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Topics - Tjm86

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1
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 ...

2
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!

3
Prog / Dredd: The Citadel
« on: 23 April, 2022, 11:42:26 AM »
1/ 

Reading “The Citadel” over the past few weeks has been a jarring experience.  On the surface there are aspects of the story that don’t sit well.  As a tale based in the AW, the visuals seem more fitting with current Dredd rather than those we all know from Ezquerra’s work in particular.  The cowardice and ineptitude of the Citi-Def contrasts with the actions of many as narrated in AW.  The cadets don’t carry the same callous indifference that many pre-AW tales showed us. In short, a lot of details don’t quite fit with what we remember of MC1 at that time.

Maybe it is being currently immersed in research into an assignment relating to Trauma and memory but going back over the story from the perspective of issues regarding memory puts a different spin on this.  The reconstructive nature of autobiographical memory, imperfections, distortions, guesses and gaps … all for normal memory.  Traumatic memory fits within this framework but there is a lot of research into how suggestion and mental health issues can add to the complexity.

So coming at the story from this perspective, it becomes a far more interesting piece.  It feels like perhaps Wagner is trying to say something about how we understand Dredd himself and his world.  Taking us back to what is considered an iconic story that is often used as a gold-standard for judging others is possibly intentional.  Certainly it would be interesting to have a conversation with him about some of these ideas.

4
Other Reviews / Kree / Skrull war
« on: 26 December, 2021, 08:26:29 AM »
All things considered, I'm a little surprised that I've never gotten around to reading this.  Possibly down to the age and the fact that it is from a Marvel era that I don't always get on with.

The one thing that does surprise me is how densely packed it is.  Story threads related to the Kree and Skrulls tie in to the Inhumans, Captain Marvel, Ronan the Accuser ... all before the midway point.  In some respects it feels more like someone has packaged these issues together under the Kree / Skrull war banner rather than that it was planned as a standalone story.

The team of Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch and Vision is sparse but supported by Ant Man / YellowJacket, Wasp and Goliath before shifting to the classic Thor, Cap, Iron Man.  Then you throw in cameos from Carol Danvers and the FF.  All adding to the volume!

The artwork is definitely of its age, particularly the Buscema segments.  Some very Kirby-esque cosmic sequences.  Plus you have Neal Adams' segments.  The 'chapter' with Antman navigating Vision's innards to diagnose him is quite something (it also reminds me of Wilson's work on Rogue Trooper with the rogue AI system).

It is easy to see why this tale is so highly regarded.  It is not perfect to be sure but there is an awful lot to commend it.  I don't know about others but I find with Marvel that there are absolute gems at times, albeit few and far between.  Personally I would put it in that category. 

5
General / Forum Favourite Quiz suggestions.
« on: 08 November, 2021, 10:34:18 AM »
The most recent round got me thinking (yes, dangerous I know!).  So a suggestion for an upcoming face-off ... Strips from Regened.  [or is that too controversial?]

6
News / Legends of Luther Arkwright
« on: 31 October, 2021, 07:10:55 PM »
Trying very hard not to geek out over the news that the new volume of Luther Arkwright now has a release date ...

Pity that there are different UK / US publishers as having one Dark Horse and one Jonathan Cape volume would be slightly problematic.  I'm still looking at a reliable source for the Grandville Integrale because of this.


7
News / Mike McMahon Apex Edition - October 2022
« on: 12 September, 2021, 09:04:28 AM »
Looks like the fevered speculation is coming true.  Down The Tubes is reporting the publication of the McMahon Apex Edition!

TBH I've been in two minds with the Bolland edition, not least with some of the responses in some quarters.  This one though .... especially if it carries some of his Block Mania stuff!

If this were to carry on then I would dearly love to see an Apex Edition of the Apocalypse War.  That would be a dream volume.  Something I doubt will ever see the light of day though.  :-(

8
Prog / Prog 2246 Regened - It's a Monster
« on: 22 August, 2021, 06:48:09 AM »
Well, another Regened arrives.  As with previous RP's (Regened Progs), this does feel like a bit of a mixed bag.  There are clear strengths and potential returners.  We've had stronger ones but there are enough positives for it to have a shot at strong runner up.

Cadet Dredd - The Block With No Name.  A bit of an Oliver Twist type tale from Johnson and Redhead.  A nice variation on the normal theme exploring Rico's slow descent.  In some respects it also harks back to the early days of Dredd as a 'one and done'.  Possibly the weaker strip of this prog but mainly because of some of what follows.

