2000 AD Online Forum

2000 AD => General => Topic started by: The Enigmatic Dr X on 13 February, 2018, 09:58:53 am

Title: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: The Enigmatic Dr X on 13 February, 2018, 09:58:53 am
We've relived the 80s. Now we are reliving the 90s.

After the "New Golden Age" a couple of years ago, I think the Prog has been in the doldrums for some time.

Just like the 80s faded into the 90s, losing Zenith and Bad Company for Dead Meat and Time Flies, so too is the current Prog flailing a bit.

I am not sure if it's the fact that Invasion and the ABC Warriors are very similar. I assume they share a Prog due to scheduling let downs for other stories. I've not liked very much in it for weeks now.

I find ABC Warriors, Bad Company and Brass Sun to be incoherent. I think they may be written with both eyes fixed on trades, but I also think that they are very rambly.

The current stories, Invasion aside, seem to have no plot.

Bad Company feels like a brain dump of half-thought out ideas that dismisses character death with a contemprous hand-wave that we would go mental over in US TV. I feel like my childhood memories of the story have been dumped on from a great height.

ABC Warriors is a wafer thin idea of a story stretched to transparency. How long have they been fighting each other under the machinations of Blackblood and Quartz? It feels like this new Mars story has been running forever. It's the opposite of Bad Company's one panel plot dump.

And the current Dredd? How much of a throw back to the 90s is it? Let's take him out of the Big Meg (exposing the ludicrousness of the character at it) and make him a survivalist action hero. Um, no? I thought we'd got past that?

That's just the current strips. I feel jaded. Is it me, or does anyone else have a sad sense of ennui about most of the last few months?

In short: I am reading the Prog out of duty, not love or engagement.

It feels like the 90s all over again. Office clothes are a bit 1995, too, nowadays. And music has gone to shit.
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: IndigoPrime on 13 February, 2018, 10:23:20 am
For me, the Prog always ebbs and flows. It has since I firsts started regularly reading far too many years ago. Sometimes, it's great. Sometimes, less so. Notably, when I think it's great, others may disagree, and vice versa.

Right now, I'd say the Prog's kind of breezing over me. I don't care all that much for modern Mills fare, and so 40 per cent of the Prog being his already knocks things a bit. That said, Savage is readable (even if it feels like it will never end); ABC Warriors to my mind needs to rediscover its sense of pulp, imagination and fun. Right now, it's like a glossy take on the backgrounds to cartoons that loop over and over.

Dredd: I was fine with this story. Yes, there's the hint of the indestructible superhero, but that's always been the case with Dredd. And we need to get to a point where other writers are regularly doing their thing without Wagner, if Wagner's decided he's going to fade into the background.

Of the other two strips, I'm in two minds. I love the look of Bad Company, but not the script. I'm not sure what it's trying to do. And these days, the whole "we were lied to the entire time" aspect of war is so commonplace in 2000 AD as to be a cliche. (We're basically exploring the same thing, at the exact same time, in Savage, and perhaps even ABC Warriors.) I hope there's a pay-off at some point (and the current Prog's cliffhanger at least hints at this).

Brass Sun: well, that's for me one of the best things 2000 AD has run in a long time, but its pacing suffers from episodic instalments. I'm not against such fare being in the Prog, though; I'm happy to read it all through in one block (and hopefully there will be another hardback).

It's a long way from the 1990s though. Back then, I was basically reading the Prog for whatever John Smith submitted. Often, everything else was borderline intolerable. As an example, I randomly tapped in a Prog number that hit 1994: 878. Within, there's:

Dinosty: divisive and to my mind dreadful Mills/Langley satire.
Judge Dredd: the strip's nadir as written by 'Sonny Steelgrave'.
Rogue Trooper, Scavenger of Souls: not the worst of Fr1day, but a combination of pointless and the beginnings of continuity hell. (Nice art, though.)
The Grudge Father: one of the worst things 2000 AD has ever run
Tyranny Rex: a divisive strip, but I always liked this one, and wish it would get collected.

So that's, for me, one good strip, one just about OK strip, and three slices of garbage. With the recent Prog, I suppose the main problem for me is there was nothing I loved, but I like three strips, don't care about one, and am confused by the last.
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: I, Cosh on 13 February, 2018, 10:28:24 am
I'd agree that the current line-up is extremely poor. However, I thought the same about the first run of stories in 2017 and that eventually picked up.

I can handle a run that I don't fully enjoy because it's always been transient but it definitely feels worse when your own personal ratio goes below 50% and I'm really only enjoying Brass Sun at the moment.
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: TordelBack on 13 February, 2018, 10:41:33 am
Lawks no, it's not a Dark Age!  However, I agree with the general sentiment.  Other than Brass Sun, I'm generally finding the other strips readable (and pretty), rather than immediately exciting: there's nothing bad, just nothing I'm grabbing the prog off the shelf and reading as I walk to the till.  So a blip where my tastes don't necessarily align: whenever we get more Deadworld, The Order, Kingdom, Kingmaker, Absalom, Jaegir, Scarlet Traces, Survival Geeks etc, or something new, I'll be back happy as a pig in the proverbial.

Another Dark Age for me would involve me utterly hating >66% of the comic, and no hope of that changing.
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: Andy Lambert on 13 February, 2018, 10:42:30 am
I personally think the progs are suffering from the inclusion of stories that are designed with graphic novel reprints in mind which don't actually lend themselves well to an episodic format. How many times have I seen people on these boards say they struggle with recent stories and feel the need to wait til the story is complete in order to read it in one go? That shouldn't be how the prog is run - it's where the stories appear first, and so that's where the initial impact matters.
There are other issues of course, as noted in the spoilers thread - I was disappointed by the choice of strips to kick-start the year when I first heard what they were, and I thought it was just my own personal taste but it does seem to be failing to strike a chord with others at the moment. I'm currently only reading 3 of the 5 strips right now, and I can't wait for the current run to reach an end - the next line up looks more promising.

I had 3 decades away from 2000ad, having just returned a few years ago I don't want to give up on it again so soon.
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: Link Prime on 13 February, 2018, 11:24:47 am
For me, personally, 2000AD has never had a 'Dark Age'.
It's an anthology comic that I have enjoyed to some degree every single week for the past 3.5 decades.

Current line-up isn't doing it for some (partially for me too), but it'll be all change in about 3 weeks.


Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: Steve Green on 13 February, 2018, 11:29:22 am
Called it a day at Christmas.

It's all subjective, but I don't think it's as bad as the 90s - more that having stuck with the prog through that era, I'm a lot less tolerant of a period where I'm not enjoying it.

For the past couple of years I feel I've just been buying it out of habit in the same way I did in the 90s.

I couldn't see much changing any time soon, so didn't really see much point in continuing with it.

If it stops being fun, Stop etc.
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: Tjm86 on 13 February, 2018, 11:31:01 am
I don't care all that much for modern Mills fare, and so 40 per cent of the Prog being his already knocks things a bit. That said, Savage is readable (even if it feels like it will never end); ABC Warriors to my mind needs to rediscover its sense of pulp, imagination and fun. Right now, it's like a glossy take on the backgrounds to cartoons that loop over and over.

When Savage returned, largely to me as a satire on the Iraq invasion, it worked well.  In the last few years it has merged too much with Rob-Busters / ABC Warriors in a way that just seems a bit contrived to me. Granted, Mills did do the same thing years ago with Ro-Busters / Volgan War. This is part of the weakness with ABC, exacerbated by Langley's dense artwork that makes the story difficult to follow for me.  In fact, the artwork on Savage is probably what keeps me still interested.  I would agree that we are nowhere near the 'dark age' of the Millar / Ennis years but it is a bit of a disappointment at the moment considering the heights we've had of late.  That said, this might be the problem.
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: Smith on 13 February, 2018, 11:46:30 am
We have a lot of similar threads in recent times,didnt we?
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: norton canes on 13 February, 2018, 11:56:33 am
Don't know about a 'dark age' - I'm not hugely enjoying the current line-up either but at most it consitiutes a dingy blip. If we ever get a year or so of largely uninspiring stories then I'll start calling it a dark age.

The next jumping-on prog is looking like a real light at the end of the tunnel. 
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: IndigoPrime on 13 February, 2018, 12:03:58 pm
We have a lot of similar threads in recent times,didnt we?
We do, but from different people with different expectations, who like different strips at different times in their lives. Everyone has their own golden age, which the Prog will never return to. For some, new runs of strips either echo or beat this, but the nature of anthologies is change. For me, I don't like 2000 AD that much right now, but I'm confident I will again sooner or later. It's a habit I'm happy to keep in my routine. And, hell, I stuck it out during arguably the comic's worst ever moments, and so I can see through the current dip (as I perceive it).
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: Professor Bear on 13 February, 2018, 12:17:57 pm
My dad read the prog since the 1970s, justifying its purchase as "for the kids" - though my older siblings couldn't give a toss about space lasers and whatnot and it wasn't until I came along that his story started to hold water - and he stopped reading it altogether about 4 months back and doesn't seem bothered with returning to it.  I just assumed there were too many hard left disabled black lesbian pro-union SJWs fighting to impose Shakira Law and renationalise the trains in it and that he felt excluded as a straight white male, but now I'm wondering if he was responding to a more general malaise in the story line up.
I do know that the prog has felt a bit lethargic to me for a while now, and while I flirted with the notion that maybe I'd become a big boy adult like what I heard some people do sometimes, I've actually been enjoying the energy, flirtations with surrealism and general iconoclasm of kids' comic The Phoenix at the same time I find the prog wanting.
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: Tjm86 on 13 February, 2018, 01:15:32 pm
I just assumed there were too many hard left disabled black lesbian pro-union SJWs fighting to impose Shakira Law and renationalise the trains in it and that he felt excluded as a straight white male,  ....

Freudian slip aside (Shakira's law?), haven't we learned anything from recent threads elsewhere?????

I mean seriously, stand back and light blue touch paper, why don't you?

Sheesh. ::)
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: Richard on 13 February, 2018, 01:45:34 pm
It's the internet, it's supposed to be confrontational. And I'm pretty sure that Shakira's Law was a pun, not a slip.

Turning back to the subject: I think this post is a huge overreaction, and it fails to keep in mind how truly awful the comic was for part of the '90s. It's just totally wrong to compare them; the '90s were truly dreadful, whereas this is just a brief period (eight weeks into the current stories) where some people aren't enjoying the current line-up very much. This has always happened from time to time, and always will: the nature of the prog is that stories end and new ones start, and it's just impossible for the quality to always be consistent and unrealistic to expect it to be. It'll pick up again in a few weeks, something that seemed very far away and very uncertain 25 years ago.

I agree with you about Bad Company, and about Brass Sun. I am enjoying Pat's stories, although your point of view about them is valid and I get it. I have no problems with the Dredd episodes so far this year, and I can't see anything wrong with Dredd leaving the city now and then. If that's not your cup of tea then don't worry, he'll be home again soon. It's hardly evidence of the prog's decline.

And you don't have to cast your mind back very far to think of some outstanding recent stories, like Hope for the Future for instance. It's not as if we've been fed rubbish for the last five years.

I think the prog is in safe hands. But if you disagree, then remember that there's no "duty" to buy it. If you don't like it you can always stop, and check back later now and then to see how it's doing.
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: Jim_Campbell on 13 February, 2018, 02:08:59 pm
I can't see anything wrong with Dredd leaving the city now and then.

Quite… Cursed Earth? Luna-1? Judge Child? Oz? It's hardly without precedent, and of more recent(ish) examples, I thought the Cursed Earth segment of Tour of Duty was fantastic.
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: dweezil2 on 13 February, 2018, 02:48:39 pm
I still enjoy my weekly dose of thrillpower and would be bereft without it quite honestly, so you'll hear very few complaints from me.
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: The Adventurer on 13 February, 2018, 02:58:35 pm
Is the current Prog line up as good as it was the same time in 2007 or 2008? Not really. Is it as bad as at any point in the late 90s? Hell no.
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: Greg M. on 13 February, 2018, 02:58:51 pm
Personally, I find the 90s superior to the current state of play. I’m not saying there weren’t atrocious lows in the 90s, but there were some real highs too. (Yes, many of them were by John Smith.) The modern prog is a consistent, competent creature, but to me, it feels much blander – there’s little that’s objectively bad, but little that interests me that much either. Obviously, that’s subjective in the sense that it meant more to me as a teenager, and I actively engaged with even the stories I couldn’t stand, whereas nowadays I'm buying through habit, and just skip large chunks of it, or at least give ‘em a only casual leaf-through.
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: James Stacey on 13 February, 2018, 03:13:37 pm
I'm finding Savage the most fun thing in it for all its bonkers/impossible science, and I pretty much don't like any of Mr Mills more recent output. It's odd that while the prog is in the doldrums a bit at the moment, the meg is bloody superb and firing on all thrill cylinders. After all lets not forget the Meg although it turned up occasional gems has been mostly filler for years.
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: Dark Jimbo on 13 February, 2018, 03:42:09 pm
I stopped reading the prog just after the first run of the resurrected Bad Company (not entirely a coincedence, it must be said!) I haven't missed it nearly as much as I thought I would, and there's been very little I feel I've missed out on.

