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Topics - TordelBack

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General / A Brass Sun refresher: the story so far.
« on: 16 September, 2013, 12:16:25 PM »
As a major fan of this story, I've written a quick summary of the first series of Brass Sun, in the hope that everyone can enjoy the new series to its fullest.  That said, there are massive spoilers in what follows, and I'd recommend tracking down the back progs and enjoying the story as it is meant to be read, rather than through the filter of my turgid prose.

Brass Sun: The Wheel of Worlds (Progs 1800-1811, Ian Edginton, I. N. J. Culbard and Ellie de Ville)

On the planet Hind Leg, the seasons grow ever colder.  Much is amiss in the lifesize clockwork orrery that is the Wheel of Worlds, and the Brass Sun that warms it has been slowly dimming over many centuries.

On wintry Hind Leg the cruel Archimandrite Sabin of the Orthodoxy of the Way of the Cog works to crush the growing heresy of the Blind Watchmaker, which holds that the Wheel of Worlds is not eternal as dogma insists, but was created and populated a million years ago, and its clockwork mechanism is now failing towards an inevitable apocalypse of cold and darkness.

Having abandoned the Orthodoxy after condemning his own heretical daughter to death, ex-Lord Bishop Cadwallader undertakes secret researches into neighbouring worlds of the orrery, their shared histories and their dying sun.  Through his forbidden telescope he has seen the civilisations of the nearby planets Back of Beyond and Afterthought die as the ice consumed them, and knows Hind Leg will soon follow.  He has formed a desperate plan to try to avert this end.

Passing all his research, and an ancient technological artefact called the Quaycard, to his grandaughter Wren, Cadwallader allows himself to be seized and brought to the Archimandrite, and certain death.  On her reindeer Idris, Wren rides to the City which encircles the giant vertical spindle or spar that connects Hind Leg to one arm of the orrery.

Here, heretics are burnt at the stake on the delicate Bridge of Sighs which connects the Archimandrite's palace to the orrery spar.  Cadwallader has prepared for this end by drinking an alchemical conncoction prior to his arrest, which explodes as he is consumed by the executioner's flames.  The explosion gives the watching Wren the chance to run across the bridge to the spar, but she is badly injured in the attempt, and is only saved when the collapse of the bridge takes the Archimandrite and his soldiers with it. 

Using the Quaycard, Wren completes the first part of her grandfather's plan by gaining access to the vast interior of the spar before she collapses from her wounds.

Waking in a hospital bed, Wren meets trainee-Engineman Conductor 17, sporting the monkish haircut and robe of the order of Prime Numbers.  He explains that she is now 'riding the rails', in the mass-transit system that once connected the many worlds of the giant orrery.  From the imposing steam-cyborg Station Master, Wren learns that each planet of the Wheel of Worlds was given part of a key, which when put together could be used to access the Brass Sun itself.  Centuries ago the long harmony between the diverse planets and their cultures collapsed into war, as a cartel of the worlds Plenitude, Hot Air and High Dudgeon tried to impose their economic will on the others.  The Prime Numbers shut down the interplanetary rail system to limit the spread of destruction, and a dark age of isolation followed. 

Now the light of the Brass Sun is failing, and the keys must be re-assembled so that it can be repaired.  Wren must accomplish her grandfather's mission with the help of the order, but the Station Master secretly views her as a primitive, and a disposable means to his own ends.

Conductor 17 accompanies Wren in a small pod that travels the rails to The Keep, a world entirely covered by a single giant palace, where they are to search its Library for information about the whereabouts of the keys.  Arriving in a vast Conservatory Wren and 17 are rescued from Scythes, mechanical assassins, by Helena, daughter of the Keep's ruler the Scarlet Duke, Radiant Taurus Simeon de Kype.  Passing themselves off as mechanics from a distant part of the palace, they are sent to the palace Forge supposedly to unravel the secrets of the destroyed Scythe robots.  Here they meet an elderly Conductor of the Prime Numbers, a lost emissary stranded in the Keep for decades. 