Mayflies - The Way Forward.  Carroll and Coleby rather unsurprisingly is the stand-out for this issue.  Coleby is clearly making the world of Rogue Trooper his own between this and Jaegir.  Teague's colour palette is an interesting choice in comparison with that of the Jaegir strip, muted and simple.  Carroll's plot is also politically timely.

'Splorers - Rennie, Beeby and Googe's Survival Geeks spin-off is another that shows potential.  The relative predictability of the plot is offset by the usual selection of in-jokes from nerd culture.  As usual, Googe's artistic sensibilities serve the tale well.

Future Shocks - an interesting tale from Stock and Roberts.  FS's are, as we all know, notoriously difficult despite the simple format.  You know, set up a scenario, throw in a bit of action and then deliver a punchline that has potentially been telegraphed from the word go and seems obvious at the end but ties everything off neatly.  To be fair it does this well.

Chopper - Barnett and Roche take this back to the earliest days of the character and the strip is replete with nods to his first appearance.  In honesty on a first reading it left me cold.  Going back to it again though, it's clearly a stronger strip than it appears.  Once the fourth wall is left alone and it concentrates on telling its tale properly it works far better.  Roche's artwork is well suited to it.

As we've previously said, Regened is starting to find a more consistent voice.  We now have a growing body of material that has potential for future development.  It also feels like artistically the RP is finding a more consistent feel, balancing the sensibilities of a chronologically diverse audience with that of the strips themselves. 

Given the steady development trajectory it may well be that it won't be long before this becomes strong enough to try to spin off and run on its own.  Mind you, as has been frequently observed around these parts, that would be quite a challenge in the current media landscape. 

9
Off Topic / The Dry Dog Thread
« on: 28 June, 2021, 11:56:44 AM »
There are times when it feels a little like this forum is an extension of MIND with all the 'baggage' that a lot of us bring.  Linked to that then is the issue of 'self-medication' and particularly its potential overuse.  I doubt I'm alone in this regard but I know how much of a challenge it can be fighting it back.

So I'm setting myself (and anyone who wishes to join in) a challenge ... to stay 'dry' for as long as possible.  Starting today and counting on.  Target 1 - one week.  Given that this covers a weekend as well ...

I know that it doesn't take much at the moment to push me in the wrong direction and even this small target is likely to be a major challenge at the moment but what's life without challenges (anyone ever finds out, please let me know!)

10
Prog / Prog 2234: Plummet of the Ape
« on: 29 May, 2021, 11:58:51 AM »
Well, looks like the Judge Dredd Megazine is early this month.  At least it feels that way with the line up this week.  Dredd, Department K, Chimpsy ... definitely a Dreddworld heavy prog.  Feral and Foe / Mechistopheles make for an interesting contrast but again the similarities are obvious with those two.

Weston's script and art on Dredd serves up a cracking one-and-done that brings down the house on ol' Rowdy Yates.  Nice nod back to a seminal moment in Dredd's history too ... "No Dredd - I'm with Rowdy Yates!" 

Department-K looks like its serving up an answer to the question of where it might be going with the idea.  Plenty of standard MC-1 insanity with the staring contest backdrop to the setup.  Cornwall delivers visuals with his usual panache and this looks like it may well live up to the early potential.

Chimpsky's Law: The Talented Mr Chimpsky looks like it may well be taking some of the concerns about the character seriously.  Turning his attention to off-world problems deals with the problem of running up against Dredd time and again which, as has been observed before, is only likely to end one way.  Niemand Holden serve up a quality opener that reminds readers of the character, serves up the 'historical' context and sets the scene for the tale. 

Mechistopheles shares similar traits to Dep-K and Chimpsky, plenty of scene setting and recapping.  Boo Cook's artwork suits the strip perfectly.  For those struggling to remember the previous series (guilty as charged) this month's meg floppy covers that for you.  Personally the last outing didn't overly enthral but maybe this one will change that.

... and rounded out with Feral and Foe, the one where everyone is swapped back ... Bit of a talking heads episode with the usual flippancy thrown in for good measure.  For all that this is midway through the tale, as with much of the prog this week there is quite a bit of setting up the next act.  TBH I've lost the thread a little on this.  Feel like I need to go back and re-read the tale so far so in some respects it's just as well that this treads water the way it does.

