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Author Topic: Thrillpower Overload: the missing chapters  (Read 3319 times)

Jim_Campbell

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Re: Thrillpower Overload: the missing chapters
« Reply #45 on: 29 January, 2017, 08:29:09 pm »

Despite heroic rearguard actions against evil Danish capitalists - whose twisted ideology meant they viewed publishing as some kind of profit making exercise - most readers agree the comic was at its worst during the nineties.

Understanding why the comic was awful doesn't mean it wasn't awful.

Ahem. I've explained very clearly how Egmont's business model was at odds with 2000AD's all-original, all-new content philosophy. A good chunk of David B's tenure is open to heavy criticism, but I don't think his editorial stint ever plumbed the depths of McKenzie's cliquiest excesses.
Eagle Award Nominated Letterer: Samples. | Blog
Less-Awesome-Artist: Scribbles.

Greg M.

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Re: Thrillpower Overload: the missing chapters
« Reply #46 on: 29 January, 2017, 08:34:18 pm »
That's interesting, Greg. What were your highpoints (July 1996 - June 2000)?

Well, I meant for the 90s as a whole, but if you want to focus on that specific Bishop era (and fair enough), then the first 3 or so years of Nikolai Dante are a clear highpoint, as is Devlin Waugh: Chasing Herod / Reign of Frogs / Sirius Rising. In terms of Dredds - Death of a Legend,  Beyond the Call of Duty, The Scorpion Dance and Blood Cadets are the first ones that come to mind as superb Bishop-era stories.

Frank

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Re: Thrillpower Overload: the missing chapters
« Reply #47 on: 29 January, 2017, 08:46:55 pm »
... the first 3 or so years of Nikolai Dante are a clear highpoint, as is Devlin Waugh: Chasing Herod / Reign of Frogs / Sirius Rising. In terms of Dredds - Death of a Legend,  Beyond the Call of Duty, The Scorpion Dance and Blood Cadets are the first ones that come to mind as superb Bishop-era stories.

I thought Blood Cadets was Rebellion-era, but you're right (1186).

The Devlin Waughs washed over me without leaving much of a memory. I like John Smith, so I should probably give them a reread in isolation, so their being sandwiched between episodes of Witchworld, Vector 13 and Mercy Heights doesn't affect my impression of them.

Thanks for the reply, Greg.



Richard

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Re: Thrillpower Overload: the missing chapters
« Reply #48 on: 29 January, 2017, 11:21:27 pm »
That Devlin Waugh series was some of Smith's finest work. It's brilliant. In fact I'm going to re-read it this week now.

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Re: Thrillpower Overload: the missing chapters
« Reply #49 on: 30 January, 2017, 12:47:13 am »
zone=droid&page=thrills&Comic=2000AD&Field=Artist&choice=edmundb]Edmund Bagwell[/url] *, who's obviously just noticed Pete Milligan (left) and everyone else in the room is wearing the same flowery eighties shirt.


Was this before or after Bagwell posed  with a pair of sunnies for Duncan Fegredo as reference shots for Morrison’s Invisiblespoilerific reboot of Kid Eternity?
"We'll send all these nasty words to Aunt Jane. Don't you think that would be fun?"

Frank

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Re: Thrillpower Overload: the missing chapters
« Reply #50 on: 12 February, 2017, 11:52:32 am »
Bagwell posed  with a pair of sunnies for Duncan Fegredo as reference shots for Morrison’s Invisiblespoilerific reboot of Kid Eternity

Never knew that, Stevie! Similarly, much of this was news to me - most notably, the information that Ian Gibson was the original artist on Third World War. I suppose Gibson's stock as artist of choice for mature reader stories centered on a female character was at a high, following Halo Jones.

Interesting in a more tabloid way is the information that the then-married Mills based Eve on someone who was more than just a friend. Mills used real life avatars for all the characters, tapping them for dialogue and to live action role play character reactions to story ideas, which often changed the direction of the strip.

Mills's experience with Dice Man must have informed these working methods and philosophy, and there's an interesting parallel to be drawn between that experiment in ceding control over story direction to the reader and the way Mills was increasingly allowing readers (and the stuff he was reading) shape his work.

