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Topics - Barrington Boots

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Prog / Prog 2309 - Cold Snap!
« on: 21 November, 2022, 10:00:34 AM »
Cunning work by Royal Mail, delivering a Prog on a Saturday just as my subscription commitment was wavering, and reminding me how awesome that is.

Lengthy final episodes for a couple of Thrills this week which means no Hope stodging up the middle of the Prog and makes it a much better reading experience. All behind a fantastic, eye-catching Simon Fraser cover! There's also a Kevin O'Neill obituary :(

Dredd - Wraps up. I enjoyed the first couple of parts of this tale but it went quickly off the rails for me - the ending is a bit of a mess (if the clone insta-kills all the Sov psychics, why is Anderson still here?) and it all feels a bit pointless but the last couple of pages are great with Dredd at his hardline horrible best. Henry Flint's art is the business though - I do like the design on Vasilisa, Dredd's insane, staring mechanical eye is the creepiest thing here, and whilst technically not into a return to youthful Anderson, she's got an ethereal, almost fey look in this story.

Enemy Earth - I read this this week. It's ok. I don't like the artwork but I just figure this tale isn't for me. For a Regened tale it's pretty dark, which is what we've all been asking for, so it's a shame it hasn't really hit it off with the bulk of the commentators.

Chimpsky - Takes a dark turn with it's conclusion. This Chimpsky story has been terrific. Chimpsky having a secret psi-dampening prison room feels a bit of a stretch in a story about a super-intelligent ape in a future city but the story is great so it's easy to accept. Having been desperate to see these kids get their comeuppance, Chimpsky's decision - and his self-admonishment - is 100% in line with his character and a wider arc is set up. Really enjoyed everything about this.

Hershey - Really enjoyed this too. I keep saying this story is quite cinematic and I think it has been - the chase, the fights have all been done perfectly. The page this week where the spider-plant things come through the wall / window is brilliant. The story has been simpler than the boxing one and it's worked better for it.

Not a brilliant, but perfectly enjoyable Prog.

Film & TV / Guillermo del Toro's Cabinet of Curiosities
« on: 16 November, 2022, 02:43:01 PM »
Been watching these on Netflix and halfway through the series so far. There's some good names involved and overall a bit of a Masters of Horror vibe and generally pretty good: Episode 2 was a bit slapstick but suitably creepy at the end, whilst Episode 3 (Autopsy) is especially excellent, as you'd hope from something based off a Michael Shea short story. I then skipped ahead to watch Pickmans Model, which was alright but suffered a lot from being padded out to an hours runtime. Anyone else checked these out?

Off Topic / Street Food
« on: 22 February, 2022, 11:12:03 AM »
There's a craft beer place near me that has a guest street food vendor once a week, which is a lovely excuse to go up there and have a nice beer and something nice to eat, especially in this period of extended banjaxery that is 2020 to the present. This week's vendor was to be, essentially, cheese on toast, which I feel is stretching the concept a bit far, but I did try a cactus burrito from a street food van once*

So is street food good, or is it just a very middle class /hip version of any high street takeaway?


Music / Albums of the Year 2021
« on: 10 December, 2021, 02:39:46 PM »
It's been another crap year but another one where working from home means I've been able to listen to and then buy loads of great records. I don't think it's been as good as last year musically when we saw a big upsurge in creativity: I think in 2021 a chunk of drive and creativity has been replaced with fatigue, but still some great records coming out.

The downside is I have been to exactly ONE gig in 2021 and I miss live music so much.

Anyway, here's my favourite albums from 2021, what were yours, squaxx?

Auspicious Atavism - Anahata
Into the Maw of Death - Grand Cadaver
Fell Sorcery Abounds - Morgul Blade
Rise of the Witch - Greywitch
Neapolitan Power Violence - Napoli Violenta
The Age of the Saucers - Hollywood Burns
Night at the Grindhouse Part II - STRNGR and Destryur
Second Winter: Live & Raw in Chicago - Throne of Iron*
The Final Feast - Send More Paramedics
Thunder Over London - Gama Bomb**

I'm torn over the new Maiden, which is techically really good and enjoyable whilst listening to it but I just can't keep any of the songs in my head once it's gone off and is waaaay too long, so it doesn't get on here.

* cheating because it's a live album, but it captures a lot of what I miss about gigs
** cheating also because it's an EP but what the hell

Prog / Prog 2260 - Judge Klegg Superstar
« on: 29 November, 2021, 04:05:42 PM »
Did nobody get this over the weekend? Mine rocked up this morning.

AMAZING cover from Chris Weston.

Klegg still has no Dredd but who cares when it's this fun. This is fantastic. The art has dozens of nods to old Dredd stories, the conceit is superb and the final page reveal - with it's accompanying dialogue - is superb.
Speaking of dialogue, whilst ace throughout there is an especially great panel here with Walter on page 3. What a delight this tale is.

