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The Killing v Portrait of a Mutant - Bolt-01 Cup - SEMI-FINAL 2

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I am seriously torn here. Portrait is a huge part of the SD story and is a great piece of world building with some cracking characters. The Killing though doesn't put a foot wrong. It's funny, tense and exciting and it has Wulf. Both great stories, but for me The Killing just nudges it. God only know how I will cope with an Outlaw vs The Killing final.

Leigh S:
Hmm - Barrington makes a great point about The Killing - it is much more quintessentially "Strontium Dog" than the war story / childhood trauma of Portrait. 

But even given that, this was the first Stront story I read in full (missed the first part of Bad Boys Bust)  and it make me a life long fan.  It does have enough bad assery from adult Alpha for me - Eggheads cracking and "that" end.... "Please, don't let me die...."  Along with one of 2000ADs all time great panels (the Disbanded Kreelers as the new Police is one of 2000ADs most on point political messages)....

The Killing is great fun and a superb high concept (I also wonder where it sits in the "Fortnite" timeline!)

But overall, i cannot deny my vote to Portrait of a Mutant for the depth of character, world building and messaging. 

Just been looking into that whole timeline of 'death games' stories question, and it's not something the internet seems to have agreed upon...

Per TV Tropes (https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/DeadlyGame), it's all more or less based on Roman Gladiators (and similar to various Aztec/Maya/Meso-American ballsports)* but the earliest versions of this in fiction apparently start with 'The Most Dangerous Game' (1924; the 1932 movie is excellent BTW) - but that's basically just rich people hunting humans for sport. Arguably Han's Tournament from Enter the Dragon (1973) is more similar, with its contestants routinely dying at the end ofeach fight, rather than just being knocked out.

The nearest I can see that is much more like the Killing is, apparently, a Modesty Blaise strip from 1976 called 'Those about to Die', something it's easy to imagine Wagner and Grant having read. Although I think, again, that's more about peole being rounded up for a death sport, not willing volunteers on a Game Show, in the manner of your Battle/Hunger/Squid Game Royale variety.

And then of course there's Judge Dredd: You Bet Your Life' (1977, Prog 25) and 'The Game Show Show' (1982, Progs 278-9), which sees willing contestants risk their lives for money (although they're not killing each other). Wagner and Grant definitely read those strips, because they wrote 'em!

And frankly, after doing even this cursory research, I'm giving my vote to the Killing for being super fun and, perhaps, an original story idea!

*Pat Mills might like to wave Murderball in your faces, too

One stront tale to take to a desert island? Of these two I'm taking The Killing.

Dark Jimbo:
Portrait of a Mutant.


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