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Topics - AlexF

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Books & Comics / Buy my Science Non-fiction comic
« on: 14 January, 2022, 12:12:57 PM »
So I'm guessing everyone here is into Science Fiction, but are you also into just plain science?

I've written a non-fiction comic about neuroscience - or at least, I've scripted a comics version of a whole bunch of scholarly work on neuroscience as done by my parents. It's illustrated by Dan Locke, and is published by Bloomsbury in March.

It's called Two Heads, and is now available for preorder...
(quite expensive, admittedly, but it's over 300 pages long and took us 5 years to make!)

General / Forum's Favourite Thrill - checking in
« on: 12 January, 2022, 10:12:12 AM »
Words can't express just how much I'm loving this epic tourney. Indeed, I've spent far too many hours when I should've been working drawing up a chart of what's happened so far. But, in doing so, I am fully racking my brains for what will be in the final Heat of Round 1. Colin has explained that he's had to make some judgement calls about certain thrills that get a bye into Round 2, and that some of his choices may be controversial. Cool!

But here's a list of thrills I think qualify for the tourney that we haven't seen yet. Some might question their chances of lasting even a millisecond in the next Round (given that we have already lost e.g. Stone Island and Dept K), which is opening up to EVERYTHING... (or are the BIG thrills getting a bye into Round 3?)

Two of these names will appear tomorrow morning - but what of the rest? All that said, In Colin we trust!

RAM Raiders
Dry Run
Brit-Cit Babes
Moon Runners
Dead Meat
Holocaust 12
Janus, Psi Division
The Corps
Samizdat Squad
The Inspectre
Soul Sisters
Soul Gun Warrior
Carver Hale
Darkness Visible
Dead Men Walking
Hap Hazzard
Mother Earth
The Straitjacket Fits
Strange & Darke
Wireheads / Parasites (not sure if this is two thrills or two series of the same thing. Both are quite BAD.)
(and this is leaving out a handful of quite good 2-3 parters that might qualify? Maze Dumoir, Danzig's Inferno, Psi Testers, Go Machine... anyone?)

General / Best Xmas Prog Ever?
« on: 10 December, 2021, 08:02:44 AM »
Over on the Advent Calendar, I've been linking to a new blog three times a week.
Thought I'd give it its own topic as well, just in case anyone who's interested hasn't found it and wants to air their opinions...

Xmas Prog, Ranked

(And yes, I am aware that come tomorrow morning, subscribers will be treated to an all-new Xmas Prog. I won't get my digital or physical copies til Wednesday. If I'm lucky, it'll be REALLY GOOD, and then I can slot it into the ranking higher up the list...)

For the individual entries:
Start Here
Ranks 22-20
Ranks 19-16
Ranks 15-13
Ranks 12-10

Other Reviews / Flesh: Midnight Cowboys
« on: 26 November, 2021, 10:34:25 AM »
Finished the Hachette Flesh collection recently, and wanted more. Luckily, there IS more - the Digital only collection of Midnight Cowboys, the next Mills/McKay storyline after 'Texas'. I didn't remember much of it, but it turns out to be a real triumph. I think it's easily the best single stroyline in the extended Flesh universe. McKay's art might not be as beautiful as Belardinelli's in Book II, or as gloriously ugly as Ramon Sola's in Book I, but by gosh he draws the heck out of loads of double-page scenes of all kinds of dinos, cowboys and machines powering across the plains. It deserves a proper hard-copy collection, if only so we can enjoy those scenes in big easy to read page size.
And the story's not bad either. I seem to remember it never quite goes anywhere in the two later books, or at least fails to resolve, but there's a nice mix of classic dino-chomping on human action, alongside a none-too-subtle allegory of 'time change' terrorists as 'climate change' activists.

The digital collection is literally just the story and the accompanying covers (including the full-size double version of Mark Harrison's seriously amazing cover), but there's no intro or outro or anything. I kind of doubt it'll happen, but I'd love to see a new Hachette collection of the final three Flesh stories (and throw either Chronocide or Shamana in to increase the colour page count I guess?)

Film & TV / Help me understand this film
« on: 03 November, 2021, 09:48:55 AM »
Just finished watching Tommy, the rock opera by the Who (currently on Netflix). I could not make head nor tail of it. Literally, I don't understand the plot, the themes, what I'm supposed to make of it, anything? I feel it's a beloved UK cult classic and as such am curious to know - is this film actually any good? Is it well liked? Is it just the music (which is fine but not entirely my cup of tea). I generally love Ken Russell and this has enough of his manic energy that I won't say I was bored by the film, but I was totally bemused.

