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Messages - Barrington Boots

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1
Books & Comics / Re: Whats everyone reading?
« on: 25 January, 2023, 02:06:32 PM »
I read this too and I felt exactly the same as you: the writing style is very basic, and there's no 'second act' where the author comes to any kind of self-realisation or evolves.
It may be that we're looking at this through a modern lense where we're expecting that to happen, when really the whole thing is self-realistion, ie. she just wanted to shag rockstars and have a laugh, and therefore this book just wasn't for me. I found it all a bit grim in a way though, because to my mind most of the men in the book treated her like crap.

Would not recommend!

2
Games / Re: Gamebooks
« on: 24 January, 2023, 10:47:29 AM »
Cheers Funt, that's actually piqued my interest to try a few more: the Kai atrc sounds fun and I'm always down for more Mungos. I have a revised edition of book 1 which apparently expands the beginning with more fights, and was definitely the hardest part of the book.

After defeating the ultimate evil in the final book (12), you find that (as a Grand Master) there are even more super-powered skills to learn in books 13-20. Amusingly, the things you have to fight in the opening section of Book #13 will eat you up and spit out your bones without breaking sweat - especially if you happen to still be carrying the Sommerswerd. So, y'know, ultimate evils are all about perspective. But Time Bandits taught us that.

This puts me in mind of back when I used to play Warcraft and a new expansion came out. I went from fighting the legendary Witch King and being all powerful to being outclassed by regular monsters. Stupid scaling difficulty.

3
General / Re: Looking back
« on: 24 January, 2023, 10:41:38 AM »
The Harlem Heroes reboot could have been good. Really. I’m just not sure how.

I remember being really enthused about the first few episodes of Harlem Heroes reboot. I think it's the art, which is all shadows and hyper-violent exit wounds, because on a reread the story starts off fairly weak and gets steadily worse. Everybody in the story is horrible and by the time the cyborg dude is introduced the plot is nonsense.

Looking over Progs from this era it's mad how good things were in 1989 (Zenith phase 3, Horned God, Cinnabar, Dead Man, War Machine) - then you get stuff like Bradley and Dry Run and then by 1991 you've got Junker, Bix Barton & Millar Robo-Hunter...

4
Games / Re: Gamebooks
« on: 23 January, 2023, 04:50:31 PM »
I've completed the two Lone Wolf books I got for Christmas although I didn't take notes or do a playthrough as I quite fancied a more relaxed read. Unsurprisingly these had a lot of the same pros and cons as the Freeway Warrior series, as they're by the same author - they're well written, with a ton of background, a continuing story where items and choices carry over from book to book and the choices tend to reward thought rather than randomness. On the flipside it's the same annoying combat system (a D10 and a table) and there's a lot of 'false choices' where you're given two options but both will steer you in the direction the story demands.. but my major issue with these is that they were very easy. I rolled good combat skill (although low stamina), made some sensible skill choices and as a result completed both on my second attempt. The sixth sense skill in particular was hugely valuable.

It's weird to complain that a gamebook is easy, especially when it's easy as a result of making sensible choices, but I felt a little short-changed after whipping through both with ease. I wouldn't mind finishing the first 'cycle' but I think I'll stick with FF for my gamebook fix for now. Anyone else got any experience of these?

Oh, and some gorgeous artwork by the sublime Gary Chalk!

5
Announcements / Re: 2000 AD - The Ultimate Collection
« on: 23 January, 2023, 03:36:38 PM »
Yeah, it just clicked - it'll be the Henry Moon epilogue, won't it?

That was my first thought. Imo including this tale is a no-brainer not only because Henry Moon is an awesome, bonkers concept but because for all the critical panning it got, the epilogue gives a far better and more satisfying ending than the actual ending of Mean Team.
I'd still like to read a series just about Henry Moon, solving mysteries and then going to sleep in somebody's washing.

Otherwise, I appreciate not much announced so far but hoping for some stuff that hasn't already been reprinted.

