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Craig Grannell (Fleet, United Kingdom)

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Judge Dredd: Year One
Judge Dredd: Year One
by Matt Smith
Edition: Paperback
Price: £13.50

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Solid Dredd, if nothing new, 1 Feb. 2014
This review is from: Judge Dredd: Year One (Paperback)
The sole other review at the time of writing rates this book 1/5 and complains Dredd's already fully formed. Well, as we've seen from various 2000 AD strips, Dredd was pretty much at that point as a cadet, let alone by the time he'd got his full eagle. Nonetheless, we do see stumbles here, akin to Rico (II)'s later appearances in the Prog, and this Dredd feels more of a stickler than in recent 2000 AD strips, more akin to the comic's early days.

But the main thing for me is this: is the book any good? And I'd say yes. The story is solid, with Smith getting the voice right, and the art is great, even if it's somewhat at odds with 2000 AD's own visual history of the character. The ending's not the best, but in a strip largely based on psychic phenomenon, it's not surprising it goes a little off on one.

I'd give it a 3.5 if I could, but Amazon states 4 is "I like it", and I think that's fair enough for this take on Dredd.

Read & Burn: A Book about Wire
Read & Burn: A Book about Wire
by Wilson Neate
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.95

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In-depth insight into an essential band, 15 April 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Neate makes it quite clear that this book isn't intended as a biography, but rather a chunky slice of critical insight into a band that, for various reasons, has been hugely influential in the world of music but never had the commercial success said influence would suggest. It's clear Neate is a fan (he clearly says so himself) and reading between the lines, one suspects he's particularly fond of the now-departed Bruce Gilbert; however, although Neate offers his evaluation on Wire's albums, artwork and methods, this is typically kept to a minimum and is also objective. Elsewhere, the volume is packed with interviews that are refreshingly honest and blunt, sometimes contrary, and showcase how Wire has never been the typical 'friends playing music' band, but a collaborative project involving several strong-willed but very different-thinking personalities.

For the most part, then, this book is almost the polar opposite of most band tomes. It's almost anti-fawning, regularly painting the band in a fairly negative light in terms of interpersonal relationships and strategies. This is balanced by the sheer determination evident throughout the band's history to create new things, retain its integrity, and be 'other'. On that basis, it's a worthwhile purchase for anyone with a keen interest in what makes creative people tick and how differing viewpoints can be both a recipe for creative drive but also lead to a unit tearing itself apart. However, for anyone considering themselves a fan of Wire, there's no 'perhaps' about it--this is a fascinating look 'behind the curtain', with an astonishingly warts-an'-all approach.

Transformers Classics UK Volume 1
Transformers Classics UK Volume 1
by Simon Furman
Edition: Paperback
Price: £22.50

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Hmm, 28 Nov. 2011
I'd been hoping for a book like this for some time, having thoroughly enjoyed these comics as a child and wanting to revisit them. Sadly, this book highlights the best and worst of reprint. On the plus side, the book is lovingly compiled. The people behind it clearly have a lot of fondness for the source material, and the retrospective interviews are engaging, honest and insightful. There are also reproductions of the relevant covers from the time and various other bits and bobs.

But everything falls apart with the reproduction of the comics. The moire from scanning isn't too awful, but it's pretty odd to see black-and-white art with yellowed elements (presumably taken from the original art) that would have taken a second to clean up in Photoshop. Worse, though, is the barking mad decision to place the UK art in the middle of the page, with a border around it and then a gutter. In effect, you therefore have two gutters (one from the original UK page and a second in the book itself), and the main meat of the reprint - the actual comic strips - suffer from being reproduced smaller than they need to be; and bear in mind they at best would have been smaller anyway, given the difference in sizes between US and UK comics.

Given that Rebellion seems able to resize its old 2000 AD strips without doing this sort of thing, I don't see why IDW made the decision it did. Overall, the book's still a worthwhile purchase, not least because some of this stuff has never been reprinted before. But I'd be lying if I said I was anything other than a little disappointed with how the actual strips are presented.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 8, 2012 3:00 PM GMT

The Fantasy Art of Oliver Frey
The Fantasy Art of Oliver Frey
by Roger Kean
Edition: Paperback

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A stunning tribute to a wonderful artist, 26 April 2006
Anyone who grew up in the 1980s and played videogames would undoubtedly have been aware of Oliver Frey's artwork, which graced classic games magazines, such as Crash and Zzap!64. His sumptuous airbrush illustrations were a massive differentiator for Newsfield's magazines, and many people used to cut out and frame his work, such was its quality.

Although magazine covers fade, memories are harder to shake, and so this book has been created, celebrating the life and work of Frey. From his early work with Fleetway to his time at Newsfield, dozens of pieces of artwork are presented in all their glory, without coverlines and logos (although a small gallery of the magazine covers is also included at the end of the book, for comparison's sake).

Kean's writing is succinct, but insightful, providing a glimpse into Frey's working methods, and charting his history. It's the art that shines, though, and anyone who fondly remembers Frey's art should pick up a copy of this book immediately.

Firefly - The Complete Series [DVD] [2003]
Firefly - The Complete Series [DVD] [2003]
Dvd ~ Nathan Fillion
Price: £9.99

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An almost flawless, must-see show, 13 Mar. 2005
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Having belatedly been introduced to the "Buffyverse" a few years ago, I was rather sceptical of this Whedon offering, and waited until it was available at a bargain price before buying it. In retrospect this was a mistake, because this series eclipses everything the man has done before, and then some; Fox really made a massive mistake in cancelling this show.
Unlike almost every sci-fi out there, Firefly actually works with little suspension of disbelief. The gritty nature of the cast and sets works better than the antiseptic do-goodness of the likes of Star Trek, and Firefly's scripts never suffer from "bloat". Instead, each episode is packed with plot.
Luckily, the self-contained nature of the episodes mean this box-set can be enjoyed as it is. Few plot threads are left hanging, although that doesn't mean your heart won't be broken as you realise there'll probably never be a fifteenth episode. Here's hoping the movie is a massive success, thereby kick-starting another run on the TV. Until then, any fan of sci-fi, westerns, or just excellent television that's a little bit different really needs to pick this up and savour every minute.

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