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Topics - Grant Goggans

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Off Topic / The Wombles in Breakfast on Pluto
« on: 12 November, 2017, 03:33:04 AM »
Help me, Hive Mind, Google is useless.

In the 2005 film Breakfast on Pluto, which is set in the mid-seventies, a character played by Cillian Murphy gets a job working at a Wombles-themed fun park.  Was this actually a real place in London?  Stranger things did happen in that decade - there was an HR Pufnstuf-themed fun park in Atlanta in 1976 - but I'd like to confirm that it was a real attraction and not just made up for the movie.

Prog / Prog 2054 - Me & My Shadow
« on: 21 October, 2017, 02:19:25 AM »
It wasn't just me, was it?

All of you other old and creaky readers, when you read this, you were five pages into part five of Indigo Prime and you were drawing connections in your mind to the very, very violent climax of Killing Time, right?  You were back in your mind's eye to someplace around prog 744.  You were twenty-five years or so younger, weren't you?  Time turned back.  I was working at a call center in Athens GA, where I wish I was still. (In Athens, not the call center.)  Then I turned the page.  Remember how violent that was?  Remember how you didn't believe this was happening to the heroes of the story?  Remember how you turned the page?  The other pages?

My.  I haven't enjoyed six pages of any comic that much in a very, very long time.

McMahon back on Dredd, too!  Happy times.

Film & TV / Hive mind help! Legal tender and an old episode of Minder
« on: 02 March, 2017, 04:20:20 PM »
Help me, Hive Mind, your currency has confounded me.

I picked up the complete box set of Minder for a ridiculously low price a couple of months ago and finally sat down to start watching them.  I've read about it for years, but never seen it. I loved the first episode - Arthur Daley is a brilliant character! - but the second, shown in 1979, baffled me.

Here's the situation: A fellow fresh out of a four-year prison sentence needs some minding and decoy assistance so he can retrieve a buried £50,000 without old goons finding him.  The character, Stubbs, gets the box in the end, and, with four other characters in the room, distributes the money.  Terry and Arthur get a couple of hundred for their trouble, and then go out for a drink.

Terry guilts Arthur into buying the drinks, and Arthur tries to pay with some of the recovered notes.  But the barman won't take them.  The notes are £1 Series C notes, as seen on page 19 of this helpful Bank of England PDF ( http://www.bankofengland.co.uk/banknotes/Documents/withdrawnrefguide.pdf ) and are no longer legal tender.  They were withdrawn over the summer.  They'll have to go to the "Bank of England," fill out forms, and trade them in.  Arthur just dumps about £200 in the charity jar.

Okay, so the ex-con might not have heard about the change in notes while he was in prison, but how did this totally escape the other four people in the room?  Not one of them says "Oh, wait, those are old notes."  Terry and Arthur seem to have never heard of this problem at all; the barman explains it to them.  This can't have been some sneaky thing the government pulled.  Surely this was on the news and every bank had signs up for weeks... so surely the audience watching at home in November 1979 would have instantly seen the problem when the cash was revealed, right?

Which leads to the next question.  Arthur and Terry still have about £200 and they just dump it.  Why not... take it to a bank to trade it in?  I got from the conversation that it has to be a (or the?) Bank of England, and not a Lloyds branch, but... they're in London, not some remote island.  This would just take a couple of hours.  Even if somebody demanded "Why didn't you turn this money in before now?", that would easily be answered by "Had it saved in a trunk in the shed, and forgot about it."

So what should have been a twist ending didn't make much sense.  Since American currency almost never gets retired - "wheat pennies" from the 1930s routinely show up as change - I've never experienced this but I can't fathom why the characters were surprised.

Film & TV / Hive mind: The ITC action shows of the 60s & 70s...
« on: 21 April, 2016, 04:00:37 AM »
This is an odd question, and there may be individual reasons for each series, but my wife and I have been watching The Saint (got the entire series, 35 DVDs, in one lovely R1 set), as well as Jason King, which I'd heard about for years and had no idea was so incredibly entertaining.  ITC made so many of these shows, but I wondered why, other than The Saint and Danger Man, none of them was ever renewed for a second season.

