Don't try to Gaslight Count Vardulon

So anyway, this happened on this week's TheAvod-

So that was fun.

Sorry for the absence - I'll be back soon with more videos!

Check back this weekend for another 'The Next Day', and next week for a new video project!


There's a Legit Error in A Feast For Crows

And this isn't one of those mistakes in character, like when Martin forgets an eye colour, or an unreliable narrator like Sansa's kiss - this one is just a mistake.

Here's the relevant text, from the second-last Cersei chapter, from the torture of the Blue Bard (real name Wat)-
"His father had been a chandler and Wat was raised to that trade, but as a boy he found he had more skill at making lutes than barrels."

A chandler doesn't make barrels - chandlers make candles. It's coopers who are responsible for barrels.  I can't imagine any way this could be a code or something otherwise meaningful, so it looks like it's just something which slipped by Martin and his various editors.


Here's something that bothered me in A Feast For Crows!

So there's this part in A Feast For Crows that really bothers me. Which is doubly upsetting because that's my favourite book in the series - my favorite chapters are Theon's from A Dance With Dragons, but looked on as an overall work, I put FFC at the top.

One thing really bugs me about it, though - there's a line that takes me right out of the book. It's not one of the jokes or references aimed at one of George's friends - I learned about those long after reading the books, and they're largely so subtle that they don't bother me at all. No, this quibble is about language.

Here's the relevant line from the text-
"He brought them the gold they asked for, but they hung him anyway."
"Hanged, Ami. Your father was not a tapestry."

It's an old joke, it's funny and it works, but it still bothers me. Westeros is a fake, continent-sized version of England in an alternate version of Earth (or a terraformed planet in the distant future, depending on who you ask), and as I'm reading the books, I enjoy the various strange flights of language and zoology. They call forts 'holdfasts', and there are still Direwolves and Aurochs wandering around. "Sir" is spelled "Ser".

When Martin has gone through such trouble to come up with so many little ways to reinforce the idea that his world is strange and different and unique, to have one criticize someone's grammar in such a modern way is just puzzling. I can accept dragons and ice vampires with zombie henchmen, and time traveling trees, and psychic wolves, but for some reason, the idea that the people of Westeros, speaking in their common tongue, have the exact same weird rule about using different forms of the past tense of 'hang' to describe people and things is a step too far, and pulls me right out of the book.

Next time: A legit error!


Tales From the Golden Age of Comics!

It's another new feature here at Castle Vardulon! Check out the video below in which I take viewers on a journey through one of my favorite Golden Age Comic Stories!

New Video Project! The Next Day: The Boy (2016)

That's right, 'The Next Day' is back - in video form! The stars of TheAvod bring the aftermath of prominent horror films to life, or at least audio!

The first installment is 2016's 'The Boy'!


Simpsons Math!

I'll present one of my favorite moments of Grandpa Simpsons nonsense, from the Critic Crossover Episode "A Star is Burns":

I'd never given the line much thought beyond what a perfect example of old-timey gibberish it is. Then, listening to the radio one day, I heard reference to a Hog's Head being a size of barrel used in liquor production. Naturally this meant it was time for some calculations!

I couldn't find an official exact conversion, but it seems that the hog's head is about 60 gallons, While a Rod is a little over 16 feet.

This means that, the way Grandpa likes it, his car uses up 60 gallons of gasoline to travel 640 feet. This works out to 480 gallons of gasoline per mile traveled, or 0.002 MPG.

Does Grandpa drive a cruise ship? Or some kind of rocket?


Programme 37 (5-Novemeber-77)


Now this is the kind of Supercover I like. Crazy, inventive, a promising an unexpected story inside. Is it the future? Is it space? Both? Only time will tell!


Programme 36 (29-October-77)


Are the supercovers just not trying any more? This is just the story of a spaceman fighting tentacle monsters. Where’s the fun in that? I mean, other than the obvious. What happened to the giant pigeon-eating robot that crushed London?


Programme 35 (22-October-77)


I’m confused. Do the UFOs think that I-beams are human? This had better be one heck of an explanatory story.