Readers interested in Mills's trajectory as a writer will detect a tension here between his instincts as a storyteller (or entertainer) and his commitment to a theoretically informed practice, more concerned with fidelity to a particular ideology and (perceived) authenticity than fiction:


Quote
The case was put to me by quite a few 2000AD readers that criticising the authorities or the state through science fiction is a kind of disguise, and why not tell it like it really is? That interested me – I was almost stung by readers saying, look, tell it how it is, don’t wrap it up in science fiction bullshit.

I would never have taken the risk to do a story like Third World War if the editor Steve McManus hadn’t rung me up and said, ‘I’d like you to do something on the politics of food’, so I started to look into it. At first I thought, God is this going to be too dull to do anything?

I kept some sci fi elements, and there was criticism from some readers because of that; they felt like I was getting close to telling it like it is, but they wanted me to go further. I was like, well how do I do that and still tell an entertaining story?

Then as I dug deeper I started to become deeply disturbed by what I was finding out. I was going to pretty radical sources. There was a publisher called Pluto Press, who were publishing writers in the tradition of Noam Chomsky. It was quite a responsibility for me, and I thought God I better get this right.

One of the things I did was I looked at all my characters and wondered how I was going to get it right. So, every one of the principle characters was based on a real person. There’s nothing new about that, but they were based on someone that I knew very well, and had access to. So I would go to the person concerned and ask them, what would you do in this situation?

I don’t think this is how writers usually operate. I think usually – and this often works very well – characters are shards of the writer's own personality. But this was very different. In the case of Eve, I went to a particular young woman of that age, who had the right personality for the story.

She was a friend of mine. Let’s put it that way. And I said, what would you do in this situation? And she said I wouldn’t be able to deal with it and I’d probably take an overdose. The original artist who drew 3WW was Ian Gibson – he objected and pulled out of the project. He thought, and it’s totally understandable, that to have a main character who had contemplated or attempted suicide was negative for young people to read. I disagree with him, but I respect his views.

Those kind of things were coming into the story so naturally because I’d just go down the road to one of my friends and say, OK, you’re in this situation, what do you do? And often their responses would be quite unusual, particularly in the case of the character of Fin. To start with there were two guys it was based on but over time it became just one, I guess he was more vocal and had a more dominant personality.

So I’d say, OK, you’ve seen all these dead bodies, how do you react? Now my reaction would be horror; that’s a normal reaction. His was very different, he said, ‘oh I’d be interested in seeing what the cause of death was’ he was almost like a pathologist in his response. So I was really using this to build the stories, I’m told this is what Mike Leigh did with his TV dramas, he’d get his actors to adlib.

In my case they often ran a little off the rails, they didn’t go where I was guiding them, and I had to be faithful to my sources, so sometimes some of the things they would say could be quite scandalous, quite shocking. Readers would write in saying, ‘I really disagree with what your character Fin is saying, it’s quite appalling.’ And I’d say, he’s a character in a story; we’re not suggesting any of them should be moral icons.

Even Ivan the punk character was very much based on a real person – the punk was a still a punk when I was interviewing him, and at the time I remember Grant Morrisson saying ‘why has Pat Mills got a punk in the story, punk is dead’, and I was thinking, well it’s not in Colchester mate! It’s still going strong just down the road from me hahaha….

We covered the Nestle baby food scandal, and the advertising manager of our publisher sent a letter to the editor saying, ‘are you aware that Nestle are a major advertiser for our group?’ I did the story of the Mau Mau, and just what the British imperialists did in Kenya. The printers threatened not to publish that issue. These older guys had lived through Britain’s imperial history, and they objected to my viewpoint of the way the Brits dealt with the Mau Mau insurrection.

As a child, I remember being told that the Mau Mau were the most evil people on earth, that they were savages, and I really wanted to reject that conditioning. If you’re told lies as a child about something, it probably sticks, you want to throw it out and say, this isn’t the truth, here is the truth. I guess I had my own personal agenda there as well.

