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Spoilers => Other Reviews => Topic started by: Colin YNWA on 22 May, 2016, 02:30:29 pm

Title: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA 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...
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Hawkmumbler 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...
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: I, Cosh 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.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: sheridan 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).
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Fungus 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.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA 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!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Hawkmumbler 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!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Jim_Campbell 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
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Tjm86 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.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Albion 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.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA 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.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA 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.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA 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.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA 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...
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: AlexF 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.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Hawkmumbler on 04 July, 2016, 04:54:07 pm
You know, sandwiched between The Robot War and The Cursed Earth, I completely forgot Luna-1 was a thing. It's a decidedly unremarkable story arch if I remember correctly.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: ZenArcade on 04 July, 2016, 05:12:51 pm
It did seem distraction, quite entertaining and it did introduce the Sov Judges. Z
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Echidna on 04 July, 2016, 05:21:51 pm
The Oxygen Board is pretty great too.

Also, didn't the Luna-1 arc introduce the Texas City Judges?
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Tjm86 on 04 July, 2016, 05:31:33 pm
It was in the early days of trying to figure out the character with a selection of villain of the week vignettes.  Some cracking Gibson and Bolland art though.  In some respects it was a bit like Tour of Duty; full of potential but never fully realised.

Think it was the first time we saw other Dredd world judges.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: sheridan on 04 July, 2016, 05:35:19 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.
You might have a point there - could have been for balance, and not just for Dredd but for the whole comic.

In the first prog we had one story set in the distant past, one almost in the present (M.A.C.H.1 was set in the eighties), one in the near future (1999), one a century after that, another nearly a century after that (Dan Dare).  The strips themselves featured future war, space, aliens and robots / cyborgs.  One year later, what was the mix in the comic?
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: ZenArcade on 04 July, 2016, 05:44:48 pm
Starlord was where it was in many ways. A tour de force in comics IMO. However if you randomly pick up a late 1978 prog, it is still mostly good stuff. Z
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 04 July, 2016, 06:17:29 pm
In some respects it was a bit like Tour of Duty; full of potential but never fully realised.


Now while I'm all for free speech and the wondeful diversity of opinions and perspectives that makes 2000ad fandom the best in the land, in this case....

HUSH YOUR MOUTH.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 13 July, 2016, 09:30:47 pm
Prog 71 is a game changer for me... and I emphasize FOR ME as I know what I'm about to say will leave many open mouthed BUT I really like Ant Wars, its probably the best thing Gerry Finley-Day did in the Prog (no, I'm not a fan of Rogue Trooper) and so Prog 71, featuring its first part is a real benchmark.

Since the opening Progs the Galaxies Greatest really struggled to find its groove. The quality of a number of the opening stories dipped. Flesh was never really replaced and yes there were some highlights, Visible Man, Shako later M.A.C.H. 1 amongst them. Dredd is getting there, but has struggled at times finding its feet and for me, a few stories aside, the Luna One episodes were a bit of a low.

Then you look at the line-up for Prog 71 and you can can smell the Prog starting to really become what it started as in those very first few Progs and what it would become for so many more years. Ant Wars starts with a magnificently, almost Millsesque anti-authoritorian veiw. The US soliders are so beautifully vile and ya know GIANT ANTS all gloriously rendered. This story has replaced Death Planet which replaced Colony Earth, so ya know, smell that improvement!

Elsewhere Dredd is in the middle of Cursed Earth a story that really defines Dredd as the best thing in the Prog. Its glorious stuff. M.A.C.H 0 is just an absolute gem. Again its anti establishment stance is a joy and the dark army of 'tramps and vagrants' lead by 'The Three' to release a monster is almost a proto-Nemesis, its that dark and brilliant. Inferno, while a little chaotic just adds to the feeling of anarchy. Dan Dare... well its adds balance and looks great.

So yeah Prog 71 the first (almost) perfect Prog since Flesh finished?
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: AlexF on 15 July, 2016, 07:14:22 am
You mount a strong argument! I too love MACH 0. Watch for another quality hike when Mr Sam Slade arrives...
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 17 July, 2016, 06:25:36 pm
So in Prog 74 while editorial eyes are turned to Inferno, cruelly chopped to 3 pages and off panel deaths to avoid complaints, a few pages away in Ant Wars a man is torn in half in anty mandibles of death in full glorious detail.

2000ad the comics they would never tame!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Hawkmumbler on 17 July, 2016, 06:41:49 pm
Ant Wars...wasn't that the non-Dredd world stripper that got retconned into conti uity via Ciuded Baranquilla and Banzai Battalion? I'm kind of vague on none Judge Dredd strips of this period i'm afraid.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 20 July, 2016, 08:51:53 pm
Ant Wars...wasn't that the non-Dredd world stripper that got retconned into conti uity via Ciuded Baranquilla and Banzai Battalion? I'm kind of vague on none Judge Dredd strips of this period i'm afraid.

Not sure about that, can't remember it specifically being pulled in but no doubt that's just my memory. That said having just read Prog 85 gotta say I loved it and don't know quite why its got a rep for being a bad strip. Okay so it feels as though the last section set in Argentine was a little tacked on after what seemed like an aborted ending with the shelling of Rio, but its really fun strip.

It also marks a grimmly beautiful feature of 2000ad that issue 85 in particular highlights and that's its brutal endings. The fearless way it treats so many of its leds when a story has done its course. Please don't read on if you've not read these old strips and plan to as I'm going to spoil a few. In Prog 85 the happy go lucky ending is found in Cursed Earth, which even though it ends well is quite brutal in and of itself and damning of mankind at the same time. It also makes sure we don't rest on our laurels promising more to come. Elsewhere Dan Dare ends its run (for now) by blowing everything up, having Hitman make the nobel sacrifice and leaving DD spinning into space the solo survivor, even though that's not made clear.

Ant Wars is even worse. Our gloriously entertaining leds are both mandibled to death and a laughing General makes it clear that a lot more will follow. Its hardly the first time this sort of callus denouement has enlightened the Prog's reads to lifes more vicious ways, M.A.C.H 1, Shako, most of Harlem Heroes (and Inferno incarnation) and I'm sure others are keenly dispatched. M.A.C.H. 0, the surviving cast of Flesh and Visible Man are amongst those who might get out alive, but only just and their fates often seem worse.

We often praise Dredd as having a key strenght of bumping off his villians, meaning writers are forced into new and creative areas. What we seem to forget more readily is how harshly the comic as a whole used to treat its leading lights!

2000ad not afraid to underline and ending with death since 1977!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Grant Goggans on 21 July, 2016, 06:58:59 pm
Ant Wars...wasn't that the non-Dredd world stripper that got retconned into conti uity via Ciuded Baranquilla and Banzai Battalion? I'm kind of vague on none Judge Dredd strips of this period i'm afraid.

Via Zancudo, not Banzai Battalion, but yes.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: AlexF on 25 July, 2016, 03:06:13 pm
You make a good point about how much hero death there was in early 2000AD! I suppose in those days it was all about creating a series that would just keep runnning unti the readership tired of it, then it'd have to end. And what clearer end can there be but death?
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 25 July, 2016, 05:45:31 pm
You make a good point about how much hero death there was in early 2000AD! I suppose in those days it was all about creating a series that would just keep runnning unti the readership tired of it, then it'd have to end. And what clearer end can there be but death?

Yeah the funny thing is I don't remember it happening too much more after this, I might be wrong mind my memory isn't the best. Maybe after the Starlord merger they realised they might be around a bit longer than most and so had better take better care of their leds?

I don't remember (see above) 2000ad's peers being quite so ruthless?
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 06 August, 2016, 08:07:26 pm
I'm going to catch up with the ups and downs of my favourite place on the Internet later tonight, but as the title says this is the self absorbed thread and as such I've been doing some reading while away and have been noting down my thoughts as I've done so... be warned there's more to come...

Starlord

I’ve made some notes while I’ve been away on holiday and want to add some very quick thoughts on some stuff I read  while away. Firstly I don’t own Starlord - which I’ve always thought is a shame and I always intended to get around to buying but never quite get to…

… then I read some. Specifically Ro-Busters and Strontium Dog in reprint. Now this isn’t a great deal BUT these strips are meant to be the cream of the crop right? (please correct that if I’m wrong). And half of um ain’t that good… gulp… I know that’s sacrilege BUT Ro-Busters Starlord era isn’t great is it. There’s some nice bits, some moments of lovely art but its just not that strong a strip and have to be honest I’m no fan of Pino’s art which makes up the bulk of its time here (Mind the all too brief moments of Ian Kennedy are wondrous!). The strip gets a bit repetitive and Ro-Jaws and Hammerstein have gelled as a double act yet. I remember the strip in Tharg’s hands being much stronger.

Strontium Dog fares much better. The strip feels almost fully formed from the off (though when does Wulf actually become a viking, not just like a viking?). Its very good…. well its is buuuutttt not as good as it will become under Tharg. The themes are there, the tone, the characters BUT again it doesn’t quite get into it grove plot wise for me in these early stories. A bit unfair that, given it took Dredd so long to really get for me.

I guess it's easy to judge these early stages in a strips development too harshly - their quality slightly diminished by a knowledge of what's to come. Unfair comparison to future glories that would never have been without these first slightly uneasy steps. But still compare these Starlord’s highs (see above) with 2000ad of this period, well certainly the issues from the 70s onwards when the Galaxies’ greatest really finds its form again and against commonly held and possibly romanitised opinion (and with my limited exposure to Starlord) looks to me for all you hear 2000ad was the stronger of the two?
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: sheridan on 06 August, 2016, 09:28:53 pm
Strontium Dog fares much better. The strip feels almost fully formed from the off (though when does Wulf actually become a viking, not just like a viking?). Its very good…. well its is buuuutttt not as good as it will become under Tharg.
I actually don't like much the initial two stories which ran in 2000AD and Starlord from the Starlord side of the merger - Galaxy Killers and Death on the Orient Express - both series got better after those ones though.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Tjm86 on 07 August, 2016, 11:09:52 am
I'd have to agree with that.  Starlord Stront was generally a much stronger beast than GC.  The Hell storyline that followed really showed Stront in a much stronger light.  Not least since it allowed Ezquerra to just go completely bonkers with the artwork.  TBH I can't think of anyone else who could have pulled off that story, much less from the tooth artist roster of the time.  Maybe Flint could today.

RoBusters always felt like a one joke strip that lasted long after the punch line had played out. Some of the Starlord stories really don't read that well today.  The meandering into Ro-Jaws and Hammerstein's back stories before simply killing everyone off was probably the only thing that kept it going. 

If there was anything I would love to see get a decent reprint treatment from the Lord, it would have to be Mind Wars.  Foreshadowing Return to Armageddon with gorgeous Redondo artwork, a galaxy spanning plot, and great big balls for ships!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: sheridan on 11 August, 2016, 09:29:51 pm
If there was anything I would love to see get a decent reprint treatment from the Lord, it would have to be Mind Wars.  Foreshadowing Return to Armageddon with gorgeous Redondo artwork, a galaxy spanning plot, and great big balls for ships!
Second vote for Mind Wars here - throw in the not-so-good annual story which appeared a year or two after the good Redondo stuff too.  Mind Wars is one that didn't make it away from Starlord though, didn't it?  Which (as far as my meagre knowledge of the Rebellion IP deal goes) means it isn't in Reb's catalogue unless they cut a new deal (like they did for Monster).
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 13 August, 2016, 09:45:42 am
Whoops meant to have added a few more of these... and I know you'll all be missing me!

Anyway holiday thought number 2

2000ad and Starlord

As if to prove my point issue 86 is an absolute gem. It really is. Its like issue one all over again, as if real time and care has been taken to make each strip as strong as possible. The comic looks glorious and while there are only 4 strips (Dredd, Strontium Dog, Ro-Busters and Flesh 2) each has more room and really shines. The Starlord cross-overs (Strontium Dog and Ro-Busters) already show signs of improvement, though time will tell if this is as I remember it. Still Prog 86 is a joy to behold (this is why I got my cover of this issue signed by Dave Gibbons)
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 13 August, 2016, 09:46:37 am
Which was quickly followed by Holiday thought number 3

End of 1978

Yep both Starlord strips feel much better for the move to 2000ad. Well okay Strontium Dog didn’t have that much room for improvement but the new story is for me the strongest so far. Ro-Busters after a fun two parter really kicks into gear with the fantastic Hammerstein War Memories story. Now again to be fair this is largely due to the fact that its completely changed format and the art is quite fantastic. The lose of the formula is what makes the future stories, by and large sing though. The odd rescue story that pops up (I’m remembering Northpool) therefore feels fresher. So yeah 2000ad and Starlord - better than the sum of its parts.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Magnetica on 13 August, 2016, 10:05:23 pm
And yet as a Starlord reader but not a 2000AD reader at the time I found the change in format of both Stontium Dog and Robusters to be not what I wanted. Johnny and Wulf forced into a war rather than apprending criminals?  Robusters not following the disaster of the week format?
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 13 August, 2016, 10:53:14 pm
And yet as a Starlord reader but not a 2000AD reader at the time I found the change in format of both Stontium Dog and Robusters to be not what I wanted. Johnny and Wulf forced into a war rather than apprending criminals?  Robusters not following the disaster of the week format?

Have you reflected on it since? I often wonder how much my take on stuff from the first couple of years of 2000ad is influenced by my thoughts and affection for strips at the time? Its hard to unpick but for example can I really read Flesh as just a comic as it was so fundamental to forming me as a reader? I'd love to be able to read some of these stories for the first time, in the same way I am say Monster (when I get to it).
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Magnetica on 14 August, 2016, 03:52:06 am
Yes I think there is a lot in that. I look back on the early stories with great affection but there is probably a lot of nostalgia and rose tinted spectacles going on.

As I wasn't a regular 2000AD reader until Prog 127 I missed out on a number of things first time round and have been recently reading some of the stuff I missed for the first time.

This includes:

(original) Harlem Heroes and Inferno - having owned the TPB for 2 years (?) I still haven't finished it and am forcing myself to finish it at present

Dan Dare (vol 1): having fairly quickly read the first story (the Belardinelli one) I have so far only read a couple of episodes of the Dave Gibbons one and haven't picked it up in months

Invasion - I found that to be totally formulaic, unsophisticated and repetitive

Death Planet - makes Invasion look like Shakespeare

Coloney Earth - makes Death Planet look like Shakespeare

The "banned episodes" of the Cursed Earth - let's be honest they're not great are they?

JD case files 1 ( anniversary edition)- let's be kind and say the step hadn't hit on the winning formula yet.

As it was available in the half price sale I bought Robusters Nuts and Bolts 1, but haven't read it yet - so it will be interesting to see how it holds up.

I did also read some of my old favourites as my local library happen to have the trades:

SD files 1 and 2 (including the Starlord stuff) - I think it holds up well apart from Journey to Hell, which even more than the first 2000 AD Strontium Dog story strays from the established pattern

VCs first series - I still like it but it is quite formulaic and the ensemble cast are in it way less than I remember ( a bit like Scotty , Sulu and Chekov in ST TOS).
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 14 August, 2016, 07:52:22 am
The finale of my later than planned holiday thoughts:

2000ad 1978

Well what a year that’s been for the young Prog. Tharg started the year on his back foot. As I’ve said before Galaxies Greatest has been on an admitedly slow downward spiral since its early and glorious start. After some stunningly good stuff in the first 20 or so Progs 1977 was only smattered with real highlights, which I’ve mentioned previously, but lacked any real consistency and 1978 brought some real stinkers too. Yes Colony Earth and Death Planet (whatever you were called) I’m looking at you in particular. Not just not great, real chuffin’ rubbish.

To be honest as I’ve mentioned before for the first half of the year the Prog was struggling to entertain and I was skip reading great chunks. Funnily enough the form of the Prog has been echoing the form of Dredd (by and large and possibly the other way around). So when Cursed Earth comes along and unleashed some of the finest Dredd ever, it's no surprise the Prog soon follows form. Cursed Earth is absolutely classic Dredd and for me it's when the strip actually becomes the best thing in the Prog consistency and the series really takes off. The story really gets to the heart of the character, unfettered by the cruel, evil system that sharps him, the relentless hero fighting for justice is allowed to shine through. I find it fascinating that it’s a story by Pat Mills that so clearly demonstrates what Mr Wagner’s character is all about.

So anyway I digress Cursed Earth drags Dredd onto the very best form. Almost as soon as it does Ant Wars starts, which I know isn’t popular, but which I love and with some other nice stories added to the mix the Prog seems to have finally found its feet. Just in time to have them possibly kicked out from under it with the merger with Starlord…

… but as I’ve said over the last few posts no such thing. Prog 86 and the rest of 1978 find the Prog as good as it's ever been to this date. All the strips in the new line-up are fantastic, really thrill-powered, Flesh 2 being a surprise (again I think) as I never remember it as fondly as Book 1, but then I do very little in the Prog, BUT that means I seem to miss what absolute immense fun it is. It's like the comic is a new, refreshed as it's been in the second half of the year this last stretch in 1978 sees the Prog as good as I can remember it ever being in its 40 year (gulp) history. All this in a mysteriously short year, missing 3 or 4 Progs. I’d forgotten about the Journalists strike which wiped them out until Tharg reminded me in Nerve Centre in the years final Prog 93.

Can 2000ad sustain its wonderful second half of 1979… well my memory says no, but my re-read will very possibly give my wayward memory a good kicking. Let's see shall we…
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Fungus on 14 August, 2016, 08:48:30 am
Hm, is Curs-ed Earth the "heart" of the character? (Possibly my favourite epic and hate  :) myself at picking it up yet again when there was no need). Mills did say recently it's an anomaly with the rest of Dredd, as he's the straight-ahead Hero, Saving the Day ("winning" wars and busting perps, he's usually a right Bastard, albeit-entertaining...).
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 14 August, 2016, 09:06:04 am
Hm, is Curs-ed Earth the "heart" of the character? (Possibly my favourite epic and hate  :) myself at picking it up yet again when there was no need). Mills did say recently it's an anomaly with the rest of Dredd, as he's the straight-ahead Hero, Saving the Day ("winning" wars and busting perps, he's usually a right Bastard, albeit-entertaining...).

For me that's kinda the point. Dredd is a rigourous unrelenting hero, in many many ways, he's a determined fighter for justice. Its just that justice in his world has been defined by an evil fascistic system. Take him out of that and he becomes the hero that Pat Mills finds in Cursed Earth. This interestingly continues in 'The Day the Law Died' when Dredd returns to Mega City One, but here the systems has broken down so Dredd has to operate outside his norms and again the relentless fighter for Justice returns (though ok here he's fighting for the return of the less evil, but still evil, status quo). I'm really interested to see the strips after TDtLD feel like when he goes back to being a bastard, cos that what the system he loves makes him.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Magnetica on 14 August, 2016, 10:45:26 am
Prog 86 was the first Prog I bought. Looking back now it is a fantastic Prog, but at the time in addition to my comments above about the change in format of Strontium Dog and Robusters in the move to 2000AD, the other issue the 9 (?) year old me had with the Prog at the time was that the Day the Law Died just wasn't a great introduction to Dredd, even though it is an all time classic. The problem was it was yet another strip with a change of focus. The first part starting with the post Cursed Earth parade didn't help, only increasing the sense of coming in in the middle of a story (yes looking back now it didn't matter but it felt like it did then.)

Then it was straight into Dredd being outside the system. When you are not familiar with the system...well let's say it put me off - regardless of the wonderful Bolland and McCarthy / Ewins art. I would have much preferred a few standard procedurals first.

Add in a few missed Progs and I was out for over 6 months.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 14 August, 2016, 11:28:34 am
...blah blah... Dredd... I'm really interested to see the strips after TDtLD feel like when he goes back to being a bastard, cos that what the system he loves makes him.

Actually I want to change that 'system he loves' to 'system he is so immersed in and indoctrinated by'

Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 15 August, 2016, 12:31:40 pm
Angel and end of Flesh 2 - does the dip start here?

Well I’m not giving 1979 much of a chance as very early my suspicions of slide start to bear fruit. Its not as if things are that bad, Dredd is still supreme, Ro-Busters wobbles but then springs back to form, the odd interesting Future Shock BUT as we approach Prog 100 things are slipping. Flesh Book 2 doesn’t end well, Carlos Pino takes over on art for the last two parts, the end (unlike Book 1 which felt a little over extended) is very rushed. Okay so what happens to Peters (another brutal 2000ad moment) isn’t significant, cos lets face it our ‘hero’ wasn’t either, such a bland character, it's the fate of our two monsters that we’re interested in. Big Hungry’s fate is cute, Carvers is dismissed. Bloody wonderfully villainous Claw Carver dismissed in a couple of panels, one of which is cut and pasted from an earlier episode interestingly - I do wonder what is under that pasted on reproduction, how vicious was his end originally? Terrible way for this excellent series to be wrapped up.

Worse still is Angel. When people talk about the worse 2000ad series ever this one this one rarely appears. Not because people have any affection for it I suspect, I guess it because it's so utterly pointless and bland. The fact that it's utterly ridiculous both in concept and plot is neither here nor there, after all I love Visible Man, it's the fact that… it’s so… well God knows I’ve almost forgotten it already. Even 2000ad’s other lows are something to talk about, have moments of so bad it's… well not good but worth comment at least. Angel is rubbish. Oh and the much maligned (by me) Pino’s art doesn’t help. Angel committed the worse of all 2000ad crimes of being utterly bland beyond words, even to the point of me not caring how utterly stupid it is. Its deft skill comes solely in being so forgettable other stories are far more reviled!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Hawkmumbler on 15 August, 2016, 01:36:07 pm
And this is it for Flesh for awhile, right? Flicking through my new copy of Dino Files I see a few annual strips which I presume you won't be covering before jumping straight into the modern McKay stuff (which I seem to be a lone fan of). I know Shammana and Chronocide did get floppies eventually, which I own, but I do hope these get collected in another Dino Files anyway because I think they're kinda good.

Angel...i'm not familiar with, probably for the better. Did it ever see a reprint?
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Fungus on 15 August, 2016, 03:30:58 pm
Angel. I vaguely remember the title alone, but nothing else.

Puts Tharg's embarrassment of riches these days into context. No quick filling of pages now (it seems), plenty of droids eager to get published who need to wait in line. That's the perception anyway, from this spotty reader at least.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 15 August, 2016, 08:06:36 pm
And this is it for Flesh for awhile, right? Flicking through my new copy of Dino Files I see a few annual strips which I presume you won't be covering before jumping straight into the modern McKay stuff (which I seem to be a lone fan of). I know Shammana and Chronocide did get floppies eventually, which I own, but I do hope these get collected in another Dino Files anyway because I think they're kinda good.

Angel...i'm not familiar with, probably for the better. Did it ever see a reprint?

Oh interesting isn't the McKay stuff in the new printing? The copy I got (the one before this) had the first McKay story in it - and your not the only fan I really enjoyed it.

Shammana is rubbish fun and Chronocide is criminally short and was pretty good I thought. I'm thinking Angel was a filler in an Extreme or Floppie... hold on...yeah Meg 321 it would seem.

Angel. I vaguely remember the title alone, but nothing else.

Puts Tharg's embarrassment of riches these days into context. No quick filling of pages now (it seems), plenty of droids eager to get published who need to wait in line. That's the perception anyway, from this spotty reader at least.

Yeah hard to argue. Many stories were poorly served by the old school factory method of churning the story out until it flagged in popularity and is then wrapped up quickly to slot in whatevers in the wings. Makes decent endings few and far between.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Hawkmumbler on 15 August, 2016, 08:14:05 pm
McKays first run, Texas, is in this book. The page count is why I reckon now is a good time for a vol 2, with Shamana (Book 1 and 2) and Chronocide, with 3000AD thrown in for good measure! Some nice Critchlow art on that story.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Magnetica on 15 August, 2016, 09:16:40 pm
You know Colin you are absolutely spot on about Angel. In my post above about early stuff I have read for the first time in the last year or so I completely forgot about Angel.

It is comfortably worse than Death Planet or Colony Earth in my opinion, but was so bland that I just totally forgot it.

To further prove your point there are definitely series I actively dislike more.


Revere for one.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Dandontdare on 16 August, 2016, 09:23:21 am
Angel didn't make a lick of sense - I recall a scene where he falls from a building to almost certain death but the flight-computer melted onto his shoulder ('cos yeah, that'd work) ) allows him to flip over in mid-air and LAND SAFELY ON HIS FEET without shattering his leg bones to splinters.

I can't recall a single other thing about the plot or story.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: sheridan on 16 August, 2016, 12:49:26 pm
I'd mostly forgotten about Angel.  It seems to be a bit like M.A.C.H. 1, but it just happened by accident and makes even less sense, logically, than Probe did.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 21 August, 2016, 09:45:16 pm
A Great start to the 2nd Century AD

Well it would seem I shot my dip bolt a little prematurely. A good few wonderful things happen after Prog 100. So okay Dan Dare returns to what I recall is its weakest run, which I have to admit gets off to a pretty good start, starts to lose itself and by 111 the cosmic claw appears... I'm not holding out hope. Mind Robo-Hunter is also back for the early 100s and is great. As is Strontium Dog in Journey into Hell, which arrives only a few Progs later. Ro-Busters really hits its stride as it breaks free of its formula and runs beautifully wild in Fall & Rise (which is very interesting to read again after the recent re-telling).

Its Dredd that absolutely shines though. Amongst all these jewels, and it is a really rich spell, the end of The Day the Law Died (in Prog 108) is great, not Cursed Earth great but still a superb story. Whats really exciting though is on its conclusion we get something starting that I think will be really significant. For well over a year now, in fact since Prog 42, so well over half the lifetime of the Prog we've not been in Mega City One as we know it. First Luna 1, then Cursed Earth and finally Cal's lunatic take on the City for so long Dredd has been estranged from the centre of his strip the streets and high rises of Mega City One. Because of that, however good the strip has been, certianly for those first two Mega Epics, its been strangely detached from what we know the strip as. Dredd has been playing different roles in different environments (even if one was Mega City One).

 In  110, after missing 109 a point I will return to, I was really excited therefore to read 'Punks Rule' the archetype introducing Dredd to a new reader strip. Its a needed to as many readers won't have read much of whats to come for a good long run now (as I recall) Dredd on the streets exploring and busting up the crazy life of the cities citizens and punks. I think we get a years worth now (until Judge Child?) of short stories that will finally see Dredd fully formed and in 'normal' operation. A series of stories that will define 'typical' Dredd until Wagner starts to explore politics and the Democrary storyline changes the strip forever. Really looking to see if I'm right in this.

Oh and in Prog 109, not Dredd, but to be honest I barely noticed as we had one of those rarest of things up to this point a fantastic Future Shock. Most to date have been throw away and pretty weak 'Sacrifice' by Alan Hebden and Mike White is fantastic, a 7 page grim piece of delight. Simple, yet fantastically executed. What a short and wonderful surprise.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 26 August, 2016, 10:05:25 pm
New logo

So the first new logo for 2000ad comes along with Prog 119 and with it some nerves on my part. Rick Random has already been stinking up the Prog which aside from the continuing trudergy of Dan Dare getting less and less interesting as it goes on the Prog has been on fine form. Ro-Busters last 'epic' story is great and everything else has been great. Particularly Dredd which really is in a golden period of wonderful short stories (I always forget how early in the Prog's history Vienna appeared). So when Invasion prologue Disaster 1990 and Project Overload join in 119 along with a less than fondly remembered logo, I was a little worried we'd only have Dredd and the ABC Warriors to entertain. Well almost.

While Disaster 1990 might as well have been called Disaster 1979, Project Overload, a story I remember little of even though its only a few years since I read it, is great fun, at least at the start. It sets up a nice mystery and with great art has great fun as it unravels its secrets. Okay plot holes a plenty but I quickly got past that. So yeah we've still had a bit of a dip things aren't as bad as I feared and 1979's highs by Prog 123, about half way through by far out weigh any problems.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Andy B on 27 August, 2016, 06:46:18 pm
I think we get a years worth now (until Judge Child?) of short stories that will finally see Dredd fully formed and in 'normal' operation.

Absolutely this - the essence of Dredd isn't in the epics, it's in the short stories, and this period is when that formula really came together. Plus, McMahon, Bolland and Smith on rotation: wonderful stuff. I often see Case Files 5 recommended as a good entry point for new readers, but there's a strong case for vol 3. Damn it: I'm going to go read it right now!

I've got fond memories of this period. I got hooked from Prog 160, and then spent a couple of years scouring second hand book stores, jumble sales in church halls, and boxes in the back of newsagents for back issues. So I read all these stories in a totally random order, which somehow didn't matter at all. Made them even more intriguing.

I remember the extra buzz I got from finding a Prog with the quality paper, and a 'Journey into Hell' centre spread. (How about a hardback edition of that and the full-colour Starlord stuff?)

Great thread - look forward to reading more.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 28 August, 2016, 09:16:06 pm
2000ad and Tornado

So while merging with Starlord saw an already improving Prog launched into new heights it would seem that absorbing Tornados ejaculate will see a weaking Prog get itself into a bit of a sticky mess. I mean we're okay, Dredd and ABC Warriors are still on absolute fire and we have seen the last (I think) of the ever diminishing Dan Dare but other signs are more worrying, if my shoddy memory is to be trusted.

I'm not a big fan of Blackhawk in the Prog, though it starts off okay and as I recall Wolfie Smith takes some time to get going (two long weak stories?) but again early episodes are fine... so maybe I'm going to find myself pleasently surprised... I'm certainly surprised that Disaster 1979 is still in the Galaxies Greatest. I mean it is bloody awful and I don't remember it lasting that long at all... I've avoided Barney not wanting to spoil myself as to when it does, but 3 progs into the merger and its still seems to be going stro... well it's still going.

Which is a shame when you consider that given time to build on its intitual msyteries Project OverKill could have bloomed into a great thrill. As it is Redondo's glorious art aside it's short lifespan contributed to it not living up to its early promise. Still I like to image a world where Tharg, whose day I've just joyously shared, saw its potential and ran with it rather than poorly realised Bill Savage pap. Oh well lets see how things develop.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: sheridan on 28 August, 2016, 10:39:49 pm
2000ad and Tornado
I mean we're okay, Dredd and ABC Warriors are still on absolute fire and we have seen the last (I think) of the ever diminishing Dan Dare but other signs are more worrying, if my shoddy memory is to be trusted.
On the run, trying to clear his name?  Yep, that's the last we see of him in the prog.
Quote
I'm not a big fan of Blackhawk in the Prog, though it starts off okay and as I recall Wolfie Smith takes some time to get going (two long weak stories?) but again early episodes are fine... so maybe I'm going to find myself pleasently surprised...
Blackhawk plays host to some fantastic artwork from Massimo, before Ace Trucking Co had come along.  I liked the Wendigo storyline, but can't recall what other stories Earnest had in the Galaxy's Greatest...
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Magnetica on 28 August, 2016, 11:51:22 pm
Prog 127 will always hold a special place in my heart, as it is the point at which my uninterrupted Prog reading started.

Regarding the stories over the weeks that followed, Dredd and ABC Warriors were just awesome - some of the best stuff ever in the Prog IMO.

I obviously must have liked the others at the time. I have re-read Blackhawk (TPB) and Disaster 1990 (floppies) recently.  I had never read the Tornado Blackhawk before and it is a very different beast to that in 2000 AD, which I think still holds up relatively well. It is helped massively by Belardnelli's art and the episodes he didn't draw stand out like a sore thumb.

I was surprised at how poor Disaster 1990 was - I definitely remember liking it at the time. On a re-read it comes across as very repetitive and cliched, full resolutions relying on conveniently placed items for Savage to use in that week's fight (a bit like Invasion before it really).

I have never re-read Wolfie Smith since, but remember thinking it was the weakest thing in the Prog at the time, both in terms of the story and the art.

I remember taking one of those Progs ( not sure if it was 130 or 132) to school when we were asking to bring something in we really liked to show our class mates and everyone being blown away by it. It felt like I had been reading 2000 AD for ages then but it was only my 4th (or 6th?) regular Prog,which just goes to show what an impression it made on me.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Fungus on 29 August, 2016, 12:52:02 am
Disaster 1990 is fine in my eyes.
Designed for weekly episodes read by children, it's great. Certainly not 'poor'.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Hawkmumbler on 29 August, 2016, 07:33:30 am
Well I read Disaster 1990 in the floppies and thought it dreadful.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Tjm86 on 31 August, 2016, 07:20:37 pm
Disaster is one of those tales that I don't think has aged particularly well.  I remember enjoying it as a child and even basically plagiarising it for an English essay in school but re-reading it as an adult ...

One of a series of stories that we've had over the years that probably sounded better originally in the writers' own mind than in execution.  Plenty of boys own adventure scrapes and one dimensional villains with a bit of a deus-ex resolution.

Let's face it, there have been worse <cough>Space Girls</cough>!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 03 September, 2016, 09:23:05 pm
Wow issue 138 before Disaster 1979 finishes. Alas it takes ABC Warriors with it. I'm sure I've read, but can't remember why it took so long for them to come back after what's been a glorious run... with one small bump.

What is it about Golgotha that doesn't quite work? I mean Old One Eye and Satanus are two of my all time favs but Golgotha? A Rex too far? Dare I say it is it that Ezquerra, using Long John Silver doesn't really suit ABC Warriors and makes his T-Rex slightly less magnificent. Is it the armour? I'm not sure about any of this I just don't think he's given the chance to grow as a character they way his ancestors are. Shame.

Anyway Blackhawk wonders on trying to find its direction (I think 139 might see that start) and Dredd continues to delight. Wolfie Smith is the surprise I'm enjoying this far more than I remember enjoying the early stories and it looks great. Two new strips to come and I know one of them I controvesially don't like so we'll see which way the balance swings at this late turning point in 1979's proggage.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 04 September, 2016, 09:33:17 pm
2000ad 1979

Well the year hasn't been quite so tumultuous as 1978, even though the still young Prog has gone through another merger it hasn't quite had the highs nor lows of the previous year. Well not overall, certain stories have hit those extremes.

For me 1979 is most significent for Dredd consistently being the best thing in the Prog for almost entire year. I'm sure there was the odd prog were Strontium Dog, Ro-Busters or ABC Warriors nipped in to grasp thrill of the week. The odd prog. Week in, week out though Dredd firmly establishes itselfs the best thing in Tharg's kingdom. Now this might seem an odd thing for me to say as I was raving about Dredd for the bulk of 1978, certainly during The Cursed Earth. I adore that story but lets be honest its a bit of an anomaly. While it might give clear vision of Dredd as a man removed from the system that shapes him, its the strips after the delightfully full on Day the Law Died that really see the strip defining itself fully. I've discussed that before so I'll say no more.

Elsewhere the real stars of the year are the robots. Ro-Busters and ABC Warriors really standing heads and tail above the other non Dredd strips, with Strontium Dog and Robo-Hunter being unsurprisingly in the following pack. There are no hidden gems in the less famous stories and while there are some stinkers, Angel, Rick Random, Disaster 1999 and most of Dan Dare they're normally balanced with some good stuff. Its always a balance though.

So 1979 sees the Galaxies Greatest steady itself and as the year ends and Blackhawk lurches from one choatic direction change to the next, Stainless Steel Rat promises much delight and the VCs... well I'll save my thoughts on that to next time I think... we beckon in a new decade and I think and interesting time for a Prog now finding its direction and balance as it totters on into its 4th year.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: chiefy2shoes on 09 September, 2016, 08:58:34 pm
For some reason I haven't visited this site for an absolute age. One of the first things that caught my eye was this thread Colin. At the start of the year, like you,  I decided to reread the Prog from the beginning but in a slight twist, to save time, I'm not rereading any Dredd stories. I hope you don't mind me clogging down the thread with my thoughts. As of today I'm up to Prog 520 but will stay in line with your reading Colin.

Flesh 1-19 - In the future when food stores run dry what is a citizenship to do? Travel back in time and slaughter dinosaurs to use as a food source of course. Whilst this is pretty great throughout, the first half is quite a bit superior to the second. Earl Reagan is a dino herder who ends up feuding with the evil Claw Carver but the main star is 'Old One Eye' the vicious Tyranosaur who just won't die. The art is fantastic and I'm looking forward to the next batch of stories.

Dan Dare 1-23 - The art is full of detail, strangeness and beautiful horror like images. Not surprising it's so good as the artist is Belardinelli. The story? Hhmm It starts off okay with DD doing some space exploring but then it gets weird and not in a good way. A race called the Biogs, who have a living spaceship, kidnap Dare and some other giant dude called Monday and do strange things with their minds. It's a confusing mess to be honest. Writer Kelvin Gosnell is the culprit but Steve Moore handles the script for the next arc so we'll see if it improves. I was in luck as the next arc is indeed much better. Okay, so it might still be a bit weird. DD flys into the heart of a giant red sun, his new partner is a talking man-dog, old school villain the Mekon returns and he has a two headed cronie at his disposal. The writing is better and we still have Belardinelli on art so it's win-win.

Invasion 1-26 - It's the near future of 1999, Prince Charles is now the King of England, the US has withdrawn from NATO and the former Russia is now the Volgan Republic which invades the UK. Pockets of resistance form and right on the front line is lorry driver Bill Savage. Pat Mills created this strip so of course the lead character Savage is an anti authoritarian figure. Aside from Bill there are hardly any recurring support characters except his right hand man Silk and so far we haven't seen any of the architects behind the invasion or leaders of the Volgan army. Writer Gerry Finley-Day doesn't offer up any motivation for the Volgs invasion so we don't find out exactly what's going on. The thing is, it doesn't really matter because the writing is top notch and each strip barrels along at such a break neck pace, all you need to know is that Savage hates the Volgs and always has a plan to dispatch as many as he can. Mike Dorey and Carlos Pino handle most of the art and it really hits the mark. More proof that black and white can be muchbetter than colour when done right. These are all single prog episodes but next issue features the first multi-part story. I can't wait.

M.A.C.H. 1 - 1-26 - Man Activated by Compu-puncture Hyperpower. What a mouthful. This is 2000 ad's answer to the six million dollar man and John Probe even looks like Lee Majors. Whereas Invasion stayed fairly grounded, due to the almost superhero nature of MACH 1, the stories are a bit more outlandish and most tend to be goofy. There are the occasional good episodes but overall it's a bit weak. Quite a few artists contribute and the best episodes are the ones drawn by the excellent Jose Redondo.

Dan Dare 28-51 - DD has been tasked to investigate the Lost Worlds, a place where none who have ventured there have ever returned. I'm not sure what made him think he'd be any different! He assembles a crew by bascially antagonising them into wanting to kill him but when they hear about the mission, for some reason they're all on board. The first and second arcs are not great with super cheesy dialogue and hokey plotting. The Starslayer story which kicks in with prog 36 is bit of an upturn. DD frees a bunch of slaves and they all unite to battle the evil space pirate that rules that sector of space. Dave Gibbons provides excellent art throughout all these progs. Also, as an interesting twist towards the end of the run the story begins on the front cover.

Invasion 27-51 - Like the first 26 progs that precede these, it's mainly just Bill Savage finding new ways to take out the invading Volgans. A slight change is that rather than just single episodes we get a few multi parters which gives a few characters a chance to develop a bit (mainly Prince John who is trying to get back to Canada). Things get a little silly with when Nessie, a female wrestler appears who tricks the Volgs by posing as the Loch Ness monster. Prog 36 is a real highlight as it's drawn by the sublime Ian Kennedy who was a regular on Commando. 51 progs is a lot to try and stay original and there is quite a lot of repetition and the main theme is that of supposed allies turning traitor. One double agent is a guy called 'Georgia' who bears a striking resemblance to 'The Russian' from the Ennis/Dillon Punisher run.

M.A.C.H. 1 27-46 - More great art but weak stories. There's one where Probe is sent to investigate a downed UFO and goes undercover as a lumberjack. The team leader of the lumberjacks tests him by punching him in the gut. wtf? We never find who is behind MACH 1's missions or what their organisational directive is. He takes part in some really varied stuff like the aforementioned UFO investigation, climbing Everest, foiling robberies and battling hyper-women, hyper-dogs and hyper-kiddies. It's readable but nothing special.
Harlem Heroes 1-27 - Hmm. I really wanted to like this. Dave Gibbons on art duties is a good start and the first few episodes are promising. It's a concept reminiscent of Rollerball in that it's a future sport (Aeroball) that appeals due to it's violent nature. Rather than ride motorbikes though, these guys fly around with jetpacks. In fact it's more like an extra violent version of Quidditch. Early on we see the Heroes team bus in a devastating crash that injures or kills half the team. What we then get is a recruitment drive with the standard formulaic additions of wily veteran, young punk kid and former team members brought back into the fold. It would have be cool to focus on these individual characters but instead we get pages and pages of Aeroball action that gets very repetitive quickly. The other main plot thread is that someone is suspected of sabotaging the initial bus crash. Helping the Heroes get to the bottom of this is the brain of former member Louis Mayer. That's right, his brain was the only thing that survived the crash and now he can speak. Future science is great! Overall it dragged on too long and the reveal at the end is a bit groan inducing.

Shako 20-35 - This repeats a lot of what happened in Flesh. Giant creature being hunted by two people who don't get along, fights them off, gets injured, presumed dead, not dead etc. It starts off well but for me gets too silly like when Shako is hiding in a school classroom with coats thrown over him. I preferred Flesh to be honest although this does have one of the greatest tag lines ever - Shako, the only bear on the C.I.A. deathlist!

Future Shocks 25-38, 40-42 - A lot of these are just 2 or 3 pages which is not an easy platform for a story. There is the usual mix of mistaken identities, time travel and alternate realities and my favourite one was a vampire take called Fangs in prog 34 drawn by King Carlos.

The Visible Man 47-52 - This is kind a frankenstein story with a guy on the run as he becomes something of a monster after getting drenched in sludge. It's really cheesy and poorly scripted with one of the opening panels proclaiming, 'Radio active waste turned him into an apparition so terrible even alley cats are frightened at sight of him!' It would be 24 years until TVM returned in prog 1771. This is a pretty cool image though.

M.A.C.H. 1 53-64 - The Dolphin Tapes kicks things off and it's a strange tale of Probe investigating a shady organisation that has stolen some government files with the goal of making a Fish man. It's silly. Pat Mills comes on board to script The Final Encounter and it's ufo, little green men, robot MACH men and double cross filled clustermuck. Art was great throughout the series but I was glad it was over...

M.A.C.H. 0 65-72 - ...Or was it. Probe's predecessor get's his own series and it a direct riff on Frankenstein's monster. The lumbering brute speaks in broken English and it's over the top bizarreness and not in a good way. Apparently he's searching for his son and accidentally upstages Cousin George , an American stuntman, during a daredevil show. George, who dresses like a superhero, tries hunting Zero, catches him and chains him up like a bond villain. The arcs that followed I glossed over without reading thoroughly.

Death Planet 62-70 - Great art by Lopez but below par writing from Alan Hebden. The potential is there. A space mission to colonise a new planet goes wrong and leaves the crew stranded. There's a fight for leadership, strange life forms and then out of nowhere a mystery villain crops up with about 4 episodes to go and then it all wraps up lickety-split for an unsatisfying conclusion.

Colony Earth 52-61 - This is War of the Worlds meets Independence Day with a splash of Invasion/Bill Savage and I enjoyed it. Naval captain James Hunter takes on the Bill Savage role of a man leading a resistance against an alien invasion. It all kicks off in the first few pages, as a lot of 2000 ad strips do, and we get a bit of archaeology, hidden mysteries and then the appearances of the all important UFO/aliens. Jim Watson, who had drawn Thunderbirds and Captain Scarlet, writes and draws this series and it looks fantastic. Loads of detail in each panel, clean lines and cracking action splashes. His script is also fast paced and keeps everything flowing. The only criticism is that it ends rather abruptly.

Harlem Heroes: Inferno 36-75 - 'Faster than Speedway! crazier than Ice Hockey! Tougher than Football! Deadlier than Aeroball! It's Inferno'. That's the tagline and in reality it's a cross between Rollerball and Aeroball (from the first series that I still don't really understand the rules of). Initially Giant proclaims it's organised mayhem with no skill and has no desire to get involved in the sport but 3 panels later he's agreed to play! By episode 3 we've terms like double-hitch hike, flick-pick and semi-score but real understanding of how the game is played. Story wise it's pretty much the same as last time. Loads of match stuff with a side plot involving the Heroes, who are now the Hellcats, being framed for match fixing. Half way through the series the actual game play takes a back seat as Artie Gruber returns from the grave and takes centre stage. I'm really on the fence here. At 40 episodes it's a bit too long and in parts the hokey scripting is too much but this could be some of the best art Belardinelli ever produced so it gets a pass from me.

Future Shocks 45-56, 58-60, 66, 70, 74 - As with the previous batch of FS's there are tales of mistaken identities, time travel and alternate realities. My favourite one was Fugitive from prog 66. It's only one and a half pages but has a nice little twist.

Walter the Wobot 50-68 - These one pagers aren't much to wrote home about and are mainly semi funny comedy strips. The best of the bunch is Walter's Brother from 52-56. It's an origin story of sorts and even features Mercury from The Metal Men.

Dan Dare 52-85 - Chris Lowder writes the bulk of these and most are not bad although there are some stinkers in there. The real star though is Dave Gibbons and for me his work here is easily the equal of something like Watchmen.

Ant Wars 71-85 - An unidentified military operation is taking place in a south American jungle and there just so happens to be a random scientist with them who just so happens to have an experimental insecticide with him. Of course when one of the soldiers complains about ant bites the super brain uses the insecticide and whammo! giant ants. Oh dear. It's silly stuff with a terrible plot and poor script but weirdly has a somewhat interesting story. The art is also pretty good. However, when certain things start happening such as, the ants gaining super intelligence, donning disguises (yes they disguise themselves as a Rio carnival float), playing dead and then sprouting wings, it just got too much for me.

Robo-Hunter: Verdus 76-84, 100-112 - This starts off well but for me descends into too much comedy and the robot versions of every house hold appliance start to get annoying quickly. Also, and I realise this might not be a popular opinion, I'm not really a fan of Ian Gibson's art.

Ro-Busters 86-101 - There's a real mixed bag of stories here and they'll worth a read. Amongst them the Ro-Busters help out a disaster area which is a good laugh, Ro-Jaws gets taken in like a rescued puppy by a little girl, there's a story with big robots fighting with yet more cracking Dave Gibbons art and a great story featuring Hammerstein's war tales.

Flesh: Book 2 86-99 - Having now been reminded of his work on Dan Dare, Harlem Heroes and now Flesh, I think Belardinelli should be considered one of the all time greats of 2000 ad (to be fair he probably already is). I've still got Mean Team and Ace Trucking to come and next up is Blackhawk which I've not read before. Anyway, Flesh Book 2 is a fun romp, this time through the triassic period and is based on farming sea based dinos. Claw Carver returns and is as mean and vile as ever and again he is matched up against a massive beast, this time Big Hungry! It's more consistent that the first series and the art, as you'd expect, is to die for.

Strontium Dog: The Galaxy Killers 86-94 - Didn't feel this at all. Sure, King Carlos' art is good but the story is rubbish and the characters don't come across very strongly.

Angel 95-99 - Fortunately this was the only extended strip written by Chris Stevens. A man crashes his jet fighter and has the flight computer molded onto his shoulder which lets him somehow controls machines. What the hell? It's a poor man's MACH 1. Avoid.

Future Shocks 76-78, 80-83, 85, 88-90, 93-98 - Nothing much to write about here.

Dan Dare: Servant of Evil 100-107, 109-126 - More brilliant Gibbons art, that's the first point. Secondly Tom Tully comes on board as writer and although the story begins a bit shakily, DD gets easily duped by The Mekon, it soon ramps up the action and tension and has the makings of true epic. I say makings as at the end of prog 126 there is a caption that says 'Dan Dare will return soon' but the strip never materialises again so the story stays unfinished.

Ro-Busters: Fall & Rise of Ro-Jaws and Hammerstein 103-115 - Big fan of this. Cracking art from O'Neill and McMahon and funny scripts from Mills make this a great read. The over the top droids make it even better. Dr Feeley Good is a highlight but Little Mo the super nice cleaning droid also gets some laughs. Also, I'd be amazed if Futurama's Bender wasn't based on Ro-Jaws.

Strontium Dog: Journey into Hell 104-118 - Starts off really strong with a tense chase scene as Johhny, Wulf and The Gronk are in hot pursuit of former Stront Fly-Eye Wagner. Things get a bit strange when they all get transported to Hell and then even weirder when they encounter Mr Sun and Mr Moon. Hhhmm, that's back to back misses for me as far as SD is concerned.

Rick Random: Riddle of the Astral Assassin 113-118 - This is a futuristic murder mystery set during some inter planetary trade negotiations. It's over plotted, over scripted and uninteresting. Nice clean art though from Ron turner.

A.B.C. Warriors 119-139 - This is a tale of two halves. The first part includes the standard 'team formation' episodes where all the warriors are gathered together. This was actually my favourite section as we get some key background info on Mongrol, Blackblood, Deadlock and Steelhorn. The next half sees the warriors journey to Mars to do something. I'm not quite sure what their actual mission was. It's okay but seems a bit of a hodge podge of ideas. The five brained Mad George is fun though. Art is by O'Neill, McMahon, Gibbons, Ezquerra and McCarthy so nuff said.

Invasion: Disaster 1990 119-139 - Remember all those great Bill Savage tales from Invasion? Well this is set 9 years prior to the Volgan invasion and features our erstwhile hero trying to survive an ecological disaster. The polar ice caps have melted due to a nuclear submarine explosion (it all happens on page 1) and the country is suddenly flooded. Finley-Day can't seem to recapture the magic of those earlier stories and instead we get Bill travelling the country via boat stopping crime and generally pissing people off. Missable.

Project Overkill 119-126 - Then editor Steve McManus wanted the comic to be more of an adventure comic than a sci-fi one so we get more guff like this. It's about secret government groups, murder, mistaken identities and other rubbish.
 
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 09 September, 2016, 09:10:31 pm
For some reason I haven't visited this site for an absolute age...

Cos you were writing that exception, if long post!

I hope you don't mind me clogging down the thread with my thoughts.

Not at all, its always a pleasure to see you about Chief. The more people joining in chatting about the Prog the better I say.

Mind I hope that means we'll also get scans of more sketches you've collected elsewhere on the board?
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: chiefy2shoes on 09 September, 2016, 09:21:12 pm
Quote
Mind I hope that means we'll also get scans of more sketches you've collected elsewhere on the board?

I have a few small ones that I'll stick up at the weekend.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 09 September, 2016, 09:30:15 pm
Okay so I'm quite a bit behind Chief so I'd better get a move on and with that I'm 6 progs into 1980 and onto...

The beauty of Prog 150 and the beast of my opinion.

Prog 150 marks a point where I think I'm going to diverge most significently with 'popular' 2000ad opinion and I know this will last for some time. Okay there will be common ground of course Dredd continues to be sublime, even when written by Mr Mills, the Prog is an artist delight... mind even there my divergance can be found. I run very much hot and cold with Belardinelli and while I should love the glorious crazy of his art here it just jars with me here. As does the story, pretty poor.

We probably all agree that Ian Gibson's return in Robo-hunter sees art of staggering beauty in this great opener, we probably don't when I reveal I really don't enjoy VCs. Its looks good, but given its (often) Cam Kennedy not as GREAT as I'd expect. The story is just cyclic and if I honest I find the crew a little annoying.

Fiends of the Eastern Front rounds off the Prog and a story of vampires helping nazi in 1941 on the Russian front should of course be glorious... but its G.F.D or Great (idea) Fumbled Delievery. Its not as bad as many GFDs but its just pretty poorly realised, so its a kids story but it feels so clunky.

So yeah for many I think this Prog could mark a real high point, for me its 50 - 50 at best and I know there's more of my nonsense down the 1980 pipe...
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Magnetica on 10 September, 2016, 12:08:03 am
I have just finished reading my TPB of Harlem Heroes and Inferno and to be honest it has been hard going. I have had it for what 2, possibly 3 years and it has taken me that long to read it. ( Still I have had V for Vendetta for about 8 years and have still only read a third of it :lol:).

I had read some of Harlem Heroes before, mainly what had been reprinted in annuals, but not Inferno. ( I also have extreme edition 13 which covered only HH and was published in 2006 and hadn't read it all).

I guess that tells you everything you need to know...but I will make a few comments anyway.

As Chiefy points out it is a bit repetitive and the rules of either game are never fully explained. Some of the characters seem to die from fairly minor injuries, especially Conrad King and Hairy in the last episode of HH.

Tom Tully basically repeats the plot of Harlem Heroes in Inferno i.e. some-one trying to wipe out the team for extremely tenuous reasons. In HH there is a laughable panel showing the villain in silhouette but it is obvious who it is (as if we hadn't guessed anyway). In Inferno he doesn't even bother to hide who the culprits are - but we don't get to know their names till later.

He also seems to be not paying attention to his own script in Inferno. When the Wolves manager is first introduced he says his name is Don Wepner. Two weeks later his name is Charlie Vance.

In both Inferno and Harlem Heroes it seems you don't have to be a (current) professional player to get on a team. Just pulling some-one off the street will do. Nor does it seem you have to register players in advance or even name substitutes - team a player short (as one has just been killed)? No worries just promote a cheerleader to player. Doesn't matter that she has never played before or even practised.

In true Adam West Batman fashion, if you want to kill the hero, you need to come up with an elaborate scheme. Why shoot them when you can track down a presumed dead cyborg and implant a radio in their brain to control them?

Oh and watch out for the ball - throw it too hard and it goes into white heat, killing everyone in its path. hmmm not sure how that works.

The end of Inferno feels incredibly rushed. I am sure I have read some where they basically decided to wrap it up to make way for the merger with Starlord - but that doesn't quite make sense as that wasn't for another 11 weeks. Anyway most of the team are killed off in 3 pages - but given the lack of character development over the story, it has zero emotional impact anyway.

But, but, but...you do get great art from Dave Gibbons and Massimo Belardnelli, two totally bonkers future sports and at least an attempt at an ongoing story arc (which seemed to be missing from the mostly totally episodic Invasion and Mach 1.)

I do have a vague memory of Inferno being the strip that originally put me off buying 2000AD. As I have posted before I originally started by reading Starlord and was only vaguely aware of 2000AD. Starlord used to regularly feature ads for 2000AD and I had read the 1977 2000Ad Summer Special. Based on the ads in Starlord I remember flicking through 2000AD in the newsagents and seeing what a thought was an incredibly violent scene from Inferno featuring the bikes and thinking na that's not for me. 
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: maryanddavid on 10 September, 2016, 12:55:04 am
Inferno was wrapped up quickly because of the violence causing all sorts of trouble for editorial.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 10 September, 2016, 07:10:26 am
Inferno was wrapped up quickly because of the violence causing all sorts of trouble for editorial.

Yeah it course big problems coursed by the strip. Rushed endings are a major problem for stories in 2000ad's early history. Someone here explained (sorry I can't remember who) the old policy of keeping a strip going as long as it was popular. Then as soon as it slipped, or editorial decided for one reason or another than it needed wrap up the writer would be given a week or twos notice. Hence many great long running stories have pretty jarring endings. Just look at Flesh 2!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Magnetica on 10 September, 2016, 08:06:08 am
Right so you can just imagine the scene:

Setting Tharg's office -

Tharg: sorry Tom we are getting complaints that Inferno is just too violent. I am afraid you are going to have to wrap it up.

Tom Tully: oh ok.

Tharg: any ideas?

Tom Tully: sure thing, I'll just kill them all off except for Giant.

Tharg: that'd be fine.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 15 September, 2016, 09:41:48 pm
So 1980 is charging along (Prog 161) and what have we learnt? Well to my surprise, so far

Day of the Droids >> Verdus. Its bloomin' great, lovin' it.

Blackhawk never did find its way. It lurched and slumbled along never really having a purpose or focus. Much like Inferno then this meant that Belardinelli's art just doesn't work. It just adds to the chaos and confusion the story wallows in.

Both Fiends of the Eastern front and VCs show that Gerry Finley-Day can come up with a fantastic idea, be given the best artistd and still make a story read like a hack job. I'm going to say it now and I'll not apologise he really isn't a good writer at all. Now I admit this sweeping statement is based on a 44 year old reading kids stories. The thing other stories written by different writers have a real craft to them and hold up, even in the context in which they were created. For me GFD just lacks the craft and deft skill to take a kids comics and make it something great to read. Yes its my age, yes its my older eye but his stories just don't hold up...

... I know, I know, I'll get my coat and leave quietly by the back door.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Jim_Campbell on 15 September, 2016, 10:17:16 pm
No… you're right. I don't get the push to rehabilitate GFD. Most of what he wrote was rubbish, mitigated by great art. I think Fiends is his best work in 2000AD possibly because it's the least like a 2K story… I exclude Harry 20, which is comfortably the best series with his name on it, because Alan Grant did a wholesale rewrite on it.

Rogue was a great character, but it's important to remember that GFD's original concept was for a soldier like the 'Euro-fighter' plane… his legs were made by one country, his arms by another… it took an editorial conference to whip the idea into shape, and it wasn't that long before we were getting Fort Neuro and disco dancing Rogue and even the twelve-year-old me was thinking "This needs to stop now…"
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 16 September, 2016, 11:32:24 am
No… you're right. I don't get the push to rehabilitate GFD. Most of what he wrote was rubbish, mitigated by great art. I think Fiends is his best work in 2000AD possibly because it's the least like a 2K story… I exclude Harry 20, which is comfortably the best series with his name on it, because Alan Grant did a wholesale rewrite on it.

Harry 20 looms on my re-read horizon and if I'm honest I'm not looking forward to it, I didn't enjoy it last time, but lets see how I get on with it this. I know how popular it is (mind then so is the original VCs). Given that I've not enjoyed Alan Grant's early work on Blackhawk that's not given me much hope!

I still stand by the fact that Ant Wars is the best thing he did for the Prog but I've found myself thinking about how that can be. Especially given the fact that unlike so many of his other stories this one is largely derided I think. For me though it works better with his writing as it has such a B movie set-up. To that end his awkward dialogue and clumsy, forced plotting feels at home. I think this allows me to set aside my normal misgivings and just roll with the immense fun of it all...

... or given that I'm a simple soul maybe I shouldn't be looking too far beyond COOL GIANT ANTS...
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Dandontdare on 16 September, 2016, 02:49:49 pm
I'm just rereading Robohunter:Verdus and there's a horribly racist sequence when Sam falls asleep and dreams about "how the world should be" - two robots with golliwog style negro fetaures kiss his feet while calling him "Master Sam, sure enough", whilst the asian company man who sent him to verdus starts speaking like an old Fu manchu film, addressing him as "the gleat lobohunter". It makes "Blakee Pentax" look positively PC!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: AlexF on 17 September, 2016, 09:15:27 am
I get that GFD's work isn't close to the level of sophistication as Wagner, Grant or Mills, let alone any of Tharg's more modern droids, but there's something about his work that zips along. When you're working with great artists, a fantastic idea can be enough to stretch a long way, although I've no doubt editorial input was pretty key for a lot of stuff (I think MacManus did quite a bit on VCs, for example).

On the racism in RoboHunter, specifically the Verdus bit. Now, of course it's indefensible, but here's a darker reading for you...

In the future, when people are busy constructing all these robots and imbuing them with bizarrely human personalities, imagine someone deliberately designs and creates golliwog robots so that lazy white masters can recapture dreams of the 'good old days'...
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Hawkmumbler on 17 September, 2016, 09:56:15 pm
I'm just rereading Robohunter:Verdus and there's a horribly racist sequence when Sam falls asleep and dreams about "how the world should be" - two robots with golliwog style negro fetaures kiss his feet while calling him "Master Sam, sure enough", whilst the asian company man who sent him to verdus starts speaking like an old Fu manchu film, addressing him as "the gleat lobohunter". It makes "Blakee Pentax" look positively PC!
I've never read classic Robo-Hunter, don't have time for shite like this!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Frank on 17 September, 2016, 11:40:53 pm
.
That's a pity. I've just reread Robo-Hunter from Verdus through to Play It Again, Sam, which confirmed those stories as some of the best work Wagner, Grant and Gibson ever did. I was crying with laughter during National Song Week.

I'm not urging you to read it*, but it's a pity Robo-Hunter's only ever mentioned here in this context. You'd be forgiven for forming the impression it's a vicious race hate tract that just happens to feature some comedy robots.

Without disputing the excellent Dan's reading of that dream sequence, "golliwog" might be reaching a little**, and the dialogue reads "mister Sam", rather than "master". There's a lot to be said about context, but that's a can of worms.


* I'm fairly certain the stuff mentioned above means you couldn't enjoy it

** One looks like Boushh and the other has the same big eyes and ooh-shaped mouth as Cutie and the other anthropomorphic droids
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 23 September, 2016, 10:37:08 pm
Over half way through 1980 and things have taken an interesting turn and not exactly for the better.

Two of the best things in the Prog are on a bit of a downward trajectory. Dredd which has been so good, for so long has bit a bit of a rough patch... what you cry, what am I talking about you demand... well I'm up to Prog 169 and while 'The Judge Child' started really well, once it blasted off and lurches off into space I've found it a little ... unrestrained. It still looks magnificent and while the strip is not as good as Dredd has been for a good long time its still pretty bloomin' good comics. Its just not great. Its lacks some of the grounding that has made previous run of shorts work... which okay sounds nonsense when you think of some of the stuff that has gone before, but for me the out and out space type sci-fi (please Butchy Frank lets not turn this into some what is sci-fi and what isn't discussion) just doesn't feel quite right.

Hard to justify and qualify why I feel like this and while Judge Child follows essentially the same formula as Cursed Earth for some reason its lost the rugged challenge, the desperate journey of the first epic so viseral and real as Dredd and crew get slowly more and more ragged. The quest for the spacey soothsayer spice feels a little forced and tacked on. The craziness lacks the harsh landscape that provides a counterpoint in the earlier epic... or maybe its the fact that it is just following the same structure as Cursed Earth, a story I regard so very highly... I don't know its just not working for me... well not as well as Dredd has of late. Its probably still absolutely brilliant and probably still the best comics out there in 1980, just not as good as the standard Dredd has set itself.

Similarly the second half of Day of the Droids has fallen from its very high peak. Its all got a bit chaotic and again unrestrained. Its becoming wacky. Ever since Sam hit Robo-Park or whatever its called its been all bets off, hell for leather crazy and for me that's just not work as well as the more measured (well again measured in the context of a comic like Robo-hunter!) stuff that's gone before. Again like Dredd its still really fun stuff, just its lost that absolute wow factor of the first half.

Elsewhere the Prog has proved richly varied, GFD stuff still kind stinks up the place and M.A.C.H 0 is cruelly and crudely cast aside after a wonderful first solo story some time ago. BUT Wolfie Smith is on absolute fire with his return ably abetted as he is driven down a road of crime by simply perfect Jesus Redondo art. Stainless Steel Rat has made a welcome and so far entertaining return, and we had our first taste of Nemesis. So the balance just about remains in the positive. Its a close run thing though.

On a side note the Prog as an artifact is on an absolute high. One of the joys of reading the progs rather than collections is the context and world reading the originals throws you back to. The adverts in these bog paper comics create the perfect nostagia time machine, which really aids the reading process and reading these stories in their orignal form is so evocative. Its making me want to get to eBay and track down some Pocketeers... though I suspect my memory of them is best left unfettered by reality!


Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: TordelBack on 24 September, 2016, 03:01:16 am
This is interesting, because I far prefer Judge Child to Cursed Earth.  There are a few different segmemnts (Limpopo Quince never did anything for me and biochip/wild alien stuff is a bit business as usual), but these are more than compensated for by Filmore Faro, Aggross, Murd,  Bedlam, the hungry planet, Dredd's new improved supporting cast, and the Angel Gang themselves: some of the greatest set pieces in the strip's history, and some of its most enduring characters.

Plus, Dredd actually dies, none of your modern cliffhanger fakery here.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: TordelBack on 24 September, 2016, 03:02:38 am
That's 'a few duff segments', kids: don't drink and post.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Frank on 24 September, 2016, 04:45:09 pm
Butchy Frank

You post this now, after the deadline to change user names has passed?!

Agree with you and TordelBack: The Judge Child is clearly a very good eight to twelve part story [1] which has had a couple of month's worth of filler material shoved in the middle to make up the numbers.

Except the 'filler' includes some of the most beautifully illustrated, inventive, and funny one/two parters in the strip's history. It probably doesn't stand up to reading as a continuous narrative [2], but then it was meant to be read in weekly instalments.

Like The Apocalypse War, you can tell Wagner [3] was writing it to the required length, rather than with a specific ending in mind, but I like the way the old epics just suddenly wrap up because that's enough for now and it'll not be this in the morning.



[1] About the baldy kid being kidnapped by some truly brilliant original characters and Dredd searching Texas City and the Cursed Earth to find them.

[2] Although I can't remember ever trying to do so. For me, a Judge Child re-read entails starting with the Angel gang's hilarious cruelty when torturing Old Joe Blind and then picking out random episodes in no particular order.