Thrill 1 – Invasion!

Bill Savage has taken a break from his cross-country journeys to hang out in a Scottish cave with some other resistance men. You’d think that him hanging out in one place for a while, generally being awesome all the time would have the Volgs routed from Scotland within a few weeks. It hasn’t happened yet, though, so Bill’s called in some reinforcements. Lumberjacks! Sadly the woodsmen are cantankerous, and their leader picks a fight with the oilmen who make up the rest of the Scots resistance fighters. Rather than just telling them to grow up and fight the nazis, Bill suggests that they have a boxing match the next day, out in a field with totally open sightlines.

Someone tips off the Volgs about the fight, and they roll in to arrest and hang the fighters. Silk runs back to base and informs the rest of the resistance men, who rush to the nearby prison in the hopes of mounting a rescue that wouldn’t be necessary if the two men hadn’t been so weirdly prideful about their opposing careers.

A plan is quickly hatched to make good use of both team’s strengths. First they roll flaming oil barrels at the wall of the fortress, and then use the cover of the black smoke to rush the walls. What do the woodsmen bring to the table?

And that’s why you don’t fasten a wooden pole against the wall of your fortress. Once inside the resistance men are easily able to gun down the Volgs and rescue their prisoners. With the fortress destroyed and the Volgs defeated, Savage is ready to admit that the whole ‘tipping off the Volgs’ thing was his idea. Because somehow he knew that the Volgs would capture his men leading to a team-building exercise in rescue. And not just, you know, execute them.

But I guess that’s why he’s Bill Savage, and I would have been killed in the first ten minutes of the Volgan invasion.

Thrill 2 – Judge Dredd

When we last left Judge Dredd, he’s cornered famed bank robber ‘Mutie the Pig’, who turned out to be his good pal Judge Gibson! (Presumably named after the artist on this story, Ian Gibson) So what happens next? Things get stupid. Really, really stupid.

After Dredd recaps last week’s plot (faked death, faked funeral, real arrest), Gibson makes a plea – don’t send him to Titan, they way he did Rico. Instead, he wants to settle this whole ‘murderous bank robber’ thing like they settled disagreements back at the academy. Which, if this picture is to be believed, involved a boxing ting a buzz-saws attached to strings.

Or maybe futuristic deely-boppers. It’s hard to tell.

Dredd somehow agrees, as if this is a personal grudge that needs to be settled, and not just a regular crime. They head to the hall of justice for their duel, which takes place on the shooting range. It’s pretty standard stuff, although we learn that the only way of stopping a heat-seeker is by shooting another heat seeker, so that they’ll collide. Which is actually pretty clever, come to think of it.

The one interesting note about this fight scene is that the whole thing is narrated by the Principal of the school, the eyepatched Judge Griffin, making his first appearance in this issue:

The idea of the guy calmly explaining the strategy involved in a fight to the death gives the scene just the right kind of creepy vibe that it needs, signalling that Dredd is going to, at some point in the future, stop being just an action strip and start having some actual messages.

Also, and this is a minor thing, at the end of the story Dredd paints over judge Gibson’s name on the honor roll from their graduation year. That year’s listing was Dredd, Dredd, Hunt, Wagner, and Gibson. Dredd’s already killed two of those other four guys (in suspiciously similar circumstances, I might add) – will we ever get a look at Wagner and Hunt?

Judge Dredd Kill Count (38)+1=39

Thrill 3 - Shako

It’s a few days since Shako ate Jake, and now he’s getting hungry again. So he saunters over to an Eskimo village and starts pawing through the dump, looking for anything edible. In an amazing coincidence this is the exact village that Eskimo tracker Buck Dollar has stopped at in his search for the Yogi. Hearing about the bear’s whereabouts Buck dismisses his well-armed escort, announcing that he’s going to take down Shako ‘the Eskimo Way’ – with a single harpoon!

Um… Buck… you remember the capsule in his gullet, right? The one you can’t risk puncturing without destroying the world? Are harpoons really accurate enough that you want to risk it?

