Wednesday, July 24, 2019

No. 131 Alex Ronald

First Prog: 984 (interior strip); 1869 (cover)
Latest Prog: 1183 (interior strip); 2138 (cover)

First Meg: 3.34 (that’s issue 137 in old money; interior strip); 341 (cover)
Latest Meg: 394 (cover)
Total appearances: 70 and counting
(Of which the last 22 have been covers, and not including a brief run on Judge Dredd: Lawman of the Future)

Hot leaden death made somehow beautiful horrible, palatable and even charming all at once.

Art credits:
Judge Dredd
Rogue Trooper (Fr1day edition)
Sinister Dexter
Missionary Man
Vector 13

Notable characteristics:
Phase 1 Ronald is all about the hollow cheeks, washed out skin and haunted atmosphere. He’s got a very slight case of the John Ridgways, in that he likes to draw lots of incredibly thin lines to denote the fact that people’s skin and clothing is in fact covered in lots of little lines, which makes his characters often look a bit older, wearier and more vulnerable. I like it.

The Ronald face and hands are v.distinctive.
Words by John Wagner
Phase 2 Ronald is all formal composition and colouring pizzazz. As with a number of digital colourists, I often find his work has most impact when viewed on a screen as opposed to in print, even though it’s usually bigger on the printed page. It’s that pesky CMYK/RGB rivalry at work, I suspect…


If there’s anything that exists in both phases, it’s that his characters tend to be lithe – more Clint Eastwood, less Arnold Schwarzenegger.

On Alex:
Alex Ronald’s is a career very much broken into two distinct parts, with two distinct voices at work. First, there was Alex Ronald, young hopeful strip artist working his way up through the 1990s ranks of Judge Dredd, Vector 13, Friday Rogue Trooper, and a handful of Sinister Dexter. You can see his work developing and improving on the page, and you can also see a very definitive style that is all Ronald and not at all anybody else.

Then, nothing for many years. At the time I wondered if Tharg had just gone off his work (exactly at the point when he’d become, frankly, much more confident) – but in reality it seems he just wanted to try other things. Which included, ultimately, switching to a very different style of art and indeed a different method, working with computers to create sleek, stylish and above all very modern-looking* covers.

We’ll get back to that later. First, let’s unleash some scans of Ronald’s super early work, no doubt to his embarrassment but actually it’s already pretty damn decent.

Ronald's tenure on the Pit told the sad tale of Struthers and the Priest.
Words by John Wagner
So that thing I said about Ronald’s style being his own and no-one else’s? I stand by it, but there’s no denying that his very first Dredd work is cast from the mould of Colin MacNeil. Now, bear in mind that poor teenage Ronald was jumping in at the deepest of ends, coming onto a Dredd Mega-epic mid flow, following on from no lesser lights than Carlos Ezquerra, who designed all the characters Ronald would be drawing, and then Colin MacNeil, as ever Tharg’s go-to man for ‘who can I draft in to help while Carlos is unavailable?’

That filtrum, those helmets - it's MacNeil all over, yes?
Words by John Wagner
So it’s entirely possible Ronald was actively asked to do his best Ezquerra/MacNeil impersonation. To his credit, it works very well, and, though I feel mean saying it, his work was a lot less jarring than Lee Sullivan’s, another newcomer thrust into the world of the Pit.

With each subsequent Dredd outing, Ronald tried out different looks for his Dredd, channelling the likes of Frank Quitely…

Those micro-thin lips!

…and John Hicklenton…

Those hyper-exaggerated jowl-lines!

..before ending up with his own signature ‘haunted’ look (well, that’s how I read it anyway).

That glint of light on the visor!

It’s this style which works like gangbusters for the gothic charms of Oola Blint:

Caldwell's pale palette emphasises Ronald's gaunt tendencies.
Words by John Wagner
And he's another artist who blends horror and comedy in the way you need for mid-period Judge Death stories:

Death has the skinniest, boniest butt.
Words by John Wagner

But for me he was on fire when tackling those occasional episodes of Dredd where the evils inherent in the system are exposed. Heartbreaking.

