Monday, 29 August 2016

Examples of Crap I Waste My Money On: Bootsale Report 7!*

My toe hurts
I got a thorn in-between two of those three nameless toes in the middle of your foot (well I assume they do actually have names, it’s just no one knows them because they’re so unimportant, kind of like the members of One Direction not called Harry) and I walked around with this thorn lodged there slowing sawing away. I am so interesting. What was the point of this? Oh yeah, I went to what will quite possibly be my last bootsale of the year:


I think I ended on a relatively high note: I mean just one section of today’s haul photo has a velociraptor, a werewolf, the villain from Stingray, a fucking bear and Pikachu, it looks like someone let a wild animal loose amongst a group of trick or treaters. Today was also mercifully a Clean Weak, after last week and spending half an hour cleaning the sticky off of Blackstar demons this was a welcome change, other than the big Biker Mouse all I really had to do was wipe everything over, clean the sand out of Venonat and then I could get to the posing and the hugging of The Creature From the Black Lagoon. So are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin:

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Samia Ghadie, Mylene Klass, Tina O'Brien and Nell McAnderw present: A Lad's Mag Special*

I spent over an hour and a half scanning Lad’s Mags, I feel strangely emotionally exhausted


I’m having a massive sort out this month and part of that involves a project I’ve been meaning to do for a good while: I have piles of magazines around my house, all of which only contain one article I’m keeping it for, seriously I could suffocate you under a pile of old Mojo, Uncut and Hammer magazines that are being kept just for a top 10 singles article, and I’ve been meaning to scan in those one articles so I can have more room AND check what the top 15 Pub Rock albums of all time are. The first to be scanned are one of my small piles of Lad’s Mags (I’m short on time today), I was hoping this was all of them but there’s another pile lurking in the loft somewhere filled mostly with Abi Titmuss issues of Nuts. The Lad’s Mags are dying off, FHM (the king of them all) ended a little while ago and I’ll admit I felt a twinge of sadness when I heard this, for my generation of boys these magazines were a key part of our adolescence, most didn’t have actual nudity (some did) so newsagents gave far less of a fuck about selling them to obviously underage patrons and this was as close to porno a lot of kids my age could get in a time when the internet was in it’s infancy, Dial-Up was the only option and a fraction of households had even that (we didn’t have the internet until I was about 14). What the lad’s mags lacked in nudity they made up for by having raunchy photoshoots from recognisable quote-unquote famous women. But let’s be clear, these magazines were shit, they’d have one article about one television presenter you fancied and then pages and pages of wank (a fitting term) with the worst priorities and outlook on life possible without being a BNP newsletter.

I actually have a weird emotional attachment to these magazines so they’re not going to be thrown away, I was just scanning them so I can put them in a dark, largely inaccessible corner of my room where I don’t want to put books I might actually read once every two years.  Anyway I scanned these six articles for my own benefit, but I thought I might as well share them just in case anyone else cares about old photos of British TV stars so I’m not going to write a great deal in the rest of this article. I also understand his is the least PC thing I will ever post (well until I find those Abbi Titmuss issues of Nuts), click an image to enlarge it. 

Mean Streets
Tina O’Brien, Samia Ghadie and Nikki Sanderson in Maxim, issue 112, August 2004


For the Imaginary Americans: These were the three young sexy girls on Coronation Street, which is pretty much the premiere soap opera in the UK, O’Brien and Sanderson had come into the show as jailbait (as Sarah-Louise Platt and her best friend Candice respectively) but I think Samia Ghadie (Maria) was always an adult, regardless this was the first time all three of them did a photo shoot together and my god you couldn’t have sold this to me quicker, I was in lust with all three of these girls at the time (my family watched and still watch ‘Corrie’ religiously) and I think if Sarah-Louise and Candice had kissed as some sort of experimenting story-line (not an unlikely situation with this show) at least five parts of my body would have detonated in joy. Having all three of them in bikinis was the next best thing but honestly I’m not that mad on the interior shots, I think it’s the unnecessary costume jewellery, I’d’ve much preferred them to have kept the black outfits from the cover. Sanderson gets the biggest focus because this was her first shoot, I thought this was Tina O’Brien’s too but given how her solo shot isn’t a full page spread I’m guessing it wasn’t, or the FHM crew fancied Sanderson more (you know I’m going to look this up online after I’ve finished typing this right?) but even though Ghadie is the most adorable and Sanderson is the sexiest your eye is just drawn to O’Brien in every group shot, something about that girl, she has presence. Ghadie and O’Brien are still on the show btw, and haven’t aged a day, Sanderson left and went to another soap called Holyoakes and turned into someone’s slutty aunt but then everyone on that show either looks like someone’s slutty aunt or slutty sister, yes even the men.



