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Topics - TordelBack

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Help! / Tablets for drawing
« on: 05 November, 2020, 01:01:11 PM »
Yes,  it's that time of year again, where an increasingly decrepit and out-of-touch Tordelback asks the hivemind for advice on whatever geegaws his feckless spawn want from Santa this time.

This time, it's drawing-related, so I'm expecting great things. 

My youngest (11 going on 33) has turned into a bit of an artist (take that, Lamarck), with a nice line in kawaii designs and even a quite decent Among Us comic strip. Naturally she wants to take this digital, because bloody kids.

My first instinct was a low-end A5 Bamboo or Wacom, because that's all I know from my own work. Problem is, she only has access to a shared and now-aged laptop, which I wasn't planning on replacing any time soon, and as I look at specs for drawing software I don't see that working.

So my mind turns to tablets, since she doesn't have one of those and could probably use one anyway. Portability also a plus there.

Can anyone chart me a course here?  Should I be thinking of (a). upgrading the PC situation and adding a cheap old-style drawing tablet;  (b). a regular Android/iOS tablet with a stylus;  (c) some unholy amalgam of the two.

Also, tips on cheap tween-friendly apps and/or software welcome.

Budget is very limited, for pangolin-related reasons, but we persist.

General / The Niemand Tapes
« on: 14 October, 2020, 06:05:36 PM »
Ken speaks!  A vocal unmasking of El Misterio on the Thrillcast.

Whither our theories now?  Suspicious 'technical difficulties' keep the conspiracy alive.

Good interview, interesting man (for a biochipped stooge).

General / Unravelling History: a guide to The Order
« on: 02 August, 2020, 01:22:35 PM »
Quote from: - Benjamin Franklin, 1794
“Realms! Worlds without end, separated not by space, but by vibration ... History has unravelled, time taken the wrong path...”

This thread aims to serve as a personal guide to Kek-W & John Burns' sprawling century-spanning multi-generation inter-dimensional opera The Order.

With Land of the Free we're on Series 5 of The Order, the first run going all the way back to 2015 (Prog 1912), running alongside Dark Justice, Orlok and Ulysses Sweet. Yes, that long ago. So a respectable-by-today's-standards pace of over a dozen episodes a year, and a lot has happened in those 400-odd pages.  After a highpoint in Series 3 Wyrm War, momentum seemed to flag a wee bit in the rather transitional Series 4 Brave New World, but the current run is just fantastic with Burns doing his best work since Nikolai Dante, even if it does ask for a level of inter-series recall that our ageing thrill-worn brains may not always be up to.

I'll try to summarise the current setup in this post, for now ignoring the bits that aren't centre-stage at the moment, and then later I'll cover the current characters and their motivations and relationships, and then maybe even a chronological breakdown of the overall story so far.

At the start of Land of the Free, there are four main factions in play:

Faction no. 1 is the titular Order of Ouroboros, a cross-time organisation dedicated to preserving the structure of history. Led since 1210 AD by the now-600-year-old Anna Kohl, the Order was apparently founded in a far future of conflict ('the Black Epoch') and propagated back through time with the help of a series of technological 'seeds' and genetic 'seedlines' which create exceptional long-lived individuals, and an artificial intelligence generally known as Ritterstahl, housed in various retro-robot and biological forms.

One iteration of the Ritterstahl A.I. is Anna's great love, but was lost and presumed destroyed in another dimension in 1641: Anna is still searching for him 150 years later, despite there being at least 3 other incarnations currently on the go. Initially the Order's task consisted of opposing...

Faction no. 2, the Wyrms, an extra-dimensional collective lifeform with multiple configurations based around groups of wormlike creatures at different scales, which can function like sub-elements of an organic computer capable of learning and mimicking other lifeforms. In impersonating humans, some wyrms have discovered the joys of individuality and other people-virtues. Luckily this was before Twitter, so they turned out okay.

Wyrms cross over into 'our' reality at certain points when the dimensions are in harmony. Initially these crossover locii were known to the Order and could be opposed, thus preserving our dimension's timeline. However, at some point the wyrms constructed an organic superstring whose harmonics could control where dimensional conjunctions took place, fracturing the structure of time and space in unpredictable ways, and worse, unleashing...

Faction no. 3, the Shadowthings.  A formless liquid-goo intelligence existing in a timeless lightless dimension, until exposed to the conventional four-dimensional multiverse by the wyrms' meddling, whereupon the Shadowthings set about infiltrating and conquering the Wyrmrealm. Wyrm refugees fleeing this invasion escaped to our dimension (it's unclear (to me) whether this has been the driving force of the wyrm invasions since the start, or whether this is a recent development), where they live in relative harmony with humans in enclaves across the north American continent. 