[3] And, towards the very end, Grant
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Magnetica on 25 September, 2016, 10:20:50 am
I will limit my comments in this thread to stories I have actually re-read recently as I guess the whole point is how do we view them now years later as adults. So sadly that means I can't comment on Robo-Hunter or The Stainless Steel Rat or Wolfie Smith.

As to the Judge Child- it was the first Dredd mega epic I read and as such it will always be special to me. Maybe, Colin, how one views it against The Cursed Earth does very much depend on which one you read first. For me the Judge Child is far superior and The Cursed Earth is a less sophisticated trial run.

The Judge Child also features some of the best 1 or 2 partners and individual sequences in Dredd ever and some of the most memorable villains ever - it's Pa and Junior for me over Mean all day long.

(Being pedantic I have never actually read the Cursed Earth in its entirety in the correct order, given that I don't have the Progs and didn't have the banned episodes until recently. When I got my Uncensored edition all I did was read the banned episodes and then look at the colour spreads. So maybe only having read an incomplete tale in black and white and being a bit miffed about it has had an impact on how I view it. Glorious Bolland art though).
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 27 September, 2016, 09:06:24 pm
Maybe, Colin, how one views it against The Cursed Earth does very much depend on which one you read first.

Yeah this is almost certainly the case. Its really hard for me to detach myself from how special Cursed Earth felt to me as a kid. That said trying to be objective I still feel it has a much stronger central thread AND the smaller story elements are superior to those in Judge Child. And ya know SATANUS!

Anyway some things we learnt on our way to the big Prog 178.

1. Stainless Steel Rat leaves us with a timey whiney cope out (which of course might have been very original when first told, but feels tied now. Thats very possibly unfair) and we were denied a climatic show down with He.

2. The cover to Prog 175 is the exception that proved the rule I whittered about elsewhere being that Dave Gibbons is just SOOOOoooooo Dave Gibbons. There's no way I'd say that cover was Mr Gibbons if he hadn't signed it. So unGibbons.

3. Wolfie Smith is wrapped up cruelly quickie, with a very odd comedic little ending... well okay somewhat saved by the mauling of baddie by a pack of rats.

4. No one, I mean NO ONE draws Wolfie Smith like Jesus Redondo. Its a strip that's perfect for him and he really elevates. Wish we'd got more...

5. Although hopefully if we had Wolfie would have got a little more imaginative than winning a teddy by cheating at bingo to pay for a fish supper....

6. Though yeah if he had it would have removed the charm of the series.

7. The Great Human Rip-off lets you know all you need to know about why Tharg stories always felt so special when I was a kid

8. I'm far to excited about the return of Strontium Dog, I always forget how long it was out the Prog after going to Hell.

9. I can never remember number 9.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Magnetica on 27 September, 2016, 10:36:45 pm
Prog 178 ...just one of the most important Progs of all time for me. But on the way up to it, there is surely one of the biggest moments ever in the Prog. Though I guess no-one would have realised it at the time. At the time it was merely a very cool story with amazing art.

What am I talking about?

Just Comic Rock - Terror Tube in Prog 167.

How I love that story both as a stand alone and as a lead into one of the most iconic 2000AD stories of them all.

I never tire of reading it , nor indeed Killer Watt in Progs 178 and 179.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: PsychoGoatee on 28 September, 2016, 05:09:33 am
Cursed Earth (and the double bill with The Day The Law Died) are what really sold me on Judge Dredd, and I read them for the first time in maybe 2006. I do like both of those better than Judge Child, which is also great, granted I read them in chronological order.

Just saying for the record, Cursed Earth still rocks if read for the first time these days too, or something like that.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 28 September, 2016, 06:37:23 am
Prog 178 ...just one of the most important Progs of all time for me. But on the way up to it, there is surely one of the biggest moments ever in the Prog. Though I guess no-one would have realised it at the time. At the time it was merely a very cool story with amazing art.

What am I talking about?

Just Comic Rock - Terror Tube in Prog 167.

How I love that story both as a stand alone and as a lead into one of the most iconic 2000AD stories of them all.


You know I was desperately trying to think of something to write about Killer Watt but I just couldn't work out what to say. It kinda goes back to what you said before about personal perspective on stories. I just couldn't work out quite how special the story was in the context of the rest of the Prog. Was it was mind blowing or was it just what it meant to me knowing whats to come.

After all Ro-Busters had kinda done a warm up for it, yet its clearly more then just a good Future Shock or similar.

Ended up saying nowt, but very glad you did!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Magnetica on 28 September, 2016, 08:12:15 am
So totally agree about what it means personally. You see I hadn't read the 2000AD Robusters at the time, so it was Comic Rock that introduced the Termight Tube system to me.

Stuff from this era falls into 3 categories for me:

1) stuff that I read at the time in the Prog

2) stuff that I read in Titan editions a couple of years later: Cursed Earth, Day the Law Died, Robo-Hunter Verdus, 2000AD Ro-Busters.

3) Stuff that I read years later in Extreme Editions and Trades (Flesh books I and II, Invasion, Harlem Heroes, Dan Dare (er haven't actually read it all yet!!)

and it is pretty much that order in which I love them. There is just something about having read them weekly at the time.

Even with the stuff I read only a couple of years later in the Titan editions - I still have a feeling of having "missed out on them" even though I read them as a child, just not at the time they came out.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Tjm86 on 01 October, 2016, 02:29:20 pm


9. I can never remember number 9.

That's because you forgot why 6 was afraid of 7.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: chiefy2shoes on 01 October, 2016, 03:55:50 pm
Ro-Jaws' Robo Tales Various progs between 144 and 196 - It's doubtful but I'm hoping these get collected in the second volume of the new Ro-Busters books. Great little one-off stories akin to future shocks but all robo centric with a very high hit percentage.

Blackhawk 127-128, 130-161 - Belardinelli art so it looks amazing and the story starts off okay as well. A Roman gladiator is whisked through time to fight in some futuristic games but soon turns on his captors. Unfortunately it's way too long and veers right off course into strange weird happenings that don't really fit the story.

Captain Klep 127-159 - These are one page superhero parody strips and after reading the first couple I skipped the rest.

The Mind of Wolfie Smith 127-134, 136-145 - I didn't get on with this at all. Wolfie is a young lad with some kind of psychic powers that are never really explained. He battles an evil sorcerer then stumbles onto a film set, gets a job and discovers a wendigo creature. It's a shame the great art by Redondo is wasted on the rubbish story.

The Mind of Wolfie Smith Book 2 162-77 - Skim read it and again it appeared poor.

The Stainless Steel Rat 140-151 - Really enjoyed this. I've not liked any of Kelvin Gosnell's strips prior to this but it was a cracking fast paced adventure story.

Timequake 148-151 - This strip is a loose version of Chrononauts except it's better.

The V.C.s 140-143, 145-165, 168-169, 171-175 - Smith is a newly recruited V.C (Vacuum Cleaner) and he joins the standard host of varied misfits as they struggle to push back the alien Geek invasion. Hmm, on the one hand we have art by Cam Kennedy and Mike MacMahon and on the other we have a series of sci-fi war stories that are sometimes good and sometimes poor.

Robo-Hunter: Day of the Droids 152-174 - Having not really liked the first Sam Slade outing I found this much better.

Fiends of the Eastern Front 152-161 - Ezquerr'a art seems to have gone up a notch here, if that's even possible, and this tale of vampire soldiers in a WWII setting has plenty of intrigue. It's by Gerry Finlay-Day so that means we get great action scenes with quite a bit of clunky exposition and overall I'd say it's somewhere between hit and miss.

M.A.C.H. 0 162-165 - Spinoff from an earlier series, this can't hold it's own and I largely skim read it.
The Stainless Rat Saves The  World 166-177 - Following on from his previous appearance, James now works for the good guys but that doesn't mean he's all good. It's a time travel caper and again I really enjoyed it. Ezquerra art always helps.

Dash Decent 178-198 - One page parody strips that are best avoided.
The Mean Arena: The Southampton Sharks 178-180, 182-187, 191-194, 197-202 - This is a Mean Team light tale and isn't very good. That is all.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 01 October, 2016, 04:31:36 pm
Yeah have to be honest I've not been getting on with the 'comedy' strips at all. Even Kev O'Neill's Madesque artwork on Dash Decent feels lost in The Prog and Captain Klep was just woeful. There's been the odd thing that felt really out of place in the Prog but which services as a reminder of the comics target audience at the time. These short humour strips and things like the 'Space Olympics' guide which just jarred with the edgier stuff in the comic, BUT may well have been very welcome to younger readers at the time coming from Buster, Whizzer and Chips and the like.

All feels a bit like the comedy ending to Wolfie Smith, just not in context.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 04 October, 2016, 09:18:41 pm
Oh what interesting times we have in the Prog. Dredd is back from his space travels (and I have to say I'm very happy with that) and I think we're about to enter another years worth of shorts that I'm very much looking forward to.

Strontium Dog is back with us in a series of shorter stories too as I recall, though actually Portrait of a Mutant can't be too far off.

Elsewhere we have three long term stories starting, or freshly started, one of which I adore, Return to Armageddon, one I run hot and cold on, so very much looking forward to getting into. Meltdown Man has made an okay start. Finally Mean Arena, which as I recall goes a bit wayward quickly losing sight of any potential it might have had.

Put the thing I want to talk about is Dredd's return to Mega City One in Block War in Prog 182. What an absolute cracker. A beautifully rendered story which fantastically captures Dredd's character. It also felt like it started something that would be a reoccuring theme in Dredd, that being him being at odds with large chunks of the Judicial System and though he's a hero he's also a thorn in the side of many. For a variety of reasons. This theme may have been dealt with before (?) but it really stands out here and this is one of the best Dredd's to date and still one of my all time favourites. Truely brilliant stuff.

Anyway I'll be back soon as I've a big question to ask you all...
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: sheridan on 05 October, 2016, 11:00:02 am
Yeah have to be honest I've not been getting on with the 'comedy' strips at all. Even Kev O'Neill's Madesque artwork on Dash Decent feels lost in The Prog and Captain Klep was just woeful. There's been the odd thing that felt really out of place in the Prog but which services as a reminder of the comics target audience at the time. These short humour strips and things like the 'Space Olympics' guide which just jarred with the edgier stuff in the comic, BUT may well have been very welcome to younger readers at the time coming from Buster, Whizzer and Chips and the like.

Better stay away from this month's art competition then! ;)
Quote
All feels a bit like the comedy ending to Wolfie Smith, just not in context.

Can't say I remember there being a comedy ending to The Mind of Wolfie Smith?
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 07 October, 2016, 10:02:47 pm
2000ad 1980

Quote
...we beckon in a new decade and I think and interesting time for a Prog now finding its direction and balance as it totters on into its 4th year.

This is what I said after having read the Progs from 1979. Half right, not bad. See in 1980 2000ad did indeed start to find its balance. The trouble is it was all that interesting. Its not that its been a bad year, its just lacked the extremes of the first three years. Nothing was terrible... though much was pretty poor. Not much was stella.

There were absolute highlights but not that many. First half of Day of the Droids, start of Return to Armegeddon. Strontium Dogs return is a real high and the new shorter stories are really working. The absolute peak was three short episodes of what would become Nemesis. Tharg knew what he was onto here with 'Comic Rocks', even with only 15 odd pages, all of a sudden posters of the characters started springing up. Oh and I guess we should also mention some block call Alan rocks up. We might come back to him.

So yeah I've discussed the highlights without mentioning Dredd. Which is wonky. Cos Dredd is still of course great, its just so... so... not as GREAT as what had gone before. Well the start of the year was still exceptional but as I've already discussed I'm not a big fan of Judge Child and while 'Block War' is an absolute classic some of the shorts after his return to Earth aren't as strong as I'd expected. Notable by some I simply don't remember at all. Loonie Moon escapes my memory. The Maze story I only remember cos I think The Maze was a location in the Dredd boardgame. So yeah Dredd, by its own standards... well those of the previous 2 years just ain't that good.

There's a lot of rot as well, often by the GFD but I've already lambasted much of that so I'll not retread that old ground. So yeah in finding its feet 2000ad has lost a bit of its excitment. Oh there's still the moments of course but they aren't as frequent. We head into 1981 with a very steady line-up of hit and miss strips so when will this steady streak end... well actually that's a question I will be returning to soon. A question for you lot. But first I've got a couple of annuals to read and I know at least one of ums a blinder...
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 08 October, 2016, 09:23:52 pm
A little epilogue to 1980 and that's

A Tale of Two Annuals - 1981 Annuals

Well bloody hell I knew this was the case but the distance between the two Annuals of 1980 (labeled 1981 of course) is staggering. Lets do the tale of the tape.

2000 ad Annual 1981

Length: 128 pages
Cost: £1.50
Apparent value: 1.17 pence per page

Judge Dredd Annual 1981

Length: 96 pages
Cost: £1.80
Apparent value: 1.86 pence per page

So its clear right, the Dredd Annual is an over-priced rip off. None of it, not a piece. Its interesting I've no idea anymore how these would have been recieved as a kid, but I strongly suspect that even then the 2000ad Annual may have pleased parents with it size and cost, but by God it all filler no thriller. 8 pages of decent but not great Dredd, a couple of barely passible Future Shocks and a fantastic Brendan McCarthy splash page for the Strontium Dog text story - the rest, including almost all of the text features is utter codswallop. This took me (admittedly a 44 year old man) about 20 minutes to read... well call it 25, adding five to account for the various bits I started and decided I had better things to do with my time and skipped. Now to its intended audience there's probably more to appeal and better value to be had. But I reckon even as a kid I'd have seen through most of this. Some really dull reprint, soft text pieces and so much recycled art.

Now over at the shorter, more costly Dredd annual - well it took me of an hour half to read and its an absolute masterclass. Even G P Rice, normally pretty hit and miss, turns in a nice Eisner pastiche in his Walter The Wobot strip. Elsewhere we have a lovely Dredd history including the first unused story, Shok which while not a great story is a delight on the eye and of course a wonderful curiosity since 1990. A fantastic Max Normal tale, even if I'm not Casanovas' biggest fan. Okay there's a little filler after that but... BUT

There is also 30 pages of some of the most beautiful (well until next year as I recall) Dredd you will ever see. Now don't get me wrong the stories by Mr Wagner are simply fantastic, particularly 'Compulsory Purchase' which is quiessential Dredd. Its the art however that rules the day. Now in 1980 I'm pretty sure the 30p difference in price between the Dredd and the 2000ad annual would have bought you a decent family car, but it, even to my 8 year old mind, would surely have been worth it for the Mike McMahon art over those 30 pages. Simple devine.

Jesus the 1981 2000ad Annual must have broken kids hearts while the 1981 Dredd Annual must have elevate Christmas' across the land to levels of excitment impossible to equal unless you got a Big Track (I never did, always wanted one).


Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: TordelBack on 09 October, 2016, 08:18:00 am
Great Sunday morning read there Colin, keep it up. Completely agree about the 1981 Dredd annual, which I only came by some years later in a parish sale: an absolute gem.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Fungus on 09 October, 2016, 08:53:39 am
Much repeated here, but the first Dredd annual is a thing of wonder and I adored it. 1982's, almost as much.

Steve MacManus's book is a revelation on how it came about, too.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: AlexF on 11 October, 2016, 02:34:49 pm
I'm loving this thread, but am curious to know other readers' thinking on one question:
When you look back over 2000AD, do you break it up into chunks by year of publication (as Colin is doing here), or by sets of 100 Progs (my instinctive way of thinking) - even though that usually means lumping two years' worth of stuff together)?

I suppose this might be a function of me not being a Prog one-r, and indeed being so young when reading my first progs that I didn't have much of a sense of real-world dates.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Frank on 11 October, 2016, 03:06:37 pm

Eras of 2000ad are determined by how many issues stack comfortably on my shelves. More than 50, less than 100 per stack.


Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Magnetica on 11 October, 2016, 03:30:41 pm
The way I think about it just isn't all that neat.

Roughly it goes like this:

1)Stuff before I started reading it and before it merged with Starlord (pre Prog 86) - not as mad as it sounds as I have collected editions of most it of it and have subsequently bought the odd Prog.

2) my this is being forced on me and I don't like it period, Progs 86 to 92 when I bought it only as a transferring Starlord reader, missed a couple of weeks and gave up.

3) the "lost period" upto Prog 126 when I didn't buy it (apart from 2)

4) Prog 127 to Mid 200s. The really getting into it phase, loving it all, knowing what story was in what Prog instaneously from memory (then not now)

- Judge Child, great Dredd one offs, Pirates of Black Atlantic, Judge Death, Return to Armageddon, Melt Down Man.

5) Golden Age. Mid 200s to 519 (last newspaper paper Prog).


Nemesis, Slaine even Rogue Trooper.

6) 520 to 699

University days.

Zenith.

7) 700 to when ever Rebellion took over.

Read it but don't really remember it

8) Rebellion years - not sure what Prog to present. New golden era.

Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Fungus on 11 October, 2016, 05:09:51 pm
I probably think of eras mainly by the logo. It's only a title but it does set the tone and evokes a time. And almost as much, the paper stock.

As Magnetica says, before-and-after your First Prog feel like different times, which is odd indeed.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Frank on 11 October, 2016, 05:11:50 pm
6) 520 to 699

University days.

Zenith.

7) 700 to when ever Rebellion took over.

Read it but don't really remember it

That's pretty much my own mental model*. 520-700 - the odd interregnum where painted colour cautiously, uncertainly replaced line art - is my own golden age, with the run of progs containing the finales of Horned God, Final Solution, Zenith: phase three, War Machine, and Necropolis** representing a mini-golden age within a golden age.

It's terrifying how quickly the quality threshold vanishes after prog 700.

To continue the spooky, 127-200 is the only significant run of back issues I ever purchased***. I bought some to plug the gap between 500 and my first prog (511), but they never really felt like they were mine.


* Although I wasn't at uni, grandad

** And, for the sake of balance, Chronos Carnival and Dry Run

*** ... from another kid at school, who hit puberty and decided White Lightning and Rave records represented more pressing demands on his pocket money than a prog where Simon Harrison had replaced Carlos Ezquerra
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Fungus on 11 October, 2016, 05:21:47 pm
they never really felt like they were mine.

Hah! It is true that once those early-prog gaps are filled, they never quite feel genuine, with their defaced cover declaring 'Ferguson' in newsagent biro...   :)

Suppose some must have a stray 'Bobby Bolland' or 'Eric Ezquerra' just to confuse the droids at signings  :|
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Magnetica on 11 October, 2016, 08:40:10 pm
* Although I wasn't at uni, grandad
Ho-ho-ho. I may be older than some on here*, but I have always considered there are advantages to having been born when I was. e.g.

 - witnessing Liverpool's years of domination first hand**
 - listening to 80's music first hand**
 - watching 80's telly first hand**


but most importantly being of the right age to have read early 2000AD when it came out. ***

And I totally agree about Progs you didn't get at the time not feeling "yours"

* and I am sure there are "plenty" older than me. Well some anyway...by a couple of years at least
** yes I know if I was born at another time I would have been into something else or shock horror a different team
*** even though I missed the first couple of years, but that wasn't because I was the right age, just because I hadn't been introduced to it yet.




That's pretty much my own mental model*. 520-700 - the odd interregnum where painted colour cautiously, uncertainly replaced line art - is my own golden age

Yes I did toy with defining an era at Prog 589 when they introduced more colour, but if you do that then really you have to consider that the phoney war and that it really starts with Prog 626 and the first episode of the Horned God. A friend of mine at university also read 2000AD and I always remember his comment that he had never seen anything like it.****

But that then lead to the era of the Bisley clones, which wasn't necessary the best idea ever.


**** if a bit murky if we are being totally honest
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 11 October, 2016, 09:02:48 pm
Well this era thing is making fine reading. While this time I'm dividing by years I'm typically an 'in groups of 100' man myself. I do diverge in quieter moments to periods that are defined by my reading of the comic (though oddly my golden ages are normally defined by the times I've not read the comic regularly, which get an almost mythical presence in my mind... well until I've read them all).

So the early issues (up to around issue 100) are the defining age, when my brother first got the comic and its influence on the way I think and I things I enjoy can't be underestimeted. Then the early 200s until around 300, the second stint of our reading. Finally 416 - 1000 my longest stretch but there's too much change in that run to think of it as a consistent thing. So my thought processes normally default to 100s.

I'm currently only reading in years as its a more practical chunk to read in my 'reading / re-reading list' and makes for a nice way to reflect on the comic as I re-read and the times it fits into.

ANYWAY all this chat and this first comment

5) Golden Age. Mid 200s to 519 (last newspaper paper Prog).

has nicely segued into the question I've had lingering. My question is therefore... one which you must all answer damnit

When does the first Golden Age of 2000ad start?

My understanding is that commonly held opinion is that the first golden age of 2000ad starts some time in 1981. So as I approach by re-read of that year I'm intrigued to learn when people think this time (the golden age, not 1981 I can answer that one myself) started. What marked this period, can people pin it to a particular Prog? Maybe 222 or 224. Is it 228 or would some people even wait as late as 245? I'm particularly interested as I strongly suspect I won't agree ... which will make the whole reading of 1981 all the more interesting.

Its possibly the year I'm most looking forward to reading, even if I'm not sure it will be close to as good as one might hope? We'll see.

So yeah if you were there at the time, or not, when does the golden stuff get goin'?
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Fungus on 11 October, 2016, 09:24:05 pm
I don't think I've even asked myself that exact question, but... 178 (though I narrowly missed it at the time). The chrome logo appeared and the quality leapt accordingly. 222 and 224 are great but things were already cooking by then I'd say.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Jim_Campbell on 11 October, 2016, 09:29:59 pm
You can't not include the 220s in any classic 2000AD definition. A ten prog slot that has the Gibbons-illustrated debut of Rogue Trooper and Bolland on Judge Death Lives? And you have Portrait of a Mutant running, plus Nemesis Bk1 kicking off. Add in Bellardinelli on Meltdown Man, some great Dredd shorts, and even the fairly lacklustre Mean Arena enlivened by some top-of-his-game work from Dillon.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: TordelBack on 11 October, 2016, 10:21:23 pm
The First Golden Age starts with Prog 197.

(http://www.2000ad.org/covers/2000ad/hires/197.jpg)

The temptation to go for the low-hanging fruit of 222 must be resisted, lest you miss Portrait of Mutant and Return to Armageddon by entirely. Yes, you get a lot of Mean Arena in those 6 months, but Dredd has Pirates of the Black Atlantic and the Crime Files running to compensate.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: TordelBack on 11 October, 2016, 10:27:25 pm
And of course Unamerican Graffiti... Basically after 197 it's impossible to find a Prog that is less than great.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Magnetica on 11 October, 2016, 11:29:34 pm
You can't not include the 220s in any classic 2000AD definition. A ten prog slot that has the Gibbons-illustrated debut of Rogue Trooper and Bolland on Judge Death Lives? And you have Portrait of a Mutant running, plus Nemesis Bk1 kicking off. Add in Bellardinelli on Meltdown Man, some great Dredd shorts, and even the fairly lacklustre Mean Arena enlivened by some top-of-his-game work from Dillon.

The temptation to go for the low-hanging fruit of 222 must be resisted, lest you miss Portrait of Mutant and Return to Armageddon by entirely. Yes, you get a lot of Mean Arena in those 6 months, but Dredd has Pirates of the Black Atlantic and the Crime Files running to compensate.

Basically after 197 it's impossible to find a Prog that is less than great.

You know you are right..I was going to say 222 and I am pretty sure I have previously called out the 220's as the single greatest set of ten Progs of all time, but as you say prior to that there is just a load of totally amazing stuff and I guess your naming of 197 as the starting point ...well you could well be right.

But actually I am going to go with Fungus's call of 178... (at the risk of slightly contradicting my earlier post ) - total Judge Child awesomeness, Killer Watt, Death's Head leading into what I consider the golden age of Strontium Dog. Even before 197 we get stone cold classic Dredd's: Block War (probably the single best episode following a mega epic), Aggro Dome, Monkey Business at the Charles Darwin Block, Otto Sump's Ugly Clinic...Pirates of the Black Atlantic...before hitting the 200s and  UnAmerica Graffiti and then into the Crime Files as you call them ( I always thought they were called the Mega City Rackets)..then Judge Death Lives. Surely the strongest period of Dredd ever...well until we hit Tour of Duty and on into Day of Chaos.

As for other stuff in the early 200s, well surely there are the greatest future shocks of all time around this period - all by Alan Moore e.g. "The English/Phlondrutian Phrasebook" and The Last Rumble of the Platinum Horde - stories that have gone beyond the normal throw away nature of the future shock.

I have a question of my own - is it just me or do others find the Progs of this era more memorable than any others? I am not sure if it is just because they were relatively at the start of my 2000AD reading "career" and so my memory was less full of other Progs*, or because they were just the best Progs of all time.

(*It is a bit like when I owned only a handful of Albums, I could name every single track on every album I owned. Now I have far more I can't.)
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Tjm86 on 12 October, 2016, 05:27:45 am

I have a question of my own - is it just me or do others find the Progs of this era more memorable than any others? I am not sure if it is just because they were relatively at the start of my 2000AD reading "career" and so my memory was less full of other Progs*, or because they were just the best Progs of all time.


I'm the same, the early 200's for me are some of the best and most memorable.  That said, I do have a strong recollection of the majority of the 200's.  Perhaps it was because of the time / age I was reading them.  I do agree though that it contained some of the strongest writing and artwork.  The Apocalypse War era was, for my money, marred by the overly comedic Robo Hunter run.

It's also been interesting following some of the comments about era's.  These largely mirror my own and for similar reasons.  The late 80's / early 90's saw a drop off during my RAF days with a brief dalliance down the Falklands during Judgement Day.  It wasn't really until the Pit that I returned fully and never looked back as the prog went from strength to strength, particularly under Rebellion's ownership.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: AlexF on 12 October, 2016, 12:51:41 pm
I wasn't reading at the time, but from re-reads and obsessing over Barney, I'd plump for Prog 178, too. Mean Arena is the weak link, but to be honest I don't know if there has ever been a seriously long stretch of Progs (the odd 5-10 Prog mini-streaks, maybe) that didn't have one less-then-superlative strip. And everything else was SO GOOD.

Picking the end Prog for this era is harder for me. 520? 600? 660, when we start getting Harlem Heroes, Dry Run and so on?
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Jim_Campbell on 12 October, 2016, 12:59:41 pm
Picking the end Prog for this era is harder for me. 520? 600? 660, when we start getting Harlem Heroes, Dry Run and so on?

Just out of interest, I skipped forward on Barney by 100 progs, or roughly two years, and the 320s into the 330s is just as strong, with top quality Dredd, great Moore shorts, Skizz, Cam Kennedy Rogues, Gibson Robo-Hunter, then Skizz giving way to Slaine, Dredd serving up Cry of the Werewolf, then Nemesis and Strontium Dog coming back into the line-up just as McMahon makes his Slaine debut.

Surely, Prog 335 (http://www.2000ad.org/?zone=prog&page=profiles&choice=335) has to be a contender for strongest prog in the title's history?
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Magnetica on 12 October, 2016, 01:56:44 pm
Good shout. Dredd, Slaine, Nemesis, Stront at or near their peaks ( My Top 4 all time thrills).

When the weakest strip is Rogue Trooper you know it's a good Prog. But those others elevate it to the stratosphere.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Fungus on 12 October, 2016, 02:54:35 pm
Last time the Best Prog Ever subject came up I think 335 took the honours. In an unscientific, no votes cast as such, wandering thread, kind of a way. Can't think of a better prog, offhand.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 12 October, 2016, 05:57:35 pm
Surely, Prog 335 (http://www.2000ad.org/?zone=prog&page=profiles&choice=335) has to be a contender for strongest prog in the title's history?

Okay, I'm not sure about either of these but just to add to the mix how about

Prog 626
http://www.2000ad.org/?zone=prog&page=profiles&choice=626 (http://www.2000ad.org/?zone=prog&page=profiles&choice=626)

or

Prog 1634
http://www.2000ad.org/?zone=prog&page=profiles&choice=1634 (http://www.2000ad.org/?zone=prog&page=profiles&choice=1634)
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Hawkmumbler on 12 October, 2016, 06:05:49 pm


Prog 1634
http://www.2000ad.org/?zone=prog&page=profiles&choice=1634 (http://www.2000ad.org/?zone=prog&page=profiles&choice=1634)
Oh my WORD that is a rather magnificent line up. It's saying something when Savage back when I gave a damn about it, was the poorest thing in the prog.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: SuperSurfer on 12 October, 2016, 10:08:56 pm
Surely, Prog 335 (http://www.2000ad.org/?zone=prog&page=profiles&choice=335) has to be a contender for strongest prog in the title's history?

Features The Moses Incident – in my opinion the finest Strontium Dog story that graced the pages of 2000AD. 
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: sheridan on 13 October, 2016, 01:21:30 am
I have a question of my own - is it just me or do others find the Progs of this era more memorable than any others? I am not sure if it is just because they were relatively at the start of my 2000AD reading "career" and so my memory was less full of other Progs*, or because they were just the best Progs of all time.

(*It is a bit like when I owned only a handful of Albums, I could name every single track on every album I owned. Now I have far more I can't.)


A good deal of that is just because it's when you started reading it.  I feel exactly the same about the era about two and a half years later (I'd have been a bit young to read Tooth in the time period you describe).
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: sheridan on 13 October, 2016, 01:31:45 am
Last time the Best Prog Ever subject came up I think 335 took the honours. In an unscientific, no votes cast as such, wandering thread, kind of a way. Can't think of a better prog, offhand.


About the third or fourth prog I ever bought (the first one I bought was 330 and for some reason I missed a few weeks - perhaps I'd only ever got non-sequential comics* before then and wasn't in the habit of having to buy them every week).  No wonder I was hooked and am still reading thirty-three years later!


*Beano / Dandy / Whizzer and Chips / etc - they have issue numbers but you don't miss anything if you don't read every issue in order.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 22 October, 2016, 09:33:16 pm
So Steve Dillons' passing is dominating my thoughts and since I'm reading the Progs around the time he started working on the  Galaxies Greatest I wondered if I'd stumble into one of those funny things and stumble across the issues he first appeared in tonight.

I didn't.

But he was still in my thoughts and it made me reflect on a post I was going to write the other day and didn't get around to and that being about John Richardson. Tonight it seems strangly fitting so here I go. See reading the start of Mean Arena it has real ups and downs, the story has such potential but doesn't really fulfil it, washing around all over the place and lacking direction and focus. The one thing that is constant and positive and very surprising is the art. I'm really, really enjoying John Richardson's art on the strip. Its superb.

The thing is even though I've read this series before, back in the day and a few years ago on re-read I still don't expect his art, nor for it to be around for so long. Now that's no slight on Mr Richardson. He's good, he's really good. Rather its testament to Steve Dillon. Who though on the strip for far less time leaves his mark on it in such a way that I can't think beyond his work on the series. Steve Dillon's work is so great on it it drowns out John Richardsons.

The aim of this post when first conceived was to redemn Richardson's art and highlight its brilliance. Now alas that's changed and regardless of how great his art is all I'm thinking about again is that Steve Dillon's was so supreme that still it dominates my idea of the strip.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 25 October, 2016, 09:16:17 pm
So early 206 and for some the Golden age is here. I have to disagree... just. Certainly up to issue 200 the Prog has some real highs and the lows are getting smoothed out. Nothing is unreadably bad. Dredd with some stone old classics starting 1981 with The Fink and Return to Armegeddon is great. When Strontium Dog is in the Prog things are top notch too, The Bad Boys Bust a superb short and one of my favourite Johnny Alpha stories, so much squeezed into 4 short parts. But Mean Arena is, art aside, just all over the place and I don't warm to Meltdown Man as much as others (I'll be returning to this and Armageddon next time as I've been trying to work out why I love one so much and the other not at all). Some cute Tharg shorts too. Nothing is terrible, but its not quite golden

So we get to Prog 200 and I start to see why people think that might mark the Golden Age. While the shorts that run up to 200 are great and one, one of my all time favourites (mnetioned above) Portrait of the Mutant starting in 200 is probably my favourite Strontium Dog story ever. Its wonderful stuff. Dredd continues to be at an absolute peak and Return to Armgeddon just gets better and better. Okay so Meltdown Man continues on its aimless way so its down to a run of one offs which I thought might be better, but is pretty hit and miss. See I thought this was when Alan Moore really started to turn in the Future Shocks, but not quite and the one's not by him have been quite week.

So yeah I can certainly see why some might mark these early 200 issues as the start of the Golden Age, but for me 3 solid golld strips just ain't enough and since Meltdown man ain't working for me we're not there yet. But we're getting close...
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 27 October, 2016, 10:17:15 pm
Return to Armageddon vs. Meltdown Man

Okay so best to set my stall out early... well in case anyone has missed my whittering to this point.

Return to Armageddon > Meltdown Man

in fact

Return to Armageddon >>>>>>>>> Meltdown Man

But what's intriguing me is why? Clearly these things a quite subjective and so I'm not sure why I'm worrying about this. The answer is probably just - I really prefer RtA - why over analysis... thing is we're fanboys over analysisings what we love... well some more than others and I hope I'm not as bad as... well okay I'll not go there, but for some reason this particular fanboy worry is really bugging me.

Why these two cases, well I see so much in common with the two. Both are long rambling epics, often lurching from one thing to the next. Both are written by writers deep in IPC's ranks from the 70s, but not ever reaching the heights of star (I'd suggest). Both are drawn by artists with incredibly strong, distinct, individual styles. Both have action plots but with a thread of humour running underneath. Finally both have a strong following with those that know them. So why do I love one and not the other?

Cos I do... nah I think its more than that. I think the stories feel like they are both of the old skool, a tradition that 2000ad is moving kids comics away from and while they have that I feel one absorbs the DNA of a 2000ad story better. Its darker and while chaotic, it holds itself together far more successfully. MMan feels like its strongly planted in the stories of old. Its villians are slight and pantomine. In RtA the villian is delicous, if straightforward, but also pushed back so other rotters flow up and take there place allowing 'the Dark One' to remain infallible - while Leeshar and his crew in MMan are allowed to fail time and again and thus lose their credibility.

Our heroes are both fun. Nick Stone of MMan is the gruff hardman 2000ad has used well so often, but I'll come back later to why I don't think he works too well. Amtrak in fantastically atypical a lot of the time. For the first section absent (or a baby), for the mid section a melting mess and only in the final act finally a blonde haired, blue eyed (I assume) hero... though even then he spends lots of his time being rescued by his rich and varied supporting task.

As for the stories I think RtA works while MMan fails as its made of a wonderful, diverse selection of short stories craftily weaved together and thus the story, while spralling at all times feels fresh and interesting. It never gets tired. Its always offering something new and compelling and somehow, miraculously coherant. MMan follows one story seemingly endlessly, wobbling from one idea to the next, its long time in the Prog being made to feel like a burden, obliging the creators to cram another idea into the single sized pot.

RtA also feels more 2000ad to me, its genuinely dark at times, different and gripping, the humour is jet back. MMan has clearly been filtered through the 2000ad template but doesn't seem to have been able to shake off its it IPC children's comics origins and the humour is more slapstick and clumsy.

Finally I think my prefence is rooted in the art. Jesus Redondo is a real favourite of mine and he suits the strips tone perfectly. Delievering fantastic panels of grim black lines, scratching out the dark world the story is creating. Yet when he needs to he delivers beauty and clarity. His storytelling and characters acting is perfect. Belardinelli I'm a lot less keen on and while he too is a perfect choice for the strip (almost) there lies the problem. He creates a wonderful world and allows the natural environment within it pulse with chaotic energy. The problem is his central human characters feel two dimensional and the acting stiff and lifeless. Nick Stone, as mentioned above, therefore doesn't work as well as he might and looks gruff, but actually not that hard, whatever we are told about him. I appreciate that many disagree.

So yeah I'm fascinated as to why I have such vastly different opinions about these two peers. I can think of many reason why Return to Armageddon is better than Meltdown Man. In the end though is it just subjective? I do wonder if I look at the art and judge from there? I don't think so, but its possible. I do wonder however if the artists were swapped on the stories would my opinion change also? We'll never know... but its fun to over analysis isn't it.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Magnetica on 01 November, 2016, 11:48:02 am
First of all I am surprised no-one has commented on this - I would have thought there would be a lot of discussion on this. For me they were two of the formative 2000AD stories but as with my views on when the golden age was that is probably because of when I started reading the Prog.

In order to put forward my views I will need to slightly break my own rule as I have only the-read RtA and not MM ( I bought it in the half price sale but haven't got round to it yet).

So anyway...

I always preferred Meltdown Man to RtA. As with Colin I think that the art was a lot to do with that but the other way round.

Redondo's art I felt always had a scrathy feel to it, that I don't like, where as Belardinelli was always nice and clean and he is great and this sort of fantasy setting.

On re-reading RtA I was struck by now little the Destroyer actually appears. That was not what I remembered. I always found him a deeply horrifying villan. That is probably another reason I preferred Meltdown Man as I prefer fantasy (and sci-if) to horror.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: AlexF on 01 November, 2016, 12:07:44 pm
I came to both stories in weird, small chunks in Quality COmics reprints (2000AD Showcase, I think it was called). Meaning I read random epsiodes and not always in order, and certainly not from the beginning. I was hooked by both, but at the time I inherently warmed to Meltdown Man more because it was a LOT easier to follow in any given episode. I found it much easier to understand who each character was and their motivations, while RtA was mega confusing.

When I finally amassed the relevant progs to read both serials through properly, I initially stuck with MM as the better, more asatisfying story, whil RtA just had an annoying cop-out ending. On later re-reads, though, I'm all over RtA, mostly for the reasons Colin suggests. It's just more classically 2000AD, full of weird ideas, twists and truns, and a host of characters with more layers than just good and evil (although the animals with stereotypical traits is well done by Hebden in MM). I've even grown to like the ending, which works better the more I read it, what with the theme of the endless cycle of birth, death and the whole Universe.

MM, meanwhile, becomes just a bit too long. I actually enjoy it more just reading random episodes rather than slogging through the whole thing. Dare I say it, it's a wee bit childish. The art on both is superb, and there's some great dialogue in both, too, so I wouldn't write MM off. Pretty sure I'd have loved it had I read it as it came out, it's certianly one of those series where you invest in the characters and just want to see the story through, even though you know it can only really have one ending. The mid-story reveal is a blinder, I'll give it that, too.

Just recently I had hoped that Brink would be a series that dared to follow the model of just going on and on forever, with a long unfolding plot but I guess that's not how it works these days, and instead we'll get 2-3 books over a few years. Honestly, these 21st century artists and their need for a reasonable work/life balance.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Fungus on 01 November, 2016, 12:28:53 pm
One of these days I'll finally re-read these stories and I remain curious which will work better. What I do remember is that missing the absolute start of MM, and intricate art of Belardinelli made it slightly incomprehensible. While RTA possibly had a richer plot, so week on week needed more attention paid. RTA wins, but To Be Confirmed.

At the time, Dredd, Alpha and even Mean Arena felt like the heart of the prog. As we know, a re-read now could change all that.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: sheridan on 01 November, 2016, 01:34:44 pm
I always loved Meltdown Man, from when I had the odd prog with an episode her and there to when I had the complete run and could read it in one sitting, which I've done a few times.  In fact, I found my copies of 2000AD Extreme with the Cliff Robinson covers and had to stop myself from reading past the fifth episode, as I had other things to do (like my prog slog which is still in the twenties!)
I've read all of Return to Armageddon in the progs, but not sure I've ever dug out the progs and only read that story - something I had done with Meltdown Man before I had the story collected in reprint form.

What do I like about it?  The artwork is some of Belardinelli's best; the concept of eugenically modified lifeforms based on animals being oppressed; names like 'Caleb the Camelman'; the human buildings; the yujee buildings that reveal (plus the clue given to readers a few progs earlier).

Not enough maps in stories these days - not even in Judge Dredd, which used to be the most likely to feature a map!

I'll reserve judgement on Armageddon until I've re-read the story - love Redondo's artwork, though not to the extent I do Belardinelli's - sorry, Jesus!*  I'm not religious but like use of Genesis and Revelations imagery** as plot-fodder as much as the next person.

*great to see he's still working in British and American comics - prefer his black and white stuff though, even now.

**other books do exist, but page for page, G&R get the highest STN ratio :)
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 04 November, 2016, 09:15:49 pm
 Just read the conclusion of RtA and its MUCH more satisfying than I remember. Okay the its all a game played by little children is all a bit Star Trek cliche but somehow The Dark Evilly One's final fate is very satisfying. Amtrak's heroic find battle seems utterly fitting and his sense of futlity at the end even more so. Its all really rather good and to be honest RtA really is an unheralded classic. I mean its well regarded but its not normally regarded as being up there.

In other news Colin Wilson really is in my top 5 Dredd artists. His work is stunning.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Grant Goggans on 05 November, 2016, 07:23:12 am
Now in 1980 I'm pretty sure the 30p difference in price between the Dredd and the 2000ad annual would have bought you a decent family car, but it, even to my 8 year old mind, would surely have been worth it for the Mike McMahon art over those 30 pages.

I just wanted to say that I bought the complete Sweeney on DVD earlier this year and a few episodes have some scenes at dodgy used car dealers.  I'm fascinated by the prices of cars in the 1970s.  Colin's statement may read like hyperbole, but it's actually true.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 06 November, 2016, 08:29:58 am
I just wanted to say that I bought the complete Sweeney on DVD earlier this year and a few episodes have some scenes at dodgy used car dealers.  I'm fascinated by the prices of cars in the 1970s.  Colin's statement may read like hyperbole, but it's actually true.

Now Mr Goggans could you please stop suggesting I talk sense, we know that way leds to maddess!

Anyway I reach Prog 222 and a very significent Prog as it sees the start of Nemesis the Warlock. Looking back almost 40 years its hard to get a proper perspective on quite how astonishing this must have been. I was there, its lodged in my mind but I'm not going to pretend my memories of the impact of this story haven't been filter through the 36 years its influenced. Beyond the astonishing visiuals, glorious, sharp and ugly in all the right places, its so dark. 2000ad is of course dark, we've just finished Return to Armageddon, but surely Nemesis takes it to a whole new level? Its the perfect summation of the way 2000ad has been developing, so very anti-authoritarian, so darkly funny, so densely packed yet easy to read, so superbly realised and yes so thrilling in just the 4 pages we have a very clear vision of why The Galaxy's Greatest has survived so long while so many others - an entire industry - as fallen away. Just wonderful.

It does all this with the confidence that the comic as a whole shows at this point. Its achieves all with ownly the bariest mention the two main characters so loved from the stories short (in terms of pages) development.

Even comparing it to the rest of the Prog, a great Tharg story full of dark comedy, a neat, beautiful Future Shock, a Dredd ending a great run of stories with an admitedly slightly lousey ending and the comparitively childish Mean Arena and Meltdown Man - though again both at least having something of the comics potential in the art - good though some of this stuff is none of it can stand close to Mills and O'Neill's masterpiece. Yes even the Wagner and Grant Dredd seems to take a dip as if to add special emphasis on this!

For this reason, while the start of Nemesis marks a line in the sand, clearly shows what the previous 221 progs have been building towards, surely what surrounds it and how much it stands out demonstrate that we're not quite there yet, we're not quite golden? But we can see very clearly where we're going.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Magnetica on 06 November, 2016, 12:03:48 pm
Yes I have been waiting for you to reach this point. Prog 222, the first episode of Nemesis proper.

Surely the single greatest opening episode of any 2000AD story. Ever.*

37 years on, it is still awesome.

I can't imagine it ever being bettered.

* except when you reach the mid 300s I might have to qualify this a bit. It's a bit like my favourite band - it depends on who I am listening to at the time.

BTW I have started my Meltdown Man re-read. 5 episodes in and I am enjoying it immensely - some overly clunky explanatory dialogue notwithstanding. But so far I still maintain MM >> RtA & MB >>>>JR.  :lol:
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 06 November, 2016, 12:19:37 pm

Surely the single greatest opening episode of any 2000AD story...

It's bold, it's brash but that statement might just be right. I'll try to bare it in mind as the reread continues. Off the top of my head I can't think of a challenger.

Might even forgive the herasary for as Torque himself said

Be Pure
BE VIGIANT
Be a bigger fan of JR than MB
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 06 November, 2016, 08:20:59 pm
Okay so Prog 224 then...

Well Wagner and Grant weren't going to be held in check for long were they. 224 sees them and Dredd back on truly scintillating form as Brian Bolland produced some eye meltingly detailed art as 'Judge Death Lives!'. Add to that Strontium Dog returning and while its no  Portrait of a Mutant, The Gronk Affair is fun and I've always had haunted memories of the glutonous villians swallowing the cooked gronk. Nemesis of course continues to be devine and add to that a lovely Future Shock and we're there aren't we?

Okay Meltdown Man thrashes towards its increasingly chaotic conclusion, but even that serves as a reminder of the simpler time's that 2000ad came from and how twisted that's become.

So yeah maybe I'd go for this as the single issue to signify the age we're entering. Even the Nerve Centre is on the inside cover where I always expect to find it and hadn't been for quite some time.

What's left now of course is to see how golden I think this age is. Something I have lingering doubts about.

Oh and in other news since last Prog (223) the Prog has doubled in price in its 4 years history to this point. Gosh you forget how hard these times were. Mind Raiders featured in 224, Time Bandit adverts running in the Prog alongside Clash of the Titan cartoon trialers (used to love those things) I reckon my 9 year old brain was too distracted by these economic challenges! Thank heavens my parents could find the 16p.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Frank on 06 November, 2016, 08:54:57 pm
Nemesis of course continues to be devine

The Arches (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sydney_Devine) deviant:


(http://treesureisland.co.uk/acatalog/cw227.gif)(http://ma.cdnmonster.com/files/al/4L4/2u5INay7ZV.jpg)
(https://img.discogs.com/fSWtSloxowPjcEEyJ1pyyWv-C0w=/fit-in/300x300/filters:strip_icc():format(jpeg):mode_rgb():quality(40)/discogs-images/R-3814662-1345750490-1544.jpeg.jpg)(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51QN8FCME3L.jpg)
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 08 November, 2016, 08:19:04 pm
Okay two things from Prog 228.

First though I'm no Rogue Trooper fan I was plesently surprised how strong the first episode was. Wonderful art aside which I knew it was full of violent mystery. Really enjoyed it.

Secondly while I know 'Fist of Dredd' is widely regarded as the single greatest panel in the comics history how great is 'I am the nemesis - I am the warlock - I am the shape of things to come.' It's a folly to pretend it's better than 'Fist of Dredd' but it's damned close isn't it... damned, damned close.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 13 November, 2016, 09:28:23 pm
So by Prog 234 I've realised that the slow and steady build up to the Golden Age has dulled my senses. My Thrillnodes have been slowly bloated to the point of not realising how good the comic has become.

Prog 234 really hammers this home. See its far form the perfect Prog, Nemesis is having its break to allow Kev O'Neill to stun the Galaxy with his frankly unparalleled art. Strontium Dog has left us for the time being, while Mean Arena has found an entirely unsuitable artist in Eric Bradbury, whose work I normally love, here I just don't get on with it. Rogue's back and its already getting grating and formulaic. There is of course treasure. A fun Future Shock by one A. Moore, some great Dredd and Ace Trucking is really finding its stride in its third episode.

Its the weaker stuff that reveals quite how good the Prog is though. Rogue Trooper is simple but looks great and at least has some great ideas. Mean Arena is tough, its just a bit drifty and lacks any kind of focus, its characters offering you little. But this poor stuff is no Angel, no Disaster 1990, in earlier Progs, surrounded by weaker great material would I have embraced their weaknesses more? I think so, I think I've read and enjoyed weaker materials than this in earlier issues.

The comics has created a new context for its stories, over the last 50 or so issues the Galaxies Greatest has proved its no mere  inflated claim and so reading it is changing as well. Even in this condensed reading I'm being pulled up as a reader, without realising and my expectations are changing and the standards I'm judging things by changing... I probably should have saved this for my end of year summary, but I think this incredible shift worth mentioning now as its taken the weakest issue for a while to make the quality so clear.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 20 November, 2016, 08:11:27 pm
2000ad 1981

So if 1980 saw the Prog find its balance, if it didn't quite find it heights 1981 put that to bed. If 1980 saw the Galaxies Greatest become far more consistant than it had been in past - well since its opening line-up anyway -  it was was consistant where as 1981 has had the solid baseline AND had some quite astonishing peaks.

So yeah in 1981 2000ad truly becomes the Galaxies Greatest Comic.

Its a commonly held belief and almost a cliche amongst fans but I must admit I was a little surprised quite how taken I've been. I mean I knew the highs were there I mean 1981 had the very best strips (beyond Dredd) the comics every had. Consider.

Return to Armageddon
Portrait of a Mutant
Ace Trucking's fantastic start (and I emphasize start there I suspect I might be back to this point next 'year'
Nemesis the chuffin' mind blowing Warlock
Perfect Dredd

So yeah the the highs are clear and obvious. The thing that's made this year more special is the lows are so much better than I expected. They are still lows but they all say so much about where the Prog has risen to. Meltdown Man was doing my head in by the end but it was wonderfully chaotic and had much to enjoy, Mean Arena is a weak thrill but again its classicly 2000ad for that. Nicely grim and dirty, if not always executed too well. Rogue Trooper, a strip I really don't enjoy that much actually gets off to a much better start than I remember. There are some episodes, particularly the first, that I actively liked. The strip is already creaking a bit and the blandness of Rogue himself shines through from the off. Still though it almost always looks stunning and the world of Nu Earth is delightfully crazy and thrilling.

So yeah the comic comes of golden age. The question is now can 1982 sustain it?
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 23 November, 2016, 10:10:11 pm
1982 Annuals

Well 2000ad is getting better and the Dredd one ain't as good as the 1981 one but its still pretty stella... not much else to say is there really!

Okay a little. The 1982 2000ad annual is at least making an effort and has some pretty nice strips. A great Steve Parkhouse Future Shock, a brill Bolland Dredd and more besides. Its still got a lot a filler. It was BRILLIANT filler in the day. I was so excited about having the early Flesh and MACH 1 again when I first has this as a kid and our original Progs had gone. Now though its filler. So the 2000ad annual is beginning to realise that quality can pay but its still not in the league of the Dredd annual.

As for the Dredd annual there is once again three magnificent McMahon stories (lower page count alas) and they are stunning. The rest though, while not bad, ain't as good as the simply glorious stuff in the king of annuals the year before. Still its a bit wonderful.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Jim_Campbell on 23 November, 2016, 11:05:38 pm
There was always this odd disconnect with the annuals after the Dredd ones were introduced… the 2000AD ones were 128 (?) pages and felt padded, whilst the Dredd ones at 96 (?) felt lean and focussed. Having three full colour Dredds by the same artist really tied those Dredd annuals together, obviously helped by the fact that the contributions by McMahon, then Ezquerra, were quite brilliant.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 04 December, 2016, 09:22:16 pm
Well early steps into 1982 and I'm plesently surprised. Oh sure some things are as you'd expect. Dredd is quite superb as the Apocolypse War hits the invasion of Mega City 1, things have been quite supremely grim for Dredd and co. Nemesis Book 2 still remains an undervalued gem of a story. Mean Arena is still a bit (lot) rubbish).A little surprise with ACE Trucking as it remains immense fun and I'm enjoying it more than I remember. Always had fond memories of the series, but remember on my last read finding it disappointing at times.

The big surprise is I'm not hating Rogue Trooper though. Its relatively early days on the strip and it does have considerable problems. Any story doesn't really survive any close examination. Rogue is still a rubbish, flat led BUT last time the read the series I found it an absolute chore and skip vast chunks, before skipping it all together. This time I find I'm better able to ignore its problems and enjoy it for what it is, while gloring in its visuals.

I think the main reason is my current re-read is being done Prog to Prog, rather than story to story and the break in reading a poor story to read the rest of a Prog rather than slogging through helps diminish the impact of problems. In the past when I've read one strip in one go, issues are magnified as they build over episode to episode. Read 'properly' the opposite seems to happen and my concerns are diluted.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: AlexF on 05 December, 2016, 12:21:14 pm
I remember the really early Rogue Troper stories as being genuinely poignant in their treatment of the horrors of war; more horrifynig because we never really know what either side is fighting for, if anything, although we do know that Nu-Earth is just one battleground - not even teh home planet of most of the soldiers. Later, longer storylines get more caught up in action narratives but for me this basic facet of the strip managed to hold all the way through until Re-Gene, by which point it really was all about rogue himself, who, as you say, is a little flat.

They never did explain how Rogue is so well-adjusted, despite being, in a way, about 5 years old and with no experience of life outside a military training camp or a war world. Gibbons 'War Machine' did attempt to look at this; Fleisher's Friday series did not.

Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 09 December, 2016, 08:59:51 pm
A couple of snappy questions.

Firstly why the hell isn't Nemesis Book 2 hailed as the classic it is? Sure it doesn't have Kev O'Neill art but damnit Jesus Redondo is as good a replacement as you could hope for  and double damnit its a bloody fantastic story.

Secondly, how many times does Joe Black appear? I don't really remember the character, which would seem odd given I must have read these stories numerous times  by now... well okay not so odd given they are pretty flat BUT bloomin' heck he's on his fourth or fifth story, all with great John Higgins art, you'd have thought he'd have made more of an impression?
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Jim_Campbell on 09 December, 2016, 10:19:20 pm
Firstly why the hell isn't Nemesis Book 2 hailed as the classic it is? Sure it doesn't have Kev O'Neill art but damnit Jesus Redondo is as good a replacement as you could hope for  and double damnit its a bloody fantastic story.

I'm with you on this. I thought Redondo's rendition of all the major characters was fantastic (Purity… oh, those cheekbones!) and the story was smart and affecting. Redondo also draws great giant spiders and Steve Potter's lettering manages to be innovative whilst still being clean and legible.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: sheridan on 10 December, 2016, 08:50:56 am
Firstly why the hell isn't Nemesis Book 2 hailed as the classic it is? Sure it doesn't have Kev O'Neill art but damnit Jesus Redondo is as good a replacement as you could hope for  and double damnit its a bloody fantastic story.

I'm with you on this. I thought Redondo's rendition of all the major characters was fantastic (Purity… oh, those cheekbones!) and the story was smart and affecting. Redondo also draws great giant spiders and Steve Potter's lettering manages to be innovative whilst still being clean and legible.
I loved Redondo's depiction of Novala as well (the would-be human colony planet which had become overgrown and first featured in Olric's Great Quest).  Not to mention Sister Alvit and the Vestal Vampires playing charades :-)
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Magnetica on 10 December, 2016, 09:44:47 am
For me it is all relative. Book 2 is merely a solid adventure story, whereas book 1 was a true wow moment. Book 3 was a continuation of book 1 really. Books 3,4, 5 and 6 took it into a whole other gothic nightmare direction. After that I'm not so sure.

Book 2 feels like a inessential detour on the route from Book 1 to Book 3.

So nothing wrong with book 2, it just suffers in comparison, in my opinion, when matched against stuff which is some of the very best 2000AD has ever published.

Redondo and Talbot always drew a better Torquemada for me than O'Neill, managing to get expressions out of his helmet in a way that O'Neill never did. But the look of Nemesis, Termight, the Terminators and the Aliens created by O'Neill, well there were just amazing.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 10 December, 2016, 08:59:00 pm
Redondo and Talbot always drew a better Torquemada for me than O'Neill, managing to get expressions out of his helmet in a way that O'Neill never did. But the look of Nemesis, Termight, the Terminators and the Aliens created by O'Neill, well there were just amazing.

Ha - that's interesting cos one of the many reasons I really like O'Neill's Nemesis is the cold emotionless face that he gives The Warlock more often than not. It makes him feel unreadable and adds to his intrigue. I love much about the work Redondo and Talbot add to the series but this specific is one of their weaker elements for me!

Anyway to other matters, read 259 and aside from the shock that I'm already 5 years into my re-read (based on issue numbers as the comc is at this time) its really interesting that this issue starts with two comedy strips, Robo-Hunter, followed by ACE Trucking. Both not bad one off epsisodes, but their placing felt really off, especially when you are thrown straight from them into the gloriously grim Apocalypse War. Its not the best Prog as its an early example of a fuller issue before a 'Jumping On Prog' but this is slightly exaggerated by this curious strip placement. Goes to show, just like the tracks on an album, the order of strips in the comics can play into how good a piece of work it is regardless of the individual elements that make it.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 11 December, 2016, 09:19:36 pm
Couple more quick points of note:

Prog 261 - Greatest cliffhanger EVER right. I remember how long it felt between Progs very specifically due to this one. A week of my 10 year old mind trying to thing... how, how, HOW does Dredd survivie that one!

Hpw great is the run of Brit Cit Robo-Hunter, having read The Beast of Blackheart Manor and start of Filby Case its clear that the strip works better in short doses (see start of Day of the Driods)

A story I'd completely forgotten 'Alec Trench - Zombie' 263 + 4, I think see Ron Smith being Jack Kirby'd, Jack famously has this drawing of Superman's face replaced when drawing Jimmy Olsen. Does the same happen to Ron Smith's Tharg here. All the images of Tharg in the intros and end panels just don't fit and I reckon they are Robin Smith's (Art Editor at the time). I wonder what was wrong with Ron's Tharg?
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: TordelBack on 11 December, 2016, 11:31:38 pm
Ooo, I wonder is this potential sleight the secret origin of the 'Rob Smith' nose Ron draws in Citizen Snork?
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 12 December, 2016, 09:41:09 pm
Ooo, I wonder is this potential sleight the secret origin of the 'Rob Smith' nose Ron draws in Citizen Snork?

Well bless uou for wading through my unreadable nonsense BUT heavens to Betsy my inability to type coherantly annoys me at times.

A story I'd completely forgotten 'Alec Trench - Zombie' 263 + 4, I think I CAN see Ron Smith being Jack Kirby'd, Jack famously has HAD this HIS drawingS of Superman's face replaced when drawing the comic Jimmy Olsen. Does the same THING happen to Ron Smith's Tharg here. ? All the images of Tharg in the intros and end panels just don't fit and I reckon they are Robin Smith's (Art Editor at the time). I wonder what was wrong with Ron's Tharg?
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 12 December, 2016, 09:42:07 pm
Fuckin' hell - bless YOU - 3/10 Taylor please re-read what you scribble!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: AlexF on 15 December, 2016, 11:24:12 am
Those early Robo Hunter in Brit Cit stories are some of my favourite ever comics ever. Shame it lost its way with the longer runs. I have read these Progs on a re-read once in the past, but really my exposure to a lot of this golden age stuff - Ace Trucking, Robo Hunter, Nemesis, various Future Shocks - was all through the Best of 2000AD Monthly. So I never had a problem with the pacing / story sequence you've observed. I do remember the interminable wait between episodes of Necropolis, when I first became a weekly-Prog devourer. I can image your Apocalypse cliffhanger agony!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 22 December, 2016, 09:07:30 pm
Those early Robo Hunter in Brit Cit stories are some of my favourite ever comics ever.

Have to say you're not wrong. Just finished 'The Filby Case' and its probably my favourite Robo-hunter story to date (I suspected it would be going in) and it really is glorious comics. Quite a superb, well timed, supremely executed short. Devine.

If it wasn't for Mean Arena's seemingly endless run, I always remember it being a chore after the first few stories, but by gosh i didn't remember it going on quite as relentlessly as this and Rogue Trooper starting to show its true colours in 'All Hell on the Dix-I Front' (mind still not as bad as I remember it fair to say) the Prog would be knocking it out the park. With ACE Trucking and Dredd Wagner and Grant are on fine comic form. The others, while weak, at least give balance in tone and there's alwasy a nice future shock or two to give the comic balance.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 04 January, 2017, 09:14:07 pm
So the X-mas holidays slowed me up some but I'm getting to the end if 1982... or was it Mean Arena that was slowing me. I mean it went on FOREVER, for-bloody-ever. By the end it was just hideous... but its over... at last.

One problem out the way but next I land full into the racist sterotypes in 'Football Crazy' and the terrible thing is I don't mind them. Sam Slade has been absolutely fantastic, this run of stories has been even better this time around, and yes the representation of the Japanese in the latest story is pretty shocking... by todays standards. I'm not going to excuse them by suggesting its okay cos the parody is savage on all fronts. That really doesn't work as the way the Japanese characters are presented is based on pretty pathetic racial slurs. The thing is however I'm completely unaffected by that as I've read them some many times during a time when we didn't care and to that end I'm immune to it all. In the same way I am to Mammy Two Shoes in Tom and Jerry. They have become wallpaper. The same thing done now I'd be appalled (that Strontium Dog story recently got very close to the bone) but here they wash over me.

I'm not sure what that says about me but there you go.

The 1982 Special ain't too good either.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 07 January, 2017, 04:00:59 pm
All the talk of Strontium Dog elsewhere has reminded me of something I meant to say a while back and ever since BUT the strip always surprises me with its lack of regularity. I always think of it as such a mainstay that I'm always surprised when it is disappears for so long, so often. Clearly Carlos was very busy in 1982 with Dredd and that explains its absense... doesn't stop it surprising me...
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: AlexF on 10 January, 2017, 10:39:50 am
Ezquerra, Belardinelli and Gibson were just staggeringly prodigious during this time. Between the three of them it's as if they were juggling strips and very rarely missing a week. I think all of them had something in either 2000AD, Starlord or Tornado practically every issue from the beginning til around Prog 500. Mental. Makes me wonder if they really were droids, it's an inhuman combination of craft and work ethic!

(You won't see any more Stront for a while, but when it comes back, you'll see it nearly every week for years to come!)
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 13 January, 2017, 09:26:39 pm
2000ad 1982

So the byword for 1982 is consistency. Bloody hell the Prog has been consistant. For the vast majority of the year the Prog has consisted of just 6 thrills being:

Dredd (of course)
Rogue Trooper
Mean Arena
Robo Hunter
Ace Trucking
Future Shocks (or associated shorts that might not have exactly been Future Shocks but fall into that wheel house)

At the start we has a glorious Nemesis story and by the end Harry 20 on High Rock has joined in, but that aside that's pretty much it. That's pretty incredible when you think about it, certainly compared to say the last ten years, when we've had many stories that feel like they've had many one 10-12 part story per year. Even things like Sinister Dexter and Nikolai Dante the last stories that spring to mind, with anything like that sort of regularly are either gone or on a go slow.

So yeah its interesting and makes the decision on whether you think 1982 has been a golden year pretty straight forward, do you like those strips? Well do you?

For me is been okay, not Golden. See Dredd has been superb, Robo-Hunter has been glorious (until... we'll get to that), Future Shocks have been by and large fun and provide at least some variation, ACE Trucking is not up there but consistently fun and entertaining. I've found Rogue Trooper more tolerable than I have before... tolerable being the word though (until... we'll get to that) and Mean Arena was a bloody chore, an endless chore at that.

So on paper not too bad you'd think, I mean this reading of Rogue still exposes the strips real, deep weaknesses but its looked great and I've almost enjoyed it at times. So one middling at best and one poor strip aside its been pretty good right... well no see its missed one of the Galaxy's Greatest's key strengths the variety. Its lacked that quick step, that bounce. The bad strips are better, or more engaging when they don't hang around, the good strip more thrilling when they leave you gasping for their return, its all so much fresher.

By the end of 1982 this is really showing. ACE has been pushed aside and probably just it time, it was begining to lose it lustre, Rogue Trooper is becoming the almost unreadable mess I remember with Neuropia following on from the weak Dix-i or whatever they were all called. Even the glorious Robo-Hunter is singing its way to a bit of a low. Mean Arena finally crawled away and dies in a corner... so yeah 1982 had a real consistancy, which I have called for in the past (the past of the current reflection on the past if you follow) but maybe I didn't mean quite like this.

Still the changes are clearly coming and to be honest I'm more than ready for them... as I recall they're going to be pretty bloody exciting too... can't wait for 1983.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Hawkmumbler on 14 January, 2017, 02:17:20 pm
Well 1982 was the year of the Apocalypse War. When you have a Dredd story like that everything else is going to seem somewhat pedestrian afterwards.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 15 January, 2017, 08:27:47 pm
Annuals 1983

So the convergence in quality continues. The 2000ad annual is continuing to improve, helped greatly by a couple of fine Alan Moore stories, Bo-Busters with Bryan Talbot and an interesting Rogue Trooper with Brett Ewins, a pleasent Strontium Dog and some other okay bits and bobs. Okay there is STILL a lot of filler, but the 2000ad Annual continues to improve.

The Dredd annual is still comfortably ahead, but that gap is closing. Swap Carlos for Mike McMahon as the artist on three Dredd's and you'd think they'd be little drop in quality. Trouble is the stories aren't as strong, I'd forgotten all about the proto Helter Skelter in here, which is pretty surprising. The rest of the book is dropping in quality too. There's more filler and the text and 'back up ' stories are quite as good.

