Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
 

Author Topic: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread  (Read 16799 times)

TordelBack

  • Member
  • CALL-ME-KENNETH!
  • *****
  • Posts: 23335
  • Thunder Chops is dragged off, gnashing...
    • View Profile
Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #270 on: 09 August, 2017, 09:37:39 am »
It's interesting that most people trace the "decline" of 2000AD to around prog 520 when that was around the time I was getting into it.

That's unusually specific - is that because undisputed works of genius Bad Company, Slaine the King and The Dead all end in Prog 519 and in their place comes the mediocrity of the (admittedly very well drawn) Hit-era of Rogue Trooper?

Nah - it definitely had glossy covers by the time it was going downhill.

Post-520 is the start of a slump, but doesn't represent any kind of permanent pattern of decline. Such towering glories still await, and soon!

Frank

  • Member
  • Bionic Fingers
  • *****
  • Posts: 7181
    • View Profile
Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #271 on: 09 August, 2017, 10:23:54 am »
It's interesting that most people trace the "decline" of 2000AD to around prog 520 when that was around the time I was getting into it.

That's unusually specific - is that because undisputed works of genius Bad Company, Slaine the King and The Dead all end in Prog 519 and in their place comes the mediocrity of the (admittedly very well drawn) Hit-era of Rogue Trooper?

No, it's because 'it was never the same after they stopped printing it on bog paper'. *

They're right though; apart from Zenith, The Horned God, Necropolis/The Dead Man, Chopper: Song Of The Surfer, Judge Dredd: Revolution, and ABC Warriors: The Black Hole, progs 520-700 were unmitigated pish.

Even outside the ranks of those acknowledged classics, Hicklenton Nemesis, Cinnabar, Indigo Prime, Anderson: Hour Of The Wolf and Triad, Tyranny Rex, Bad Company: The Bewilderness/The Krool Heart, the first Summer Magic, Freaks, Tribal Memories, and Rogue Trooper:War Machine stack up pretty well against endless Ace Trucking Company and GFD Rogue Trooper.**

None of those are Halo Jones Book Three, but then neither are Halo Jones books one or two.


* © Garth Ennis. In truth, they never stopped printing it on bog paper, which is why lots of The Horned God looks like it's happening at night. Even when Dave Bishop switched to the same shiny paper on internal pages as the cover, the paper stock was still shite.

** Thrillpower Overload claims only twenty new strips debuted between 1980-1986, while the following three years saw a dozen new strips take their bow (p120).

Muon

  • Member
  • Page Numbering Droid
  • **
  • Posts: 183
    • View Profile
Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #272 on: 09 August, 2017, 11:28:28 am »
Okay, now I'm feeling really guilty about inadvertently starting the "prog 529" threadjack, but my thumbs are itching to clarify my own position and my smartphone's winking at me seductively...

My thing is that I love most of prog 520 to around 700 because that was the first peak of my fandom. Things dropped off for me after around 700, in the era of Fleischer's Harlem Heroes seeming to go on and on and on (what a waste of Steve Dillon's awesomeness, looking back) and that dumb sheep policeman thing. If I force myself to look at it dispassionately, however, I have to admit there was a very gradual period of decline that started around then and accelerated massively in the mid to late 1990s.

Disclaimer: I'm sure a lot of it had to do with identity crises brought on by the growing idea at the time that comics was a cool conversation topic that might get you laid, having to adjust to the demand for more and more colour pages and creators being poached by the Americans. Also the 500s came at the tail-end of a long period of ridiculous consistency and awesomeness. And then there are al the highs that Frank mentions, which probably wouldn't have been possible in the bog paper kids' comic of just a few years before.

