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Messages - Funt Solo

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Help! / Re: Six Year Old Comic Fare
« on: 15 October, 2019, 10:34:40 pm »
Yotsuba is always recommended to new readers, but be warned it's manga and risks turning your child into a weeb.

Thanks for this tip: Yotsuba proved an immediate hit and the first book got quickly devoured. Understanding the right-to-left reading took approximately no time at all, which sort of surprised me.

Has anyone mentioned Inferno yet?

Prog / Re: Thrill-Coma 2010
« on: 15 October, 2019, 03:26:33 pm »
Reading back on the prog review threads of all those years ago,  a few people call out accusations of casual racism in Stix Fix and some let it slide with "Get a sense of humour you nanny-state, pc-gone-mad, do-gooders!"

Putting gently aside obvious defensive reactions about the attack-dog nature of that kind of response: my litmus test for whether something's OK is whether or not I could show it to my high school class and feel safe that I wouldn't find it difficult to defend that decision.

I really loved a lot of the Bill Hicks material I saw: but he was terribly homophobic. Should I just not mention that? Does noticing his homophobia mean I'm someone who needs a sense of humour upgrade? Or that I want to nanny people? Or that I'm insanely driven by political correctness? I don't believe so.

Likewise, I find the creators of The Stix Fix to have done tons of great work over their careers. I could wax lyrical about their stupendous achievements. But drawing Koreans with big buck teeth sneering evilly at us and talking about eating dog? Hey: everyone's free to make their own minds up about how that makes them feel. I know how it makes me feel.

"And you will stop us if you think it's getting even the teeniest bit racist?" (Remember: no laughing!)

Off Topic / Re: The Black Dog Thread
« on: 14 October, 2019, 06:57:10 pm »
Life can be entirely overwhelming at times. I read recently that being overwhelmed and underwhelmed both derive from being whelmed, which, unfortunately, also means being overwhelmed. But, (a few) people have started using whelmed to mean neither over or under but rather in a steady state.

Q: How are you?
A: Whelmed.

Games / Re: The Board Game Thread
« on: 14 October, 2019, 04:33:24 am »
I played Keep on the Borderlands back in the day, and then reflected years later that the adventurers were basically committing genocide against multiple populations of non-human. (Well, they didn't have to kill them all, but if you wanted loot for that shiny new armour...)

Prog / Re: Thrill-Coma 2010
« on: 13 October, 2019, 11:43:09 pm »

2015 (2nd Quarter)

A really solid phase for old Tooth with every thrill a production of the highest standard. Scripts are one thing, but check out the artists we've got here - a jump-on cover to prog 1924 by Brian "Be Still My Beating Heart" Bolland, Carlos Ezquerra on Stront, Richard Elson, Henry Flint, Simon Davis and Jake Lynch. Scoop your jaw from the floor, Dear Reader. Scoop.

In (very tight) order of most to least thrilling...

Judge Dredd: Breaking Bud
Script: John Wagner, Art: Richard Elson, Letters: Annie Parkhouse

A sequel to 2014's Dead Zone (M350-M355), at the end of which a hi-tech, weaponized stealth bracelet from the future has fallen into the hands of the Justice Department. It allows the wearer to teleport, turn invisible, force people to tell the truth and also serves as a disintegrator (just in case those other powers don't quite cut it).

This, then, is the tale of a citizen who's had enough of being beaten down by a society that doesn't care, and suddenly finds himself in the position of being able to do something about it. Seemingly effortless procedual work from Wagner, supported by top notch art from Richard Elson marks this out as a top thrill. 

Slaine: The Brutania Chronicles, Book Two - Primordial
Script: Pat Mills, Art: Simon Davis, Letters: Ellie De Ville

Slaine has rescued Sinead from the Drune lords, but her spirit is broken and she's been purposefully addicted to opium, which speaks to the wider theme of this Book as being one of spirituality and mental health. The Drunes serve as reverse psychologists: rather than trying to cure people they seek to enhance mental illness and have their victims serve them as reliant puppets. It's pretty deep and delves far back into the saga: all the way to the death of Slaine's mother, and how that has shaped him.