It seems so. The harpoon doesn’t kill Shako, though, just horribly injured, giving him a chance to maul Buck before retreating to lick his wounds.

The CIA men come to rescue Buck, but he announces that he’s too far gone, and wants to use himself as bait for Shako. He has the CIA men dig a hole in the garbage pile for him to hide in, so that Shako will have to come at him from the front. Wait, isn’t this the exact scheme that got redshirt killed? How is it going to be different this time? Oh, because Buck’s using a bazooka, which won’t freeze up the way a rifle might.

Wait, Buck’s bringing a Bazooka? Isn’t the entire point of this story that they can’t just recklessly shoot the yogu because he’s got a doomsday device sitting in his stomach? What the hell do you think a bazooka is going to do to it, morons?!?!

Apparently we’ll never find out, because the strip ends one moment after Buck shoots Shako in the chest with a rocket, extremely killing him.

Yeah. That’s it. And adding insult to injury? According to a rhyme at the bottom of the page, next month the Harlem Heroes are going to be back for more Aeroball Action.

God damn it.

With Buck Dollar’s brutal, gradually fatal mauling and suffocation, that brings the total number Shako’s victims to have died ‘real slow’ to 3 out of 44, or roughly 7%. A pretty pathetic figure when compared to the 100% statistic we were promised.

Thrill 4 – Dan Dare (?/Gibbons)

After the disaster that was the last issue of Shako just about anything would cheer me up, and Dan Dare does just that. By being a thing. Dan and his landing party are besieged by living trees, and everyone blames it on Haley, who created bad luck by beating up a space monkey. Which, need I remind you, is a major no-no.

This shame leads Hale to volunteer for a suicide rush against the killer trees, hoping that they can make the smaller trees flee by blowing up the largest tree, which is presumably the leader.

The guess proves to be accurate, since the smaller trees happily sacrifice themselves to block the incoming fire and grenades of the spacemen. Haley knows there’s only one way to make up for the bad luck, and sacrifices himself by letting the big tree grab him before pulling the pins on his grenades.

With the king tree blown to ‘matchsticks’, the other trees clear out, giving Dan a chance to call in a rescue craft.


Weird story this week, huh? No twists, no weird premises, just a pretty run-of-the-mill sci-fi action tale. And one that didn’t really reflect the contents of the cover that well, either.


Thrill 5 – MACH 1

The mystery of the high-tech Solar Station at the top of Everest is revealed: It’s a Tibetan Army instillation, built to melt the Himalayas, thereby flooding all of India!

Wait, is that how flooding works? I’m confused. Wouldn’t they be just as likely to flood themselves? How could they guarantee that the water would only flow one way down a mountain range?

Anyhoo, their scheme is undone because the latest British climber they’ve taken hostage is none other than John Probe, the MACH Man! He quickly frees the other mountain climbers and fights his way through the facility, destroying the solar focusing device, and then he bodysurfs down the side of the mountain!

That’s not the high point of this adventure, though. No, that comes when Probe, near the bottom of the mountain, finds himself surrounded by Tibetan soldiers with only one weapon at hand – the frozen corpse of a dead mountaineer from the 1924 expedition!


With that little bit of corpse-desecration over with, Probe and the other climbers are able to flee the country with no further interruption from Tibet’s armed forces. I’m not exactly sure how that works, but let’s go with it.

Actually, my biggest question in this issue goes to the Tibetan government. You know, you’re the Tibetan government. If you don’t want people stumbling onto your secret solar weaponry research facility at the top of Everest, stop letting people climb it. It’s your mountain, you can just put a sign in front saying ‘no access’.

You deserved to get taken down by a fake cybernetic James Bond.

Thrill 6 – Future Shock

Kind of a weak story this time around. “The Ultimate Warrior” tells the tale of a bizarre ice planet where two warring factions have been fighting for over ten thousand years! 10,529, to be exact. The story mentions that number a couple of times, actually.