Sunday, 21 August 2016

Spawn Spree III


Welcome to the third instalment of Spawn Spree, where I type some meaningless bullshit about six old McFarlane Toys action figures in a desperate and futile attempt to stave off the boredom and loneliness that nip at my heels most of my waking hours, and a couple of my sleeping hours too. Clearly I am in a good mood today and this will go absolutely fine. Today’s six gives us a closer look at an alien, two women in completely impractical outfits and a giant ape, why wouldn’t you keep reading? So are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin:

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Quick Crappy Review: Kidrobot Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles SDCC 2016 Exclusive Triceraton

My San Diego Comic Con 2016 exclusive items have begun turning up, I’m excited even if one of them is for a line that’s already been cancelled. Today that’s not relevant though so I can just be excited, in this case about Kidrobot’s exclusive for their 8-inch vinyl range, which was a shared exclusive with Toys R Us; it’s only a fucking Triceraton innit?

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Seven Examples of Things I Waste My Money On: Bootsale Report 6!*

It's that time again...
After far too long a break, I returned to Dunton Bootsale for another round of spending money on things other people don’t want, but still want some money for. Today I did this on around an hour’s sleep so spent the morning wandering the dusty lines of pasting tables, ground sheets and storage crates feeling like I was in the world’s most specific Circarama film: detached from reality and not quite able to take in everything. I was also being haunted by some bloke and his two children who kept pace with me nearly the whole time and were only interested, and I mean ONLY interested, in football, so stuck themselves in front me of at seemingly every stall searching for old Headliners and Match Stars while I just wanted the price on some Power Rangers. Tolerance at bootsales is certainly affected by how much you give a shit about what the annoying person is searching under the tables for, and if you’ve slept for less time than it takes to cook a baked potato. It didn’t feel like it when I was walking around, but then I couldn’t feel much of anything, but I did surprisingly well:



What it isn’t is very varied, if you’ve read any of these posts before you may see that I generally acquire quite a cross section of other people’s junk but today it was all toys and all under 5 inches, so while that photo may not be the  most visually interesting picture, it is crammed with a load of great buys.

Friday, 12 August 2016

Quick Crappy Review: Masters of the Universe Classics Collector's Choice Despera & Crita


So Masters of the Universe Classics then, Mattycollector is shutting down at the end of this year, they’re selling off all their remaining stock and the He-Man and She-Ra licence is going to Super7. Super7 have announced their plans to continue with both Masters of the Universe Classics Collector’s Choice and He-Man & The Masters of the Universe as well as create some new figures in the style of the 1980’s vintage Masters of the Universe line (in fact they’ve already done this, they’re just going to do more), for 2017. I’ll believe it when I see prototypes with a release date less than a year away, until then our last guaranteed MOTUC figure is coming in December. Classics was very much my gateway back into the world of ‘adult collector’s figures’ (a term I still dislike) and it’s easily my favourite adult collector’s line but my enthusiasm has been waning and although there are still characters I’d like to have figures of this review marks the last of the essential characters as far as I’m concerned, well except for the Twiggets, who totally should have been the SDCC item this year, so I’m not as sad to see the line (potentially) go as I would have been a year or two ago. Also please note it was murderously hot in my loft today so the photographs aren't of my usual 'quality'. 

A Long Look at Sonic the Comic 1-100 FINALE: Doomsday


2016 is Sonic the Hedgehog’s 25th Anniversary and I’ve been around since (almost) the start, in celebration of Sonic lasting so long I’m going to be posting a Long Look At Sonic the Comic issues 1 to 100, my favourite time period on one of my favourite comics and one of my favourite things about one of my favourite things – that’d be the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise- and this is that Long Look At. 

