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Topics - Robin Low

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Other Reviews / Monster Fun - Halloween Spooktacular 2022
« on: 23 October, 2022, 12:27:10 PM »
So, I've been keeping up buying the hardcopy of this for The Leopard from Lime Street, even though I expect it will all be collected at some point.

I was saddened to see a change in artist on the strip. This comes with the usual caveat that no disrespect is intended to Nick Roche's ability. It's rather that I feel Laurent Lefeuvre's has a stronger continuity with the original and I preferred its atmosphere.

Regardless, I'm glad to see this comic continuing. Would I buy it as a weekly? Probably not, as there's not enough to interest me, but every few months I'm happy to support it. Kid Kong and Frankie Stein work best for me, both in terms of art and writing.



Books & Comics / Kevin Maguire's art
« on: 23 March, 2022, 08:01:18 AM »
On a roleplaying forum I'm on, I'm reading a thread about it being 35 years since Justice League International, the only incarnation that matters. Obviously, the wonderful art of Kevin Magiure has been mentioned, and somebody posted this, which I've never seen:

I've said it before and I'll say it again, I'll pay serious money to see Maguire's Dredd... and Johnny Alpha for that matter. Hell, an anniversary cover with Dredd, Alpha, Anderson, Nemesis, Hammerstein, Jones, Slade (Sam, although the band might be fun)), Dante, Zenith, Garp, and Slaine would be incredible.

In fact, this got me thinking about themes:

Aliens of 2000AD: Nemesis and Grobbendonk, Ace Garp and crew, Shakara, Proteus Vex

Women of 2000AD: Anderson, Hershey, McGruder, Beeny, Maitland, Durham Red, Purity Brown, Naimh, Elena Kurakin, Halo Jones, Samantha Slade.

Robots of 2000AD: All of the ABC Warriors... with a very nervous Walter, Hoagy and Stogie in the foreground.



Books & Comics / Essential Judge Dredd Sale
« on: 06 January, 2022, 08:42:18 AM »
[Forget this - just read the contents and saw it isn't the whole America series]

Until I recently saw a copy of the The Apocalypse War, I didn't realise the Essential series was in a large format. So I'm slightly tempted.

However, before I buy yet another version, does the Essential America fix the missing speech bubble in America 2?



General / Probably going digital
« on: 30 December, 2021, 10:09:25 AM »
As with a few others, I'm not getting much enjoyment out of 2000AD and the Meg these days, no doubt due to being old and jaded. They're taking up a lot of space, too. However, whether due to addiction or OCD it's hard to quit, and the cheaper, space-saving compromise is to go digital.


I'm going to be reading on my PC. If I take out a digital subscription, do I have to pick one specific format to download or can I have both? Is there any advantage to CBZ over PDF when viewing on PC?



Books & Comics / Tom Paterson Collection
« on: 01 September, 2021, 09:33:05 PM »
Well, I was tempted by the exclusive webshop cover edition (I've been getting most of the other exclusives), but I thought the standard edition just had a lot more going on, so I went for that.

I'm posting this mainly because I would really like to have an Ian Knox collection. It would be great to reread all the Pongo Snodgrass stuff again. I used to love all those toadstools and nasty niffs.



Creative Common / Another Dredd Script (long post)
« on: 24 August, 2020, 08:51:24 AM »
I wrote this last year. I was going to post it a couple of months ago, but discovered that the forum wouldn't allow it as an attachment. I wondered about posting it as a page a post, but then decided just to dump it here in one post. Having gone through it and done a lot of underlining, I find I don't have the patience right now to go through and do all the bolding for emphasis - you can decide for yourselves.

The story is a response to my own feelings about The Samaritan storyline and features the Doctor McGruder character I used in the Dane story I posted a while back.

As always, all comment welcome, for good or ill.

A six-page story for Judge Dredd by Robin Low
With acknowledgment and apologies to Kenneth Niemand

Doctor McGruder: The slightly younger sister of the late Chief Judge McGruder. Imagine what McGruder might have looked like if she’d never taken the Long Walk, 70+ years old, but with white hair, pulled severely back in a ponytail. Straight-backed and serious. Very fit and healthy for her age.  White Howie lab coat (http://www.kit.ie/products/product_detail/howie-coat), but only coming down as far as her upper thighs. Red trousers, red judge boots and gloves.  Carries a walking stick, but doesn’t look like she needs it. (The stick is essentially a Hondo City Judge’s tendo stave, but with the handle looking like an eagle with its wings swept back.) Her badge and chain are red. She carries a small, thigh-holstered handgun, the Medgiver (red metal, with a stubby muzzle like a small mushroom and a revolver-like cylinder – it’s a combination stun/needle gun). Other trivial details could include large round white earrings bearing a red eagle symbol.



