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Friday, December 02, 2016

Comic Cuts - 2 December 2016

Having spent a little time working on the Valiant index, this week I've had to concentrate on the job that pays the rent. Hotel Business has taken up most of my work day and hasn't left time for much else. I did spend most of Saturday and all of Sunday working on another article about an obscure and long-forgotten author. And I would have gotten it finished if it hadn't been for those darn kids!

Actually there were no kids involved. Mel was away the weekend before last, so we've had a lot of TV to catch up with. As well as our usual weekly intake of humour (The Last Leg, Have I Got News For You, QI, Dave Gorman's Modern Life is Goodish), and documentaries (Planet Earth II, Who Do You Think You Are?), we've been catching up with the second series of Missing, which has been brilliant.

We treated ourselves to fish & chips on Monday and a double-helping of the latter thriller, with a desert of No Such Thing as the News to finish off the evening on a lighter note. I think this second serial is the equal to the first series, which was a huge hit in the papers. It doesn't seem to have generated the same high count of column inches, but it has been as nailbiting. Tchéky Karyo has been brilliant as dogged detective Julien Baptiste and I've been a fan of Keeley Hawes for years. She played Diana Dors in a 2-parter about twenty years ago and has since been responsible for some of the most dramatic moments on TV in shows like Spooks, Ashes to Ashes and Line of Duty as well as playing the mother in The Durrells. She's one of a small handful of actors whose choices seem to coincide with my tastes (Celia Imrie and Olivia Coleman are usually good rules of thumb, too, although the former did appear in a film called Dude, Where's My Donkey, so it isn't foolproof).

My lunchtime viewing has been Dune, the mini-series that appeared on the Sci-Fi Channel in 2000 starring Alex Newman, William Hurt and Saskia Reeves. I had the good fortune to pick up the sequel, Children of Dune (2003) recently and thought I'd reacquaint myself with the original series. It took a while, but I've finally ploughed through all three lengthy episodes. I remember it as being far better than the David Lynch movie – which I've also rewatched this year, but with no greater enthusiasm than I previously had for it – and it still holds up well. I'm looking forward to the sequel.

I was prompted by the news that there is to be another Dune movie. It's not an easy book to translate into a single film, as Jodorowski's failed early attempt and Lynch's butchered completed attempt proved. Maybe the producers are thinking of it as a two- or three-part epic story that will take more than one film to tell.

There hasn't been much time for anything else, so we'll go straight into our random scans... which are a few covers for comic strips that I've picked up recently. Three are old Private Eye strips, the first by "Monty Stubble" (the joint pen-name of PE editor Ian Hislop & artist Nick Newman, who later co-wrote the My Dad's the Prime Minister TV show). "Battle For Britain" originally ran in 1983-87. Nick Newman still draws the "Snipcock & Tweed" cartoon.

The Barry McKenzie series had an even greater pedigree as it was written by Barry Humphries (based on an idea by Peter Cook) and drawn by cartoonist Nicholas Garland. It inspired two films, The Adventures of Barry McKenzie and Barry McKenzie Holds His Own.

Lastly, The Amazing Remarkable Monsieur Leotard by Eddie Campbell and Dan Best, because if you see anything by Eddie Campbell, you pick it up. Right?

I should add that the column header is by Paul Lehr, another pair of scans that I've had sitting on the desktop of my computer for months. I have a feeling that I pasted the two pics together that way because the NEL version came out earlier than the Signet book. Not that it matters in the big scheme of things, but it does affect the way I list the art credit in my notes.

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