The reaction to black issues from our readership – and it’s hard to pin this down, because no one’s going to come out and admit it – but there was a negative reaction from our ‘politically correct’ readership. They weren’t that comfortable with black issues being dealt with. They might argue that they didn’t like the way we dealt with them, I’d disagree

The editor Steve McManus’s view was that there was just a negative reaction to featuring black characters so heavily in the comic. I was quite naïve thinking all that stuff had disappeared at the end of the 60s. Right up to Crisis, readers were quite uncomfortable with the heavy emphasis on black characters, and I think it probably contributed to the decline of 3WW as a story in the comic.

http://www.theransomnote.com/culture/pulp-cult/crisis-pat-mills-remembering-the-uk-comic-that-changed-the-game/



TordelBack

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Re: Thrillpower Overload: the missing chapters
« Reply #51 on: 12 February, 2017, 01:24:04 pm »
That is absolutely fascinating. Just when you think you might have Mills figured out there's more to know: what an amazing creator. Makes me itch for a well-annotated 3WW collection.

(Not sure I necessarily agree with your reading of the 'real' Eve relationship, but you can certainly interpret it that way.)

Frank

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Re: Thrillpower Overload: the missing chapters
« Reply #52 on: 17 February, 2017, 07:49:19 pm »

Colin MacNeil originally planned to paint America 2: Fading Of The Light:





... and the redrawn page 2, as it appeared in Megazine 3.20:





MacNeil explains what happened in Megazine 227:





Our younger selves discuss the above pages, early nineties colouring, and Fading Of The Light in general



Frank

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Re: Thrillpower Overload: the missing chapters
« Reply #53 on: 19 February, 2017, 09:33:54 pm »

"When we did that Low Life with Overdrive, the shark guy, I looked up great white sharks on the internet. It turns out there are now danger holidays you can go on where they put you in a shark cage and drop meat in, and there's 10 billion photographs of sharks going (hilarious mime of shark trying to eat something bigger than its head).

I realised when you get enough of them from different angles, it's like they've got different expressions. So I literally harvested about 100 shark faces off the internet and categorised them by expression. And then for every panel where the shark guy needed a particular expression, I'd go to the reference thing, pull it out, and trace it off.

That's why the shark guy looks so good, because every one of them is taken from a real shark. But the weird side effect of that is that the angle that each of those panels is taken from is determined entirely by what angle the shark head is from. So it's working backwards from reference in the weirdest way possible, but it worked really well."








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Frank

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Re: Thrillpower Overload: the missing chapters
« Reply #54 on: 19 February, 2017, 09:54:55 pm »

It would have helped if I'd included the link to the 2000ad panel in that last post:  (LINK)



Frank

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Re: Thrillpower Overload: the missing chapters
« Reply #55 on: 26 February, 2017, 06:38:03 pm »

This is the Al Ewing Trifecta interview where he floats the idea of Giant as a replacement for Dredd, rather than Rico. I found the link in the Tour Of Duty episode of Douglas Wolk's superb Dredd Reckoning blog, but the original SFX interview has fallen off the end of the internet.

Grud bless the good folks of The Wayback Machine for preserving things other sites delete to save server space:



BLOG Judge Dredd Writer Al Ewing on 2000AD’s Surprising Crossover  Steven Ellis at 11:23am December 5 2012


SFX: With the recent “The Cold Deck/Trifecta” cross-over story in 2000AD, which brought together Dreddworld stories Judge Dredd, The Simping Detective and Low Life, fans of the comic are singing your praises. How do you feel the story has turned out?

Al Ewing: “It’s turned out well! Considering the level of ambition in terms of the job we set ourselves, I feel we’ve done ourselves and 2000AD proud. The readership has been incredibly positive from the start, even before they twigged that it was a crossover – and that’s something I’m very proud of, that we managed to keep everyone in the dark and made Prog 1807 a genuine surprise for the readers.”

Where did the idea come from? Who was the driving force behind it all?

“I think it was Si Spurrier who originally had the idea of him, me and Rob Williams getting together to co-write something. At the time, that was going to be an Image miniseries, but that idea ended up coming to nothing when all three of us got busy in our own lives. Last year, Si and Rob came to me with the idea to revive the project as a Dreddworld crossover – I think even at that early stage Si was talking about a single-story issue of 2000AD featuring all the characters. So really, it’s Si and Rob you should be thanking.”

