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Friday, April 21, 2017

Comic Cuts - 21 April 2017

I eased my way back into work on Tuesday after a long, lazy Easter weekend, catching up on some TV (finishing off Danish financial thriller Follow the Money and US horror series Penny Dreadful) and a couple of movies from last year (Moana, Sing) that definitely lightened the mood after the cheerless (if fitting) endings to the two TV shows.

Our TV viewing seems to be split nowadays between shows we watch weekly – recently that has included Vera, Robot Wars and Marvels Agents of SHIELD; the new Doctor Who also falls into this category – and others we "binge" watch... and I use the word cautiously because I'm not sure how quickly you have to watch a show to class it as a binge. What I mean by the term is that we wait until we have the whole thing and watch an episode every night, barring those nights when we have something else on.

Currently that show is Lucifer, the American TV series based on the Sandman/Vertigo character; there are elements from the Mike Carey run in the TV show but it has been turned into a police procedural with the addition of a female police officer named Chloe Decker. The show seems to have gone down well in the US (the second season is currently running and a third season has already been announced) but I'm finding Lucifer Morningstar a bit whiny. I think the character suffers from the Superman problem, that he's so utterly powerful/evil that his power could resolve everything in no time at all. Hence, in Superman's case, Kryptonite, to lessen his powers. In Lucifer's case, our "hero" limits himself by chanting the mantra "I just want to find out who really needs to be punished," and having only one power: that he can talk you into revealing your deepest desires... sometimes. It doesn't always work. Having him reveal his true face and threaten to rip you limb from limb might get the right answers quicker, but it might also leave every episode 20 minutes short.

Hopefully the quality will pick up. I'm certainly going to give it until the end of the first season.

As I work from home I can also slip in a show at lunchtimes and I've been watching The Expanse season 2, which I'm really enjoying. It's based on the novels of James S. A. Corey and the TV show sticks fairly closely to the books. Shuffled around a little to make it work on television, but essentially the same. I've read book one (Leviathan Wakes) and I'm just starting book two (Caliban's War); the TV show introduced some characters from the latter into the first season and ended about three-quarters of the way through the book; the second season has completed book one and I'm three episodes from the end, which is about half-way through book two. At this rate, with at least nine books planned, we could still be enjoying the series in 2027!

Before you start thinking that's all I've been doing, I've also been working on the Valiant index. I spent a couple of days working through the 'House of Dolmann' stories. A lot of the information that went into the first edition was compiled in the late 1980s/early 1990s and the index was published in 1994. This is the first time I've been through every issue since and we're managing to identify a lot of previously unidentified artists. This new edition will, for instance, add at least four new names to the list of 'Captain Hurricane' artists, and two new names for 'House of Dolmann'. The other day I spotted a Tom Kerr episode of 'Kelly's Eye' that I'd previously missed and we're refining the information for a great many other strips. The annuals and summer specials are being added for the first time, so the index area at the back of the book will be a huge improvement over the previous edition.

I'll be working on the introduction again once I've finished writing this!

I think that's my cue to line up some random scan. Here are some devilishly good covers inspired by mention of Lucifer...

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