KID SHIRT

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

THEY THINK IT'S ALL OVER...

It is now:



This week's 2000AD features the 13th (and final) episode of my Future Sports Series "Second City Blues". I'm gonna miss coming back from the accupuncturist on monday tea-time and reading me comp. copy...

Regular readers of Kid Shirt will have found spooky echoes of this blog's obsessions in SCB's weekly Thrill Dosage. There were not-so-sly references to Lovecraft, Amon Duul 2 and, uh, Cultural Erosion. Personally, my favourite moment was the arrival of The Religious Right...



Er, sorry (it must've been their halos)...I meant The Oboch Censors:



Needless to say, artist Warren Pleece has been an absolute joy and delight to work with. My original hope and intention was to create a Sports Strip that felt as if it had been beamed-in from a lost or forgotten late '70's/early '80's comic. Warren nailed the Retro-Flava I was looking for in one. Truly he is a giant amongst men.

But the last word must surely go to "Sarge", the Blues' coach:

TOMMY ROT

Nick Gutterbreakz' rememberings of Seventies Westerns, War books/comix/films, etc (below) roughly parallels my own childhood. WW2-related literature survived into the Seventies, I reckon, because it was a way of critiquing the Vietnam War w/out actually having to mention it. Mainstream filmakers only started openly referencing Vietnam w/out fear of inciting another Sixties-style Drug-fuelled Yoof 'uprising' when Hollywood sniffed Oscars/box-office action with worthy dreck like "The Deer-Hunter" (surely the cinematic equivalent of a Brooce Springsteen LP?).

I think what I am really mourning is loss of choice, rather than loss of childhood. Tesco and WH Smith have all but annihilated the small independent newsagent, yet are unwilling to stock minority-interest magazines like Shivers, The Dark Side, Terrorizer, Tattoo, True Detective, Wrestling and Hot Rods magazines, etc. And the death of sale-or-return distribution in the UK has murdered easy High Street access to Marvel/DC comics. Smiths in Yeovil (which has a catchment area of, say, 40-50000 people if you include the outlying village populace...) won't even stock The Wire magazine because "we get no call for it". (Yet they put out of business the small family-run shops who did keep it on the shelves. *Sigh*...)

Apart from 2000AD, unless a comic has a TV/film licensing tie-in, then you can bloody well forget about it. Sooooo, I was pleasantly surprised and shocked to find Smiths had suddenly started stocking Commando again for the first time in 15 years.



"Tusker Force" is typical (but entertaining) fare: a British officer/Public School type in Burma commandeers a bunch of locals and trains elephants to gore invading Japanese troops. Subtle (or PC) it ain't...

As you're probably aware, some of my favourite people are Japanese and I bear no malice against them as a race. I wish I could say I'm 1/64th Japanese, but I'm not. From a cultural/intellectural POV, how can I compartimentalise these two strands of my personality? Is it possible to reconcile my love for retro-jingoistic tommy rot like 'Tusker Force' with my respect and admiration for vast swathes of contemporary Japanese culture? (See? This is what 'PC' culture has done to us: it's easy to intellectually paralyse yourself by worrying about this kind of paradox...in fact, you can tie yourself up in knots for hours over-analysing stuff like this: "Does not compute! DOES! NOT! COMPUTE!".) I'm comfortable, I guess, with these two sides to my psyche, but I can see that some people might be 'offended' by something that could be interpreted as Anti-Japanese...

I mean, I don't think for a minute that Commando is being published as an 'ironic' project, yet my personal interpretation/internal deconstruction of it is.

Therefore, I was v. pleased to hear about a recent Japanese 'war' film (forgive me if I've got the plot muddled...anyone care to give me a title to go with this?) where a squad of heroic Jap soldiers set out to thwart the dropping of the third atomic bomb. Bring it on: sounds pretty cool to me...