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Messages - AlexF

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General / Re: Forum’s Fav Thrill - Low Life vs. The Out Rd 5 Heat 8
« on: 04 August, 2022, 09:29:15 AM »
Look, the Out has had two books and both have been marvellously marvellous, very excited to get more.
Low Life has had a lot more, but frankly the first 4 or 5 stories, while interesting, well drawn and intermittently funny were only OK. But then it jumped a gear with Dayglo and D'Israeli and everything from 'War Without Bloodshed' onwards has been potentially the best ever Dreddworld spin-off stuff, and I'm including Anderson, Psi Division in that. (although I maintain that he never learned how to draw Aimee Nixon the way Flint did)
BUT on the other hand there's the annoying turth that Low Life as a narrative suddenyl stopped being its own thing and became part of Judge Dredd, which pointedly does not count in this Tourney!

What am I to do with the delights of Saudade, Titan, Enceladus and indeed the Small House? Without which, we'd never get to the end of the narratives from Frank and Aimee.

If I'm only comparing War, Creation, Hostile Takeover and the Deal (the four epically great Low Life stories) to the Out, I'm genuinely not sure which is better.

You know what, I'm voting Low Life, if only to stop Dabnett from hogging all the slots in the next round...

I do love that first Fiends story, silly though it is by the end, and there's lots to love in Tiernan Trevallion's moody artwork.
But to my mind VCs has never put a foot wrong. (And I'm with Colin - the reboot was, overall better than the original)

So, The VCs.

General / Re: Forum’s Fav Thrill - Halo Jones vs. Shakara Rd 5 Heat 5
« on: 03 August, 2022, 01:38:13 PM »
It's another head/heart battle. I encountered Shakara as a weekly reader and still carry the warm glow of joy that the first series provided. I didn't love everything that came after - it got VERY wordy at some points - but it's still a glorious piece of hard sci fi. And the horror stuff in it is really great.

Halo Jones I've only ever read as a much-revered classic, and while it DID manage to live up to its reputation that's always a bit of millstone round it's neck. How can it be as good as people say it is, because people REALLY love it.

On the other hand, the best thing, for me, about Halo Jones, is quite how well each individual episode works as a satisfying idea and character delivery machine. Whereas Shakara was more an exercise in telling the same story in as many ways as possible with added visual lunacy (well, for a couple of books, at least).

So even though my heart wants to go with Shakara, my head is telling me quite what an immense achievement practically every single episode of Halo Jones is, even as it's also a set of three very neatly plotted stories.

Halo Jones

I take it all back, the impossible ties are here in full force!

I've been trying to maths my way out of having to make an actual choice here. Strontium Dog and Sláine couldn't be more different in terms of actual story, but as 2000AD thrills they're super comparable. Both have had long runs, broken up into very clear chunks of story. Both have yielded some of the single best ever comics stories ever. Both foreground action and humour but also both have some profound things to say about the human condition (granted, Stront achieves this with rather more subtlety, even when it's not being at all subtle). Both are more or less felt to have been untouchably great for the early years, then hit a rough patch, then have intermittently great late-period stories (granted, lots of people hate post-Horned God Sláine but they're wrong; the only truly bad Sláines, I think, are the middle two 'Brutania Chronicles, and even they have plenty of merit)

I ran through Barney and totted up how many stories from both thrills I adore. Turns out it's about 17 apiece. Stories I actively dislike - about 2 apiece. I tried comparing time when both strips had stories running in the Prog at the same time. By that metric, Sláine comes out best, mostly because I don't rate Outlaw or Bitch too highly. But I also have impossible choices to face between e.g. The Killing and Sky Chariots, or Slavers of Drule and Time Killer. Not to mention Shaggy Dog Story vs Carnival, exmaples of both strips doing short, funny ones late on in their time!

Then there's the art - Stront gets massive bonus points for the sheer consistent brilliance of Carlos Ezquerra, while Sláine is deeply inconsistent. But when the art on Sláine hit, it literally redefined what comics art can be.

Reaching into more nebulous ideas, I have to give points to Sláine for being a history lesson as well as an action comic. Not to everyone's taste, I'm sure, but I love the way Mills and Co really flesh out what it might have felt like being a Celt, and their willingness to explore the less savoury aspects of different cultures. With this in mind, I think in the overall history of comics, Sláine is the better one, that will touch a wider audience and maybe stand the test of time more.

But then there's the old 'which would I rather read some of right now?' question. And, despite the fact that I'm in the middle of a big Sláine re-read, I think the answer to that is almost always going to be Strontium Dog.

It has more and better jokes, and it has Carlos delivering the most delightful mutant designs, and the best damn action choreography of any comics I've ever read.

So my head wants to vote Sláine, but my heart is winning and it votes Strontium Dog.

General / Re: Sideshow Vote II: You have been judged
« on: 03 August, 2022, 09:34:58 AM »
Delighftul to see votes here for some many of the options!
And if we're talking about 'scariest', for me it's John Ridgway's original drawing of Judges Phobia and Nausea at the end of 'Dead Man' that shook me up the most. He manages to make those insects on Nausea's face look as if they're crawling, even in a still image. Nasty!