I don’t think there’s been a cross-over event quite like this before. Was there a moment when you all thought you were a bit mad trying to pull it off?

“Hundreds of moments. It’s like doing a jigsaw where all three of us have slightly different sets, and we’re trying to make a coherent picture with them. The fact that we made something that’s as coherent as it is, is testament to Si and Rob’s skill as writers and my extreme flukiness. I don’t know if we’ll ever do it again – not for a while, anyway. If we do, in a year or five, we’ll go in with a better understanding of just how much work is involved.”

“Originally, Bachmann was just someone for Dredd to bounce off, so the second half of that story could take place in real time, a month after the first half. And then it turned out that she was very popular, so I felt that I needed to finish her story quickly, so she wasn’t just another Dredd villain simmering in the background for years and years, which was why I pushed for her to be the Big Bad of ‘Trifecta’. It was literally me saying, ‘I have a villain going spare, can we use her?’

“As it turns out, while this is the end of her story, it might not be the end of the Black Ops story. So maybe we will have to team up again soon.”

With three writers, four artists and several plot threads to intertwine, how difficult was the story to coordinate?

“It was tough. Before we even started work, we went for several plotting/drinking sessions to work out what we wanted to do. We all had our own ideas and themes we wanted to explore – I wanted to use Bachmann and Maitland and have Dredd get beat up; Rob had an idea for Frank getting involved in corporate shenanigans on the moon; Si had ideas for a Church Of Simpology. So we all came in wanting things, and we worked out how we could all have our cakes and eat them. Then we ate them.”

During the story, especially your part of it, there were a lot of mentions of Dredd and Mega-City One’s past. Judge Dredd is unique in having a very consistent linear history. Would you say this helps or hinders you when you write the character?

“I think because of the nature of the reveal in the final episode – out today – we had to make the past a constant theme, to have it constantly reaching back to the present. I don’t think that was something we decided, it’s just something that happened subconsciously. It’s nice to have 35 years of history to refer to – plus another 20 years or so we can invent – but lean too hard on it and it becomes a crutch. I feel like I’ve pushed the past of Dredd as far as I can for the moment, and it’s time to start looking forward again.”

How do you feel about the fans talk about you being John Wagner’s natural successor on Dredd?

“Enormously flattered, obviously, and also a little bit scared. I don’t think I’ve done right by Dredd over the past year, in that I’ve been distracted by other things. From next year, I’m going to try and spend a lot more time with the character, and really get a lot of stories under my belt. Do my bit to earn all this praise.”

With “Day of Chaos”, “The Cold Deck”/“Trifecta” and the two Dredd films – the big 3D one and Minty – all happening this year, it really has been a great time for Dredd in his 35th year, where do you see the character going from here?

“Well, he’s getting older. More to the point, he’s starting to realise his own fallibility. He’s made mistakes, and he’s making them now. He’s starting to see that his judgement hasn’t been 100% correct 100% of the time, and the big question ahead is how he’s going to deal with that, when the evidence of his failures – Chaos Day, his strained relationship with Hershey – is staring him in the face. And eventually, someone’s going to have to address Fargo’s last words and what they mean for Mega-City One.”

Do you have specific plans for Dredd storylines in the future?

“I need to wrap up Deller and The Organisation, at least in the short term. I really want to do something with Giant – he’s Dredd’s successor, except he’s human in a way Dredd isn’t. He’s not a clone, he grew up with a family. While evidence of Dredd’s ‘father’s’ humanity is suppressed by Justice Dept, Giant is living evidence that his Dad had off-regulation emotions. So there’s a wealth of story potential there.

I want to do some politics – bring back the thread of Gerhardt Crane, the political writer who keeps popping up. See what his reaction to the reduced Mega-City is, and whether his ideas take root in any official places.

“Annnnnnnd… I want to experiment with things like narrative collapse. Real In-The-Abyss stuff – someone mentioned the Black Lodge recently on the boards and it’s got me thinking.”

Dredd’s getting on a bit, he’s over 70 now… How would you feel about killing him off and replacing him with Rico or Dolman?