But as bad as the 90s?! Clearly not! Just a bit bland, lacking the manic energy of an Al Ewing or the like, and a bit too reliant on the same ol' stuff - whereas the 90s was an objectively poor comic at times.
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: Professor Bear on 13 February, 2018, 04:06:22 pm
It's the internet, it's supposed to be confrontational. And I'm pretty sure that Shakira's Law was a pun, not a slip.

No, it was a typo.  I meant to type Shania Law.
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: Leigh S on 13 February, 2018, 04:12:36 pm
I think the way it most resembles the 90s is the lack of Wagner. 

Pat Mills is propping up my interest (as he did then) with arguably better quality stuff than his 90s output, but at least there are no Mark Millars to really shit in the gravy

But I do take the point it is competent to a point of blandness at times and desperately needs a bit of oomph that I would have to go back as far as Al Ewing to find regularly  Edgington, Rennie and Abnett are all prefectly competent, but to a larger or lesser extent I'm rarely engaged in the week to week action of whatever strip they are doing. 
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: Modern Panther on 13 February, 2018, 06:01:14 pm
It seems the audience is divided between:

a) the problem is too much Pat Mills
b) what we need here is more Pat Mills

I do think that we've hit a particularly poor patch in the last couple of months, but it wasn't that long ago that I was over the moon with Indigo Prime, Deadworld, Hope..., Absalom, The Alienist, Brink...

At the moment the only thing I can say I'm all that interested in is Brass Sun, but its glacial pace seems better suited to a collected trade than being told five pages at a time.
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: JamesC on 13 February, 2018, 06:42:04 pm
Well I’m really enjoying things at the moment. People seem to be enjoying Brass Sun but it’s the only strip I’m skipping - I find it totally boring. In fact I’ve never enjoyed anything by Edgington. I think he has great ideas but isn’t a good story teller or character builder - I guess I’m missing something though and certainly don’t begrudge his place in the Prog (like I did with Mark Millar’s Robohunter!) I also don’t quite get the love for John Smith - again, he has good ideas but more often than not his stories are just obtuse.
On the flip side I’m really enjoying both ABC Warriors and Savage. They’re both OTT melodramas but they’re great fun and just what I want to see in the Prog.
Dredd is fine. I’m quite enjoying the story but I find that Mike Carrol's returning characters aren’t memorable. Am I supposed to know who that Sov bloke is? He doesn’t seem memorable to me (to be honest, Dredd doesn’t either in this particular story).
Bad Company is something I haven’t quite made my mind up about. It’s full of energy though and that’s a good thing.
Overall things are great. I’m looking forward to seeing more Dan Abnett in the Prog again - Grey Area, Sin/Dex, Brink and Kingdom are some of my absolute favourites. Really looking forward to more Deadworld, the new Durham Red, the upcoming specials. Honestly it feels about as far away from a dark age as could be.
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: JayzusB.Christ on 13 February, 2018, 07:01:49 pm
I'm glad it's not just me then... after the exhilaration of things like Day of Chaos and the final Dante (and I really hated Dante when it started) things have been winding down a bit.  I think it would be nice to pay Al Ewing a bit more to write Dredd again, the way they did with John Wagner in the 90s.  He was a godsend to Dredd, in my book, and I finally stopped worrying about John's retirement, and then he was gone again.

It's still a fair bit better than the progs of the 90s though.  For me, incidentally, what dogged them most was Ennis, not Millar - he was doing all the Dredds, in every prog, not just a few Robo-Hunters now and again, and I hated them.  He's one of my favourite comics writers nowadays, mind you, now that he's got the posturing machismo and smugness of Preacher out of his system.
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: Proudhuff on 13 February, 2018, 07:03:11 pm
I think Dr X puts forward a well argued case, and I mostly agree, add to that my dislike of Deadworld and its siblings, and I'm a pretty unhappy camper.
Still I know that there will be some GRennie loveliness along shortly, and the mighty John W is coming back, isn't he? 
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: Proudhuff on 13 February, 2018, 07:04:17 pm
and The Megazine is going great guns at the moment  :D
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: Colin YNWA on 13 February, 2018, 07:58:22 pm
Is the current Prog line up as good as it was the same time in 2007 or 2008? Not really. Is it as bad as at any point in the late 90s? Hell no.

Well almost this. I reckon the Prog hit its recent peak in 2009 when Zombo and Cradlegrave burst on the scene. If I was looking for an end to that period Mid 2012 when Dante finished.

That's peak.

I'd still say the Prog is on a high and absolutely miles ahead of the lows of the 90s. I'm a fan of the current line-up and have enjoyed a lot more than I've not since 2012. I think the only real problem the Prog has is its never really replaced Dante. Well you can never replace Dante, but the great new strips, Brink, The Order, Brass Sun (well newish!) and Kingdom (well in relation to the age of the Prog!) just don't have the frequency and Sinister Dexter doesn't seem to have Dabnett's time and attention at the moment.

Too many really good strips have say 12 episodes a year. The new talent isn't as strong as that lost to the US, again, so Rob Williams, Si Spurrier and Al Ewing haven't quite been replaced yet, but some of the new blood is showing real potential.

These are relatively minor issues overall and ever Saturday I look forward to the Prog landing and see no sign of that ending any time soon.

and The Megazine is going great guns at the moment  :D

Yeah its interesting that things ebb and flow. Not that long ago, while the Prog was being hailed by and large, the Meg was apparently in the doldrums. And so it goes.

Its a shame folks aren't enjoying and if they aren't of course they should stop buying, but for me, I find that baffling!
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: radiator on 13 February, 2018, 08:01:26 pm
Quote
I'm glad it's not just me then... after the exhilaration of things like Day of Chaos and the final Dante... things have been winding down a bit.

I was just writing the exact same thing. Wagner on Dredd and the final few Dante arcs were the two things really tethering me to the prog. Both of those strips were absolutely on fire between 2006 and 2012, and the two alone made the prog an essential purchase (other strips I liked, such as Kingdom, Zombo and Shakara being icing on the cake). With them (largely) gone I've pretty much totally drifted away from all things 2000ad, sad to say.

As for Mills - and I've danced around saying this for years - you can put me firmly in the 'not a fan' camp (at least not of anything he's done since maybe the 90s Khronicles of Khaos/Treasures of Britain era). Being totally honest, and it pains me to say, the fact that so much of the page count of the average prog and Meg (American Reaper lest we forget) being generally given over to his stuff is also a large part of the reason I have ended up losing interest in recent years.
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: Richard on 13 February, 2018, 10:54:51 pm
I don't buy the argument that the problem is too much Pat Mills, even if you don't like his work. 60% of this week's prog isn't by him, and if you add up all the progs of last year that had his stories in them, I beg it comes to well under half.

(Plus there wouldn't have been any prog in the first place if it hadn't been for him.)

But the bottom line is that everything will peak from time to time and then not be at it's peak in between. That's not the same thing as it being the worst it's ever been.

And isn't there some more Wagner on the way soon? I think I read that sonewhere. So nil desperandum.
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: Magnetica on 13 February, 2018, 11:30:58 pm
Well this seems to be a topic we keep coming back to, with at least two earlier fairly lengthy threads on it, so there must be something in it.

I guess it is inevitable that for those who have been reading for decades, there is a huge amount of nostalgia around the Prog and that can have an effect of clouding one's judgement towards it, both in terms of over rating the earlier thrills and under rating newer ones. As an example, I like to think that Dredd could never be as good as it was from say the mid 100s up until say Necropolis. Then I re-read Tour of Duty recently and you know what, it is absolutely fantastic (can't believe it is what 8 years old?). Equally stuff that is held up as classic can actually be a bit ropey (or "of its time" / "aimed at 8 years back in the late 70s / early 80s"). Stuff like the original Invasion, original Harlem Heroes, Blackhawk - even Robo-Hunter has come in for criticism on the Ultimate Collection thread.

And it is certainly true for me, I always feel that the Prog will never recapture what it was before. But the point is, that it is exactly that...a feeling. I remember the sheer excitement as a 10, 11, 12 etc year old when my Prog was delivered with the paper on a Saturday morning and I would read it from cover to cover in bed. That's never coming back.

As I said, its a feeling. When I actually analyse it, there are have been some really good strips around over the  last couple of years and this thread has reminded me of that.

So in the good camp of strips appearing recently we have (in no particular order):

Jaegir
Kingdom
Kingmaker
Hope for the Future
Grey Area
Brink  (best new strip by miles)
Brass Sun
Scarlett Traces (used to dislike it, now think it is great)
Absalom
Sinister Dexter  (ok its not new, but it is still around)
Strontium Dog (as per SinDex)
Dredd when written by Wagner
The Alienist  (caveat - really disliked it before but the latest series was great)

and probably a few more I can't think of off the top of my head.

On the downside we have:

Bad Company   (please just make it stop)

Indigo Prime     (but I have never liked this...ever...but actually the series before last was ok ..but that was 5 years ago now)

Slaine  ( one of my top 4 thrills of all time, but as with ABC Warriors it seems stuck in some bizarre time warp which makes the story edge forward slower than a glacier...and it seems to keep revisting the same few key incidents...if I have to see the wickerman or Slaine's mum being run over again I am going to scream)

ABC Warriors (actually I do like it, and  am enjoying this particular run, but it seems to be stuck in the same time warp as Slaine...I just wish it would move on).

and actually that's it. I have criticised The Order on the Prog thread, but it's actually ok, the only thing is I find it hard to follow...but its nothing a re-read wouldn't solve.

As others have said, I think the main problem is the 10 episodes per year format which has two problems:
(i) it can be hard to remember what is going on and who is who
(ii) strips can take forever (in real time if not page count) to move the plot along. Case in point (apart from Slaine and ABC Warriors) is Brass Sun. I like to think of it as a new strip bit it actually started almost 6 years ago.

So for me, the issue isn't a lack of good strips, it is getting them into the Prog quicker and moving on that is the problem.

As to giving up the Prog...back in the day it never, ever entered my mind. Never even considered it. It is only seeing that forum members with thousands of posts aren't reading it at the moment that has made me think what would it take to stop. And the answer is "a lot". Probably years of uninteresting strips and we are no where near that. Now maybe it is different for someone like me who only reads the Prog and the Meg (with the odd exception like Rok of the Reds, but let's face it that is a 2000AD strip by another name anyway). If I stop then I won't be reading anything. Whereas if you get a load of other comics, may be you can more easily give Tooth up I am guessing.
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: The Adventurer on 13 February, 2018, 11:33:09 pm
a) the problem is too much Pat Mills
b) what we need here is more Pat Mills

The eternal struggle.
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: radiator on 13 February, 2018, 11:57:41 pm
Ok, maybe it's a little unfair to single out Mills. It's probably because his strips tend to be intertwined so maybe I tend to lump them all in together, but they just seemed ubiquitous in the period before I stopped reading (and as Magnetica says, seemed to be going over the same material over and over). And rightly or wrongly, they are what I picture when I think of why I fell off keeping up with the prog.
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: 13school on 14 February, 2018, 12:03:13 am
I think the way it most resembles the 90s is the lack of Wagner. 

Pat Mills is propping up my interest (as he did then) with arguably better quality stuff than his 90s output, but at least there are no Mark Millars to really shit in the gravy

But I do take the point it is competent to a point of blandness at times and desperately needs a bit of oomph that I would have to go back as far as Al Ewing to find regularly  Edgington, Rennie and Abnett are all prefectly competent, but to a larger or lesser extent I'm rarely engaged in the week to week action of whatever strip they are doing.

Couldn't agree more. While I definitely don't think the current prog is getting anywhere near the depths of the worst of the 90s, it's not hitting the highs it used to either. And I'm firmly in the pro-Mills camp - he brings something to the prog that no-one else can.
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: Andy B on 14 February, 2018, 05:15:46 am
The main problem for me is dull Dredd. Let’s face it, JD is mediocre more often than not these days: has been ever since DOC. There has been some good stuff, but most weeks it’s just... there. And when that’s the lead off strip every week, it drags everything else down.