< Part 19


Ok so we’re doing something different here with this one (look at me, talking like I have readers and/or friends); issues 97-99 include three separate story-arcs1 that all converge into one book-length story in issue 100 but issue 100 is still separated into four strips, it was very well co-ordinated and everyone involved should feel bloody proud of themselves for pulling it off so well but it does mean my usual format of Quick Summaries for each story-arc in rough chronological order won’t work because they’re all taking place simultaneously and all really make up one big arc, so we’re gonna just have ourselves a countdown instead. So are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin.

Thursday, 11 August 2016

A Long Look at Sonic the Comic 1-100 Part 19: STILL Trapped in the Special Zone*


2016 is Sonic the Hedgehog’s 25th Anniversary and I’ve been around since (almost) the start, in celebration of Sonic lasting so long I’m going to be posting a Long Look At Sonic the Comic issues 1 to 100, my favourite time period on one of my favourite comics and one of my favourite things about one of my favourite things – that’d be the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise- and this is that Long Look At. 

< Part 18


I can’t believe I’m going to have to dedicate a whole part to this pile of filler. Let’s rush through some crappy one-short stories shall we? Are you sitting comfortably? I hope so:

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Stay Puft Quality Marshmallows!


This is the best day in snacks since they brought back the Wispa.


A Look at Sonic the Comic 1-100 Part 18: Trapped in the Special Zone


2016 is Sonic the Hedgehog’s 25th Anniversary and I’ve been around since (almost) the start, in celebration of Sonic lasting so long I’m going to be posting a Long Look At Sonic the Comic issues 1 to 100, my favourite time period on one of my favourite comics and one of my favourite things about one of my favourite things – that’d be the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise- and this is that Long Look At. 

< Part 17


Welcome to a period of Sonic the Comic I’m not that fond of but was actually a big part of my childhood, the ‘Trapped in the Special Zone’ era (which technically began last part with Mister Shifter). I should love this era – The Chaotix, some of my favourite characters in the franchise, are in it the whole time (and to the writer’s credit, the Chaotix are always great in these stories), as much as I like StC Amy, Johnny and Tails they’re not The Chaotix. The truth is though, Kitching and Stringer will totally squander the potential of the location to satiate their desire to take the piss – but not right away – the first few arcs ‘The Tomb’ and ‘The Hive’ use the potential of the Special Zone fully and are great AND while their work on the Sonic strip (and Tails, but that’s beyond hope for a while) will be a complete let down their work on Knuckles and Sonic’s World will be some of the best they’ll ever do. Oh and issue 89 has the best cover the series had pre-reprints, nothing else Sonic is as Halloweeny or phallic as this:

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

A Long Look at Sonic the Comic 1-100 Part 17: Odds & Sods III


2016 is Sonic the Hedgehog’s 25th Anniversary and I’ve been around since (almost) the start, in celebration of Sonic lasting so long I’m going to be posting a Long Look At Sonic the Comic issues 1 to 100, my favourite time period on one of my favourite comics and one of my favourite things about one of my favourite things – that’d be the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise- and this is that Long Look At. 

< Part 16


I forgot about a bunch of stuff that happened while Running Wild/Heroes & Villains and Future Shock were still going on, and I spent way to long talking about Running Wild last part and thus have to make up for it with this, so it’s just a short one today, my thinking is this all takes place about the same time as each other, after Heroes & Villains but before The Tomb:

Monday, 8 August 2016

A Long Look at Sonic the Comic 1-100 Part 16: Heroes & Villains*


2016 is Sonic the Hedgehog’s 25th Anniversary and I’ve been around since (almost) the start, in celebration of Sonic lasting so long I’m going to be posting a Long Look At Sonic the Comic issues 1 to 100, my favourite time period on one of my favourite comics and one of my favourite things about one of my favourite things – that’d be the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise- and this is that Long Look At. 

