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Sun, 21 Apr 2024
Paul Pope 100%
# 14:53 in ./comics

I've recently finished reading Paul Pope's graphic novel "100%". I thought it was excellent.

I hadn't heard of Pope or seen anything by him until I saw a video review of the first issue of his 1995 comic "THB" on the Cartoonist Kayfabe channel. The channel's been a source of some great material and I hope it manages to survive the recent terrible events.

THB is a very early Pope comic, self-published from the mid-1990's. As soon as the boys opened it up it was intriguing: different just looking at the title and graphic design. The first thing I noticed about the art was the fluidity of the ink style, quite obviously brush driven rather than pen. Using a brush for inking is much less common, even back before digital production took off.

"100%" dates from the early 2000's but, again, you can see the dynamic black and white brush-work and his recognisable style in full effect. There's an organic quality that I think only a brush can fully exhibit. There is a "Paul Pope" face and figure style.

On top of the great comic art, the actual story itself is good. The story is an aspect of a comic that is often less developed, if not sometimes puerile (with some notable exceptions of course). Adults need something better and "100%" is that, just don't expect superheroes or explosions. From what I can see, Pope does pretty well selling original art as well. Definitely someone worth reading.

Wed, 10 Apr 2024
In Search of Space Rock
# 09:30 in ./general

I saw Hawkwind live in concert last weekend. I haven't seen them live in years: decades in fact. Dave Brock is the cornerstone of the band of course and the last remaining original. He might be creaking a bit, but at 82 you have to give him huge respect for keeping things going and doing his bit for psychedelic space-rock. He looked good and played well: I hope I'm as fit as he is when I reach that age.

"Spirit of the Age" from the album Quark, Strangeness and Charm, stood out for me. I don't think I've ever heard it live before. That was a great album and definitely hugely enhanced by Robert Calvert's song writing. Great to hear it live.

I missed out on their last concert up here (their 50th anniversary tour) and was kicking myself for not going. Not even Hawkwind can go on forever but, luckily for me, they don't know when to stop touring. And good luck to them.

Tue, 09 Apr 2024
The Economist App : Reset Again
# 06:26 in ./general

I have factory reset my tablet again yesterday (April 8th). The Economist app has started crashing too much again. How much? It crashed 4-5 times while I was trying to read an article at lunchtime: I'd restart the app (with all the delays that involves), go back into the article (more delay) and then maybe get 10 secs and then a crash again. Repeat. I gave up that article. As I detailed before, I'm back in the same hole.

My last factory reset was back in February 2024 :

2024-02-07 --- factory reset
2024-03-09 --- crash
2024-03-13 --- crash - then crashes on 16,25,27
2024-03-29 --- x2 crash - then once each day ..
2024-04-06 --- x3
2024-04-07 --- x4
2024-04-08 --- x5+

So it looks like I get about 4 weeks of decent behaviour but then a slowly degrading experience for the next few weeks. I'll see how this reset goes. Would I carry on paying for this? Maybe, assuming the discount I got. But it is wearing thin. I'll have to decide in September.

Sat, 06 Apr 2024
Goodbye Ed
# 07:15 in ./general

Like many people, I was shocked earlier in the week to read about the accusations against Ed Piskor, comic book creator and half of the Cartoonist Kayfabe YouTube channel. But it was just terrible to see that he then killed himself two days later. Just absolutely appalling. I am still trying to process it. Ed and his channel co-host Jim Rugg have been constant companions to me over the last few years: I've watched and listened to the channel very regularly, particularly when I paint. They started as pandemic lockdown companions. Ed loved comics: their creation, the artistic process, techniques involved, the business, the history, everything. An infectious enthusiasm.

I have to say that my heart goes out to his family first and foremost. Also to Jim Rugg, the other half of the channel, who must be devastated over the turn of events this week. What a tragedy this has been. I'll miss Ed a lot.

The Lambiek folks have an overview of his life, work and death. Also, the Comics Journal.

What a terrible week.

Thu, 04 Apr 2024
After the Fall
# 09:47 in ./books

Hyperion / The Fall of Hyperion
Endymion / The Rise of Endymion

By Dan Simmons

Score: 5/5

Good Friday was a very apt time to finish reading the Hyperion/Endymion novels by Dan Simmons. There are clear parallels to Easter here that become very apparent as Endymion reaches its climax. Like the biblical story, the culmination of Rise of Endymion is horrifying and absolutely devastating.

These are long books (I read the four novels in the two volume omnibus editions): each book approaches or surpasses 400 pages, so there is a significant investment needed to read these. Following the characters over so many pages means you develop a relationship with them, perhaps love. As I reached the end, I felt a strong emotional response, even choking up to a degree. Great stories can have this effect. A very good book.

The Hyperion series is much more than a "space opera", although it spans the galaxy. As Aenea says to Raul at some point: Love is the Prime Mover of the universe. The gospel she "preaches" is one of non-violence and the core of the book is actually humanity, even humanism, but nothing supernatural. So, more than a space travel action-adventure but there is fast paced and bloody action, tremendous violence, demon-like non-human entities, "AI" and "time travel". There is something for everyone if you are in the right frame of mind. Wait until you are and you will not be disappointed.

I considered reducing the score and penalising for the length of the books (i.e. rating a 4/5). I think they are a little too long in fact. However, the final account makes up for this in my mind and deserve top marks. I do not mean to imply 5/5 makes them perfect.

© Alastair Sherringham 2023
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