One side, ‘Topan’, is led by Ross, a ‘Warrior King’, who dispatches his genetically-engineered Ultimate Warrior Peron to finally win the war once and for all. How’s he going to do it? By using his superpower – a deadly gaze that kills anyone he looks upon!

After killing the entire enemy army single-handedly (or I guess two-eyed-ly, if you want to be niggling about it), and returns home to a hero’s welcome. At which point Ross has him killed, for fear that Peron’s popularity will threaten his own rule.

And that’s the end. There’s no twist to speak of, other than the fact that Ross kills Peron with a mirror (get it? Because his looks killed people! Not sure how the science of that worked…), which is so weak as a twist I didn’t even give you a chance to guess it.

Final Thoughts

Best Story: MACH Man – This has been such a disappointing issue overall that I was tempted to just not award a best story. Then I remembered Probe clubbing people to death with a human icicle, and I relented. Also I’m interested to see the layers they’re adding to Dredd, now that he’s been around for more than half a year.

Worst Story: Shako – What the hell, Shako? You just threw out the premise in that last issue. The entire story had revolved around that frigging virus capsule, and then we never find out what happened to it? Come on! That’s just insulting. Who cares if he died well? What happened to the populations of Russia and Canada?


Programme 34 (15-October-77)


Expanding sun? Solar flare? Put your guesses in now! Also, do the non-white featured players indicate that this is London’s near future?


Programme 33 (8-October-77)


You know, I always knew that Jason X was ripped off from somewhere. And here it is.

Also, it’s nice to see another signed picture, this one by McCarthy and Ewins. I’m not exactly sure who they are, but if memory serves from that time Dredd had to investigate a murderous family who was killing tourists in Atlantis and feeding their corpses to giant manta rays so they could bribe a doctor to keep their mutant son a secret, at least one of them is named ‘Brett’.

You know, when we get to the story whose plot I just spoiled in like two years, it’s going to turn out that these weren’t even the artists on it.


Scream Season 2 Retrospective

This season, if nothing else, could be presented as something of a masterclass on how to lose your audience. Emma spent every episode whining and being withdrawn, Audrey spent the whole season actively hurting the police's chances of finding the killer because she didn't want people to get the wrong idea and think she knew about the first spate of killings beforehand. And it only gets worse from there...


Programme 32 (1-October-77)


I don’t know. He seems pretty confident, but I’m taking the odds on the human, even though they’re 15-1. I like a long shot.

The Last Episode of Scream Season 2 is Now Live

Which means I'd better get my predictions in now before I risk seeing any spoilers. I'm not planning on watching the final episode until tonight, but there's always a chance I'll have it spoiled between now and then, so here goes-

I'm pretty sure Keiran's the killer. I know I have a spotty record of predicting these things at best - I mean, I called Piper in Season 1 way earlier, but Harper's Island and the Mentalist had me completely fooled. Although I maintain that Harper's Island cheated pretty severely - although I have no intention of relitigating that here.

Alright, so here's my reasoning-


Programme 31 (24-September-77)


So folks, what’s the twist here – did the spacemen travel to a planet full of giant insects, or did their spacewarp magically shirnk them so that when they returned to earth the mosquitos merely seemed gigantic? I’d suggest that they went to the future where radiation from nuclear war had caused all the insects to become gigantic, but they just did that twist, so it’s not too likely.

Thrill 1 – Invasion!

Silk and Savage have headed for the hills, with a Volg divison hot on their heels! As ever the Mad Dogs are underequipped, wading through knee-high snow while ski troopers hunt them down, but they’ve got one thing on their side the Volgs don’t – British stubbornness and ingenuity!

One ingenious plan – they know that in all of the Volg’s ski training they never learn how to stop suddenly, which gives Bill the chance to do this-

And this!

The rest of the Volgs finally stop and call in for some snow-cat backup, ready to crush down the wall of the chalet that Savage has taken refuge in. Putting that ingenuity to use once again, Savage notices a few sets of mountain lion tracks leading to the back of the building. He lures the snowcat back to the den, and the Nazis find themselves mauled by good old British Lynxes!