CalHab

  • Member
  • Sentient Tea Bot
  • **
  • Posts: 395
    • View Profile
Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #273 on: 09 August, 2017, 11:58:52 am »
No, it's because 'it was never the same after they stopped printing it on bog paper'. *

They're right though; apart from Zenith, The Horned God, Necropolis/The Dead Man, Chopper: Song Of The Surfer, Judge Dredd: Revolution, and ABC Warriors: The Black Hole, progs 520-700 were unmitigated pish.

Even outside the ranks of those acknowledged classics, Hicklenton Nemesis, Cinnabar, Indigo Prime, Anderson: Hour Of The Wolf and Triad, Tyranny Rex, Bad Company: The Bewilderness/The Krool Heart, the first Summer Magic, Freaks, Tribal Memories, and Rogue Trooper:War Machine stack up pretty well against endless Ace Trucking Company and GFD Rogue Trooper.**

None of those are Halo Jones Book Three, but then neither are Halo Jones books one or two.


* © Garth Ennis. In truth, they never stopped printing it on bog paper, which is why lots of The Horned God looks like it's happening at night. Even when Dave Bishop switched to the same shiny paper on internal pages as the cover, the paper stock was still shite.

** Thrillpower Overload claims only twenty new strips debuted between 1980-1986, while the following three years saw a dozen new strips take their bow (p120).


It's purely a coincidence that the decline "started" around the same time that the now 40-something guys who frequent this forum discovered girls/drink/whatever.

As a mere youngling still (just) in my thirties, for me the "decline" was around 1993. Mainly because that was when I discovered that Vertigo published comics aimed directly at moody teenagers with bad haircuts and worse taste in music.

Magnetica

  • Member
  • Posting Machine
  • ***
  • Posts: 1079
    • View Profile
Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #274 on: 09 August, 2017, 01:05:37 pm »
Now this is based in my memory from the time and not a re-read, but the shift to the new size in Prog 520 was definitely a turning point for me.

Slaine was never as good again ( yes even the Horned God - I prefer Slaine The King).
Nemesis was never as good again.
Dredd became far more patchy and never seemed to have a consistent set of artist (until Rebellion took over and fixed that).

Yes we had better paper and more colour (from 589) but the stories just weren't as good.

With a few exceptions - notably Zenith.

Colin YNWA

  • Member
  • CALL-ME-KENNETH!
  • *****
  • Posts: 12582
    • View Profile
Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #275 on: 09 August, 2017, 08:09:15 pm »
Well this is interesting. I remember a similar discussion way back when I posed the age old question when did the first golden age begin. I seem to recall there was a great diversity of opinion then BUT no one suggested it ended as early as 520... I don't think. If I wasn't on me jollies and living off precious supplies of camping site wi-fi I'd go back and check.

I'm not going to try to prempt my findings from this re-read except to say previous reads, in all forms, would led me to be very surprised if there was a significent drop in form already. That said I do think there is a significent change about to come but in my minds eye at least that will not be at the cost of quality, not yet as least...

... bit I'm getting ahead of myself...

Colin YNWA

  • Member
  • CALL-ME-KENNETH!
  • *****
  • Posts: 12582
    • View Profile
Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #276 on: 09 August, 2017, 08:38:37 pm »
So I hailed 1985 the nostaligia fueled best year to date of Thrillpower but left a HUGE question dangling, could

1986

top it? As I type I really don't know... so I'll use the memory jogging powers of Barney's Cover Zone to try to unpick the answer.

First up we have the very significent question of does 1986 Dredd top 1985 Dredd. The answer is... YES. This year holds many, many of my all time favourite Dredd's. I mean pick any of 1986's stories drawn by Cam Kennedy, The Warlord, Adrian Cockroach, Falucci Tapes, The Big Sleep, Kenny Who and I could make an argument to find them a slot in my all time top ten. That's before we talk about Atlantis, Dredd Syndrome, Phantom of the Shoppera, Paid with Thanks etc etc ...  oh yeah and the small matter of Letter from a Democrat. Just consistant top of the game stuff.

