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Author Topic: Case Files 20  (Read 6830 times)

credo

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Case Files 20
« on: 03 October, 2013, 10:34:25 AM »
Just started wading through Case Files 20, and I have to say that the Morrison/Millar era is so, so much worse than I had remembered. Everything about the character is wrong, the dialogue is truly awful, the plots are pathetic and the concepts are idiotic at best, and downright offensive at worst.

Perhaps the most glaring example is Book of the Dead. I remember really liking this as a kid. I was always a sucker for international judge uniforms and was struck by Dermot Power's designs. Now, especially given our cultural awareness of arab/islamophobia, the story just comes across as utterly racist, not to mention poorly conceived and paper thin. Why would a future Egypt hark back to a long dead culture (and not have any hint of its more recent islamic past)? Why would all Egyptian names suddenly be related to ancient Egypt? Even if we judge it by the standards of Our Man in Hondo (the typical bar for is-it-racist Dredd questioning), it fails miserably.

Let's not get on to the crap toilet gag, inexplicable mummy from nowhere and usual Millar "Dredd as one-note grump who hits things" trope. Perhaps the worst thing, however, is that this is, at best a 2-part filler Dredd that is somehow stretched over eight progs. Eight! Dredd arrives in Luxor, has a quick look around. A mummy kills the chief judge and Dredd fights it in a pyramid/body processing plant. Judge Death Lives was only 5 episodes! The Graveyard Shift was 7! Midnight Surfer was 6! How can fight with a mummy justify 8 episodes!

The sooner we're out of these dark days in the Case Files, the better.

radiator

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Re:
« Reply #1 on: 03 October, 2013, 10:55:39 AM »
I thinks its a little harsh to throw around words like 'racist'. Perhaps the racial/cultural stereotypes in Dredd can be crude, occasionally a little ignorant/naive and non-PC, but Dredd is like The Simpsons - no one is spared the satire or send-up, and they aren't singling out any group in particular, except maybe Americans.

Having said that, The Sugar Beat, which is in CF20 too, did make me cringe, quite a lot.

IndigoPrime

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Re: Case Files 20
« Reply #2 on: 03 October, 2013, 12:08:26 PM »
I think it depends on direction and intent. A lot of Our Man in Hondo had racist overtones, but that was from the 'gaze' of the American judges (although some of the captions were a bit suspect); it worked quite nicely as an extremist satire, in the same way MC-1 was at the time extremist satire on the West. The Millar era misunderstood the subtleties of such things—perhaps he was just too young. Still, there's no excuse for The Sugar Beat, which was not only horrible in terms of its stereotypes, but also half-arsed when it came to basic Dredd continuity (such as the state of the oceans).

TordelBack

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Re: Case Files 20
« Reply #3 on: 03 October, 2013, 12:11:04 PM »
Said it many times before, will no doubt say it again:  episode 2 of Book of the Dead is the actual moment I gave up on 2000AD after more than a decade of weekly devotion. 

How anything with such magnificent art could be so completely devoid of worth I didn't and don't understand.  I don't really have a problem with the basic of idea of 'harking back to ancient Egypt' aspect, it's in keeping with the pseudo-historical regalia of the entire Judge system (and that itself isn't a million miles away from the homage to ancient Rome that is the federal mile of Washington DC) and the odd quirks of the Mega-Cities in general (half a city named after British TV supporting actors and light entertainment perennials of the 70s and 80s?), and as the whole of Dredd is pretty much a right-on satire of centralised power and contemporary culture I've given up flagellating myself over the racial dodginess of its odder expressions. 

No, my essential criticism with regard to Book of the Dead, after more than two decades of reflection and considered analysis, is that it's utterly crap.

Just close your eyes, it'll be over soon.

credo

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Re: Case Files 20
« Reply #4 on: 03 October, 2013, 12:19:43 PM »
It's not the stereotypes (Wagner may be tonally off with race at times, but, for example, the Mex-Cit burglars in "In The Bath" work wonderfully), it's the conflation of peoples and cultures without any indication that Millar is even aware that he's doing so. I'm certainly not saying "Mark Millar is a racist", but I am saying that the clunkiness of his racial stereotypes are laid pretty bare reading this 20 years later in a way that, say, doesn't hold for Banana City's corrupt judicial system.

I think it's the difference between ignorant/naive racial stereotypes and nonsensical, crass or dumb stereotypes. Further case in point - the Frankenstein Division super-judge (urgh) calling MC-1 judges 'comrade' (without a hint of irony) as he murders them. That's just a dumb indication that Millar thought "I'll have him say comrade lots because that's what communists do", without realising that it was utterly nonsensical. A second of extra thought would have given him an equally naive bit of stereotyping that at least made some kind of sense (have super-judge use "capitalist pig" all the time).

