Thursday, 30 April 2009

Alex Nino

It's Alex Nino's birthday today, assuming creatures from other dimension's have birthday's. Alex was supposedly born in the Phillipines of human parents. This is clearly nonsense. See that photo? That's an actor Alex hires to appear at conventions for him. The real Alex Nino probably looks like one of those H.P.Lovecraft things in The Cthulhu Mythos. You don't believe me? Really? Here's the proof. NO ONE FROM THIS PLANET CAN DRAW LIKE THIS. As a for instance, here's an 'autobiographical' piece from Heavy Metal.

I rest my case.

Action Presents: Death Game 1999

Death Game 1999 is, fairly obviously, a rip-off of both Rollerball & Death Race 2000 ( if you're gonna steal, be blatant about it! ) It was written by Tom Tully and illustrated mostly by Costa ( as you'll see, there's a couple of really early Ian Gibson pages in there too ).
In essence, it's a classic prison movie, as semi-retired player Joe Taggart is framed for murder and forced to put together a Spinball team for corrupt prison Governer Smailes, made up of the worst no-hopers & lifers in the jail. Just like Hook Jaw, it does exactly what it says on the tin, being fast, furious and mega-violent.
And like Kids Rule OK! it couldn't last. As Action got into more and more trouble, leading to it's ban & subsequent cancellation, Death Game 1999 had it's teeth pulled and became the far softer ( though still reasonably violent ) Spinball. For readers of the early 2000AD, Death Game was a precursor to a seemingly endless series of futuresport serials, including Harlem Heroes, Inferno, Death Sport & The Mean Arena. To see the cut & uncut version's of how it all ended, go to ( as with everything else this week ) Here's the opening few weeks.

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Action Presents: The Running Man

The Running Man has the kind of premise that you really wish you'd thought of yourself. Written by Steve McManus and illustrated by french artist Horacio Lalia, it's about Mike Carter, a British athletic running star set up by the Mafia to take the fall for The Don's loose cannon son, Vito Scarlatti. The bad guys burn Mike's face, then operate on him to make him more closely resemble deranged cop-killer Vito, and the chase is on! Here's the first couple of episodes.

From then on, It's B-Movie gold, as our harried hero flees for his life, with cops, gangsters & axe-murderers hot on his trail. For instance, from later on in the series, here's Mike stuck in a whole town of satanists. Ever seen Peter Fonda & Warren Oates in Race With The Devil?
Apparently, The Running Man wasn't that popular a strip with Action's readers; something to do with a hero who runs away from his problems. Me, I thought it rocked harder than a rock hard thing. And it'd make a great movie!

Tomorrow: Death Game 1999!

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Action Presents: Kids Rule OK!

Kids Rule OK! was probably the most violent strip Action had to offer. Not necessarily for the violence itself, but for the tone in which it was presented. For instance, Dredger was a nominal good guy. He may've been a vicious, bloodthirsty bastard, but in his world, there was at least some kind of line drawn between the good guys & the bad guys, and Dredger was at least partially on the side of the angels.
Kids Rule OK! had no such distinctions. Set in the far-flung future of 1986, it's basically A Clockwork Orange for teenagers, as a plague wipes out every adult in Britain, leaving the country's population of kids to fend for themselves.
It was written ( presumably in fresh blood ) by Jack Adrian, and illustrated by Mike White, and from the opening panel of page 2, it's total anarchy, and it never really lets up.
If The Moral Majority was appalled by Action, it was apoplectic over Kids Rule OK!
The cover above says it all, as a teenage thug, chain swinging, is about to kick a copper's head in. ( By the way, " Aggro " for those who don't know, stands for aggravation/fighting/kicking someone's head in ). At a time when football violence was reaching new depths, it was felt that this kind of thing was most definitely not what the nation's youth should be reading.
Over the course of the strip's run, even some of Action's staff felt it was all going a bit too far, and repeatedly toned it down, cutting certain panels and obscuring the gory details in others, even before the ban came in.
After the ban, when Action briefly returned to the nation's shelves, strips like Dredger & Hook Jaw were severely neutered into pale shadows of their former selves.
Kids Rule OK! however, didn't come back, and was simply abandoned halfway through the story.
Although to be fair, this did show that the strip was really only about the violence, as it veered from gang fight to gang fight, with nothing ever really moving forward. But it was a wild, visceral ride while it lasted!
Here's the whole ( short ) series, along with the hysterically laughable & clumsy ending that would've been printed, had Action not bit the bullet.

Tomorrow: The Running Man!