1986 - 1 vs. 1985 0

So next up lets look at the stinkers, what year in thrillpower is without them. There's less Rogue in 1986, but ACE Trucking unfortunately more than makes up for that. Slaine starts off really bad, but towards the end of the year shows first the green shots of recovery and then after a full flowering back into its majestic best. So yeah barely a terrible thrill in sight, no Mean Team here... so

1986 - 2 vs. 1986 0

What about the absolute cream of the crop. Well Halo Jones Book 3 > Halo Jones Book 2; Strontium Dog recovers from the lows of The Ragnarok Job to the very heights of Rage an absolute stone cold classic... wow so ya know

1986 - 3 vs. 1986 0

Bloomin' heck genuinely wasn't expecting it to be this cut and dry. In the middle order we have Nemesis picking itself up, though not up book 1-4 its really good stuff. Anderson has a great solo story (not as good as 1985's I'd admit) Metalzoic and Bad City Blue all add to the mix and Sooner and Later still holds some of its innovative charm. So yeah 1986 is probably better than 1985 and as such is the new holder of the crown.

BEST YEAR IN THRILLPOWER (to date)

Wow. its as though as the old order changes (see previous comments) they do so at the absolute height of their powers. As if 'classic' 2000ad has achieved all it can and as 1986 draws to a close it hints at the exciting new things to come. As the great 'old' stuff finally reaches its Zenith a new order nervously peaks its head around the corner awaiting its chance to step up to the plate.

1987 will be many things I seem to recall but the one thing it won't be is the same old, same old and I'm really looking forward to how choppery or otherwise these new waters will be...

TordelBack

  • Member
  • CALL-ME-KENNETH!
  • *****
  • Posts: 23335
  • Thunder Chops is dragged off, gnashing...
    • View Profile
Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #277 on: 10 August, 2017, 12:54:21 am »
Dredd became far more patchy and never seemed to have a consistent set of artists...

Apart from the bit where Carlos drew 31 consecutive episodes (and a total of 40 in a 12 month period), you mean?  Obviously I take your point, but there are as many exceptions to this post-520 as there are periods of inconsistency. 

Colin YNWA

  • Member
  • CALL-ME-KENNETH!
  • *****
  • Posts: 12582
    • View Profile
Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #278 on: 21 August, 2017, 09:12:01 pm »
So I'm burning through 1987 and I've hit March. Now I don't know if I'm seeing this 'cos I'm expecting a period of transitition. Maybe I'm casting my expectations onto the reading but post 500 does feel like there's a real shift in the Prog. It will fluculate for a while I suspect but look at whats in the Progs post 500... or rather what's not.

No Mean Team. No Ace Trucking. No Leysers. No Hurst... stuff that dilutes the thrills. Not that all that stuff was automatically bad (though lets be fair!) rather it was of a different tone, aimed at a younger audience. Not a bad thing in and of itself but it gave the Prog an inconsistant tone. That was kinda interesting I'm not saying this was a bad thing, far from it, BUT look at the post 500 stories:

Slaine at the absolute top of its game.

Dredd at the top of its game.

Nemesis at the... well in pretty good shape.

Some excellent Future Shocks largely by Grant Morrison and while played for laughs in many cases with a sharper tone.

Then of course there's the genius that is Bad Company.

Possibly the story though that exemplifies this is The Dead. I've not been Massimo Belardinelli's biggest fan but teamed with Pete Milligan on this frankly inspiringly baffling story he's a million miles away from Blackhawk, Ace Trucking, Meltdown Man. NOT in the quality of the art rather in the story that goes with it and expliots the most from it.

Still a way to go and much to explore AND I think the mixture of tone will be back BUT early in 1987 2000ad sets out its stall for what it will become.

