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Messages - Robin Low

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General / Re: Dreddverse Map
« on: 16 January, 2021, 10:11:58 PM »
- Regarding Millsverse strips (Flesh, Ro-Busters, Savage et al), that opens up something of a can of worms (or "Wuurrrmms!" if we include Armoured Gideon and therefore The Order). My thought was to pretend none of that was really happening. I realize that means ignoring the Satanus through-line, but, well, let's say I was sticking more with obvious thematic continuity. My logic breaks down with the inclusion of Judge Planet and Pussyfoot 5, but if the writers can interconnect all of this disparate stuff just to have fun then I can have fun with diagrams, grudammit!

 - Strontium Dog is an interesting one - the two timelines *could* fit, but it's tricky to marry the UK presented in Portrait of a Mutant as being the future of the UK presented as Brit-Cit. It's a weak link, and mentally I do what Jimbo does and pretend it's a mixture of dimensions and time. (Also, can of wuuurrmms! because SD spins into Durham Red, Dogs & Tales.)

The sad thing is, I figured and argued all this out into a coherent picture years ago... and now I find I just don't care any more. There's little or no more meaningful Strontium Dog to be had now that we've lost Carlos and John W has all but retired. Dredd is either drifting or being pulled in different directions by different writers. It seems unlikely that we'll get anymore Savage out of Mills (except savage swipes at anyone who looks at him funny).

Very nice map though - respect the work put into it. Don't let my disillusionment distract from that.



Other Reviews / Re: MISTY WINTER SPECIAL 2020
« on: 28 December, 2020, 08:16:21 AM »

The story is - for me - a commentary on boarding/religious schools' insidious, but petty means of control, wherein they often claim to be a "liberal, free-thinking environment" despite uniforms, tiered daily schedules and a log of every thought and action being mandatory requirements for every pupil. 

Yes, at the start I also thought it was going to be the usual tiresome stuff about private education, but it quickly became something much more interesting than that.

Your points about the headmistress's reaction to the diaries sounds as reasonable as any other, as does your take on the whole story. I don't think it's realistic, in the sense that you can't get away with that kind of thing, but that hardly matters in this kind of story, and just adds to the disturbing wrongness of it all.

I read the article in the Meg last night, and Glass says, 'It's a ghost story about tradition and unspoken social mores growing out of control'. If there's a ghost in the traditional sense, I missed it.


Other Reviews / Re: MISTY WINTER SPECIAL 2020
« on: 27 December, 2020, 02:06:22 PM »
I feel like a massive idiot with Infection, because it feels like there’s something I’m just not getting. I like the broad feel of it, but it didn’t fully resolve for me.

I think it depends on how happy you are with ambiguity. If nothing else, we're left at the end with the strong likelihood we've been dealing with an unreliably narrator.

Pretty much all of the story is from Char's perspective. In fact, looking at it again, I think the only bit that happens out of her sight are the panels where the headmistress looks at India's diary. She aghast at what she sees... but earlier she's not affected by the sight of the zombified girls when Char pulls up the blinds. So, she doesn't seem to see them, but she does see something wrong in the diary. If the girls (and their problem) only exist for Char, but there is something on the diary that is disturbing, is this because Char is the one who's gone mad and has perhaps written something in India's diary?

The chills in this story stem from the uncertainty of what's happening, alongside the girls' increasingly weird behaviour, if it's happening at all.

It's entirely possible I've missed something obvious myself. For example, l started looking for the significance of 1842, since it Char crosses it out in her diary on the final page. It may just come from the 1842 TB outbreak referenced earlier... but I found that it crops up on Mr Mark's mind map on his board. There's a bubble stemming from 'History' that in one panel say's 'Myth' but in another says '1842'. Similarly, another bubble changes from 'Tradition' to 'Jonestown', which wikipedia tells me was a site of a mass murder-suicide.  'Group Therapy' becomes 'Stone Tape', 'In/Out groups' becomes 'Delusion', and 'Haunted' appears from nowhere attached to 'Psychology'. Is this telling us something, and if so is it Char or the author/artist?

When Char first finds the diaries in the shower, she doesn't appear to be carrying her book, and yet she picks it up off the floor after hearing harper thunking her fork in the table. Is this a continuity error or deliberate?

There seems to be more stuff going on this story than is visible on one read.



Other Reviews / Re: MISTY WINTER SPECIAL 2020
« on: 27 December, 2020, 10:08:45 AM »
Well, that was really good.

With no disrespect to 'Home for Christmas' intended, 'Infection was the standout story. It benefitted hugely from the lengthy page count, and I hope future issues take a similar approach, with fewer but longer stories.

As to Glass's art style, I admit it might not be my first choice for a spooky tale. However, this was a really wordy story (the pages with the headmistress in particular), and Glass's very clean and unfussy style made that work in a way Dave Roach's more detailed style wouldn't have. And despite the clean lines, it's not without its own detail or atmosphere.