It's an ancient comics reference, to be sure, but the impassive faces combined with button eyes reminds me of Winsor McCay. It all combines to say 'life goes on, even when confronted with horror.
Words by John Wagner

The same tone is exactly the right fit for a rare John Wagner misfire, that one story where he held forth his opinion on the OJ Simpson trial in a fashion that, as of 2019 understanding, isn't thinking even slightly of the long history of racial oppression in the US. Nonetheless, we get Dredd's seething but unspoken rage, and Ojay's impassive yet somehow smug face.

Judge Dredd: for a satire on extreme policing based in North America,
it's never been able to tackle contemporary race relations.
While he wasn’t in the Prog every week, Ronald was becoming a more and more regular contributor, alternating Dredds with Vector 13 (and the first appearance of a stock character for Ronald, with various interchangeable accessories)…

Meet sinister man with moustache...

Here's sinister man with an eyepatch, no moustache
Words by Gordon Rennie (I think)

Now with eyepatch AND moustache (and in Judge uniform)
Words by Gordon Rennie
…and Sinister Dexter. That series in particular is a great one for letting artists really go to town pushing their own style, and seeing what it does to our two protagonists. I find Ronald’s Sinister to be a vision of moral decay, while his Dexter is especially troubled by the morality (or otherwise) of his profession.

There's even something kinda pleasing in the idea that Sinister and Dexter have the same facial structure
Words by Dan Abnett
Ronald then inherited the somewhat poisoned chalice of Rogue Trooper. Wrestled into something resembling modernity by artists Henry Flint and Steve Tappin, the actual story was stuck in limbo. Steve White had brought back the Biochips, and even re-introduced the original Rogue Trooper alongside his own now personality-less and regened biochips (to little effect), and old favourite Venus Bluegenes (to better effect). But there still wasn’t quite a narrative to hang it all on.

You’ll be forgiven for not remembering, but eventually the team (now including co-scripter Dan Abnett) tried its very best to give Rogue a clear mission, in this case fighting religious zealots. A minor subplot had introduced Karvanu, a sort of deity that was gaining favour with the regular citizens of Nu Earth (or actual Earth whatever planet this was all happening on). White even conjured up a certain Reverend Carwardine, who was to be the new ‘Traitor General’ of the series.

Of course, no sooner do we get this new villain and new mission than Rogue is killed, while Friday and Venus are kidnapped and sent to a Skumak Big Farm, which may or may not have a link to Karvanu. And it’s at this point that Alex Ronald steps in, roughly alternating episodes with Greg Staples. Frankly the pair of them make Rogue Trooper look more dramatic than it has done in years, matching the melodrama of the story.

Ronald's default skin texture works perfectly on Rogue 2.0, who was all
about reptilian enhancements (according to Dave Gibbons, if not any actual in-story text)
Words by Steve White / Dan Abnett

Ronald’s version of Reverend Carwardine is especially sinister.

I'm hard pressed to imagine a more horrible leaning in depiction by a priest. Shades of Winsor McCay again, too.
(I'm thinking Dreams of a Rarebit Fiend, for anyone interested)
Words by Abnett / White

Don't feel sorry for him, even if his facesoul is melting
Words by Abnett / White

And there’s a neat chapter where Rogue mind-melds with a child who has been brainwashed by the Reverend. It can’t be the first time this visual trick has been used to represent telepathy, but I can’t recall another example, and it’s damn effective.

Like, their heads are literally blending into each other. Nifty visual shorthand.
Words by White / Abnett
It fell to Ronald to draw that fateful final episode, in which readers, unknowingly at the time, said farewell to Venus Bluegenes and poor old Fr1day…

Spoiler: it never did return. Still, cool final panel!
Which leaves us with Ronald’s most high-profile tenure, the 2000AD years of Missionary Man.

The essence of Missionary Man: gruff, elderly gent with a double-barreled revolver.
Word by Gordon Rennie
I’ll be honest, Missionary Man is another strip that I kind of got lost with, narrative-wise. Early episodes were mostly about a hard man being hard with guns and pseudo Bible quotes in small towns. Then at some point he started on an anti-corruption kick in slightly bigger towns; by the time Ronald is on art duties, Preacher Cain’s backstory as a Texas City Judge has been revealed, and he’s being hunted town by Corrupt TC Judges on the one hand, and voodoo-inspired witches on the other. While also attempting to take on the Moses role of leading a band of mostly god-fearing Cursed Earth folks into some sort of Promised Land, free from Judges and Voodoo.

Have I got that right?

