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Topics - Tjm86

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Prog / Dredd: The Citadel
« on: 23 April, 2022, 11:42:26 AM »

Reading “The Citadel” over the past few weeks has been a jarring experience.  On the surface there are aspects of the story that don’t sit well.  As a tale based in the AW, the visuals seem more fitting with current Dredd rather than those we all know from Ezquerra’s work in particular.  The cowardice and ineptitude of the Citi-Def contrasts with the actions of many as narrated in AW.  The cadets don’t carry the same callous indifference that many pre-AW tales showed us. In short, a lot of details don’t quite fit with what we remember of MC1 at that time.

Maybe it is being currently immersed in research into an assignment relating to Trauma and memory but going back over the story from the perspective of issues regarding memory puts a different spin on this.  The reconstructive nature of autobiographical memory, imperfections, distortions, guesses and gaps … all for normal memory.  Traumatic memory fits within this framework but there is a lot of research into how suggestion and mental health issues can add to the complexity.

So coming at the story from this perspective, it becomes a far more interesting piece.  It feels like perhaps Wagner is trying to say something about how we understand Dredd himself and his world.  Taking us back to what is considered an iconic story that is often used as a gold-standard for judging others is possibly intentional.  Certainly it would be interesting to have a conversation with him about some of these ideas.

Other Reviews / Kree / Skrull war
« on: 26 December, 2021, 08:26:29 AM »
All things considered, I'm a little surprised that I've never gotten around to reading this.  Possibly down to the age and the fact that it is from a Marvel era that I don't always get on with.

The one thing that does surprise me is how densely packed it is.  Story threads related to the Kree and Skrulls tie in to the Inhumans, Captain Marvel, Ronan the Accuser ... all before the midway point.  In some respects it feels more like someone has packaged these issues together under the Kree / Skrull war banner rather than that it was planned as a standalone story.

The team of Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch and Vision is sparse but supported by Ant Man / YellowJacket, Wasp and Goliath before shifting to the classic Thor, Cap, Iron Man.  Then you throw in cameos from Carol Danvers and the FF.  All adding to the volume!

The artwork is definitely of its age, particularly the Buscema segments.  Some very Kirby-esque cosmic sequences.  Plus you have Neal Adams' segments.  The 'chapter' with Antman navigating Vision's innards to diagnose him is quite something (it also reminds me of Wilson's work on Rogue Trooper with the rogue AI system).

It is easy to see why this tale is so highly regarded.  It is not perfect to be sure but there is an awful lot to commend it.  I don't know about others but I find with Marvel that there are absolute gems at times, albeit few and far between.  Personally I would put it in that category. 

General / Forum Favourite Quiz suggestions.
« on: 08 November, 2021, 10:34:18 AM »
The most recent round got me thinking (yes, dangerous I know!).  So a suggestion for an upcoming face-off ... Strips from Regened.  [or is that too controversial?]

News / Legends of Luther Arkwright
« on: 31 October, 2021, 07:10:55 PM »
Trying very hard not to geek out over the news that the new volume of Luther Arkwright now has a release date ...

Pity that there are different UK / US publishers as having one Dark Horse and one Jonathan Cape volume would be slightly problematic.  I'm still looking at a reliable source for the Grandville Integrale because of this.

News / Mike McMahon Apex Edition - October 2022
« on: 12 September, 2021, 09:04:28 AM »
Looks like the fevered speculation is coming true.  Down The Tubes is reporting the publication of the McMahon Apex Edition!

TBH I've been in two minds with the Bolland edition, not least with some of the responses in some quarters.  This one though .... especially if it carries some of his Block Mania stuff!

If this were to carry on then I would dearly love to see an Apex Edition of the Apocalypse War.  That would be a dream volume.  Something I doubt will ever see the light of day though.  :-(

Prog / Prog 2246 Regened - It's a Monster
« on: 22 August, 2021, 06:48:09 AM »
Well, another Regened arrives.  As with previous RP's (Regened Progs), this does feel like a bit of a mixed bag.  There are clear strengths and potential returners.  We've had stronger ones but there are enough positives for it to have a shot at strong runner up.

Cadet Dredd - The Block With No Name.  A bit of an Oliver Twist type tale from Johnson and Redhead.  A nice variation on the normal theme exploring Rico's slow descent.  In some respects it also harks back to the early days of Dredd as a 'one and done'.  Possibly the weaker strip of this prog but mainly because of some of what follows.

