No. 190 – Resident Evil

Prog 2082’s (2018) Durham Red cover drawn by Jimmy BroxtonAlice, played by Ukrainian-born actress Milla Jovovich [Milica Bogdanovna Jovovich], here in a promotional photo for Resident Evil (Constantin Film/Screen Gems, 2002)

Resident Evil is based on elements from the highly successful video games Resident Evil [known in Japan as Biohazard] (Capcom, 1996) and Resident Evil 2 [known in Japan as Biohazard 2] (Capcom, 1998), and the film series went on to deliver five sequels: Resident Evil: Apocalypse (2004), Resident Evil: Extinction (2007), Resident Evil: Afterlife (2010), Resident Evil: Retribution (2012), Resident Evil: The Final Chapter (2016) [all distributed by Constantin Film/Screen Gems], with a reboot in development, possibly for broadcast on television.

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No. 159 – Shane

Johnny Alpha in the Strontium Dog story Incident on Mayger Minor (progs 490496 (1986)) written by Alan Grant and drawn by Carlos Ezquerra (1947–2018) v George Stevens’ Shane (1953), title character played by Alan Ladd (1913–1964)

Scroggy Froggett, every bit as annoying as Joey Starrett

The theme of the mysterious, benevolent stranger haunted by a violent past who returns to their old ways to save a threatened community has been employed by Hollywood on countless occasions since Shane, notably in Clint Eastwood’s Pale Rider (Warner Bros., 1986), at the end of which Joey Starrett’s (Brandon De Wilde (1942–1972)) parting words to Shane are recited pretty much word-for-word by Megan Wheeler (Sydney Penny); and Logan (20th Century Fox, 2017) in which, at the end of the film, Shane’s farewell words to Joey are actually recited verbatim [spoiler alert!] over Logan’s (Hugh Jackman) grave by Laura (Dafne Keen).Home

No. 149 – Papa Por-ka

Idi Amin image ©Getty Images

Papa Por-ka from Starlord #4’s* (1978) Strontium Dog written by John Wagner and drawn by Carlos Ezquerra (1947–2018) v Idi Amin Dada (c.1923-28–2003), former President of Uganda (1971–1979)

When the UK broke off diplomatic relations with Amin’s regime in 1977 (the first time it had broken ties with a Commonwealth nation), Amin declared he had defeated the British, and conferred upon himself the decoration of CBE (Conqueror of the British Empire); his full self-bestowed title ultimately becoming: “His Excellency, President for Life, Field Marshal Al Hajji** Doctor Idi Amin Dada, VC, DSO, MC†, Lord of All the Beasts of the Earth and Fishes of the Seas and Conqueror of the British Empire in Africa in General and Uganda in Particular”, in addition to his officially stated claim of being the uncrowned King of Scotland.

Amin eventually fled to, lived the remainder of his life in isolated luxury, and died in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

*Be Pure! Be Vigilant! Behave! 2000 AD and Judge Dredd: The Secret History (Millsverse, 2017) by Pat Mills. Not technically 2000 AD but in this instance we just plain don’t care
**Title given to Muslims who have completed the pilgrimage (or “Hajj”) to Mecca, Saudi Arabia
†VC: Victoria Cross (UK), DSO: Distinguished Service Order (UK), MC: Military Cross (UK)

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No. 115 – Spaghetti Stix

The Stix brothers[1] from prog 363’s (1984) Strontium Dog story Outlaw (progs 363385), written by Alan Grant and drawn by Carlos Ezquerra (1947–2018) v Lee van Cleef (1925–1989)[2]

Of Dutch ancestry, Clarence Leroy Van Cleef Jr. achieved fame portraying alternately villains and anti-heroes in Sergio Leone’s (1929–1989) Spaghetti Western [Italian produced] Dollars Trilogy: Per un pugno di dollari [A Fistful of Dollars] (Unidis/United Artists, 1964), Per qualche dollaro in più [For a Few Dollars More] (Produzioni Europee Associati/United Artists, 1965) and his masterpiece Il buono, il brutto, il cattivo[3] [The Good, the Bad and the Ugly] (Produzioni Europee Associati/United Artists, 1966).

Strontium Dog’s gritty storylines featuring wanton greed, treachery, double-crossings and the wages thereof owe much to the Spaghetti Western genre (as distinct from the conventional Western, to which a debt is also due).

Notes:

  1. Presumably named after the river (and deity) Styx [Attic Greek: Στύξin] that forms the boundary between Earth and the Underworld in Greek mythology
  2. Lee Van Cleef tribute blog
  3. Italian (lit.) “The Good, the Ugly and the Bad” – and indeed in the Italian version Van Cleef (Sentenza/Angel Eyes) represents the “ugly” and Eli Wallach (1915–2014) (Tuco) the “bad”

No. 99 – Babooshka

Prog 561’s (1988) Durham Red* futuregraph by Carlos Ezquerra (1947–2018) v Kate Bush in a still from her music video Babooshka from the album Never For Ever (1980)

Bush’s costume was based on the illustration Raven (1977) by Cypriot-born and UK-based fantasy artist Chris Achilléos, which featured on the cover of Uriah Heep’s Fallen Angel (Bronze/Chrysalis, 1978).

Bush has admitted that at the time she was unaware that babushka [бабушка] is the Russian word for grandmother, presumably mistaking the word for a lover’s term of endearment.

*Durham Red, incidentally, is a also breed of cattle combining the north east English Shorthorn with the Red Angus, developed in the mid-18th century

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