Diaboliks I know I don't like this strip, but this ending seemed a bit weak? Another cool character design this episode, but not enough to make me want to read another installment I'm afraid.

Dexter Looks fantastic, some brilliant dinosaurs - the last two pages are lush. As a standalone epsiode this is cool woith some dudes fighting dinosaurs, but having lost interest in the plot and characters ages ago that's it I'm afraid.

Scarlet Traces Difficult to discuss this episode outside of last weeks and whatever happens next week. Whilst at times this hasn't worked as a weekly installment strip, I'm really enjoying it and I'm glad it's moving towards resolution (take note Dexter). Lovely stuff.

The Out This is one of those episodes of The Out that wasn't so much for me as I found the back and forth between Cyd and the bag annoying: I don't really like the snarky bag and I think the story is usually better without it. Two very significant happenings this week however. Admist all the bonkers art, the old WWI style helmet on the Hurangi was a nice touch.

Despite any moans above, I enjoyed this Prog a lot. Every story had a different focus, a different pace and tone and the comic as a whole read beautifully. It helps that Dredd (and the cover) put the reader in a positive mood from the start. Overall, top notch Prog.

Other Reviews / Monster Fun Halloween Spooktacular
« on: 11 October, 2021, 10:38:29 AM »
I really enjoyed this. I have a real affection for stuff like Buster, Whizzer & Chips etc and this captures the feel, of those albeit with a modern twist, probably as well as could be done. There's enough strips inside (19 seperate stories) that even if one strip falls flat for you another will delight. There's such a variety of art throughout as well from some excellent artists and the quality is fantastic. There's a few nostalgic nods and some art cameos for older readers but everything can be read 'cold' with no previous knowledge needed, even Leopard which has a quick catch up.

Highlights for me were Grimly Feendish, WizWar, Hire a Horror, Creature Teacher & Jump Junior - my personal  favourite was Scare Salon, by a creative team I was totally unfamiliar with, that absolutely loads up on terrible puns.

The stories are slight and silly but that's kind of the point. I know I'm waaay too old to be the target audience, but I really hope this is a success and that the ongoing title launch is along the same lines, as it is absolutely great.

Books & Comics / Octobriana with Love
« on: 29 September, 2021, 09:51:51 AM »
The digital edition came through to me as a KS backer yesterday and it's totally insane and really great.
Simon Fraser's art here is a standout and skimming ahead there's some glorious double page spreads. Anyone else get this?

Other Reviews / Thirteenth Floor Vol. 3
« on: 13 September, 2021, 11:23:11 AM »
Pre-orderd the hardback and it arrived end of last week. No Prog Saturday (or today) so I've already read it.

In short it's great and better than the second volume with all the spy stuff, although still not a patch on volume 1: the horror elements are still mostly toned down, although there's a couple of excellent / monstrous sequences with snails and a witch trial. Max is more helpful than vengeful overall and there's a rather lovely story where Max helps an old woman live out one of her childhood dreams, which is shows how the strip's horror focus has shifted a bit!
Jose Ortiz's art is spectacular as ever and as a volume it looks absolutely awesome: beautiful reprint and having the complete run in hardback totally rules. Can't fault Rebellion on this one at all and I hope we can see a similar treatment for more classic old tales.

Off Topic / Back to the Office
« on: 22 July, 2021, 10:43:45 AM »
I'm back in today, doing 2 / 3 days a week in the office.

It seems a weird decision on the part of my boss: I'm now in here with just four other people, so there's not really the sort of jolly atmosphere that I think they want; I'm working in a less efficient way and I had to spend an hour getting here (I don't want to go into the various Covid risks that no longer seem to be being observed and threaten to derail things, but obviously that's a factor too). From those of us that are in there's a general feeling that it's a waste of time.

I know it varies from job to job but I can't see the benefits to the company of having this massive office sitting 90% empty when they could save money on rent etc and I'm wondering if 'the office' is going to get gradually phased out in favour of home working, regardless of pandemic. What do you guys reckon?

Prog / Prog 2239 - High-Speed Summary Justice!
« on: 06 July, 2021, 10:02:04 AM »
Saturday prog and a glorious wraparound cover from Stewart Moore. This cover is the sort of thing that pulled me into 2000ad in the first place: it's just mental.

Dredd wraps up a but quicker that I'd thought / hoped it would but I'm not going to criticise Wagner and MacNeil. Dredd here is brutally efficient and it's actually quite refreshing to see him / the Justice Department acting like the well oiled lawbringing machine they are supposed to be. Tonally this has been the perfect mix of humour and horrible murder. Bick himself is a character I'd like to see back, being both badass and mildly hapless, and I very much hope his story is not done. That last frame of him is great and definitely promises more.. doesn't it?

