Red Dwarf Back to Earth

The start of secondary school (or ‘high school’ if you’re American) sees a bunch of disparate kids banded together from a bunch of different junior schools.

Kids are forced to somehow thrive in an alien environment with other kids they don’t know and whose backgrounds are vastly different from their own.

Starting at a secondary school is an alien experience. It can be funny, it can be bizarre and when you’re young, the prospect of ever turning 16 and leaving seems like further than an Ethiopian runner does from a starting line.

It is no surprise then that a programme like Red Dwarf, a sci-fi comedy about four very different personalities trapped in space, holds a warm place in my heart and why I was looking forward to watching the Back to Earth special that aired over the Easter break.

Great British sitcoms are fundamentally about people who are trapped. Basil Fawlty is both a prisoner to his wife and the hotel he runs. Blackadder is sandwiched between toffs and idiots. The flatmates of PeepShow are boxed by their own neuroses.

At its heart, Red Dwarf was about four very different people trapped with each other, but brought together by the loneliness of space. The sweeping panoramic opening shots of the Red Dwarf ship at the beginning of every episode shrink the viewer. You realise just how big the ship is and feel small.

However, the eventual slow zoom on to a lone figure painting the ship with a roller brush, just so that it looks its reddest despite 99% of the crew being dead, is a testimony to hope and the willingness of heroes Kryten, Rimmer, The Cat and Lister to overcome their problems.

Being 12 is like being trapped in space. You’re unsure of yourself and the world around all while being held hostage to teachers, parents and an inability to hold a driving license.

Despite this, you have your friends. They’re not perfect. You’re not perfect. But you’re appreciated for what you bring to the fold – faults and all.

On Red Dwarf you had Kryten, uptight but with brains, Rimmer, whose reach exceeded his greedy grasp, Lister, whose sense of honour was overshadowed by his caveman tendencies and the Cat, whose reason for living was striking the perfect pose.

The storylines plundered all that was fertile about Science Fiction and were all spun with the foibles of real life thrust upon them.

You held genuine wonder for the creatures they would encounter on each episode, and laughed out loud when you realised that most of them were psychopaths who wanted to erase them from time altogether.

The ‘Back to Earth’ special wasn’t that funny – the jokes were like lukewarm leftovers from other more polished episodes that had been reheated. But there were scenes with real heart. Lister, who discovers he is a fictional character and is understandably depressed, is given a pick-up by two young fans on a bus who tell him how cool he is.

Growing old may bring fears of unfulfilled ambitions or not ever having made a contribution, but a reassuring thumbs up from young fans can put the ammo back in your bazookoid.

If the story had emphasised more points like this – points which may be more relevant to the audience that had grown up with the show – while dishing out better gags, it would have been a much better Easter.

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posted by JP at 8:23 pm  

There are monsters

Been busy as a monkey in a banana factory with issue 3. But fret not! Lots of things coming including an essay on Red Dwarf and a review of the last Dr Who episode.

In the meantime though, enjoy super scary short “There are monsters”. There is one part that truly makes you jump!

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posted by JP at 7:10 am  

London Horror Comic #2 – selling out

I rang a couple of major retailers in the USA such as Midtown Comics in New York who are selling out of London Horror Comic #2 (Midtown was down to their last copy and that was on the shelf).

Obviously, as a publisher, I’m happy it’s selling well, but on the other hand, I want people to have a chance to buy it.

So.

1.If you are looking to buy a copy of London Horror Comic #2 and can’t find one, please email me at: londonhorrorcomic [a] googlemail.com.

2.If you are a retailer and still have copies available to buy email me at londonhorrorcomic [a] googlemail.com with your store details and url and I will point customers in your direction.

Simples!

Obviously, replace [a] with @

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posted by JP at 11:11 pm  

Worklog on London Horror Comic issue 3

The art on London Horror Comic #3 is wrapped and the book is now being laid out for press.

The pre-press stage is a bit like seeing a scan of a developing baby; it’s the first time you get to see the overall shape of the work.

This includes recognising how each story flows into the next and the rhythm of the book as a whole.

Arranging the stories themselves, their place and order in the book, is important for crafting a good reading experience.

Start with a story that’s waaay to weird and it might sour people off the rest of the book.

If you get the mix right though, each story hands off into the other and leads the reader down a dark alleyway where you then proceed to bash them over the head with a startling twist.

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posted by JP at 7:19 am  

London Horror Comic #2 Interview

“My big theory is that jet black humour actually helps us cope with, or at least make sense of some of the most horrifying events that can occur in life.”

Interview with London Horror Comic creator, urm, me, over at Sequential Tart.com

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posted by JP at 7:02 am  

Coloured cover to Issue 3 of London Horror Comic

Issue 3 is below. Issue 2 went on sale on Wednesday 1st April.

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posted by JP at 10:59 am  

Issue 2 London Horror Comic

Came out yesterday in the USA. Thoughts? Comments?

Post a comment.

You can buy it from:

GRAHAM CRACKERS COMICS

SOURCE COMICS

MIDTOWN COMICS

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posted by JP at 7:30 am  

LONDON HORROR COMIC #2 OUT TODAY IN THE USA

The London Horror Comic #2 will be available to buy in the US from TODAY (Wednesday 1st April ) from these retailers among others:

Please note: if you are a retailer and are selling London Horror Comic #2 email me at londonhorrorcomic [a] googlemail.com and I will add you to the list.

New Dimension Comics

Cranberry
20550 Rout 19 – Piazza Plaza
Cranberry Twp, PA 16066
Phone: (724) 776-0433

Midtown Comics

Midtown Comics Times Square
200 W 40th Street (Corner of 7th Avenue)
New York, NY 10018
Midtown Comics Grand Central
459 Lexington Avenue (Corner of 45th Street)
New York, NY 10017

Graham Crackers

77 E. Madison St., Chicago, IL 60602
STORE PHONE # (312) 629-1810

Westfield Comics

7475 Mineral Point Road
Madison, WI 53717
Phone:
608-833-4444

Jim Hanley’s Universe

4 West 33rd St., New York
(opposite The Empire State Building)
(212) 268-7088

Mile High Comics

8806 N. Washington, Unit H
Thornton,CO
(303) 457-2612

Cosmic Comics

10 E23rd St.,
New York City,
NY 10010

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posted by JP at 7:30 am