Really intrigued to see if the 2000ad ever catch the Dredds... I just can't remember... we'll see 'next year'

Happy 1983 fellow boarders, I'll see you in the New Year.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 15 January, 2017, 09:12:48 pm
Annuals 1983

...The 2000ad annual is continuing to improve, helped greatly by a couple of fine Alan Moore stories, Bo-Busters with Bryan Talbot and an interesting Rogue Trooper with Brett Ewins, a pleasent Strontium Dog and some other okay bits and bobs. Okay there is STILL a lot of filler, but the 2000ad Annual continues to improve.

Well my perennial dumb assedness meant I forgot to mention the glorious origin of Blitzspear... dumbass its bloody fantastic!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 20 January, 2017, 09:05:11 pm
Well 1983 starts pretty slowly. Dredd shines, but Robo-hunter sings itself into a bit of a corner with a sluggish and stumbling story. There's nothing sluggish about Harry 20 which loves great but really is a bit of a farce. Rogue Trooper is currently terrible and I'm burly reading it... the Future Shocks have even lost some sheen...

...things will pick up I know.

The one thing that stands out to me is Abelard Snazz gets another showing. Its not that its particularly good, in fact its fairly pedestrian, its just that I'd forgotten quite how much he showed up.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 25 January, 2017, 09:32:32 pm
So Prog 308 is just what 1983 needed. The year has taken until mid March to kick into gear BUT this Prog sure shows signs of what's to come (as I recall). Last Prog we shed Harry 20 on High Rock a series I can't excuse GFD for, regardless of Alan Davis' developing art. Sam Slade stopped all the silly singing nonsense, which had really been a shame after a run of quite superb stories... okay so Rogue Trooper is still trudging through Neuro a new low for the series, but even there this Prog builds hope, after all its part 17, this has GOT to be over soon... right.... surely...

Anyway elsewhere things are fine... well okay we have a particularly weak Dredd in 'The Prankster' a story that I have to say had completely slipped my oh so slippy memory. Nice mind... anyway a weak Dredd is hardly anything to worry about is it. You can be pretty sure the that next Prog things will be back up to top, top form...

Okay so the next up we have a fun but not astonishing Tharg story... well Thrillsuckers, fun nowt more...

...so yeah so far it doesn't really sound like 308 is much to herald... but then you get to one A. Moore. By george he earns his chops this prog. In The Reversible Man we have a Time Twister that sets the standard by which his Future Shocks are remembered by. Up to now many have been good, very good. But not as astonishing as their reputation if you ask me. They've tended to be good fun.  The Reversible Man is a really wonderful, powerful story though and really raises the bar.

The fantastic thing is though Mr A Moore has already leapt over that bar in this very Prog. In the opening episode of Skizz Mr A Moore has already reminded me why this is probably my favourite Mr A Moore story (more to come as I read on of course). But fuckin' hell this is a way to introduce a strip. Quite brilliant. In an episode he crafts humour, excitment, AND an entire world I want to know more about, drawn wide with some simple dialogue between alien and ships computer. While doing that Mr A Moore makes me care about said alien and exciting predicament his crashing on Earth casts him into. Being crashed on Earth is the least of his immediate problems however and that makes the episode a little micro-story full of tension. Mind Mr A Moore ALSO manages to make it quite clear why being crashed on Earth is going to be such a problem for a creature from a hi-tech race and interstellar technology. He deftly sets the creature adrift and helpless. In 6 chuffing pages.

And that my friends is why Prog 308 sends the Prog back into oribit. Well done Mr A Moore.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Frank on 25 January, 2017, 10:22:58 pm
we have a particularly weak Dredd in 'The Prankster' a story that I have to say had completely slipped my oh so slippy memory

You might have been reminded of The Prankster (http://i.imgur.com/DkjBFtm.png) (308) when you read Ladykiller (http://i.imgur.com/eWeqtGg.png) (1995) - note the two robot butlers. The detail of staging an event on a significant date to entrap the perp recalls Maybe's penultimate outing, Serial Serial (http://i.imgur.com/03ULzNN.png) (1953).

Also, Moore and White's Reversible Man predates Martin Amis's Booker prize-nominated Time's Arrow (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time's_Arrow_(novel)) by some 8 years. Borag Thungg, Earthlet Amis!


Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: JOE SOAP on 25 January, 2017, 10:33:49 pm
Also, Moore and White's Reversible Man predates Martin Amis's Booker prize-nominated Time's Arrow (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time's_Arrow_(novel)) by some 8 years.


And Philip K. Dick's Counter-Clock World (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Counter-Clock_World) goes all the way back to 1967.

Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: sheridan on 28 January, 2017, 11:21:09 am
Also, Moore and White's Reversible Man predates Martin Amis's Booker prize-nominated Time's Arrow (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time's_Arrow_(novel)) by some 8 years.

And Philip K. Dick's Counter-Clock World (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Counter-Clock_World) goes all the way back to 1967.

If I write something in a decade's time, does that mean I'll have got there first?
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: sheridan on 28 January, 2017, 11:22:32 am
So the convergence in quality continues. The 2000ad annual is continuing to improve, helped greatly by a couple of fine Alan Moore stories, Bo-Busters with Bryan Talbot and an interesting Rogue Trooper with Brett Ewins, a pleasent Strontium Dog and some other okay bits and bobs. Okay there is STILL a lot of filler, but the 2000ad Annual continues to improve.

Was that the rogue story with the Waldos?
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 01 February, 2017, 09:00:26 pm
So the convergence in quality continues. The 2000ad annual is continuing to improve, helped greatly by a couple of fine Alan Moore stories, Bo-Busters with Bryan Talbot and an interesting Rogue Trooper with Brett Ewins, a pleasent Strontium Dog and some other okay bits and bobs. Okay there is STILL a lot of filler, but the 2000ad Annual continues to improve.

Was that the rogue story with the Waldos?

That's the fella.

Anyway a quick note to say I love the Dredd 'classic'* Starborn Thing (Progs 309 - 314) great story but such a weak end.Such a shame.

Elsewhere Robohunter new 'epic' start well, but they always do and as Sam floats out his body I wonder if we're on the downward already? Rogue gets out of Nu...whatever it was I've forgotten it already but remains pretty damned poor with Major Magnum. Some good Future Twister buoy thing and Skizz... well Skizz is just perfect.

*It is considered a classic isn't it?
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 09 February, 2017, 07:53:41 pm
So the Prog has been on a bit of a downer lately. After a poor end to Starborn thing even Dredd has a mini dip (these things are all relative of course), with 'King of the Road', 'Condo' both being pretty forgettable and Stupid Gun not living up to my memories of the story. Rogue Trooper... well I'll not go over that ground again and the Future Timey Shoisters have been a little up and down. Skizz is the one consistent highlight being absolutely perfect. But things look up in Prog 324. Dredd has Cry of the Werewolf which is just the classic its regardles as and Robohunter has been true to form the longer form stories in starting well then going down hill. In this case very quickly and very badly as Sam's soul swans around BUT tie him in a chair on the side of a road in the body of his clone (no really, don't ask) and you have a simply fantastic episode. Quite superb and up to the standard of the strip at its best (which was the shorter stories in the 200s).

So yeah not sure how long this will last but its amazing the difference a solid Sammy makes.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 09 February, 2017, 07:59:10 pm
Well that and an astonishingly good, frighteningly good Time Twister.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Hawkmumbler on 09 February, 2017, 08:02:32 pm
Hhhmmm, maybe you can help me Colin seeing as you're in the mists of your reread right now. Can you recall a one page Future Shock where A UFO lands in front of an Average Joe, only for the alien to be a hideously mutated human from the future? I don't think it was a Moore FS...
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 09 February, 2017, 08:42:10 pm
Sorry no springing to my mind. But then my mind ain't the best!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Hawkmumbler on 09 February, 2017, 08:49:03 pm
Bugger, it's really annoying me because I could swear I read it in a Meg reprint but which one has so far escaped me.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: sheridan on 09 February, 2017, 10:25:01 pm
Hhhmmm, maybe you can help me Colin seeing as you're in the mists of your reread right now. Can you recall a one page Future Shock where A UFO lands in front of an Average Joe, only for the alien to be a hideously mutated human from the future? I don't think it was a Moore FS...

Evolved, not mutated.  Artwork by John Higgins, I think - and I'm pretty sure it was two or three pages long.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 19 February, 2017, 08:49:43 pm
Prog 330

Endings and beginnings huh, endings and beginnings.

Skizz has an ending that I always felt let the story down a little. Its so built into the story, its there right from the start. Its worked well and done with some flare, but I always wanted this story I like so much to have bolder ending.

Slaine starts and its a beginning I've never been overly fond of and I'm not sure why... well actually I think I do, but it shouldn't be the reason. I struggle to get on with the art, its feels adrift from what I know and expect of the series. It also jars with the grim bitter world that the story holds. Its wonderful, crafted, precise art and it doesn't work for the series.

There I've said it now I'll duck for cover.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Magnetica on 19 February, 2017, 10:18:21 pm
So I have agreed with you in two post today (Prog and Meg reviews)...but this....no sorry....not for me.

I love Angie Kincaid / Mills' art on this.

Also given that it is the first episode it doesn't seem quite right to me to say one doesn't like it because it doesn't fit with what comes later. And you know what, it had never occurred to me that was the case; as I am sure you know there has been a huge variation in art styles on Slaine over the years.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: TordelBack on 20 February, 2017, 10:39:50 am
I'm with Magnetica on this one.  All three early Slaine artists are perfect at what they do. Angie Kincaid's rather stiff Gal-homage does the heavy lifting of establishing Slaine's world: it's a masterclass in creating a unique visual identity that parallels the genius of the first script, together setting out almost all the elements that have sustained the strip for 30 years.  Bellardinelli gives the strip its authentic European Celtic trappings, panels that look like the contents of a natural history museum and a La Tene archaeology exhibit have collided in the garden of Eden. Then McMahon arrives to render everything in kinetic sinew and bark scratchings, somehow continually suggesting that it was actually drawn by an eye-witness. It's just a perfect mix, and not one of those first three artists so much as tug a single forelock in the direction of mainstream fantasy art.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Jim_Campbell on 20 February, 2017, 10:53:29 am
I'm with Magnetica on this one.  All three early Slaine artists are perfect at what they do.

I think it's also worth noting the Frame droid's eschewing of the standard, rounded balloon in favour of those straight lines, which instantly set the strip apart visually from everything else in the prog.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: TordelBack on 20 February, 2017, 11:10:19 am
I'm with Magnetica on this one.  All three early Slaine artists are perfect at what they do.

I think it's also worth noting the Frame droid's eschewing of the standard, rounded balloon in favour of those straight lines, which instantly set the strip apart visually from everything else in the prog.

Ouch, never even noticed this! A re-read is mandated!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Jim_Campbell on 20 February, 2017, 11:24:41 am
Ouch, never even noticed this! A re-read is mandated!

I'm wondering if Tom lettered Mick's early episodes first — ISTR reading that Angie Kincaid's episode took so long to get whipped into shape that a lot of other episodes were already complete before the first one was ready to go. Those rough-hewn, straight-edged balloons really come into their own on the McMahon episodes, so I kind of feel Tom might have settled on the style as a complement to Mick's angular, scratchy art.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: I, Cosh on 20 February, 2017, 11:32:32 am
Prog 330. Endings and beginnings huh, endings and beginnings.

Skizz has an ending that I always felt let the story down a little. Its so built into the story, its there right from the start. Its worked well and done with some flare, but I always wanted this story I like so much to have bolder ending.

Slaine starts and its a beginning I've never been overly fond of and I'm not sure why... well actually I think I do, but it shouldn't be the reason. I struggle to get on with the art, its feels adrift from what I know and expect of the series. It also jars with the grim bitter world that the story holds. Its wonderful, crafted, precise art and it doesn't work for the series.

There I've said it now I'll duck for cover.
This was my second first Prog, as the shoddy stocking policies of my remote village newsagent led to an enforced gap of around six months before I found a more reliable dealer. Partly because of this, Slaine long held a special place in my heart and was arguably my favourite strip until Zenith arrived. Conversely, Skizz didn't interest me at all until I eventually read the full story in reprint many years later.

Not sure what point I'm trying to make other than sharing some misty-eyed reminiscence. I think it was probably the upcoming Prog 335 which really got me hooked so I'll be interested to see what you make of that one.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Magnetica on 20 February, 2017, 12:47:02 pm
I think the point is how absolutely amazing those opening episodes of Slaine were (are?).

For me the greatest ever opening epidodes to any 2000AD series are:

- Nemesis on Prog 222 (if you want to count Prog 167's Comic Rock instead I won't argue) and
- Slaine in Prog 330.

Next up would be Zenith on Prog 535 ( but it will be a while before Colin gets that far.)

And indeed all three had incredible first series to back up those opening episodes.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: TordelBack on 20 February, 2017, 12:53:14 pm
And indeed all three had incredible first series to back up those opening episodes.

No arguments there. Rogue Trooper (Prog 228?) also has an astonishingly compelling opener - but Slaine and Zenith are the ones to beat (Zenith losing half a point to Slaine because it doesn't get to define the title character - although his irrelevance to larger events may be the point!).
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: sheridan on 20 February, 2017, 12:55:34 pm
Prog 330. Endings and beginnings huh, endings and beginnings.
This was my second first Prog, as the shoddy stocking policies of my remote village newsagent led to an enforced gap of around six months before I found a more reliable dealer. Partly because of this, Slaine long held a special place in my heart and was arguably my favourite strip until Zenith arrived. Conversely, Skizz didn't interest me at all until I eventually read the full story in reprint many years later.

Not sure what point I'm trying to make other than sharing some misty-eyed reminiscence. I think it was probably the upcoming Prog 335 which really got me hooked so I'll be interested to see what you make of that one.


330 was the first prog I ever bought (as I've mentioned in other threads, I was handed about ten, partly-consecutive progs from 308 up to 322 or so).  I must have had similar distribution problems as I had a second run starting in 335, and then finally a third in 350, which I've kept up to this day.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 21 February, 2017, 08:16:06 am
So I have agreed with you in two post today (Prog and Meg reviews)...but this....no sorry....not for me.

I love Angie Kincaid / Mills' art on this.

Also given that it is the first episode it doesn't seem quite right to me to say one doesn't like it because it doesn't fit with what comes later. And you know what, it had never occurred to me that was the case; as I am sure you know there has been a huge variation in art styles on Slaine over the years.

Well at least you know that you've not entirely broken and finding sense in everything I say.

To be honest you are entirely right of course. Its just... well so it goes with the vagaries of art, I know this is a popular episode, and Angie's art is popular with many, but for me it just jars.

You are of course right that over the course of the series its been blessed (and cursed) by many artists and styles, but I have to say those early episodes really set out a stall and while I'm not Belardinelli's biggest fan around here, he and McMahon really set out a template that for me Angie then Mills didn't sit well with.

Not something I can explain or justify, but also something I just have to accept!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Magnetica on 21 February, 2017, 08:40:29 am
Last night I read the bits about the start of Slaine in Thrill Power Overload. According to that, it took Angie Mills 18 months to do her episode (and art Editor Robin Smith thought it wasn't very good) and in the meantime McMahon had completed his episodes. It was only after that, that Masimo's episodes were commissioned. Apparently Pat didn't want to run the McMahon episodes straight away as that would have defined the look of the character and put McMahon in the readers' mind as the person who did the definitive Slaine. It says that "Pat didn't want that".

(BTW I never really liked Robin Smith's art....so what does he know, eh?   :lol: :lol: :lol: )
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: TordelBack on 21 February, 2017, 10:00:53 am
You are of course right that over the course of the series its been blessed (and cursed) by many artists and styles, but I have to say those early episodes really set out a stall and while I'm not Belardinelli's biggest fan around here, he and McMahon really set out a template that for me Angie then Mills didn't sit well with.

I think what's important about the first episode is that it creates a visual identity without really defining a style... Despite Angie's style deliberately following Gal (and very definitely not Frazetta, Windsor Smith, Vallejo, the Hildebrandts or even Pini, the then-definitive sword-and-sorcery fantasy artists), the content itself does not, and so you get a sort of 'neutral' but distinctive image of Slaine and his world.

When we got the heavily styled Bellardinelli and astonishingly different McMahon in short order it didn't really matter because these were obviously versions of Default Slaine... more interesting versions at that. And that's a pattern that has served the strip well... There is no definitive style for Slaine (although Fabry, Bisley and Langley all had tenures that could make that claim), but behind it all there is the bare bones idea of what the elements of Slaine and his world look like.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: AlexF on 21 February, 2017, 01:00:07 pm
I'm always struck by the sequence at the very start of Kincaid-Mills's Slaine that has Slaine and Ukko jumping into a boat full of dung to escape. That sets the tone for years to come of Slaine being a hero, but one who is literally not above getting in the muck with everyone else. The first panel of the skull-swords with their breathing tubes were fantastic, too, kind of like that opening Rogue Trooper episode with its poison gas-clouds everywhere.

Other superlative episode 1s:
Nemesis for sure, either way you count episode 1!
The Visible Man (so good it demanded a series to follow, but it's pretty much limited to one visual gag and maybe a hint of an emotional gag that lasts for about 3 episodes)
Kola Kommandoes (shame about episodes 2-12)
Shimura (mostly for the art)
Canon Fodder
Shakara
Leviathan
Brass Sun
The Order
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: TordelBack on 21 February, 2017, 01:41:05 pm
Oh yeah, I'd forgotten Brass Sun!  That was an amazing opener, not a line wasted.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Magnetica on 21 February, 2017, 03:05:18 pm
There is no definitive style for Slaine

Definitive versions - well there is a can of worms right there.

Basically there are three categories as far as I can see.

Stories with multiple artists and no one definitive version, examples include: Dredd, Sinister Dexter,Slaine

Stories with a single definitive artist( or with more than one artist but where one artist has so dominated it as to claim definitive status and relegate all others: Strontium Dog, Ace Trucking, Robo Hunter, Kingdom, Brass Sun, Jaegir, Zenith, Halo Jones, Harry 20, DR and Quinch

Stories with Multiple artist but which none the less seem to still have a defined look ( i.e the artists managed to make the look of the characters consistent): Rogue Trooper, Bad Company, the VCs. I would even put ABC Warriors in here, which seems to pull off the remarkable feat of having loads of different artists whilst still leaving me with a single consistent idea of what each character (apart from Col Lash) looks like.

And to buck the trend we Nemesis and Nikolai Dante which despite having had many artists have TWO definitive, equally valid versions.

Anyway I am sure this is all subjective and others will have different views(especially on ABC Warriors - Pat Mills canned it after series 1 due to frustration at lack of a consistent artist ).
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Fungus on 21 February, 2017, 04:24:48 pm
Don't know you can say Nemesis has "TWO" "definitive" artists...
Presumably you mean O'Neill & Talbot, but maybe you don't  :o
It's a minefield.

Could be wrong, but in the Slaine stuff did no-one mention Simon Davis?
He's made it worth reading again, if you ask me.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Magnetica on 21 February, 2017, 04:39:01 pm
Yup O'Neill and Talbot.

So much so I have pretty much wiped all other versions from my mind...apologies to Redondo, Hickleton, Roach, Langley, Flint etc.

Strange how you knew who I meant! :lol: :lol: :lol:
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Tjm86 on 21 February, 2017, 04:53:59 pm

Could be wrong, but in the Slaine stuff did no-one mention Simon Davis?
He's made it worth reading again, if you ask me.

Not sure I'd go that far.  Perhaps, made it tolerable?  Granted his art work is the best thing about it and certainly far superior (personal opinion mind) to Mr Langley.  Sorry, for causing offence.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 22 February, 2017, 08:40:54 pm
Surely Simon Davis is the definitive Sinister Dexter artist...

Anyway to other matters I was thinking I'd be back here when I'd read 335 to see what Cosh had found so interesting. But bloomin' heck this not peaking a head (combined with my shockin' memory) means I'm of course back for that issue, but with not a care in the world for Mr Cosh but just to say CHUFF ME THAT'S WHAT I CALL THRILLPOWER.

Just what the Doctor ordered. With a number of key stories ending, some of them badly losing steam as they did so, sorry Sam but it was turning into latter day Hemingway that meant you needed locking away for a while, the Prog was feeling a little tired for chunks of 83. Then 335 comes along and you remember why it's the Galaxies Greatest.

Okay so ACE Truckung was long gone, Skizz was over, Rob Hunter was missing firing so what does Tharg do? Why simply look in the draw and pull out the long missing Johnny Alpha, slip Nemesis back in, introduce us to McMahon on Slaine and trot out a simply supreme Dredd. Bloody hell. Okay so Rogue won't bugger off but heck at least it looks grand.

So yeah Prog 335 huh... that was turning all the heads not just McCosh's.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Hawkmumbler on 22 February, 2017, 09:13:16 pm
Though I don't check in as much as I like, i'm utterly loving your trip through both nostalgia land and thrill power fashioning. Cracking write ups lad!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 26 February, 2017, 08:43:51 pm
With so much going on in the Prog late 1983, brilliant Strontium Dog, blistering Nemesis, fresh and earthly Slaine its might be easy to lose sight of how great the Dredd story that runs alongside them but 'Graveyard Shift' was a fantastic tale.

I love the way it seems to be using up slightly lesser ideas that Wagner and Grant had left over, may not have felt they'd hold on their own but by weaving them together with a slight and simple premise it galvanises them to become greater than the sum of its parts. The running navative of the single nights and the events that swarm Mega City One really works and combined with some glorious Ron Smith art, arguably at his peak here, its just a beaut.

Funny isn't it, even with such other stunning thrills in the Prog left over* Wagner and Grant still stands shoulder to shoulder.

*Utter speculation on my part, I have no idea if this is the case at all! But I like to imagine that was the case!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: TordelBack on 27 February, 2017, 12:35:51 am
You're reading 'my' 2000AD now Colin. This was well into my first year of fulltime squaxxdom, and EVERYTHING was great. The was when my long-running D&D campaign slowly morphed into a halfway house between Slaine and Nemesis, where art class was spent marvelling with mates over single panels of O'Neill or Bellardinelli, and into all this came The Graveyard Shift - still my favourite Dredd story, and a complete eye-opener of what that strip (hitherto a bit of an also-ran for me) could be.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 02 March, 2017, 08:43:31 pm
1983

Pretty simple year to sum up really. Started slowly with a few real highlights (Skizz in particular) but mainly marked by the passing of once great strips loosing ground and Rogue Trooper going from bad to worse. As the year progresses however things are getting better and better.

By Prog 335 (in September of 1983) the Prog has raised to heights, possibly better than its ever been. Sure Rogue is still stinking the place up, even if it looks fine, but everything else is simply brilliant. Slaine starts really well, Strontium Dog as good, or even possibly better than its ever been, Nemesis Book 3 which is just brilliant and Dredd continuing a real peak.

Staggered endings mean that as the year tails out a few weaknesses creep back in. Alan Moore has moved onto longer form stories so there a few weakish Future Shocks hangin' round BUT that hopefully is a harbinger of the burst to come in the new year. We'll see.

Over all Skizz is an absolute highlight, the slow demise of Sam Slade the low point ... though I'm very much looking forward to his return in a couple (or more) years but over all the year just about sneaks into the positive simply cos the last 3 months or so are just so very, very good.

This view is curiously backed up by the review of the year in the last Prog of the year 349. Tharg seems to skip quickly through the first half and has to cram in the highlights of the second half.

He's to a suitable Orwellian (I hope) 1984...
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Hawkmumbler on 03 March, 2017, 09:08:47 am
Yeowch! You really aren't a Rogue fan are ya, Colin?

And yeah, it kind of goes without saying Nemesis BK III is just about a top 5 thrill for me. It's just about the purest essence of Thrill Power, IMHO.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: AlexF on 03 March, 2017, 10:38:16 am
If you're struggling to get through Rogue in this period, wait til you hit the interminable Horst segment in the 400s! (Amazing art from Jose Ortiz notwithstanding, it's pretty tedious).
On the plus side, this is without question the golden age of the puntastic cover straplines.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 04 March, 2017, 01:46:00 pm
Yeah I remember when I got into 2000ad again after a break with Prog 431 I was wondering what the hell was going on with Rogue (and Slaine come to that!) which was bang in the middle if the Horst stuff. Then I was too young and ignorant to appreciate Ortiz's fantastic art... mind he wasn't a barbarian running around with lasers which while much better was equally messed up!

ANYWAY no more skipping ahead 2 years, how can I know about that stuff, the Traitor General is still around. The 2000ad Sci-Fi special of 1983 reminds us of an important lesson, one which isn't really 2000ad related but one which I will relate here anyway. That being that John Byrne's greatest Hubris has always been his love of inking his own work. John stop it will ya. Now don't get me wrong I have nothing against John Byrne's inking, it fine, and actually often very good when its done on top of someone else's pencils. Its just John Byrne's inks on top of John Byrne's art is kinda suckie to my eye. Don't ask me why, or too explain. After all I'm on the internet and so I feel empowered to spout my ill informed opinion without  recourse to logic or reason and so can state as fact that John Byrne is John Byrne's worst inker (well after Joe Sinnott and Al Migrom).

It also highlights another thing. After all in 1983 John Byrne is pretty much at the heights of his powers and one of the US's greatest comic book artists. He's not long off his seminal (if very hard to read these days) run with Chris Claremont on the X-Men, I think he's mid Fantastic Four and about to start Alpha Flight (my timeline might be a bit wonky here, he's so prolific its hard to keep track). He's cream of the crop over the other side of the pond. So what does his Dredd show us... well it shows us that 2000ad is really blessed with astonishing artistic talent. If that's the best the US has to off make mine FOOT (as opposed to FOOM for those in the know) Fans Of Old Tharg.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Fungus on 04 March, 2017, 02:36:49 pm
True. I can remember nothing of that John Byrne tale itself, just that it felt exciting to see his take on Dredd. But that it felt wrong, and made you appreciate the regulars all the more. I'm guessing no mention of this is made in letters pages of the time?
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 05 March, 2017, 08:54:27 am
1984 Annuals

Think I've mentioned this before when discussing the annual last time I read them a few years back. Around this time the quality of the annuals begins to converge. Alas its not because the 2000ad annuals are catching up with the Dredd Annuals, well they are, but not that alone, the quality of the Dredd Annuals is slowly dropping.

We still get a chunk of excellent Ezquerra art but the stories aren't quite as strong and the other material is starting to really drop off the boil. Shame. The 2000ad annuals are getting better, but still riff with filler and while that is certainly getting better, after all they are able to reprint old 2000ad material and if I was reading this in the day those Flesh reprints would have been gold.

Still I'm really looking forward to next years annuals when as I recall quality collides and I'm curious to see which will trimpuh.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 05 March, 2017, 08:56:30 am
Oh and meant to say soon to do one of my favourite parts of this whole re-read process. Digging out the next year of materials from my nerd cave. Its so much fun (well now my bog paper issues are bagged and boarded so they don't flop about everywhere. It doesn't half fire up the thrillpower digestive juices as I flick throught the covers of what's to come.

Yummy thrillpower.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 14 March, 2017, 08:22:12 pm
So 1984 gets off to a fine start. DR and Quinch while not the classic some think it as is great fun. Some wonderful Dredd, some wonderful Strontium Dog, some... pretty lookin' Rogue.

BUT

The thing I want to talk about most is Slaine, not cos its anything other than brilliant, cos it is. Rather the printing. Now I'm not sure if its just my copies, it could be, but from issue 351 Tharg seems to have found the contrast button and cranked it up leaving the subtly of McMahon work too grimmy and dark. It looses so much of its glorious earthy quality. By 354 things seem to be sorted and while the contrast is still turned up it seems the balance is about right and the detail scratches are back to their very best.

When the Progs on this sort of form its in the detail we find things to discuss.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Hawkmumbler on 14 March, 2017, 08:24:33 pm
Correct me if i'm wrong, but was 1984 well out of the bog roll era? So an printing "errors" over a long period have to be down to editorial misjudgment?...
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Jim_Campbell on 14 March, 2017, 08:42:55 pm
Correct me if i'm wrong, but was 1984 well out of the bog roll era? So an printing "errors" over a long period have to be down to editorial misjudgment?...

No… we had the bog roll for a lot longer than that. There was a minor improvement in paper stock and limited extra colour from the 10th anniversary prog onwards, if memory serves (which it probably doesn't).

But all the McMahon Slaine's were on newsprint.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 20 March, 2017, 09:12:18 pm
So in just two Progs we see what's great and what's terrible about Belardinelli art.

Prog 361 in the opening scene of Dragonheist. Three pages of a man being chased down by a dragon. Watched by glorious nature, seen through his spectral eyes. Its quite the most stunning stuff. His rendition of the forest is stunning, better by the animals watching and then counter by the atypical yet terrifying dragon. Just top class.

Next Prog 362 Slaine fights few chaps, its just... so stilted and static. No movement, no sense of the power of Slaine or the violence he inflicts.

There you go Belardinelli a right old mixed bag of an artist!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 22 March, 2017, 10:11:54 pm
Interesting little phase just creeping up but after a really really nice start to the year we seem to have hit a mini filler phase. As Slaine and DR and Quinch slip out a host of one off and short stories come in. Always like one off in the Prog but seems to be a little too much in the mix at the moment. I wonder if something was delayed?

Couple of big hitter can't be far off and I wonder of one took longer than hoped, or was Slaine meant to be around longer? Who knows.

Oh and just how brilliant is Portrait of a Politician. Among many greats one of my all time favourite Dredd stories. So much packed into just 4 episodes. Ron Smith humanity in Dave is staggering. Its daft funny, sharp funny and satire funny all in one great action strip. An absolute classic Dredd.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Jim_Campbell on 22 March, 2017, 10:45:44 pm
Oh and just how brilliant is Portrait of a Politician.

Very much so. It remains one of my major 2000AD guilt trips that I really didn't appreciate how good Ron Smith was when I was reading this stuff at the time.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 07 April, 2017, 09:30:14 pm
!984 hasn't inspired too much comment and I think I'll reflect on why that is when I get to the end of the year. As we approach that though we get to an interesting phase for the Galaxy's Greatest. Prog's 385 - 387 are an interesting bunch.

385 marks the end of a couple of significent stories. Outlaw the epic Strontium Dog tale blasts to a conclusion and I have to be honest I wasn't sorry. Its not been bad and the art has been exception.... its just been a little flabby. In recent time we've had some tight lean Johnny stories, Outlaw feels a little like its striving for epic status without really the reason for this. Its fun and has some glorious moments... it just feels padded. I think its a very popular story, but for me one of Strontium Dog weaker for a while. It could be a brilliant 10 parter I think...

... a brilliant 10 parter now there's a thought, In 385 one of those finishes. Not much really to be said about Halo Jones book 1 that concludes in the same issue as Outlaw. It gets better with age doesn't it. I always think Skizz is my favourite Alan Moore story in the Prog... I'm wrong. The only problem with Halo Jones is its not padded at all. I'd have loved to stayed longer explore The Loop with Halo and friends. I'm so tempted now get some sort of reprint of this so I can lavish in the art that is so poorly served by the boo paper.

Any recommendation for full sized Halo Jones reprints?

Anyway Prog 385 is a nicely appropriate traditional filler issue. There does feel like there's been a lot of filler this year and between the two progs surrounding it this one actually feels right though.

Prog 386... well there's a launch Prog. Nemesis is back, Helltrekkers still has promise and Ortiz on art, Ace Trucking has started a new thrill with can't be as bad as the last which I really didn't enjoy and starts very well, Rogue Trooper kicks off what should have been its last tale (well I'm clearly being generous there but you catch my drift). Dredd...

... well Dredd has had its ups and downs this year. Some real highs and some pretty average stuff. A Question of Judgement is a stone cold classic. Whats going to be interesting is seeing how each of these strips develops as we end 1984... I thunk its going to be a very mixed bag!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Spikes on 07 April, 2017, 10:10:10 pm
Ah, 1984. I remember it well. 'Twas the year I left the prog behind, only to return again in 2011....


Any recommendation for full sized Halo Jones reprints?

Well, its gotta be the original 3 TITAN books, hasn't it? It's what I did.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: sheridan on 09 April, 2017, 11:31:48 am
Ah, 1984. I remember it well. 'Twas the year I left the prog behind, only to return again in 2011....


Any recommendation for full sized Halo Jones reprints?

Well, its gotta be the original 3 TITAN books, hasn't it? It's what I did.

Yeah, what Spikes said - nothing compares to the initial Titan reprints (though I have the latter all-in-one as well) - the whole package is pretty perfect - original full-colour Gibson cover on each, pages scanned from the original artwork (I'm guessing - I've read that's what Titan did with their first releases).  Only thing lacking is they could have had a little more concept artwork.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 09 April, 2017, 07:47:16 pm
Prog 392

Oh right, yeah I forgot that... see I pay so little attention to Rogue Trooper, on this read as others, skip reading really, not really taking it in (after each time when I satrt to read the series I try to fire up proper enthusiasm, if to enable me to enjoy the glorious art more if nothing else... anyway I'm getting distracted). So I forget so much of what happens, including it would seem how fitting the end is...

... alas its only fitting in that its so weak. It promise so much, yet in in end it has no substance, its utterly flat, full of potential and while looking beautiful just in story, dialogue and character really poor. Ultimately its just poor. So like the series as a whole.

So 'The End'... oh that it were.

Mind Dredd has had a blindin' few weeks, the triology (if unoffical) of Case of, Error of, and Case for are pretty special, setting up things to come for years. The Wally Squad as feels so perfect in developing this new tone so the big story to come is going to be fantastic is it... oh yeah... I remember now...
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 11 April, 2017, 09:47:16 pm
1984

Not quite sure what to say about 1984 really. A bit of a mixed bag of a year really. Some absolute highlights. Dredd has some absolutely stunning stuff going on. In fact the highs of 1984 are probably the very best there's been to date. Halo Jones is of course magnificent. In between though...

... well I like DR and Quinch but its not great. I love Strontium Dog, but Outlaw is a bit hit and miss for me. The return of Ace Trucking see the series, at first not find its form. There's a LOT of one offs of very variable quality. And Rogue Trooper... well I think I've said enough about that already.

Much like last year however by the end of the year things are really cooking. I'm enjoying the start of Helltrekkers far more than I remember, Nemesis Book IV is quite brilliant, Stainless Steel Rat has a great opening and Strike is a bit of an ace up the progs sleeve seeing Garp and co back at the top of their game. So yeah the trick is can we carry these highs into the new year. 1984 didn't hold onto the highs of the end of 1983, will 1985 manage it?
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: AlexF on 13 April, 2017, 11:47:58 am
Yes. Yes, it will! Apart from a certain blue-skinned fella letting the line-up down, it's onward and upward into 1985, I predict.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 22 April, 2017, 09:13:25 pm
I feel I should say more about the 1985 Annuals... but I'm not sure I have much to say? The quality of the annuals starts to continues to converge. 2000ad 1985 is the best yet. Some real highlights, Slaine, Alan Moore ABC Warriors, a beautiful Dredd by Gibson. So nice filler and some filler filler. But its a solid product.

Dredd 1985 is continuing to slip. Again real highlights, black and white Gibson here as beautful as the coloured Dredd. Some solid Ezqueera stories and again a chunk of filler.

You know the two are probably on a par this year. As much for 2000ad annuals getting better as Judge Dredd ones not being able to live up to the astonishing standards of the first few.

The 1984  2000ad  Sci-Fi Special isn't all that much to write home about. Very interesting to see early Cliff Robinson, his work very much that of a man finding his feet. It doesn't feel quite ready yet to me. Mind we all know it will come soon enough! Some fantastic John Stokes art in a cute Future Shock and some stunning Brett Ewins art in a ... pretty typical... Rogue Trooper story. The rest is filler of various quality.

Now next years Special has a very special place in my heart. I always dread reading it as I'm not sure it holds up!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 30 April, 2017, 09:35:58 pm
So 1985 is destined to be an interesting year. In many ways I consider it the year I really got into 2000ad. Even though I'd been reading it on and off since the start I'd always read other people's, mainly my brother's copy and comics had felt disposible. All the old progs fell victims to various clear outs by the mum monster. 1985 saw me get 2000ad for myself for the first time and it's also the start of me being a proper comics fan, as opposed to a kid reading comics like all kids did. So perversely the prog of this year lack some of the majesty of the earlier years, I owned them and know them like the back of my hand and as such they don't quite have the same mystic... still we'll see how we go.

Anyway at the moment we are still in the glories of pre-summer 85 and it's all still quite mystically exciting.... well Nemesis book 4 is... Stainless Steel Rat for President sees this strip end on an  absolute high... Helltrekkers is surprising me with how entertaining I'm finding this dated thrill.... Rogue is steadfastly proving even a revamp can't save this old war horse and of course we have Dredd which is a surethin...

...oh hold on no its a bit rubbish.

I've never been a fan of 'City of the Damned' and my latest re-read isn't doing it any favours. I think I got bored with it long before Wagner and Grant did. They just seemed to be trying to throw so much stuff at the story, seeming convinced by the success of 'Cry of the Werewolf' and 'Haunting of Sector House 9' that throwing horror at Dredd is a safe bet. But so little of this hits the mark and so much just splashes against a wall of cliche. There's some great moments, love the riffing off Spiderman 33 (intended or otherwise) of the Gibson drawn indominitable Dredd, and it looks superb in the main, but it's all a bit aimless and listless. A bit of a Dredd low, which given we are about to enter what I consider a bit of a high when Cam Kennedy soon takes control of the series with some of my all time favourite stories, is a bit of a shame.

Still a Dredd shocker aside 1985 starts off well enough.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 08 May, 2017, 09:05:31 pm
Prog 411

Interesting times in the Prog as we race towards the time I really think of as mine. Its like the Prog is shifting in preparation for my arrival. I'd read so much in the past its as if Tharg was shifting the house around to make it feel new to me...

.... trouble is I'm not sure I like it.

Dredd has a lovely procedural end to Hunter's Club, kinda reminiscent of procedural that will repeat at their best in the future, though feels a little fresh and different here, not sure if that's my imagination.

Rogue Trooper tries to freshen up the setting. Like a WWII war story shifting from the European Front to the Far East... the trouble is it takes the dullest thing with it Rogue, while leaving behind the best the craziness of Nu Earth. Surprised this strip coild get worse!

Slaine likewise makes a paradigm shift. In the old days I loved it. On re-reads not so much... now... I'm really not getting on with it. It all feels so jarring and I have to say Glenn Fabry's art really lacks the storytelling skills he will develop. Its all too close to really get a sense of place and with all the visual redesign it feels confused.

So yeah we have all this book ended by the new and innovative Halo Jones and old Helltrekkers and in the middle all feels a bit unsettled. 2000ad is often at its best when its testing its boundaries... but sometimes it shouldn't do that with staples.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 22 May, 2017, 09:20:02 pm
So we're in a bit of a special phase for me. While the pre Prog 416 (not 415 as I always seem to say) stories always feel a little bit special I've not read them as much, or certainly those readings are lost in the mists of time and many issues I didn't own myself until about 10 or so years ago, the Progs from 416 - 430 have a different magic. I bought these progs from Forbidden Planet (when there was just one) on holiday in London after buying 431 and the Summer Special on a whim (or holiday treat for the car journey I imagine).

For one glorious summer holiday these Progs completely dominated my thoughts. I read and re-read these time and time again. As my collection built from here, there was more and more Progs and less and less time to re-read them endlessly as I slowly got into American comics too. These Progs in particular are burnt into my mind. So many Panels I can remember perfectly. Even fan art I remember almost 20 20 from the likes of T Proudfoot, whatever became of him.

Its funny I was 13 when I got these comics, a time I should have been moving away from such things, like so many others did. These reversed that and I got more and more absorbed into the incomparible wonders of 'sequential art.'

I owe these Progs so much.

So when I read them now its a little weird. A strange mix of almost over familarity and absolute nostalgia - glorious evocative stuff. Its hard to evaluate them out of that context. When I do there are a couple of surprises... well actually one main one.

The Dredd's is still absolutely staggeringly good as we enter what I think is my favourite passage of stories from the series, certainly from the pre Wagner return of the 950s (or whenever it was). Cam Kennedy becomes the predominant artist and the stories are just mindblowingly good. Saturday Night Fever being a prime example. Just genius.

Anderson's first solo story is glorious. Probably my favourite Dark Judges story. They just felt perfect in this story and the art from Brett Ewins is sublime. Cliff Robinson does a great job on the back stretch but Ewins chapters are something else.

Strontium Dog is pretty damned fine, but I'll come back to that.

Rogue Trooper... well he's on Horst and its... crap frankly. Still Jose Ortiz continues the fine tradition of dressing up the crap so at least it looks tasty.

Slaine is the shock. I loved this back in the day and re-reading it here, as I've said earlier is just so disappointing. Its all a bit chaotic and not in a good way. Ideas are thrown at it ten to the dozen and few of them work. The art has some glorious moments but it just isn't enough. The change from 'old' Slaine (which I had read back in the day but didn't mean as much to me) is just not working. Its jarring rather than fresh and new.

Still it all means so much to me, good and ill. Like Star Wars and Flesh, in many ways much in here shapes what I define as good reading.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 22 May, 2017, 09:25:44 pm
Strontium Dog in Prog 425

I've pulled this out of the wittering of my previous post so it didn't get lost.

I rarely talk about detail here... as I'm not much of a detail chap, as my spelling and grammar will atest to. But Strontium Dog in 425 is just golden. Johnny doesn't even appear outside a photo but this episode, The Slavers of Drule part 1. Its just scripted so fantastically. Its so evokes what the strip is about. Its loaded with greatness. Right down to the find bubble.

"He's a Search/Destroy Agent.
They say if you pay them enough they'll track a man to hell itself"

Hell yeah now that's dialogue!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: AlexF on 23 May, 2017, 02:18:47 pm
Prog 425 was one of my very first as well, and you're getting close to my personal equialent of 'treasured early Progs read to death as an impressionable youth'. That opening epsiode of Slavers of Drule is drokking fantastic!

You now have me scared to re-read Slaine 'Tomb of Terror' which was my introduction to the character, and much beloved. Along with those really ropey 'people on a D&D quest' comics ads that ran in the Nerve Centre.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: sheridan on 23 May, 2017, 10:08:24 pm
Prog 425 was one of my very first as well, and you're getting close to my personal equialent of 'treasured early Progs read to death as an impressionable youth'. That opening epsiode of Slavers of Drule is drokking fantastic!

You now have me scared to re-read Slaine 'Tomb of Terror' which was my introduction to the character, and much beloved. Along with those really ropey 'people on a D&D quest' comics ads that ran in the Nerve Centre.

I quite like those ads - I'm not sure I did at the time, but I've grown to appreciate that, er, stylised art style since.  I should go through them to see if I can mine them for adventures (I'm a DM now :-) ).
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 04 June, 2017, 09:05:27 pm
As we stumble towards the end of the year we hit another very special Prog to me Prog 435, shortly after getting back on board I was lucky enough to have a jumping on Prog and man what a Prog it is.

Dredd continues to be sublime with a strip which for me is the quintessial jumping on intro Dredd. There's been a number of these over the years but this one, one of the earliest is so definative and covers so much of Dredd'd world with a simple mundane army robbery caper. But its not about the crime in this one, its not about the crazy, though there's plenty of that on display, no this is all about the basics. Its just a simole introduction done so very well with beautiful Cam Kennedy art, a phrase I think you'll be hearing over and over again over the next few posts (or more).

In addition this Prog is awash with threats. Nemesis Book V starts, a strip I've really excited about reading again. I'd read a lot of the previous Nemesis and in my head, and on previous re-reads I dont remember the books post Book IV being quite as good as the early volumes. We'll see, I'm certainly excited to see how I get on with it this time round and it certainly gets off to a blistering start, as I recall the pace won't let up either!

There's also a fun Tharg story, another Pete Milligan Future Shock, not that I'm complaining they are always entertaining and occasionally brilliant, but I just didn't remember him being quite as prolific on the old Future Shock front, he's done LOADS.

But the very best thing about this exception Prog is the return of Sam Slade in what I always fondly remember as my all time favourite Robo-hunter story 'Farewell my billions'. Its got stiff competiton this time around as the story early Brit-Cit stories have been among the absolute highlights of my re-read to date, but man I have such fond memories of this story. Can't wait to tuck in again.

So yeah I think I go lucky when I got back into the Prog. I had a nice easy get on, stumbled across a bunch of back issues in the early days of UK comic shops AND then had what I still regard as one of the all time great jump on Progs almost as soon as I was on board.

When comics are this good was it any wonder I stuck around!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 05 June, 2017, 10:05:07 pm
Wow reckon I'm going to have a lot to say over the next few issues and while we still have even more Milligan Future Shocks and Farewell My Billions is as good as I remember. Even though I'm enjoying Nemesis a heck of a lot its Dredd I want to talk about now and specifically The Man Who Knew Too Much.

Now back in the day I don't think I was too taken by this story, after all its surrounded by so many classic tales. I think I did find it interesting, just not exciting. As the years gone by its grown and grown in my eyes.These days its one of my favourites and for me a very under-rated classic.

See its important, its significent and its a quiet change that means so much and in that context everytime I read it I find more and more. See for me rightly or wrongly this is a real shift in the series. Sure Wagner and Grant have dealt with the darker side of the Judges. Sure they've dealt with the way they oppress the citizens but its never bveen so front and centre. Its never been so central and while that might appear to makes things less subtle it always makes it all the more terrifying.

In many way Fisher Wildman is not particularly sympathetic and that makes this work. Here Wagner and Grant aren't pulling on our heart strings their showing us the bare truth. They don't want to dostract by making us too attached to Wildman, yet we feel his fear and desperation all the same, cold and exposed.

For me this story is up there with Letter from a Democrat as one of the stories that truly starts the shift from Dredd as it was to Dredd as it will become.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 06 June, 2017, 09:04:24 pm
Wow so much for me to whitter about on this particularly wonderful run of Progs. Its funny on past re-reads this stretch had felt a little too familiar to really stand out - this time round for whatever reason the quality is really shining through. Combined with the massive nostaglia hit they give me and the sense of how they shaped who I am as a reader and consumer of fiction in all forms it really is an absolute golden spell this time round. I mean top of the heap, A number one.

I mean I knew the Dredds of this time were amongst my favourites, and we have another standout here in the heartbreaking Death of a Politician. We've had many Pete Milligan future shock and in Its the Thought that Counts with have one of my all time favourite one offs. For whatever reason this one has always stood out to me and stuck in my noggin. Just amazing stuff.

But all of that isn't the reason I post the reason I post is that Robo-Hunter - Farewell My Billions really has stood up to the test of time.Its clear that Robo-hunter is at its best when the stories are kept to a decent lenght, the early, short Brit-Cit stories I hailed a while ago and this absolute classic are just head and tales (pun intended) above the more stretched yarns like Death Of and the singie thingie. This is tight, sharp, funny, intriguing, exciting and just so much fun and Ian Gibson is just firing on all cylinders. This story really is amongst the finest the Prog has had to offer. And to stand out in Progs as good as this is quite the thing!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: TordelBack on 06 June, 2017, 09:10:06 pm
...and Ian Gibson is just firing on all cylinders.

Much as I love Gibson's work on Halo Jones Book III (and generally!), I often think that Farewell My Billions is his true masterpiece.  It's just a level up from what he had done on Robohunter before.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: AlexF on 11 June, 2017, 06:50:52 am
I, too, share a deep love for RoboHunter: Farewell, my Billions. It could do with a high-end reprint as Droid Files Vol 2 suffers from some tragically poor scanning/printing, even in the digital edition!

Without bursts of Nemesis, Halo Jones and indeed those Milligan Future Shocks, this is the era when EVERYTHING was penned by Wagner & Grant. Not coincidence it's one of the all-time high points of Progness...
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 11 June, 2017, 04:13:53 pm
1985

As I've dicussed a lot of the course of my whittering for 1985's Progs this year is hard for me to judge in a sober, cleaner header manner. Its so entrenched in what I value - not just in 2000ad, not just in comics, but in entertainment as a whole. So when I say its the finest year in thrill power to date you need to take that with a pinch of salty nostaglia.

That said objectively it is a bloomin' fantastic year. Firstly we shouldn't just take Dredd for granted, which its easy to do. 1984 had some real highs in Dredd, once we get past City of the Damned in early February, 1985 is pretty much nothing but highs, I can think of very few that are anything other than top rate and in some cases they are some of my absolute favourites (mind that said I have a feeling that 1986 Dredd might be better, I'm really looking forward to finding that one out!).

On top of Dredd you have some other absolute classic thrills, most of which I've mentioned specifically in early so I'll save you more of my gushing, though I think I missed Halo Jones book II but really there is some astonishingly good stuff in 1985.

So its the best year... well maybe, there is of course some lower points. Rogue Trooper continues but to be honest that's just become background muzak as you whistle to yourself in the lift taking you up Thrillpower Heights. Slaine I've mentioned takes a real nose dive, a real nose dive and by the end of the year in Tombs of Terror is really struggling. Mean Team is a real sticker too and never really works out what it is. Even the Bad Jack Keller, the most terrible of 2000ad 'heroes' doesn't quite make sense as the series flaps around trying to work out what the heck it is. As it ends its just utter poppycock I'm afraid.

The end of 1985 also has some other worrying signs. Strontium Dog starts one of my least favourite of Johnny stories with the berserk Ragnorak Job, Even Nemesis isn't as good as it was. Book IV started the year on a real high, Book V is a bit uneven, it starts at break neck speed, rattles to a fantastic end after about 8 parts but then seems to blunder on for 3 or 4 more parts not really achieving anything else. It all felt a bit mistimed... that said its still bloody good and has some truly classic Nemesis moments and lets face it if the main negatives to focus on for the year are Strontium Dog slipping (especially remembering whats coming after this!) and Nemesis slipping from stunningly amazing to just plain fantastic, I think that says everything about the quality of 1985.

Maybe proclaiming it the best year yet in thrillpower isn't simply fuelled by personal bias?
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 18 June, 2017, 09:04:02 pm
So talking about things being special to you let talk 2000ad Sci-Fi Special 1985

This alongside Prog 431 is the comic get did it for me. I wonder if I got this first, don't honestly know BUT I know the ad on the back for Forbidden Planet (there were 2 not one it would seem) is the one that led me to Denmark Street and... well I've done that before. So yeah this Special has a ... well special place in my heart. The trouble is ... its not actually that good... well okay the Dredd is the fun almost classic I think it is. The Cam Kennedy art, man one day I will own a piece from this. Another cool Pete Milligan Future Shock, Dr + Quinch is fluff fun and that Halo Jones poster in the middle is just fantastic...

... but in the real word, not in Colin's memory world the rest is filler pure and simple. I mean I loved the Ro-Busters stories back in the day, but they're not the best. I loved the Daily Dredd reprints too, but while they are good they are just reprints now. There's some fun quizzes and text pieces, and that kinda crazy Tharg meets film and telly stars but on re-read its all a bit light on substance.

None of this will affect my love of this special BUT unlike the regular Progs of this time the memory and affection doesn't really hold up in reality.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 18 June, 2017, 09:07:03 pm
Annuals 1985

Not much to say about these, both 2000ad and Dredd annuals labelled 1986 are okay, nothing more, nothing less BUT when the quality is pretty imuch evenly matched as it is here its become clear that I prefer the variety in the 2000ad annuals simply cos of the variety.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Huey2 on 27 June, 2017, 08:51:44 pm
"Much as I love Gibson's work on Halo Jones Book III (and generally!), I often think that Farewell My Billions is his true masterpiece.  It's just a level up from what he had done on Robohunter before."

- Ian Gibson's always been great but during the 400s he's really on fire. " Tomb of the Judges" is another classic featuring some of the best Dredd artwork ever.

" Farewell my Billions" is a great tale. It's like the two Ace Trucking stories that came just before it - "Strike" and the last Evil Blood story - where the story is driven totally by the interactions of the main characters rather than external forces. It would be great to see this kind of thing more often.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 27 June, 2017, 09:03:56 pm
"Much as I love Gibson's work on Halo Jones Book III (and generally!), I often think that Farewell My Billions is his true masterpiece.  It's just a level up from what he had done on Robohunter before."

- Ian Gibson's always been great but during the 400s he's really on fire. " Tomb of the Judges" is another classic featuring some of the best Dredd artwork ever.


Well reading Halo Jones Book 3 much as I love Farewell My Billions his work on the former is just astonishing and really is the definition of him being on fire. I'm sure I'm come back to that later, its not what I'm here for...

... rather I'm here to salute another absolute classic ably assisted by stunning art. I adore The Warlord , it head me over the head at the time and does everytime I read it. I'm always surprised its only 5 parts. So much packed in and it just feels so epic I always trick myself that its longer and McGruder's actions at the end felt so significent.

Its a real bright spot in a very shaky start to 1986.... well that and Halo. Elsewhere all is not well. Slaine goes from bad to worse,  I've never been much of a fan of Ragnarok - Strontium Dog can be very hit and miss in its long form stories. Dopplegarp is a story I don't have much love for either... though have to be honest its started better than I recall...

... there's a post here about Wagner and Grant's long form stories some time soon isn't there...
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 30 June, 2017, 09:36:53 pm
Well while Halo Jones continues to be flat out brilliant (see what I did there!) the star of Prog 460 is of Dredd as Letter From A Democrat appears.

Its interesting to compare the work of Alan Moore, so poised, so elegant and considered. Its brilliant, layered and deep. Yet Wagner and Grants Dredd is the more powerful and in many ways superior. Its more direct, rugged and honest. Its not quite as smart, yet somehow manages to be 'better'. Its a quiet explosion of what the strips been building to for 2 or 3 years now and while its not exactly subtle it hits home and works perfectly.

Alas they also expose the weakness of the rest of the Prog at this time!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Jim_Campbell on 30 June, 2017, 10:32:10 pm
I remember the week 'Letter From A Democrat' came out. I was literally grabbing everyone I knew who read comics and pressing the issue into their hands, saying 'You must read this…"

Six pages. You can't do that with Watchmen, or Dark Knight, or America, even. For a Dredd fan, it was like a seismic charge: it goes off somewhere deep below your feet and everything shakes to its foundations. In my head, it pairs off with 'John Cassavetes Is Dead', which shakes the foundations in a similar, but much quieter, way.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 01 July, 2017, 07:10:25 am
For a Dredd fan, it was like a seismic charge: it goes off somewhere deep below your feet and everything shakes to its foundations.

Wish I'd said that instead of 'quiet explosion' as this is exactly what I meant expressed SO much better. As time goes on and memory distorts I will have said this and Jim will be cast into the dungeon of my mind!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 02 July, 2017, 09:20:16 pm
Another classic from Wagner Grant and Kennedy. The Falucci Tapes knocks it out the park. This really is Dredd's golden age isn't it. Since the end of City of the Damned its barely missed a step.

Elsewhere the end of Slaine Tomb of Terrible is seeing the Prog pick up in other areas with a nice run of Future Shocks stemming the tide previously held at bay only by Dredd and Halo.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Jim_Campbell on 02 July, 2017, 09:35:56 pm
Another classic from Wagner Grant and Kennedy. The Falucci Tapes knocks it out the park. This really is Dredd's golden age isn't it. Since the end of City of the Damned its barely missed a step.

Yes. The Wagner/Grant/Kennedy Dredds of the 400s are, without exception, brilliant. Dredd is mostly excellent throughout this period, but Cam routinely knocks it out of the park on his stories.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 05 July, 2017, 08:16:54 pm
Well just finished Halo Jones book 3 and felt I shouldn't let the occasion pass without saying something... but what is left to say about this strip. Just wonderful, Ian Gibson's art is just so good and unlike Skizz which I routinel reference as my favourite Moore strip in 2000ad my God isn't that ending perfect. I mean sure we'd loved to have seen it continue but since it didn't by heck didn't we get the perfect conclusion. Beautiful.

I'll leave it there, but already know I'll be back after the next Prog I read for reasons that are becoming cliche...
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 16 July, 2017, 09:19:00 pm
Well okay not quite next Prog but after a little break I'm back and while I could return to comment on yet another glorious Cam Kennedy Dredd with the two parter The Big Sleep finishing in Prog 467... I could but me releasing my sticky nerd glee all over another Wagner, Grant and Kennedy is anything we need to see again. So I'll not tell you all that this has always been one of my all time favourite Dredd's and its another example of the increasing confidence the strip has in having very little Dredd in it more and more often taking a lesson from Eisner's post 1945 The Spirit stories... no I'll spare you all that and instead skip ahead to

Prog 468

Now I could go into the exciting new thrills that kick off in 468, I could but I suspect each thrill will get its own post in due time as there's so much to reflect on in each for a variety of reasons. Instead I stop by to comment on the amount of 4th wall breakign that happens in this issue.

It starts subtly with Swifty in Sooner and Later, at this point in the series its just a knowing look to the reader, but one that feels like a defo, if not breaking but certainly serious leaning on the 4th Wall.

Then we get to a fantastic Dredd, for once done by Ian Gibson not Cam Kennedy (well to be fair there's been many an artist knocking it out the park with great Dredd scripts of late, it just the Kennedy's really standout to me for some reason) It Pays To Be Mental. A wonderful introduction to new readers told through a very nice device of our 'mental' led just straight chatting to the reader. Made all the more wonderful by Dredd's supreme straightman act as he too looks out at us, but of course seeing nothing. Love it.

Finally some editorial Fourth Wall smashing give ACE Trucking by far its best episode in a long time as Wagner and Grant decide to have fun with having the one ongoing strip in the Prog have to catch new readers up. How to do it, well do it directly, drop Tharg in giving this instruction and then have Ace and Ace just tell the reader what's happening. Hilarious stuff.

So yeah I don't think its coincidence that the Prog does this so much here. By this strange 2000ad is having such confident fun, is so at ease with what it is and how good it is that its just ready to address us the readings directly in celebration of what it is.

Magnificent.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 22 July, 2017, 10:12:55 pm
So the first of the class of 468 to conclude is Bad City Blue and what a curious beast that is. I enjoyed it much more than I remember. Its mix of 'Escape from New York' and the 70s sci-fi doomsday warnings never quite works but its nice that it tried to pull this off.

I've never been much of a fan of Robin Smith's art and it really lacks the grit I think would have served this story better. I kept wondering how fondly this might be remembered if it was drawn by say Colin Wilson. Mind it would still have that ending. However much I think it was trying to be stark and shocking it just comes off as people running out of steam, not quite knowing what to do with the story and therefore making the most blunt of decisions to satisfy the tone they were going for.

Still its action packed and brave it what it tried to do, if unsuccessful in execution.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 23 July, 2017, 05:20:45 pm
While I'm at it I'm not sure why Anderson The Possessed has the lukewarm rep it does (it does have a lukewarm rep doesn't it) I really enjoyed it. Sure it lacks the scale of the previous story and indeed the next (if I'm remembering my Anderson right - Hour of the Wolf is next right?) but its a really solid story supported by some beautiful art. The moment when Anderson shots the boy is done really well and over all I really enjoyed this.

Meanwhile we have a couple of great Morrison Future Shocks BUT also ACE Trucking - The Garpetbaggers which I like even less than the chicken one that ran before hand. Its not a great ending to this hot and cold strip if you ask me. But I'll leave that here rather than whine more openly about it.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: TordelBack on 24 July, 2017, 01:15:26 pm
Who doesn't like The Possessed?  Why I have a 28mm model of little Hammy/Gargarax on my desk to prove my love.

The only problem I see is that those first three stories (Dark Judges return, possession of kids, doomed connections with edgy foreigners) basically used up all of Anderson's plotlines forever.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 24 July, 2017, 09:04:55 pm
Who doesn't like The Possessed? 

In my head, a rather messy place and certainly not one to be trusted, it has a pretty bad rep. I might be wrong?
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: I, Cosh on 24 July, 2017, 10:30:53 pm
Who doesn't like The Possessed?  Why I have a 28mm model of little Hammy/Gargarax on my desk to prove my love.
Idiots. That's who.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Frank on 24 July, 2017, 10:47:44 pm
The only problem I see is that those first three stories (Dark Judges return, possession of kids, doomed connections with edgy foreigners) basically used up all of Anderson's plotlines forever

Oh my god ... It's like when someone points out a squint. You'd never have noticed it yourself, but now you'll never be able to see anything else.

And yes, everyone loves the Blish kid.


Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: AlexF on 25 July, 2017, 10:52:59 am
I love the Possessed, too! I don't know that I've ever heard of it having a bad rep as such, but compared to some stories I think it's often overlooked. Certainly when it comes to Anderson I get the sense that more people slobber over the Four Dark Judges and Shamballa (and, for a while in the 90s, Childhood's End). But I'm no psychic.

My underrated classic Anderson of choice is R*Evolution, which did introduce a new plotline - Anderson gets trapped inside someone else's mind, that happens to contain many other minds, including at least one gorilla. (Used to good effect a second time in WMD)

It's no coincidence that Prog 468 and its neighbours are so excellent - this is the era written almost entirely by Wagner and Grant, with just one page per week by Milligan/McCarthy - and occasionally 3-5 pages of early Future Shocks from G. Morrison and J. Smith. Good times!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Dark Jimbo on 25 July, 2017, 02:44:20 pm
My underrated classic Anderson of choice is R*Evolution, which did introduce a new plotline - Anderson gets trapped inside someone else's mind, that happens to contain many other minds, including at least one gorilla. (Used to good effect a second time in WMD)

My first Anderson story, so a favourite of mine, too! Plus I love any appearance by Mega City's ape contingent. It probably spoiled me a bit, in retrospect - I assumed all Anderson stories must be exciting travels into other people's dreams, minds and memories, or Dr Strange-esque cosmic jaunts.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: TordelBack on 25 July, 2017, 03:21:57 pm
My underrated classic Anderson of choice is R*Evolution, which did introduce a new plotline - Anderson gets trapped inside someone else's mind...

Damnit, if only I'd included the Anderson solo story from the '85 annual, Mind of Edward Bottlebum, I'd have covered that plot too!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Magnetica on 25 July, 2017, 05:01:49 pm
At the risk of jumping massively ahead... but every much on the subject of using up plots... I caved and bought Dark Justice in the recent sale. In there it says, when Greg Staples suggested a new Dark Judges story to John Wagner he was initially reluctant, saying all Dark Judges stories follow the same basic premise: they show up, wreak havoc, then Dredd defeats them ( guess that should be Dredd and / or Anderson defeat them).

So maybe I'm missing something, but isn't that exactly what happens in Dark Justice. And I assume a variant of that will also happen in Dominion.

Anyway I bought it for the amazing art.

And I do love the news reports and journal updates.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 25 July, 2017, 08:43:18 pm
My underrated classic Anderson of choice is R*Evolution, which did introduce a new plotline - Anderson gets trapped inside someone else's mind, that happens to contain many other minds, including at least one gorilla. (Used to good effect a second time in WMD)

My first Anderson story, so a favourite of mine, too! Plus I love any appearance by Mega City's ape contingent. It probably spoiled me a bit, in retrospect - I assumed all Anderson stories must be exciting travels into other people's dreams, minds and memories, or Dr Strange-esque cosmic jaunts.

Well I appear to be wrong about Possessed which is good. Nice to hear such love for it.

Equally great to hear people biggin' up R*Evolution too. I'm also a massive fan of that one too... though I'm getting ahead of myself there!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 30 July, 2017, 09:28:35 pm
A few thoughts on the latest Progs from back in that there 1986.

I'm enjoying Metalzoic a lot more than I thought I would. Always think of this thrill as less than the sum of its parts. Not this time. Crackin' stuff.

While I love Sooner and Later it doesn't half flap around... which is probably the point. I keep checkin' I've not missed one!

Nemesis Book Six is weird... not in subject matter but more the fact that a chase through the Time Wastes as a father desperately hunts his errant son helped by his arch... well ... nemesis boils down to folks chatting exposition on the beach... yet still I bloody love it!

Unlike Garpetbaggers which is... well thank chuff Ace Trucking has come back to the Prog so this lumbering mess isn't how it bows out!

Jez Judge Dredd is just flying during this time, simply flying. I mean check out Atlantic Part 2 page 1 (Prog 486, cos I mean it check this page out... go on I'll wait...) for a strip that is so implanted in my noggin cos of its astonishing visuals that is one sweetly written page. Man its just perfect!

I'll come back to Strontium Dog in a few Progs... oh man will I. I have a correction to make!

Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Magnetica on 30 July, 2017, 09:32:33 pm
I just love those scenes in the beach in Nemesis. A real highlight of the 40 years of the Prog.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Greg M. on 30 July, 2017, 09:44:54 pm
nemesis boils down to folks chatting exposition on the beach... yet still I bloody love it!

Pretty much Bryan Talbot's exact thoughts on the story: "a bunch of weirdos at the seaside having a chat."
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: TordelBack on 30 July, 2017, 09:54:08 pm
Quote from: Colin YNWA link=topic=43337.msg964394#msg964394 date=1501446515

Unlike Garpetbaggers which is... well thank chuff [b
Ace Trucking [/b]has come back to the Prog so this lumbering mess isn't how it bows out!

