Thursday, December 24, 2020

Merry Chrimble

However you celebrate the end of the year, I hope it's a good one.

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

The Best Mince Pies of 2020

For the past few years I have been taste-testing shop-bought mince pies; it started out as an excuse to eat a lot of mince pies, but it's become popular and people seem to value my opnion. Or they value me putting on weight in late December. You can follow along with me on the #mincetagram #MincePieADay or #MincePieFest2020 hastags on Facebook or Instagram if you're a big fan of arbitrary judgements about unimportant things.

Here are 2020's scores:

Put a big asterisk by this result as because I haven't been able to get hold of any minceys from Waitrose or Morrisons this year. I'm not too bothered by the former as their pies are never much good, but Morrisons' were among the best in 2019, so it's a shame I missed them this year.

So with that in mind, the best mince pie of 2020 is... a three way tie between local business Infinity Foods, my friend Liam, and the supermarket Tesco. If I had to pick one winner, and discounting Liam's pies because you can't buy them, my #MincePieFest2020 Grand Prize Winner is...


I will be taking questions later, at Four Seasons Total Landscaping.

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

You Can Never Escape the Barbarians of the Ruined Earth, Probably

I've been drawing some more pictures for Barbarians of the Ruined Earth, this time an upcoming adventure called The Slave Mines of Vindicus the Terrible:

I'm not sure when the adventure is out, but I will mention it here when it is.

Tuesday, December 08, 2020

Mister Lord

Back when I was much smaller and younger, I read my brother's hand-me-down copies of Star Wars Weekly.

As was common for UK comics of the time, Star Wars Weekly was a sort of anthology; alongside the reprints of the US Star Wars comic, there were one or two other comics dragged from the Marvel archive, which were supposed to have a space theme to tie in with the main event, but somehow we ended up with Deathlok fighting Man-Wolf in New York, so I don't know what to tell you.

I remember enjoying Chris Claremont and John Byrne's Star-Lord the most out of all the back-up comics, but because there were gaps in our collection, I never got to see what this was about:

In 2014 Marvel published a collection of the early Star-Lord stories to tie in with the first Guardians of the Galaxy film, and I picked up a copy so I could see how the story ended. I also got to see how the story began and, crikey, his origin is bonkers.

Within a couple of pages, Peter Quill's dad works out that he is not in fact Peter Quill's dad, so takes the infant outside to chop him up with a wood axe. Before he can do so, Quill Senior dies of a heart attack!

A few years later, Peter's mum is killed by aliens, so Peter decides to become a space racist.

So that's a bit different to the film then.

Peter decides to become an astronaut so he can go up into space and kill aliens, and turns out to be quite good at astronautery, but everyone at NASA thinks he's a bit intense and weird so he always gets passed over for the top jobs. A distraught Peter goes home and gets drunk with his pet owl.

After a few more twists and turns, throughout which Peter remains a complete douchecanoe, a space wizard turns up at NASA and tells them that he is going to turn one lucky astronaut into Star-Lord. Of course Peter is overlooked once again so what does he do?

He goes on a shooting spree around NASA HQ.

Of course.

Standard Marvel hero behaviour. If you're the Punisher.

After shooting all his colleagues and friends, Peter is transported to the space wizard's grotto, where he is given the Star-Lord costume and then gets to go and kill the aliens that killed his mum, except it turns out to be an illusion created by the space wizard so that Quill can get the revenge out of his system or something. Then Peter and the space wizard go for a walk in the woods and that's your lot.

As origin stories go it is, to say the least, a bit odd. The alleged hero is a complete sociopath almost from the beginning and you keep expecting it to turn around at some point, like Spider-Man's origin, perhaps, except no. Instead it gets worse and worse until the protagonist becomes a spree killer. Okay then.

Quill's origin has since been multiple-retconned into a big continuity nonsense spaghetti but Marvel was already ignoring it by the character's second appearance, which says a lot. Star-Lord is still portrayed as a little eccentric and weird in later stories, but the specific murders and racism are skipped over. He's played more as an adventurer troubled by mistakes made in his past and less of a psychopath with a ray gun.

I can see why they decided not to use this version of the character for the films, as Peter Quill, Space Racist isn't going to sell many tickets for Disney on Ice. I am a bit baffled that Marvel published it in the first place, but I suppose it was the 70's.

The owl, alas, is not seen again. I feel that's a missed opportunity.


Here's what Marvel-NASA is wearing in 1990:

All the coolest astrophysicists wear capes.