Assistance for their mission comes from the Duke's butler Ramkin, who appears to be sympathetic to their cause, but his subversive intentions actually lie in a very different direction:  the overthrow of the Scarlet Duke by his rival the Grand Dame, for which purpose the Scythe robots had been intended.  Now Ramkin plans to use Wren and 17 in his schemes.

Over the course of their adventure, the growing relationship between Wren and Conductor 17 is subtly depicted through body language, and eventually Wren gives a grateful 17 his first ever name, 'Septimus'. 

And here the first book ends.

News / Ulysses Sweet to return?
« on: 24 May, 2013, 05:27:59 PM »

Okay, it's from a notorious purveyor of twaddle, but it is intriguing!  A new 3Riller, maybe?   Here's hoping there's some clever Ennis/Helter Skelter/Troubled Souls dealing going on here, with Rebellion playing a brilliant game of brinksmanship that trades the rights to Maniac for Hire for reprint permission for Zenith...   ::)

News / Rogue Trooper Miniatures Game from Mongoose!
« on: 06 December, 2012, 09:57:54 PM »

...the Rogue Trooper miniatures game will be appearing on Kickstarter, likely in the last week of January.

Based on another 2000AD comic strip, Rogue Trooper is the story of a Genetically-engineered Infantryman (GI) fighting on Nu Earth, a war-blasted but strategically vital world torn apart by the Southers and the Norts (who will you side with?). Battlefields are wreathed in the poison gas unleashed by millions of chemical weapons, while the high commands of both the Southers and the Norts engineer ever more devastating and vile secret weapons – the latter will very much be a feature of this game.

The rules themselves will be based on the popular Battlefield Evolution/Starship Troopers system, allowing you to fight anything from squad skirmishes (or just a single model, if you take Rogue himself), to platoon and company level clashes with battlefields filled with boobytraps, tanks and secret weapons.

This will be a truly vicious war, utterly appalling to those who fight it, on par with the worst of World War I trenches, but with the mobility of World War II, mixed with the technology of the far future. Thankfully, safely insulated from the terror and despair by our models and tabletop, you will be able to launch cunning strikes with elite infantry, bear the brunt of the enemy assault with the rest of your forces, and launch the deadliest secret weapons in a bid for final victory over Nu Earth!


I was hoping for a Nemesis/ABC Warriors or Dante game myself, but this will do nicely in the meantime.

Off Topic / Requiem Kickstarter
« on: 06 November, 2012, 10:14:41 PM »
Requiem Vampire Knight game Kickstarter Indigogo. http://www.indiegogo.com/requiem-game?c=home.

Pat's posted about it on his Facebook, and Ledroit is providing some stuff for pledge levels.  Very ambitious funding target, best of luck to all concerned.

Maybe now is the time to push for a crowdfunded reprint of Block Mania or the Judge Dredd Boardgame!

General / Judge Dredd Year One: City Fathers
« on: 16 August, 2012, 11:51:32 AM »
If I've missed the Molcher post that flagged up this one, my apologies but by Grud this looks pretty sweet:


I'm not really much of a one for novels of comics properties, but I think I'd like to read this.

Books & Comics / Kev Walker's Dreddalike in Thunderbolts
« on: 11 July, 2012, 09:38:25 PM »
Spoilers for Dark Avengers/Thunderbolts 177!

The Thunderbolts' excellent time/dimension hopping romp leads them to Sector 11 of 'MondoCity', where a rather familiar-looking helmeted lawman sits astride a firey-tyred Lawmaster...  Apparently he's a future/alternate Luke Cage, but he's wearing those influences well - can't wait to see where this goes!  Lovely art from Kevin Walker and Declan Shalvey, always a book worth reading. 

General / We Are Here...
« on: 26 June, 2012, 04:25:30 PM »
Hurrah!  No need to talk to my non-scrot family and acquaintances anymore, all my make-believe friends are back! 