“Reader reaction seems quite positive to that. There were a few people who actually assumed we were doing that when we had him shot up at the end of ‘The Cold Deck’ – the Snake? Snake? Snaaaaake! moment. (Of course, that moment is always followed by ‘Continue?’, as Metal Gear Solid players should have worked out.)

“I don’t have permission to kill Dredd. Yet. If we do decide to kill him, it won’t be something we’d do lightly, I can guarantee. As for what happens after that… I’ve always been in favour of doing a ‘Taggart’ and continuing the Dredd strip without Judge Dredd in it. No need for Rico or Dolman to disrupt their routine. Giant’s the natural successor, anyway.”

It sounds like you have a lot of love for Judge Giant; do you have some clear ideas about what you’d do with the character given the chance?

Just explore the human side of him, make him the POV character for some stories, give him some meaty cases to work on. Bring out the sides to his character that make him different from Dredd, put them on display, round him out a little; re-establish him as the successor. Not that I have anything against Rico, but I prefer Rico as his own man rather than Dredd-In-Waiting.”

You also managed to use PSU’s Judge Roffman, a fan favourite character, back during “The Cold Deck”. Along with several other Dredd characters his fate after the last big Dredd epic “Day of Chaos” was a little uncertain for a while, are there any other similar “fate uncertain” characters you’d like to involve in future stories other than Giant?

“Well, at some point I have to decide whether Bennett lived or died. I don’t want to get into a situation where everyone who ever worked with Dredd survived – that’s just unrealistic – but at the same time, the guy who I named Bennett after has helped me move house several times, so I feel like Bennett should probably survive!”

There seemed to be a bit of a lag between the end of the “Day Of Chaos” and the stories following. It felt a little like other Dredd writers didn’t know just how far John Wagner was going to go. Is there anything to this? Were you all up to date or was there a little bit of running to catch up and some quick rewrites to add continuity when you realised the state Wagner had left Mega-City One in?

“A bit of both. We were sent a memo that told us exactly how bad it was going to get, but I personally still got caught on the hop slightly when I rewrote the stories I had waiting to run. I didn’t realise it’d be that bad, is all I can say. I’ll be saying the same thing when the superhurricanes come and civilisation collapses – ‘I got the memo, but I didn’t think it’d be that bad’.

“Anyway, ‘Day of Chaos’ turned out to be the best thing that could’ve happened to ‘Trifecta’. For instance, we’d been scrabbling about trying to think of ways to have all the double-dealing happen under PSU’s nose – suddenly they were all but destroyed, problem solved. Suddenly Bachmann had a proper reason to do her evil plan – it was a reaction to Chaos Day and the power vacuum that created. Those Dredd/Hershey scenes wouldn’t have been nearly as interesting with Dredd/Francisco. And so on. Once we’d digested the memo, we realised just how many opportunities there were in the new set-up to make our crossover really work. It added so much to it – I think we all owe John a vote of thanks for destroying the Meg as thoroughly as he did!”

You’ve done quite a lot of varied work for 2000AD; from Tharg’s Future Shocks and Terror Tales through to Damnation Station and Judge Dredd. Are you a big fan of the single episode short story or do you prefer more meaty longer arcs when you write?

“I’m a huge fan of the done-in-one, and Wagner’s right up there as one of the masters of the form as far as I’m concerned – up there with Eisner and Kurtzman. I’d like to get a few of them in myself, in amongst the long-form pieces I need to get done. I still have a lot of fondness for some of my early Future Shocks, and I don’t want that skill to atrophy, assuming it hasn’t already.”

You and Henry Flint seem to work together quite a lot, with Zombo and Dredd. How would you describe that partnership?

“Fruitful. We work well together – we tend to add to each other’s ideas, so that’s good. And Henry always surprises me with his layouts, in a good way. He lets me have my head, but he doesn’t just sit back; he’s always full of amazing ideas to throw into anything I’m working on with him. He really blows me away with his Dredd stuff – it’s absolutely fantastic, really grim, crunchy, hard-boiled stuff. It astounds me that he’s not in more demand in the States, but their loss is our gain.”

Who do you think draws the definitive Dredd?

