Pick your own Brexit meme

Someone once said there isn’t a Wile E.Coyote gif that doesn’t represent Brexit perfectly.

This seems to be the case.

After all, it’s clear the likes of Theresa May and David Davis are out of their depth.

And that we’re facing ignoble failure as the EU makes it clear the Brexiters plans have obvious barriers.

It really is remarkable that virtually every single Wile E. Coyote gif sums Brexit up for the pitiful failure it is.

But we’re on the road to hell now and the drivers are imperialistic, Unionist xenophobes with delusions of greatness.

Still, this is only the start. It’s going to get much worse.

Good luck everyone!

 

 

What I thought of Hook Jaw #4

As of last issue the body count for this series has been not just low, but relatively bloodless. Not so here as Hook Jaw is turning into a very different sort of comic. It could have taken the blood and guts approach (and when there is gore and violence it is pretty extreme) but choose instead to take a more political, even measured (as much as is possible in a comic mainly about a giant man-eating Great White shark) approach. This issue sees the focus switch to the Somali pirates who have captured our group of protagonists which for at least one of them means a very messy end at the teeth of Hook Jaw herself.

There’s also a clunking great MacGuffin that everyone is looking for which if found can either save the world or destroy it, in the wrong hands of course. It is a tad clunky but it is purely there to drive the plot ahead. The real meat here is in the twisting turns of a plot that’s ramping up the stakes so that the world itself is at risk. Not bad for a series about a shark.

As always Si Spurrier turns in a good script that’s smarter on a second read, and Connor Boyle’s restrained style means it isn’t just a gorefest or tedious talking heads. As a series this is one of the best things Titan have published though the cruel amongst us say that isn’t a high benchmark which would be unfair as Hook Jaw is a fine comic.

Should there be a second Scottish independence referendum?

Brexit is coming and a second Scottish independence referendum is on the cards, assuming of course UK Prime Minister Theresa May doesn’t block it, though that opens up a massive constitutional crisis as effectively that would be a UK PM denying the right of Holyrood to make democratic decisions. It effectively destroys the principle of devolution and that may well be something the Tories want to avoid as that would drive people to supporting independence based upon the principle of self-determination.

Yet there’s a hardening of attitudes from some Unionists. Here’s a quite astonishing interview between a Labour activist, Jon Proctor (opposing independence) and David Jamieson, a journalist who supports independence.

Watching Proctor steam furiously is entertaining but the fact is this is the level of debate. One side says they have a mandate (and they do), while the other goes on about ‘division’ which in itself seems extraordinary for people involved in politics to complain about division when the entire idea of democratic political debate is division. It’s about opposing views. Those places with a singular point of view tend to be run by people with moustaches or bad haircuts.

But the point is whether we in Scotland should have a second referendum to decide not just whether to be an independent country, but whether we support whatever deal is proposed for Brexit? Yes we should.It’s clear from May’s actions and lack of transparency that the intention is to ram things through with as little democratic accountability as possible. That should be deeply concerning to any democrat regardless of where you stand in the independence/Brexit debate. The fact so many are intent on ignoring that worries the hell out of me and here we are on the verge of the biggest thing a UK government has done outwith of a war and there’s little democratic accountability.

So yes, let’s have a second referendum. Let the people of Scotland at least have a say in their future rather than be railroaded into something we don’t want.

Happy Mother’s Day

Meaningful day where people can remember, honour and respect their mother or cynical cash grab from greeting cards companies determined to separate you and the pounds in your pocket?

Of course for many this is an important day but I tend to venture to the cynical side.

Of course I’d never let that cynicism get the better of me.

Because that would be simply awful.

So happy mother’s day everyone!

Back to the future

Over the last month I’ve been doing physio to make myself stronger to help with the cancer recuperation and stroke recovery and it’s working a treat. I am however, bored shitless having been signed off from doing work which means days of unrelenting boredom and ennui. To pass the time I’ve been building up stock to start selling comics at conventions and marts starting from the summer so July would have been my first solo outing as a deal in oh, around 20 years. Well, bollocks to waiting. I’m back next month.