I really hope it was picked up by a different demographic, and not just us 40/50-something men.


Creative Common / Re: Monster MACS by Reppion and Holden
« on: 13 December, 2020, 09:52:37 AM »
Surprised by the lack of response to this. It looks fun.


Off Topic / Re: Science is Drokking Fantastic Because...
« on: 21 November, 2020, 11:44:04 AM »
This thread's been a quiet recently, so let's cheer it up a bit:




Books & Comics / Re: The Zarjaz, Dogbreath & FQP comics thread
« on: 01 November, 2020, 05:17:47 PM »
Also ordered. Kev Crossley's cover finally kicked my arse into gear. I know that some folk have to watch every penny, especially these days, but pricewise these are bargains.



Books & Comics / Re: SPACEWARP - New Venture from Pat Mills
« on: 29 October, 2020, 08:22:40 PM »
Might go with a Marshal Law quote..

"If you're the new messiah, I'm going to be the one to drive in the nails."

I cut that page out of Strip back in the day and had it on my wall at university, along with a lot of 2000AD covers.



Film & TV / Re: Altered Carbon cancelled by Netflix.
« on: 28 August, 2020, 06:59:48 AM »
Starting a new open-ended show is daunting, but now I know its only 2 I may bump this up my maybe-watch list. Without spoilers, are dangling plots tied up sufficiently for it to work and not be really frustrating?

Let's put it this way, it has an end obviously intended to be taken forward, but it doesn't need to be. Based on the second series I'm sad there won't be more, but I'm not frustrated that there won't be. Due to the premise of the series, it's also set up so that the central character can be played by a different actor, which inevitably leads (I think) to self-contained stories.

I'd recommend the books over the series, but it's still more interesting than a lot of TV SF.



Film & TV / Re: Altered Carbon cancelled by Netflix.
« on: 27 August, 2020, 06:37:12 PM »
This is one where I preferred the book. I didn't think the alt-history flashbacks added to the story.

A big fan of the books, I watched the first series and was somewhat disappointed and didn't care much for the changes. I had the chance to binge watch the second and enjoyed it a whole lot more. One change in the first season that didn't bother me was the Poe AI, and I thought his story arc was the stand out part of season 2. For that if nothing else, I'm sorry to read of the cancellation.



Creative Common / Re: Pixel Dredd
« on: 25 August, 2020, 02:36:47 PM »

not really Dredd

He needs a mutie dog on his right so it looks like he's scratching behinds its ears.



Film & TV / Re: The Batman (2021)
« on: 24 August, 2020, 04:22:44 PM »
I did like kevlar-plated hulk Batman, but it's wearing a bit thin now.  It really, really worked for movie Dredd though; I never thought I'd say it but it got me wondering if the comics Dredd shouldn't get a bit more practical in his dress.

To be fair, with advances in material technology it's entirely reasonable to postulate reactive light-weight and flexible body armour that can harden in response to impact, dissipate heat and so forth. They've been doing it in SF for years and you can do it in Dredd easily, too.  With Batman it's not so easy if you want that gritty pretence at realism.


Film & TV / Re: The Batman (2021)
« on: 24 August, 2020, 12:25:55 PM »
Yeah. I'm very bored with Armoured Riot Cop Batman™ — I'd very much like to see something more like Breyfogle's lithe, athetic Batman flitting around the rooftoops of Gotham, just for a change…

It would be interesting to see something like that, but for some people it stretches credibility too much. With all the guns he'd be faced with, not to mention the unrelenting physical trauma, he wouldn't last. Cunning and shadows would only take him so far.

Obviously, people wanting credibility probably shouldn't be watching these movies anyway.

One of the reasons I'd like to see an animated Dredd is so we can have costumes and bikes that look like the comic, and we don't have to worry about the practical realities.



Creative Common / Another Dredd Script (long post)
« on: 24 August, 2020, 08:51:24 AM »
I wrote this last year. I was going to post it a couple of months ago, but discovered that the forum wouldn't allow it as an attachment. I wondered about posting it as a page a post, but then decided just to dump it here in one post. Having gone through it and done a lot of underlining, I find I don't have the patience right now to go through and do all the bolding for emphasis - you can decide for yourselves.

The story is a response to my own feelings about The Samaritan storyline and features the Doctor McGruder character I used in the Dane story I posted a while back.

As always, all comment welcome, for good or ill.

