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Author Topic: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread  (Read 15258 times)

Colin YNWA

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The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« on: 22 May, 2016, 02:30:29 pm »
When I first came to these parts 8 years ago (wow is it only 8 years, feels longer... bet it feels even longer for the poor saps that wrestle with my spelling, typos and grammar to find there was little sense in my intended meaning either) I was at the start(ish) of a re-read. Well my next Prog Slog (as these things are called now I believe) was scheduled on my all to long to read spread sheet over two years ago now AND FINALLY its here!

WAYHEY!!!!

It'll be a little different this time. See my to read list is grouped into blocks of 4 runs of comics, of which two are new things and two are re-read things. So for example my latest block of four (#88 if anyone wishes to know) includes:

New: From Hell (I know, I know I've never read it, it came out in my comic reading wilderness years)
New: Classic Star Wars (some stuff I've never read picked up dirt cheap digitally)
Reread: Absoloute Final Crisis
Reread:.... wait for it, wait for it 2000ad 1977

Yes in each block of four for the next... well God knows how long, I'm reading a year of 2000ad (well 1977 is a little different as my collection only starts from Prog 40 BUT I have pretty much all the stories, with the exception of the Future Shocks and a few parts of MACH 1 and Invasion, reprinted). I'm planning to reread Progs cover to cover, though if I'm not enjoying a story, or lose the will, I will happily start to skip stuff - I'm thinking of a few that will most likely be skipped already, but we'll come to that in a couple of 'Years' I suspect. ANYWAY...

So yeah, when I was first here and when I worked up the gander I was pestering the 'Other Reviews' thread like no ones business. Stinking the section up something rotten with my so called opinions. This time however I'll keep my mess tidy and just foul up this one corner of the precious 'Other Reviews' section.

I've no idea how long all this will last, each 'block' of 4 runs typically takes me a month to read, but less public transport due to lovely new job 'in town' might well see that pace fall back a litte, we'll see. God knows how much I'll bother to write. For all we know you might get lucky and this will be all you ever hear of this endeavour. But when something takes my fancy, or catches my imagination, when I fancy looking back and reflecting on comments I've made on certain stories before and how that's changed, or not, I'll post here. As a minimum, in my head at this point at least, I like the idea of reviewing each year in 2000ad's history, at least in story terms. Lets see how that goes hey.

So without any further ado, with no more pomp and ceremony I'll kick off now by... oh... sorry what was... go get Bethan from her Ballet practice... comics can WHAT.... COMICS CAN WAIT..... BLOODY HELL... well sorry this will kick off later today then it would seem...

Hawkmumbler

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #1 on: 22 May, 2016, 06:26:42 pm »
"If I start to lose the will I will start skiping titles"

Thats a slippery slope Colin, you watch yourself now or you'll find yourself just reading Dredd...and Flesh...man I need to get the Dino Files...

I, Cosh

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #2 on: 22 May, 2016, 10:29:45 pm »
So yeah, when I was first here and when I worked up the gander I was pestering the 'Other Reviews' thread like no ones business. Stinking the section up something rotten with my so called opinions. This time however I'll keep my mess tidy and just foul up this one corner of the precious 'Other Reviews' section.
I'm a big fan of the multi-thread approach but I look forward to this new series. I've probably read anything that's ever been reprinted but not the original Progs for the first five years or so.
We never really die.

sheridan

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #3 on: 22 May, 2016, 11:31:28 pm »
I didn't really follow your block method of reading, but happy to follow this thread.  Might also kick me into gear to continue my slog (still in the twenties, having started last year).

Fungus

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #4 on: 23 May, 2016, 12:16:59 am »
Look forward to it Colin  :)

Fully endorse your use of a system (and always good to hear about these). Would dearly like to embark on a slog, or revisit favourite runs, but it's clear I won't even clear the decks anytime soon  :( I do plan monthly (it really helps) but I'm aware that time spent per comic is way too high (if anecdotal comments on the forum is a guide to normality) ! Guess I spend too long on the pictures. Dunno.

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #5 on: 23 May, 2016, 10:01:28 pm »
..and Flesh...man I need to get the Dino Files...

Yes you bloomin' well should.

Well that didn't take long did it. Lets see if this early burst of enthusism lasts. BUT the first thing I've read is the early Dan Dares and I'm specifically talking the Belardinelli stuff (yes I looked up the spelling). Now I'm nowhere near as big a fan as Mr B's (getting lazy already) art work as some. I definately stuggle with his anatomny and ability to make a hard man look a little limp. On the right strip he's great. So Slaine - nah don't like it at all (well except some lush backgrounds and warp spasms), Ace Trucking love it. Meltdown Man a little in the middle.

