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Topics - A.Cow

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Prog / Prog 2213 - Blood Cell!
« on: 02 January, 2021, 02:47:18 PM »
A unexpected treat -- the first prog of the New Year arriving in a timely manner.

Cover: hmm ... a bit less striking than the usual Cliff Robinson covers.

Dredd: a pretty typical Michael Carroll scene-setter with the usual (slightly irritating) machine-gun-style introduction of new characters.  Anyway, nice to see it building on a half-forgotten plot device from long ago.   What is the significance of Cadet Odessa?  Could this link back to Carroll's Dredd tale The Forsaken from roughly 8 years ago?  Lovely to see Will Simpson back.

Durham Red: sorry, not doing it for me.

Slaine: I've long felt that Slaine ran out of steam decades ago.  However, there's no denying that the artwork is terrific and Mills' writing is great here.

Proteus Vex: Jake Lynch has done such a good job that I hadn't even noticed the change of artist until someone pointed it out.  Enjoyable techno-gibberish!

Hershey: as so many have already stated, this really should have used new characters (leaving Hershey gracefully dead).  Beautiful art but not sure where this is going.

Prog / Prog 2129 - Once Upon A Crime...
« on: 27 April, 2019, 01:19:00 PM »
Hmmm ... that cover is perhaps a little too murky?

Judge Dredd: The Long Game (part 4) -- I normally like Michael Carroll's stories, but this one has not grabbed me. Too big a cast, with too many (needlessly-identified-by-name) throwaway characters.

Scarlet Traces: Homefront (part 4) -- enjoying this as usual.  Some subtle references (Richard Shops!) alongside not-so-subtle ones (Hobbs Lane/End).

Max Normal: How The Max Got His Stripes (part 6) -- has been so-so for me, but found myself extremely irked by the anachronistic references in gallery paintings.

Future Shocks: They Shoot Monsters, Don't They? -- satisfactory.

Kingmaker: Ouroboros (part seven) -- not my personal cup of tea, but others here are clearly enjoying it.

Prog / Prog 2117 - Hotzone!
« on: 01 February, 2019, 05:47:57 PM »
Cover:  Ouch.  Not quite as bad as Prog 538's cover but I'm not convinced it'll appear in anyone's cover-of-the-year lists.  (IMHO, anyway.)

Dredd:  Brilliant.  There's laugh-out-loud shopping and clever social commentary (it's said that the tipping point for autonomous cars comes when their accident stats are better than humans.  Makes sense; after all, something similiar has already happened with bank managers giving out loans.  Interesting to see Dredd implying the same with the robot judges ... Logan's love of stats doesn't bode well ...).

Skip Tracer:  Yawn.  Even turning-up the colour saturation can't save this.

Brink:  Good.  I wasn't much of a fan but it's winning me over slowly.

3rillers:  Eh?  That didn't make much sense to me; will have to re-read the full story to see what I've missed.

Jaegir:  Hmm.  Still a bit too wordy for my liking but Simon Coleby's artwork is stunning.

Prog / Prog 2071 - Once Were Warriors ... Now They're The Wanted!
« on: 03 March, 2018, 01:34:58 PM »

Cover - Nice to see them paying tribute to the original Bad Company, but the result only seems to reinforce just how far the current instance has strayed from its roots.

Dredd - Am I the only one not feeling the love for Dave Taylor's artwork?  Leaves me cold, I'm afraid.  Here's hoping the story develops into something truly interesting.

Savage - I love Savage.  And I love Patrick Goddard's art for it.  But the scene with the truck seemed to make little sense.  It wasn't clear that the truck was braking, and Bill's dramatic exit jarred with his sudden re-appearance back inside the cab.  Yes, we can fill in the gaps but it felt a bit sloppy.

Brass Sun - Don't have a clue what's going on and not sure if I care.

ABC Warriors - Like Greysuit, I'm not sure whether this has descended into self-parody or not.  Regardless, highlight of the week for me is Deadlock's response on page 4.  Genius.

Bad Company - TL;DR.

Prog / Prog 2066 - Bors Hunt!
« on: 27 January, 2018, 11:42:42 AM »
The prog is going through a depressing dip at the moment.

