Thursday, August 25, 2016

A Month of... Board Games! Day 25: Pretty fly for a white guy

British comics weeklies have frequently been editor-in-chiefed by an increasingly bizarre and out-of-this-world assortment of strange and unusual beings who have certain benefits (over, say, Paul Levitz or Carmine Infantino), not only by their distinctive personalities but by their being complete fiction (like, say, Stan Lee or Jim Shooter). We saw that Agent 21 runs the vast TV Century 21 empire, just as today Daniel Craig is the true mastermind behind Marie Claire and British Vogue. Or consider Tharg, the long-suffering (as in, he'll make you suffer for a long time) editor or 2000 AD, which recently celebrated its 2000th issue by allowing Tharg to eat both a celebration cake made of polystyrene cups and Halo Jones.

Panel from "Vector 13: Case 10: Case Closed?" in 2000 AD Prog 1302 (4 March 1997), script by David Bishop, pencils and inks by Simon Davis

Like the chiller hosts of DC books of yore like House of Secrets, Forbidden Tales of Dark Mansion, and Alfred Pennyworth's Stories of Ruined Roasts, the Legion of Fictional Brit Comics Editors frequently starred in their own stories or series. Max the Computer, a super-advanced artificial intelligence that runs Maxwell Tower and used its hidden floor to enact Spectre-like retribution upon scum, nogoodniks, and just-all-out British-style bastards. Created by "Ian Holland" (the powerhouse scripting team of Alan Grant and John Wagner) and artist by José Ortiz, Max's "The Thirteenth Floor" series premiered in the wonderfully-named British comics weekly Scream! and later moved to the long-running Eagle series when the two comics merged.

Panels from "The Thirteenth Floor" in Eagle #128 (Magazines Ltd., 1 September 1984), script by Ian Holland (Alan Grant/John Wagner), pencils and inks by José Ortiz

Here's a board game from an Eagle Annual introduced by Max that features not only a justifiable hideous retribution but also a slightly more intricate and strategy-based turn system than the usual Candyland/Parcheesi clones I've been showing you throughout this series. Can you escape...The Spider & Fly Game?!? (A: No. No, you cannot.)

"The Spider & Fly Game" from Eagle Annual 1987 (IPC Magazines Ltd., 1986); creators unknown
(Click picture to world-wide-web-size)

Being turned into a fly and eaten by a bloodthirsty spider...well, that is absolutely more chilling that any old dumb Penance Stare.

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