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Messages - norton canes

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1
Kingdom is pretty much my favourite strip since I came back to the prog in 2017. In fact, it was the cliff-hanger to the Kingdom episode in prog 2016, the first one I bought in 27 years, that persuaded me more than anything to buy the next one.

Thinking back to Rogue Trooper, it's a bit like Slaine in that it was only really the very early instalments that I massively enjoyed.

So while I'm grateful to Rogue Trooper for allowing Gordon Rennie to flesh out the world of Jaegir, the winner here is Kingdom.

2
Prog / Re: Prog 2293 - Leave no trace!
« on: Today at 11:49:08 AM »
Just off to buy this week's prog and realised I've forgotten to say anything about this one.

The cover is probably about the best Skip Tracer thing there's ever been. Apart from that it's one of those progs where the majority of stories maintain the same standard as the previous week (Brink thankfully picks up a little) so, all good.

3
To be fair, Ro-Busters and The ABC Warriors had excellent Alan Moore-penned stories in the annuals.

4
This is basically for the tournament win, isn't it?

Top-tier thrill that Slaine undoubtedly is (was?), for me the only time it really hit the spot was the run of McMahon stories (though Tomb of Terror was lot of fun). After that the epic storylines quickly started to meander. Whereas Strontium Dog was so sweetly written, the stories were a joy to read - from The Galaxy Killers right through to The Stone Killers, it was uniformly a prog highlight.

So, while recognising the awesome contributions made by the stellar art droids who worked on Slaine, my vote goes to Strontium Dog.

5
General / Re: Alan Grant appreciation thread
« on: 02 August, 2022, 12:39:05 PM »
Blackhawk, all the way. One of my all-time favourite 2000 AD strips.

6
Prog / Re: Prog 2292 - United Front
« on: 28 July, 2022, 11:48:43 AM »
Let's start with the cover, which is up with the Robinson/Teague combo's very finest and gives us a wonderful slant on the logo (and a literal slant on the smaller logo in the corner, to match). In fact I was disappointed to see there were no zeros on the ceiling in Patrick Goddard's rendition of the same scene : )

Story-wise 'Special Relationship' remains intriguing, I'm happy to take the thrills page-by-page and not let the convoluted timeline get in the way. Have Brit-Cit cits from the higher echelons always had a penchant for Victorian style dress?

"Being frank", eh? I wonder...

Nice that Skip Tracer, while lacking in the dialogue stakes, at least this week gave us a lovely full page Marshall/Teague panel to appreciate. It's kind of simultaneously unfortunate but welcome that Dexter is now supplying the kind of thrills we've been expecting from Brink - lashings of tension punctuated by moments of extreme violence. Jaegir once again rules the roost, though. Must go back and re-read The Path of Kali to get up to speed. Is there a second collected edition on the way?

7
News / Re: Gerry Finley Day Signing
« on: 27 July, 2022, 07:10:10 PM »
Shame he couldn't get to FP in Manchester.

8
Other Reviews / Re: 2022 Sci-Fi Special
« on: 22 July, 2022, 01:43:15 PM »
Yeah, best Sci-Fi Special I can remember in a while. SinDex probably the pick of a uniformly strong bunch - the Abnett droid can really rattle off these one-shots with panache, eh. Nice idea for a Dredd - I presume we now have another addition to the panoply of recurring characters? The idea that Dredd's internal organs have been scrambled by decades of reconstructive surgery is wonderfully grim. Karl Stock's come up with such a great Fiends interlude, it makes me wonder if rather than ordering his droids to write future shocks, TMO could instead get them to create further digressions for existing characters?

Paul Cornell's Anderson was a lovely wistful little tale, a welcome change from some of the stories that have been showing up in the regular prog recently. Is this the first time a credited TV Doctor Who writer has penned a strip for the GGC (not counting Mills and Wagner's Space Whale)? Liked Middenface McNulty, music's second best Eminem, and the Death story was worth it just for the excruciatingly literal take on the song title.

Note to Tharg: please don't print the Damage report on such a light background. Impossible to read!

9
Announcements / Re: Alan A Grant RIP
« on: 21 July, 2022, 01:15:02 PM »
Very sad, a prodigious talent. Gone into the great singularity along with his Blackhawk characters.

10
Prog / Re: Prog 2291 - Heart of Darkness
« on: 21 July, 2022, 12:00:49 PM »
Although I do kind of have a 'default' style, I'll always have a ponder as to whether something different would better suit a particular strip that I'm coming to new (so Megatropolis is very different from Zaucer of Zilk, which is different again from Diaboliks, or Stickleback).