Cover - Is that supposed to be a pun?  I'm not sure, because I don't have a clue what 'Bors' is.  Mind you, that's probably because I've pretty much given up on Brass Sun -- don't have a clue who half the characters are and care little for their fate.  So probably me just being a grouch.

Dredd - This seems to be really dragging its feet.  You could drop this week's first 5 pages and it wouldn't affect the storyline at all(!)  That's not good.  Michael Carroll is capable of so much better than this.

Bad Company - This has become so cartoon-like that I'm half expecting Dennis the Menace and Gnasher to turn up.  Maybe I'll try reading it in one go ... but it isn't grabbing me.

Savage - The only story that's actually moving along at a pace is a Pat Mills one?  Blimey.  Uncle Pat may be preaching (and getting yet another bloody 'sheeple' reference in) but this is the highlight of this week's prog for me.  And we all know it'll end with Bill using the phrase "I've got a thousand years of hate stored up" at some point...

Brass Sun - Brass monkey bollocks more like.  I'm no fan of INJ Cubland's art and the meandering plots seems to have disappeared up its own rectum.

ABC Warriors - Old TV show Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea had only two plots: (a) monster-of-the-week attacks sub; (b) crew-member gets hypnotised/replaced and tries to sabotage the sub.  ABC seems to be stuck flip-flapping between (a) group of ten-or-so adversaries need to be picked off, one-by-one, and (b) members start fighting each other.  It's all getting a bit tired and repetitive.

Prog / Prog 2058 - A Frosty Reception
« on: 18 November, 2017, 12:44:59 PM »
Cover -- Wow.  Cliff Robinson delivers the goods again.

Nerve Centre -- Woah!?? What's this week's Damage Report on about?  Could it be a sly hint that Rebellion are doing a high-quality digitisation of the full 2000 AD archive?  If so, I'd gleefully pay a subscription for that.  Sign me up now.  Where do I send my bank details?

Dredd -- Now THAT'S how you write six pages of pretty much nothing happening.  Take note Mr Slaine.

Slaine -- So the last few progs have just been a "what-if" tease?  This strip is descending into self-parody.

Absalom -- Good solid stuff.

Tharg's 3rillers -- Blimey.  I really enjoyed that.  Tightly-plotted with impeccable logic.  Looking forward to part 2.  Good work from Mr Robson.

Indigo Prime -- I hope somebody is enjoying this because I ain't.  Dumping seven pages at us in one go with a "to be continued"?  The vitriolic cynic in me suggests that Mr W has grown tired of aping JSmith's "random word generator" style dialogue.

All-in-all, despite Slaine & IP, a great prog this week.

Prog / Prog 2047 - Shoots You, Sir!
« on: 02 September, 2017, 02:58:16 PM »
Hmmm ... a bit of a run-of-the-mill prog this week, IMHO.  But an average Galaxy's Greatest is still head-and-shoulders above some other publications.

Cover -- Unusual choice of cover.  Alex Ronald's talent seems like overkill on such a simple brief; I imagine he spent ages on the ripples & background detail to avoid feeling guilty when sending the invoice.  And, based this week's Greysuit episode, I'm left wondering if it's spoiled a possible opening twist for next week's finale.  (The Fast Show tagline pun, if I'm not mistaken, first appeared as a potential headline in the Daily Sport following Gianni Versache's murder.)

Nerve Centre -- Looking forward to Prog 2050.

Judge Dredd: War Buds (part three) -- Another enjoyable episode.  As someone else mentioned, it's amazing how John Wagner gets you to care about a bunch of characters you hardly know.

The Alienist -- Inhuman Natures :: Part 6 -- Not sure why this needs two colons.  Have Rennie & Beeby been reading too much John Smith?  Or maybe they've taken up C++?  Anyway, enjoying this run more than the last one.

Greysuit: Foul Play, part eight -- in contrast to current Dredd, I find myself having total disinterest in these one-dimensional characters.  And yet, somewhere in the concept of Greysuit, there's the potential for a powerful Edge of Darkness style political thriller, if only it had been handled with more subtlety and better pace & characterisation.  Pat Mills' mix of genius & codswallop can be so frustrating at times!