It's terrible stuff, isn't it? Pretty much everything involving Captains Evil Blood/Guts and chickens could be excised from Ace Trucking and it would improve the quality of the overall strip by 50%. How did we get from Too Many Bams to this...
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Greg M. on 30 July, 2017, 10:02:02 pm
I suppose it's the inevitable end result when you get a pair of writers to write a series they don't particularly want to write any more. That said, whilst Garpetbaggers is indeed absolutely terrible, at least the series goes out on a high with the '89 annual story, which is great (and beautifully painted), and brings 'Ace Trucking Co.' to a very fitting conclusion.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 30 July, 2017, 10:06:09 pm
I suppose it's the inevitable end result when you get a pair of writers to write a series they don't particularly want to write any more. That said, whilst Garpetbaggers is indeed absolutely terrible, at least the series goes out on a high with the '89 annual story, which is great (and beautifully painted), and brings 'Ace Trucking Co.' to a very fitting conclusion.

Oh this one has evaporated from my memory... entirely it would seem. Looking forward to refreshing myself on this one.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: AlexF on 31 July, 2017, 03:04:14 pm
I will put my hand up and say that as an 8-year old in 1986, I have fond memories of the Garpetbaggers. I think I liked the film references, or at least the ones I got, anyway (Rambo and King Kong). And, at the time, I hadn't read any of the old Garp stuff - all I knew was that Belardinelli was the best artist ever and it was silly fun.

I tried to re-read it not long ago and just couldn't; it's awful! I do still like the Dopplegarp, though (the chicken story) - that's got some genuine screwball funnies going for it.

Sooner or Later was my first exposure to arty pretentious comics. I barely understood it and then and only a little better now, but the visuals are so striking, and the tone so warped that I rate it pretty highly overall.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 01 August, 2017, 09:19:37 pm
Well surrounded by big stars as Morrison, Gaiman and the man who should have rised to stardom with them John Smith all have Future Shocks (Smiths introducing the proto-Indigo Prime) an old War Horse comes to a bitter conclusion of a true classic as Strontium Dog - Rage concludes in Prog 489.

While the young stars do indeed shine bright its the relentless darkness of Rage that truly illuminates. Experienced creators timing a simple revenge story to perfection. Relentlessly hammering home the simple theme of cold revenge and the hollow lack of redemption it brings. Its an absolute timeless masterpiece. A truly classic western. I while ago I mistaken called Portrait of a Mutant my favourite Strontium Dog story. What a young fool I was all those... well months ago...

While I'm at it Incident on Mayger Minor provides a wonderful epilogue of sorts to. Great stuff.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 05 August, 2017, 09:19:12 pm
Quick detour before taking the last of 1986 on my jollies I visited the years two annuals to save me having to take them with me.

Both are decant pieces, if as ever full of filler. 2000ad Annual 1987 has a very curious Rogue Trooper by Pete Milligan bouyed by some absolutely stunning colour art by Jose Ortiz. A nice Morrison future shock see Grant flexing his meta muscles. The highlight of the book is the Wagner Grant and Talbot Dredd, a lovely story Alan Gramt then provides some adequate if slightly uninspiring Strontium Dog and Anderson.

As ever it seems you pay a little more for the Judge Dredd 1987 Annual but you get your monies worth. It open with art by Ian Gibson that almost matches that of Ortiz opening the 2000ad in a delightfully cheeky Dredd story. The real value however comes in the literally psychodelic main story 16 pages of Brendan McCarthy doing his thing as Dredd trips on some good gas. A story that's always stuck with me and stands the test of time so very well with each re-read. Wonderful. The two tales that round it off a fun Max Normal showcasing Brett Ewins art and another Talbot Dredd hold the JD annual well ahead of the 2000ad one.

So while I say they are both decant maybe that's unfair. The Dredd might not be quite up there with those first few Dredd annuals but it does a damned good job of trying.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 06 August, 2017, 09:28:08 pm
So quick holiday thoughts via my smartphone... not bloody smart enough to stop my typos I don't doubt! I digest.

The cover of Prog 496 struck me... when I got back to my feet I also noticed how quickly Cliff Robinon has become the drawing a classie Dredd image to go with a one liner. In the last 6 issues we've had 'Eye of the beholder' 'Best logo in the world' AND 'Bring me your...' Man that's set up a pattern that lucky we still see 30 plus years later.

Magnificent.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 07 August, 2017, 07:39:01 pm
So Prog 499 clears the stalls and its interesting stuff. Ace Trucking ground to a halt an issue early and I'll leave that there as I think I've made my feeling on this stpry quite clear.

After the glory that was Incident on Mayger Minor on read now in my under-rated classics list (http://Battlefield) is a slight but no less fun Strontium Dog story. Sooner or Later finishes and to be honest while I've loved it this strip never quite reaches the heights it has in my minds eye. I think it was pretty incredible to my 14 year old mind, to my 45 year old mind, which has read a LOT more comics its not quite as stand out as I remember.

Two other strips are of more significence here though. Both Rogue Trooper and Slaine see a return to form... well okay the former hasn't ever had any form in my eyes BUT there's no denying this story seems to set up potential... potential which I don't think is ever realised, still we'll see. As ever in Steve Dillon served by good art. Slaine while not at its early glories has moved on from the leyser and dice nonsense we've had over the last couple of years. So year two classic strips set up for big things. Change is a coming to the Prog and next yeat will see much of significence.

Though I'm getting ahead of myself. First we have the small matter of Prog 500 to get to and 1986 still has a few tricks up its sleeve I seem to remember...
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 07 August, 2017, 09:33:57 pm
So after Prog 499 there's really only one place to go isn't there and thats...

Prog 500

In many ways the archetype for the celebration prog. Certainly those done well. This comics has the perfect mix. Classic thrils returning. In this case Slaine - not long gone... well in fact its been back for like 8 progs prior to this BUT returned to stella form - and Nemesis. Both of which I'm sure I'll take time to type about at some point. We have a lovely Dredd, all be it not a specifically an introductory one as might otherwise be the case.

We also have a new thrill as should be the case in all such issues as 2000ad always looks to the future and innovates. In this case a little known thrill called... oh what was it now, oh yeah Bad Company or some such. Might come back to that... you think?

Finally we have the Tharg retrospective/ celebratory thrill in this case the classic and famous, almost as much for what it doesn't do as what it does - Tharg's Head Revisited. Creators, often with Pat Mills, allowed an, almost, free hand to let rip and let rip they do. Its not so much meta-satire rather it comes across as a rather beautiful primal scream therapy session!

Its a glorious Prog in and of itself but more importantly for me with Tharg's Head Revisited and Bad Company its a harbinger of times coming, changes in the order of things and the start of a changing of the guard. As it should be Prog 500 still feels like a very important issue.

Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Greg M. on 07 August, 2017, 09:49:16 pm
Its a glorious Prog in and of itself but more importantly for me with Tharg's Head Revisited and Bad Company its a harbinger of times coming, changes in the order of things and the start of a changing of the guard. As it should be Prog 500 still feels like a very important issue.

I shall read your musings from this point onwards with particular interest, since this is the beginning of 'my' era - the period from 500-700 is very much the period I've got the strongest attachment to. Is this the beginning of the post-modern era of 2000AD?
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 08 August, 2017, 07:34:22 am
Is this the beginning of the post-modern era of 2000AD?

Yeah that's the question I will be asking. Prog 500 seems like such a marker. Pete Milligan's Bad Company laying a marker for the new and Tharg's Head Revisited laying to rest what has gone before. The approaching format change marking a pretension to be 'more' than just a regular comic, which it should be remembered were still fairly plentiful at this time.

Even the Dredd in 500 had very dark overtones almost rejecting more frothy greats that had marked the classics before... though this is a bit of stretch I to say!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: TordelBack on 08 August, 2017, 08:09:49 am
Dat cover, tho.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Muon on 08 August, 2017, 10:26:58 am
Its a glorious Prog in and of itself but more importantly for me with Tharg's Head Revisited and Bad Company its a harbinger of times coming, changes in the order of things and the start of a changing of the guard. As it should be Prog 500 still feels like a very important issue.

I shall read your musings from this point onwards with particular interest, since this is the beginning of 'my' era - the period from 500-700 is very much the period I've got the strongest attachment to. Is this the beginning of the post-modern era of 2000AD?

That's kind of "my" era too. I have fond memories of sitting on the floor one summer holiday with a load of progs from around the late 400s to the mid 500s fanned out in front of me and getting my mind blown by strips like Bad Company. I started getting the prog for myself not long after that.

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. There was certainly a tension between old and new in that period, looking back. It'll be interesting to see what Colin makes of it.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Greg M. on 08 August, 2017, 10:05:20 pm
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?
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: TordelBack on 08 August, 2017, 10:31:31 pm
Well not to spoil Colin's narrative journey, but Greg's 'post-modern' proggage isn't far off the mark.  From 520 there's a very serious spell of self-referential rehashing, reworking and rejection of coherent narratives - Whitey returns (again) in Dredd; Orlok returns in Anderson; DR & Quinch is regurgitated as the Agony Page; Strontium Dog does The Schicklegruber Grab again but with the Spitting Image Reagan; Mean Arena returns as Mean Team, and then Mean Team itself returns as feck knows what for a thousand pages. 

Luckily (the rather post-modern superhero) Zenith is just around the corner. 
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Greg M. on 08 August, 2017, 10:47:51 pm
Whilst I was originally thinking of the absurdist spins given to traditional comics narratives by Messrs Milligan, Morrison and later Smith ( featuring leads ambivalent in both role and motivation, something that even spills into Mills and the Hicklenton-era Nemesis), it's hard to argue with TB's suggestion that this all coincides with the prog achieving a kind of ironic self-awareness.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Fungus on 09 August, 2017, 01:53:31 am
Self-awareness is never good. TB nailed it as usual.

Which raises a question. Where does reread end? Plough on through the crud that saw me/others jump ship? What does that serve, we're not academics...  :) There's an offensive summer but then decades, to reach now...
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: sheridan on 09 August, 2017, 08:38:19 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.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: TordelBack 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!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Frank 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).
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Muon 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.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: CalHab 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.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Magnetica 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.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA 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...
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA 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...
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: TordelBack 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. 
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA 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.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Muon 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.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA 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!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA 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!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Magnetica 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.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA 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!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Jim_Campbell 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.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 02 September, 2017, 10:16:11 pm
So there you have it. A hit rate of only 50% I was that wrong BUT 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...).

That's what that should say. I certainly always think Johnny is best in quick and out before it drags on and while I was suprised I like 50% of the longer form stories the shorter form probably have a hit rate of like 90%!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 03 September, 2017, 09:09:23 pm
Prog 535

Well gotta say its been a while since there's been a contrast quite like that in the Prog. As though to emphasize the shift in the Prog that I seem to think I'm seeing (or making myself see!?!) we get to 535.

It starts off with the prologue to Zenith one of the most confident, smart and thrilling openings to any story the Prog has ever seen. It feels like the most post Watchmen thrill the Prog has had.

Then strangely broken up after only one page by Dredd (almost as though Tharg is showing how little we should care about it) we have Mean Team. One of the poorest strips Tharg has ever sullied his mighty organ with. Its stupidly directionless, full of crass characters and here Bellardinelli's are doesn't serve to build a glorious chaotic backdrop, but rather to emphasize the lack of focus and weak characters in the story. Just horrible.

So yeah the Prog is growing up and developing all these wonderful new mature thoughts.

Alas it this time of change and self discovery comes with zits.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: TordelBack on 03 September, 2017, 10:23:30 pm
Alas it this time of change and self discovery comes with zits.

Excellent analogy.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Magnetica on 03 September, 2017, 10:26:04 pm
Prog 535
It starts off with the prologue to Zenith one of the most confident, smart and thrilling openings to any story the Prog has ever seen.

Totally this. Indeed I am hard pressed to think of anything that betters it. Maybe only the first ever Slaine episode and the first episode of Nemesis Book 1.

And these are three of the greatest episodes in the Prog full stop, let alone being the best opening episodes.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Jim_Campbell on 03 September, 2017, 10:43:02 pm

Then strangely broken up after only one page by Dredd (almost as though Tharg is showing how little we should care about it) we have Mean Team.

The early attempts to run full colour strips, rather than just outside covers/centre spread, were badly hampered by the limitations of printing presses. I used to try and paginate a publication with limited colour pages and it's basically a crap-shoot. You can get the printers to print the whole thing as full colour (and pay for it as such, regardless of how many colour pages you actually have) or you can submit to the vagaries of multi-unit printing.

If you're on a tight, immovable deadline, you'd think your printers would give you a permanent slot on the press, but, noooo… one week, they might put you on the 32-page unit, and your colour pages will fall on pages A, B, C and D. Next week, they'll have put someone else's job on the 32-pager and they'll run your job over two 16-page units and the colours will fall on W, X, Y and Z. The week after, they might only have availability on the 64-page unit and will double up your 32 page job to make it fit on that, and the colour falls will move again.

Which is why, in the early period where Dredd was the only (?) full colour strip, it would move around the comic, or sometimes be broken up with an entire strip in between, or break up a B&W strip, seemingly for no reason.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 04 September, 2017, 09:50:30 pm

Which is why, in the early period where Dredd was the only (?) full colour strip, it would move around the comic, or sometimes be broken up with an entire strip in between, or break up a B&W strip, seemingly for no reason.

Once again fantastic insight Jim.The weird thing about this though is this is prior to the 6 pages of colour Dredd scattered around the Prog (starts Prog 620?). This is still the era of colour centre pages only. Don't think I've ever seen a strip have one page before Dredd like this. When you look at how packed the Prog is you kinda see why it happened, we get a back inside cover story page. Just really strange.

While I'm here I'd forgotten how many Future Shocks Neil Gaiman did. What's in a Name with lovely Steve Yeowell art (twice in one Prog!) is the one I always remember for some reason (I reckon its the art its not his best FS thats for sure) but he's had 3 before this. Always forget about the rest! Dunno why.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Jim_Campbell on 04 September, 2017, 10:02:38 pm

This is still the era of colour centre pages only. Don't think I've ever seen a strip have one page before Dredd like this.

Ah. Curse my failing memory circuits… I thought we were already into the full colour Dredds by then. That is just plain weird!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 05 September, 2017, 09:00:12 pm
Two great things about Prog 541. Firstly much as I don't like to spend too long slagging off bad thrills - thank fuck Mean Team is over. One of my least favourite thrills. To be honest I'm not convinced I've read it since it was first run. I mean I've done many a re-read that's covered it but based on how little I remembered I think this has always been skipped. Bloody awful rambling mess, no heart, no direction and dull beyond measure. I mean christ that big baddies thing. A big nothing and I think I'm meant to be excited when The Master is revealed as ... well jusyt a big scary monster. Jez. Bloody awful striped saved only by the fact its more memorible, just, than Angel!

Second great thing read picture Nemesis the Hedgehog. One of  my all time fav reader pictures. 'Maker of footprints in your pansies" Just great well done Mark Tucker of Surrey!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 05 September, 2017, 09:03:11 pm
Oh and a cheeky second post to mark Universal Soldier ending in Prog 543. Always had a real soft spot for this thrill, always forget how short it is. Okay so the boardroom politics is a little submillsian and hamfisted but I love it. Will Simpson's art is a little clumsy and over worked, but I still love it. The concept is a little light and stretched, but I still love it.

No sure why but I really enjoy this tight, vicious little story.

Alas as I recall its return doesn't hold up, but looking forward to finding out.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Tjm86 on 05 September, 2017, 09:37:32 pm
Didn't the return feature some Fleetway character they were trying to revive with art by Brett Ewins?  Sultry female, great big guns and boxy hover cabs?  Am I thinking of the right one?
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 05 September, 2017, 09:52:24 pm
Didn't the return feature some Fleetway character they were trying to revive with art by Brett Ewins?  Sultry female, great big guns and boxy hover cabs?  Am I thinking of the right one?

Oh I'm getting confused here maybe - I'm thinking Kelly's Eye?
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Greg M. on 05 September, 2017, 10:01:39 pm
The second Universal Soldier is the Simon Coleby one in the late 600s - then there's the Kelly's Eye one, which spins off into Kelly's Eye itself.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: I, Cosh on 06 September, 2017, 07:14:31 am
Didn't the return feature some Fleetway character they were trying to revive with art by Brett Ewins?  Sultry female, great big guns and boxy hover cabs?  Am I thinking of the right one?
Isn't the Night/Beyond/Below Zero? I also love the first series of Universal Soldier. Mostly for the art.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Fungus on 06 September, 2017, 07:51:11 am
Didn't the return feature some Fleetway character they were trying to revive with art by Brett Ewins?  Sultry female, great big guns and boxy hover cabs?  Am I thinking of the right one?
Isn't the Night/Beyond/Below Zero? I also love the first series of Universal Soldier. Mostly for the art.

No it's Ewins and Universal Soldier/Kelly's Eye (both? There's some overlap, and when I read it a couple of years back it was chunky stylised stuff but for all that it was legible unlike the other 90's stuff running alongside...).
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 10 September, 2017, 08:56:25 pm
Man we are heading into interesting times in the Prog.

Zenith hurls itself towards its thrilling finale and Prog 545 has one of my favourite panels of 2000ad art (there are a number across the Zenith books, he's mighty that Yeowell) specifcally the final page of the prog, four vertical panels:

1. Ruby's rain soaked terror
2. Masterman chilling grin over the fried remains of Siadwell (after his magnificently brief heroic charge)
3. the crying helmet as the Red Dragon is tossed aside
4. Who's Next - such sadism.

Just perfect in one of the true 2000ad great.

In the same issue Oz - a Megaepic I'm not overly fond of and as such really intrigued to read starts. Followed in Prog 546 with the start if Two Torquemadas, which for me, as I recall really returns Nemesis to the top if its game after a very strong lull - we'll see.

All this and the promise of the return of Bad Company, while Milligan treats us to Freaks in the interim... but I'll be back to talk about that one next time...
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Magnetica on 11 September, 2017, 12:48:14 pm
I think you will need to explain that "lull" comment regarding Nemesis. Torquemada the God preceded book 7 and ok it wasn't  at the same level, but it was only short. And before that you have Book 6 which was magnificent - one of the best things in the Prog ever IMO.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 11 September, 2017, 10:14:28 pm
I think you will need to explain that "lull" comment regarding Nemesis.

Whoops...

First when I say very strong lull - I didn't mean the lull was very strong, as in its dip in quality was great, rather even though its had a lull it remained very strong as a strip. Its been all great as I've said before BUT...

... it is a lull...

Here's the proof*

Book 1 -4 - all stunningly good in different exotic ways

Book 5 - The weakest to date. Still a great thrill but 4 episodes too long where previous books simply didn't waste a panel

Book 6 - If I'm ever to hail a story which is basically exposition on a beach a classic this will surely be it (as I said ... or at least the gist of that down the thread) BUT it is still exposition on a beach and while I love it not quite of the standard of 1 - 4.

Torq The God - Almost perfect BUT alas in failing to be so exposes its weakness. The camp, off the cough humour plays brilliantly with the very very dark themes its toying with. But alas it is toying and while the juxaposition does really work it leaves you wondering at the gaps this leaves as you suspend belief in the characters to roll with the fun.

Book 7 - I think a return to greatness... but we'll see...

So you see while I've enjoyed it all immensely I'd stand by the fact that books 5 - 6 1/2 are a 'very strong' lull compared to 1 - 4. the emphasis on 'very strong' being on story quality not the scale of lull.

*So when I say proof, yes I mean just more of me whittering!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Greg M. on 12 September, 2017, 07:38:22 am
Book 5 - The weakest to date. Still a great thrill but 4 episodes too long where previous books simply didn't waste a panel

I'd say it's the best one since Book 1! (I'd definitely rate it above 2 & 3.)
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Magnetica on 12 September, 2017, 08:47:43 am
Book 6 - If I'm ever to hail a story which is basically exposition on a beach a classic this will surely be it (as I said ... or at least the gist of that down the thread) BUT it is still exposition on a beach and while I love it not quite of the standard of 1 - 4.

I love book 6. It might be people standing around talking on a beach, but it's not any old beach, it's a beach at the end of the world. And it's not just any old conversation - I just love the way the Terminators go back to pledging their allegiance to Torquemada. And the art is just fabulous. I have always marvelled at how Bryan Talbot used to get expressions out of Torquemada's mask.

I was disappointed with Book 7 at the time. It felt like a real change. And the best bit in it riffs on book 6 i.e. how our Torquemada turns the original Torquemada's followers, such that they pledge allegiance to him.

But it was still good...the strip goes a bit downhill afterwards in my opinion. Having just read volumes 2 and 3 back to back, it becomes clear that it didn't really have anything different to say. At the time I didn't notice, because it was years between books (seems unbelievable really....er hang on...ABC Warriors, GreySuit, Slaine etc seem to also have long periods between books).
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: I, Cosh on 12 September, 2017, 10:29:06 am
The amazing thing about this is that I have absolutely no recollection of Books 5 and 6. Seven sticks in the mind for Hicklenton's crazed art but I would've sworn blind that Bryan Talbot only drew Book 4.

Need to grab a reprint of the later stuff from somehere.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Greg M. on 12 September, 2017, 01:00:59 pm
I just love the way the Terminators go back to pledging their allegiance to Torquemada.

One of my favourite scenes in the entire series: I always enjoy Torquemada's victories. Pat is careful to keep Torquemada a potent foe, and you can tell he absolutely loved writing the character.

My reason for preferring Bk 5 (&6) to 2, 3 and 4 is partially because Bk 5 returns the focus to Termight, and I feel the story is at its best when Termight – past, present or future - looms large. Torquemada is the best thing in the series (in any series!), and Termight serves as a kind of extension and reflection of his gloriously warped beliefs. It goes without saying that I rate 'Torquemada the God' very highly.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 12 September, 2017, 09:30:12 pm
Damnit I want to spin out this Nemesis discussion so much more as its really interesting. I always thought books 1 - 4 were the given as best Nemesis and its glorious to see how wrong I was (while being so right of course!) but alas in just the two progs I've read tonight I have much to comment on.

Firstly Freaks ends. I've always held this simple story in very high regard and it hold up re-read after re-read. More honest and straightforward than The Dead. Heartwarming and insightful. Poor Cuddles though. Love the episode were he is 'exposed' so much. A forgotten classic this one.

In Prog 547 we get Boo Cook making his debut in the Nerve Centre, we know what happened to him but in this Prog and the next we get two artists on Oz that I don't think we see again. Both Behrer and Spud and K Edwards produce lovely episodes of Dredd, but as far as I recall don't show up again. Don't know what happened there?

New Nemesis is as bonkers fun as I remember and christ Zenith is so great.

Top class Proggage!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Jim_Campbell on 12 September, 2017, 11:42:57 pm
Pretty sure Paul Behrer (geddit?) was a pseudonym Garry Leach used more than once.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 13 September, 2017, 06:01:38 am
Pretty sure Paul Behrer (geddit?) was a pseudonym Garry Leach used more than once.

Looking at the art that defo would make sense.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Magnetica on 13 September, 2017, 07:08:49 am
"Spud" and "K Edwards"?

Sounds like something for the "Things that went over my head" thread!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Frank on 13 September, 2017, 08:27:39 am

The stories credited to K Edwards are clearly the work of Will Simpson, who I understand is afflicted by Irishness.


Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Frank on 13 September, 2017, 01:37:02 pm
The stories credited to K Edwards are clearly the work of Will Simpson, who I understand is afflicted by Irishness.

Double post in a retroactive attempt at nuance: the colour spreads look like they were coloured by Leach, the black and white art looks like Simpson being inked by another hand*

I'm not sure if Simpson was working with Leach at this point, or if Tharg told him to pop his penciled pages in the post and let Burt worry about who was going to paint them.


* Leach and/or Elliot. There's another Chopper in the Cursed Earth strip credited to Simpson alone that looks like it's been touched by the hand of Leach too. By the time of Cookie and CURSE FARGO AND HIS SPAWN! Simpson's obviously keeping the Crayolas all to himself.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Arkady on 14 September, 2017, 10:41:01 am
Frank.

You're a bloody good writer and you clearly know your stuff. Please can you take over the defunct Dredd Reckoning blog?

'K thanks bye.

Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 14 September, 2017, 10:24:29 pm
So Prog 549 kinda says all about why I'm not a big fan of Oz. Chopper crosses the Cursed Earth and Wagner and Grant know they have to try to show how hard that is... but don't. Chopper fights some big, wonderful bird thingies and when that gets a bit muh just have him drive his board through them. I mean it looks bloody fantastic, but just lacks conviction.

I know Wagner and Grant ended their writing partnership on Dredd at the end of this and maybe you can see why beyond the decision whether to kill Marlon or not.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 18 September, 2017, 09:06:58 pm
Prog 554

You know I used to love the 'chrome' logo. I really did. It was my logo. I thought it was my favourite.

Then they made a key ring off it (I think it was the glorious Planet Replicas?) and I was like so all over that... then I looked at it... and looked again. Then I looked at some Progs... then I realised ...

Roger Moore, magnificent man though he is, isn't the best James Bond and the 'chrome' logo is far from them best*.

Tharg got it right. Stick it on the fire Green Bounce.

*Tom Baker is still the best Doctor Who mind.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 19 September, 2017, 09:19:01 pm
So I hailed 1985 the nostaligia fueled best year to date of Thrillpower but left a HUGE question dangling, could

1986

top it? ...
Bloomin' heck genuinely wasn't expecting it to be this cut and dry.

BEST YEAR IN THRILLPOWER (to date)


So there we have it to date 1985 was topped by 1986 which leds nicely into...

1987

And you know what the momentum might just about be continuing... might. 1987 was all about a changing of the guard. I speculated it might be at the turn of the year (so to speak) and it is, possible even more pronounced that I'd speculated.

Its the year of Pete Milligan, the year of Zenith, the year of Barry Kitson, the year of Democracy Now!, the year of PJ, the hour of the wolf. The year of Hicklenton on Nemesis and Fabry on Slaine, both returned to their former glories. By George its highs match the highs of any year they really do. BUT with new added second generation zing and edge. Its 2000ad truly hitting its teenage growth spurt a few years year.

Okay so it has one stinking low in Mean Team, but we get that every year and while Mean Team for me is as bad a thrill as I can remember (thus excluding Ange... oh whatever that thing with the plane and the chappie and the shoulder thingie was called) there is sooooo much good stuff.

So its clear then, right... well no not quite. See I can't quite shake the feeling that while these new brash johnny come latelys are shaking things up is quite glorious style, and some old wound soldiers* are stepping up to the plate to match, a couple of the classics slip a little.

I've already said Strontium Dog has a bit of a stinker that takes up about 1/2 the year, the shorter stories that follow are an improvement, particularly The Royal Affair - A Sorry Case being pretty weak and The Rammy a bit middling over all its not a good year for Johnny.

Dredd also if I'm honest is a little past the absolute soaring heights of the last couple of years. I mean there are some absolute stonkers, one of which I've mentioned and Raggedy Man, The Bug, The Return of Death Fist, The Beating Heart and of course Taxidermist are up there with the best of any year its just not as consistantly good as it has been for a couple of years prior. Its possible that I'm coloured by Oz starting... but I'll come back to that next year, its not a fav of mine, but I honestly think we're past a peak (one that will return I should say but that's for the future.).

So yeah 1987 soooo close and when its good and I'm looking at you Bad Company, Zenith and Anderson it is so very very good. I'm just not 100% its as good as 1986... but it just might be...

Damnit all this change has left me befuddled!

* Well Anderson in Hour of the Wolf as much as I love it, and I do, its on a pa with some of the excellence that has gone before in a strip that to date hasn't missed a beat. On re-read its clear that Anderson has been consistantly good in a way that few strips match.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 08 October, 2017, 08:44:15 pm
So befuddled I've taken over 3 weeks off... well of course only off from my 2000ad re-read so I can read other comics (see What's Everyone Reading for my brief befuddlement with Love and Rockets - don't worry it has a happy ending). But I've now finally wrapped up 1987 with a read of the Summer Special (which was interesting but not that special) and the two 1988 annuals.

Both annuals have some pretty top quality stuff, glorious McCarthy (2000ad) and Higgins (Dredd) Dredd, so other nice bits and bobs but so packed with reprint and quizzes and what not that they were slight reads (doing a re-read means I don't need to re-read the repeats so soon and I have Daily Dredds on my reading list so not spoiling those either). As such I've burned through them. The reprinted stuff is pretty high quality. Particularly the Hammerstein War Years stuff in the 2000ad annual but doesn't make for much value these days. Still what little you get is getting better in 2000ad and almost maintaining quality in the Dredd Annual so no real complaints.

And finally we get to 1988 ... if memory serves the ongoing quality bubble might burst sometime in the this year... lets see...
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: feathers on 10 October, 2017, 03:40:32 pm
I definitely found 88/89 significantly different from what went before - looking forward to reading your thoughts!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 13 October, 2017, 09:26:21 pm
So 1988 begins and even before I've opened a Prog (well that's not strictly true but I couldn't be bothered to post this when I first thought this) I've a comment to mither you lot with.

While the cover to 555, the first of 1988 is a classic and I've already dismissed my once favoured chrome log as a failure I'm also not too keen on the early version of the 'classic' logo. In it's original lumpy top left hand corner box it feels a bit solid and obstructive. Just look at Torquemada's face on the cover of 557 (I'll even do a linkie to it below), he's really not happy having it there is he!

http://www.2000ad.org/functions/cover.php?choice=557&Comic=2000ad (http://www.2000ad.org/functions/cover.php?choice=557&Comic=2000ad)
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 14 October, 2017, 07:53:15 am
So 1988 starts off with a bit of a confident stance, chest thrust forward and the prog showing of its best features. Its so confident, new logo and all that strangely there's barely a new story to be seen to draw folks in to the new year and new design.

That said the ongoing stories deliever quite a punch and I'm sure even if you are dropped in you'd feel pretty compelled to come back...

....SPOILERS!!!!

Thoth gets the chop.
Danny meets Kano
and Oz has one of its best mini stories as Chopper meets Cookie (even though I'm pretty down on Oz I do love this bit)

And there is a sprinkling of something new and back in the day (I'm going to return to this in a seperate post...) it was pretty magnificent and I remember even as a seasoned reader of both UK and US comics it blow me away.

Yep so strong is 1988 opening line-up Tharg had to limit us to four stories to avois thrillpower overload .... and he couldn't keep it around for long.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 14 October, 2017, 08:17:18 am
Prog 555 - Art of its time

Okay a one two punch with the posts this morning as I wanted to pull this out. Back in 1988 the art in the first Prog of 1988 was just so special. I adored it, it felt so fresh, powerful and agressive. Ewins and McCarthy (J) is a given, and I exempt them from what I'm about to say.

Elsewhere we have the magnificent John Hicklenton on Nemesis, Will Simpson on Dredd and the newly crafted Bisley Droid on ABC Warriors. Just an incredible explosion of ink and as a 16 year old it blow me away. I remember slavishly copying art from all three of these artists in a deluded hope that they're genius would rub off on me....

...but...

...and I'm nervous saying this...

.... reading now, it ain't all that good....

Now clearly that's said for effect and to get attention, don't worry I won't pepper my post with tiny hard to read postscripts though. Rather I'll admit its bloody magnificently stylish and powerful stuff and to its target audience (me back in the day) it just works. Its problem for me now is two fold.

Firstly the style can somewhat wash away the storytelling, given Will Simpson's career he at least improved on that I think we can say! I find Hicklenton's art particularly guilty of that, and as I've said I do adore his time on Nemesis and his art is big part of that. Key moments however are cramped into busy cluttered panels. The characters acting is so meladramtic as to be distracting at time (though given what's going on in Nemesis maybe that gets a pass!). But yeah all three artists could be accused... okay I'll take ownership of that... I accuse all three artists of style over substance.

Secondly I think, largely because of the above, its dated really badly. Here I'm particularly looking at Bisley on ABC. Looking at it now it just feels so of its time. It had such impact that it feels frozen in its historical place and outdated and clumsy. In many ways, its a year or two ahead of the same thing happening on American comics. sure McFarlane is throwing little lines all over Spidey at this point (I think) but Leifeld and Lee, who will have a similar impact on US mainstream comics are still awaiting their call to Mutant arms. They will make a similar impression on my teenage eye, though their impact on comics will transcent their images and I find the art here (in Prog 1988) far better now than I find the work of McFarlene, Lee and Leifeld, which I now find pretty unreadable if I'm honest. But yeah I see parallels.

So there we go I've said, Prog 1988 had magnificent, fantastic, bloody awful art!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Magnetica on 14 October, 2017, 11:33:53 am
The main problem I had with Hicklenton’s art on the Two Torquemada’s was it was so different to what had gone before. I think we had been spoilt with O’ Neill’s magnificent design of the Termight, the Blitzspear and the Terminators* and Talbot’s magnificent gothic feel.

For me Hicklenton’s storytelling became even more of an issue on Deathbringer, where there were too many similar looking characters which spoilt the flow for me as I was constantly flicking back ( on my recent reread) to work out who was who (eg. she’s the one with the horizontal stripes etc).

* you will note I haven’t included Nemesis in the “magnificent design” category. I have always thought his neck was bizarre- something Hicklenton takes to extremes far beyond O’Neill’s original design.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: AlexF on 16 October, 2017, 03:58:38 pm
I agree on finding Hicklenton's work on Nemesis Book IX hard to follow, especially in terms of which character was which, but to be honest this is overwhelemed by the tone of his work. His versions of both Torquemadas in Book VII are just so magnificently grotesque that it shines through any clutter or sloppiness with storytelling. As pointed out his version of Nemesis's neck is a thing to behold in itself. I don't how much it was his choice as editor, but I do applaud Burton for getting the likes of Hicklenton and Harrison in to shake things up.

There's no getting around it - the shift in artists played a major part in making 1988 something of a transition year for the Prog. Really curious to see how Colin assesses the year by the time he gets to the end!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 17 October, 2017, 09:24:44 pm
A few quicks thoughts on early 1988

1. The brilliant line-up at the start of the year ends all to quickly, with both Nemesis Book VII and Bad Company - Bewilderness ending in Prog 557, just three progs in.

2. Love the the Star Scans of the Dark Judges by Garry Leach (Though I had to look up who did them as I can never remember!)

3. The brilliant line-up at the start of the year continues as Nemesis Book VIII and Zenith Prologues arrive

4. I love everything about David Roach's art on Purity's Story except the way he draws Purity - damnit!

5. Is that Stephen Watson's first letter in Prog 559? If only there was some way to tell!?!

6. I can never make my mind up about SMS's art, but Brendan McCarthy's on the Judda storyline is some of his best ever.

7. I've always had a soft spot for Hap Hazzard, even if the story is brilliantly realised (not the art, the art is great) but I love the slice of life nature of it.

8. I forgot how quickly Simon Bisley's art developed and by his return in 563 he's already come on in leaps and bounds.


Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Greg M. on 17 October, 2017, 09:53:12 pm
Brendan McCarthy's on the Judda storyline is some of his best ever.

I was just re-reading Oz yesterday (I'm painting up some Judda miniatures and was looking for some reference material) and it's striking how great a visual design the Judda are. They're a perfect example of taking a concept that on paper is moderately cool and pushing it to an entirely different level through artistic interpretation. It's ironic that, despite being fanatical clone-cultists, every Judda is distinctive and original, and their weird tribal uniform variations hint at their own idiosyncracies (I love the one with the enormous horns you see at the start of part 15.) McCarthy said he wanted them to have a Kirby look - I think there's a bit of Ditko in there too though, as the way McCarthy draws their energy shields echoes Dr. Strange's mystic ones.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Muon on 18 October, 2017, 03:26:50 pm
I agree on finding Hicklenton's work on Nemesis Book IX hard to follow, especially in terms of which character was which, but to be honest this is overwhelemed by the tone of his work. His versions of both Torquemadas in Book VII are just so magnificently grotesque that it shines through any clutter or sloppiness with storytelling. As pointed out his version of Nemesis's neck is a thing to behold in itself. I don't how much it was his choice as editor, but I do applaud Burton for getting the likes of Hicklenton and Harrison in to shake things up.

There's no getting around it - the shift in artists played a major part in making 1988 something of a transition year for the Prog. Really curious to see how Colin assesses the year by the time he gets to the end!

Completely agree with this. I wasn't always sure what was going on in Hicklenton's Nemesis strips, but they always had a brutal, gory fascination to them that had me hooked. It was like he'd genuinely tapped into an alternate universe where everything was even more grimy than the one we had here and where weirdly contorted creatures punched the shit out of each other and sprayed black, oily blood all over the place. I remember going through a spell during Nemesis Book 9 when I thought of Hicklenton as my "favourite" artist. I also remember liking Simon Harrison's art on Strontion Dog. Not sure what I'd make of these things now, but that's how I felt at the time.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 21 October, 2017, 08:14:50 am
So Nemesis Book VIII - Purity's Story concludes with Prog 565 and it certainly makes for an interesting addition to the Nemesis saga. The inclusion of David Roach's art makes these feel suitably different, but at heart its a great Nemesis romp, almost like a band reforming and playing a greatest hits set.

Interestingly the big trouble it has for me is the thing that made it stand out when I was reading this back in the day. Nemesis revelations at the end read to 16 year old Colin (its target audience its best to remember) like a super cool, deep, insightful revelation. I remember it blew my teen mind. To tried grumpy 45 year old Colin (maybe its typical reader these days) on the 78787 re-read of the saga it feels like a little unnecessary highlighting of what we knew already. It feels like Pat Mills underlining in red pen, three times the key points of what he's been doing with the strip all along. To be honest a proto modern Mills seeming not able to trust the intelligence of his audience (whatever he says in interviews). Made worse by the mind wiping, being a nod and a wink to the reread - nudge nudge this is just between us right, but leaves it all consequence free.

Still immensely enjoyable and glad it exists, just not as relevant to its audience after 30 years... not entirely surprisingly!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 21 October, 2017, 09:18:18 am
Oh and meant to say YAH! Tyranny Rex starts in this issue as well. Must mean another attempt at Soft Bodies isn't too far off!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 27 October, 2017, 07:52:21 pm
So well while I was mostly trying to reflect on how much I bloomin' love the first Tyranny Rex story I kept getting distracted. I mean the first Tyranny story is fan... bloody help how much work is work is Steve Dillon doing in the Prog at the moment, I mean in Prog 567 he has 2 1/2 thrills, in 568, 2 thrills... but still Tyranny Rex is Sup... actually I'm enjoying the race in Oz much more than I remember, its genuinely exciting... as is the first Tyrann... shame about Stone Killers, its pretty flat for a Strontium Dog story...

... still at the end of the day when a story is just so fun, with such a sharp edge of humour and looks so great and has a killer concept and execution for all the great (and not so great) distractions in the Prog during this period you can't get away from the fact that Tyranny's debut is really a fantastically superb thrill.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 28 October, 2017, 08:23:12 am
Oz

So we crossed the line in Prog 570 and the latest Dredd Mega Epic speeds to a conclusion with a gloriously rendered 10 page final part. man I love Jim Baikie. And with it we get the end of Wagner and Grants partnership if legend is to be believed (though nosing ahead on Barney (which I rarely do, I've been good on this re-read) as I thought they are at least credited for the next few epsiodes) theres much to discuss and that's before I get to rating my Dredd epics to this point which I feel like doing at some point soon (mind maybe I should wait for Necropolis?).

Anyway Oz in and of itself is a Mega Epic I'm pretty down on, but have to say I've enjoyed the second half quite a lot. The start rambles at points and is too rushed at others (that Cursed Earth crossing just didn't work) but as the two story elements collide each on its own merits really works. The Judda storyline is fantastic and its conclusion does feel truly epic without needing to blow up Mega City One as it the fall back these days.

Chopper's challenge for Surf 10 is suitably gripping, a real thrill ride and I do really like the ending, a little clumsy with Dredd himself to serve its aims, but it works cos I wanted it too.

As is often said the two storyline do feel horroribly crushed together and both would have been served so much better by standing alone but hey ho. So yeah not the best Mega Epic but not as bad as I remember, certainly the second half.

Which is a shame as I was going to use this as a platform to say it might have marked a fitting explaination as to why Mr Wagner and Mr Grant decided to part as things might have been getting a little stale. I'm certainly not enjoying  anywhere near as much since Stontium Dog since Rage (well actually the story after, but Rage makes a better reference point)! and arguibly Dredd hasn't been quite as strong... nothing is bad but changing things up certainly seems to bring results as I recall.

 I'm looking forward to seeing how by breaking up the partnership, both have gained all they can from it and each is able to serve their key strips better apart. My Prediction (based on many reads, but this re-read is certainly providing revaluation of a lot of stuff, so lets see) is Dredd will get back to its very best of the next couple of years. I love Grant's ending to Strontium Dog, Anderson of course continues to excell and actually gets better. Lets see if this holds...
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: AlexF on 31 October, 2017, 12:57:34 pm
I find that Grant's solo Dredd work of this period really sticks out as being unlike the partnership work - he seems to be a lot more cynical with his citizens, and is way more keen on painting the Judge system as more overtly evil. Sometimes this produces the staggeringly haunting 'John Cassavetes is Dead', and other times it ends up with the heavy-handed 'Politics', which kind of interrupts the flow of the 'Dredd softens his position on Democracy' thing that had been and continues to build around the time.

Basically, Grant's Dredd stuff just isn't as good as Wagner's, but his solo Stront and Anderson stuff is largely excellent. In my opinion.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: AlexF on 31 October, 2017, 01:01:11 pm
Meanwhile, a controversial opinion on Tyranny Rex:
Steve Dillon's art, excellent as it is, doesn't fit the tone of Smith's writing. Dillon's storytelling is so clear that it gets in the way of the fact that the plots, even the early ones, don't really make that much sense. Simpson's Soft Bodies work may have made that strip even less comprehensible, but it makes the overall mood that much more weird and disturbing.

But Dillon's design of the character is proper awesome - and presumably explains why she's appeared on more cover montages than she's had actual episodes of strip.*


*I haven't counted this.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Magnetica on 31 October, 2017, 02:14:02 pm
Basically, Grant's Dredd stuff just isn't as good as Wagner's, but his solo Stront and Anderson stuff is largely excellent. In my opinion.

Yes that’s probably true. But then again there probably isn’t anyone whose Dredd is as good as Wagner’s. 

For me, Grant basically is the Anderson writer.

And Grant’s Strontium Dog was perfectly good until he decided to kill him off.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 31 October, 2017, 07:40:48 pm
Yeah I find it really interesting the way Grant's Dredd has rarely lived up to his work on some other characters, Anderson in particular but wider afield his Batman was astonishing. He did some great stories solo Dredd but not with the cosistancy of his work on some others.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 02 November, 2017, 10:19:51 pm
Yah know I really don't hate The Hit(s) Rogue stories. I mean okay these things are all relative and I really don't get on with Rogue Trooper but I'm enjoying it much more (as I always do) than the Nu Earth stuff. Its far from classic and it can't just be the great Steve Dillon art as Rogue has always been served by great art.

Why I enjoy it more than the stuff before... it feels more coherant. I think the Angel of Death thing is a good way for a character as dull as Rogue to go. He always was a bit souless. Hey it makes so much more sense than the wonderful world building hampered by hacked scripting of the previous stuff...

... well okay until he just walks into the super blindly gun mega weapon that bit was right out of the GFD school of writing!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: AlexF on 03 November, 2017, 03:23:09 pm
The Hit series really ought to have worked, but somehow it just didn't. Rogue as an assassin trying to kill all the individuals keeping the war going is great motivation. Mixing up the settings with each Hit was a lot of fun. Steve Dillon is 100% amazing on the series, and some of Geller's plotting and banter was solid comics.

But I never cared in the way I did on the Nu Earth stuff.

Theory 1: Nu Earth as a setting allowed the strip to feel like so many WW1 and 2 war comics that had the bonus of showing the 'ordinary soldiers' point of view that gave readers an emotional connection to the best Rogue stories.

Theory 2: The Hit stories never showed us how/why the people on the Hit list were so key at keeping the war alive (or at least, ruining soldiers' lives), we readers (and Rogue himself) were just told to take it on face value, and this meant the ending of each story, when the target was killed, failed to resonate.

Cinnabar ended up so much better than any of the hits in part because it fixed those two problems.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 03 November, 2017, 05:23:12 pm

Theory 2: The Hit stories never showed us how/why the people on the Hit list were so key at keeping the war alive (or at least, ruining soldiers' lives), we readers (and Rogue himself) were just told to take it on face value, and this meant the ending of each story, when the target was killed, failed to resonate.


This is definitely true and the series biggest failing. The first Hit got closest to showing the target as significant with the iron grip over the people he ruled. Yet it still didn't really resonate with the wider confliict. By Hit 3 the super scientist had a big shiny light good from what we can tell... hmmm.

Still the NuEarth setting had been mined to death - effective though it was GFD filled it with simply wonderful ideas but failed execute them well (no pun intended... well maybe a little). His ideas and the concept of the Hit realised more clinically and we'd of had a ... well hit on our hands... rather than the near miss we get.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Tjm86 on 03 November, 2017, 06:04:46 pm
I think for me, the biggest issue was that it was quite a sudden jump.  We had a bit of an evolution with the re-gene story, introducing the idea of it being a galaxy wide conflict, but the idea that there was something behind it all ....  Felt very much like a conspiracy theory bolt on.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 06 November, 2017, 10:06:11 pm
Some quick thoughts as we reach the middle of 1988.

1. When do we get 5 thrills back. I do not remember the whole four thrills a Prog thing going on this long. I mean we get extra Dredd now and again but...

2. Mind I guess if we are going to have 4 thrills only Tharg is doing it for the the good of our health. The thrill in mid 1988 are pretty much exceptional.

3. I really like those early Tales of the Dog House stories. The two Colin MacNeil ones are immense fun.

4. I'm always surprised that Summer Magic is so short, only 7 episodes... wow!

5. Mind it packs so much in that short time, what a great thrill

6. I always felt that Bad Company II was good but not in the league of Bad Company...

7. I was wrong (again!)

8. I run hot and cold on Bisley on ABC Warriors

9. And Simon Harrison has all the challenging problems when he starts Strontium Dog...

10... the difference is I adore Simon Harrison on Strontium Dog with a consistancy Bisley can only dream of... funny ole thing art huh!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Greg M. on 08 November, 2017, 07:32:39 pm
6. I always felt that Bad Company II was good but not in the league of Bad Company...

7. I was wrong (again!)

Popular opinion seems to agree with what you originally thought - that BCII is good, but BCI is the standout - but for years I've been arguing that BCII is at least as good as BCI, and in my opinion, superior. The art's even better - wilder, more exotic. The characters are more interesting - sorry Thrax, much as I love you, De Racine and Protoid have you beat - and their frequently grand guignol fates have even greater impact. It's cleverer, weirder, has a better plot (has a plot full stop), and wears its influences less obviously on its sleeve (or rather, it's influences are much less conventional for a war comic than BCI, which, wonderful though it is, is in obvious debt at times to 'Apocalypse Now'.) And the ending is up there with Song of the Surfer, Revere and Killing Time as the very best 2000AD's ever seen.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Magnetica on 08 November, 2017, 08:56:04 pm
Having recently re-read Bad Company in the TPB, I would say series 1 is definitely my favourite and everything else is diminishing returns. (Bit like ABC Warriors then!).

I also seem to remember Rogue Trooper being immensely popular at the time, possibly 2nd only to Dredd. I never quite understood that, but I think liked it well enough, just not as much as Stront, Slaine, Nemesis etc.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 08 November, 2017, 09:22:22 pm
So the thing I never think I got on with with BC 2... and when I say get on with that needs to have the context of thinking it was bloody great, just not as bloody great as BC 1 ... was that the characters felt a little gimmacky, a little forced, in a way the original series character, however much they were just as odd, felt more naturally so. The Bad Company 2 felt like it was trying to out do Bad Company 1. I think in this reading I've seen past that (even if it might be true) and agree pretty much 100% with what Greg says. 

Either way both are absolutely fascinating reads.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Link Prime on 09 November, 2017, 09:29:32 am
agree pretty much 100% with what Greg says. 

I'll join your Good Company.

The ending to BC II was a top 10 2000AD moment for me.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Dark Jimbo on 09 November, 2017, 09:33:00 am
agree pretty much 100% with what Greg says. 

The ending to BC II was a top 10 2000AD moment for me.

And what should have been a perfect end to the series full-stop.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Link Prime on 10 November, 2017, 09:54:55 am
agree pretty much 100% with what Greg says. 

The ending to BC II was a top 10 2000AD moment for me.

And what should have been a perfect end to the series full-stop.

The thoughts of any possible sequel to BC II would make Johnny Alpha turn in his grave.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 11 November, 2017, 09:35:07 am
I have to be honest I've enjoyed all the BC sequals with the exception of BC 2002. I'm a big BIG fan of Kano which just feels like a natural extension of the war story tropes which so underpinned the first series. Its a brilliant and typically Pete Milligan take on the old soldier not being able to adjust to civilian life.

I also really enjoyed First Casualties - though I do want to re-read it at some point. People seemed to struggle with the whole everyone is back thing without seemingly getting both the title and the line in the last part (as I recall as I say I do need to reread it) that the first casulty of war is truth is so fundamental to my reading of what Pete Milligan was doing.

Anyway you can often tell great 2000ad stories by the diversity of opinions about them. The bad ones no one really cares about!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 11 November, 2017, 10:11:07 am
Anyway to other matters.

Before I get to my main thing here I just want to quickly ask is Slaine - The Killing Field the best 3 page 2000ad story ever? I mean I accept there's probably not too much competition but its just so effective and beautiful in its grim ugliness.

Oh and I love Steve Parkhouse so and I do like Jim McCarthy* but the last two parts of Full Mental Jacket so that Steve Parkhouse and Jim McCarthy* just doesn't work.

Anyway to my main point. A.B.C. Warriors - The Black Hole ... hmmm .... man I used to love this, I mean really love it, as in think it was better than the original run of the strip. Now... and don't get me wrong I still really enjoyed it... but its really lost some of its sheen. I think a big part of that is I'm 'growing' out of Simon Bisley's art. In the same way as I've grown older I've come to love Jack Kirby or Ron Smith, I've stopped liking The Biz so much as I now can hardly look at Jim Lee's work.

That's cool, tastes change, but what's more signifcent here is the fact that the art is so defining in how I think about the story. Normally I think of myself as more writer focused than art focused. It varies a little and its not as if I don't think the art is important, its just I think great art can't save a naff story and naff art doesn't destroy a great story. Yet here the art is so BIG so significent at times the story can get a little lost.

Which is a shame as its a good one, a very good one. Mills at his best. The A.B.C. Warriors at their most chaotic and interesting before they became all KHAOTIC and dull (they do get better again luckily). Its clear though good as the story is, interesting and atypical as the characteration, probably the most interesting part of the story, the whole plot thing does feel secondary. My option of this story is shaped by my option of the art.

My view of SMS hasn't really changed over the years. Its close but not quite there for me. It has moments of wonder and glory, but at others there's something off about it, the lighting, the way he structures faces, the inking. Nothing quite gells and nothing feels too solid and grounded. Its not bad, not bad at all, but just not as evocative as Bisley's. As I've said already however, Bisley is so of his time, so of my time, that I look at it now and while I still enjoy it, it has nowhere near the impact on me it did back in the day.

I'm really intrigued to see how I get on with Horned God now!

*It is Jim not Brendan as listed on Barney right? I mean that's got to be Jim McCarthy inking Steve Parkhouse surely????
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Magnetica on 11 November, 2017, 07:39:20 pm
I think there are parallels to be drawn between SMS and David Pugh. Artists not seen in the Prog before doing a very good job on a legendary strip being  completely over shadowed by the other artist who is producing work of a level virtually never seen in the Prog before.

It’s kinda interesting the level of reverence the Squaxx show to Bisley given the limited amount of work he has actually done for Tharg. The Black Hole, The Horned God a few Heavy Metal Dredds and a few covers. And that’s about it.

But that’s what happens when what you do do moves the bar so high.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Smith on 11 November, 2017, 07:52:49 pm
Bisley is a bit like Rob Liefeld.In a sense that hes got a unique style that got aped waaaay too much.
Cant say I was ever really a fan of the muddy-painted art in general,tbh.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 11 November, 2017, 08:54:02 pm
Bisley is a bit like Rob Liefeld.In a sense that hes got a unique style that got aped waaaay too much.
Cant say I was ever really a fan of the muddy-painted art in general,tbh.

Probably not the place for this discussion but I'd say that Liefeld of one of the copiers. McFarlane the original? Your point certainly carries though.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Smith on 11 November, 2017, 09:15:46 pm
Its hard to say whos the original there,and not all that important after all these years.
All Image founders quoted similar inspirations like: Kirby,Miller,Corben,Bilal...
But thats a different story...As I was saying,my problem isnt so much with Bisley,as with EVERYONE who decided to imitate him.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 12 November, 2017, 08:29:12 pm
Well it is the self absorbed thread so the following self quote from almost 9 years ago now... well I feel no shame!

Quote
Slowly but surely going through my progs in groups of 100 reading the good bits. This weekend amongst many more obvious classics (Zenith Book II weakest of the bunch but still absolutely brillant) I came up to Tribal Memories 580s

I always remember liking this story but my God I hadn't remembered how good it was. So much packed into 4 short episodes. Great characters, great ideas, wonderful art. An absolute classic.

Such a shame that for whatever reason (I must dig out Thrillpower Overload and see if it has anything to say on the matter) the characters weren't used again. Sometimes its fair to say these things are left alone BUT there seems so much more scope to play with in the world Milligan and 'Riot' created here. Such great potential for future stories.

Next time someone bumps into Pete Milligan ask him to sack Marvel and DC for a while and get back into this wonderful world from his past... well you never know.

9 years on from reading Tribal Memories the last time and my opinion hasn't changed. And since Pete Milligan has returned to these pastures I'd love to see more here. Oh and before anyone else says (as they did 9 years ago). Yes I agree it does work absolutely fine on its own and less often less is more BUT in this case I just think there was such potential for at least one more story. Very unlikely to ever happen but hey if it did...
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 12 November, 2017, 08:42:36 pm
Oh and criminally I almost forgot, before we get to MORE! to mention 'The No-Go Job' - I remember thinking it was such a shot in the arm for Strontium Dog back in the day and you know what, I still do.

While the strip hadn't been bad it really hadn't ever recovered from the astonishing quality of 'Rage' and 'Incident on Mayger Minor' and had felt like it'd been treading water a little since then. Nowt was especially bad, though there were moments, but nothing was close to the quality of some of series previous highs.

Not sure if it was the shift in art, though surely it played some part. The fact that Alan Grant knew what he had planned and where the series was going? Whatever it was this fun little 8 parter really cranked up the quality and while you'll always miss Carlos maybe Simon Harrison was just what the series needed for where it was going.

Overall a thriumph and I can't wait to revisit and revaluate Final Solution just around the corner.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: AlexF on 13 November, 2017, 01:49:32 pm
Couldn't agree more on Simon Harrison's art being just what Strontium Dog needed. And I say that despite thinking 'The Rammy' and 'Stone Killers' were both top tier Stront outings, loads of fun characters, good jokes and clever plotting. But the 'No-Go Job' somehow kicked things up a notch, purely by virtue of showing you the same world seen through different eyes.
It probably helps also that Harrison, for all his greatness, didn't spawn an army of imitators, so his work has held up way better than early Simon Bisley in my eyes.

(Oh, and to reply to a question earlier, for my money Rob Liefeld was mostly trying to ape Art Adams. For reasons that only make sense to 12-year-old me, I still find early Liefeld to be super dynamic and exciting to look at, even though I can now see his many flaws with anatomy, perspective and above all, storytelling)
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 13 November, 2017, 07:53:28 pm

It probably helps also that Harrison, for all his greatness, didn't spawn an army of imitators, so his work has held up way better than early Simon Bisley in my eyes.


Yeah I think that could well be very true.

Mind who the heck could imitate Simon Harrison? Such a wonderfully unique sense of design and dynamic fresh realisation. I do wonder if folks could have immitated him of they'd tried.

Bit like Bill Sienkiewicz (once he shock off his own influences) you can see the odd person trying but most realise they weren't going to get close!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 17 November, 2017, 09:14:38 pm
Specials 1988

Well with the introduction of the Judge Dredd Special in 1988 its a pretty good year for our bump summer treats. New new Dredd addtional to the holiday bananza is a slim old beast but packs some quality in. 'The Blob' is a solid Alan Grant and John Higgins number, trumped by the wildly fun 'The Fall Guy' by Grant and Simpson, a thrill I've always loved for no real reason than its immense fun. Large swaves of the special though are filled with reprints of the daily Dredds which I remember enjoying at the time but don't quite hold up any more for me, all be it with some fun Gibson art.

The star of the show however - well assuming we don't count the glorious Brendon McCarthy 'Dredd's World' centre spread - it 'Blockers' and while I might not be the biggest Casanovas fan in the work the Wagner story is just such a riot of wonderful ideas and glorious Mega City madness its a delight and packs so much invention, great characters and humour into 5 pages its untrue. Just superb.

Interesting to note as well the Bolland cover is the first 'modern' Bolland image of Dredd. There's something about this depiction of Dredd from the great Bolland that seems a departure from his work of the past on Dredd and more a link to the US cover work he became known for. I can't quite place what but all his future Dredd's seem to stem from this image (or just this is the first of the kind)... that could be complete poppycock but something seems to have shifted.

Over at the bigger brother of the two specials the 2000ad Special also has some real highlights and a lot of filler in its bigger page count. The real star is John Smith's warm us up for Soft Bodies with the more comprehensible Tyranny Rex story deeply embeded in Indigo Prime and features many of its older characters and ones that will appear today. Its a curio these days but a wonderful one.

There are other slighter cute curios, the Zenith 'photo wall'on the inside cover (was this reprinted in the Zenith collections?) real fun. A Brendan McCarthy almost centre spread (again) of Johnny Alpha introducing a solid story, Grant Morrison misfiring in Venus Bluegenes and a couple of fun text pieces, one on the Halo Jones play and another on Comic Marts with then rare pictures of creators.

There's some so so other stuff and I'll be honest I really don't enjoy Phil Elliott on Dredd.

So yeah the Specials, much like the annuals remain a frsutration. They have some really gems in there, but sometimes it feels like they take some digging to find!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 04 December, 2017, 09:14:33 pm
So MORE arrives with a bang in Prog 589 Behind a Biz Dredd... is this the first Biz Dredd I remember being very excited by it back in the day... its not aged well... but back then... anyway behind that we have a bit of an all star line-up . Zenith back, Nemesis, Slaine and Rogue all adding to Dredd... perfect in so many ways. The Dredd in particular so wonderfully plays with the change in format introducing the extra colour with a really clever Wizard of Oz story I've always loved.

The trouble is it doesn't last long, not long at all.

Dredd of course continues, as does the wonderful Zenith Phase 2 (which on last reading I've always much under-rated it seems). Rogue quickly disappears by next prog 590, no major lose  but the real surprise is we have not one BUT two reprints (if you include running some daily Dredd's as reprint?).

By 591, only two Progs into this brave new era, we lose one of the reprint strips - WAYHEY to gain... Moonrunners... oh... dear.... okay I promise I'll approach this with an open mind, after all McKenzie and Parkhouse have good chops and while I'm not Belardinelli's biggest fan as I recall the series plays to his strengths... but I don't have fond memories of the strip... still open mind, open mind....

...oh and Slaine finsihes as well,... I barely dare open Prog 592!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Muon on 06 December, 2017, 02:38:23 pm
So Colin... You're over a year's worth of progs past 520... Would you give any credence at all to the idea that some kind of gradual dip in quality started then, or is it more a case of a changing of the old guard challenging people's ideas about the kind of comic 2000 AD should be.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 07 December, 2017, 09:49:04 pm
...or is it more a case of a changing of the old guard challenging people's ideas about the kind of comic 2000 AD should be.

I still think this. Its still really good stuff, just there's been a real shift over the last couple of years. Neither better nor worse persay but clearly a difference.

I was pondering whether the belief that the first 500 are the golden age is based on how broad your comic reading is? If someone was 2000ad focused I could see why the shift would be jarring and the difference wouldn't work for you. If your comic reading was from a broader church this shift was happening around you so 2000ad change more sense????

That could well be poppycock but it occured to me. Nor view would be wrong but might influence the person tastes and reflection people have of this period. For me 1986-1988 really started to see me shift as a comics reader so what was happening in 2000ad just seemed to reflect my 'world' view.

And Crisis was the next logical step too! But thats for a different threadt (one I'm not starting I should say to the relief of you all!)
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Muon on 08 December, 2017, 09:52:55 am
...or is it more a case of a changing of the old guard challenging people's ideas about the kind of comic 2000 AD should be.

I still think this. Its still really good stuff, just there's been a real shift over the last couple of years. Neither better nor worse persay but clearly a difference.

I was pondering whether the belief that the first 500 are the golden age is based on how broad your comic reading is? If someone was 2000ad focused I could see why the shift would be jarring and the difference wouldn't work for you. If your comic reading was from a broader church this shift was happening around you so 2000ad change more sense????

That could well be poppycock but it occured to me. Nor view would be wrong but might influence the person tastes and reflection people have of this period. For me 1986-1988 really started to see me shift as a comics reader so what was happening in 2000ad just seemed to reflect my 'world' view.

And Crisis was the next logical step too! But thats for a different threadt (one I'm not starting I should say to the relief of you all!)

Yeah, I guess it's inevitable that squaxx's views on what 2000 AD (and I guess by extension, comics as a whole will be shaped by the period in which they really get into the prog. The post-Watchmen world of comics, about the time I graduated from cheeky chappie comics, was an eclectic time looking back, and that was reflected in the prog. At the same time I guess, things could get pretty pretentious and random at the expense of storytelling. I'm a product of that time and I think it's influenced my taste in comics, for better and for worse.

I eagerly await your Crisis re-read thread! In fact, I'm tempted to do a Revolver one.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 09 December, 2017, 09:14:53 pm
A few quick thoughts on the late 500's:

1. Kev Walkers fisrt work in 2000ad (I think) a few future shocks in 90s. Man I'd not have recognised it!
2. Moonrunners. Its not bad so much as insanely dull... its as forgetable as Angel!
3. Chris Western's early art, first work in 2000ad (I think) is a couple of Dredds in 90s. Man I'd recognise it but its a mile from the quality of his later work.
4. Soft Bodies still baffles me.
5. Copper - Soul on Fire is a fantastic little short story
6. MORE! is still struggling to fill its pages - as the odd reprint slips in.
7. Whatever happened to portable mini VCRs 598 seems to think they will hit hard... I don't think they did!
8. Torque the Otter. One of the great fan art puns of our time.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 10 December, 2017, 09:10:58 pm
Prog 600

By this stage I am kinda wondering what the heck Tharg has been thinking. I have a feeling that this was covered in Thrillpowered Overload and its something to do with him not being able to replace departing talent quick enough but being committed to the attempt to expand the comic. Makes for all sorts of crazy scheduling. Somewhere between 589 and 600 there's an absolutely stella launch Prog. As it lands in reality it just looks like Thargs throwing things in at random and hasn't been planning ahead.

600 is actually a cracking Prog, in the main. Rogue Trooper, while not my favourite is back, though as I recall this story is a wasted effort. There's a particular fun Dredd as Gods gamble with Mega City One brought to us by Alan Grant and Glenn Farby... much as I love it, it does rather read like it was meant for an annual... maybe Tharg was getting desperate for pages by now! Zenith Phase 2 continues to be glorious and I'll get back to that soon enough, its its deep into its story. Moonrunners drones on. I'm only still reading it as I'm so curious as to how its so dull and poorly executed.

Finally (well first in Prog terms actually!) we have Simon Harrions continue his run on Strointium Dog with the absolutely supreme (at least at first) Final Solution kicking off. I've already said how much I love his work on the strip and this story, as I recall, really plays to his strenghts, as his first dark sinister tale, balanced with some gloriously odd ball co-stars demonstrates so well.

So yeah its a pretty cool Prog, just not as jump on as it might be, as was Prog 589... really need to be reading Thrillpower Overload in conjunction with my read, but it would spoil my attempt to read this as unsulled as possible.

Oh and love the fact that Willow brings the retunrn of the half page movie strip. Thought these little movie 'trailers' were long gone, so chuffed to see this on in here which I'd completely forgotten about.

So lets see how Tharg is able to round of 1988 and whether he starts to get his house in order.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 11 December, 2017, 09:07:38 pm
So a few more things.

Did John Smith just get bored of Soft Bodies and whole - it was a film thing - was just a way to wrap it up asap?

The more I read Zenith Phase II the more I think it might be my favourite and that's as a MASSIVE fan of Phase III. I think its just the most interesting examination of Zenith as a character and so much more cutting than anything thing either side. Its sets up the intrigue that GMozz more than delivers on but does so really, really well. Its also fascinating to see Steve Yeowell develop into the artist at his peak over the course of the strip. Its almost perfect, it really is.

