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Topics - Tjm86

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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?

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!


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

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.   ::)

Prog / Prog 2220 Regened: Earth-Shattering
« on: 20 February, 2021, 04:43:13 PM »
The Regened project has been an interesting ride for more familiar readers hasn’t it.  Still in an experimental stage, looking for some sense of what works and what does not.  Then again in many respects that’s the whole point of the project is it not.

Cadet Dredd continues to link the various different presentations.  Wyatt and Tinto present a fairly serviceable one-and-done, exploring Dredd’s early career.  Tinto’s artwork  has a good feel to it, presenting realistic scenes of early MC-1 that to an extent are reminiscent of the 2012 film rather than Ezquerra’s grand finished scene.

The plot centres around familiar tropes of rogue AI’s, pre-war tec, excessive consumerism and youth as exploitable.  It moves along at a good pace with plenty of action to keep attention.  Once again the ‘dults turn out to be the weak link, raising the question of how the Judges managed to rise to prominence (quite a contrast to the lethal Dreadnought’s of the meg).

Once again Tek division shines. Considering what we’ve previously seen in Regened, it really does show the potential for a series exploring this dimension of MC1.  Something we’ve seen from time to time down through the years.  Fertile ground though …

Action Pact – The Radyar Recovery has a nice idea at its core and is well executed.  Horsman’s art is a little busy and scrappy but it works well for the tale.  Soffe’s colours certainly bring it out well.  Certainly it might be interesting to see where this might go but something tells me there might be less scope than the original premise contains.

Viva Forever is another that might benefit from a further outing to explore its potential.  As a one-and-done MC1 tale it certainly works well.  Morzova’s art and Bowland’s colours do completement each other well. Baillie’s script may perhaps be a little too clever on some level with multiple overlapping voices sometimes distracting from the core action.  Aspects of the reveal re-tread familiar ground but as an introduction it works quite well.  Another one for the Meg to revisit perhaps.

Future Shocks is possibly the weak link, certainly for me.  Califano’s artwork channels Transmetropolitan well for this social-media-abuse inspired tale.  There’s an interesting take on the waning influence of ‘influencers’ but little about it feels too original.  Others may well disagree but on a first reading it does feel a little like an early, weaker, FS.  That said, kudos to the creative team for their efforts.  Not horrendous but not awe inspiring …

Mayflies though has to be the star of the show and possibly Carrol finding a potentially rich seem in Rogue Trooper’s world.  It is a little surprising that it has taken this long for Milli-Com memories to register.  Some of the earlier attempts at finding an aspect of RT lore that fit within the Regened project have not been overly successful  but this one …

Mind you, Coleby and Teague’s artwork don’t hurt at all.  Hardly surprising from such a powerful creative team.  Coleby’s earlier work in this world has served him well in terms of grounding the story.  The steady reveal of the different characters helps with the gradual reveal of the framework for the strip.  Although the characters are cyphers to a large extent that is hardly surprising in the circumstances.  What remains to be seen is whether that could be fleshed out.

Certainly of all the strips that could translate well into the prog, this has the most potential for my money.  The closing line says it all really .. “Now we suddenly had a future.”

Arguably this is a stronger offering, once again containing several strips that could well have longer legs.  Mayflies definitely deserves another.  Of the other strips Viva Forever and Action Pact may need another outing to see whether there is enough life in them but certainly there is little to warrant writing them off.  Overall a solid showing.

Megazine / Meg 429: Supreme Justice.
« on: 13 February, 2021, 10:20:01 PM »
A glorious Higgins cover adorns this month's as Dreadnoughts closes out the current story arc.  I have to be honest, there are times when Mr Carroll's work leaves me feeling a little flat when it comes to conclusions but this series has really engaged.  Of course having such a master on art duties doesn't hurt.  I may well be tempted to have a look at some of his early years novelisations as this seems to be a real strength of his. 

As the editorial notes, the series has garnered accolades from across the pond so something seems to be going right.  The same editorial notes that Wagner and Higgins will be delivering a Dredd 6-parter in the summer!   :thumbsup:

In all honesty the meg is doing more for me than the prog right now.  We've been here before where some of the stronger material is showing up in the monthly.  The Niemand / Coleby (who's been a busy boy this month?) Dredd one-and-done is an interesting 'whatever happened to ...' tale.  I'll leave it to readers to discover the connection to early Dredd lore.

Returners is the one strip I'm not getting on with although the last few episodes have shifted that a little.  Assirelli's artwork is stunning but I'm just not gelling with it overall.  Possibly since it is sandwiched between Deliverance and Dreadnoughts, a hell of a pair to fight for attention with.