< Part 15


Once again the Sonic stories are all out of order, though this is the end of it and it’s actually quite understandable this time. See Running Wild takes the comic into its next era, the Trapped in the Special Zone Era, for around a year of our childhoods Sonic (and thus the Sonic strip) was stuck in the Special Zone with the Chaotix; it’s not my favourite era for reasons I will happily tell you about when we get to the appropriate point. Thus at the end of Heroes & Villains (issue 86) Sonic gets stuck in the Special Zone, but the readers couldn’t know this – and sometimes I doubt if the editors or Lew Stringer knew, but I presume they must – so while Running Wild and Heroes & Villains was running (pun intended?) in Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic’s World  strips continued to tell stories starring Sonic set on Mobius, with no real way to fit them in between the two aforementioned strips and it being impossible for them to happen after (because Sonic’s blue ass is in the Special Zone) they must happen before. They also dumped a filler story – Bubble Trouble – in between Running Wild and Heroes & Villains for, I presume, practical reasons. But as all the offending stories are covered in the issues we’re looking at in this part (#s 80-87, roughly), I can review them for you in rough chronological order, rather than publication order (for the third time) – yay me.

Friday, 5 August 2016

A Long Look at Sonic the Hedgehog 1-100 Part 15: Revolution*


2016 is Sonic the Hedgehog’s 25th Anniversary and I’ve been around since (almost) the start, in celebration of Sonic lasting so long I’m going to be posting a Long Look At Sonic the Comic issues 1 to 100, my favourite time period on one of my favourite comics and one of my favourite things about one of my favourite things – that’d be the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise- and this is that Long Look At. 


Continuity’s still a little to cock in these issues (it’ll get even worse next part) with Revolution ending the Brutus Trilogy at the same time as a whole new direction was being taken with the main Sonic strip so this part’ll be dealing with everything EXCEPT the main Sonic strip (Running Wild) for issues 80-83 (oh and the Knuckles strip from 83).

Thursday, 4 August 2016

A Look At Sonic the Comic 1-100 Part 14: On the Run, Out of Order*


2016 is Sonic the Hedgehog’s 25th Anniversary and I’ve been around since (almost) the start, in celebration of Sonic lasting so long I’m going to be posting a Long Look At Sonic the Comic issues 1 to 100, my favourite time period on one of my favourite comics and one of my favourite things about one of my favourite things – that’d be the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise- and this is that Long Look At. 

< Part 13


The publishing order of these few issues (#73-75) is all to cock. ‘The Big Decision’ is clearly supposed to take place straight after The Return of Chaotix, and that has to take place straight before the Knuckles Knock-Out Special which has to take place before Ghost Ship, yet it’s published during Ghost Ship, four issues after Return finished, also Tails is in it so it can’t take place during Fox on the Run, as such I’m doing this in reading order rather than publication order.

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

A Long Look At Sonic the Comic 1-100 Part 13: Odds & Sods II*


2016 is Sonic the Hedgehog’s 25th Anniversary and I’ve been around since (almost) the start, in celebration of Sonic lasting so long I’m going to be posting a Long Look At Sonic the Comic issues 1 to 100, my favourite time period on one of my favourite comics and one of my favourite things about one of my favourite things – that’d be the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise- and this is that Long Look At. 

< Part 12


Right, no fuckin’ about with pithy intros, the first of these stories started during Project Brutus but didn’t end until mid-way through The Return of Chaotix, the rest began and ended during Return of Chaotix because it was so bloody long, if I had to guess I’d say that they all happened after Brutus but before Return (which only happens in 1 night) with the exception of The Odour Zone - let’s go.