Tharg knows we need these little interruptions in supply to make us appreciate his works all the more.


So here's the thing (and the Thing).

My wife has been helping out a friend with learning difficulties who is trying to sell his comics collection to pay off horrific credit card bills* (three not unconnected issues – and obviously there are questions to be asked about who is responsible for the situation in the first place).  It hasn’t gone well, and now I’ve been drafted in as resident geek I can see why: they’re mostly UK reprints.  I wouldn’t like to tell you what he paid for some of them.

So anyway, here’s a starter list of issues, there’s plenty more.  All are mint, in bag and board.  Let me know if any of these would be of interest to any of you or your kids, and to what extent.  If there’s any interest at all I’ll revert to the man in question and we’ll discuss it.  Thanks for your time.

Deadman Nos. 1-3 (DC 2002, Vance/Beroy/Green).

Panini UK Comics:
Batman Legends No. 1 (Panini 2003, Jim Lee cover).
Fantastic Four Adventures No. 1.  (100 pages, Panini 2005).
The Avengers United No. 1 (Panini 2001)
Avengers United Presents JLA Avengers Nos. 35-37, 41 (Panini 2004). 
The Mighty World of Marvel starring Daredevil and the Incredible Hulk No. 1 (Panini 2003).

*Not me.  This time.

Other Reviews / Review of Leviathan on BoingBoing
« on: 26 April, 2012, 09:14:29 AM »
Nice review of the Leviathan GN over on BoingBoing.  Should be worth a few downloads sales.

I was sorry main story wasn't longer than it is, because it hints at a many possibilities for other avenues to explore. But that's also a testament to the skill of the comic's creators, who were able to render an impressive sense of dimensionality and atmosphere in a 56-page story.

Was it really only 56 pages?  Blimey.


Off Topic / Legoland Windsor: Hivemind advice sought.
« on: 24 February, 2012, 04:37:40 PM »
Seeking hivemind advice!

I'm in the early stages of planning a family trip to Britain in late May, which will hopefully fulfill my eldest boy's desire to visit Legoland for his (6th) birthday, something he has been talking about non-stop for about 3 years now (I hope to also incorporate my own fantasy of introducing the kids to the dinosaur hall of the Natural History Museum in London). Bar some weekend camping trips in Wicklow and Galway, this'll be our first family holiday in 2 years, and it's going to be on a savagely tight budget and only 5 days total.  I know I'm in no position to be taking holidays from my life of scrounging, child-minding and casual work, but kids are only kids once and my loser-status has no obvious end in sight.

Should say I'm car-and-ferrying it because it works out about the same as plane-and-hire, and we can bring our own scabby provisions and possibly tent with us.  Also, I love ferries.

So, the current plan is to take the morning ferry Dublin to Holyhead (which the kids have never done, so that'll be an Irish rite of passage for them), drive down to Reading or Basingstoke over the course of the afternoon and evening with frequent stops, spend the night there and visit Legoland on Saturday, staying over in Reading again with the (free) option of a second day, or part thereof if the kids are still keen.  Combo hotel/park tickets seem by far the best deal, especially if you stay a decent distance from Windsor, which we would be.  After that, I was thinking of a train trip into London for a day, or possibly a nostalgic trip down to Bournemouth where the wife went to college and where I (uncoincidentally) lost my virginity, and then maybe a last night somewhere in north Wales to break the journey and poke at some familiar castles and beaches. 

I know plenty of you have been to Legoland, and I'd be very interested in hearing tips on getting the most out of it, and if anyone has stayed in hotels in the area/made use of combo deals.  Also, if anyone has done any (legal) tent camping within 30 miles or so of Windsor, or has suggestions of other contrasting things to do within that radius. None of this is unfamiliar ground to either the wife or me, we've both spent some time in Berkshire, Wiltshire, London and Wales, but it's become disturbingly important to me that I don't cock this up, at least.

