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Topics - Tjm86

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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?   :(

Other Reviews / Stringbags by Ennis and Holden
« on: 09 June, 2020, 01:16:26 PM »
Well, I did say that I was taking a punt on this based on the DownTheTubes article.  It came.  I read it.  Wow.

To the writing, it is pretty typical Ennis fare.  The influence of Battle is evident in the misbegotten bunch of misfits that comprise the core characters.  Their mishaps and pratfalls through a series of key engagements that seem to have slipped by the American History of World War 2 are, as he himself notes in the postscript, fictional agglomerations of historical events.

The cast of supporting characters is fairly typical of such tales.  We have the usual assortment of contemptuous CO's, glory boys and civvies.  Historical figures are rendered from a distance.  As always Ennis tries to reserve judgment on the actions of real figures.

I have to be honest, and a little apologetic, but Holden's artwork is something of a surprise for me.  As I've mentioned elsewhere, I didn't think he was a good fit for the Traitor General strip whereas on Dredd he tends to work reasonably well and strips that have a more comedic bent to them tend to show his strengths.

On this though his art works incredibly well.  Whereas some artists struggle to render military hardware accurately, this is not an issue here.  From ships to aircraft there is a high level of accuracy.  The same is true of character dress, from military through to civilian.

The muddy, dull colour palate suits the story exceptional well too.  There is a stark, grim feel to the tale that flows from the script, through to the artwork in all aspects.

Overall then it is an impressive piece of quasi-historical fiction.  The mix of fact and fiction works well.  The visual rendering complements the story.  The binding is completely justified.

Possibly the only flaw in the work is Ennis' fairly typical fate for his characters.  Granted it is in keeping with the tenor of the piece but there is a degree of predictability here.  Anyone familiar with Ennis' war stories will be hardly surprised here.  Ultimately though it is only a minor quibble and verging on the pedantic.

If you have not yet done so, I would heartily recommend seeking out a copy.  It's well worth it.  And if Mr Holden does happen past, my thanks and apologies.  This piece has forced a radical reappraisal of your work sir, I would love to see more in this vein.

Books & Comics / The Stringbags
« on: 05 June, 2020, 07:42:00 PM »
I know quite a few folk around these parts frequent DownTheTubes as well but I wonder if this has caught anyone else's attention:

The StringBags by Garth Ennis and P J Holden.

Personally I've not always been a massive fan of Holden for military stories.  I didn't feel he was the best fit for the Traitor General story for instance.  What I can see here though is definitely inclining me towards seeking this out and having a look, going a long way towards reappraising my view of this.

Should've read the review a bit more closely.  Didn't realise it was a hardback GN.  Happy days.  Ordered.  Be interesting to see what the full book looks like.

Off Topic / Rocket up ....
« on: 27 May, 2020, 07:27:28 PM »
Wow, talk about something slipping by.   :o

First manned Space Launch from NASA in years tonight.

Streamed live.


Books & Comics / Favourite Asterix Book
« on: 25 April, 2020, 08:19:52 AM »
With the recent, lamentable, passing of the other original creator and having a fair bit of time on my hands, I've been slowly rebuilding my collection and re-reading the series in order.  I have to say how incredibly well they have stood the test of time.  The artwork remains fresh and vibrant, the layouts a masterclass in visual narrative and the stories themselves have so much going for them.

I think to get into a debate over the 'best' Asterix book would not only be utterly futile but also do many of them a disservice.  There is so much to offer in each and every one of them, even the earlier ones as the creators find their feet.

'Favourite' though?  That is just as challenging but being completely subjective seems a much fairer way of thinking.  Is it the ludicrous rugby match of Asterix in Britain?  What about Cleopatra (she does have a lovely nose ...) or even Getafix's potion games whilst recovering from amnesia in the Big Fight?

I've only re-read the first 8 books so far and already I'm struggling to answer this question although Asterix in Britain is a strong contender for the Roman / British fight scenes in the fog ...  Would folks care to share theirs?

