of the conflict.  For all the political bullshit, rhetorical posturing and violence, people carry on living regardless with all the crap that entails ...

A lot to be said for this one.  Did I mention Steve Dillon's artwork?  Yes?  Good ... no, it's f***ing brilliant!

Prog / Re: Prog 2284: Inter*sect*ions
« on: 04 June, 2022, 02:48:54 PM »
Glad I'm not the only one that felt a bit disappointed with this prog.  The FS was a peculiar creation and one I couldn't quite get my head around.  Then again there didn't seem much to pull me in so that might be something to do with it.  I'm just mindful of the fact that writing a good FS is not an easy job.

Dredd is, as everyone says, the highlight with Foster channelling Bolland to raise an otherwise pedestrian Carroll tale.  So far little of the tale has strayed too far from many of his common ticks:
  • ex-con struggling to get on;
  • opportunity to get involved in potentially risky criminal activity;
  • seeking big payday to start over;
  • dodgy judge figure involved;
  • shady criminals linked to plan ...

So the big question then is how will he land it all?  Will there be a sudden twist to the end of the tale?  We'll see ...

I would agree that Fiends has got far too much going on now and is in danger of being mythologically overloaded.  Brink is simmering nicely but it is still a bit of a challenge to see where things hang together.  It's been an interesting little diversion from the last tale we had.  Have to see how this pans out too.

So ... given the bank holiday this week its most likely going to be Friday before this week's sub-prog shows its face.  Not the first time patience has been required, so hey ho ... Here's hoping that when it does show up it is closer to form than we've been used to.

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