By at least 1777 AD the Shadowthings had entered 'our' dimension and seized control of the nascent United States by infecting its main players, which in 1794 are represented by President George Washington and General Benedict Arnold, and creating what its opponents call the Shadow Republic. The Order and its wyrm allies now work to oppose the Shadowthings, who have disrupted history with their takeover of the US.  Their Shadow Republic is aided and supported technologically by...

Faction no. 4, La Société aka the Franco-Prussian Republic. Led by scientific savant Francis Bacon, a former leading member of the 1580 incarnation of the Order, now driven mad by a regime of life-extending treatments and self-designed cyborg parts which he employed to keep pace with the long-lived Atlantean (a fifth faction, don't ask, not so-far relevant to the current series) Queen Iztaccihuatl, with whom he has an entirely one-sided obsession.

La Société was formed in an acrimonious split from the 1641 incarnation of the Order, which had been based in Versailles. Its members have included Clarick 'Milady' de Winter (currently Bacon's right-hand woman) and her lover Athos (now dead), both of Three Musketeers fame, and the aeronaut Mongolfier. Disguising himself as 'Citizen Tussaud', Bacon has used the salvaged head of one incarnation of Ritterstahl to assist his creation of a precipitous industrial revolution in France, and now controls an army of automatons and anachronistic war machines with which he has conquered most of Europe. Apparently driven by hatred of the Order and jealousy of Daniel Calhoun in particular (Queen Izta's former husband and father of her children), Bacon supplies the Shadow Republic with mechanised legions.

Recent events...
As Land of the Free began, the current members of the Order and their human and wyrm allies (including the Edgewalker himself, Armoured Gideon), have based their resistance in the extra-dimensional refuge of Philae, a sort of fortified ghost-city based on an amalgam of the Ptolemaic temple complex flooded by the building of the Aswan dam, and the US city of Philadelphia circa 1777 as it was remembered by the first wyrm member of the 1641 version of the Order, Donna Catalina, late mother of current half-wyrm member Antoine Berg.

The series kicked off in 1794 with a scheme to rescue a de-aged version of Benjamin Franklin from the Shadow Republic, and bring him into the Order to provide a scientific counter to Francis Bacon, but things quickly fall apart as Bacon tracks Berg to the Edge and Philae and his blitzkrieg overwhelms the city. The Order are forced to flee onboard the ironclad La Victoire, which may be more than it seems...

General / Towards the Singularity: Help with digital thrillpower
« on: 31 March, 2020, 08:27:03 AM »
So we come to it at last.

Progless this past fortnight, I've finally decided to go digital (for now). Problem is, I hate reading comics on a screen. I've been working through Casefiles 5 on my phone and despite lovely crisp repro and great material, I'm just not enjoying the experience. Help me stop worrying and learn to love the bombe.

1. Software.  I have at my disposal an ageing Samsung Galaxy Neo 5" phone running Marshmallow, an even older Android Lenovo 7" tablet and an older still 15" MacBook running El Capitan, which I spend too much time working on. What are my options re: free comics viewing software? I'm using Perfect viewer currently. I don't like it.

2. House of Tharg Delivery Vectors. How best to buy the digital prog/meg on an ad hoc basis? Pros and cons?

Many thanks in advance for your advice.

Off Topic / Day of Chaos 2: a.Covid-19 thread.
« on: 05 March, 2020, 08:57:13 PM »
"Tomorrow will be worse. And the day after that. And after that... too grim to contemplate."

In the spirit of the Politics Thread, I thought we might consider self-isolating Coronavirus chat here. That way those of us who want to stare into the abyss can do so in company, and those who'd understandably rather pull the curtains and turn up the stereo don't have to hear the moans of the damned.

Starting this in the full knowledge that this isn't going to be funny, and people you love are probably going to die before this is over. So I apologise for offence in advance.

14 cases in Ireland now, doubling every day, and community transmission hasn't even started. Outgoing Govt response is to pretend there are no issues, and no actions required, so that the economy can stagger on infecting everyone for a bit longer before it keels over and dies.

*Everything* depends upon the final level of infection rates, and we here appear to have surrendered that fight without even trying.

Who'd have thought hardline communist dictatorships were ahead of the game after all?

General / 2000AD Forum's Best DREDD strip 2019
« on: 05 January, 2020, 03:29:54 PM »
Yes, it's another Year's Best thread, ensuring that all aspects of your post-1987 comics preferences can be mocked on Facebook!