Is it totally unthinkable to rest Dredd from time to time? Bring him back whenever somebody has a good idea. Better still, just get back to basics, breaking heads in MC-1. Not enough of that, or of citizens doing weird shit, for a while now. And somehow get Gordon Rennie back! His Dredds are fun. He gets it.

Also, 2000ad could really use a new character, capable of supporting stories of various lengths, and different artists, that can run for more than 12 weeks a year.* Nikolai Dante left a big void that hasn’t been filled.

Easier said than done, though!

* Although, for me, Sinister Dexter does that job well, and I’d be happy to see it every week: but I guess that would be tough on Dan Abnett... Plus, it seems to be inexplicably unpopular with a lot of people.

Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: Colin YNWA on 14 February, 2018, 06:08:18 am
* Although, for me, Sinister Dexter does that job well, and I’d be happy to see it every week: but I guess that would be tough on Dan Abnett... Plus, it seems to be inexplicably unpopular with a lot of people.

Many of you will know I'm all over this, alas Dabnett just seems to have too much on and possibly Tharg sees that its not too popular. Why is beyond me, its still great.
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: The Legendary Shark on 14 February, 2018, 06:51:29 am
I'm mostly enjoying the Prog at the moment, the only real wasp in the mayo being Bad Company, which I'm not liking at all. I'm even sort of into the confusing jumble which The ABC Warriors has become, but that's mainly down to curiosity over whether the bad guy in the big black hat is going to somehow turn into Torquemada.

Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: Fungus on 14 February, 2018, 08:10:11 am
I'm a bad jumping-on prog from calling it quits. These always get trailed and it's nice to see anticipation of them, but the last 2 and their line-ups have left me thinking... 'oh'.

I adore Simon Davis' art, but Slaine and ABC Warriors have been ruined, now. Bad Company might have a twist (I'm weeks behind and not bothered) but it won't undo the whole.

It seems an objective slump, now. I'm no Tharg, but think a shake-up would/must help. Less quantity (constant reprints, collected editions, US reprints *), more quality. Some people buy only the prog!

* Commercially, obviously I don't know what I'm talking about.
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: CalHab on 14 February, 2018, 08:37:03 am
One of the Facebook groups does a poll for the best story in the prog, and for the last couple of weeks I've struggled to pick anything out. I'm sure this is a temporary blip, and there are a few new stories I'm looking forward to (the return of Judge Pin and Jaegir, in particular).

The art has remained of a high standard, and I still read it and enjoy it on the day it arrives, so we're a long way off a "dark age".
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: JamesC on 14 February, 2018, 08:42:18 am
The main problem for me is dull Dredd. Let’s face it, JD is mediocre more often than not these days: has been ever since DOC. There has been some good stuff, but most weeks it’s just... there. And when that’s the lead off strip every week, it drags everything else down.

Is it totally unthinkable to rest Dredd from time to time? Bring him back whenever somebody has a good idea. Better still, just get back to basics, breaking heads in MC-1. Not enough of that, or of citizens doing weird shit, for a while now. And somehow get Gordon Rennie back! His Dredds are fun. He gets it.


I think the biggest problem for Dredd is the weird Wagner situation.
It can't be very encouraging for other writers to have this unofficial policy where anything they write is just inconsequential filler while Tharg waits for the next Wagner script to drop. Even something as great as Trifecta has a kind of throwaway quality unless it's referenced or acknowledged by Mr W.
In my opinion the 'if I didn't write it, it didn't happen' attitude is unhelpful to say the least. 
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: Bolt-01 on 14 February, 2018, 09:53:25 am
I might be wrong here, and if I am then apologies, but the whole 'If I didn't write it, it didn't happen' situation is not an official stance from Tharg, more of a note from John as to his feelings regarding the strip.

Yes, it can be annoying when stories written by other writers don't get referenced (What 'did' happen to the Kazan clone?) but this isn't a new thing. Rennie Dredd was different to Wagner Dredd, Ewing Dredd is different to Carroll Dredd. The key here is to remember that any change we see is really only illusory. Dredd appears to get older and grumpier, but he's been doing that for 25 years or so now.

Personally I remember the late 90's as a time when I would leave the prog at the newsies for a month or so to then read in a chunk. Whereas I still look for the postie every Saturday morning so I can get my hands on the latest prog.


Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: norton canes on 14 February, 2018, 09:54:34 am
Jaegir
Kingdom
Kingmaker
Hope for the Future
Grey Area
Brink  (best new strip by miles)
Brass Sun
Scarlett Traces (used to dislike it, now think it is great)
Absalom
Sinister Dexter  (ok its not new, but it is still around)
Strontium Dog (as per SinDex)
Dredd when written by Wagner
The Alienist 

I have criticised The Order on the Prog thread, but it's actually ok, the only thing is I find it hard to follow...but its nothing a re-read wouldn't solve

All excellent strips, and all (with the exception of Jaegir?) from one calendar year, so the prog is a long way from a 'dark age'.

But I also agree with this... in case Tharg happens to be reading and is canvassing opinions...

Is it totally unthinkable to rest Dredd from time to time? Bring him back whenever somebody has a good idea. Better still, just get back to basics, breaking heads in MC-1. Not enough of that, or of citizens doing weird shit, for a while now. And somehow get Gordon Rennie back! His Dredds are fun. He gets it.

Also, 2000ad could really use a new character, capable of supporting stories of various lengths, and different artists, that can run for more than 12 weeks a year.* Nikolai Dante left a big void that hasn’t been filled
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: Professor Bear on 14 February, 2018, 10:00:26 am
I blame Tharg - you can't keep trumpeting Wagner's return and then expect a bunch of hopeless nerds like 2000ad's fans to not read anything into it.  He knows full well how dreadful we are.
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: JayzusB.Christ on 14 February, 2018, 10:19:25 am
To elaborate on what i was saying earlier :

As proven by the rapid improvements after the 90s slump, a good dredd is a good prog.  In a perfect world, John Wagner would be rejuved, and write Dredd  forever,  but it's not going to happen.

When Al Ewing arrived, I thought the Dreddverse had been saved. His one-offs were as good as any Wagner had ever written, and his characterisation of an ageing, tough-but-still-human Dredd was absolutely perfect. His crazy and violent Mega City 1 brought back the good old days of bizarre crazes and a half-cracked citizenry and he kept his eye on the wider sense of continuity and socio-political change in dredd's world.

He was a perfect fit for 2000ad and then he was gone.  Mike Carroll and Rob Williams were great writers but Ewing was unique,  and I'm pretty sure if he returned my doubts about the prog would disappear.
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: TordelBack on 14 February, 2018, 10:21:08 am
Jaegir
Kingdom
Kingmaker
Hope for the Future
Grey Area
Brink  (best new strip by miles)
Brass Sun
Scarlett Traces (used to dislike it, now think it is great)
Absalom
Sinister Dexter  (ok its not new, but it is still around)
Strontium Dog (as per SinDex)
Dredd when written by Wagner
The Alienist  (caveat - really disliked it before but the latest series was great)

This says it all, really*: pure quality.  I'd add The Order, Deadworld, Survival Geeks and Aquila to this list, and Hunted too (although I got a bit lost in the last run).  And that is one hell of a stable of storis: compared to the aforementioned 'whatever John Smith is writing' sole-positive of the true Dark Age.

I generally don't have a problem picking up stories after a break, so my current issue with the prog is that, with the exception of Brass Sun, none of them are running at the moment, and it's a cold, wet, windy February in the particular corner of a field where I am presently stationed.  And I miss Dante a lot, as the Ultimate Collection is bringing home to me.



*I do enjoy the various Dredd writers, and think we're very lucky to have such a range of talent working on the strip, but sad to sad Wagner remains the gold standard.
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: JamesC on 14 February, 2018, 10:35:10 am
To elaborate on what i was saying earlier :

As proven by the rapid improvements after the 90s slump, a good dredd is a good prog.  In a perfect world, John Wagner would be rejuved, and write Dredd  forever,  but it's not going to happen.

When Al Ewing arrived, I thought the Dreddverse had been saved. His one-offs were as good as any Wagner had ever written, and his characterisation of an ageing, tough-but-still-human Dredd was absolutely perfect. His crazy and violent Mega City 1 brought back the good old days of bizarre crazes and a half-cracked citizenry and he kept his eye on the wider sense of continuity and socio-political change in dredd's world.

He was a perfect fit for 2000ad and then he was gone.  Mike Carroll and Rob Williams were great writers but Ewing was unique,  and I'm pretty sure if he returned my doubts about the prog would disappear.

I'd like to see Ewing back on Dredd too. But if he came back it's unlikely to be for financial reasons. He might come back for the love of the strip I guess. If I was in his shoes though I'd feel disheartened having written an excellent, well received story only to have it, along with its dangling implications, completely ignored by the strip's 'lead' writer.
Trifecta would ave been even better if we'd had loads of juicy follow up stories exploring the various threads. It would have been lovely if Wagner had picked up the baton.
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: Prodigal2 on 14 February, 2018, 10:45:01 am
I haven't bought the prog in a couple of months ( I feel vaguely dirty and disloyal not toughing it out) but will be back in due course when the line up changes.

Still buying the meg though. I love the mix of strip, floppies and creator interviews.
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: 13school on 14 February, 2018, 10:47:30 am
The thing is, when Wagner writes Dredd these days it's either stand-alone stuff or maybe following up on his own plotlines. Since DOC he hasn't messed with the status quo in a way that would affect anyone else's Dredd stories, and we've had loads of Dredd stories from other writers with big ramifications.

The problem with Dredd (if there is one) isn't that Wagner is preventing everyone else from telling the stories with Dredd that they want to tell; they're clearly telling those stories.
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: jabish on 14 February, 2018, 11:01:50 am
David Bishop said recently in the great interview he gave on the Working Comics podcast that because he had a Wagner Dredd every issue he knew he had at least one terrific story and of course in this anthology that's 20% of the work done already. That unfortunately is not the case any more. Interesting that the perceived 'Dark Age' of the 90s corresponds to John Wagner not being the regular Dredd writer and I feel that this is what's happening again. That first story every prog should give you a buzz for the rest of it. The problem recently is that Dredd just hasn’t been very good. You can argue whatever about the character being out of the city, stories not referencing each other etc. but in my opinion they just haven't been good stories. I'd be all for resting Dredd every now and again in the prog. Never going to happen of course. But something does need to happen. 2000ad should lead with its best strip unfortunately that hasn’t been Dredd for quite a while. My heart has been sinking each week after reading it so I'm going to start skipping it when I see certain creators attached. That way I won't have to see him surfing a feckin dog again. Whither Dredd goes, so goes the prog.

I punched the air when I saw that Strontium Dog is coming back. Something to look forward to.

Just my 2 euro.

JB
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: James Stacey on 14 February, 2018, 11:19:55 am
I think the lack of Robbie Morrison and / or Simon Fraser are part of the problem  :D
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: TordelBack on 14 February, 2018, 11:54:13 am
I think the lack of Robbie Morrison and / or Simon Fraser are part of the problem  :D

STRONGLY AGREE.
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: norton canes on 14 February, 2018, 12:12:16 pm
These mentions of... not exactly a dearth, but a shortage of scripting talent, is another compelling reason why the upcoming all-female special can only be a good thing.
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: Magnetica on 14 February, 2018, 12:14:30 pm
I think the lack of Robbie Morrison and / or Simon Fraser are part of the problem  :D

STRONGLY AGREE.

Possibly also a lack of Robbie Morrison and John Burns.
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: JamesC on 14 February, 2018, 12:20:58 pm
These mentions of... not exactly a dearth, but a shortage of scripting talent, is another compelling reason why the upcoming all-female special can only be a good thing.

Definitely.
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: Swerty on 14 February, 2018, 01:21:21 pm
So what's the solution.All new stories?New editor?
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: JayzusB.Christ on 14 February, 2018, 01:22:41 pm
These mentions of... not exactly a dearth, but a shortage of scripting talent, is another compelling reason why the upcoming all-female special can only be a good thing.

Definitely.

You won't be so agreeable when they're herding us straight white males onto the cattle trucks.
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: JamesC on 14 February, 2018, 01:25:23 pm
These mentions of... not exactly a dearth, but a shortage of scripting talent, is another compelling reason why the upcoming all-female special can only be a good thing.

Definitely.