Recrewt

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Re: Case Files 20
« Reply #5 on: 03 October, 2013, 12:33:22 PM »
No, my essential criticism with regard to Book of the Dead, after more than two decades of reflection and considered analysis, is that it's utterly crap.

After reading the initial post ^this is exactly what I thought.  You don't have to dissect it to work out what's wrong, it's just bad. 

I, Cosh

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Re: Case Files 20
« Reply #6 on: 03 October, 2013, 12:49:47 PM »
Said it many times before, will no doubt say it again:  episode 2 of Book of the Dead is the actual moment I gave up on 2000AD after more than a decade of weekly devotion. 
And just to add my voice to the chorus of repetition: just to add my voice to the chorus of repetition: Book of the Dead is the worst Dredd story ever published.
We never really die.

credo

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Re: Case Files 20
« Reply #7 on: 03 October, 2013, 01:45:48 PM »
I've given up flagellating myself over the racial dodginess of its odder expressions. 

No, my essential criticism with regard to Book of the Dead, after more than two decades of reflection and considered analysis, is that it's utterly crap.

Totally agree. Wasn't really aiming for subtle racial critique, more considering how the crapiness of the racial stereotyping compounds an already bad story and turns it into something truly, truly dreadful. Dredd fighting a mummy over 8 episodes (written by Millar) is bad enough, but Dredd fighting a mummy over 8 episodes in a barely considered depiction of future Egypt that seems to have been thought about for all of 10 seconds is just taking the piss.

Hawkmumbler

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Re: Case Files 20
« Reply #8 on: 03 October, 2013, 03:06:16 PM »
If were going to criticise writers for stereotyping we cant completely forgive Wagner. Anyone remember Judge Fernandez?

Frank

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Re: Case Files 20
« Reply #9 on: 03 October, 2013, 05:53:19 PM »
Wasn't really aiming for subtle racial critique, more considering how the crapiness of the racial stereotyping compounds an already bad story and turns it into something truly, truly dreadful. Dredd fighting a mummy over 8 episodes (written by Millar) is bad enough, but Dredd fighting a mummy over 8 episodes in a barely considered depiction of future Egypt that seems to have been thought about for all of 10 seconds is just taking the piss.

He was ripping the pish. You know those Viz stories where they would parody outdated action/adventure stories from comics past - pointing out the clichéd and prejudiced characters and laughing at the poorly written and anachronistic nature of the material? That's how Morrison and Millar thought of 2000ad and the work of Wagner, Grant and Mills.

Their interviews from around that time saw them mercilessly ripping into that previous generation of writers' collaborations with Bisley - "all that heavy metal imagery - it's like something your Dad would come up with to impress your mates" - and they insisted the only British comic that was any good and relevant to the public or mainstream culture anymore was Viz. They were probably right on both scores.


The Prodigal

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Re: Case Files 20
« Reply #10 on: 03 October, 2013, 05:59:56 PM »
Guys as ever I am dependent on your good guidance in these things.

At what point in your collective opinions should the case files be worth picking up for the fella who started at Prog 2012? 21?

Ta mucho.

Greg M.

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Re: Case Files 20
« Reply #11 on: 03 October, 2013, 06:05:17 PM »
The thing is, Case Files 20 is worth picking up, because the Megazine section contains some absolutely brilliant Wagner Dredds - Bury My Knee..., Giant and Howler all being uniformly superb.

TordelBack

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Re: Case Files 20
« Reply #12 on: 03 October, 2013, 06:41:14 PM »
The thing is, Case Files 20 is worth picking up, because the Megazine section contains some absolutely brilliant Wagner Dredds - Bury My Knee..., Giant and Howler all being uniformly superb.

Yes indeed.  As always I enjoy giving out about any old thing, but I fully intend to get CF20 when I get caught up to that point.  There was some amazing stuff going on in the Meg at roughly the same time as Prog Dredd was plunging into a lava pit.

The Prodigal

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Re: Case Files 20
« Reply #13 on: 03 October, 2013, 08:33:02 PM »
Right. I may well bite then.

Thanks chaps.

The Prodigal

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Re: Case Files 20
« Reply #14 on: 03 October, 2013, 09:05:23 PM »
I just noticed that 21 is in line for imminent release. Does Dredd start to move into more promising territory at this point in the case files?

Apologies if I have asked this before.