“I’d say Henry. Other than that – Carlos Ezquerra is pretty hard to beat, particularly around ‘Brothers Of The Blood’. Ditto Cam Kennedy, Colin McNeil, obviously Mike McMahon… but my personal choice, excluding Henry, is Ron Smith, who defined the character for me as a kid. His Dredd had a lot of humour to it, a kind of arch quality – he was full of very subtle wisecracks. There was some beautiful caricaturing work in everyone’s faces. I particularly remember his newspaper strips with Wagner – these tiny little half or quarter-page bursts, just one joke, perfectly told. I doubt anyone else could have done those.”

You’ve also written several books in the Pax Britannia series for Abaddon, as well as others. Could you tell us the differences, if any, in your approach to writing novels when compared to comic stories?

“Writing novels is a thousand times harder. It’s just brutal, like pulling out your own teeth and burying them. You’ve caught me at a bad time for this question because I’m just in the closing stages of another one, for Solaris, which is about some fairly high concepts. Once I’ve written them, I usually leave them on a shelf for six months before I’m moved to pick them up again, at which point I’m pleasantly surprised by myself. I suspect that’s true of all writers – you never like your stuff immediately, it has to grow on you.”

You and Henry Flint have worked together on the bat’s-arse crazy zombie secret agent series Zombo. He’s had four outings – if you include the 2010 Christmas Prog appearance – so far. Will there be more from the character in the future?

Yes, yes. At least another trade, which will bring us up to six series. When it comes time to plot Series Six, we’ll have to ask ourselves if we want to do more or if it’s time for a breather – if we feel there’s more in it, we can go to eight or ten or twelve or what-have-you until we’ve had enough, but it’s not a series that’s plotted out to the end, like Nikolai Dante. I have a rough idea of one of the end conditions, but you’ll have to wait and see what that is.”

Regarding the second series of Zombo, what made you decide to try to write a musical zombie comic book story?

“Well, the zombie bit was in place, and the music bit just sort of happened when we brought in the Rat Pack, which we had to do because it was a casino heist story originally. Except it went off the rails a bit. That tends to be how Zombo comes together – we’ll have an idea, it’ll get slightly skewed between plot and script and then it’s out there.”

You’ve also recently had success with Zaucer Of Zilk. Will we be seeing more of Zaucer and his madcap world?

“It’s possible. I think both me and Brendan have some ideas for a sequel, but on the other hand it’s nice to just have something sitting there in and of itself. We’ll see how we feel.”

Is there anything else you have on the horizon? Any upcoming work you’d like to tell people about?

“Bits and pieces – that new novel, The Fictional Man, which is exploring some fun territory, in a world where cloned fictions are alive and walking the streets of Hollywood. Damnation Station is coming around for a second (and final) series. Jennifer Blood remains ongoing, with the fourth arc just getting started. And of course, next spring brings fresh Zombo.

“Plus all the projects I can’t tell you about…”

Steve Green

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Re: Thrillpower Overload: the missing chapters
« Reply #56 on: 26 February, 2017, 07:08:45 pm »
The talk of Black Ops has reminded me - Si Spurrier's Domino(?) character is still floating around isn't she?

I wonder if they ever thought about using her in Trifecta?

Frank

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Re: Thrillpower Overload: the missing chapters
« Reply #57 on: 03 March, 2017, 06:20:49 pm »
The talk of Black Ops has reminded me - Si Spurrier's Domino(?) character is still floating around isn't she?

If she was coming back, Michael Carroll would have retconned her as a Sector Zero sleeper.

A reminder of simpler times, when Buttonman could have bought a full page of 2000ad, and had as many letters printed as he wanted, for the price of a new kitchen:




The Guardian, 03/03/2017



I, Cosh

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Re: Thrillpower Overload: the missing chapters
« Reply #58 on: 04 March, 2017, 07:23:42 am »
The talk of Black Ops has reminded me - Si Spurrier's Domino(?) character is still floating around isn't she?

I wonder if they ever thought about using her in Trifecta?
She was mentioned as the source of the Intel in the last Rob Williams story.
You should not drink and bake.

Steve Green

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Re: Thrillpower Overload: the missing chapters
« Reply #59 on: 04 March, 2017, 08:33:25 am »
I missed that, thanks.