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Topics - The Corinthian

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Books & Comics / Robin of Sherwood
« on: 27 February, 2022, 10:56:57 PM »
The Complete Look-In Collection is now available to pre-order from Spiteful Puppet:


General / 2000AD Review
« on: 21 October, 2010, 07:45:05 PM »
Does anyone know if the old 2000AD Review pages are cached anywhere online?

General / Ro-Busters Rules
« on: 10 October, 2010, 11:05:56 PM »
I've just read 'The Complete Ro-Busters', which I've been a bit wary of getting before because the series seems to have a reputation for being a bit juvenile. So I was pleasantly surprised to find how good it is, at its best a delight, at its worst still delirious fun.

Admittedly the plots are a bit routine, but you read for the characters and the detail rather than for the stories. Hammerstein, Howard Quartz and MekQuake are all marvellous comic creations, and Ro-Jaws even more so. He's the imp in Pat Mills, the voice that you know is shouting "Knickers!" in the background of the most po-faced Slaine. He - and the strip in general - seem to arrive fully-formed from the first episode. Dredd, Robo-Hunter and Strontium Dog all take time to find their groove, so this might be the first 'classic' Tooth/Starlord strip that's classic from the very start.

I prefer it to 'The ABC Warriors', especially as pompous blimpish Hammerstein is much more fun than the surly "war is heck" Hammerstein from the original ABC run. Weirdly the standout weak links are the fill-ins by Alan Moore - not the magnificent 'Old Red Eyes Is Back' but 'Bax the Burner' suffers from the kind of ploddy hard-boiled prose he was over-writing at this point in his career, and 'Stormeagles Are Go!' is a brilliant premise that struggles to find a story to go with it.

Plus, is 'The Terra-Meks' the last ever sighting of a wholly sympathetic Christian character in a Pat Mills strip? We need to be told!

General / The Mystery of Prog 723
« on: 08 September, 2010, 11:44:23 PM »
I have too much time on my hands and so I've been pondering the question of whether or not Prog 723 is or is not the Worst Relaunch Issue Ever. Being a youngish Squaxx at the time I was not offended too much but must admit to a sense of deflation when I read it. I'd missed a few years of Tooth but jumped back on board in late 1990 when I learned that Robo-Hunter was coming back. Yes, that worked out well, didn't it?

That it's the debut of Millar's Robo-Hunter probably means Prog 723 will go down in infamy but the whole of the line-up is actually quite underwhelming. Sometimes Tooth goes through bad patches but there is usually at least one strip that gives it some sense of spine or definition. Possibly Tharg thought that New Robo-Hunter would do the job, but you think he'd have a fall-back. Instead we have: the rather pointless and inconsequential 'Nemesis and Deadlock', also the first fully fledged sighting of murky brown painted; the amusing but not earth-shattering 'Bix Barton', popping up as if there's a six-week gap needing filling (as will be the case with the next two BBs in the same year); 'Tao de Moto', which would make a nice appetiser in a stronger prog, but looks worryingly like the Least Worst strip on offer; and the final part of the Fleishertastic 'The Golden Fox Rebellion', which next Prog will give up its slot to another 7 weeks of 'Junker' (oh, joy); and 'Judge Dredd'...

'Bill Bailey, Won't You Please Come Home' puzzles me on two counts. First, for a big relaunch issue, why is it so obviously plucked from Wagner's slushpile? It's tedious and ugly, with a potentially interesting set-up thrown away by its tiresomely dumb 'villains' (the pay-off is Dredd realising this after 4 episodes, btw). Tharg had told us the plot in advance to spare us even a flicker of interest.

Second, why isn't Ennis writing this?

Seriously, he gets stick for his later Dredd strips but at this early stage he's at the height of his powers: 'Death Aid', 'Emerald Isle' and 'Return of the King' are probably his highlights on the strip. So why, after his arrival was heralded with such a fanfare, does he not get this prime gig in the first all-colour issue? In fact I recall a contemporary review stating as fact the idea that 'Emerald Isle' was supposed to be in Prog 723 but had been delayed. Steve Dillon's cover for Prog 727 would have made a much more striking image than the montage of sampled interior art that must have commended Prog 723 to no new readers whatsoever.