I could see a frustration here if it's read as an action thriller: not that there isn't any action - it's knee deep in gore - but ultimately Slaine ends up pretty much where he started after a lot of running around. There's two key things I love here: one is the stupendous painted art by Simon Davis and the other is that it's thought-provoking. An entire episode is pretty much given over to Slaine trying to deal with Sinead's depression. (It could have been a bit more progressive if Slaine had been rescued by Sinead, but you can't have everything.)

Grey Area: [The Homeworld Arc, sequence 1]
Script: Dan Abnett, Art: Mark Harrison, Letters: Annie Parkhouse

I've consistently rated Grey Area as least thrilling in all my Thrill Coma posts so far: five for five, it's always been at the bottom of the pack. And people have been telling me it's got legs, that there's something there I'm either missing or haven't got to yet. I wasn't convinced - but here it's definitely turned a corner.

All they had to do to get my attention was get out of their own Grey Area and into the G.A. of the Harmonious Free, an inwards-focussed alien race who don't believe there's a giant god-star on the way to devouring their planet because they just don't, like, feel it, man.

Through a sequence of tales (Another Day on the Job, Just Routine Questions, Locked In & Talk Down) we get the situation laid out with a vein of dark humour and some crazy-beautiful art from Mark Harrison. The only bum note is that there's no explanation for how the main characters we've been following suddenly know so much about the god-star network and feeding mechanism: it feels like something that happened to them, so I'm not sure how they figured out the how (rather than just the what).

Extra points for Birdy and Bulliet's relationship not being mentioned at all, even once, but there's still a scene where guys look at naked women in showers and go "phwoarrr". Talking of Carry On...

Strontium Dog: The Stix Fix [or Carry On in North Korea]
Script: John Wagner, Art: Carlos Ezquerra, Letters: Simon Bowland

If the question is how racist can you be and still get published in 2000 AD in 2015, this does a good job of answering it. Comedy Koreans who can't speak English properly: check! They also eat dog: check! They're paranoid about being short: check! A central joke is their hilarious naming conventions: check! Blakee Pentax from 1982 has nothing on this. (Don't get me started on the sexual politics.)

Despite Wagner trying his best to outdo Team America and Jim Davidson (and Darkie's Mob), there's quite a strong tale in here of crosses and double-crosses as Alpha tries to solve a case and find his own way to freedom.

Orlok, Agent of East-Meg One: The Rasputin Caper [or Carry On Down Under]
Script: Arthur Wyatt, Art: Jake Lynch, Letters: Ellie De Ville

It's an odd mix of motifs: the ruthless determination of Orlok (the straight guy) played out against giant spider-themed codpieces and broad, very thinly-veiled homages to Tank Girl, Crocodile Dundee and Mad Max. Plot-wise it's chase the McGuffin, which takes the form of a psychic who can sense the future of places: but when that future is too hard to bear, the tragedy is that nobody believes him.

Judge Dredd: Enceladus, New Life
Script: Rob Williams, Art: Henry Flint, Letters: Annie Parkhouse

Stylistically powerfully delivered, but confusingly told: we're back with the invincible Aimee Nixon and her demented hatred for Mega-City One. I've never bought it, thematically, so for me it falls flat (more Star Trek: Nemesis than Wrath of Khan).

There are some chilling, dramatic moments, and an even frostier postscript that suggests worse trouble to come...

Film & TV / Re: Scorsese makes Joker movie - or The Death of Culture
« on: 12 October, 2019, 08:09:17 pm »
It exists for me.

Megazine / Re: Thrill-Coma 2010: Best of the Meg
« on: 12 October, 2019, 03:38:28 am »

The first half of 2015.  In order of publication:

American Reaper [III] & Reaper Files
(megs 355-360)
Script: Pat Mills
Art: Fay Dalton, Clint Langley
Lettering: Annie Parkhouse

In this part-comic part-photo-story ("It's a little bit more complex than that!"), strap in for mucho melodrama and some double-bluffing, carpet-pulling twists and turns as we try to figure out if Detective Matherson's daughter (Jessica) has had her mind replaced by an evil older woman intent on an extended life and a new, younger bod.

One of the key plot elements has been whether or not the Reapers can trust their identity theft detection goggles: which (perhaps unintentionally) leaves open the question of whether Matherson accidentally offed his son in the first series.