Quote
Common sense dictates that figures cannot always be rght- and if they're sometimes wrong, why, they could just as easily always be wrong
Alan Grant, Strontium Dog,  Prog 604

And almost 30 years later this arguement helped to get us Brexit - damn those pesky facts and experts!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 12 December, 2017, 09:08:35 pm
Where as 1987 was a difficult one for me to judge, certainly in comparison to what had gone in the two years before

1988

is much easier. While its an odd year with so many up and downs, highs and lows its not as good as any of the last 3 years, not close. 2000ad has gone into its teen years (a little early I'll grant you) and its had a growth spurt as I've mentioned before, but here its clear its grown a little too quickly and its all gone a little awkward and uncomfortable in its newly transformed body. Thrillpowered hormones have pushed the comic into all sorts of interesting and challenging new scenarios but its become clear its not quite ready to handle it and at times it seems to just embarrass itself with its pretensions of maturity - sorry Soft Bodies. At times its just plain dull when it tries too hard to be smart and different, Moonrunners that's you.

Oh it does have moments, and many of them, of absolute glory. The sequels are really stand proud, both Zenith Phase II and Bad Company Book 2 probably better than their firsts, ABC Warriors ends well enough. There are some lovely short stories, with Tribal Memories always being one of my favourites and Chopper's first soulo outing a forgotten gem (for me at least). But while Strontium Dog gets its mojo back and Slaine's cameos have much to love a couple of other classics stumble a little. Nemesis Book 9 almost feels like self parody (I'll come back to that when its done). Rogue Trooper, though never a classic in my eyes begins to fumble its reinvention and even Dredd, some highlights aside again lacks the lustre of its best.

Yeah there are some real highlights... just not as many as I've become used to. So 1988 makes it clear that 2000ad grew too fast to quick and needed to take a breather for a moment before learning just what it can do with its new shape and form...

... now in 1989 ... if memory serves... it might just do that... though it won't all be plain sailing either... lets find out together shall we.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Woolly on 12 December, 2017, 09:40:28 pm
Quote
5. Copper - Soul on Fire

"Sgt Terry Brixton, newly transferred from the Cotswolds to the force in East Peckham, struggles to cope with the stranglehold of the inner city gangs, until he discovers an ancient text that awakens an immortal Flame Demon within him..."






Sorry...
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 12 December, 2017, 10:01:39 pm
Quote
5. Copper - Soul on Fire

"Sgt Terry Brixton, newly transferred from the Cotswolds to the force in East Peckham, struggles to cope with the stranglehold of the inner city gangs, until he discovers an ancient text that awakens an immortal Flame Demon within him..."


I want to see this!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 15 December, 2017, 08:46:49 pm
Annuals 1989

Well not much to say really. A few bits and bobs here and there but these really aren't that good are they.

So much padding and while some is good, nice early interviews with Mills and Bolland in the Dredd annual and creator profile pages I always enjoy - though what with not pretedning they're droids anyone! Its pretty weak so dominated by reprints as it is.

One other shame is found in Ace Trucking. I got the feeling the new status quo, with Feek ruling the roost and more, was meant to go somewhere. Woiuld have been interesting to see his developed.

Highlight was the nice Bad Company short in the 2000ad, particularly pertainent given the recent Bad Company series and the theme there in.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Greg M. on 15 December, 2017, 11:01:24 pm

One other shame is found in Ace Trucking. I got the feeling the new status quo, with Feek ruling the roost and more, was meant to go somewhere. Woiuld have been interesting to see his developed.

To me, it seems the perfect ending to the series - Ace screws up again, and we leave him in isolation, vowing vengeance, only one step away from comically shaking his fist at all those who don't recognise his genius. I've never seen this as trying to set up more stories: more an effective way to put a cap on things and end on a high note after the largely-rotten Dopplegarp stories. (Besides we can all guess what happens next - Ace gets out in twelve months and, with the help of a complicated and foolhardy plan, manages to usurp Feek, only for the plan to then backfire and the business to go down the tubes, resulting in a reset of the classic status quo.)
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 16 December, 2017, 09:54:56 am
Yeah actually reflecting on it you are probably right Greg. It would seem an odd place to fit a new introduction to a new status quo. Much more sensible for it to be a wrapping up thing in the annual...

... still doesn't stop me wanting to see the very story you describe. After all it could have been a redemption after the bloody awful Dopplegarp years!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 26 December, 2017, 09:10:12 pm
Early (very) 1989

So a short break and Boxing day sees us enter 1989, a rather glorious article about the return of the console machine thought dead after the rise of the home computer services as a glorious reminder as to why reading the original progs is such a delight.

There's also some other curios that will not see reprint, Prog 608 features a Future Shock by Richard Elson being very unRichard Elson (as I know him now) - wearing what looks to my eye like a Brendan McCarthy influence very much in his shelve. And another by David Anthquist being very unDavid Antiquist - Silo can't be too far off.

In other news I'm not hating Night Zero which I thought I did. It tries to pack too much in but at times its such fun.

Reading Our Man in Hondo I'm minded of comments made in the X-Mas Prog thread about Colin MacNeil... his work isn't quite there yet... love the story - but as I recall it takes Surf 11 for him to really develop as an artist?

I'm also minded now much I enjoy Zippy Couriers, such a fun fresh strip and love the art by Graham Higgins - whatever happened to him?

But the man news is Nemesis Book 9 finishes and as I recall, a couple of mis-fires and false starts here and there that's it for the old Warlock for quite a few years. Do love this story, even if John Hicklenton's glorious art does start to completely breakdown in the old storytelling department. Can't quite remember why the series went onto such a long hiatus from this time. Seems a shame as it had moved into some interesting ground... the trouble is it was tricky ground to get past the whole Nemesis and Torq find a new way to fight. I'm interested too see when the ol' Warlock pops up in the intervening years (11 of them?) to see how the flames are fanned, as I recall they are from time to time.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: AlexF on 04 January, 2018, 03:18:44 pm
I definitely feel that there's a lost Nemesis book or two that we never got to see, presumably something to do with an editorial argument between Mills and Burton (maybe Burton had had enough of Hicklenton's art?).

And yes, there's no substitute for reading the Progs themselves to capture that delight on reading old tech articles; I remember liking John Brosnan's sporadic film reviews, too.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 04 January, 2018, 05:10:42 pm
Wasn't there something called Hammer of Torquemada or some such that was planned and we saw a preview of but never materialised. I might be mis-remembering things there.

As I recall the Deadlock story doesn't really move anything on except for the relationship between the two characters (Deadlock and Nemesis that is) ... and that might be a couple of years or more off?

Still it will be fun seeing how all this plays out.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Dark Jimbo on 04 January, 2018, 06:54:31 pm
Wasn't there something called Hammer of Torquemada or some such that was planned and we saw a preview of but never materialised. I might be mis-remembering things there.

As I recall the Deadlock story doesn't really move anything on except for the relationship between the two characters (Deadlock and Nemesis that is) ... and that might be a couple of years or more off?

Still it will be fun seeing how all this plays out.

Hammer of Warlocks is a three-part story that's curious for spending two of its three episodes recapping the entire saga to date! This is because, according to Mills, he planned out an epic Horned God-style fully painted saga for which this was to be a prologue. It never materialised (supposedly because readers didn't take to Clint Langley's art) leaving it a curious little thing indeed.

At the end Torquemada is planning an epic jaunt across the cosmos in search of the fabled Hammer; because we never got said jaunt, he just pops up randomly at the start of Book X after 'many years away' having got the Hammer off-screen, as it were - and the Hammer makes little impact in the story that follows. A bizarre narrative dead-end, all told.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 06 January, 2018, 09:17:52 pm
Well Tharg turned 12 in Prog 615, but possibly the issue before 614 represented the biggest turn of events for Tharg's organ. Not the issue in itself but some of its content really emphasize what's been happening as 2000ad finds new and surprising growths and developments as it enters this awkward time.

We get two Jamie Hewlett strips in one issue (well one working as part of a team), David Roach on Anderson continues that strips sharper more 'mature' edge/ A Hilary Robinson and Kev Walker Future Shock seems to hold pretensions too (though its actually quite fun). Another text article arrives - though the arrival of Roxilla and her bizarre selection of music  might be more in keeping with the tonal shift I'm feeling in this issue.

Yeah its all underscored by the Simon Harrison Feral poster, with our brave new Strontium Dog looking sharp, cool and different, almost like the old Alien Sex Fiend adverts we used to get.

It all makes for a heady mix and a good example of the shifts the Prog is going through. Funny we get Night Zero and the curious choice of a Joe Black reprint to remind us we're not there yet!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 07 January, 2018, 08:59:09 pm
So a few quick thoughts on the first 1/3 of 1989

1. Been meaning to ask since the last third of 1988 actually, but why the heck are the colour pages after 'MORE' positioned as they are? Centre spread as before, 5 page pf BnW and then the remaining 4 pages of colour. I'm guessing there's a reason relating to printing?

2. While we're talking printing, why are so many of the page suffering from poor reproduction? It seems to affect one page ever Prog and annoyingly the lose of depth in the blacks always seem to land on Simon Harrison's Strontium Dog, which impacts on his glorious art so much.

3. I like David Roach's art on Helios, but am I the only one who finds his figure work pretty stilted at times?

4. Sooner or Later Too... damnit I always hope I'll enjoy this and I assume I'm mis-remembering now bad it is... alas I'm not.

5. LOVE the various text articles, though that Roxilla is a little up herself at times ain't she!

6. Love early Hilary Robinson. I know she doesn't have the best rep as a tooth writer, but I really enjoy Zippy Couriers, like her early Future Shocks (Glaring Anomaly a particular favourite) and LOVE the first Medivac 318 story.

7. Those Moonrunner Star Scans, who thought we wanted those then!

8. Still it filled up pages as MORE still stretches Tharg to reprint, I'd forgotten how long that lasted!

9. Does anyone else think that the glorious 2 part Dredd about the MoPad that broken down in the wrong part of town was originally destined for an annual? Don't know why but it really felt like an annual story to me.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: TordelBack on 08 January, 2018, 01:41:57 pm
6. Love early Hilary Robinson. I know she doesn't have the best rep as a tooth writer, but I really enjoy Zippy Couriers, like her early Future Shocks (Glaring Anomaly a particular favourite) and LOVE the first Medivac 318 story.

It's odd, isn't it? On a re-read she comes across as a breath of fresh air.  I was always a fan of Medivac 318 and (the underused potential of) Zippy Couriers, but it retrospect Robinson almost seems a bit ahead of her time, not so much in style or originality, but in the type of stories she was telling, and their pacing.  I can't help feeling that a lot of her material would have been warmly welcomed in the current prog in a way that I don't think they were at the time.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 10 January, 2018, 03:59:11 pm

It's odd, isn't it? On a re-read she comes across as a breath of fresh air. 

Yeah always thought about her like this.

I can't help feeling that a lot of her material would have been warmly welcomed in the current prog in a way that I don't think they were at the time.


But never this and now you've planted the thought in my head and reading Medivac 318 I can't help thinking you are right (as ever!). Was she just way ahead of the curve?
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 14 January, 2018, 05:28:49 pm
Well Tharg just can't catch a break. He gets a truly Zarjaz line-up, Zenith: Ohase 3, Slaine: Horned God and Rogue Trooper: Cinnabar, truly John Smith produces by far the greatest of the original era Rogue stories, its just superb, right to its horrifying end... but boy is it choppy waters. Alongside Dredd though these stories truly are in 2000ad's pantheon of greatness, Dredd is on cracking form and the back up strips do okay...

...Tharg seems to be rushing this stuff out to try to fill the Prog. Okay we seem to have ended a run of Future 'Stock' fillers, often written by folk we'll not see again, or draw by artist we will before they are ready... but the three classics we have running though and all fall short of finishing their runs in on got. In Prog 634 Zenith takes a breather, but its okay Medivac 318 and Arthur Ranson's first outing on Anderson in Triad step up. Phew well done there Tharg... Prog 635... Slaine draws breath and Cinnabar finishes and this time we get two shorts of good standard, but still filler in Stontium Dogs and a one off, its good stuff, not great, but good...

Jez its not like Tharg isn't trying here but amazing as some of this stuff is it doesn't half feel like he's constantly sprinting to the line at break neck speed and as such he's stumbling a lot... yet at time he's still putting in a gold medal performance.

Interesting times indeed.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 16 January, 2018, 09:11:55 pm
Well interestingish, see after the previously mentioned ups and downs the Prog begins a continued dip... or does it...

It ain't all bad, some decent Dredd, Final Solution continues well, though if I'm honest art aside not as astonishing as I remember, the story feels a bit forced and dare I say it flat at times.

Elsewhere Hilary Robinson is in full force, which given my earlier praise is surely a good thing... and it is... at times... Zippy Couriers makes an all to brief final (I think) appearance. Medivac 318 Book 2 has some fantastic moments, but other moments that makes you go 'What now? Huh' as in:

The invading aliens disappear because what now... huh?

An episode about putting bombs on a box what now... huh?

The war is over cos everyone is dead, what now huh?

Its a shame as it still nicely done, but lacks a real cohesive feel, which the first story really had. Mind Nigel Dobbyn's art is still sublime.

In another Robinson strip The Survivor returns Henry 'Panther' Moon from Mean Team... one of the great questions of our time what on Earth made Tharg think we needed more Mean Team??? Without much mean and no team. Its such a weird one.... not as weird as the return of Moonrunners (not Hilary Robinson I should point out). I'd completely forgetten this series had a second series, I mean completely. So dulled was my brain my the dull dullness of the first...

... or is it just my brain is rubbish cos I'd also forgotten how stonkingly good Anderson - Triad was. Christ why isn't this in my all time list of Anderson classics. Well to be honest cos Anderson has been so good almost all the time. Bloody hell Alan Grant does some fantastic work on this strip and he's rewarded by such glorious artists. I mean how does Arthur Ranson find a the Block Ness Monster to model for him, goes lets face it these has to be photor-referenced its so authentic... right?

There's still 7 Progs til the big hitters return in 650 and Strontium Dog has just dropped out to be replaced by what I think is that rariest of things a John Smith story I don't like... what will Tharg be serving us over these next few issues???

I'm not sure I like this type of interestin'!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 31 January, 2018, 08:50:08 pm
So I've limbed to Prog 649 (to be fair had a few distractions) and Tharg really has been throwing all he's got into filling the Prog in time for his next big relaunch (I'll come back to that next time), man is he throwing all he's got, not really in a good way.

Firstly there's Issigri Variations, not John Smith's finest, but have to be honest I enjoyed it a lot more than I remember. My big problem is I just don't get on with Mike Hadley's art at all and I think its that, rather than some rather too cute ideas from the mighty Mr Smith. I do wonder if this had a different artist I'd get on with it more.

The only other none Dredd ongoing by this stage is Beyond Zero, which is just not that good. I quite enjoyed Night Zero, quite, but this just feels all over the place and lacks any real sense of purpose. I'm not surprised Tharg is happy to brush it aside for the relaunch, though as I recall its not too long before it sneaks back in?

By this stage the rest of the Prog is being filled with some pretty lower tier filler, Future Shocks of a medium to low quality and Strontium Dogs which has had a pretty dramatic dip in form since some half decent early efforts.

So not the best build up to the big relaunch BUT hell we got a relaunch coming and the line-up for 650 is pretty bloody fantastic... the problem is though Tharg really struggled to keep up with demands of the last relaunch, what has changed to make us think this will go any smoother... truth be told as I remember it doesn't, let's hold hands and find out together hey... well after I read those last three Blueberry volumes, see ya in a bit...
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: AlexF on 01 February, 2018, 03:13:15 pm
I can't help but think that the switch to colour art, and painted art at that, must have taken Tharg by surprise in terms of how much longer it takes for artists to deliver finished pages.

Re: Beyond Zero, I recall that it tries really hard to have something to say about feminism in action movies, without necessarily actually making a point. The sad thing is, I'm not sure things have changed 30 years on. His main joke was having a typical male and female characters swap dialogue, which is what many (female) actors apparently have to do to get decently-written parts!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Dandontdare on 02 February, 2018, 02:54:00 pm
In another Robinson strip The Survivor returns Henry 'Panther' Moon from Mean Team... one of the great questions of our time what on Earth made Tharg think we needed more Mean Team??? Without much mean and no team. Its such a weird one.... not as weird as the return of Moonrunners (not Hilary Robinson I should point out). I'd completely forgetten this series had a second series, I mean completely. So dulled was my brain my the dull dullness of the first...

The most disappointing thing about both of thee strips is Belardinelli's art - if you compare Mean Team to Inferno, or Moonrunners to Ace Trucking, Massimo was basically phoning it in by this point, his figures were so stilted and lacking in movement.

Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 02 February, 2018, 08:07:17 pm
Re: Beyond Zero, I recall that it tries really hard to have something to say about feminism in action movies, without necessarily actually making a point. The sad thing is, I'm not sure things have changed 30 years on. His main joke was having a typical male and female characters swap dialogue, which is what many (female) actors apparently have to do to get decently-written parts!

Yeah while Night Zero played with noir tropes, Beyond Zero attempts to play with action movie tropes, the trouble is it does it a lot less successfully... or rather just as well (or not well) but its a lot less conherant and formed in doing that. Where as the cliches in Night are fun, the cliches in Beyond, almost because it thinks its being smart in playing with them, are just ackward and horribly done.


The most disappointing thing about both of thee strips is Belardinelli's art - if you compare Mean Team to Inferno, or Moonrunners to Ace Trucking, Massimo was basically phoning it in by this point, his figures were so stilted and lacking in movement.


I've said many times I'm not Belardinelli's biggest fan and for me his works always looks stilted and lacking movement. For me the big difference is these problems have less to hide behind in Mean Team and Moonrunners than Inferno and Ace Trucking, which played far better to his strengths by letting the crazy rule!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: TordelBack on 02 February, 2018, 08:39:05 pm
The most disappointing thing about both of thee strips is Belardinelli's art - if you compare Mean Team to Inferno, or Moonrunners to Ace Trucking, Massimo was basically phoning it in by this point, his figures were so stilted and lacking in movement.

I know it's just a turn of phrase, but I find it hard to look at Moonrunners and Mean Team and see an artist "phoning it in". I'm not denying I prefer his earlier 80s stuff,  and I'd happily argue that he reached a peak in Dragonheist,  but the amount of detail alone in both strips doesn't seem to me like someone taking the piss - there may well have been someone phoning it in, but I don't think it was Massimo.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 11 February, 2018, 08:53:29 pm
Well Blueberry read - and that a very good read too, I return now to Progs and specifically:

Prog 650

Well the line-up speaks for itself really doesn't it. Dredd, War Machine, Zenith, Dead Man and Slaine Horned God book 2. Its as strong a line-up as you'll see in any issue.

With three strips now in full colour and not just colour but fully painted to a quite fantastic standard the big question is how long does it last. As I recall the demands of painted art take their toll pretty quickly.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 12 February, 2018, 08:55:23 pm
Well okay I knew it was coming but I'd forgotten how quick the breaks came. After four issues we lose War Machine - which if I'm host isn't holding up quite as well as my meory of it.

Still at least uliek the last big launch Tharg has something of quality waiting in the wings as Chopper Song of the Surfer steps up to the plate. The shift in Colin MacNeil's art during the course of this strip is something to behold as I recall.

Next for a break is Slaine only two Progs later... lets see how deep Tharg's reservor of strips is for the big colur push...
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Magnetica on 13 February, 2018, 01:27:00 pm
With three strips now in full colour and not just colour but fully painted to a quite fantastic standard the big question is how long does it last. As I recall the demands of painted art take their toll pretty quickly.

It will be interesting to see what you think.

At the risk of skipping ahead a bit I am doing a bit of a Slaine reread. I remember thinking at the time that the art on the series that followed the Horned God didn’t stack up compared to Simon Bisley’s and that Tharg was scratching around to get someone else to paint Slaine given he couldn’t get Bisley anymore.

In retrospect that’s probably a bit unfair. Fabry does a good job on Demon Killer, although I prefer his black and white. Dermot Power’s is perfectly ok but there is something about his figures I can’t quite put my finger on that doesn’t look right. The stand out has got to be Greg Staples’ work. Dare I say it is every bit as good as Bisley’s.

Jim Murray’s ( the Bowels of Hell) somehow looks cartoony and not in a good way.

That’s as far as I have got in my reread. Interestingly Clint Langley explains in the blurb in the Lord of Misrule TPB how he was forced to draw it rather than paint it and how he thinks Slaine should  always be fully painted.

When I say the comparison of those that followed Bisley was unfair, well it’s not as if Bisley invented painting or sequential story telling using paintings is it? It just we had never seen anything remotely like it in 2000AD before.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 15 February, 2018, 08:57:36 pm
1989

Not quite sure what to say about 1989... well actually maybe I do. When talking about 1988 I said this looking ahead

Quote
Yeah there are some real highlights... just not as many as I've become used to. So 1988 makes it clear that 2000ad grew too fast to quick and needed to take a breather for a moment before learning just what it can do with its new shape and form...

... now in 1989 ... if memory serves... it might just do that... though it won't all be plain sailing either... lets find out together shall we.

I was damned close, but 1989, or at least the bulk of it, is very similar to 1988. Except it might not have so many highlights. There are some great moments don't get me wrong, Triad, the bits of Zenith Phase 3 we get... errr.... some bits of Dredd... some bits of Strontium Dog Final Solution... Horned God, though I'm not enjoying that as much as I did last time.... there's a lot of good stuff too... Medivac, Zippy Couriers... some other stuff... its weird the year just hasn't struvk me as much as some others and Tharg's organ is still having its ackward growth spurt. Its still struggling to find its feet.

Then we get to Prog 650 and the organ really spurts out all over the place. It starts off as a thrilling climax to the year. I mean surely things have rarely felt so good with a line-up like that. However I've avoided talking too much about it as much of what starts in 650 has shot its bolt a little too early and should have taken more time so it could get to its end more smoothly and satisfyingly. As it is as things are already a bit choppy and great strips have to give way to other great strips I have a feeling it all ends in a bit of a sticky mess.

Each of the thrills that starts in 650 (or shortly after) I'll probably say something about at some point but we need to get there. We need to put up with the interruptions and the breaks, the false starts and premature endings. Well except Deadman... but we'll come to that.

All this and Dredd, while having some real highlights is still far off its very best... though that might come very soon.

Yeah Prog 650 came just a little too late to save 1989. Its not a bad year, not by any stretch, but it continues the dip from the magnificence of the mid eighties and when it stinks it really bloomin' stinks.

So I'll guide you through the annuals and the specials and then we'll head into the new decade.... full of fresh hope and A levels (well it was for me!) ... and we might have enough for another classic, or we might still be a little too choppy... I look forward to finding out.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 18 February, 2018, 06:33:00 pm
Annuals and Specials 1989.

I'm throwing these together as I actually think the Specials are better than the annuals this year. Don't think that's ever been the case before?

The annuals have a lot of filler, and while not at all bad as filler goes it does means that you don't get a great deal of bang for your book. The 2000ad Annual probably scraps it over the Dredd annual, okay so Moonrunners rolls its pointless way in we get fun Dredds and Andersons and the text stuff is pretty strong too. The highlight of the Dredd Annual is clearly Arthur Ranson's art, but to be honest it polishes an average John Wagner Dredd and this rest of the new strip are fine, but nothing more. Oh it has some excellent reprints, but you know its reprints.

Now the Specials on the other hand each have one stella strip each. I really enjoy the Sumo story in Dredd and in the 2000ad its the fantastic, and emotionally charged Judge Corey strip, with stunning MIke Austin art (as is his turn in the Dredd special too). Its a wonderful strip and a powerful read with a real impact. The rest of the new strip, well Moonrunners aside, in both are really good. Okay it took me a while to realise the art on the Ratty's son story was Kev Walker, man does his stuff develop but the Tyranny Rex story is another favourite. Actually there's barely a mis-step in the 2000ad special its all good stuff, I also have fond memories of the Crime Blitz game as well!

So yeah the Specials actually did feel special for once and the annuals, well they did what they do every year.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 22 February, 2018, 09:10:59 pm
Charging quickly into early 1990, bloomin' heck a new decade and hasn't the Prog come on.

Anyway chargin' into early 1990 a few things are coming to the fore. Tharg's scheduling is still shot, but Tharg's back up plan is so much better. He has more good (well we'll come that) Thrills lined up, so as one slips aside, he has another crowd pleaser to takes its place. It makes, as I've said before, choppy reading and the stories do suffer for their absences but things are a lot better.

Speaking of a lot better Colin MacNeil's art really steps up in the first three weeks of 1990, the transformation happens before us on the pages of Chopper and is quite staggering to behold.

Meanwhile one of the subs off the bench is Bradley. I loved this as a kid, Simon Harrison's art is magnificent, its glorious, but back in the day it felt powerful and rebellious. The story however hasn't aged at all well. Again as a kid it felt new and vibrant. Now I wonder how anyone had such vitrol against Jason Donavan. I mean sure it was fine to hold him contempt and sure he was everywhere. As an 18 year old at the time I really didn't like him at all. But really Alan MacKenzie needs to find more important things to get quite so excited about!

All of this of course is preamble and the real story here is Deadman, except there's not much to say beyond what's been said before. Its simply magnificent and even without the people of the reveal as was had back then it is such a piece of craft. The pacing, the sense of place, the slow build and the characterisation just sublime. A classic that truly stands the test of time after countless re-reads.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 26 February, 2018, 09:28:30 pm
Chopper - Song of the Surfer

Its funny with all the showcase pieces knocking around the start of 1990 (the 650 strips) with the next generation of talent really strutting their arrogant (possibly deservedly so) stuff, Bisley on Horned God and Morrison on Zenith its interesting that the two Wagner strips are the ones that have stood the test of time so much better than the others.

Actually that's possibly a bit unfair, particularly on Zenith Phase III which I do adore... but after the umpteenth re-read might have slipped below Phase II. Horned God has some superb moments but I don't know its  not surviving this re-read the way I was expecting and my least favourite Book 3 is on its way.

Song of the Surfer is utterly timeless though. Like Deadman its all about simple craft done well. Story building tension with a deft touch. Colin MacNeill's art developing quite fantastically on the page. Not sure I have much else to say except for all these fantastic new talents bursting through ya can't beat a bit of Wagner, 13 years in some stuff doesn't change huh... heck 41 years in but we'll get to that, in time.

In other matters the train is well and truly coming off the tracks, we're starting to get filler, and strips dropping in and out like nobodies business. Heck I'd even forgotten Beyond Zero had taken a bench. Still Bix Barton, while not Milligan's best ain't bad and YEAH! more Zippy Couriers, thought this one had finished so happy to have it back.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Greg M. on 26 February, 2018, 09:46:00 pm
Song of the Surfer is utterly timeless though. Like Deadman its all about simple craft done well.

Song of the Surfer is an amazing piece of writing - as the years go on, I start to feel it might be the best story John Wagner ever wrote. He makes it look so effortless, but just like The Dead Man, the story is a masterclass in the slow-burn build up of tension, eventually exploding into a dark and violent climax. The older I get, the more shocking I find the death of Dallas Hall in particular. 2000AD as a whole has no shortage of wacky head-exploding moments in its pages, but there's nothing at all cartoonish about this one: it feels horribly real.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: TordelBack on 27 February, 2018, 09:43:09 am
Song of the Surfer is incredible. Discounting Oz as a fun mish-mash where both stories appear to be sub-plots and including Soul on Fire as a prologue, the 'Chopper Trilogy' of Un-American Grafitti, Midnight Surfer and Song of the Surfer are every bit as good as the more lauded America Trilogy.  The escalation in SotS from the familiar Wagner comedy-foreigner stereotypes ('Furt mit Frank' always raises a smile) and future-sport to an extraordinarily harrowing exploration of exploitation, violence and even (foreshadowing) reality TV.

The progression of universally excellent art from Ron Smith through Cam Kennedy to at least three flavours of the young MacNeil also nicely frames the development of the comic across the period.

And I'd agree with Colin,  SotS has stood the test of time far better than Horned God.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Magnetica on 27 February, 2018, 02:32:13 pm
So Colin and Tordels, I’m interested - how do you see The Horned God not standing up too well?

I have been doing my own Slaine re-read lately and some of it did strike me as a bit one dimensional post Game of Thrones.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: I, Cosh on 27 February, 2018, 04:37:55 pm
Interesting stuff. If I'm honest, I can't remember when (or if) I last reread Song of the Surfer. I can tell you that I thought it was fairly dreadful at the time it ran, but I can't for the life of me remember why that was.

I wonder if there is some way I can give it a fair try now.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 27 February, 2018, 09:49:15 pm
So Colin and Tordels, I’m interested - how do you see The Horned God not standing up too well?

I have been doing my own Slaine re-read lately and some of it did strike me as a bit one dimensional post Game of Thrones.

There's a few things I want to qualify before I launch into this. Firstly I was tired when I made the last comment and didn't really get across the point I was trying to make, which was going to be how I think I've changed as a reader so much over the years... but that will have to wait.

Secondly while I stand by the fact that The Horned God hasn't aged as well as other strips I should also point out I think its great and enjoy it a great deal. Well certainly the first two books, I seem to recall the third has significent problems - but I'll get to that too.

Okay so what makes me think this is the case. Two things in this particular case. First I'm afraid to say its The Biz. I've mentioned here before while his art is good and wonderfully dynamic and meladramatic (in the good way) it is very of its time, very possibly due to the impact it had and the influence that created, but whatever the reason the fact remains.

Secondly the story. Its good, its interesting, but again falls victim of what it will lead to. In this case in the work of Mills (P, Aunty). It revels in stripping away sterotype, in depicting the hero in new way. But it does so in quite simplistic ways. Flipping thing on their head in a way that becomes predictable and is somewhat over stated. Its all there on the surface, nothing is done with subtly. This feels like a worse fault given that Patty (Mills, Uncle) has continued to do this to this day and frankly often doesn't add to the stuff covered here.

To be fair its not as bad as the reverse logic of say his Tony Skinner (K)chaos days, but suffers in the reflected light from such efforts and the bashing over the head with points laboured much over the years.

So there we have it. While Song of the Surfer works its magic far more quietly, gently pulling us in with great character. Quietly tricking us with Sonny Williams into thinking this will be another exciting sports piece, when it reality he's just a slight of hand to make the real themes of the story to hit home all the harder. It has the craft that Mills is more than capable of, but a timeless simple depth left for the reader to find under the ultra violent high octane surface at their own pace. It, like 2000ad allows itself to grow with you. Horned God blurts it all out in a glorious technicolour explosion of teen energy that I loved all the more at the time, but hasn't oftered more more as I've grown.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 27 February, 2018, 09:52:36 pm
Well enough of that pretenious spouting from me, should we talk about how pointless The Sister's Bradley story is...

Nah lets not (I did love it at the time). Instead aren't we all glad that Bix has stopped those bloody Rugby comments, they were getting so grating.

Also what a shame that Zippy Couriers bows out with a wimper, no wonder I'd forgotten it!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 28 February, 2018, 09:05:09 pm
Also what a shame that Zippy Couriers bows out with a wimper, no wonder I'd forgotten it!

Whoops or the one after it which I quite liked.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 02 March, 2018, 09:14:06 pm
Lets talk beginings shall we. There's a lot of them coming up in my re-read now as Tharg finally has all his new strips in good order to cover the gaps in his new strips not in good order. Two I want to quickly look at are Armoured Gideon and Shadows.

Armoured Gideon is a strip I've always had a soft spot for but it so very much in Tharg's middle tier that is so endemic of the Prog at this time going forward, particularly the new strips. It opens with an absolute smash in the face of big ideas and is as bold and brash as its namesake in throwing them straight at you. The art is shocking and dynamic and so in keeping with the story it displays. Its an opening that so embedded in 2000ad as we know it at this point.

Shadows a strip absolutely from Tharg's top draw comes along in the next Prog and it also presents big ideas and draws you straight into its world. It does it so much more guile and subtly. It builds its world and key theme in just six packed pages and doesn't even bother to let you know its doing it. It just opens its door, invites you in and lets you absorb your new emvironment. All this a beautiful language to do it with and art from Richard Elson that ... well is most notable for being recognisable as Richard Elson as we'll come to know him (also see Simon 'Same chiselled face for everyone regardless of gender' Colby whose Universal Soldier is prologues in the same Prog). So yeah a quite brilliant 2000ad opening again in absolute keeping with 2000ad as we know it today.

So there we have fantastically encapsulated in just two perfectly Thargian opening episodes the scope and wonder that is the diversity of the Galaxies Greatest.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 06 March, 2018, 09:39:59 pm
Hey Anderson before you start having a go at Kraken shouldn't you be forgetting when you were manipulated into allowing the Dark Judges back, just saying.

Anyway last time beginnings, this time endings. In asecnding order.

Chronos Carnival = well frankly are we bothered. I mean this should have been good, a carnival, but they made that irrelevant, dragons, but they made them awkward, shape changing villians who are presented as vicious deadly killers and are basically a bit rubbish and you just kills them with stuff. Neil the first of our heroes is a jerk, mind at least he spends one ENTIRE episode being a bit of a jerk but at least admitting he's wrong. The other hero... called... something isn't a jerk.... if only cos its hard to remember anything defining about her, she's so forgettable.

So by the end of all that some stuff happened, the dragon gave some kids a ride and the shape changing deadly alien uses its powers for the first time, but only when caged and impedient, not while actually you know fighting the goodies. Bloody useless and even Ron Smith's art seems totally off.

Armoured Gideon lands its ending really well, its bold, its brash and it in perfect keeping with the tone of the series. The series as a whole has been far from perfect, but its been fun and I have to be honest I can't really put my finger on why I don't think its great. I mean it should be, the concept, the character are all very sharp and exciting. Its pretty original and makes daing choices... its just a bit off... well offish... offesque... I mean its good and I have a real soft spot for it, but for some reason its just not great. The ending is however and leave me hankering for its return.

Shadows as with the beginning so with the ending - absoluely fantastic. This series is Milligan at his best. It creates its world, shakes it up and moves the story alone at a deceptive pace. Its also decpetively clear and well crafted, hiden by some very smart word play and ideas its a familar story told well. Its Trading Places with great world design and less gags. Its just brilliant and so well timed. Done and gone but gone with such a perfect, grim ending. It leaves you actively wanting no more as more would upset its neigh-perfect. Just fantastic.

Anyway Universal Soldier 2 ends next Prog... I think this one will be me CC then Shadows...

Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: TordelBack on 07 March, 2018, 01:24:01 pm
Shadows as with the beginning so with the ending - absolutely fantastic. This series is Milligan at his best.

I swing back and forth on my favourite Milligan strip (Is it The Dead? Is it Tribal Memories? Is it Bad Company I&II?), but Shadows is the one I come back to over and over again, and would love to have in a glossy hardback edition.  I've bored long-time boarders repeatedly with my tale of using Shadows as the basis for a well-received college exam essay on mental mapping, but have I also confessed that it introduced me to T. S. Eliot where my schooldays had conspicuously failed to engender any interest, never mind affection?  It is, as Colin, says, clear, well-crafted, compact and self-contained - and oh the marvel of multi-coloured larval-form Elson: an under-appreciated gem if ever there was one.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 20 March, 2018, 08:50:39 pm
Wow Dry Run  doesn't get a good start does it.  I mean we have this character Flair who is ANGRY and uncontrolled. So much so that her passions run over when she realises the woman they've handed over to the cliched big bad is skinned or a map tattooed on her back. Apalled she draws her blade but is restrained by her clamer headed colleagues. 6 pages later after some relatively random violence she draws her blade again this time to kill and innocent for no other reason than she'll get in the way...

errr...

...and its this and the other just unconnected stuff that's just thrown at the strip that reminds me why I remember so little of it...

... mind prior I also forgot to comment on the end of Final Solution and to be honest its 'cos in re-reading it pretty thin. It lacks the impact I remember and to be honest aside from glorious Simon Harrison art followed by some lovely Colin MacNeill art the story goes grip in the way I remember and feels a little forced. Big shame this one didn't hold up to my memory of it.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Magnetica on 20 March, 2018, 10:34:08 pm
I also forgot to comment on the end of Final Solution and to be honest its 'cos in re-reading it pretty thin.

Ok I haven’t re-read it, but surely there has to be an element of knowing what happens tempering one’s view of this. Even if the rest of it is, as you say a”bit thin”, Johnny’s death has to be the most shocking event in any 2000AD story ever. Certainly when read at the time with no spoilers.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 21 March, 2018, 06:11:20 am
I also forgot to comment on the end of Final Solution and to be honest its 'cos in re-reading it pretty thin.

Ok I haven’t re-read it, but surely there has to be an element of knowing what happens tempering one’s view of this. Even if the rest of it is, as you say a”bit thin”, Johnny’s death has to be the most shocking event in any 2000AD story ever. Certainly when read at the time with no spoilers.

That's a very fair point, but doesn't change the fact that on re-read it didn't hold up as well as I remember, even from previous re-read. In part I think its also fair to say as it doesn't hold but to the high esteem I held it in.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Blue Cactus on 21 March, 2018, 11:27:13 am
I'm enjoying this phase of your slog Colin as it's covering the period I was away from the Prog, though I've read the 'bigger' stories, like the Final Solution, in reprints. I've never read a single episode of Dry Run though, or Shadows. Has Shadows ever been reprinted? Surely it's prime Meg floppy material, being by a relatively 'big name' writer, and neatly self-contained.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 21 March, 2018, 12:49:38 pm
You know what it doesn't appear to have been?????!!!!!!

I've just checked Barney (Barney is your friend http://www.2000ad.org (http://www.2000ad.org)) and it has no reprints showing in its entry?

Surely this can't be right? Is this a rare over sight from Barney OR a rare oversight from Tharg? Are there any ownership issues? Very strange.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Jim_Campbell on 21 March, 2018, 02:02:28 pm
Ok I haven’t re-read it, but surely there has to be an element of knowing what happens tempering one’s view of this. Even if the rest of it is, as you say a”bit thin”, Johnny’s death has to be the most shocking event in any 2000AD story ever. Certainly when read at the time with no spoilers.

I have to say, I didn't like it. I didn't like it at the time, and I've never really changed my mind. Back then, it felt like a rot was starting to set in. We'd come off the pretty gloomy conclusion to Song of the Surfer and it kind of felt like the old guard were wrapping up their stories. Final Solution felt to me as if, rather than come up with a story in which Johnny's death was the inescapable consequence, it started with the decision that Johnny would die and worked backwards from there. It felt contrived and, frankly, unnecessary.

And it opened up a void in the prog's line-up that the editorial team seemed ill-equipped to fill. The aforementioned Dry Run is a strong contender for the worst-written thing 2000AD has ever run and I had a strong feeling that the editorial team was asleep at the wheel. OK, maybe no one had the time to work GFD-scale fixing on the scripts (although MacKenzie never seemed that reticent about re-writing other strips) but can anyone honestly imagine a pitch synopsis of Dry Run that didn't sound like a cliché-ridden pile of old toss?

We already had the terrible Fleisher Harlem Heroes and then we added Dry Run and the brain-meltingly tedious Chronos Carnival meaning that although we had Necropolis, half the prog was basically rubbish. These gave way to the equally terrible Fleisher Rogue and Junker. Ennis comes in as a patchy replacement for Wagner on Dredd, Millar's execrable Sam Slade revival… it wasn't good.

Final Solution will always be symptomatic of that inexorable slide through the patchy 700s towards the nadir of the 800s for me.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Greg M. on 21 March, 2018, 05:14:52 pm
I enjoyed 'Final Solution' to a certain extent when it originally ran - specifically, when it was drawn by Simon Harrison. (No disrespect intended to Colin MacNeil, who is a great artist, but I loved Harrison's take on mutation.) I read it again a month or two ago, and I didn't think much of it at all. I still love Harrison's art: his McNulty is a particular highlight. I also had no problem with the idea of killing Johnny off and replacing him with a new lead dog - I like the legacy character idea, if publishers and writers properly commit to it - and I didn't even mind Feral. But I felt the ending, and the script in general, seemed pretty flat: I'd probably rate it as the weakest S/D story.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Tjm86 on 21 March, 2018, 05:27:02 pm
One thing that does occur to me mind, is that these issues were not limited to Tooth alone.  Across the comics industry there was an incredible amount of dross through the nineties.  Publishers went ballistic with variant covers, lenticular covers, covered covers ... Crossovers for their own sake ... Core characters had their lines expanded to multiple titles ... Rob Liefield ...

It was just a bad time for comics in general, particularly after the heady days of the eighties.  The focus seemed to be on investment rather than enjoyment. (Okay, how many of us have used that line on our wives / husbands / partners to justify the expenditure?)  The industry really seemed to have lost something.

Tooth seemed to recapture something of it's original spirit in the late nineties.  Even in the last few years before the Rebellion takeover it showed signs of rekindled life.  It does seem that this is where Tooth departed company with the rest of the comics industry.  Since then it has gone from strength to strength.  Even the recent blip far outshines so much else that is out there.  Arguably we have been spoilt in recent years and perhaps have been a little unfair on the current creative team.  Considering the writers and artists they are up against it must be incredibly intimidating to join that roster.  I wonder if it is worth taking a wider view?
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Fungus on 21 March, 2018, 06:09:02 pm
Crossovers for their own sake ...
Weren't they all?-)

Notable exception: Trifecta!

Quote
(Okay, how many of us have used that line on our wives / husbands / partners to justify the expenditure?) 

I like that 'the collection' never did prove valuable, and looks like it never will. Buying for investment always felt... wrong.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: TordelBack on 21 March, 2018, 07:00:19 pm
I like that 'the collection' never did prove valuable, and looks like it never will. Buying for investment always felt... wrong.

Completely agree. They were printing 100,000 of each of these things at one point, almost everything decent has had a more accessible reprint (notable exception identified above!), why should old 2000ADs be valuable?  They should be easily available as delicious sensory experiences for the prognocenti, not hoarded as investments...

Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: TordelBack on 21 March, 2018, 07:01:38 pm
I like that 'the collection' never did prove valuable, and looks like it never will. Buying for investment always felt... wrong.

Completely agree. The prog in particular: they were printing 100,000 of each of these things at one point, almost everything decent has had a more accessible reprint (notable exception identified above!), why should old 2000ADs be valuable?  They should be easily available as delicious sensory experiences for the prognocenti, not hoarded as investments...
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: TordelBack on 21 March, 2018, 07:02:37 pm
AND WHY IS THERE NO EDIT BUTTON SO THAT I HIT THE QUOTE BUTTON BY MISTAKE? -sorry-
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Tjm86 on 22 March, 2018, 06:10:42 am
They should be easily available as delicious sensory experiences for the prognocenti, not hoarded as investments...

Amen!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 22 March, 2018, 06:55:02 am
They should be easily available as delicious sensory experiences for the prognocenti, not hoarded as investments...

Amen!

Testify.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: AlexF on 23 March, 2018, 12:15:23 pm
S'right. Yup.

My thoughts on this era in particualr are that editorial was struggling to appeal both to younger readers (the classic 8-12 of the 1970s period) as well as to the now 20-somethings who had grown up with the Prog, and also to potential new adult readers of any age who had heard that comics were trendy.

It all ends up as a bit of a mess, with things like Chronos Carnival being all-the-way child friendly, while Dry Run has a child-friendly cliche story, but more teen/adult friendly art as it's pretty nasty stuff being depicted, and then things like The Horned God and especially The Final Solution being very grown-up, not least for its overt referencing of the Holocaust. (Although I'd agree that Dry Run IS a strong contender for worst ever 2000AD script, even compared to the upcoming Junker! But, you know, the basic idea is good on paper, and the writer was the friend of a friend of the editors...)

Moving into the 700s, my feeling is that Burton was always chasing the 'appeal to everyone, especially children' angle, while Alan 'Acid House' McKenzie was chasing the trendy crowd, with both somewhat coasting on Wagner and Mills to keep the regular readers happy. The good thing is there were a lot of new series, short stories and such, so lots to sample even if not all to everyone's tastes.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Leigh S on 23 March, 2018, 04:08:43 pm
I concir with Jim and Alex here

The Final Solution seems designed backwards - we want to kill off Alpha ("because Carlos is gone and Wagner is gone", "because I've been told to cut back my workload and we don't want this particular one falling into enemy hands", "because Strontium Dog is old school are all about the new bold COMICS ARE FOR ADULTS"  etc...) - whatever the reason, it didnt feel like an "in story" reason for it to happen, but a victim of external forces on both the creators, the comic and the industry itself.

So you have expansion (Crisis as the start of this), coupled with Steve MacManus' attention being with the shiney new world, Burton indulging his fanboy with Fleischer and McKenzie pulling the comic towards "hip" ratehr than teh comic pulling the hip towards it.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 24 March, 2018, 07:45:44 pm
...Burton indulging his fanboy with Fleischer and McKenzie pulling the comic towards "hip" rather than the comic pulling the hip towards it.

Love that line at the end and working my way gruelingly through the late 600s and there's some pretty rough stuff here. I do think Fleischer's Harlem Heroes is so guilty of this. The characters seem to be crafted to echo the 'grim and gritty' pre-Image types of X-World comics. They are meant to be so hard and alternative they fall utterly flat and drag down with them any chance you can engage with the story. In 694 I've just read the death of Trips (I think he was called) and its meant to impact and it just doesn't. The's all this big dramatic action, impacting big dramatic story points and it doesn't matter 'cos I couldn't care less about the characters, in trying so hard to be different they are so cliche and hollow.

Not far away John Wagner and Carlos have some Judge cadets I barely know trying to lead an urchin I know even less, away from Judge Mortis, and man do I care, its chilling and tense, cos the masters at their game have managed to make me care about folks I just don't even know yet. He makes the drama matter.

The contrast is stark!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 24 March, 2018, 07:56:22 pm
Oh and Prog 695

Nest to Ukko "But there's always been more to Slaine than just some muscle-bound barbarian. It's an attempt to redefine the hero. To convey the matriarchal origin of myth."

Okay, okay Pat we get it already, you've been telling us that pretty clearly for 2 1/2 books to this point no need spell it out!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 25 March, 2018, 09:01:45 pm
By 699 I'm skim reading 3 of the strips, and didn't particularly enjoy the Future Shock. Any current melancholys are nothing compared to this surely.

That levels us Dredd and I find my option of Necropolis remains consistent with what it was almost 10 years ago (gulp) when I last read it, all be it then in one go, not episodically. So in a supreme act of self-reference (well look at the title of the thread) and laziness I'm goin' in for the full self quote. In summary for those that baulk at such egotism, its good, great even, but not the best, nor the absolute classic I think it is and struggles to live up to its exceptional build up. Mind with this build up what could!

Quote
ME IN 2009: .... Deadman was a classic and stood up really well on re-reading. The demise in Dredd's faith in the system had been brillantly played out over, what was it 3, maybe 4 years and this was the big climax, it had a lot, a heck of a lot to live up to. Have to say I was pleasently surprised. Its a pretty good 'epic' nicely told in must parts. Not fantastic and compared to the build up I mentioned not as good but still a lot better than I remembered. The art was glorious, no surprises there but the way the tale [is] told was great. I loved the way there was a slow build of tension. The enemy gathering at the gates. The cut to Dredd and the terrible consequences aren't really seen until he arrives at the city. You can see a bit of where Morrison might have got some ideas for Final Crisis here!

Anyway the main thing I thought about after re-reading was did this mark the end of Judge Death as a truly scary, effective villian? Due to the nature of the cut away to Dredd at the peak of the villians plans one problem with the tale is I don't think we get to see Death really in charge of this evil masterplan. We don't see him marshalling the terrible fate he has in store for Mega City One. On top of that I felt as though once the Dark Sisters were out the way Wagner didn't know quite how to sustain the end. It felt to me at least on this reading as though he was saying 'Look there's the story I've had to put Death in it but I really can't come up with an interesting way to end his story here. Lets just move on shall we'.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Tjm86 on 26 March, 2018, 06:33:10 am
I'm with you on this Colin. There was something disjointed about Necropolis that made it feel unsatisfying.  It does work a little better as a complete story but not by much.  This is such a shame as there are so many great ideas but they just don't seem to gel together properly. 
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Leigh S on 26 March, 2018, 12:37:08 pm
I'm just doing my write up of The Final Solution for DogBreath, and it makes for a depressing time! 

The thing that strikes me most is how much my opinion is tied into those "dark days", both in teh comic and in my own life.

The story (including the No-Go Job) ran from Jun 88 and didnt conclude for over two years!

So it spanned me leaving Secondary School where I ahd been a very happy geek looking forward to going on to further education (obsessed with Strontium Dog, Thrash MEtal and Games Workshop) to me leaving Sixth Form in 1990 (having had a miserable experience of encountering smug posh people) and the slide of the comic towards trend chasing the very stuff I hated - Dance Music, the Indie bands that the smug posh people liked etc.. Meantime, Metal has gone all Guns N Roses on me, while GW have ditched their licenced stuff that I loved them for, and gone all 40K.... sad times.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Leigh S on 26 March, 2018, 01:34:24 pm
Also, Simon Harrison stops doing the story and it sits for months, but Alan McKenzie can find time to schedule him to do a 12 part Bradley story where the lectures us on good taste in music.. wass Roxilla not enough - the contempt for the audience is palpable at this point, even if it wasnt intentional

also, I reckon Garth Ennis would ahve given us some brilliant Strontium Dog stories if he had been left to play in the Pre-Final Solution playground with Alpha as his hero - I mean, Alpha is a perfect match for Ennis, surely?
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Greg M. on 26 March, 2018, 03:10:33 pm
Anyway the main thing I thought about after re-reading was did this mark the end of Judge Death as a truly scary, effective villian? Due to the nature of the cut away to Dredd at the peak of the villians plans one problem with the tale is I don't think we get to see Death really in charge of this evil masterplan. We don't see him marshalling the terrible fate he has in store for Mega City One.

Necropolis (including the Countdown) is not just my favourite epic, but also my favourite Judge Dredd story, so it was interesting to read your comments on Judge Death’s comparatively minimal screen time. This has never bothered me – I think it’s a strength of the story. By this stage, we’ve had three tales in which Death is a personal, physical threat, but in Necropolis, he’s much more the artist creating his masterwork, with MC-1 as his canvass. I don't need to see his deliberations - his ‘art’, this new City-of-the-Damned-done-right setting he’s created, speaks for itself, and his vision is accordingly present in every aspect of the story. You obviously need to see the DJs get personally involved in the action at least once - I love the fact that this is delegated to much-more frightening Mortis instead of Death. Almost thirty years later, this is still the character's defining sequence.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: feathers on 26 March, 2018, 03:40:55 pm
From where I am, Necropolis is the last great Dredd epic.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: TordelBack on 26 March, 2018, 05:49:21 pm
By this stage, we’ve had three tales in which Death is a personal, physical threat, but in Necropolis, he’s much more the artist creating his masterwork, with MC-1 as his canvass. I don't need to see his deliberations - his ‘art’, this new City-of-the-Damned-done-right setting he’s created, speaks for itself, and his vision is accordingly present in every aspect of the story.

For me it's more a question of progression: this time it isn't Death and his goons coming to MC-1 as villains, or even Dredd and Anderson going to Deadworld, this time it's Deadworld itself coming to Earth.  The cleverest -and scariest- part of the whole thing is that most of it isn't even real: it's all in everyone's heads, ordinary people are doing it to themselves and to each other (starvation, suicide, obeying orders): even the Judges, even Kraken, even Dredd himself.   It's an apocalypse of illusion, despair, coercion and collusion, not some skeleton-guy squeezing hearts.

Against this backdrop Death the individual - while indeed the architect present in his design, as Greg observes - just isn't a physical threat, something Phobia herself notes in her address: "...they are so few, and you are so many".  The idea of Deathworld, the world where Death is all there is, that's what is destroying MC-1.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Magnetica on 26 March, 2018, 07:00:48 pm
From where I am, Necropolis is the last great Dredd epic.

Wow really?

So, just off the top of my head, since Necropolis we had:

The Pit
Origins
Tour of Duty
Day of Chaos
Trifecta

(Plus other lesser epics like The Dommsday Scenario and Every Empire Falls, not to mention stuff like Wilderlands.)

Some of these count surely?
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 27 March, 2018, 07:52:30 am
Necropolis (including the Countdown) is not just my favourite epic, but also my favourite Judge Dredd story, so it was interesting to read your comments on Judge Death’s comparatively minimal screen time. This has never bothered me – I think it’s a strength of the story...

I actually think the cut away from Death's moment of apparent trimuph is really effective, from a story point of view. After all it doesn't particularly make for a great story to see the logistics of marshalling hundreds, nah thousands, nah MILLIONS of folks to their death BUT it kinda underlines the problems with Death as a character. Seeing him trimuph, at least directly, is kinda dull.

This is emphasised for me by the fact that once Dredd blows up Agee and the sisters are dispensed with Wagner moves quickly to brush away the Dark Judges without too much fanfare.

Deadworld shows that you need much more space and time to effectively show what the world would be like  while Death starts to off hundreds of millions of folks. It by necessity has to be a very different story to Necropolis, where we only see the horror of Death's Mega City One through the lovely section with the cadets being run down my Mortis.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Leigh S on 27 March, 2018, 10:39:10 am
Like The Final Solution, Necropolis is interesting just for the time it appeared - imagine if the comic had folded with prog 700 - would both tales be "good" send offs for their respective protagonists? You'd probably have to kill Dredd at the end mind!

There is a real sense that 2000AD is shaking off its old skin and a very different beast is emerging, one adolescently embarassed about its previous incarnation
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Aaron A Aardvark on 27 March, 2018, 11:02:15 am
There is a real sense that 2000AD is shaking off its old skin and a very different beast is emerging, one adolescently embarassed about its previous incarnation

I think that's smack on the nose.
In a way, Necropolis finished a story started in Prog 2 and the strip took a long time to find anything else to do. It would have been a decent send-off.
"Oh... he's dead? Well, as long as Ferral doesn't take over. He's a right twat." SD was a strip that badly needed a rest. Johnny's didn't affect me anything like as much as John Probe's.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Leigh S on 27 March, 2018, 12:02:47 pm
Feral is in many ways Strontium Poochie....

There is a real sense that 2000AD is shaking off its old skin and a very different beast is emerging, one adolescently embarassed about its previous incarnation

I think that's smack on the nose.
In a way, Necropolis finished a story started in Prog 2 and the strip took a long time to find anything else to do. It would have been a decent send-off.
"Oh... he's dead? Well, as long as Ferral doesn't take over. He's a right twat." SD was a strip that badly needed a rest. Johnny's didn't affect me anything like as much as John Probe's.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: TordelBack on 27 March, 2018, 12:39:52 pm
Feral is in many ways Strontium Poochie....

It's not a phrase you hear often, but I think Ennis' version is much more interesting than Grant's original... or Wagner's abomination, for that matter. 
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 27 March, 2018, 12:47:35 pm
There is a real sense that 2000AD is shaking off its old skin and a very different beast is emerging, one adolescently embarassed about its previous incarnation

Yeah I definately feel this is the case and have tried to allude to the fact here, though not as elegently. I do think this has been happening for sometime (in re-read terms) and while in the late 600s (and beyond) we see the awkward fruition of all this, which honestly won't go away entirely until towards the end of David Bishops time if you ask me, but we'll see, it started as early as Prog 500 if you ask me, or at least first budding shots of this transformation.

I mentioned then that Bad Company and the development in Slaine (well I think I did, I certainly thought it)  were the first signs of that. Why then rather than say Halo Jones issues etc, well I think there was a more conserted effort to change the title at this point with 520 following on so quickly afterwards.

Just look how ill fitting Mean Team started to look quickly compared to what else was present in the early 500s.

Certainly the evidence is far more in your face as we near 700, but its been coming for a while I'd say, and lets be honest, so as to end on a positive, often with some very good effects... often not always!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Leigh S on 27 March, 2018, 12:51:07 pm
True!  Though I think Ennis might have been better served inheriting Alpha and the existing set up than having to reinvent the strip from ground up  - it ticks all his boxes surely? I think we could have actually had that "new era" of stront that they promised us when Carlos went.  I'm right in thinking that outside of Judgement Day (we won't speak of the Dark Star resurrection!)  Ennis nevr wrote for Alpha?

Feral is in many ways Strontium Poochie....

It's not a phrase you hear often, but I think Ennis' version is much more interesting than Grant's original... or Wagner's abomination, for that matter.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 30 March, 2018, 05:12:06 pm
Well in Prog 600 I commented on how Tharg had all but failed to provide a launch Prog with a chaotic mix of ongoing strips marking the issue, but it was a good read. In

Prog 700

By contrast he gets all his ducks in a row and we have all new strips (well one one off which I'll come to). The trouble is its an awkward beast. Its not bad persay but it really emphasises the change 2000ad is going through. Its like the comic has been hanging out with the cool kids and not quite fitting in, but hasn't the confidence to be it own thing yet. Stood next to Deadline and the like the old storys such as Dredd and Anderson could look a little dated, if they were not created by such master as Wagner and Ron Smith, Grant and Ranson and they are classic.

Time Flies and Hewligan, while having a real scene of fun, feel forced and in that a little trite. As I recall I enjoy Hewligan's much more as it goes on? We'll see.

Its Nemesis and Deadlock that really show the schism most though. Being as it is a strip with classic characters that have emboddied 2000ad darker, anti-authoriatian edge, yet here rather over egging the puddin' and actually coming off a bit daft. Pat Mills hasn't started hanging around with that cool kid Tony Skinner yet, but it reads like they've been chatting and frankly I'm not looking forward to whats to come there!

Mind as a one off it moves aside to be replaced by the return of Harlem Heroes take too and there the contrast between strips feels even wider!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 01 April, 2018, 05:39:58 pm
Well I've rattled through the last twelve Progs of 1990 and so I'll rattle through some thoughts

1. John Wagner's run as regular Dredd writer ends with a bit of a whimper alas... even the PJ Story 'What I did during Necropolis' is relatively weak.
1a. Though that said I love the debate between the senior Judge's about whether citizen's should get a vite. Dredd shines in those moments

2. Garth Ennis's run, which I'm fonder of than many I think, we'll see how we do on re-read, starts with a nice enough opening in 711

3. The creators profiles which appear sporadically after 700 don't half make the creators see a bit up themselves. I used to think they seemed so cool!

4. So is the fella in Junker meant to be an edgier cool Han Solo? If so why does he just come across as a complete dick?

5. Hewligan Haircut is defo better than Time Flies, neither of them really holds up any more.

6. Unlike Shamballa which is just brilliant on every level. One day I'm going to try to get bold and rank the early Anderson stories, will be bloomin' hard but Shamballa will surely be near the top?

7. How much do I love Bitz, the answer is quite a lot. A lovely compact flashback of 8 bit fun.

8. Much as I'll be happy to give Mark Millar a hard time later I do absolutely adore Silo, its Soooooo good.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: TordelBack on 01 April, 2018, 06:26:02 pm
My feelings on Silo are thus: it could have got away with the The Shining bit,  or it could have got away with the Die Hard bit,  but not both.  When the second 'homage'rolled around I went from enjoying a seriously stylish strip to feeling like Millat was taking me for a fool.

And yeah,  'Wot I did during Necropolis' is so sub-par for both writer and character that to this day I generally remember it as being an Ennis strip.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 02 April, 2018, 08:07:22 am
Okay well that was weird. I'd realised I'd missed the Winter Specials out of my re-read so grabbed them from '88, '89 and 90 to catch up... now I've owned the '89 special since I caught my collection up a few years back and I don't think I've ever read it. I know when I bought it I'd put it aside to read as part of my catch up but seem to have missed this one when doing so...

... not that I missed much. I mean the Arthur Ranson Dredd looks great, but...

Tyranny Rex does not look like that.

Medivac is pretty poor and Bellardinelli's art doesn't work at all here

Even some of the text pieces are reprint AND

...Well the end of Rogue Trooper - The Hit, well old skool Rogue in general is very forgettable.

...maybe I did read it and just found nothing in it to recall!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 03 April, 2018, 07:37:23 am
1989

Not quite sure what to say about 1989... well actually maybe I do. When talking about 1988 I said this looking ahead

Quote
Yeah there are some real highlights... just not as many as I've become used to. So 1988 makes it clear that 2000ad grew too fast to quick and needed to take a breather for a moment before learning just what it can do with its new shape and form...

... now in 1989 ... if memory serves... it might just do that... though it won't all be plain sailing either... lets find out together shall we.

I was damned close, but 1989, or at least the bulk of it, is very similar to 1988. ...

Yeah Prog 650 came just a little too late to save 1989. Its not a bad year, not by any stretch, but it continues the dip from the magnificence of the mid eighties and when it stinks it really bloomin' stinks.

So I'll guide you through the annuals and the specials and then we'll head into the new decade.... full of fresh hope and A levels (well it was for me!) ... and we might have enough for another classic, or we might still be a little too choppy... I look forward to finding out.

So there we have the last two years, and my predictions of what was to come in the following year and now I've finished

1990

and have to say I'm glad I said
Quote
we might still be a little too choppy...
cos that's very much what 1990 is. I mean don't get me wrong there are some real highlights, Song of the Surfer, end of Deadman and build up to Necropolis, Necropolis itself is pretty damned good, end of Zenith Phase III. Luckily its not all endings that are good as we have Shadows and yeah I'll say it Silo oh and another Anderson classic* BUT those endings are symptonatic of 2000ad's problems at the moment.

So yeah as stuff ends there's just not yet the quality to replace stuff, some new strips are fine, but not great, Medivac, Armoured Gideon I enjoy but they are not standout. and some stuff is just poor, I'll not harp on again and name names.

Stuff is changing and the good times have ended. Change is good, but change is hard and sometimes as well as looking at the doors that are opening you need to look at the doors that are closing a little more closely. 2000ad in 1990 is right in the middle if its teenage outburst. It cares too much about the fact that Jason Donovan is a bit rubbish, I mean its not as if we didn't know that, and forgetting what made itself so special as it grew up, its talents and creativity. The fact that the chaotic energy of childhood is far more exciting and rebellious than the forced pretensions of teenage years when we get too distracted by trying to be cool and looking at what others are doing. We think we're being cool and individual by joining the cool crowd, but in reality we're in danger of being 'so alternative its conservative' and frankly when we look back we'll be embarassed.

I was lucky when all this was going on I was in the middle of my own teen outburst and as such I loved a lot of this stuff. What stands out to me how much of the stuff I really enjoyed reading when this came out Horned God, Hewligan's, Time Flies, Bradley etc just doesn't hold up to me now. That's cool it was meant for me then, not me know, but me now is getting really bored with it all!

So yeah choppy was a very good good word to describe 1990, the lows and more tellingly medicority, make the highs feels all the better. There's just not enough of them and the Progs slump continues with what is very possibly the weakest year for the Galaxy's Greatest yet... chillingly I'm not entering 1991 and starting my job in Yorkshire Bank with any optimism that things will be picking up any time soon!

*You know there's a case to be made that Anderson to date (1990 date not now) is the most consistently brilliant thrill in the Prog. It tends to get a little overlooked by other highlights, Zenith, Bad Company, Halo etc etc but I'm always delighted when its in and it has much to say and stretches things far more than other strips. I do love Anderson and its had so many highlights its almost as if we're been blinded to its brilliance!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: feathers on 03 April, 2018, 11:18:02 am
Anderson was great, and always good quality.  It's funny how things slip away, I'm at the end of 95 and just been reminded how long it's been since her last appearance by the introduction of Judge Janus - I assume she moved straight to the Megazine in what was undoubtedly a big loss for the weekly.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Magnetica on 03 April, 2018, 07:16:31 pm
I am part way through the Shamballa volume in the Mega Collection. I originally wasn’t bothered but then Alan Grant named it as his favourite story out of everything he has done (at the 40th). I bought it there and then and even got him to sign it. It has just been sitting in my pile of stuff till now. Having finally got round to it, I think I can safely say Shamballa is just fantastic.

Indeed it is the sort of thing we could do with in the Prog right now (but that’s a whole other debate).
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 16 April, 2018, 08:59:57 pm
The saving of early 1991

Its getting pretty rough out there. 2000ad has a venerable history of dark heroes who defie expectation and the cliche of the hero. Dennehy in Junker isn't one of those he's just a charmless twat. I'm almost enjoying reading it to see just how much of a twat they will make him... but then it dawns on me what a joyous twat he is and I go back to not liking it.

Alas Rogue Friday in the Golden Fox Rebellion isn't much better. At least Rogue Friday isn't a twat he's just dull.

There's some lukewarm Future Shocks and while I've always been a defender of Ennis Dredd I'm wondering if this will continue as I'm finding Death Aid pretty flat, especially when we get a lovely Wagner and Yeowell one off pop up.

Anderson - Engram is great but alone its a struggle to save this pretty dire start to the year... I mean a run of Bitz is becoming one of the highlights of the Prog and I was genuinely happy when Roxilla waxed lyrical about a band I'd heard of and actually really like (Lush for those interested).

This tricky period for Tharg is of course however saved by a classic, that for reasons that I'm sure baffle you as much as me has never been reprint and that of course is the letter printed in Prog 715. A masterpiece, cleverly defying expectation, sharp, witty and endlessly entertaining. This letter at first seem to be a plea, you then reflect on it as an artist poem exploring the phrase 'Careful what you wish for' then the pathos and irony hits you. It works on so many levels.