Muon

  • Member
  • Page Numbering Droid
  • **
  • Posts: 183
    • View Profile
Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #279 on: 22 August, 2017, 02:43:38 pm »
Interesting perspective, Colin. I'd never thought of it that way, but with the stories you mention I can see a definite shift away from some of the sillier stuff to slightly more grown-up stuff. That run of stories has quite a trippy, psychedelic feel, from Slaine's weird hallucinations during the ceremony described in loving detail in Slaine the King (and that art!) to Danny Franks' philosophical battlefield musings in Bad Company. And the Krool were like no villains seen in 2000 AD before, with those weird, bubble-blowing eyes of theirs (or whatever the hell they were). And then there's The Dead, which blew my mind. As you say, it was almost the perfect story for Bellardinelli's art.

Colin YNWA

  • Member
  • CALL-ME-KENNETH!
  • *****
  • Posts: 12582
    • View Profile
Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #280 on: 30 August, 2017, 09:23:11 pm »
Just struck me that I got to Prog 519 a few nights ago and yet haven't pester you lot with further thoughts on The Dead or any of the fine Dredd's or Future Shocks that mark the end of an era.

I wondered why... is it me, is it you... or is it the Bad Company I keep?

And of course I think its the latter. Bad Company is such a gloriously layered story, but I never quite get my head around why its so very special. I'll try again ... and probably fail.

This time I'm going with the glory of its deception. Its almost Kirbyesque in the way that it wraps some pretty high concept stuff in breathless action tropes. Where as Kirby dressed his mindmelting wondering in the guise of superhero strips Milligan and Ewins wrap theirs up tighly in a good old fashioned Battle war story. Cos lets face it Bad Company isn't a 2000ad story its a Battle story all 2000aded up. Its Darkie's Mob to the max.

But just like Kirby does the thrilling wonder of its outer clothing hide some really meaty ideas and concepts. Bad Company isn't the cliche 'war is bad' story it can be read as it deals with Milligan favs like identity so deftly while blowing our minds up.

Its fitting then that Ewins art has a 'simple' energy and glorious momentum just as Kirby's does. He's possibly at his most Kirbyesque here. Just beautifuly horrible on the eye, so easy and yet exhausting.

See nowt to say about Bad Company at all... and I accept what I've just said might be poppycock and best left not said but what that heck its the best I can get this time round reading Bad Company. The very best thing of it is, just like Kirby, next time I read it I know I'll get something else!

Colin YNWA

  • Member
  • CALL-ME-KENNETH!
  • *****
  • Posts: 12582
    • View Profile
Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #281 on: 02 September, 2017, 08:37:17 am »
Prog 521

So what, huh, surely the Prog to talk about is Prog 520, what with the first really significent format change we've seen in the Galaxy's Greatest (there was that temperary improvement in paper quality in 130ish but that doesn't count surely). That glorious Dredd, which almost seem to be killing off the old days, alas no that's not the Prog to talk about. The Prog to talk about is... well I've given that away already.

The reason its Prog 521 is I can still talk about how much I loved the new format as a kid, it really made the Prog look as special as it felt to me... even if the quality hadn't shift that much, the fact it was bigger and on better paper than anything else made it feel like it was growing up, literally and methaphorically AND by focusing on this issue I can still talk about how glorious is to have Kevin O'Neill on Nemesis... well even if it is the gloriously crazy slice of Torquemada life in Torquemada The God (my father-in-law, a vicar, was giggling away at that the other day apparently - how cool is that!).

I can still talk about how much I felt back in the day The Hit really stepped up Rogue Trooper, I loved it and to be honest it still holds up a lot better than what went before, even if its not well regarded, it looks great and reads a breeze. Hey for a while they turn off Gunnar - thank christ!

No the real reason to talk about this Prog is to discuss Anderson in the second part of 'Hour of the Wolf'. Man this is the single episode of any series that for me symbolised the shift in 2000ad. Its impossible to shake that feeling on reading it again today... look away now if you've not read this classic as this is gonna get spoiler heavy on some specifics.