A six-page story for Judge Dredd by Robin Low
With acknowledgment and apologies to Kenneth Niemand

Doctor McGruder: The slightly younger sister of the late Chief Judge McGruder. Imagine what McGruder might have looked like if she’d never taken the Long Walk, 70+ years old, but with white hair, pulled severely back in a ponytail. Straight-backed and serious. Very fit and healthy for her age.  White Howie lab coat (http://www.kit.ie/products/product_detail/howie-coat), but only coming down as far as her upper thighs. Red trousers, red judge boots and gloves.  Carries a walking stick, but doesn’t look like she needs it. (The stick is essentially a Hondo City Judge’s tendo stave, but with the handle looking like an eagle with its wings swept back.) Her badge and chain are red. She carries a small, thigh-holstered handgun, the Medgiver (red metal, with a stubby muzzle like a small mushroom and a revolver-like cylinder – it’s a combination stun/needle gun). Other trivial details could include large round white earrings bearing a red eagle symbol.



The psi-vaults, rows of tanks in the background (see final page of JD: The Samaritan part four, Prog 2139 for reference). Judge McGruder and Judge Anderson are flanked by two serious-looking helmeted Med Judges. McGruder is showing a slim tablet device to a Psi-Tek at a desk. They all look like they mean business.

TEXT BOX: The Psi-Vaults.

MCGRUDER: Unit 73-B. The Samaritan. Release to Med-Division authorised by the Chief Judge. Get her unhooked and fit for transport. Now.


The nervous Psi-Tek examines the tablet.

PSI-TEK: But … she’s Dredd’s informant. He’ll cube us! If we’re lucky!


McGruder leans in close to the intimidated Psi-Tek, placing her gun and her walking stick on the Psi-Tek’s desk.

MCGRUDER: Son, I respect what you do, but I’m a Senior Judge. Do as you’re told or I’ll stun you. Annoy me, and I’ll do it with my stick.


Anderson leans in close to the Psi-Tek, smiling.

ANDERSON: And I’ll make you quack like a duck.


The Samaritan’s body has been removed and is inside a smaller transport tank on a futuristic medical trolley. The two mean looking Med Judges are wheeling her out the vaults. McGruder is signing something on the tablet device for the Psi-Tek. Anderson is also leaving with a cheery wave.

MCGRUDER: Thanks for your assistance, Cass. I’ll call you later to take her out of the psi-coma.

ANDERSON: Happy to help, Berenice. She’s had it rough, but she’s a strong one.


McGruder is handing the tablet back to the Psi-Tek.

MCGRUDER: Dredd gives you any trouble, son, refer the old bastard to me.



A large, bright operating theatre, with lots of machines and medical devices. The Samaritan is still in the transport tank, with Med Judge One examining readouts. McGruder is stood with Med Judge Two.

TEXT BOX: Med-Division – Biomechanics

MED JUDGE ONE: Body’s still stable. Brain activity is in coma minimal.

MCGRUDER: Good. Prep her surgery.


Med Judge Two and McGruder, talking.

MED JUDGE TWO: What about Dredd?

MCGRUDER: Don’t worry. They’ll be too scared to tell him quickly and he’ll be too busy to come right away. We have time.


McGruder and her surgical team of three or four others are dressed for surgery. The unconscious Samaritan is out of her tank and on the operating table, still connected to all the metal and tubes we saw in Prog 2139, as referenced above.


MCGRUDER: Alright, pay attention. This is a complex job, but we need to be fast. I expect us at the top of our game.

MCGRUDER: Now, let’s get the replacement out.


TEXT BOX: Day Two.

McGruder’s in her office at her desk, looking at reports. One of the Med Judges has entered and is carrying a large tablet.

MED JUDGE: She’s stable in the psi-coma. Other vital signs exactly as we’d want them.

MCGRUDER: Good. Keep me apprised. And keep the guards on her room.


McGruder is doing ward rounds. She’s checking on Judges who have had various mechanical body replacements. Some are in bed, some are up and walking (or limping) around.

TEXT BOX: Day Three.


Pretty much the same image from Panel FOUR, except the Med Judge is replaced with an angry-looking Dredd entering her office.

TEXT BOX: Day Four

DREDD: McGruder…

MCGRUDER: Good morning, Joe. You took your time.

DREDD: Been busy. What the hell are you playing at?


McGruder and Dredd are face to face. She’s smiling. She’s not intimidated by him in the slightest.

MCGRUDER: Let’s take a walk to the gym. Bring your daystick.



Dredd and McGruder are in the gym, squaring off. Both are now in vest tops. Dredd has his daystick and McGruder has her walking stick, which as I mentioned looks rather like a Hondo City Judge’s tendo stave. McGruder is a tall, skinny old bird, all wiry muscle (think Iggy Pop)

MCGRUDER: Remember I was on sabbatical in Hondo when you saved Margie from the needle?

MCGRUDER: All these years and I never properly thanked you. Remiss of me.


Dredd and McGruder trade a few blows.

DREDD: Why’d you steal my informant? She’s a valuable asset.

MCGRUDER: Asset? You’d have died in that alley, but she saved you!

DREDD: She broke the law. I warned her not to run.