The Two Ronnies did try to warn us.

You won't be so agreeable when they're herding us straight white males onto the cattle trucks.
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: I, Cosh on 14 February, 2018, 01:28:58 pm
So what's the solution.All new stories?New editor?
Cancel Titan's Dr Who comics line!
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: SIP on 14 February, 2018, 03:29:38 pm
I was going to cancel my subscription (.....after close to 40 years of reading) after the Christmas prog. I just struggle to read any of it now and find 10-15 progs building up at a time. I've been seeing it as an obligation rather than a joy.

The only thing I've really wanted to read in the last year or so are the deadworld stories. In the magazine it's Lawless. But I'm finding it hard to shell out that much money for so little that I actually enjoy.
 
I was leaning to cancelling, and then i saw the Strontium Dog (arguably my favourite 2000ad story) teaser....so I'm hanging in there just a little longer.

My thoughts are just to keep on with the Dredd case files and dump everything else. Wagner and Dredd are inseparable for me. Without him, I'm just not that interested.
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: Colin YNWA on 14 February, 2018, 04:45:06 pm
So what's the solution.All new stories?New editor?
Cancel Titan's Dr Who comics line!

Think they'very sorted that one for us?
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: Jim_Campbell on 14 February, 2018, 04:53:05 pm
Think they'very sorted that one for us?

That’s the Panini one, isn’t it?
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: The Legendary Shark on 14 February, 2018, 04:56:28 pm
So what's the solution.All new stories?New editor?
Buy Zarjaz and DogBreath instead!
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: IndigoPrime on 14 February, 2018, 05:19:01 pm
So what's the solution.All new stories?New editor?
Cancel Titan's Dr Who comics line!
Think they'very sorted that one for us?
Tales from the TARDIS certainly seems to be circling the drain. I don't know about the ongoing floppies – so many to keep track of. They seem to still be doing OK.
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: Colin YNWA on 14 February, 2018, 10:07:21 pm
I think the 11th Doc has defo gone, or is on a break. I get the impression some others are also, though I don't read those so not watching as closely.
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: GordonR on 15 February, 2018, 12:13:01 am
All the ongoing Titan Who books have been wound down, ending pretty much now.  The whole line is being rejigged and relaunched later this year, with the new 13th Doc book at the centre of the relaunch.
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: BPP on 15 February, 2018, 04:27:31 pm
More Robbie Morrison
More Rob Williams
More Henry Flint
Clone Henry Flint
Where’s Fay Dalton?
Someone ask Mick McMahon what he’d like to draw
Bring Back Simon Fraser
Beg Brandon Graham
Bring back Star Scans
Get some decent crime writers to write procedural Judge stories.

And none of this is criticism of Tharg - I think 2000AD has been phenomenal the last decade. Sure there are one or two artists or writers I don’t dig but...  anthologies and all that....
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: IndigoPrime on 15 February, 2018, 04:49:39 pm
All the ongoing Titan Who books have been wound down, ending pretty much now.  The whole line is being rejigged and relaunched later this year, with the new 13th Doc book at the centre of the relaunch.

The news of which is in the wild now (https://nerdist.com/doctor-who-titan-comics-thirteenth-all-women-creative-team/).
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: TordelBack on 15 February, 2018, 05:14:30 pm
[Snip]list of awesome things[/snip]
Get some decent crime writers to write procedural Judge stories.

I dunno about crime writers per se (Dredd is such a tricky bugger to write, it's a lot to ask), but absolutely preferentially call for and commission procedural stories,  and indeed crazes, weird crime, stories with multiple parallel strands that aren't connected... Can you imagine something like the The Graveyard Shift appearing today?  Not everything has to involve geopolitics,  bent judges and events/people from Dredd's past. I get that Wagner has moved on with the stories he wants to write,  and the amount he's prepared to do, but to my mind that just opens up T B Grover's old stomping grounds to current writers.
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: Robin Low on 15 February, 2018, 07:02:10 pm
[Snip]list of awesome things[/snip]
Get some decent crime writers to write procedural Judge stories.

I dunno about crime writers per se (Dredd is such a tricky bugger to write, it's a lot to ask), but absolutely preferentially call for and commission procedural stories,  and indeed crazes, weird crime, stories with multiple parallel strands that aren't connected... Can you imagine something like the The Graveyard Shift appearing today?  Not everything has to involve geopolitics,  bent judges and events/people from Dredd's past. I get that Wagner has moved on with the stories he wants to write,  and the amount he's prepared to do, but to my mind that just opens up T B Grover's old stomping grounds to current writers.

Personally, I'm getting a bit tired of procedurals and reading about how the cameras are out of action/vandalised/whatever excuse it is this time. Now I think about it, there's a story to be told about the people who have to go round repairing and installing those things.

I think I'm buying and reading the Prog and Meg mostly out of habit. There are a lot of competent writers and lot of competent artists, and the occasional Dredd that makes me sit up and take notice, but there's nothing that makes me excited about picking the Prog up every week.

Trouble is, I think I've been saying that off and on for years.

Dunno what it was about the Scream and Misty special that was so much more interesting. I could imagine all of the stories appearing in the Prog, but ironically the special (dare I call it the S&M special?) felt fresher.

Regards,

Robin
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: Richard on 15 February, 2018, 07:17:03 pm
It's definitely called the S&M special from now on.

I wouldn't use how excited you feel about picking up the prog as a guide to how good it is. It says more about you. Everything is more exciting when you're young.
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: GordonR on 15 February, 2018, 07:24:39 pm
Quote
Get some decent crime writers to write procedural Judge stories.

Like crime novelist Duane Swierczynski, who wrote the first couple of years of the IDW Dredd comics, you mean?
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: Magnetica on 15 February, 2018, 07:51:20 pm
Quote
Get some decent crime writers to write procedural Judge stories.

Like crime novelist Duane Swierczynski, who wrote the first couple of years of the IDW Dredd comics, you mean?

Where’s the like button?
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: Robin Low on 15 February, 2018, 08:11:56 pm
It's definitely called the S&M special from now on.

The fact that this has taken until now suggests to me that even forum has lost its edge.

Quote
I wouldn't use how excited you feel about picking up the prog as a guide to how good it is. It says more about you. Everything is more exciting when you're young.

I know what you mean and it's something I'm conscious of. That said, there's plenty of stuff in the world that's good, even in my increasingly advanced years, but unless I'm excited about it or looking forward to it or simply interested in it then how good it is doesn't really matter (to me, anyway). I rather enjoyed reading Wagner's Walk, even thought it's a dated piece of old twaddle. It's datedness made it more interesting.

Regards,

Robin
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: Leigh S on 15 February, 2018, 09:38:45 pm
The "you're not a kid anymore" argument goes some way, but I wasnt a kid reading "Day of Chaos" and I couldnt wait to get next weeks prog.  I wasnt a kid reading "Traitor To His Kind", or Dante or Zombo....
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: BPP on 16 February, 2018, 12:01:03 am
Quote
Get some decent crime writers to write procedural Judge stories.

Like crime novelist Duane Swierczynski, who wrote the first couple of years of the IDW Dredd comics, you mean?

Let’s just say he’s had his money out of me and i’ll not be buying his non-Dredd material.

I’d love a major The Pit style story that goes on for 50 progs of the year and involves not just judges but a raft of citizens, politicians, corporations, criminals and street judges. A massive soap in which new characters for Dredd world can be tested. Something that breaks with recycling Wagner’s old characters and also breaks the writing-for-trade format. MC1, beaten and battered as it is, is huge and I’d like a story that oozes that.
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: JamesC on 16 February, 2018, 06:11:51 am
There are some US creators that I’d like to see take on a Dredd.
I reckon Brad Meltzer could give it a good go - certainly if you want a multi-part mystery with plenty of characters.
I’d also like to see Chuck Dixon’s take. He writes great action strips and has some experience of Sci Fi. I’d love to see what he could come up with.
Has Dabnett ever tackled the lead Dredd strip? I’m sure he must have? He seems to have all the required skills and experience to write some top notch Dredd. I guess he’s just not interested?
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: The Adventurer on 16 February, 2018, 06:24:10 am
Tom King's Judge Dredd would be a thing of legend.
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: Magnetica on 16 February, 2018, 07:05:56 am
Has Dabnett ever tackled the lead Dredd strip? I’m sure he must have? He seems to have all the required skills and experience to write some top notch Dredd. I guess he’s just not interested?

I don’t recall him ever writing a Dredd, and I’m sure he would do a great job.

The thing is he is already writing Grey Area, Brink, Sinister Dexter and Lawless for Tharg, plus also writes for other publications, so I’m not sure that is going to work.
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: I, Cosh on 16 February, 2018, 07:51:16 am
Abnett wrote a couple of Dredds around Prog 900 but nothing since. I guess having Sinister Dexter running for so long let him get all the daftness out of his system.
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: Banners on 16 February, 2018, 09:58:52 am
Reluctant to add to this thread, but confess to being in the same camp as several others, sat beside a pile of Progs that have largely gone unread over the past few months.

The artwork is always great and there's still much to enjoy – such as Culbard's glorious storytelling in the latest Brass Sun – but for me the problem lies with the stories, and Lawless is the only story I'm genuinely excited about currently (that said, Hope was great, and the new Dredd and Coburn strips in the Meg have started well).

When I compare the monthly cost for a joint subscription to the amount of content I get from Netflix in a month, it's not pretty. And it's tough for the Prog to engage me in the same way when life's priorities have changed (Trump, Brexit etc) and when I'm generally miserable these days.

In terms of the branding, the production values, the community, the professionalism – then no, we're nowhere near going back to the dark age. Absolutely not. And I doubt I would ever cancel my subscription. But if there's something the Prog could go back to, then three-act stories with status quo, conflict, resolution might be the answer. Because, although I love the creators and am indebted to them for so much joy and creativity over so many years – and despite such a fractious political landscape rife for rebelling against – the Prog's not speaking to me at the moment.

I accept the problem for that may well be with me. But as much as I'm ashamed to say it, I just don't care at the moment. Again, I am sorry about that.
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: IndigoPrime on 16 February, 2018, 10:21:10 am
Like crime novelist Duane Swierczynski, who wrote the first couple of years of the IDW Dredd comics, you mean?
I read all those recently, having grabbed the IDW Humble Bundle. What a strange set of comics. The series actually isn't too bad at first, and I wondered what all the griping was about. But then after the second book or so: oh boy. It's not literally unreadable, but it's pretty close – terrible writing, bordering on the incoherent. It's a wonder the comic lasted as long as it did. (And I'm not against an alternate take on Dredd – just a bad one. And IDW's original take was a very bad one.)

Something that breaks with recycling Wagner’s old characters and also breaks the writing-for-trade format. MC1, beaten and battered as it is, is huge and I’d like a story that oozes that.
I still think Chaos was a big mistake in hindsight. I get why they wanted to cut the city back to size in the early days, because it had become ridiculous. That 'city' stretching from Canada to Florida made no sense whatsoever. But now MC-1 is in theory a husk – a city-state that was the most crazy and dominant force on the planet, but that should by all accounts now be getting a serious kicking from the enemies it made.

But it mostly comes across like nothing's really changed, bar those odd moments where it's mentioned that the city is broke, or someone ventures into a dead sector. Compared to the follow-up we got after the war, it seems oddly inconsequential, given that the damage inflicted during Chaos was much greater. But also in this case, it appears impossible to realistically build the city back up again.

But if there's something the Prog could go back to, then three-act stories with status quo, conflict, resolution might be the answer.
Perhaps it's time for a big run of Future Shocks or 3h3ri33lers (or whatever they're called), to break up the series that have been running forever. Right now, alongside Dredd, we've got the trade-oriented Brass Sun and ABC Warriors running (the former being very slow burn, and the latter mired in decades of continuity hell), Savage Book 406, and a reboot of Bad Company that's heading towards multi-bookdom.

Perhaps the lack of Abnett right now is what I'm missing. He's a writer who, even with long-running series, seems very capable of packing in a complete story within an arc. With Mills these days, I often feel like he's giving us a chapter of a book, and holding back on the pace. (Sláine is terrible for this now, with its sluggish plotting.) But with Kingdom, even when we're on book X, a ten-week run feels like a coherent, solid standalone thing.

Still, I'm not considering quitting the Prog (and never have since the days of Grudgefather – unlike the Meg, which has been on 'one more year' several times). Even though I'm not that excited about it right now, I have no doubt it'll be firing on all cylinders soon enough.
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: GordonR on 16 February, 2018, 10:37:39 am
Quote
When I compare the monthly cost for a joint subscription to the amount of content I get from Netflix in a month, it's not pretty.