The Cybernik Strikes Back (Sonic’s World strip, issues 63-67)
Bollocks, Carl fucking Flint’s back and he’s brought the art style he’ll use for the rest of the book, shit, still at least he’s still drawing his own backgrounds here. Quick Summary: Shortfuse saves some prisoners in transit, turns out it wasn’t a random act of heroism, he wants one of them – a girl canary called Tekno – to build him a bomb. Pissed off Robotnik decides to send Metamorphia after the traitor, because that always works well.  A trip to Tekno’s secret workshop yields a bomb (that has ‘bomb’ written on it) and an upgrade for Shortfuze, now he’s stripy. They plant the bomb in the Chemical Plant Zone and set the timer, but before they can shove off Metamoprhia arrives, grows into a ‘battle mode’ and grabs Shorty. Now Shorty has to beat Metamophia in under four minutes and shockingly…he doesn’t manage it! Metamorphia actually uses her shape-shifting tactically to counter all of his ideas, the bomb explodes, leaving Shorty trapped under debris in water…Mega Mack…liquid of some kind, and Tekno prisoner. At Citadel Robotnik Eggman is not pleased Metamoprhia let his Chemical Plant get half blown up and takes away her powers, Shorty meanwhile uses his brain and jet boosters to dig a trench and slip out from under the debris. Shortfuse assaults Citadel Robotnik, Tekno for her part finds out Metamorphia (who’s holding her captive) has no powers judo throws the bitch, Eggman says ‘just shoot me’, Shorty gives some bullshit about why he won’t because the status quo needs to stay the same for a while, and flies off, he declines Tekno’s offer to use her lab as a base.


At last! Metamorphia uses her powers for something other than a paper-thin disguise she’ll discard at the first moment anyway! At last! A Shortfuse Story that is undeniably good! At last I can bitch about Carl fucking Flint! I hate Flint’s art, he’s not the worst artist the book’ll have but he’s still fucking terrible. In theory he should be a great fit for the series, he has a big, bold round style with a big bold inking style to match, it’s just he draws everything horrible – he hates backgrounds, if he draws them early on it will be simplistic colouring-book style backgrounds but later he’ll adopt this technique of pasting down black and white copied photographs ala 1970s Jack Kirby and Jim Steranko but his copies are always way to dark and with the contrast turned right up, meaning they don’t look psychedelic or experimental, they just look ugly and confusing, and lazy. He has a horrible habit of drawing characters in weird poses with random fingers sticking out like they’re making obscure gang signs, his relationship with perspective and proportion is… distant at best and his relationship with layouts isn’t much better, in other words, he sucks and he’s gonna be around for a while. Luckily the colourists can help him out, John Burns does the colours here and he has quite a shiny look, which helps add some much need depth to Flint’s work.


Anyway backing away from my comic art snobbery, Stringer’s writing obviously (because it features Shorty) and he’s actually on top form, I think there’s one clunky word balloon, maybe two. He finally gives us a Metamorphia story that has a different formula/plot and Metamorphia looks all the better for it, in fact she looks damn cool, outmanoeuvring Shorty at every turn for a whole strip – so Stringer goes and depowers her, she’ll only appear once more in the whole comic! He finally shows us how cool she can be, then takes her away – dick. And then there’s Tekno, you may not think it for a while but Tekno is going to be big recurring character in the series, even more so than Shortfuse, and one half of my favourite Sonic the Comic fan theory, but talk about Early Instalment Weirdness (TV Tropes WILL ruin your vocabulary), later on she’ll be the sensible one of the Amy/Tekno partnership, so it’s weird to see her full of so much attitude (and drawn by Carl Flint, did he or Lew design her? Stringer can draw so I guess it was him?) she’ll always have spunk but here she’s almost Sonic-level, I wonder if an editor by the name of Tate was involved any of that? 
 

The Homecoming (Knuckles strip, issues 65-68)
Quick Summary: Knuckles traces a disturbance to Megapolis, the capital city of the Floating Island, where a large headed robot digging around, Knuckles thinks he might recognise it but decides to smash it anyway, fails, then cracks the earth with a punch and lets it fall in. But what was it looking for? Out of the rubble comes an old, white echidna named Dr Finitevus Dr Zachary, the first of his people to return! An excited Knuckles shows Zachary the emerald chamber, because Knuckles is a gullible twat in every universe. Zachary claims the robot is chasing him and has been for some time, but goes off to bed before telling Knuckles anything useful. Unable to sleep Knuckles researches the robot and finds it’s a Floating Island guardian robot, so why is it after a Floating Islander? As if to answer that question it breaks in and kicks Knuckles arse some more, then it splits the Master Emerald – which was way more dramatic then, before it happened every other game – Rad Red gets blasted and thinking he’s dead Zachary exploits how he’s really a bastard controlling the robot, a bastard who wants revenge, and to destroy things because he can. He flies off to wipe out the Mobians, because he can, but Knuckles isn’t really dead and shoots out of a zoom tube (oh yeah, sorry, there’s Zoom Tubes on the Floating Island, the same as the Zoot Shoots in Archie, they turned up  really early (Enter Knuckles maybe?) I just haven’t mentioned them yet) and takes out one of the Guardian Robot’s wings. taking the battle back to the Floating Island’s surface, An island that’s now falling, and wedges itself on top of a mountain. Knuckles rips the head off of the robot and knocks Zachary out but a tremor knocks him from the Island. Seeing the Robot’s head sparking with Chaos Energy, which it absorbed during the breaking of the Master Emerald, Knuckles use sit as a temporary solution to keep the island in the air.


