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Friday, September 13, 2019

Comic Cuts - 13 September 2019

The latest book from Bear Alley Books is a bit of a change of pace for me. It was an unexpected opportunity that came about when my uncle, John Chisnall, phoned to ask some questions about publishing a book. He and his co-author had been in touch with a publisher who were offering to publish their book but on a weird contract that would see them paying a ridiculous fee for a dozen copies.

I had a look at their website and it was clear that they were a vanity publisher and were actually offering very little for the fees. There were a ton of complaints about their practices on various forums. So I phoned back with a warning and half-jokingly said I could do  it for a third of the price (I might have said a tenth of the price... their fees were incredibly high!) and, when the book was done, they would be the publishers and would receive all of the profits, not just a tiny percentage of the cover price in royalties.

And that's just what we've done, although Bear Alley Books is now the publisher for want of a better idea, and the book should be published within the next week or two. I had a proof copy arrive last week, the final corrections are done and print order has been processed and paid for.

 The book is 156 pages, black & white and covers John's life and work from humble beginnings to his career as a trophy-winning motorcyclist and beyond. I'll set up a page for ordering the book at the Bear Alley Books website [a bit rough and ready, but hopefully functional] and put in a link over to the right should anyone be interested.

After the break... Mindhunter. With spoilers, so skip the review if you don't like 'em.

Mindhunter is a slow, relentless thriller set against the background of the early years of the Behavioral Science Unit at the FBI. The show launched in 2017 to great – and well deserved – critical acclaim, the first season set in 1977 as FBI agents Bill Tench and Holden Ford begin to explore the idea of interviewing serial killers to get an insight into their motives, methods and murderous instincts. They are joined by Dr. Wendy Carr, a psychology professor who tries to make sense of the interviews and codify their findings.

As the second series begins, Ford has suffered a panic attack while meeting Edmund Kemper, the "Co-ed Killer", and his colleagues are covering for him. However, Tench is also struggling with a situation he has kept private from his friends: his young son has been complicit in the accidental murder of a small child and he and his family are now the subject of intense scrutiny of psychiatrists and social workers. (The murder is based on a real incident.) Dr. Carr is also entering a new relationship which begins to fall apart.

While it continues to explore the lives and the work of its protagonists, the focus of the second season is on how their work as criminal profilers impacts on an investigation, the Atlanta Child Murders of 1979-81. Twenty-four mostly African-American children aged between 7 and 17 were kidnapped and murdered. Curfews and offers of rewards failed to stem the tide of deaths.

The desperation of the local community trying to raise awareness of the situation is painful. The paralysis of the police and the FBI as conflicting lines of inquiry spread resources and manpower is pitiful. The lack of political will to make the murders public is criminal.

The show builds slowly towards its climax. This is not a movie where you will get a big reveal in the third act. The murderer is nobody we've met before, a rather ordinary looking guy with no outstanding characteristics. The tension comes from trying to find proof that backs up Ford's conviction that they have the right man.

If you like fist fights and car chases, this is not the detective show for you. If you like meticulously constructed dramas based on real-life incidents, it's a must-see.

(Incidentally, the murderer was convicted on only two murders, both adults. While I was digging around, I discovered that the cases of 22 children that had been closed after the conviction, were reopened in March 2019 in the hope that modern-day DNA evidence might bring some certainty to a case where questions still remain forty years on.)

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Rebellion Releases (2000AD)

Rebellion Releases for 11 September 2019.

For generations, the exploits of Roy Race have enthralled hundreds of thousands of readers. Through kidnappings and shootings, pregnancies and punch-ups, Melchester Rovers’ star striker kept the goals coming - and became woven into the fabric of football in the process. From the comic’s first appearance in 1954, all the way through to its glorious 21st century reboot, Roy of the Rovers remains the greatest football fairytale ever told.

The 65th Anniversary Special is an essential purchase for any Roy of the Rovers fan of any age, or just any football fan, featuring rare delights such as:
  • Exclusive interviews with Roy of the Rovers writers, editors and artists!
  • An incredible behind-the-scenes look at the creation of an icon!
  • Relive the top 50 Roy of the Rovers moments of all time!
  • We chose the all-time Rovers first eleven!
  • Goals, guts, glory and loads more!

2000AD Prog 2148
Cover: Dylan Teague
JUDGE DREDD:  THE FALL OF BARBARBARA GRIMM by Michael Carroll (w) Nick Dyer (a) Quinton Winter (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)
INDIGO PRIME: FALL OF THE HOUSE OF VISTA by Kek-W (w) Lee Carter (a) Ellie De Ville (l)
SINISTER DEXTER: NARROW MINDED by Dan Abnett (w) Steve Yeowell (a) John Charles (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)
THARG'S 3RILLERS: RED ROAD by Andi Ewington (w) Ben Willsher (a) Simon Bowland (l)
JAEGIR: VALKYRIE by Gordon Rennie (w) Simon Coleby (a) Gary Caldwell (c) Ellie De Ville (l)

Roy of the Rovers 65th Anniversary
Rebellion ISBN 978-1781-08738-1, 11 September 2019, 128pp, £19.99. Available via Amazon.

Roy of the Rovers is the greatest football comic of all time. For generations, the exploits of Roy Race enthralled hundreds of thousands of readers. Through kidnappings and shootings, pregnancies and punch-ups, Melchester Rovers’ star striker kept the goals coming - and became woven into the fabric of football in the process. From the comic’s first appearance in 1954, all the way through to its glorious 21st century reboot, Roy of the Rovers remains the greatest football fairytale ever told. Join us as we celebrate the stories, the creators and the fans that made Roy of the Rovers the phenomenon it is today.

Monday, September 09, 2019

Invasion Colchester 2019

As is traditional, the first Saturday of September once again saw the annual Invasion Colchester. A huge cosplay event to raise money for charity, it takes over the town centre and appears to grow each time it is staged. There seemed to me to be a lot of police cars around this years – not the usual police cars but American police cars that had cordoned off one of the roads, preventing cars from driving past Ace Comics, which is home base for the event. These are photos taken by either Mel or myself, with the exception of the picture immediately below, which shows the entire group of cosplayers and comes from the Invasion Colchester Facebook page, where you can find dozens of other pictures taken around town.

I'll let the other photographs speak for themselves. The first batch are cars and other vehicles and then we'll get into the costumes.