6
Prog / Re: Prog 2316 - Taking Liberties
« on: 23 January, 2023, 09:21:28 AM »
Saturday Prog for me, too! Tharg must have sent Mek-Quake round to the distributors.

Dredd Dark conclusion and not unexpected: the tone of this tale suggested poor Aguerra was in for an unhappy ending. This was a great tale and I love the way Niemand can flip between this and crazy, silly stories.

Joe Pineapples Not good, but given this will presumably be the last ABC tale to hit print, I appreciated the splash pages of Hammerstein et al though. The stuff about the voices just confirms for me what we were discussing elsewhere about a contemporary reference dating things, although it's interesting to hear what Pat Mills thinks the Warriors sound like.

The Out really cool stuff: looks great, reads great, potentially changes the status quo so we can head off in a new direction.

Terror Tales Simple and very effective. Best one of these for a while!

Proteus Vex As Colin says, a good way to advance the story from a more unusual angle. Really good stuff again.

7
General / Re: Looking back
« on: 20 January, 2023, 02:25:23 PM »
For me the Final Solution in many ways was the beginning of the end for me and few years after that I basically stopped by sub. I rediscovered the prog about 10 years ago and was glad that I could do the whole digital thing otherwise I would not have been able to return to the fold.

Almost identical story for me as well.

I'm in good company it seems.

8
General / Re: Looking back
« on: 20 January, 2023, 02:18:33 PM »
You want me to pinpoint the date 2000AD went into decline? It was when we started having concerns bigger than next prog. It’s when we had late-teenage and early adult stuff on our plate – hang-ups and hangovers, bad habits and bad attitudes. It was the summer of 1990: when Necropolis belied its promising beginnings; when Dry Run ran; when Michael Fleisher became a regular writer.
You want an exact moment? It was when Johnny Alpha died.

This part really resonates for me. I started reading the Prog in mid-80s, subscribed in 1989, but by early 1991, I was done with it for decades.

This is exactly was what killed it for me. Not rubbish like Universal Soldier and Time Flies, but the gradual encroachment of adulthood. Just like I left Whizzer and Chips behind a decade earlier, the Prog didn't fit with the new world I was moving into and didn't have enough nostalgia to be brought along for the ride.

Ironically in 1990 2000ad seemed very edgy and adult to me - Alpha dead, Chopper dead, all those downbeat, soulcrushing Dredd stories than ran around then where he runs down deaf women or letter-writing kids get killed by lunatics. But it wasn't the sort of adulthood I wanted or needed: in retrospect I can see Alpha's death for me was the sad end of something I'd loved and definitely the beginning of the (temporary) end for me as a reader.

Great read JWare, thank you!

Still got a soft spot for Dry Run, mind you.
Even though it's rubbish.

9
Games / Re: Gamebooks
« on: 20 January, 2023, 10:53:14 AM »
Someone told me he was supposed to be at Fighting Fantasy Fest last year but couldn't attend due to health, but I've just had a dig around on the internet and can't find any mention of him being announced so that may not have been correct. I'm pretty sure he's still with us though!

10
General / Re: Looking back
« on: 19 January, 2023, 02:26:18 PM »
Enjoyed this, thanks JWare!

At the time it ran I hated almost everything about the Final Solution - the art, the story, the bits with the dog - one of my favourite strips had changed in a big way, and it just served to strengthen my feeling that Prog and I were moving apart. That version of me also enjoyed the Harlem Heroes reboot though - at least the first few episodes anyway.

Rereading it now, I have a lot more appreciation for the artwork (although I'm onboard with what you say about the dated 90s aesthetics) but I can't shake the feeling that whilst Harrison evidently got a big kick out of drawing the mutants, his Alpha always feels like an afterthought, vaguely elfin and slightly featureless whilst the more grotesque characters take centre stage in every panel they can.