Now the story goes that 723 wasn't supposed to be the first all-colour issue/relaunch prog at all, but was foisted on Tooth by the imminence of 'Toxic!' The story further goes that there was a rush to get colour material available in time. Which does look like a good explanation, but there's a snag: most of Tooth was in colour by this stage. It seems unlikely to me that Tooth didn't have a fair amount of colour material stockpiled. In fact there's no black and white serial in the weekly again until the second half of 'Engram' resumes at the end of the year. (And Tharg, in the guise of Richard Burton, was spotted telling Comics International that Tooth would still run black-and-white strips, promising that Zenith Phase IV wouldn't be in colour.) Colouring 'Emerald Isle' is unlikely to have caused delays to the art, because Dredd is all-colour anyway by this stage.

Is it possible that Fleetway were going to make the shift to full-colour without making a huge song and dance about it. Unlikely, even without 'Toxic!' breathing down their necks. My hunch is that there would have been a relaunch sometime midwayish between Progs 700 and 750 but that 723 wasn't supposed to be it.

There's that weird hangover episode of 'Rogue Trooper' to account for, and if 'Junker' and 'Engram' hadn't been curtailed both would have ended in Prog 723. So Prog 724 looks promising as a possible relaunch. Then again, strips like 'Carry On Barton' and 'The Enigmass Variations' feel like they should be filling the weeks before a big relaunch. With the exception of 'Robo-Hunter' and 'Tao de Moto', everything that starts/resumes in Prog 723/724 is done by Prog 730.

So maybe Prog 730 was supposed to be it, until 'Toxic!' came along. The gap left by 'Junker' would be taken up by some b&w Future Shocks and other filler up to Prog 729. Then the relaunch begins with 'Emerald Isle', the long-awaited new 'Robo-Hunter' and 'Mean Machine' strips, plus a couple of other long-running strips that show up in the same period - 'Below Zero' or 'The Saharan Ice-Belt War' possibly, but replace the latter with 'Killing Time' and suddenly you'd have a much stronger line-up than the real Prog 723 could muster.

It's all speculative of course, but it might (in passing) explain why 'Danzig's Inferno' peters out just as soon as it's begun...

Suggestions / Faction Paradox
« on: 31 August, 2010, 11:33:19 PM »
Any chance of the Meg reprinting and/or finishing off the first six issues of Lawrence Miles's creator-owned Faction Paradox comics as (briefly) published by Image in 2003? Lawrence needs money to buy Lego, grudammit!

General / Drokk!
« on: 24 August, 2010, 07:44:47 PM »
Someone on ebay is trying to flog Titan's 'Portrait of a Mutant' for £50.


I fear they may be a touch optimistic.

General / Chan is Missing (His Embarrassingly Racist Dialogue)
« on: 16 August, 2010, 08:51:03 PM »
I've just been reading the first volume of Robo-Hunter Droid Files, and wondered if anyone else had noticed that the dialogue given to Chan has been visibly tweaked to take out the comedy orientalisms (swapped 'l's and 'r's, etc.)

Obviously the original dialogue, though par for the course in late 1970s comics, was a bit stupid and offensive - especially given that Chan isn't a goonish caricature but a straight supporting character who could easily have been "default white" - but it's odd that they don't make similar edits to da Italian-American Stereotype gangsters in 'Day of the Droids' or Stoogie, the Fastest Cigar in All Me'ico! Or - in volume 2 - the much more notorious "Blakee Pentax!"

I wonder if it's attributable to the way that Chan appears in the very earliest instalments, which are a fairly straight action-adventure take on the concept before Gibson takes over as artist and Wagner decides to turn the bonkers factor up to 11. It's as if Ferrer's comparatively realistic art now seems like a poor match with the "me so solly"-isms.