Ronald is having a ton of fun with his comics fundamentals - establishing shot, clever use of panel borders,
comedy erupting from the final corner of the final panel. Love it.
Words by Gordon Rennie

No matter, this blogpost is all about the art, and the main thing to note is that Cain is not in a good place physically or mentally, he’s kind of in bayou country, and Ronald draws the heck out of suffering Cain, sinister witches and freaky monsters.

It takes effort to draw in each and every sore.
Words by Gordon Rennie

Not so much a struggle with a swamp monster, more a struggle with the futility of the mission.
Words by Gordon Rennie

You can also see his confidence building as a storyteller.

More nifty fight choreography, this one in 'cool action' mode rather than comedy mode.
Vocalizations/context by Gordon Rennie
Although I would say that it’s not the most coherent story he’s being asked to tell, with scribe Gordon Rennie climbing up a steep hill to finish off his first epic.** Anyway, with Preacher Cain’s mission in the Prog complete, Ronald disappeared, perhaps into a Promised Land of his own (I think involving some computer games work, and definitely ending up with steady involvement in Dundee University’s ‘Comics Masters' course).

And then, seemingly out of the blue, he reappeared in the Meg and Prog as a digital cover artist extraordinaire.

The basic premise of Storm Warning is shown off to its fullest in this top notch cover

Yes, that's definitely movie Anderson, not comics Anderson.

Is it just me, or would that jawline not look out of place on the Farmer from Shaun the Sheep..?

He's done plenty of Dredd - to my mind, going back to his roots with a Colin MacNeil-type Dredd, although the 3D effect puts me in mind of Aardman. Now there's an outfit who could be the ones to strike it big with a Dredd movie! And speaking of movies, it's a brave artist who can movif-y Sinister Dexter, a strip still most known as being 'that one that ripped off the two best characters from Pulp Fiction'.*** Ronald somehow makes you believe you could cast a SinDex movie without having to go anywhere near Messers Jackson and Travolta.

Compare and contrast with the SinDex scan above, if you want to see how far Ronald's style has come on.

But most delightfully, Ronald's covers run the gamut of 2000AD, and if you ask me it elevates the material. I'm a fan of Ulysses Sweet, but I'll admit that the actual series never conveyed the menace of this cover:

This guy is super into the details of murder, whereas the character inside, perhaps more palatably,
is more about taking pleasure in general mass mayhem
and I'm very much a not-fan of Project: Greysuit (I guess most of book 1 was pretty great, but it was a steep, steep drop from there), but again, here's Ronald classing up the final series:

That's canny design that is

Perhaps the ultimate affirmation of any cover artist is a commission to do a '2000AD itself' cover - one of those ones showing Tharg (and maybe a minion or two) at work...

I'm guessing we won't see interior strip work from Ronald anytime soon, but I always enjoy his regular appearance on the front page.

More on Alex Ronald:
He has a Facebook presence
And, befitting a covers artist, several appearances on Covers uncovered
I especially recommend this one, which isn't technically a 2000AD cover, but which does go into detail on his digital process:

Personal favourites:
Judge Dredd: True Grot; A Walk in Gang Alley; Angel of Mercy; Termination with Extreme…
Rogue Troopers
Sinister Dexter: both his episodes
Vector 13:
Missionary Man: Mardi Gras

Ronald taking his 'hollowed out human' look to its logical extreme!
Words by Gordon Rennie

*I’m old enough (at 41) to consider any art that clearly looks like it was created on a computer to be ‘modern’.

**And on the verge of delivering a string of all-time classic thrills including Necronauts and Caballistics, Inc. Why not read more about Mr Rennie here

***And for a good couple of years, that series was served by cover artists doing various movie poster pastiches, to rather good effect.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

No. 130 Bryan Talbot

First Prog: 257
Latest Prog: 504, with a one-off story in Prog 2002 (the one released the week after Prog 1272), and a Dredd episode in Prog 1730.

First Meg: 257 (cover)
Latest Meg: 265 (cover)
-and in fact he’s only contributed these two covers to the Megazine, although he’s been interviewed / essayed about a whopping 5 times to date. He’s earned it.