I await your collective wisdom.

The great re-shelving project moves along, and a cull has become necessary for a number of reasons.  I’m giving the board first shout on taking various GNs off my hands before heading over to eBay, so PM me ASAP if you’re interested.  Open to discussion re: price, but first come first served – this is only the tip of the mountain that I’m shoveling towards eBay, and then charity shops.

A NOTE:  Ming, maryanddavid, The Cosh, Commando Forces, Pete Wells, Colin YNWA, Mogzilla, and Mikey can all take your pick free gratis and for nothing (not even postage), by long overdue way of returning past generosities. 

A WARNING:  All prices quoted exclusive of postage.  Postage within Ireland (including NI) is about EUR€2 for a softcover, €3 for a hardcover (although if you’re in the Dublin area I’ll drop it round for free), to Great Britain is about STG£4 for a softcover, £6 for a hardback, so think hard.

The Act-I-Vate Primer.  Gorgeous hardcover containing the 12-page prequel to Lilly Mackenzie and the Mines of Charybdis When Lily Met Cosmo, by Simon Fraser, and 15 other stories by various folk including Dean Haspiel and Jennifer Hayden, foreword by Uncle Warren.  Perfect condition, a lovely, lovely thing, and sorry to be even thinking of trying to flog it.  EUR€10.00/STG£8.00.  Make me an offer, I’d much rather see it go to a good home.
Powers Vols 1 to 5. Bendis and Oeming.  Softcover collections in good nick.  €3.00/£2.50 each or €10.00/£8.00 for the lot, plus postage.

After the Snooter.  Eddie Campbell, Eddie Campbell Books softcover edition from 2002.  Eddie confronts mortality in a series of tales covering the period when he was drawing and then self-publishing From Hell and Bacchus, with guest appearances from Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman, Chris Staros, Sir William Withy Gull and Quentin Tarantino’s mom.  Includes ‘The House that Jack Bought’ and ‘The Magus is House-proud’.  An absolute cracker.  €3/£2.50.

Star Wars:  Tales of the Jedi - The Collection.  Tom Veitch and various artists, including David Roach!  Softcover Dark Horse collection from (I think) 1994 – including the original Knights of the Old Republic story that started it all.  It’s in okay nick, but I have read it more than once.  €2/£1.65.

Star Wars 30th Anniversary Collection Vol 1:  The Freedon Nadd Uprising. Tom Veitch, Tony Atkins and Denis Rodier.  A lovely shiny black hardcover edition from 2007 of the 1990’s stories that follow on from the Tales of the Jedi collection.   Perfect condition.  €10/£8.00.

Preacher Vol. 1:  Gone to Texas. Ennis and Dillon.  Softcover in good nick.  €2/£1.65.

The One.  Rick Veitch. King Hell softcover edition from 2003 (Washing Powder look).  Rick’s pre-Watchmen entry into the deconstructed superhero genre.  It’s a curiosity to be sure, and in excellent nick.  €3/£2.50.

General / Maternal ancestor of James Fenimore Snork found!
« on: 09 January, 2012, 04:20:30 PM »
Zopittybob-Bop-Bop’s apparent Facebook page lists his interests as ‘Eating’, ‘Standing’, ‘Walking’ and ‘Thinking’.


Even T. B. Grover couldn't make this one up.

Help! / Hivemind help compressing PDFs, why Grud, whyyyy....
« on: 28 June, 2011, 06:01:54 PM »
I'm stuck combining and compressing (or compressing and combining) a large pile of PDFs of CAD drawings incorporating photos into one, or at worst a 3 or 4 part document.  Each individual page is in the range 2-5MB and I really need batches of 10 (ideally 30) pages to weigh in at no more than 5MB, for e-mailing purposes.  Normally I'd compress from the source programme into PDF, but I don't have the original files.  There's a text bit too, but that's fine.

