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Messages - AlexF

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General / Re: Forum’s Fav Thrill - Skizz vs. ABC Warriors Rd 5 Heat 12
« on: 09 August, 2022, 01:17:07 PM »
Hang on a sec, I don't know that this is quite so straightforward.
Yes, the ABC Warriors are, for the most part, 5 or 6 all time great characters and character designs. And, for a while, the promise of a new series was mega-exciting, even if they didn't always live up to that promise. Indeed, I don't know that any one ABC cycle has been totally 100% thrilling, except maybe the bits where they're in Nemesis the Warlock, which don't count here.
The Mek-nificent Seven has a couple of duff sequences (looking at you, "LJ Silver"), the Black Hole has some dodgy plotting and pacing, and the rest are, at best, divisive (personally I love Khronikles of Khaos, much of Shadow Warriors, and the odd bit of Volgan Wars - but plenty of folks don't).

Skizz by contrast had one totally perfect and unimpeachably great series, complete with 4 or 5 well-rounded, superbly designed and utterly memorable main characters. Then a really rather neat if less clever sequel, and then a very poor final series - but only as poor as the most indulgent parts of latter-day ABC Warriors (Tubal Cain can eff right off).

So yeah, all the love in the world for aspects of ABCs, but I think to honour that one burst of perfection, I'm voting Skizz.

(Mind, if Colin ever dares turn his hand to a character tourney, there are about 10 characters from this team up who'd all qualify as qaurter-finals contenders at the very least)

Reckon I like Summer Magic more than any of Ampney Crucis, but all of Ampney more than the rest of Kirby. I would say that both suffer a bit from never quite getting around to having a point - an odd criticsim for a serial in an adventure comic, but they basically just show characters having various adventures, and I prefer stories that have more overt themes in them as well.
I guess Kirby's theme is that Alan McKenzie really liked being a kid in the 60s and going on holiday to the countryside, while Edginton is more into old-timey stuff from before he was born, and eldritch monsters.

Anyway, that one sequence where young Luke is scared out of his face aside, the balls-out art of Simon Davis swings it for me:
Ampney Crucis investigates...

(got to agree with Colin that either thrill is dead lucky to make it to the last 16!! Although if Ampney somehow sneaks through to the quarters that might be enough to persuade Davis and Edginton to give us another series or two, to tie it all of and find whatever that theme actually is?)

Other Reviews / Re: Sandman TV Series
« on: 09 August, 2022, 11:07:58 AM »
I'm curious about this TV show, but in general am very ambivalent about people adapting old comics to the screen. Preacher seemed pretty good but after 2 episodes I felt I'd get more out of just enjoying the comics again. See also Y the Last Man. I've read and mostly enjoyed a handful of Sandman trades, and am minded to read the whole thing at some point - not sure I personally would benefit from consuming largely the same story on telly.

Weirdly, the big Marvel and DC movies don't bother me so much - I imagine because they tend to be telling almost entirely new stories, albeit based on certain comics runs. And they tend to do a good job of making those stories a) more coherent and b) a good fit for the feature film format. TV series are all well and good, but if Sandman is literally an isuue of the comic per episode, reckon I'll stick with the comics.

Yeah no contest. I just re-read Insurrection for the last Round, and it's better than I remember (and I remember it being very good). But it's not up to the insane fantasy / ideas / weirdness / action standard as Nemesis. I'll spot Insurrection that it's better than Book 10, possibly on an equal footing with book 8.

It's not at all fair to describe Insurrection as 'Warhammer 40K but in the Dreddverse', but, well, its look was surely inspired by that, which, in turn was definitely indebted to Kev O'Neill's original Terminator designs in Nemesis Book 1...

Nemesis the Warlock will destroy all.

General / Re: Forum’s Fav Thrill - Lawless vs. Thistlebone Rd 5 Heat 9
« on: 08 August, 2022, 10:30:24 AM »
Sorely tempted to vote Thistlebone for the art - but then Phil Winslade has been killing it on every single episode of Lawless, and that adds up to a LOT of pages at this point.

Lawless hasn't quite been perfect on a story level but that's no slight after so many series, and the vibe of it is super consistent and delightful. Of course, the vibe is THE thing on Thistlebone, and the best thing about that terffici, horrific thrill.