This episode is just so perfect. The attack on Anderson felt so planned, dangerous and smart. It felt like it was straight out of a 'proper' movie. I really get the specific danger to our beloved judge, as the two sleeper agents really hit her hard in a way that read so pluasible and real. All this while building the bigger Sov plot that we didn't yet understand the signficence of, surrounding the graphic violence with a bigger mystery and intrigue. It is just so tense and perfectly executed.

Speaking of perfectly executed Barry Kitson's art just carries this off so well. Its sharply rendered, carries the action with such energy and you feel the danger and pain Anderson is going through. Man this is one of my all time favourite episodes of any thrill ever.

It also carried the point I made earlier about the Prog really feeling like it had shifted up a gear in levels of story quality and 'maturity' to my 15 year old eyes this one episode exemplified this and made the Prog feel like it was still for me even at my all grown up age!

Mind as I see the return of Mean Team stirring down at me from the shelf I also remember it was a perfectly smooth journey!

Magnetica

  • Member
  • Posting Machine
  • ***
  • Posts: 1079
    • View Profile
Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #282 on: 02 September, 2017, 08:32:26 pm »

(there was that temperary improvement in paper quality in 130ish but that doesn't count surely).

That was before that. 128 was back to bog paper.

Colin YNWA

  • Member
  • CALL-ME-KENNETH!
  • *****
  • Posts: 12582
    • View Profile
Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #283 on: 02 September, 2017, 09:46:53 pm »
So just finsihed The Bitch and its such a rambling flabby Stontium Dog 'epic'* it got me thinking about the inconsistancy of the longer Johnnys out there. So I decided to do a very quick review since this was the last one before Final Solution which is a very different beast to whats gone before (one I like by the way). I assumed I'd be  right about how unsuccessful they generally are, with a couple of exceptions... I was wrong of course but the review holds so**:

Journey to Hell: Progs 104 - 118 (1979) - Good - Sharp, crazy no holds barred fun

Portrait of a mutant: Progs 200 - 206, 210-221 (1981) - GREAT - tight, tense and fundamental in getting to the heart of Johnny

Outlaw: Progs 363 - 385 (1984) - Mediocre - loose, flabby and forgettable (except for The Stix)

Max Bubba*** : Progs 445 - 465 (1985) - Poor - unnecessary, blotted and dull - given its context just distracting

Rage: Progs 469 - 489 (1986) - GREATEST - Tense, relentless,, grim and compelling

The Bitch: Progs 505 - 529 (1987) - Medicore - see Outlaw but swap Durham Red for The Stix. It tries to do so much, but does so little and does even get the tense (of all sorts) between Johnny and Red right and the Regan humour is sub Spitting Image, which I saw through even at the time!

So there you have it. A hit rate of only 50% I was that wrong and its certainly fair to say that longer form Strontium Dog is nowhere near as strong and consistent as shorter form Strontium Dog (also see Robo-Hunter and arguably Judge Dredd... hmmm there's one for a later date...). When they are good they do really shine but often (not quite not more often than not!) they feel like 10 part stories doubled in length!

*By epic I mean Strontium Dog story 15 episodes or longer based on nothing more that I always think of 'Journey to Hell' as an 'Epic' and that's 15 parts

** With thanks to Barney for facts and stuff

*** Always think of this as Ragnarok - shows how much attention I've been paying!

Jim_Campbell

  • 2000AD Creator
  • CALL-ME-KENNETH!
  • *****
  • Posts: 11901
  • Letterer to the Stars! (and PJ)
    • View Profile
    • deviantArt Gallery
Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
« Reply #284 on: 02 September, 2017, 10:00:30 pm »
TBH, I always thought Strontium Dog suited the long-run-of-shorter-stories format better than the 'epic' stories. The get in, get it done, get out sensibility was far more in keeping with the overall concept.
Eagle Award Nominated Letterer: Samples. | Blog
Less-Awesome-Artist: Scribbles.