Weirdly, the Titan 1980s collections (with what I assume to be the original dialogue) looks like it's been re-done as well...

General / Specials, Annuals and Gaps in Barney
« on: 10 August, 2010, 12:15:14 AM »
Over the weekend I got into a discussion of the incompleteness of 'The Complete Alan Moore Future Shocks' on another thread. Moore's first Future Shock - 'A Holiday in Hell' - isn't in there and someone pointed out that it wasn't on Barney at 2000ad.org. The reason why - it was in the 1980 Sci-Fi Special and Barney - while an admirable and essential site in many ways - does have a few gaps in its coverage of Tooth specials and annuals.

A couple of years ago I decided to track down all the annuals/specials of the 20th century and compile my own contents details. I never managed to locate a copy of or reliable details for Tornado Summer Special or the final Judge Dredd Mega Special from 1996 and left the project drift away. But I did end with a huge list from other titles.

Since some people are obviously reliant on Barney for this sort of thing, I thought I'd post the whole of my list on here. I hope someone will find it interesting, and possibly clear up some of the ambiguities that came up in the process.

This should all be self-explanatory enough. Except where stated I've seen everything listed. 'Official Index' means details come from the checklists in 2000AD Yearbook 1992 (Tooth Annuals), the 1993 Judge Dredd Mega Special (specials) or Judge Dredd Yearbook 1994 (Dredd Annuals/Yearbooks). Some credits are taken from these, and if the official index says a one-off is a Future Shock then it's a Future Shock - it's the law!

This is strips only, so no feature/art material. I include full-length text stories but not vignettes (e.g. 'The First Fatal Blow' in Tooth Annual 1979.)

So - part one (1977-1979)

2000AD SUMMER SPECIAL SUPERCOMIC (1977; not seen - official index)
Harlem Heroes
Judge Dredd (Art: Kevin O’Neill)
Dan Dare
M.A.C.H. 1

text story
one-off - "The Thing from Nowhere"

The Phantom Patrol (from Swift)

2000AD ANNUAL 1978 (1977)
Dan Dare – “The Curse of Mytax"
Invasion – “Tank Trap”
Tharg’s Future Shocks – “Hunted” (Art: Kevin O’Neill)
    – “End of Voyage”
    – “The Dream Machine” (Art: Massimo Berlardinelli)
    – “The Monsters” (Art: Keith Page)
    – “The Symbiote”
M.A.C.H. 1 – [first strip]
    – “Operation Hercules”
Harlem Heroes
Judge Dredd – [first strip: “Videophones”] (Art: Mike McMahon)
    – [second strip: “Whitey’s Brother”] (Art: Mike McMahon)
Flesh – “The Buffalo Hunt"
Shako – “White Fury”
one-off – “Death Bug” (Art: Horacio Lalia)

N.B. Some one-offs/Future Shocks here and in other annuals/specials up to 1981 might be reprints.

"Death Bug" is a cannibalised version of an abortive 2000AD series by Pat Mills.

2000AD SCI-FI SPECIAL (1978; not seen - official index)
Dan Dare (Writer/Art: Garry Leach)
M.A.C.H. Zero – “Cyborg Express” (Henry Miller [Roy Preston]/Kevin O’Neill)
M.A.C.H. 1 – “The MACH-Man File” (Mike Lake/Trevor Goring)
Judge Dredd – “The Purple People Breeder” (William Nilly/Subliminal Kid [Brendan McCarthy])

text story
one-off – “For a Fistful of Groats” – (Roy Preston/Kevin O’Neill)

Rick Random (from Super Detective Library) – “SOS from Space”

N.B. Though attributed to Harry Harrison, the Rick Random reprint was actually written by Bob Kesten.