Not an easy choice, but I'm going Lawless. Although I will say that i do want the story to end at some point. Can't imagine how Dabnett will construct a fitting ending, but I want one, and want it to be good!

General / Re: Forum’s Fav Thrill - Low Life vs. The Out Rd 5 Heat 8
« on: 04 August, 2022, 09:29:15 AM »
Look, the Out has had two books and both have been marvellously marvellous, very excited to get more.
Low Life has had a lot more, but frankly the first 4 or 5 stories, while interesting, well drawn and intermittently funny were only OK. But then it jumped a gear with Dayglo and D'Israeli and everything from 'War Without Bloodshed' onwards has been potentially the best ever Dreddworld spin-off stuff, and I'm including Anderson, Psi Division in that. (although I maintain that he never learned how to draw Aimee Nixon the way Flint did)
BUT on the other hand there's the annoying turth that Low Life as a narrative suddenyl stopped being its own thing and became part of Judge Dredd, which pointedly does not count in this Tourney!

What am I to do with the delights of Saudade, Titan, Enceladus and indeed the Small House? Without which, we'd never get to the end of the narratives from Frank and Aimee.

If I'm only comparing War, Creation, Hostile Takeover and the Deal (the four epically great Low Life stories) to the Out, I'm genuinely not sure which is better.

You know what, I'm voting Low Life, if only to stop Dabnett from hogging all the slots in the next round...

I do love that first Fiends story, silly though it is by the end, and there's lots to love in Tiernan Trevallion's moody artwork.
But to my mind VCs has never put a foot wrong. (And I'm with Colin - the reboot was, overall better than the original)

So, The VCs.

General / Re: Forum’s Fav Thrill - Halo Jones vs. Shakara Rd 5 Heat 5
« on: 03 August, 2022, 01:38:13 PM »
It's another head/heart battle. I encountered Shakara as a weekly reader and still carry the warm glow of joy that the first series provided. I didn't love everything that came after - it got VERY wordy at some points - but it's still a glorious piece of hard sci fi. And the horror stuff in it is really great.

Halo Jones I've only ever read as a much-revered classic, and while it DID manage to live up to its reputation that's always a bit of millstone round it's neck. How can it be as good as people say it is, because people REALLY love it.

On the other hand, the best thing, for me, about Halo Jones, is quite how well each individual episode works as a satisfying idea and character delivery machine. Whereas Shakara was more an exercise in telling the same story in as many ways as possible with added visual lunacy (well, for a couple of books, at least).

So even though my heart wants to go with Shakara, my head is telling me quite what an immense achievement practically every single episode of Halo Jones is, even as it's also a set of three very neatly plotted stories.

Halo Jones

I take it all back, the impossible ties are here in full force!

I've been trying to maths my way out of having to make an actual choice here. Strontium Dog and Sláine couldn't be more different in terms of actual story, but as 2000AD thrills they're super comparable. Both have had long runs, broken up into very clear chunks of story. Both have yielded some of the single best ever comics stories ever. Both foreground action and humour but also both have some profound things to say about the human condition (granted, Stront achieves this with rather more subtlety, even when it's not being at all subtle). Both are more or less felt to have been untouchably great for the early years, then hit a rough patch, then have intermittently great late-period stories (granted, lots of people hate post-Horned God Sláine but they're wrong; the only truly bad Sláines, I think, are the middle two 'Brutania Chronicles, and even they have plenty of merit)

I ran through Barney and totted up how many stories from both thrills I adore. Turns out it's about 17 apiece. Stories I actively dislike - about 2 apiece. I tried comparing time when both strips had stories running in the Prog at the same time. By that metric, Sláine comes out best, mostly because I don't rate Outlaw or Bitch too highly. But I also have impossible choices to face between e.g. The Killing and Sky Chariots, or Slavers of Drule and Time Killer. Not to mention Shaggy Dog Story vs Carnival, exmaples of both strips doing short, funny ones late on in their time!

Then there's the art - Stront gets massive bonus points for the sheer consistent brilliance of Carlos Ezquerra, while Sláine is deeply inconsistent. But when the art on Sláine hit, it literally redefined what comics art can be.