I bought a book last week.  It cost me slightly more than a monthly Netflix subscription, and yet only took a few days to read.

Come to think of it, I paid about a tenner to see Black Panther the other day, and yet only got about two hours of entertainment out of it.

Clearly, publishers, cinema chains and movie studios are cheating me bigtime, and all entertainment media should be based on the yardstick of £5.99 for pretty much unlimited content.
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: Banners on 16 February, 2018, 10:50:08 am
Quote from: GordonR
Clearly, publishers, cinema chains and movie studios are cheating me bigtime, and all entertainment media should be based on the yardstick of £5.99 for pretty much unlimited content.

Argh! I was very self-conscious posting all that and really didn't want to be vituperative. Apologies again.

I get relative cost, different mediums, economies of scale etc. I get all that. I love your stuff, I love 2000 AD – I will always be a fan, and no doubt always be a subscriber too. But I do sometimes have to justify each entry on the bank statement when things are getting tight elsewhere.
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: NapalmKev on 16 February, 2018, 11:18:35 am
I buy the Prog and Meg regularly and enjoy both. Having said that I do think Dredd could do with a shake up. I'm not a Wagner purist, plenty of others have written good tales based on the character, but I think there could be more cohesion regarding long-term changes that happen in the strip.


Cheers
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: Daveycandlish on 16 February, 2018, 12:06:25 pm
Ignoring Dredd for a moment I feel an anthology should have a mix of length of story. Whats missing is a five page one shot story to grab the casual reader. Personally, I dislike Pat Mills current output (only reading Savage for the artwork) and I'm no fan of Bad Company. Brass Sun is such a slow burn its barely warmed up. The prog needs a punchy strip.
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: Andy Lambert on 16 February, 2018, 01:05:46 pm
You know what I'm missing from the prog at the moment? A good old fashioned horror along the lines of Cradlegrave or Stone Island...
I know The Fall Of Deadworld is pretty much horror, but it's still rooted in fantasy/sci fi. I'd just like to see a good Earthbound horror story among all the spaceships, robots and future tech.
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: Swerty on 16 February, 2018, 01:18:27 pm
I like the idea of Star Scans returning.Three page future shocks in every prog trying new creative teams.A letters page is compulsory.Pull a few surprises.Those cover stories that appeared in the very first progs were wonderful.The artwork is just as good now as back in the day.
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: Aaron A Aardvark on 16 February, 2018, 01:27:37 pm
I don't think it's quite a new Dark Age but the Prog isn't doing it for me right now.

Dredd is in the dolldrums generally. Needs a big story to shake things up.
I like that Mills is tying up his future/alternative history but it's taking forever (Blackblood & Mek Quake left the Warriors in 2007!) and two per prog is too many.
Not keen on the new Bad Company & Brass Sun has never really done it for me.

I agree that regular short-form strories freshen things up but good 2000AD needs good Dredd. 
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: Bolt-01 on 16 February, 2018, 01:29:14 pm
So what's the solution.All new stories?New editor?
Buy Zarjaz and DogBreath instead!

Ah, thanks Sharky!

These days we have trouble shifting even the miniscule print run we do for these books, despite the astounding quality and value for money (48 pages for £3.00, come on!) but I really appreciate the sentiment.
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: Magnetica on 16 February, 2018, 01:35:44 pm
I have been reflecting on this whole thread (and indeed previous similar ones) and a few more things occur to me.

I have previously defended Michael Carroll’s Dredd and I stand by that in as much as his best Dredd is fairly decent. Certainly when it is part of a mix that includes Wagner Dredds, then it is fine. The problem comes when he is expected to write the lion’s share of the strips, with Wagner having scaled back the number he writes, which is the case right now. At that point we get to see weaker ideas make it into print, like the recent story. Now one bad story does not make anyone a bad writer - it is more that a way to filter out the weaker ideas needs to be found. Also as others have said, it must be incredibly hard to keep coming up with new plots after 40 years. I can imagine that, as with the future shocks, a lot of ideas have to be scrapped as they have been done before.

I’m not sure what the answer is though.

As to the point about 2000AD needing a punchy house character / strip that various writers could have a go at, the issue for me is not a lack of a suitable strips rather a lack of suitable writers. I can think of many existing 2000AD strips that could be used in this way, including Gray Area, Sinister Dexter, Ro-Busters (going back to basics), Strontium Dog (but would people accept someone other than Carlos Drawing it?), Robo-Hunter, DeMarco, Jack Point etc. No the issue, for me, as with Dredd, is coming up with the ideas in the first place. (I also think the same good idea could be adapted to fit more than one of these strips acting a vehicle- backing up the point that it’s not a lack of a suitable character that is the issue).
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: BPP on 16 February, 2018, 02:10:53 pm
I do think Dredd needs better editorial input - that Atlantic waste story in the meg from last year - was total bobbins from a Dredd Set up point of view

1) after they land his side-kick judge Shamus exclaims he had no idea it was so big - humm, dont justice department do recon and intel?

2) ballistic / laser weapons dont work (because... magic) - fine, wouldn’t they have sent Dredd in with, ya know a ton of non-ballistic weapons and maybe a judge-ninja rather than Paddy the stable lad?

It just seemed so half baked (and with yet another mutant whose mutation makes him resemble a baddie from doom rather than, you know, a falling apart victim of radiation (see also this months Dredd story)) that it was completely uninspired. Not that the basic premise or location couldn’t have been made to work, its just that it all seemed desperately in need of someone to tighten it up.
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: Jim_Campbell on 16 February, 2018, 02:14:48 pm
I can think of many existing 2000AD strips that could be used in this way, including Gray Area, Sinister Dexter, Ro-Busters (going back to basics), Strontium Dog (but would people accept someone other than Carlos Drawing it?), Robo-Hunter, DeMarco, Jack Point etc.

You think any of Tharg's current droids are going to sit back and watch their strips get farmed out to other writers? I think that Dan Abnett would very quickly be concentrating on his US work and best of luck getting Pat Mills to relinquish Ro-Busters (or any of his other strips) to someone else.
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: Professor Bear on 16 February, 2018, 02:22:08 pm
And it's tough for the Prog to engage me in the same way when life's priorities have changed (Trump, Brexit etc) and when I'm generally miserable these days.

Quote
– and despite such a fractious political landscape rife for rebelling against – the Prog's not speaking to me at the moment.

It's not that I disagree with these sentiments, but I don't think the prog would be helped with overt political commentary for various reasons, not least because - as you point out - the times are more polorised than ever and there aren't any "safe" targets for parody or commentary.  Political statements would almost certainly backfire by alienating one side or the other, even if those statements are just broad and inoffensive parodies like the Farage/EUref strip, which managed to alienate some readers (who made their opinions known on Facebook, naturally).

If you want political comics, the Americans are surprisingly good at it these days, with even superhero fluff like Ms Marvel doing arcs about Republicans enacting voter disenfranchisement measures.
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: Magnetica on 16 February, 2018, 02:25:13 pm
I can think of many existing 2000AD strips that could be used in this way, including Gray Area, Sinister Dexter, Ro-Busters (going back to basics), Strontium Dog (but would people accept someone other than Carlos Drawing it?), Robo-Hunter, DeMarco, Jack Point etc.

You think any of Tharg's current droids are going to sit back and watch their strips get farmed out to other writers? I think that Dan Abnett would very quickly be concentrating on his US work and best of luck getting Pat Mills to relinquish Ro-Busters (or any of his other strips) to someone else.

Yeah I kinda knew that would be a problem as I wrote that. The point I was trying to make is the issue is coming up with the story ideas in the first place.

And I wouldn’t like to see anyone other than Abnett write his stuff. It was just a thought.

But.., on the other hand John Wagner has let others write his characters and doesn’t Tharg own the characters anyway, but let’s not derail this by getting into creater’s rights.
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: Jim_Campbell on 16 February, 2018, 02:40:25 pm
But.., on the other hand John Wagner has let others write his characters and doesn’t Tharg own the characters anyway, but let’s not derail this by getting into creater’s rights.

No, it's not a matter of creators' rights, it's more the fact that no one would create any new strips for the prog if they thought they were then going to get farmed out to multiple writers and I imagine a lot of writers would turn their eyes across the Atlantic with a lot more focus if that were the case.
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: Magnetica on 16 February, 2018, 02:48:35 pm
Ok fair enough but I guess that kills off the idea of a house character that others have suggested.

Unless...one can be picked from the existing stable that is a) flexible enough and b) isn’t going to upset the original writer/ the original writer is happy to allow to be used in that way. Sounds like a tall order.
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: The Adventurer on 16 February, 2018, 03:45:56 pm
Yes, across the Atlantic where our major publishers appreciate and respect the creative rights of their freelance creators.

*spots a copy of Doomsday Clock*

Oh, wait...
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: Jim_Campbell on 16 February, 2018, 04:19:27 pm
Oh, wait...

I was under the distinct impression there was more than one publisher in the US.
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: The Adventurer on 16 February, 2018, 04:40:09 pm
Oh, wait...

I was under the distinct impression there was more than one publisher in the US.

Boom, IDW, Dynamite, and Dark Horse are majority freelance work for hire gigs where creators retain nothing (only a few big name creators might get creator owned projects published through them on a case by case basis).

Image is the only major publisher where creators retain 100% of their creations. But Image only publishes, they don’t pay page rates, only percentage on final sales. So creators take all the financial upfront risk.
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: The Adventurer on 16 February, 2018, 04:46:46 pm
Vertigo has a deal where I think you get a page rate to make your comics with an ownership stake, and if the title goes out of print for long enough you get your rights back. God help you if you're popular though, you’ll never see your creations again.
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: Jim_Campbell on 16 February, 2018, 04:47:47 pm
Oh, wait...

I was under the distinct impression there was more than one publisher in the US.

Boom, IDW, Dynamite, and Dark Horse are majority freelance work for hire gigs where creators retain nothing (only a few big name creators might get creator owned projects published through them on a case by case basis).

Image is the only major publisher where creators retain 100% of their creations. But Image only publishes, they don’t pay page rates, only percentage on final sales. So creators take all the financial upfront risk.

Almost no part of this post is correct. You also forgot about Black Mask, Vault and Aftershock (can’t speak for those last two, but BM are definitely creator-owned).
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: Professor Bear on 16 February, 2018, 06:33:27 pm
Not a Rickroll, honest, (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Radg-Kn0jLs) but a vaguely germane couple of observations on the 30 (and 20) year cycle.
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: sheridan on 16 February, 2018, 08:34:36 pm
Ok fair enough but I guess that kills off the idea of a house character that others have suggested.

Unless...one can be picked from the existing stable that is a) flexible enough and b) isn’t going to upset the original writer/ the original writer is happy to allow to be used in that way. Sounds like a tall order.


I vote Halo Jones.  That won't get anybody's backs up ;-)
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: sheridan on 16 February, 2018, 08:35:28 pm
Vertigo has a deal where I think you get a page rate to make your comics with an ownership stake, and if the title goes out of print for long enough you get your rights back. God help you if you're popular though, you’ll never see your creations again.


As happened to Watchmen.  (I thought Vertigo got rolled in to the main DC imprint though?)
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: The Adventurer on 16 February, 2018, 08:53:43 pm
Vertigo has a deal where I think you get a page rate to make your comics with an ownership stake, and if the title goes out of print for long enough you get your rights back. God help you if you're popular though, you’ll never see your creations again.


As happened to Watchmen.  (I thought Vertigo got rolled in to the main DC imprint though?)

Vertigo very much still exists. Wildstorm got rolled in with the New 52.
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: Magnetica on 16 February, 2018, 09:11:38 pm
Ok fair enough but I guess that kills off the idea of a house character that others have suggested.

Unless...one can be picked from the existing stable that is a) flexible enough and b) isn’t going to upset the original writer/ the original writer is happy to allow to be used in that way. Sounds like a tall order.


I vote Halo Jones.  That won't get anybody's backs up ;-)

Yeah but he’s never going to write for 2000AD again so what does it matter?  :lol:
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: TordelBack on 16 February, 2018, 09:19:22 pm
In all honesty I can think of very few things that would make me drop 2000AD faster than a non-Moore Halo Jones. Non-Smith IP wears on my soul quite enough (and I'm a Kek-W fanboy),  and I haven't even glanced at non-Smith Devlin... Even the idea of
Halo without Moore makes me recoil.
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: Magnetica on 16 February, 2018, 09:40:41 pm
Thing is Tordels, we were both joking.
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: sheridan on 17 February, 2018, 01:02:14 am
I like the idea of Star Scans returning.Three page future shocks in every prog trying new creative teams.A letters page is compulsory.Pull a few surprises.Those cover stories that appeared in the very first progs were wonderful.The artwork is just as good now as back in the day.