With an appropriately ironic fate dealt to the snow-cat drivers, Silk and Savage head out once more, and finally link up with the Scottish resistance, who live in caves, well out of sight from the Volgan air patrols. Who knows what kind of mischief they’ll get up to with some backup? If this is true to form, the kind of disasterous mischief where a poor plan by the local commander gets almost everyone killed, and Savage has to rush in and save the dregs at the last minute.

You know, it just occurred to me that we only ever got two secret messages for that code wheel. What the hell, Invasion?

Thrill 2 – Judge Dredd

It’s time for another callback here at Judge Dredd – we just saw the fallout of the robot rebellion, and now we’re checking in with Whitey, the villain from Dredd’s first case way back in issue 2! When we last saw him he was left on Mega City 1’s ‘Devil Island’, a prison that stands above a massive highway intersection, where all the traffic runs at 200kph! Of course, if that traffic were to ever stop, you could just climb right down since, in an unusual move for a prison, Devil’s Island doesn’t have any walls or guards or sensors or anything like that to stop people from leaving.

So it’s just a matter of Whitey getting the brain who works in the machine shop to build him a machine that can change the weather machine’s programming remotely. Suddenly the Big Meg sees its first snow-storm in decades! All over the city traffic grinds to a halt, leaving Whitey free to jump down onto a suddenly safe roadway. After killing his scientist friend, of course – Whitey can see no possible advantage in having dozens of people escaping at the same time. He thinks he’s got a better chance of getting away if he’s the one and only criminal on the loose.

I’m beginning to see why he was so easy to catch in the first place.

Dredd rushes to the scene of the escape, but his bike is useless in the snow… at least until he finds Whitey’s discarded chains, which he wraps around his tires for traction! Meanwhile Whitey has killed a guy and taken a woman hostage, so he’s not wasting any time with the whole ‘continuing evil’ thing.

On his modified bike Dredd quickly catches up with Whitey, but Whitey proves too fast, managing to shoot Dredd in the arm with the gun he stole from one of the invisible guards while escaping. Apparently prison guard’s guns don’t have ID-locks the way judge’s guns do. I wonder why? Even though he’s a little injured, Dredd manages to defeat Whitey in the saddest way possible.

Yeah, that was a snowball. How dispiriting. Dredd then switches the sunlight back on and takes Whitey back to Devil’s Island. Which means this was an entire Judge Dredd story where he didn’t kill anyone at all.

Sigh. I was expecting something a little bigger from the Return of Whitey.

Judge Dredd Kill Count (38)

Thrill 3 - Shako

Picking up the death count for the issue is Shako, who quickly slaughters every single person in the mess hall that he wandered into last time. Which just goes to show you – always carry a gun when eating lunch on a Russian spycraft.

Shako doesn’t eat any of the soldiers, though – because he smells something much more delicious on the deck above. It seems that the Russian Spy Ship is disguised as a whaler, and there’s a prime sample of whale flesh on deck at the moment! Shako runs for the whale, in the process knocking a man down a chute into a vat of boiling blubber. Which is an extremely disgusting way to die. Ick.

The KGB rush onto the deck and drug Shako with a dart, but before they they can get him below deck American choppers fly in – it’s Jake’s backup, ready to bring the fight to the Ruskies! They chain the sleeping Shako to one of the helicopters and fly off – but the Russians aren’t going to take that lying down! Their commander radios another neaby whaler, which happens to have a harpoon on the bow…

Now, that wasn’t the helicopter that Jake was on, so we’re not through with him yet – but Shako’s in trouble, since he’s still chained to the chopper as it heads to the bottom of the arctic sea!

Big week for Shako, mauling and melting 11 people! This brings the total number Shako’s victims to have died ‘real slow’ to 2 out of 37, or roughly 5%

Thrill 4 – Dan Dare (?/Gibbons)

Things get weird for Dan this week, as his ship is approached by a fleet of heart-shaped spacecraft, all of whom broadcast messages of peace and love. They insist that Dan follow them back to their plane twhere they can be welcomed as honored guests, so long as they don’t bring guns. Dan’s wary, but convinced of the fake romans’ good intentions when he discovers that their planet’s main continent is actually shaped like a valentine heart!