Reaching into more nebulous ideas, I have to give points to Sláine for being a history lesson as well as an action comic. Not to everyone's taste, I'm sure, but I love the way Mills and Co really flesh out what it might have felt like being a Celt, and their willingness to explore the less savoury aspects of different cultures. With this in mind, I think in the overall history of comics, Sláine is the better one, that will touch a wider audience and maybe stand the test of time more.

But then there's the old 'which would I rather read some of right now?' question. And, despite the fact that I'm in the middle of a big Sláine re-read, I think the answer to that is almost always going to be Strontium Dog.

It has more and better jokes, and it has Carlos delivering the most delightful mutant designs, and the best damn action choreography of any comics I've ever read.

So my head wants to vote Sláine, but my heart is winning and it votes Strontium Dog.

General / Re: Sideshow Vote II: You have been judged
« on: 03 August, 2022, 09:34:58 AM »
Delighftul to see votes here for some many of the options!
And if we're talking about 'scariest', for me it's John Ridgway's original drawing of Judges Phobia and Nausea at the end of 'Dead Man' that shook me up the most. He manages to make those insects on Nausea's face look as if they're crawling, even in a still image. Nasty!

But, you know, if I was picking teams on the playground, still plumping for Death as first choice.

General / Re: Forum’s Fav Thrill - Stickleback vs. Brink Rd 5 Heat 3
« on: 02 August, 2022, 11:13:34 AM »
I can see plenty of the Hoop in the world of Brink, and a hint of Halo in Bridget Kurtis, but I think it's a stretch to say that Brink is merely paying homage to Halo Jones...

...certainly if the opposite suggestion is that Stickleback, a strip based on a pre-existing character and deliberately using generic foes from Victorian England, is some sort of masterpiece of originality!

(Stickleback is of course a great series, and deserving of votes even in this tie)

General / Re: Alan Grant appreciation thread
« on: 02 August, 2022, 11:10:00 AM »
I'm overdue a re-read of Anderson, Psi Division, but my memory of it is that Grant rarely put a foot wrong, all the way up to the more recent WMD arc in the Megazine. I especially love an Arthur Ranson one-off called 'The Protest', which is both profound and silly in exact equal measure. And I cannot downplay how much I was moved as a young teen by the Jesus Syndrome arc, where Anderson punches Judge Goon in the face, and her subsequent emotional journey in Childhood's End. The 'Postcards from the Edge' sequence wasn't the best, but I'm glad that Grant followed through on Anderson's state of mind that meant it made sense for her to quit the Judges and then return.

And yeah, I second the suggestion that Grant's 10+ years on Batman may in fact be the best sustained writing run that character ever had. He just had the knack of telling stories about a mad, rich vigilante tackling all manner of weirdoes in a gothic nightmare city, and it always came across as noble and exciting without any of the smugness and extreme angst that Batman accrued in the 21st century. (I would blame Grant Morrison for that but I don't think he was the first)

And this isn't even mentioning the number of belly laughs I've had from multiple re-reads of Ace Trucking, RoboHunter, Strontium Dog and 1980s Judge Dredd. Frankly I hold in higher esteem a creator whose at his/her best is part of a collaboration than one who studiously works alone, and Grant was clearly a master collaborator.

On the writing, there are bits of Red Seas that just about stand up to the best of Bad Company. One the art, though, my heart will always belong to Ewins and his extra-thick-soled boots, not to mention the insane love energy pouring off of Rufus Dayglo's pages.

Bad Company

Past rounds of voting have made it abundanbtly clear this thrill isn't really a contender, but for me it's a nailed-on Semi-Finalist at least.

General / Re: Forum’s Fav Thrill - Stickleback vs. Brink Rd 5 Heat 3
« on: 02 August, 2022, 08:07:13 AM »
errr... Brink.

I thought you said there were going to be tough decisions this Round, Colin? :):)

News / Re: Gerry Finley Day Signing
« on: 02 August, 2022, 07:50:59 AM »
Hah! Was just thinking it's lucky for me the times ARE during work hours. Far easier for me to slip out of the office for 30 mins than to beg time off from family duties to go to a comic shop...

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