Early Dan Dare - BLOODY AMAZING! Its the perfect strip for him and his art is completely, gloriously mind melting. Its stunning. The fact that Dan Dare spends a lot of the time running around in a spacesuit by-passes one of my big problems with his art, the fact the D.D. (now you can stop calling him that anytime you like) isn't meant to be the traditional strong man led helps as well. What really works is EVERY OTHER BLOODY THING HE DRAWS. I mean I'm not being funny but in the first story he has organic spaceships throwing moons as a weapon... don't really need to say anything else do I... except in the second story THEY TRIED TO TOP THAT. Just think about that for a second. In the second Dan Dare story according to the notes from Pat Mills they tried to make the story more visually compelling than organic spaceships throwing moons as a weapon.

I know.

Amazing isn't it.

Now I'm not saying they actually suceed but damn it you have to love the ambition that they tried!

Its no surprise that even though I've not read any of these stories since my brothers early Progs fell victim to the Mum Monster all those years ago images from it are clearly burnt onto the back of my eyeballs. Flicking through the episodes so many images felt so familar. Just amazing stuff.

Oh there's a story or two thrown in for good measure. Stories that make very little sense, that have plot holes you could throw an orbiting planetoid through with ease but who gives a damn everyone is clearly having so much fun its an absolute riot. It really bloody is such fun. I adored these stories and every living axe, push me pull you villain, martian hero and Yujee protype warrior (christ Dan's relationship with Rok is played for so much fun). I've always firmly believed that Flesh was by far the best of the first 2000ad strips. I now wonder whether thats true. How the hell did Dredd survive!

Hawkmumbler

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #6 on: 24 May, 2016, 08:55:17 am »
Nice write up, early Dan Dare in the tooth never pretended to be anything more than it was, a cracking slce of space opear with some brilliant art and great characters. It was deffinetly a factor in the initial success of 2000AD.

And I just had to go and get Flesh the Dino Files now, goddamn it i'm poor damn you!

Jim_Campbell

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #7 on: 24 May, 2016, 09:30:46 am »
Early Dan Dare - BLOODY AMAZING! Its the perfect strip for him and his art is completely, gloriously mind melting.

See also: the back half of Blackhawk, particularly once they end up inside the black hole. Warped, fantastic landscapes, hideous beasties, very few humans. Just a perfect fit for Belardinelli — I can picture whole pages of it in my head, despite not having looked at the progs for years.

Cheers

Jim
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Tjm86

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #8 on: 24 May, 2016, 04:50:31 pm »
My prog slog has just taken me past them.  Currently in the late hundreds.  Stainless Steel Rat, Judge Child, ...

The early eighties were definitely an amazing time.

Couldn't agree more on Belardinelli's BlackHawk work.  I think other than Dare, it is second only to Meltdown Man.

Albion

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #9 on: 24 May, 2016, 04:57:26 pm »
I'm currently on a Prog Slog and my next Prog is 889, cover date 27 May 1994.
I'd forgotten a few stories from this era, I think my mind decided to forget them as there are some truly awful stories in the early 1990's.

I read a Prog a day and I skip nothing.
Dumb all over, a little ugly on the side.

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #10 on: 30 May, 2016, 05:20:17 pm »

Early Dan Dare - BLOODY AMAZING!.... I've always firmly believed that Flesh was by far the best of the first 2000ad strips. I now wonder whether thats true...

Arh Flesh Book 1, I will never doubt you again.

I've read it for the third time in maybe 5 years and it really is the Thrill that keeps giving... well okay not giving, its not as if it has any hidden depths or is anything other than its meant to be on the surface. BUT since on the surface its THE BLOODY COOLIST STORY EVER, dinosaurs, cowboys, blood, guts and a monster as villianous and terrible as any there has ever been, frankly who the hell cares. I think I've talked about this countless times before. Each time I've re-read it though it doesn't disappoint. Its well plotted has wonderfully engaging characters, in all their vivid two dimensions and if basically the joy of reading action and adventure comics boiled down into its puriest, undistilled form.

Its simply the best.

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #11 on: 31 May, 2016, 09:50:21 pm »
1977

Well what can we say about 2000ad's first year. Well firstly its astonishly consistent in its line-up, only 8 ongoing thrills (Dredd, Dare, Flesh, M.A.C.H. 1, Invasion, Harlem Heroes, Shako and Inferno, 7 if you count Harlem Heroes and Inferno as the same thing, back to 8 if you count Bonjo). The care taken in the first issue and setting the opening lineup of stories up is there to see. A truly rich and diverse set of stories that will mark the comics during all its best periods is there. The art in those very first issues is quite staggeringly good.

What is a little varied is how the opening series hold their form. For me the longer form stories do best, both Dan Dare (first wave) and Flesh are quite brilliant beginning to end. What's a shame is that both don't last as long as the other stories. I've always wondered why Flesh was the first to go? Was it not as popular as the rest? It probably does it a service as after those 19 (almost all) perfect parts it gets a conclusion it almost desires (another thing I've always wondered is whether they tacked on that bit at the end with the three headed man-osaurus and the resurection of Reagan as Shako wasn't ready?). Soon after the Belardinelli Dare disappears to shortly be dragged back to life as the inferior Dave Gibbons/ Finley-Day version.