I'm trying to do this in Acrobat 9 for the Mac, and after an hour and a colossal headache, I just can't work it out.  Sometimes 'Reduce File Size' means they shrink 10% or so, sometimes nothing at all.  I know I've done this before.  I'll be printing them all full res for the client, so I'm not too bothered about loss of quality at this stage, but I do need to send some sort of a digital version for review first.  I doubt they'd appreciate 30 indiviudal 5MB files...


Games / HIVEMIND: Finally having a Wii
« on: 15 May, 2011, 10:05:49 AM »
So the time has come, we've decided to go for a Wii.

My mother, always disturbingly enthusiastic about new technology (other than microwaves and tumble-driers, which are apparently the work of Satan), has insisted that the family pool its resources and get a Wii for the Boy's 5th birthday.  The fact that she does afterschool babysitting for us four days a week has nothing to do with it, I'm sure.  We're completely stony broke ourlseves, but between grandparents, grand aunts, uncles and aunts, it should be manageable.  Shades of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory here.

My role in this operation as Delta Male is to get the goods.  By Thursday.  And I'm completely ignorant.

So I'm looking for suggestions as to pros and cons of models/versions, most appropriate peripherals, controllers (and how many), starting games etc.  No-one in the family is a current gamer, but my own side is heavily into sport, and grandparents are likely to be pressurised into play as that's where the Holy Thing is most likely to reside.  A 20-month old will probably also want to get involved.  Lego Star Wars is a given.

EDIT:  Just realised I should have posted this in Games.  Good start.

Film & TV / Camelot
« on: 14 May, 2011, 12:04:41 AM »
Just watched the opening two episodes of joint Irish-Canadian effort Camelot, which turns out to be Excalibur:  The Series in all but name. It's flawed to buggery and utterly daft, but somehow it's also terrific fun!  And it has Eva Green's boobies!   Mild spoilers follow.

Not satisfied with borrowing Excalibur's rather specific version of the Arthur legend, it also uses some of the same shooting locations (to great effect, it must be said).  Judging by the dialogue and some of the costumes the setting is a magic-infused post-Roman Britain (which is occasionally and inexplicably called England), which the quite-good sets rather miss the point of, choosing instead a post-medieval look of run-down towerhouses and bawns with the Rohirrim thrown in for good measure.  Happily the fantastic elements mean this doesn't really matter, and its dark-ages aesthetic is refreshingly far away from the plate armour and chateaux of First Knight or Merlin.

The central cast is mostly great, the supporting cast mostly terrible.  Most importantly Merlin is excellent, an impish thug with a dubious vision, Arthur has a not-unappealing Cary-Elwes-lite  thing going on, and Eva Green's Morgan... well, I'd watch her read the telephone directory and be happy to do it.  OTOH Gwendolyn looks to be a charisma-void (but has a nice bum), Claire Forliani as Igraine and Sean Pertwee as Ector both look utterly lost.

Incredibly the weakest part of the enterprise isn't the ropey CGI, incompetent villains or wooden backing cast, it's James Purefoy.  Don't get me wrong, I love the guy in most things, but here he's just playing his sublime Mark Antony character from Rome again, right down to the costume, naked buttocks, Season 2 beard, insults,  and sexual positions.  When the credit music is cogged from Rome, when his opponent is an Octavian-like whippsersnapper and his ally a Cleopatra-like slutqueen, it's just a bit to close to be anything but completely distracting.  I keep waiting for Polly Walker to show up in her bath.

What really charmed and surprised me is how wonderfully old-fashioned it all is.  The credit sequence makes an embarrassing play for HBO status, being a shameless mix of Rome and Deadwood,  but the closest the actual programme gets to those lofty heights is ladies' bottoms and the occasional 'fuck off'.  Instead, it's just solid '80's fantasy TV drama, with lots of location shooting on the edge of golf courses, dry ice, dodgy filters and unconvincing underpopulated villages.  I'm hooked - they don't make 'em like this anymore.  You should give it a go.  

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