Total appearances: 69

ABC Murder mayhem
Words by Pat Mills

Art credits:
Nemesis the Warlock
Judge Dredd
Various one-offs
-assists on Slaine

Talbot inks on Fabry pencils. The mini-Elfrics feel especially Talbot-y, if you ask me.
Words by Pat Mills

Notable character creations:
Hitaki and Mad Ronn, short-lived but memorable ABC Warriors, not necessarily for the right reasons
Nostradamus de Torquemada - don't worry, I'll remind you who he is later!
The face of Fear – Talbot didn’t design the overall look of Judge Fear, but he was the first – in Diceman 1 – to dare to draw a face so horrific it would send a man mad.*

Just imagine those eyeballs squirming in and out of focus in front of you...
...or rather, don't!
Words by Pat Mills

Notable characteristics:
Detail, detail, detail. You never saw a Talbot panel of art that didn’t look as if he was poring over it for hours, filling in every last brick outline, fold of clothing or crease of skin, first in meticulous pencils and then in careful ink. That may not be how he actually worked (then or now), but that’s what it looks like.

His relatively thick ink lines, in particular, make me think of his 2000AD output as ‘earthy’. It may not be the right word, but it’s what your trowel looks like after a bit of gardening.

You want detailed backgrounds, including a fully realised city? Talbot's got your back!
Words by Pat Mills

You want an exquisitely-rendered black tyrannosaur in his lair? Talbot's got your back again!
Words by Pat Mills

To make another crude analogy, Talbot’s work in this period is like a practical effects movie from the early 1980s versus today’s CGI. There’s an awful lot of blood and goo and melting faces and general scrunginess, and it’s beautiful. 

Best melting face this side of Rick Baker and Rob Bottin!
Words by Pat Mills

Even his violence packs a visceral punch, as if the ‘actors’ were actually hitting each other.

Punch, dive, gouge, pull, kick! A fight choreography masterclass.
Words by Pat Mills

Finally, he’s an exemplary storyteller, always bothering to show details of place and action. And, of course, not forgetting that when we’re reading, say, a Judge Dredd story, we’d damn well better see plenty of action panels of Dredd doing some judging!

Dredd as action hero, in one of those sequences that feels quintessentially comics.
Words by John Wagner and Alan Grant

Oh, and on a smaller note, Bryan Talbot is the king of swoopy hair and snarling noses...

It's not just the swoop of Candida's hair, it's also the way he's used the same inking angle
for her clothing and the sea spray at the bottom. It all communicates a certain mood. Clever.
Words by Pat Mills
Just those four lines on the nose are doing a lot of work!
Grand Dragon Mazarin has quite the telling expression, too, the lying little bastard.
Words by Pat Mills

On Bryan:
It’s hard to overstate how present Bryan Talbot was in my very early days of 2000AD fandom. The first Prog I ever saw was in the middle of his work on Nemesis Book V. Just a few weeks later, he turned up on Judge Dredd in the Prog and that year’s annual, and then again in 2000AD spin-off comic Diceman with ‘House of the Dead’ and ‘Garden of Alien Delights’. 

Where do you even begin to caption a pair of panels like this?
This pair of 'weird aliens' were indelibly printed on my brain from a young age.
Words by Pat Mills

And the first 2000AD collection I ever bought was Nemesis: the Gothic Empire.** It very much made me think of Talbot as a quintessential 2000AD artist, even though, in the grand scheme of things, his tenure was relatively short. (And at that time I didn’t even have the 1987 Judge Dredd Annual, in which Talbot is the featured artist, following in the footsteps of no lesser Dreddlights than Mike McMahon and Carlos Ezquerra. Clearly, Tharg knew a talent when he had access to one.)

It’s worth saying that I was also reading old Nemesis and Judge Dredd strips thanks to ‘the Best of 2000AD Monthly), so I knew that Kevin O’Neill was the ‘real’ Nemesis artist, and Bolland the ‘real’ Judge Death artist – but even as a substitute it was evident to young me that Talbot was a force to be reckoned with.

I suppose one could argue that Talbot is every bit the skilled character designer that O’Neill and Bolland are, with the added bonus of being a more fluent action artist with superior storytelling chops. He sets the scene, introduces the figures, and shows us what they’re doing without making any of the poses stilted. 

It's a whole story in a single page, and yet more comics structure goodness.
That's how to use panel layouts to show the passage of time.
Words by Pat Mills

Plus, he can add the hyper-detailed touches of weirdness that O’Neill revels in, and the OTT facial emoting that’s Bolland’s stock-in-trade.