... and of course in addition to the past of Dredd-world, Niemand gives us a fascinating alternate take on this world in Megatropolis, just one more challenge faced by Returners.  Taylor's art is superb right now and the latest twists of the tale raise some fascinating questions around where this is heading.

This is what really gets me though.  I mean, the Megazine was supposed to explore all the different dimensions of Dredd's world and for a long time it never really seemed to get that right.  What we have right now is the present, past and alternative dimensions of that world.  In addition we have distant realms of that world both physically and spiritually.

The quality of artwork would put the major American players to shame.  The quality of writing is similarly impressive.  Even at its weakest it fires on all cylinders.  How many other titles can say that?

All round I have to say, I can forgive (almost) the absence of the prog.  This month's meg is such a distraction.

Off Topic / Scalp-botting
« on: 22 January, 2021, 02:14:36 PM »
Saw this article on the Grauniad.


TBH I'd never really given it much thought but it does make sense.  Particularly since the likes of Amazon and eBay are in such a dominant position.

It really feels more and more like the promises of the early days of the internet are being distorted by gaming, to the detriment of far too many.

Off Topic / Merry Christmas 2020
« on: 25 December, 2020, 08:08:34 AM »
Well, it has been an 'interesting' year to say the least.  Even so, here's wishing everyone the best of the season.

Merry Christmas folks!

Prog / Prog 2211 - Stay Brave. Stay Strange.
« on: 07 December, 2020, 03:44:54 PM »
Monday prog for a change.  At least it's not a 3 week wait.  Last one before the Bumper End / Start of Year Prog with quite a few wrap-ups and an Elson illustrated Future Shock.  The tagline belies a them running through this week's prog ...

So "Simply Normal" wraps up for Dredd this week.  Feels like a bit of an overlap with Beeny over in the Meg but Austin's artwork definitely detracts from any issues here.  Definitely not one for a skim read lest you find yourself thrown.

Visions of Deadworld ramps up the 'creepy quotient'.  This would have been a great Halloween strip.  Hell, it is a great strip.  Perhaps it is the inevitability that makes it so disturbing.  You know something terrible is coming but not what.

Dexter goes for more olde worlde "shoot everything that moves" charm as we continue down the AI inspired rabbit hole.  It does get a bit philosophical mind,  "You think they're gonna kill us and eat us, or kill us by eating us?"   :o

The FS is certainly one of the stronger ones we've seen of late.  Nicely paced, subtly executed, leaving plenty to ponder in the denouement.  Plus ... Elson art!

Which brings us to Fiends.  Closing out Constanta's origin story whilst setting up the next act.  Giving historical context to the tale and pointing neatly to that first tale we had so long ago.  Oh and yet another tale that toys with perception.

A strong prog to be sure.  Sumptuous artwork.  Satisfying endings.  Yet leaving enough to look forward to.

Perhaps an appropriate ending to the year?

Off Topic / Being paranoid or justifiably suspicious?
« on: 24 November, 2020, 08:26:54 PM »
I'm trying to work out what is going on at work at present.  I have a diagnosis for BPD which I disclosed when I started.  Last year one of my line managers pushed me over the edge and then claimed that I had thrown something at her.  As a result I spent most of lockdown waiting to find out what was going to happen.

Since I've come back we've got a new head.  A more senior manager who I used to trust and rely on, had built a good relationship with, has been a bit of go-between / sounding board.  All of a sudden though our meetings have become much more formal and she spends most of the time making sure she is minuting everything.

I know that I tend to struggle interpreting motives, especially when I'm in a dark place.  That said, the nature of the questions that she now asks and this focus on documenting everything is setting off alarm bells.  I want to believe that this is just me being unreasonable but I can't help questioning what is going on.

This sounds really stupid but is it possible for an employer to provide too much support as a way of breaking someone?

Suggestions / Specials Subscription
« on: 21 October, 2020, 08:38:41 PM »
The cost of the specials this year was a bit of a hike but then again so was the output.  I was thinking that perhaps since we already have a combi-sub for the prog and meg perhaps it might be possible to do a triple combo: prog, meg and specials?  In some respects the option is already available for a one off payment but I'd like the option of being able to spread it over the year.

Off Topic / Thought Police: Are we allowed to query 'woke'?
« on: 24 September, 2020, 08:01:05 PM »
I think that some of the discussions on the Battle Special thread got me thinking about this issue.  I get how complex it is but at the same time I also find aspects of it uncomfortable.