I was born in 1978 so maybe I'm just too young to tune into whatever frequency it operates on. But it was a big enough deal that I reocnigsed the reference in that one Heavy Metal Dredd story where a pinball playing deaf/dumb/blind kid gets his ehad blown off. Although sadly that didn't happen in the film - instead he got cured and became Jesus??

Film & TV / Larry Cohen
« on: 11 October, 2021, 01:42:06 PM »
Just recently watched Q-the Winged Serpent for the first time and thought it was pretty great but also weird and flawed. It also made me think that, now that I've seen a handful of Larry Cohen wirrten and/or directed films, he's kind of a little ball of 2000ADish filmmaking. You get a lot of blue collar 'heroes' who are often pretty unpleasant people, in sci-fi/fantasy situations, with imagery you almost never see in normal films, overblown dialogue, and it's all a bit scrappy. Almost all his films that I've seen would make great 10-12 part 2000AD series, of the kind that aren't all-time classics but you wish they'd reprint in a floppy at least.

In case anyone doesn't know his work, here's a sample.

It's Alive: a series of new mothers and fathers discover that their newborn offspring are ravenous, carnivorous monsters. But they love them and want to protect them against evil government types.

God Told Me To: a random selection of people are driven to murder because God told them to.

Q: a mad academic blood sacrifices (willing) people to summon the old Aztec god Quetzalcoatl, who appears as a flying serpent that terrorizes New York

The Stuff: a weird alien marshmallow yogurt thing lands on Earth and inflitrates people through being addictively delicious

Maniac Cop: a sort-of undead brute of a Cop goes on a murder spree making even White people scared of the police

-It's notable that none of these synopses give you even the slightest hint of who the main characters are in each story! The plots tend to be happening around the lives of the actual protagonists, who all have their own things going on.

Anyone else a fan of Mr Cohen? Any others of his films I should seek out?

Other Reviews / The most intesne review of Shako you'll ever read
« on: 24 August, 2021, 04:55:51 PM »
Has anyone already posted a link to this article from Shelfdust?

It's nomainally a review of Shako, and it's extraordinary.

Be warned, it's very long, and is only a little bit about Shako. It's mostly an examination of the impact of that time US senators decided to censor horror comics. Still a carcking read, though. Wish I could write reviews like that!

General / The Matt Smith years
« on: 23 March, 2021, 10:49:21 AM »
Quick everyone - what's your favourite Prog from the Matt Smith era of 2000AD (That's listed, officially, as Progs 1274 - today)? He's getting dangerously close to having 1,000 Progs under his belt!

I'm hoping that some of the regular posters here only begun reading the Prog in that time, so their memories of the last 18 years of 2000AD may be that much stronger than my own.

Just to kick things off, some of my top contenders:
1322, 1357, 1502, 1513, 1556, 1631, 1644, 1675, 1760, 1807/1808 (aka the Prog where Trifecta kicked in...), 1845, 1874, 1941, 1969, 2027, 2098, 2137, 2157...

I'll be honest, with the clockwork use of 'jumping on Progs' in this time, there are typically stretches of 5-10 Progs where the contents is basically the same - in those cases I've plumped for my favourite cover. But it's an embarrassment of riches overall - I've only managed to narrow it down to three!

Classifieds / Wanted: Prog 2015 print edition
« on: 29 December, 2020, 04:08:32 PM »
No, not the one with Kingmaker on the cover, the Xmas end-of-year Prog from 2104, with Judge Death's badge on the cover and episode 1 of Dark Justice on the inside.

Seems to be out of stock in print everywhere I can think to look.

Will pay reasonable price + postage to London!

General / Dredd epics ranked
« on: 02 December, 2020, 09:15:53 AM »
This blog has just gone live today:

Mostly for my own amusement, but also because even Judge Dredd doesn't have enough of an internet presence for my tastes. There are websites out there that run down short lists of 'essential Dredd stories', and clearly the people behind them know what they're talking about.
https://io9.gizmodo.com/top-11-essential-judge-dredd-stories-5944097 (a chronological list)
https://vocal.media/geeks/top-10-judge-dredd-stories (plays a little fast and loose with the idea of a single storyline)
https://www.scifinow.co.uk/top-tens/top-10-best-judge-dredd-comic-book-stories/ (best of the bunch I reckon)

But they tend to skew too heavily towards the older epics, and more to the point, why stop at 11 when you easily classify more than 50 stories as 'epic' - in length, if not in brilliance?
Anyway, 3 new posts per week will get us through my ranking by the New Year. My Number 1 won't be much of a surprise, but just maybe the rest of the Top 10 will be...