I'm sure in some far off database Buttonman has this highlighted in a special colour, just incase he wants to read it again. He doesn't need to of course as this favourite of all the missives has been read so many times he's commited it to memory.

After the joy of the picture I'm sure we will all discuss in a couple of Prog's time the big question on everyone's lips is whatever happen to that great artist. Whatever happened to Colin Taylor?


Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: TordelBack on 16 April, 2018, 10:58:10 pm
Alas Rogue Friday in the Golden Fox Rebellion isn't much better. At least Rogue Friday isn't a twat he's just dull.

I'll this for the late Mr. Fleisher, he had a great ear for Rogue Trooper titles: Golden Fox Rebellion, Saharan Ice Belt War, Apocalypse Dreadnaught - every bit as good as Ascent to Buzzard 3, From Hell to Eternity or personal fave All Hell on the Dix-I Front: these are stories I want to read (sadly, I did).

Anyway, I heard Colin Taylor went into the steam tunnels under the local library and was never seen again.  But sometimes, when the staff come in in the morning, the Graphic Novels section has been reshelved according some incomprehensible and possibly non-euclidean system.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 21 April, 2018, 09:02:14 pm
So like mid March until the glories discussed below have much to back them up. Some nice Wagner Dredd's drop in to make me realise how poor Death Aid actually was. Some interesting shorts, including some for regular stories do their best to shore things up, but really its down to V for Ven...

...I mean Brigand Doom to help keep the Prog afloat. I mean its a pretty lazy comparison to label Brigand Doom a V copy. But having read V recently as it goes the only reason its lazy is cos its so bloomin' obvious. Now that's not to say its anywhere near as good as V. Its not. However its does do its own things better and its a real blast. It really eggs on the dark so 90s unsubtle satire. At least here McKenzie bites at a target more worth than Jason Donavan, Pop and Goth Culture. Its sharp, its exciting, its funny when it wants to be ... really its exactly what it says it is, its 2000ad does V and the thing is 2000ad does V is a good idea.

And Jez doesn't David D'Antiquis do a perfect job on the art!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: AlexF on 23 April, 2018, 12:39:35 pm
Having only read V many years after Brigand Doom left the Prog I've never made that comparison before, but you're absolutely right. The plotting doesn't live up to that but the art does, I reckon. And I do think McKenzie got a lot of things right with character, setting and tone.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 23 April, 2018, 09:09:30 pm
I saw the cover of Prog 723 and my heart sank. I have to be honest its not a good Prog.

While art is always very subjective I have to say this is one of the hardest Progs I can ever remember on the eye. Yes we have a Wagner Dredd, but I find Vanyo's Dredd really ackward and stilted and it looks so dated. I love Carl Critchlow's current work, love it, but his painted work on Nemesis amd Deadlock is the very defination of the mud period.

Next might be more controversial but I'm no fan of Cassanovas, again I find his art awkward, this figure work just doesn't move for me and I sometimes find his storytelling clunky. Oh and I don't like his design work and particularly his robots ... which given he's doing Robo-Hunter here doesn't bode well.

Now Jim McCarthy's work I can enjoy, he's not a favourite however and here the colouring strangely flatters his line work... oh and speaking of both the colour not working and controverisal I'm not liking Ron Smith on Golden Fox Rebellion. For me Ron Smith is past his best at this point and again the colours just scream at you... not in a good way.

Finally while he's not my favourite I do like David Hine's art and he's perfect for low key tale of Tao De Moto... but two pages of pleasing art just ain't enough in the Prog...

... I know others will utterly disagree and that's now it should be, art is like that, but for me behind the cluttered uninspiring cover the Prog isn't the sight for sore eyes it can be...

... I'm such a negative nelly and I've not even mentioned the stories...
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Fungus on 23 April, 2018, 09:42:19 pm
Ha - at 'uninspiring' I guessed the cover in question   :)
It's the kind of cover that makes you wonder if the prog had given up - and a jumping-on prog, too...

Brigand Doom was moody, beyond that I can't see the appeal. Always felt the strips of the time did it a favour, by comparison. A pale V.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: TordelBack on 23 April, 2018, 09:52:33 pm
For me Ron Smith is past his best at this point and again the colours just scream at you... not in a good way.

No artist could make that story readable (well, maybe Cam Kennedy), so I won't blame Ron.   But the colours are indeed vile.

OTOH, I quite like Cassanova's insanely busy art on RoboHunter: it's not entirely successful,  but I can see why Tharg thought he was a natural fit.

Hine's work is definitely pick of that litter.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: AlexF on 25 April, 2018, 01:32:55 pm
Mud aside, I remember really enjoying the ridiculous mystery angle of Nemesis & Deadlock. It's kind of a perfect example of why murder mystery comics ought to work really well - but ultimately don't. (Basically, you have to set up a bunch of possible crooks in episode 1, then each episode explains why each in turn couldn't be the real killer. There's no room to seed careful clues about who the villain actually is; Mills doesn't even try, just playing the whole thing for laughs and picking his usual holes at elitist types).
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 26 April, 2018, 08:59:27 pm
Mud aside, I remember really enjoying the ridiculous mystery angle of Nemesis & Deadlock. It's kind of a perfect example of why murder mystery comics ought to work really well - but ultimately don't. (Basically, you have to set up a bunch of possible crooks in episode 1, then each episode explains why each in turn couldn't be the real killer. There's no room to seed careful clues about who the villain actually is; Mills doesn't even try, just playing the whole thing for laughs and picking his usual holes at elitist types).

The trouble is the laughs just don't work for me and the whole thing feels laboured and forced and while Mills is trying to deal with big issues under the fun and be so cool and alternative, alas it just feels so twee, the very last thing I think he wants it to be.

Anyway Junker... bloody hell that didn't half go on!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 12 May, 2018, 11:43:24 am
As ever with my re-read detours into reading other things can derail me briefly but back on track and storming through 1991's Progs... alas 1991's progs just aren't storming. There is some good stuff, but I find I'm enjoying stuff in another, better period, I'd have been quite dismissive of.

As I enter the 740's here a quick summary.

Judge Dredd - Surprised how many times Jon Wagner pops up during the 'Ennis' run. Always enjoyable but to be fair I have no real problem with Ennis' stuff. Its all perfectly good, if never outstanding.

Millar-Hunter - Well I've discussed the art, just not for me at all. The story is however just so flat and feels to like any purpose. It has none of the charm and wit of the original, yet at the same time nothing to really galvanise it into something different. Its just there, a charmless lump.

Mean Machine - Sorry did not like this at all. Again just felt so superfluous and strangely for John Wagner the humour often missed. Not helped by the fact that talented though Richard Dolan almost certainly is his art looks terrible and another example of the mud years, very possibly largely due to the printing?

Rogue Trooper - The icey one
... christ was that only 12 parts, felt longer. I have problems with the original Rogue which I've blattered on about enough in the past. This has all the lack of character without the interesting ideas to back it up!

Tao De Moto - Man I want to like this so much more than I do but its not quite there. Its such an interesting idea but maybe its the 2 page format, nothing really gets going alas. Still its one of the better things in the comic at the moment!

Killing Time - Okay I really like John Smith and this one is really good... but... damn why is there always a but these days! I really don't like Chris Weston's early art. I mean Chris Weston has clearly developed into an absolute superb talent but here its all awkward and ugly. Which should support the story well, alas it doesn't as it just makes it hard on the eye rather than enhance the horror. Still superb story.

Below Zero - Despite myself I'm really enjoying this. I mean its riffing off so much contemptary stuff, like Total Recall and I'd imagine about 72 episodes of Red Dwarf and Tanner's finger gun always looks so silly and puny BUT I can't help but enjoy it. This is a prime example of a story being well served by the rubbish that surrounds it I suspect!

Bix Barton - Lovesick World - Even though the bloody rugby reference became tricky to tackle again this is my fav BB to date. Not sure why, maybe its another example of something elevated by whats around it but I found it charming and funny, when at times BB can be clumsy and forced.

So there we have a quick recap of some recent waiting / being in for work men reading ... I do wish I was in a better phase of the Prog with so much plastering, plumbing and electrics going on around me!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Magnetica on 12 May, 2018, 04:32:08 pm
I really don't like Chris Weston's early art. I mean Chris Weston has clearly developed into an absolute superb talent....

Glad it’s not just me that thinks that. For years I didn’t like his art, and I has the impression I was in the minority thinking that.

These days his Dredd especially have a real Bolland like quality. And it doesn’t get any better than that.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: broodblik on 12 May, 2018, 04:51:55 pm
I really don't like Chris Weston's early art. I mean Chris Weston has clearly developed into an absolute superb talent....

Glad it’s not just me that thinks that. For years I didn’t like his art, and I has the impression I was in the minority thinking that.

These days his Dredd especially have a real Bolland like quality. And it doesn’t get any better than that.

I am in total agreement his earlier work was not my favorite but now his art is top notch
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: AlexF on 14 May, 2018, 01:23:01 pm
I'm with you on finding Weston's early art a bit ropey in his Dredd days doing 'Crazy Barry' and the like - but for me, he stepped into high gear on Killing Time, on of my all time faves. Yes, he'd continue to get better still, but there's something about the colours and somewhat plastic-y people that really works in this inter-dimensional tale.

Is Lovesick World the one with one of Milligan's all-time best throwaway gags - the God of Leaning Against Hot Radiators? But I must say I'd like Bix Barton a touch more if he was a cricket rather than rugby man.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 14 May, 2018, 05:20:13 pm
I'm with you on finding Weston's early art a bit ropey in his Dredd days doing 'Crazy Barry' and the like - but for me, he stepped into high gear on Killing Time, on of my all time faves. Yes, he'd continue to get better still, but there's something about the colours and somewhat plastic-y people that really works in this inter-dimensional tale.

Is Lovesick World the one with one of Milligan's all-time best throwaway gags - the God of Leaning Against Hot Radiators? But I must say I'd like Bix Barton a touch more if he was a cricket rather than rugby man.

Yes (Lovesick World gas the Radiator God) and so YES - I'd be quite happy with Cricket references.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 14 May, 2018, 09:20:55 pm
And so the 700s roll on to their half way mark and the Prog is cleared for a jumping on Prog that will hold much of interest. What is cleared to make way is a very mixed bag.

Muzak KIller is ... okay... the Prog has a real beef with Jason Donovan back in the day. I mean he was fluff nonsense but boy did they give him a hard time... I thought it was cool back in the day, these days its just to soft a target.. I'm not enjoying Ennis as much as I remember I have to admit.

I loved Revere back in the day, this time while I enjoyed it I find this first book a little thin, it gets better as I recall in the later books this one is a little self obsessed but a fun experiment. Is this the first time we're had female nudity in 2000ad?

Dead Meat is... so... there. Its far from the worst, its just not that interesting and I think it could have been... are we meant to know why a ram can last underwater for like 8765 minutes or whatever it was? Anyway I think this one gets a second run and we'll see.

There's some rubbish Future Shocks and Slice is a bloody awful character in a poor story and Tao de Moto ends as its gone really, not quite being as good as it wants to be, not quite having the chance to develop the characters that all seem to have potential that's not realised. Shame, the end in the Prog is pretty good actually, in that the way Sopalco lead the reader and Tao on is nicely done... its just not that satisfying. I'll see how it does when I read the Yearbook.

Oh and the T.M.O. story is really bloody annoying.

I want to find more to say about this stuff... its just not interesting enough on the whole to say much about alas. Still while I'm not sure I get on with everything that we'll get in 750 I think there will be more to say... I can almost feel my hackles rising already at the though of Mrs Mills boy hanging on the street corner with that ne'er-do-well Tony Skinner, trying to look so cool...
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 28 May, 2018, 09:07:32 pm
So 757 sees the first of 750 relaunch Prog's stories ending as ABC Warriors Kronicles of Khaos blunders to its silly conclusion. I've given my thoughts on this strip before and it really doesn't improve with re-reading. I do think Mills time working with Tony Luke brought out the worst in him. He comes across to me as trying so hard to be different, alternative and subvert the norms and tropes of heroic storytelling he forget to tell a decent story at all. It lacks the insight and wit he is capable of using. Instead not only trying to bludgeon his point home, but in doing so bashing his point so hard it loses all real shape and usefulness. Its comes across as silly and not in the fun way.

Alas at this time its not the worst culprit of the awkward teenage years 2000ad is going through. At times 2000ad reads like a kid trying to pull of a cocky swagger to prove they can be part of the cool gang. Alas in doing so forgetting very independent streak that made them cool in the first place. New Robo-hunter is the worst of this of course. Just lacking in any style and the humour just falls so flat. Its a poor, pointless story and both Millar and Williams just don't seem ready yet.

Its all starker when you compare these stories with the work of Wagner and Ennis on the Democray storyline which boils to a stunning conclusion in these issues. Everything about Dredd from 750 , Grice trying to force Dredd out to stop the vote for democracy, the vote itself and the so brilliantly underplayed aftermath. It just shows how you can pervert expectation without big guns and nonsense. Just great stuff... oh and it does of course have big guns but only pulls them out to wave about when its the right time and place to do so!

The other two strips form the middle ground between these two extremes. I enjoy Ennis' and Pugh's Strontium Dogs and MacKenzie and Ewin's Universal Soldier. Neither are as smart and different as I thought back in the day when at 19 these strips seemed so vital. They certainly aren't as smart as they like to think they are (Universal Soldier in paticular) but I'm enjoying their raw honestly. so lacking in either ABC or Robo-Hunter.

Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 29 May, 2018, 07:45:14 am
Actually it could be said that Strontium Dogs pretty much provides the definative story of this time in 2000ad's history. Its not absolutely terrible, has some moments of cool fun and sometimes, not that often the wit works. The trouble is its not quite as smart as it would like to be, hasn't realised that excessive violence and gore isn't an answer to weak stories. Mainly though like many teens Feral, its led is ackward around women and while at times has his moments can also be a great big ugly monster.

So while I am quite enjoying it, its not as good as what its developed from and really just needs to calm down and stop trying so hard.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 30 May, 2018, 07:45:35 am
1991

Is pretty easy to review.

Worst year in Thrillpower - like EVER dude.

There are highlights, but they are very thin on the ground. Anderson bookends the year well with Engram, John Smith while not quite the writer he'll become has two great stories and the best thing is Wagner elevating Ennis as they combine to bring the democrary storyline to a powerful intelligent and still relevent (so much more so in fact) end. It really was the best.

Alas the rest of Ennis Dredd hasn't survived this re-read, I've always been an Ennis Dredd defender... not quite sure why anymore. Its far from terrible its just not that inspiring and falls into the Prog's ever growing field of mediocrity. This is exemplified by Brigand Doom, which I really enjoy and in this year I was about to put into the highlights section, then realised in most year its a middle tier book enbiggened by the rubbish that surrounds it.

And there is so much rubbish. I've bashed most of it already and see no need to add to that here but they really is a lot of crap in 1991.

So yeah a very straightforward year to review really, which I guess is a saving grace.

For so many 'years' a complete re-read seems like a good idea, years like 1991 make it an act of stubborn completist nonsense... entering 1992 doesn't really fill me with much hope either....
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 01 June, 2018, 09:19:33 pm
1992 Annuals

Whoops

Its the all new, all shiny 1992 YEARBOOKS!

Arh man these Yearbooks could have been soooo good. They have such potential, they are such great physical products ... yet then you open them and...

Well to be fair the 2000ad Yearbook looks to have great potential. Okay there's a lot of filler, Dash Decent reprint - huh??? Robo-Hunter (mind has nice Graham Higgins art) Tao  de Moto gets a text ending I didn't even make it through, Rogue Trooper... christ there is a lot of filler... but...

Slaine by Mills and Fabry, Dredd by Wagner and Cam - that'll save things... right... right... right... nah the Dredd is a surprisingly flat year end summary thing, a bit weird and Cam's art isn't up to standard, the Fabry Slaine is cute but a little light and floppie... such a missed opportunity.

The Dredd Yearbook doesn't even tease us with such potential... well to be fair there is a decent long Wagner Dredd, not a great one a decent one... overall its very weak content.

Such a shame, such a great shame and at £5.95 the cost of finding out was pretty steep!

I also read the Specials, but that was a couple of nights ago now and I can barely remember them!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: TordelBack on 01 June, 2018, 11:20:27 pm
You're sliding into the dark now Colin.  Styrofoam's about to get real.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: AlexF on 05 June, 2018, 01:23:14 pm
1991 was the year when my 2000AD fandom really kicked into overdrive. I'd given up on The Beano and Whizzer and Chips, and hadn't quite made a jump into Marvel comics, so was mainlining all the 2000AD I could find. This did of course include the Best of Monthly, so it's very possible my memories of that year being good are skewed by the presence of reprint material I'd never seen before (I think this included Verdus and a bunch of early Ace Trucking Co). Not to mention all my big brother's back progs, stretching all the way to 439 (seemed like an eon's worth of Progs at the time, that did). At the time, I'm pretty sure I thought 1991 was a step up from 1989 and 1990, believe it or not.

The point is, it's impossible for me to re-read this era without the old nostalgia. Although I'll admit that this includes the 'painful' part of the literal meaning of that word. For what it's worth, Khronikles of Khaos is the one I find most divisive in my own mind. I thought it was silly at the time, but beautifully drawn, but on each re-read I seem to go and forth between loving it and hating it. When I'm in the right mood, the Mills/Skinner hate for authority figures is so naked I find it funny, and they do manage to tread the line of having Deadlock take down Hammerstein's do-good attitude but also make Deadlock himself look ridiculous. Don't think Mills has ever written a character that he couldn't (and didn't) take the piss out of at some point. Maybe Ro-Jaws? 'Cos his main function seems to be to take the piss anyway.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 05 June, 2018, 06:15:57 pm
Well having retrieved 1992 from the nerd cave and flipped through them to get them from on the shelf order to re-read order I have to say its looking like it'll be a step up from 1991, certainly in terms of the highlights. The proof will be in the puddin' but I remain optimistic.

Yeah I know what you mean about it being impossible to seperate re-read from nostaglia. I defo commented here how when we got to 1985 it was very tricky for me to get past how much I loved thos issues and how I knew them almost by heart. That said I do think I landed on my feet as when trying to be as objective as possible that's some good shit there.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Magnetica on 05 June, 2018, 07:31:12 pm
I definitely think nostalgia plays a huge part in re-reads. I also find it very difficult to judge the true “worth”of the old stuff because of this.

This manifests itself in a few ways:

- there are stories I have convinced myself are the best ever and can never ever be topped. Stuff like Nemesis book 1,3, 6, early Slaine, the Judge Child

- a feeling that new stuff can never be as good. But along comes Lawless and Brink to challenge that. Objectively I know they are as good, but as I’m not ten anymore I don’t get the sheer thrill that I used to get when the newsagent delivered the Prog along with my parents paper on a Saturday morning. But neither am I as disappointed when my subs copy fails to show up, as I have plenty of other things to read and I know it will be there on Monday, Tuesday at the latest.

I also find stuff that I didn’t read in the original Progs when a child, which I have subsequently read just doesn’t leave as big an impression on me. But I do find those I got collections of a few years after they came out, but still a child, I look back on more favourably, but they still aren’t in my top classics. Stuff like The Cursed Earth, Verdus, the Day the Law Died. Whereas Stuff that I have read for the first time as an adult, I have no problems seeing the limitations in: Harlem Heroes, Inferno, Invasion, Dan Dare (which I haven’t even got round to finishing a good couple of years on).

Now it can it be the case that the Prog dramatically I improved in its 3rd year, or is all this a demonstration of the rose tinted nostalgia effect?
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 05 June, 2018, 08:54:35 pm
While I do think nostaglia plays a big part in reaction to read I don't think its everything and I find I can be objective. There's stuff I loved as a kid that I'd don't like now at all. Lazer Slaine and Meltdown Man being an examples that springs to mind. There's stuff I didn't get on with as a kid that I love now... and various shades inbetween and with stuff I hadn't read.

I think the biggest part is my tastes have changed over time and I'm looking for different things, and some stories are so good that they just satisfy. Some however played such a big part in defining what I love, so Flesh and Cursed Earth all but defined what I think is good that the fact I think they are absolute classics is self forfilling ... but I do think objectively part of that is they are just plain good... arh who knows...

... mind one thing I have spotted already is maybe it will be 1992 Ennis Dredd that means I remember it more fondly that I have found in this re-read. The Art of Geomancy into Justice One - now that's good Dredd.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: AlexF on 07 June, 2018, 03:05:51 pm
For some reason my critical faculties seem to be better calibrated when it comes to Ennis - it's very clear he got better and better with each year, although 1991 me thought that there could be few stories as rousingly funny as 'Death Aid' and 'Emerald Isle' (the Spud gun bits, at least). 1991 me was very, very wrong.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Greg M. on 07 June, 2018, 06:04:54 pm
To me, the start of Ennis's Dredd run is pretty good, and the end is really good. It's the middle where it all sags, and the pressure of having to churn out a story a week leads to all these hackneyed parodies of now-dated pop culture.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 08 June, 2018, 09:05:46 pm
Early 1992

Well for all my fears at the end of last year have to say 1992 starts pretty damned strong. Justice One, even if its not the who dunnit I always think it is (its only about 10 years since I last read it, my memory is crap!) is a great story. The second Brigand Doom 'book' I'm also enjoying a great deal, I'll come to Durham Red soon, but good stuff and Skizz II started as a blast, really enjoying it again.

But its the rubbish strip I want to talk about. See I'm so close to enjoying Trash. Its clearly the weakest strip in there and has some sub-Millsian corpation and business bad, nature good stuff, but I can't help but almost enjoy it. Its definately raised by Nigel Dobbyn (why oh why did he fall from Tharg's graces he's so good) art but it has one fundamental problem a few strips have had of late, particularly this by American writers.

The hero is an absolute jerk. I mean he's a complete tool.

Quite aptly his closest comparison is from Junker, the lead of which was an even bigger tosser. Both Fleisher and Kupperberg seem to think that the key to a 2000ad led is to make them an angry, charmless shouty type. The belief that making them mean and violent is enough. And clearly its not and shows nothing but a misunderstanding of what makes Dredd and Co work.

Mind fair to say that its wrong to blame it on being American as clearly Mark Millar has the same problem in Robo-hunter, he at least tries to make Sam Slade funny, he just misses the mark by a mile!

Anyway its shame as somewhere buried under all that is the heart of a story with potential, one alas not realised and given that it sits in refreshing enjoyable company for this period its a big miss.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Greg M. on 08 June, 2018, 09:24:38 pm
I can't help but almost enjoy it.

I think you've nailed this one, Colin. Trash is pretty close to being good, but it just falls short. The art is great, and it's not a bad try at the old 'yes, it's a future cop, but different from Dredd  because....' paradigm (though the later Mambo is a better one.) But it just falls at the final hurdle - an honourable failure, at least, especially compared to toss like Junker.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 10 June, 2018, 07:50:34 am
To me, the start of Ennis's Dredd run is pretty good, and the end is really good. It's the middle where it all sags, and the pressure of having to churn out a story a week leads to all these hackneyed parodies of now-dated pop culture.

You're not wrong maybe Ennis Dredd will just be very inconsistent. From the great Justice One we dive into Koole Killers... easy come, easy go huh!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 10 June, 2018, 08:16:36 am
Well 1992 may have started well, but are the changes a coming. A couple of strips I really enjoyed end and some lesser material rolls in, maybe rather than worrying about what's coming I should celebrate what's been.

Firstly Brigand Doom - Voodoo Child, always thought Brigand Doom was a classic example of law of dimishing returns, but I really enjoyed this second story. Okay it has some problems, the mad voodoo chap and his lumbering horbe seemed out of place in the straight edge world of B. Doom and doesn't really fit. The thing is the city and world our undead mystery monster lives in is a bit of a story straitjacket and so spinning it in new and different directions is necessary I'd guess. That said this story plays really well with the mystery and enigma of Doom and his troubled relationship with Agent 9.

The whole thing is of course raised a level or two by Dave D'Antiquis' superb and choice art and its really enjoyable and I'm looking forward to it returning at least once more... there's one more long form Doom right?

Secondly we have Durham Red - Island of the Damned its a great Strontium Dog story a well balanced mixture of hardboiled adventure and action and daft fun. The only real question around it is what makes it specifically a Durham Red story, not necessarily a problem in and of itself, its a good story and does try to crank in a sense that its specific to her and forces some character history a little clumsily into the piece but could this have been a Johnny story, what defines a Durham Red story... does it matter?

Finally SkIIzz I love the original Skizz, love it and while its hard to pretend that the later two books are in that league I've always enjoyed and defended them against their critics. This re-read has done nothing to diminish my view that Jim Baikie is more than capable of continuing this tale. He does a great job of slowly introducing our previous cast in a way that makes sense, but allows the story to focus at first on Skizz and his new dilemma and build his world a little more, slowly building the bigger problem faced.

That does lead to one issue, there is a lot going on and the story could have done with a couple more parts to allow the resolutions of both key situations, Skizz's emprisonment and Snuffer approaching Earth to feel a little less neat and convenient. That said I'm happy to set that aside to lavish in more Baikie art and a return to these wonderful characters.

So yeah 1992 started with three good story... replaced by Finn, The Clown, Beyond Science and the soon to return Khronicles of Khaos... can this bright start continue???!!!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 18 June, 2018, 09:31:30 pm
Oh wow I thought I'd made comment on the lead up to the relaunch Prog 780, but I seem to have forgotten to do so. So before I get to the relaunch line-up a quick recap of how we got here.

Finn - oh man we really are in a low point in Mills writing and all Tony Skinner seems to do is heighten the cliche and predictible nature of Mills' idea, the harder it seems to be trying to push in brave and interesting directions. Finn is the very embodiment of that. I find Jim Elston's art pretty hard work too, it just doesn't work and for all the effort Unca Patly just isn't finding anything new to say.

The Clown - while Nunca Patiscal is striving to find new ground and be original at least, all be it failing miserably at least he's trying. The Clown just slaps a veneer over a summary of the style over substance party that was the worst of early 90s comics. There just seems no point to it, the characters, the lead especially, are too dull to care about, the violent humour just to weak to get beyond childish and story a bland pastiche. Bliss' art isn't much better, it has potential and technically might have momemts but storytelling is poor its cliche.

At least Tales from Beyond Science has some pretty good stories, a couple feel a little forced, and I'm afraid to say John Smith is guilty of one of those and Mark Miller's opener is really quite good. But overall a nice little series of one offs and by George Rian Hughes art is a down played simply designed delight compared to much of the painted nonsense that surrounds it.

Ennis Dredd continues to be very hit and miss, mind hasn't that Greg Staples come on since 1992!

Oh and I almost forgot there's a Silver from Harlem Heroes story ... actually lets forget it as even though it was only like 4 episode's long I was skipping reading by the end (well after the first episode)...

... so glad to be up to date!

So tomorrow I'll be back to discuss the post 780 strips... gives a couple time to find any sort of saving grace I guess!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Link Prime on 19 June, 2018, 10:27:19 am
Looking forward to your musing on the Prog 780 (Megablast) era, Colin.
I remember really enjoying the line-up at the time, even Friday and Kola Kommandos!

The main event was of course the beginning of Buttonman- described by Tharg himself as a "real teen sleaze strip".  Old green bonce certainly knew what buttons to push at the time.


Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 19 June, 2018, 11:36:38 am
The main event was of course the beginning of Buttonman- described by Tharg himself as a "real teen sleaze strip".  Old green bonce certainly knew what buttons to push at the time.

Yes, yes he did as this does raise the point that I should mention - I loved this stuff at the time and lapped it up. I was guilty of being invited to the early ninities style of substance party and bringing a bottle of cheap cider along to join in.

Can you imagine anyone describing Buttonman as 'real teen sleaze strip' these days... wow!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 19 June, 2018, 10:01:11 pm
So Prog 780... ain't actually as bad as I thought. In fact the six issues that followed were quite good and relatively very good.

Okay so the glorious painted Gibson art drops off quickly to just nice line work. Similarly we get teased with Dillon on the first part of the next Dredd story 'A magic place'... which is actually a fantastic example of Ennis doing Dredd well. While I'm not sure this story needs to exist 'Beyond the Wall' in the 86 Sci-Fi Special being such a wonderful stand alone story. Since its does exist though I quite like the fact that it juxtaposes the more bland high octane story elements the Prog is so immersed in at the moment, with the much more genuinely powerful moments that really shine out in contrast. Reminding you quite effectively the duality of Mega City One done well.

Elsewhere I'm not hating the second Kronicle of Khaos book over in ABC Warriors... I mean don't get me wrong I wince whenever Auntiquity Millum and that bad lad Skinner try to be cool by showing how crazy chaos is by making it do the EXACT opposite of what an ordered world would expect... sigh oh and yes Deadlock puts my teeth on edge with his so crazy bonkers and contrary attitude. I mean I did find it cool when I was 20 or whatever, now its laid on so thick it just adds him to the panthon of contemporary 2000ad leds who are just twats! He'd probably approve of course.

Twat!

Elsewhere, no need to bleet on about Rogue Trooper, its crap. Nor to ring the praises of Button Man we all know its exquiste brilliant, cast in such glorious contrast to almost everything it sits alongside. I'll come back to it.

No rather I'll play to the audience in my Khaoticesque approval of Kola Kommandos. It starts off really well and having reached episode 6 I'm still waiting for it to take the plunge I remember it having. Its not yet, its still really good fun and Anthony Williams has come on leaps and bounds from his work on Robo-hunter from a few Progs ago. Yes it plays the oh so simple and popular card, in not just 2000ad but popular culture of the time, of big business is EVIL I tells you, so very EVIl... well yes I accept it is but do 48% of stories from the early 90s need to enlighten me to this fact? It got tired quickly and we've got about 20 plus years of Master Millian reminding us of the fact still to come.

Funnily enough I've just finished Steve Parkhouse's - the serie's writer - lovely run on Black Knight (featuring Captain Britain) and there is common ground here... no work with me. In his Black Knight story, told 3 pages at a time, he just throws ideas at the story, grabbing you by the throat and keeping you onboard my the simple fact you don't get a moment to jump off. Now I'm not saying that KK manages this trick with anything like the ability of the older story but there are moments when I think I'm about to question what the hell this is all about and hold on isn't it all a bit sill... oh look what's happening next, cool... and before I've had a spare moment to put any rational thought into whether this is actually any good I've moved on and don't care!

So yeah I was kinda dreading 780 and its pals but in reality, while so far from perfect, its actually pretty good.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: AlexF on 22 June, 2018, 02:31:48 pm
That's a right astute analysis of Kola Kommandoes right there - so many ideas thrown at the reader, but sadly only a 50/50 ratio of good ones to bad. It's the comedy buffoon superheroes that got me down the most. But there's something about the setting of actually working in an office, and running around a battle-torn city, that still feels underexplored in the world of 2000AD, even if the 'big business is evil' theme is overexplored.

Has anyone ever found out what the working deal between Mills 'n Skinner actually was? TPO makes it seem like Mills was so close to Skinner, and so influenced by the man's life and philosophy, that he felt he ought to co-credit Skinner basically as the inspiration for his stories at this time -

- but I feel that Mills has hinted on his own blog that this isn't fair, and in fact Skinner did much of the actual plotting/scripting/dialoguing during, I guess more akin to the partnership of Wagner 'n Grant or Beeby 'n Rennie.

I quite like Finn. But not more than that.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: TordelBack on 22 June, 2018, 03:28:00 pm
Interesting!  I haven't read it in years, but IIRC I didn't find Kola Kommandos to be too bad. I was on a downer with Williams at the time, and I think I felt it was a bit too silly-strip-at-the-back-of-Crisis for the Prog, but it still entertained: this at a time when I was drifting in and out of love with the prog.  A Parkhouse strip usually has something going for it, even at the worst of times.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Jim_Campbell on 22 June, 2018, 03:37:25 pm
Has anyone ever found out what the working deal between Mills 'n Skinner actually was?

I was at an ABC Warriors signing back in the day when someone put this very question to Pat and Tony. I can't actually recall which of them revealed the details, but they explained that Pat did the vowels and Tony did the consonants.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Steven Denton on 22 June, 2018, 04:05:13 pm
I recently Read the Mek Files 1&2 and I would not be at all surprised if Tony Skinner did a lot of the writing for the Chronicles and Hellbringer story's. when read in close succession to Black Hole it reads like its been written by a different writer. Deadlock also acts and speaks like a completely different character.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 22 June, 2018, 04:31:33 pm
The way I've always pictured the partnership worked like this.

Unca Pat sneaks out of the house so his mum doesn't notice and legs it to the bus station. There he finds Tony 'The Flick' Skinner hangin' out with his gang, drinking their magic choas elixir. Pat nervously approaches and tries to look cool, curious as to why the potion Skinner and his gang are imbuing smells like cheap cider... he plucks up courage and asks if he can try some.

Tony and his mates just laugh... Pat blushes but becomes fortified... Skinner intrigued asks Pat what the heck he has to offer the gang... Pat thinks, struggling ... Skinner draws him over... "You still writing that comic stuff..."

"Yeah"

"Well me and my mates here have some ideas for you"

"Oh cool, let me see"

Skinner hands over the hastily scribbled notes on what for all the world looks some pages from a 6th Form Physics book...

"Its not a text book, its a disguised magical tome... you get in with us and you'll see the runes" He holds the bottle of cid... elixir to Pat... Pat reachs out only to have it snatched away..." Nah nah nah... read those ideas first... we see them in that comic and we'll think about it."

Pat reads the notes, he's worried, but Tony and his gang are so cool... suddenly he hears a noise, someone is coming... he quickly nods at Tony and scarpers just in case its Tharg doing the rounds. He's worries he hears Skinner mob laughing at him as he goes... but looks at the note... no, no its probably some magic chant... how cool!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Bolt-01 on 22 June, 2018, 04:48:20 pm
Colin- you are painting pictures with words, my friend.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Frank on 22 June, 2018, 04:56:45 pm
Tony 'The Flick' Skinner

Tony Ten-Skinner


Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: AlexF on 25 June, 2018, 11:41:56 am
Yet more astuteness from Mr YNWA  :lol:
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 26 June, 2018, 08:58:44 pm
Just to assure folks, after all the nice things folks have said, that this is of course all utter nonsense, I've made a decision.

The idea of the re-read is to read the Progs as comics, not in story 'clumps' as I have in the past... even though I can't quite shake my need to review and comment like that. Anyway to that end since I've reached 786 I've made the call to just read Judgement Day in the Prog, not to nip out to the nerd cave and get the Megs.

Is it to keep my re-read pure?
Is it a social experiment?
Is it because when I reached these issues tonight I couldn't be arsed to go out to the comic cavern?

Never underestimate how my laziness can over come my common sense!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 28 June, 2018, 09:35:01 pm
So two very different stories finish. Kola Kommandos to be honest never gets the dip I seemed to remember. It remains reckless and immense fun. I really enjoyed it, which is not to say its good. Its not, its a mass of problems and silly ideas. Its also a mass of themes and good ideas. And somehow it works really well at the same time as dying on its arse... and I loved it!

Though of course these things are relative. In many recent Progs it would have shone far brighter, stood much taller, alas here its in the shadow of the constantly brilliance of Button Man. Its funny Button Man is almost the exact opposite of Kola Kommandos. Its really a very simple tale. Its themes are dark and interesting, but no especially deep or original. Button Man is all about the execution. Its not about throwing a thousand ideas at something and see what sticks, its about identifying a simple worthwhile idea and drawing it in beautiful detail, timing and execution.

Its a massive testiment to Wagner and Ranson that Harry could so easily have been another of the one dimensional, angry, blunt and pointless leds that have so been the curse of lesser strips and creators in its contempary stories, he's not, not at all. He's a wonderfully drawn, supreme character, who interestingly doesn't go through an arc or much development. He just is and he is as professional and singular as his creators.

I'm also always really amazed how obvious the twist of the Doc being Harry's Voice is from the very first part, and made clearer throughout. I missed it completely when I first read this!

Oh and one last thing I know there's a lot of fuss and ongoing opportunity of this becoming a film. If it brings the series creators reward, well then I hope so. But read it, immerse yourself in it and think. Would anything, ANYTHING in this story be served by it being a film. Is there anyway this could be anything but a compromise if filmed? Its a great testament to masters of the creators craft and the creators craft is comics and this is a prime example of why the medium and format of 2000ad doesn't need to be served by 'bigger' media.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Steven Denton on 29 June, 2018, 12:50:36 pm
I like Kola Kommandos. It's Anthony Williams best period artistically, its full of ideas, quirky characters and action. (I also like Dry Run and the 90's Mean Arena so my taste may not be representative)
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: AlexF on 29 June, 2018, 02:58:39 pm
Just to assure folks, after all the nice things folks have said, that this is of course all utter nonsense, I've made a decision.

The idea of the re-read is to read the Progs as comics, not in story 'clumps' as I have in the past... even though I can't quite shake my need to review and comment like that. Anyway to that end since I've reached 786 I've made the call to just read Judgement Day in the Prog, not to nip out to the nerd cave and get the Megs.

Is it to keep my re-read pure?
Is it a social experiment?
Is it because when I reached these issues tonight I couldn't be arsed to go out to the comic cavern?

Never underestimate how my laziness can over come my common sense!

Let us know how this works out! I was one of those who subscribed to the Meg purely to get these chapters (and Armageddon - see the thread in the 'General' section about how this was once said to be the origin of Mega City 1). In theory, Judgement Day should work when just reading the Prog episodes - be curious to know if that was, in fact, true. I suspect not, especially the Johnny Alpha plotline.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: sheridan on 29 June, 2018, 11:08:05 pm
I like Kola Kommandos. It's Anthony Williams best period artistically, its full of ideas, quirky characters and action. (I also like Dry Run and the 90's Mean Arena so my taste may not be representative)


Was that around the same time as his PJ Maybe story?  Liked his art in that.  He seemed to be a good artist served up not-particularly engaging stories.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: sheridan on 29 June, 2018, 11:50:26 pm
But its the rubbish strip I want to talk about. See I'm so close to enjoying Trash. Its clearly the weakest strip in there and has some sub-Millsian corpation and business bad, nature good stuff, but I can't help but almost enjoy it. Its definately raised by Nigel Dobbyn (why oh why did he fall from Tharg's graces he's so good) art but it has one fundamental problem a few strips have had of late, particularly this by American writers.


I did see Death Ingloria not so long ago, at the Unicorn pub, Camden (not Camden Town, but on Camden Road, on the border with Islington North) - if you get the chance, go see them/her.  I also got a seven-page comic at the gig, written by Galina Ain (the person who gets up on stage) and Hilary Robinson, with artwork by Nigel Dobbyn.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 30 June, 2018, 07:07:35 am
Had to look up Death Ingloria, seem to have missed that. Sounds interesting.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Steven Denton on 30 June, 2018, 11:19:58 am
I like Kola Kommandos. It's Anthony Williams best period artistically, its full of ideas, quirky characters and action. (I also like Dry Run and the 90's Mean Arena so my taste may not be representative)


Was that around the same time as his PJ Maybe story?  Liked his art in that.  He seemed to be a good artist served up not-particularly engaging stories.

he did the PJ Maybe story where Dredd punches him in the face at the end (for being 18) and the Necropolis PJ Maybe story a bit earlier I think. same style but it was more polished by Kola Kommandos. 
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 01 July, 2018, 03:09:42 pm
Jugeen Da

Well that was... interesting. Basically reading the episodes of Judgement Day just in the Prog wasn't the perfect way to read the story, but at the start the impact wasn't too bad and the two strands of story felt sufficently seperate for the crossover to work.Of course its hard to seperate myself from the fact that I know the story really well anyway.

I always really enjoyed the opening of this story and wished they'd played more with the Dredd and cadets desperately trying to survive and get back to Mega City One from the Cursed Earth. Its definately the best bit of the tale. The longer it goes on the more it starts to fall apart. During the opening the Prog alone does tease you with the fact there's this whole Johnny Alpha thing going on and you don't get to join the fun. Still it makes the bit you do get better.

As the story progresses and the two strands come together they try their best but by the time you get to the end its not working very well at all ... mind then again the over all story isn't working too well either so ya know.

Then you get that final episode. I mean what's gone before may have been slowly transfering into a shambling, rotting mess trying to eat your brain BUT that last episode is so punch the air trimuphant its untrue and then you get to that last page and punch the air again... even if the stuff before has been a bit poo!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Fungus on 01 July, 2018, 03:27:06 pm
Not a fan of Judgement Day, there are zombies and a supernatural villain (not the best kind) and it drags on and on. While my read was a couple of years back to finally read those old progs, I haven't read the Megazines. Maybe soon. Maybe it would help the story overall(?)

I have read people's high regard for Judgement Day, I don't get it. Maybe an epic was called-for so this was the answer? Also, wasn't there a definite distinction in the audiences for Prog and Meg then (which doesn't apply now)? You're splitting a story between audiences... disappointing.

FYI Just today finished Shakara (Hachette, vol. 1) and feeling spoiled at the scale and fun and designs in it. How it should be done!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Magnetica on 01 July, 2018, 03:41:04 pm
I remember being annoyed at the time at the descision to run the story in both titles, and I buy both. I just think it doesn’t really work that well. Another case in point being Doomsday. I always feel it is not clear what order to read things in.

I guess the one where it had worked best was Tour of Duty. In that case, the Meg was used more to fill in a bit of background. Plus with Dredd exiled to the Cursed Earth for months they could hardly have stories set in MC1 at that point.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 01 July, 2018, 04:01:09 pm
Another case in point being Doomsday. I always feel it is not clear what order to read things in.


Have to say I think Doomsday tries the same model but makes a much better fist of it. That said I've only read this after the fact, which the Meg issues in reprint so looking forward to getting to it again... all be it a bit off. From now on it only seems fair that for this re-read I'll stick with this methodology, but I'm such a fan of Doomsday I suspect I'll read it twice. Once Prog only then as a whole!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Frank on 01 July, 2018, 04:11:33 pm
Not a fan of Judgement Day, there are zombies and a supernatural villain (not the best kind) and it drags on and on. While my read was a couple of years back to finally read those old progs, I haven't read the Megazines. Maybe soon. Maybe it would help the story overall(?)

This longterm 2000ad reader isn't a fan:

I don’t think it was a particularly good story or epic. As for the crossover element, I really don’t know. I can remember people complaining about it at the time and I empathised with them completely. Like any crossover, it’s inherently frustrating and probably should have been avoided.

I piled on far too many zombies. I recycled too much material that had appeared in other epics. There’s bits of Apocalypse War all over that story. The art didn’t help. When it was Pete Doherty or it was Carlos, it was spot on. When it was Dean Ormston – well, Dean’s talents lay elsewhere.

There was one fill-in episode that should have been a doozey. It was Dredd kicking the shit out of Johnny Alpha, but it fell as flat as a pancake because the art was by one of these Bisley knock-offs (Chris Halls). Then again, it wasn’t really a very good script to begin with, so who am I to talk?

Writing Johnny Alpha was nice, but I didn’t really take it anywhere interesting. I liked that last page, where Dredd and Alpha walk off together; being able to write that was cool. I would say about 10% of my Dredd stories are good. Some others – bits of stories are good. And a lot of it’s crap, to be quite honest with you.

It was a combination of things. Sometimes getting the wrong artists; frankly, bad editing at the time. The comic was in the hands of Richard Burton and Alan McKenzie, who were not up to the job. I don't think that's going to be a particularly uncommon opinion among people you’ve interviewed – I could be wrong.

The main reason is I was not up to the job. I was too young, just not ready for that level of work. I was writing all sorts of stuff as well as Dredd and still trying to write a weekly strip. The other reason - I can’t do Dredd right because I’m too close to it, too reverential. I like it too much.

The instinct that allows me to go in and piss all over American superheroes and end up writing quite entertaining stories about them - to go in and tear characters apart and come up with entertaining if controversial stories - that just isn’t there for me when it comes to Dredd.

Dredd means too much to me, I am too reverential to it and I can’t take the piss. I can’t tear it apart. And I guess I’ll never really be able to get over that.

Even last year, doing Helter Skelter, which I had a lot of fun doing. I came away from that thinking that isn’t really Dredd. Because at the end of the day, if Dredd is not written by John Wagner or not the classic period where John was co-writing with Alan Grant, then it just isn’t really Dredd.

I can’t get it right. Neither can Robbie nor Gordon. Grant and Mark couldn’t get it right. Alan on his own hasn’t quite got it. He and John in the glory days that lasted up until 1986 – they had it absolutely down pat. John’s pretty much the only guy that can do it; maybe what actually defines Dredd is John’s work on it.

With American superheroes, every character has as many different personalities and takes on it as there have been writers who have worked on it. With most characters, that numbers into the hundreds, but with Dredd, you’ve really only got one correct take, and that’s John's.

There are a few good stories, when the editors kept their mucky paws off it and I was actually getting it right. When they put the right artist on the job and he did a good job. There are several stories I’m very pleased with. There’s a lot of them that are mediocre. There’s a lot of them that I think are downright bloody awful.

http://viciousimagery.blogspot.com/2007/02/28-days-of-2000-ad-171-ennis-talks-pt.html

http://viciousimagery.blogspot.com/2007/02/28-days-of-2000-ad-181-garth-ennis-pt.html
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Magnetica on 01 July, 2018, 04:12:21 pm
In the Mega Collection books they neatly divided the story in two and I read them months apart, so the scenes that appear in both don’t seem like they are retreading ground so much. Indeed the two strands only really come together at the end. At the time, not that I remember it too well now, I am sure it grated a bit. But yes you are right it was done better then than Judgement Day. And to be fair it’s a much better story.

Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 01 July, 2018, 09:05:03 pm
Is it really 20 issues since 780? My we must be heading for our next launch Prog already... so how is

Road to Prog 800

Well we're well up from the dip at its lowest as we always have at least one MAGNIFICENT strip as Button Man is replaced by Zenith Book IV, a story that is so hung on its twist that I'm always slighty surprised by how it not only holds up each time I re-read it, but gets even better.

Millar's Robo-Hunter finds new lows in Return to Verdus, Jez in this one not only does it entirely miss the point and tone of Robo-Hunter, as all the stories to date, but this one even manages to be even more of a meandering mess... well okay that might in part be due to the fact I can barely bring myself to even skip read it by this point BUT everytime I just look at it, it comes across as a chaotic mass of stuff being thrown at a wall, hard, as breaking and blowing things up BIG is all Millar has left in his tank. Its just exploding badly coloured crap all over the page... I try to read it I just find it hard as it burns my eyes!

So backing up these extremes the road to 800 is actually dominated by a host of one offs. I real smorgasbord of done and gones. Firstly we have a host of okay if not great Future Shocks the highlight of which is Jim Baike's actually great Hot Iron, but then I have a man crush on Jim Baike's art. On top of this we get the interesting experiment Dragon Tales, which unlike Vector 13 has the good grace to realise its format is actually too limiting to sustain beyond about the 6 we get here. Nothing is good, nothing is great, they all just okay, all be it if they all look pretty good. I do wonder if Tharg just happened to have 3 Future Shocks featuring dragons land on his desk one morning, ponder if it was a thing, commission a few more before quickly realising, no, no, this is never going to be much if a thing.

Finally though we have a series of Bradley one offs based on crunchy and childish retelling of Hans Christian Anderson fairy tales... and you know what they really work, or at least I really like them. And I do wander if its these that means I always have a much fonder recollection of Bradley than anything I read to date could have possibly fostered. They seem to form a perfect partnership and give Bradley a more valid reason to exist than slagging of Jason Donavan could never manage. Add to that the stories really bring the best out of Simon Harrison's glorious art work and we really have a winner on our hands... unfortunately just as the series stomps off back to its bedroom if I remember rightly.... which I'm likely not!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Fungus on 01 July, 2018, 10:01:13 pm
Maybe it's context, but I really enjoyed Bradley on a recent reading. Can't say if that's some revising of taste, since I can't honestly remember how I felt about these at the time.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 16 July, 2018, 09:21:09 pm
Prog 800

A line-up of Dredd, Flesh, Zenith, Journal of Luke Kirby, Robo-Hunter. That's got to be a winner right. I mean each of those is a classic strip in its own right, they each have some genuine stone cold classics in their catelogue... but of course these are different times. You don't need to actually read the stories to realise this though, infact you don't need to go past the inside cover.

In the box 'Some useful, Betegeusian phrases' box we get:

Quote
Borag Thungg: Skin me, Bro!

Splundig vur thrigg: I'm outa here!

Zarjaz: Fab! Gear! Groovy!

etc. I think this last one is meant to be ironic. It's hard to tell.

Okay so two things in that box alone that go a long way to explaining why even a line up like the above has the potential to be a classic, if each of the strips was at its Zen... best...

1. The phrases are like your creepy uncle trying to be cool. Sure he has some cool stories, some of the others are just plain sad.

2. There's an exclamation mark after everything!!! Why!!! There's just no need!!!! Its the embodiment of Ennis Dredd when its bad, Millar Robo-Hunter, or Patisical hangin' with his skinboy on Flesh.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 17 July, 2018, 09:52:16 pm
So I'm streaking through the 800s and its becoming a familar story. There's some good stuff, there's some okay stuff and there's some rubbish. As the good stuff (Zenith Book 4) finishes you hope for better than Wireheads and Finn coming into cover it... but just as you lose hope John Smith comes along and hope is restored.

Remember this line as I think I'll be using it again.

Anyway I come not to discuss this, rather to diss Dredd. As I've said before its been very hit and miss during Ennis' run... since issue 800 its gone for consistancy at least. Alas settling on miss may not be the way to go. So what's my beef. Well frankly the stories have been stunning flat and uninspiring, utterly devoid of anything interesting our fun. Judge Dredd has become The Clown... emphasised by Greg Staples' early art. Worse still Dredd has become that worst of 90s 2000ad tropes, the soulless, blandly aggressive hero, exposed by the lack of redemning features in the stories around him.

Now its fair to say that Dredd can be aggressive and is given to bouts of soullessness from time to time. Written too easily he can run an entire story just to punch out the witty oneliner at the end of the strip. For some reason in both 'The Marshal' and 'Innocents Aboard' the current problems with the strip just seem exemplified... then I turn to 'The Magic Mellow Out' and those problems have the added value of Mark Millar / Alan McKenzie* level humour, I mean its been building for a while. Everytime Dredd bust some perp, one (or more) of them has to pull an oversized firearm to give Ol' Joe an excuse to blow their head off... literally. But man 'The Magic Mellow Out' ... well it could have been a Robo-hunter strip....

This is poor Dredd... I dearly hope to return to apologetically say Ennis has hit form again... come on Ennis...

*I should mention Alan McKenzie provide current (post Zenith) best thrill Summer Magic, which is fine and then some.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 21 July, 2018, 09:46:07 pm
This is poor Dredd... I dearly hope to return to apologetically say Ennis has hit form again... come on Ennis...

Ha! That didn't take long and given the topsy turvey nature of Ennis Dredd I'm not entirely surprised. Currently reading 'Raider' and yep here to make my apologies. I mean John Burns elevates anything he touches, but this is great stuff regardless...

...but not what I'm here to talk about really. I'm here to talk about Prog 812. Its actually not a bad Prog at all (why do I keep capitalising Prog? I mean even knowing its wrong isn't going to stop me doing it, but I should right?) Wireheads ended last week and sorry, try as I might, I just couldn't get into it. It was bloomin' awful and the sad thing for it with Revere back in the Prog just as it concluded in Prog 811, we're reminded all too sharply why real John Smith is so much better than substandard wannabe John Smith like Wireheads*.

In its place is a functional at best Future Shock and a prologue for Dead Meat, a series I'm failing to hate having back and while last time this was present it failed to impress, I'm happy to give it a second go, if memory leaves me not exactly optimistic... the biggest take home from this prologue which gives us a handy breakdown of the coming of our Veggie World (none required capitals again) is that P.U.L.S.E. is surely the worst acronymn in comics ever and boy there have been a few.

So the worst thrill in the prog moves happily to Finn, curiously when it has its best episode for a long time... well to be fair its the first in a while I'm managed to do more than skip read and I quite enjoyed it... but Jez Patrical Mills under the spell of street guru Skinner is labouring things to fuck!

So yeah the real reason I've pulled Prog 812 out to discuss is the ending of The Journal of Luke Kirby - The Nightwalker - its bloody good. The stayed tension in those final pages on the train just perfectly encapulating the fresh pacing and story style this series brings to the Prog. Its really interesting to note this is almost twice the length of the first story (really it took 4 years for it to come back, specials aside, I don't remember that!) and it really benefits from that. Conventional wisdom - well in my head at least - has it that Journals of LK is a prime example of the law of diminishing returns, but you know what I think Nightwalker is better than Summer Magic. The extra space this has to frankly not cover much more story isn't padding its effective pacing to build atmosphere.

I was surprised how rushed Summer Magic read recently, it was kinda fitting, making it feel like the rapid storytelling used in comics at the time this was set. That said I much prefered the more steady pace of this second story. Almost perfectly embodied by that sunbeam standoff in this final part. Just supreme stuff and now dimly remembered diminishing returns aside I'm now really looking forward to Steve Parkhouse getting his mitts on this strip... I think that happens next time right?

* and before anyone stops by to think I'm being snarky that genuinely isn't commentry on any current state of affairs!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 22 July, 2018, 11:51:51 am
I guessed a wee while back that Revere gets better as it goes on and by George it surely does. While still not John Smith at his very best (which is of course the very best 2000ad has to offer) Book 2 is really good. It has a more straightforward and coherant plot and tells a relatively simple story with typical Smith flourishes, pomp and purple prose. It does it really effectively and as he finally makes his leap of faith at the end we too leap into the far more metaphysical final book, as I recall.

A really nice effort.

And so there we have it, join me tonight hopefully as I sum up 1992... it certainly been an interesting year...
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 22 July, 2018, 09:34:35 pm
1992

Well much like 1991 this is an easy year to review. Its better, much better than 1991.

On all levels Tharg is... well finding his level. The good stuff is top class and there's much more of it. The bottom stuff is still absolutely rotten, but there's much less of it and most tellingly the middle ground, while still there and dominating, is actually pretty good.

The likes of Brigand Doom and Kola Kommandos aren't having to fight above their weight as they are joined by some very good thrills, SkIIzz, Durham Red and Journal of Luke Kirby really backing up the middle order, if not quite cracking the very top ranks. These are well served though in 1992, Revere and bonefide classics Button Man and Zenith book IV. There's much to love here...

... but of course the Prog still has considerable problems and I'm afraid to say many of them are served to us by one of the greats, I've dissed Unca Pattycake quite enough to leave it alone here, but it us a problem. Millar and what I think are the (must surely be) last vestiges of Michael Fleisher's input are still far to riff and backed up by new thrills like Wireheads, but the balance is turning that's for sure.

Possibly the years variable content is best summed up by Dredd, man this is a rollercoaster and I've covered it quite enough already to make it worth going back into here, but you gotta think that these rough times would have been more managible if we'd had consistently top draw Dredd, alas for the time being those days are gone.

Artistically one thing I don't think I've specifically rallied against is that we really are in the midst of 2000ad's 'painting in mud' period at its very worst. There is of course some exception stuff being served, Burns joining the ranks and Baikie returning being prime examples but there are far too many artists just not ready and trying to mask their inadequacies by slapping the acrylic paint all over.

Anyway 1993 beckons and this one is going to be very interesting. 1992 has brought us the green shots of recovery... 1993  will bring 2000ad's enfant terribles to test how robust they are... mind one of them John Smith will be coming into a bit of a purple (prose) patch, so I'm genuinely excited to see how the balances falls to this re-readers eyes.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 23 July, 2018, 09:36:54 pm
1993 Year books and 1992 Specials

Well I have to be honest I wasn't expecting much from the specials and yearbooks from this year, or indeed at all going forward, but you know what these where much better than expected and in one case very good indeed.

Neither Year Book stands up to the packaging, and in my copy at least the reproduction of Slaine the King in the 2000ad one woeful. I mean if you have these lovely tomes and you are going to reprint someone with art as glorious as 'the King' you'd put the effort in right... though it might just be my copy... and lets be honest I'm not here for the reprint anyway...

That said these two do have some nice stuff in a few stories, Grant and Ewins Dredd, here, a fun Wagner and Simon Hunter Dredd (who he?) there. Decent Brigand Doom on one hand, ...eerrr good art in Red Razors and Judge Joyce on the other. A good Strontium Dogs story with glorious Simon Harrison art (lovingly printed too which makes me worry all the more about Slaine, but I've moved on) in one corner and... well okay I've given up on the Dredd Year Book, I didn't say it was great, just better than I expected!

The Sci-Fi Special is okay, the highlight being the Strontium Dog story introducing the Woman who Walks or whatever she's called. I always seem to forget about that and Ridgway on the art is a nice touch... oh and how random is that John Lydon interview! Anyway its the 1992 Winter Special that shines here isn't it. While I'm not at all sure Chris Weston was ready for Nemesis the story was fun... though that Simon Harrison poster in the Nemesis feature just teases us with what might have been there. What I wouldn't have given to see Simon Harrison have a proper go at our Horny one. Elsewhere we have that rarest of treats a great Mark Millar story in 'Tales from Beyond Science', nice Blackblood and fun Wagner Dredd.

To be far that Winter Special is one of the best specials we're had for a long time, indeed arguably ever.

So yeah while a few odds and sods aside I don't hold out much hope for future specials and yearbooks, its fun to find that I might be surprised.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Link Prime on 24 July, 2018, 11:22:47 am
Anyway its the 1992 Winter Special that shines here isn't it. While I'm not at all sure Chris Weston was ready for Nemesis the story was fun... though that Simon Harrison poster in the Nemesis feature just teases us with what might have been there. What I wouldn't have given to see Simon Harrison have a proper go at our Horny one. Elsewhere we have that rarest of treats a great Mark Millar story in 'Tales from Beyond Science', nice Blackblood and fun Wagner Dredd.

To be far that Winter Special is one of the best specials we're had for a long time, indeed arguably ever.


If I recall correctly, the 1992 Winter Special arrived on shop shelves without any promotion or fanfare whatsoever.
There was also no Winter Special the previous year, so it genuinely took me by surprise when I walked into Easons on that chilly autumn evening.

I remember being really impressed at the time of the strength of the stories inside- a valid contender for best 2000AD special ever published. Must give it a re-read.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: TordelBack on 24 July, 2018, 01:59:06 pm
1993 Year books ...Judge Joyce...

Wait, there was a Judge Joyce strip? >checks Barney as if the work of Colin wasn't gospel< Begorrah, there was so there was!  I'm sure I have that thing somewhere (big shiny gatefold job, wasn't it?), but I've no memory of that.  Has it ever been reprinted? Is Dredd in it?

Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Link Prime on 25 July, 2018, 09:37:50 am
Is Dredd in it?

No Dredd, but you do get to see Joyce (Snr) spit out his lunch and scream "There's a fella in me pie!"
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 05 August, 2018, 09:32:07 pm
Prog 819

There's a risk in letting early 1993 pass by as we know that Summer 1993 will be where the actions at (arh just before I go to University, could it have been any better timed?) but there is much to discuss before we get to summer shenanigans and the third Prog of the year exemplified that.

We start with a decent Dredd. Beautifully rendered by Colin MacNeil, G.Ennis provides a neat, sharp and entertaining Dredd. Lets see how his hit rate is before others take over, I don't remember a great deal about the end of his run I have to be honest.

Next up Dead Meat continues to ram home its idea (see what I did there, well it was that or rambles on), its single idea, but you know what its pretty inoffensive.

Next up we get to a story that I'm very fond of Strontium Dogs - Return of the Gronk. Now clearly to enable our weak heartised friend to carry a story effectively some changes have to be made and one big shock last Prog later, this episode fair hammers home the fact that this isn't your Father's Gronk anymore. Now I can see why the Gronk striding into a bar and blowing some officious schmoo away might put some folks nosies out of joint... but I can't help but find it fantastic. Admittedly helped by Nigel Dobbyn's simply superb art... the episode and indeed as I recall this series, doesn't really look back from there. Introducing some fun villians. An even harder Gronk and a whole heap of fun...

... the shift in the Gronk is kinda endemic in the shift in Tharg's organ overall however. Its all hard and pounds away with vigour... sometimes that works and its done with enough guile and energy that you can get away with it... sometimes its just leaves you completely unsatisified and sore... leading nicely to...

Robo... well I might was well stop there... cos Jez I'd forgotten how long Millar's Robo... 'graced us', its still bloody going and... well.... I stopped reading about half way through to be honest!

Last up we have Flesh - Legends of Shamana. Last time I read this, almost ten years ago now I said:

Quote
This revisiting of Flesh should have been so wrong, everything about it should be terrible. A rehash of Flesh adding nothing to the original aside from some Skinner era Mills political preaching (modern life and science is terrible). Infuriating made up dinosaur facts, what on earth were those intelligent dinosaurs about aside from cranking in some trite ideas and that psycho-chamleon stuff, please! Carl Critchlow before he'd perfected his art during the brown paint times. Some shockingly cliched characters.

All that and yet it was always nothing but readable. I really enjoyed it and for the life of me can't work out why. Go figure...

Alas ten years in the first paragraph holds... the second does not.

Possibly the most telling thing about the shift 2000ad is still thrashing through is the 'Droid Profile' for Robo-Cook. Now from my very limited interactions with this droid he seems smashing and lovely and in most of the answers he comes across as a cocky young soul enjoying life, as well he should. However:
Quote
What does Judge Dredd look like under his helmet?

Get a life, you sad fanboy

Now this is a fun throw away answer and means diddly squat... or does it speak to the prevailing attitude in the Prog at the time. Its a bold, young thing, punching it way into a bold exciting new era... its problem is it still felts a little ill at ease and ashamed of what its come from and that is going to be a problem for some time!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 08 August, 2018, 09:01:57 pm
With an almost relaunch Prog in 828 time for some quick thoughts on early 1993

1. Ennis Dredd has been getting better, though its still inconsistant. I enjoyed PJ and the Mock Choc Factory particularly.

2. Though did he really have to have PJ captured?

3. Kelly's Eye Get shot... oh hold on no need to worry he's invulnerable.

4. Legend of Shamana dunnt half gone on dunnit

5. Return of the Gronk shows how to do dumb fun and make it good at the same time... others could learn!

6. Oh no Kelly's Eye has been thrown out a tall building... oh no don't worry he's invulernable

7. That's a fun Tharg Story in the birthday issues (the rules of submitting to 2000ad)

8. Nemesis - The Shape of Things to Come... alas that's actually years of teasing stories about hammers as I recall

9. Mind hasn't Paul Staples come on since then!

10. Oh no Kelly's Eye been blown up by a grenade... oh no hold on he's invulernable its okay...

11.  The second half of Bradley's Bedtime Stories isn't as good as the first... still love Simon Harrison mind.

12. I'd forgotten Ron Smith did a Millar Robo-Hunter... doesn't save it mind!

13. Oh no Kelly's Eye is in a bar that's been hit by a rocket launcher... oh no hold on.... well you get the idea by now.

14. The (almost) relaunch Prog is going to be very bloomin' welcome as I recall.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Link Prime on 09 August, 2018, 11:21:03 am

8. Nemesis - The Shape of Things to Come... alas that's actually years of teasing stories about hammers as I recall


I got such kick out of that Prog- Nemesis returns (in full colour) with a cracking cover and absolutely out of the blue.
Then nuthin for 3 more years!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 09 August, 2018, 12:44:04 pm

8. Nemesis - The Shape of Things to Come... alas that's actually years of teasing stories about hammers as I recall


I got such kick out of that Prog- Nemesis returns (in full colour) with a cracking cover and absolutely out of the blue.
Then nuthin for 3 more years!

Its an okay story, but sets up something that never really got played with - the idea that all the hate and
 vitriol in Termight would led to its own downfall... and a hammer.... there's another short story in the 900s? Then we have to wait for Book X - which moves things in a different direction... oh my memory could be so wrong there! A bit of a shame but still...
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: sheridan on 09 August, 2018, 12:45:14 pm
Is Dredd in it?

No Dredd, but you do get to see Joyce (Snr) spit out his lunch and scream "There's a fella in me pie!"


I remember a panel with an eye looking out of some type of foodstuff, but think that's Emerald Isle?  In which case it's like every appearance of Joyce is accompanied by bits of dead bodies in food.  Did the line 'Irish pies are smiling' get used anywhere?
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: sheridan on 09 August, 2018, 12:46:31 pm
Possibly the most telling thing about the shift 2000ad is still thrashing through is the 'Droid Profile' for Robo-Cook. Now from my very limited interactions with this droid he seems smashing and lovely and in most of the answers he comes across as a cocky young soul enjoying life, as well he should. However:
Quote
What does Judge Dredd look like under his helmet?

Get a life, you sad fanboy

Now this is a fun throw away answer and means diddly squat... or does it speak to the prevailing attitude in the Prog at the time. Its a bold, young thing, punching it way into a bold exciting new era... its problem is it still felts a little ill at ease and ashamed of what its come from and that is going to be a problem for some time!