My summarising skills suck today.
It’s begun! the best run on the book! Nigel Kitching and Nigel Dobyn on Knuckles! Every time these two work on a Knuckles strip, and they’ll pretty much work on them exclusively from now on, a great story with great art is produced (even though Richard Elson was meant to draw this strip, and actually came up with the basic plot), it takes Dobyn the first issue to get to grips with Knuckles but he’s got his way of drawing him (and Zachary) down in part 2 and then it’s good shit all the way (well he’s still have some issues with random Mobians, that’ll be fixed soon). Kitching is on fine form too, using thought bubbles to assist the story and give an insight into character rather than to tell us what we can already see is happening - amazeballs! Someone tell Lew Stringer (I kid, I kid, the dialogue in Cybernik Strikes Back was fine). Now it’s obvious that Zachary was going to be a villain, but as a kid I bought it completely, I thought surely they couldn’t have the first echidna to return be a bastard, TV Tropes didn’t exist then alright? (and nor, it seems, did my knowledge of obvious plot twists). What’s really weird about this strip is how much it predicts/predates the Japanese and American stories – A returning echidna (The Dark Legion) who’s an albino sociopath who wants to destroy everything (Dr Zachary), the breaking of the Master Emerald (Sonic Adventure, Adventure 2, ever other game thereafter), the old Echidnas having guardian robots (Gizoids), hell the Guardian Robots even look like Emerl, look:


Spooky shit.
Oh just a thing, we’ll never find out what happened to Knuckles’ race or where Zachary came from, but the plan was that they had been turned into slaves of the Drakons (who we haven’t met yet) and were spread out across the universe(s).


Issue 68 has a one-and-done Christmas strip, Snow Business (Amy strip, issue 68) by Stringer and Carl fucking Flint, she lets a snowman badnik free; she tricks it off a cliff, all over bloody mistletoe. It’s… mostly inoffensive, Amy’s temporary return to pushy would-be girlfriend aside, in fact I’d almost go so far as to say that Flint’s art is better than normal, almost, read it once, never bother again.


Graveyard (Knuckles strip, issues 69-72)
Quick Summary: Knuckles heads down to the Valley of Kohenyu, an elephant’s graveyard for Kohenyu dinosaurs by an Emerald Mine; he wants a new Emerald to absorb the old one’s Chaos Energy. A rock slide drops him on his arse and he gets poisoned, having lost his gass mask, by a local plant. Pretty much straight after The Spirit of the Herd comes to him, a floating Kohenyu head who sicks the bones of her herd onto Knuckles. They overwhelm him but when it looks like the poison will do for him and the Spirits’ vengeance will be denied they pull back. Knux wakes up in a cage in the Emerald Mine and the Spirit tells him what happened – Echidnas hunted them to extinction, though they were only hunting them for food the herd had only 20 males, who were the slowest and were all killed. Knuckles digs out of the cage and goes on the run from the Herd, trying to dig out an emerald, and chances upon the Soul Crystal, which the Spirit of the Herd needs to survive, givne the choice to smash it and save himself he does, saying he knows how the Spirit feels, being all alone. Impressed the Spirit lets him take an emerald; he does, before she changes her mind.