I'm still waiting for the reader-submitted stories for the Tornado cover features :-)
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: TordelBack on 17 February, 2018, 01:40:46 am
Thing is Tordels, we were both joking.

Never doubted it,  just registering my visceral rejection of the notion!
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: sheridan on 17 February, 2018, 02:51:49 am
As Magnetica says, we were only joking, though...

I actually have doubts that even Moore could come back to Halo after three decades and carry on the same streak.  Best he concentrates on League, sock puppets and doing what he's doing now (as much as I'd still like Halo to have been continued).
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: TordelBack on 17 February, 2018, 08:39:29 am
I bet it would still be extraordinary, but equally the original arose at the perfect moment in both Alan and Ian's work (Alan really spreading his linguistic wings and weaving the complex into the mundane, the epic in the everyday;  Ian achieving an incredible mastery of light and shade to add his already amazing characterisations and designs), and it's unlikely that synergy could be recaptured.
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: Leigh S on 17 February, 2018, 02:16:37 pm
Interesting feature on new creators due to appear in the foreseeable future.... Good timing from Tharg, that one!
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: Colin YNWA on 17 February, 2018, 03:11:11 pm
Interesting feature on new creators due to appear in the foreseeable future.... Good timing from Tharg, that one!

What where - when.... hold on am I missing something obvious again???
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: Taryn Tailz on 17 February, 2018, 03:23:32 pm
(Just to preface this post...I have absolutely no experience in writing comic strips and am under no illusions that I would in any way be good enough to write for the Prog.)

I've often thought about having a crack at submitting a future shock to Tharg. I've got a modest number of professional publications to my name now, as a poet and a short story writer, and really would love to have a shot at writing for comics.

The thing that puts me off trying however is the length of time any potential submission would be sitting at the bottom of Tharg's slush pile. Of course, I appreciate that Tharg likely receives a lot of submissions, most of which will inevitably be quite poor, but it's never seemed worth my effort to expend so much time and energy on a project for which I'll have to wait well over a year in order to receive a rejection. That and not being able to simply email submissions.

Again, there's absolutely no certainty that anything I submitted would be good enough in any case. I have been turned down for enrolling on a MA in Creative Writing on two separate occasions, both of which saw me turned down by the Prog's very own David Bishop. (I'm sure, quite rightly so at the time.) But as I forge forward with other creative endeavours, which are paying off to a certain degree, I do wonder how many other potential creators are being turned off by the lengthy process of first submissions.
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: Richard on 17 February, 2018, 03:33:54 pm
If the problem is too many submissions, then anything which keeps the number of submissions down must be a good thing.

Imagine how many they'd get if you could just email them?
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: Taryn Tailz on 17 February, 2018, 03:46:34 pm
If the problem is too many submissions, then anything which keeps the number of submissions down must be a good thing.

Imagine how many they'd get if you could just email them?

That is the flip side of the matter, of course. Even then, I'm sure the vast majority of submissions they do receive are completely unusable.
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: Leigh S on 17 February, 2018, 04:27:28 pm
Interesting feature on new creators due to appear in the foreseeable future.... Good timing from Tharg, that one!

What where - when.... hold on am I missing something obvious again???

oops this months megazine - thought I had included that!
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: The Legendary Shark on 17 February, 2018, 04:29:28 pm
Getting scripts into Zarjaz and DogBreath gives me a real thrill and is great practice. It took me a while to get good enough and I still get rejections but it's really cool to see a 2000AD character strip with my name in the credit box. Many of the strips in those comics are progworthy, both script and art wise. Not mine, of course (well, possibly the odd one), but there are some real talents on display there. Seriously, if you've never read these excellent fanzines you really should give them a go - either as a reader or a creator looking to hone your craft. I bet Tharg even glances at them so if he sees your name there he might give a script you submit to Twoothy or the Meg a slightly more attentive look. Even if he doesn't, it's still a pretty cool process - and Dave and Rich set the bar pretty high so it's in no way an easy alternative but is very valuable experience. So get involved!
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: Steven Denton on 17 February, 2018, 08:28:48 pm
Sad to hear that Zarjaz's popularity has dwindled in recent years. Zarjaz and Dogbreath are great and they have been a vital part of the fan conversation for me.
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: Jacqusie on 02 March, 2018, 06:37:52 pm
Ok my 10 penneth...I've just been reading a stack of progs from 10 years ago and there were some pretty bloody good stories around then. Every age has nostalgia for how it once was, but I sense a collective spirit on this thread (and some other recent ones) of detatchment from the prog at the moment.

10 years ago ABC Warriors was pretty much the same as it is now, same storyline, plot and characters and it was 'fairly' fresh then. Dante was in his pomp, Defoe had just started, Button Man had it's last series, Caballistics Inc was amazing, Wagner was on Dredd with Mandroid, Stickleback was still Stickleback and Cradlegrave was just round the corner.

It's always easy to look back with rose hued spec's, but I'm stuck in the same place as some of you on this thread, do I stay through sheer loyalty of 30 years buying the prog, or do I hold my hands up and say that maybe I've outgrown it rather than the other way round...

I'm not sure I can stand anyore Slaine or ABC Warrior stories where they are about to be 'destroyed' before wonderously coming back to life and beating the bad guys until the next time and Book VXIII

There are the odd bright lights, Absalom is the best thing in the prog and it's a shame old Harry is on his lasts legs now. Hope is wonderful and there maybe more of this. When Rob Williams and Wagner do Dredd, they do it to show me why I fell in love with the character and his world in the first place and it's great that Develin Waugh and Indigo prime have had a new lease of life.

I don't think 2017 was a vintage year for the prog and 2018 hasn't started well either, although we did have Scarlet Traces and the much missed Kingmaker and I think this is where the problem lies for me.

I'm enjoying the odd story here and there and tollerating others (The Alienist, The Order, Brass Sun Zzzzz), whilst having a certain dislike to much of Sin/Dex, Greysuit, ABC / Robusters and very sadly Slaine.

The old feeling of looking forward to the prog on a Saturday is still there, but soon as I open the pages, it pretty much dissapates... so here's hoping with the next run of stories.

It will be great to see David Roach on Anderson as well as Chris Weston on Judge Pin (longer stories please!) and of course having Stronty Dog back, it's been far, far too long... and that's for another thread sometime...
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: Goosegash on 03 March, 2018, 08:11:45 pm
One thing I would say the Prog has been missing in recent times is really memorable one-off stories - e.g. Cradlegrave, Chiaroscuro, From Grace, Breathing Space, Leviathan and so on. The kind of story that lasts maybe 6-8 episodes and is over-and-done.

I suspect there are probably sound economic reasons we don't see many of those any more (e.g. they don't produce enough content for a TPB reprint), but I feel like a few of them per year would help break up the cycle of strips a little. Just a thought.
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: broodblik on 04 March, 2018, 06:15:31 am
I must agree that there should be more stores that does not require a sequel.

Another issue I have is that you sometimes have to wait years before you get the next chapter. It becomes difficult to follow when you have not read something in years
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: Richard on 04 March, 2018, 12:48:47 pm
Sometimes stories which were written to stand alone end up having sequels anyway. If you read the first books of Kingdom or Zombo, they both work perfectly well as that kind of story, with a satisfying ending which didn’t need to be followed up. But they were popular enough that they got sequels.
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: Magnetica on 04 March, 2018, 07:56:34 pm
The point that a lot of the strips read like graphic novels arbitrarily chopped up in to weekly segments is made a lot. And to me it’s a very valid criticism.

Well what if you could have a strip that both reads really well as weekly episodes and has an ongoing narrative, which includes things being set up in earlier episodes that become important later, that has a set of characters that are distinct and of whom you are never confused as to who they are?

Sounds hard doesn’t it and I’m no writer, so I certainly couldn’t do it.

But I have just been doing a re-read of a strip that does all of these things.

It seems to me that it couldn’t hurt if the modern strips took a leaf out of this one’s book.

So what strip am I on about? ...... Halo Jones.
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: Big_Dave on 04 March, 2018, 08:37:41 pm
they should just
make erevy story
asgood as halo jones
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: TordelBack on 04 March, 2018, 08:58:07 pm
It has to be the hardest thing to do,  though. 5-7 pages, complete satisfying story,  advance overall plot/themes/characters. And unless I'm mistaken, even Alan was told to shove some bloody action into Book II and dial back the futurospeak.
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: Richard on 04 March, 2018, 09:05:26 pm
No one said it was easy.
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: Jim_Campbell on 04 March, 2018, 09:09:19 pm
Why, yes… Tharg should just hire a team of writers who are all as good as Alan Moore. I’m sure he hasn’t thought of that. He’s looking now at all the rejected Future Shocks from the slush pile that were as good as Alan Moore’s and just kicking himself that he didn’t think to commission those writers instead of sending them rejection slips. What a fool he’s been…
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: TordelBack on 04 March, 2018, 09:10:51 pm
Heh!

I've offered this opinion frequently,  but I reckon part of the problem is that we don't live the prog the way we used to When We Were Kids: endless re-reads each week, over and over again,  and only a few years of continuity to keep track of anyway. Now it's maybe two reads at most and then into the pile,  and 40 years of strips and characters and the odd reboot.

Combine that with the desire for more complex believable stories (try wheeling out an episode of Invasion, MACH 1, Fort Neuro or Football Crazy these days,  see how far you'd get) and it's a virtual  no-win for the weekly format. 

Again I'd argue for Goggans' suggestion, longer residencies.  But then that only works if you like the strip so-presented.
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: Magnetica on 04 March, 2018, 09:23:59 pm
Yes well clearly we can’t expect every writer to be as good as Alan Moore. That’s why I said it was it was hard.

My point was more about structure i.e. here is some evidence that it is possible to serve both the weekly format and the economic reality of the need to write for collections.
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: Theblazeuk on 06 March, 2018, 03:27:31 pm
Can I just get a break from Savage, Slaine and ABC Warriors please. One that's not filled by American Reaper. I'm just burned out on em.

Brass Sun, Brink, Scarlet Traces - no dark age.
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: Colin Zeal on 11 March, 2018, 01:25:36 am
I haven't enjoyed all of the recent run of stories but that's what happens with an anthology. Every reader will have a different experience to each other and sometimes you're the person who only enjoys one story in each issue. My only complaint would be about the massive gap between some books of stories in the program - hello Ampney Crucis. And Bix Barton. I think we're due another book of that soon.
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: broodblik on 11 March, 2018, 07:37:02 am
I agree, in some runs I enjoy all the stories then you get a batch where you only enjoy one or two of them.

I can not remember who said it but let us put to a rest that we are in a dark age. The next batch looks prime
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: The Adventurer on 12 March, 2018, 05:05:58 am
I'm curious about what was the 2000 AD 'dark age' anyway? I'm assuming roughly the period between Necropolis/Death of Johnny Alpha/1990ish to Rebellion buying 2000 AD? Or is more specific then that?
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: JOE SOAP on 12 March, 2018, 06:07:58 am
I'm curious about what was the 2000 AD 'dark age' anyway? I'm assuming roughly the period between Necropolis/Death of Johnny Alpha/1990ish to Rebellion buying 2000 AD? Or is more specific then that?

It’s that nebulous time for first generation readers between becoming interested in things other than 2000AD -coincident with first generation creators reaching middle-age- and eventually wondering why they gave it up in the first place.
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: Aaron A Aardvark on 12 March, 2018, 08:25:23 am
I'm curious about what was the 2000 AD 'dark age' anyway? I'm assuming roughly the period between Necropolis/Death of Johnny Alpha/1990ish to Rebellion buying 2000 AD? Or is more specific then that?
For me it's very specifically the time between Necropolis and The Pit.
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: TordelBack on 12 March, 2018, 10:10:02 am
Like the real European Dark Ages, there wasn't really any such thing.  Even after Roman rule collapsed across western Europe, the Eastern Empire endured for another thousand years, Moorish architecture and learning flourished across Iberia, zoomorphic art and exquisite interlace exploded from centres of literacy and scholarship in the north-west etc.  In 2000AD terms, that's: Button Man, The Pit, Nikolai Dante, Zenith Book IV, Sinister Dexter, Canon Fodder (or whatever you're having yourself), Vector 13, Luke Kirby etc.

