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Messages - House of Usher

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Prog / Re: Prog 1870 - On Target
« on: 23 February, 2014, 09:31:15 PM »
Great Prog, firing on all cylinders, 7/10, best in weeks.

Prog / Re: Prog 1865: Greetings From the Grey Area
« on: 22 January, 2014, 11:01:24 AM »
The end of 2013 saw the conclusion to several strips I had not been enjoying for weeks, Prog 2014 was really superb, and I was impressed with the New year line-up. Now, however, Ulysses Sweet has started to pall very quickly, Grey Area is thoroughly well realized and professionally written but doesn't excite me - it's an episodic TV drama like Casualty, Cagney & Lacey or CSI, but less gritty. In ABC Warriors it seems that all the work has gone into continuity: the action and dialogue seem improvised. Strontium Dog is definitely the highlight of the Prog.

Judge Dredd has taken a long time to come to the boil. Week after week he was falling through space, so that by the time he hit the ground I had lost interest, and I'm not making that up! There's an awful lot of standard SF plotting whereby the fortress has futuristic electronic security but there's a secret back way hardly anybody knows, which was overlooked at the last security upgrade, and that kind of Warhammer 40K approach of WWI military tactics to fight WW10. This Prog's instalment started badly for me with 'lead' given as the past tense of the verb 'to lead' instead of 'led.' That put me in a bad mood, so I was a bit cross to see Dredd caught unawares and handcuffed to a rail - because he's such a weakling and his reactions are so slow! Why doesn't he retire to teach in the academy? - and when Aimee Nixon turned out to be the villain my reaction was "Dear God, no...." - she's not my favourite, as it happens.

Back to Ulysses Sweet - to see the character again being all psycho and not caring about consequences was quite funny and exhilarating, but week after week of killing dolphins and beating up hippies is just... old. It's got too much of an eighties vibe, and this was done to death by Lobo in the nineties (except he loved dolphins). This kind of mayhem was done comprehensively and with more wit in the adventures of D.R. & Quinch. Why is it funny in 2014 to immolate people who meditate? Are New Agers really so threatening to rationality and materialism? Does their worldview represent such an orthodoxy it needs to be challenged, ballistically? Is it funnier because they don't fight back, and if so, what does that say about the reader?

Prog / Re: Prog 1860 - Battle Stations
« on: 01 December, 2013, 11:27:06 PM »
I hate to be 'that guy' (but, yeah, I am him): but in Brass Sun, what exactly did our heroes smell of that would have attracted sky sharks? I don't remember seeing them wash during their journey. Maybe they did, maybe they didn't, I wasn't counting. However, whatever they washed with must be strong perfume if they haven't sweated it off with all the running and fighting. Also, why did they need to be drenched in stale piss? If there's a bucket of stale piss right where they're sitting, wouldn't it be enough to mask their odour? And how come this shark can't locate potential prey by the strong smell of piss coming off it? While I'm at it, if the captives are so much 'dead weight,' why did their captors bother picking them up in the first place instead of robbing them and leaving them where they found them?

Prog / Re: Prog 1855: Killing Grounds
« on: 24 October, 2013, 12:29:49 AM »
Dark Jimbo already said most of what needs to be said for me, too. But I will add...

Judge Dredd: I can't really see why desolate areas are drawing migrants to them when there are plenty of underpopulated built-up areas going begging. Also, the diseases among the displaced persons aren't very futuristic. We don't normally hear a lot about cholera in the Dredd universe. Dysentery, on the other hand, is classified by symptoms and can be caused by various pathogenic organisms. If anything, there'd likely be more and various causes of dysentery in Dredd's world than exist at present. But I still don't buy the premise of ruins attracting migrants more than rebuilt sectors where there's food, work and medicine.

Brass Sun: As per Dark Jimbo, I'm getting Gormenghast vibes, which started coming through stronger first with climbing out a window and up or down a wall on creepers to escape, and now the enormous library devoted to ritualized dynastic hagiography and maintained by a rigid caste system.

Flesh: I'm not heavily invested in this strip. I enjoy it for its spontaneity, mayhem, carnage and slapstick, and I've learned not to care about plot or character. I didn't find much to enjoy about this week's; the daftness and archness of last week's appealed to me a lot more.

Aquila: Intelligent comics, taken seriously and done right, and beautifully illustrated.

Damnation Station: Not a barrel of laughs. I don't feel I know any of the characters, so I can't identify them or worry about anything bad happening to them. After what happened to that guy this week, I just want whatever does happen to them to be quick. I get the message that war is hell, but it seems as though so is the whole universe this story inhabits. Where do you go to get away from it, and what would be the point? I miss the soap opera dimension the story had when the characters at least had a precarious base to return to between suicide missions.

Prog / Re: Prog 1854 - The Original Troublemaker
« on: 13 October, 2013, 06:38:54 PM »
It is a good Prog. JamesC sums it up pretty well. Nothing especially uneven about this one - it's one of those 'firing on all cylinders' Progs. And Flesh made me laugh with its audacity. As JamesC said, it's got quite a Future Shock feel to it. I kept being reminded of Glenn Quagmire.