The psi-vaults, rows of tanks in the background (see final page of JD: The Samaritan part four, Prog 2139 for reference). Judge McGruder and Judge Anderson are flanked by two serious-looking helmeted Med Judges. McGruder is showing a slim tablet device to a Psi-Tek at a desk. They all look like they mean business.

TEXT BOX: The Psi-Vaults.

MCGRUDER: Unit 73-B. The Samaritan. Release to Med-Division authorised by the Chief Judge. Get her unhooked and fit for transport. Now.


The nervous Psi-Tek examines the tablet.

PSI-TEK: But … she’s Dredd’s informant. He’ll cube us! If we’re lucky!


McGruder leans in close to the intimidated Psi-Tek, placing her gun and her walking stick on the Psi-Tek’s desk.

MCGRUDER: Son, I respect what you do, but I’m a Senior Judge. Do as you’re told or I’ll stun you. Annoy me, and I’ll do it with my stick.


Anderson leans in close to the Psi-Tek, smiling.

ANDERSON: And I’ll make you quack like a duck.


The Samaritan’s body has been removed and is inside a smaller transport tank on a futuristic medical trolley. The two mean looking Med Judges are wheeling her out the vaults. McGruder is signing something on the tablet device for the Psi-Tek. Anderson is also leaving with a cheery wave.

MCGRUDER: Thanks for your assistance, Cass. I’ll call you later to take her out of the psi-coma.

ANDERSON: Happy to help, Berenice. She’s had it rough, but she’s a strong one.


McGruder is handing the tablet back to the Psi-Tek.

MCGRUDER: Dredd gives you any trouble, son, refer the old bastard to me.



A large, bright operating theatre, with lots of machines and medical devices. The Samaritan is still in the transport tank, with Med Judge One examining readouts. McGruder is stood with Med Judge Two.

TEXT BOX: Med-Division – Biomechanics

MED JUDGE ONE: Body’s still stable. Brain activity is in coma minimal.

MCGRUDER: Good. Prep her surgery.


Med Judge Two and McGruder, talking.

MED JUDGE TWO: What about Dredd?

MCGRUDER: Don’t worry. They’ll be too scared to tell him quickly and he’ll be too busy to come right away. We have time.


McGruder and her surgical team of three or four others are dressed for surgery. The unconscious Samaritan is out of her tank and on the operating table, still connected to all the metal and tubes we saw in Prog 2139, as referenced above.


MCGRUDER: Alright, pay attention. This is a complex job, but we need to be fast. I expect us at the top of our game.

MCGRUDER: Now, let’s get the replacement out.


TEXT BOX: Day Two.

McGruder’s in her office at her desk, looking at reports. One of the Med Judges has entered and is carrying a large tablet.

MED JUDGE: She’s stable in the psi-coma. Other vital signs exactly as we’d want them.

MCGRUDER: Good. Keep me apprised. And keep the guards on her room.


McGruder is doing ward rounds. She’s checking on Judges who have had various mechanical body replacements. Some are in bed, some are up and walking (or limping) around.

TEXT BOX: Day Three.


Pretty much the same image from Panel FOUR, except the Med Judge is replaced with an angry-looking Dredd entering her office.

TEXT BOX: Day Four

DREDD: McGruder…

MCGRUDER: Good morning, Joe. You took your time.

DREDD: Been busy. What the hell are you playing at?


McGruder and Dredd are face to face. She’s smiling. She’s not intimidated by him in the slightest.

MCGRUDER: Let’s take a walk to the gym. Bring your daystick.



Dredd and McGruder are in the gym, squaring off. Both are now in vest tops. Dredd has his daystick and McGruder has her walking stick, which as I mentioned looks rather like a Hondo City Judge’s tendo stave. McGruder is a tall, skinny old bird, all wiry muscle (think Iggy Pop)

MCGRUDER: Remember I was on sabbatical in Hondo when you saved Margie from the needle?

MCGRUDER: All these years and I never properly thanked you. Remiss of me.