Admittedly much was destroyed in the upheaval and incursions from the Millars, Fleishers, Steelgraves and the like, but at the same time new developments took hold, and when the Renaissance finally came, it was into a context of already diverse and vibrant indigenous cultures.
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: ZenArcade on 12 March, 2018, 10:38:58 am
For me, it was from about prog 700'S until the 950's when I gave up for about 17 years.  It was week after week of utter garbage, interspersed with the very odd gem eg Firekind (and the sequencing on that classic was screwed up).
The last few months have been a struggle prog-wise, some weeks I'm just buying it and giving it a cursory read. In fairness, it's not at the (say) early 800 - 900's level of utter, disheartning tedium just yet to be fair.
Z
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: IndigoPrime on 12 March, 2018, 11:04:41 am
For me it's very specifically the time between Necropolis and The Pit.
I think that's fair, although to my mind it took a bit longer for the rot to set in. The early 700s were still pretty strong, for example. It's worth noting there was often something to read during those days, but quite often the Prog was propped up by John Smith doing something interesting.

Looking at Barney, it's interesting to see how things start to slip:

708: Hewlingan's Haircut is replaced by the dire Junker. During this general period, Judge Anderson remains a strong character (her subsequent shift to the Meg really hurt 2000 AD), and Rogue Trooper has already given up the goodwill from the War Machine reboot. Still, things aren't outright bad at this point.

723: Mark Millar gets his hands on Robo-Hunter. That issue also has 'boring Rogue' (although the much worse Junker replaces it next issue), and – IMO – the iffy (if inoffensive) Nemesis & Deadlock. Bix Barton's good, though, and there's a Wagner Dredd. The underrated Tao De Moto also debuts.

735: A good example of Smith lifting the Prog. Killing Time debuts, and is alongside Return of the King (hrmmm Dredd), boring Rogue, Travels with Muh Shrink (nice art, but not Wagner's best), the very ordinary Below Zero, and Tao De Moto.

As the 1990s progress, though, you see a lot of stuff that is just puzzling. Dead Meat. The risible Harlem Heroes reboot somehow gets recommissioned. Trash. The Clown. Now and again, we get a Button Man, but it sits in the same pages as Kola Kommandos.

Prog 792: Zenith returns (hurrah!), but sits alongside Dragon Tales (wut?), Judgement Day (nope), Kola Kommandos, and Millar doing his best to ensure no-one ever wants to read Robo-Hunter again, by shitting all over Verdus.

In the 800s, 2000 AD properly starts to go off the boil. There are good bits (Luke Kirby) but also the atrocious Wireheads. If you don't like Finn and Ennis Dredd, the ratio of good to bad at this point is probably making you wonder when things will pick up. At which point, Garth Ennis turns the Gronk into an action hero, and your head starts repeatedly hitting the desk.

842 delivers the Morrison/Millar Prog takeover. Big Dave appears. I hated it, and still do. Judge Dredd is now a parody, with inferno. Maniac 5 look good, but is pretty boring. Really & Truly has Hughes on art, but didn't click with me. Slaughterbowl… even that's not Smith's best. In general, it feels like Dredd's had a lobotomy. 2000 AD too. Whereas in the 300s, 2000 AD was designed for children, but written in a manner that didn't talk down to them and made the assumption they could deal with adult themes, 2000 AD now feels juvenile, like a teenager yelling TITS SHIT FUCK WANK at passers-by.

In the 850s, we're 'treated' to The Mean Arena, and a Dredd strip in Egypt that's so culturally insensitive, it makes Wagner's Japanese Dredd excursions look positively even-handed. Eventually, the Prog limps through Mother Earth, some of the worse Millar Dredds imaginable, and 'waste of Shaky Kane' Soul Gun Warrior, before crapping out Prog 878 (http://www.2000ad.org/?zone=prog&page=profiles&choice=878), which sums the state of the Prog up perfectly: Dinosty (Mills misfire); Dredd: Sugar Beat (one of the worst Dredds, during a period where the character couldn't break relied upon); Rogue Trooper: Scavenger of Souls (half-arsed attempt to mash together Fr1day and Rogue Trooper concepts); Grudgefather (Mark Millar shit); Tyranny Rex (bonkers Smith).

For me, this was one good but weird strip, one readable one, and three piles of tosh. That balance – one or two not-bad strips – was fairly typical during this era. These days, it's – for me – very rare for 2000 AD to have a hit rate that low.

Still, it couldn't get worse… expect it did. 883 (http://www.2000ad.org/?zone=prog&page=profiles&choice=883): The execrable and wantonly sexist Babe Race 2000 (Millar); The Clown Book 2 (two books too many); Dredd in Manchu Candidate (which, fortunately, didn't go any further); Grudgefather; Millar Robo-Hunter. That's zero out of five for me.

One of the worst Progs ever – can anyone find one that's even worse?
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: Richard on 12 March, 2018, 11:37:06 am
Quote
there wasn't really any such thing.

Oh yes there was. Indigo Prime has explained why far more eloquently and persuasively than I can — but so have you, because half of the examples you’ve given for why the prog was good in that era actually fall before of after that era! 2000AD was much better by the time (or because) Dante, Sin-Dex and The Pit started.

Some people have criticised the 700s, which does include Zenith IV and Luke Kirby, but I think there are plenty of strong stories in that period (so to that extent I agree with you). It didn’t get really bad until the Summer Offensive. Up until then occasional misfires like Trash, Dead Meat and new Robo-Hunter where outnumbered by some excellent stories, like Firekind. It went really downhill in 1993 until the late 900s, when for every Button Man II there were ten terrible strips, like Wireheads.
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: TordelBack on 12 March, 2018, 12:33:01 pm
Quote
there wasn't really any such thing.

Oh yes there was.

Well, I was being more than a wee bit playful there at the expense of right-on revisionism, and I quite deliberately didn't actually refer to any particular period for that reason.  Obviously things did go to shit (and I didn't stick around to watch it for long - for me it was the 850s that were the breaking point, and specifically Book of the Dead), but my point, if I had one other than pure devilment, was that within periods of supposed cultural decline, room is created for new local developments as good as anything that came before.  And I stand by that bit, at least.
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: Fungus on 12 March, 2018, 12:40:24 pm
Ah, 700-950. Literally the 5 year desert of progs I waded through a couple of years back.Felt I should, at some early point I gave up the ghost and had stopped reading. Kept buying, the force was strong.

What a chore. Not a fan of Smith's writing for the most part, I'd find nothing to commend prog after prog... Silo wasn't great but feels like literature in that company. Wireheads is notable for not even being read. Bizarre stuff.

Currently skimming half the current prog too, a bad sign.
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: Richard on 12 March, 2018, 01:15:44 pm
Ah, right. I read that a bit literally.
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: IndigoPrime on 12 March, 2018, 01:18:49 pm
Not a fan of Smith's writing for the most part
Good grief. That era of 2000 AD must have been painful for you then.

Quote
Silo wasn't great but feels like literature in that company.
One of Millar's best scripts for 2000 AD (although: hello, Die Hard!), although that's still a bit like saying you prefer stubbing your toe to being punched in the face.
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: Aaron A Aardvark on 12 March, 2018, 02:30:24 pm
Still, it couldn't get worse… expect it did. 883 (http://www.2000ad.org/?zone=prog&page=profiles&choice=883): The execrable and wantonly sexist Babe Race 2000 (Millar); The Clown Book 2 (two books too many); Dredd in Manchu Candidate (which, fortunately, didn't go any further); Grudgefather; Millar Robo-Hunter. That's zero out of five for me.

One of the worst Progs ever – can anyone find one that's even worse?
Drokk me, that's quite a line up. All of them would be comfotably the worst story in the current Prog.
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: Colin YNWA on 12 March, 2018, 04:27:44 pm
In my re-read I'm coming up soon to the period that's widely regarded as the nadir, though I don't remember things really being that bad until much later that the 750s but I'm watching with great interest to see what happens. Certainly even in the late 600s there are signs of the rot having set in. In part due to the expansion of content and colour at a time when there seems to be a changing of the guard in terms of creators. This sees any number of great stories being rushed out top quickly and then going into hiatous and the stuff used to fill the gaps just not being of the same quality.

That said unlike Fungus I remember there always being something of merit.

The other interesting question, one which Tordelback kind of alludes to is the nature of the recovery as its far from a smooth ride and in my head at times is almost as bad, or even worse at the percieved problem patch. Still going to be fascinating having another look.
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: ZenArcade on 12 March, 2018, 04:52:57 pm
"One of the worst Progs ever – can anyone find one that's even worse?"

I think there was about 4 months around 830 - 50 which was equally soul crushing.  Z
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: Proudhuff on 12 March, 2018, 05:25:13 pm
Ah, 700-950. Literally the 5 year desert of progs I waded through a couple of years back.Felt I should, at some early point I gave up the ghost and had stopped reading. Kept buying, the force was strong.

What a chore. Not a fan of Smith's writing for the most part, I'd find nothing to commend prog after prog... Silo wasn't great but feels like literature in that company. Wireheads is notable for not even being read. Bizarre stuff.

Currently skimming half the current prog too, a bad sign.

This for me^^^
 TB's take that JSmith saves the day (paraphrasing!) doesn't apply for me or Fungus, and the muddy colours of that era didn't help...
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: TordelBack on 12 March, 2018, 06:47:43 pm
TB's take that JSmith saves the day (paraphrasing!) doesn't apply for me or Fungus...

That'd be indigo Prime's take,  not mine: I truly love John Smith's work, but in the period in question I found it pretty uneven,  and other than Firekind and Slaughter Bowl,  not nearly enough to lift overall proceedings to an acceptable level.
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: broodblik on 12 March, 2018, 07:26:13 pm
For me the strip that broke the camels back was Big Dave. I utterly despised the strip. The rest of the strips did not even leave the slightest impression on me. Even Dredd was meh.
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: Leigh S on 12 March, 2018, 07:36:22 pm
In many ways, it is just maths.  Crisis turns up and takes Carlos from Stront (and Stront from us all in short order) and stretches the pool a bit....

Then the Megazine turns up and stretches things further...

Then Toxic(!) snaps things

If you could condense the talent from that period down to 28 pages of prog (admittedly a lot of old talent) things wouldnt have seemed half as bad - it was the dilution that really did it.  Bless Dark Days Bishop for keeping teh comic floating, but I don;t think the "match bad artist to good script and vice versa" helped matters, thgouh I can see why it might appeal as a way to try and paper over some cracks
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: Proudhuff on 12 March, 2018, 08:19:42 pm
TB's take that JSmith saves the day (paraphrasing!) doesn't apply for me or Fungus...

That'd be indigo Prime's take,  not mine: I truly love John Smith's work, but in the period in question I found it pretty uneven,  and other than Firekind and Slaughter Bowl,  not nearly enough to lift overall proceedings to an acceptable level.

oooops appolies to both  :-[ and thank Frank for the heads up....
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: Blue Cactus on 12 March, 2018, 10:03:12 pm
Still, it couldn't get worse… expect it did. 883 (http://www.2000ad.org/?zone=prog&page=profiles&choice=883): The execrable and wantonly sexist Babe Race 2000 (Millar); The Clown Book 2 (two books too many); Dredd in Manchu Candidate (which, fortunately, didn't go any further); Grudgefather; Millar Robo-Hunter. That's zero out of five for me.

One of the worst Progs ever – can anyone find one that's even worse?

Heh heh heh. This prog was actually the one that made me return to 2000ad having realised it was still on the shelves after several years. This and the Best of 2000ad featuring ABC's in the Black Hole. Obviously its a rubbish prog, but I was just so delighted to find 2000ad was still going that I placed a regular order with my newsagent straight away! I mean some of the artwork was actually painted! PAINTED! IN A COMIC! Sam Slade was still around! I describe this experience in unnecessary detail over in the 'introducing yourselves' thread. I guess I got back on board at a good time to watch things improve and improve!
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: sheridan on 12 March, 2018, 10:12:35 pm
My only complaint would be about the massive gap between some books of stories in the program - hello Ampney Crucis. And Bix Barton. I think we're due another book of that soon.

They'll be returning next to Dan Dare (still trying to clear his name) and Return to Return to Armageddon.
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: Tiplodocus on 13 March, 2018, 08:27:59 am
So the "Dark Ages" listed above doesn't quite register with me... not sure why but possibly because I was buying and enjoying other comics along with 2000ad.