Was this around the same time that the comic that had previously published Halo Jones now declared that comics are entertainment, nothing else and don't look for deeper meaning?
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Link Prime on 09 August, 2018, 03:07:11 pm

8. Nemesis - The Shape of Things to Come... alas that's actually years of teasing stories about hammers as I recall


I got such kick out of that Prog- Nemesis returns (in full colour) with a cracking cover and absolutely out of the blue.
Then nuthin for 3 more years!

Its an okay story, but sets up something that never really got played with - the idea that all the hate and
 vitriol in Termight would led to its own downfall... and a hammer.... there's another short story in the 900s? Then we have to wait for Book X - which moves things in a different direction... oh my memory could be so wrong there!

You're not wrong Colin, another 'teaser' to the final confrontation appeared in Progs 901-903, with some grotesque but brilliant Clint Langley painted art.
Then on to the main event in Book X several years later, which despite featuring some astonishing artwork, fell a bit flat for me too.

Did the line 'Irish pies are smiling' get used anywhere?

Sure t'was the name of the story.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Funt Solo on 09 August, 2018, 08:05:44 pm
Did the line 'Irish pies are smiling' get used anywhere?

Judge Joyce: When Irish Pies Are Smiling (Judge Dredd Yearbook 1993)
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Funt Solo on 09 August, 2018, 08:14:52 pm
(https://i.imgur.com/wQ5Nhxb.jpg)
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Leigh S on 09 August, 2018, 08:34:18 pm
 I seem to recall Pat said that Hammer of the Witches/Warlock got stymied by Langley going off travelling, though why it was curtailed when Nemesis finally returned (other than teh idea of ending the srip in prog 2000) I'm not sure
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Jim_Campbell on 09 August, 2018, 08:47:19 pm
I seem to recall Pat said that Hammer of the Witches/Warlock got stymied by Langley going off travelling, though why it was curtailed when Nemesis finally returned (other than teh idea of ending the srip in prog 2000) I'm not sure

ISTR Kev O’Neill said he’d draw the last episode on the condition that it was the last episode. Hence the subsequent Termight spin-off with Deadlock (which I’d happily have seen more of).
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 09 August, 2018, 10:11:41 pm
Prog 829

Now I accept I've been a bit whiney of late. Ohh this isn't so good. That story was a bit rubbish. Gosh why are the heroes so shouty and twaty... PPPPPOOOOOOOOOOO! I know, I know... I'm sorry I try to focus in the good stuff, but you have to be balanced and honest otherwise saying stuff is good loses its meaning and value...

Then we get to Prog 829 and WAYHEY one of the great Progs... just superb... well okay two of the thrills aren't all that and one is a recap.... but the good stuff is SO good.

Firekind I've waxed lyrical about before, but that opening part is just a masterclass. The purple prose of the first page as our hero travels to his destination all lyrical delight and evocation. Then was our traveller materialises DRAGON IN YOUR FACE.

Seriously it could have been just these two pages and it'd have been one of the all time great openings but no the dragon soars and worlds start to be built with craft and guile... oh my gooey comic juices are just bubbling to pressures they have never been thrust to before and we're only 6 pages into this comics beauty.

Kano ... well all you folks that think Kano doesn't have a place amongst Bad Company I say YOU FOOLS... you fools... you fools. It makes me sad this thrill isn't hailed as an absolute classic on a par with its forebears and set out the themes and reason to love it right from the off. Just like the original it takes a trope, in this case the war veteran trying, but (spoilers) failing to deal with normal civilian life. He won't escape his past, literally and he will question the monster he has become.... its glorious, glorious...

... you fools...

Armoured Gideon is pretty good, Dredd is weak and Kelly's Eye is kinda okay.

But those first two I rub them all over my slightly greasey naked body and wait for the moment to arrive.

Oh Mark Millar's first Dredd next Prog... I've gone all flacid again...
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Funt Solo on 09 August, 2018, 10:40:15 pm
From Interrogation (Mark Millar: A World of His Own), Megazine #323 (2012):

(https://i.imgur.com/fRo3849.png)
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 10 August, 2018, 06:42:12 am
Well at least he's self aware!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: broodblik on 10 August, 2018, 07:20:36 am
The combination of Millar, Ennis and Morrison was the reason why I left AD at that stage.

Kudos for Millar for at least admitting it. Morrson at least did provided us with Zenith (I still believe to this day that it is his best work/creation ever)
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: TordelBack on 10 August, 2018, 07:32:22 am
Well at least he's self aware!

So was Skynet.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: sheridan on 10 August, 2018, 05:33:41 pm
The combination of Millar, Ennis and Morrison was the reason why I left AD at that stage.

Kudos for Millar for at least admitting it. Morrson at least did provided us with Zenith (I still believe to this day that it is his best work/creation ever)

Garth Ennis has said similar (in line with common wisdom, he did some good stuff, some intermediate stuff and some mediocre stuff).
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 11 August, 2018, 07:43:16 am
Garth Ennis has said similar (in line with common wisdom, he did some good stuff, some intermediate stuff and some mediocre stuff).

One thing I'm noticing more about Ennis this time is he seems interested in creating tough, credible villians to fight Dredd, then he cranks a story around them as best he can. We're just had Jonni Kissyface introduced and in Prog 832 we get the hard Scotsman with his killer bagpipes*. Previously we've had Musical Killer Chappie, The Raider, that pair of hitmen whose names I can't remembr... that's just the ones that spring to mind. The trouble is this leads to quite dull repeatative stories that ultimately rung hollow.

Introduce the baddie by having them do something hard and killie. Set up their motive with flashback. Have their motive interconnect with Dredd. Have  them fight Dredd. Dredd, though knackered, wins. Rinse wash repeat. Its just not a great method for coming up with Dredds and its something Ennis seems to fall back on quite a lot.

Anyway if you've got this far I have a question for you. I've just read Prog 833 and next Prog is the Firekind episode mix up (I think - his filter mask has just broken). Now this re-read I'm being good and reading things as they appear in the Prog so my question to you is.

Should I read Firekind as printed, error and all?

The purist in me wants to BUT I adore Firekind and who knows when I'll read it again, so why read it all wonky knowing its not going to take much effort to read it properly like. I'm conflicted...
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: broodblik on 11 August, 2018, 09:05:18 am
One thing I'm noticing more about Ennis this time is he seems interested in creating tough, credible villians to fight Dredd, then he cranks a story around them as best he can. We're just had Jonni Kissyface introduced and in Prog 832 we get the hard Scotsman with his killer bagpipes*. Previously we've had Musical Killer Chappie, The Raider, that pair of hitmen whose names I can't remembr... that's just the ones that spring to mind. The trouble is this leads to quite dull repeatative stories that ultimately rung hollow.

Writing Dredd continuously week-in and week-out must surely be a challenge. John Wagner for me is the only person that achieved this so far. We now have a few writers that contribute to Dredd and for me as reader this setup works.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Funt Solo on 11 August, 2018, 04:14:52 pm
Should I read Firekind as printed, error and all?

No.  The writer wanted you to read it in the order they wrote it.   

Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: TordelBack on 11 August, 2018, 04:42:25 pm
Should I read Firekind as printed, error and all?

No.  The writer wanted you to read it in the order they wrote it.   

Yes. Because you're not reading a collected edition if Firekind,  you're reading the prog-as-she-was-published: warts and all. Appreciating the tides and calamities that pull the good ship thrillpower hither and thither, like wily Odysseus storm-driven across the wine dark sea, it's the journey that makes the tale.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Fungus on 11 August, 2018, 09:16:50 pm
Should I read Firekind as printed, error and all?

No.  The writer wanted you to read it in the order they wrote it.   

Put like that, have to agree.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 11 August, 2018, 09:25:03 pm
Look I'm off on me holidays for a week can you chaps kindly reach a consenus by the time I get back. Otherwise we'll have to rely on me coming to a sensible decision we really don't want that to happen do we...
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Funt Solo on 12 August, 2018, 05:43:46 pm
it's the journey that makes the tale.

Tordelback's impassioned and poetic argument has swung my vote.  You must read it in the order originally published in order to maintain your credibility.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 12 August, 2018, 06:09:06 pm
it's the journey that makes the tale.

Tordelback's impassioned and poetic argument has swung my vote.  You must read it in the order originally published in order to maintain your credibility.

That would suggest I have any credibility to start with. Which frankly is a bit of a stretch!

Anyway nothing quite like full internet access when in the lakes to remind you camping is a very different beast than it was in 1993!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Tjm86 on 13 August, 2018, 07:51:02 am
Anyway nothing quite like full internet access when in the lakes to remind you camping is a very different beast than it was in 1993!

If you've found somewhere to camp in the lakes with full internet access then you are definitely proving your case on the credibility issue.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Magnetica on 13 August, 2018, 05:54:49 pm
Do both. Publication order first to maintain that Prog slog feel. Then the intended order to get the story as it was meant to be.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 13 August, 2018, 06:10:58 pm
Do both. Publication order first to maintain that Prog slog feel. Then the intended order to get the story as it was meant to be.

Well heart of hearts I always figured I'd end up doing that! It is the kinda thrill once you finish you just want to start again.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 19 August, 2018, 08:19:17 am
Prog 834 (and 5)

So I went with the purist reading - though suspect I'll go back when the year is out - and read like that, the missing episode in Firekind, in this context its just irritating, but also a tribute to John Smith.

I know what happens, that Larsen is saved from his hallucinations by the tribe... though the specifics escape me... so it just reads like an annoying gap this time. At the time I remember being baffled, but with no explanation I just figured it was all me being dense. Mind this is helped by Smith's craft. Even with an episode removed the fact that Smith knows how to write episodically means you move on from the missing moment and are fully engaged with the episode in front of you and the glory and horrors it brings. The story has shifted into its second phase and you just move with it so engaging is the story.

Just class.

And the level of skills and ability on display is all the more apparent by what else is in the Prog. Ennis provides a substandard Dredd (glorious Mike Austin art its redemning feature) and the genuinely dreadful cliched and so of its time... in the bad way of the worst early 90s comics ... Inferno starts. Millar just seems to think that cranking it all up to 11 is enough.

To be fair it does a lot of things a good first episode should, it sets the scene really well, it introduces you to a host of characters both heroes... well kinda... and villian, so villianous he can make the other villians the heroes. He builds tension and motive... well again kinda. All in just 6 pages, in so many ways its a great first part. Alas its all so crass and childish all the craft in the world can't save it. Bloody awful.

The reason I've dragged 835 into this is that Millar writes the Dredd here too. Demonstrating that all those years ago he could catch onto the world of Dredd perfectly, while completely missing the point. I mean the memories sucked from the poor and sold to the rich and indulged is a pretty good Mega City One story. He then shows how much he wasn't ready to be a comics pro as he demonstrates in one wise cracking, leg blasting page, now little he understands Dredd and how cranking it up to 11 again completely misfires. The trouble is at this time (and some time to come as I recall) taking a good idea and cranking it up to 11 (or more) is all Millar has and he crushes the ideas.

835 is such a fascinating Prog and perfectly encapsulates this time. One half over the top, misjudged (pun intended) trash sits next to fantastic, thoughtful and genuinely compelling thrills, in the other half in the Firekind and Kano... poor old Armoured Gideon playing the part of pretty damned good thrill, but floating intriguingly inbetween these two extremes like a pivot!

I suspect these extremes will leave me with much to say here at least!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Greg M. on 19 August, 2018, 09:44:44 am
Purgatory is better than Inferno, because it doesn't feature Judge Dredd, and therefore he can't be written out of character.

I've got a guilty soft spot for Purgatory - it is crass, puerile, derivative and unpleasant, but it succeeds in its aims and, like all of Millar's work, tells a story well. (The story may be stupid, or riddled with lapses in logic, but he tells it well.)
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 19 August, 2018, 12:45:36 pm
Purgatory is better than Inferno, because it doesn't feature Judge Dredd, and therefore he can't be written out of character.

I've got a guilty soft spot for Purgatory - it is crass, puerile, derivative and unpleasant, but it succeeds in its aims and, like all of Millar's work, tells a story well. (The story may be stupid, or riddled with lapses in logic, but he tells it well.)

Whoops I  of course meant its Purgatory starting not Inferno... we'll have a lot else to talk about when we get to Inferno!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: TordelBack on 19 August, 2018, 07:23:26 pm
I've got a guilty soft spot for Purgatory - it is crass, puerile, derivative and unpleasant, but it succeeds in its aims and, like all of Millar's work, tells a story well. (The story may be stupid, or riddled with lapses in logic, but he tells it well.)

Me too. Pure nonsense, but gorgeous to look at, and well, fun - if you can accept the character named 'Grice' (who coincidentally bears a passing resemblance to former Judge Grice), it goes down fairly easy.  Inferno, because it mistreats so many characters and elements, is harder to swallow, despite being equally lovely to look at.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 19 August, 2018, 09:33:30 pm
So Kano finishes and its as good as I remember. Why its not more highy regarded I simply don't know, its wonderful. Now I will accept that its not Bad Company 2 or Bad Company wonderful, but its damned close.

I said this 9 years (gulp) ago:

Quote
Kano was great, better even than I remember and while very different in tone to the earlier Bad Company stories it really added to the whole mythos Milligan created and was a fantastic reworking of the whole old soliders finding it hard to live a normal life after a war. Great stuff.

That holds. It now has an added dimension as its provided me more reflections on the current stories. Old soldiers can't die and a good planet gives you what you need. I'd forgotten now many of the ideas of 'First Casulties' and 'Terrorists' have been set up here. I mean I was happy with my reading of those stories but this adds another level.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: TordelBack on 19 August, 2018, 10:22:48 pm
Be great if you could expand on this,  because the last two new series make not one jot of sense to me,  and my feelings on Kano are pretty much identical to yours!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Greg M. on 19 August, 2018, 10:40:55 pm
So Kano finishes and its as good as I remember. Why its not more highy regarded I simply don't know, its wonderful. Now I will accept that its not Bad Company 2 or Bad Company wonderful, but its damned close.

Not as strong as BC1 or 2 'cos:

1: It feels a bit superfluous. The story concluded as perfectly and definitively as possible at the end of the Krool Heart, and while the Kano story is fine as a coda, it can't have the same weight. Kano and Danny are defined by their relationship to each other and to the Krool. No Krool, no Danny (who are now the same thing anyway) means Milligan has to redefine Kano, and the result is interesting, but not as potent. (Even Kano realises this - look where he's going at the end.)

2: Art's not on the same level as 1 and 2. Again, it's good, but nowhere near as good. 'Scream Blue Murder' is a great cover though.

I do like the story, but I love BC1&2. Passionately.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: broodblik on 20 August, 2018, 03:42:38 am
Everything after BC 1 & 2 did not really fit in for me. Kano was alright but not in the same class as the proceeding stories.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 20 August, 2018, 09:46:20 pm
Be great if you could expand on this,  because the last two new series make not one jot of sense to me,  and my feelings on Kano are pretty much identical to yours!

Okay so I need to re-read the new stuff to nail this down - and as you can see I'm some way off that - but my first reading is that the first victim of war is truth and on that basis we can dispose of worrying about whats real and not, from either stories before. The stories have value and meaning, even if the truth isn't the facts we see before us, the truth is in what the characters represent and how they are used to expose the various real truths of war, the fate of veterans and the reasons behind war.

Okay that's reading one and the reading I've happy gone with to date and I genuinely thing is expressed in the story.

So in Kano we have a more literal possiblility. In Kano we get ghost of the victims of war solid and real on the planet that is home to those to those that need them. This is true of Kano's wife and child when that was what was needed, it was true of his fallen company when that was what was needed. It was a good planet.

Now maybe Earth is also a good planet and what's needed now is the truth behind the war. The truth of war. So it gives us what we need to learn that.

I have a reputation form getting this kinda thing wrong and I prefer my first reading of things but this is a nice alternative truth for me...

... did I say I often get these things wrong... speaking of which...
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 20 August, 2018, 09:50:13 pm
Speaking of alternative readings I meant to ask this as well last time about Firekind.

Do folks go with a literal reading as presented or the alternative reading that everything after Larsen's mask breaks down is his hallucinations?

I'm happy with both and enjoy the duel possibities, just wondered what others thought?
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: TordelBack on 20 August, 2018, 11:02:13 pm
Now maybe Earth is also a good planet and what's needed now is the truth behind the war. The truth of war. So it gives us what we need to learn that.

See, that's sort of how I was viewing it, or at least I was vacillating between your two interpretations, but the sticking point for me is that if Earth still exists, then the whole plot of the two original stories is also fantasy (yes, I am aware it's ALL make believe).  If the latter two stories weren't set on Earth, I think it would (mostly) work fine as you describe.

Deep down I believe Milligan just forgot he'd already destroyed Earth, but allowing that the man is cleverer than I could ever hope to be, I find myself opting for the 'the facts don't matter, because truth was the first casualty', and then in short order thinking 'why am I reading page after page of this nonsense, then, gorgeous art aside?'.

Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: AlexF on 21 August, 2018, 09:12:05 am
Being very clever and having a good memory for stories you write but probably have not re-read are not the same thing!

For what it's worth, my take on Bad Company (new style) is that Milligan wanted to tell stories about War and Truth and PTSD, and rather than inventing a bunch of new characters he re-used his existing, much beloved Bad Company and doesn't really care about continuity - but certainly with a large dose of 'if war reporting is all lies, who knows WHAT really happened in the past?

I also love the story Kano dearly, even if the art is just not quite as on fire as 1986 Brett Ewins.

As for Firekind, I'm definitely in the camp of 'it's all a hallucination, but it all really happened as well'.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: I, Cosh on 21 August, 2018, 10:34:43 am
Do folks go with a literal reading as presented or the alternative reading that everything after Larsen's mask breaks down is his hallucinations?
Never really considered this before and don't think it would add much to the story in itself. The best synthesis of the two would be that a hallucination brought on by a psychotropic environment is reality for Larsen and trying to proscribe what he can experience with reference to our own limited sensory apparatus is the unreal. The mode of storytelling attempts to simulate the new sensations and experiences of the character.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: TordelBack on 21 August, 2018, 01:47:38 pm
I've always assumed that what Larsen is experiencing isn't so much an hallucination as participation in the very-real psychic world of Gennyo-Leil (sp?).  After all, the drug the poachers are after comes from the lantrisants, the lantrisants are larval Gennyans, and allow control of the Kesheen - the "hallucinogenic" environment is actually integral to the linked consciousness of the world, which has real-world effects, and that's what Larsen experiences. How St Sebastian fits into all this I'm not so certain.

What's always interested me about Firekind is whether the lantrisants are named after Llantrisant in Glamorgan, and if so is there any significance to that...?
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: I, Cosh on 21 August, 2018, 01:54:30 pm
What's always interested me about Firekind is whether the lantrisants are named after Llantrisant in Glamorgan, and if so is there any significance to that...?
And is it the same Henrik Larsen who scored 3 goals in the Euro 92 semi-final?
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Tjm86 on 21 August, 2018, 04:40:10 pm
.... the lantrisants are named after Llantrisant in Glamorgan, ...?

Having just survived an incredibly torrid two years in that place, I hope not.  Likely to put me off the story for life if I start making that kind of association! :o
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 21 August, 2018, 09:41:54 pm
And so here we are Prog 842 has been and gone and I'm five issues into the 'Summer Offensive'... why has it taken so long for me to babble? Well truth be told I wanted to get past all the bluster and fuss and just give myself a chance to evaluate the stories as just that 2000ad stories. As frankly once past all the nonsense and I was pleasently surprised how little there was... well aside from a certain annoucement about a certain film, which I'd forgotten happened during all this... anyway yeah once past all that these actually aren't all that bad at all. Certainly in the context of the last few years.

Don't get me wrong they are far, far far from the best but they are also a long way from the worst. So lets do a chart run down, TOTP style... which I'm sure the creators of the Summer Offensive would have thought was soooo cooooool at the time.

And at Number 5 we have - Really and Truly ... which surprises me. I've always remembered this really fondly and quite enjoyed it last time I read it as I recall... but its so... pointless. Its just about nothing. I can neither hate nor enjoy it, glorious art aside, but then there's not a strip in this line-up that is any less than wonderful to look at. Its forgettable and that's the worse crime a 2000ad story can commit. Worse even than...

Number 4 Dredd - Inferno... which at least give me enough reason to truly hate it. Its bloody awful, but at least I care that its bloody awful!

Number 3 Big Dave I always bemoan this is a strip that proves the fact that 2000ad is such a broad church that it can host almost any story done well by being the exception that proves the rule. On this reading though it feels more like a 2000ad story in that it does what 2000ad does well, it takes a pop culture trope and makes it 2000ad's own. In this case it takes the massively popular at the time Viz comic and makes a 2000ad strip out of it. So strangely it is so very 2000ad... still don't think it fits in mind, but I do really enjoy it for its own sake.

Just held off the top spot at Number 2 we find Manic 5. I really enjoy this series it takes Mark Millar's greatest weakness on other strips and gives it a home where it works. Its takes his passion for thinking cranking it number 11 and builds a strip that really sustains that feeble idea. Its got no depth or value, but By George its relentless high octane fun and feels very 2000ad.

But top of the pops this week number one with a bullet is of course Slaughter Bowl John Smith finds a way to make a fantastic story even with the draft rules that seem to surround. Its not his best, but not John Smith's best is still better than most. He uses a frankly superb idea, of course 2000ad should have an armoured dinosaur racing story, like all the best ideas when you see it, it just seems so obvious. John Smith however doesn't just stop there he layers it with a deeply creepy background, fun, rich supporting and even background characters. So intriguing is Stanley - our potentially psychotic protagonist and his hard luck (or is it) story the cool gun toting giant killer reptiles almost becomes an unwanted distraction... well almost they are after all  cool gun toting giant killer reptiles. So yeah this is a superb strip.

The most chilling thing about the summer offensive ... well actually its the coming soon ads. Is that more Fleischer Rogue I see coming... oh and Clown 2... I hope these 'Offensive' strips stick around longer than the 8 episodes I think they all get!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: broodblik on 22 August, 2018, 02:58:03 pm
Number 3 Big Dave I always bemoan this is a strip that proves the fact that 2000ad is such a broad church that it can host almost any story done well by being the exception that proves the rule. On this reading though it feels more like a 2000ad story in that it does what 2000ad does well, it takes a pop culture trope and makes it 2000ad's own. In this case it takes the massively popular at the time Viz comic and makes a 2000ad strip out of it. So strangely it is so very 2000ad... still don't think it fits in mind, but I do really enjoy it for its own sake.

This is strip that made me stop buying the Prog  :'(
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: IndigoPrime on 22 August, 2018, 03:27:25 pm
Looking at that, the Summer Offensive was for me basically one of John Smith's weaker stories (a stretched-out Future Shock, to some extent), and a load of junk, albeit sometimes good-looking junk. As for Big Dave, just no. Like Millar's Robo-Hunter, its tone-deaf manner of repeatedly punching down made it feel wrong at the time, and it's intolerable trash for me now, on so many levels. And what a waste of Parkhouse's talents. (Incidentally, any Parkhouse fans: read Resident Alien, his rather fab comic with ex-2000 AD Peter Hogan. In another universe, that'd be in 2000 AD on a very regular basis.)
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: TordelBack on 22 August, 2018, 03:35:06 pm
Never heard of Resident Alien,  but Hogan and Parkhouse sounds right up my street!  Pleased to hear 'that notorious fantasist' is still writing too, wonder could he be lured back for something.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 22 August, 2018, 06:20:37 pm
Never heard of Resident Alien,  but Hogan and Parkhouse sounds right up my street!  Pleased to hear 'that notorious fantasist' is still writing too, wonder could he be lured back for something.

Well waste less time following my rambling nonsense here and more time following my rambling nonsense over at the New Comic Book Day Megathread where I've and other including Hawkmumbler have been shouting about how great this series if mini-series is since it started a good few years ago now.

IndigoPrime is right its excellent.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Link Prime on 23 August, 2018, 12:13:24 pm
Number 3 Big Dave[/b
This is strip that made me stop buying the Prog  :'(

Grud help me, I found it hilarious and still do.

Peaked with Costa Del Chaos though- the panel with Big Dave's plane on fire and crash landing in Tenerife was one of the handful of times I genuinely laughed out load reading the Prog.

Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 24 August, 2018, 09:51:09 pm
Well to be honest the Summer Offensive was a bit of a flash in the pan wasn't it. Okay so Inferno goes from bad to worse... or maybe worse to even worse... or even worse to unbelivably bad.... maybe unbeliev... well you get the idea, its just shocking (though as memory serves theres worse to come alas) its all change elsewhere and frankly its as if our little experiment never happened.

We get four 'mini-series' of two parts each, simple palette cleansers. To be honest there's nothing that really stands out - though I was wrong about no more Fleisher Rogue. Anyway its all a chance to catch breathe and it all feels quite safe after what's gone before.

In Prog 852 things get real though. With another launch Prog proper and its not bad. I mean it will be a long time I suspect until we get a 5 for 5 prog, but by now we've all readjusted our expectations right? Mean Arena doesn't really grab, but the opening to Tyranny Rex which follows it more than makes up for that. Its astonishing and just grabs you by the purple prose and powered by frankly astonishing art by Mark Buckingham - some of my favourite ever in 2000ad - we are just drawn straight into a conflicit we might not yet understand, but I can't help but be compelled by.

There is more gorgeous art in the welcome return of Robo-Hunter in a paletable form at long last. I'm a big fan of the Peter Hogan + Rian Hughes Sam Slade though I have to be honest, charming humour aside it doesn't get going in its opener. Slaine is much the same - Glenn Fabry turns in a treat for the eyes, even if the story feels reheated and in some ways is just that.

The thing is while I'm no complete detracter of the difference that Prog 842 introduced this feels like home. Its not a great Prog, though the art is uniformly fantastic, but there's a much richer sense of variety and even if these aren't the best, most compelling openers they give you enough to be glad to be back on familar ground.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Funt Solo on 27 August, 2018, 05:09:50 am
I haven't read prog 852 since it was published 25 years ago, so my opinion may have changed: but I recall liking things in this order (best first):  Tyranny Rex, Slaine, Robo-Hunter, Mean Arena, Dredd: Inferno.  And those last three could be in almost any order.

What's great about 2000AD is that there's quality to be had in all the strips (even when they're in some way sub par), you can probably guarantee that what you disliked was thought of fondly by some other readers and, most importantly, there was always something amazing going on.

1993 was a tricky year but I found Flesh: The Legend of Shamana interesting.  Then we got Firekind, Armoured Gideon, Slaughterbowl, Tyranny Rex and Canon Fodder.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 27 August, 2018, 09:14:52 am
... What's great about 2000AD is that there's quality to be had in all the strips (even when they're in some way sub par), you can probably guarantee that what you disliked was thought of fondly by some other readers and, most importantly, there was always something amazing going on.

Yeah I pretty much hold to this. I mean there are a few strips that book the trend but overall they tend to be the ones that commit that cardial 2000ad sin being dull and unmemorable. For just about ever strip I struggle with and mention here someone will find some reason to enjoy it, or often outright love it.

Its one of the joys of 2000ad and 2000ad fandom we're a diverse bunch!

1993 was a tricky year but I found Flesh: The Legend of Shamana interesting.  Then we got Firekind, Armoured Gideon, Slaughterbowl, Tyranny Rex and Canon Fodder.

I'll save this quote for then I get to the end of the year...
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 27 August, 2018, 04:22:48 pm
So an early start, and good use of breaks during a chore filled bank holiday find me flying through Progs and heading towards the end of 1993. To be honest since since 852 things have been ticking along quite nicely. Robohunter was a cute little short story replaced by an effective Ennis Strontium Dogs story. Dredd improves fractionally as 'Inferno' finishes and Millar does some... well not exactly passible but not as bad as 'Inferno' shorts. Mind 'Book of the Dead' has just started and over at another thread Jim (I think it was) said this was the worst Dredd Epic... now while I don't consider this an epic and I do recall its pretty poor its not 'Crusade' or 'Frankenstein Division' poor if memory serves.

The first 'book' of 'Tyranny Rex - De Ex Machina' is pretty damned excellent. Thrilling, intriguing and full of enough purple prose to surprise you that it actually reads really fluidly. 'Mean Arena' isn't too bad at all. I thought I hated this thrill and it does suffer from yet another charmless hard man hero - but to be honest its biggest problem is it all just feels a bit pointless and cliche - even for the time I suspect. It builds itself on numerous prison and future sport tropes. Its really does have nothing new to say at all BUT isn't as bad as many recent poor thrills.

Really though I'm here to talk about Slaine - Demon Killer. I love this period of Slaine and aside form the early stuff in the first run this is my favourite period of Slaine... yes I've said it I think this is better than 'Horned God' and even 'The King' (which I also prefer to 'Horned God' if I'm honest. Really enjoy this and the next book and think Dermot Power makes a good job of carrying on Glenn Fabry's frankly astonishing art in the first seven parts and as I recall continues to do a great job on Book 2.

Why this resonants with me more than more popular stories I'm not sure. I certainly enjoy a good Roman based story, and this is a little 2000ad does Asterix the Gaul in that there's a lot of fun and roman bashing. Its just here the roman do rather so the effects in ways other than twisted armour, broken spears and lumps and bumps!

But I think its more than that. Its not as if its freed all of the tired themes that Mills labours, however it does push them further back. Its almost as if Mills is liberated by the focus shifting to a lot of anarchic violence. By pushing his Millian thoughts a little to the side they perversely come across more effectively. By not ramming them down our throats and instead ramming axes through a variety of legionaries's torso's it all feels a bit more balanced.

Elfric is also pretty effective here, if a little gauche. He suits the excesses of the popularist view of the Roman Empire and all of Slaine benefits from no 'leyser' guns.

Looking forward to see how much this improvement sustains before the dip, or even crash starts. I'm confident that the next book is great, worry about the Robin Hood one, my confidence returns for the King Author one... but I think after that we'll be in a mire of subpar Slaine... his hit to miss rate is pretty bad in my eyes... or at least my memories minds eye.

We'll see huh...
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: TordelBack on 27 August, 2018, 08:30:22 pm
That Slaine journey will be interesting to watch!  While I had little or no time for this period of Slaine while it was running,  on reading it in the collections there was something good in most of it,  possible exception being the Braveheart one.  The Robin Hood one remains a favourite.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 27 August, 2018, 09:19:01 pm
That Slaine journey will be interesting to watch!  While I had little or no time for this period of Slaine while it was running,  on reading it in the collections there was something good in most of it,  possible exception being the Braveheart one.  The Robin Hood one remains a favourite.

Yeah have to be honest can't quite remember the order of things I know the Robin Hood one was in before I bailed first time round. Then the Arthur one is after that as that was just as I bailed, though I don't think I got to the second half... all the stuff after I've read since but I'm shakier on the order, but its all a bit rubbish as I recall, the crusades one and the Braveheart one?

Anyway still rattling through today and there are two very contrasting stories that are raising an eyebrow.

Timehouse should be an interesting piece. Its not, but it could have been. The strip I think its most similar to is Zippy Couriers, certainly in tone at least. The trouble is it lacked the courage of that series to be something different. Zippy Couriers knew what it was doing and how it could be so different to 2000ad while still having the drive to fit in. Timehouse could have worked just as well. A slice of life, if that slice of life has a 2000ad twist to it. In this case a house containing all of time. That should cover it, yeah.

Alas not so. It takes that premise, one with such promise and fumbles it by throwing so much in first time out. Not satisfied with a house holding all of time they throw in a fantasy land and Santa. Rather than build the cast we get like eleventyywelve folks chocked by about six plots (most very weak) and nothing gets to gel.

I do wonder if given more time and courage this could have worked. Hogan has real talent and its a great concept, alas this lacked conviction.

One strip that certainly doesn't lack conviction is Cannon Fodder it knows what it wants to be and blasts out the blocks to try to achieve that. The trouble is what it wants to be is Mark Millar doing John Smith and we don't need that cos we have John Smith doing John Smith at this time and Mark Millar has about 0.024% of the guile of our Mr Smith.

Its a shame as it does somethings very well. I was surprised to find that it actually told a relatively simple story. It tricks you into thinking its all slippy and interesting, but its direct and straightforward. In doing that it hangs on loads of bells and whistles in the same way that Timehouse does, however its simple story lets it get away with that. Its tries to push buttons and become better than it is but its forced and very deliberate, unable to relax it wants so badly to be what its not. That being as intelligent and as crafted as a John Smith story. Its uses shock value where John Smith can be shocking. It uses cheap thrills when John Smith can be thrilling. Its smart ass where as John Smith is smart.

Two tales of what could have been then.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 28 August, 2018, 09:15:43 am
1994 Specials

"Even bigger guns!!!" proclaims the 1994 Sci-Fi Special and in one sentence, with three exclaimation marks, we have neatly summarised one of 2000ad's biggest problems at this time. Why is that important, they might as well have said "With more pouches than a Liefeld comic!!!$%%£^!".

Anyway inside its not actually too bad an interesting John Smith Friday Rogue story, an okay Bix Barton, a slightly meandering Brigand Doom (what did happen to the gun?) an okay Manic 5 and an almost very interesting Strontium Dogs, with a very mysterious particle and I think views on religion. Not too bad for one of these Specials of this time. Even the reprint looks great and in the case of Dredd (the only Dredd is reprint which is interesting) one of my favs in 'I, monster' with Cam Kennedy.

The Winter Special is worthy of note for packing a LOT of strips in with hardly any filler, or text pieces. You really do get a lot of comic for your money. I mean, sure its not all good, but still.

Sonny Steelgrove makes his Dredd debut (I think its his first) Dredd, of course just another name for Alan McKenzie to write himself a paycheck (though to be fair I don't think he was the editor at this point?). This one, with Dredd inexplicably trapped in an interrogation cell with a prisoner,  isn't as smart I you get the impression it wants to be.

Two strips that made their debut never to return (I think maybe Tracer pops up again given it got an A-Z entry recently, don't remember it doing so???) in Canned Heat and Tracer, neither is really missed. A handy dandy recap in Brigand Doom, Toa do Moto seems to set up a sequel which we never get? A Tharg strip showing these once fun little sideshows have lost much of their charm. We also get two stories setting up the next appearance of characters in the Prog in Janus and Manic 5. Neither of which really add to the final product if we're honest.

So yeah a lot of bang for your (comic)book. Much of it foreshadowing stuff that will appear in 1994 (I think) but a lot of it never really seeing light of day. So the Winter Special becomes a very real testing ground... which in a couple of years will really pay off big time, but thats for 1996.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: IndigoPrime on 28 August, 2018, 10:29:47 am
That's the ’93 special, isn't it? For me, that was a major comedown. 1992's special was one of my favourite 2000 AD things at the time – some fab Nemesis, a chilling Indigo Prime, and a decent Blackblood. (Let's ignore Millar Does Misogyny… Again in the otherwise nicely illustrated Tales From Beyond Science.) And then 1993 was just so… inconsequential. A dumping ground for crap the publisher no longer had space for elsewhere (what with Altern-8, or whatever it was called, not being greenlit), surrounded by other crap. Also, quite what someone was thinking with the Psi Div uniform designs feature, I don't know.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Greg M. on 28 August, 2018, 05:52:10 pm

Sonny Steelgrove makes his Dredd debut (I think its his first) Dredd, of course just another name for Alan McKenzie to write himself a paycheck (though to be fair I don't think he was the editor at this point?). This one, with Dredd inexplicably trapped in an interrogation cell with a prisoner,  isn't as smart I you get the impression it wants to be.

The pseudonym was shared by Mackenzie and Tomlinson - though this is credited in a collected edition as a Mackenzie story, he says he didn't write it, so it must be a Tomlinson.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 28 August, 2018, 08:57:46 pm
That's the ’93 special, isn't it?

You are quite right of course I was foolishly using the annual years for the specials as well. Please replace all reference to 1994 with 1993...

Except here as I'm talking about Yearbook 1994 and in this case I mean that.

Its not that bad. I mean its not brilliant, but I was really down on these and they haven't been entirely terrible.

This one has a glorious and fun Dredd by Wagner and Burns. A forboding Tyranny Rex. A foreshadowing Luke Kirby. For... cute Rob-Hunter (the good Hogan and Hughes kind). A formidable Big Dave origin... and an okay Terror Tale.

Mind to balance that we get a pretty terrible Tharg, The Clown and Rogie (original) by Millar with some pretty ugly art.

Amongst all that there is the intriguing 'Burning Man'. Clearly this was meant to be the start of something by Ezquerra and ??? John Wagner according to Barney... I wonder what. I'm sure it will have been mentioned down the line somewhere but I can't remember where? Anyway interesting.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Greg M. on 28 August, 2018, 09:13:55 pm
Like Canned Heat and Tracer, Burning Man is a leftover from the aborted Earthside 8 comic. It's a shame nothing more came of it.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 28 August, 2018, 09:17:36 pm
Twofer from me this evening as we bring 1993 to an end with Prog 867

What a chuffin' annoyin' Prog. Not specifically the content, but an end of year Prog with three chuffin' new thrills starting... normally this would be a right pain, however fortunately my read / re-read block is clear and I'll be moving onto the new year pretty much straight away a quick trip to the nerd cave willin'...

Oh and how are those new thrills. Well first they are surrounded by needless Dredd and the end to Cannon Fodder that neither adds or takes away from what I said last night. Soul Gun Warrior and Revere Book III sit really well with better elements of the bold and thrusting teenage 2000ad. Smart and edgy, different and intriguing the very best of the new age. To be fair Mother Earth tries to be this too... its just not really there yet. Still it avoids the worst excesses of the bland hard man and so we'll give it the benefit of the doubt for now... mind as my memory of it is filled with much doubt I'm not sure why!

Anyway the end of 1993 says much the time we are in. Its trying really hard to find its place and at moments its youthful rigour and pretensions shine through as vital genius... but then like all teenagers at other times it can be a bit of a daft cock!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 28 August, 2018, 09:18:58 pm
Like Canned Heat and Tracer, Burning Man is a leftover from the aborted Earthside 8 comic. It's a shame nothing more came of it.

OH yes that's right, that's ringin' bells now. Thanks Greg it does explain why there are so many of these dotted around at the moment!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 30 August, 2018, 09:26:27 pm
Oh wow was just about to start yacking about stuff 1994 and I realised I'd not reviewed 1993

Mind in part that's cos I think I've said two key things already. Those being...

... What's great about 2000AD is that there's quality to be had in all the strips (even when they're in some way sub par), you can probably guarantee that what you disliked was thought of fondly by some other readers and, most importantly, there was always something amazing going on.

Yeah I pretty much hold to this. I mean there are a few strips that book the trend but overall they tend to be the ones that commit that cardial 2000ad sin being dull and unmemorable. For just about ever strip I struggle with and mention here someone will find some reason to enjoy it, or often outright love it.

Its one of the joys of 2000ad and 2000ad fandom we're a diverse bunch!

1993 was a tricky year but I found Flesh: The Legend of Shamana interesting.  Then we got Firekind, Armoured Gideon, Slaughterbowl, Tyranny Rex and Canon Fodder.

I'll save this quote for then I get to the end of the year...

And
 
Anyway the end of 1993 says much the time we are in. Its trying really hard to find its place and at moments its youthful rigour and pretensions shine through as vital genius... but then like all teenagers at other times it can be a bit of a daft cock!

And okay I only really said one of these and Funt Solo set me up with the other

Since I'm in a quotery mood (yes, yes that is a word) I said back in 1992 (review of)

Quote
Anyway 1993 beckons and this one is going to be very interesting. 1992 has brought us the green shots of recovery... 1993  will bring 2000ad's enfant terribles to test how robust they are... mind one of them John Smith will be coming into a bit of a purple (prose) patch, so I'm genuinely excited to see how the balances falls to this re-readers eyes.

And these three perfectly sum 1993 up. Its a damned interesting year with 2000ad really throwing itself to extremes.

Funnily enough I thought it would be the 'Summer Offensive' that was the main talking point this year, but really its just a bit of a side show, a blip in a otherwise highly entertaining year. Oh its been far from good, but while we're miles below the consistent quality of the early to mid 80s we're miles ahead of the lows a couple of years ago.

The best thing about 1993 is I bet if you stuck 50 life long 2000ad fans in a room and asked them which strips where good and which strips sucked in 1993 you'd get 50 very different answer... and a bit of a spat, until we all made up and huddled down at the bar to kiss and make up. After all just like villagers in some northern village in Gaul (sorry reading a lot of Asterix at the moment, its on my mind) we like nothing more than a good out ruck. Deep down however we love each other.

1993 really emphasizes that. Some of the stories are just brilliant, some of them are just terrible and you've seen my list here so I'll not harp on,  you've seen chunks of other folks likes and dislikes too. I disagree with 30% of what Funt Solo says above and it speaks to 2000ad that I do so while still agreeing to 70%. And 1993 is probably the finest example of the extremes 2000ad is capable of and that's why I suspect I've whittered more about this year than any other.

Its never been boring. At times its offered stuff that's as bad as anything that's been in the Prog. At other times its offered stuff that's as good as anything that's been in the Prog. Most importantly the middle ground is getting thinner and its never been boring, so ya know what I call this a win, even a big win.

As I recall I might be able to cut and paste this for my 1994 review. Lets rip into each other, then make up and hold hands as we find out in 1994.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: PsychoGoatee on 31 August, 2018, 07:17:49 am
Well said, good re-read reviews as always!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: AlexF on 31 August, 2018, 12:10:24 pm
I do seem to have a bit of an obsession with early 90s 2000AD, and I've never entirely understood why. Obviously part of it is that this is when I became a full-fledged read the Prog every week fan, primed by Tharg's hype machine to assume ever upcoming thrill was going to be the greatest thing ever.

But I think you've hit the nail on the head with the observation that although fans largely agree this was perhaps the worst of times for 2000AD (1995/1996 might be the last gasp of truly terrible?), there's very little agreement on which strips exactly were the good ones, and which were execrable.

I mean, everyone loves Button Man and Firekind, and everyone hates Mark Millar RoboHunter and Michael Fleisher Rogue Trooper but beyond that it's a toss-up.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 31 August, 2018, 10:11:34 pm
Fight. Fight. Fight - Prog 871

Fisticuffs dominate three strips in Prog 871. And in these scraps we see so much about this time and the differences between the folks that created them and their view of what makes 2000ad.

Round 1 sees a Mark Millar bout between Joe 'The Judge' Dredd (or at least an approximation there of) and Project 'Made of dead Russians' X in what I always call the "Worst Dredd Story EVEEEERRRRRR".

I can't, just can't let this tosh pass without comment... and when I say comment I mean whining about how awful it is.

This entire story is pointless, craftless (art aside) gash. It lacks any reason to exist, is utterly simple and worthless (art aside). This episode, its final though takes something utterly without merit (art aside) and at least makes you laugh with exasperation. In this fight Dreddy Dreadful stops the unstoppable monster, perviously, blasted, blown up and burnt with no apparent harm and beats him down by pistol whipping him and then punching him (there is a gun shot inbetween these two BUT the story has well established by this point that countless bullets have no impact). Its turns the banal into the ridiculous and then some.

Round 2 in a Millar / Morrison / Williams presentation we have Manchester's hardest man facing off with Britain's hardest from Teeside as Big Dave has a ruck with Ballser.

Now I've talked about Big Dave recently and I certainly don't dislike it and while I've said in the past it has no place in Tharg's organ I'm beginning to see how it might. The trouble is while its funny and the satire well targetted and direct in the way of Viz its a very limited strip and once its said its piece doesn't really have anything new to add what's gone before. And that's a perfect summary of this barney. Its boisterous and fun if really absolutely nothing new at all, even if its trying to be.

Rounnnnnnnnd 3 in a fight that's out of this world brought to you by the one and only Shakey 'Kane' 2000 we have Kim 'The Soul Gun Warrior' West vs. Uri 'Yes that one' Gagarin.

Now this one sees our two combatants fighting on top of a Space Shuttle, breaking through dimensional barriers while trading economic and political tit for tat, with genuine ingenuitity, sharp and purposeful satire and originality that befits the Galaxies Greatest. See this does what 2000ad does best - takes a popular cultural reference - in this case the slugfest - and spins it in a truly fresh and anarchic way.

The fight like the rest of this story is absolutely knockout.

So there we see in three strips doing basically the same thing in one Prog the great diversity we can get in 2000ad. In the same moment the vast diversity in quality we have at this time.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: AlexF on 03 September, 2018, 10:55:49 am
Honestly, I get the hate for 'Frankenstein Division', I really do, but I honestly kinda like the basic premise of the story. Goodness knows plenty of writers have gone to the well of 'what happened to the nuked-out remains of East Meg 1', and it's a fertile well.

The hateful thing, as you say, is that final episode, in which Dredd wins through sheer violence. Wagner and Grant would've come up with some clever or at least satisfying way to destroy the monster, even if it was just hitting it with yet more nukes. Or maybe the monster actually being a psychic projection of guilt from Dredd's colleagues (defeated by the relaisation that Dredd himself, doesn't feel guilty at all). I've never understood this passion of Millar's to have heroes winning battles by just punching more and harder. Is it some obsession with that old Spider-Man story where he throws off the heavy weight? Or just an inability to think up a plot-based conflict resolving solution?
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: TordelBack on 03 September, 2018, 01:54:13 pm
Honestly, I get the hate for 'Frankenstein Division', I really do, but I honestly kinda like the basic premise of the story.

The whole awful thing kinda hinges on Justice Dept generously repatriating all the Sov Judge corpses from MC-1 after the war (instead of shovelling them into giant burial pits, as they tend to do with their own citizens when Resyk can't handle it).  The TADs surely can't have left much in the way of bodies to work with in East Meg 1.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Dark Jimbo on 03 September, 2018, 04:54:27 pm
The whole awful thing kinda hinges on Justice Dept generously repatriating all the Sov Judge corpses from MC-1 after the war (instead of shovelling them into giant burial pits, as they tend to do with their own citizens when Resyk can't handle it).

Not only that, but the Sovs somehow knowing which of the (tens of?) thousands of dead were killed specifically by Dredd himself...!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: AlexF on 04 September, 2018, 10:47:26 am
OK, fair points on the lack of believable logic there! But the giant man-monster made of stitched together recipients of Dredd's bullets is, for me, a decent stab at a villain concept. Especially as rendered by King Carlos.

But I'm done defending the story, don't worry!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: TordelBack on 04 September, 2018, 10:55:38 am
But the giant man-monster made of stitched together recipients of Dredd's bullets is, for me, a decent stab at a villain concept. Especially as rendered by King Carlos.

Point and point.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 04 September, 2018, 10:15:54 pm
Quote
The best thing about 1993 early 1994 is I bet if you stuck 50 life long 2000ad fans in a room and asked them which strips where good and which strips sucked in 1993  early 1994 you'd get 50 very different answer... and a bit of a spat, until we all made up and huddled down at the bar to kiss and make up

See, see. Do you see what I mean!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Funt Solo on 05 September, 2018, 12:29:44 am
1994 doesn't start well: Frankenstein Division, Big Dave, Soul Gun Warrior, Mother Earth and Revere.  Even the "Tharg's Thrill Archives" on the back covers are promoting some lower echelon series: Universal Soldier, Wire Heads and Trash.

It does pick up, though, with the Journal of Luke Kirby (Sympathy for the Devil) and Tyranny Rex (Deux Ex Machina) being the top tier, Dinosty providing the Marmite and Judge Dredd (The Sugar Beat) and Rogue Trooper (Scavenger of Souls) being the margarine (in a convoluted sandwich metaphor that's making me increasingly hungry). 

Later, The Clown (Behind the Painted Mask) becomes the best thing in the prog.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Aaron A Aardvark on 05 September, 2018, 08:23:10 am
Frankenstein Division, Big Dave, Soul Gun Warrior, Mother Earth and Revere.  Even the "Tharg's Thrill Archives" on the back covers are promoting some lower echelon series: Universal Soldier, Wire Heads and Trash.
We're approaching the point when I returned from my Long Walk so right now that's just a collection of random words for me.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Greg M. on 05 September, 2018, 05:58:50 pm
... and Revere.

1994 may not start well, but the presence of Revere, one of the finest stories ever published in the prog, is at least something. Interesting to see how it reads on a week in week out basis - it is spectacularly powerful read as a whole, but it really hits its stride in book 2, once the direction of the series becomes clear.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 05 September, 2018, 09:24:59 pm
... and Revere.

1994 may not start well, but the presence of Revere, one of the finest stories ever published in the prog, is at least something. Interesting to see how it reads on a week in week out basis - it is spectacularly powerful read as a whole, but it really hits its stride in book 2, once the direction of the series becomes clear.

Yeah I shouldn't have let Revere pass without special comment. Its been a great series, particularly the final two books. Simon Harrison is just a brilliant artist and carries a story that is both complex and engaging without missing a beat.

Intersting then to compare it to 'Dinosity' which started in Prog 873 and I'm now four parts into. Clint Langley's art, while now fantastic on the right strip, is just cluttered here and the storytelling is pretty poor. That said I'm not sure its telling much of a story.

Two other stories coming out of the same launch Prog are very weak as well. There's a simply terrible 'Rogue Trooper' and editorial tidying of Michael Fleisher's work under the guise of Falco isn't saving this one.

'Sugar Beat' in Dredd is just a horrible waste of some of Ron Smith's best work in the Prog for a while, it looks just glorious. This story however would be as discussed with Robo-Hunter classic 'Football Crazy' for its casual racism if it was any better. As it is its very poor and pretty dull and hence draws no attention to itself and its rubbish and relentless use of sterotypes. The highlight by part 4 has been the amusing fact that Dredd has been carting his hold all around with him since he landed in Hideoussterotypeville or whatever the place is called. That was pretty funny to be honest. The rest is crap.

So thank Tharg for Luke Kirby and Tyranny Rex then huh. These aren't good times however good those two series are.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 07 September, 2018, 09:17:07 pm
Boy and I thought swapping out Luke Kirby for Grudge-father in Prog 878 was a bad deal and the we get to

Prog 881

Didn't think we'd get to this but the line-up in this Prog is:

Dredd - by Steelgrave and Austin
Grudge-father - Millar and McCarthy (Jim)
Dinosity - Mills and Langley
Robo-Hunter - Millar and Jacob
Clown 2 - Goldkind and Bliss

For me, on paper that a 0 out of 5. Haven't seen that before. I mean its not necessarily the creative line-ups. I've loved some Mills and Langely, but Dinosity is a muddy mess and... well some of the artists are top draw... but ouch...

As it happens I quite like the Manchu Candidate. As I recall (well from some comments here that I remember, not my shakey noggin!) it doesn't really go anywhere, or at least the Sino City stuff. But as a story its okay.

When you look at that line up and reflect on Tyranny Rex: Deus Ex Machina which has just departed, you begin to realise that during this time the Prog is hanging on with a few fine, fine writers and whatever they produce. John Smith showed an absoutely devine skill in using the two parts of this Tyranny story to shift tone, and in the second part, for large parts at least, as Tyranny becomes her old self the purple prose disappears and its a gloriously realised race against time. The clock being counted in nuns and approaching sea horses. The world then crashes and Tyranny ascends and the tone shifts again with it. Even though its not Smith's best its a masterclass...

... but he's one man and while some others pop up with gems, with Mills in a real low point and Wagner off busy elsewhere and Ennis called away it shouldn't really be a surpise we came to this!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Jim_Campbell on 07 September, 2018, 09:21:51 pm
Yeah. We’re at the absolute bottom here. I think I singled out 883 as the worst prog ever, but it’s probably got the same line-up… anyone who says any prog in the last twenty years was “as bad as the 90s” clearly never read anything in the 880s.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 07 September, 2018, 10:04:51 pm
Yeah. We’re at the absolute bottom here. I think I singled out 883 as the worst prog ever, but it’s probably got the same line-up… anyone who says any prog in the last twenty years was “as bad as the 90s” clearly never read anything in the 880s.

I actually read 883 tonight as well and I think I agree that 883 is probably worse. The difference is of course is Dinosity or Babe Race 2000 worse. The answer is simple, while Dinosity is an awful mess at least its not an apalling awful mess like Babe Race 2000.

Just that 881 was the first to get to the 0 out of 5 thrills that meant I popped for that.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 09 September, 2018, 09:32:45 pm
Blooming heck these are rough times.

882 - same line up as 881 and just as bad

883 - as alluded to Dinosity gives way to Babe Race 2000 - which a real 2000ad low point (the story as well as the Prog), just a nasty strip.

884 - Grudge Father steps aside for the return of Luke Kirby in the satisfying but not as good as the previous teo Sympathy with the Devil and John Higgins plays with Dredd, so two postives.

885 - Robo-Hunter is replaced with a weak Bradley I didn't really enjoy, but did more than Robo-hunter. Its not an improvement worth getting too excited about

886 - We have the line-up that will see us through to relaunch. Dredd (very poor), Clown, Babe Race, Luke Kirby and Bradley. Its rough. The most interesting thing is the fact that the Dredd seems to be a story very much lost in time  as its clearly a direct follow up from Inferno, and we didn't need reminding about that!

887 and 888 as you where then.

So there we have it. Early to mid 1994 stamps over those green shoots of recovery. Firmly. Roll on Prog 889 and its all new line-up... the back cover of 888 gives me some hope that things will get better but from this lowest of low points that's not really saying much is it!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Lobo Baggins on 11 September, 2018, 08:40:41 am
Ugh - you'd think something called Babe Race 2000 would be sexy and funny, and failing that, sexy OR funny. But it's neither.  It doesn't even have a plot, it's just a load of mindless dismemberments.

Who was this even aimed at?
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Link Prime on 11 September, 2018, 09:15:59 am
Who was this even aimed at?

Teenage me.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 11 September, 2018, 09:31:54 pm
Well lets move past all that and enjoy what the relaunch prog 889 has to offer hey and by George its a solid turn around... I mean its not perfect but thank Tharg its step in the right direction. Mind it has the MASSIVE advantage of

WAGNER BACK ON DREDD...

... okay so Time Machine isn't the best but

WAGNER BACK ON DREDD

... the follow up Conspiracy of Silence is shapin' up nicely... even if Mark Harrison just doesn't seem ready for the big time yet. He has his traditonal storytelling issues but added to this some dodgy anatomy... he goes much better pretty quickly as I recall...still

WAGNER BACK ON DREDD.

There's much more to say about the stories coming out of 889, but that can wait for now I'll just revel on...

... well you got it by now.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 12 September, 2018, 10:09:42 pm
So the post 889 line-up starts to draw to a close. In Prog 896 two thrills end. But before I get to them I'll just segway to my old sparing partner Rogue Trooper which has tried to spread its wings.

In 889 it got a new creative team in a four part story. The ever brilliant Henry Flint, maybe not fully formed, but still really great on the eye in this his first (it was his first right?) 2000ad work. New (wayhey) writer Steve White tries what I think is a new narrative trick of having captions giving narrative from Rogue ... this might not be new but its the first time for quite some time I've been paying enough attention to really notice if not... anyway all it serves to do is make me find new ways to think Rogue is a bit of a rubblish character... when will I learn each time I see something new on this series I give it a try, with as open a mind as possible... by its return in 896 I'm already losing hope.

Still 889 did bring a number of strips I enjoyed to varying degrees. Firstly Mambo which to be honest I've not paid a great deal of attention to before. It first appeared when I was living it up at Uni and I'm not sure how engaged I got with it when catching up getting home. In subsequent re-reads I think I'd set it in my head it was a bit rubbish and again not really invested. Which is a shame cos its pretty good. Future cop, body horror pretty much gets you up to speed with what its about.

It does have one major fault and that's the way rather than trying to weave the back story into the developing adventure, after an all too brief introduction of a couple of parts, we get a great big 3 and 1/2 part sloppy dollop of back story ejaculated all over us. The thing is its very enjoyable. Just messy and all loose in its delivery. Shame as part 7 inserting back into the 'current' story we were so abruptly pulled out of, is just superb and the fate of Mambo's father is gloriously grim even for the body tentacle shocker. I'm really looking forward to this returning as I remember nowt about them and hopefully with the sticky matter of that setup thrust so harshly into our thrill holes out the way, we'll be able to grab the extending flesh bits and run.

No such problem in Slaine, which I really love. The tale of Boudica and Slaine rampaging through Roman Britain until their inevitable defeat is just great fun. The violence and adventure stride to the forefront and the revisiting of the same themes slides patiently to the background. Not gone, which is a good thing, but not dominant and smoothering. Characters are wonderfully black and white, while shaded in grey superficially.

The art however radiates wonderful painted colour used so well, as so often its not.

Elfric and all the El stuff so gunned down by lasers in the past is allowed to shine in true fixed grin evil. Seriously this is all some of my favourite Slaine stuff. As I've said I rate this stuff more than ya Horned God. Okay so I should whine about some historical stuff that Pat's famous research got a little wrong - based on my historical research, but then I don't recall there being a 20 foot warped warrior and a blue demon in any of the stuff I read so best to move on and just roll in the fun.

More stuff will be ending soon and I WILLBETELLINGYOU all about it...
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 13 September, 2018, 09:31:20 pm
Time for some quick points as we take a break before the interesting experiment that is Prog 900.

1. Chris Standley - who I don't remember doing anything else in the Prog (we got a thread for that now) did a couple of really interesting and fun Dredds in 'Moving Violation' and 'TV Babies'.

2. Peter Doherty on art duties for both sure helps.

3. Mike White's cameo on Armoured Gideon might be a lot shorter than I remembered but by George (or Frank, or Bill, Or Rick, Or Wolfie...) what a trimpuh it is.

4. I really don't like those caption boxes in Rogue Trooper.

5. But I really do like Henry Flints proto-art on it.

6. Happy with the short return of Strontium Dogs, its a fun little turn.

7. Very happy with the short return of Brigand Doom. My theory that this strip was a classic deminishing returns was utter poppycock. This last thrill (is it???) is absolutely great.

8. Arh the movie news in 898 ... I remember getting so excited about it all.

9. The Wagner Dredd in 899, with Ron Smith, is great and I don't help but think it was intended to be an 'intro' Dredd for a jump on Prog. Very possibly 900 before the Rogue experiment.

10. I have no memory of the 'Jaguar' games console that gets a full page spread in 899

11. I've always had very fond memories of Armoured Gideon 'The Collector' and it really hold up. Its such fun. The appearance of the old characters has a really good context provided by The Collector and feels more than a cheap way to appeal to the old crowd, while at the same time being just that... which meant it appealed to me then and now. Oh and Frank Weitz remains a superb character... is this it for Armoured Gideon too? If so like Brigand Doom it ends on a high... if either of them end...
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: I, Cosh on 14 September, 2018, 07:47:55 am
10. I have no memory of the 'Jaguar' games console that gets a full page spread in 899

The only thing you need to know is there was a fighting game with a Scotchman who could  shoot fireballs from under his kilt[/url. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L-SFpdOgCdM)
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: abelardsnazz on 14 September, 2018, 12:38:22 pm

1. Chris Standley - who I don't remember doing anything else in the Prog (we got a thread for that now) did a couple of really interesting and fun Dredds in 'Moving Violation' and 'TV Babies'.

I seem to recall him receiving a co-writing credit on some Tyranny Rex - Soft Bodies, possibly - although neither Barney nor Wikipedia confirm this. Any of the hive mind know?
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Jim_Campbell on 14 September, 2018, 12:54:47 pm
I seem to recall him receiving a co-writing credit on some Tyranny Rex - Soft Bodies, possibly - although neither Barney nor Wikipedia confirm this. Any of the hive mind know?

Yes. I remember a couple of co-writing credits with Smiffy (he also introduced John to German goth band 'Love Like Blood'* which John then used on the series of the same name) and he created Harmony for the Meg, I think.


*Yes, yes, I thought it was a Killing Joke reference, too…
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 14 September, 2018, 09:26:30 pm
10. I have no memory of the 'Jaguar' games console that gets a full page spread in 899

The only thing you need to know is there was a fighting game with a Scotchman who could  shoot fireballs from under his kilt[/url.
 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L-SFpdOgCdM)

Wow... that's a ... thing...
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Funt Solo on 14 September, 2018, 10:52:52 pm
 We Scots can all shoot fireballs from under our kilts, but we don’t like to show off.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 23 September, 2018, 09:05:17 pm
Prog 900

DREDD vs ROGUE TROOPER - first ever Prog long story. Wagner and Higgins for like 28 pages. Roxilla ... well okay let's skip that... all out ACTION...

... you'd think I'd have a lot to say about it wouldn't you. After all I've woffled this much nonsense so far... trouble is its all a bit bland. Feels cranked together and weak. Even Higgins art feels half hearted and washed out.

Such a shame, such a wasted opportunity.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 24 September, 2018, 09:31:13 pm
Well the mini-series in Progs 901 - 903 frankly weren't that good but these Progs are more significent for something else I'll get to.

Firstly the three issue shorts and what each of thrm lacked.

1. Durham Red - lacked a sense of any significence. The apparent 'depth' revealed by the dream sequence and trying to connect Red with her gothic loneliness felt trite.

2. Rogue Trooper - lacked pretty much everything. Not a fan of the character, its written by Millar - though arguibly far from his worse in the Prog and Chris Weston on his way, but not quite at his current greatness.

3. Bradley - lacked a point and good jokes

4. Nemesis - lacked a follow-up which was entirely necessary after this recap to bring us up to speed. I not a big fan of Clint Langley's art of this period either.

So while these shorter thrills was an interesting idea alas the execution was lacking...

... but the worse sin of these Prog is in Dredd as Wagner and Gibson turn Death into a pantomine entirely.

Still all this didn't last long and there's better things to come.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 29 September, 2018, 05:36:59 pm
So Prog 904 gives us a fresh line-up and there will be much to talk about in the coming posts.

We have another Dredd cross-over in Wilderlands, can it learn lessons on how to do this from Judgement Day?

Can Mills, Patrick, Uncle learn lessons from previous ABC Warriors in Hellbringer... though he is still hangin' with that Skinner ne'er-do-well down the bussie.

Can Button Man II keep up the exquisite form of Book I?

But for immediate attention what can we learn from Big Dave 'Wotta lotta Balls' and Robo-Hunter - Metrobolis. Well we learn why Big Dave isn't a 2000ad story that's what.

Wotta Lotta Balls is - I think - Morrison, Mills and Parkhouses last Big Dave story. It doesn't change from what's gone before. Its buff, hard and funny. What it lacks in guile it more than makes up for in git and punching humour. Its a fun comic strip, just not a good 2000ad one.

Over in Metrobolis Hogan and Hughes return Robo-Hunter to former glories, yes I really do like this story that much. Its great. Its got the humour, its got the action but its also got the guile and the witty charm. And its thos elast two that Big Dave lacks and why it feels so at odds with 2000ad. A good 2000ad story tackles its subjects with punch and violence, with grim energy and agression But alongside that they almost always have a bit more guile than Big Dave has to offer. They have charm and don't need to bash you in the face with their message and scream how witty they are.

We're seen other strips do the and they too fail, but I think none lack the subtly quite the way Big Dave does... I'm not saying 2000ad stories are subtle, often far from it on the surface, but when they have a point they don't just punch you in the face with it so relentlessly... well unless Unca Pat is in one of his narks!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 29 September, 2018, 06:28:16 pm
Tell you one thing we'll learning nothing from Red Razors except what a bloody waste of Nigel Dobbyn's superb art it is!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 29 September, 2018, 08:56:25 pm
Well aren't I the chatternbox today. I'm rattling through the Progs and have answered all my questions:

Quote
Can Mills, Patrick, Uncle learn lessons from previous ABC Warriors in Hellbringer... though he is still hangin' with that Skinner ne'er-do-well down the bussie.

Well kinda, kinda not. Its a bit hard to tell as the whole putting the band back together thing is so tired. Its nice in that it allows a focus on each Warrior in turn so we learn about them but this is like the second time at least its been done and it'll happen so much in the future its hard to remember whether it felt this much of a drag back in the day or not.

Quote
Can Button Man II keep up the exquisite form of Book I?

Of course it can. Bloomin' great and I may have more to say when I'm done with it... we'll see.

Quote
We have another Dredd cross-over in Wilderlands, can it learn lessons on how to do this from Judgement Day?

No, no they haven't. I've gone purist route again and just read the Progs and frankly it turns this story into a jumbled mess. Which is a shame as under all that there's a good long form story struggling to break out and it nicely ties off a couple of years worth of plotline very effectively.

It does have some really awkward bit outside format problems and largely on the art side I feel bound to say. Carlos is of course great but this is at the height of his Dredd as Beefcake phase and he's just to big here for my tastes. He's also at the start of experimenting with computers and it makes much of the art look much worse than it is. Those red background and wordart sound effects are really jarring. The colouring sees overfussly to and I think that's a product of some computer tomfoolery. These problems I know I felt at the time so its not just a case of backwards reflection.

Still at the core its a good story and the best praise I can give it is that this diminished read has made me want to go back and read it properly with the Meg stories included again... oh and I completely forgot about the Mike Austin fill-in.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 30 September, 2018, 10:07:35 pm
Specials 1994

Can't remember if I'd mentioned this but since we have the Meg the Judge Dredd Specials and Yearbooks have become extentions of that comic. Which Judgement Day and the recently mentioned Wilderlands prove I'm far to lazy to drag into this re-read so I'm down to the 2000ad Sci-Fi Special Winter Special and Yearbooks (which will drop off soon).