I'm still not a fan of the story though. It starts off alright, then the stuff with Wulf is just dreadful, then it's all magic and skateboarding goblins and the less said about Feral the better. The fun has been lost by then and for me, the essence of SD has gone with it.

11
Games / Re: Gamebooks
« on: 19 January, 2023, 02:08:12 PM »
Sorry dude! What I was trying to put across was that I enjoyed it, but also thought it was objectively pretty bad, if that makes sense. I think the setup - the two warring wizards, the Galleykeep and so on - is great.
Have you read the graphic novel version of the book? I spotted it on Etsy.

I think the only way to reconcile this book with Creature of Havoc is to say that your character winning CoH is the non-canonical ending, and actually you never make it back to the Galleykeep! Which is a bit bleak, but statistically speaking entirely likely.

This makes a ton of sense, especially as any other reading would have Marr being trapped in his mirror twice!

Anyway I'm playing some Lone Wolf before I move onto Nightmare Castle, which gives everyone more time to play CoH and write up their inevitable deaths.

12
Prog / Re: Prog 2315: Solar Flare
« on: 19 January, 2023, 02:03:51 PM »
I also dislike current stuff being directly referenced in futuristic comics, but it depends how its done. Usually the block names are just little jokes in the background, but that scene where the ABC Warriors talked about their favourite metal bands is appallingly cringey (and I own music by most of the bands they referenced).

I didn't actually mind the Hoskins reference this week but I'd sort of tuned out on the strip already.

13
Games / Re: Gamebooks
« on: 17 January, 2023, 10:13:29 AM »
Even though that's not a gamebook you should still write us a review when you've finished it!

I finished The Trolltooth Wars yesterday and I have to say this is on the whole a bad book. It's just not very well written: the prose is fairly basic and very dry, with little sense of character, atmosphere, tension or excitement. The protagonist is a unlikeable thug and his sidekick is annoying. The third member of the party, who gets bigged up as this super adventurer, is a total chump. The plot is fairly straightforward, and the ending is a deus ex machina move of the very worst sort.

As a big FF nerd however, I did really enjoy all the references to old FF lore: places, characters and creatures and especially the fleshing out of Marr, Dire and Zagor, and to see things in a wider context than the specific books where they appear. The three sorcerers are easily better and more interesting characters than Darkmane and if the whole book had just alternated chapters about them would have been a lot better. The battle at the pass itself was cool. I'm not really sure where this is set in terms of FF timeline? You'd think it would be before Warlock, Chaos or Havoc, but I'm pretty sure Roue is implied to be alive in the latter and he dies here.
The art is also absolutely stupendous though and more than worth the few pounds I paid for the book. Fantastic rendition of the Galleykeep especially.

I'd probably recommend it to someone deep in the fandom as then all the worldbuilding is a delight and you can overlook what a slog big chunks of it are to read. To a casual reader it would likely be tedious nonsense and should be avoided at all costs. Bit of a mixed bag then!

14
Prog / Re: Prog 2315: Solar Flare
« on: 17 January, 2023, 10:08:38 AM »
I also got a Friday Prog, which was a crazy surprise but not complaining.

Still enjoying Dredd, the political angle isn't unwelcome for me and I assume will spin this off into something more than Dredd just dealing with this perp. The stuff with the robot was excellent.

Not really enjoying Joe Pineapples. Not much else to say here.

Hope concludes at last - the last couple of episodes have been better, but overall this arc has dragged and dragged where previous ones have been a horrible delight. I felt the art focusing on real world people was a real detriment sadly. For me, the Hope is that the next series is better.

The Out felt slight this week. Quick to read. Looked great.

Proteus Vex is my favourite thing in the Prog at the moment. This is epic, outstanding stuff. The little beetle guy rules.

15
Off Topic / Re: Threadjacking!
« on: 15 January, 2023, 10:07:24 AM »
Friday marked the 20th anniversary of Trogdor the Burninator. This makes me feel old!

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