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2000 AD Prog Slog

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Prog 306



When Play it Again Sam started, I was okay with the idea of an all singing, all dancing version of Robo-Hunter. This was because Sam Slade’s Brit-Cit adventures have been averaging around seven or eight episodes which isn’t very long in Slog time. My problem is that I’ve never really liked musicals and with Play it Again Sam now fifteen parts old with no end in site I have learned that I don’t have much patience for comic strip sing-alongs either.

Sam has been hired by prime droid, Iron Aggie, to infiltrate The Human League (the anti-robot organisation, not the band) and flush out their leaders. Everything is going fine until Slade is duped into assassinating Iron Aggie herself. The fall-out sees all humans being rounded up and placed into concentration camps. In this prog’s episode, Hoagy, currently a camp guard (by which I mean he’s both a guard at the camp and slightly effeminate), who is stupid again after a few weeks of being annoyingly intelligent, is helping Slade and Kidd escape.

The story, from John Wagner and Alan Grant, is, as you would expect, fun, the problem is how long it’s taking to get anywhere. Robo-Hunter averages five pages an episode, and the songs average about two, making them an annoying distraction from the development of the plot whenever they start. I find myself resenting the tunes, despite how witty they might be, because they’re denying me full access to the characters I like. In fact, here’s a bit of advice for you if you’re a writer of modern mainstream superhero comics struggling for ways to pad out your stories; try writing some song and dance routines in. You can double, sometimes even triple your story’s length.

Another problem with Play it Again Sam is I don’t always know the tune that I am expected to sing the song along to. Whenever characters break into song, there is a caption informing the reader “sung to the tune of such and such”. This is all very well if you know the tune of the song being referred to but this isn’t always the case with me. A musical comic strip seems to be a worthy experiment in theory but one that, on this occasion, hasn’t worked entirely.

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9 Comments:

  • The only thing about "Play it Again, Sam" that annoys me is that on those occasions I hear Dion's "The Wanderer" anymore, I'm always singing along with Slade's version: "I'm a nincompoop, a fairdinkumpoop, I'm in the soup, the soup, the soup, the soup, the soup!"

    By Blogger Grant, at 7:17 pm  

  • Paul, you're right. Songs in comics just don't work: in much the same way that reading old Monty Python scripts is a humorless occupation.

    By Blogger Ken Davidson, at 7:59 pm  

  • Miserable sods. I remember loving this (though I was steeped in all kinds of music as a young 'un by my extended family).

    By Blogger Mark, at 8:41 pm  

  • "I'm Hoagy THe Stogie From Cuba,
    I prefer castanets to the tuba,
    Like Sinatra I sing Dobie-doo-ba,
    But I sing it much better than heem"

    :D

    Loved the songs I actual recognised...

    By Blogger Drhoz, at 3:11 am  

  • Grant, I only sing the Robo-Hunter words to Status Quo's version.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 5:57 pm  

  • Ken, songs slow down the speed at which I'm reading which is something I don't always like.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 5:58 pm  

  • Mark, we only had the Paint Your Wagon LP in our house until I discovered music aged 13.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 5:59 pm  

  • But Stogie's the stogie from Cuba, drhoz. I agree though, one of the more memorable songs from the strip.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 6:01 pm  

  • D'OH!!!!!

    By Blogger Drhoz, at 3:24 am  

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