Sure, there are some that time has forgotten, like The Strange Report, but so many of these old shows were - I thought - really successful at the time in the UK and are very fondly remembered by old fogeys like me.  Jason King is a sequel series to Department S, neither was renewed.  Randall & Hopkirk, The Champions, Man in a Suitcase, The Baron, etc.  Why are there only 26 episodes of each of these shows, and not hundreds?  Were they all actually flops with a really active fan base? 

Totally enjoying the latest Sin Dex story and sharing the love:


Film & TV / Fire-Breathing Dimetrodon Time
« on: 16 June, 2015, 06:30:12 PM »
No, that's not the name of a TV show.  Yet.  I wish.

For the last four weeks, I've been watching some classic 1960s kid-friendly shows with my four year-old, starting with Batman, HR Pufnstuf, and Thunderbirds, and I'm blogging about our experience, his thoughts, oddball production trivia, and so forth.  We are having a blast and you should read it.


Later this year, after we finish up the initial shows, we'll be adding other fun things like Captain Scarlet, The Ghost Busters, and, of course, Land of the Lost.  Doctor Who will start taking up most of the blog content in 2016.  So give it a read, wouldya?

Other Reviews / Brass Sun: The Wheel of Worlds hardcover
« on: 17 December, 2014, 10:50:45 AM »
At my Bookshelf blog, it's the new collection of Brass Sun, which reads a whole lot better in one sitting than in the progs.  I loved this!


Off Topic / Hive mind: Help me understand... the aristocracy!
« on: 01 December, 2014, 02:06:41 PM »
I hope this isn't too loaded a topic for discussion, but I was wondering something...

I'm almost finished with another of my rereads of Dorothy L. Sayers, which I do every few years, and was thinking about how people in her books relate to and communicate with Lord Peter Wimsey.  Everybody that he meets, in every walk of life, speaks to him with a courtesy and a formality, with "my lord," and "your lordship" rather than "you" when addressing him directly.  That's not to say that everybody is deferential and bends over for him, but it suggests to me that people in the 1930s, everywhere from London to rural Scotland, or East Anglia, or seaside "watering hole" towns, were accustomed to occasionally meeting peers in pubs or in church, and immediately used this more formal language when speaking with them, otherwise the books would have felt wrong to readers in the 1930s.

I'm curious, is this still the case?  Are you taught (for lack of better terms) "informal" and "formal" address in school?  Do you occasionally bump into peers in village pubs and use it?  Are any lords and dukes out there getting their thrillpower fix to chime in, or are they all collecting inferior American comics?

Other Reviews / The new Ro-Busters edition over at my Bookshelf
« on: 03 June, 2014, 08:14:52 AM »
At my Bookshelf blog, I've got a look at the new American edition of Ro-Busters, which turns out to be a neat, expanded version of the original 1980s Titan collection:



Other Reviews / New Indigo Prime over at my Bookshelf
« on: 21 May, 2014, 09:07:56 AM »
Hi, everybody!  Help me out and spread the word that I'm spreading the word about the new Indigo Prime story.  Because it's very good and everybody needs to know about it.


General / Trainspotter Special: Defoe enters the top 40
« on: 11 September, 2013, 11:00:19 AM »
Some of you may recall that I keep a list of most prolific thrills, by number of episodes.  With the conclusion of the latest story, Defoe has entered 2000 AD's top 40, displacing the Michael Fleisher iteration of Harlem Heroes.

Note that only the numbered series in bold count.  The others are included just to put things in a sort of perspective.

1.    Judge Dredd                         2363
Strontium Dog universe                 588
Mills universe: Invasion! thru Deadlock      543 (does not include D 1990)
2.    Tharg's Future Shocks                      436
3.   Strontium Dog                         434

Rogue Trooper 1 + 2 + Tor Cyan              418
Rogue Trooper series one + series two           401
Millsrobots: Nem / ABC W / RoB / Deadlock   401
Sinister Dexter + Downlode Tales + Malone   393

4.   Sinister Dexter                         360
5.   Slaine                                    313
6.   Nikolai Dante                         302
7.   Rogue Trooper (Finley-Day version)              273
8.   Anderson: Psi Division                      258