Once they’re down on the planet Dan learns the downside of hiring a group of disreputable criminals for your crew when two troopers attempt to chase after some hot roman tail rather than proceeding to the formal welcoming ceremony. Dan beats them up with a heart-shaped wall plaque, then heads to the dinner.

While everyone else partakes of wine and song, Dan notices the two troublemaking crewman sneaking off with the ladies from earlier. Proving that he’s absolutely determined to keep people from enjoying themselves, Dan heads out after them, only to discover the two men lying dead in an alley… with their hearts torn out!

It seems that the roman’s aren’t heart-obsessed because they’re so in favor of peace and love, but because they’re all vampires, who love devouring the hearts of their human visitors! How will Dan foil them now that his entire crew is drunk and stuffed with food – and let’s not forget that his ‘entire crew’ seems to be like twenty guys. Not really enough to deal with a planet of the vampires, is it? Guess we’ll find out next time!

Thrill 5 – MACH 1

As I’m sure you’ll remember from last prog, John Probe was dispatched to Macon Coutny Georgia in order to find a crashed UFO – he succeeded in his mission, but before he could crack it open to find out what’s inside, he was waylaid by rednecks who, confusingly, think that the UFO is the work of the devil.

Their plan? Use a bulldozer to lift up the UFO and put dynamite underneath it! Wait, if the UFO was in a place easily accessible by BullDozer, how was it so hard to find? Anyhow, Probe proves too strong for the BullDozer, but his show of strength convinces the rednecks that’s he’s some sort of Satanalien!

Despite the fact that he just flipped a bulldozer with his bare hands, the Rednecks decide that they should try to take Probe on in combat. It goes really badly for them. Their leader is gutted with his own chainsaw and the gunmen are knocked over by thrown logs, but Probe can’t stop the last of them from detonating the dynamite that was left lying next to the UFO! That’s right – the dynamite was already wired to detonate, even before they’d gotten it in the place they wanted it. Not the best plan, but hey, they’re redneck.

Much like all of their other decisions, the dynamite proves to have been a bad one – it ‘wakes up’ the UFO, which blasts all the remaining rednecks with a heat ray! Only Probe and Simon survive – Probe dispatches Simon to summon the government’s troop, while he himself explores the inside of the UFO, which now has a suspiciously open door. It proves somewhat disappoing, as all that remains of the crew seems to be some mush left on the floor. Were all the aliens splattered in the impact, did they escape, or is there a third, more terrifying answer?

We’ll discover next time, because a distress signal beeping on the UFO’s dash has attracted reinforcements!


You know, I’m a little disappointed by the lack of a twist. Also, I don’t know what a ‘Marrow’ is in the story’s context.

Thrill 6 – Future Shock

It’s the 23rd century, and earth is dangerously overpopulated! We see the story through the eyes of a scumbag desperate to leave the planet and head to the ‘paradise planet’ that the global government has started advertising as a place where the overpopulated masses can take refuge! Tickets are free, but it’s first-come first-serve! So how’s our scumbag going to get one?

By running over people, of course! A friend of his even hired muscle to bully people out of their tickets! When the scumbag gets to the counter he sees someone bribing the ticket officer to get on the flight! The scumbag finally muscles his way onto the flight, which begins the long trip to the paradise planet. Weeks later they’re ready to beam down-

Time for the twist, so get your guesses ready…

It’s not a paradise planet at all! It’s a frozen wasteland, and like Australia before it, the government has decided that only scumbags will be tough enough to tame the wilderness, so they set up a system of going to the planet that assured only scumbags would get the tickets!


Final Thoughts

Best Story: Dan Dare – I don’t think Dan Dare’s made a single appearance in this section since the death of the living axe, but what can I say? I enjoyed the planet of the vampires.

Worst Story: Future Shock – Yeah, that wasn’t a very good twist, guys. Where was the alien zoo?