It’s Richard again (you have to give your name or people think you’re scared they might leap out from behind their keyboards and come get you) with a look at prog 1913. That’s two progs reviewed in a row! I should get paid for this shit.
I’m taking that as a good enough recommendation to pass on.
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I may have been a bit unkind to the IDW editorial team in my review of their Carlos Ezquerra Complete Collection Volume 1. I was bothered by how the original pages that were printed in colour in the Prog were poorly reproduced in the book with huge areas of black obliterating any detail. It turns out that those problems may pre-date the IDW book.
Let’s start with a scan from the original Fungus story in an actual copy of Prog 277.
Some nice detail visible on the two judges, their bikes and the Fungus infected victim.
Now here’s that panel from the recent IDW book:
All very blocky blacks with a lack of detail. But here is the same panel from my iPad version of The Judge Dredd Case files 6:
Which, allowing for my reproductive efforts, is just the same. So the fault would seem to lie further back with the plates used for the Case Files volume in 2006. I know next to nothing about the reproduction of classic comic art in new volumes but it would seem to me that a little more effort could have been made to the black and white rendering of original colour pages. For comparison here’s what my crappy scanner made of the colour page when I set it to B&W and fiddled with the settings a bit:
OK, it’s not perfect but there is a lot more detail visible. Anyway IDW are not completely off the hook as they did miss out the last page of the final story in the book.
Anybody who knows more about the plates used to produce these collections and the processes involved, do please get in touch.
So part 1 of the Hachette Partworks Mega collection dropped through letter boxes this week, and those of us who weren’t in the initial test areas got a chance to assess the quality of the release. Volume 1 is, of course, America By John Wagner, Colin MacNeil and Annie Parkhouse. The book itself is a sturdy hardback about trade paperback size that appears very well bound. The artwork is reduced in size from the original Megazine run and its other collected editions, but appears well reproduced throughout. After a brief introduction by Matt Smith (who in a break from convention is billed as the editor of 2000AD) we are straight into the main story. Leaving aside the much debated question of whether America is a good choice of Dredd story to start newbies with (it isn’t) the story is quickly engaging and I will be reading it again later.
The other stories included are:
The Fading of the Light by Wagner, MacNeil, Alan Craddock and Annie Parkhouse,
Cadet by Wagner, MacNeil, Chris Blythe and Annie Parkhouse,
Judgement Call by Wagner, MacNeil, Blyhte and Parkhouse,
Firehouse by Garth Ennis, Colin MacNeil and Tom Frame,
Snowstorm by Ennis, MacNeil and Frame.
The book is rounded off with an essay by Michael Molcher about the importance of America as a launching point for the Judge Dredd Megazine. DVD extras include some preliminary character sketches by MacNeil, and the various covers. We know that the amount of extra features in future volumes will vary depending on the length of the stories they cover, as there is a fixed page count for the books.
The other goodie in the pack is the fold out poster which includes some introductory stuff about Dredd and his world. On the back is a huge version (60 x 89 cm) of the Brian Bolland poster from Megazine 350. The free gifts start arriving later, quite a bit later for some of them as they encourage us to keep our subscriptions running, but that’s the way of the world.
Overall, it’s a pretty impressive package for the £2.99 I paid for the first issue. Prices start to jump from here on in so there may be a point when the returns don’t outweigh the outlay. We’ll see. In the meantime I am settling down to read America yet again.