As near as I can tell, and I'm happy to be set straight, the term 'woke' seems to have been created, appropriated and misappropriated by several different groups.  Like many I'm not sure when I first became aware of it but the origin appears to have been inspired by the idea of an 'awakening' to issues of social importance.  From there it has morphed into a badge of consciousness, particularly among influencers in the social media sphere and now into an insult in the political and media spheres.

What I find difficult is the way in which our thoughts and attitudes are not just seen as possibly incorrect but more fundementally as aberrant.  Irrespective of our own experiences and understanding, if we do not think about things in the 'correct way' then we are castigated for those thoughts.

I'm not talking about hate speech here.  Rather about ideas that we might have grown up with but are no longer deemed acceptable.  Like all of those comedy shows and films that are now being withdrawn from circulation as the ideas they played with are now considered inapprorpriate (and yes, may well be so ...).

It's almost as if we have reached a point where we have realised that there is no point railing against 'the man' since we are powerless against 'him'.  Railing against each other though?  Anger and outrage at the petty injustices of the world?  Now that is something that is acceptable.  Bread and circuses and all that.  Too busy fighting each other to worry about what else is going on.

it feels a little like that line by Dredd from the Apocalypse War:  "The Citizens?  What makes you think they're interested?"  We're all fighting with each other over identity or sexuality or skin colour.  What fight really matters though?

Prog / Prog 2195 - Master of Puppets
« on: 15 August, 2020, 06:57:43 PM »
Well, the last week before the next Regened prog and the review thread still not started so late in the day?  A little surprising all things consider.  I mean, we've had such consistently high quality proggage in recent weeks.  That said, this week feels a little lacklustre for some reason.

I wonder if it is the Terror Tale: Quillivision?  Certainly for me it was a bit of an odd beast (as was the "Amanda Alsatian" character ...).  The artwork doesn't stack up well against the rest of the prog but then again that is a little unfair to the artist.  I mean, when you are billed alongside Flint, Harrison, Yeowell and Burns then you are asking for trouble.  Mostly though it just seemed like a non-story.

Dredd is a talking heads episode with a quick resolution to the current horseman 'problem' ready to move on to the next one.  Of more interest is the hints as Azrael's place in the tale.  makes me wonder if I do need to fetch back for a re-read of the old tales there.

In fact all round this seems to be a bit of an in-between prog.  The Out, Sin/Dex and the Order all seem more about setting the scene for the future.  Maybe that is why there is such an unsatisfying feeling?  Don't get me wrong, it's still head and shoulders above anything from the big two on their best day.  It's just one of those "we've been spoilt rotten recently and now we've got to eat our veg" progs, if that makes sense.

So, we get to see if the upward trajectory of Regened can continue next week before picking up all these threads.

Off Topic / Pandemically Poltical Poll: Beyond Satire With Boris
« on: 06 July, 2020, 03:52:16 PM »
So today we are informed by Dido "can I share your personal data" Harding that a working track and trace app would be a useful thing to have.  it got me to thinking about all the hyper-satirical moments we've been subjected to during the course of this pandemic.  Granted we have definitely achieved 'world beating' status in these stakes (well, okay, 2nd place behind 'murrica but we can hold our heads high in Europe for a change).

So here's my question for fellow boarders now that the Pandemic is sort-of, semi, quasi, possibly so long as we can keep Bournemouth beach clear, officially 'over' for now ...: What has been your stand out "beyond satire with Boris" moment of the last 6 months?  Can we go with a poll on this?

Off Topic / The Death of Verbal Cultural Memes
« on: 27 June, 2020, 07:49:12 PM »
I'm just spitballing here but I feel a little like the shift in the cultural landscape has had a devastating effect on the power of quotes from popular culture or references.  Once upon a time everyone would quote from current shows (especially comedy). 

One of my teachers at school made the mistake of starting our mocks instructions with the statement "listen very carefully ..." to which the entire hall responded in the appropriate accent, "I will say zis only once!"  Fortunately he saw the humour in the situation.

How many times did we use quotes from Red Dwarf, Blackadder or Monty Python once upon a time and have everyone know what we were talking about?  These days if you throw out the old ".. first on the left, one cross each ..." it is more likely to draw a bemused look.

It feels a little like there is nothing that is shared widely enough to be instantly and broadly recognisable in the same way.  Granted there is little in the way of comedy worth watching at the moment but it seems like with the scale of the options available right now there are so few shared cultural spaces in the same way that there once was.

I don't know, am I getting jaded and cynical in my old age?   :(

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