Now I'm pretty much just down to 2000ad and the occasional trade, I really feel it if my weekly dose of Thrill power doesn't hit the spot.

Maybe other people are the same?
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: Tiplodocus on 13 March, 2018, 08:34:29 am
Another thought is that, apart from the increase in pace afforded by digital delivery once things are commissioned and produced, has the strip selection criteria and model changed over the years?

In software development everything is Agile. It's ok to fail because another good version will be along in a minute.

So if new talent is the solution (and I'm not saying it is), maybe that's where a shakeup would help. Change the slushpile to future shocks model in some way to get more talent trying more things more often. Ditch the bots that don't work, progress with those that do work.


Yes, I know I am doing Agile a whole dis-service in this simification.
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: JamesC on 13 March, 2018, 08:43:07 am
The prog these days, even if there are some strips I don't personally enjoy, just doesn't feature content that's objectively crap.
I know people are frustrated at some of Mills's output (personally I'm still enjoying it) but it still has its fans and I think that Tharg is justified in including it in the weekly.
I don't think the same can be said about Space Girls, Babe Race 2000 or many of the other strips from the true dark age. I think everyone involved knew those strips were shit.
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: IndigoPrime on 13 March, 2018, 10:19:14 am
I agree that nothing in the Prog is as bad as 2000 AD's worst, but ABC Warriors is now skirting with mediocrity alarmingly regularly. Perhaps scheduling is part of the problem – running two bursts of Mills with crossover. I dunno. I'm just utterly bored of the treadmill/repeating background of ABC Warriors, and that's a strip that shouldn't be boring. By contrast, Savage has some massive plot holes and resolution issues, but is at least readable.

Quote
I think everyone involved knew those strips were shit.
It's hard to know what everyone at the time thought of specific strips. We do get interviews where people talk in hindsight about their time (Ennis being notably candid about his 2000 AD work, noting he was too young to do the likes of Dredd justice), but it would be interesting to somehow be a fly on the wall back then.

Certainly, I get the feeling no-one much cared about the comic's history. There's a feeling of "I can do better than what went before" by tearing down the comic's history. And although it's very clear that some things look better in scripts than in their final comic book form, the sheer amount of crap during the comic's nadir suggested that either standards were low, or there just wasn't enough material coming in to fill the pages.

One thing you certainly cannot accuse the people involved in 2000 AD these days of is a lack of passion. From the editorial team up to the Kingsleys, it's obvious everyone cares, and is also respectful to the comic's history. On that basis, beyond something very bad happening to 2000 AD from a financial standpoint, or Matt leaving and being replaced by someone who doesn't know what they're doing, I can't see how another actual 'dark age' would occur. As for what some people perceive to be a current state of 'a bit grey', that's anthologies. Even through what people would consider 2000 AD's best years, there were always periods that just weren't as exciting as the others.
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: Proudhuff on 13 March, 2018, 10:52:52 am
I'm looking forward to the new jumping on Prog myself, the next Golden Age awaits!
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: broodblik on 13 March, 2018, 10:55:59 am
I agree that nothing in the Prog is as bad as 2000 AD's worst, but ABC Warriors is now skirting with mediocrity alarmingly regularly. Perhaps scheduling is part of the problem – running two bursts of Mills with crossover. I dunno. I'm just utterly bored of the treadmill/repeating background of ABC Warriors, and that's a strip that shouldn't be boring. By contrast, Savage has some massive plot holes and resolution issues, but is at least readable.

I agree with your sentiment.  Although I enjoyed the current ABC Warriors more than previous runs, the story reads like all the recent Mills stories (just with different characters), nothing feels fresh.

I still enjoy the prog.
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: Aaron A Aardvark on 13 March, 2018, 11:06:09 am
Perhaps scheduling is part of the problem – running two bursts of Mills with crossover. I dunno.

I think that's certainly part of it. Warriors, Savage, Defoe & Slaine with three months each would be enough to keep Mills busy.

I'll certainly carry on reading through the Grey Age. I don't think 2000AD has had a great new story since Kingdom but the next one could be just around the corner.
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: AlexF on 13 March, 2018, 11:38:45 am
I feel as if people are giving short shrift to the artists involved in their dismissal of both 2017 and 1993-5. Not to say it was the best era of 2000AD art or anything, and yes, it would have been nice to have better scripts to match a lot of that art, but comics stand or fall on their artwork I reckon, especially when it comes to grabbing the attention of new readers.

I agree with may here that P. Mills has not been delivering his best writing in the last few years, but you can't deny his knack for finding and keeping the loyalty of some stellar artists. I almost don't care what's happening week to week in Slaine when Simon Davis is delivering such gorgeous stuff, and I could read Patrick Goddard's Savage all day, it's so frantic and moody. Sure, I miss the early books of Savage when it was all about fighting off invaders, guerilla war and less about military-industrial complex conspiracy theories (which Mills seems to strongly believe in, and he's earned the right to a soapbox I reckon, even if it makes him look a little loopy).

The same goes for the 1990s dark age era. Divisive stuff, yes, but you had the balance of insanely dramativc painting from Dermot Power and Greg Staples with chunky and bold work from Shaky Kane and Jim McCarthy (I'm going to bat for the Grudgefather, even if Millar mangles the plotting on the first book.), and then fluid and graceful comics from Rian Hughes and Paul Marshall.

One of these days we need to dissect this era in depth, looking at every single story, alongside the Megazine, Toxic and such, and of course comparing and contrasting the Image boom going on over in US comics, and the emerging impact of Manga/Anime that was really hitting the sci-fi geek world hard at that time, not always for the best (because, to my eyes, it wasn't until the 2000s that we in the west got to sample a wide range of manga beyond hard SF, school girl hebephilia, tentacle rape and noirish ultraviolence).

Of course, I'd have to persuade some people (including me!) to do a hard re-read of all this stuff. And, for all my defending of the time, in pure 2000AD terms these few years were just not as good as what had come before or came after...
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: JamesC on 13 March, 2018, 11:40:28 am
Perhaps scheduling is part of the problem – running two bursts of Mills with crossover. I dunno.


I don't think 2000AD has had a great new story since Kingdom but the next one could be just around the corner.

Kingmaker, Brink, The Alienist, Grey Area? I think there are loads of good new and new-ish strips. Sometimes it takes a few stories for strips to be established as favourites but there's a ton of potential in those mentioned above (and probably a load of others I've forgotten).
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: TordelBack on 13 March, 2018, 11:43:20 am
I don't think 2000AD has had a great new story since Kingdom but the next one could be just around the corner.

Brink?
The Order?
Brass Sun?

And in the possibly-exempted spin-off category:
Jaegir?
Absalom?
Deadworld?

None of those are great?
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: IndigoPrime on 13 March, 2018, 11:57:32 am
but comics stand or fall on their artwork I reckon
I've never really thought that. The only time I have issues with artwork is if the storytelling is poor. Even if the art is quite ropey, as long as I can tell what's going on, I'm happy – IF the script is good. Junker is a case in point for the reverse – loads of rather lovely Ridgeway art, but a script that was turgid. But, yeah, I can see that if artwork was your priority in the objectively shit script period of 2000 AD, you probably weren't quite so fussed.
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: sheridan on 14 March, 2018, 10:06:59 pm
but comics stand or fall on their artwork I reckon
I've never really thought that. The only time I have issues with artwork is if the storytelling is poor. Even if the art is quite ropey, as long as I can tell what's going on, I'm happy – IF the script is good. Junker is a case in point for the reverse – loads of rather lovely Ridgeway art, but a script that was turgid. But, yeah, I can see that if artwork was your priority in the objectively shit script period of 2000 AD, you probably weren't quite so fussed.

Bad art can certainly obscure good scripting (and I'm not even talking about storytelling, I'm talking ugly art) - there's been a few stories over the years where I wish it could be redrawn by a more suited artist.  The time around the dark period was marked for me by some excellent artists learning their craft (to be kind).  I do really mean that - some of my favourite artists now did a bit of a hatchet job on some great stories while they were coming up to speed in the time after the US brain drain.
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: Goosegash on 23 March, 2018, 07:07:00 pm
I agree that nothing in the Prog is as bad as 2000 AD's worst, but ABC Warriors is now skirting with mediocrity alarmingly regularly. Perhaps scheduling is part of the problem – running two bursts of Mills with crossover. I dunno. I'm just utterly bored of the treadmill/repeating background of ABC Warriors, and that's a strip that shouldn't be boring. By contrast, Savage has some massive plot holes and resolution issues, but is at least readable.

Quote
I think everyone involved knew those strips were shit.
It's hard to know what everyone at the time thought of specific strips. We do get interviews where people talk in hindsight about their time (Ennis being notably candid about his 2000 AD work, noting he was too young to do the likes of Dredd justice), but it would be interesting to somehow be a fly on the wall back then.

Certainly, I get the feeling no-one much cared about the comic's history. There's a feeling of "I can do better than what went before" by tearing down the comic's history. And although it's very clear that some things look better in scripts than in their final comic book form, the sheer amount of crap during the comic's nadir suggested that either standards were low, or there just wasn't enough material coming in to fill the pages.


Spot on - it was an unfortunate toxic combination of complacent editorship(*coughBurtonMacKenzie*) in the post-McManus era combined with certain writers (*coughMorrisonMillar*)who thought they were too good for some dumb kids comic and just took the piss.

I remember we had a thread years ago where we tried to determine what was the absolute worst Prog, and the winner was 827 by some margin. Truly wretched.
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: Magnetica on 23 March, 2018, 07:54:30 pm
Not a Prog I recall, but according to Barney it has two strips by Ron Smith and one by Brett Ewins. Surely something of merit there?

One of the Ron Smith stories was Robo Hunter. I don’t recall him ever doing one of those. But it was the Mark Millar version and there is no way I have ever re-read any of those, so given it was 25 years ago I must have forgotten.
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: IndigoPrime on 24 March, 2018, 12:19:09 pm
If you're referring to my post, that was all about 883:

Quote
Still, it couldn't get worse… expect it did. 883 (http://www.2000ad.org/?zone=prog&page=profiles&choice=883): The execrable and wantonly sexist Babe Race 2000 (Millar); The Clown Book 2 (two books too many); Dredd in Manchu Candidate (which, fortunately, didn't go any further); Grudgefather; Millar Robo-Hunter. That's zero out of five for me.

There's some reasonable art in that lot, but the scripts are all dreadful.

As for 827, I'd have to re-read it, but it merely seems mediocre. (I never cared much for Bradley – although it was mostly OK. I don't recall the Dredd or Future Shock at all. Millar Robo-Hunter was always awful. Kelly was forgettable but not outright unreadable.)
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: Jim_Campbell on 24 March, 2018, 12:53:33 pm
I rather thought we’d agreed it was 883 (http://www.2000ad.org/?zone=prog&page=profiles)…? A prog about which literally the only positive thing you can say is “Nice art on some of those strips…”

Edit: that link doesn’t do what it’s supposed to. No idea why. Sorry!
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: TordelBack on 24 March, 2018, 12:56:19 pm
Edit: that link doesn’t do what it’s supposed to. No idea why. Sorry!

No need for apologies - it was a lucky escape for us.
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: Proudhuff on 28 March, 2018, 12:18:58 pm
The New Dark Age is now closed  :thumbsup:
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: Colin YNWA on 28 March, 2018, 12:58:06 pm
The New Dark Age is now closed  :thumbsup:

Before it even opened!
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: Proudhuff on 28 March, 2018, 02:46:13 pm
I'd like to direct the learned gentleman to the previous 11 pages :-X
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: Richard on 28 March, 2018, 11:54:43 pm
The previous 11 pages were wrong.
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: JayzusB.Christ on 01 April, 2018, 07:16:02 pm
I've got to admit, my enthusiasm for the prog was seriously waning, to the point where I think I was just continuing to buy it for nostalgic reasons.  So I was missing more and more weeks, thinking I'd catch up sometime, till I just stopped.

But I've bought the jumping-on prog and its follow-up, and I must say things are looking up.  Long may it last.  Matt Smith is a fine editor, and I have faith he can restore the prog.
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: Taryn Tailz on 01 April, 2018, 07:28:49 pm
Yeah, the previous line-up almost drove me away from the prog, but the latest batch sees the thrill power firing on all cylinders once again.
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: Prodigal2 on 12 April, 2018, 10:23:26 am
I've started buying again as well as well.
Title: Re: Everything comes back after 20 years: The Prog's New Dark Age
Post by: TordelBack on 12 April, 2018, 11:31:21 am
I've started buying again as well as well.

Prodigal3?