This is my first time on Jaegir, but I'd used something close to this style* on Simon's Black Max work in the various Scream specials — he told me he liked it, and I thought it seemed to suit the character of his art, so I wheeled it out again. :-)

*Same font (Blambot's Tough As Nails BB for font-watchers out there) but (I think) slightly rougher balloons on Black Max. The letterforms are fairly tall and thin, which puts me in mind of the hand-lettering of Frame/Aldrich/Knight, and the bold is really quite bold, which pleases me in an old-school kind of way, and suits the… inkyness of Simon's work.

Thanks for the swift and enlightening (as always) reply! Sorry, as I say I didn't have previous Jaegirs to hand so wasn't aware this was your first time on the strip.

Great to know Blambot is still the font source of choice - I remember it from when I was designing websites and Flash games years (almost decades, crazily) ago.

11
Prog / Re: Prog 2291 - Heart of Darkness
« on: 21 July, 2022, 11:10:55 AM »
Yeah, don't know if my thrill interpretation circuits have been scrambled by the recent heatwave but 'Special Relationship' has been a real effort to follow, with the time frames constantly shifting, Brit-Cit characters I'm sure I should know more about, and events to remember from 'The Hard Way'. I feel the Williams droid is just trying a little too hard to obfuscate the storyline in an attempt to generate mystery, and there's in fact a simpler and much more enjoyable tale lurking there.

Also, it pains me to say, but I think I'm joining the small but growing minority of readers who reckon 'Mercury Retrograde', high quality thrill though it is, has become a little protracted and inert. Perhaps a 24-week run was in fact just a little too ambitious. And if anyone thought that the uncomplicated pleasures of Skip Tracer would provide a remedy to this discombobulation, even that manages to conclude this week's instalment with a final panel that belies its eminently all-ages friendly pedigree.

Fortunately Dexter is there to assuage the turmoil, its sinuous plot spiralling lithely from page to page. After Hope took some flak for referencing likenesses of well-known actors, is Tazio Bettin playing the same game by using Ron Perlman and Christopher Walken as the Plunderland gang leaders?

Finally, it's back, it's the best, it's Jaegir and it's pumping frag shells from all tubes as usual. Though even here, The Rennie droid risks thrill interpretation overload by packing three different plot strands into five pages. When you're delivering old school thrills like this though, you can get away with it.

Mr Campbell, may I ask: are you experimenting with a new lettering style here? Without hauling out previous instalments of Jaegir, I'm sure it looks a bit different - though this could of course be down to disorientation caused by rapid cooling of my typeface recall circuits...

12
Prog / Re: Prog 2290 - Double Impact!
« on: 20 July, 2022, 04:15:34 PM »
Just picked up prog 2291 and realised I didn't say anything about this one yet.

It was great!

There.

13
General / Re: Forum’s Fav Thrill - Jaegir vs. The Out Rd 4 Heat 14
« on: 13 July, 2022, 09:17:27 AM »
The Out is lovely but I've just read 'Beasts Within' and coupled with the more recent instalments I've read in the prog, I have to say Jaegir

14
General / Re: Forum’s Fav Thrill - Hope vs. VCs Rd 4 Heat 11
« on: 12 July, 2022, 05:04:56 PM »
The VCs. Suck it in!

15
Prog / Re: Prog 2289: Shotgun Diplomacy
« on: 09 July, 2022, 02:10:18 PM »
The prog continues in fine form with Rob Williams taking up the reins in 'Special Relationship', a weird and wonderful reel one wrap for Hope and an instalment of Brink that's as eminently readable as any other.

TOP THRILL this week goes to Dexter though, with a brilliantly concise and incisive opener to its next mini-chapter. The Abnett droid's plot and dialogue remain as enthralling as ever but it's Tazio Bettin's artwork (beautifully complimented by Matt Soffe's colours) that's really lighting up my thrill-receptors. The two panels with the conflicting gangs are particularly brilliant - I presume the script has given some rough ideas then said "Just go with it" and the range of characters, and the way they're posed, is just superb. Props also for drawing those six different panels of Mikhey delivering exposition in a different way each time - they could easily have been duplicated - and for the striking way Klinks is sitting hand-under-leg. Oh, and for a lovely Allegro. A real masterclass.

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