Never has a person looked happier to be slapped.
Words by Pat Mills

However, I can’t deny that young me rather took Talbot’s skills for granted. Where I was wowed by the likes of O’Neill and Bolland for pure spectacle, Talbot (like Ezquerra), was simply an artist who sucked me into the story being told. Going to stop making these false comparisons now, it’s not fair on any of these master artists! Although here’s at least one example of Talbot drawing a Torquemada pin-up that, to me, functions as a tribute to Kevin O’Neill’s style and sensibility.

It's the tube vehicles and the touch of the mum talking to her child that echoes O'Neill the most, for me.

Let’s step back a little to Talbot’s 2000AD debut, on one of the most beloved Future Shocks

The level of detail on that Villain School design is just staggering, especially in such a small panel.
Words by Alan Moore

Here's the 'after' picture of the same character from the panel above. Brimming with confidence!
Words by Alan Moore

…so good, in fact, it’s available in its entirety online over at Barney. Enjoy it for all the usual Talbot beats: facial emoting, scene-setting and just plain baroque fun.

And, commissioned at probably the same time, here’s a glimpse at his first rendering of Hammerstein, in one of those Alan Moore Ro-Busters stories people say they like so much.

Hard to put my finger on it, but there's something cruder in Talbot's style here, compared to his later work on Nemesis.
But still the same fierce commitment to showing muck and debris in all its hyper-detailed glory.
Words by Alan Moore

I'm being a bit of an arsehole. It IS a fun story, making up for a basic plot with some neat details, and really just for giving Talbot an excuse to do a bit of an 'ABC + Ro-Busters greatest hits' type number, where 'greatest' means 'most violent'. But it's far from the best work of either illustrious creator.

On from there, a good two years later, Talbot takes the reins of Nemesis the Warlock, picking up where O’Neill left off, at his mostest weirdest to boot! The story goes that the early episodes of ‘The Gothic Empire’ were originally intended by Mills and O’Neill to be the opening part of Nemesis the Warlock, Book 1. But Tharg said ‘it’s too weird. Give us some more background and we’ll get to it in time’. However, when that time came, O’Neill wasn’t available to draw the rest of it (or maybe was just too burned out after the insanity of Book III?). Enter Bryan Talbot, and what an entrance it is!

Torquemada, all at once being the Invisible Man, Frankenstein's Monster
and, especially, Jack the Ripper. The wind and fog are superbly realised, no?
Words by Pat Mills
This pseudo-Victorian setting, complete with Torque as Jack the Ripper, was an especially obvious fit for the artist who was then in the middle of drawing his own comic strip, Luther Arkwright, about a time-and-alternate-reality hopping hero who spends a fair bit of time in a sort of ‘endless British Empire’ milieu***. Lots of brickwork and self-deluding upper-class Brits, of the type that Mills loves to send up. Kind of like the Gothic Empire that Nemesis visits in Book IV.

More Euro-comics-style building design genius, and again all in service of just a single panel!
Words by Pat Mills

As well as awesome architecture, Talbot gets to draw super-tentacle ectoplasm-form Torquemada,

Which highlights the quintessential difference between Talbot and O'Neill.
O'Neill is all industrial sharp lines, Talbot is all organic squishiness.
Words by Pat Mills
 and of course a gang of robots, as we rediscover the ABC Warriors.

Just don't ask your parents to translate the tagline...
(Those words by Simon Geller)
The re-introduction of Joe Pineapples, over a 3-page sequence, remains the character’s definitive moment and certainly cemented his place as my default favourite Warrior.

It's all about the helmet in the style of a 'pineapple' grenade. Such a simple touch, so effective.
Words by Pat Mills
 Equally definitive is his depiction of a cowering, fear-filled Blackblood... 

How does he do those wonderful Bridget Riley style lines?
There's no way he could've done it on computer in 1984, is there??
(And by the by, we never do find out who it is that Blackblood fears so much)
Words by Pat Mills

Over the course of two more books of Nemesis, Talbot delivers yet more world and character building goodness, and gamely attempts to squeeze as many images of the ABC Warriors into the background as he can. He’s juggling a cast of about 15 main characters, while Mills is mostly focussing on just 5…
Three of the Five: Torquemada, Mazarin and Thoth
Words by Pat Mills

The other two: Nemesis (looking oddly conservative) and Purity (decidedly not conservative!).
Words by Pat Mills
 After the conceptual wonders of Book VI, which covers everything from funeral procession to fan conventions

How to draw a crowd scene (with apologies for terrible scanning quality)
Words by Pat Mills

to the literal end of the world, including the psychic manifestation of all human goodness and evilness****, Talbot decided he’d had enough.