STARLORD SUMMER SPECIAL (1978; not seen - details from www.watchthestars.sevenpennynightmare.co.uk/starzines/summer.htm)
TimeQuake (Patterson/John Cooper)
Ro-Busters (Vernon Gross [Kelvin Gosnell]/Geoff Campion)
Trash (D. Hooper/Magano)
Strontium Dog (Bill Henry [?Chris Lowder]/Brendan McCarthy)

text story/reprint
one-off (Arthur C. Clarke story, originally in Galaxy, 1970) – “Neutron Tide”

2000AD ANNUAL 1979 (1978)
Tharg’s Future Shocks – “The Biggest Game of All” (Art: Canos)
    – “Food!”
    – “The Last Lonely Man”
Doctor Sin (Art: Horacio Lalia)
Dan Dare
Judge Dredd
Harlem Heroes

text stories
one-offs – “Final Vision”
    – “A Serious Case for Treatment” (Art: Kevin O’Neill)

The Phantom Patrol
Guinea Pig (from Eagle)

N.B. Doctor Sin is possibly a cannibalised version of the abortive Tooth "hanging judge/Doctor Who of the occult" series by Pat Mills. He crops up again in 2000AD Action Special (but hairier).

DAN DARE ANNUAL 1979 (1978)
Dan Dare (Art: Cam Kennedy)
    – [second strip]
Judge Dredd
one-offs – “The Recruiting Agency” (Art: Marzal Canos)
    – “Survivor”

text story
Dan Dare – “The Invisible Death”

Rick Random – “Rick Random and the Time Travellers”
U.F.O. Agent (from Eagle)

2000AD SCI-FI SPECIAL (1979)
Judge Dredd – “The Billion Credit Caper” (Alan Grant/Brett Ewins)
Tharg’s Future Shocks – “First Encounter” (O.A. Stepaniuk/A. Craddock)
    – “The Last Jungle in the World” – (Staccato [Alan Grant]/N. Neocleous)
Strontium Dog – “Assault on Trigol 3!” (Ian Rogan [Steve MacManus]/Rob Moran)
M.A.C.H. 1 – (Gary Rice/Garry Leach)

text stories
Dan Dare – “The Planet of Frozen Fear”
one-off – “A Breath of Fresh Air”

The Kids from Kosma (no idea where this is from)

2000AD ANNUAL 1980 (1979)
Tharg’s Future Shocks – “Benny’s Tale” (Art: David Jackson)
    – “The Man Who Saved the World”
    – “Going Straight” (Art: Jose Ferrer)
Ro-Busters – “Avalanche!”
Dan Dare
Judge Dredd – “Mega-Miami"

text story
Judge Dredd – “Tales of Dwedd” (Illustrations: ?Brett Ewins)

Guinea Pig
The Phantom Patrol

DAN DARE ANNUAL 1980 (1979)
Dan Dare
one-offs – “Programmed to Destroy” (Art: ?Massimo Belardinelli)
    – “3000AD: The Traveller” (Art: ?Mike McMahon or Cam Kennedy)
    – “...Garbage”
Judge Dredd

text stories
one-offs – “I, Mutant!”
    – “The Man from the Ministry”

U.F.O. Agent [3 strips, the third titled just 'U.F.O.']
Rick Random – “Killer in Space”

Strontium Dog – “Funfair of Fear”
Ro-Busters – “Ro-Jaws”
one-offs – “The Metal Men”
    – “Invaders from Jupiter”
Tharg’s Future Shocks – “The Prisoner of Xendor”

text stories
one-offs – “Day of the Droids”
    – “The Midas Touch”

Captain Condor (from Lion) – “Captain Condor and the Forbidden Planet”
Jimmi from Jupiter (from Lion) [4 untitled strips]
Val Venture (from Tiger) – “Peril at the Centre of the Earth!”

N.B. "The Prisoner of Xendor" is definitely a Future Shock not a one-off. The Mighty One even introduces it.

TORNADO ANNUAL 1980 (1979)
The Mind of Wolfie Smith
one-offs – “The Guvnor” (Art: John Cooper)
    – “Smith & Wesson”
    – “Superking”
Victor Drago – text story – “Victor Drago and the Curse of Graveways Abbey”

text story
Victor Drago – “The Challenge!”

The Terror Behind the Bamboo Curtain [from Battle]

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