Other Reviews / War Picture Library: Battle of Britain Ian Kennedy
« on: 16 April, 2020, 09:21:41 AM »
So the latest volume of this collection appeared early this morning.  I have to be honest, anything with Ian Kennedy's artwork is a no-brainer but his war stuff is doubly so.  The web-shop exclusive hardback edition is not only justified but arguably the only respectable option.  Choosing matte rather than glossy paper brings out the best in Kennedy's work.  All round then as a quality book it ticks all the boxes.

The repro quality does it justice as well, considering the age of the material and the fact that it has been enlarged from its original size IIRC. The old Air Ace Picture Library books were the same size as the estimable Commando books.  The detail is pretty clearly retained and it requires careful attention to notice the ever-so-slight blurring effect of the enlargement.  Lines just feel a little thicker at times and not quite as crisp as we've become used to from Kennedy in more recent years. 

Considering that sizeable portions of the tales involve night action there are very few places where detail is lost to blacking.  Mind you that might be more down to the original material than the repro.  I suspect that silhouetting in quite a few of the dusk scenes is actually intentional on Kennedy's part.  It would be interesting to track down a copy of the original publications and do a side-by-side comparison.  I suspect that in truth this edition is likely to come out quite favourably though.

The writing is very much of its age (sixties) with two tales of personal rivalry, incompetence and redemption.  The key characters are ostensibly all officer types, one of Pat Mills' key gripes of the core features of much of the era's writing.  I say 'ostensibly' though because as this is a couple of Kennedy books the real characters are the aircraft.  Spits, Hurris, Beaufighters, Defiant's, a Wellington and a Wapiti are the heroes of the pieces.  The Heinkels and Messerschmidts are the villains although the Man from Whitehall and assorted senior orifices do feature to a lesser extent.

Realistically speaking the hyperbole of the blurb is actually quite accurate: "this is an enthralling collection of dogfights and heroism featuring daredevil pilots and the lengths they go to sort the German Luftwaffe attacking Britain."  The two tales, "Steel Bats" and "Never Say Die" rattle along at a breathtaking speed, so much so that many of the flaws in the tales are lost in the 'fog of battle' so to speak.

All round then as an example of the potential of the archive that Rebellion has amassed to restore past material to its former glory this is a sterling effort.  For those of us more familiar with Commando than Battle Picture Library it opens up the possibility of a rich seam to be mined so to speak.  Certainly I'm now very tempted to look more closely at some of the other volumes.

Books & Comics / Comics after the Pandemic
« on: 05 April, 2020, 07:53:13 AM »
Considering that the state of the industry was 'fragile' to say the least even before the current pandemic, I do wonder about what will emerge at the end.  The slow and steady rise of American imports has been brought home far more starkly over the last couple of years here in the UK as exchange rates have become less favourable as a result of political decisions.

This does not seem to be helped by some of the publishing decisions we've seen recently.  One of my 'guilty pleasures' , for example, has been the X-men.  Admittedly in the last few years this has been more of a labour of love and fervent hope that they might find their footing once more.  House of X / Dawn of X seemed to offer prospects although in many places there were worrying signs.  There were interesting prospects in the line-up of titles but it was a bit of mixed bag.  What has balked though is the publishing schedule on some of them.

Quite a number of the titles seem to have had a fortnightly schedule.  So a Darwinian process definitely applied especially considering the higher costs.  Here though the dangers of a critical evaluation become far more apparent.   If I'm trying to work out whether it is worth keeping spending money then it raises the whole question of whether it is worth keeping on with any of the titles.

That was before all of this kicked off and put a real pause on availability.  What is the publishing hiatus going to do?  Several months without could well be enough to bring years of reading to an end.  Now that might not be much of an issue to Marvel but it will be to my supplier.  That's another customer gone at a time when attracting new ones is already an issue.  How widespread is this likely to be?

It's ironic that cinema has popularised many of these characters and brought them into far wider consciousness than ever before.  That has pretty consistently failed to translate into greater readership.  I just wonder though if one of the casualties of Covid-19 may well be the comics industry here in the UK.  Or am I just being unduly pessimistic?

