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Author Topic: Harlem Heroes/Inferno  (Read 770 times)

Jade Falcon

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Harlem Heroes/Inferno
« on: 30 December, 2017, 07:21:46 pm »
When I first joined this forum I remember asking about the availability of Inferno as I had the Harlem Heroes in the 2000AD Extreme Editions.  I did eventually get the large case files size reprint.  However, I recently reread it and I did find Inferno in some ways largely inferior to HH.  First off, my main issue is why did they have to retread the tiresome Artie Gruber again, as I felt he wasn't a particularly wonderful addition to the Aeroball strip in the first place.

Secondly, and my biggest issue was the pacing.  Did the prog suddenly decide to wrap up the strip for some reason due to maybe popularity issues or something.  The reason I ask this is that is seemed every other 'main' character gets wiped largely off frame in the last issue.  It seemed a rushed and largely undeserved ending pacing wise.

I had actually enjoyed the Aeroball strip funnily enough due to not being a sports fan (never read Mean Streets or Mean Arena or whatever it was called), but the Inferno strip although had potential didn't seem to do as well.

Big_Dave

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Re: Harlem Heroes/Inferno
« Reply #1 on: 30 December, 2017, 07:41:34 pm »
the violence in inferno got them in trouble with management
the editor nick lando was moved to battle + strip wound up

Jade Falcon

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Re: Harlem Heroes/Inferno
« Reply #2 on: 30 December, 2017, 07:53:47 pm »
Nice to know, can't say there was that much violence but I guess you have to look at the standards of the time.

Steve Green

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Re: Harlem Heroes/Inferno
« Reply #3 on: 30 December, 2017, 08:04:02 pm »
I believe it was Gruber pouring petrol over Giant that was the tipping point.

It's as much behaviour that could be imitated as it was violence.

There were some unpublished bits in Beyond 2000AD

https://comicvine.gamespot.com/beyond-2000-ad/4050-72221/

PS I love Artie Gruber.

Colin YNWA

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Re: Harlem Heroes/Inferno
« Reply #4 on: 30 December, 2017, 09:06:52 pm »
Yeah I love Artie the trouble is the plot with him in Inferno is a rehash of the plot in Harlem Heroes and its such a wicked waste of such a good character. Even going as far as to disguise him again and rob us of his gloriously gruesome design!

There's good coverage of the trouble with Inferno in Thrillpoer Overload as I recall.

Tjm86

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Re: Harlem Heroes/Inferno
« Reply #5 on: 30 December, 2017, 09:08:46 pm »
This is possibly one of the biggest problems with re-reading early tooth strips (or even Action comic strips).  Current sensibilities mean that the strip comes across as incredibly tame.  So many taboos / limits have been broken that the controversies of the time lack sense.  To truly appreciate the issues it is necessary to put yourself in a place where you are a parent of a 7 or 8 year old but with a 1950's mindset.  Then consider the counter-cultural issues that are pressing against this.  Future Shock tried to deal with this but fumbled the ball a little.  Not completely, but it did fail to land it properly.  Possibly because of the way culture has evolved since tooth's inception and it has moved from the fringes to being a core influence.  Not to mention the changes to it's core audience who have grown up and become parents themselves.  An interesting sociological / psychological study to be sure.

Big_Dave

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Re: Harlem Heroes/Inferno
« Reply #6 on: 30 December, 2017, 09:43:18 pm »
the thrillpoer book says the papers were to blame

Action launched on 23 February and immediately began to grab headlines, notably in the Evening Standard, which ran a piece headlined: “AARGH lives … but the blood is printed red.”

“See a youth murder five policemen, see a body hurtle through a car window, see several limbs chomped off by a the killer shark.

The furore continued to mount through the spring and summer, until the magazine closed that autumn, after just 36 gloriously ultraviolent issues.

The Sun branded Action a “sevenpenny nightmare” and the presenter Frank Bough tore a strip off IPC’s John Sanders when he appeared on the teatime news programme Nationwide.

A week after the Nationwide story, Action was debated in the House of Commons. Two of the UK’s biggest distributors told IPC they weren’t happy, with WH Smith rumoured to have declared that unless Action was axed it would refuse to stock any IPC titles.

Issue 37 was duly pulped

Jade Falcon

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Re: Harlem Heroes/Inferno
« Reply #7 on: 30 December, 2017, 10:17:32 pm »
I do remember a Heroes strip in one of the annuals with the "Heil" mantra that was not in the reprints.  :)

SpaceSpinner2000

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Re: Harlem Heroes/Inferno
« Reply #8 on: 03 January, 2018, 04:13:47 pm »
I do remember a Heroes strip in one of the annuals with the "Heil" mantra that was not in the reprints.  :)

It was the 1978 Annual, the Heroes played the Berlin Blitzkriegers.