But, you know, if I was picking teams on the playground, still plumping for Death as first choice.

General / Re: Forum’s Fav Thrill - Stickleback vs. Brink Rd 5 Heat 3
« on: 02 August, 2022, 11:13:34 AM »
I can see plenty of the Hoop in the world of Brink, and a hint of Halo in Bridget Kurtis, but I think it's a stretch to say that Brink is merely paying homage to Halo Jones...

...certainly if the opposite suggestion is that Stickleback, a strip based on a pre-existing character and deliberately using generic foes from Victorian England, is some sort of masterpiece of originality!

(Stickleback is of course a great series, and deserving of votes even in this tie)

General / Re: Alan Grant appreciation thread
« on: 02 August, 2022, 11:10:00 AM »
I'm overdue a re-read of Anderson, Psi Division, but my memory of it is that Grant rarely put a foot wrong, all the way up to the more recent WMD arc in the Megazine. I especially love an Arthur Ranson one-off called 'The Protest', which is both profound and silly in exact equal measure. And I cannot downplay how much I was moved as a young teen by the Jesus Syndrome arc, where Anderson punches Judge Goon in the face, and her subsequent emotional journey in Childhood's End. The 'Postcards from the Edge' sequence wasn't the best, but I'm glad that Grant followed through on Anderson's state of mind that meant it made sense for her to quit the Judges and then return.

And yeah, I second the suggestion that Grant's 10+ years on Batman may in fact be the best sustained writing run that character ever had. He just had the knack of telling stories about a mad, rich vigilante tackling all manner of weirdoes in a gothic nightmare city, and it always came across as noble and exciting without any of the smugness and extreme angst that Batman accrued in the 21st century. (I would blame Grant Morrison for that but I don't think he was the first)

And this isn't even mentioning the number of belly laughs I've had from multiple re-reads of Ace Trucking, RoboHunter, Strontium Dog and 1980s Judge Dredd. Frankly I hold in higher esteem a creator whose at his/her best is part of a collaboration than one who studiously works alone, and Grant was clearly a master collaborator.

On the writing, there are bits of Red Seas that just about stand up to the best of Bad Company. One the art, though, my heart will always belong to Ewins and his extra-thick-soled boots, not to mention the insane love energy pouring off of Rufus Dayglo's pages.

Bad Company

Past rounds of voting have made it abundanbtly clear this thrill isn't really a contender, but for me it's a nailed-on Semi-Finalist at least.

General / Re: Forum’s Fav Thrill - Stickleback vs. Brink Rd 5 Heat 3
« on: 02 August, 2022, 08:07:13 AM »
errr... Brink.

I thought you said there were going to be tough decisions this Round, Colin? :):)

News / Re: Gerry Finley Day Signing
« on: 02 August, 2022, 07:50:59 AM »
Hah! Was just thinking it's lucky for me the times ARE during work hours. Far easier for me to slip out of the office for 30 mins than to beg time off from family duties to go to a comic shop...

Other Reviews / Re: 2022 Sci-Fi Special
« on: 01 August, 2022, 05:11:24 PM »
I mean, Tharg knows his target demographic...

General / Big Meg One podcast
« on: 01 August, 2022, 11:32:42 AM »
I couldn't find a thread for Space Spinner's baby brother, but didn't want to interrupt the flow of Spinnie noms.

Just writing here in case anyone cares enough to find out the Mr 'Erriot, from that Harke & Burr story, is surely a play on James Herriot, that Yorkshire vet* who write about his life and got his books turned into several TV shows under the title 'All Creatures Great and Small'.

*animal doctor, not ex-soldier.

I'm comfortable describing Meltdown Man as a one-and-done story. If it was done today it'd be spread across 6 books or so, I guess, and maybe some of those books would be about the adventures of Billy the Tracker or told from the perspective of Tiger Commander. Despite it's free-flowing feel it does a magnificent job of telling a single story from beginning to end...

and I think that's why it's getting my vote. It's relevant, too, that this is the last gasp of Belardinelli, one of my all-time faves. I've nothing bad to say about Firekind, certainly not the art, but it never quite lit my imagination on fire the way the joyful romp of nick Stoen and his Yujee buddies did.

Meltdown Man, I salute you.

Have yet to fall for the charms of Feral & Foe, have more or less always enjoyed SinDex, with occasional bouts of really loving it.

Easy vote for Sinister Dexter - but it's not gonna be an easy victory it seems...

General / Re: Sideshow Vote II: You have been judged
« on: 01 August, 2022, 11:22:42 AM »
I'm being Captain Obvious here but for me it's Judge Death!
The portcullis helmet, the way he sticks his fingers right through people's chests to squeeze their hearts, and the ectoplasm version that worms its way into people's heads. Always reminded me of the Alien, in that it has two kinda distinct forms that work together to destroy people inside and out...

Also, whisper it, I kinda like the stories where he's being funny, too.

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