I’ve played with comics retailing for a few decades, but there’s a hole in Glasgow’s market and I intend to slip in and fill it. And yes, there is a bigger goal behind this, but considering a year ago I was wondering whether I’d be around in a year’s time I can’t really be arsed wasting yet more time.

So if you want stuff like this…

Stay tuned for further details once everything is 100% confirmed…

What I thought of Captain America Annual #8

Written by Mark Gruenwald and drawn by Mike Zeck and John Beatty, this was the one-off annual of a title which then sold poorly at the time hence why this annual guest starred Wolverine who was then as massive as he is now.The fact the comics opens with Wolverine gives away the sales tactic here.

Wolverine in the 80’s was still a man of mystery. Everything that made the character so fresh and interesting hadn’t yet been flushed down the bog and a guest appearance would add serious numbers to sales.

In fact any casual reader at the time would have picked this up wondering where the hell Captain America is in his own comic but after half a dozen or so pages we finally get the titular hero turning up.

There’s a giant robot and dodgy dealings going on but really this is about when Cap will actually fight Wolverine, something Gruenwald teases out for as long as possible but thanks to CB radio Cap gets informed of events.

Eventually Cap and Wolverine meet, have a misunderstanding and a fight because this is superhero comics.

We also get a tease of the sound effect that launched 1000 memes however the fight carries on before the pair eventually realise they’ve got a common foe to fight.

After a while the robot escapes, Cap and Wolvie find out what’s going on and the robot comes back tougher than ever for the pair to fight.

Of course the goodies win after a touch of moral greyness. In fact this is a rollicking good bit of fun and an example of great 1980’s superhero comics so you’ve got some good fights, a good guest hero, Captain America being Cap, and a big robot that gets smashed up. Gruenwald does this well and as for Zeck and Beatty their art is fantastic stuff. Overall this is a wonderful snippet of a time when Marvel managed to make their comics fun, accessible and also good!

The joy of Action Transfers

As a child in the 1970’s we made our own fun to escape the beige drabness of a decade that’s looked at more fondly that it probably deserves. One of the ways we did that were Action Transfers, which looked a bit like this.

That’s the Space: 1999 transfer set, It was just one of many sets released by Letraset to a hungry horde of kids who’d lap them up and spend hours (well, I did) trying to work out how to position your transfers.

The concept was simple; you’d have a selection of transfers and a background to position them on. Here’s an example and one of my favourites as a kid, The Red Planet.

You also has a sheet of transfers like so…

And you end up with your own adventure. Imagine it as an early attempt to create interactive adventures without an Occulus Rift or a Playstation. They were amazingly fun, and of course disposable at the time but not with the misty haze of nostalgia in full flow they seem like a crude, but also amazingly sophisticated form of entertainment.

There’s a glorious website that comprehensively outlines the history of these transfers that is quite literally like swimming in the past, especially for what is the iconic age of transfers  for me which is the mid 1970’s. This is the era of Super Action Heroes, which is Batman, Superman, Kojak, Star Trek and many others.

The backgrounds for these transfers were amazing. I don’t know who drew them all but there’s fantastic artwork on display, not to mention some glorious 70’s gore.

See they sneaked out subversive sets like the Kung Fu one above which in today’s climate would be unthinkable to market to kids, but fuck it, it was the 1970’s.

These sets were a way to explore spacial dimensions, so you’d have to work out the best positions for the transfers which meant working out scale and perspective. You’d sometimes get hints like the New Avengers set below but most of the time you were left to explore things yourself.

Some of the sets I never got. I wish now looking at them that I did like this Black Hole set which apparently has been drawn by the creator of Spider-Man, Steve Ditko. Sadly Action Transfers went the way of many a kids entertainment in the 70’s as other forms of entertainment (mainly video games) elbowed Action Transfers out of kids attention and attempts to keep on top of tastes (I would kill to have these 2000AD inspired sets) and they passed into extinction.