Classifieds / Unashamed Ebay Pimping - the Next Generation
« on: 15 March, 2020, 06:05:50 PM »
Having outlined some of the challenges that it would appear I will be facing in the next few months, I am taking pre-emptive action to try and weather any potential storm.  That being the case then, I'm starting with a selection of Tooth related items including signed editions, FCBD progs (signed and unsigned), Nemesis reprints and a complete set of Star Lord.



Thank you for your support, I will wear it always!

Off Topic / Day of Chaos Film Club
« on: 12 March, 2020, 06:37:06 PM »
Well, since we do seem to have front row seats for the Apocalypse, it seems prudent to reflect on options for a entertainment during self isolation.  Thinking about the most appropriately linked films to include:

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.
Andromeda Strain (original, not the remake).
I Am Legend
The Last Man on Earth
The Omega Man
12 Monkeys
World War Z
28 Days Later
The Stand
Masque of the Red Death


Prog / Prog 2170 - Regened (2020)
« on: 23 February, 2020, 09:39:20 AM »
Well it's not completely uncommon for a day to go by before the weekly review thread is started but it is rare.  Not going to read owt into that mind.  Surely just a coincidence that it coincides with the first (!) of this year's Regened progs.

Cover - courtesy of Mark sexton.  Simple yet effective.  Old School logo once again.

Dredd - artwork works well on a fairly serviceable one off.  Isolated cadets face off against an inter dimensional threat to save MC1.

Bek and Kawl mc 2 - Sorry, Finder & Keeper.  Okay, that is a little unfair but the parallels are a little too obvious.  Moore, Reppion and Tinto serve up a supernatural tale.  Works okay but nowt spectacular.

Future Shocks - Living Your Best Life. Karma, reincarnation and a spoilt little scrote.  Stock and Horsman show how the format works in a reasonable little tale.

The Gronks - The Trouble With Gronkses.  Personally it felt like Baillie and Davis gave the best of the prog.  Artwork works well and there's a nice little nod to some early Stront strips.  It also served up the only LOL moment of the prog which will no doubt go over pretty much the entire intended audience's head.  The Elderses of Dobbyn. 

Rogue Trooper - Scott and Roche's take is another that works reasonably well.  Linking back to Milli-Com memories with a couple of nice little artistic homage's to Kennedy's work.

Sorry if this seems a little underwhelming.  TBH the first reading did not inspire but taking the time and trouble to dig out the positives does give a better feel.  To me though this is the real problem, it is very rare that such effort is needed to appreciate the prog.  A little unfair perhaps and it would be interesting to hear the take from someone that it was intended for (as opposed to us old fogey's who were that age when we started!)

Suggestions / T Shirt Wishlist
« on: 22 February, 2020, 06:19:47 PM »
Working through 2004 in my current prog slog and enjoying sinister Dexter's earlier adventures.  A line from the end of prog 1385's episode strikes me as the perfect slogan if someone ever decides to do a Sin / Dex t-shirt:  "Making the world an a**hole-free place, nine millimetres at a time ...

Use the asterisks and I'd but it in a heartbeat (sorry, kids ....)

My other dream Tooth shirt (sad, I know ... ) would be the old McMahon ABC Warriors "Spread the Word".

Website and Forum / Shiny New Website?
« on: 02 December, 2019, 01:27:18 PM »
Landing on the home page today was a pleasant surprise.  Kudos to whoever is responsible.  It looks good.  Certainly a nice bit of promotion for the prog and everything associated with it.

Then we come to the forum ....

A little bit like that embarrassing estate on the edge of a gentrified part of town.  Unchanged for years and looking a little worse for wear but still well-frequented.

Classifieds / Shameless Ebay Pimpage
« on: 01 December, 2019, 06:29:56 PM »
Okay, so the majority of the stuff I've listed is unlikely to be much of interest to folks in these parts but for anyone who wants the original Dark Horse Scarlet Traces trilogy in hardback, its up here.

For fellow boarders naturally I would be more than happy to make alternative arrangements to keep any cash out of the clutches of ebay ...

PM if interested.

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