Seguing into over-wrought silliness at times (a fraught but extended conversation being held between father and daughter as she dangles precariously from the door of a burning flying machine) there's also a disturbing sense that Jessica only exists to be owned by men (whether that's her father or the bad guy). The oddly pitched supernatural coda (Happy Deathday, Detective Matherson) only reinforces that idea by pushing key female characters into unseen relief.

DeMarco P.I.: Déjà Vu
(megs 355-357)
Script: Michael Caroll
Pencils: Steve Yeowell
Inks: Lee Townsend
Lettering: Ellie De Ville

In a plot most video games would be proud of, DeMarco wakes up in the street with no memory of how she got there, a gunshot wound in her abdomen and with all her bank accounts empty (when apparently she was rich before).

The shaggy dog story that follows of course fills in the blanks on the way to the denouement, but the tone strays a little close to Minnie the Minx territory, with some rapscallions hired to throw half-bricks at Judges who chase after them shouting "Oy!" I mean, if someone chucked a rock at Dredd he'd shoot them in the legs just as an opening gambit.

The finale sees Jack Point relegated to sub-par Mel Gibson-isms:

Judge Dredd: The Cop
(megs 355-360)
Script: Al Ewing
Art: Ben Willsher
Lettering: Simon Bowland, Adam Brown

A convoluted plot that's heavy on the style might leave the audience wondering who's who as Dredd and, erm, someone else eventually take part in a short remake of Dredd, the movie The Raid. The incongruous inclusion of a Holocaust 12 partial reprint (meg 359 after M3.20 & M3.21; Script: John Smith, Chris Standley; Art: Jim Murray) left some of the readership scratching their heads until the next issue, when it turned out to be a well-timed reminder.

(megs 356-359)
Script: Gordon Rennie
Art: Lee Carter
Lettering: Annie Parkhouse

Something of a tour de force, this re-imagines Pa Angel as a somewhat sympathetic character by telling a tale of his early years (pre-Angel Gang), up against a group of corrupt Texas City Judges who've murdered his wife.

Visions of the future from a mutie psychic suggest that this could be an alternate timeline, and the plot structure demands that we pay attention with a flashback within a flashback to contend with.

Adding to the angelic veneer we also get the superbly timed Tales From The Black Museum: Rising Angel (meg 358, Script: Michael Carroll, Art: Nick Percival, Lettering: Ellie De Ville), with a stupendous cover of an aging Mean Machine.

Anderson Psi-Division: Mutineers
(megs 359-360)
Script: Emma Beeby
Art: Andrew Currie
Colours: Eva De La Cruz
Lettering: Ellie De Ville

Somewhat confusing storytelling had me thinking that I'd missed part one, but I eventually got to grips with the structure so I could follow a tale that sees Anderson's Daughter and Cadet Flowers investigate a giant insectoid menace threatening a mutie township.

General / Re: Things that went over your head...
« on: 11 October, 2019, 04:16:47 am »
They were called clegs in the Highlands, as well: it says from Old Norse kleggi on the interweb. Feckin' horseflies.

General / Re: Life Spugs because...
« on: 10 October, 2019, 10:08:49 pm »
You got a permit to grow there, Creep?

Totes Banzai Battalion.

General / Re: Life Spugs because...
« on: 10 October, 2019, 06:43:03 pm »
For some reason that reminds me of Rowan Atkinson being the devil.

General / Re: Life Spugs because...
« on: 10 October, 2019, 05:13:23 am »
I kneel down next to students who are on computers to help them fix their bugs. I've done that for nineteen years, since becoming a teacher.  Turns out it wasn't a good move: I've badly damaged my right meniscus (the shock absorber of the knee, between the femur and the tibia) and can hardly walk because my knee is so swollen and owie. I might look cool with a cane (it's even an auto-unfolding cane so I feel like I'm part Transformer), but I'd rather not need it.

I've been hobbled. Figure that's pretty spuggy.

Off Topic / Re: Wot I Ate On My Holidays
« on: 09 October, 2019, 06:39:45 pm »
You need to get your aides into better shape so they don't miss snatching that disposable cup off you next time.

He was on holiday alone, except for a tripod and a timer.

Off Topic / Re: The Political Thread
« on: 08 October, 2019, 08:06:31 pm »
This might work:

Control the ads you see.

General / Re: Space Spinner 2000AD
« on: 08 October, 2019, 05:29:19 pm »
Leaping fearlessly over sharks:

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