Dredd and McGruder trade a few blows.

DREDD: Why’d you steal my informant? She’s a valuable asset.

MCGRUDER: Asset? You’d have died in that alley, but she saved you!

DREDD: She broke the law. I warned her not to run.


McGruder ducks a swing from Dredd and whacks him in the butt with her stick. (Hitting him in the butt with her stick is significant.)

MCGRUDER: You know what, Joe? I think you got old and sloppy… got shot by a two-bit punk!

MCGRUDER: Then you tank the girl who saved you to prove you’re as tough and mean as ever!


Dredd is annoyed. He gets a blow in on McGruder.

DREDD: You a shrink now too, McGruder?


Another strong blow from Dredd, but McGruder blocks it.

MCGRUDER: You’re a soldier and a detective. Med Judges are versatile, too.


Dredd gets in a good blow and sends McGruder flying.

DREDD: Yeah, but you’re no Street Judge!


I’m seeing Panels One, Two and Three viewed in profile, all with McGruder lying on the ground, but propping herself up on her elbows.


Dredd stood on the left with McGruder lying on the ground, but propping herself up on her elbows looking at Dredd.

DREDD: Still think I’m old and sloppy, McGruder?


McGruder is still in exactly the same position as before, but Dredd is starting to wobble and fall backwards.


McGruder is still in exactly the same position as before, and Dredd is lying flat out unconscious on the floor.

MCGRUDER: Frankly, Joe, yes.


A private room, Dredd is lying on a hospital bed, still in his vest, his arms folded. He seems more grumpy than angry. McGruder is sat on a chair (perhaps Dredd’s jacket and badge draped across the back) by the bed. McGruder looking slightly smug.

TEXT BOX: A few hours later…

DREDD: It was when you hit me in the butt, wasn’t it?

MCGRUDER: Yes, it’s an old doctor’s trick. The blow numbs you to the needle.


Focus on McGruder

MCGRUDER: Now listen, Joe. The man who cared about my mad sister is not the kind of man who traps good people in hell as departmental assets.


Dredd sat up on the edge of the bed, pulling on his jacket. McGruder is on the way out the door, looking back.

MCGRUDER: Take a couple of days. Think about it. Doctor’s Orders. I trust you to do the right thing.



Another private bedroom. The Samaritan is sat up in bed, wearing a hospital gown. She looks fully restored, perhaps a slightly younger version of herself. She’s had a full body transplant. Cassandra Anderson is sat on one side of the bed. Across the room, McGruder is stood halfway through the door.

TEXT BOX: A couple of days…

MCGRUDER: More visitors. Brace yourself, girl!


Dredd and Judge Rico, stood side by side, looking out of place and uncomfortable. The Samaritan nervously pulls her bed sheets up to her chest, eye wide, frightened. Anderson places a comforting hand on her shoulder.

ANDERSON: It’s okay, honey, they’re cool.

MCGRUDER: They both have things to say to you. Rico?


Focus on Dredd and Rico, side by side.

RICO: Sorry I shot you up so bad. We’re trained to make the kill shot, but I didn’t understand the situation. It was overkill.


Focus on Dredd and Rico side by side.

DREDD: You saved my life. Thank-you. Putting you in the tank was a mistake and I apologise.


Focus on Dredd and Rico side by side, heads turned to face each other.


Focus on Dredd and Rico side by side, face turned forward again as in Panels Three and Four.

DREDD AND RICO (simultaneously):  Umm… Get well soon.



The three women left alone in the room. The Samaritan looking from Anderson to McGruder, utterly shocked and bewildered.

THE SAMARITAN: What … what the hell was that?

ANDERSON: Those were apologies. I got one once, too. Kinda scary.

MCGRUDER: And when men like them apologise, you can know they’re sincere.


Focus on McGruder.

MCGRUDER: Time to move on. You, my girl, have a new force-grown clone body. It’s compensation… but also an obligation.


McGruder hands the Samaritan a small, unmarked white box.

MCGRUDER: Dredd was right on one score. You’re an asset. So we’re making you a Judicial Associate.


MCGRUDER: You’ll work for Med- and Psi-Div, mentored by us. We’ll develop your obvious talents.

ANDERSON: We won’t lock you way. You’ll get out on the streets, work cases with us. Help people. It’ll be hard work, but worth it.