Mayflies - The Way Forward.  Carroll and Coleby rather unsurprisingly is the stand-out for this issue.  Coleby is clearly making the world of Rogue Trooper his own between this and Jaegir.  Teague's colour palette is an interesting choice in comparison with that of the Jaegir strip, muted and simple.  Carroll's plot is also politically timely.

'Splorers - Rennie, Beeby and Googe's Survival Geeks spin-off is another that shows potential.  The relative predictability of the plot is offset by the usual selection of in-jokes from nerd culture.  As usual, Googe's artistic sensibilities serve the tale well.

Future Shocks - an interesting tale from Stock and Roberts.  FS's are, as we all know, notoriously difficult despite the simple format.  You know, set up a scenario, throw in a bit of action and then deliver a punchline that has potentially been telegraphed from the word go and seems obvious at the end but ties everything off neatly.  To be fair it does this well.

Chopper - Barnett and Roche take this back to the earliest days of the character and the strip is replete with nods to his first appearance.  In honesty on a first reading it left me cold.  Going back to it again though, it's clearly a stronger strip than it appears.  Once the fourth wall is left alone and it concentrates on telling its tale properly it works far better.  Roche's artwork is well suited to it.

As we've previously said, Regened is starting to find a more consistent voice.  We now have a growing body of material that has potential for future development.  It also feels like artistically the RP is finding a more consistent feel, balancing the sensibilities of a chronologically diverse audience with that of the strips themselves. 

Given the steady development trajectory it may well be that it won't be long before this becomes strong enough to try to spin off and run on its own.  Mind you, as has been frequently observed around these parts, that would be quite a challenge in the current media landscape. 

Off Topic / The Dry Dog Thread
« on: 28 June, 2021, 11:56:44 AM »
There are times when it feels a little like this forum is an extension of MIND with all the 'baggage' that a lot of us bring.  Linked to that then is the issue of 'self-medication' and particularly its potential overuse.  I doubt I'm alone in this regard but I know how much of a challenge it can be fighting it back.

So I'm setting myself (and anyone who wishes to join in) a challenge ... to stay 'dry' for as long as possible.  Starting today and counting on.  Target 1 - one week.  Given that this covers a weekend as well ...

I know that it doesn't take much at the moment to push me in the wrong direction and even this small target is likely to be a major challenge at the moment but what's life without challenges (anyone ever finds out, please let me know!)

Prog / Prog 2234: Plummet of the Ape
« on: 29 May, 2021, 11:58:51 AM »
Well, looks like the Judge Dredd Megazine is early this month.  At least it feels that way with the line up this week.  Dredd, Department K, Chimpsy ... definitely a Dreddworld heavy prog.  Feral and Foe / Mechistopheles make for an interesting contrast but again the similarities are obvious with those two.

Weston's script and art on Dredd serves up a cracking one-and-done that brings down the house on ol' Rowdy Yates.  Nice nod back to a seminal moment in Dredd's history too ... "No Dredd - I'm with Rowdy Yates!" 

Department-K looks like its serving up an answer to the question of where it might be going with the idea.  Plenty of standard MC-1 insanity with the staring contest backdrop to the setup.  Cornwall delivers visuals with his usual panache and this looks like it may well live up to the early potential.

Chimpsky's Law: The Talented Mr Chimpsky looks like it may well be taking some of the concerns about the character seriously.  Turning his attention to off-world problems deals with the problem of running up against Dredd time and again which, as has been observed before, is only likely to end one way.  Niemand Holden serve up a quality opener that reminds readers of the character, serves up the 'historical' context and sets the scene for the tale. 

Mechistopheles shares similar traits to Dep-K and Chimpsky, plenty of scene setting and recapping.  Boo Cook's artwork suits the strip perfectly.  For those struggling to remember the previous series (guilty as charged) this month's meg floppy covers that for you.  Personally the last outing didn't overly enthral but maybe this one will change that.

... and rounded out with Feral and Foe, the one where everyone is swapped back ... Bit of a talking heads episode with the usual flippancy thrown in for good measure.  For all that this is midway through the tale, as with much of the prog this week there is quite a bit of setting up the next act.  TBH I've lost the thread a little on this.  Feel like I need to go back and re-read the tale so far so in some respects it's just as well that this treads water the way it does.

All this, a letters page and Tharg pays his respects to Bolt too.

Prog / Prog 2233:Regened - Ready to face the law?
« on: 22 May, 2021, 11:04:53 AM »
This has to be the strongest Regened prog yet.  A roster of top artists and quality writing definitely help.  Bringing out some of the best strips we’ve seen to date for another outing though, that has to be the real treat.