35 or so years later these sets are fantastic things. If I could go back in time I’d get my younger self to buy two sets; one to use at the time and one for my future self to play with. Perhaps one day some company somewhere will bring something like these sets back?

Next Wednesday the UK officially leaves the EU

Theresa May is going to invoke Article 50 (the process to start the UK leaving the EU) next Wednesday.

The shitstorm starts here. We’re going into negotiations with Scotland wanting a second independence referendum, Northern Ireland making it clear it opposes Brexit and indeed, Unionism there is in retreat and there’s going to be companies kicking their contingency plans into gear depending what May says next week. That would be hard for a skilled government but we don’t have one of those.

So good luck everyone. We’re going to need it.

The joy of Space:1999

I used to love Gerry Anderson shows as a kid. Thunderbirds though was never my favourite, for me it was all about Captain Scarlet, but his live action stuff for years never seemed to find favour with me when I was older. Recently I’ve been swallowing up Space:1999 on YouTube.

I loved Space: 1999 as a kid. I even loved the flares.

I especially loved the die-cast toys of the Eagle spaceships.

Oooo, look at this beauty!

And this one, though I used to lose the wee containers.

Of course being the 1970’s there were AIrfix kits with the Hawk spaceship being my favourite.

Of course the programme itself is worth it’s weight in gold, the first series especially as it had a strange melancholy feel in many of the episodes that belied it was essentially an action-adventure series on Thursday evenings on ITV. The tone is set in the first episode.

Though the flares do somewhat overwhelm.

You could get lost in the swish of Martin Landau’s flared jumpsuit.

That first series is mainly wonderful. It’s a mix of big ideas, some good scripts, and of course action, adventure and 70’s fashions.The second series less so as the story is the American audience found the first series ‘too cerebral’ so stories became lightweight and trivial. One episode even had this title.

So here’s a word of appreciation for a great (first) series, and a series which as far as I’m concerned had the best title sequence of any programme in the 1970’s.

Rumours of reboots and continuations are a regular thing but they’ll never take away from the joy that is that first season…

 

 

Refusing to grant a Scottish independence referendum is undemocratic

Theresa May is saying that she’ll block any attempt to hold a second Scottish independence referendum before Brexit is done. May’s reason is she wants the ‘UK to work together’ and says it wouldn’t be fair to make an ‘informed choice’ while there’s so much uncertainty. Yes, that’s coming from the person who since taking over the job has said ”Brexit means Brexit” for months when asked for clarity.

So we’re in a fucked up situation. A democratically elected party (SNP) who forms the Scottish Government has been told it can’t hold a referendum when it wants (before the Brexit talks end to provide a lifeboat for Scotland) and Holyrood (which has a pro-independence majority with the SNP and Greens combined) has been told it doesn’t matter by a Tory PM who is running a set of policies nobody voted for and didn’t even have an election herself to become leader.

Next week Holyrood has a vote on whether to ask Westminster for the powers to hold a referendum. It seems that power will be refused. From there is anyone’s guess, but I hope May’s government is taken to court as I suspect this isn’t just about using Scotland and it’s assets as a bargaining chip in Brexit negotiations (especially with Spain who want at least joint sovereignty of Gibraltar) as well as ensuring that if Scotland does have a referendum after Brexit that she gets full control of it. As we should know by now, May is a harsh authoritarian and is listening to fuckwits like Liam Fox but this is such a hypocritically cloth-eared piece of politics that she clearly thinks she can hold the UK together via threats.

Of course  second referendum isn’t actually blocked by May yet. The vote in Holyrood isn’t til next week and we’ll find out then if May’s this much of an undemocratic authoritarian, or if she’s just a reboot of Margaret Thatcher.

If this clash brings about the end of the UK then bring it on.