Prog / Re: Prog 1853 - King of the wild frontier!
« on: 08 October, 2013, 07:38:05 AM »
I found Prog 1853 quite a hard read, which required actual effort, like a broadsheet newspaper, an electronics manual or a long poem by Alexander Pope. It more than lived up to the adage about being 'not just for kids,' although 'not at all accessible to kids' might be more apt, dinosaurs excepted.

Aquila is top thrill of the moment. It's absolutely extraordinary. I like the expanded cast.
Judge Dredd had some great moments of invention, like flying the tank backwards and improvised artillery. The latter was the kind of surprise shock 2000ad used to deliver every story, every Prog when I first got hooked on it as a nipper.
Flesh is a load of old cobblers, but still makes an entertaining read, however much it feels like I'm slumming it.
Damnation Station doesn't thrill me much; best instalment this series was the Russian priest one-off, all the better for bitterly satirizing events unfolding in contemporary Russia and the Church's shameful role in them.
Brass Sun has me sighing heavily. I couldn't not read it having bought the Prog, could I?

Off Topic / Re: Stupid things people have actually said to you.
« on: 18 June, 2013, 10:03:14 AM »
At an examiners' meeting....

Me: I'm applying for secondary school teaching jobs.
Teacher: What are you doing now?
Me: I'm a home tutor.
Teacher: Oh! That must be really nice.
Me: It is, but it doesn't pay well. I'd like to earn twice as much as I earn from home tutoring.
Teacher: [incredulous] So why do you want to be a school teacher???
Me: Because if I were a school teacher I'd be earning twice what I earn now.

And she's the school teacher. Your kids' education is in very safe hands. Really.

Prog / Re: Prog 1835: Backblast!
« on: 02 June, 2013, 09:27:19 PM »
The Dredd had a solid ending, I for one am not too fussed if the science doesn't match up with 21st Century science, cos ya know Sci-Fi and all that.

It's a bit more complicated than that, but yeah.

Specifically, C21st XY females are infertile, but C22nd XY female (judges) aren't.

Off Topic / Re: Stupid things people have actually said to you.
« on: 02 June, 2013, 12:59:41 AM »
Arse scratcher?

Off Topic / Re: Stupid things people have actually said to you.
« on: 01 June, 2013, 10:35:13 PM »
Not so much stupid as baffled due to old age. A well-spoken old lady came in the hardware shop for a natter and a sit down while she tried to remember what she came in for. She went on about immigration and the importance of the English language and how it has changed over time, talking to me and the shopkeeper.

Old Lady: "Well, of course, it was Chaucer, you see, whose writing had the greatest effect on standardizing the English language."

Me: "It's funny you should say that, because I have an exam on Chaucer next Thursday."

Old Lady: "Really? What's the book?"

Me: "The Wife of Bath's Tale."

Old Lady: "I don't know that one."

Me: "It's from Canterbury Tales."

Old lady: "I haven't heard of it. I expect it must be very good though."

Prog / Re: Prog 1817
« on: 22 March, 2013, 01:51:31 PM »
Query about 'Ampney Crucis Investigates': the Prime Minister bears the likeness of a 1970s/80s TV and film actor, doesn't he? Any ideas who I'm thinking of and what he was in?

It was Richard Vernon I was thinking of! http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0894710/

He was Startibartfast in The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy and Lord Bartlesham in Ripping Yarns as well as being in Nanny, The Duchess of Duke Street, Yes Minister and episodes of various drama and adventure series over 5 decades playing aristocrats and military officers.

Prog / Re: Prog 1824 - Back of Beyond!
« on: 18 March, 2013, 11:13:26 AM »
What a superb Prog!

Stickleback is undoubtedly the star turn. I'm not an especial fan of the character, but the world he lives in is good value (in Paddington Bear's sense of the term) and just got even more interesting (I mean fascinating).

This instalment of Judge Dredd is better than 'Wolves' for my money. Deporting former Sov citizens to East-Meg 2 in exchange for food didn't add up for me. Re-settling them all in Mega-City 2 is a very interesting premise. However, I cannot recall what state Mega-City 2 was in last time we saw it or what jurisdiction it was under.

The current Tharg's (three-wheelers?) serial is a bit of a slow burner for me. It reminds me (so far) of Tales from the Flat by Laurence Powell and Oliver Lambden, so it doesn't feel like reading anything new (yet).

Prog / Re: Prog 1820: Sins of The Flesh
« on: 26 February, 2013, 08:56:18 PM »
The three pop-culture-tastic refs I picked up in this weeks fabarooney Ampney
Does the Jerry Cornelius referencing title of the story (and its immediate predecessor) not count as pop culture? Something about multiverses I imagine but can't quite decide what.

Aye.  The titles, combined with Ampney's Pater being one Cornelius Crucis, acknowledge the debt to Moorcock's entropy-riddled reality-hopping sometime-agent, and by extension the steampunky shenanigans of Talbot's Luther Arkwright.  Also, they were always somewhat better titles than books, so no harm giving them another outing!

You mean "is the title Ampney Crucis Intestigates: The Entropy Tango a reference to the title of the anthology-novel The Entropy Tango by Michael Moorcock?"

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