All this, a letters page and Tharg pays his respects to Bolt too.

11
Prog / Prog 2233:Regened - Ready to face the law?
« on: 22 May, 2021, 11:04:53 AM »
This has to be the strongest Regened prog yet.  A roster of top artists and quality writing definitely help.  Bringing out some of the best strips we’ve seen to date for another outing though, that has to be the real treat.

Cadet Dredd continues the exploration of Rico’s steady fall from grace.  Lynch’s artwork has come a long way from the early Orlok stuff and Boswell’s colours bring out the highlights.  Overall a quality outing for the title.  The same can be said for Scott and Davidson’s take on Anderson.  A potential alien invasion, rookie judge and some misdirection all coming together well.

Future Shocks is a nice topical one as Wall-E Expectation introduces the universe to anti-social media.  The punchline is set up well and delivered with aplomb.  For a FS it works quite well which is no small achievement.

Pandora Perfect and Department K round out the prog with two tales that establish the potential longevity of these two strips.  Plenty of slapstick and confusion for the hapless con-artist take on Mary Poppins.  Interesting to see that Department K decided to skip the whole Sliders rip-off.  Interesting to see what McConville has planned for future outings after this.

I think that it is fair to say that this is truly an ‘all-ages’ prog.  It doesn’t try to force the issue as has been the case with some of the earlier ones.  Possibly on balance it is tilted more toward older readers but not excessively so.  It does seem that it is finally finding its voice properly, building on the strengths of Tooth for a new generation of readers.


12
Classifieds / TJM86's redundancy sale
« on: 12 May, 2021, 04:12:10 PM »
Hi folks, so it has happened this time.  Just what you need as the country is coming out of a global pandemic.  So much for being in a nice secure public sector job.  Hey ho.

Anyway, as a result, I'm looking to shift bits and pieces to lay up financial reserves for the long job hunt.

I'll be adding bits and pieces in as I sort through but starting off will be any of the Judge Dredd mega collection (up to issue 80).  At £5 each including p&p.

Also reluctantly parting with Colin Wilson Original Rogue Trooper artwork from prog 267, closing page.  I will sort out pic to go with this.  £750 plus insured postage.  Would be willing to arrange midpoint collection depending on distance travelled.

Will be adding various and sundry Tooth related items over coming days.

Thanks folks.

13
Website and Forum / Argumentation
« on: 02 April, 2021, 07:39:14 AM »
Well, I know that we have the 'healthy forum' thread and there is a general consensus about the nature of this place but a couple of recent 'thread locks' have got me thinking.  We're a broad church as a whole with an array of different backgrounds and experiences.  Ironically we are all linked by a passion for a comic featuring a fascist police officer but hey ho ...

What I'm wondering about is how we manage our differences effectively.  One thing that we've always done pretty well is 'self-moderation'.  Granted there have been folks through the years that have fallen by the way-side for various reasons.  Generally though discussions, debates and disagreements have been managed fairly well.

Yet a couple of times lately strongly held positions have pushed things to the limit and in one or two cases, beyond.  So I guess my question is this: is this merely an historical aberration, a sign of the febrile times that we live in that is taxing our psychological reserves?

As a corollary, how do we manage our debates and arguments in a text-based environment that lacks the additional cues that normally inform debate (as someone who struggles with that in RL courtesy of MHC, this one makes me laugh)?  Or is it simply safer not to have these types of discussions and stick with the old "never discuss religion or politics ..." (or various related topics) rule?

14
News / Brian Bolland Apex Edition
« on: 08 March, 2021, 12:59:55 PM »
Just stumbled across this little piece of new, an Apex edition of Bolland's work!

https://downthetubes.net/?p=125354

Nice.  If they decide to do the same for the Apocalypse War then I'm selling my granny!

15
Off Topic / Ranking Competitions Ranked!
« on: 03 March, 2021, 02:25:15 PM »
Well, seeing as we love these types of threads so much I though it might be an idea to have a competition to see which is the best ranking competition.  Have you ranked enough yet or do you think you could go for a few more?

What are your top three Ranking Competitions of the last few months?  Can you rank them in reverse order, Dewey Decimal, Mod 30 or RSA?  Which ranking competitions would you have ranked differently if you had a chance to go back in time and do it all again?

As if the forum wasn't rank enough already!  Mind you, I don't think this thread will rank very highly.

Rank you very much.   ::)

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