The final issue of Inferno is really amazing just in terms of how many characters are killed off screen via a Tharg insert!

This is possibly one of the biggest problems with re-reading early tooth strips (or even Action comic strips).  Current sensibilities mean that the strip comes across as incredibly tame.  So many taboos / limits have been broken that the controversies of the time lack sense.  To truly appreciate the issues it is necessary to put yourself in a place where you are a parent of a 7 or 8 year old but with a 1950's mindset.  Then consider the counter-cultural issues that are pressing against this.  Future Shock tried to deal with this but fumbled the ball a little.  Not completely, but it did fail to land it properly.  Possibly because of the way culture has evolved since tooth's inception and it has moved from the fringes to being a core influence.  Not to mention the changes to it's core audience who have grown up and become parents themselves.  An interesting sociological / psychological study to be sure.

The different standards of violence are really interesting imo, especially in terms of what they could get away with by having the violence done by non-humans. In the early days of 2000AD you have Old One Eye eating children off screen and Shako biting people's heads off on screen! But at the same time Dredd might go for weeks without killing anyone.

Also in early 2000AD it's interesting to see what situations get a "don't try this at home" disclaimer, usually situations where a character jumps off something high up!
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Jade Falcon

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Re: Harlem Heroes/Inferno
« Reply #9 on: 03 January, 2018, 07:54:54 pm »
Funnily enough I was thinking that it was a wee bit inconsistent as I have the Shako trade which I picked up in a charity shop in mint condition, and remember reading Flesh books 1 and 2 though book 1 seemed a bit more violent.

Also, some of the stuff in Invasion was a wee bit over the top by the standards of the time.  It didn't bother me mind you.  Comics then could be a bix of a mixed bag when you looked at the likes of Warlord, Action, Victor and Hotspur and so on.

Dandontdare

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Re: Harlem Heroes/Inferno
« Reply #10 on: 03 January, 2018, 07:58:51 pm »
An entire generation of kids are eternally grateful that their parents never bothered to read the comics their kids enjoyed! I'm sure my proggage would have stopped pretty quick if my mum knew just how gory/subversive some of that early stuff was.

norton canes

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Re: Harlem Heroes/Inferno
« Reply #11 on: 04 January, 2018, 11:42:23 am »
People talk about the carnage at the end of Inferno but much the same happened at the end of Harlem Heroes...



I love that Hairy survives a blow to the head so powerful that it removes his helmet, but is killed by a fairly innocuous ball to the abdomen. Conrad King, however... no ambiguity there!

Bad City Blue

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Re: Harlem Heroes/Inferno
« Reply #12 on: 04 January, 2018, 12:04:55 pm »
I agree with the Artie Gruber sentiment, a very lazy decision by the writer.

The sudden cut off at the end is jarring, but let's be honest Tom Tully would have happily dragged it out for another 6 months if he was allowed. Should have just finished it better, rather than culling the cast in a really unsatisfatory way.

Speaking of Gruber, he's one of many characters who are given the 'simpleton' third person speech pattern in 2000AD, and it always bugged me. Fergie, Charlie, Mek Quake etc etc


SpaceSpinner2000

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Re: Harlem Heroes/Inferno
« Reply #13 on: 04 January, 2018, 12:13:26 pm »
People talk about the carnage at the end of Inferno but much the same happened at the end of Harlem Heroes...

I love that Hairy survives a blow to the head so powerful that it removes his helmet, but is killed by a fairly innocuous ball to the abdomen. Conrad King, however... no ambiguity there!

Only three members of the team survive to the end! To me the funny thing is that the Hero's big antagonist was against them because the Heroes didn't play with enough violence or action. Like, how many team members have to die to make the games exciting?
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TordelBack

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Re: Harlem Heroes/Inferno
« Reply #14 on: 04 January, 2018, 01:24:48 pm »
Speaking of Gruber, he's one of many characters who are given the 'simpleton' third person speech pattern in 2000AD, and it always bugged me. Fergie, Charlie, Mek Quake etc etc

Walter too.

Good point, but it can also be used to good effect to imply not a lack of intelligence but an awkwardness with language or selfhood: Gene the Hackman, for example, or wider afield Tarzan and Robbie the Robot.