Talbot goes big, before going home.
Words by Pat Mills

Arguably, he’d done more good for the comic than the comic had done for him, given that he walked straight back into the world of self-penned work, rather than doing work for hire, with increasing levels of artistic and commercial success. (Although, if I’m honest, I do still hold those Nemesis episodes as my favourite of his output. Partly because I was the right age, and partly because Pat Mills is, dare I say it, a better writer than Talbot).

But from my point of view, 2000AD put him on my radar as a comic name to seek out and enjoy, and I’ll always be grateful for that!

Let’s have a look here at his handful of Judge Dredd bits, which put the big man front and centre, as well as giving Talbot the chance to show off his mutant design skills, typically even more grotesque than even King Carlos,

...and sneer again

More glorious head bulges
Words by John Wagner and Alan Grant

Yes, that is a mutant with the power to look just like Sly Stallone.
Words by John Wagner and Alan Grant

Here's Tablot's game interpretation of that 1980s ‘comedy’ staple, the alpha-male who is obliged to dress up in women’s clothes:

One of the more potent kick panels in all of comics!
Words by John Wagner and Alan Grant

It’s not as though Talbot had burned any bridges. He did in fact return to 2000AD (and the Megazine) a handful of times, and I can well imagine him dropping by the deliver a story again one day. He classed up a deeply average Future Shock in the 1987 Sci-Fi Special…*****

Humans at war with aliens - when its drawn with this much care, does it matter that it has cliches dripping from every pore?
Words and pencil art by Mike Matthews

...and turned out a wordless story in the end of year special Prog 2002, more or less explicitly as a thumbed nose to Marvel comics, who’d delivered their own gimmicky ‘Nuff Said’ set of comics earlier that year. 

Not as easy as it looks, silent comics. And frankly, it doesn't even look that easy!

And, on occasion, Talbot graces a front cover.

I can’t help but think Talbot will re-appear in the Prog one fine day, when the mood takes him. You know, like when he turned up on a random Judge Dredd episode a few years back…

Colours here by Alwyn (son of) Talbot, hence the radical shift in style
Words by Michael Carroll

I tend not to talk too much about the careers of 2000AD creators once they've moved on - a job for other folks, I feel - but one can't stress enough how Bryan Talbot in in the top tier of Comics creators of all time, dabbling in work for all ages and all genres, including perhaps the two toughest: social issues (see the Tale of One Bad Rat), and literary (see Alice in Sunderland). The sort of comics you'll find on lists of '100 Comics you really should read', that you genuinely really should read if you want to see the breadth of what comics can do...

More on Bryan Talbot:
He has one of the more professional websites in the world of comics creators here
Including a nicely detailed biography
...and a separate one designed especially for 2000AD fans.
I'm struggling to find any interviews or essays focussing on his 2000AD period, but why not have a read of a career-spanning interview on the Guardian?
Or a more irreverant session with Page 45?

Talbots up to tricks again, matching the loops on the time tunnel to the loops on Satanus's tail and leg.
Words by Pat Mills

Personal favourites:
Judge Dredd: House of Death
Nemesis the Warlock: just all of it
Future Shocks: The Wages of Sin

One of my all-time fave panels from 2000AD!
It's Nostradamus de Torquemada, the man with a face that puts Freddy, Jason and even
the Incredible Melting Man to shame.
Words by Pat Mills

*Well, a lesser man than Joe Dredd.

**Released by Titan as Book III, even though it’s actually Book IV.

***This isn’t the place to get into it, but if you like Mills and Talbot era Nemesis, Luther Arkwright is highly recommended. The story is quite dense, and it’s the sort of plot you need to be patient with to follow the various timelines, but it’s ultimately a pretty straight ‘good guy has to save the world’ narrative with an anime vibe.

****Or, as Talbot put it, a bunch of weirdoes having a chat on the beach.

*****Shamelessly bringing it up so I can plug my guest appearance on an episode of SpaceSpinner 2000!