The ABC Warriors + Ro-Busters              232
9.   Robo-Hunter (all episodes)              215
Edgeverse: Red Seas + Ampney + Stickleback   212
10.   The ABC Warriors                          176
Bill: Invasion! + Disaster 1990 + Savage       163
11.   Nemesis the Warlock                      158
Robo-Hunter (Wagner/Grant/Gibson canon)   148
12.   Ace Trucking Company      136
13.   Rogue Trooper (Friday)      128
14.   The Red Seas         121

Harlem Heroes series one + two + Inferno   119
15.    Dan Dare            116
Charley's War (reprint from Battle)      109
Indigo Prime + Tyranny Rex + Dead Eyes   87

16.    Savage            87
Mean Arena series one + series two      84
17.    Flesh            83
Devlin Waugh + Pussyfoot 5 + Strange   82
18.   Zenith            81
18.   Durham Red         81

MACH One + MACH Zero         80
The Harlem Heroes series one + series two   79

20.   The V.C.s         79
21.   Missionary Man         74

Caballistics Inc + Absalom         73
22.   Mean Arena (series one)      72
23.   Low Life            71

Harlem Heroes + Inferno         70
24.   Vector 13            67
25.   Devlin Waugh         66

Robo-Hunter (Millar / Hogan / Hughes)   66
26.   MACH One         64
27.   Tharg the Mighty         63
28.   Button Man         60
29.   Bad Company         59
29.   Strontium Dogs         59
31.   The Mind of Wolfie Smith      58
32.   Caballistics Inc.         57
33.   Ro-Busters         56
34.   Invasion!            55
34.   Blackhawk         55
36.   Armitage            54
37.   Finn            53
38.   Defoe            52
39.   Shakara            51
40.   Meltdown Man         50

Other Reviews / Sinister Dexter: Witless Protection at my Bookshelf blog
« on: 15 August, 2013, 10:34:38 AM »
How 2000 AD's Sinister Dexter got turned around from a turgid bore of a comic to one of this year's essential reads:  Click to read!

I really enjoyed writing this, and man alive, did I ever enjoy episode five of "In Plain Shite."  I cut it from the review for length and coherence, but the climax reminded me of Donald Westlake / Richard Stark spending six pages of story describing a single minute in which Parker beat the absolute hell out of eight people in a room.  Magic.

This is the first time in a really long time that I can't wait for more Sin Dex.  Wow.

Books & Comics / Doctor Who: The Crimson Hand over at my Bookshelf
« on: 30 June, 2013, 12:54:24 PM »
I think that some of you may enjoy reading about The Crimson Hand, the third and final book collecting Panini's Tenth Doctor comics, with art by Mike Collins, Paul Grist, and Martin Geraghty.  It's good!

Other Reviews / Dandridge over at my Bookshelf blog
« on: 03 June, 2013, 10:22:41 AM »
Dandridge: The Copper Conspiracy gets a few short paragraphs over at my blog this morning.  Nothing too detailed, but I enjoyed this a lot and wanted to share.

Books & Comics / Wagner & Kenny Who?'s Boba Fett stories
« on: 29 May, 2013, 01:50:08 PM »
Several months ago, I picked up Dark Horse's Boba Fett Omnibus.  I'd heard that some of our favorite droids had contributed to these comics, and a quick page-through showed Ian Gibson and Carlos Ezquerra, along with some... lesser models.  There's about 110 pages of a story called The Yavin Vassilika.  Good story by Mike Kennedy, but the art, by Carlos Meglia... I did not think that my eyes would ever recover.

But then there is "Death, Lies & Treachery."  It's 140 pages of absolutely prime Wagner and Cam Kennedy.  I'm about halfway through the story now and I have been laughing my head off.  This is completely terrific, over-the-top, Robo-Hunter-level situations spiraling out of control, space pirates getting eaten, crazy super-technology, brilliant character designs, just A+ work across the board.  This is a MUST for anybody who loves 2000 AD... the other Wagner/Gibson/Ezquerra stories are also really good, and, Meglia's artwork aside, I've enjoyed everything else in the book, but damned if "Death, Lies & Treachery" isn't one of Wagner's very best stories ever.  I had to pause reading it just to share with you guys.

Since Dark Horse lost the Star Wars license, there may not be many reprints coming, or copies floating around, so go track this book down NOW while you still can!

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