To mix things up a little, I thought we'd throw all Rebellion-published Dredd into the pot, including Prog, Meg and Specials: that's some 438 pages of fascistic skull-cracking in all!  I know this probably gives Prog strips an advantage over Meg strips, but if you aren't used to representative democracy being skewed by arcane electoral systems, editorial bias and blatant gerrymandering by 2020...

I've included the last year's Christmas prog (2111), but not this year's (2162), as I believe is the current custom.

As is so often the case, the Cosh did the heavy lifting compiling data for this one, I am merely the recipient of his bountiful spreadsheets; all errors are my own.  And apologies to Colourists and Letterers, I know your work is every bit as vital to the success of a story, but I'm a lazy SoaB.

Please rank your favourite three Dredd strips from 2019, as they appear on the list below. Your No 1 choice will be awarded 3 points, your second choice 2 points and your third choice 1 point.

Reasoning and comments welcome!

Block Buds by Kenneth Niemand & Jeff Anderson (PROG 2113-2114)
Cadet Dredd vs Grudzilla by Chris Weston(PROG 2130)
Citizenship by Rory McConville & Jake Lynch (PROG 2123)
Control by Rob Williams & Chris Weston (PROG 2141-2145)
Father's Day by Rory McConville & Ian Richardson (MEG 414)
Guatemala by John Wagner & Colin MacNeil (PROG 2150-2157)
Jingle All the Way by TC Eglington & Boo Cook (PROG 2111)
Liberators by Rory McConville & Tom Foster (PROG 2140)
Machine Law by John Wagner & Colin MacNeil (PROG 2115)
New Blood by Rory McConville   & Siku (PROG 2132)
Night at the Museum    by Alan Grant & Robin Smith (Sci-Fi Special 2019)   
Pets by Rob Williams    & Henry Flint (PROG 2134)
Planted by Rory McConville & Dan Cornwell (MEG 405-406)
Technophobes by Rory McConville & Inaki Miranda (PROG 2135)
The Crazy by Kenneth Niemand & Nick Dyer (MEG 407-408)
The Eternity Hotel by Rory McConville & Dan Cornwell (PROG 2112)
The Fall of Barbarbara Grimm by Michael Carroll & Nick Dyer (PROG 2146-2149)
The Harvest by Michael Carroll & Nick Percival (PROG 2158-2161)
The Long Game by Michael Carroll & Mark Sexton (PROG 2126-2129)
The Red Prince Diaries by Arthur Wyatt & Jake Lynch (MEG   404)
The Red Queen's Gambit by Arthur Wyatt & Jake Lynch (MEG 409-412)
The Samaritan by Kenneth Niemand & Staz Johnson (PROG 2136-2139)
The World According to Chimpsky by Kenneth Niemand & PJ Holden (PROG 2131)   
Unearthed by Rob Williams, Chris Weston & Patrick Goddard (PROG 2124-2125)

The polls will close and a CrazyFoxMachine Voting Simile will be enacted at Midnight Saturday 18 January.

General / Urgent: GordyM missing?
« on: 27 December, 2019, 11:28:08 AM »
Just passing on urgent requests from Twitter for info about the whereabouts of the forum's own comics powerhouse GordyM, aka Glasgow's Gordon McLean. Apparently his family haven't heard from him since 17 December, also the date of his most recent post here.

I'm no stranger to vanishing off by myself, and appreciate the right not to be hounded by well-meaning folk, but obviously his family are very concerned and looking for any information, so here's a link to the tweet looking for retweets and info:


Books & Comics / Pat Mills and 2000 AD royalties
« on: 08 May, 2019, 08:46:53 AM »
This topic split from https://forums.2000ad.com/index.php?topic=44203.3120 — IP


Probably inappropriate to bring this up here, but Uncle Pat has some pretty shocking Ultimate Collection numbers to report: £129 royalties to him and Bisley for the Horned God volume. Ouch.

There's always an element of "you signed that contract 30 years ago" in my reaction to these Mills Bombs, but it does seem crazy that their work being used as the flagship volume for the whole series would deliver less than the price of a night in a Comfort Inn.

Mind you, Pat's own calculations of Rebellion's profits  (around  £2500 an issue, and presumably declining as the series goes on) seem pretty borderline. £60K a year for splurging a huge chunk of your back catalogue? For the half-and-half split Pat proposes, would it be worth doing at all?

Film & TV / Elseworlds
« on: 17 December, 2018, 09:45:26 AM »
If you're not watching the current Arrow/Flash/Supergirl Elseworlds DC TV crossover,  you're missing a trick. Last week Superman and Amazo,  tonight Batwoman and Dr Destiny. Thank grud I have kids to put me on to this stuff, it's proper superheroing. No prior knowledge required,  just enjoy.

Film & TV / Dabnett on University Challenge BBC4!
« on: 14 December, 2018, 07:35:08 PM »
Right now!