Anyway this year the two specials are the usual mixed bag. Mind there's some common ground. Both have nice Brigand Doom with solid stories but wonderful art with Dave D'Antiquist's water colours really adding a fresh tone to his already superb work. They both have cute enjoyable text features by Alan McKenzie (if the talk of Alan being Roxilla is true). They also have effective one off, a Tale from Beyond Science in the Sci-fi a Terror Tale in the Horror themed Winter Special.

The Sci-Fi has a nice Robo-Hunter (Hogan and Jacobs) and some good art, but not much else aside.

The Winter Special, as is ever the case it would seemhas a little more on offer. A fun Dredd by Wagner and Burns - fantastic art, A decent Durham Red story and a harmless Tharg... so it tips i, but never is a standout.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 02 October, 2018, 09:47:34 pm
Well at times like this we have to keep on keeping on. So...

2000ad Year book 1995

Last one and it would be nice to say it ends on a show stopper (yes I am watching that as I type) but alas... well okay there is some good. Firstly that cover just great. Then you open it and are welcomed by glorious Baike spread so perfectly designed for the gatefold format. The rest of the story is pretty good too.

The rest of the new content is just weak however, really weak. A dumb Tharg story, a shoulder shrug of a Terror Tale followed by a whine of a Bradley. The blandest Brigand Doom to date and the mind-blowingly bad Babe Race 2000... I mean that was special it was so horrible...

Then we get some nice padding reprint before a horrible Rogue Trooper to wrap up.

Such a shame such a lush format never really took off and then landed with a bump...
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 03 October, 2018, 09:56:06 pm
Prog 918 and the end of 1994

So there we have it I pick up the next Prog in my pile 918 and Carlos is on Dredd. This might not be my favourite period of his. His Dredd is really built and he's experimenting with computer colouring and its not always working.... but still bloody hell its magnificent. The story is so clear, the art so hard. One thing that isn't often talked about that struck me reading this in a reflective mood is how fantastic his vehicle design is. Everything looks so function, real and solid, yet carries a sense of the outlandish and futuristic. He does it with the city but looking tonight it was the vehicles that struck me... don't know why, maybe I'm just looking at things I've taken for granted before with fresher eyes...

...the other thing that struck me was how indicative of this time that opening Dredd is when cast against McRoxvillal's Mix next to it. Everything that's classic and cool about 2000ad sat right next to everything that some folks in the Prog at the time thought was classic and cool and was actually a bit annoying and souless.

Now I accept that 'Mix' is low hangin' fruit and all that but it was a very interesting contrast. The Dredd story 'The Vote' is straightforward, smart and perfectly dressed. Its the Fronz. Stood next to 'Mix' it just oozes cool 'cos it doesn't feel like its trying, it knows what it is, it done by two masters and its happy with that and respect their audience too. Mix is pushing, pushing, pushing its telling you of bands I've never heard of and I'd imagine few 2000ad fans will have... but it thinks its better than you because of it. It thinks its looking down at me from on high... alas its worked so hard to get to that high ground its just looks a bit silly as kip around to the next thrill...

...anyway the end of 1994 is annoying for more practial reason, its back to that old habit of not ending stories at the end of the year. All over the place this year stories at all sorts of stages... I hanker for the order we have these days!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Funt Solo on 03 October, 2018, 11:01:19 pm
I don't think I ever read the Mix articles, although there's always been an attempt at covering entertainment media in some form or another.

Action Video 82-83
Cinefax 82-83
Flix 87-91
Bitz 88-92
Mix
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Funt Solo on 03 October, 2018, 11:18:02 pm
What I meant to post was:

I don't think I ever read the Mix articles, although there's always been an attempt at covering entertainment media in some form or another.  Most of that's in the Megazine now, but in the prog it was going for a while:

Ro-Jaws' Robo-Review 79-83
Towards 2000 81-82
Action Video 82-83
Cinefax 82-83
Sci-Fi Book Scan 82-83
Tharg's Mighty Micro Page 82-85
Flix 87-93
Bitz 88-93
Vidz 88-95
Mix 89-95

I think the chaos vs order is an interesting one.  On the one hand, I'd have loved it if The Marauders (Rogue Trooper, 282-289) had been done by a single artist.  My preference would have been Cam Kennedy because I liked his Nort hoppers the best.  But on the other hand chaos can produce some amazing creativity. 

Take early Warhammer models: Squig Hoppers (basically space hoppers being ridden by goblins) and Doom Divers (suicidal goblin hang gliders) are wonderfully creative.  Modern Warhammer has turned into World of Warcraft on the tabletop.  It seems a lot more corporate and a lot less creative.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 04 October, 2018, 09:36:14 pm
I think the key difference is where the older text pieces seemd to embrace their audience as time has gone on 'Mix' has increasingly self indulgent... unless 2000ad fans all turned into dance freaks in the mid ninties... I mean I did dance a lot in the middle 90s but not to anything 'Roxilla' was pimipin'
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 05 October, 2018, 09:36:36 pm
I predicted I would be able to just copy and paste my review of 1993 for 1994 as its all about ups and downs, highs and lows... and it is... but its no copy and paste job. To understand why let me take you... take you back to 1994.

See in 1994 I was at University of Sheffield, 1st year into 2nd. My comic reading had almost stopped entirely and only maybe Cerebus for a little longer and 2000ad still be delievered to my parents house. I'd still read it when I came home, but it was a quick ripe through before going here and there, taking this and that... and I've always kinda assumed that was why I don't really recall this period with any depth. My drifting from comics, the fact these Progs hadn't been lavished over the way Progs in the past had.

It was me, not them. I'd changed, we'd grown apart.

This seemed to hold as comics I'd previously enjoyed in the 700s and 800s proved to be a bit rubbish and the recovery started sooner than I'd thought...

... then 1994

See just like 1993 it is highs and lows, ups and down... but the man the lows are about as low as they get, they really are. The period at the beginning of the year in the 880s was, I think about as bad as they Prog has ever been... ever... I don't think it will get close to being this bad again, though time will tell. Thankfully this absolute low doesn't last too long, 10 progs maybe less.

The only thing that stops the recovery from stalling entirely is it is ups and downs and as such there are some real highs. The problem is they aren't as frequent and often quite as good. I mean sure we get Wagner back on Dredd which isn't to be sniffed at BUT it stumbles with Wilderlands... at least as I read it in the Prog alone.

We get the simply brilliant Button Man II, but good as it is, and it is good its not the revalation of the first which felt so fresh and different. John Smith steps back a little and while both the end of Deus Ex Machina and Revere are good there's not much else. All to often therefore we have to turn to the middle order to find our thrills. Brigand Doom, Armoured Gideon and new strips like Mambo while all having good outings shouldn't standout, against much of 1994 they do.

I'm not sure its the worst year in thrill power, even if it does have the very worst Progs, but it could be.

So we head into 1995 stumbling, but that's okay looks what's coming, optimism is building, a film is on the way and that can only be a good thing... right... I mean how can that go wrong...
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Funt Solo on 05 October, 2018, 10:42:06 pm
I've always considered Wilderlands a bit ropey.  The central premise was just difficult for me to accept: another Earth on the opposite side of the sun from us.  Also, it hasn't been mentioned since.  It's hardly canon.  I should re-read it, though: because I never have.

I think, a bit like you, I was so busy enjoying a social life back then that the sub-par parts of the comic didn't bother me much.  And it never got re-read, unlike the 80s, which got re-read until they almost disintegrated. 

(Well, I did re-read Phase IV, but that's special.)
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: TordelBack on 06 October, 2018, 01:23:27 am
Also, it hasn't been mentioned since.  It's hardly canon. 

The utterly daft Hestia* might not have been mentioned again,  but plenty of other elements from Wilderlands go on to be pretty important: Dunesharks, Judge Castillo, and McGruder's second fall from grace.


*Lets just assume it's a particularly large dwarf planet with a bizarre orbit,   and that it and Pluto were reclassified with the advent of a manned presence in the outer solar system.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: AlexF on 06 October, 2018, 02:17:49 pm
The real problem with Wilderlands is that it's a Megazine epic shoehorned into the Prog. It's the culmination of the Mechanismo storyline (all in the Meg), and the quite brilliant Prologue + Tenth Planet storylines that ran in the Meg just before the epic proper started.

Oh, and the fluffed reveal of who the killer is in the final episode didn't help either.

As someone who always read the Mix pages and never understood a word, I would say that I genuinely believed I was supposed to like this kind of music if I was a 2000AD fan. But the closest I ever got to House music was Snap! and 2Unlimited on Now 24.

Of course, A. McKenzie's tenure as Tharg is pretty much over come 1995, although he'll appear several more times in the credits box as writer. Wonder what kind of music John Tomlinson was into?
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Frank on 06 October, 2018, 04:29:48 pm
Wonder what kind of music John Tomlinson was into?

UB40


Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: TordelBack on 06 October, 2018, 05:02:17 pm
The real problem with Wilderlands is that it's a Megazine epic shoehorned into the Prog. It's the culmination of the Mechanismo storyline (all in the Meg), and the quite brilliant Prologue + Tenth Planet storylines that ran in the Meg just before the epic proper started.

Hmm,  I tend to lump Tenth Planet into Wilderlands,  in the same way I throw The Connection in with Origins - one really only exists to set up the other.  As a result I notice that my list of "important things" from the latter are actually all in the former.

For the record,  and given the week that's in it, at the time I loved Ezquerra's compu-colouring in Wilderlands. I thought it was amazing.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 06 October, 2018, 05:14:31 pm
Actually now you mention it AlexF its completely true that Wilderlands is eddentially a Meg story cramed into the Prog. Given that all the stories set up in the Prog never really took off and Wagner moved back across it kinda makes sense to bridge things but is jarring for the pure Prog reader as I am (in simulation) now. Damnit though this makes me want to go back and read all the Meg stories that lead up to this...

...thank Tharg I'm too lazy to actually do it. Someone hand me Prog 921 will ya...
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Greg M. on 06 October, 2018, 06:16:08 pm
Hmm,  I tend to lump Tenth Planet into Wilderlands,  in the same way I throw The Connection in with Origins - one really only exists to set up the other. 

I re-read them both within the last month, and was struck by how marked a difference there is in quality between Tenth Planet and Wilderlands. The former is superb - very focused, with some brilliant Dredd / McGruder scenes and strong characterisation. Wilderlands, however, is hamstrung by the format (though it's all right - there's still a couple of good McGruder bits.)
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 07 October, 2018, 05:16:46 pm
The start of 1995 is dominated by endings, lets look at the first couple...

923 sees the The Corps reach its hard and bitter end... which in the context of the story resolves things exactly as you expect. The trouble is the context of the story isn't that interesting. Its more Millar than Ennis, folks being hard and Tarantino is such a mustache twirling villian and the conversations between commanders Keitel and Vess I think are meant to be shocking and chilling revalations that 'The Brass' think of their troops as just weapons and no more is beyond hamfisted. Ennis will do this sort of thing sooo much better in years to come, as it is he manages to makes a story about cool space Judges fighting Kleggs pretty dull and the ending exemplifies that.

924 Does have an end but has a very amusing bit in 'Output' half of the Nerve Centre as Pete Milligan gives an apology to Jurgen Klinsman of whom he says in a recent Bix Burton:

Quote
...The Klinsman involves falling down dead as though hit by a bullet although nothing in fact has touched you.

shortly before signing Klinsmen signed for Milligan's team Spurs... I can empathise with the slippy hypocrisy of football fandom.

925 brings Soul Gun Assassin by Shaky Kane to a mind bending conclusion. Last time I read this I said

Quote
Read Soul Gun Assassin last night. While the art had progressed and got even better I felt the story was a bit stagnant (in relation to the first series) and didn't really develop things any further. Shame a fun read but a bit disappointing after the first series.

and the sadly missing Grant Goggins countered

Quote
The bad guy smacks our hero in the head with the moon, and it's stagnant?

I *love* Soul Gun Warrior...

And of course Grant is completely right. I think what I was trying to emphasise was the fact that 'SG Assasin' covers similar ground as 'SG Warrior' its predecessor ... but when that ground is a man shooting himself through the head to enter psychic fisti-cuffs with various enemies, in this case an evil US President intent on using the tensions in Jerusulum to bring the world tumbling (gulp) the story is stretching quite enough barriers to keep us going. A glorious ending to this glorious series. Shame we don't get any more (I think... I keep saying that and then seeing covers when I'm sorting the Progs into order that prove me wrong!

ANYWAY join me next time as we skip 926 as it has no ending but hit the conclusions big time the next Prog...
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Greg M. on 07 October, 2018, 05:39:34 pm
Ennis will do this sort of thing sooo much better in years to come, as it is he manages to makes a story about cool space Judges fighting Kleggs pretty dull and the ending exemplifies that.

Ennis complained that his scripts on this series were very heavily rewritten. Of course, the little scamp didn't even write the last episode himself at all - he 'outsourced' it to an uncredited Si Spencer!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 07 October, 2018, 06:20:35 pm
Ennis complained that his scripts on this series were very heavily rewritten. Of course, the little scamp didn't even write the last episode himself at all - he 'outsourced' it to an uncredited Si Spencer!

Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 07 October, 2018, 06:22:32 pm
Ennis complained that his scripts on this series were very heavily rewritten. Of course, the little scamp didn't even write the last episode himself at all - he 'outsourced' it to an uncredited Si Spencer!

Errr what I meant to say was I did not know that. It certainly did read unEnnis like as a story and by the final episode I'd have not noticed if it was Ennis or not.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 07 October, 2018, 09:52:37 pm
So 927 clears the decks.

9 part Dredd story The Exterminator story ends and its been a blast... if you don't think about the timey whimey stuff too much. There's been some lovely character touches in a high octane time twister seeing Dredd hunt down parasite plague carriers in the near future 2001. Okay so we got teased a little with John Burns doing the art on the first couple of parts. But his sub Emilio Frejo isn't too shabby, though I don't remember seeing him before or since? He doesn't half go to town on the shoulder eagle mind!

SkiIIIzz well I said this a good few years back

Quote
As much as I enjoyed it, I think mainly because of Baikie’s great characters I do think it could’ve been stripped down. At least one plot thread could have been removed without affecting the over all thrust of the story and thus it could have been 4 or more episodes shorter.

And unlike my thoughts on Soul Gun Assassin at the same time, I stand by what I said back then. The end however and I am meant to be here talking about ends after all... is frankly a bit rubbish. The various plot threads were always going to struggle to be brought together and that shows here terribly. It kinda ends by just saying...arh then this happened that made that bit alright and these things folks just settled with and then the Titanic crushed those other folk (no really).... its not terribly satisfying.

Which frankly neither is the ending to Timehouse which is just as wishy washy as the rest of the series. Shame the fresh tone to this one should have been welcome, but its no Zippy Couriers that's for sure.

Finn - The Origin ends after being recycled from Crisis (I assume?) ... I wasn't interesting in Finn's journey from Paul in Crisis to 2000ad before reading this and was no more interested having read it... I'd also completely forgotten it existed! It ends as it began with Skinner convincing Little Patty that its cool as I look on and worry if Pat will ever be cool again.

And so with all that we're cleared the decks from a none too stella start to 1995 and I should be glad and excited for the fresh stories a comin' right...

Dredd: Crusade...More Fleisher Harlem Heroes (I thought we were done there!)... some Finn (see above)... at least Rogue Friday has Henry Flint art and you know you've not in for a good time when your thinking thank fuck for Armoured Gideon!

So all
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Greg M. on 07 October, 2018, 10:31:47 pm
9 part Dredd story The Exterminator story ends and its been a blast...

Really? I think it's bloody awful, one of Wagner's weakest multi-part stories, quite literally a Terminator story with the serial numbers filed off (which is what it started life out as.) I like Frejo's art though.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: AlexF on 10 October, 2018, 08:03:59 pm
Chalk me up as an Exterminator fan. I get that it's a repurposed Terminator story - but actually, it's a stroke of genius having Dredd be, as it were, a killer robot from the future. The guy does a great Arnie impression.

The only downside is that as it's a Judge Dredd story, we know he can't be the bad guy. If Wagner had been able to spin things out a bit, it would've been really neat to have Dredd apparently being a scary assassin in 20th century America.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Greg M. on 10 October, 2018, 08:42:48 pm
Spin it out? Crikey, I felt it was excruciatingly paced at the time! I don't mind it so much when you read it all in one go, as in the Case Files - it'd work all right as a couple of issues of a US-format monthly title - but 9 weeks of it was too protracted.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 10 October, 2018, 08:52:20 pm
Yeah I really liked the way it played with the fact it was a Terminator story. Wagner of course knew what he was doing, but the necessary spin on it all and had such fun with his inspiration.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 13 October, 2018, 09:50:24 pm
Prog 928

Shite - Armoured Gideon is by far the best thing in this Prog... and I suspect a number to come...
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 15 October, 2018, 09:28:21 pm
Okay so Rogie Trooper disappears after a short time, as it starts to find the most convoluted, pointless and blandly dull way of smooshing our two Rogue's together. Why oh why... well actually since it backs off quickly, alas leaving its one good thing Henry Flint behind it, that means at least Armoured Gideon gets backed up by Brigand Doom. Both strips that really define the middle ground of thrills often elevated in the 90s to top thrills by the stuff that surrounds them.

Both come to an abrupt end in Progs 935 and 936

Now lets just be clear I like both thrills. Both are different but both have much to enjoy, not least gloriously consistent art throughout. Alas both get wrapped up* within a Prog of each other and neither really gets the end it deserves.

Armoured Gideon starts off really well the start of this story 'Trading Places' see Frank mistreated... well if you think being butchered with chainsaws is mistreating... might not be the right word... anyway, dead he's cast into the Gideon and all sorts of fantastic stuff happens... and then abruptly it stops. In Prog 935. Franks thinks he wakes up outside Gideon's body but isn't and so shuts at the Collector (the chappie who throw all those forgotten 2000ad folks together in our last outing) and lickety split he's back in Frank all repaired and THE END... such a shame as up to this point it'd all been great fun.

Brigand Doom hadn't been quite as good as before. This time facing off with financial vampires, in a bit of a tired attempt to be witty and clever. Agent Nine is used as bait in what reads like a lazy story were Alan MacKenzie is getting bored but needs to do something to wrap it all up. Who knows, but vampires are shot up easily enough and. THE END.

If I'm right and this is the end for both its a real shame. Both have been good, solid strips. Not brilliant at any point. But rarely bad or dull... rarely and deserving of a better send off. They've held the middle ground during the 90s when so much around then has been rubbish. Even at the end this is absolutely brought into sharp focus, surrounded as they are by Dredd Crusade - which gets worse on every reading, Finn a strip I just don't like and Harlem Heroes which I'm barely even reading by this point.

Still hats off (three pointed or otherwise) off to these stalwarts of the early to mid 90s. Rocks standing firm as all around them crumble, or raise to higher ground.

*I say wrapped but I'm learning a lot about how poor my recollection of some of the stuff doing the rounds at the moment is. I thought there was not more Fleisher Harlem Heroes, thought previously we'd done with Millar Robo-hunter. I have to be honest before now I'd forgotten I still had a Brigand Doom story still to come. All in all I guess I'm warning you that this might not be the end of either series... but let's treat it as though I'm right.

Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 16 October, 2018, 09:46:27 pm
Some quick thoughts on early(ish) 1995 which I've not got to yet:

1. Roxilla is spreading his / her wings into movie reviews. It's all still very specific and self important.

2. Loving the little Shakey Kane - Beyond Belief panels... in some progs they're the best thing in there.

3. Computer generated Thargs are my least favourite Thargs

4. The cover the Prog 930 is one of my least favourite

5. But its possibly not as bad as the one to Prog 931 which tried to cash in on the whole US gold enhance cover shenanigans

6. Early computer designed Nerve Centre pages really haven't aged well have they...

7. Arh you gotta love the Tharg's first e-mail address tharg@richb.demon.co.uk  ... I wonder who set that up...

8. How long does a hook take to fall in Crusade? The time it take to chat for 66(ish) words... all of them badly written... still packs a punch mind.

9. I loved the Alphabet Man set up and the art is stunning... I worry that its leads to nowhere fast.

10. Oh yeah the cover to Prog 938 is another I really don't like... we're not in a good spell of covers here are we.

11. Paul Marshal seems to be temporally very influenced by Colin MacNeil in 'Escape from Kurt Russell'... I don't think it lasts

12. I'd also forgotten how many superficial similarities there are between that story and the 2012 film... even though others have mentioned it before.

13. Mark Grudgefather as another strip I'd forgotten comes back.

14. I'm sorry but I much prefer Nigel Dobbyn to Mark Harrison on Strontium Dog

15. Oh Jonny Kiss and The Marshall's are back... alas I do remember that one...

16. We're 5 months into the new year and still we're to have a Prog with a positive balance ... I worry about my end of year review and all this talk of recovery...
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Greg M. on 16 October, 2018, 09:54:15 pm
Paul Marshal seems to be temporally very influenced by Colin MacNeil in 'Escape from Kurt Russell'... I don't think it lasts

That story's a last gasp for the ultra-detailed Firekind / Tyranny Rex era of Marshall - after that, his art becomes massively stripped-down in terms of detail and is frequently the victim of horrible colouring. I'm much less of a fan of that period. It takes him quite a while to get back to his more line-intensive style.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: AlexF on 19 October, 2018, 03:25:23 pm
Quote
Both have been good, solid strips. Not brilliant at any point. But rarely bad or dull... rarely and deserving of a better send off. They've held the middle ground during the 90s when so much around then has been rubbish. Even at the end this is absolutely brought into sharp focus, surrounded as they are by Dredd Crusade - which gets worse on every reading, Finn a strip I just don't like and Harlem Heroes which I'm barely even reading by this point.

Still hats off (three pointed or otherwise) off to these stalwarts of the early to mid 90s. Rocks standing firm as all around them crumble, or raise to higher ground.

This same curse affected US comic of a similar vintage, described in some circles as being '90s good' - which is pointedly not the same as just plain 'good'...

https://www.cbr.com/comic-book-dictionary-90s-good/ (https://www.cbr.com/comic-book-dictionary-90s-good/)

For what it's worth, my memory as a solid 2000AD reader and an occasional Marvel comics reader in 1995, 2000AD was ALWAYS better than the competition, making even the bad strips look good in comparison!

But I absolutely agree that both Armoured Gideon and Brigand Doom needed a more definitive send-off. I feel like Brigand Doom was building up to a reveal of Investigator 9 either becoming the next Brigand, or having been him all along, or perhaps having dreamed up the whole thing, in a kind of parallel to American Psycho.

And you really need to read Harlem Heroes: Cyborg Death Trip as a deliberate 'so bad it's ridiculous' comic. Problem is, when a film does that it can be OK if you're watching it in a group and laughing together - kinda tricky to read a comic in a group setting. See also, and rather soon, Urban Strike!.
I guess we'll have to wait for Space Spinner to give us the group-read experience...
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 19 October, 2018, 07:56:37 pm
... See also, and rather soon, Urban Strike!.


I remember thinking this was brilliantly ironic reading it back in the day - its one of the few I remember reading then - much to do with great Mike Austin art I suspect (or misremember).

Ha! 90s good is a great term, never heard that before.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 20 October, 2018, 09:26:33 pm
Speaking of the Middle ground the departure of Armoured Gideon and Brigand Doom left space for Mambo and Strontium Dogs to fill that space and in Prog 947 both finish.

Its funny and indicative of the problems in the first half of 1995 that these are my favourite thrills in the run they are in. I've always had a real soft spot for the Ennis into Peter Hogan run on Strontium Dogs and while it is a little drifty and meandering I still think it holds up really pretty well. Its not the old Johnny Alpha story, but that's a good thing. It needed to be different to work. And it does. I mean sure its not a patch on Strontium Dog (singular) but at least it has the courage to go in its own direction and its chock full of fun characters just like the original. The more thrilling soap opera vibe it has really works for me... alas it also means it never really reaches its destination.

Mambo is far more compact and tight. Its fun, exciting with just the right amount of intrigue and difference to work. Its far from brilliant, but damn surrounded by the dumb maschismo of Midnight Kiss, the dumb social commentry of the seemingly endless  Finn (Jez just how long does this go on for!) and the just plain dumb Rogue Trooper mash-up if seems brilliant.

So we're over half way through 1995 and we're still struggling and we get a couple of Prog filled with some fun filler. A shaky Kane Future Shock that looks just astonishing and some daft fun, which also looks great in Tracer and then we hit a spell of much needed change as Prog 950 arrives... much needed but is that need fulfilled by the change.... well the movie os here so lets not get our hopes up hey...
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 21 October, 2018, 07:46:43 am
Prog 950 (plus)

So we hit a time of change as the Judge Dredd movie comes out and 2000ad gets the worse logo I think its ever had. A harsh, sharp, yet fussy block at the top of the page. Stuck there like some sort of over designed banner in a pro-Brexit march.

We get 8 extra pages, but nothing of consequence is added and I'm not quite sure where they go. Pictures from the Dredd movie I assume. Though to be fair by next Prog we do get an extra thrill, or at least double Dredd.

The strip content is actually on the up as well if I'm are honest, but after the first half of the year that's no metric to get excited about, its still not great but there are some real positives. We have Wagner on Dredd, by 952 we're only had one really good one in 'Megalot' but that will sort itself soon as I recall. Slaine is a fine replacement for Finn and hasn't yet started stirring down the barrel of plunging down hill... yet... Rogue Trooper grinds on alas and Urban Strike is ... well just plain curious....

I actually enjoy these early Vector 13s too, though they still make clear that the limitations of the format, which will be exposed soon I'm quite sure. At this point however they feel fun and interesting, after all there's only been 2.

Return of Rico by Pat Mill and Paul Johnson is so unnecessary. I mean sure if you'd not read the original its great and Uncle Pat does get a few neat little bits of commentry in there quite well, but beyond that it adds maybe 12 pages to the old classic, yet very little substance. Well aside from the confusion in the timeline of setting it after Cursed Earth for... reasons of adding dinosaurs to it I guess!?!

You can feel the Prog straining under the weight of its own expectations. The paper feels better, there's more of it, everything has a design makeover, though typically of this time of early PCs its all way to busy and fussy. The trouble is the comic doesn't feel significently better. It is better, but the last 6 months have been awful. Tharg has seen the Dredd movie by now, surely he knows he has to do more than this to reap any reward?
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 22 October, 2018, 09:26:07 pm
We're well into September and still the Prog isn't really firing an that's with two Wagner Dredd's per issue. Something just isn't right in the House of Tharg. Its not helped by the line-up feeling like its in constant flux. Since Prog 950 we're had:

Urban Strike: An absolute oddity. Its not as funny as it things it is. I think it really wants to be rye and self aware and when I was like 20 odd I think I got tricked into that too. Its not its just irritating. And oh boy those constant oh so knowing Tharg notes get grating very quickly. It sits really uncomfortably in the Prog.

Slaine - Name of the Sword:
is so murky. Greg Staples, who is some time off becoming Greg Staples produces art which is dank and almost impenetrable. I bet the original art sings but on the page its gloomy. The plot isn't much better. Pat Mills is playing with some nice ideas but he's not really pulling it together... mind its far from bad and at least he's stopped hangin' with that bad lad Skinner.

Rogue Trooper: Rogue Pooper more like*

Vector 13: The limitations are really showing already. Lots of stories have potential, some don't, but the artifice created by the delivery by The Men in Black or whatever they are called just chokes engagement and kills stories dead and gets very repetitive very quickly... we're got literally years of this stuff too as I recall... sigh...

One shots of both Janus and Stontium Dogs: Neither of which have time and space to really develop anything and are there just to tease it feels.

Journal of Luke Kirby - Old Straight Track: Has some things to say but is a real slow burner and doesn't really have enough to say to justify that. Still stunning art by Steve Parkhouse and this series has earnt itself some rope.

Manic 5 - Manic 6 : Lacks some of the fun of the first and just feels like more Millar excess.

All this and such a mixed bag of Dredd. For every Bad Frendz there a Jigsaw (sorry I just think the Chris Foss stuff is horrible, stilted and has little life) for The Decision there's Awaking of Angels... its not Wagner at his best... at least not consistently. Still things are on the up and next Prog (959) we will have Wagner at his very best so at least after almost 9 months we might get a Prog that really hits its stride...

*This is the type of humour we'd find in Urban Strike, except it'd have a Tharg note telling us this really means shite but we're not allowed to swear and a semi clad nun cos its so cool and knowing.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Aaron A Aardvark on 23 October, 2018, 07:47:36 am
950 must have been when I returned from my Long Walk
 - because of the Dredd movie believe it or not -
and I must have liked something coz I'm still back 23 years later but I'm drokked if I can remember what it was.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 24 October, 2018, 09:19:10 pm
Dredd is getting better and better so maybe ... if you ignore Hammerstein.

I also forgot the art mix-up in Prog 960 when Durham Red starts off with a random page of that same strip. Its actually quite amusing if you are feeling a bit childish, which I often am.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Link Prime on 25 October, 2018, 08:27:19 am
Slaine - Name of the Sword:[/b] is so murky. Greg Staples, who is some time off becoming Greg Staples produces art which is dank and almost impenetrable. I bet the original art sings but on the page its gloomy.

I've always enjoyed The Stapler, even in his very early days.
I thought that Name of the Sword had phenomenal artwork- his career best at the time.

I have 3 pages of pencils from that story, must post them on the original art thread sometime, really exceptional stuff.

I also forgot the art mix-up in Prog 960 when Durham Red starts off with a random page of that same strip. Its actually quite amusing if you are feeling a bit childish, which I often am.

Yes, I remember that howler.
Some may prefer Mark Harrison's modern work on Grey Area, but for me this was his best era (pre- Cantos Durham Red).
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 28 October, 2018, 09:38:32 pm
Slaine - Name of the Sword:[/b] is so murky. Greg Staples, who is some time off becoming Greg Staples produces art which is dank and almost impenetrable. I bet the original art sings but on the page its gloomy.

I've always enjoyed The Stapler, even in his very early days.
I thought that Name of the Sword had phenomenal artwork- his career best at the time.


Its wasn't really the artwork, rather the reproduction and this seems to affect Kev Walkers work on Hellbringer II.

Anyway Prog 965 and 966 so many thrills, so little content. I Dredd that I think is meant to be fun as the Devil locked up in an Annual a few years ago mixes it up with the recently resurrected Angel Gang. Yike. Rogue Trooper is still struggling, Vector 13 is already beginning to really grate. Supersurf 13 has a few problems and some of John Higgins weakest art with some very murky and fuzzy finishing from TCS. PARAsites I'm just nit buying into and ABC Warriors is okay but far from it best and still boast too many Skinnerisms to work really well.

Yeah I thought things were getting better but in reality they're just nothing really great and so much sub-parr nonsense. We're only got a few Progs left this year and a few Dredd's aside I can't think of anything that's really been fantastic!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 03 November, 2018, 09:26:04 am
Specials 1995

And we head full force to the end of 1995 and I rather think I'll have a lot to say about this year.

One thing worth noting now is we're also down to just the specials, which I don't think last themselves beyond next year. Frankly looking at both the Sci-Fi and Winter Specials this year we're not going to miss them as I frankly don't miss having to wade through the Annuals and latterly Yearbooks to find the odd diamond in pages of rough.

By this stage they just feel like page after page of filler, reprint and try out. Not that its a bad thing to have a place for try out, just it can be a bit of a slog to get through... mind that said one of the try outs in this year's bunch has a very special place in my heart. Tucked into Alternity - the 1995 Winter Special we have another strip that feels very influenced by a movie, in this case the mob enforcers in Pulp Fiction. Its by a couple of creators who to this point haven't really pushed themselves to the top of the heap. Dan Abnett largely responsible for a few sub-par Dredd's and a load of the restricted and dull Vector 13s. David Millgate has done stuff here and there.

The story itself is a victim of the style of the time, trying to be hard and knowing, tough and smart without any of the real wit and charm needed to carry that off. It wears its influences on its sleeves and frankly if we were never to see it again we'd barely remember this stroy, anymore than any of the other medicure content that makes up the over priced content of the comic.

As it is of course for reasons of deadline problems elsewhere this weak try out will get rolled out again in the Prog in 1996, it still won't be that good, but it will hit a cord with some readers and get the chance to develop beyond its limited origin. Sinister Dexter doesn't half have a grubby and messy birth. But then don't we all and look how gloriously we all turned out...
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Magnetica on 03 November, 2018, 01:25:36 pm
I don’t remember the other stuff David Millgate did for Tharg. According to Barney, he did a small number of Dredds.

As to that writer, whatever happened to him?
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 03 November, 2018, 08:34:54 pm
I don’t remember the other stuff David Millgate did for Tharg. According to Barney, he did a small number of Dredds.

As to that writer, whatever happened to him?

Yeah shame that Abnett chap never came to anything hey. Reckon if he'd kept going he'd have turned into Tharg's greatest weapon in the war against thrillsucker by now!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 03 November, 2018, 09:18:08 pm
1995

So the recovery was a bit of misdirection then and 1994 gave us a clearer direction of travel than I dared to remember it would seem. See I thought 1990 and 1991 where the lows 1992 - 1997 the tricky and slow recovery... alas the narrative hasn't been that straight forward has it... mind that's entirely fitting as this is 2000ad we're talking about after all and 2000ad knows how to do atypical narratives now doesn't it.

The real story has gone 1990-1 pretty damned low, 1992 -3 the slow and tricky false dawn of recovery 1994, nervous confusion as the recovery stalls and 1995... well 1995 is the worst year to date I think... that might be a gut reaction that will change in time, but right now I stand firm with that call (I've more worried for 1996 than I was before mind - but have reason to hope as we'll get to...).

See the biggest problem with 1995 is there simply aren't any absolute highs... well there's one and that might be a little harsh on Soul Gun Warrior. The one real bright spark is Wagner on Dredd, but even then its not quite as consistly brilliant as it might be, partly because he's not there consistantly. That said in 'The Cal Files' he and John Burns produce one of my all time favourite 2000ad stories. Just superb.

The thing is its in absolute isolation and nothing, nothing steps up to help with the heavy lifting. There's some solid middle ground stories and some strips end with mixed results. The very last Journal of Luke Kirby is fantastic - all 8 pages of it in the final prog of the year, alas after the last long form story (see previous excuses about a crap memory if I'm wrong on that one)  being probably the weakest of the series to date.

There's no Button Man, no John Smith nothing like that and yet the lows are still there and many fold, as in any bad year, I've whinged about those enough already so there's no need to harp on.

The other big problem we have is Pat Mills is still having a real wobble and his output just isn't doing it for me with a horrible consistancy in 1995. ABC Warriors is still all crazy and anarchic (it wishes) in such a low brow way. Slaine is not bad but starting into a dive I don't think it recovers from until ... well Simon Davis! And Finn I've never enjoyed.

On top of all this Vector 13 is really killing ones offs as well with its dry, characterless delivery and limited structural format. Editorial won't pick up on this for years and infact is going to make matters worse soon as horribly computer generated androgynous Tharg makes the idea of switching him out seem like not to bad an idea after all.

So where do I get hope from. Well for a start Wagner will, I believe be more consistently present of Dredd, certainly the first half as The Pit, starting too late in 1995 to do much good, will be with us for the first 6 months. Also David Bishop is now on board and while he will make many mistakes, often in the early part of his time as Tharg, but he will start to at least think about turning the good ship 2000ad around and in 1996 introduce one of the cornerstones of doing so, even if that strip won't quite be good during 1996, still it will be fun watching it grow.

So yeah 1995 was just so low key and at time really dull and I'm not confident that 1996 will be too much better, but at least this time I'm more confident that the recovery will maintain a consistent upward trajectory... won't it...

Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: AlexF on 04 November, 2018, 08:02:14 pm
Yeah I think you're right to call out 1995 for lacking any real high-points; even Wagner on Dredd is only ever 'good as usual' rather than 'outstanding'.

I like Vector 13 quite a bit more than you, and at the time felt it brought the one-off back up to the high standard of the early Milligan/Smith/Morrison Future Shocks - but that's still only 'fun' rather than must-read.

I also have a lot more tolerance for Finn, but the art could've been a bit better, especially after books 1 and 2 which had been pretty ace artwise. But it's still not a Button Man or Firekind-level high.

1996 I suspect has lower lows to come, but also one or two major highs (including, of course, 6 months of the Pit!), so counts as an upswing from 1995 which indeed continues with every year after for quite a few year to come (reaching a peak in around 2008?).
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Funt Solo on 06 November, 2018, 04:40:49 am
Things that kept me reading in 1995 (in order of importance):

1. Force of habit
2. Loyalty to the brand
3. Armoured Gideon
4. Luke Kirby
5. Slaine

(Actually, I've never considered giving up 2000AD.  Even when some of it's a bit meh, it's still tons more entertaining than "Mr. Twisty!  Galaxatron has eaten the moon and is shitting the leftovers onto Earth!  We're doomed!"  "Don't panic!  Galaxatron is a physical impossibility - how could a giant man float through space with nothing to propel him?  And where is the shop that makes his outrageous headgear?"  "Wait - you mean - this isn't really happening?"  "That's right, Susan!  You're completely delusional!  In fact, there is no Mr. Twisty!  I'm just one of those stretchy fruit sweets you bought in a vain effort to be healthy while you eat lumps of sugar.  Susan?  Why are you weeping?")

So, you know.  Even Urban Strike is better than that.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 07 November, 2018, 10:01:15 pm
Funt Solo I think you underestimate now how great Mr Twisty and Susan vs. Galaxatron sounds. I'd buy that in a second AND especially if it turned out to be a comic strip based on a helicopter computer game... which would make as much sense as Urban Strike actually did!

Genius sir.

Anyway the first thing I want to talk about in very early 1996 is PARAsites I've enbolden it just so I remember I've typ...

...sorry where was I this seemed to be some sort of sequel to Wirehe...

...so I was saying something was I ... but nothing nothing about it is memo...

...hold on was I talking about something...

Anyway I forgot to mention in 1992 that there was no way that Wireheads was ever coming back and thank God it never did hey...

Hold on what's that next to new Flesh its PARA...

...so did you say something...
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: AlexF on 09 November, 2018, 10:07:38 am
Yup, it's a proper contender for worst thrill ever, that one.
-and I kind of like Wireheads.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 09 November, 2018, 09:10:02 pm
Prog 979

So 1996 starts off with a number of short(ish) stories hiding behind a long form Dredd - which is magnificent and put all behind it in the shade.

None of them are bad... well most of them aren't band... but again they provide definition of the middle order elevated by not much else around them ... aforementioned Dredd aside.

I've always has a real soft spot for Flesh - Chronocide its not especially great I just really enjoy it for all its action movie cliche. If nothing else Gary Erskine use of shadows is just superb. I do wonder how angry Uncle Pat got about it as his name suddenly pops up in the margines after the first few parts.

Speaking of movie action cliche that's the very thing that Kid Cyborg works so hard to avoid. I'm not sure I enjoy it but by heck it earns points for trying to be something different. Its like its trying to be along form version of Shaky's Beyond Belief. The difference is Shaky Kane's single panels are effortless delights, Kid Cyborg is straining to be leftfield and that's why it feels forced rather than carefree.

Darkness Visible is a really fun little five parter (don't get many of them). Its refreshing in its tone, dark and close. Simple and chilling. Nice change of pace and doesn't over stay its welcome.

Best thing to say about Venus Blue Genes is it really emphasizes how much Dan Abnett and Simon Coleby have both come on since 1996.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Fungus on 09 November, 2018, 09:35:21 pm
If nothing else Gary Erskine use of shadows is just superb. I do wonder how angry Uncle Pat got about it as his name suddenly pops up in the margines after the first few parts.
How do you mean? (could be me being thick of course)

Enjoying the stroll through the Dark Times. Interested how the next year or so turned out, you’re just beyond the point I stopped even buying (and years after reading)...

Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 09 November, 2018, 09:51:23 pm
He does some really nice effects with shadows during the story. So for example showing the dabbled shadowing of folks standing under leafy trees in bright sunshine. Some really nice, very labour intensive lighting effects like that - all done with ink I should note not that there new fangled computer colours that... eerr graces... so many strips of this time.

If its the Uncle Pat thing its margins of course, don't know where that 'e' comes from. But about 4 parts into the story in the gutter we get 'Flesh created by Pat Mills' stuck as a clear after thought into the margin (no 'e'). I'm guessing he got upset about the strip being resurrected and kicked off at David Bishop? I'm guessing there of course.

Yeah I'd all but stopped reading at this point, back in the day, and soon at the point where I'd stopped even getting the Prog. I have read them all since then, but I'm not as familar with the stuff I'm covering now.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Funt Solo on 09 November, 2018, 10:38:16 pm
This is a weird era for me: I was wandering around Oz for a year and got back to a pile of progs.  So, it wasn't a week-in, week-out kind of thing. 

I remember liking Chronocide & Darkness Visible quite a bit.  I don't remember Venus on the Frag Shell: so much of that era of Rogue (or Friday, or Venus) seems like a lot of military jargon, quite cool in a way but lacking any heart.

The Pit was a great idea.  Kid Cyborg I disliked: not my cup of tea in either art style or story.

But we're heading for the recovery aren't we?  Sin Dex? 
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 10 November, 2018, 07:31:46 am
But we're heading for the recovery aren't we?  Sin Dex?

Yeah but that strip will take some time to develop to the classic it is. The recovery will be a very bumpy and uneven thing to as I recall.

We'll see.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 14 November, 2018, 09:46:00 pm
So Prog 981 comes along and something a little bit special is with us... well something special that isn't The Pit which I really must get around to typing about soon.

So its clearly not Venus Bluegenes even if its got Henry Flint's lovely early art. Its clearly Janus PSI with its too shiny logo. I can't be sure if it Cannon Fodder yet but it might be by the end - at least one board member I remember fondly thought it was.

It is however of course the first appearance of Sinister Dexter in the Prog itself and the starts a long and deep affection... well not in real time I accept... but in Prog time. A deep affection.

Of course its not very good yet... but then neither was most early Dredd so ya know that grow big and strong enough to have a thrill like The Pit, so we give these thing time...
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Magnetica on 15 November, 2018, 01:42:41 pm
I recently re-read Canon Fodder in a floppy.

Have to say I wasn't a fan back in the day. And you know what...I'm still not. Of the writing or the art. Chris Weston is one of the most improved artists on Tharg's books (sorry I have said that before...) and this is before that.

Oh and engaging nit pick mode - sorry -

it's Canon Fodder not Cannon Fodder...Canon as in a religious minister, not a big gun and yes I know its a play on words, but that is how it is spelt.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: TordelBack on 15 November, 2018, 03:20:14 pm
You can lead a librarian to where the dictionary is shelved (019), but you can't make him read it...
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 15 November, 2018, 09:38:38 pm
Even more embarrassing as my father in-law is indeed a canon (one n)

Anyway to try to win back some points dictionaries can indeed be at 019... kinda... its actually dictionary catelogies. Actual dictionary dictionaries are normally at 403 OR 420 for English dictionaries and through the 400s for dictionaries of different languages.

BUT you can also construct different numbers for dictionaries based on the subject of that dictionary by adding 03 at the end. So for example a Business Dictionary is 658.03, or a Science dictionary os 503 (science being 500 you can drop the 00 after the 5 as 503 isn't used for anything else)...

... I hope I've got that right its been a long time since I did any classifying!

ANYWAY to matters less dull... well maybe but I'm getting down to some detail, which is odd for me.

Anyway after Sinister Dexter starts in 981 in 984 we get another first which I'm very fond of. It marks what I think is Alex Ronald's work in the Prog. I'm a big fan of his work, I love his current covers, but I'm an especial fan of his pen and ink work. In 984 its not quite there yet and its interesting after having two superb artists in Ezquerra and MacNeil The Pit does seem to get used for less experienced artists. Seems weird for such a superb story to be used for try out... well I'm sure it wasn't, but it does feel like that a bit...

...ANYWAY... what particularly struck me was Alan Craddock's colours. Now they come in for a LOT of stick and to be honest looking back you can see why BUT so many others struggled to get to grips with the new computer colouring and Craddock does seem to get the worst of this. Junior Tomlin (is that John Tomlinson?) in the same Prog does some pretty grim colouring on Sinister Dexter. John Higgin's used a colouring team on 'Supersurf 12' that was just horrendous. And lets be honest even an absolute master like the late great Carlos Ezquerra struggled at time with the new medium.

So anyway what I particularly noticed is what Alan Craddock and all those who tried to master this then new technology, don't get credit for and that's being bold enough to experiment and stretch things and that particularly stood out to me here as one. A good few panels in the Dredd strip you can see him trying different things. The tone of the opening silent Dredd panel still too shiney but somehow more subtle and muted. Dulled tones on some of the street panels that really work to highlight the fire used by the homeless. There's a panel were Patel is speaking to his dad and it looks really nice, again more muted and with softer tones. Next to it (across the fold) there's an almost Higginsesque panel of a hoverporter exploding... etc etc.

Now of course having so much experimentation in one story doesn't led to a consistent tone and is itself a problem BUT it did serve to remind me what prioneers these folks were ... even with our 2018 eyes alot of what they did, didn't work.

Oh and Janus Psi Division finished this Prog... turns out I had more I wanted to say about Dewey Decimal and Alan Craddock than I did about that... mind Paul Johnson's colours are nice.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 16 November, 2018, 10:22:00 pm
R.A.M. Raiders

I quite like RAM Raiders. I mean okay lets be honest from the off its not close to a classic, but I do enjoy it. Firstly I'm a sucker for Calum Alexander Watt's work, there's something so engaging and easy on the eye about it. When you compare it to the hyper-realised sub-Bisley stuff that's been polluting early Sinister Dexter. Its clean, calm colours are a real palette cleanser.

Alan McKenzie's story is like so much of his work is firmly in the middle ground, its pretty good but has significent problems. His muscle bound computer engineer, sent to try to 'debug' a building's computer system is square in the dickish led that so blighted the early 90s, his female partner at first played poorly does pull around by the end. The scenario however is refreshing and pacing spot on.

So yeah I feel a bit apologetic but I like it.

Much more than the overwrought Canon Fodder that overlaps with it that's for sure.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 17 November, 2018, 09:29:25 pm
A few years ago I did a re-read of Sinister Dexter and in doing so I wrote up some thoughts I posted on 'Everything comes back to 2000ad' on finishing the first run of the series I popped across to check out if my thoughts remained the same or whether I had anything else to say and if the 7 years inbetween had changed by view... they haven't. My thoughts are therefore here.

https://2000ad.wordpress.com/2011/12/01/sinister-dexter-drawing-too-early/ (https://2000ad.wordpress.com/2011/12/01/sinister-dexter-drawing-too-early/)

For anyone with more sense than to read all that in summary.

It all looks a bit horrible (a few exceptions aside) and is while laying foundations for this classic series is far from fully developed and feels a little souless... or very much of its time to put it another way!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 19 November, 2018, 09:28:36 pm
Prog 999

Well here we are tonight we're going to party like it Prog 999... which back in the day seemed an unimaginable amount. Now less than half way and we have a Prog 1999 which would make that sentence much better anyway!

We get two endings I'd like to talk about. I should also mention that Finn finished in this Prog as well (and I think that's it for the series?) but have to be honest by now I'm barely reading it, so haven't got much to say.

The two ending I'd like to mention are therefore The Pit and Strontium Dogs. The Pit is just glorious, Dredd soap opera. By apparently reducing scale and giving us a closer, tighter view on a smaller world we actually get raised stakes. We can hardly begin to imagine what 400,000,000 deaths means. Its too big, beyond imagination even. Show us a team of Judges running a guerilla war, or a hand picked crack squad on a suicide mission and the impact of Apocalypse War is felt all the more.

The Pit does this even better. We get closer and tighter to characters. By throwing Dredd into a situation he doesn't belong in, by giving him a true ensemble cast of well defined character, each with a tale to tell, an arc to go through a world is built and we are completely immersed. Then we get to the ending... and what's superb is its so Dredd. So big, so brash and bold. Its not exactly something we haven't seen before, but it works. Having been sunk into the world, so superbly crafted by John Wagner we get the explosive finale to throw us back into Dredd and what makes his world work. Of course having been sunk in so deep it has all the more impact.

The Pit is everything its said to be. Maybe not my all time favourite Dredd epic, but its sure as heck up there.

Then contrast that with Strontium Dogs. Over a much longer time we have also had an ensemble cast created. We're had characters thrown in different directions and situations. We also have lots of interconnecting character arcs. And as I've said I've enjoyed it, it'd been fun and once you get past the fact that its not Strontium Dog and is meant to be something different its really fun.

Now I'm not saying for a moment that the world is crafted as deftly and engagingly as the one Wagner creates in Sector 301, but its still fun and sure things could have been said to have been allowed to drift, but it deserved a better send off than it got. Now the reasons for this are well known to those who have read their 2000ad history and David Bishop has said himself he could have handled the specifics a lot better. The one thing that gets over looked is to make matters worse (and I say this as a Bishop booster - always remember he left the Prog in a much better place than he found it, at what was a very challenging time by all accounts) he bloody wrecked the story that had been developed.

I've no idea what ideas he'd kept of Peter Hogan's and which he added himself (or whomever he gave the story over to) but I'm reasonably positive it would have been given more space and time to end properly. Characters and situations slowly drip feed into life are snatched away so quickly and clumsily. Now you'd imagine if you weren't happy with what was being done and how long it was all taking your best bet was to cut your loses and wrap it up toot sweet. If however you have been enjoying it you feel robbed of what might have been.

So it goes.

Kinda get the impression that Trevor Hairsine wasn't impressed either. Now if this was with the way things were to start with, or how things were wrapped up I can't say. I prefer to think the latter.

Anyway lets move on from both the good and the bad as we got a big celebration coming up next time... I think I'll give myself a quick break and re-read Si Spurrier's sublime X-Men Legacy before cracking on with the 2nd millenium AD. See ya soon.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 04 December, 2018, 10:16:41 pm
Prog 1000

Gosh do you remember the days when reaching Prog 1000 seemed like an unimaginable achievement! While a clear and important milestone, it also very much represents the times in which it was produced... for both good and alas mostly ill.

Arguably the biggest sign of that is after the Dredd movie bombed and even after a classic like The Pit it feels as if Tharg is a little embarrased by ol' Joe and he's bumped from the covered and relegated to the back of the Prog. As still shining from Horned God, all be it now a glow that's had to last 6 years Slaine is propelled front and centre. Alas the waning of that once bright light is felt in this 'cute' stand alone story. Which is kinda a shame given what follows is a pretty good story in 'Treasures of Britain' as I recall.

Dredd himself, even with John Wagner settles for last strip and also presenting the final condemnation of Judge Death as pantomine dame - I mean they're not even pretending by the end of this story BUT taking the episode in 1000 in and of itself its a great introduction to so much of Dredd and the full scope of his world. You can push it push it to the back but you don't put Wagner in the corner.

Elsewhere we get to the real problems with this Prog... well the content at least. We get a Durham Red story that we know folks are all but done with and what could be the great new thrill in Outlaw but one which seems rather than summarising the anarchic, thrill-powered energy of the previous 999 Progs it settles for being the zenith of the hackneyed bland uder hard, souless cliched hardman of the last few years. Its just such a weak thrill and sad opener.

The art throughout is meant to be a painted wonder. Most of it is style of substance.

Ultimately Prog 1000 isn't a great product and not worthy of what's gone before. Its a real shame, but worst of all it just feels so ordinary. It doesn't feel like a celebration. The free suppliment is okay but really but worth the effort? Well actually it is as  what it does give us is hope of whats to come. Those previews remind us that while Prog 1000 reminds us of some lows, its is the gateway to the time of recovery and we can see that coming here.

Prog 2000ad may be 3 1/2 years away, but if you think of the distance Tharg has to travel from here to there, you can fully understand why that journey will take so long. But then after all 2000ad has aways been about the future, so its almost fitting that the best thing about Prog 1000 is the hints of what's to come.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 08 December, 2018, 09:28:42 pm
Some quick thoughts on the very early 1000s.

1. Why did we get that free trading card on 1001? It seemed to have no context what so ever and has left a worrying stain on the inside cover!

2. Love Dermot Power's take on Slaine. I think he's often over looked when the great Slaine artists are rolled out.

3. Similarly John Burns art  really elevates Black Light and I think goes a long way to explaining why I enjoy it so much more than this seemingly bland hard boiled sterotype of the 90s deserves.

4. Simon Davis does paint himself as Outlaw - right?

5. I also really like Marc Wigmore's hyper stylised work on that strip... alas all the great work can't elevate this clunker.

6. The Independence Day cover to  Prog 1004 may well be the latest in a long line of 2000ad movies tie in covers but after the Dredd movie for some reason I'd have thought it best left!

7. Forgot to mention how horrible the wordart on the Black Light logo is! Bet I loved it and thought it was super cool back in the day!

8. By Prog 1005 the horribly dis figuring scars on Emma - great name - Paris' face have deminished to the point they just look like some crap hipster oriental face tattoo.

9, Durham Red ends the Strontium Dogs run in the same issue and I think I thought this was cool back in the day. I was wrong. It such a shame this storyline was curtailed.

10. Oh and Mark Harrison has some real problems with the storytelling here, even more than in other work of his.

11. Why are wonderful Shaky's Beyond Belief! packed off in one hit on the back page in a four for one dump? So unfair for a while they were the only bloomin' good thing in the Prog. I'm guessing Mr Bishop didn't like them!

12. Dead Reckoning ends in Prog 1006. Phew its one of my least favourite Wagner Dredd and reads to me like him being sucked into the 90s nonsense that at times has so marred the strip.

13. Next Prog 'Return to the Hottie House' just shows what we all know he is more typically capable of! Isn't this one of his favourites?

14. So did the old mystic fella last Prog pull some sort of magic teleport stunt to get Lawless through his 'impossible journey' in time or am I so bored with the clicjed ridden strip I missed something?

Overall though the start to 1000s is VERY hit and miss I'm actually quite enjoying them, nonsense and all... oh Rogue's back...
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 09 December, 2018, 09:41:14 pm
Bloomin' heck the early 1000s make for interesting reading. You get the (failing to be) hyper cool Outlaw just dripping out more bad, bad, bad storytelling as our lead is assasinated in the night. Gun seen blazing at both the cliffhanger and opening if the following episode, only for the assasin to proclaim they can't go through with it... well what the bloomin' heck were they shooting at? Black Light continues to dally with being a good thrill, but never quite gets there. which makes it a fascinatating read in itself. Slaine spins off on a little two part... I don't know what... and certainly hadn't remembered. Though its worth remembering this is the time I finally stopped getting the Prog all together an so have only read the next (almost) 500 Progs as back issues.

Anyway its really Dredd in these issues that really bring me here. My oh my they are an interesting bunch. We get some magnificent examinations of Mega City One as the cruel brutal lead in 'Awayday', and 'My Brilliant Career' . We get the glorious fad in 'The Rise and Fall of Chair Man Dilbert. Very different sport in 'Question of Sport' - a side note to ask what the heck Tom Carney was thinking in his depiction of Dredd? -  and finally the seering hard humanity of 'Death of a Legend' which packs such a magnificent emotional punch. I might not have liked Wagner's 'Dead Reckoning' but in the next 7 issues he shows his genius by giving us an almost perfect summary of the range and wonder of this most magnificent and terrifying of strips.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 14 December, 2018, 06:50:27 am
The first part of Mazeworld is bloomin' great!
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 15 December, 2018, 05:14:27 pm
The first part of Mazeworld is bloomin' great!

As of course the rest of it Mazeworld Book 1 (does it go by books, I'm guessing there I can't remember) is great. Now it would be easy to get distracted and discuss the breath-taking art by Arthur Ransom. Or simply waffle on about the ripsnorting pace of the plot that Alan Grant creates, while at the same time giving things a depth and intriguing characters to match the action.

No rather the thing that struck me on this read is Adam Cadman. In many ways the stories murderous, traitorous and cowardly led is what makes this work so much more than a bunch of other strip. See in the past I'm whined here about the senseless, classless, hackenyed leads that have blighted so many strips in the early 90s. The bloke in Trash, that horrorbag in Junker, just about everyone in Harlem Heroes (the rubbish one) and so many more. Heck there's plenty of examples in Cadman's contempories the fella from Outlaw. Just horrible characters with nothing to redemn them or their cliched hard man (or woman)  dialogue. Nothing to engage the reader to make them care what happens to them.

In less skilled hands Adam Cadman would join this band of bothers, this cast of cliches, this hackneyed of hardmen, but in Alan Grant's deft tale he raises above all that. He's pretty unlikable... well very unlikable, has a strong line in hardman dialogue (or at least internal dialogue) is pretty irredemnable to start with. Yeah but he feels real and solid, not forced and awkward. He doesn't come across as the worst examples of action movie tough guy as those others do. In fact his faults rather than push the reader away, pull you in make him a great protagonist. There's no doubt he's a terrible man, but what so many others have failed to do in the past is manage to make that mean he doesn't have to therefore be a terrible character.

The biggest shame is since I'm guessing they didn't know this would get a return when they set off, his redemption feels too quick and easy and would have been better played out over a longer time. I seem to recall this is handles somewhat in the next couple of parts, we'll see huh.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 15 December, 2018, 10:07:26 pm
Couple of bits before we hit the end of 1996.

Rogue Trooper has the really neat idea of having two different arts handle the two strands of the story developing and in Greg Staples and Alex 'BIG knee pads' Ronald its looks great... so great art, great idea goin' to be a great thrill... right... nah it still sucks.

As does Time Flies 2 - its like a Deadline storie's annoying and childish younger brother that won't bugger off when your hangin' with ya friends.

Mambo is fair more interesting than both of them combined... but alas also has a signifcent problem. Its a great early internet thriller, with all the cliches of such things but told effectively and exciting and what not. Its big problem however is it all feels a bit after the Lord Mayors Show. After the world changing events of the second series this feels really low key and grounded. Not necessarily a bad thing in and of itself but doesn't feel significent given the Kirbyesque ideas of last time. This would have been a great opening story building to what actually has already gone.

I think that's it for this series which is a real shame as this feels like it had places to go.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 16 December, 2018, 07:20:19 am
So the last read of 1996 is the Sci-fi Special

From the heady days of two annual annuals at least three specials this is the last comic standing... and frankly it too feels very ready to fall. Its probably the most 90s looking comics I've ever read. Just strip after strip of sub-Bisley hardmen, chests exposed, spent bullet cases ejaculating everywhere. Its a pretty tired read and if we don't have the talent to sustain the Prog right now having this as a forum to expose new talent seems like a good idea, but makes it a very hard read.

I've a question though, Loaf 96 the cover artist, is that Brendan McCarthy? There's something Brendan McCarthy about it but I'm not convinced and I've not seen the name before?
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Jim_Campbell on 16 December, 2018, 07:55:03 am
I've a question though, Loaf 96 the cover artist, is that Brendan McCarthy? There's something Brendan McCarthy about it but I'm not convinced and I've not seen the name before?

ComicVine says it's Brendan. (https://comicvine.gamespot.com/2000ad-sci-fi-special-19-2000ad-sci-fi-special-199/4000-226033/)
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 17 December, 2018, 10:03:10 pm
Thanks Jim - it certainly looks like his work, just don't remember him using that pseudonym before.

Anyway to matters review and here we are in an interesting transition phase for me as a reader from the comics I read and owned as a kid, into my wilderness years and comics I only read for the first time on catch up maybe 10 years ago, as we rock through ...

1996

Well lets say right from the off its not as bad as 1996... I mean its not great, far from it, but its nowhere near as bad... but we'll get to that , this is after all the 'self absorbed' thread so lets talk about me, me, I, I, me... for context you understand.

So the heady days of 1996. I graduated, but decided that after returning home to Wirral for my summer job I'd head back to Sheffield and make my home there. At first me and my mate Mart were going to get a flat... in the end there was a rabble of 7 of us down Nether Edge, leading a hand to mouth existence doing some pretty crappie jobs. It was a crazy year... but during that return home I made some momentous decisions. Amongst them I looked at the 2000ad's, still landing on my parent doormat, the last comic standing from my collecting heyday and decided there was nothing there for me anymore. It wasn't particularly that the comic itself was bad in my young eyes, it was just that I wasn't interested in comics anymore.

I was 25, music was my thing and the drugs and what not that went with it. That was my thing, I'd 'grown out of comics'...

...pretentious fool that I was... I just stopped paying attention was all.

So anyway in the hedanistic haze... or least as hedanistic as possible, times were 'hard' in the spoilt way of graduates, I was trying to grow up. I just wasn't very good at it and didn't know quite how to do it... and there was no money around...

... can you guess what I'm going to do here...

....see 2000ad was doing the same thing in 1996. It looked at itself in 1995 and seemed to get a shock and decided right time to get this sorted, put things straight and get better. David Bishop made some hard, and by his own admission, wrongheaded decisions. He tried to move on, move the comic on. Trouble is that isn't straight forward. The world doesn't owe you and you need to earn it... and heck times were hard, money was tight. Also while I think David Bishop had a destination in mind I'm not convinced he knew how to get there.

In 1996 he gets his first bit of luck, to back Wagner on Dredd with classic stuff like The Pit he stumbles across Sinister Dexter... its not good yet but, it seems by luck rather than judgement it gets its chance, gets to stick around and then gets a second go in 1997...

Around it the middle ground gets fresh blood and by and large gets stronger. There' still some absolute duffers in there, which I've discussed but there's some good stuff backing it up... good if not great. Another advantage is Slaine picks up as Mills begins... just ... to find his groove again... will it last, I recall not, but it helped 2000ad through this very, very rocky patch.

By the end of the year Bishop has found his first classic (given that S&D isn't there yet) in Mazeworld, which is just great and the previews of 1997 give us much renewed hope...

... oh as with my life 2000ad is making some bloody tragic mistakes. Its no longer Tharg's organ being one of them. Like me so enamoured by what Bishop sees in the zeigtguiest he tries to jetison Tharg and impose the Men in Black on us. Their dry, souless musings have already killed one offs - and will do for some time to come - but now they kill the fun and verve of the Nerve Centre and most negatively the letters page too. God its so dry and uninspiring.

Still overall I've enjoyed 1996 and certainly found it a very interesting, if not successful read. Now 1997... 1997 is possibly going to be the most mixed bag of thrill ever if memory serves. We'll see greats that will save the comic start to develop, while we'll see some of the worst, most lambasted of stories too... it ain't going to be smooth going but heck hard though times are, confused as we may be, we still managed to have some bloody interesting and fun adventures along the way.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: AlexF on 18 December, 2018, 08:14:36 pm
I'm a little way behind you in the 'years on this Earth' stakes, Mr YNWA, and I recall this period rather fondly as my last gasp of extreme fandom before heading off to Gap Year/University business. I didn't stop getting the Prog, but read it only during the holidays in big chunks, which diminishes the fandom aspect*. But the build up to Prog 1000, and the first months after, were a haze of continued 2000ADish excitement, with me, even at 17, still not old enough to realise the comic hadn't been terribly good.

Outlaw truly isn't very good, but I did like seeing kewl artist after kewl artist attempt to make a gunfight look good in comics form. It rarely did. I guess they were trying to ape recent movie 'the Quick and the Dead' - or did that come out at the same time? In the end, Sinister Dexter pulled off the same 'guns are cool' trick but with more verve and, crucially, plenty of humour in the scripts.

*I got back into fannish fun when I took our my first subscription to my own address away from my parents, just in time for the Shakara-era Prog.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: Colin YNWA on 18 December, 2018, 09:25:56 pm
I guess they were trying to ape recent movie 'the Quick and the Dead' - or did that come out at the same time?

You know your right - I thought that was after Outlaw but Quick and the Dead was 1995! Still to be fair Outlaw pilfrers badly from many films and not just one!

So anyway first thing to note in 1997 is Judge Dredd - Darkside. I love John Smith. I love Judge Dredd... so how does this feel like a waste of both? Its a story that doesn't fill its 12 parts for all the things thrown at it nothing really gells into place and we end up with a lukewarm Dredd vs big bad monster piece and little more.

Such a shame.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: AlexF on 19 December, 2018, 10:14:53 am
For my money Darkside suffers from being a mystery story that isn't nearly mysterious enough. In theory, we readers are meant to believe that Judge Dredd has become a murderer. But because we see the actual murderer (who DOES look like Dredd, for spoiler reasons) is a weird green colour, there's never any doubt that it's not Dredd. The story is also not nearly weird enough.
Title: Re: The completely self absorbed 2000ad re-read thread
Post by: TordelBack on 19 December, 2018, 10:26:06 am
I like Darkside, but it's telling that my brief post-1000 spell return to buying the prog semi-regularly came to an end before it did. Although it may have been the return of Janus and SinDex that drove me away - I saw out pretty-but-dull Mazeworld and abandoned ship again, this time for several years.

Darkside just didn't really deliver on a great premise, despite sharp art and a decent pace.