Aquila There's a lot happening in this! Barrels along at a pace with fighting, plot, cool concepts, a little visual joke all in five pages. Looks great as you'd expect from Patrick Goddard: a neat touch with Felix fighting dirty against the big axe-wielding dude (Thanatos? Already forgotten).
I know the name Ephialtes and as Scarabatus thinks it's a thing, I think I can guess what's coming there.

Department K - My favourite episode of the run this week. Much more interesting on the plot front, and as ever looks brilliant: Kirby-isms and great alien designs all over the shop. Interested to see what's next.

Skip Tracer I was a bit unkind about this last week: this episode is better, as Nolan needs a bit more about him than generic dude with a power, and it looks like we might get some here. As with the previous series I do think this would benefit from being told at a faster pace or with more of a definite tone: is it all action, is it detective noir? It's kind of none of these things and I think it's running out of time to 'click' which is a shame especially as Paul Marshall's art is all crisp and cool, his aliens are weird and his Hastings is lovely.

Chimpsky's Law The plot has gone a bit crackers: I must admit I was a bit thrown when the expected murder-mystery plot got subverted but this has been consistently engaging week on week and it's always left me wanting to see what comes next. The visual storytelling in it is great: this and Chimpksy's narration really win it for me. Next week, Chimsky kicks off?

Classifieds / Free stuff: TPBs etc.
« on: 28 June, 2021, 12:04:33 PM »
Any interest in any of the following?

2000ad TPB:
Indigo Prime: Anthropocalypse
Ten Seconders: The American Dream
Caballistics Inc- Going Undergound
Caballistics Inc - Creepshow

Non-200ad TPB:
Hack / Slash First Cut
Hack / Slash Death by Sequel
Die - Fantasy Heartbreaker
Die - Split the Party

Small Press / other stuff:
Tales of Westernoir Books 1 - 3
The 77 issues 1 - 3
Shift issues 1 - 3

These books have little resale value and I'd prefer to actively give these away to those who might enjoy them, so any / all of the above are free to fellow boardmembers if you want to collect them in person - I'm based between Worcester and Birmingham - or I can post them out to you at cost.

Possibly more to add to this list shortly.

General / My First Prog
« on: 13 May, 2021, 05:15:13 PM »
Prog 628 from 1985. Long lost but now reacquired. For a while prior to this I was skim-reading another Squaxx's prog on my paper round, but this was the first one I actually bought.

Dredd, Horned God, Zenith phase 3 and Cinnabar - pretty good place to start!

What was yours?

Help! / Comission Artist Woes
« on: 11 May, 2021, 09:53:13 AM »
More one for those artists amongst us.

I comissioned some art for a D&D game earlier this year and the artist has stopped communicating with me. Their last update to me was almost 7 weeks ago - they've not responded to a couple of messages since then not have they updated their Instagram (their only active online prescence I'm aware of) and their Etsy store has either sold out or had all items removed.
I'd approved the art all the way up to base colours stage, all looked great, and had previously seen from their Instagram stories that the work now looks pretty much finished so it seems odd they'd go quiet at this point. I'm concerned then that something dreadful may have happened in their lives and I've mailed them saying if there's any issue they don't have to explain, just say so, but no response to that.

Unsure what to do - if something is wrong I don't want to pressure them further, but I also can't wait indefinitely. Suggestions anyone? 

Music / Villagers of Ioannina City Live
« on: 06 May, 2021, 04:26:56 PM »
For anyone that enjoyed this band off the albums of the year thread, likes a bit of folk/post rock, or just really misses live music, here's a video of their live show from early last year in Athens. Sound and video are perfect, the band and crowd are passionate and it's just brilliant stuff.
Can't wait for days like these again.


Off Topic / Activities of the Free
« on: 21 April, 2021, 04:09:08 PM »
With lockdown restrictions easing (possibly, but hopefully not temporarily) how are you guys feeling about returning to 'the old ways'? I've met up with a few friends in gardens and the like, and I'm waiting on the chance to see my family (they're all an overnight stay away) but I more mean other things we used to do in the old times.

I had a list of stuff I wanted to do but now I'm finding that now some of them are possible I'm slightly hesitant to get stuck into them. I've not yet been brave enough to visit a pub, although Mrs. Boots is talking about a Sunday dinner at one maybe... I've been planning on getting another tattoo for almost a year, but now I'm hesitant to book an appointment as I re-emerge, blinking into the light of society.

Other activities I  love, like live music, isn't back on yet but I'm feeling twitchy about them at the moment too. A festival I usually attend is selling tickets but my current feeling there is no way do I want to be around that many people. I was looking at the Thought Bubble website yesterday and feeling slightly the same.

I suspect right now the sheer company of other people is enough. But are you all out and about at oubs and the like, or still a bunch of shut-ins? What are you looking forward to doing?

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