This story is fucking amazing, playing to Dobbyn’s strengths Nigel gives us a story set in a desert with giant things for Knuckles to smash, and Dobbyn’s painted art gives the ghost story the atmosphere it needs, as well as giving the Spirit an ethereal quality that the other artists and colourers wouldn’t have been able to pull off. Plot wise there’s no bad, except maybe the poison bit, it feels like a plot element that wasn’t really needed but I think the idea was to give Knuckles and the readers a reason to doubt if things were real or not, the implication is that it IS real but there is an air of ambiguity about it that just makes it a better ghost story. Y’know what, just read this.


Brute Force (Sonic’s World strip, issues 69-72)
Quick Summary: Commander Brutus is stock piling captives. After Grimer completes a portable version of Brain Scanner Robotnik used to give the ultimate trooper his A.I. Brutus knocks him out and copies his brain, now with all of Grimer’s knowledge and ability he builds ugly as shit Carl Flint designed Badniks of his own. Johnny Lightfoot is in the Cotton Field Zone where Eggman has slaves working in a factory, Brutus attacks him, Johnny uses the badnik army to his advantage and destroys the factory, but is ultimately overpowered and Brutus copies his brainwaves too. Now Brutus know everything Johnny knows, he knows about Bob Beaky’s Travelling Circus, worse he knows where the Emerald Hill Folk are, but just as his Troopers are plotting a course for the Floating Island, Brutus…destroys them? The copy of Johnny Lightfoot’s brainwaves are affecting him, making him fight his own army. Desperate he wipes the copy and destroys the portable brain scanners, Johnny flees while this is going on.

stupid hand signals 
Do I even need to say this is the weakest part of the Brutus Trilogy? To be reserved: this story isn’t very good. Firstly Carl fucking Flint’s turning in his usual brand of weird poses and horrible perspective, Brutus goes from stern to camp to dancing and it ruins the intimidating presence Elson and Stringer had given him in Project Brutus, lord knows why they thought it’d be suitable for this story. Second Stringer isn’t even sitting close to whatever muse he was banging when he wrote Cybernik Strikes Back and Project Brutus,  I will begrudgingly admit  the dialogue’s not too terrible though there are more ‘clunky panels’ than the aforementioned pair of stories, but the plot… how does Johnny destroying a factory help the sheep exactly? They’ll just be moved to a different factory, or worse turned into Badniks; Brutus deleting the copy of Johnny’s brain deletes all of the knowledge for no good reason other than Kitching doesn’t want the Floating Island attacked just yet; the sheep are being made to make egg cosies and socks for Eggman, egg cosies and socks; and of course he destroys the mind scanners – WHY?!?!

Stupid. Hand. Signals
On the other hand: having Brutus ‘turn good’ and hating it is such a cliché but it’s actually well done, rather than him becoming ‘good’ he seems rather to inherit the same opinions and intentions of Johnny Lightfoot, compelling him to destroy Badniks and occasionally speak the same as Johnny, just as with Eggman, and Brutus’ reaction is more one of stunned confusion than comical revulsion, which goes some way to make up for how laughable Flint is making him look.
STUPID. FUCKING. HAND. SIGNALS!
Finally we have Odour Zone (Double Sonic strip, issue 72), which has to be an inventory story, it’s written by Mark Millar for a start, but Mike Hadley’s art (which is great, especially his colouring) looks a lot older than what he’d recently turned in, closer to around the time of ‘Metamorphia’.  The story is weird; a giant Skunk from the titular Odour Zone has been turned into a giant badnik that despite being talked up throughout the story Sonic defeats by… getting a good run up. The skunks range from giant to tiny for no good reason and all speak in a really offensive stereotypical French accent and personality, you thought Antione was bad? These are worse, but then what do you expect, it’s Mark ‘do you think this A stands for France’ Millar, a man who agrees with the political views of Frank Millar, of course he’s going to throw in racist stereotypes for no good reason. There’s also a fat joke on page one at the expense of Poker Lewis, typical Millar, but…Porker Lewis isn’t fat, he is a pig, but he’s still not fat, in fact he’s more muscular than Johnny, “maybe he was when this was written?” Not really, he had a round body but then so does Sonic, he’s not fat. Fuck Mark Millar, urrrrgh he’s writing the next Sonic story too isn’t he?