Cadet Dredd continues the exploration of Rico’s steady fall from grace.  Lynch’s artwork has come a long way from the early Orlok stuff and Boswell’s colours bring out the highlights.  Overall a quality outing for the title.  The same can be said for Scott and Davidson’s take on Anderson.  A potential alien invasion, rookie judge and some misdirection all coming together well.

Future Shocks is a nice topical one as Wall-E Expectation introduces the universe to anti-social media.  The punchline is set up well and delivered with aplomb.  For a FS it works quite well which is no small achievement.

Pandora Perfect and Department K round out the prog with two tales that establish the potential longevity of these two strips.  Plenty of slapstick and confusion for the hapless con-artist take on Mary Poppins.  Interesting to see that Department K decided to skip the whole Sliders rip-off.  Interesting to see what McConville has planned for future outings after this.

I think that it is fair to say that this is truly an ‘all-ages’ prog.  It doesn’t try to force the issue as has been the case with some of the earlier ones.  Possibly on balance it is tilted more toward older readers but not excessively so.  It does seem that it is finally finding its voice properly, building on the strengths of Tooth for a new generation of readers.

Classifieds / TJM86's redundancy sale
« on: 12 May, 2021, 04:12:10 PM »
Hi folks, so it has happened this time.  Just what you need as the country is coming out of a global pandemic.  So much for being in a nice secure public sector job.  Hey ho.

Anyway, as a result, I'm looking to shift bits and pieces to lay up financial reserves for the long job hunt.

I'll be adding bits and pieces in as I sort through but starting off will be any of the Judge Dredd mega collection (up to issue 80).  At £5 each including p&p.

Also reluctantly parting with Colin Wilson Original Rogue Trooper artwork from prog 267, closing page.  I will sort out pic to go with this.  £750 plus insured postage.  Would be willing to arrange midpoint collection depending on distance travelled.

Will be adding various and sundry Tooth related items over coming days.

Thanks folks.

Website and Forum / Argumentation
« on: 02 April, 2021, 07:39:14 AM »
Well, I know that we have the 'healthy forum' thread and there is a general consensus about the nature of this place but a couple of recent 'thread locks' have got me thinking.  We're a broad church as a whole with an array of different backgrounds and experiences.  Ironically we are all linked by a passion for a comic featuring a fascist police officer but hey ho ...

What I'm wondering about is how we manage our differences effectively.  One thing that we've always done pretty well is 'self-moderation'.  Granted there have been folks through the years that have fallen by the way-side for various reasons.  Generally though discussions, debates and disagreements have been managed fairly well.

Yet a couple of times lately strongly held positions have pushed things to the limit and in one or two cases, beyond.  So I guess my question is this: is this merely an historical aberration, a sign of the febrile times that we live in that is taxing our psychological reserves?

As a corollary, how do we manage our debates and arguments in a text-based environment that lacks the additional cues that normally inform debate (as someone who struggles with that in RL courtesy of MHC, this one makes me laugh)?  Or is it simply safer not to have these types of discussions and stick with the old "never discuss religion or politics ..." (or various related topics) rule?

News / Brian Bolland Apex Edition
« on: 08 March, 2021, 12:59:55 PM »
Just stumbled across this little piece of new, an Apex edition of Bolland's work!


Nice.  If they decide to do the same for the Apocalypse War then I'm selling my granny!

Off Topic / Ranking Competitions Ranked!
« on: 03 March, 2021, 02:25:15 PM »
Well, seeing as we love these types of threads so much I though it might be an idea to have a competition to see which is the best ranking competition.  Have you ranked enough yet or do you think you could go for a few more?

What are your top three Ranking Competitions of the last few months?  Can you rank them in reverse order, Dewey Decimal, Mod 30 or RSA?  Which ranking competitions would you have ranked differently if you had a chance to go back in time and do it all again?

As if the forum wasn't rank enough already!  Mind you, I don't think this thread will rank very highly.

Rank you very much.   ::)

Prog / Prog 2220 Regened: Earth-Shattering
« on: 20 February, 2021, 04:43:13 PM »
The Regened project has been an interesting ride for more familiar readers hasn’t it.  Still in an experimental stage, looking for some sense of what works and what does not.  Then again in many respects that’s the whole point of the project is it not.

Cadet Dredd continues to link the various different presentations.  Wyatt and Tinto present a fairly serviceable one-and-done, exploring Dredd’s early career.  Tinto’s artwork  has a good feel to it, presenting realistic scenes of early MC-1 that to an extent are reminiscent of the 2012 film rather than Ezquerra’s grand finished scene.