News / Rebellion buys TI Media archive
« on: 28 September, 2018, 01:19:48 PM »
Exciting times! . So if Look-In is included in that bundle,  does this mean The Trigan Empire too...?

Classifieds / For Sale: Judge Dredd Miniatures Game, Mongoose Box Sets
« on: 18 September, 2018, 11:19:19 PM »
Just about to stick this little lot up on eBay, but then thought I should give you lot first refusal. Prices listed here are pitched about 2/3 of successful eBay auctions over the past 6 months. All negotiable, especially for larger orders requiring fewer trips to the PO.

All are OOP metal 28mm-32mm miniatures and come unpainted, some requiring assembly.  I'm using the original Mongoose promo images and google-finds here because I'm lazy, but if there's interest I'm happy to take photos of the actual boxes at hand, or in the case of the opened boxes, the unused minis.

The first three sets are still cellophane-sealed in their near-mint boxes:

Holocaust Squad Judges (3 big minis): €21

An unofficial photo to show the sheer size of these things:

Street Gang (7 different minis): €21

Some quality kneepad modelling in this set:

Skysurfers (3 different minis x2, for a total of 6): €14

The next three are still unused in their boxes, but the boxes have been opened:

The Angel Gang are probably the pick of the litter (5 lovely minis, with Ratty attached to Fink): €15

They paints up real purdy now:

Closely followed by the Ape Gang - note in particular the Gorilla in a a dress (7 unique minis plus a second copy of  Chimp with Spit Pistol): €15

An official beauty photo :

And the original Mongoose Justice Department box set (8 minis): €16

The Higgins-style Riot Judges in this set are cool:

Still unused (and unpainted), but without their box:

Cursed Earth Desperadoes (6 different minis, with 1 extra copy of Guy with Axe and 1 extra copy of Guy With Machete): €12

These last two didn't come in a box:

A really lovely Walter (yours will be unpainted and unassembled, alas): €5

And an Exorcist Judge who sadly looks nothing at all like Lamia: €4

I won't lie to you Marge, shipping may be brutal, but I promise I will only charge the actual postage cost (which I can only estimate in advance).  Let me know what you might want, and I'll give you a quote.

Don't be shy now!

Games / Best PS4 games for sprogs?
« on: 02 January, 2018, 12:15:14 AM »
So the eldest (11) is looking to spend some Crimbo tokens on a PS4 game.  Right now all we have is SW:BF2 and Lego Dimensions (more than enough for me for now, but I'm probably going to spring for Rogue Trooper soon).

Preferred elements for the Boy are Stealth, Exploration, RPG, FPS, Conquest; criteria for his censorious parent are Not Too Realistically Gory, No Sexual Violence/Prostitution, No Dodgy Adult Relationship Bollocks, No Modern Warfare/Serious Crime, Decent Amount of Solo Play.

I'm basically Victorian Dad now, how did it come to this.

I had been pondering Assassins Creed Origins, but it looks to be completely out by Criteria Set No. 2, so bah! to that.  No Man's Sky appeals too, as does Horizon: Zero Dawn.


Help! / Approaches to That London
« on: 24 April, 2017, 02:45:56 PM »
So I'm over in England for a week's sailing in September, have to hire a car and pick up a mate at Stansted on a Monday morning. It occurred to me that I could go over myself a day early and spend the Sunday in the fleshpots and vice dens of That London (oh alright, morning in the British Museum, afternoon in Natural History Museum with Gosh! in between, as usual). 

So I'm looking for some advice: I can pick up the car in Stansted on Sunday for basically the same price as picking it up on the Monday, as well as get all that hullaballoo sorted in advance so we can hit the road bright and early.   BUT... what do I do then?

Can anyone suggest (1). a best plan for getting into London with car starting at Stansted on a Sunday morning, in the mode of park-and-ride; (2). somewhere cheap as feck to sleep that's easy to get back to from London and handy for an 8am Monday Morning pickup back at Stansted. 

I appreciate that the simple answer is 'don't get the car until Monday morning and just get the airport express in', but I fancy a bit of flexibility in finding somewhere outside of London to overnight, and avoiding the stress of picking up a car in the morning.


Film & TV / Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi
« on: 23 January, 2017, 04:29:12 PM »
And so we have a an official title.  It's another very safe broad-recognition choice from Disney, not for them Menaces or Clones, and it seems a bit unfortunate to use 'Jedi' a second time, forcing even non-nerds to use annoying acronyms in future discussions.  I certainly don't hate it, but hopefully this lack of imagination doesn't extend to the film itself. 

Anyone going to give me odds on Episode 9 simply being 'The Dark Side'?

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