Tharg's 3hrillers present Mechastopheles (part three) -- don't have a clue what's going on in this and not sure I care.  The first two parts washed over me.

Hope ... for the Future (Part 10) -- just not my cup of tea.  I presume it just needs a solid read but, like Brink, it just rings my style-over-substance alarm bells.  Nice that Tharg allows a bit of experimentation, though.

Prog / Prog 2035 - War Games
« on: 10 June, 2017, 02:40:21 PM »
Blimey!  Bit of an action-fest this week.  Here's my personal ha'pennyworth:

Cover: -- Good to see Lobot getting his own cover.  Who'da thunk?

Lobot from Star Wars
The Traitor General

Nerve Centre -- When inner pages start with David Roach art and Apocalypse Now quotes, you know you're in a for wild ride.  No-one does heads tilted back like the Roachster!

Judge Dredd: The Fields (part one) -- Chris Weston, living god, wowing us with his usual top-notch artwork.  (Looks a tad different to usual; does he usually do his own colour?  At first glance I thought this was drawn by that excellent young upstart Mark Sexton.)  Rob Williams bats it out of the park with a cracking first episode.

Brink: Skeleton Life (part 13) -- things hot up, and it's solid plot this week.  However, I think I.N.J. Cublard's art style doesn't work so well for fast-paced action.

Defoe: Diehards (part ten) -- 6 pages of "some publisher screwed me over" from the Mills droid ... and yet it works far better than you'd expect, with great writing from Mills and interesting art from Colin MacNeil.  It infuriates me how Pat Mills thrashes back-and-forth between brilliant & awful.  Thankfully we're getting the former this week.

Grey Area: Back in Black (part one) -- a dense re-introduction, with Dark Harrison's art perfectly balancing the gritty universe our heroes inhabit.  Looking forward to seeing where this goes next.

Hunted: Furies (part two) -- when the lead character appears in only 3 panels, you know a tangled web is being weaven woved woven.  All the players are still being introduced, so nothing much to see here yet.  P.J. Holden seemingly channelling John McCrea on page 4.

So, in summary ... just when we thought things were slowing down a bit, Tharg pulls a sudden boost of acceleration on us.  Great stuff!

News / Battle of the Burger Barons
« on: 02 May, 2017, 11:40:22 PM »
OK so it's not quite the same as what happened in The Cursed Earth, but...

Horde of Ronald McDonalds invades KFC in fast food turf war

"A bizarre video has emerged of several Ronald McDonalds descending upon a KFC outlet and chanting abuse at the rival fast food chain.

"The be-wigged posse were filmed by customers in the KFC at Fleet Services on the M3. The gaggle of Ronalds was thought to be travelling to the Army v Navy football match in Twickenham on Saturday morning.  As the clowns enter the restaurant, they begin chanting, 'You're shit, and you know you are!' as bewildered onlookers watch the scene unfold."

Prog / Prog 2029 - Fear Me
« on: 29 April, 2017, 01:59:03 PM »
Another rock-solid prog this week!

Cover:  Wonderfully atmospheric work from Dave Kendall.  (I'm not sure it'd leap off a newsagent's shelf; however, I'm not sure how many casual readers Tooth gets nowadays.)

Nerve Centre:  Artwork-licking is certainly an understandable side-effect of reading the Galaxy's Greatest -- heck, we've all done it on occasions.  Also good to see Droid Life on form; it's been a little self-indulgent on recent appearances but this is a good 'un.

Dredd -- Harvey (part six):  Now that's how you conclude a story, allowing for future expansion.  As someone commented already, a lesser writer would have just stopped two episodes back, dangling a "to be continued".  I'm wasn't initially keen on John McCrea's linework style but it's really grown on me ... and his poses and action shots are astonishing.  (I often complain that Robin Smith's stuff looks gnawingly static -- by contrast, McCrea's art is full of great examples of how to imbue movement in an image.)

Defoe -- Diehards (part four):  I've never really warmed to Defoe but I'm finding this particular run very readable.  Mills & McNeil give a masterclass in how to do talking heads without getting boring -- US comics could really do with a lesson from these guys.

