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Friday, January 14, 2011

Comic Cuts - 14 January 2011

There's an old saying that God gives with one hand and takes away with the other. While I'm not a God-fearing, or even God-believing, person, you can't but wonder sometimes whether life, fate, destiny, karma—call it what you will—is taking potshots at you. Last week I mentioned taking on some additional work for Look and Learn which, frankly, is a very handy gig at what's proving to be a financially shaky time. And this week I hear that one of the magazines I've done some work for in the past is going onto hiatus after the next issue. It's simple synchronicity... there's no hand at work behind the scenes trying to screw with me but sometimes, just sometimes, you do wonder. Then, just when you think everything's going down the pan, a commission arrives from The Guardian.

So I've had a bit of an up-and-down week.

I'm hoping to have some news of a couple of other projects I've been working on soon. One I've been working on (although more off than on) since the tail end of November and the other is something that has been hanging around for quite some while as a possibility; the latest news I heard was that it was looking more likely to happen. And, in my usual "play it close to your chest and don't jinx it" way, I'm not going to say what either project is. Sorry.

Instead, here's something from someone who is talking about a project...

Shaqui Le Vesconte, who runs the amazing Gerry Anderson-related Technodelic website, is launching a new site dedicated to Look-In, the "junior TV Times" that ran throughout the 1970s and 1980s. Under the banner Look-In Unfamiliar, it promises to reveal "The Look-In You Never Saw" and Shaqui is promoting the site with a desk-top calendar of unseen artwork from the comic. He's also giving some away, so check out the site before the deadline on Sunday week (23 January).

Garth, the old Daily Mirror strip, now has a fan page on Facebook.

The BBC's The One Show had an interview with Gerry Anderson on Monday as part of a round of interviews he's doing to promote a new set of Royal Mail stamps (the piece, by Carrie Grant, starts about 8 minutes in). Even bigger news has also started to filter out that Anderson has completed a deal to make a new Thunderbirds series, which he discussed during a 3-minute interview on 5Live Drive (about 1hr 27m in). He wasn't able to say much, having signed a non-disclosure agreement, but did say that the new show would retain all the popular old elements but will be made "with today's technology and today's thinking and today's pace". Although he danced around the question about whether the show would be made with puppets or CGI, he emphasized the fact that it would be modernized. Can we assume, then, that it will be CGI?

Being a huge fan of the old Thunderbirds, the main problem I see is scheduling. I think Anderson made a pretty good job of Captain Scarlet a few years back but the show was utterly ruined by the way it was shown on TV. I cannot imagine that anyone in television these days would broadcast a kids show in an uninterrupted, hour-long slot, despite the fact that Thunderbirds re-runs have been hugely successful. The originals run for around 50 minutes, but any new show is likely to be around 22 minutes long, so the long, languid build-ups, the lengthy scenes of the Tracy brothers getting into their craft, the secondary storylines (often featuring The Hood or Lady Penelope and Parker) and the thrill-upon-thrill climaxes are almost certainly going to be condensed or dropped to fit the slim running time. And after ten minutes some lousy Saturday morning presenter is going to interrupt the story just as it gets into full flow and you'll have to sit through some stupid, grungy game or the wailing of some kid-friendly band before you get part two.

OK, so let the kids have this format, but make each show a two-parter and, at some point, show them uninterrupted for the people who do have an attention span—44 minutes plus adverts nowadays equals an hour-long slot. Less time than the original, but at least it will give the writers a chance to put some plot into the stories and keep the bits that actually made the show worth watching.

Time, I think, for today's random scan... a triple treat today.

I was going to use Eliot Crawshay-Williams' Parade of Virgins, which turned up when I was digging around looking for a couple of the Donald Henderson Clarke books I posted the other day. It's not as spicy as the title makes it sound but what a fabulous cover by W. J. Roberts, an artist I've covered in the past. I spent a little time digging around the internet in the hope of finding more books from the same series (no luck, I'm afraid) but I did stumble across the following two examples of Hutchinson's Red Jacket series. So Eliot rises to our column header and I present these two for your viewing pleasure. The first is definitely by S. Abbey and the second is probably someone else.

See you next week.

1 comment:

Stephen Gallagher said...

If I was king I'd be making THUNDERBIRDS as hour-long live-action for the PRIMEVAL slot. I honestly can't see anything else working.