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Friday, November 21, 2014

Comic Cuts - 21 November 2014

Let's begin with a few more details about the new book from Bear Alley Books. Frontline UK is an invasion story in which foreign forces attack and occupy Great Britain. Five months before Bill Savage started fighting back against the Volgs in 2000AD's "Invasion", the crew of a single Scorpion tank began their own war of resistance against the forces of the Yellow Crescent.

The book gathers together both series of the strip from the pages of Bullet, where it debuted in September 1976. The artwork was by the peerless Ian Kennedy, with later episodes by Argentinean artist Clemente Rezzonico, who made a fantastic job of continuing the strip and is today still cranking out fantastic artwork for Commando (his next book is due in December—cover immediately below).

I have been piecing together the introductory material over the past week. So far we have a general introduction, offering some insight into the history of the strip and its origins in the fond memories of a 1950s text story by a D. C. Thomson editor. We will also meet the people "behind the lines": author Bill Corderoy and artists Ian Kennedy and Clemente Rezzonico. There will hopefully also be a bonus strip, but I'll have more news of that next week. And, hopefully, by then we will also have an advance order page set up.

And then it'll be onto the next book... no rest for the wicked!

My ongoing battle with technology has become war of attrition that I'm losing—and losing heavily. Hopefully the Rule of Three applies here and I can now relax that the third thing has gone wrong. First it was an external hard drive that needed to be replaced, then the washing machine. Now it's our DVD player.

The damn thing has been acting up for months now. It would need to warm up for about ten minutes before you could get any use out of it. The drawer where you put the DVDs would jut out slightly when you tried to open it but never open fully. Every now and then it would open for no reason. Getting the menu to appear was a gamble; you had to try it at just the right time or the screen would go dark. Recording was a bit hit and miss.

Mel and I were thinking of getting a new player in the new year, maybe finding a good offer in the January sales. However, the machine must have overheard us and started acting more like a petulant child than ever before. Programmes watched through the tuner on the player began to stutter and freeze... run for a few seconds and freeze again... run for a few seconds and... you get the idea. Not all the time, of course. Randomly and usually just when you thought the machine was playing nicely and we were settled down for the evening in front of the TV.

Things came to a head this weekend when it pulled an all-new trick. Half-way through watching a programme, the player switched itself off. That was the final straw. On Sunday I ordered a shiny new blu-ray player with a variety of gizmos and gadgets that will hopefully improve our stress levels. At least as far as the time we spend relaxing in the presence of David Attenborough or Stephen Fry and his QI guests.

And, yes, this will be our first blu-ray  player. I'm always miles behind on tech. but I'm sure I can't be the only one. I don't have a mobile phone, for instance. I'm not a Luddite, but  I don't want a mobile phone. I sit next to a phone all day and escaping the phone is one of the reasons why I love getting out of the house. Similarly, there seemed no point to buying a hugely expensive blu-ray player when they first came out while I had a perfectly serviceable DVD player.

But enough of that. I know how you all worry, so I'll just say here that we got a good deal on the new player and it should be here by the weekend.

Random scannery. This will probably be the last week of our trawl through the work of Roger Hall as I've run out of reasonable scans. A couple of these took an awful lot of cleaning up to get into a fit state for presentation. As a bonus, we also have one of only two covers Hall did for Commando in 1965-66, since when "Battling Bradley" has been reprinted a couple of times. The version below is from the latest reprint (#4391, May 2011).

Next week remains an undiscovered place. It depends what I have time for over the weekend as I have nothing actually planned.

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