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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!