Books & Comics / Alan Dean Foster
« on: 25 November, 2020, 09:08:31 AM »
Speaking of much-loved creators being screwed over by corporate overlords*, have you guys seen this:

Proper outrageous!

*without wishing to turn this into another thread about Mills vs Big 1 again.

General / It's Dredd, but...
« on: 20 October, 2020, 09:18:29 AM »
So on the Niemand Tapes there's mention of the fact that Megatropolis is a rare example of doing an 'Elseworlds' Dredd strip. There was that one Dredd 'Alternity' Mega Special which is mainly memorable for Simon Jacob doing Dredd as a medieval knight on horseback (and Barnes 'n Hairsine on Dredd of Drokk Green is kinda fun). You can read these in the Restrcited Files 4, should you be intrigued.

But my memory is that right around the time the Megazine got going, there was something of a glut of strips that more or less took the idea of 'the best (and least corrupt) Cop in town' and plonked it down in a variety of settings, to varying degrees of success...

Dredd in Brit-Cit: Armitage
Dredd in Cal-Hab: MacBrayne
Dredd in Hondo City: Shimura/Inaba
Dredd in the Afterlife at the end times: Canon Fodder
Dredd as a sheep in Vegan Europe: Inspector Raam
Dredd in Eco-Hell New York: Trashman Trask

For my money, it's Trashman Trask who is the most Dreddlike, and I'm surely doing a disservice to the creators involved. But the way these characters were advertised, on the other hand...

Any more for any more?

Books & Comics / John Wyndham
« on: 01 October, 2020, 11:14:47 AM »
Just finished reading the Chryslaids with my 10 year-olds. Quite hard work but they liked it, found the evil future society deeply upsetting, as they should!
Now, Wyndham was def. a big deal in UK sci-fi, certainly for children, but it's only now that I noticed quite how much an influence this specific story may have had on Pat Mills re Nemesis the Warlock (it's all about religious zealots rooting out 'deviations') and on John Wagner re Strontium Dog (the mutants in this story all have minor but obvious physical deformities and are shunned by norms, and the odd few have mental powers...)

I kind of assume the book was so well-known in the late 70s that people just took these connections for granted but this specific book seems to have fallen out of fashion nowadays, it's all Triffids and Cuckoos.

General / The nastiest, goriest, most horribile EVER aka Ban this sick filth
« on: 28 September, 2020, 02:36:54 PM »
Fresh off a re-read of Aquila from the Ultiamte Collection, I noticed that the story Charon's Mercy is a strong contender for the nastiest story ever to see print in 2000AD, and that's got to be saying something. The bad guy is a torturer who takes his work to a level that is best described as Human Centipede meets Martyrs. Rennie's descriptions and Davidson's art leave literally nothing to the imagination.

Somehow at the time I didn't notice it, perhaps more struck by yet another nice nod to Blackhawk (by the end of that story, our Hero had half his face sort-of melt; in this story half his face/body are skinned), but it really is strong stuff.

Not complaining! But it did make me wonder if anything has been nastier? I mean, the tradition of torturers in the Prog goes back at least as far as The Fink and Great Uncle Baal, and gorey body horror art goes back all the way to the Visible Man (not to mention dinos and bears munching on people), but Aquila goes that extra mile...

John Wagner turned my stomach some with The Skinning Room and Ratfink; Simon Davis merits consideration for his work on Stone Island, and surely John Smith has to be in the conversation.

What say you?

General / Judge Dredd reading order
« on: 24 August, 2020, 05:32:45 PM »
Partly inspired by Pioneer's thread about recent Dredd stories he's missed, I've had a go at whittling down a bare bones 'what Dredd stories do you have to read to make sense of what's going on from one epic to the next?'
It's a long list, so I've split it into chunks, with so-called mega-epics listed in italics.
I've also included various Anderson and Low Life stories that I think are necessary, and I've tried to keep track of all the stories that show status quo changes for long-running villains Judge Death, Orlok and PJ Maybe.

