Those of you who read our horror comic last year may be excited to know that its' cover star, The Major, will be joining the regular list of strips in future PARAGON, starting in issue 15!
Another great character added to one of the best anthologies around!
Take a good look at that art. Now if you frequent the 2000AD forums or buy the Prog then you know who this is by. But honestly, if you didn't know it was by one of the founding artists of that great comic would you be impressed by it? It's flat. The anatomy is cartoonish at best. There's no grounding for the characters, no backgrounds to give a sense of placement - a cardinal sin in B&W comics - you can get away with this in coloured stuff by giving a striking palette to the frame, but here? No it doesn't work for me.
I was relieved to hear Slaine was to be drawn again instead of the photo-manipulated art of Clint Langley which we have had in recent years and which my eye slides off, but I was disappointed in this weeks art; if it had been sent in anonymously, on spec, I believe it would have been rejected - I know I would have turned it down for PARAGON. It's only because it's by Mick McMahon that people are loving it.
CLiNT is dead. STRIP struggles. The two great hopes for Brit comics have disappointed for different reasons.
I did buy the first few issues of CLiNT but decided soon after that reprints of Turf (which I had already bought) and Millar's shock comics did not really appeal to me (rape baby bomb? Really?). It's positioning as a lad's mag comic wasn't for me. STRIP was much more my style - to the point where I almost gave up producing PARAGON as a mainstream comic was now doing (pretty much) what I wanted to read. Then it relaunched in WHSmiths and in that time I've produced more issues than they have! Now that can't be right, when a small press comic is more regular than the big(gish) boys!
Someone suggested elsewhere that perhaps CLiNT would benefit from one complete story per issue to combat it's erratic publishing schedule. A reviewer of PARAGON has previously suggested I should do the same, but is that fair on those who write eight pagers for me? I could print Wotan Walks in Weimar as a one shot, or Bludd & Xandi , or even the Jikan 3 parter (all stories I have lined up to appear in future issues!) but where would that leave Spencer Nero, Tommy Rocket and The Major? No, I think serialising and one off shorts is best - I LIKE anthologies; I grew up reading them and like the mix of action, adventure, sci-fi and horror. PARAGON may not be mainstream or available in Smiths but it's bloody good and worth investing your time - and a couple of quid - in every few months!
Issue 14 of PARAGON wraps up the Icarus Dangerous story in an extra length episode, sees another adventure for Jikan the time travelling demon hunting samurai - this time he returns to Japan but something isn't quite right; croc-aliens have invaded - and Spencer Nero, the British empirical adventurer who finds inhuman strength whenever he dons the ancient Janus mask reveals a darker side to his powers.
I don't normally use this blog to talk about anything other than my art and comics but sometimes, just sometimes, something grabs me and I want to shout about it.
I went to see the re-issue of Dial M for Murder yesterday at the cinema and I truly recommend it, especially as the re-issue is in 3D. The film was originally released in that format but as I'm sure you are aware, things have improved within the format in the last sixty years (no red and green lensed cardboard glasses these days!) so it was ripe for a re-release.
I've seen the film a number of times on TV (I'm a huge Hitchcock fan) but hadn't seen it in a long time, to the point where I couldn't remember the intricacies of the plot and the only 3D moment I could really remember was the attempted murder scene;
where poor Margot reaches out behind her head (and out to the audience) to find something to fend off her attacker, scrabbling around for a pair of scissors on the desk. But that's not the only bit that works; as she answers the phone, and the would be murderer steps from behind the curtain tightening the scarf he intends to strangle her with, the depth of image as she almost hangs up the phone and he moves his hands forward, pulls back and tries again is just astonishing. Hitchcock really knew what he was doing with this format. When you see it flat on TV it works, and works well, but see it on the big screen in 3D with no distractions in the room and the suspense is palpable.
From the very first image when the M looms out of the telephone dial in the title of the movie, you just know you are in for a treat. Seeing it on the silver screen in 3D also helps explain some of the low camera shots as the viewpoint prowls around the room; there always seems to be a lamp, a table edge, a bottle, an arm-rest in the foreground adding depth to the image.
If you've seen it before you will know it is based on a stage play and as such is indeed very stagey and the investigation and denouement is unrealistic - it would never happen in the real world, but for all that, it is a wonderful piece of entertainment. Milland as the urbane criminal cuckold and Kelly as the cheating wife, framed for murder; your support swings from one to the other depending who is onscreen - you don't want Kelly to hang for the death of a man who attacked her but you also want Milland to get away with it... perfect casting.
A final word on the casting - John Williams who played the inspector would have been perfect as Sir Gerald Tarrant in a Modesty Blaise movie. If only!