Saturday, 30 December 2017

Fourth Annual Christmas Round-Up 2017

As we lunge head-first into a new year, let's have one last Christmas tradition: The Slipper's round-up of this year's festive comics.

Let's kick off with 2000AD.

In the Beano Christmas issue, So Beano puts a reader on the pitch with Ball Boy in a Beanotown v Toppertown match. Some old DC Thomson characters are brought out of retirement, including Beryl the Peril and original recipe Tricky Dicky.  

Two things I learned this Christmas: the Beano kids' parents seem to have been given real names. Minnie the Minx's dad is called Darren (even though he was once given the name Victor back in the 80s, but things are very different now) and improbably enough, Roger the Dodger's dad is called Les Dawson. I am baffled by this knowledge. 
And secondly, there are a lot of Doctor Who fans at DC Thomson.

Dennis think's that must be Santa... 
He is clear that he isn't Doctor Who "any more", he's just plain old Peter Capaldi now. He invites Dennis and Gnasher into his grotto... 
Minnie does her own version of The Twelve Days of Christmas (Dennis did this in a Beano I got in the 80s; I still sing "Two Hurtled Gloves and a Parsnip from a Spare Ski" to this day) 

The great Hunt Emerson does a regular strip turning readers into Beano characters
And The Bash Street kids puts on a Nativity that is in tune with the gender-fluid zeitgeist.
Take that Hamilton!

This also is a theme in Faith's Winter Wonderland Special as Faith is dragged into a consumerist nightmare version of the Lewis Carroll story.
I've never read Faith before (I've had it recommended loads) so don't know what her deal is, but she does rescue a woman called Alice who was a TV star when Faith was a child.
Anti-capitalism is also the theme of this year's My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic Holiday Special.
Why have one day when we can have a whole Hearthswarming SEASON!?
Let's round up this year's Viz: 

The Die Kitty Die Christmas Special #1 is also in tune with the events of 2017 as Kitty explains to Jack Frost the meaning of consent. 
This is refreshing from a comic (based around Archie and Harvey parodies) that largely played sexual assaults for comedy.

Doctor Who Magazine didn't have a Christmas story apart from Lew Stringer's comedy strip. 
"Put it in the curry!" (sorry)

The Beano Christmas Special featured Minnie the Minx kidnapping Santa for the second time. 

The Numskulls find themselves in Santa's head... 
Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose #107 was a Yule special which featured a Teen Tarot story where Boo first comes out as a werecat... (don't worry if none of that means anything, you aren't missing anything) 
The main story features the return of Krampus, and things get.... filthy. 
Let's walk away from all that, to the Beano Annual 2017 where the Bash Street Kids help Santa by replacing his lost reindeer with some returning character cameos: The Bash Street Pups.

Puzzlingly, the Dandy Annual 2017 (which proved a lot more difficult to find this year which I hope doesn't mean they're stopping publication) included a character that was horribly out of place back in the mid-90s. Fiddle O'Diddle
And Cuddles and Dimples went to a cosplay competition. 
Oh, look, another Dalek...

Here's a selection of the best Private Eye cartoon: 

The only superhero Christmas from the big two I found this year was DC Holiday Special 2017 

The Flash story features Wally West singing that song that so popular last year. 

The Atomic Knights make a surprise comeback. 

Swamp Thing, the avatar of the Green, grows himself from a single sprig of mistletoe on a space station. 
And the spirit of the season means the Kents invited John Constantine in to celebrate with them. 
(There's also a lovely Hanukkah story featuring Sgt Rock by Tom King and Frencesco Francavilla, but it doesn't lend itself to having a single image plucked out) 

Happy Hearthswarming Everypony!

Monday, 30 October 2017

Arbitrary list of comics Draculas

'Tis the season everyone. Happy Goth Christmas!

For Hallowe'en a couple of years back, I did a list of comic book g-g-g-ghosts so it's time for another arbitrary list! (A Top Ten would probably be better for click-bait, but that's really not me...)

1: DC's Dracula

DC had a few goes at putting Dracula himself (and various analogues) into their superhero universe (and there is that very unauthorised Andy Warhol movie with Batman and Dracula) but in 1991 Doug Moench and Kelley Jones made an "Elseworlds" tale of the Lord of vampires fighting Batman for control of the world. I love Jones' weird gothic art style and it spawned two sequels. 

At the risk of spoiling: Batman eventually destroys Drac (betraying his oath to never kill) but succumbs to a bite he received, eventually becoming a vampire himself.

If you ask me, having Batman turn into a demonic bat-creature is a bit overkill on the theme. However that version of Batman keeps coming back and vampire Earth is one of DC's official 52 Earths.