Both Savage and M.A.C.H 1 become weaker strips quite quickly, I think largely due to the chopping and changing of creative teams, though M.A.C.H 1 gets much better towards the end of the year. They lack the scope of other strips and while there is a narrative of sorts though the stories its not as strong as with the better strips.

Harlem Heroes and Dredd form a middle ground. HH due to its consistancy, but its just not as exhilarating as DD and Flesh, nice art aside. Dredd, possibly because of my affection of the strip to come I love watching it develop and pocking at the differences between what it was and what it became. Possibly because its just a better more varied concept that lets it do more than Savage and MACH 1. Probably a bit of both.

Shako is pretty good, but no Flesh. Inferno is only just getting going by the end of the year and is... something. Its a bit weird, we'll see how it goes. I've only got to read a few of the Future Shocks and they don't really hold up to well.

Overall though the comic gets off to an fantastic start. Its not perfect by any stretch but bloody hell its thrilling. I've loved reading it now and can only grasp at how mind bogglingly good I found it when I was 5 and first reading it. As I commented elsewhere its amazing what it gets away with. Not just the violence itself, but as I've discussed in more details on another thread so I'll not labour here, the joy and reveling it what its doing. It really is compelling stuff, NOW. So then you can multiple that by 1000. I mean as a 5 year old kid there was surely nothing, nothing as exciting 2000ad. The double page feature on Star Wars at the end of the year maybe suggests how that might change by years end.

Oh and the other thing I've learnt I LOVE reading the progs. Okay so its inconvenient. The art isn't well served by 40 year old bog paper, but christ having read most of this years stuff in trade or other reprint, getting to those last 5 issues (41-45) and the first annual made the experience all the more compelling. The gingerly held paper contained so much more than just the thrills themselves they are a time capsule of my youth. The letters, the drawings, the adverts all make the experience so much more than just reading the stories. So glad from here on in its progs all the way.

So 1977. B+ great start.

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #12 on: 02 July, 2016, 09:25:02 pm »
So started reading 1978's Progs a few nights ago and have reached Prog 56 tonight. What's struck me early is that I think this year will have an almost opposite trajectory as 1977, a year which started well and tailed off as it went on.

As 1978 started the strips quality continues to struggle. Dan Dare so magnificent when the Prog first started continues to look great, but be a characterless generic sci-fi strip with no sense of self. Inferno is almost the opposite its a crazy, choatic mess, something I can often love, in this case I don't.

Even Dredd, though written largely by John Wagner is still to find its true form. I have to be honest I've never been a fan of the Luna One era, some lovely visuals aside and I can't for the life of me remember what inspired it (I'm sure its mentioned in Thrillpower Overload but I'm too lazy to dig my copy out to check).

So even as the weak Invasion is finally put to rest, the replacement strips aren't always the finest. I always want to like Colony Earth more than I do as the art, if a little confused, offers much eye appeal. The story however is nonsense and poppycock of the highest (lowest) order.

There are some bright spots. I've always been a fan of the wonderous nonsense that is The Visible Man, all to short - which actaully may be its strenght as honestly what else can you do with the concept? And M.A.C.H. 1 for me continues to go from strenght to strenght as it pulls together its more interesting ideas to forge what I seem to remember is a great conclusion. At this stage in the Galaxies Greatest however these highlights are few and far between.

I'm saying all this now, not as a pointless whine, more as a marker in the sand as I know things will be getting better and I'm really looking forward to seeing once again how and when this starts to develop.

Colin YNWA

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #13 on: 03 July, 2016, 08:12:44 pm »
So last night I mentioned that I had fond memories of the end of M.A.C.H. 1 and today I've read it and while it wasn't as good as I remember it holds up. I'd forgotten how rushed the whole thing felt, how shallow the 'Fred' situation was and weak 'Fred' himself is. Shame as well they 'bottled' having John Probe have to decide what to do with his nemesis boss Sharpe as well after building the tension between them for so long.

Still I really enjoyed it and the proto Mills themes it carries as it does have the courage to butcher its led character (wish they'd done that in Flesh). Leaving Probe's origin a mystery was also a brave choice (or defined by space and time?). Overall though M.A.C.H. 1 was a strip that I wasn't enjoying too much after the first story but got better and better as it reached its finale.

Over at Inferno I was encouraged by the return of the brilliant Artie Gruber... only too remember he returns disguised as one of the Philadelphia Freaks in an exact copy of idea used in Harlem Heroes. Which basically boils down to getting the same plot using a once again less interesting look for the otherwise wonderfully grusome Artie... my encouragement didn't last...

AlexF

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Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #14 on: 04 July, 2016, 04:17:30 pm »
The real 1978 action was over in StarLord! Although I share your love for the Visible Man and the later stories for MACH 1.

I don't know if it was a specific editorial decision, but putting Dredd on the Moon definitely amped-up the Sci-Fi elements of a strip that was perhaps in danger of being a bit too earth-bound, especially for some of the artists.