THE SAMARITAN: I’m guessing this is an offer I can’t refuse.

MCGRUDER: You’d be a damn fool if you did, and I wouldn’t have gone to this trouble if I thought you were.

ANDERSON: Yeah, Dredd doesn’t pull his punches…


Close up of the box McGruder gave the Samaritan. It’s open, in her hands and contains a silver Judge’s badge sat on red satin with the name SAM (or SAMARA, perhaps?) on it.

VOICE FROM OUT OF PANEL: Welcome to Justice Department.


General / Art by AI
« on: 27 April, 2020, 05:27:24 PM »
Came across this website selling "AI" created art:


The process involved is described here:


This led me to wondering what sort of interesting things might be created if 'the Critic' was only exposed to panels of comic art by one artist, say Kevin O'Neill or Massimo Belardinelli.



Creative Common / Any good books on writing comics?
« on: 05 October, 2019, 07:01:19 PM »
I see there are a few books about how to write comics, but are there any good ones?

Having previously read or skimmed various how-to-write books, I don't have much optimism, but I thought I'd ask. Like most things in life I expect the trick is to just get off one's fucking arse and do it, then listen to constructive or fair criticism, then get on and do it some more, rinse and repeat.



Books & Comics / Time for Lights Out by Raymond Briggs
« on: 07 September, 2019, 09:33:19 AM »
Just spotted this:


When Briggs eventually and extremely sadly ends up on the RIP thread he's going to be one of the greatest losses to British literature, and in that I include fantasy, comics, children's books, auto/biography, social commentary, poetry...

He'll be praised, but nowhere near enough.



Creative Common / Judge Dredd Script
« on: 12 July, 2019, 02:41:05 PM »
Okay, biting the bullet here. I've had a Dredd script sitting on the hard drive for a more than a few years now. It's not intended for any kind of submission and there are undoubtedly any number of problems with it. For example, what's the best use of bolded text? In my effort to minimise the number of words per balloon have I sucked the life out of it or lost any distinctiveness the characters' voices might have had? Similarly, by trying to reduce the number of balloons per panel, have I lost panels that could have been put to better use? And it's an unashamed exercise in fanwank.

The biggest problem (for me anyway) is how to handle the action on page five. It's a matter of physically positioning the characters in a logical way and doing so while leaving the final two panels as they are. So, I've decided the best thing to do is let others have a look at it, especially the artists around here as they're the ones who'd have to handle it.

I'd much rather have fixed the problem before releasing it into the wild, but what the hell. At least it's better than the half-arsed future shock I sent to Gordon Rennie 20 years ago.



News / Judge Dredd Kickstarter
« on: 26 September, 2018, 09:34:27 AM »
I looked in Announcements, News and Games, but couldn't see anything about this. Was I being blind?

Anyway, here's the link. Funded in 9 minutes apparently.


Looks very nice, but probably too crunchy for my tastes. Tempted though.



Music / Live Fast and Die Young
« on: 25 November, 2017, 12:54:49 PM »
Rather like this Sparks track from their new album Hippopotamus:


and this version is possibly better:


And I can't get this out of my head at the moment:




General / Missing speech bubble in America II
« on: 08 September, 2017, 05:00:27 PM »
This was something that was bugging me for a few years, but because the comics were in the attic and then the books in storage following a house move it was a while before I was able to check. I was pretty certain that a fairly important bit of dialogue was missing from America II Fading of the Light in the Rebellion edition that collects all three America stories (I don't know about other editions), and it turned out I was right. I did mention it to another member of the forum a few years ago, so if this is already generally known I missed the discussion.

Assuming folks are not aware, it's a bit in part three (#22 Megazine 22 Oct 1996). It's the penultimate panel of page 6 where Dredd is laying into Boyce for failing to prevent the assault on Beeny:


To my mind this is an important bit of dialogue regarding Dredd's idea of what a Judge should be as well as his sense of what is right and what is wrong. It's kind of annoying it's missing in the collected edition.

I'm curious about the circumstances that led to a single speech bubble vanished from a panel.



Off Topic / InspiroBot
« on: 30 June, 2017, 09:30:24 PM »
Dunno if anyone can remember the randomly generated albums thread of nearly a decade ago, but this is almost as good:




Off Topic / Press a Button, Get a Power
« on: 08 June, 2017, 07:11:01 AM »
Press the button, but only once:


I got:


I'm quite happy with that.



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