McGruder ducks a swing from Dredd and whacks him in the butt with her stick. (Hitting him in the butt with her stick is significant.)

MCGRUDER: You know what, Joe? I think you got old and sloppy… got shot by a two-bit punk!

MCGRUDER: Then you tank the girl who saved you to prove you’re as tough and mean as ever!


Dredd is annoyed. He gets a blow in on McGruder.

DREDD: You a shrink now too, McGruder?


Another strong blow from Dredd, but McGruder blocks it.

MCGRUDER: You’re a soldier and a detective. Med Judges are versatile, too.


Dredd gets in a good blow and sends McGruder flying.

DREDD: Yeah, but you’re no Street Judge!


I’m seeing Panels One, Two and Three viewed in profile, all with McGruder lying on the ground, but propping herself up on her elbows.


Dredd stood on the left with McGruder lying on the ground, but propping herself up on her elbows looking at Dredd.

DREDD: Still think I’m old and sloppy, McGruder?


McGruder is still in exactly the same position as before, but Dredd is starting to wobble and fall backwards.


McGruder is still in exactly the same position as before, and Dredd is lying flat out unconscious on the floor.

MCGRUDER: Frankly, Joe, yes.


A private room, Dredd is lying on a hospital bed, still in his vest, his arms folded. He seems more grumpy than angry. McGruder is sat on a chair (perhaps Dredd’s jacket and badge draped across the back) by the bed. McGruder looking slightly smug.

TEXT BOX: A few hours later…

DREDD: It was when you hit me in the butt, wasn’t it?

MCGRUDER: Yes, it’s an old doctor’s trick. The blow numbs you to the needle.


Focus on McGruder

MCGRUDER: Now listen, Joe. The man who cared about my mad sister is not the kind of man who traps good people in hell as departmental assets.


Dredd sat up on the edge of the bed, pulling on his jacket. McGruder is on the way out the door, looking back.

MCGRUDER: Take a couple of days. Think about it. Doctor’s Orders. I trust you to do the right thing.



Another private bedroom. The Samaritan is sat up in bed, wearing a hospital gown. She looks fully restored, perhaps a slightly younger version of herself. She’s had a full body transplant. Cassandra Anderson is sat on one side of the bed. Across the room, McGruder is stood halfway through the door.

TEXT BOX: A couple of days…

MCGRUDER: More visitors. Brace yourself, girl!


Dredd and Judge Rico, stood side by side, looking out of place and uncomfortable. The Samaritan nervously pulls her bed sheets up to her chest, eye wide, frightened. Anderson places a comforting hand on her shoulder.

ANDERSON: It’s okay, honey, they’re cool.

MCGRUDER: They both have things to say to you. Rico?


Focus on Dredd and Rico, side by side.

RICO: Sorry I shot you up so bad. We’re trained to make the kill shot, but I didn’t understand the situation. It was overkill.


Focus on Dredd and Rico side by side.

DREDD: You saved my life. Thank-you. Putting you in the tank was a mistake and I apologise.


Focus on Dredd and Rico side by side, heads turned to face each other.


Focus on Dredd and Rico side by side, face turned forward again as in Panels Three and Four.

DREDD AND RICO (simultaneously):  Umm… Get well soon.



The three women left alone in the room. The Samaritan looking from Anderson to McGruder, utterly shocked and bewildered.

THE SAMARITAN: What … what the hell was that?

ANDERSON: Those were apologies. I got one once, too. Kinda scary.

MCGRUDER: And when men like them apologise, you can know they’re sincere.


Focus on McGruder.

MCGRUDER: Time to move on. You, my girl, have a new force-grown clone body. It’s compensation… but also an obligation.


McGruder hands the Samaritan a small, unmarked white box.

MCGRUDER: Dredd was right on one score. You’re an asset. So we’re making you a Judicial Associate.


MCGRUDER: You’ll work for Med- and Psi-Div, mentored by us. We’ll develop your obvious talents.

ANDERSON: We won’t lock you way. You’ll get out on the streets, work cases with us. Help people. It’ll be hard work, but worth it.


THE SAMARITAN: I’m guessing this is an offer I can’t refuse.

MCGRUDER: You’d be a damn fool if you did, and I wouldn’t have gone to this trouble if I thought you were.

ANDERSON: Yeah, Dredd doesn’t pull his punches…


Close up of the box McGruder gave the Samaritan. It’s open, in her hands and contains a silver Judge’s badge sat on red satin with the name SAM (or SAMARA, perhaps?) on it.

VOICE FROM OUT OF PANEL: Welcome to Justice Department.


Film & TV / Re: The Batman (2021)
« on: 23 August, 2020, 12:13:17 PM »
That's a great trailer.

You're not kidding. I don't know what I was expecting, but I definitely wasn't expecting that. I will miss Affleck's angry thug, but Pattinson seems like he's got the idea.



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