Actually that story, Spinball Wizard, begins a short run of stand-alone stories for the Sonic strip, as such the next part will be defined by the back-ups, we have the last Tails strip of any worth for a while, his strips will now transition from epic fantasy to mostly pointless filler and stay that way more or less. Less depressingly next part also brings the Knuckles World Tour arc by Kitching and Dobbyn, so looking forward to that!  We also have the last Sonic Holiday Special and the Knuckles Knock-Out Special too. 


Tuesday, 2 August 2016

A Long Look At Sonic the Comic 1-100 Part 12: Return of Chaotix


2016 is Sonic the Hedgehog’s 25th Anniversary and I’ve been around since (almost) the start, in celebration of Sonic lasting so long I’m going to be posting a Long Look At Sonic the Comic issues 1 to 100, my favourite time period on one of my favourite comics and one of my favourite things about one of my favourite things – that’d be the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise- and this is that Long Look At. 

< Part 11


It’s time to get wibbly-wobbly and timey-whimey with a six-part story-arc; we won’t see an arc this long again until Shanazar, which is over 80 issues afterwards! (although I guess you could argue The Final Victory is as long given it runs through multiple strips for multiple fortnights but that’s just technicalities now isn’t it?)

Monday, 1 August 2016

Eight Examples of Crap I Waste My Money On: LFCC Summer Edition!

I bet you thought all this Sonic the Comic madness would keep me from boring you to tears with another Examples of Crap I Waste My Money On post didn’t you? Well more fool you because I’ve just got back from the summer London Film and Comic Con and I am so happy about all the shit I bought that I had to show you it, photographed on my front room floor – also note the birthday cards in the background of most shots because I am so professional. 


The con experience itself was fun and effortless, it wasn’t packed and everything I bought was under eBay prices (though I accidentally bought a broken Rock Lord). Actually pricing on things was odd, even on the same stall – one bloke wanted over a fiver for a broken Mutant League figure yet charged less for that boxed DC Direct Eclipso or my swanky new replacement Granny Gross Ghost figure, in fact the price of both combined was only slightly more than that broken Mega Drive game tie-in toy – this was pretty much the same throughout the show with prices seemingly chosen at random, if it costs you more to buy Ron Simmons than it does Granny Gross there’s something very strange going on. I won’t tell you how much I spent overall, I’ve not ashamed personally but I have this strange feeling that telling you will make you ashamed for me and I don’t want you to feel bad.  What I will do is once again highlight several items that I was able to squeeze a paragraph of bullshit out of, so are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin:

A Long Look At Sonic the Comic 1-100 Part 11: Brotherhood & Brutus*


2016 is Sonic the Hedgehog’s 25th Anniversary and I’ve been around since (almost) the start, in celebration of Sonic lasting so long I’m going to be posting a Long Look At Sonic the Comic issues 1 to 100, my favourite time period on one of my favourite comics and one of my favourite things about one of my favourite things – that’d be the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise- and this is that Long Look At. 

< Part 10


Up to ‘Disaster!’ Nigel Kitching had it fairly easy, he had three undeniably classic, critically acclaimed games with a strong plot and impressive bosses and/or set-pieces to turn to for big impressive epics and the adaptations defined the first 50 issues of the book, but that luck ran out with Knuckles Chaotix, there would be no big Sonic games released in the UK for a while with the next big release being Sonic 3D: Flickies Island in November 1996, not all that long in the grand scheme of things but a hell of a long time if you’re writing a fortnightly comic book. So for the next 50 issues Kitching and Stringer would have to come up with the big stories entirely by themselves, while it is sad that Kitching didn’t go back and adapt Sonic the Hedgehog: Triple Trouble now that Nack the Weasel had debuted what the two writers  did give readers was arguably far better. Issues 50-100 are thus almost completely devoid of adaptations beyond Total Chaotix and instead have the writers building on what’s come before with results as epic as the adaptations, this era is defined by three trilogies – the Brutus Trilogy, the Brotherhood of Metallix Trilogy and the Super Sonic Trilogy, and we get instalments of the first two in this part – yay!