Sunday, 24 July 2011

Doesn't Really Go Anywhere

There have been some interesting reactions to Zenith/Invasion! since it was released last week.

There was a *SPOILER HEAVY* positive review from the perspective of someone who knows Invasion! but hasn't much memory of Zenith. The Maximan stuff was inevitably lost on them but they still seemed to enjoy the strip, which was very pleasing.

However not everybody has been complimentary. This negative review features a phrase now burned into my memory, "doesn't really go anywhere." Although I think that's basically unfair - the strip fairly obviously does go somewhere - there's no point in arguing with someone if they didn't like it. That's their perogative. The reviewer does also praise the initial concept, which ties in with my feeling that maybe I came up with a really big, attention grabbing idea but then didn't make the script accessible enough to live up to the expectations generated.

I still love it, though!

Some people have asked if we're intending to do a follow up and the answer is, as of now: "Nope". If I were to do a sequel it would be somewhat longer and begin in the present day with Zenith and his girlfriend, Patsy Kensit, attending a Zenith tribute act gig in a pub. They would then be attacked by an unspecified superhuman foe. There would be no Volgans. I would refer back to the first story, but only slightly. *CAUTION, OBLIQUE SPOILER* The character I ressurected would definitely feature again. Possibly more than one of them.

However, I agree with the Zarjaz editorial policy of no continuing stories, and I also suspect that reader interest would diminish the further a series divurged from what had appeared in 2000AD. This is why I have to admire Constable Dredd, a really fantastic strip by Rich McAuliffe and Mark Chilcott that also appears in Zarjaz 12. The concept is a winner - Dredd as a Victorian Bobby - and the execution is dazzling. It's so self-contained that you wouldn't necessarily want a sequel, and that's probably the best way to do a Zarjaz strip. There's some great unlettered pages of Constable Dredd on Mark's blog if you want to see more. However, you should just buy Zarjaz 12, obviously.

For me a good fanzine strip (or at least, a fanzine strip I would particularly enjoy) should not be just a pastiche of the original but instead try do something the original would not do. For this reason I also very much admired my brother's collaboration with Chris Askham on the Friday strip from Zarjaz 08 because that came up with a new concept for an unloved character and made it work.

Oh and speaking of Steve, he has a new strip in the current issue of Futurequake. I've not seen it yet but I know he worked long and hard on this one so it should be worth picking up.

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