The plot centres around familiar tropes of rogue AI’s, pre-war tec, excessive consumerism and youth as exploitable.  It moves along at a good pace with plenty of action to keep attention.  Once again the ‘dults turn out to be the weak link, raising the question of how the Judges managed to rise to prominence (quite a contrast to the lethal Dreadnought’s of the meg).

Once again Tek division shines. Considering what we’ve previously seen in Regened, it really does show the potential for a series exploring this dimension of MC1.  Something we’ve seen from time to time down through the years.  Fertile ground though …

Action Pact – The Radyar Recovery has a nice idea at its core and is well executed.  Horsman’s art is a little busy and scrappy but it works well for the tale.  Soffe’s colours certainly bring it out well.  Certainly it might be interesting to see where this might go but something tells me there might be less scope than the original premise contains.

Viva Forever is another that might benefit from a further outing to explore its potential.  As a one-and-done MC1 tale it certainly works well.  Morzova’s art and Bowland’s colours do completement each other well. Baillie’s script may perhaps be a little too clever on some level with multiple overlapping voices sometimes distracting from the core action.  Aspects of the reveal re-tread familiar ground but as an introduction it works quite well.  Another one for the Meg to revisit perhaps.

Future Shocks is possibly the weak link, certainly for me.  Califano’s artwork channels Transmetropolitan well for this social-media-abuse inspired tale.  There’s an interesting take on the waning influence of ‘influencers’ but little about it feels too original.  Others may well disagree but on a first reading it does feel a little like an early, weaker, FS.  That said, kudos to the creative team for their efforts.  Not horrendous but not awe inspiring …

Mayflies though has to be the star of the show and possibly Carrol finding a potentially rich seem in Rogue Trooper’s world.  It is a little surprising that it has taken this long for Milli-Com memories to register.  Some of the earlier attempts at finding an aspect of RT lore that fit within the Regened project have not been overly successful  but this one …

Mind you, Coleby and Teague’s artwork don’t hurt at all.  Hardly surprising from such a powerful creative team.  Coleby’s earlier work in this world has served him well in terms of grounding the story.  The steady reveal of the different characters helps with the gradual reveal of the framework for the strip.  Although the characters are cyphers to a large extent that is hardly surprising in the circumstances.  What remains to be seen is whether that could be fleshed out.

Certainly of all the strips that could translate well into the prog, this has the most potential for my money.  The closing line says it all really .. “Now we suddenly had a future.”

Arguably this is a stronger offering, once again containing several strips that could well have longer legs.  Mayflies definitely deserves another.  Of the other strips Viva Forever and Action Pact may need another outing to see whether there is enough life in them but certainly there is little to warrant writing them off.  Overall a solid showing.

Megazine / Meg 429: Supreme Justice.
« on: 13 February, 2021, 10:20:01 PM »
A glorious Higgins cover adorns this month's as Dreadnoughts closes out the current story arc.  I have to be honest, there are times when Mr Carroll's work leaves me feeling a little flat when it comes to conclusions but this series has really engaged.  Of course having such a master on art duties doesn't hurt.  I may well be tempted to have a look at some of his early years novelisations as this seems to be a real strength of his. 

As the editorial notes, the series has garnered accolades from across the pond so something seems to be going right.  The same editorial notes that Wagner and Higgins will be delivering a Dredd 6-parter in the summer!   :thumbsup:

In all honesty the meg is doing more for me than the prog right now.  We've been here before where some of the stronger material is showing up in the monthly.  The Niemand / Coleby (who's been a busy boy this month?) Dredd one-and-done is an interesting 'whatever happened to ...' tale.  I'll leave it to readers to discover the connection to early Dredd lore.

Returners is the one strip I'm not getting on with although the last few episodes have shifted that a little.  Assirelli's artwork is stunning but I'm just not gelling with it overall.  Possibly since it is sandwiched between Deliverance and Dreadnoughts, a hell of a pair to fight for attention with.

... and of course in addition to the past of Dredd-world, Niemand gives us a fascinating alternate take on this world in Megatropolis, just one more challenge faced by Returners.  Taylor's art is superb right now and the latest twists of the tale raise some fascinating questions around where this is heading.

This is what really gets me though.  I mean, the Megazine was supposed to explore all the different dimensions of Dredd's world and for a long time it never really seemed to get that right.  What we have right now is the present, past and alternative dimensions of that world.  In addition we have distant realms of that world both physically and spiritually.

The quality of artwork would put the major American players to shame.  The quality of writing is similarly impressive.  Even at its weakest it fires on all cylinders.  How many other titles can say that?

All round I have to say, I can forgive (almost) the absence of the prog.  This month's meg is such a distraction.

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