Phase 1: Dredd's World (Progs 1-86)
Judge Whitey
New You
Statue of Judgement
Robots / Robot War
Academy of Law
Return of Rico
Luna 1
First Luna Olympics
Return to Mega City 1
The Cursed Earth

Phase 2: Mega City 1 (Progs 87-275)
Judge Cal
Judge Minty
Judge Death
The Judge Child
The Fink
Pirates of the Black Atlantic
Unamerican Graffiti
Judge Death Lives
Block Mania
Apocalypse War

Phase 3: Rebuilding (Progs 276-450)
Destiny's Angels
Question of Judgement/Error of Judgement/Case for Treatment
City of the Damned
Anderson, Psi Division: the Four Dark Judges
Midnight Surfer

Phase 4: Around the World (Progs 451-630)
The Warlord / a Chief Judge Resigns
Letter from a Democrat
Anderson, Psi Division: Hour of the Wolf
PJ Maybe, Age 13 / 14
Anderson, Psi Division: Triad
Confeshuns of PJ Maybe

Phase 5: The world turned Upside Down (Progs 631-712)
The Shooting Match
Young Giant
The Dead Man
Theatre of Death
Wot I did during Necropolis

Phase 6: The muscled years (Progs 713-915; Megs 1.1 – 2.60)
The Devil you know / Twilight's last gleaming
Judgement Day
Anderson, Psi Division: Reasons to be Cheerful / The Jesus Syndrome
Mechanismo I / II [Meg]
PJ and the Mock-Choc Factory
Anderson, Psi Division: Childhood's End [Meg]
Purgatory / Inferno
Mechanismo III [Meg]
Conspiracy of Silence
Prologue/Tenth Planet/Wilderlands [Meg]

Phase 7: under new management (Progs 916-1160; Megs 2.61-3.60)
Farewell to the Chief / The Candidates
Bad Frendz
The Cal Files
The Pit
America II [Meg]
Worst of Frendz
Beyond the Call of Duty
The Scorpion Dance
Doomsday [Meg]
Volt Face

Phase 8: Family (Progs 1161-1450; Megs 3.61-240)
The Cal Legacy
Blood Cadets
All new adventures of PJ Maybe / Gunga Dinsdale / Heart of
Sector House
Judge Death: My Name is Death
Sin City (aka Satan's Island)
Blood and Duty
Judge Death: Wilderness Days [Meg]
The Trial of Orlok
The Satanist
Brothers of the Blood
Lowlife: Paranoia
Terror / Total War
After the Bombs
Six [Meg]
The Monsterus Mashinashuns of PJ Maybe
Blood Trails
Matters of Life and Death

Phase 9: Regime change (Progs 1451-1780; Megs 241-320)
Class of '79 (Prog 2006)
The Simping Detective 2 (Megs 234-239)
Cadet [Meg]
The Connection
The Streets of Dan Francisco
The Gingerbread Man
Mutants in Mega-City 1
The Facility / Secret of Mutant Camp 5
Mind Games
The Spirit of Christmas (Prog 2008)
Lowlife: War without Bloodshed [Meg]
Emphatically Evil
(Wot I did for Chrissmass)
The Edgar Case
Low Life: Creation
ToD: The Talented Mayor Ambrose
ToD: Mega City Justice

Phase 10: things get worse... and somehow worse again (Progs 1781-1990; Megs 321-380)
Lowlife: Hostile Takeover / the Deal
Further Dasterdly Deeds of PJ Maybe
Day of Chaos: Nadia
DoC: Fourth Faction
DoC: The Assassination List
DoC: Eve of Destruction
DoC: Tea for Two
DoC: Wot I did during...
Chaos Day

The Days After
The Bean Counter
Family Man
Bullet to King Four
Simping Detective: Jokers to the Right / LowLife:Suadade / The Cold Deck / Trifecta
Dark Justice
Orlok: Agent of East Meg 1
Enceladus I
Blood of Emeralds
Enceladus II
Terror Rising
Serial Serial
Grindstone Cowboys
The Lion's Den

From the Ashes

Phase 11: new normal? (Progs 1991-2200; Megs 381-425)
Carousel [Meg]
Act of Grud
Ape Escape [Meg]
Dark Justice: Dominion [Meg]
Krong Island [Meg]
Dark Justice: Contagion [Meg]
The Small House
Machine Law
The Red Queen [Meg]
End Times

In the final stages I've included the Harry Heston stuff as that's building up into a long ongoing storyline in the Megazine. I've also ignored a bunch of Michael Carroll scripted stuff that will probably turn out to be 'essential' if he ever gets back to his 'Sovs in Mega City 2' stories, his 'MC1 Psi Judge hidden as Chief of Texas City' story or indeed his 'secret gangsters inflitrating Justice Dept' stories - which could all erupt into one mega mega-epic all at once if the mood takes him.

I have a list that's at least twice as long as this one, picking up on more threads, more long-running side characters and such. But the point is really to make the number of stories you 'have' to read be as short as possible! At which I have failed.

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