Scare factor: 4

He ultimately wins. Against Batman. Which is very rare.

2: Marvel's Dracula
Dracula has been a core character in the Marvel Universe for decades. And he's rad.

Originally looking like your classic cape 'n' medals Count of the movies in stories set in non-descript middle-European countries it was bringing in his half-vampire nemesis Blade that pushed him into the superhero stories proper.

He's fought Doctor Strange, Apocalypse, Hulk and Deadpool among many other Marvel heroes and villains. He's been killed more times than Hammer's Dracula too and still keeps coming back.

His best moment might be firing vampire hoards at Captain Britain FROM THE MOON!

Scare factor: 5

This guy's hardcore

3: Dell's Dracula
This one is bonkers. A short-lived 60s comic series that made Dracula a superhero. 

He's actually a blood descendant of your actual Dracula who is also a scientist, whose experiments with bat blood (yes, really) accidentally turned him into a sort-of-not-really vampire.

He travelled to America, changed his name to Al U Card (yes, really) and became a costumed vigilante, along with his girlfriend as his sidekick, Fleeta (as in fleidermaus, I think).

Scare factor: 1

A vigilante hero in a bat costume? Ridiculous.

4: Draculass
Aw yeah! 

Created by Terry Bave for Monster Fun in 1977, Draculass is Dracula's daughter, sent to live with a human family after her father... well it's not said exactly but it's heavily implied he's met the wrong end of a wooden stake.

Only the family's daughter, Maisie, can see Draculass for the monster she is, constantly looking for a fresh supply of blood from the locals. Maisie usually prevents anything bad from happening. But not always...
In this world, a vampire bite doesn't lead to anything more harmful than requiring a sticky plaster, however. But look at that satisfied monsterous expression!

Scare factor: 3

Bave's style is usually put to more genteel strips like Toy Boy or Sammy Shrink, so seeing his art on beast like Draculass makes it all the weirder and scarier.

5: Dracula (from Dr McNinja)
The Adventures of Dr McNinja is a webcomic by Chris Hastings with utterly ridiculous OTT action movie-style stories. In the story "Punch Dracula" the titular hero unexpectedly steps through a portal to find himself in Dracula's castle. On the Moon.

There Dracula has acquired Benjamin Franklin's head in order to find out what the afterlife is like (the answer: It's like a bad restaurant). He also has Hitler, Tupac, the original Paul McCartney and other people he likes. Bruce Lee is also there but Dracula didn't take him, he just jumped to the Moon once.

Scare factor: 4

When he suspected McNinja was going to kill him he swapped himself out with a robot double. Also he could kill anyone on Earth instantly with his Moon laser if he wants. Oh, and he cured cancer but hid the cure on Mars.

6: Dracula Dobbs
Created for Buster in 1987 by Nigel Edwards, this is another Dracula whose family do not know the real horror with which they live. For after he is put to bed by his parents, Dracula Dobbs stalks the night. Searching for... 

Yeah, he doesn't crave human blood so much as takeaway food. At last I can empathise!

Scare factor: 2

Still quite menacing but easily defeated. Usually by just stepping out of his way and letting him walk into a lamp post or something.

7: Dracula (from Scream!)
Now we're talking.

Scream! was a horror anthology comic from the creators of 2000AD and fondly-remembered part of my childhood.

Written by Gerry Finley-Day with art (mostly) by Eric Bradbury, it sees a Dracula travelling from his home ("In a crypt in a ruined church behind the Iron Curtain") to a recognisably contemporary Britain (well, in the early 1980s).

He has also been mistaken for a Soviet defector (the cold war still very much a thing) and trailed by KGB agent as well as being given a safe house by British intelligence.

He was also recently revived in the Scream and Misty Special, which is currently available from Rebellion!

Scare factor: 5

The sequence in which he feasts on a patron in a cinema while he watches a Dracula movie will haunt me for a long time.

8: The Tracksuit Draculas
An organised crime gang, apparently Ukranian, who dogged Hawkeye's life during the run by Matt Fraction and David Aja.

Okay, not really Draculas, it was just a (slightly racist?) nickname given to them by Clint, but they were scary. See, Hawkeye was taking some time away from the Avengers (it's a whole thing) and wanted a reasonably quiet life, occasionally fighting street-level crime. Then this bunch of bozos (they hired a mercenary called The Clown to help them for pity's sake) want to take control of the building in which he lives. And Hawkeye stands in their way.

Scare factor: 4

For in the end isn't mankind the TRUE monsters?

(No, it's Draculas that are the true monsters)

Happy Hallowe'en boils and ghouls!!!!