Brink -- Skeleton Life (part 7):  A very slow burner, this always teeters on the ... um, edge without quite getting boring.  Just plot emphasis this week, but it's executed highly effectively.

Scarlet Traces -- Cold Ward: Book 2 (part 7):  Aside from Dredd, this has become the highlight of the weekly prog for me.  Choc-full of lovely imagery.  I'm only getting the UFO/1999 references but I'm guessing some of the spaceships are paying homage too -- it'd be lovely to have a commentary on this side of things from D'Israeli.  Perhaps a nice idea for a Megazine article?  The images of civilian casualties are beautifully juxtaposed with dialogue.

Cursed -- The Fall of Deadworld (part VII):  I know this strip can be divisive, but I've loved the current run.  It seems to have finally found its feet (or decaying flesh).  The flashback depiction of the Deadworld judging system is great.

Another corker from the House of Tharg!

General / Pedants' corner a.k.a. "Get me Mek-Quake on speed-dial!"
« on: 30 December, 2016, 04:51:54 AM »
Was recently re-reading the Texas City Coup storyline (or whatever we're calling it this week) and came across this continuity stinker where Giant meets Joyce for the first time:

Shame on you, Michael Carroll and/or Colin MacNeil!

Prog / Prog 1928 - Adding local Colour
« on: 25 April, 2015, 02:59:01 PM »
Blimey!  Up to ol' bovine chops to start the thread again?  This must be my lucky fortnight.

Cover:  Mark Harrison channelling Jim Baikie!

Dredd:  Exposition a go-go.  All becoming clearer now.  Good stuff.  Although you'd think former judges would know better than to just line up in an easy-to-shoot group.

Bikelok:  Please make it stop!

Slaine: The Brutannia Chronicles, Book Two: Primordial (part Five):  Erm ... did anything actually happen this week?

Grey Area:  Entertaining.

Strontium Dog:  Woah, there!  Steamy Alpha action????  Where did that come from?

Inside back cover ad:  That's a nice figure.  Took me a while to work out that the mysterious hole-in-his-face is a cigar.  Liking the cloth.

Prog / Prog 1927 - A Town Called Malice!
« on: 18 April, 2015, 04:02:02 PM »
Erm .. usually someone's posted this week's prog by now.  So I guess it's up to me, then.

Cover:  Orange.*  And good.
* (See Pete Wells' excellent Covers Uncovered.)

Dredd:  Brown.  And Henry Flint must be getting sick-to-death of drawing nose-plumbing.

Orlok:  White.  And, um, ... is this supposed to be funny?

Slaine:  Blue.  And for a warrior king he doesn't half whine.

Grey Area:  Browny-turquoise.  And Wallallalalalaagggggkk.

Strontium Dog:  The full spectrum.  And electronux too.

Suggestions / Feature: The Production Process
« on: 26 April, 2014, 12:40:37 PM »
I'm a big fan of Steve Cook's blog (http://secret-oranges.blogspot.co.uk/) and especially enjoy his occasional posting of old 2000 AD production art masters.

For people like me who have never worked in the print industry, it's fascinating seeing the processes that went into producing the Galaxy's Greatest of our youth.

This got me thinking: would it be possible to do a feature in the Megazine detailing the "old school" methods?  Stuff like how they applied the half-tone bits; how covers were marked-up for colour separations; what rules artists had to follow; maybe anecdotes about censorship?

It could also give credit to the unsung editorial heroes -- for example, I never realised how much cover colouring was done by lettering legend Tom Frame.

Maybe even a companion article comparing with how it all works today?

Anyway, thought I'd throw that out there to see if anyone else thinks it's a cool idea.

General / Dan Dare art conundrum
« on: 26 April, 2014, 11:18:33 AM »
Out of idle curiosity, I was scanning through various sites which had original Massimo Belardinelli art for sale.  Not that I can afford it, but it sure is purdy to look at.

I came across this on Art Droids:

I was comparing it to the original prog and realised it's an amalgum of two different pages.

Now I know lots of stuff was re-formatted for the US Quality reprints, but I though that the early Belardinelli stories had never been reprinted?

Can someone explain this to my tiny brain?  It hurts.

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