It’s nearly Christmas so let’s look at old catalogue pages and press adverts with toys on them (the seventies)

I never knew that there was a Space 1999 playset (but this is from an American Catalogue so maybe not in the UK?) but putting that relevation to one side let’s not forget – and indeed, let us celebrate) the fact that Space 1999 had one of the best intro sequences and music of any TV show ever;

and then we have an advert for the Waddingtons UK board game ‘Frankenstein’;

The Space 1999 image comes courtesy of an interesting blog with lots of other action figure related posts;

http://webdebris.com/70s/tag/action-figures/

The Frankenstein bord game advert came courtesy of the always interesting ‘The Cobwebbed Room’ blog;

http://cobwebbedroom.blogspot.nl/

Review – The Walking Dead #116 (Image / Skybound, 2013)

Really not sure about these new style covers. This one in particular looks wrong, with Holly sort of plonked in the middle there. Glad to say that the art inside, with the inks of Stefano Gaudiano giving Charlie Adlards art a bit more polish and a vibrancy, really stands out. It’s like Adlards art has gone from SD to HD.

The art is the highlight of the issue as things begin to heat up in the ‘all out war’. Lots of battles, lots of zombies, and characters being moved to the forefront of the action (Holly, Dwight) who seem to have important parts to play in issue #117.

It zips along, there is nothing to really bog it down, its part 2 of a 12 issue series so its hard to give much more of a review than to say its shaping up to be interesting, but the new art is the highlight here, I really hope this continues beyond ‘All Out War’.

Pen & Pixel Album Cover Art (mainly the 90’s)

Pen & Pixel is a Houston, Texas-based graphics design firm that specializes in musical album covers, especially for gangsta hip hop artists in the Southern US. For a long time it was the house design firm for the famous No Limit Records label.Pen & Pixel is famous for its identifiable design vernacular of gaudy 3D- and effects-laden text like album titles and rapper stage names which are often “studded” with diamonds or made to look like marble through heavily layered PhotoShop-filtered graphics. These typically overlay a scene depicting the album artist ostentatiously surrounded by women, liquor, gold- and diamond-coated material effects, and other signifiers of a gangster lifestyle.

 The company’s CD cover art usually includes paraphernalia associated with wealth like luxury cars, helicopters, candlesticks, dollar bills, and women. Such displays often contrast said wealth against the woes of poverty amin New Orleans and the American south. Beyond materialism, common themes discussed in the company’s oeuvre include: death, violence, criminal guilt, manhood, persecution (especially by police), and urban paranoia.

(source –  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pen_&_Pixel)

Post Apocalypse XXVI – Toyah and Post Apocalyptic Skater Chic in ‘Rebel Run’ and ‘Love is the Law’ (1983)

Looking for all the world like she had rocked up in some Italian Post Apocalypse ‘epic’ (The New Barbarians, 2019 After the Fall of New York, Exterminators of the Year 3000 etc), this is Toyah, in 1983, promoting her single ‘Rebel Run’ and the accompanying album ‘Love is the Law’. The lyrics to ‘Rebel Run’ voicing typical preoccupations of the time, being so close to 1984, which in popular culture was indelibly linked with the titular George Orwell book of Totalitarian rule. Here is a sample of the lyrics;

Praying to the silent man A new day dawns Behind acetylene tanks A dog’s lament Wakes the new age But falls in splintered fragments Around his cage Like everyone said there’d be So much more to nineteen eighty-four Rebel run Don’t shoot your gun Rebel run Run run run Now get down And stay down You’ve gotta learn To kiss the ground 

and here is the video in all its Chromkey glory. I have no idea why she is a post apocalyptic Skater Warrior, the video sheds no further light on the matter.

Review – The Walking Dead 115 (image/Skybound 2013)

10 years is a real achievement for any comic title, and The Walking Dead is a true against-the-odds success story. This is in no small part down to a strong story and great art (from both Tony Moore in the early days  & then the phenomenally consistent run from Charlie Adlard for the past 9 years). The TV series that it spawned is arguably more successful and certainly better known to the general public, but it all started 10 years ago with Rick Grimes in a shoot out, then waking up in a hospital bed…

However, I would argue that issue 115 is not a great choice to mark the anniversary. First of all, the montage cover – which tries to give a cinematic sheen to proceedings – is wrong. Why mess around with a cover format (that being a single image, pertaining to the events in the issue itself, regardless of how tenuous that link is) that has worked so well for 10 years? It is part of the character of the comic. That is not to say the cover is particularly bad – it is not – but it is not classic TWD. I thought that would be worth celebrating?

The story in issue 115 is ‘chapter 1 of 12’, as it proclaims on the cover. So don’t get too excited, as this is typical Kirkman ‘calm before the storm’ writing. So you get lots and lots of talking, where Major Characters get to extrapolate and vent and where the plot is set up for the next issue where things generally turn a bit nastier. Rick makes a rousing speech to the armies of the 3 communities, across a double page spread. Rick turns up outside Negans community and gives another speech / threat / warning. Negan counters (with words). That’s your lot. As a ‘jumping on point’ it doesn’t work as we get no real idea of the motivations behind this ‘All Out War’. For me it was The Walking Dead and its most turgid and banal. There used to be a time when even the slow-burn issues held an interest, but now they seem to parody the tropes of this comic (the Rick as the True Leader trope, the Rick as Saviour trope) and the conversation can border on banality (though there was 1 funny piece about a tiger and a bathtub).

In summary, it felt like a bit of a flat way to mark 10 years. I am sure that things will pick up over the next few weeks (they always do). But when the comic falls flat nowadays, it falls flat hard. Shame.

Random musings

Carl is starting to look really grown up now. I guess it must have happened in the last 2 or 3 issues? He doesn’t look like a little boy any more.

Who was the guy that Negan dragged out in the last scene? Any clue?

Father Gabriel in one panel, Eugene in a small cameo role – it’s just like 2009 again!

The art, with Stefano Guadiano, on inks, looked smoother and fuller. I liked it a lot.